At least you’re not the Yankees today…

Welcome back from the weekend, we’ve survived another hot one.

My Friday started, as it usually does, nice and early thanks to a 4:30am wake-up call. This also means my weekend kicks off early, so I can’t complain. After work and a solid strength training workout, I lounged around the house for a bit before it was Red Sox v. Yankees time. I almost feel bad for the Yankees, but not quite.

I headed into the game with a friend who happens to be a Yankees fan. I did feel bad for her team of losers and made sure to sing along to Sweet Caroline nice and loud for her.

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In college, I was so used to walking to and from the game from just down the street and afterwards, driving into the city, that taking the subway was an adventure. A very hot, sticky, and crowded adventure.

On Saturday, I had a leisurely morning, sleeping in and enjoying breakfast.

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My niece and sister came over for the day and we had a great time just watching this little face.

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It’s crazy how fast they grow!

I went to bed early for a Saturday night and was up early on Sunday morning to fit in a run before my hair appointment. It was warm, but dry outside and I cruised for a solid 4 miles of running. Felt strong!

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After grocery shopping and touching up my roots, it was meal prep time. I chopped up a ton of veggies for salads and made my breakfast for today.

I started watching Sharp Objects on HBO, so far so good.

How’s your Monday treating you?

food fridays

A Day of Meals

The selected meals this week are from various days, depending on when I remembered to take photos. Bare with me, it’s a vacation week.

Breakfast

Breakfast on vacation just tastes better. Scrambled eggs, bacon, and toast. Simple and delicious.

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Lunch

A salad with grilled chicken earlier in the week when I was at work. Simple and refreshing on such a hot day!

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Dinner

Tacos on a Monday! 93% lean beef on corn tortillas with shredded lettuce, tomato, pickled jalapenos, and a dollop of sour cream. Kale caesar on the side.

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Side note: you might not be able to tell, but I’ve been practicing my coding on the blog and so far, I’m learning a lot! I’m still on the basics and will be for awhile, but it’s been a fun experience thus far!

 

Beat The Heat

We’re experiencing a heat wave, folks! While I just want to hide out and sleep all day, that’s not really an option. None of the ideas below are revolutionary, but sometimes it’s nice to have them laid out for you.

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Working Out in the Summer

Don’t: stay inside in the air conditioning, lying on your bed, unmoving.

Kidding.

As I mentioned, I headed out for a run on Saturday afternoon because the temperature was not going to drop even as the sun went down and I wanted to fit it in. Since it was Saturday, I was well-equipped time wise to prepare for my run, but I’m not sure it was the best idea I’ve ever had.

Friday, I was smarter because I stuck to strength training in my much cooler basement and was not in the direct sun, or any sun at all.

Here’s what I do when the sun is not my friend:

  1. Drink water
  2. Eat a satisfying breakfast/lunch/dinner/snack
  3. Lather on the sun-block
  4. Wear a hat or stick to the shade
  5. Take it slow
  6. Swim!
  7. Go in the morning
  8. Workout inside

Some of these ideas speak for themselves. When exercising, or just existing, you need to drink a lot of water- more than that!- and eat nutritious and satisfying food.

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Sun-block is something that I am working on in particular this year. I don’t tan so much as freckle and at this point, they’re merging into one giant one! I will burn though, this fragile Irish skin…And yes I did apply this sunblock at 9:00pm all in the name for the pic.

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Now that I dye my hair, wearing a hat out in the sun is essential. One would think it would be good to have my blonde locks soaking up the sun, but too much exposure actually hurts my hair and ruins the dye. Also, when I was running, I was fortunate to have a lot of shady spots, but I really felt the heat once I was in the direct sun.

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Not every workout has to be bone-crushing. Hot days are the times to take it easy and go slow and steady. Focus more on mileage than speed, aim for endurance versus power or strength, rest more in-between sets.

If you have access to a gym, this is the time to workout inside, even though summertime screams outdoor workouts! I love running outside (as much as one can love running), but HATE the treadmill. Not a shocking revelation, I know, but I’ll even run outside in the winter so long as there’s not too much ice and snow.

Or you can just be like Lily and go for the naked baby look. I only recommend that if you’re a baby.

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summer workout tips

It’s summer! We’re in the thick of the heat, from the east coast to the west. I love the sun and the vibrancy of summer, but I do not love being hot. Building up a sweat at the gym is not the same as being sticky and uncomfortable out-and-about.

I will always choose running outside on an outdoor track or around the neighborhood  than being stuck on the treadmill, but how do I stay safe?

  1. Drink a lot of water. Why does this tip keep popping up on my lists? Why do I keep making lists? One, because water is the most important thing you put into your body. Two, because it looks better than lengthy paragraphs. Drink water throughout the day in preparation of that after work run or workout or maintain hydration throughout the day, then start your day with two glasses before your morning run.
  2. Dress appropriately. I’ll workout in a tank top and shorts during the winters of Boston, or at least leggings, as I’ve never come around to the idea of sweatpants, but this is especially prevalent during the summer. When working out, comfort needs to be optimal. Clothing should be breezy and prevent you from such atrocities as chafing.
  3. Go early in the morning or later in the evening. Regardless, be safe. The heat of the day (in LA is pretty much always, but it’s better in the morning or before the sun goes down) can be brutal, so try to find the sweet spot that works best for your schedule. Unless you thrive in the brutal heat and humidity (who are you?!), you’ll need it to survive. *I actually love running at night in the summer, but this is not practicing what my mother calls situational awareness, as I’d be on my own. As my favorite podcast, My Favorite Murder, says, I need to “stay sexy and not get murdered.”
  4. Sunblock. I need to be better about this. My upper body has quite the tan thanks to all my outdoor runs (and okay, time lounging on the beach), but I do try to ‘block before I get out there, even if the sun isn’t fully out yet because, like most things in life, sunlight is better in moderation- too much or too little can be detrimental to your health.
  5. Mix it up. When I headed to the track the other day, it was still hot out around 6:30 at night. I was hot and not up for a long run, so I mixed it up with intervals of running and walking. This can actually be more effective to heighten your heart rate and I found it more manageable to know walking was only a few minutes away than a steady run.
  6. Hike, Swim, or Strength Train. Running is great cardio exercise, but it is not the end all be all. After six years, I still have a love-hate relationship with running that will never quite be defined. I love that I can do it easily, quickly, and without fuss, but sometimes it can be brutal to get through. For an outdoor workout, try hiking as it will tend to provide shade and better allow you to be present in nature; swim laps, splash around, or just tread water, as it is one of the best exercises for all types of people, but beware if you, like me, dye your hair blonde, because green looks good on very few; body weight train and use any and all equipment available to you- I’ll do yoga, go through a quick series of bodyweight exercises, jump rope, or sneak equipment outside if the AC is malfunctioning and the room is crowded.
  7. Eat well before and after. Dehydration is not the only pitfall of a heavy sweat session. Your energy stores will need to be replenished with both sugars and salt post-workout, especially when out in the sun. I personally don’t drink gatorade or juice because I’d rather enjoy my calories in other ways, but before my workout, I make sure to eat a healthy snack like peanut/almond butter and baby carrots or a piece of fruit after my workouts. In a crunch, a popsicle is never a bad way to go! *Of course this works better for afternoon/evening workouts. I usually workout in the morning and don’t eat right before, mainly because I sleep as long as possible, but my meals the night before are healthy and well-rounded to help me get through.
  8. Listen to your body. One of the most obvious pieces of advice you’ll find popping up on healthy living posts, but one of the hardest to follow. At some point, I’ll address my lack of concentration inspired by my phone and the cultural idea of “multi-tasking,” but for now I’ll stay on topic. Your body wants to tell you everything you need to know, but we don’t know how to listen well. Whether it needs a certain food, more water, more exercise, less, the body knows. If you’re out running or exercising and you start to feel dizzy, light-headed, or an undefined “wrongness,” stop. If it feels too hot and stuffy before you start to workout, go inside. If you absolutely can’t bare to be indoors after a long workday of sitting in a frigid, unnatural air conditioned environment, keep the intensity to an easy/medium level, length of time brief, and enjoy. Sometimes, the best part of summer can just be a walk around the neighborhood.

 

 

Homesick in the City

It’s rare when it happens, but sometimes you need an unscheduled rest day! I was tired after work and was looking forward to going home, so I did. I know I’ll get back to it today, twice as hard, so I won’t sweat it (Ha! Punny).

I started my day with this bowl of oats:

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And ended it with this snap shot:

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Yesterday, I was feeling particularly homesick. When I keep busy it’s easy to forget, but in quiet moments, I remember how far away I am. I miss my people! On top of that, Facebook “reminded” me it was my birthday coming up and I should send out invitations to celebrate. Thanks a lot, Facebook, because I don’t have that many people out here to celebrate with, jerk face. I know I’ll still receive lots of love, but it’s not the same!

I also really miss fall in New England. It’s hot hot HOT here and everyone’s all “oh, it’s getting so chilly.” Insert side-eye emoji here. Yeah, I know, I’ll be one of those people in a few short months. But still. At least when it snows a lot back home, I’ll still be warm.

Happy Thursday!

Caitlin Walked Into Whole Foods and Sampled ALL the Cheese

The heat wave has broken for the time being, but yesterday was HOT. I spent most of the morning studying, locked away in my air conditioned room. I was all about learning about the heart, which by the way, so less complicated than the muscular system, when I heard a strange noise ring out. I looked around and didn’t see anything out of the ordinary, but upon further instruction, found that Bandit was lying under my bed, snoring. In case you didn’t know, Bandit is a cat.

Other than studying, it was a slow moving day due in part to the heat but also my laziness. I did hop into the pool for a few minutes. At 84 degrees, it felt cold! This is a testament to how hot it was. I fully appreciate that in just a few months, I will be complaining about how cold it is and the snow. There’s never a happy medium anymore.

Once I cooled down my body and the day started to turn into night, there was a breeze blowing around in my backyard, so I took off for a run. Yes, when the breeze was blowing, it felt spectacular. When the breeze was not blowing there seemed to be barely any air at all. By the time I got home, I was in need of some water and lying down time to recuperate. My body was slick with sweat, which is a wonderful feeling (except for the whole no breathing thing). Suffice to say, I drank about a gallon of water after.

Going back to breakfast, I woke up with a craving for waffles. I seriously don’t know where this comes from as I’ve never been a huge maple syrup fan before. Maybe I’m preparing for fall. I scrambled some eggs and made a big bowl of fruit to go with it.

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I had to stop at Whole Foods to pick up a few items for dinner. I should never be allowed to roam free at Whole Foods. I ended up wandering the cheese aisle which offers a TON of samples and coming home with a slice of pizza to go with lunch. This is low on the scale of what could have happened. I was disappointed there was no offering of chocolate samples. The rest of lunch was leftover swordfish, veggies, and rice.

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My sister and brother-in-law came over for dinner. The antipasto pepper salad is the reason I went to Whole Foods in the first place. We discovered such a thing over the weekend. It includes multi-colored peppers, provolone cheese, an assortment of  meats (in this case pepperoni and prosciutto), marinated in Italian dressing. Delectable! The rest of the meal included a giant salad, steak tips, and roasted cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.

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We had cookies I picked up from, yep, Whole Foods, for dessert. Conversation centered on Harry Potter and which houses our family would be sorted into. Both my parents are Hufflepuffs (or as Nick brands them, Hufflepuffles); Lauren, Nick, and I are Ravenclaws; and my brother Jimmy is a Gryffindor. My mom also wants it noted that Mac, the dog, is a Hufflepuff by default and Bandit is a Slytherin because he is definitely cunning, which is a nice way of saying evil. Of course this conversation was started when I mentioned that JK Rowling declared us to be in the Age of the Hufflepuff.

Now time to study the Respiratory System! Lungs are important, ya’ll!

I Almost Choked on a Lemon Seed

My title really has nothing to do with this post, except that while trying to come up with a clever title, I almost choked on a lemon seed. Proceed with caution.

What’s going on with the summer weather? I can handle hot, and somewhat humid, when the sun is shining and I can study by the pool (or at least look outside), but this downcast look is not good for the soul. We’re in the last week of August!

I know technically it’s not the end of summer until well into September, but thanks to school, I will always feel as though September is the real start of a new year. I really think that part of my desire to teach was due to my nostalgic love of preparing for a new school year: clothes shopping, supply shopping, that fresh dose of hope and starting over. Fall adds to the feeling. Alas, it wasn’t enough for me to want to continue, but I’m still glad I had all of those experiences.

Despite my love for fall, I’m not ready for summer to be over, which means I want more pool and beach days, BBQ in the backyard, and summer shandys! Listen, I’m picky about alcohol and beer in particular so the other night at Harry Potter trivia, when they told me they were sold out of shandy for the summer, I had to order a pumpkin beer. Too soon! But I had to get something I knew I liked. Don’t look at me like that…

Changing the subject, last night, my brother made us stir-fry for dinner. He grilled the chicken to perfection and tossed together some brown rice, peppers, and broccoli and mixed it with a dash of soy and teriyaki sauce. It was delicious and a healthy, nutritious meal to end the day. I suspect he keeps making dinner so he can be included on the blog. Thanks, Jimmy!

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Even though I enjoyed my breakfast sandwich for breakfast yesterday, I was chagrined to learn it was National Waffle Day. I’ve been craving waffles these past few weeks, so it would have been an opportune time to enjoy them. This is the danger of having all of these days!

To celebrate belatedly, I heated up two of them today to join my eggs. Chopped jalapeños, tomato, and red bell pepper accompanied my scramble, finalized with a sprinkling of cheese. Rounding out the meal was this bowl of fruit. Gotta say, the raspberries were not as impressive as they have been, but the blueberries and banana were on point. While eating, I read a chapter of Harry Potter.

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As I write this, I am guzzling water in preparation for my workout in a few minutes. Otherwise, I’ve got work and studying to complete. I’ll check back in later on in the day to talk about what gave me strength today (TBD).