“i’ve been high…i’ve been low…

I’ve been yes and I’ve been oh hell no. I’ve been rock ‘n roll and disco, won’t you save me San Francisco!?”

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I’m back from my trip to San Francisco to visit my friend Katie! We spent a lot of time in the city and the vineyards! I’ve been to California quite a bit on trips and uh, well, living here, but never out of SoCal, so when Katie mentioned she was house-sitting, I jumped at the chance to visit.

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My welcoming to Northern California was this view.

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Upon arrival, we headed into Chinatown. We walked around the neighborhood, checking out stores, sights, and scenes, and then enjoyed lunch.

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San Francisco is a beautiful city, but it’s also cold. Very easy to walk around, which enabled us to make our way over to Ghirardelli Square where we enjoyed an ice cream.

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Once we hit the water, I was able to take in the spectacular view, including Alcatraz.

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The next day, we headed over the bridge….

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and towards Sonoma, otherwise known as wine country where we dined and drank.

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I’m not a huge drinker and when I do, I prefer sweet wines and beers, so this was not exactly the place for me. But, I was in good company.

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It was also nice just to sit outside and enjoy the weather and the views. Sonoma is significantly warmer than the city, thankfully.

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It was time for more city exploring the following day.

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The ‘painted ladies’ is where they filmed the famous opening to Full House.

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But, it is not where the front of the house is actually located, so we didn’t make it there until my last day.

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I got to hitch a ride on the trolley, though not on the outside.

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We walked around the Presidio…

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…then ate dinner at a local pub before hanging out on the porch and having a glass of wine (my preferred sweet kind).

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My last day, after checking out the Full House house, we realized how difficult it can be to drive in San Francisco with all those hills- but the view!

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Went through the Presidio once again….

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Then through Robin Williams’ Tunnel.

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Then stopped at a local brewery for a beer (that I didn’t love, oops).

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It was a wonderful trip, but overall, I’ll always be a SoCal girl at heart.

Have a great Monday!

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pancakes and beach days

Once again, I am not sure how we’re already on Monday. The weekend was a good one but flew by!

I started off Friday night with a workout that I intended to be straight-up strength training and ended up being a run. The treadmill is not the most fun ever and I get bored easily, so I mixed it up a bit and did 6-6-5-5-4-4-3-3-2-2-1-1 alternating between walking and running by minutes, increasing speed as I decreased minutes and ended for a complete 45 minutes with some Tabata Intervals- 20 second sprints, 10 second rest. I was sweaty and tired by the end and ready for a relaxing evening.

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I pretty much watched Sex and the City, read a bit, and fell into a deep sleep!

Saturday morning, I woke up for a hankering for pancakes and tried out a new recipe that I’ll get to later in the week…After breakfast, I went grocery shopping before hitting up the gym for a killer strength training workout, the effects of which I am still feeling as I type this Monday morning.

I fit in a quick shower and lunch before it was time to meet my friend for a movie night. He hadn’t seen Wonder Woman yet and since I enjoyed it so much-and the tickets at this theater were cheap- I tagged along. We ended up going to the Vista, which is where they shot that terrifying movie scene in Scream 2. It was kinda a big deal.

After the movie, we got dinner at Shake Shack and a classy dessert at McDonalds for a McFlurry and called it a night!

Sunday morning called for more pancakes, this time a different recipe.

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Since Sunday was my rest day, I threw in a load of laundry and relaxed before it was time to meet my cousins at the beach. The wind prevented me from actually diving into the water, but it was nice and relaxing just sitting and chatting the afternoon away.

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If you look closely enough, you’ll notice a line of seagulls just sitting there watching the ocean. I can respect that as I too have been enjoying my tour of SoCal beaches, but I was also suspicious.

That afternoon, it was time for beers, chips and salsa, burgers, and desserts.

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I got home in time to fold laundry and enjoy another episode of Sex and the City before pulling the curtains on the weekend.

The Entertainer

Last night I went to see Billy Joel at Fenway. This is my second time seeing him and he does not fail to impress. Both of my parents are big fans and I started listening to his music on a family trip to Ireland. There is not one song that I don’t like. It’s funny because he could have played a complete different playlist last night that still would have been full of hits.

  
After every song, I kept shouting, “that one’s my favorite!” I don’t think there’s anything quite like hearing a packed stadium of 30,000+ people singing along to Piano Man or an a Capella version of The Longest Time. Even the two songs I didn’t know, I enjoyed. It was a perfect night for an outdoor concert too. Not too cold or warm, a few stars speckled the sky, and a great time with my parents and cousin Maura!

  
  
We started the night by hitting up a restaurant and getting a few drinks. I had a watermelon beer (the piece of watermelon on top was my favorite) and then had a glass of raspberry sangria. For my meal, I selected the chicken and shrimp sesame stir fry that was chock full of peppers, snap peas, and mushrooms on top a bed of jasmine rice. The portion size was just right so that I easily polished it off and washed it down with a soft serve cone in the stadium.

  
My workout for the day was a body strength circuit that had my sweating and sticky before I jumped into the pool to swim a mile. I was feeling strong yesterday and was in the zone and could have swam another mile (at least it yet like it) but I was on no time crunch and had to get ready for the concert! To add to my exercise for the day, we did quite a bit of walking to the concert and a ton of dancing! Once Billy came on stage, I didn’t sit for another two hours.

I was feeling sleepy this morning and took my time getting out of bed. Somehow it seemed easier at 5. I eventually got up and grilled up some French toast. In my batter, I tossed an egg, an egg white, a splash of milk, cinnamon, and vanilla together, soaked the bread, and fried it up. I thought I would get a little fancy with my topping and mixed a fourth of a cup of plain Greek yogurt and two tablespoons of dark chocolate peanut butter together. Combined with blueberries and banana, it was quite tasty. I ended up having too much for the toast, so I just ate the rest of it as a parfait.

  
As I enjoyed my breakfast, I watched a clip of Amy Schumer on Jimmy Fallon’s show talking about how she engaged in a bread eating war with Mindy Kaling and sexted from Katie Couric’s phone when she got up to use the bathroom. Comedy right now is huge, especially as people realize that women are actually funny. I am actually going to see Amy’s movie that comes out tonight, which she stars in and wrote. I think it’s so important to have celebrities, especially female, get so much positive exposure for being smart, funny, confident, and strong. And she was just nominated for an Emmy for her show Inside Amy Schumer, which is great!

Now onto a day of studying, writing, and exercising! Happy Friday!

It’s Hard to Cook Without a Fully Functioning Kitchen

One of the perks I thought I was sure to enjoy after finishing my Master’s, was the ability and creative liberty to try out new recipes. This was prevented once the kitchen went under construction. No complaints here as I will be able to enjoy the benefits of a new kitchen shortly, though I probably won’t have as much free time then.

Anyways, for this Meals on Monday edition, I thought I did a lot better taking pictures of what I was eating, but I think I really just snapped my lunches and forgot about the rest of the meals. As you will see, my memory only alerted me to my mistakes halfway through eating the meals, so don’t think that I have been eating such small portions. Trust, I have a hearty appetite.

Breakfasts:

I have eaten quite a lot of peanut butter toast this week as I have limited use of technology in which to cook. This is hurtful because breakfast is my favorite meal and I like to concoct all sorts of different recipes throughout the week.

I had this at least four times this week, but with a little variety. Here we see my use of Peanut Butter and Co’s chocolate flavored products, Dark Chocolate and White Chocolate Wonderful with a smear of jelly on whole wheat sour dough and a side of fresh fruit.

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Other times you might see my toast topped with the same chocolate peanut butter but with coconut sprinkled on top and a banana on the side. I also enjoy using regular Teddie peanut butter, which I had yesterday morning for a more savory twist. Peanut butter is one of my favorite foods and as I write Meals on Monday more, you will see it included in almost all of my breakfasts and sometimes lunches.

For breakfasts this week, I also had a delicious “Italian Delight” egg breakfast with two poached eggs over mozzarella, tomato, and toast with a side of potatoes at a diner I went to with my sister Lauren. Forgot to take a picture, but it is something I will be making at home once that kitchen is running again.

A wonderful waffle I made in my waffle maker, duh, but the clean up was messy. Obviously, it was still worth it. The batter is the same as my peanut butter pancake recipe, topped with more peanut butter, jelly, and shredded coconut.

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One day, I also had a bowl of raisin bran with chopped banana and a coconut-blended Chobani, which is the best flavor of greek yogurt there is, mixed with blueberries.

Lunch:

A salad with arugula as the base, mixed with cucumbers, peppers, asiago cheese croutons, feta, and red beans with greek dressing. Nice and simple on a hot day!

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Another salad of arugula and baby spinach, cucumber, pepper, and feta cheese with italian dressing. I also had a chicken burger topped with a piece of pepper jack cheese on a whole wheat english muffin and a fruit bowl consisting of pineapple (my ALL-TIME favorite) and a few cherries (another favorite, but must be eaten carefully as I am semi-allergic, it’s a cruel world).

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Leftover salmon over a salad of spinach, peppers, tomato, and mozzarella with a side of buttered toast (not pictured).

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I did not snap a picture of my rice and chicken bowl filled with fresh veggies including zucchini (the first produce from my garden!!), summer squash, and red pepper because I was in the pool.

Saturday, I went to Harry Potter trivia with my friends Erin and Katie and though we didn’t place as we should have, it was still so much fun! I had my share of chips and salsa, margherita pizza, and Leininkugel Summer Shandy that I was pretending was butter beer.

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Yesterday, my sister came over for lunch and my mom grilled some turkey tips with a drizzle of honey BBQ sauce with more of my zucchini, summer squash, and peppers, corn on the cob, a side salad, and a piece of toast.

Dinner:

Salmon with summer squash, pepper, baby spinach, feta over brown and wild rice.

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We also had chicken kebobs one night skewered with zucchini, summer squash, and peppers (I guess you can tell what veggies we like best).

Another night was pasta with chicken sausage and spinach.

Thursday night, I had dinner with my friends Nouha and Sarah, which consisted of a Lebanese meat dish over rice and potatoes, made by her mother and it was fabulous. We also had a side of hummus with whole wheat pita and a sliver of Whole Foods cake.

On Friday, we had a girls night out, as my mom, sister, and I stopped for cheeseburgers and beer before the Red Sox game. Because I opted for a side salad instead of french fries at dinner, I enjoyed a twist cone during the game. I’d take ice cream over anything, any day, any time.

After trivia, I came home Saturday to find my aunts, uncles, and cousins over. Family time is the best time, whether we are sitting around the porch table laughing at ourselves and one another, roasting marshmallows, or hiding in the dark trying to freak each other out. We also ordered pizza because it seems to be a trend of every “party” (for lack of better term).

Finally, in honor of my Uncle Mike, who I appreciate for many reasons but mostly for his consistent reading of this blog, Gollum is still looking for his precious “ring.”