May the Fourth Be With You

Time to do a little recap of the weekend. Friday night, my friend Stephanie came to town for a little roomie reunion. First stop was pizza and salad for dinner. The pizza was hot and I was hungry, so I ended up burning the roof of my mouth that is still tender. Not fun, but still tasty.

After dinner was time to go see the new Avengers movie. I like action films and I love Chris Evans, but this one was not as good as the original and nowhere near as good as the recent Captain America Winter Soldier. I think there were so many characters and too long action sequences that quality dialogue and character development got lost. I think I would have feared for the end of the world a little more if there was more sentimentality involved. Still a quality movie, but not as good as their usual.

Saturday was Red Sox day! Stephanie and I headed into Boston during the late morning and had lunch at our favorite old haunt, UBurger. It’s seriously the best burger in town. The fries and onion rings aren’t so bad either.

  
After lunch, we headed into the game. We had pretty good seats and the sun was shining, but the game was a little blah. When I, at the game, I like to see a ton of runs scored to keep the momentum going. I hate when pitchers move so slowly because it prevents a natural rhythm flowing on either side. I would like to remind you of when I posted right before the season starting that Blake Swihart would be our starting catcher come May. I went to the game on May 2nd and saw his debut. I’m a little psychic, but hella baseball savvy. Just don’t let me buy his jersey.

 The afternoon was still pleasant, even after a disappointing loss, so we took advantage of walking around the city. There were definitely a lot of people out, but I think everyone was just in a good mood because of the long winter we had. We walked up Newbury Street, around the Common, and back down Boylston where we stopped at another old college favorite for dinner.

  
This place has the best Chinese food. Often times when I eat Chinese, it’s too oily and doesn’t sit right in my stomach. This was not the case. We split an order of crab Rangoon, spring rolls, and sesame chicken with brown rice. Perfect size for sharing! To walk off dinner, we took the train stop farthest away from where we were. Throughout the day, I racked up 16,500 steps!

  
That night, we had a bit of a movie marathon. I can’t remember the name but the first movie we watched starred Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd, two of my favorites, but it was a little strange. Amy was flawless as usual and it was meant to make a mockery of romantic comedies, but it was a tad too silly for my tastes. Next, we watched a strange little thriller called The Babadook that was just weird and not as scary as our typical standards.

Sunday morning brought my peanut butter pancakes. It was seriously so nice out and I couldn’t wait to get outside! After Stephanie headed home in the early afternoon, I laced up my sneakers and took off for a run. I did 3.1 miles but was feeling tightness in my calves. I topped it off with a 3 mile walk and a few sprints once my legs loosened up. After getting some chores done, I headed out for a 2 mile walk with my mom. Overall, I set a new record for steps- 20,000. Every single one was worth it out there in the he sun and warmth. It was such a perfect day.

   
I finished off my day with a quality writing session. I’ve been staying up about an hour later than usual to write and so far it hasn’t effected my morning workouts or made me too tired. If anything, I, feeling even better knowing I’m making time for my passion. It fills the soul in other ways.

I got up this morning and took myself to the gym for a strength workout. It was an intense one with a to of heavy weights using the barbell. Performing each move in reps of 10x10x8x8x6x6x4x4, I kept raising the weight. My routine included dead lifts, bicep curls, rows, high pulls, shoulder presses, squat presses, leg presses, bench presses, shoulder raises, and tricep extensions. It took so long, I didn’t have time for cardio, but that’s quite alright because I went for a nice walk with my mom in the afternoon.

Breakfast was a quick egg sandwich made on an English muffin with pepperjack cheese, ham, and an egg. It actually kept me full until lunch, later in the day than usual. I enjoyed a stir fry made with chicken, black beans, veggies, and cilantro lime brown rice I made based off of Chipotle. All I did was toss cilantro, lime juice, and olive lil into the rice pan. It was quite good and something a little different! I had an orange for dessert.

  
For an afternoon snack, I enjoyed some Trader Joe’s peanut butter cup trail mix that has little peanut butter cups, dried cherries, almonds, and cashews. It’s my favorite- the right combination of nutritious and indulgent!

On the even more beautiful Monday- 80 degrees!- dinner was a fresh piece of swordfish grilled with some peppers and zucchini. I had a little brown spinach rice to go with it, along with some of these crunchy green bean fries and leftover cauliflower.

And finally, May the Fourth Be With You! Happy Star Wars day!

  

  Just ignore the fact that this posted a day after…

Sorry If I Slapped Your Face

I think I slapped someone with my backstroke in the pool. It as an accident. When I started my lap, I was alone in the lane, but I was joined,midst know its and *smack.* I think I was more startled than he was injured.

Regardless, I had a great workout that started with a body strength circuit I ran through three times. The circuit included step ups, squats, lunges, push ups, mountain climbers, mermaid raises, elevated hip lifts, v ups, bicycle crunches, Russian twists, and rollouts. I had a nice sweat rolling before I changed into my suit and took it to the pool. Today was my sprint day in the pool and I quickly found myself short of breath, in a good way. By the end, I was energized, awake, and ready to face the day!

Wednesday, woke up feeling sore from the day’s before, so I did a Yoga sequence at home then ran outside. I’m glad I did because it was beautiful out? Even though it’s been harder to get myself up in the morning, it has also been lighter out so when I step outside,the sun is there to greet me. By the time I was running, it was warm and sunny, better I think than it was in the afternoon. It felt good to have a nice stretch with Yoga.

My breakfasts the past couple of days included peanut butter toast on Thursday with a hard-boiled egg and fruit.

 
Wednesday was a cup of Greek yogurt with berries and a waffle with peanut butter and half a banana.

  

Stir frys have been big with me for lunch these past couple of days. I enjoyed brown rice with chicken and veggies on Thursday.

  
On Wednesday, I ate buckwheat noodles with chicken and veggies. Nice and colorful! Buckwheat noodles seem heartier to me and I’ve really enjoyed them.

  
A salad with some chicken was the main item on the dinner menu on Thursday. I paired it with half of a baked potato, green beans, and some leftover Chinese food, which was our dinner on Wednesday- forgot the picture for that!

 
The past few weekends have been an absolute blast celebrating my sister and her fiancé with family and friends, but this weekend is about relaxation! I do have a few exciting things planned, but I expect to spend a ton of time writing and catching up on tv.

A Look Back

I was in charge of dog and cat duties Tuesday morning, so I expected to have to wake up a tad earlier than usual. Upon waking just a few minutes before my alarm rang, I found that we were in the middle of a raging thunder storm and no one should be expected to go out in that. Two of us slept in, while one of us hid under the bed. That would be my cat, Bandit. He’s big and brave except when it comes to storms.

When I did pull myself out of bed, I found that even that extra half hour of sleep made quite the difference. Unfortunately it cut into my workout time a bit, but it was a nice surprise. I walked the dog then took myself to the gym for a swim. I ended up swimming my fastest mile and my shoulders, combined with a strength workout from the day before, left my shoulders feeling sore. It was a great way to start the day and I ended with a longer walk on baht turned out to be a spectacular day!

Breakfast was this big, warm bowl of oats I concocted. Peanut butter, jelly, strawberries, and blueberries.

  
Lunch was a delicious stir fry I threw together with veggies, chicken, and buckwheat noodles mixed together in Thai peanut sauce. I paired it with a pear.

  
For dinner, I made another stir fry with chicken, veggies, and brown rice.

  
Looking back over the weekend, on Monday, I cooked up my pancakes for a hearty meal that filled me through a strength workout and a run.

  
For lunch, I threw a plate of leftovers together to refuel after my workout. Some macaroni and cheese with veggies. Dinner was a chicken curry dish I bought from Trader Joes with a piece of naan and lots of veggies.

Looking even further back to Sunday, I enjoyed some poached eggs over toast to energize my shopping trip. It was quite a sweep for spring/summer clothing! Lunch was a quick slice of pizza mid-shopping.

When I got home, it was still nice out, so I threw on my new sneakers and got to it!

  
I wasn’t feeling spectacular afterwards, so a little later I ate some toast with peanut butter for my dinner.

Further further back is Saturday. Shower day! My mom and I hosted my sister Lauren’s bridal shower at Tavern in the Square and it was quite lovely. While the bride and groom meandered the room, guests feasted on   brunch assortment of omelets, scrambled eggs, bacon, French toast, veggies, macaroni and cheese, and fruit. It was delicious! Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, especially Lauren and Nick, which is most important!

   
    For dinner, we snacked on some chips and salsa before ordering pizzas. I had a salad for a hit of veggies. By the way, banana peppers on pizza is the way to go!

Finally, on Friday night, I went out to celebrate my friend Molly’s birthday. A group of us went to a Mexican place and I had one of my favorite dishes- blackened salmon over a salad with tostito chips on the side.

  

An Ode To Sneakers

I have a tough time letting go of sneakers. Think of all the miles and steps they’ve gone on with you. Some painful, some exuberant, long runs, short jaunts from the initial pain to the inexplicable comfort. I love my sneakers, but after a long winter slushing through the snow to get to the treadmill or the monotony on the treadmill, it’s time to say goodbye. I hate fitting new sneakers on my feet and those first few runs. I try to rack up a few miles by walking because inevitably there will be some pain and blisters. Eventually they start to feel normal and you don’t even appreciate how fitted they are to your feet, kind of like how you don’t yearn to feel “normal” until you’re sick. 

  

 Sneakers are definitely replaceable, but as I “run” through them, I like to take a moment to remember and to appreciate every step, every stride, every puddle, every crunch, every minute, every mile. It makes me feel proud every time I get through another pair of sneakers because I know they were truly used. All the sneakers that have now dusted over or gone to the trash, they’re proof of the work and accomplishment of what I have been able to do these past THREE years. The more worn and rundown they are, the harder I’ve worked, the more I’ve achieved. With fitness, just stepping out the door and making it to the gym is an accomplishment. Revel in it. 

  

Weekends always pass by so quickly in a wonderful way. I’ve had a great weekend of friends, family, food, exercise, and fun, starting on Friday morning with a workout and a bowl of oats. For my workout, I ran through a dumbbell strength routine before finishing up with a sweaty Plyometrics workout. Oatmeal included dark chocolate peanut butter, blueberries, raspberries, and coconut. So delicious!

 

I followed my oatmeal up with leftover pizza and a fresh salad for lunch.

 

 

For dinner, I met up with my friend Molly for our favorite meal at Border Cafe, the blackened salmon salad with warm tostito chips and margaritas of course.

 

 

Saturday was move in day for Lauren and Nick, so I know I needed a substantial breakfast to get going. Peanut butter pancakes are a jewel of life. Fresh, tasty, and nutritious!

 

 

A quick hot dog on a toasted roll and salad helped me refuel.

 

  

After the move, I took myself over to the gym-damn the snow for foiling my plan to run outside!- and started with a stretch session and some Yoga. On the treadmill, I ran 4.1 miles and felt sweaty and tired by the end, looking forward to a full day of rest on Sunday!

My dinner was this delicious stir fry made with veggies, whole wheat bow tie pasta, and chicken meatballs in a Thai peanut sauce. Yum!

 

Before grocery shopping on Sunday, I woke up to some poached eggs over toast. Buttery, warm, and oh so good.

 

 

For lunch, I met my friend Katie in the city. The sun was shining and the air was chilly, with a touch of warmth. I got a barbecue pork sandwich and we split some fries. After, we meandered our way over to some stores and I bought two new shirts, new socks, and a giant coffee mug. 

  

We also stopped into Ben and Jerry’s for some disappointing ice cream. The flavor was halted by the ice chips swirled inside and the taste was not fresh. Disappointing! I have high standards for my ice cream people. 

When I got home, I went on a walk with my mom and the dog before setting up in the kitchen for a veggie chopping session. It is so much easier to chop veggies for lunch in advance so I can just toss everything together in a jiff! So much more to do at night than be making lunches. I was able to get all of my laundry done on Saturday so Sunday was just a relaxing night before the week ahead.

What’s the best thing you did this weekend?

Relaxing Weekends

Monday mornings always come far too soon, but there’s a lot to be said about a relaxing weekend after a month of travel. No complaints by any means, but a weekend of sleeping in and home-cooked meals does a girl right. I woke up Saturday morning at 10:00 AM with my stomach rumbling for my favorite pancakes. I cooked up a batch for myself, topping them with more peanut butter, jelly, and toasted coconut.

  

It was just the meal I needed to keep me fueled through a long shopping trip with my mom and sister. This time, we were on the hunt for a mother of the bride dress. It was fun to see my mom on this side of things and we had some good bonding time. You’ll have to wait until the wedding if you know me or the wedding recap. Very exciting times!

After shopping, we needed to replenish, so we stopped for a bite. I chose the ham and cheese panini with a couple of these homemade potato chips! So good! It didn’t sit well in my stomach later on when I was running though, so I’ll just focus on the good taste of it going down.

  

I did get my regular run in, but I was bummed because I had set my sights on going longer since I was feeling so good through most of it. My stomach didn’t agree by the end so I only logged 3.1 miles. Nothing else was done for the day workout wise, but I was on my feet for most of the day shopping so I didn’t feel so bad.

Dinner was a delicious stir fry I made once I was feeling better. I included a medley of fresh veggies with chicken meatballs and teriyaki sauce on top of some brown rice.

  

I woke up Sunday morning hankering for some poached eggs goodness. I had two over buttered toast and a tangerine for a dash of sweetness. It was back to the grocery store for weekly shopping before we went out for lunch with my grandma, brother, and his girlfriend. It was nice to see everyone and even though it was windy and cold, the sun just looks so nice. Almost teasing, though enjoyable from the inside. I chose the surf and turf option that kept me full long past dinner time. Steak tips with lobster pie and a baked potato. I also started with a salad and a bite of bread because I was so hungry at that point.

  

After lunch, we did a lot more shopping and I came home to get ready for the week ahead, planning my meals. I woke up Monday morning feeling refreshed after a rest day and started with a kettlebell circuit. I followed it up with a few more strength moves using the barbells. It was a strength heavy day, but I finished with a few planks and a run/walk cardio session that rotated between a medium pace, walking on an incline, and running at a faster pace. By the end, I could have continued on longer, but I was out of time and needed to get the rest of my day started.

It was this bowl of oats I was looking forward to after a shower and dressing for the day. White chocolate peanut butter swirled throughout with blueberries, strawberries, and banana. Perfection!

 

I enjoyed this delicious salad for lunch filled with leftover steak, a little avocado, some shredded cheese on top of a bed of lettuce, carrots, cucumber, celery, and peppers. I didn’t even feel hungry for the yogurt I brought later on in the day, so I kept it for the next.

 

 I was ready for dinner by the time it was made. Fresh grilled tilapia with veggies and sweet potato fries did the trick. I also dove in for a little bit of popcorn beforehand to hold me over. The fries turned out a little soggy, but overall it was a great meal!

  

In other news, I’ve been trying to get my cat to sleep on my bed. He has his little spots of the month but it’s been awhile since he’s curled up at the foot of my bed, so I’ve been encouraging him. I laid out three different blankets, giving him a ton of options, and he still jumps off and runs to my parents bed where at the moment there are no blankets! I’m starting to take it personally!

HAPPY FRIDAY!!!

It’s Friday, which means that once I get out of work today, I have plans to do AB-SOL-UTE-LY NOTHING! As much as I love traveling and spending time with friends, I’m exhausted and looking forward to whipping up a home-cooked meal, vegging on the couch, and even getting in some long overdue writing time. Yay Caitlin time!

I am obsessed with swimming lately. I’ve only been back at it for the past three weeks, but it’s such a relief on my body from other exercises like running and strength training and it’s making all the difference. I started my workout this morning with a core/strength routine using the medicine ball and stability ball. I did two circuits, the first including box jumps, squats, lunges, push ups, and kneeling kickbacks with a resistance band. The second circuit was rollouts, elevated hip lifts, hundreds to v-ups, Russian twists, and sit ups. I ran through each circuit four sets of ten reps before finishing up with a few planks on the stability ball. By the end, my abs were aching and my legs had been through the ringer as well.

Hopping into the pool felt so freeing because even though it’s a great full body workout, it’s not as strenuous on the muscles. I did 28 laps (back and forth), the first 12 were at more of a moderate pace. I swam the next 4 as sprints and was so out of breath when I changed into 2 backstroke laps and 2 breaststroke laps to cool down. 4 more were sprints again, followed by 2 more backstroke and 2 breaststroke before cooling down. I felt so energized and rejuvenated after. The most exciting part is that when I first dove in, I was the only one in the pool! I’ve found the perfect time to go- now let’s hope I haven’t jinxed myself.

My breakfast this morning was this beautiful french toast meal. I use pureed pumpkin in my batter for sweetness, along with a dash of vanilla, cinnamon, some milk, and an egg. I coat them with peanut butter for the jolt of protein and because I happen to prefer peanut butter 10000000 x more than syrup.

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Since there are many wedding festivities upcoming and I have such a prominent role as the MOH, I need to start really watching my diet. I’ve been lax in the past couple of weeks due to all that traveling and eating out at restaurants, but the other problem is I sit more at work now. I’ve been making a quality effort to stand, which is much better than sitting all day and I take frequent brisk walks to get my brain and body moving. There are also those assorted bites and tastes I can easily cut out of what I eat in a day and it’s time I pay more attention to that.

In this case, one of my efforts is to eat a salad and soup every day for lunch. There are still a ton of different options and meals I can create to go along with this. I’m aiming for a ton of veggies, which I’m already excellent at incorporating, along with lean proteins, like chicken and fish. I need to get back into my beans! Soups, especially broth-based ones that are homemade or the boxed ones found at Trader Joes, are also excellent because they carry many more nutrients and are also filling. My aim is to only have grains at breakfast and dinner, which shouldn’t be too hard. I’m not cutting out anything I enjoy eating, I’m just trying to be more mindful and stopping diving into things without realizing or appreciating what I’m eating.

My lunch was this tasty leftover salad from the other night featuring baby spinach, poppyseed dressing, walnuts, and craisins with tomato, cucumber, carrots, peppers, and grilled chicken tossed in. I had a cup of the leftover miso soup with a dash of spicy chili sauce that made it that much better.

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So good! And I didn’t feel deprived in any way.

Dinner was more indulgent with macaroni and cheese and barbecue chicken, but the broccoli and asparagus were good buffers. I was careful to slow down my eating and savor each bite and when I finished, I didn’t even feel compelled for seconds. This is a big deal when I can turn down more macaroni and cheese. Progress people!

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Before I end, I have a bit of a confession to make. My guilty pleasure television show is Baby Daddy on ABC Family and I am obsessed. The show can tend to be a little cutesy at times, but in a real quality fashion. I find the writing to be excellent with clever dialogue and layered characters, which have pulled me in and make me invest in them.

I’ve been watching since the beginning and last night during the spring finale, I finally thought my favorite couple would get together. Of course there was a nasty cliffhanger that will leave me on edge until the summer (or until I forget about it by next week and it will be rejuvenated in the summer). I had my whole family watching last night with the promise that they would not talk through it- they mostly succeeded. All of them were mocking it and me at the silly title of the show, but once they started to watch it, at the very least, they didn’t hate it.

If you’re looking for a fun show to watch, I highly recommend it! Not such a guilty pleasure after all! Have any good guilty pleasures to share?

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.

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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.

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

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