weekend things

Sixteen years has felt like a lifetime and no time at all. Today, of course, marks the sixteenth anniversary of 9/11. It is a tragedy beyond scope of understanding and my thoughts remain with the victims and their families.

This time of year also marks the sixteenth anniversary of two important losses in my life, my Grandpa in July and my Nana just a few days ago. I was 11 when they passed and I’m going to be turning 28 in a few months. It seems so strange, how much time has passed, how much I have grown and changed and yet, how much I still miss them, not just on the anniversary, but every day.

My weekend started on Friday afternoon when I left work and headed out for a day with my mom. We shopped for wine, enjoyed lunch, and then relaxed the rest of the day. That night, I met up with some friends for dinner. It was so much fun to catch up, but unfortunately what I thought was allergies ended up being a full blown cold.

I made it through work on Saturday with a runny nose, sore throat, and stuffy ears, and even attempt a half hour on the bike, but spent the rest of the day curled up with this guy.

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Saturday night, I went over my friend Katie’s house with our other friend Stephanie where we made dinner and watched movies- The Lion King and Bad Grandpa.

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I probably shouldn’t have stretched my poor throat too far and I assure you my vocals were not up to par, but I had fun singing along to The Lion King anyway. Especially as my new kitten’s name is Simba…

On Sunday, it was shopping day. My mom, sister, and I headed up to the local outlets. My main purchase was new shoes. I got my running gait looked at and realized I have flat feet, so I needed special shoes. I’m excited to learn how much this affects my running!

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The other “big” purchase was a chewing toy for Simba. I’m not sure if kittens teeth, but he seems to need a sturdy toy in which to bite, that is not my hand! He loved the carrot and the box from my shoes.

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It was a low-key-ish weekend as I still try to fully recover from this cold. At the moment, the worst of it is a stuffed-up ear that’s throwing off my equilibrium a tad. Not fun, but I’m on the mend.

Happy Monday!

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Holidays Are Kinda Cool

Popping in with small reminders of why the holiday- and I mean all holidays- season is so important and special. While at work tonight, two very cool things happened, which also goes to show how cool it can be to work in customer service.

  1. Someone came in and was so excited to see a menorah on the front desk. She said it was “super cool” and her face lit up, knowing that we represented and celebrated all holidays. It made me realize how special those little moments can be.
  2. My co-worker and I were serenaded by a little girl who sang every single line of “Frosty the Snowman” with perfect clarity. I haven’t wanted to laugh and cry simultaneously in the best of ways in a long time.

This time is a busy one. I was just texting my friend about how crazy and hectic things can get this time of year, trying to shop and studying on top of everything. But it’s vital that we pause and take in all the celebrations that come along with it. And if that means I need to listen to Feliz Navidad play on repeat on the radio all season long, I’ll take the good with the bad.

I Sound Like Adele (When I Sing in the Shower)

If there’s one thing I regret from my time in the womb, it’s not honing my singing voice more. Okay, I know that’s not how things work, but wouldn’t it be kind of cool? If our strengths and weaknesses were based off of training we did before we were born. You know what? This conversation is getting wacky. The point is…

When I sing in the shower, I sound just like Adele, I’m sure of it. There is something about the acoustics in the shower- I’m sure it’s a thing- that allows you to hit all the right notes. I think it must have something to do with the hot water opening up your throat to reach new depths. I’m also talking out of my ass right now. Oddly enough, when I sing in my head, I nail the vocals too. Maybe I just have a strange perception of myself.

What you should take from this conversation is that if I could sing, I would be the biggest music star in the world right now and you all would be weeping at my feet due to my tender, agonizing words and haunting melodies. Semantics.

Another wonder of the world is the missing sock. I am particular when it comes to running, in regards to what I wear, eat and drink before, and time of day. I take a lot of precision when it comes to my runs, in a weird superstitious kind of way, because I live in fear of having to suffer through it. One thing I love are my Saucony striped socks that I wear religiously when I exercise. There are no socks like it that offer the comfort, without the bulkiness, I need.

I also live in fear of losing one of these socks because I couldn’t bear it if I had to throw the lone sock left behind. It’s already happened once, but last night, I thought my pink striped sock fell victim and I was devastated.

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I did a little digging and found it sitting cold, wet, and afraid in the washing machine. Phew.

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For the record, I wore these socks on my run outside- it was SO nice out!- and I rocked it. Message proven.

This was a strange little post.

 

Weekend Catch Up!

Time for a peek back at the weekend!

Friday morning, started off with a strength workout before work. I ran through a dumbbell circuit before finishing up with a plyometric workout. My breakfast of choice was this egg, cheese, and chicken sausage sandwich with blueberries and pineapple on the side.

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After work, I met my friend Bobby in the city for a concert. On my walk over to the restaurant where we had dinner, I had to stop and capture this moment.

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It was absolutely mesmerizing, this moment where city meets nature.

Dinner before the show was a little unimpressive considering how delicious the dish sounded. I opted for mani mani in a tomato based sauce with peppers, but the fish didn’t have a ton of flavor. I could definitely recreate this at home with the right spice mixture! Sure did look good, though.

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Bobby and I have been fans of Idina Menzel for a long time now. It was great to be able to see her in concert!

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The highlight of the show, and there were a ton of amazing moments, had to be when she called up all the kids to help her sing Let it Go. I seriously almost started to cry. I think I’m going to have to go with this moment, magnified by watching someone so talented do something incredible with that talent, as my Friday moment of strength.

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I was up Saturday morning to work early. I had poached eggs over toast and a banana for my breakfast but didn’t get a picture. For lunch, I munched on a large salad and a turkey and cheddar wrap.

After work, I headed out as the sun began to go down for a magnificent run around a local lake. I don’t know why I don’t do this route more often. Sticking around my neighborhood is more convenient, but this area is still hilly so the terrain prevents a nice challenge, yet it’s not so extreme that I can elongate my run. The lake is five miles around on the nose and I felt strong throughout. It’s strange because running hasn’t left me feeling great after for the past few months, but recently things have improved and I’ve loved it again!

Extra points for running this route…this view after. Not one ounce of alteration.

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This would absolutely constitute as my Saturday moment of strength, sitting on a log and looking out into the water as my body rested.

I had a waffle with a smear of peanut butter right when I got home, then feasted on a salmon salad for my dinner. Later, we went over my neighbor’s house for some s’mores and conversation before an early to bed call for me.

Sunday was busy! I had to open at work so it was a bit of a shock to be called out of bed by my alarm. I had enough time to make eggs and some waffles for my breakfast, which helped me wake up and be okay in the alert world. Right after work, I drove to my friend Erin’s bridal shower, for whom I am honored to be one of her bridesmaids.

Erin is my first friend from college to be getting married. It’s kind of strange for the four of us to be celebrating this momentous occasion, but wonderful too! We had a great day and I think Erin enjoyed herself.

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We didn’t have time for many pictures, but here is a nice one of me and my friend/college roommate Stephanie.

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The rest of Sunday was spent at my sister’s house having dinner and watching Father of the Bride. I cannot get over how young the entire cast looks in that movie, especially Steve Martin. With the grey hair, I used to think he was so old! Not to mention how young the marrying couple are makes me feel very old. Lauren and I ordered an Indian food spread that included vegetarian samosas, garlic naan, chicken tikka masala, saag paneer, and basmati rice. It had been awhile since I had Indian and I had a real hankering for it. The food was decent, but lacking in spices like my dinner on Friday! It was nice to spend some sisterly quality time together regardless. Sister bonding made up my moment of strength on Sunday- both in regards to my actual sister and my college friends!

I kicked off Monday with another morning workout. I love my morning workouts, though it’s hard to justify waking up so early on days that I don’t have to, which is why they haven’t been happening on a consistent basis. I did a dumbbell strength workout including bicep curls, tricep extensions, alternating front raises, shoulder raises, weighted lunges, and high pulls. For my core workout, I ran through a circuit of kneeling kickbacks, tricep push ups, alternating ankle grabs, crunches, Russian twists, and side plank push ups. For cardio, I did some plyometric work that included box jumps, high knees, skater jumps, and jump roping. To finish my workout, I did a little Yoga with planks, shoulder stands, and a bridge.

My breakfast was delicious! I scrambled two eggs and two egg whites with some cheese, toasted a piece of whole wheat cinnamon raisin bread, and chopped up some strawberries and banana for sweetness.

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I packed a great lunch for work too! It consisted of a vegetable laden salad with chicken and a cup of plain Greek yogurt and oodles of red grapes. Red grapes are huge in my family right now.

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I snacked on a few celery and carrot sticks for an extra veggie kick later in the day.

For dinner, I enjoyed grilled salmon, roasted Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, and buttered, cheesy pasta.

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My moment of strength came during my studying time as it really hits me how complicated and beautiful the body is. The particular moment of clarity was reading about muscle spindles and how they protect the body from overextending its muscles when stretching. There is a stretch reflex that kicks in as you simply lift your leg. I mean, this is simple stuff, but it never occurred to me as to how impressive it all is!

It was a happy Monday and a wonderful weekend. Any moments of strength, joy, food, or exercise you want to share?

The Wedding!

I have been a bad blogging lady lately and I apologize for that! These next few weeks will be busy, as have the past couple, but there are exciting things on the horizon that I can only begin to explain at the moment. And I will be back to explaining them!

First things first, it has been one week since we celebrated my sister Lauren and her now HUSBAND Nick’s wedding! It was truly a spectacular weekend of fun, love, and celebration.

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Our entire family and friends went up to the White Mountains for the weekend of the wedding. While the bride and groom to-be went up Wednesday, I headed up Thursday morning with my parents and the dog in one car and myself, my brother, my Grandma, and my brother’s girlfriend in the other. Upon arrival, we located the bride and groom and went off to grab some lunch. After, it was crunch time. We spent a good amount of time putting together flowers and pouring hot sauce into little containers- that was their goodie for the night.

At some point during our work stations, a groundskeeper came in asking if someone had a silver car- which someone did- and he was advised to put the window up because there was a bear in the car! Apparently, bears are all for chocolate and potato chips- I agree, bear.

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After that scare, it was time to get ready for the rehearsal dinner, mind you there was no real rehearsal. It was a beautiful evening with good food, heartfelt speeches, and a small night of celebration before the big day. Once we headed back to the hotel, we sat out on the front porch, overlooking the mountains and the golf course, sharing some stories and drinks.

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We were all up early on Friday- the big day- as there was much to be done. Starting with breakfast, I made sure my sister ate a filling meal and drank a ton of water. After, we did some last touch finishes on the decorations before heading out to get our hair done. I didn’t have too much of an idea in mind, but my hairdresser was excellent and got the importance of being a sassy Maid of Honor. I was very happy with my hair, as well as the job she did on my eyebrows. They looked real!

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After a quick stop for lunch, Lauren and I headed back to the hotel to get her ready for the first look pictures! Lauren and Nick decided to do their pictures beforehand, which works really well as they can enjoy the cocktail reception along with the guests. They shared their beautiful moment on a bridge heading into town, then went down to the river and stood on rocks. I am certain that those pictures will be incredible, but I am also certain that I would have had a heart attack if she had fallen in her dress.

I had about a half an hour to finish getting ready, so I zoomed back to the hotel, threw on my dress, and did my make up. All I need is a little bit, though I suppose that will remain to be seen once the official pictures come out. The bridal party and the parents and grandparents headed down the golf course to a small bridge where we all took pictures. Once we got back up to the main part of the hotel, we watched as all the guests started to arrive and make their way down to the ceremony area.

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I stood with Lauren for a few minutes in the bar as she iced her flowers in a glass of water- I’m not kidding, until everyone was ready for her. After a few minutes, it was time.

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As Nick and the groomsman took their place in front, the bridesmaids started to walk. I gave one last hug to my sister before it was my time to walk down a pretty major hill and stairs. I was focused on not falling in my new heels as well as keeping a smile on my face- not an easy feat. I will thank whoever yelled out my name and started a smattering of applause because they just know my love of attention.

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I did not anticipate how emotional I would get and there are a few pictures of me up there crying. On top of that, I was worried I would fall off the cliff because my knees were knocking. I don’t think I have ever experienced that level of adrenaline before, but I focused on breathing and being in the moment.

photo 4It was truly a beautiful ceremony, one officiated nicely by my cousin Maura, and before we knew it, it was time to make our way up to the porch for the cocktail hour.

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It was at this point that I said hello to people, ditched my heels, and put on my Maid of Honor tiara. The bride did not have any such thing, but she didn’t want one. Don’t worry, I had her permission. In fact, my sister was such a calm bride, that when my mom accidentally spilled a little red wine on her DRESS, she just found someone with a tide stick and took care of it. I think it was better since the ceremony had already happened.

The cocktail hour ended in a flash and we all headed up to the Carriage House where we enjoyed the reception. It was fun to dance in as we were announced and to watch the first dance that Lauren and Nick had spent weeks practicing- very sweet!

photo 1Before dinner, however, came the speech.

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Both Nick’s brother and I did a great job of portraying our happy (and somewhat jokey) feelings for the bride and groom. We got the room laughing and yes, weeping, but I think everyone was ready for dinner once we finished. Shout out to my Uncle Mike for his “uncles’ speech” as well!

The food was a delicious barbecue spread of grilled chicken, steak tips, pulled pork, mashed potatoes, corn bread, salad, and potato chips. After everyone had their share, the DJ got us all up dancing. It was such a fun night of dancing, singing, and laughing and though it ended too soon- as it always does- it is a night that we will always remember, especially I hope, the Bride and Groom!

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The rest of the weekend whizzed by in a flash, but we had so much fun together and I’m so glad we could all spend such a fantastic weekend together!

Sing Til It Hurts!

This morning on my commute, I decided to be festive and listen to a little Wicked-she’s green!- on my way to work. Despite the rain and being tired, I can’t help myself but sing as loud as I can whenever Wicked is playing. I may have gotten a little overzealous during my performance as mid belt, I bit my tongue. As every talented performer knows, the show must go on and I persevered, but I can’t say I was feeling 100%….

When my alarm went off this morning, I didn’t even process it and fell back to sleep, waking 10 minutes later quite abruptly and having to scramble out of bed. I was still tired after downing a glass of water, eating my hard-boiled egg and cheesestick, and drinking my coffee. I am usually fairly awake on my ride to the gym, but I was feeling the sleepiness all the way. It wasn’t until I was through my first round of my body strength circuit that I felt awake. A combination of squats, lunges, kickbacks, step ups, push ups, mountain climbers, mermaid raises, hip lifts, ankle grabs, Russian twists, and bicycle crunches will do that to a girl. I went through the circuit four times, twelve reps each and felt geared up for my hit of cardio.

The water temperature has been great these past few times I’ve been, not too cold at the start, but not too warm that it’s uncomfortable once I get going. I swam for about thirty minutes, feeling stronger as I kept going. I was able to do a couple of sprint laps to end my workout and felt great to start my day.

For breakfast, I whipped up this delectable bowl of oats. Swirled with dark chocolate peanut butter, jelly, banana, strawberries, and blueberries, it was a warming bowl of goodness. Look at that beauty!

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I came back for more miso soup my sister had prepared. It is so good with a little chili sauce stirred in! I paired it with half of a ham and cheese sandwich and a medley of veggie sticks with a little laughing cow cheese triangle for dipping. A lime seltzer was a refreshing accompaniment.

photo 2Dinner included a spinach chicken salad tossed in poppyseed dressing with walnuts, craisins, peppers, tomato, and cucumber. On the side, I chopped up some zucchini medallions and drizzled them in a mixture of spices and olive oil. So tasty!

The weather was quite strange as it went from down pouring rain to being warm and sunny to more rain and to a touch of sun but bitter cold. I will take it all as long as there is no more SNOW (for the season).

Julie Andrews Is A Goddess Angel Baby

Last night, I drifted off to sleep listening to the Oscars. At some point, I woke up and it was still playing. When they announced Lady Gaga was performing next, I declared it time for bed. Little did I know that JULIE FREAKING ANDREWS would be making an appearance at the end of her performance. Julie Andrews is a goddess angel baby and I would have liked to see the beautiful moment when the entire audience gave her the standing ovation she deserves. I mean, I got to see it on Youtube, and for the record, Gaga rocked it, but it would have been a real life moment. This is why the Oscars don’t need to be 5.78 hours long. And on a Sunday night!

When I was younger, I used to watch The Sound of Music over and over again- bless my Nana who watched it with me- but I was an active participant, pretending to be Liesel or Maria, putting on a pretty dress and leaping across my living room while singing as loud as I could. I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I feel it is a pertinent moment in my life. Julie Andrews is the essence of talent and class.

My love of celebrities battled my love of sleep and sleep won out. Granted, not until after I saw Chris Evans present. It doesn’t help that many of my favorites didn’t even attend. In that case, my curiosity would have gotten the best of sleep.

Despite keeping me up later than usual, waking up this morning for my workout didn’t prove too difficult. It was more of the prospect of stepping outside into the freezing cold world that made things difficult. After a large glass of water, I brewed myself a small cup of coffee and ate a tortilla stuffed with almond butter, banana, and strawberries. I made a few of these, along with a couple of eggs, to be prepared for the week ahead. I did try to mix things up a bit, so you’ll see more throughout the week.

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My workout today included a kettlebell circuit that got the blood flowing. I ran through 4 sets of 10 reps of swings, deadlifts, high lifts, arrow lunges, and kickback rows. After, I did a few planks- 1.5 minutes for a front plank, 1 minute on each side for side planks. More strength training was on the menu and I did 4 sets of 10 reps of dumbbells- alternating shoulder to knee presses, hammer curls, then shoulder raises, overhead tricep extensions, and bench presses on the stability ball. Nouha joined me, which helped me forget how early it was!

I wanted to take a break from running due to my left foot falling asleep the day before, so I rode the elliptical for a mediocre cardio workout for 20 minutes, followed by 4 minutes on the bike doing a Tabata Interval workout. It was a great workout and an amazing way to start the day!

After coming home and getting ready for the rest of my day, I made an egg and cheese sandwich. One egg, a few pieces of pepper jack cheese, on top of an English muffin, and a side of blueberries and sweet pineapple, made an excellent morning pick-me-up.

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It’s hard to believe that four of these meatballs are one serving because they are so filling and tasty! On Sunday, I stir fried a bunch of vegetables and brown rice, enough to make two lunches, and took half of it for yesterday’s lunch. To go along with these ginger teriyaki chicken meatballs, I sautéed everything in a teriyaki marinade, which was an excellent combination. To complete my meal, I polished off a pear- a recent obsession- and two hershey nuggets. Perfecto!

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Dinner provided a medley of flavors and colors. Steak fajitas are one of our favorite meals, which we complemented with peppers, mushrooms, and a salad made of lettuce, carrots, and tomato. For mine, I folded my tortilla in half like a quesadilla and filled it with cheese. I had a couple of spoonfuls of rice to go along with it.