Reflection Time

First of all, HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to my mama. She’s the best.

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On Friday, I realized it had been five years since I graduated college. This made me reflective and several pages in my journal is a testament to that. The truth is, the years don’t really matter, except that we can no longer count life in “school years.” I am no longer a super-senior of real life. I just am. And yet, I still have nightmares where I’m lost in high school and can’t find my classes, so what does that signify?

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When the picture above was taken, I felt like I was on top of the world. I had just lost a ton of weight, I was graduating with honors, and even though I didn’t know what I wanted to do in life, I had a temporary summer job, and I figured I would figure it out. Five years later and I’ve held five different jobs, all for the better, lending to well-rounded life experiences and honing professional skills, and I keep telling myself that it’s important to figure out what you don’t want to do, as much as what you do want.

Life is not perfect or easy, but I have been blessed. There have been struggles and losses and hardships, but I’m choosing right now to focus on the good. Those top three, since graduating, include becoming a published writer, getting my personal training certification, and moving to LA- if only because I had been talking about it for five years, so it was move or shut up.

*My parents would probably like me to insert my Master’s degree into this list and while yes, this is an accomplishment, I have (un)gracefully retired from teaching and will never use the degree in the traditional sense. Call it an invisible fourth choice if you must.

I should also note that this blog is also five years old and I’ve been trying for five years to find a direction for it, but it’s been chaotic. Such is life.

Looking back at pictures of my friends, I found this gem.

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This was taken six years ago right before I started my weight loss journey. This girl is me, and yet, I do not recognize her. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t particularly enjoy looking in the mirror at this time. But, a few months after this was snapped, I did look at myself in the mirror, long and hard, and I discovered that I was worth more than I realized. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a million times. My relationship to myself did not better after I lost weight. I chose myself and saved myself because I liked myself, and it helped me find the strength to exercise, eat right, and be kinder to my body, mind, and soul.

It’s funny that I struck this particular pose because in just a few months, I would be employing that strength, both physically and mentally, and completely uprooting my life for the better.

This blurb was longer than I expected when I first started typing, but the only other matter of the weekend I’d like to discuss is that I saw Billy Joel at Dodger Stadium and it was awesome. I love him and I’m not sorry for it.

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Also, Dodger Stadium looks strange without that large looming wall in left field. Just sayin..

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Run (Even When You Don’t Feel Like It)

Even though yesterday felt like Wednesday, and I kept being letdown when realizing the truth, today is Wednesday so maybe the week is finally catching up with me.

I’m super excited because in a few short hours, I’ll be attending the Ingrid Michaelson concert in town. Ingrid’s music “gets me” and my emotions and I listen to her when I’m writing, feeling sad or lonely or overwhelmed, or want to be inspired. Yay!

Breakfast of Champions is below: scrambled eggs, English muffin with peanut butter, fruit.

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The soup I told you about is tasty! Mint spices the dish in a way I didn’t think possible, but this is why I follow most recipes instead of create them…yet. I paired the soup with half of a grilled cheese sandwich.

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Shrimp tacos! I didn’t snap a picture of the huge salad that accompanied it, mostly because it didn’t fit in the shot, but also because I was too hungry to wait. I cooked the shrimp in olive oil and only needed a dash of soyaki- it spreads far and wide- to flavor them. Quick and easy!

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Last night’s workout was an uninspired run that my body kind of hated. Running is so fickle to me, especially on the treadmill. The gym was hot and crowded and so I already had forces working against me, but I pushed forward, and did what needed to be done. 4 miles later and I was a sweaty mess, finishing my workout with a quick Yoga flow before calling it a night.

Have yourself a great Wednesday- we’re halfway through the week!

Weekend Catch Up!

Time for a peek back at the weekend!

Friday morning, started off with a strength workout before work. I ran through a dumbbell circuit before finishing up with a plyometric workout. My breakfast of choice was this egg, cheese, and chicken sausage sandwich with blueberries and pineapple on the side.

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After work, I met my friend Bobby in the city for a concert. On my walk over to the restaurant where we had dinner, I had to stop and capture this moment.

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It was absolutely mesmerizing, this moment where city meets nature.

Dinner before the show was a little unimpressive considering how delicious the dish sounded. I opted for mani mani in a tomato based sauce with peppers, but the fish didn’t have a ton of flavor. I could definitely recreate this at home with the right spice mixture! Sure did look good, though.

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Bobby and I have been fans of Idina Menzel for a long time now. It was great to be able to see her in concert!

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The highlight of the show, and there were a ton of amazing moments, had to be when she called up all the kids to help her sing Let it Go. I seriously almost started to cry. I think I’m going to have to go with this moment, magnified by watching someone so talented do something incredible with that talent, as my Friday moment of strength.

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I was up Saturday morning to work early. I had poached eggs over toast and a banana for my breakfast but didn’t get a picture. For lunch, I munched on a large salad and a turkey and cheddar wrap.

After work, I headed out as the sun began to go down for a magnificent run around a local lake. I don’t know why I don’t do this route more often. Sticking around my neighborhood is more convenient, but this area is still hilly so the terrain prevents a nice challenge, yet it’s not so extreme that I can elongate my run. The lake is five miles around on the nose and I felt strong throughout. It’s strange because running hasn’t left me feeling great after for the past few months, but recently things have improved and I’ve loved it again!

Extra points for running this route…this view after. Not one ounce of alteration.

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This would absolutely constitute as my Saturday moment of strength, sitting on a log and looking out into the water as my body rested.

I had a waffle with a smear of peanut butter right when I got home, then feasted on a salmon salad for my dinner. Later, we went over my neighbor’s house for some s’mores and conversation before an early to bed call for me.

Sunday was busy! I had to open at work so it was a bit of a shock to be called out of bed by my alarm. I had enough time to make eggs and some waffles for my breakfast, which helped me wake up and be okay in the alert world. Right after work, I drove to my friend Erin’s bridal shower, for whom I am honored to be one of her bridesmaids.

Erin is my first friend from college to be getting married. It’s kind of strange for the four of us to be celebrating this momentous occasion, but wonderful too! We had a great day and I think Erin enjoyed herself.

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We didn’t have time for many pictures, but here is a nice one of me and my friend/college roommate Stephanie.

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The rest of Sunday was spent at my sister’s house having dinner and watching Father of the Bride. I cannot get over how young the entire cast looks in that movie, especially Steve Martin. With the grey hair, I used to think he was so old! Not to mention how young the marrying couple are makes me feel very old. Lauren and I ordered an Indian food spread that included vegetarian samosas, garlic naan, chicken tikka masala, saag paneer, and basmati rice. It had been awhile since I had Indian and I had a real hankering for it. The food was decent, but lacking in spices like my dinner on Friday! It was nice to spend some sisterly quality time together regardless. Sister bonding made up my moment of strength on Sunday- both in regards to my actual sister and my college friends!

I kicked off Monday with another morning workout. I love my morning workouts, though it’s hard to justify waking up so early on days that I don’t have to, which is why they haven’t been happening on a consistent basis. I did a dumbbell strength workout including bicep curls, tricep extensions, alternating front raises, shoulder raises, weighted lunges, and high pulls. For my core workout, I ran through a circuit of kneeling kickbacks, tricep push ups, alternating ankle grabs, crunches, Russian twists, and side plank push ups. For cardio, I did some plyometric work that included box jumps, high knees, skater jumps, and jump roping. To finish my workout, I did a little Yoga with planks, shoulder stands, and a bridge.

My breakfast was delicious! I scrambled two eggs and two egg whites with some cheese, toasted a piece of whole wheat cinnamon raisin bread, and chopped up some strawberries and banana for sweetness.

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I packed a great lunch for work too! It consisted of a vegetable laden salad with chicken and a cup of plain Greek yogurt and oodles of red grapes. Red grapes are huge in my family right now.

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I snacked on a few celery and carrot sticks for an extra veggie kick later in the day.

For dinner, I enjoyed grilled salmon, roasted Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, and buttered, cheesy pasta.

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My moment of strength came during my studying time as it really hits me how complicated and beautiful the body is. The particular moment of clarity was reading about muscle spindles and how they protect the body from overextending its muscles when stretching. There is a stretch reflex that kicks in as you simply lift your leg. I mean, this is simple stuff, but it never occurred to me as to how impressive it all is!

It was a happy Monday and a wonderful weekend. Any moments of strength, joy, food, or exercise you want to share?

Thank You For Reading (Please Don’t Leave Me)

Another day in snowy paradise. You know, maybe I’d let up on the snow a little if I thought this was a sign that Global Warming didn’t exist and that the world will be just fine, but Snowmaggedon is just another example of just how bad things are. Before we get too political, I’m just going to change the subject.

I realized I confused myself a little bit with postings these past few days. I want to remind you (and by you, I mean me) that when I recap my meals and workouts, I’m actually talking about the day before because I schedule my posts to go live in the mornings. Does that even make sense? Do you even care? I’m just going to keep on typing and if you chose to read, then I am forever grateful.

Oh! About that! Readership has gone WAY up this past month and I’d like to think it has a lot to do with what I consider to be way more interesting writing and perhaps insights, but actually I think it might be due to all the snow keeping people locked inside, bored, and then turning to me for some entertainment. I don’t care about your motivations but keep it up people because it makes this girl ver-ry happy! Note: My grandmother will always be my biggest fan. Even when I get to the stalker-level type fans.

But regardless, THANK YOU FOR READING please stay, don’t leave me I am humbled don’t even care if you like what you’re reading.

Sunday was an odd sort of collection of meals. I woke up indecisive and overwhelmed by the fact that I had a third day in which to carefully decide and deliver the breakfast of which I was about to devour. My tastebuds were torn and my mind indecisive, so I went with a combination platter. Starting with a crunchy apple I munched on as I played War of the Breakfasts, I toasted up two pieces of toast, smeared one of them with a tablespoon of Teddie peanut butter and the other with a little butter and a poached egg. Best of both worlds= a happy tummy! A little raspberry-blueberry sweetness rounded out my meal.

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Lunch came in two parts. The first, after grocery shopping, I went with a cheesestick and a couple of whole wheat crackers I just picked up for myself. It was light, but filling, and fueled me through the workout I already talked about. Whoopsie. The next part was post-workout and included a pear that wasn’t quite ready to be eaten as it still had too much crunch and not enough of the juicy goodness I enjoyed last week. I also toasted up a quick slice of toast and put a little almond butter on top.

I found some DE-LISH-OUSSS chicken meatballs in the grocery store today. They were teriyaki ginger and I threw them into a stir fry filled with tons of veggies, rice, and a little thai peanut sauce mix. It was such a great, healthy meal that satisfied these tastebuds. That’s all you can ask for!

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I haven’t had much time for cooking lately, so it was great to throw this together, even though it didn’t take much creative energy at all. The rest of my Monday was all about chopping up veggies and putting together healthy foods to make the rest of my week fun, delicious, and organized. Staying in control when you can, ahead of time, makes it easier to maintain some sense of control when things get hectic and your crazed mind wants to make that stop at a fast food restaurant. Unless, of course, fast food is your choice indulgence. Mine’s ice cream and that desire does not stop when there’s SEVEN FEET + OF SNOW ON THE GROUND AND ALL AROUND. Is it a sickness? Maybe, but it’s damn delicious.

I mentioned SNL40 in my post yesterday, but I don’t think I took enough time to talk about how friggin epic it was to see Amy, Tina, and Jane Curtin on the news desk together. They are three clever, sassy, brilliantly funny women who inspire me. Actually, I’m pretty lucky because I have a bunch of clever, sassy, brilliantly funny women AND men in my life who inspire me, but unfortunately, they’re not on TV so they’re useless to me I love them despite this flaw.

One final note, I was told (giving you fierce side-eye right now TWITTER) that the Backstreet Boys AND NSYNC were going to be making an appearance. I relayed this information to my sister who might be BSB’s biggest fan and she watched all 3.5 hours and then they didn’t show, thus prompting THIS exchange.

photoAre you happy Twitter? You were my FRIEND. I trusted you. And I am her MOH and I kind of lied. This could be worse than the time I ACCIDENTALLY spoiled the end of Sex and the City for her. We’ll get through it, but this probably means five more Backstreet Boys concerts in my lifetime.