new beginnings

Before I begin anything, I want to wish HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE GREATEST PERSON WHO EVER LIVED: my mom.

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You’re the best and the day doesn’t deserve your greatness, although it should be celebrated anyway! Love you!

Welcome to 2017! I’ve been on break for the past ten days and it’s been wonderful being home, but after a lot of relaxation and eating, I’m ready to get back into my routine.

I don’t really have New Years resolutions, but I’m looking forward to being more mindful and present this year. I tend to be frantically go-go-going and I think it heightens my anxiety. Sometimes, you have to relax and watch the world around you. So let’s go!

I’ll start the first post of 2017 with a recap of my vacation. It started with a day of biking at the beach. The day was a bit dreary, but the wind kicked up as I hit the beach and it was hard to pedal. This is a little scary looking, no?

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By the time I got back and finished getting ready, it was time to get to the airport super early. Traveling around the holidays is no joke. And traveling overnight means no sleep for me who cannot sleep on planes. Oh well. I read Amy Schumer’s book instead. This is the view back to Boston.

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Cold!

It was Christmas Eve morning by the time I arrived and it was time to celebrate. Note: thanks for the early pick-up and drop-off from the airport mom and dad!

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Lots of quality times with family was enjoyed. (Without pictures, I guess).

As well as time with friends.

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Finished off the year the way I started it, with a run outside!

*On the brink of 2016. (So innocent, so naive).

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It was colder and snowier this year, but watching for ice just made it more adventurous…

*On the brink of 2017. (A little more weathered).

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My New Year’s smooch this year.

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And before I knew it, it was time to catch my flight back to LA.

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All I wanted to do was sleep when I got home, but I didn’t want to disrupt my routine, so instead, I cleaned and got organized. Felt good! I stopped at the gym to fit in some strength training before heading out for a hike.

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The sun was not awaiting my arrival.

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After grocery shopping, I meal prepped and made dinner. Ravioli atop chicken sausage, spinach, red bell pepper, and zucchini. Ah my Gah, delicious! And it so happens to make up my lunches for the week as well.

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Oh, and yeah, I should be more consistent with my blog.

Living Well

When I’m feeling overwhelmed and a little lost, I tend to eat too much. Not eating comes when I’m super stressed, which I’m happy to not be enduring, but the other side of it isn’t healthy either.

It’s easy to use the excuse that we’re in the holiday season and bad eating choices are all around us. I’ve been eating mindlessly, which leads to danger. When I first arrived in LA, I was on point with eating and exercising and had lost a few pounds, something I could tell from my loose fitting clothes. These past few weeks have proved difficult and my waistline is feeling it. I know it hasn’t been anything too crazy, but a constant pushing it off ’til tomorrow only lends itself to poor and unhealthy habits.

Exercise is my strong suit. As a personal trainer, I love formatting and executing a new workout that I know will crush me and push my body to new heights. That sounds terrifying to put it like that, actually, but I mean it in the best way possible. I love sweating during and after a solid workout. To me, there are few greater daily accomplishments.

I did take most of the week off with Thanksgiving and all that traveling, but I got back into it on Sunday with a killer workout. I worked through three sets of twelve reps. First circuit was tricep dips, jumping lunges, and front raises. Second included burpees (death), push-ups (more death), and high knees (not so deathly). My third circuit took me through resistance band bicep curls, a plie squat to step ups, and supermans. I finished with a core circuit of pike rolls, side plank twist dips, and cable ab presses. For cardio, I did 18 minutes on the spin bike and left the gym a bundle of sweat. Since it was nice out, but windy and cold, I ran a mile outside. It’s been awhile since I’ve run outside and run a straight up mile for that matter- I’ve been working on intervals more to stave off treadmill boredom- and I felt more tired than usual, but still strong.

Strength is an emotional and physical attribute that constantly needs to be developed and honed. It’s ever-changing depending on circumstances. Find it, use it, and whether you succeed or fail, learn from it. Thankfully, I have a constant reminder of how far I’ve come and how far I have to go.

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Most of the time, I don’t think twice about my post-work workouts because it’s just part of my routine. It feels good to end the day that way, although my running suffers a bit. My Monday night workout was another total body knockout. All circuits again, I started with some barbell work. In sequence, I performed a row, clean, front squat, to shoulder presses. The second circuit incorporated dumbbell chest presses, skull crushers, and alternating hammer curls. Next up, I went through kettle bell swings, split squats, and kickback deadlifts. Each circuit was 5 sets of 5 reps with heavy weight. To top things off, my core circuit included v ups, rollouts, and medicine ball twists at 3 sets of 20 reps. Cardio was HIIT cycling with another mile on the treadmill.

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I’m amping up my routine and reeling in my eating habits. It will help that I am blogging regularly again because I have to share what I’m eating with you.

Monday’s breakfast was a warm homemade waffle and fruit.

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For a snack, I spread a scoop of peanut butter over a slice of whole wheat toast.

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Lunch will be the same throughout the week: quinoa, chickpeas, zucchini, red pepper, carrots, and soyaki.

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My pre workout snack was a cheesestick and a handful of wheat thins.

Soyaki drizzled salmon, spinach rice, broccoli, and more soyaki was on the menu for dinner. I’m getting decent at cooking salmon, but I think the soyaki helps a ton.

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Mindfulness can be hard, while reaching for a bite of this and handful of that is easy and instantly satisfying. Longterm, leading a healthy lifestyle and feeling good and strong in your body and mind is more important and satisfying. Eating will always be somewhat of a challenge for me, be it ingrained habits or unlucky genes, but I refuse to see such a natural component of life as a negative. Yes, I will enjoy the holidays and every day life, just as much as I will eat mindfully and healthfully, but as the saying goes, “it’s all in moderation.” Moderation takes practice, as do all the good things in life.

Live well!

Shake It Off

After a few weeks’ hiatus, I’m back! I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Mine was busy as I hopped on a plane Tuesday night 9pm LA time, flew into New York City for a two hour delay, then made the final leg of my trip to Boston, arriving around 9am Boston time. I flew back to LA on Friday morning, so it was a whirlwind, but wonderful trip home. Though it was more of a teaser for Christmas break, I’m so happy to have been able to spend time with my family, eat delicious food, and relax.

I believe this picture was taken as my mom told me my head was too big.

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I have enjoyed my time in LA thus far, but I’ve felt out of sorts and overwhelmed these past few weeks, as I believe I’ve mentioned, but I decided I’m shaking myself out of it. Part of that is getting back into my writing routine. Life is busy and it’s hard to get into a routine after a long day of work, but writing is important to me and it’s why I moved out here, so I have to do it! Doing it!

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Upon my arrival back to LA, my Lyft driver gave me a gallon of some strange water she was promoting. Apparently, I am supposed to drink it within three days or the live cultures will die. I’m not drinking water that has living beings in it thank you very much. What a welcome back though!

Friday found me in a vegetative state. Had I known it would be the only warm, sunny day of the weekend, I may have felt more motivated to get up, but it started on a long plane journey and I was tired. Plus, my new bike- because yes, one of the blah things that have happened to me in the past few weeks is that my bike was stolen…out of my gated apartment building…where it was locked up- had loose handlebars and I didn’t have the tool to fix it yet, so really, I didn’t want to fall over them.

Regardless of any activity I should have done, Gilmore Girls dropped on Netflix and nothing else mattered. I watched two of the four-part series, napped, cooked dinner, then watched the other two. I loved it, smiled the entire time, and teared up a few times. As the creator/writer said that she ended it the way she always wanted to end it, I fear those last four words, however cryptic and cliff hanger-y, are it for the show, for real this time. I wouldn’t be opposed to more though, please and thank you!

On Saturday, I was on the metro to meet my friend for a hike in Malibu when the skies opened. Apparently, the only things to do in Malibu are go to the beach and hike, so we drove around for a bit before heading over to Santa Monica.

PSA: Don’t all-you-can-eat sushi. Sushi is not something you should ever overeat. Our reasoning for going to this restaurant was to try different types of sushi, but you had to eat all of what you ordered and would have to pay full price for any leftovers. We ordered two rolls too many and I had a piece in my mouth when my body decided it was too much and I had to spit it out. I was full, but it wasn’t that overly stuffed feeling so much as this is not something you should ever have too much of. The mayo-laden sushi glistened at me menacingly and thankfully the waitress took pity on us and took it away as our little secret and we didn’t have to pay. I am now on a six month hiatus from sushi, if not more.

After we ate ourselves silly, it was time to move around. We ended up doing some window shopping in Santa Monica and took in the sights.

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I should have snapped a picture of the pier all lit up at night, but shoulda coulda woulda and I did-ah not. Ha.

On Sunday, I woke up to more rain, so I cooked an omelet with an english muffin and fruit before heading over to the gym for my first workout in a week. It felt good! Nothing inspires motivation better than a kick ass workout.

In the afternoon, I went back to Santa Monica with my friend Brad where we got some writing done before heading back, making tacos for dinner, and readying for the work week ahead.

I’m in a better place and thinking positive thoughts. Sometimes, it’s good to struggle because it gives you some perspective and forces you to work that much harder. A hug from mom will heal anything. Plus, it doesn’t suck that it’s Christmas spirit time! No better excuse to fit in some shopping.

Happy Monday!

The Thong Song

Welcome back! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and are still feeling good vibes heading into the new year. I for one had a wonderful time, but I’m ready to get back into the groove of solid routine, especially in terms of food. Too many tempting sweets!

Let’s get right back into it!

Yesterday, after Yoga and a brief, but sweaty run, my friend Katie came over for brunch. I’m always saying I make better breakfast/brunch than restaurants, so I needed to prove myself. A ham and cheese omelet, toast, and a side of spinach and peppers was a solid force.

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I worked for much of the day, so lunch was a quick bite of leftovers and dinner was Chinese food while watching the first Star Wars with my family. Side note, there is this game Fibbage you play on your phones and over some kind of video game device and it’s hilarious. I recommend it for New Years’ shenanigans.

This morning, I made myself a warm bowl of oats. Haven’t had this one in awhile! I was missing the mashed banana as grocery shopping still needed to be done, but it was an excellent breakfast.

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After a short shift at work, I fit in a workout with my friend Nouha. The focus was on triceps, shoulders, and legs, followed up with some core. We ran out of time on the cardio front, but it was still a good sweat!

My post-workout lunch included eggs, toast, veggies, and fruit.

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I really am on a huge egg kick lately, but I’m trying to back off on those waffles! Can’t go wrong with eggs breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Some random things to note.

I forgot how comfortable boots are! They’re like cushions for my feet. I’m not pleased that the reason I pulled them out of the closet was due to a pending snow-something (I won’t say storm), but my feet are happy in their ignorant bliss.

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In an this-would-happen-to-me-scenario, a few days ago, Facebook wanted me to share a “special memory” that occurred 8 years ago. I don’t know why they thought this one should be re-posted, especially because they only prompt such a thing once every few weeks, but I had to screenshot it and share the oddness.

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That is a thong…lying on the ground at a tourist site in some European country my sister visited 8 years ago and I tagged myself in to be funny. I really hope someone took the time to do this, but it’s probably just the computer being random. (OR, computers are gaining senses of humor/irony, which means we’re all pretty much screwed.

Anyone else have the Thong Song stuck in their heads now?

 

Holidays Are Kinda Cool

Popping in with small reminders of why the holiday- and I mean all holidays- season is so important and special. While at work tonight, two very cool things happened, which also goes to show how cool it can be to work in customer service.

  1. Someone came in and was so excited to see a menorah on the front desk. She said it was “super cool” and her face lit up, knowing that we represented and celebrated all holidays. It made me realize how special those little moments can be.
  2. My co-worker and I were serenaded by a little girl who sang every single line of “Frosty the Snowman” with perfect clarity. I haven’t wanted to laugh and cry simultaneously in the best of ways in a long time.

This time is a busy one. I was just texting my friend about how crazy and hectic things can get this time of year, trying to shop and studying on top of everything. But it’s vital that we pause and take in all the celebrations that come along with it. And if that means I need to listen to Feliz Navidad play on repeat on the radio all season long, I’ll take the good with the bad.

In Which I Adult

Monday is upon us. Does it always kind of feel like a Monday to you too? Regardless of if we want it, it comes and so we must deal. At least we have the previous weekend’s memories to discuss and the next weekend’s possible adventures to dream about to hold us over. Or, we could just live in the moment. Right?

We left off on Friday evening. I worked and then came home to make breakfast for dinner. A cheesy omelet with a side of waffles and spinach and peppers made all my dreams come true.

It was an early night as I was up early on Saturday morning for work. Breakfast was very similar, except the eggs were scrambled and I had a berry bowl instead of veggies.

For my Saturday workout, I went through a series of circuits- biceps, shoulders, back, and core- then took it back home to go for a run. I ran 2 miles at a steady pace then finished with some sprints.

Dinner was a strange concoction of pasta, leftover turkey (not from Thanksgiving for the record, but from turkey taco day), and a hunk of a salad. I ate everything as I got them ready so there was not one cohesive plate of which to get a picture.

As I made flashcards- lots and lots and lots of flashcards, my right hand is ACHING- I flipped on The Devil Wears Prada and then found a Buffy the Vampire Slayer marathon that I had to switch off so I could watch some study videos. I am adulting!

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3 days worth of flashcards, my friends.

I was up semi-earlyish again on Sunday for a Yoga class. Every Sunday should start with Yoga. It’s a great workout, stretches you out, and relaxes you. That’s a win-win-win!

More flashcard making and studying was had. I skipped over to my sister and brother-in-law’s house to watch some House Hunters, while making flashcards, before we met up with some other fine folks for dinner. This included a Christmas Cosmo that got me in the spirit of Christmas.

Now onto a workout, more studying- yes, more flashcards-and work. Happy Monday! It’s grind time.

Christmas Week, Calories Shouldn’t Count

The days leading up to Christmas seem a lifetime ago, but Christmas, and the restful days after, passed by in a blur. As you can probably tell, I love everything that has to do with Christmas and I’m sad to see it is over. There is just something wonderful about the entire holiday season and now we all have a long, cold winter ahead of us. I can’t complain though because I have many exciting things ahead this year.

As much as I’m sad to see it go, and at least there’s New Years to ease back into a regular routine, I’m also ready to kick my healthy eating plan into gear. Here’s a look back at what I ate- meals wise at least- this week.

Pre- and post- workout meals were very similar on Monday. While it kept me energized beforehand, it wasn’t quite enough to fill me up after, so I was looking forward to an early lunch.

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First thing Tuesday morning, I had an egg and a cheesestick. In my rush, I didn’t get a picture since I was meeting my friend at the gym a bit earlier than usual. After getting ready for the day, I sat down with a bowl of overnight oats stuffed with raisins, dates, banana, and walnuts and a combination of sweet strawberries and blueberries.

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Christmas Eve morning, I got up to get to the gym, anticipating quite a bit of eating later on in the day. Both my brother and sister came with me, my brother did his own thing, while I led my sister through a strength workout- more on workouts later this week as usual. In order to fuel our workouts, my mom made us some poached eggs over toast. Always so tasty!

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Christmas morning, after opening presents, my family sat down for a breakfast full of eggs, toast, bacon, sausage, coffee, and mimosas. I was certain I had gotten a picture, but in my enthusiasm, I forgot. It was delicious and quite lovely.

Having consumed a large number of eggs in the past few days, I was up for my peanut butter pancakes on Friday. I hadn’t had them in awhile, so I was very excited to labor over them, taking my time, and enjoying every bite.

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I took full advantage of not having to be anywhere in the mornings these past few days and grilled up some French toast. Adding pumpkin into the batter sweetens things up without sugar and lends a nice thickness to the finished product. Of course, the peanut butter, jelly, and toasted coconut also livened up the flavor.

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I finished off my week of breakfasts with more poached eggs over toast. One of the yolks fell out into the pan, but it still tasted delicious. And that fruit was so juicy.

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For my first lunch, I made a big salad with tons of veggies, feta, and grilled chicken. Full of vibrant flavor.

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I had a salad packed for Tuesday, which I ate to fit in my veggies, but at work, we had a little buffet of sorts with some soup, Mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, and chicken. I ate my share and was quite stuffed!

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For Christmas Eve lunch, we start our celebrations with a meal out at a local restaurant. It’s so nice to sit together and reminisce in some peaceful moments before the rush at Christmas Eve night- which is also magical. I chose the surf and turf with a salad to start. My steak was not entirely cooked, but I ate half and really enjoyed the stuffed shrimp and baked potato!

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After a breakfast feast, and anticipating another at dinner, I settled for a piece of toast with peanut butter and a bowl of cereal at lunch to tide me over. Sorry no pictures!

Before meeting my sister to see a movie on Friday, I chopped up a big salad with veggies and chicken. I had a piece of buttered toast and a small cup of cheesy potatoes on the side.

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After a run in the beautiful, odd December weather, I fixed myself an odd assortment of foods for lunch. Pictured is another serving of cheesy potatoes, celery with a tablespoon of almond butter and raisins, and after I remembered it was in there, a spoonful of the buffalo chicken dip I concocted for Christmas Eve on a piece of toast. Hit the spot!

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That steak that wasn’t fully cooked faired much better in my lunch stir fry on Sunday. I threw that into a pan with some zucchini, peppers, and mushrooms, tossed it all in a Thai peanut sauce, and served with rice. So good and filling for my afternoon workout!

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For the first dinner of the week, we had grilled tilapia with broccoli and pasta. I sprinkled hot sauce on the veggies and fish and kept my pasta simple with butter and Parmesan.

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One of my family’s favorite meals is this spinach salad. We marinate chicken breast in Italian dressing, grill it, then toss it in with spinach, walnuts, dried craisins, and poppyseed dressing. I try to add a few more veggies like peppers and cucumbers to make it even fuller.

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Christmas Eve, there was an assortment of food, including a buffalo chicken dip I made, that was basically different kinds of cheese with a side of chicken. For my meal, I went with my mom’s homemade stuffed shells, a meatball, a big serving of salad, a slurp of my sister’s chili, and a small piece of chicken.

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Christmas dinner is really all about the cheesy potatoes. We start with appetizers my mom makes, including spinach and artichoke dip, stuffed mushrooms, and crabbies. For dinner, I went with a small piece of roast beef, Brussels sprouts and squash, some green bean casserole, a roll, and two heaping servings of cheesy potatoes. Listen, I get them once a year, so of course I’m going to stuff my face. Thanks Auntie Bea!

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After a workout the next night, I was looking for something warm for dinner. I went with a grilled cheese with a slice of ham and some veggie sticks on the side.

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After some shopping on Saturday night- I got a fitbit!- I got dinner with my parents. We went to our favorite Mexican restaurant because they have the best chips and salsa. For my entree, I got the blackened salmon salad with a black bean, pepper, and corn salsa and lime vinegarette. So good! It’s my absolute favorite salmon dish.

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To end the week, we had roasted chicken stuffed with stuffing and a cranberry glaze, with a side of roasted potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and squash.

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I know my meals look fairly healthy, which is key to maintaining healthy habits during the holiday season, but I didn’t document the my mount of cookies I have consumed the past week. When there’s sweets in my house, they somehow find their way to my mouth!