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.

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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….

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Other books I’ve read lately:

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

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And also reading:

The Girls by Emma Cline

 

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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!

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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:

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

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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.

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

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

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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!

My Textbook Thinks We’re Fat

Sometimes the titles of my blog posts write themselves. I’ve been reading the chapter on bioenergetics, which is how the body metabolizes energy and it keeps harping on the fact that the human body has endless supplies of fat to burn. We get it, textbook, thanks a lot.

Last night, I had a dream that left me feeling quite clever. I’m actually impressed with my dream state-of-mind. JK Rowling and I were BFFs. Well, okay, she was more of a mentor figure and there was no level of intellectual equality whatsoever, but I was still in her presence and learning from her. It’s a pity I don’t recall all of the wisdom I must have learned- I suspect that she too probably had this dream and it was real (DON’T TELL ME OTHERWISE). JK Rowling gave me, and some random people I care not to identify, not because I’m a jerk or secretive, but because I don’t remember) a quest to find some sort of item. I know, just like in Harry Potter! The item was something you could only discover through tears, which I discovered in my dream. This just goes to show how strong my imagination is even in this dream-filled state.

Writing down this dream does not seem to justify my point, but I still think it was silly, odd, and a little cool. Dreams are weird and I rarely understand them, but sometimes they sit with you and make you think you are going crazy. 

I finished my productive Sunday with a five mile run and a one mile walk in the rain that made me feel strong and happy. I also folded and put away my laundry and fit in some studying.

Dinner was roast chicken with stuffing, roasted potatoes and squash, spinach, and corn. You have to go all out when it’s finally cool enough to put on the oven!

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My morning started off on a delicious note. An egg and veggie scramble with spinach, tomato, and jalapeños, topped with cheese, was accompanied by whole grain waffles (I know I have a problem) and a banana.

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Breakfast fueled me through the dumbbell strength and core workout I did with my sister Lauren, as well as through my mile lap swim. It was quite the workout and by the time I got home and showered, I was ready for lunch!

I’ve been complimented on my sandwich making abilities before and I can’t say that I disagree. This particular sandwich included chicken, provolone, bacon, and spicy mustard. On the side, I enjoyed carrots, celery, and red peppers with hummus as well as some tostitos. I have NO idea why autocorrect just changes tostitos to tomtits, but it made me incredibly happy and I just had to share. Thank you, autocorrect.

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The afternoon was spent sitting outside, enjoying the cool breeze and the warm sun, sipping on pumpkin spice coffee, wearing a sweatshirt, and studying my hardest. These concepts are not the easiest I’ve ever had to comprehend, but I’m learning how much hard work and dedication pay off.

To end this post, I dare to share a selfie of my new hair…without make-up! I know, I’m a total badass. But at least I’m a blonder badass.

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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!

Don’t Give Me That Look

Happy September! In the magical world, we would all be on the Hogwarts Express on our way to a new school year. Unfortunately, even if that all existed, I’d be too old at this point. Still worth mentioning.

Since it’s my day off, I decided it would be fine to sleep in just a little bit more than usual, but Bandit (my cat) was against this. He came into my room meowing his paws off because he wanted to be patted. So it’s more than a little hypocritical that while I was folding a load of laundry and singing along to my music that he glares up at me with such disdain. Oh, sorry. Were you trying to nap?

I started my day with this fine looking plate of pancakes. Berries on the side and banana mashed right in, it was the perfect balance of protein, carbs, fruit, and sweetness.

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While enjoying breakfast, I started my reread of Tina Fey’s Bossypants. I know I technically kicked off my Harry Potter reread, but I think I’m going to delay that for awhile longer. There are a ton of new books coming out in September/October that I can’t wait to read! Bossypants came off my hold list, so I needed to attend to it now anyways. We’ll get to Harry, there’s no doubt, but it’s been awhile since I’ve had time to sit down to read and I need to make more time for it.

I’m hoping to get as much out of summer as I can in these next few days, including at least one beach day. I can’t talk about the end of summer until Labor Day passes at the very least. Now’s time to go fit in a strength workout before a day of studying.

Hope you have a great month!

Dobby’s Left Sock: Should Have Gone for the Right One Too

I know what you’re going to say: “You started this 80 Days of Strength thing, then let it fall apart on the second day.” I can’t promise that I’ll be able to update every day, but I will promise to share my strength with you the next time. I had very important business to take care of yesterday and starting work at 6:30 AM was only one of them.

Once I got out of work, it was time to make my way to pick up my sister, Lauren. I had a hankering for an iced coffee all day, so I made a brief stop. Once I scooped Lauren, it was off to meet my friends Katie and Erin so that we could stake out our spots for Harry Potter trivia.

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We were sitting at the bar for a good three hours before trivia even began. This was serious business. There is not much in this life that I can claim I know well, but Harry Potter is one of them. I think there were two questions total that we had no idea, but even in those, we were close. This happened before my annual reread too! At one point, Lauren pulled mimbulus mimbletonia out of the darkest recesses of her mind and I came up with kneazle with two seconds to spare. I can’t lie and say it didn’t feel good that we were in first place the entire time. Except for when it counted, of course.

Let me just assure you that Dobby’s Left Sock did not lose because we got the questions wrong. We lost in Sudden Death because we were not positive about the answer and we didn’t bet enough points. Of course those placed in second and third would risk more and we should have too. Turns out, we were right and we would have won. This is something that will haunt me to my grave. Go ahead and put on my tombstone, “Death by Ragnuk the Goblin playing with an Erumpet Horn.” I guess you had to be there. I’m so sorry we failed you JK Rowling, but Dobby’s New-and-Improved Left Sock will be back at it as soon as another trivia event comes up and you bet your house-elf, we will bet it all. And win.

I didn’t make it back home until after 11:00 PM and I went straight to bed, considering the disappointment. Did I mention it was for money? No, no. It’s fine. It’s all just fine. (It’s too bad you can’t see my sarcastic anger in this. I bet you can feel it.) It’s almost karmic because whenever I watch Jeopardy or other game shows, I get mad when people don’t bet it all and then end up losing. I didn’t follow my own rules!

Oh, but look! Look at what Harry Potter inspired me to do:

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So where did my strength come from yesterday? Having confidence in my ability to know and do something. This might sound silly, but dominating at Harry Potter trivia is a skill. It made me feel exceedingly nervous throughout because I am an impatient person, but having the (somewhat useless) knowledge is still having knowledge. And being able to play with my sister and friends, laughing and winning and losing by default on our own terms.

This morning, I made myself an egg, cheese, and chicken sausage breakfast sandwich that I enjoyed with a side of fruit, including half a banana and a scoop of almond butter. This kept me fueled for a few hours of work before I changed into my exercise clothes and worked off my energy in the gym. I added some fuel to the tank with a serving of roasted almonds and red grapes, which kept me going and feeling strong, but not pulled down.

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It was heavy strength day and I was feeling powerful. I hit a lot of highs in my weights, which included deadlifts, clean and presses, rows, squat presses, leg presses, and bench presses. For cardio, I focused on interval training: box jumps, jump rope, skater jumps, high knees, and lunges. I was still feeling strong, so I took it onto the mat for a core workout that made my abs feel sad. I worked through a circuit of push ups, grasshoppers, alternating ankle grabs, sit ups, and a move that combined hundreds and Russian twists into one (I don’t know why I do that to myself). My body wanted to hang out in a shoulder stand for awhile as well, so I did that along with a series of planks. My final piece of my workout for the day was ten minutes on the bike, four of which consisted of cycling as fast as I could for twenty seconds and resting for ten.

For lunch, I wanted to try something a little different. Here’s one of the recipes I was talking about wanting to make that I actually made! I chopped up a sweet potato and tossed it into a pan with garlic and olive oil. I dumped in a can of chickpeas followed by chopped red pepper and baby spinach. I finished things off with a sprinkling of red pepper flakes, coriander, and onion powder. Fun Fact! I don’t like the texture of onions (except for onion rings, which is embarrassing), but I can’t deny the flavor they bring to a dish. This was a nice compromise for me!

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My strength today came in the form of simply tossing a few ingredients together and creating something healthy and delicious. Healthy eating does not mean compromising taste and enjoyment. I suppose I should also say, my strength came in having the power to lift heavy things and put them down again without dropping them on myself (or someone else).

What do you say? Are you with me on this?