Good Habits And Why They Matter

Spring just might be in the air after all! This morning, even though snow coated my windshield, it wasn’t too cold out. I didn’t need the five layers I usually dress myself in for 5:30 AM and dare I say it felt downright balmy. Although, I hear more snow is in the forecast and tomorrow will drop below the tens again. Wishful thinking. Perhaps the fever is breaking…gradually…

This morning when my alarm went off it came as a bit of a surprise. I was wondering how it could be going off so early, but the harsh reality was it was already that time. I got my day started with a spoonful of peanut butter and chopped banana on a piece of whole wheat bread.

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My workout started with some heavy body strength with squats, lunges, kickbacks, step ups, push ups and more. For cardio, I went through a Plyometrics workout with box jumps, jumping jacks, skater jumps, and high knees before jumping on the treadmill for a quick 2 mile run. My legs were really feeling the strain by the end.

Breakfast had to be quick because today was a slow-moving morning for whatever reason. I threw another spoonful of peanut butter into a cup of Greek yogurt, along with some blueberries and raspberries. On the side, I had a bowl of raisin bran with some more banana. I don’t frequently like cereal, but when I crave it, I like raisin bran. Don’t ask me why.

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Lunch was delicious! I made a huge stir fry a couple of nights ago that would make two dinners. It doesn’t take much time at all. To make things even tastier, I drizzled in some teriyaki marinade. Chicken meatballs were the main protein.

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Dinner was a nice surprise in the form of MACARONI AND CHEESE. Barbecue chicken, spinach, peppers, and mushrooms completed this delicious meal. I ate a little too much macaroni, but I can never help myself with this stuff.

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I’ve been working at drinking more water lately. I drink a ton in the morning, but when I get busy, it starts to fall off. I also drink a lot of tea and seltzer and though they’re better than other choices, it’s still important to drink more water. My skin is dry from the weather and the heat blaring, so I need to make sure I’m taking care of myself better.

Traveling always makes consuming water more difficult because I don’t have access to filling up my water bottle as I usually do. This weekend in New York, I got a pretty bad headache from dehydration and a ton of walking. One night I went to bed with my throat dry and craving water, but of course it’s hard to make yourself get up for water when you’re half asleep. Not good feelings.

Get guzzling the good stuff!

Another habit I need to get into more is standing while I work. I made a little set up for myself to be able to stand, but many times when I’m focusing, my go-to move is to sit because that’s what I’m used to when concentrating. It’s all about training yourself to fall into new habits and grow comfortable with things. A trick of the mind.

I keep telling myself that when I was starting to workout, it was a process because I wasn’t used to it for so long. After that initial motivation and discomfort, I fell into the routine and now I can’t imagine my life without my daily sweat session. This can be true of any habit if you remain focused enough. It’s not easy when you’re tired, busy, etc., but it’s the days that you do something despite the world being against you that make the difference in the end.

What are some good habits you’re working at incorporating into your daily routine?

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

We Laugh Because Otherwise We’d Cry- And That’s Just Sad

Does anyone ever watch a person walking, living, or breathing, and wonder how that person appears so simple and fluid and then wonder where exactly you went wrong?

 This occurs to me all the time.

 I’m in this constant state of trying to make myself less complicated because life in general creates all these complications and weird little awkward moments in life that is out of our control.

 For example, yesterday I’m in New York walking around while my friend Bobby worked and I enjoy my (hopefully) brief state of unemployment/finishing up this graduate program/vacation. I walked to and from his work to meet up for lunch, then wandered into a park and sat, wrote, and reflected for awhile just enjoying the sun. Then I decide to go to Barnes and Noble and browse, but I can’t just execute this plan. I have to spend my relaxing time checking my phone, trying to figure out how long I can stay in the park “relaxing” so that I can “enjoy” my time in the store before heading back to get ready for the concert.

 When I do decide to get up and go to Barnes and Noble, the store is huge, which is wonderful and bewildering all at once. I don’t even know where to start and then I’m wondering why I can’t just browse like I wanted in the first place.

 I make it back towards the apartment and I stop at Duane Reade because I’m hungry and thirsty, but I have to pee. I can’t decide what I want to snack on, but at the same time I have to hurry because of my pressing need, and there I just kind of stand in the middle of the store crossing my legs and bending sideways and everyways, looking like an idiot because I’m so indecisive.

 Even my sleep-like state tortures me as I dream about something that is approaching and making me anxious and nervous, so I wake up shaking and dizzy from exhaustion. When I get myself up and make it to where I need to catch my bus home, I’m back at Duane Reade trying to decide if I want to get M&Ms for the bus ride, which of course I do, but then I can never quite implement the actual plan without some sort of mental obstacle.

 Perhaps this is a tendency all young people, or people in general feel, but don’t quite show. Maybe it’s a result of my anxiety that I can mostly handle, but reveals itself in these little moments. Or maybe I just pay too damn close attention to parts of me that other people shrug off and ignore.

 I don’t like to compare myself to people because I don’t think that’s a productive way to live. Sure, I admire certain people for aspects of themselves that are inspiring. Everyone does and I think that’s important. But it’s times like when I’m in the middle of a store, trying to control my bladder (which thankfully, I’ve long since mastered) bent over and in agony, pushed over by someone who walks down the right aisle to grab the snack they know they want, that I wonder if other people feel like this.

Then I go to a concert to see this esteemed theater actress perform and she has a brief, potentially embarrassing wardrobe malfunction, which you can tell somewhat throws her off, but she still runs with it and laughs about it. Maybe that’s because she’s surrounded by a crowd of supportive, adoring fans cheering when she breathes a certain way.

 Maybe it’s because we’re all navigating this wacky world with our overwhelming minds together.

 Or maybe- probably- I’m just overthinking it.

 Let’s just all laugh together.