It’s Fall, Ya’ll

Let’s start with yesterday’s lunch of leftovers. I enjoyed short ribs and macaroni and cheese with a fall vegetable medley of goodness. Lunch was fancy because my dinner consisted of a peanut butter and jelly with yogurt and veggie sticks. Not that it wasn’t delicious, it just wasn’t a gourmet meal.

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This morning’s breakfast came in stages thanks to an early workout and work call. I rolled out of bed to my alarm a little sad and weary, but once I got moving, I felt great! My metabolism got a jolt thanks to a peanut butter wrap, a tall glass of water, and a cup of coffee. Post-workout, I ate a hard-boiled egg, a cheesestick, and a banana. Later on, I followed that up with some almonds and raisins.

I’m in the process of mixing up my workouts, so today’s consisted of a series of grueling circuits that left me feeling strong. First came a core-centered warm-up rotational lunges, elevated hip lifts, reverse crunches, sit up extensions on the stability ball, and stability ball tucks. The second circuit included kettlebell swings, step ups, side box jumps, weighted split squats, and tricep push ups. My final circuit was strength heavy with deadlifts, bench presses, high pulls, front raises, and rows. For my cardio, I hopped in the pool for a half hour swim.

After work, I was ready for lunch! I had grilled chicken and a salad on hand, so I tossed everything together and heated up a small plate of macaroni and cheese to enjoy on the side.

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I headed back into work for a few hours after some studying and came home to fix myself dinner. Can we talk about how good turkey meat is for tacos? We don’t make it often, but it is delicious! I fancied mine up by grilling two tortillas with cheese, throwing on the meat, and topping them with baby spinach, zucchini, mushrooms, and peppers. Oh my God they were so tasty and satisfying! Also, kind of beautiful.

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Speaking of beautiful, can we talk about this weather? I try not to mention weather too often because there was a period there when I was only talking about weather. But it has been so nice this week! Even though the nights are so dark so early. Oh, happy days. At least the holidays are coming up because the festivities make it easier to bear. Anyways, I snapped this picture on my walk yesterday. The trees have been spectacular!

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Kind of makes me excited for Thanksgiving!

Strength in Nature

Yesterday’s workout consisted of a strength training circuit that focused on moves meant to support the big six I did the day before. I focused on higher reps and lower weights, running through the circuit four times with twelve reps each. I did bicep curls, shoulder raises, tricep extensions, front raises, weighted lunges, and deadlift squats to high raises. After, I ran through a core circuit, same amount of sets and reps- kneeling kickbacks, mermaid raises, v push ups, hundreds to v ups, hip lifts, and bicycle crunches. For cardio, I hopped in the pool for a 40 minute lap swim.

At home, I was glad to have leftovers for lunch so that I wasn’t in a rush to get off to work. This chickpea dish is delicious, though next time, I think I’ll be more contemplative when it comes to spices. I like spices, but I don’t know how to utilize them in my recipes, so more research must be done! A piece of buttered raisin toast and a cup of plain Greek yogurt with a spoonful of peanut butter and a handful of grapes completed my meal.

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I’m loving all the standing work entails! My hips and butt don’t feel as sore from sitting all day and I can already feel my legs grow stronger as they get accustomed to standing so much again. Nothing was quite like teaching when it came to standing/running around all day!

Dinner was a plate with crockpot buffalo chicken, broccoli, asparagus, and red peppers with a drizzle of ranch over everything. I had a separate bowl for some macaroni and cheese. After a long day, it was a great way to end things.

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I curled up to read for awhile after before drifting off to sleep.

This morning, I took the time to whip up my favorite peanut butter pancakes. They were delightful topped with more peanut butter, jelly, and shredded coconut and paired with a side of bananas and blueberries. I’m still full with these protein and nutrient dense cakes! They’re quite pretty too!

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Now’s time to talk about what gave me strength yesterday, something I promised in another post, but didn’t get to it last night. After work, I was walking outside with my friend when we saw lightning a way’s away from us. It was strange because there was no thunder and it wasn’t raining, so it was just one of those heat things. I tried to get a picture that captured the beauty of the illuminated night sky, but I don’t think I did it justice.

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Standing in a field, surrounded by nature, filled me with the realization of how insignificant the small and petty things in life are. We always need reminders of this. The gift of having seen this lightning show for just a few minutes helped me to see that strength is not always something we seek. Sometimes it entails going out into the world and living in it. These small blessings surround us every day.

*A brief aside: There may be good in this world, but terrible things do still happen, like earlier this morning during the news broadcast. I don’t know why we keep hurting each other and why we remain immobilized from making changes. Living in a world where we’re afraid to live in it (and validated in that fear), is not much of a life at all. For now, we can focus on the victims. Be kinder, love harder, do good.

Part Three: Heaven on Earth

There are a few places that I envision Heaven might look like. For instance, Union Square in New York City, my aunt and uncle’s Cape house, Disney World with my family, and Santa Monica beach. 

  

I have always been drawn to water. I love to swim, especially in the ocean with huge waves crashing over me, the salty air, and endless views. On day three of our trip, Molly and I took a ride to Santa Monica for the day.

 

  

 We started off walking through a Farmer’s Market where I picked up some new shades, then meandered our way through the town. Somehow, when we made it to the water’s edge, we ended up in Venice Beach, which is equally wonderful. 

  
I could not tear myself away from the water, even though I didn’t have on a bathing suit, so we ended up walking along the shore to Santa Monica Pier. The water was so warm and inviting and I would have loved to have dove into the waves, but it was a blessing just to be there. It was here where I had one of those feelings of Heaven on earth.

  

  
After taking the long trek- sprinting the last few steps to the pier due to how hot the sand that wasn’t by the water was!-  Molly and I were ready for something refreshing. We stopped by a stand at the pier for a soft serve ice cream cone. Even though it melted fast, it was just what we needed to cool down and relax, while looking out into the distance.

  
We also stopped into a small but cute aquarium on the pier where I met a creepy new friend, of whom I forgot to snap a picture.

  
As we made our way to the Third Street Promenade, we started to grow hungry. On our way, we had to stop and take a picture of this street sign since it is mentioned in a song we love by Yellowcard.

  
We made a few laps to see what choices were offered until we settled on a fun restaurant. It was nice to be out of the blaring sun for awhile, my currently peeling nose is a testament to that, and we split a delicious pizza and guzzled down waters. After, we made our way to Barnes and Noble to peruse, relax, and read some magazines. 

  
It was on this day that I realized I needed a hat to protect my scalp, so be made one last stop at a stand to buy a bright pink LA hat. I was quite pleased with my purchase, as was my itching, burning noggin. 

  
Upon our return from Santa Monica, we happened to see Mario Lopez in the car next to us, which was hilarious. We made awkward eye contact, awkward in the way that when I saw him, I started screaming and he saw me. For the record, Molly dove across the car to catch a glimpse.

I am struggling to remember what we ended up doing for dinner that night, but I do remember getting some wine and having a dance party while we waited for some old nineties movies of our youth. A little Cruel Intentions and I Know What You Did Last Summer was on the menu with some popcorn and we had quite a blast laughing.

  
It’s quite funny to me that I happen to be recapping the days of our trip exactly a week later from when they happened. I apologize for the delay in the post today, but I had an early wake up call to fit in my workout before working. 

Now I’m with some of my favorite people waiting to get some ice cream. What is everyone looking forward to this week?