to the ocean, the mountains, and back again

Another Monday, another wistful look back at the weekend. It was a good one, yet again, a perfect combination of restful and active.

The week was a long one and I was looking forward to the oblivion of a relaxing Friday night at home, but instead, I buckled up and went to a networking event with some co-worker friends. To get some energy beforehand, I headed out for a short run, which allowed me to soak up some sun and positivity. It was a fun night and I enjoyed chatting it up with friends. I very much loved falling into bed and sleeping to my heart’s content as Saturday began.

I didn’t have anything planned for the weekend, so I texted my cousin Meghan to see what was up, and she suggested Long Beach. This was on my to-do list for sure, so I was eager to go, after pancakes and a workout!

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We made the trek and were ready for lunch once we arrived. The idea to sit outside was mutual all around, except we didn’t factor in the wind. Wind in LA spring is real. We lost menus and chips, chips! The food was good though and once our bellies were full, we were ready to explore the area.

You’d think beaches would be easy and plentiful to find in Long Beach, but you would be wrong. I don’t know what our problem was, but it took us forever to find one. Once we were there, it was nice, but windy.

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I’m itching for summer and the ability to dive into the waves and not be considered a crazy person. My love of the ocean often battles my hatred of freezing cold water, but once the summer sun comes out strong and the wind dies down, I’ll gladly numb myself to get in that ocean.

Gotta love walking on the beach!

Once we headed home, I trekked over to the grocery store and did a lot of nothing for the rest of the night.

Sunday was my most active day. It was beautiful out, still windy, but the sunshine was calling my name. My first stop was the local climbing spot.

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Spring is in full bloom in lovely Southern California, and at one point, I stopped dead looking up at the flowers covering the mountain. It was one of those “wow” moments for sure, but my pictures couldn’t captivate the true beauty.

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Once on top, I looked to my left towards the ocean and the right towards the mountains and city.

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Damn.

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I had to make a quick stop at Target (it’s never really quick or cheap!) to pick up an air-pump for my bike, so I could pedal over to the beach. I’m not certain that it made much difference, and my back tire seemed a little draggy, and riding against the wind did not help my cause, but with the beach as my destination, I continued on with determination.

The ride was spectacular. The bike path to the beach is always pretty, but the river was sparkling and the flowers overwhelming and despite the pain of riding, I felt the joy.

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At the beach, I pulled over to the rocks and sat myself down for some quality time with my journal, the sun, and the water. Find me below aiming for pensive and ending up squinty.

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I reveled in the warmth of it all for a long while, until I felt the pull of home. Even though the wind was lessened at this point, my legs were tired (and my back tire probably still low), so it was a challenging ride. Why is bike riding so difficult for me? I’m in good cardio shape. I run and spin at the gym, so something’s not adding up. I think it’s my bike…probably?

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Back at my apartment, it was cooking time. First, I showered and threw on my robe to be my ultra comfiest. I’ll have a post at some point this week with some meals from the past couple weeks, but I cooked my dinner, made a few breakfasts for the week, then even made tomorrow night’s dinner. Pretty nifty.

I’m trying to be efficient with breakfast because I’m going to try and get my lazy butt up in the morning to workout. I’ve been good about my evening workouts, but with the sun staying out later, I’m hoping to free up some time after work.

There’s nothing like time spent at the ocean and in the mountains to fill up the soul. Happy Monday!

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lately

 

I’ve eaten some great meals lately. My meals are not the problem, it’s the eating inbetween that I need to watch! The holidays did a number on me, but I’m feeling better and back on track.

Let’s take a look.

Saturday pancake breakfast.

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Breakfast sandwich: eggs, cheese, toast.

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Eggs, a piece of toast, and an unseen strawberry smoothie.

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Yogurt, berries, and walnuts for a snack.

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Chicken, broccoli, ziti (with red pepper). Kind of a soup dish, but definitely delicious. Ate this when it was still burning hot because I needed to make a movie time. Worth it.

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Steak caesar tacos because life is awesome. With spinach.

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The secret to cooking anything covered in bread crumbs on a stove top is to do it for a long time over low heat. This piece of fish was divine and paired with brown rice, spinach, broccoli, and covered with sesame ginger sauce.

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The one lunch that made it in here. Tacos with cheese, deli turkey, spinach, tomato, sour cream, and sriracha.

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Workouts as of late included that hike from the other day.

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Monday’s upper body strength workout included lots of work on the biceps, triceps, and shoulders. So much so that I’m still sore in the triceps, though that could have been manipulated further by my chest/back workout on Tuesday. My workout on Wednesday was lower body. Every day was topped with some core and cardio: biking, running, elliptical(ling). I’ve got one last formal workout of the week before my friend Katie comes for the weekend.

Eat well. Live well. Feel well.

take your broken heart, turn it into art

Before I begin my weekend recap, I want you all to know that Meryl Streep made me bawl. She’s had a hell of a career, which we’ve been lucky to watch. But at the Golden Globes last night, she gave her best performance. It was raw, real, and so important. Donald Trump’s presidential platform ran on bigotry, hate, and ignorance of anyone who is different than him, and thank everything, so many people are different than him. But so many people aren’t. Electing him president validates the heinous actions and words of trying to make other people feel lesser. Now we all get to suffer the consequences.

Meryl ended her speech on a bittersweet note, quoting the late and beloved “Princess Leia,” Carrie Fisher. She quoted, “Take your broken heart, make it into art.”

Let’s make that the credo of these next four years.

Saturday morning began on a perfect note, pancakes, coffee, and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. 

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After I digested my meal and hydrated, I headed to the gym for a killer upper body body strength workout. Lots of push-ups, tricep dips, and shoulder work on this one. For cardio, I ended up doing a lot of walking for the day.

My post-workout snack was my first ever green juice. Spinach, kale, and pineapple. Delicious! I almost hate myself for loving it, especially because I don’t want to adopt an expensive habit!

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My friend Sara and I headed into the heart of Hollywood to the Second City improv open house to take a class. I wasn’t sure what to think, considering I’ve never done improv and only dabbled in acting when I was in elementary school, but I had fun! And I wasn’t terrible. I’ve read a lot about improv in books by Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, and Rachel Dratch, so even though I’m by no means an expert, I’ve learned from the experts. Glad to realize that my childhood stage fright has diminished.

So inspired were we after class, we decided to see an actual improv show. Second City was sold out, so we walked over to UCB to find that they too were sold out. Bummer. Plans diverted, we opted for Chinese takeout, Friends reruns, and some wii games.

I set my alarm early for Sunday (and by early, I mean early for Caitlin on a Sunday), ate an omelet, toast, and fruit breakfast, and headed back out with my friend Sara to hike.

I’m like, kind of obsessed with nature, you guys. My advanced apologies to all those back east who suffered through a snowstorm and are house bound thanks to the cold. Los Angeles hit the seventies this weekend. I’m not that sorry.

I’ll allow you to live vicariously through me.

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I’m obsessed with open roads. Metaphors or something.

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Seriously, the clouds.

 

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I climbed a rock and made it my temporary home.

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After our adventure, we ate the best tacos I’ve ever had in my life, journeyed to Ikea (my first time), then went to Target so I could buy a blender. Laundry, cleaning, crying over Meryl Streep, and writing this post made up the rest of my Sunday. Happy Monday, live well!

 

 

 

 

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.

Happy Monday!

I’m trying to be consistent, but then I get out of the habit of blogging! At least I did some fun stuff over the weekend.

Friday night, it was gym-time. I really wasn’t feeling like going after a long week at work, but I had taken Thursday off and knew I would feel better once I finished. I ended up killing a lower body workout, ending with a run and felt great! Lunch at work was fried chicken- heavy- so for dinner, I had half a sandwich and a cup of tomato soup. The perfect accompaniment? The new season of Fuller House. Yes, it’s outrageously cheesy, but they know it, they use it well, and it’s all sorts of adorable. Nostalgia is in!

On Saturday, I was happy to not set an alarm and zzz. For breakfast, I made myself a veggie scramble and a waffle. So good and quite the meal to fuel my hike. My friend and I decided to hike to the Hollywood Sign, which is no easy feat. We took the long way and about a quarter of a mile in, I needed to pee. So we turned around and I used the MOST DISGUSTING port-a-potty known to man. It’s a good thing I can squat. But, I was better for it, and crushed that hike. I mean…

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I can’t get enough of the view, even on a cloudy day!

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By the time we hiked down, it was time for food and you better believe I worked for those chips and salsa. After dinner, we saw Office Christmas Party, which was funny but also, when are we going to allow women to be powerful and in charge and not a total bitch? I expect more than anti-feminist jokes in a movie that features Jennifer Aniston and Kate McKinnon. C’mon!

I was sore and had wracked up 21,000+ steps on my Saturday, but I did myself a favor and trekked out to the grocery store to get it done! It might not be the most glamorous way to spend a Saturday night, but it made my Sunday that much better.

Speaking on Sunday, it was time for more Fuller House while I munched on my pancake breakfast, folded laundry, and cleaned. After breakfast, I tossed a bunch of stuff into the crockpot and headed out for a bike ride. I love the beach. I always thought New York City was the city of my soul, but the ocean gets me. Surf’s up! Okay, I can’t pull that off and I’d probably make a terrible surfer, but it’s still on my LA Bucket List.

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(Side Note: Does anyone else remember that show California Dreams? I loved that ish.)

I rode for about 35 minutes and found myself a bench in which to gaze out into the ocean and write. Can’t.Beat.That. I really wanted to walk down to the water, but leaving my bike is a sensitive topic since it was, ya know, stolen.

After I headed back and grabbed a quick pb&j, I walked over to the gym and killed a body weight/plyometric-heavy workout. I mean, jumping plie squats, no but yes. Or yes, but no? Who cares, I did it. And loved it.

Back to the store it was, this time to Target, and it was MADNESS. I don’t like people surrounding me while shopping on the best of days, but this was chaos. I got what I needed, stood in line for too long, and hit the road.

Sunday night was productive. First, a dinner of chicken, broccoli, spinach, and ziti with a side salad. Then, I prepared my meals for the week, this time chicken and two-bean chili that smelled (and tasted) divine. Yay for new, yummy recipes! Next up, I needed to touch up my hair because it’s the holidays and people be paying attention. I also, importantly, finally got some nail polish remover and wiped away the buck wild nail polish sporadically on my nails. Yuck.

A new workout plan was in the cards, particularly of the core, which is always exciting (genuinely). Blog post writing time, regular writing time, and reading before bed, and I was ready for a full night sleep and to start the week!

Get it!

 

Exercise Shake-Up

Happy Monday! We’ve got a strange week ahead, but I’m going to talk about exercise instead. I’ve felt bored lately with my workouts and I’ve been trying to play around, finding a new fit. My new gym doesn’t offer a lot to be creative, so I’ve had to delve into my experiences and come up with something exciting. Motivation is hard sometimes!

My new favorite exercise has been taking my bike out on the bike path by my apartment. I am no mean’s fast. Plenty of people speed past me, but I’ve had to go around my share of people (toddlers, okay, shut up). It’s hard not to enjoy peddling by the ocean, under the sun and palm trees, and not feel invigorated by life.

Side note: life is good, but lonely. Moving is hard in a lot of ways, and even though I know I made the right choice, it’s hard to be away from family and friends. I’ve been trying to keep busy and focused on why I moved out here in the first place- write write write.

My ride yesterday took me into the fog. Once I reached water, I hopped off and parked to walk the rocks. Spooky and eerie, but calming!

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I’ve also done some running, but since I’ve been working out after work, I’ve had to take it out on the treadmill. Boo! Good music can get you through almost everything though, so I’ve been jamming to Hamilton and just getting through. Hiking on the other hand, has become one of my favorite things, and in LA, we aren’t lacking on possibilities.

Sunday’s hike took me and my friend Sara to an LA staple, Runyon Canyon.

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I mean, c’mon!

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Strength training-wise, I’m settled on two days a week of quick, hard-hitting total body movements and two days of specific muscle training.

Day One is total body, heavy lifting movements, six sets of five reps. Day Two is upper- biceps, triceps, shoulders, chest, and back. Day Three concentrates on lower body. For those two days, I’ve been doing four sets of ten reps with medium weight. Day Four is more total, this time focused on body weight plyometrics. Again, six sets of five reps. You haven’t sweated until you’ve done burpees into push-ups into jumping jacks. But I love it and I’m starting to feel excited about exercising again.

On strength training days, I always end with core and a bout of cardio.

Now onto food, which I’ve been kind of killing lately.

Homemade pancakes- I forgot the egg, which is why they turned out so flat I guess, but they were still tasty!

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Banana bread! I had a couple of bananas that I didn’t want to toss but couldn’t eat straight up, so I bought a few more ingredients and threw together this delicacy.

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It made a perfect accompaniment to this beautiful omelet I made on Sunday.

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I cannot believe I didn’t snap a picture of the chicken broccoli ziti soup-ish dish I made on Friday. I was seriously impressed with myself and it was super tasty. One pot meals for the win!

Shrimp fried rice, no big deal. Shrimp, an egg, veggies, brown rice, and soyaki. Cannot be beat!

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No Dark Chocolate peanut butter was used in this dish, but look at the empty jar photobombing the picture!

And okay, so on Sunday, I went to another LA staple, Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles. Fried chicken. Waffles. Disgustingly delicious.

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Bike Riding and Weird Massages

My weekend once again was the perfect combination of active and relaxing, starting with Friday night.

After work, like a champion, I headed to the gym and ran it out on the treadmill. This week, I wasn’t as tired as last, and I had a solid run before finishing it off with a quick Yoga flow. For dinner, I stir fried up some chicken, veggies, and brown rice.

If you’ve ever wanted to know what bad zucchini tastes like, it is not good. Luckily, I didn’t cut the zucchini into too small bites and I was able to scrape it out of the plate!

Some old Saturday Night Live episodes later and it was time to fall asleep, cus this girl was tired! Working 9-5 is hard, ya’ll.

On Saturday, I met up with a friend-of-a-friend for brunch before going to the gym to knock out a lower body workout. I biked over on the beautiful afternoon, then biked on over to a reflexology massage place for my sore feet. My feet were so swollen on Tuesday of this past week, they didn’t fit properly in my sneakers. This massage was $20 bucks, so I was weary of the quality.

Let’s just run this down for you:

An older man began my experience by massaging my forehead. As we know, I have a large forehead, so a long time was spent on this area. At one point, the gentleman began tickling my outer ears, which I thought was strange, but then he stuck his fingers in my ears, and I learned a new definition of “strange.” It was weird, but I didn’t hate it?

The man was clearly head honcho of this establishment as other workers kept coming over and talking to him, which was unsettling in an otherwise quiet situation. At one point, I thought a woman was trying to tell me to do something, so I opened my eyes and the woman hushed me, apologized, then stuck her hand on my forehead for a long time. I was then blind-folded, which I think was to hide the fact that a new worker took over my footwork, though I will tell you, once you’ve had giant, calloused fingers in your ears, you can decipher the difference of the petite, gentler touch of soft hands.

As mentioned above, my forehead is gaping, so it elevated the blindfold to the point of which I could see clearly. It was good that I distinguished this new individual as female when I was then planked on so that the massager could recenter my hips (or whatever the hell it was she was doing?) After some hand work, I rolled over and got all the sore spots in my shoulders and back worked out.

Listen, it was a weird experience, but it worked. For $20 bucks, I will accept your strange scenario and tip you for it.

It was dinnertime when I finished, so I pedaled over to my “local” taco shop before heading home to read and work on a new project. After some grocery shopping, it was time for bed.

Sunday is a great day to be outside seeking adventures. First up, was hike time. I actually went to the same place I did last week, this time with a meet-up group. The day was cooler, but in no means cool, and overcast, which made it great to be active.

Stopping at home for a few minutes, it was time to take my bike out for its first long journey. 18 miles is no joke. I’ve got a bike path, down the street from me, that leads to the huge Southern California coastal bike path that is remarkable. There are no words to describe the views and the feelings inspired by pedaling down this path.

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My intention was to go to Santa Monica and believe me, I kept waiting to see the enlightening sight of Santa Monica Pier, but as I rolled and rolled, I still couldn’t see it and I almost cried. At a stopover for a water and lunch break, I typed in my GPS location and realized I had ridden in the complete opposite of Santa Monica and had made it to Manhattan Beach. Since Manhattan (New York) is my favorite place in the entire universe (other than home), and I had never been there before, it was fitting.

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On my way back, I prayed for no hills, and had to stop to capture the above picture. I mean, what?

Back at my apartment and nursing my sore quads, it was time to meal prep for the coming week. Soup! It’s not appropriate in the warm, sunny SoCal environment, but back at home in Boston, it’s fall and prime time for soup.

I’ve had these lentils in my cabinets since back home, so it was time to cook ’em. I found the recipe online and added my own touches, such as doubling the recipe and adding zucchini.

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I had enough for four lunches of the week and enjoyed the remnants for dinner, paired with brown rice and a dash of cheese.

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Now I’m all cozy, full, and super sweaty.

It’s Monday, but let’s live like it’s Friday!