New York City!

It’s Monday and we’re all back to the real world! For me in particular, since this is my blog and it’s a bit of a shock having spent the past few days in New York City, aka my favorite place in the world!

After a whirlwind week of working, my friend Lauren and I hopped on the bus to visit our friends Bobby and Ruben. The bus ride was a little long, especially as the anticipation built, but we got through with a lot of chatting.

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Once we arrived late Thursday night, we had dinner at a Mexican place where lots of chips and salsa were had, as well as a grilled chicken and pepper dish that was pretty okay. It was time for bed as Lauren and I had a busy Friday planned.

On the definite agenda on Friday afternoon was the NBC tour, so we headed towards Times Square and had brunch at a diner. I selected the single pancake, scrambled eggs, and bacon, which hit the spot! I’m not used to waiting so long to eat in the morning, so I was hungry! The weather was beautiful and perfect for walking around, though Lauren and I might have been the only ones wearing shorts. On our travels, we noticed two very long lines, which I thought might be for those elusive eateries that Buzzfeed always posts, but one was for what we concluded was a Hamilton meet-and-greet (understandable) and the other was for Chik-fil-a ( a rousing, huh!?).

After we took in the scene, we found ourselves at 30 Rock! We found where we were supposed to meet for the tour and then we had an adventurous debacle trying to locate a restroom, and then a restroom that was actually open. We did make it back in plenty of time, but almost missed the tour anyways because we were browsing the store. Whoops! The tour was fun and informational, plus just plain cool getting to sit in the audience of SNL (sans actual show), but it wasn’t all that overwhelming. It didn’t help that Lauren and I were bunched in with a bunch of teenagers on a class trip.

Back into the sunshine and away from the teens, we made our way over to the Highline which we walked on our way to meet Bobby.Though it was a little congested, it’s such a nice walk with spectacular views. Here would be a great time to insert a pic of the view, but we were busy taking in the scene. Once we stepped off near Chelsea Market, it was time for some refreshments.

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The final leg of our afternoon took us to Union Square, where we hopped back on the subway to get ready for dinner that night. Lauren and I were excited to try Tao!

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The food was excellent, especially the sweet and sour cauliflower! We also shared chicken and pad thai dishes, finishing off with a giant mousse-filled fortune cookie. Post-dinner, we decided to take advantage of the still-warm and beautiful evening weather and hit up a rooftop bar. I can already predict this will be my favorite thing to do in the summer, even though I don’t think every place I go to will offer views of the Statue of Liberty.

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Once we arrived and got our drinks- boozy popsicles in wine!- it started to rain! There was a cover and heat lamps above us, but they only lasted so long until we were the only ones left and had to leave.

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Lauren and I racked up a ton of steps, especially on Friday- almost 30,000, and then a lot on Saturday too!

On Saturday, we started our morning off right with a workout! I’m now a big fan of hitting up gyms for one-day passes when I travel! For my workout, I spent a half hour working through a strength training circuit before hopping on the treadmill for a run. Since losing the last ten pounds, I’ve definitely gotten faster and was able to stay at a strong, but comfortable pace, except that I was battling a bit of a bellyache. I finished my hour up with a core workout before getting ready for brunch.

This pretty much sums up brunch.

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Bottomless mimosas! For my actual meal, I chose eggs benedict with spinach with a side salad. Delicious! A little tipsy and a lot full, we made our way over to Central Park to sit in the sun and just relax. The best!

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That is the face of a happy girl! I mean, look at this view from lying on my back:

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Once the sun started to go down, so did the temperature, so we knew it was time to head back. For dinner, I had part of an amazing cauliflower (vegetable of the weekend!) crumble and spaghetti in a lemon cream sauce. For after-dinner drinks, we had trouble finding a spot that stuck, but we finally did find one (my poor, sore feet!) and enjoyed a nightcap before heading back to bed.

Sunday sadly was our final day and we kicked things off with brunch. I had trouble deciding, but the waiter recommended the hot dog (kind of an odd choice for brunch, sure) and it didn’t disappoint. By the time we got back to the apartment, Lauren and I decided to pack up and head out to stay in the general area of our bus. Even though we weren’t hungry at that time, we knew we would be once we were on the bus, so we trekked over to Whole Foods with our luggage and got some snacks.I enjoyed a roasted chicken sandwich and a cookie! The journey home was even longer than the one there, and even though I love and miss New York, I was happy to be home.

For one, after a weekend of indulgences, I always love getting back into my food and exercise routine as it’s so motivating to feel healthy again! Another, I always feel so inspired by the city and ready to work hard, so I know I’ve got a lot of exciting things to do over the next few months- and choices to make!

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend, wherever you are and whatever you did! Happy Monday!

Hydrate Till You Glow

One thing I find I don’t frequently, if at all, talk about is what I drink. I drink a ton- of water that is. Another important facet of my weight loss and sustainability has been my habit of staying hydrated throughout the day. This seems easy peasy. We all need water to survive. It’s funny though how, if we don’t focus on it or make it a point to drink more water, we end up not drinking enough. People rely heavily on coffee to stay focus and energized, and believe me, I get it, but water helps a lot too, and you would probably feel a lot better if you drank more water.

Every day, even before breakfast, and we know I love breakfast, I have a large glass of water. I chug it down, whether my body feels up to it or not because it instantly makes me feel more awake. It’s like magic. Then I’ll move onto my warming cup of coffee. Coffee is another thing I have been working on. I do love it, but I’ve been trying to train myself to drink it black. I moved on long ago from any kind of sweetener (except for Iced Coffee where I still use half a sugar packet-ugh!) and only drink it with milk or cream. There was that awful realization that the creamer I was using had a ton of creepy, icky fake things inside so I quickly moved away from that and now use a dash of half and half whose only ingredients are milk and cream. Slowly but surely I’ll move away from even that.

After my water and coffee during breakfast, I’ll move onto another tall glass of water and a cup of tea. I do drink my tea completely black because I like the taste more that way. Tea is something I drink way more of in the cooler months because hot tea just doesn’t make me feel great when it’s hot and humid outside.

Throughout the day, I make a conscious decision to drink water on a consistent basis to the point where it’s not even conscious anymore. If my glass or water bottle empties, I fill it and drink some more. I am especially aware of how much water I drink on the days I run because not enough leaves me parched and tired, while too much makes me have to pee- having to pee while running makes running not fun.

One trick I’ve learned in drinking water is by infusing it with fruit. That ish is everywhere, first seen at my undergrad cafeteria. It’s another obvious, and these infusers are everywhere. It softens up the bland taste of water and makes it go down easier. I’ve never loved juice or any of the fancy waters they make sweetened. It always tasted false and full of product. With my more defined and healthier palate, I can’t drink any of that stuff at all.

To get that palate, I had to let go of something I never thought I would be able to- soda. Listen, diet soda was a fixture of my childhood and life, mostly because I spent a lot of time with my Nana and her sister and they were diabetic so they drank a ton of soda. I get it, we didn’t know how bad it was then, nor the importance of drinking it on the rare occasion. I was popping soda like I pop water now. NOT GOOD. I gave it up for Lent one year and I was literally having dreams about it. How sad is that? I was so addicted to that carbonate stuff that I barely functioned during those months.

When I was first getting serious about my weight loss, I knew that soda would have to go. It ended up being not as hard as I thought. My roommate and I made a joint goal to not drink it for a week, then pushed it to two. Then we decided we would give it up for Lent again, indulged in one more glass, and I haven’t drunken it since. There is the rare occasion that soda will find itself into a mixed drink, but I’ve found that I am put off by the taste and it makes me feel gross. Since going off the good stuff, I realized that I have more cravings and appreciation for naturally sweet things, like fruit and vegetables. That’s probably a combination of not engorging myself on fake products, being conscious of what I’m eating, and appreciating food more in general.

Sometimes, life can seem boring when you only drink water, coffee, and tea, especially when you are out to a restaurant. In these cases, if I’m ever feeling left out when one of my friends or family members orders a soda, I go for an unsweetened iced tea with lemon. The other downside is that I have to pee all the time. It’s never-ending and I have no shame.

Another drink I haven’t talked much about is alcohol. I do enjoy a glass of wine with dinner on the rare occasion, especially if we are having Italian, but even then I’d rather spend those calories on a cookie. I’m not much of a drinker and I don’t have to drink much to have fun. On holidays or special events, I’ll probably drink more wine than normal, but it doesn’t take much to leave me flushed. When I go out with friends, it can sometimes seem awkward if I don’t get much to drink, but again, I’d rather spend those extra calories on food, and also, it’s just expensive to go out, sheesh. I’m not against drinking, and I’ll indulge every so often, but when it comes down to it, I’m not that adventurous. I like wine and if there isn’t any good wine or if I’ve had my fill, I drink water. No apologies.

Now, excuse me. I am about to enjoy this large glass of beautiful water.

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