long weekend aesthetic

It’s Tuesday, but it feels like a Monday, but it will be Friday sooner, so…

This weekend was a relaxing one, thanks in large part to the rainy, dreary weather. No, I’m not back on the east coast. The west coast is enduring its “usual” winter according to locals. It’s not cold, but the amount of rain we’ve gotten since I arrived in September is unreal.

Speaking of my arrival, we’re officially past the five months part of being out here. Things are solid, albeit still on the lonely side, but I think being a little lonely for a bit is an important part of life. I’m developing more independence and growing ever more comfortable with being just with me. Although, it’s not like I don’t have any friends and family out here, don’t fret.

I’d like to start this post off reminding you of my humanity, as last week I was in a meal prepping frenzy and allowed my lentil soup to simmer for a few minutes too long. In theory, this lentil ball would have made an excellent meatball substitute, but I brought it to work one day and was promptly judged, so I dumped it. It don’t look right! (Yes, I’m unaware of the incorrect grammar of that sentence).

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Not everything can look as perfect as the pancakes I forgot to snap a picture of before devouring yesterday morning.

Going back to the weekend, on Friday, all I wanted to do was sit on my couch and binge watch 30 Rock (remember, for research purposes), but nature had other plans and took away my power. Since it was still raining and all sorts of cozy, I hopped into bed early (I got home late from work to have drinks with friends) and promptly fell asleep. I did hear the heat kick in and sense the outside lights flicker on in a dreamy, sleepy haze during the night, so the power wasn’t lost for long.

On Saturday, I took my time in the morning with a pancake breakfast and a kick-butt workout. After, I went out for pizza and ice cream with a friend, which is the kind of night that cannot be beat.

In the rain, you can always find the rainbow.

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I always think of my Grandma when I see a rainbow because we chased them in Ireland on our trip a few years ago. Hi, Grandma!

The forecast earlier in the week called for a bright and sunny day on Sunday, but it was overcast and windy. It made for excellent running weather and I felt stronger than I have in a lo-ong time. I love running outside. I do not love running on the treadmill. Thankfully the sun is staying out longer and longer and soon I’ll be able to run outside after work too. If all goes according to plan, I’ll be running my first 5k this weekend.

After my run, I headed downtown with my friend Brad, where we first discovered LA’s Grand Central Market. I opted for a chicken parm sandwich and saved the second half for a later meal. The journey was really so I could introduce Brad to the wonder that is the Last Bookstore. We had some fun and snapped some completely non-staged pictures…

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Okay, so maybe a little staged. But doesn’t it look magical? We enjoyed hiding in this nook full of encyclopedias and discussing the tragedy that is The Cursed Child. JK Rowling is still the queen, don’t you fret.

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We had actually planned to go to the beach, but my weather app was wrong, and this was a far more appropriate plan.

Back at home, I grocery shopped. I ask you, when is Trader Joes not crowded? It’s certainly not the case on a later Sunday evening. I also meal prepped, salads and store-bought soup (don’t judge me!) for this shortened week. The rest of the evening was relaxing and yet again rainy.

I didn’t sleep in quite as long on Monday because I was afraid it would affect my sleep cycle, but I certainly slept longer than I usually would on a weeknight. More pancakes and 30 Rock watching ensued before I headed out to a local coffee shop to write with Brad.

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Dirty = espresso in my chai latte. Quote on my journal from Meryl Streep quoting Carrie Fisher in her speech against the current president. I was actually quite productive in my writing, which followed into my workout, and again with my laundry. I might have been let a little too loose in Target as I came home with a basket full of food related items and bath related items. After preparing for the week ahead, I sat down to write this blog post and do some more writing.

I’m trying to be more consistent. Happy Tuesday vibes!

Living Well

When I’m feeling overwhelmed and a little lost, I tend to eat too much. Not eating comes when I’m super stressed, which I’m happy to not be enduring, but the other side of it isn’t healthy either.

It’s easy to use the excuse that we’re in the holiday season and bad eating choices are all around us. I’ve been eating mindlessly, which leads to danger. When I first arrived in LA, I was on point with eating and exercising and had lost a few pounds, something I could tell from my loose fitting clothes. These past few weeks have proved difficult and my waistline is feeling it. I know it hasn’t been anything too crazy, but a constant pushing it off ’til tomorrow only lends itself to poor and unhealthy habits.

Exercise is my strong suit. As a personal trainer, I love formatting and executing a new workout that I know will crush me and push my body to new heights. That sounds terrifying to put it like that, actually, but I mean it in the best way possible. I love sweating during and after a solid workout. To me, there are few greater daily accomplishments.

I did take most of the week off with Thanksgiving and all that traveling, but I got back into it on Sunday with a killer workout. I worked through three sets of twelve reps. First circuit was tricep dips, jumping lunges, and front raises. Second included burpees (death), push-ups (more death), and high knees (not so deathly). My third circuit took me through resistance band bicep curls, a plie squat to step ups, and supermans. I finished with a core circuit of pike rolls, side plank twist dips, and cable ab presses. For cardio, I did 18 minutes on the spin bike and left the gym a bundle of sweat. Since it was nice out, but windy and cold, I ran a mile outside. It’s been awhile since I’ve run outside and run a straight up mile for that matter- I’ve been working on intervals more to stave off treadmill boredom- and I felt more tired than usual, but still strong.

Strength is an emotional and physical attribute that constantly needs to be developed and honed. It’s ever-changing depending on circumstances. Find it, use it, and whether you succeed or fail, learn from it. Thankfully, I have a constant reminder of how far I’ve come and how far I have to go.

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Most of the time, I don’t think twice about my post-work workouts because it’s just part of my routine. It feels good to end the day that way, although my running suffers a bit. My Monday night workout was another total body knockout. All circuits again, I started with some barbell work. In sequence, I performed a row, clean, front squat, to shoulder presses. The second circuit incorporated dumbbell chest presses, skull crushers, and alternating hammer curls. Next up, I went through kettle bell swings, split squats, and kickback deadlifts. Each circuit was 5 sets of 5 reps with heavy weight. To top things off, my core circuit included v ups, rollouts, and medicine ball twists at 3 sets of 20 reps. Cardio was HIIT cycling with another mile on the treadmill.

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I’m amping up my routine and reeling in my eating habits. It will help that I am blogging regularly again because I have to share what I’m eating with you.

Monday’s breakfast was a warm homemade waffle and fruit.

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For a snack, I spread a scoop of peanut butter over a slice of whole wheat toast.

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Lunch will be the same throughout the week: quinoa, chickpeas, zucchini, red pepper, carrots, and soyaki.

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My pre workout snack was a cheesestick and a handful of wheat thins.

Soyaki drizzled salmon, spinach rice, broccoli, and more soyaki was on the menu for dinner. I’m getting decent at cooking salmon, but I think the soyaki helps a ton.

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Mindfulness can be hard, while reaching for a bite of this and handful of that is easy and instantly satisfying. Longterm, leading a healthy lifestyle and feeling good and strong in your body and mind is more important and satisfying. Eating will always be somewhat of a challenge for me, be it ingrained habits or unlucky genes, but I refuse to see such a natural component of life as a negative. Yes, I will enjoy the holidays and every day life, just as much as I will eat mindfully and healthfully, but as the saying goes, “it’s all in moderation.” Moderation takes practice, as do all the good things in life.

Live well!

My New Toothbrush is…Overachieving

That title might be giving my toothbrush too much credit. Aggressive might be a better term for it. I asked for a new, highly effective one for Christmas because I wanted to step up my dental game, but Santa went big. I just used it for the first time and it vibrated my entire body. My feet were shaking and I felt a little dizzy. This could also be in connection to a caffeinated mint I had earlier on in the evening. Time will tell. So long as that toothbrush does it job, I didn’t hate it.

In other strange news, I noticed a leftover piece of broccoli stranded on my mom’s dinner napkin. When I questioned her about it, she said she was just “too full.”

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I think sometimes people need to just stuff it in there. I mean, it’s broccoli. I’m fairly certain we’d all make that sacrifice had it been a bite of cookie.

Also, apparently people eat chicken wings on the way into the gym and drop the leftover bones in the recycle bin. It’s just something you notice working there.

Food today was pretty casual. For breakfast, I had scrambled eggs, toast, and a banana that was slightly rushed thanks to the SNOW covering the ground and the need to clear it off my car before work.

My pre-workout snack was a peanut butter roll-up, followed up with a lunch of leftovers and a hunk of a salad that I couldn’t finish.

After my second shift at work, I came home to turkey meat that I sprinkled with cheese, rice, and the aforementioned broccoli that I somehow managed to finish.

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I’m proud of myself because I only ate two leftover Christmas treats today and they were fairly small. To be fair, we can’t say I exerted a large amount of control because I was at the gym for the majority of the day, working or exercising, and was not in any proximity to temptation. (Except perhaps…chicken wings??)

Speaking of exercise, my strength circuits consisted of biceps, chest, back, and core. For a quick cardio/plyometric circuit, I did a burpee-to-box-jump combination that was killer. I mean, kill-er. I followed those bad boys up with some rope swinging (this is probably not the term) and single-leg jumps. To complete my workout for the day, I finished up on the elliptical for a good 15 minutes and came home to, ugh, shovel. I felt the shoveling in my core though. We need to find the positives in all things bleak as we head into the crush of winter.

This week, I still have a Star Wars thoughts post to share, my New Years resolutions and end-of-the-year thoughts, and the usual meals, workouts, and silly stories.

The Thong Song

Welcome back! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and are still feeling good vibes heading into the new year. I for one had a wonderful time, but I’m ready to get back into the groove of solid routine, especially in terms of food. Too many tempting sweets!

Let’s get right back into it!

Yesterday, after Yoga and a brief, but sweaty run, my friend Katie came over for brunch. I’m always saying I make better breakfast/brunch than restaurants, so I needed to prove myself. A ham and cheese omelet, toast, and a side of spinach and peppers was a solid force.

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I worked for much of the day, so lunch was a quick bite of leftovers and dinner was Chinese food while watching the first Star Wars with my family. Side note, there is this game Fibbage you play on your phones and over some kind of video game device and it’s hilarious. I recommend it for New Years’ shenanigans.

This morning, I made myself a warm bowl of oats. Haven’t had this one in awhile! I was missing the mashed banana as grocery shopping still needed to be done, but it was an excellent breakfast.

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After a short shift at work, I fit in a workout with my friend Nouha. The focus was on triceps, shoulders, and legs, followed up with some core. We ran out of time on the cardio front, but it was still a good sweat!

My post-workout lunch included eggs, toast, veggies, and fruit.

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I really am on a huge egg kick lately, but I’m trying to back off on those waffles! Can’t go wrong with eggs breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Some random things to note.

I forgot how comfortable boots are! They’re like cushions for my feet. I’m not pleased that the reason I pulled them out of the closet was due to a pending snow-something (I won’t say storm), but my feet are happy in their ignorant bliss.

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In an this-would-happen-to-me-scenario, a few days ago, Facebook wanted me to share a “special memory” that occurred 8 years ago. I don’t know why they thought this one should be re-posted, especially because they only prompt such a thing once every few weeks, but I had to screenshot it and share the oddness.

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That is a thong…lying on the ground at a tourist site in some European country my sister visited 8 years ago and I tagged myself in to be funny. I really hope someone took the time to do this, but it’s probably just the computer being random. (OR, computers are gaining senses of humor/irony, which means we’re all pretty much screwed.

Anyone else have the Thong Song stuck in their heads now?

 

Holidays Are Kinda Cool

Popping in with small reminders of why the holiday- and I mean all holidays- season is so important and special. While at work tonight, two very cool things happened, which also goes to show how cool it can be to work in customer service.

  1. Someone came in and was so excited to see a menorah on the front desk. She said it was “super cool” and her face lit up, knowing that we represented and celebrated all holidays. It made me realize how special those little moments can be.
  2. My co-worker and I were serenaded by a little girl who sang every single line of “Frosty the Snowman” with perfect clarity. I haven’t wanted to laugh and cry simultaneously in the best of ways in a long time.

This time is a busy one. I was just texting my friend about how crazy and hectic things can get this time of year, trying to shop and studying on top of everything. But it’s vital that we pause and take in all the celebrations that come along with it. And if that means I need to listen to Feliz Navidad play on repeat on the radio all season long, I’ll take the good with the bad.

I’m Kind of a Rebel

Mondays after a long holiday weekend always come as a shock, but still, here we are. At the very least, we still have the rest of the holiday season in which to look forward. Also, December is tomorrow???

When we left off yesterday, I continued my tear of productivity, fitting in some quality studying and writing time. I also managed to cook up my lunches for the week.

My intention was to assemble my favorite black bean soup, but I was chagrined to learn I had only one can, which wasn’t enough for the recipe. I did have two cans of chickpeas, so I decided on another path. Google and Pinterest are wonderful things and I found a chickpea curry dish that did not look complicated or require too many ingredients I didn’t have. My contribution to the recipe was to add more veggies- never a bad thing!

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Meanwhile, everything was cooking nicely in the big pan. I also added sweet potato to the mix because you can’t go wrong with sweet potato (even though it took longer to cook!) And yes, I am fully aware of how dangerously close to the edge I was living with that full pan! The recipe called for a medium-sized pan, so I was only following instructions! I’m kind of a rebel (but we already knew that, yeah?)

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This should tide me over for a few days and I’m excited to try it! All the recipe required was chickpeas, light coconut milk, onion, oil, garlic, honey, and sriracha, vegetable stock, and curry powder. Everything else was just to my liking. I’ll let you know how it tastes!

Breakfast this morning continued in the tradition of eggs and toast. I’m not going to question the craving because at least it’s healthy! Scrambled seems to be my go-to egg variation. The toast got a little burnt and the butter refused to spread, but everything still tasted great.

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My body was definitely craving normalcy after that long weekend in the eating department. Now I’m trying to decide if the sun is friendly enough to brace the cold out on a run.

Have a great day!

Feliz Navidad or Nah?

So I’ve been listening to Christmas music now for four days and I am officially over ‘Feliz Navidad.’ Listen, it’s a fun song, I’m usually for it, but no matter what station I am listening to on the radio, they play it every four songs. I’m not even kidding. I’ve probably now heard it nine times since Thursday- the same exact version. Chill! It just makes me wonder if radio stations think they’re being diverse by playing this song….let’s be a tad more creative, no?

Anyways, other than my questionable music choices, let’s catch up. Wednesday, after leaving you dreaming of Thanksgiving happiness of the next day, I hopped over to the gym for a quick workout. It included shoulders, back, legs, and core, and knocked me out.

After fitting in my workout, I went to see my Auntie Bea for our annual Thanksgiving-eve flick. There’s not much out that we both wanted to see in theaters, so we decided on Frozen, which she had never seen. Always makes me happy watching that movie!

I ended my night and started the next morning at work. On Thursday morning, once I got off, I headed home to fit in my own workout. My legs were still a little sore and tired from the previous day, so I settled on a three mile run/walk that got my metabolism revving before the big meal.

Thanksgiving was, like always, a wonderful, loving, and happy day full of excellent food and amazing times with my family. Hope yours was too!

My mom and I took our annual post-dinner walk.

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I was very thankful for a lot of things, including these butter rolls.

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And apple pie.

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But especially family!

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Nick suggested snapping the picture from this angle as it eliminated the prominence of my head.

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Perhaps, at this point, you’re a little sick of seeing my face.

I indulged on Friday by sleeping in longer than usual, enjoying my rest day from exercise, and eating leftovers. Most of the afternoon and evening was spent at work, but it was good to be on my feet and focused. Dinner included more leftovers. Since I had to be up early on Saturday morning for work, it was an early night’s sleep for me on Friday!

For breakfast on Saturday, I cooked up some eggs and toast. After work, I met my friend Nouha for a total body workout that ended with a tough core circuit of continuous movement. I really liked the routine I put together because it never stopped moving and never got boring. Nouha and I had lunch and some ice cream post-workout before I headed home for an afternoon of studying.

Other than making a dinner of leftover lobster ravioli with spinach, peppers, and mushrooms, I didn’t do much on Saturday night. It was rainy and cold, so I wasn’t opposed to curling up under the blanket and fitting in some quality writing time.

This morning, I was up bright and early thanks to an awesome Yoga class. I don’t do a lot of Yoga because I haven’t found the right intensity in a class (unless I want to pay up the big bucks for classes at a studio), but this one was worth it! I finished my day with a few minutes on the elliptical, going between steady and interval pacing.

So far, I’ve been productive. I folded laundry, cleaned, pulled up my garden, and took my first practice test for my PT exam. I also cleaned out my work bag and learned just where and why all of my mom’s spoons have disappeared.

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Now I’m off to do a little experimenting in the kitchen for lunch and to do more studying. Happy Sunday!