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!

Beware the Pigeons

Happy Monday! A little recap of the weekend lies ahead.

On Friday, there was nothing more that I wanted to do than sit on my couch and veg. I watched some 30 Rock and just chilled, but was lulled to sleep fairly early.

I even ended up waking before my alarm on Saturday to eat a pancake breakfast and work it out at the gym.

In the afternoon, I went to the Science Center to try and be smarter see the Pixar Exhibit. My first impression was of these beautiful trees that made me feel as though I was transported to a magical world.

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Expectations were high, but then I met up with my cousins and we got lunch. Tables were full, so we ate outside and I can’t tell you how many birds surrounded the seating area. Every so often, as one, they would fly away suddenly. Long story short, on one of these instances, a pigeon clipped my head with its wing.

I got hit in the head by a pigeon.

I don’t know how else to emphasize this. Such an instance has inspired me to blog again because although ridiculous, it is also hilarious. A few minutes later, I was then hit in the head by a balloon that a kid popped. On the way home, I was worried for my noggin, you know, rule of three, but thankfully, all circumstances seemed to end there.

Back to the reason I was at the museum in the first place, the Pixar Exhibit, it was cool, but overcrowded by kids with minimal supervision and limited understanding of any of the science behind it. I give the museum itself an, eh, but that, as my cousin Sebastian pointed out, is probably thanks in large part to the Boston Museum of Science being amazing. Nothing else can quite live up to it.

Because I’m a cool cat, the rest of my Saturday included grocery shopping, meal prepping for the week ahead, lots of Netflix (30 Rock and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), writing, and reading. I wanted to watch Saturday Night Live, well, live, but I was tired and ending up falling asleep early.

On Sunday, I slept in a bit, enjoyed breakfast, and tried to make a lentil soup that ended up looking more like lentil goop. I’m sure you’ll see evidence of this travesty at some point this week because although it looks disgusting, I’m not above eating it. For the record, it still tastes well enough.

I was quite active, starting with Yoga on the new mat I purchased for 7 dollars. This feels like a steal, so please don’t take that away from me. I ran through my own routine, which oiled me up for the best run I’ve had in awhile.

Speaking of running, while my family suffered another snow storm back home on the east coast, I took to the sunny streets of Los Angeles for a sweaty run. It was in the seventies something and amazing outside.

Maybe I wasn’t the nicest daughter/sister/cousin by sending out this shot, but I couldn’t resist. At least many of them get a snow day today!

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After my run, I fueled up with a piece of peanut butter toast and yogurt with strawberries and lots of water before I decided it was far too nice out to be locked up inside and took my bike out for a spin.

With the beach on my mind, there was only one destination intended, but the ride was not smooth. For whatever reason (there’s a reason), this ride was hard and slow (-er than usual) and I realized, on my eighth mile back from the beach and because another rider called out to me, that my back tire was low. Whoops. Here I was thinking I was out of shape, when really, I’m in excellent shape to ride that long on a flat tire. That’s what I’m telling myself.

Once at the beach, I pulled over to do some writing while taking in this view.

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Had I not been by bike, I would’ve stayed to watch the sunset, but it’s February and the weather has been what it’s been, so I think I’ve got some sunsets in my future (knock on wood).

For the rest of the afternoon, I had some errands to run and things to do, but once I got home, I made myself dinner, threw in the laundry, and prepped for the week ahead, including a new workout plan. Call me a nerd, but there’s something satisfying about a new workout plan.

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As I write this on Sunday night, I’m hoping to wake up earlier than usual and exercise in the morning. It all depends on how I sleep tonight. It would be nice to just go home, eat, write, and sleep in the evenings, but thus far, I’ve been consistent with my post-work exercising. My body’s ideal workout time is late morning, early afternoon, which is prime for very few people’s schedules. Pick your poison I guess!

No matter how your Monday or week goes, at least you won’t get hit in the head by a pigeon. Probably.

Habits and the Power of Mindfulness

Hello, my name is Caitlin and it has been four days since I last dipped into the candy bowl. It’s become more of a habit than anything else. I get that it’s a delightful treat once in awhile, but I was starting to eat candy I don’t even like- ie, not chocolate! I’m being better about remaining more mindful and maintaining a positive attitude. This has helped keep me more consistent in my writing as well. The power of habit is all the same, we just have to tap into it.

There’s something about a walk on a warm, breezy day that is just good for the soul. This is especially true after a long, trafficky ride home from work. I racked up to extra miles for my day’s exercise as well. I suppose just the fact that the sun is shining down is enough.

My morning workout began with a body strength workout. I went through a circuit of squats, lunges, kickbacks, tricep dips, step ups, mountain climbers, push ups, mermaid raises, Russian twists, hip lifts, bicycle crunches, and v ups. I ran through it four times and was nice and sweaty by the time I was heading for the pool. I swam a mile in about 43 minutes and it took a few minutes to adjust to being out of the water when I finished. I can’t get over how much I adore swimming, but I also can’t write this post without mentioning this man who took up an entire lane and didn’t swim one lap. He just chilled there. It was lap time!

Breakfast was a chilled overnight oatmeal that hit the spot. For an guitar fruity kick, I ate some blueberries and raspberries on the side. The cinnamon, raisin, walnut combination never fails me. Hint, it all has to do with the complementary flavors of the chopped dates and mashed banana. So refreshing!

  
I was very proud of my lunch, which were leftovers of the meal I made on Sunday. My Parmesan crusted tilapia and shaved Brussels sprout salad held up well for a couple of days in the fridge. So bright, tasty, and nutritious! I’m not sure my pictures can quite convey the yumminess.

  

For a mid-day snack, I had prepared a bowl of cherry kefir and some freshly chopped strawberries. Although I was dubious before trying, the combination turned out to be excellent. I’m trying to be more creative with my snack combinations so I don’t grow bored and turn back to that candy jar.

Another colorful, flavorful, veggie-filled meal included steak, corn, a great big salad, and a side of nachos. I love food cooked on the grill because it can be so healthy and maybe a little because it is the epitome of summer. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good hotdog or cheeseburger, but a good chicken, the am, or shrimp kebab with a side of grilled veggies doesn’t suck either.

  
We’ve reached mid-week, friends! I think it’s time we can start looking forward to the weekend! Any good plans?

Weekend Recap

I am not much of an artist. When I’m drawing or painting, I always envision this magnificent masterpiece, but the final product always flops. No matter how many times this has happened, I start off with the hope and am left hopeless. The one thing I am kinda good at drawing is a cat, more of the animated variety. When I was teaching kindergarten, there was quite a frenzy for those cats.

My lack of artistic ability presents itself especially around Easter. Though dyeing eggs takes time and dedication, knowing how long to leave them in the dye to create the perfect hue, it is really the pre-dyeing process that is difficult. Crayons have always been difficult to draw with- colored pencils allow far more accuracy- no matter when used on a rounded surface. This past Friday, I began with the same hopeless optimism.

My first endeavor was to draw an egg with my name on it, which I have mastered over the years, then to drop the egg into pink dye for a long time.

The second egg was in honor of my cousin Erin who was away for the weekend and whose presence needed to be felt in egg form. It was a masterpiece truly.

My third egg, I decided to create Louise from Bob’s Burgers. Let me tell you, it was pretty fantastic. You know I’m not lying because I started the post off mentioning how awful I am at drawing and art. But damn, on the mediocre scale, it was high up there. I was so proud of myself that I set out to snap a picture of it before peeling the egg for my breakfast in the morning. It’s gone.

Now, there were quite a few people at my house during the egg dyeing and they could have easily taken it with innocent intentions, but I was careful to keep an eye on that egg and make sure it was still in my possession. If you were at my house that night and you took eggs, check them before you eat them for the egg that says and has Louise on it. And PLEASE snap a picture for me. I’m devastated.

Moving on, Easter weekend was a nice and relaxing one. Friday night was spent dyeing eggs, enjoying a good meal, a good drink, fun games, and lots of laughter. It’s been a tradition for years in my family to dye these eggs and I’m glad we’ve continued it on into our adulthood. By the time I curled into bed, I had been awake for 22.5 hours. Totally worth it.

I slept in nice and late on Saturday morning and it was glorious. Not having to wake up to an alarm is a precious rarity. When I did get up, I cooked up my favorite peanut butter pancakes. I had forgotten to take an allergy pill the night before, so taking it during the day made me a little sleepy.

Outside, the day was fairly warm and sunny, but quite windy. I still had to wear a hood to protect my sensitive ears, but when the wind wasn’t blowing, the sun felt great. It’s just so nice to be outside again and not seeing a sea of white grimy, dirty snow.For lunch, I threw a quick and delicious salad together with a piece of toast. It was nice and filling and kept me energized through my run later on in the day.

I finally got to run outside again. There is not quite a feeling like running outside in the sun. I threw on a hat, light jacket, and some pants and flew away. I’m in need of a new fanny pack because the band overstretched itself and was falling down. I ended up having to wrap it around my waist twice, which was tight but not uncomfortable. It was a true feat that I didn’t have to stop running as this happened. I ran 3.1, despite the wind blowing even more resistance at me as I was running up hills. For the next two miles, I alternated between running and walking. My knee wasn’t hurting during the workout, but is feeling a little sore now. Something to keep an eye on! I finished up my workout by doing a little stretching and Yoga, which was relaxing and rejuvenating.

My tastebuds were feeling indecisive Saturday night when it came time for dinner. I started with a bowl of raisin bran with half a banana chopped on top. Sweet and satisfying. A little later on, I grilled up a hotdog on a piece of whole wheat toast. With a little ketchup and mustard, it was delicious! On the side, I had a few potato chips, carrots, and celery.

Sunday started off with a breakfast feast. Poached eggs on toast with a sausage, bacon, fruit, and a bite of cinnamon roll. I also dug into the candy that the Easter Bunny left behind. Reese’s eggs are the best, no question.

For easter lunch, we went over to my aunt and uncle’s house for a great meal of ham, potatoes, fresh veggies, and way too many yummy cookies on my part. I remember many Easters being able to sit outside in the warm sun, wearing dresses, and enjoying the spring day, but it was once again windy, which made it cold! I’m going to just go with the fact that Easter is a tad early this year, which is why the weather isn’t cooperating.

Before calling it in for the night, I made my lunch and breakfast for the morning and went on a final walk. Not too warm, not too cold.