i do things besides binge watch tv…

Look at this brand new book I’m reading!

Oh, what? It’s been ten years since the last book in the series was released? Two books after? Oops.

Okay, confession time.

I started my annual-ish Harry Potter re-read last summer in preparation for what would end up being Harry Potter trivia victory for my sister and meshipped my series across the country, and made it all the way into the fifth book and stopped.

IMG_1745

Why?

The fifth book is angsty! I was homesick, missing my family, friends, and my life. I couldn’t handle the stress that Harry and friends were enduring. Even though I already know how it ends. Or! Because I know how it ends.

Sorry, I’m going a little crazy with the italicizing.

Point is, Harry Potter is a wonderful, glorious, magical gift to the world in which I can always return, particularly when our ministry seems to be infiltrated by dementors, Death Eaters, and Voldy himself….

IMG_1746

Other books I’ve read lately:

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

Image result for bird by bird

And also reading:

The Girls by Emma Cline

 

What are the summer rImage result for the girls emma clineeads you can’t put down?

when in LA…

Go to Chili’s?

It’s funny what you crave far from home and I was not alone! Before we get to that though, let’s start with Friday night post-work with a sweaty workout that I’ll feature later on in the week.

IMG_1586.JPG

Sweat and the bright orange background is no friend to my dauntingly light eyebrows.

I had leftover pizza and salad for dinner, watched some Sex and the City, and fell into a deep sleep that was thankfully and finally a full night’s sleep! For whatever reason, I’ve been waking up between 3-5:30 am and unable to fall back into a peaceful sleep. What a pain!

On Saturday morning, I made pancakes and I think I’m getting better!

595B981C-A4D7-4C26-818D-7EB14960572C

Okay, yes, the above is an old picture of pancakes, but only because I was hungry and dug in before I remembered to take a picture!

After some lounging, digesting, and hydrating, I walked over to the gym ready to crush it once again. It was hot and the AC was minimal, so I was sweaty from the beginning. Like, gross, by the end.

IMG_1587

It’s hard to tell from the picture, but I was soaked to the bone. On the walk home, I stopped into a local spot for an iced coffee to cool me down.

At home, I showered, ate a quick lunch, and spent some quality time updating my blog. This is a work-in-progress that is going to take some time, but I’m determined to continue updating on the regular and making givememycrownalready more aesthetically pleasing.

Which takes us to the aforementioned Chili’s pit-stop. The last time I went there was with my sister the night we got our latest tattoos and the newest Harry Potter book that wasn’t a Harry Potter book because she didn’t even write it….howcouldyoudothistomeJo? 

Anyway, Saturday night, I went to Chili’s with some friends and it was delicious.

Sunday morning began with crepes- kind of- and a workout that went between running and strength training, meaning that once again, I was a sweaty mess (but in the best possible way.

After, I went to the beach with my cousin.

A38C4779-9646-465A-BD48-5C8E2AF9EC6F.JPG

It was hot, but not one of those days that I wanted to get into the water. Instead, I just stewed.

429EA42F-D924-4935-BDE7-529F7DF9FA23.JPG

Once we had our fill of sunshine, it was time to celebrate National Ice Cream Day…

C329B740-45F4-482D-886A-9DC8CC5D7260.JPG

A warm glazed donut stuffed with delicious ice cream. Oh my. I’ll still be daydreaming about it come Monday.

Breathe

“The hardest thing to do in this world is to live in it.” (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) 

These past two weeks have been bordering on terrible, with a few good things sprinkled over, but thus has been 2016. It’s an actual thing, people hating on 2016. There’s been a lot of major celebrity deaths, bad political happenings, and a general consensus of unhappiness.

Seventeen days into 2016, I lost my beloved cat. A few months later, I lost my aunt and one of my best friends in the world. I also became a personal trainer and moved across the country. I made new friends, tackled challenges head on, took off on adventures, and made memories with family. I’m still living and breathing and pursuing dreams. This year, I learned the true depth of a human’s ability to adapt. I am both proud and sad considering this revelation. Do we adapt because of our strength or because, in time, we forget?

There is not happiness without sadness, joy without anger, or relief without fear. Nothing is more challenging or damaging than forgetting the specialness of life, but mundanity and exhaustion are very real.

I keep waiting to snap out of my funk, to get out of my own way, and to be given a break. And I’ve got an amazing life. Being so far away from my people does not help.  I’m learning, adapting, and delving into my own strength, and those shared by loved ones, and beginning to understand that life doesn’t care who you are or what you need. Life is one big trial and error experiment and I’m realizing my failures are just as, if not more, important than my successes. Instead of feeling bad for myself and moping, I’m persevering. Some days are harder, or easier, than others.

“But you know, happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”(Harry Potter).

Yer A Wizard, Margaret

I find this title hilarious and I kept saying it to my mom these last few days, for reasons you will soon discover!

For now, we will say, Day Two was another successful, eventful day in the land of Caitlin. My mom and I were up early in the morning to hit up breakfast so my mom could get to her conference.

IMG_5662.PNG

As she went off for the day, I headed back to the room to do some work. I kept trying to get in a workout that I had specially planned for the elaborate gym this facility has. Note: and by elaborate I mean a treadmill, a bike, a bench, and medicine balls. That’s it, but I still planned a kick-ass workout routine that I had to modify when I couldn’t get into the room. Something was broken or whatever.

IMG_5663.PNG

I got down and dirty with some body strength moves in the hotel room: tricep dips, push-ups, squats, lunge knee-ups, jumping jacks, and supermans, as well as a core circuit of plank step-outs, side plank dips, suitcases, and flutter kicks. A run would have topped things off nicely, but at least it wasn’t from lack of motivation!

After my workout, I got ready for the day and had my first LA driving experience. It was early in the afternoon, still busy, but nothing like what I will soon come to know. But I survived and I definitely feel more comfortable.

IMG_5647.JPG

My destination was to my apartment where I moved in a lot more of my stuff and started to get organized. It was good to see what I still need to purchase to set up my room, which pretty much means a lot more hangars. A few hours in, my stomach was rumbling, so I found a local pizza joint and enjoyed. It was pretty much a Chipotle for pizza.

IMG_5651.JPG

Whoever decided to ship my bedframe four days earlier than the first expected date, which is usually excellent, but in my case, I wasn’t in the state, so I ended up having to pick up the box.

IMG_5652.JPG

Yes, I lugged this bad boy up some stairs that, for the record, has a warning label on it saying, “Warning- Heavy. Only carry with lift,” which is exactly why I lift weights. With a little help from my roommate, I got my bedframe up and ready for the mattress, which came ten minutes after I left to head back to the hotel.

IMG_5653.JPG

That’s a sneak peek at my room!

I was all set to hang out in the room for a bit before meeting my mom at the Convention Center, but I had the brilliant idea of taking the free shuttle over, which was leaving as I was coming in. Resourceful!

IMG_5664.PNG

Why was I meeting my mom there? Oh, you know, to hang out in random lines and then to hop on a bus for an hour in traffic.

IMG_5669.png

 

 

Oh, right! There was another reason. HARRY POTTER WORLD at Universal Studios. Yeah, so I teared up a bit, but it was amazing and exactly as I would have imagined it. Thanks to the conference, the park was closed down just for us and we got to go on rides multiple times in what should have taken hours to go on one. Thanks for being so smart, mom!

IMG_5668.PNG

Hogwarts!

IMG_5660.JPG

Butterbeer!

The Harry Potter rides were amazing, but we even found time to do some other attractions, which were excellent. My mom has the spirit of an exuberant child at amusement parks and we laughed our way through the night!

After a long, tiring, but brilliant day, we finally made it back to the hotel and jumped right into bed!

Day Two is another one for the history books!

Getting Back Into Routine

Happy birthday to my brother’s girlfriend, Cait!

So my sister and I might be the nerdiest sisters around. In truth, she’s the smart (and nerdy) one as she’s a librarian, but we both know more about Harry Potter than is probably the norm.

Such knowledge comes in handy when it’s trivia time. Listen, there are few things in life of which I am certain, but Harry Potter is one of them, so when it came time for trivia, you better believe I was confident.

IMG_5539

Lauren and I knew we didn’t need anyone else on our team and we ended up taking down the rest of the (much more stocked) teams to be crowned champions.

I think it’s okay to gloat a little bit!

It was the cherry on top of a great week of relaxation and vacation!

Monday hit full force with an early wake-up call, but it means I had a far more productive morning than I would if I slept in too late. Here was my beautiful breakfast.

IMG_5542

I love vacation and the occasional indulgence it brings, but I am always so ready to get back into my typical eating and exercise habits. It’s amazing how much the food you eat affects so much of your life, from how you feel to how you look. I tried to be careful-ish, especially when it came to eating between meals (which I didn’t), as well as alcohol consumption, but I definitely didn’t deprive myself of some extra savory and sweet foods.

To help get back into that healthy eating flow, I planned my meals for the week ahead of time. Lots of fruits and veggies make up some well-rounded and nutritious meals, but with a heavy yum factor!

Monday’s lunch was inspired by an unplanned trip to Trader Joe’s. In my defense, I only went to the store next door to pick up a prescription, but it wasn’t ready yet, so I stopped in! Chicken tikka masala minus the rice because I wanted that piece of naan and sautéed spinach. It looked heaping when I tossed it in a pan, but alas, it shrinks down to a mouthful.

Dinner was kind of a beauty, including salad topped with the usual selection of veggies, balsamic, and feta. For protein, I cooked up Buzzfeed’s garlic parmesan chicken tenders, and zucchini to use up the rest of the mixture! On the side, greek yogurt, blueberries, and almonds for a hit of fat and some extra protein.

IMG_5549

A quick breakfast of a hard-boiled egg and cheesestick fueled my Tuesday morning workout, before I came home for a post-workout whole wheat protein waffle and berries.

image

Lunch was already assembled, so I apologize for the ugliness of the picture. Packed up includes more of those chicken tenders and zucchini, a medley of carrots, celery, and red pepper with hummus, and Greek yogurt with raspberries and walnuts.

IMG_5550.JPG

Inspired in part by the workouts of Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, and Katie Ledecky, because let’s face it, they’re amazing, I decided to go lighter weight with a heavy focus on bodyweight exercises, and higher reps. I’m not too fond of high reps, but I’m looking to slim down and those exercises lead to it! I’m also upping my cardio, particularly with intervals running and sprinting on the bike, as well as jump roping.

Monday’s focus was on the chest, triceps, and shoulders, with a heavy dosage of core- all day every day! I can’t tell you how great it felt to be back in action! After my strength training, I jump roped, 1minute on, 30 seconds rest x 5, and hopped on the treadmill for a 20 minute workout, 2 minutes walking, 3 minutes running at a higher clip than I usually would for a longer run.

Tuesday’s objective included the back, lots of legs, and more core! For my cardio dosage, I took to the spin bike and cycled happily away. Right now, I like to ride in position one (flat on the seat) for 2 minutes, position two (standing up straight) for 2 minutes, then position three (hovering over the steering wheel) for 2 more minutes x 3 or 4 depending on how much time I have left.

On vacation, I took the entire week off from standardized exercise. I contemplated going on a run or two, but it was honestly super humid outside and I wasn’t feeling it. I wouldn’t normally suggest taking a whole week off, but I go hard 5-6 days a week and my body needed it. It helps me in particular because I know I’ll get right back to it once that week is up. Much of that no-exercise allowance is mental as much as it is physical.

Glad to be back to it!

Harry Potter and the Strength Inside

Such a wonderful weekend! After work on Friday, I got moving in the kitchen to chop up some salads for dinner for me and my sister. Once we were done eating and chilling for awhile, the family (minus my brother-in-law who was on a hiking trip) went out for some ice cream on a perfect summer evening. I’m loving the purple cow frozen yogurt, which is black raspberry base with dark and white chocolate chips.

The next morning, I was back at it for work, and when I got home, it was nice to relax by the pool. Later that afternoon, my sister and I headed into town to get our tattoos. I’ve been wanting to commemorate my weight loss journey for awhile, and I finally found the perfect encapsulation!

IMG_5480.JPG

Strength is a reminder of what I’ve done, yet it is does not describe the end result so much as the path I had to take, the choices I had to make, and the ideology I possessed in order to keep going. The supremely cool part about it is that it’s written in my own cursive! Now whenever I’m running or lifting weights, or need strength in any other little or big task, I can just sneak a glimpse and move forward!

Up next, Lauren and I had a celebration to attend. Not only is July 31st the birthday of the greatest writer who ever lived, JK Rowling, and her creation, Harry Potter, but there was a midnight release of the next chapter of the Harry Potter legacy. The Cursed Child is in play form, which I wish desperately I could see in London, and it was fantastic. JK Rowling asked fans who saw the show not to spoil it and fans who were waiting eagerly to see or read not to seek spoilers, and I listened. Don’t mess with the queen! I read it in under three hours, crying, laughing, and reminiscing. A real blessing.

Here are some highlights of the midnight release at Barnes and Noble:

IMG_5473.JPG

IMG_5475.PNG

IMG_5477.JPG

IMG_5483.JPG

Such a treat to wake up on Sunday morning, make an amazing breakfast, and read this spectacular play!

IMG_5484.JPG

IMG_5485.JPG

After reading, I got down to Sunday chore business. First, a four mile run and a one mile walk that I crushed- thank Dumbledore for no humidity! Next, a little vacuuming action, some meal prep for the busy work days ahead, laundry washed and folded, and blog posts to write!

An awesome Sunday!

My Left Side Is Rebelling Against Me

I just came back from my first massage in a year (almost to the day) and it made me realize how much has changed. It’s funny what triggers those thoughts! Last year, I got a massage with my mom and sister right before my sister’s wedding. I happened to be at a job that was stressful and that I didn’t love and I had to ask the massage therapist to stop touching my neck because it hurt too much from where I carried my stress.

A year later and I’m in a position I love, I know exactly the muscles that are being affected by the massage, and the tension in my body isn’t from stress, so much as physical labor. As I suspected from recent weeks, my left side has been taking a beating, from my foot to my upper trapezius muscles. No idea why the tension is primarily on one side over the other, especially considering that I’m right-handed, but it happens!

Note to self, get massages more regularly.

This is the face of a happy beach-goer.

IMG_5353.JPG

The only decent selfie that was snapped of the four of us celebrating Katie’s birthday!

IMG_5360.JPG

My breakfast is already anticipating the July 4th holiday, thanks to the delicious fruit!

IMG_5364.JPG

In other news, I’ve been grinding at the gym with total body workouts, including a day of intense HIIT and plyometric strength training so as to rev up the metabolism and burn fat. I also upped my running to three times a week, altering mileage, speed, and incline to mix things up (especially if it’s raining and I’m stuck on the treadmill). I’m still going easy on the lower back exercises- deadlifts, rows, and bridges in particular- but my back isn’t quite as sore as before. In exciting personal gains, I’m getting so much better at the hanging leg raises, and my body is no longer swaying, but is stabilized by a stronger core. Practice does make better!

According to the body fat calculator at work, I’m down 3% since the last time I weighed in, around a month ago. I don’t know how accurate body fat calculators are, but it has showed similar numbers in the past, so I’ll take it!

Like most of the world, I am also obsessed with Hamilton and I’ve been listening to the Original Broadway Cast Recording on repeat all day, every day.

I’ve had to tear myself away from this new book I’m reading thanks to my mom’s recommendation. It’s called Two Truths and a Lie by Katrina Kittle and it’s fascinating. I sat down in my backyard Monday afternoon expecting to get through a chapter or two and ended up reading for the next three hours. Whoops.

It is summer, so it’s almost time for my annual Harry Potter reread! Someone didn’t believe me that there was a July 31st and the only reason I knew for a definitive fact that yes, 100% there was indeed a July 31st was because it’s Harry Potter and JK Rowling’s birthday. Let’s not eliminate such a blessed day!

Writing time! Happy Wednesday, folks!