to the ocean, the mountains, and back again

Another Monday, another wistful look back at the weekend. It was a good one, yet again, a perfect combination of restful and active.

The week was a long one and I was looking forward to the oblivion of a relaxing Friday night at home, but instead, I buckled up and went to a networking event with some co-worker friends. To get some energy beforehand, I headed out for a short run, which allowed me to soak up some sun and positivity. It was a fun night and I enjoyed chatting it up with friends. I very much loved falling into bed and sleeping to my heart’s content as Saturday began.

I didn’t have anything planned for the weekend, so I texted my cousin Meghan to see what was up, and she suggested Long Beach. This was on my to-do list for sure, so I was eager to go, after pancakes and a workout!

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We made the trek and were ready for lunch once we arrived. The idea to sit outside was mutual all around, except we didn’t factor in the wind. Wind in LA spring is real. We lost menus and chips, chips! The food was good though and once our bellies were full, we were ready to explore the area.

You’d think beaches would be easy and plentiful to find in Long Beach, but you would be wrong. I don’t know what our problem was, but it took us forever to find one. Once we were there, it was nice, but windy.

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I’m itching for summer and the ability to dive into the waves and not be considered a crazy person. My love of the ocean often battles my hatred of freezing cold water, but once the summer sun comes out strong and the wind dies down, I’ll gladly numb myself to get in that ocean.

Gotta love walking on the beach!

Once we headed home, I trekked over to the grocery store and did a lot of nothing for the rest of the night.

Sunday was my most active day. It was beautiful out, still windy, but the sunshine was calling my name. My first stop was the local climbing spot.

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Spring is in full bloom in lovely Southern California, and at one point, I stopped dead looking up at the flowers covering the mountain. It was one of those “wow” moments for sure, but my pictures couldn’t captivate the true beauty.

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Once on top, I looked to my left towards the ocean and the right towards the mountains and city.

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Damn.

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I had to make a quick stop at Target (it’s never really quick or cheap!) to pick up an air-pump for my bike, so I could pedal over to the beach. I’m not certain that it made much difference, and my back tire seemed a little draggy, and riding against the wind did not help my cause, but with the beach as my destination, I continued on with determination.

The ride was spectacular. The bike path to the beach is always pretty, but the river was sparkling and the flowers overwhelming and despite the pain of riding, I felt the joy.

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At the beach, I pulled over to the rocks and sat myself down for some quality time with my journal, the sun, and the water. Find me below aiming for pensive and ending up squinty.

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I reveled in the warmth of it all for a long while, until I felt the pull of home. Even though the wind was lessened at this point, my legs were tired (and my back tire probably still low), so it was a challenging ride. Why is bike riding so difficult for me? I’m in good cardio shape. I run and spin at the gym, so something’s not adding up. I think it’s my bike…probably?

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Back at my apartment, it was cooking time. First, I showered and threw on my robe to be my ultra comfiest. I’ll have a post at some point this week with some meals from the past couple weeks, but I cooked my dinner, made a few breakfasts for the week, then even made tomorrow night’s dinner. Pretty nifty.

I’m trying to be efficient with breakfast because I’m going to try and get my lazy butt up in the morning to workout. I’ve been good about my evening workouts, but with the sun staying out later, I’m hoping to free up some time after work.

There’s nothing like time spent at the ocean and in the mountains to fill up the soul. Happy Monday!

Hello from the weekend!

Look at this peanut buttery, chocolatey waffle from Friday morning!

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Friday after work, I ended up going out with some of my new co-workers before calling it a night and getting some late night sushi. I don’t know if it’s an LA thing or a where-Caitlin-goes-in-LA-thing but I’ve met some terrible customer service as of late. I ended up waiting a long time for my takeout and none of the waiters or waitresses seemed interested in making my experience a positive one. I’ve actually come up agains this quite a bit in my time here and not just directed at me. Hmm.

I ended up falling into a deep sleep on Friday night and slept in nice and late on Saturday. For breakfast, I made some pancakes, which I thought I photographed, but alas did not. They were yummy. It was a sad breakfast, however, thanks to the lack of half n half preventing me from having a cup of coffee to go along with it. Thus, I was goaded into grocery shopping.

Stocked up, it was time to make it official at my new gym and get in my daily dose of exercise. Shoulders, legs, and core were on the menu and I am feeling the effects of it still. It was a good workout, ending with some time on the bike.

After I ran some errands, a friend came over and we ended up talking about conspiracy theories and scaring ourselves. Casual Saturday evening. At least I baked cookies.

Sunday morning breakfast included eggs, an english muffin, and fruit.

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After some pitter-pattering around, it was time for a run. No judgement zone, but I ran to the donut shop and back, which is no small trek, but still, I ate a yummy donut at the end of it so…

Post-run and donut excursion, it was time for the beach! I ended up taking the train over, which was super easy and fast. Yay!

During all my trips to Santa Monica, I’ve never actually been in the water (other than my toes) so it was time for a dip.

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I took some time to dry off and write a bit in my notebook before I headed over to my friend’s house to watch the debate. Frightening. That’s all I can say about it. I said my peace in yesterday’s post, so hopefully, come November, we won’t have to worry about it anymore.

The rest of my Sunday included meal prep for the week, a quick dinner, and some quality writing and Netflix time. Hope all was well for you this weekend.

Happiest of Mondays!

Day One!

It’s in the books, folks! I made it through one day in LA, waking up in my cozy bed in Boston and now about to fall asleep in my new home in LA. It’s hard to describe what I’m feeling. I can’t decide if I’m incredibly brave or stupid, but I’m going with both because it’s good to be versatile.

A little nervous. Kind of excited.

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After an early morning wake-up call and a for-now goodbye, my mom and I headed to the airport (thanks Dad and Mac!) for her conference and my new life. Once through security, it was time for a semi-ish breakfast.

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Now boarded, I kept waiting for that meaningful last moment in Boston, but the plane kept pretending to take off without actually leaving and I ended up kind of falling asleep. Look at this dude trying to judge my moment!

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I was very excited to get off the plane, though it was a smooth ride, so I could stretch these legs! After I collected my bags, my mom and I hitched a ride to our hotel for the next few nights. By the time we put our bags down, I was so hungry (I really wouldn’t last long on a deserted island) so we headed into the city to find something to eat. Sandwiches did the trick, all the way through dinner, and we ate at noon LA time. Damn good though!

Our post-lunch activities included walking around to find a store to buy wine. My mother will not accept tiny refrigerated bottles of wine, but she was pleased that convenience stores sell alcohol in CA. The wine came in handy later.

Back at the hotel, we welcomed my car to its new life too! There was a brief, terrifying moment, when all I saw was a BMW on the truck that was most definitely not mine, but then the guy called out to me from across the street and there she was! Such an easy way to get that car cross-country. I can only imagine what Princess must have seen on her journey. The other things that were reunited were my slippers. Due to circumstances I don’t need to get into, let’s just accept that one slipper made the trek in my car, the other in my suitcase. I found it funny.

Now aided with a car, we headed to one of my favorite places in the world- Santa Monica.

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The ocean immediately put me at ease, reminding me that it’s important to try new things, chase after dreams, and explore this world.

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My mom loved Santa Monica too, from the water to the Pier, where we rode the roller coaster and ferris wheel on a perfect September day.

 

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Some more exploring found us a new friend!

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The afternoon ended with an ice cream cone before we headed out to take a peek at my new apartment. I can’t divulge pictures yet, but I am both excited and relieved for these new developments.

Things that I learned about LA numero uno: No one is lying to you. Traffic sucks. It tooks us about 50 minutes to go 9 miles from my apartment to the hotel. Yikes. This is the thing that will probably be the most challenging for me. But let me tell you, everything else I saw today just makes me excited!

Fun fact: my mom prefers traveling with an actual map over an app. I don’t disagree with her, if I had the time to analyze a map every time I drove!

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Tucked into bed, it was time for a shared glass of wine.

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Now it’s time to give into these heavy-lidded eyes (and yeah, it’s still super early LA time, but give a girl a break!) It sure does help to have my mom here to help transition me through this move!

Sit Up Straight! No, But Really, You Should Do That

Is everybody recovering from their (hopefully) fun-filled Labor Day weekend?

Saturday morning, I opened at work, but I was out by noon and ready to enjoy a weekend! After lunch, I picked up my friend Nouha and we headed out to the store. Now’s the perfect time to buy a bathing suit because everything is on sale. Now is not the perfect time to buy a bathing suit because 1. they are hard to find in the store 2. all products are tossed together in one section regardless of size, shape, and match.

Fun fact: I found the bathing suit of my choice lying on a dressing room bench. It was 75% off and I just so happened to have a gift card, so I spent a whopping $3.44. Time well spent.

After our shopping trip, Nouha and I walked the five mile trek around a local lake. It was hot, but trees shaded us for the most part and things didn’t feel too bad. We rewarded ourselves with frozen yogurt after- mint chocolate chip is amazing! When I got home, my legs were still itching for a bit of a workout, so I took off for a run. By the end, I reached five more miles for a wonderful and exhausting tally of 10 miles.

The ability to walk/run 10 miles = my strength for Saturday.

I came home and grilled up the rest of the tilapia for another delicious meal! As I settled into study for the rest of the night, my parents came home and bullied me into going over to my neighbors’ house to sit by the fire pit. I say this in jest as it did not take much to tear me away from my textbook. It was the weekend after all!

On Sunday, I got to try out my new bathing suit. I had one goal in mind when it came to selecting a new suit: I wanted something I did not need to keep adjusting as I dove into the waves. I am a big beach girl so far as I love the ocean. Yes, it scares me because, sharks. Pools are also very nice and safer because, no sharks.

But there is something majestic about the salty water, the push and pull of waves, and connection to nature. So long as I can see through the water and there isn’t any seaweed hooking its way around me, or, sharks, I’m a happy girl.

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This picture just proves I have a humungous forehead. But at least it’s a happy forehead. Every dive into the wave on Sunday, and trust me, I was in the water for over an hour so there were a lot, gave me my strength.

As far as food on Sunday, I had a toast breakfast before the beach, a deliciously well-crafted sandwich for lunch, and barbecue for dinner (hot dog, grilled chicken, the fixings). On the way home, we stopped at Dairy Queen and I indulged in a blizzard- reese’s cup!

Monday morning, I set my alarm early to get in a workout before work. I started with a dumbbell strength circuit and I was feeling tired. I think it has to do with all the wave-diving of the previous day. I followed my strength routine up with a core circuit. I’ve been more devoted to core strength since I started studying for my personal training cert, as I grow increasingly aware of how important posture is for the body to function.

True Life: I am a sloucher.

Listen to your mamas and papas, folks, and stand/sit/walk with that head held up high and back straight. Damn.

To end things on a high note, I rocked a plyometric circuit that left me nice and sweaty. Before a few hours of work, I showered and stuffed down a peanut butter wrap, feeling strong to start my day.

I was out of work by noon and ready to relax by the pool. I fully intended to swim, but the water was a little chilly and I tried to take things slow by sitting on a raft. Relaxing turned into a full blown nap and I only woke up when a bird cawed loudly in the distance. For my life purposes, I am thankful I did not topple over into the water. For blogging purposes, I am thoroughly disappointed I could not share a story of me tumbling into the water with you.

After my nice nap, it was study time! I have a nice feeling about the nervous, skeleton, and endocrine systems, but the muscular system is still proving to be difficult to comprehend. I’ll get there, I hope.

Dinner was tilapia once again. This piece was intended to be spread over two meals, which means, yay! I don’t have to cook much for lunch. I topped it with thin slices of butter and a lemon pepper seasoning. Since it was a slightly thicker piece, I cooked the fish for six minutes on the first side and four for the second. Perfection! I paired the fish with a heaping portion of broccoli and a sweet potato topped with butter and cinnamon.

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I met up with my friend Molly to walk. We haven’t seen each other since our Californian adventures, so it was great to catch up! I’m not sure how far we got, but I do know there were a ton of laborious hills that left my legs feeling sore today. Chatting away as day gave into night and it was still hot as balls  was my moment of strength for Monday.

Before bed, I put in a few more hours of studying.

This morning, I woke up and made myself a pancake breakfast. Pancakes, peanut butter, jelly, coconut, and a berry bowl = delicious.

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The cakes with ample water and coffee left me feeling energized and ready to attack my strength workout. Now to get to it!

Part Five: I Think I Look Really Cool in a Backwards Hat

I love love love the sun and yesterday I spent the day at the beach, including starting my morning off with some Yoga by the water. It was harder than I imagined and I almost fell over a bunch of times, but I’m glad I went. A good rainstorm once in awhile can have the same effect, which has been especially beneficial to my garden today. When I first started typing this up, I was sipping on a cup of coffee and listening to the rain and all feels well. I had to run off to work so I am now finishing several hours later and getting ready to head out for a kickboxing class.

Now onto part five. These recaps are flying by as fast as the trip itself!

Our fifth day was a touristy one. We bought tickets to the Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour that I’ve done in a few places, as well as a few times in LA, including New York, London, and Oxford. It’s a great way to see cities, to get around, and to distinguish what you want to do more of and what you’re fine with just passing by.

It was about 95 and the sun was blaring, but thanks to no humidity and the cool breeze, we had no trouble sitting on the top deck. This time, we knew to slather on the sunblock and I wore my new hat to protect my scalp.

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I didn’t take a ton of pictures because I was nervous the bus would lurch and I would drop my phone, but I can walk you through the tour. We started in Hollywood, once again bypassing other tourists stopping to take pictures of the stars every few seconds until we could get onto the bus. The ride took us to Sunset Boulevard, Melrose Ave, Beverly Hills, and The Grove, where we got off for lunch.

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We walked around the Farmer’s Market then all the stores at The Grove while we waited to get a little hungrier and decide what we wanted to eat. It was a sandwich kind of day, so I went with a ham and cheese with lettuce, tomato, and mustard on a croissant. It was quite tasty and after finishing with a scoop of sweetness from an ice cream shoppe, we headed out to meet our bus.

The entire ride of this particular section was two hours long, so we stayed on, taking in the views and the clear, picture-perfect day until we made it to Beverly Hills again. Here, we hopped off and hopped onto another bus that would take us through Santa Monica, Brentwood, and Westwood.

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There is no live tour guide, but you can opt to listen to a pre-recorded taping that offers quite a lot of information. It’s particularly nice to take tours like this in big cities where walking everywhere is not particularly easy because you can see a lot more than you would otherwise. It was amazing to stop in front of the beach again and take in the view, though it made me want to run down and dive into the water.

Once we made it to Westwood, we jumped off in order to make a stop at a place called Diddy Riese where they sell delicious cookies and ice cream on the cheap. I mentioned that we indulged our sweet teeth quite a lot on this trip and didn’t hesitate to navigate our way to the store. It was so good!

We didn’t have much time to explore the area though it seemed like a nice, fun college town reminiscent of Boston because we had to catch the last bus to Beverly Hills! As we pulled into Beverly Hills and were stopped at a traffic light, Molly spotted Kerry Washington. Neither of us watch Scandal but she’s recognizable enough for us to brag about it and get street cred for the sighting. Just as we were about to wave, she turned around, but it’s probably for the best not to look like crazed tourists.

Back in Beverly Hills and waiting to get onto our bus back to Hollywood, we spotted a helicopter flying above us, which led us to think something crazy cool was happening, but nothing ever came to fruition.

It was cool to be driving through the area as it darkened until I got hit in the eye by a tree branch and I decided to wear my sunglasses for protection. It was actually funnier than it sounds though it could have done some damage.

Deciding to get a bite to eat for dinner before heading back to our hotel, Molly and I stopped into Mel’s Drive-In for a little Breakfast for Dinner. I chose French toast and Molly had pancakes that were pretty good.

Another fun day was had!

To end, I would just like to pay tribute to Robin Williams who passed away a year ago today. I remember exactly where I was when I found out, on vacation with my family in New Hampshire, and that sadness and shock lingers.

Forgive people their humanness, you never know the pain that is in their hearts, even when their smile is so bright.

May Greetings!

It must be the end of the week because I just had to be told I was wearing my sweatshirt backwards. The terrible thing is, I thought it was strange when I couldn’t find the front pocket, but it didn’t alert me to maybe see what was happening. One could say I have so many other things going on, I couldn’t be bothered with such frivolous details. One would be too kind.

The day started off with a little bit of an eff you from my alarm. I thought I still had some time, so I rolled over to lay on my side just as my alarm blared. It was really mean, but it offended me such much, it woke me right up. Nicely played, Siri? *When speaking in terms of iPhones, I just blame Siri for everything.

I got things moving with a body strength workout at the gym. Side step ups are harder than they look, especially when followed by elevated calf raises, two different types of squats, two different kinds of lunges, kneeling kickbacks using a very tight resistance band, and elevated hip lifts on a stability ball. My legs were sore! I also went through tricep dips, push ups, mountain climbers, mermaid raises, sit ups, Russian twists, and roll outs. After, I was stoked to hop in the pool, even though it was a bit crowded and I was wall side in my lane, which in hate because I feel claustrophobic. I also enjoy swimming in the middle lanes of the pool because it has the whole open water effect. I’m a freak, I know. *For the record, if you out me in actual open water, I would panic and drown myself by accident. I fit in a solid mile and left the gym jazzed for the day.

For breakfast, I heated up the new breakfast sandwich machine to excellent results. It’s super easy to use, it’s fast, and you don’t have to do much fussing about, so I can get organized without feeling rushed. This also allows me a little longer time at the gym. Fresh fruit topped off my yummy meal.

 

I was- ok, my mom- was right about the whole fat in my meal thing. A little cheese left me fuller for longer and I didn’t even think of eating again until a few, appropriate, hours later. Lunch was a stir fry with buckwheat noodles,  chicken, veggies, and the aforementioned cheese. For a snack, I had the juiciest orange and a cup of Trader Joes coconut cream Greek yogurt that was incredible. Seriously, it was so good, but it did have a little more sugar than I would normally allot for a snack.

  It was all about the veggies for dinner. I tossed a shaved Brussels sprout salad together for a fresh side,malong with kebabs with grilled chicken, pepper, and zucchini. Because we were going to make it earlier in the week and didn’t, we also had cauliflower au gratin and a side of brown spinach rice. So good!

It’s Friday, friends, which means one more morning until I can sleep in! Also, only a few more hours until I get to see my husband, Chris Evans, up on the big screen again. Avengers Assemble! 

Oh! And happy. May!