Shake It Off

After a few weeks’ hiatus, I’m back! I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Mine was busy as I hopped on a plane Tuesday night 9pm LA time, flew into New York City for a two hour delay, then made the final leg of my trip to Boston, arriving around 9am Boston time. I flew back to LA on Friday morning, so it was a whirlwind, but wonderful trip home. Though it was more of a teaser for Christmas break, I’m so happy to have been able to spend time with my family, eat delicious food, and relax.

I believe this picture was taken as my mom told me my head was too big.

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I have enjoyed my time in LA thus far, but I’ve felt out of sorts and overwhelmed these past few weeks, as I believe I’ve mentioned, but I decided I’m shaking myself out of it. Part of that is getting back into my writing routine. Life is busy and it’s hard to get into a routine after a long day of work, but writing is important to me and it’s why I moved out here, so I have to do it! Doing it!

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Upon my arrival back to LA, my Lyft driver gave me a gallon of some strange water she was promoting. Apparently, I am supposed to drink it within three days or the live cultures will die. I’m not drinking water that has living beings in it thank you very much. What a welcome back though!

Friday found me in a vegetative state. Had I known it would be the only warm, sunny day of the weekend, I may have felt more motivated to get up, but it started on a long plane journey and I was tired. Plus, my new bike- because yes, one of the blah things that have happened to me in the past few weeks is that my bike was stolen…out of my gated apartment building…where it was locked up- had loose handlebars and I didn’t have the tool to fix it yet, so really, I didn’t want to fall over them.

Regardless of any activity I should have done, Gilmore Girls dropped on Netflix and nothing else mattered. I watched two of the four-part series, napped, cooked dinner, then watched the other two. I loved it, smiled the entire time, and teared up a few times. As the creator/writer said that she ended it the way she always wanted to end it, I fear those last four words, however cryptic and cliff hanger-y, are it for the show, for real this time. I wouldn’t be opposed to more though, please and thank you!

On Saturday, I was on the metro to meet my friend for a hike in Malibu when the skies opened. Apparently, the only things to do in Malibu are go to the beach and hike, so we drove around for a bit before heading over to Santa Monica.

PSA: Don’t all-you-can-eat sushi. Sushi is not something you should ever overeat. Our reasoning for going to this restaurant was to try different types of sushi, but you had to eat all of what you ordered and would have to pay full price for any leftovers. We ordered two rolls too many and I had a piece in my mouth when my body decided it was too much and I had to spit it out. I was full, but it wasn’t that overly stuffed feeling so much as this is not something you should ever have too much of. The mayo-laden sushi glistened at me menacingly and thankfully the waitress took pity on us and took it away as our little secret and we didn’t have to pay. I am now on a six month hiatus from sushi, if not more.

After we ate ourselves silly, it was time to move around. We ended up doing some window shopping in Santa Monica and took in the sights.

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I should have snapped a picture of the pier all lit up at night, but shoulda coulda woulda and I did-ah not. Ha.

On Sunday, I woke up to more rain, so I cooked an omelet with an english muffin and fruit before heading over to the gym for my first workout in a week. It felt good! Nothing inspires motivation better than a kick ass workout.

In the afternoon, I went back to Santa Monica with my friend Brad where we got some writing done before heading back, making tacos for dinner, and readying for the work week ahead.

I’m in a better place and thinking positive thoughts. Sometimes, it’s good to struggle because it gives you some perspective and forces you to work that much harder. A hug from mom will heal anything. Plus, it doesn’t suck that it’s Christmas spirit time! No better excuse to fit in some shopping.

Happy Monday!

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I’m Kind of a Rebel

Mondays after a long holiday weekend always come as a shock, but still, here we are. At the very least, we still have the rest of the holiday season in which to look forward. Also, December is tomorrow???

When we left off yesterday, I continued my tear of productivity, fitting in some quality studying and writing time. I also managed to cook up my lunches for the week.

My intention was to assemble my favorite black bean soup, but I was chagrined to learn I had only one can, which wasn’t enough for the recipe. I did have two cans of chickpeas, so I decided on another path. Google and Pinterest are wonderful things and I found a chickpea curry dish that did not look complicated or require too many ingredients I didn’t have. My contribution to the recipe was to add more veggies- never a bad thing!

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Meanwhile, everything was cooking nicely in the big pan. I also added sweet potato to the mix because you can’t go wrong with sweet potato (even though it took longer to cook!) And yes, I am fully aware of how dangerously close to the edge I was living with that full pan! The recipe called for a medium-sized pan, so I was only following instructions! I’m kind of a rebel (but we already knew that, yeah?)

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This should tide me over for a few days and I’m excited to try it! All the recipe required was chickpeas, light coconut milk, onion, oil, garlic, honey, and sriracha, vegetable stock, and curry powder. Everything else was just to my liking. I’ll let you know how it tastes!

Breakfast this morning continued in the tradition of eggs and toast. I’m not going to question the craving because at least it’s healthy! Scrambled seems to be my go-to egg variation. The toast got a little burnt and the butter refused to spread, but everything still tasted great.

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My body was definitely craving normalcy after that long weekend in the eating department. Now I’m trying to decide if the sun is friendly enough to brace the cold out on a run.

Have a great day!

Feliz Navidad or Nah?

So I’ve been listening to Christmas music now for four days and I am officially over ‘Feliz Navidad.’ Listen, it’s a fun song, I’m usually for it, but no matter what station I am listening to on the radio, they play it every four songs. I’m not even kidding. I’ve probably now heard it nine times since Thursday- the same exact version. Chill! It just makes me wonder if radio stations think they’re being diverse by playing this song….let’s be a tad more creative, no?

Anyways, other than my questionable music choices, let’s catch up. Wednesday, after leaving you dreaming of Thanksgiving happiness of the next day, I hopped over to the gym for a quick workout. It included shoulders, back, legs, and core, and knocked me out.

After fitting in my workout, I went to see my Auntie Bea for our annual Thanksgiving-eve flick. There’s not much out that we both wanted to see in theaters, so we decided on Frozen, which she had never seen. Always makes me happy watching that movie!

I ended my night and started the next morning at work. On Thursday morning, once I got off, I headed home to fit in my own workout. My legs were still a little sore and tired from the previous day, so I settled on a three mile run/walk that got my metabolism revving before the big meal.

Thanksgiving was, like always, a wonderful, loving, and happy day full of excellent food and amazing times with my family. Hope yours was too!

My mom and I took our annual post-dinner walk.

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I was very thankful for a lot of things, including these butter rolls.

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And apple pie.

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But especially family!

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Nick suggested snapping the picture from this angle as it eliminated the prominence of my head.

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Perhaps, at this point, you’re a little sick of seeing my face.

I indulged on Friday by sleeping in longer than usual, enjoying my rest day from exercise, and eating leftovers. Most of the afternoon and evening was spent at work, but it was good to be on my feet and focused. Dinner included more leftovers. Since I had to be up early on Saturday morning for work, it was an early night’s sleep for me on Friday!

For breakfast on Saturday, I cooked up some eggs and toast. After work, I met my friend Nouha for a total body workout that ended with a tough core circuit of continuous movement. I really liked the routine I put together because it never stopped moving and never got boring. Nouha and I had lunch and some ice cream post-workout before I headed home for an afternoon of studying.

Other than making a dinner of leftover lobster ravioli with spinach, peppers, and mushrooms, I didn’t do much on Saturday night. It was rainy and cold, so I wasn’t opposed to curling up under the blanket and fitting in some quality writing time.

This morning, I was up bright and early thanks to an awesome Yoga class. I don’t do a lot of Yoga because I haven’t found the right intensity in a class (unless I want to pay up the big bucks for classes at a studio), but this one was worth it! I finished my day with a few minutes on the elliptical, going between steady and interval pacing.

So far, I’ve been productive. I folded laundry, cleaned, pulled up my garden, and took my first practice test for my PT exam. I also cleaned out my work bag and learned just where and why all of my mom’s spoons have disappeared.

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Now I’m off to do a little experimenting in the kitchen for lunch and to do more studying. Happy Sunday!

My Cat Is An Asshole (But So Am I, Apparently)

No one said running was pretty. In fact, I am fairly certain I look like a hot mess when I run, except, minus the hot! Especially when it’s cold and there’s snot dripping and the wind whipping my face all red. We don’t even have to mention what I look like when I run. I know that some people’s strides look all nice and natural, but I know I look like a stumbling fool. I embrace it. Also, I’m a stumbling fool who (probably) can run farther than you, so, HA. Oh sorry, that’s not what this blog’s all about, especially on the eve of Thanksgiving.

This is what I look like on a run, minus the movement aspect.

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It was a solid 4-mile run with no pain or foot falling asleep-ness, which proves that I had been overtraining and hurting myself, rather than helping. I’ve kept my workouts at the hour-hour and fifteen minutes range and feel strong! After my run, I did some Yoga and stretching to cool-down.

Total body workouts certainly have their merits, but I’ve been mixing things up on the strength training aspect to isolate muscle groups and I think it’s been a good change. Yesterday’s workout consisted of biceps, chest, and back exercises. Once I moved through those circuits- four exercises, 3 sets, 12 reps each- I did another core circuit before finishing up on the stair master for 12 minutes. That ish is hard.

Let’s talk food.

The lunch I have on file is leftover from the previous night’s dinner. Chicken, rice, and salad. Delicious!

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Breakfast #1: egg/egg-white scramble with cheese and a homemade waffle. Solid.

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Breakfast #2: Pancakes! I mixed things up a bit by putting white chocolate peanut butter on the inside and dark chocolate peanut butter on the outside. I’m a revolutionist!

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Let’s talk about this asshole for a second.

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You’ve probably seen the video going around Facebook with the cucumbers scaring the crap out of cats? If not, there’s a video out there that shows a bunch of people laying cucumbers down next to their cats, then the cats jumping a mile high. It’s funny. If so, then you just read a recap for no reason. Ha. (I feel mean today. Am I being mean?)

Anyways, I was inspired to try this on my own cat. As evidenced in the picture above, you can see from the second I began to approach, he was suspicious of my intentions. As he well should be in this case, but not usually! Anyways, I distracted him with my cell phone and laid the cucumber down next to him, camera on video and ready to capture a brilliant moment.

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Instead, he sniffed it once and turned away, disinterested and very much unafraid. Even the dog, who is afraid of his own shadow, gave a sniff without any hesitation. I’m a little letdown.

Joke’s on me. “Who’s the asshole now?”- Bandit (direct quote).

On that note, Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate and a Happy Regular Thursday to all who don’t! Eat, drink, and be extremely merry regardless of a holiday (or lack thereof). Don’t forget to fit in your exercise either today or the day after!

Holidays Make You Feel Things

Happy Thanksgiving Week, friends! Although I still can’t believe we’ve reached the holidays, I’m all about embracing it! Such occasions always stand out and one thing I can be thankful for is where I am in my life right now. I, like everyone, am a work in progress, but I’m finally starting to like where I’m heading, professionally speaking. A year ago, I started a job that wasn’t for me. Now, I’m starting a career of which I am passionate and happy and excited to partake. Celebrate these things!

This weekend, I got things started nice and early on Saturday with a workout before work. My body protested a smidgen when my alarm blasted at 6AM, but once I was up and moving I felt great! I worked through a series of strength moves, working my shoulders, biceps, and core before hopping on the treadmill for a 2.5 mile run. After, it was time for work!

Saturday afternoon was spent studying. There was also time to fit in a nap before I headed out with my friends for the night. My college friends don’t get to see each other a whole lot, but it’s always fun when we do! We met up for dinner at a Mexican restaurant and chatted over chips and salsa. For dinner, I had the blackened salmon salad, which is my favorite salmon ever. I don’t know how they cook it like that, but it’s amazing!

We stopped at a bar after for drinks, but it wasn’t a late night because we all wake up early now and are old and tired. Back at my house, we did curl up on the couch with tea and talking. Always nice to do!

As a good chef, I will admit when things don’t always run smoothly in the kitchen. For instance, I decided to make my specialty egg breakfast on Sunday morning for my friends. It’s not even a complicated dish. Just spinach, red pepper, marinara, eggs, and mozzarella all baked together into simmering goodness. Well, I don’t think I set the oven on high enough because those eggs would just not cook! What should have taken between 20-30 minutes was more like 40-50 and that was AFTER I already removed it from the oven because the eggs were hard, and then still drippy in a not so good way once I looked closer.

Still, I was determined and I think it turned out alright in the end. Not my best, especially of this dish, but still tasty.

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I met my friend Nouha at the gym for a workout later on in the afternoon. Technically, it was my scheduled rest day, but I hadn’t seen Nouha in awhile, so I decided to join. We had a fun time working through a tough triceps, legs, and core workout and chatting as we went.

That night, my sister and her husband came over for dinner. You’d think I’d be better about taking pictures, but I’ve been a bad blogger as of late. Sorry! We enjoyed chicken supreme with brown spinach rice and asparagus. So good! For dessert, my mom made her legitimately famous whoopie pies, which taste like Heaven on Earth.

That takes us back to reality to Monday morning- of a holiday week though!- and this breakfast I assembled to my liking. An egg and egg-white omelet with cheese, waffles, and berries. This time, I did snap a picture for you fine folks.

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I was talking with my friends this weekend and we decided to try and be healthier. I’ve got exercise covered and my meals are mostly good, but I also have a wicked sweet tooth that needs to be reigned in. It’s all about how I haven’t been feeling quite as healthy and fresh as usual, so even though Thanksgiving is coming and I will be indulging, that doesn’t mean I’m going to go buck wild in every other way. When in doubt, just try your best and do things that feel good and right.

Flower Girl

I am a fancy lady this morning- just look at these pancakes! As you can probably tell, I shaped them into a flower, using a banana for the stem. Sometimes, these ideas just come to me.

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In case you didn’t realize, next week is Thanksgiving! I seriously still feel like I’m on the beach in August, leaping into the waves. It was strange when it turned September. I couldn’t believe when it was October and then suddenly my birthday, but now we’re reaching the holidays?!

I’m learning not to question these types of things any longer. Tradition and lots of family time is so important to savor and appreciate.

On another note, isn’t it still 2004? I was a freshman in high school and the Red Sox had just won the World Series for the first time in- what was it, 86 years? Now, it’s nearly 12 years later and David Ortiz announced his retirement after the 2016 season. I have to admit I got those warm, fuzzy feelings and may have teared up a bit. Hopefully they can actually make a run for it this season so he doesn’t go out with a fizzle.

Happy Thursday! My mom will be happy to note that in one week, she can listen to Christmas music without hiding it!

 

Tis The Season of Thankfulness

For this week’s Rave Review Tuesday, I’m going to write up my second monthly reflection of gratitude. November, and Thanksgiving in particular, is the time for thankfulness, but I do try to make an effort and be more grateful as much as possible.

I got to start this month off celebrating my sister’s birthday, which is always fun. Since it was Halloween, you get to see us dressed in costume, me as Elsa, her as Ernie.

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A week later, I was fortunate to celebrate my own birthday with my closest family and friends. 25 is both an exciting and scary time because you can see flashes of the rest of your life, but still have no idea what you’re doing or who you are in this world. Perhaps, the answer to these questions lies in the realization that one will never have the answers, but knowing you need to be equipped with skills, passions, and the yearning for learning as we live through experiences life offers. I’ve no idea.

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This month, I was also fortunate to find employment, which will make the holiday season easier. It’s also exciting to learn new skills and interests, while honing the ones I already possess. I am someone who thrives off of routine and being organized and I think this new responsibility can only be good for me.

Thanksgiving is another obvious thing to be grateful for. I know there are many perspectives on the history and meaning behind Thanksgiving, but for me, it’s a day that my big family comes together to celebrate, eat, and be merry. Our day (and night) was filled with a lot of laughs, pie, and sarcastic banter, either playing games or just talking around the kitchen. We are very fortunate to have full bellies, warm homes, and happy and healthy hearts. To all still be together and have the opportunity to celebrate on such a day is a blessing, which I don’t think I have the full capacity to appreciate, but I do try.

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One of my favorite things to do is to go clothes shopping. My mom and I love the outlets because there are a variety of store options- you never know which one will be a hit or miss- and sales. Oh, the sales! One thing that my mom should have bought, but didn’t, were these hilarious reindeer eyes and ears.

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Sometimes the movies, or whatever else you want to see, doesn’t quite live up to expectations or turn out so-so, but the people you go with are important. I very much appreciate the fact that my cousins have become my friends, whether we go see a movie or head out shopping. We always have a fun time and laugh a lot.

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Good music is in the ear of the beholder! It has the power to alter moods, inspire ideas and feelings, and heal. Kristin Chenoweth often says that she sings when she can’t speak anymore, and I really agree- although my singing doesn’t sound quite as good. Just listening to music, many of your choosing, is a blessing of life. And I won’t deny that I’ve started listening to Christmas music, which just gets me into the spirit of the holiday!

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Another thing that gets the spirit of the season flowing: snow on the ground and decorations all over the house. To be fair, snow is fun during the holiday season and for the first one or two blizzards, but then shoveling becomes a daily thing and everyone grows stir crazy, so by the time spring comes around, we are all bitter and biting and missing the sun.

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November has been very good to me and I have positive feelings going into December. I wish everyone an amazing month!