Fridays = The Best Days

Happy Friday!

I know we shouldn’t live for the weekend, but Friday has long been my favorite day and I can’t help but feel happy when it arrives.

Let’s start it off by going back to Thursday, which wasn’t bad itself.

I woke up Thursday morning and enjoyed a classic breakfast sandwich of my own making before heading to the gym.

First, I weighed myself and realized I’m down 1.6 pounds!

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My workout included 40 minutes of arm and core exercises, as well as a treadmill run. I’m running “long” distance twice a week and once a week, I’m working on speeding up my mile. I’ll run one mile, then complete sprints.

A quick snack to refuel was this peanut butter toast and berries.

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After my morning shift, I came home and threw this delicious salad together. With a kale base, I threw in bell pepper, carrots, peanuts, tofu, and chicken with balsamic vinegar. So good!

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Dinner was leftovers during my night shift. Chicken with white sauce, spinach rice, and sautéed spinach and kale.

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pancakes and beach days

Once again, I am not sure how we’re already on Monday. The weekend was a good one but flew by!

I started off Friday night with a workout that I intended to be straight-up strength training and ended up being a run. The treadmill is not the most fun ever and I get bored easily, so I mixed it up a bit and did 6-6-5-5-4-4-3-3-2-2-1-1 alternating between walking and running by minutes, increasing speed as I decreased minutes and ended for a complete 45 minutes with some Tabata Intervals- 20 second sprints, 10 second rest. I was sweaty and tired by the end and ready for a relaxing evening.

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I pretty much watched Sex and the City, read a bit, and fell into a deep sleep!

Saturday morning, I woke up for a hankering for pancakes and tried out a new recipe that I’ll get to later in the week…After breakfast, I went grocery shopping before hitting up the gym for a killer strength training workout, the effects of which I am still feeling as I type this Monday morning.

I fit in a quick shower and lunch before it was time to meet my friend for a movie night. He hadn’t seen Wonder Woman yet and since I enjoyed it so much-and the tickets at this theater were cheap- I tagged along. We ended up going to the Vista, which is where they shot that terrifying movie scene in Scream 2. It was kinda a big deal.

After the movie, we got dinner at Shake Shack and a classy dessert at McDonalds for a McFlurry and called it a night!

Sunday morning called for more pancakes, this time a different recipe.

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Since Sunday was my rest day, I threw in a load of laundry and relaxed before it was time to meet my cousins at the beach. The wind prevented me from actually diving into the water, but it was nice and relaxing just sitting and chatting the afternoon away.

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If you look closely enough, you’ll notice a line of seagulls just sitting there watching the ocean. I can respect that as I too have been enjoying my tour of SoCal beaches, but I was also suspicious.

That afternoon, it was time for beers, chips and salsa, burgers, and desserts.

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I got home in time to fold laundry and enjoy another episode of Sex and the City before pulling the curtains on the weekend.

treadmill fail

Last night, I was running on the treadmill, almost at the end, and finishing up with some sprints. Rather than awkwardly try to lower the speed for 10 seconds of rest, I hop off to the sides, usually gracefully, or well, fine enough. I must’ve felt tired, or clumsy, or just myself, because I almost hopped right onto the person next to me’s treadmill, which would have made me go flying. Thankfully, my upper body strength is topnotch and I was able to catch myself on the railings and lift my body up. Had I not been able to support myself, I surely would have hurt myself and probably the person next to me. As it stands, I’m not certain anyone even noticed because I looked around and no one was laughing or giving me funny looks. Win.

While I was running, I started to feel nauseous, which is never fun when you aren’t moving around like a sweaty, crazy mess. It’s funny how when you aren’t feeling spectacular, you never crave healthy foods. I managed to stuff down some asparagus, but I was all about the pasta.

This week’s workouts are 20 seconds on, 20 seconds off x 4. My body does not love the timed sets and reps deal, but the system is effective. Plyometrics in particular are tough because the motion is constant. Death by Squat Jumps = me. Call me crazy (many do), but I actually enjoy the immense satisfaction in the pain that accompanies a solid workout days later. It means I did something productive.

That’s all for Wednesday.

Rain Drops, Leaves, and Tears

I don’t usually mind running in the rain, but yesterday it was cold and leaves were everywhere. I could easily envision myself slipping and falling to my death a badly injured ankle. Instead, I knew I had to take it inside to the treadmill.

You can see I handled this very well.

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Rather than straight up run, I decided to mix things up a bit, which resulted in a great workout! I started off with a mile run, alternating between a flat incline and a slight incline. A body strength circuit followed with squats, lunges, kickbacks, tricep dips, push ups, supermans, and hip raises. Another mile on the treadmill, this time focused on alternating speeds and another round of the body strength circuit. My third and last mile went back and forth between running on an incline and sprinting. By the end, I was exhausted, but completed one last circuit and ended with a few Yoga moves to cool down.

I came home to make another salad with a black bean burger on top.

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For dinner, I made a steak fajita stir fry that included bell peppers, spinach, mushrooms, and zucchini.

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On another dreary morning, I decided to make something a little fancy. I realized I haven’t eaten oatmeal in awhile, so I went with a fall angle with some apple cinnamon. First step, I chopped up an apple and tossed it in a bowl with cinnamon, vanilla, a pat of butter, and just a teaspoon of brown sugar.

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While my base ingredients for my oatmeal was simmering, I grilled the apples, which filled my kitchen with a wonderful smell!

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The oatmeal finished cooking, so I poured it into a bowl with a tablespoon of chopped walnuts and raisins and laid the apples on top.

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Once everything was stirred together, it was time to eat!

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Yes, thank you.

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!

Snow Days Doesn’t Have to Mean Rest Days

This week, my workouts were thrown in a bit of a loop due to the snow.

Wednesday is now my off day because I have a screenwriting class that runs late on Tuesday nights. Not even that late, but late enough for an early riser!

Thursday, I was back at it for a kettlebell strength routine that was followed by twenty minutes on the elliptical. For kettlebells, I try to incorporate both strength and core moves that affect the entire body. This includes a circuit of swings, goblet squats, high pulls, shoulder raises, and kickback rows. The next circuit is core focused with tricep pullovers on the stability ball, lunges, mermaid raises, hundreds, and Russian twists. Effective!

Knowing that I wouldn’t be able to get to the gym on Saturday, I ran on Friday morning. First, I started with my go-to body strength workout that I really enjoy. Starting with step ups, I go to dips, plié squats, lunges, kickbacks, push ups, mountain climbers, mermaid raises, ankle grabs, hip lifts, bicycle crunches, and Russian twists. After a few reps of those, I completed a few planks before hopping on the treadmill. To mix things up, I like to run for five minutes flat at a medium level, ran slow on a slight incline, then fast on a flat surface. After going through that circuit twice, I ended with a five minute medium run on a flat surface, my legs were feeling it later!

Shoveling is quite an effective winter workout. After putting my share in on Saturday, I relaxed for most of the day. It wasn’t until later on that night when I was ready to do another workout. I started a strength routine using this random ten pound dumbbell I found lying around. I did ten moves, ten reps, and six sets. I finished up on the bike for a half hour watching SNL trying to mock the Patriots’ situation.

It was good to be back at the gym on Sunday, especially because my gym time was cut short this week due to the storm. Starting with a strength routine using a stability ball and medicine balls, I was nice and stretched out by the time I hit the treadmill. For my strength workout, I started with wall throws, squats, lunge twists, kickbacks, push ups on the medicine ball, and kick outs. The next circuit was more core focused, doing roll outs, elevated hip lifts, hundreds, sit ups, mermaid raises, and Russian twists. This time on the treadmill, I ran at a steady pace, moving the speed up slightly every five minutes for 35 minutes.

Monday morning came early, but as always, I felt great after. I wanted to mix things up a bit with my dumbbell strength routine and my body was happy to be fooled. An elliptical workout was on tap for my cardio, knowing I would be doing quite a bit of body strength routines on the snowy days.

House ridden on Tuesday, I got my share of exercise shoveling. I also enjoyed an at home Yoga class, and a body strength workout of the routine I mentioned above, followed by a Plyometrics workout. For this, I do box jumps, jumping jacks, high knees, skater jumps, and jump rope. It leaves me very sweaty!

Though snow days are a great excuse to do some heavy relaxing and being productive around the house, it doesn’t mean that you can’t get some exercise in, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Pair something up with some shoveling, be creative, and then go back to reading by the fireplace or bingeing on Netflix. Heck,you can workout while bingeing on Netflix!

From Strong Workouts to Sick in Bed

While all the resolutioners crowded the gym, I stayed at home and rode the stationary bike for 45 minutes. I actually had plans to go to the gym, but I wasn’t feeling great and was pretty tired from not a great night of sleep. It was still a good workout and I finished with my legs burning. Actually, my shoulder was still sore on Thursday, so it was a good idea to stick to mostly leg exercises anyways.

I woke up feeling refreshed and healed on Friday and ready for my Friday morning workout. Nouha met me and I guided us through an intense kettlebell workout. To mix things up a bit, I performed all the moves on the bosu to offset my balance and keep my body guessing. I topped it off with a bit of cardio, jump roping and sprints on the treadmill.

Saturday, my friend Stephanie was up for the weekend, so instead of a regular workout, we went into the city and walked around. Combined with some shoveling later that night, I got my daily steps up to 18,500 and was quite pleased with myself.

Feeling kind of sore from the walking and shoveling the night before, and full from lunch, I settled on a long walk with my mom and the dog then some gentle yoga to relax before the long week ahead.

It was back to the grind on Monday for the regular morning workout. I met Nouha to start off with a body strength workout before taking it on the treadmill for a run.it’s actually easier for me to increSe my speed on the treadmill because it’s flat and I change it up every five minutes to keep from getting bored.

On Tuesday, Nouha and I finally made it to the cycling class we have been trying to do for over a month now. The timing hasn’t worked out before then, but it was worth the wait. After, I went up to fit in a body strength routine.

It wasn’t until later that afternoon that the shakes carried on for a different reason. I had no appetite for lunch and then I felt nausea creeping in. The second I got home from work, it began apparent why. Not fun! It’s enough to warrant a rest day at the gym this morning so I can try and sleep it away.