Big News

As I hinted in my Monday post, I have some exciting news to share! In September, I’m heading across the country to LA.

12047152_2478082671399_7799746223684307762_n

I’m excited and terrified and a bunch of other emotions I’m struggling to recognize, but there is an instinct bubbling in my stomach telling me this is the right decision. At 26, I feel up to an adventure and I think it’s time I give my first passion, writing, a true chance.

I love telling stories, whether it’s in person or on the page. If I look a little dazed and far away, then I’m most likely daydreaming, concocting all of these strange and fun scenarios in my head. Most of my writing experience stems from this blog and short stories, but my dream is to write for television, and that’s exactly what I’m going to LA to do.

Over these past four years since graduating college, I’ve been talking about moving to LA or New York City and though I love New York more than I love to breathe, LA is the right choice for right now. I’ve also learned a lot about myself over these years, as one does as they live, and I’m in as perfect a situation as I possibly could to make this venture. I’ve studied to be a teacher and quickly retired, I learned I’m not made for a standard desk job (or the standard desk job is not made for me), and I found such reward as a personal trainer, helping others find their healthy and happy place. Personal training is something I am going to continue doing in LA, and tackling that endeavor makes my move all the easier, as I’ll have something to get me started out in California. But I’ve never quite given the chance to writing as I should. And so we begin.

I am going to miss my family, friends, and New York more than I can imagine. I have no false pretenses that this move will be easy, glamorous, or successful. I’m expecting to struggle, to cry, to fail, but I also know that it will make my life fuller, more rewarding, and more experienced. I have no qualms about admitting that I might be back in a year or so, but I’m also going to give myself enough credit to say that I could make a go at this writing thing. If I didn’t believe in myself and my writing, then in less than two months’ time, I wouldn’t be able to leave my house, say goodbye to my loved ones, and get on that plane.

Risks are scary. This move is taking me away from my safe place, my safe people, and everything that I know. But I think that’s sort of the point.

So, if you continue to read and follow me on my journey, then I think there are truly exciting things on the horizon, as there already have been since I started this blog four years ago. Let’s have some fun!

11825200_2436637595298_4378026379980853744_n.jpg

New York City!

It’s Monday and we’re all back to the real world! For me in particular, since this is my blog and it’s a bit of a shock having spent the past few days in New York City, aka my favorite place in the world!

After a whirlwind week of working, my friend Lauren and I hopped on the bus to visit our friends Bobby and Ruben. The bus ride was a little long, especially as the anticipation built, but we got through with a lot of chatting.

IMG_5168.JPG

Once we arrived late Thursday night, we had dinner at a Mexican place where lots of chips and salsa were had, as well as a grilled chicken and pepper dish that was pretty okay. It was time for bed as Lauren and I had a busy Friday planned.

On the definite agenda on Friday afternoon was the NBC tour, so we headed towards Times Square and had brunch at a diner. I selected the single pancake, scrambled eggs, and bacon, which hit the spot! I’m not used to waiting so long to eat in the morning, so I was hungry! The weather was beautiful and perfect for walking around, though Lauren and I might have been the only ones wearing shorts. On our travels, we noticed two very long lines, which I thought might be for those elusive eateries that Buzzfeed always posts, but one was for what we concluded was a Hamilton meet-and-greet (understandable) and the other was for Chik-fil-a ( a rousing, huh!?).

After we took in the scene, we found ourselves at 30 Rock! We found where we were supposed to meet for the tour and then we had an adventurous debacle trying to locate a restroom, and then a restroom that was actually open. We did make it back in plenty of time, but almost missed the tour anyways because we were browsing the store. Whoops! The tour was fun and informational, plus just plain cool getting to sit in the audience of SNL (sans actual show), but it wasn’t all that overwhelming. It didn’t help that Lauren and I were bunched in with a bunch of teenagers on a class trip.

Back into the sunshine and away from the teens, we made our way over to the Highline which we walked on our way to meet Bobby.Though it was a little congested, it’s such a nice walk with spectacular views. Here would be a great time to insert a pic of the view, but we were busy taking in the scene. Once we stepped off near Chelsea Market, it was time for some refreshments.

IMG_5169.JPG

The final leg of our afternoon took us to Union Square, where we hopped back on the subway to get ready for dinner that night. Lauren and I were excited to try Tao!

IMG_5172.JPG

The food was excellent, especially the sweet and sour cauliflower! We also shared chicken and pad thai dishes, finishing off with a giant mousse-filled fortune cookie. Post-dinner, we decided to take advantage of the still-warm and beautiful evening weather and hit up a rooftop bar. I can already predict this will be my favorite thing to do in the summer, even though I don’t think every place I go to will offer views of the Statue of Liberty.

IMG_5174.JPG

Once we arrived and got our drinks- boozy popsicles in wine!- it started to rain! There was a cover and heat lamps above us, but they only lasted so long until we were the only ones left and had to leave.

IMG_5175.JPG

Lauren and I racked up a ton of steps, especially on Friday- almost 30,000, and then a lot on Saturday too!

On Saturday, we started our morning off right with a workout! I’m now a big fan of hitting up gyms for one-day passes when I travel! For my workout, I spent a half hour working through a strength training circuit before hopping on the treadmill for a run. Since losing the last ten pounds, I’ve definitely gotten faster and was able to stay at a strong, but comfortable pace, except that I was battling a bit of a bellyache. I finished my hour up with a core workout before getting ready for brunch.

This pretty much sums up brunch.

IMG_5181.JPG

Bottomless mimosas! For my actual meal, I chose eggs benedict with spinach with a side salad. Delicious! A little tipsy and a lot full, we made our way over to Central Park to sit in the sun and just relax. The best!

IMG_5183.JPG

That is the face of a happy girl! I mean, look at this view from lying on my back:

IMG_5184.JPG

Once the sun started to go down, so did the temperature, so we knew it was time to head back. For dinner, I had part of an amazing cauliflower (vegetable of the weekend!) crumble and spaghetti in a lemon cream sauce. For after-dinner drinks, we had trouble finding a spot that stuck, but we finally did find one (my poor, sore feet!) and enjoyed a nightcap before heading back to bed.

Sunday sadly was our final day and we kicked things off with brunch. I had trouble deciding, but the waiter recommended the hot dog (kind of an odd choice for brunch, sure) and it didn’t disappoint. By the time we got back to the apartment, Lauren and I decided to pack up and head out to stay in the general area of our bus. Even though we weren’t hungry at that time, we knew we would be once we were on the bus, so we trekked over to Whole Foods with our luggage and got some snacks.I enjoyed a roasted chicken sandwich and a cookie! The journey home was even longer than the one there, and even though I love and miss New York, I was happy to be home.

For one, after a weekend of indulgences, I always love getting back into my food and exercise routine as it’s so motivating to feel healthy again! Another, I always feel so inspired by the city and ready to work hard, so I know I’ve got a lot of exciting things to do over the next few months- and choices to make!

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend, wherever you are and whatever you did! Happy Monday!

Happy Birthday To Me Indeed!

Yesterday was the greatest day of the year, my birthday, but now that it’s over, we can start to look forward to the holidays! Before we move on so abruptly, however, let’s recap my super exciting birthday weekend extravaganza!

I was up very early on Saturday morning to catch my bus to New York City- my favorite place in the entire world! The bus ride wasn’t terrible and I slept for half of it, so I was feeling pretty swell once I arrived. In the city, I met my best friend from college, Stephanie, and we both agreed we were starving.

First on the menu was this delectable burger and fries. We were so hungry once we sat down to eat and I enjoyed this sucker. No roll was needed- I find if it’s nothing impressive, I’m not missing much. But boy, did this hit the spot!

IMG_4247

For most of the day, we walked around the city, just taking in the sights. Both of us share a favorite place in the city, which is the High Line- an elevated outdoor walkway near the river that has amazing views. It was super crowded on Saturday, but we weren’t in a rush.

IMG_4253

This city feeds my soul. Maybe it’s because I’m only a visitor or maybe it’s something more I don’t understand. It just makes me happy and inspired and it was exactly what I needed.

IMG_4254

Our travels took us through Chelsea Market where we stopped for a small treat at Doughnuttery, which has the best little doughnuts I’ve ever tasted. Wow! After, we made our way to Union Square where we walked through a Farmer’s Market and made our way to Barnes and Noble to do some browsing and rest our feet from all that walking!

For dinner, we met up with my friend, Bobby, who lives in the city for a Mexican-inspired dinner. We split an order of nachos to start and then Stephanie and I were still feeling the ramifications of lunch, so we split a chicken quesadilla for our meal, which was just enough. Since it was my birthday weekend, we also split dessert- churros and ice cream with chocolate sauce! It was dark in the restaurant and I felt weird taking a picture with flash, so I apologize for the lack of visuals.

Both Stephanie and I were tired from our early morning wake-up calls and walking around all day, so we headed across the river to stay at her friend’s place for the night, which was so helpful!

The next day, the sun came out and it was the perfect fall day! We had considered seeing a matinee, but with the weather so nice and fresh, neither of us wanted to be inside. Instead, we stopped at a bakery for a doughnut breakfast- I have never had so many doughnuts as I had this weekend and the one before at my friend’s wedding- whew. It was really good quality though, so I won’t complain!

Into the city we went where Stephanie rocked her new Chewie hat.

IMG_4262

We started walking from Wall Street and continued down Broadway until we found ourselves near Washington Square Park. That place is magnificent if only because of their quality public restrooms. Thank you! Since it was so nice out and the park bustling with excellent people watching opportunities, we decided on a picnic lunch. Where might we go? Only the place that makes the greatest invention known to man kind….Peanut Butter and Co! My love of their peanut butters, in particular their chocolate varieties are well known, so I’ve always wanted to stop by the shop for lunch. That we did! I selected the Dark Chocolate Dreams sandwich that included dark chocolate peanut butter, shredded coconut, and cherry preserves. Oh my.

IMG_4265

The sandwich was delicious, filling, and huge! I wanted to eat it all since it was such a novelty, but I had a hard time, especially because I paired it with a peanut butter milkshake. Don’t judge me, it was my birthday weekend! While we ate, we noticed how some people in the park didn’t mind having all of these pigeons hanging out on top of them. I was a little skeezed, but people will do as they do. I was too busy trying to take the perfect selfie to really judge.

IMG_4264

That was until a squirrel climbed onto my lap. No, I’m not joking or exaggerating. I felt something tickle my leg as I was pointing out something to Stephanie, looked down and saw the squirrel, screamed and ran away. Looking back, I’m thankful because it makes for a funny blog story. But still, ew! And as I ran away, I looked back and noticed the stinker staring me down.

After that little adventure, we were women on a mission. Thanks to Daylight Savings Time, we knew the sun was going to set around 4:40 PM that day and we wanted to see Central Park, so we got our walking shoes on and stepped up our stride and made it all the way to the park with time to spare. If you’re not familiar with the city, let me tell you, that is a hike. Wall Street, our starting location, is close to Brooklyn and well before the numbered streets begin, as well as Washington Square Park. Central Park is on 59th Street. It was a hike!

IMG_4266

Well worth the trip however!

IMG_4275

Once darkness set in, we decided it was time for a drink. We found a place that offered wine and cheese and we were sold. With our glasses of chianti, we split a mozzarella and prosciutto roll over arugula and tomatoes. Divine!

IMG_4276

Then it was time for more walking! We stopped at Bryant Park to browse the shops, where I picked out a birthday present for myself- this hat! I was very excited for my purchase!

IMG_4280

Instead of a full dinner, we agreed to stop at two separate places for drinks and an appetizer. Place two took us to a Chinese restaurant where we split crab rangoon and sesame chicken. Stephanie ordered the Mai Thai, but I stuck with wine.

IMG_4284

IMG_4285

By the time we finished our meal and checked to see how far away we were from my friend’s apartment, we decided we were tuckered out from walking and settled on an Uber. I wore my Garmin during the trip and calculated that in two days, we wracked up over 50,000 steps, which totals to about 30 miles (if I’m doing math right). I think it was quite acceptable that we were tired!

The next morning- my birthday!- we had to be up early for me to catch my bus because I had to work that night. It wouldn’t be my birthday if I didn’t stop for breakfast, so we found a diner near my bus stop. The eggs were normal and the waffle okay- honestly, I prefer making my own or Eggos even!

IMG_4286

Then it was time to say goodbye to my city.

IMG_4288

All the birthday love made it okay though! Thanks again to Stephanie for making the trip with me! And to my sister for picking me up back home! We decided to be good and made it to the gym for a workout where I led us through a series of circuits that included strength training, plyometrics, and core work!

My stomach was raging after that weekend of eating, so instead of going out, I was craving something healthy, delicious, and homemade. We threw together these salads with black bean veggie burgers for protein.

IMG_4289

After work, dinner was a veggie and chicken stir fry I topped with sesame ginger dressing.

IMG_4290

I also indulged in a birthday treat of my mom’s apple crisp!

It was a wonderful birthday filled with love and I felt warm and fuzzy! To end the day, Stephanie had tweeted a surprise, which led to this exchange.

IMG_4291

That was Freddie Prinze Jr. using a birthday cake emoji to wish me a happy birthday. Yup. I’m still blushing.

Weekend Away

Many times, travel adventures are made not by what you did, but who joined you. Things do not always go smoothly, but learning to adapt, be flexible, and take things in stride will make matters a lot happier.

My arrival home via bus on Sunday marked the end of my three-week long adventures. For the past three weekends, I’ve been back and forth between home and New York. Timing of my trips was not purposeful because even though the trip isn’t long, it’s exhausting not to have a weekend here and there to just relax. I wont complain because each trip has been different and fun and totally worth the lack of sleep.

This past trip, I made my way to New York, then met up with Bobby and Ruben to get on a train to rent a car to drive to Atlantic City. We happened to be a little late at the car rental place and found that they had closed down for the afternoon- it was only one fifteen! We did a little browsing on our phones and found another rental service just a half mile down the road, trekked our way over, just to discover that they had overbooked and run out of cars. Back to the internet, we finally decided on taking an Uber to Newark Airport and getting a rental car there. Success!

After stopping for coffee and Dairy Queen, we were finally on the road to Atlantic City, which is two hours in the middle of absolutely nowhere. Thinking we had time to enjoy a nice dinner before seeing our show, we realized it started an hour before we thought it did and had just enough time to pick up our friend Laura and get to the theater.

I’ve seen Kathy Griffin three times now and I never leave disappointed. She constantly changes up her stand-up to remain relevant and hilarious. I think I lost my voice laughing so hard. It was well worth the long trip to get there and she put on a surprisingly long two-hour show.

Kathy has actually been caught up in a bit of “controversy” having left Fashion Police after only two months of being on the show. It was an interesting time to see her show, two days after the announcement, but I respect her decision and the reason- she doesn’t like humor that is based simply on what a person, mostly women, looks like. Her humor certainly mocks for people for what they do, which may be considered mean, but it’s different than analyzing a person’s appearance and who they are. Props to Kathy and major thanks for a great show!

After the show, we headed down to an Italian restaurant in the casino. I opted for the spaghetti and meatballs that was quite good, but nothing spectacular.

Since we still hadn’t checked into our hotel, we drove over to put our stuff down and explore, but by the time we made it to our room, we all agreed that we were exhausted and decided that was a wrap for the night. I’m not much of a gambling lady myself. I prefer to get something for my money rather than risking it blindly. I’m not particularly lucky, but rather anxious, so it’s never worth it. Didn’t miss anything by skipping out on the casino part of Atlantic City, though it is interesting to people watch. Vegas is far superior regardless.

Sunday morning, we woke up early to make it to the car rental place before it closed, again at one. It was an easy two-hour drive, mostly because I slept through most of it. After dropping off the car and stopping for coffee, it was time to hop on the train back into the city. I said goodbye to Bobby and Ruben and made my way to Penn Station where a cup of mint chocolate chip was in order. It was soothing to my sore throat and my hungry belly.

Before heading out, I got a slice of pizza for the trip and stood in line for the bus, enjoying the warmth the sun was actually giving off. The trip itself wasn’t so bad, save for a spot of traffic heading out of the city. It’s always difficult for me to leave New York because it feels like a piece of my heart belongs there. I’m not sure if it’s all in my head, but whenever I’m there, it just feels right. It’s my second favorite place in the world, besides my home, but that is mostly due to the people who live there.

But as Dumbledore says to Harry to some effect, “Just because it’s inside your head, doesn’t mean it’s not real.”

This round, leaving was particularly difficult because I knew I wouldn’t be coming back in a week’s time. For sure, it won’t be long before I’m back and I am looking forward to a more relaxing weekend next week, but it’s still bittersweet.

It was nice to some extent to have all these travel adventures in March because its an otherwise dull month. There are no breaks and it’s still cold and dreary. Now that we are on the verge of April and Spring, there’s a lot in which to look forward. I can’t wait for the nce weather because one of my goals this season is to do a lot more hiking and biking. Running outside will also be a refreshing reprieve from all the time I’ve spent on the treadmill this winter. And now we are only a few weeks away from the Red Sox! I haven’t spent a lot of time following Spring Training, but from what I have seen, we’ve got a good team that should at least make things interesting.

Speaking of interesting, for the next few months, a lot of energy will be focused on preparing for my sister Lauren and Nick’s wedding. Many exciting events are occurring leading up to the big day, which of course I cannot discuss before they happen so as not to tarnish the surprise.

Bring it on!

Sister Time In The City

This weekend was another one spent in New York. Traveling is busy and tiring, but well worth it. This time, I went with my sister and we had a blast wandering around the city. We started out downtown and meandered our way until our stomachs were rumbling and we stopped in for a bite of fresh Mediterranean food. The best falafel ever.

After, we made our way through Tribeca, Chelsea, and Greenwich Village- don’t judge me if my order is wrong, I don’t remember exactly! We even accidentally stumbled upon what is possibly the greatest shop of all time- Peanut Butter and Co- whose peanut butter I am obsessed with. I declined to go in just yet because we had just eaten and I want to go in on an empty stomach.

Finding the High Line was a bit of a triumph because I wasn’t exactly certain where I was going, but I still got us there. It’s such a beautiful, fun way to see the city. Even though it’s still crowded with people, it seems quieter and more peaceful up there. You can see the water on one side, the city streets on the other, and all the gorgeous apartments with luxurious decks. It was still quite chilly, especially with the wind, so after one full lap, we headed back down and decided to stop into Chelsea Market.

The stop that caught our eye the most was a wine tasting that was about to start just as we walked in. Impromptu day drinking is the best kind of day drinking and we enjoyed our sips of wine. Divine! We were astounded they wouldn’t give us chocolates to finish off, so we left craving something a little sweet and decided upon splitting an ice cream- coconut with chocolate covered almonds and double cookies n cream with Oreos and some sort of spiced cookie. So good!

Our next stop was actually dinner to meet my friend Bobby. We went to Locanda Verde, which had we gone later, we might have run into the Hunger Games cast. Our reservation had to be earlier though because Lauren and I had a show to get to. Okay, so my planning was kind of unfortunate because I ended up seeing the same show two weeks in a row. It was still fabulous, maybe even more so the second time. We had really good seats-third row, baby- and it’s interesting because you can see the actors spitting from their pronunciation. Just like in that episode of Friends. Still gross, though.

After the show, my sister was a good sport and headed to the stage door with me. She even tried to get her cup signed by Kristin Chenoweth for me, but Kristin was on vocal rest and not speaking, so in solidarity, Lauren thought she couldn’t speak and kind of just kept waving the cup in Kristin’s face. We had a great laugh after that.

photo

My friends Bobby and Ruben were so nice once again to let us stay the night. Sleep came easily, despite losing that hour, as we had been up dark and early at 4:45 to catch our bus Saturday morning.

Sunday morning, we didn’t have much time to explore, but we were able to stop for brunch before leaving. We went to a small, cute place called Supper. I chose the eggs parmigiana, which was baked eggs in marinara sauce, topped with cheese. Bread went nicely for dipping. Before hopping on the bus, we stopped for a cup of tea and a homemade cookie.

Though the bus ride took a little longer than it should have due to the traffic heading out of the city, Lauren and I watched the new Backstreet Boys documentary, which took up a good two hours. It was hilarious, but also a little sentimental to see how it all went down. I’m not certain how time has flown so fast from when we were younger and going to those concerts. Oh wait, our last Backstreet Boys concert was this past June…

Monday morning came a bit early, but I was able to roll out of bed and get going at the gym once I warmed up. I went for a dumbbell strength routine before heading to the treadmill. For my run, I alternated between running at a medium pace, walking on an incline, and running fast. By the end, I was running at a 6.5 mph pace, which is fast for me. It felt good to get in such a great workout, but I was so tired throughout the day. The sunshine so much later in the afternoon was worth it in the end.

Overnight oats with extra milk and blueberries for breakfast.

photo 1

A salad and a corn English muffin with peanut butter was an excellent noontime meal.

photo 2

Salmon, rice, broccoli, cauliflower, and a bite of ground beef. Delicious!photo 3

New York, New York

Whenever I pull into New York City, a warmth spreads through the center of my chest. It feels like my soul is home. It’s hard to describe and somewhat weird to claim that a place can feel such a part of you, but I also can’t deny it. New York is my favorite place in the world, besides my actual home “home” and that’s mostly because of my family.

I was feeling in my element in New York.

IMG_1714

I pulled into the city on Friday night at 10:00 PM exactly. The ride up was interesting because the bus was a half hour late arriving and the waiting area filled up quickly. I don’t handle my travel plans being changed very well, so the wait to even get on the bus was excruciating and there were too many people in a small space. I ended up stepping outside in the freezing cold. Even though it was chilly, the tension in my chest lessened and I felt a lot better. Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait long for it to finally arrive. Once it did, I thought I selected a seat next to a friendly face, but either that person or the one in front of me had an uneasy stomach and the ride was filled with disgusting smells almost the entire way.

Once I did get there, I made my way on the subway to my friends’ Bobby and Ruben’s apartment and we all enjoyed a late dinner. It was restaurant week in the city, so we were able to splurge at nicer restaurants. The whole pre fixe menu includes a choice of appetizer, entree, and dessert, which sounds amazing, but leaves you amazingly full. At Lure FishBar, I started with tasty shrimp tempura, enjoyed a miso-glazed piece of perfectly cooked salmon on a bed of spinach, mushrooms, and snap peas, and finished with one of the best apple crumbles I have ever had. It was almost spoiled on me because by that point, I was so full and the serving generous. I really did enjoy myself.

photo

Saturday morning was full of excitement because a lot was happening in the day. The starting point of which were crepes at a nearby creperie for breakfast. I selected a buckwheat crepe stuffed with some sort of fancy cheese and topped with two poached eggs and ham. It came with a salad on the side. It was an eggs Benedict crepe, but I chose not to have Hollandaise sauce because the egg yolk makes everything creamy and buttery enough and I wanted to cut extra calories out when I could.

After breakfast, Bobby, Ruben, and I headed to the theatre to watch Kristin Chenoweth in her latest Broadway Show, On the Twentieth Century. My one complaint would be that Kristin was simply not on stage for long enough. Every moment that she was, she was brilliant, per usual. The fact that Kristin Chenoweth is back on Broadway is just right. Her delivery reminded me a lot of Madeline Kahn, famous in roles from Young Frankenstein and Clue among many others, which is fitting because Madeline originated the role. The show is still in previews and already the actors have a strong grasp of their roles and deliveries, which only makes me more excited to go later on in the production when things become more solidified. The songs were operatic and beautifully arranged, the dance numbers spectacular, and even though there was a brief technological delay midway through the second act, the scenery and technology were delightful. It’s an old-school type of musical, which makes for a fun experience. I’m also now a big fan of Andy Karl’s biceps. Broadway always leaves me feeling so happy and fulfilled whenever I leave a show. There is no truer expression of talent than a live show, musical or otherwise, and it’s so exciting to know that each performance changes time-to-time. I laughed throughout the show and couldn’t wipe the smile off my face, even when stepping outside into the frigid cold.

A fun little side note was after the show, I came face-to-face with Sarah Michelle Gellar. I was a huge Buffy fan when I was younger and it was a little surreal to see someone so close unexpectedly. Most of my celebrity encounters have been purposeful at the stage door, so it was just funny to have a surprise. She was with her daughter though, so I just let her be. See, I can be a mature celebrity-obsessed human!

After the show, Bobby and I walked around for a little while taking in the sights. We ended up stopping for a quick snack. I shot this picture when we were inside the food court. Yes, that is the Statue of Liberty looming in the background. Such a spectacular view!

photo 1

Saturday night, my friend Brad arrived from LA. It was so great to see him and spend time with him on my coast! We all went out for a Mexican dinner, once again stuffing our faces. Along with some chips and salsa, I selected the chicken tacos with peppers and cheese. So good!

We were feeling ambitious on Saturday and decided to fit in a workout before heading out for a day of exploration. Bobby, Brad, and I went to a class at Barry’s Bootcamp. I thought I was in good shape, but I suffered throughout the class. While I often focus on reps and sets, this class featured time lengths, such as starting with two minutes straight of bicep curls. I was already feeling the burn during the first strength section when we jumped on the treadmill for an intense run. I can run long distance at a medium (okay, to slow speed), but I cannot sprint quickly. Though I ended up getting a great workout, it was definitely a struggle and I left feeling exhausted, but full of energy.

FullSizeRender

After getting ready, we headed out for another filling meal. I went with a burger that was very tasty, but very filling. Much to our surprise, and my intense displeasure, by the time we finally got going on our adventures of the city, it started to snow! I didn’t even bring my snow boots. I think it’s haunting me, you guys. Brad enjoyed the snow for about 2.5 seconds until it got cold and wet and unpleasant. We walked for a few minutes before stopping into a tea shop for a quick break. A little while later, Brad and I ended up heading out to Barnes and Noble to do a little writing. My view from the Union Square Barnes and Noble inspired quite a few words onto the page.

photo 2

We ended the night with a dinner at Scarpetta, once again going the restaurant week menu. I started with a Brussel sprout, sausage, and chickpea soup, moved onto a homemade spaghetti dish, and ending with a mini chocolate cake with salted caramel ice cream. It was delicious, but so heavy and I’m looking forward to getting back to my regular eating habits. I don’t ever like feeling so full that it’s uncomfortable, but when you have that price, you don’t want to pass it by, and you certainly don’t want to waste the food. Such a deal happens so rarely.

New York is always so much fun, but it also is so hard for me to leave each time. It helps to have a great family at home, but I just love this city with my whole heart. Thanks to Bobby, Ruben, and Brad for making this trip so special!

Back to the real world!

New York, New York and Food- My Favorite Things

Mondays come fast and furious. It was a whirlwind weekend with a day trip to New York City on Saturday. Even though it was busy and crowded and overwhelming, and we stuck to the areas around Times Square, I loved every minute. That city is something special. Whenever I leave, a piece of my heart gets left behind with it.

IMG_0867.JPG

Here’s what I ate to the days leading up to the big trip:

Before workout breakfast included an egg and a cheesestick. It was just enough fuel to get me going.

IMG_0831.JPG

After workout breakfast included this delectable baked oatmeal full of peanut butter, banana, and blueberries. Topped with more peanut butter!

IMG_0832.JPG

Here we find a peanut buttered English muffin with a smear of jelly. After the gym, I also had some berries and a hardboiled egg, but I finished that off in the car, so I couldn’t get a picture.

IMG_0836.JPG

A combo of almonds and raisins revved me up enough to fit in my workout.

IMG_0839.JPG

This egg, cheese, bacon, English muffin sandwich hit the spot afterwards. Every single bite was Melty and delicious, leaving me sad when I finished.

IMG_0840.JPG

Due to what was supposed to be slippery conditions, I had planned my Thursday morning workout for home. I had this peanut butter toast with berries. It is a great, quick option in the morning because it contains a ton of nutrients and energy without leaving you feeling overly full during a workout. I also had a small batch of raisin cinnamon overnight oats.

IMG_0844.JPG

This beautiful wrap contained peanut butter, chopped banana, and raspberries. It was so easy to make the night before and consume the next morning. And delicious!

IMG_0846.JPG

I followed up my workout with another one of those egg sandwiches. They are seriously so good and it barely takes a minute to cook an egg any way that you like!

IMG_0852.JPG

After an early morning wake-up call on Saturday, I toasted up some whole wheat sour dough bread and topped it with peanut butter jelly. In the excitement and rush of the day, I forgot to eat my fruit! This hit me pretty early on in the bus ride and I was hungry when we finally pulled up to our stop!

IMG_0871.JPG

With a lack of bananas at the end of the week, I couldn’t make my favorite peanut butter pancakes, so I settled on some pumpkin French toast. Not a bad substitute, at all!

IMG_0868.JPG

Soup and salad was on the menu for the first lunch of the week. This hamburger soup is stuffed with veggies, whole grains, and protein. It was an excellent accompaniment to a fresh salad, leaving me full, warm, and satisfied.

IMG_0833.JPG

I was craving a nice stir fry the next day. I didn’t have any chicken on hand to grill, so I went with the premade honey barbecue pieces. These always smell better than they taste. I think I can do better job! The veggies and rice were unseasoned and a little bland, but at least I felt full!

IMG_0841.JPG

This salad came topped with some grilled tilapia, which might be my favorite fish! It switches every so often with salmon. I enjoyed a piece of whole wheat cranberry walnut bread on the side.

IMG_0837.JPG

I went with another stir fry, this time with chickpeas for my protein. Legumes have been a consistent part of my diet for a long time, but lately I’ve forgotten about them. It’s time I brought them back because they are so versatile! A little feta and Italian dressing helped to liven up the flavor.

IMG_0845.JPG

I’ve been pretty good about incorporating fish into my diet lately. This salmon came with my favorite brown spinach rice and a mixture of veggies. I swirled in a tablespoon or so of some Thai peanut sauce for a nice splash of flavor. Colorful goodness!

IMG_0853.JPG

I hope this inspires you to realize that work lunches do not need to be boring!

To be honest, this sandwich at the deli we ate at in New York sounded a lot better than it tasted. With pepperjack cheese, lettuce, and tomato stuffed between a roll with fried chicken, I expected spectacular flavor. I expect spectacular flavor always, but especially when I’m splurging. It was okay, but at least the fries were tasty! I still managed to finish it off, so I can’t protest too much.

IMG_0864.JPG

Pizza is always on my mind. After a long day of shopping- almost done for the holiday!- I was craving this cheesy goodness. I held off long enough to eat it in order to make a big salad to go along with it. I don’t think you could eat enough veggies!

IMG_0876.JPG

My first dinner of the week was fresh grilled tilapia, seasoned with lemon pepper, and leftover homemade fusilli pasta. A veggie on the side of course.

IMG_0835.JPG

Short ribs are one of my favorite meats and barbecue sauce is one of my favorite marinades, so when they come together, I find perfection in one dish. Paired with mashed potatoes, corn, and broccoli, and this meal is complete!

IMG_0838.JPG

Wednesday evening, I enjoyed a sister’s night out at a Mexican restaurant halfway between where we live. To go along with the chips and salsa and a margarita, I enjoyed these chipotle steak fajitas with peppers, black beans, and spinach. It was sizzling good! It’s great to spend time with my sister.

IMG_0843.JPG

This yummy piece of salmon was blackened with red fish seasoning and served with brown spinach rice and a medley of veggies, including broccoli, squash, peppers, and mushrooms. Divine!

IMG_0847.JPG

Friday night, I had a host of options running through my mind, but I settled on this homemade curry dish because I knew I would be splurging quite a bit on Saturday. To be fair, I did start my meal with a few tostitos with cheese. This curry included peppers, snap peas, carrots, mushrooms, and zucchini and leftover brown spinach rice. It was hot and spicy and oh so good! It’s also easy to assemble, helped by the fact that the sauce is store bought- but has all natural ingredients!- and you just throw everything into a pot together.

IMG_0854.JPG

When we got home from New York on Saturday night, it was late. I had finished off my day there with a scoop of Haagen Daz, but by the time I got home, I needed a little something before bed. I went with another piece of toast with peanut butter and it was satisfying as it always is!

Since the late lunch on Sunday, I wasn’t all that hungry for dinner. It was another great week of eating! Now just a week and some change away from Christmas!

IMG_0870.JPG

IMG_0869.JPG