aaaand we’re back.

We’re looking a little different around here these days! A fresh start was much needed and I think things are looking good. Please also note that in order to find the blog, the link is now http://www.strongerwithcaitlin.com.

Here’s a funny story to start your Monday off on the right foot. A week ago, in the wee hours of the morning, I heard Simba playing. He jumped up and was super cuddly, a common occurrence for him. Still half asleep and in the dark, I start petting him until I feel something moist but solid next to him. At first, I felt bad for the little guy, thinking he threw up or had a hairball, but then I realized in a year of having him, he’d never been sick. It hit me, in one of those sickening punchy ways what it was. A DEAD MOUSE. I threw it across the room and jumped up, trying to be quiet and thankful to Simba for his hard work, but also deeply disgusted. I stepped on it. At 4:30am, I was scrubbing my hands and feet and then had to throw away the mouse before work.

IMG_7635.JPG

How are you?

I’m feeling quite well! My mom and I are on Weight Watchers together and we’ve both made great strides. Thus far, I am down 14.2 pounds.

This weekend, I tried on a pair of black pants I had purchased a few years ago assuming they would fit, but they were always too tight. They fit PERFECTLY this weekend. It’s the small things with weight loss that keep you going.

IMG_1918.JPG

I’ll be back tomorrow with a weekend recap. In the meantime, check out the new sections of the blog, including an updated My Weight Loss Journey, Personal Training, and Writing.

Enjoy your Monday!

goal, accomplished.

Five year ago, it was around this time that I decided to get healthy. This was taken of me and a friend on spring break during my junior year of college.

img_0534

I’ve been running for years now, a feat I never thought I was capable, but on Sunday, I ran my first official 5k. I feel silly in saying I felt emotional during the race, considering I’ve run the 5k distance hundreds of time and even more miles than that, but the “official” part of the run made it seem a little bit more special, an accomplishment. This was a checkmark on my bucket list and I’m not ashamed to say that I’m proud of myself. My journey has been a testament to the idea that hard work pays off. And as I say to so many people who say they hate running or could never be a runner, if the girl above on the left could do it, they can too.

fefe7577-1067-49ee-a506-39353f0d8447

As I had had a productive Saturday , there wasn’t much that needed to be done on Sunday by way of chores for the week. Since it was cloudy and I got my exercise in early, I spent some quality time with my couch, watching 30 Rock, writing, and eating this grilled cheese with extra soup from my lunches ahead:

efbc0e92-b52a-49bf-97fe-05338c134e57

As I am writing this in the afternoon, I will not have yet watched The Oscars, but by the time the post goes live, I will have watched and continued to relax. The next couple of weekends will be busy with visitors, so I’m content to curl up now.

On Saturday, I slept in and enjoyed a pancake breakfast before heading out for some errands. First on the list was to collect my racing bib and t-shirt. Next, I went to the gym and worked my shoulders, ab/adductors, glutes, and core before finishing up with a quick cycling session and stretching my legs for race day. I also did my grocery shopping and meal prepping, guzzled a lot of water to stay super hydrated, then headed out for a karaoke night with some friends.

I thought I’d suffer from stage fright, but apparently, I love holding that mic…

Going back to Friday, I did a whole lot of nothing, except force myself to the gym a bit on the late side than usual and watch 30 Rock. The trick is to drive there and go through the motions without overthinking. Habits are easy to follow! It was an early night ‘cus this girl was tired!

Overall, this weekend was the perfect combination of relaxing, active, and productive. I’ll just ignore the fact it was colder on the southern west coast than it was in the northern east coast where my family resides. This is what I get for all the teasing I’ve done whenever it snowed.

Have a great Monday!

new beginnings

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

img_0060

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?

IMG_0114.JPG

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.

IMG_0021.JPG

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!

IMG_0093.JPG

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

As well as time with friends.

IMG_0136.JPG

A17F955E-3160-4453-96CF-B43E0AF56A2F.JPG

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

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

IMG_0140.JPG

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).

2E9A7320-72C8-4C23-A1EA-D82D015A9FAA.JPG

 

My New Year’s smooch this year.

CADC436F-EC6F-4B56-9C1A-7592EFA16500.JPG

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

ECE0A6EA-72A3-455F-9F8F-A43A91D69D42.JPG

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.

CA0CD989-EFBA-4F07-9775-7F0608607434.JPG

The sun was not awaiting my arrival.

55ED8A31-6852-49B1-8B5D-F975473EADBA.JPG

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.

54E4097B-9E6F-466E-8690-8B3209A1613C.JPG

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

What Does A New Year Really Mean?

How convenient that the first day of the New Year would fall on Thoughtful Thursday! I have a lot to be thankful for in December as well as in 2014. The year, as they always seem to do, passed by in a frenzied blur of emotion and momentous events, big and small.

In December specifically, I spent a lot of time with my family, which is my favorite thing in the world. From shopping for the perfect presents, eating meals, decorating the Christmas tree and donning “beautiful” sweaters, to standing around singing, talking, eating, and wining on Christmas Eve, and playing silly, fun games on Christmas, while remembering just why we celebrate, I can claim many memories from just this month.

I’m pleased that I have been able to make early morning workouts as part of my routine without much fuss because finding time in busy days to exercise is increasingly difficult, the more responsibilities that lie on your shoulders. There’s also no better, more powerful, or energized way to start my day and get me going.

I’ve read some enjoyable books, watched and finished some fun shows, and been to a couple of films that have entertained me and made me think. The best videos I’ve watched were the old home videos that showed me people that I miss and moments I don’t remember from being so young.

Since New Years Resolutions tend to be so temporary, I try not to instate my personal goals with such labels, but I also want to join in on the fun, so I came up with some. I would like to refer to 2015 as the Year of Good Vibrations. 2014 was a big learning year for me, which of course, should always be the case because we should never stop learning, I was busy finishing up my Master’s degree, finding a job, and fitting everything else in however I could. In 2015, I want to try and develop more routines, try new things, and go on different adventures. Here’s what I’ve thought of so far.

Year of Good Vibrations-
1. Meditate
2. Stretch
3. Yoga
4. Reflect
5. Forgive
6. Listen
7. Be Patient
8. Show Kindness
9. Try New Things
10. Have Confidence

The first three have to do with the body, mind, and soul connection. Truth be told, I am lacking on the patience. It’s the whole instant gratification thing. Even when I workout, I prefer to do something fast-paced and heart-racing to the slow-pace of something like Yoga because my attention span prefers it. When I’m eating by myself, it’s hard to just enjoy the food and the experience because it’s more interesting to sidle up to the table with a book or sit in front of the television. Even when I’m watching a show or a movie, I find myself grabbing my phone or the computer and browsing, not even really watching. The only entertainment I can focus entirely on is a book, a movie if I’m in the theater, or a musical or play. I have to be better at the whole relaxing thing. I think meditation will calm my mind, stretching will help soothe my body, and Yoga will do both.

When I say reflect, I mostly mean to journal more, but reflect sounded better with the theme. When I do fit in journaling, I love it and I find it to be healing and relaxing, but there are only so many hours in the day and sitting down to consume, rather than create, seems far easier. It’s all about motivation and self-disciple for so many of these goals.

I find that I’m often at my worst when driving because I become overly aggressive, but from my perspective, I’m not really someone who holds grudges. Forgiveness is more of for myself to realize faults, accept them and the fact that I’m human, and to learn from them in a positive way. Maintaining a positive attitude is a far greater perspective to hold, but I know for a fact it’s not easy. It’s also difficult to forgive people for their humanness because we can’t see into their minds and understand their actions. I think a little forgiveness from and for everybody would do a great deal of good. Forgiveness and acceptance if not understanding and compassion.

Again, there’s just so much to see and do in this world, that I find myself constantly distracted. People have so many things to share and say and I don’t sit down and listen well enough. Many times people, myself included, have so much on their minds that they just blurt it out and leave no time to listen to what people have to say. Perhaps that forgiveness, acceptance, understanding, and compassion could start to stem from simply listening.

Patience is quite a theme. In some ways, I have a lot of patience, which I’ve learned from my teaching experience and good breeding. It’s also something I lack when I’m waiting for something exciting or anxiety-ridden. Often times the things I stress over are just because I’m not in the moment doing it. Once I get working on it, I realize everything is fine. This goal also could be referred to as, stop being do anxious and just breathe and take everything in. But that was a mouthful.

Kindness, again, seems such a simple concept that everyone should show and yet, we can’t quite perfect it. As humans, we get caught up in our own heads, emotions, and actions, and we worry so much about what other people do being against our own that we blame them for it. Shared experiences are wonderful, but so are ones that we play no part in, but can learn from and understand if only we have patience, listen, and forgive ourselves and everyone for our humanness. As we have learned from all my thoughts and from life, I can’t control how everyone acts, but I can be kinder.

Trying new things can be difficult for me because I am so shy when I first meet someone. It takes awhile for me to build up comfort with a person or a new thing and then I sort of just explode all over it and people probably wish I was quieter and less intrusive. When I like something, I tend to throw my entire self into, which can be good and overwhelming. I just get very excited, which should be an attribute that lends to trying new things, and yet that anxiety that bubbles and creeps kicks in and I’m left indecisive and afraid. As I grow older, I’ve grown better at not allowing anxiety to hold me back, knowing that sometimes I need to take a deep breath and be brave, but it can still be stifling every so often. I don’t think it’s something that will ever go away, but it can be controlled.

Having confidence goes along with this. As I’ve mentioned before while discussing my weight loss journey, once I realized that I can’t spend my life hiding and worrying about what others think, I was able to lose the weight. Confidence is something I’ve gained more of, and increases as I feel comfortable with something, as it always does, but it’s still a matter I struggle with. It helps when I remind myself that I’m 25 now, an adult, and that most times, the anticipation of something is worse than it actually is, so again, I just take a deep breath, be brave, and do it.

Resolutions are made to be broken because I think we over-examine ourselves and only see the flaws or where we want to be in life, not what we have. From what I’ve written above as my goals, I don’t expect to fix in 2015 or ever. I laid these out because they are parts of myself that I want to work on, learn from, and grow. By facing our weaknesses or matters upon which we wish to improve, we gain a better understanding of ourselves.

Throughout 2014, I learned a lot about myself. Now that we are in 2015, I am looking back on all of that and trying to figure out how to learn even more. Let’s start with remembering our humanness, our imperfections, and our tendency to rely on temporary fixes on things that do not always result in physical products.

I’ve got a lot to look forward to that I know of and a lot that I don’t this year. Happy 2015!