Pepper The Garden with Love

I want to start by saying I made a tiny mistake yesterday with my list of favorite tv shows. I know it got intense and you were all amazed that I would share such valuable information with you and I’m sure you’re disappointed that I was wrong! As is stands, I think I’m going to have to push The Golden Girls to a tie for the 5 spot with Gilmore Girls because I forgot about Psych! One could argue that Psych could not possibly be one of my favorites if I forgot about it, but I don’t really care what you think value your opinion and have to disagree.

I think it’s also important that you know there are so many other shows that did not make this list, like Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock, Broad City, Inside Amy Schumer, Modern Family, etc., etc., etc. Since we’re being honest, I will admit to you that my secret obsession is the show Baby Daddy on ABC Family. It’s super silly, but the characters have a lot of heart and the dialogue is great.

You’re welcome for sharing such privileged information.

Oh, also, you’ve probably noticed the changes in the design. I hope you like! It was time for a change. I took the cover picture myself a few years ago at Redondo Beach after finishing up the best run of my life. *Swoons for California*

My garden has been slow to grow this year, but I’m starting to notice some real progress. One tomato is evident from two plants, but I have TWO peppers. Two. That is two more than the previous two years. For whatever reason, I have never had much luck with my favorite vegetable, but finally luck is in my favor. All of my plants look healthy and seem to be flourishing, so I’m hoping to get some produce very soon. I was too lazy to step outside, but here is a view of my garden from upstairs and behind the screen. Kinda cute, right?! Notice the gross bug that is not so cute!

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Yesterday, I planned my gym time at a point where I would be hungry if I didn’t eat lunch beforehand, so I knew I had to get some protein and energy. I didn’t feel like cooking pasta or rice, so I just chopped up some veggies and stir-fried them to enjoy with a few chicken meatballs.

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The meal was filling enough to power me through my workout! My usual swim is 40 laps (a lap meaning back and forth counting as one), which is a little more than a mile. I aimed to do 50 and then realized that I only needed 4 more to make a mile and a half, so of course I went for it. I am not a fast swimmer and I have a lot to learn when it comes to my kicking technique, but my cross-training with running and weights has meant that I have good stamina. I don’t rest between laps because I see it as more like a long-distance run where you wouldn’t stop there either. By the end, my lungs were aching, but I felt strong. I headed upstairs for a quick body strength circuit of leg lifts, squats, lunges, kickbacks, push-ups, mountain climbers, elevated hip lifts, and step ups for five sets of 10 reps. I was hungry when I got home so I melted some cheese on top of a few tostitos for some yum.

Dinner was delicious as well. We had a medley of chicken and steak tips with brown spinach rice and a spinach salad. It was a perfect night to sit in the backyard and enjoy the weather, though it was still hot! I have to admit, it’s been weird eating meals and relaxing without watching anything. I’m having Buffy withdrawals! But I have to be strong.

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It’s another hot day out there, though the cool breeze coming in is confusing. My run will have to be delayed until the sun starts to set, unless I suck it up and run on the treadmill.

For breakfast, I poached some eggs over toast. I haven’t had this in quite some time and it was nice to revert back to an old favorite. A little bacon on the side made things a little saltier and crunchier.

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A few hours later, I had a cup of Chobani Pomegranate yogurt and a sprinkle of coconut granola. I’m not in a big meal kind of mood, so I think at some point, I will make myself a salad or some veggie sticks for a more well-rounded meal, but for right now, it hit the spot!

I’ve been in a cleaning frenzy and tweeting like crazy, which means I am procrastinating my studying and writing. Fear not, those things get done, I just need to maintain a clean space if I want to have a clear mind. I also just really like to tweet.

Heat Wave Means Lots of Ice Cream

Before I recap the weekend, I want to start by wishing my Grandma a very happy birthday. It was yesterday, but I don’t think she’d mind a little belated cheer. She is one of the greatest, smartest, and kindest women I know. She is the head of our family and its life source. Not all families are friends. Ours is and it’s because of her. She may not be happy about this picture, but I think it’s worth it. Happy birthday, Grandma!

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Now for the weekend. On Friday, I went and saw Trainwreck with my friend Molly. I am a huge Amy Schumer fan, as I’ve mentioned before. I don’t usually enjoy romantic comedies because the endings are too happy and cheesy and cliche, but this was a smart one. It wasn’t just funny in a typical way. We tried to go to an earlier showing, but it was sold out all over the place, so we bought tickets ahead of time for a later one and got some dinner. The best salmon over some greens.

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A little ice cream after. I went for a different flavor this time around, which came as a bit of a surprise because I didn’t think I would like it. Blueberry Oreo. It tasted a little like Black Raspberry and it wasn’t too sweet.

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On Saturday, I got my day started with some pancakes.

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Later on in the day, we went out to lunch for my Grandma’s birthday. After starting with a salad, I chose stuffed shrimp with steak tips and a baked potato. I was pretty much done by the time I remembered to take a picture.

In the afternoon, I hung outside for a little while in the sort-of sun and just relaxed. As the sun began to go down, I headed out for a run that was sweaty and buggy, but a great workout! For the rest of the night, it was nice to put my feet up and relax with a little Netflix.

On Sunday, I started with some scrambled eggs and toast. It was a hot day and I was sweating while eating. I couldn’t even finish my coffee.

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In the afternoon, my friend Katie stopped by for a quick swim before we went out for the day. Our first stop was lunch at a Mexican restaurant. I had chicken and veggie fajitas, minus the tortillas because I had chips instead, with a side of rice and refried beans. Delicious, but super filling! After a little walking around and shopping, we stopped for an ice cream. It was National Ice Cream Day! I had my favorite flavor, peanut butter cookies ‘n cream. When I got home, my sister and her husband were over and we spent the rest of the evening talking and laughing. After another, but very small ice cream (it was National Ice Cream Day!), I came home and had a hot dog for dinner.

For breakfast on this very hot morning, I didn’t want to put too much effort into making anything. I went with a very quick and easy egg and chicken sausage sandwich with a bowl of grapes and a banana on the side.

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Now it’s time to kick off the day with some work and a workout. Happy Monday!

Rainy But Warm

Rainy days are better than snowy days, at least that’s what I’m telling myself. It seems almost unfair that on one of the first warm days of the year, it pours. I won’t complain so long as it stays this warm. Although I was the dummy who wore really cute shoes that won’t hold up in water. Let’s see if they recover. 

Breakfast this morning was more scrambled eggs. I like keeping them simple by mixing them with a little butter in the pan. I sprinkled some cheese on top and enjoyed my eggs with peanut buttered toast and some berries.

  

I found a new dressing and now I’m obsessed. It’s some kind of red blush thing and it has such a tasty tang to it. My salad this day had the usual veggie medley with some leftover tilapia on top. On the side, I had a piece of falafel and a Baggie of popcorn. The up close and personal pictures of salads make it look that much better.

  

As much as I love home-cooking, sometimes all you need in life is pizza. Especially on rainy days! I had roasted red pepper with sautéed spinach and mushrooms. Delicious!

  

When I woke up for the gym this morning, it wasn’t raining yet and was actually quite pleasant, however dark. I worked through a pretty intense strength workout using the stability ball and medicine ball. My abs were burning by the time I jumped in the pool to get in my laps. I did the same routine I’ve done the past couple of times and I think I’m ready to mix things up again. I can’t get over what a big difference swimming had added to my workouts and how my body feels- so much healthier and not as sore after! 

Hey, guess what!? It’s Friday! Happy weekend!

Grape Adventures of My Childhood

As I was tossing a grape into the air to catch it, my mother took the opportunity to tell me how I almost died as a child. Apparently, I was an enthusiastic eater- spoiler alert: still am- and I got over excited for the grape and began to choke. She had to slap me on the back as hard as she could until it finally plopped out into her hand. The kicker is that after I got over my initial shock, I just took the grape back and popped it into my mouth. Nothing to see here.

Speaking of food, this morning, I had a few extra minutes in the morning because I didn’t have to pack up my lunch, so I scrambled up some eggs, threw a slice of muenster cheese on top and enjoyed it with some toast and fruit. It was an excellent, filling breakfast to help me refuel after quite a grueling workout.

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For my workout, I decided to alternate strength and cardio circuits. Starting with strength, I ran through two sets of dumbbell exercises of ten reps before hopping on the treadmill for twelve minutes, running a mile and a bit. Next, I went back to perform the same set of dumbbell exercises, raising the weight and lowering the reps to eight for two sets. Back on the treadmill, I ran for another twelve minutes, raising the pace just a tad. (I just wrote that as twelve miles by accident, which would have been obnoxious had I just said that so casually). One last strength circuit was two sets of six reps at the heaviest weight. By the end of it, my arms and shoulders were aching. Twelve more minutes on the treadmill at the fastest pace, finishing off for a total of 3.25 miles for the whole thing. To round things off, I ended with a couple of minutes planking and left the gym nice and sweaty.

Lunch this afternoon was very exciting because we ordered out for soup! I chose Mulligatawny, which is a curry-based soup and delicious! I enjoyed it with a bite of a small side salad and a multi-grain roll. Funny that we would choose soup on the warmest day of the year thus far..

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Last night, we headed over to do some final preparations on my sister’s wedding dress. We came home to have a roasted chicken dinner with stuffing, spinach rice, Brussels sprouts, squash, and peppers. A great way to end the evening!

It should be noted that it was so nice out today-almost in the sixties!- that I would have driven home with all my car windows down had the majority of my commute not been on the highway. It was a little warm even without my jacket locked up in my car that got far more sun than I did, so I had to turn on the AC, but only a little. I won’t complain. Bring on the melting! Bring on the sunshine! Bring on the warmth!

Hello, Have You Seen My Pool?

The snow banks are officially taller than I am. This is startling in how fast and furious it came. People were actually complaining about the lack of snow mid-January and then BOOM a snow cloud exploded. I’m just about 5’3 and though that isn’t a lot of a person, it’s a lot of snow. This particular bank is way over my head, like three of me, but look at that gorgeous sunset! photoMac was intimidated by the huge snow banks and stayed out of the picture.

As I glance outside sipping on my cup of tea and enjoying a homemade chocolate chip cookie, I’m reminded of the days of summer where the sun was shining, the ground was clear, and I had a pool. It’s still there, kind of, but it’s been eaten by snow. If cold, slushy water is your thing, then good for you, but personally, I find it difficult to jump in when the temperature is 80 degrees. Don’t judge me! I’m sensitive.photo

In other news, I’m not too thrilled with my new WordPress app. It’s not posting when I schedule it and all of the text is showing segmented together instead of the paragraphs I write them in! I guess I’ll just have to play around with it a bit more. Is it too much to ask for things to be intuitive?!

Some of you may be wondering where yesterday’s Rave Review Tuesday was and for that, I apologize, because you didn’t miss it. I just didn’t write one. In my”free” time, I’ve been devoting my energies to writing. It’s a positive thing that I’ve been so consistent with my writing, but I need to learn how to balance. I’m in the middle of two different books right now, so hopefully I can finish those up soon. I also haven’t seen a movie in a long time. For me, watching a new television show is a commitment, especially on Netflix, so I’m staying away from the for awhile. I already miss Veep and can’t wait until April! Long story short, I’ll resume Rave Reviews once I consume something to write about!

Though I’m trying to complain less about the snow, it can’t be ignored because it affects so much of daily life. This morning, thanks to my neighbor, I was able to fit in a quality at-home workout. After a body strength routine with the usual squats/lunges/push ups/etc, I jumped on the treadmill and got through a 45-minute run/walk type thing. My legs are sore, even after the rest day yesterday, due to the increase in running. It felt good to work up a sweat and to start my day with a workout!

Breakfast today was pumpkin French toast, topped of course with peanut butter, jelly, and shredded coconut. The pumpkin, vanilla, and cinnamon work together to make this breakfast delectable, but it still borders on healthy with whole wheat bread, eggy batter, and peanut butter for protein! Such a combination keeps me full throughout the morning.

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Lunch came together quickly thanks to an assortment of leftovers. I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to find any Brussels sprouts in the fridge, but the roasted cauliflower and butternut squash combination sufficed. Along with my veggie fix, I ate a piece of blackened salmon and dove into the rest of the macaroni and cheese. Seriously, it’s so good.

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With the roads finally clearing, my sister Lauren and her fiancee Nick came over for a Chinese food dinner. To go along with this indulgent dinner, I chopped and steamed a variety of vegetables- spinach, peppers, zucchini, and carrots- and enjoyed some brown rice. The good thing about me and Chinese food is that when I overeat it, I feel shaky, so I am apt to pay more attention to my body’s signals.

If you would allow me one last note on the snow, I must say, it’s amazing that I haven’t fallen yet. That being said, I totally just jinxed myself. The walking is terrible out! I went from my house to my neighbor’s house and I was walking so slow. Not just because it’s slippery but because it’s hard to walk in snow and slop. I’ve seen a few brave runners trekking it in the snow, but I do not have the coordination for that. I would definitely slip, fall, and get run over by a car.

To end on a positive note, we are already a good chunk into February, which means once we are halfway into March, the weather should improve, BASEBALL will be on its way back- I know for a fact that the Red Sox are looking to make up for last year’s dismal season to me personally in the form of the handsome new pitcher Rick Porcello–Lester who?- and I have a couple of exciting things coming that we’ll have to talk about when they happen.

Keep the good mood grooving!