Let the Rain Come

Hello Monday and hello to you!

Once again, I can’t believe how fast the weekend flew by. I had a ton of fun in the sun and spent the majority of the weekend relaxing. It might be a rainy week ahead, but at least we’ll all be at work anyway.

My friend/client snapped this shot of me training her on Friday afternoon. We were laughing, but really I was trying to get her to stop talking long enough to actually exercise!

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Lunch was a BLT salad.

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That afternoon, this guy had his annual check-up. He’s doing great! I can’t believe it’s almost been a year since I adopted him. He’s the joy of my life.

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Later, I got to cuddle with the cutest baby I know, little Lily.

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On Saturday, I woke up and had a breakfast of an egg on toast with a sprinkling of cheese.

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It fueled me through a 2.25 mile run, including a massive hill at the end. Woo.

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My reward was an afternoon on the beach with my BFF!

It was a blast soaking up the sun and diving into waves. We headed into the city after for a drink and to walk around. It was such a lovely night outside and it was great walking around our old college neighborhood.

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Sunday morning included what I’m branding the BELT- bacon, egg, lettuce, and tomato. Delicious! We attended mass in the morning in honor of the anniversary of my grandfather’s passing.

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It was a nice moment to celebrate with family and we all went out to eat after.

That night, I went on a long walk with my parents, made these Skinnytaste bagels, and got some Sunday night things done.

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Anything great happen this weekend?

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weekend and travel plans

This weekend was one of relaxation after traveling. I did a lot of nothing, with some exercise thrown in to assuage the guilt.

I had taken a week off from working out thanks to my travel last week and it was much needed. On Saturday, I got back to it with a total body strength routine and some spinning and I was feeling those DOMS on Sunday. A run/walk combo helped stretch out my sore legs in particular, but they were still achey on Sunday night and this morning! I have a love/hate for this kind of pain, but it is the good kind of pain. I guess it was time to mix things up with my plan.

I was also able to catch up on sleep, which had gotten messed up when I took a red-eye to Boston last Friday. I don’t sleep well on planes, especially with my legs feeling a bit cramped. I had a couple of hours to nap once arriving home before my mom and I got mani/pedis for my cousin’s wedding. It was dancing time at the beautiful ceremony and reception and we were up past 2 am, which meant I was awake for the better part of 24+ hours and jet lagged. Whew. But it was well worth it.

The rest of my break was spent with my family, shopping, going to movies and dinner, and spending some quality time. It’s always hard to leave, but it was great to see everybody. Even though it’s a long flight from coast-to-coast, particularly east-to-west, it was nice to gain three hours of the day on the way back.

I captured some snapshots from the plane:

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It was hard to not include the wing of the plane in my photos, so that accounts for the odd angles.

Somehow, it’s Monday again. Enjoy it!

New York City!

It’s Monday and we’re all back to the real world! For me in particular, since this is my blog and it’s a bit of a shock having spent the past few days in New York City, aka my favorite place in the world!

After a whirlwind week of working, my friend Lauren and I hopped on the bus to visit our friends Bobby and Ruben. The bus ride was a little long, especially as the anticipation built, but we got through with a lot of chatting.

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Once we arrived late Thursday night, we had dinner at a Mexican place where lots of chips and salsa were had, as well as a grilled chicken and pepper dish that was pretty okay. It was time for bed as Lauren and I had a busy Friday planned.

On the definite agenda on Friday afternoon was the NBC tour, so we headed towards Times Square and had brunch at a diner. I selected the single pancake, scrambled eggs, and bacon, which hit the spot! I’m not used to waiting so long to eat in the morning, so I was hungry! The weather was beautiful and perfect for walking around, though Lauren and I might have been the only ones wearing shorts. On our travels, we noticed two very long lines, which I thought might be for those elusive eateries that Buzzfeed always posts, but one was for what we concluded was a Hamilton meet-and-greet (understandable) and the other was for Chik-fil-a ( a rousing, huh!?).

After we took in the scene, we found ourselves at 30 Rock! We found where we were supposed to meet for the tour and then we had an adventurous debacle trying to locate a restroom, and then a restroom that was actually open. We did make it back in plenty of time, but almost missed the tour anyways because we were browsing the store. Whoops! The tour was fun and informational, plus just plain cool getting to sit in the audience of SNL (sans actual show), but it wasn’t all that overwhelming. It didn’t help that Lauren and I were bunched in with a bunch of teenagers on a class trip.

Back into the sunshine and away from the teens, we made our way over to the Highline which we walked on our way to meet Bobby.Though it was a little congested, it’s such a nice walk with spectacular views. Here would be a great time to insert a pic of the view, but we were busy taking in the scene. Once we stepped off near Chelsea Market, it was time for some refreshments.

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The final leg of our afternoon took us to Union Square, where we hopped back on the subway to get ready for dinner that night. Lauren and I were excited to try Tao!

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The food was excellent, especially the sweet and sour cauliflower! We also shared chicken and pad thai dishes, finishing off with a giant mousse-filled fortune cookie. Post-dinner, we decided to take advantage of the still-warm and beautiful evening weather and hit up a rooftop bar. I can already predict this will be my favorite thing to do in the summer, even though I don’t think every place I go to will offer views of the Statue of Liberty.

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Once we arrived and got our drinks- boozy popsicles in wine!- it started to rain! There was a cover and heat lamps above us, but they only lasted so long until we were the only ones left and had to leave.

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Lauren and I racked up a ton of steps, especially on Friday- almost 30,000, and then a lot on Saturday too!

On Saturday, we started our morning off right with a workout! I’m now a big fan of hitting up gyms for one-day passes when I travel! For my workout, I spent a half hour working through a strength training circuit before hopping on the treadmill for a run. Since losing the last ten pounds, I’ve definitely gotten faster and was able to stay at a strong, but comfortable pace, except that I was battling a bit of a bellyache. I finished my hour up with a core workout before getting ready for brunch.

This pretty much sums up brunch.

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Bottomless mimosas! For my actual meal, I chose eggs benedict with spinach with a side salad. Delicious! A little tipsy and a lot full, we made our way over to Central Park to sit in the sun and just relax. The best!

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That is the face of a happy girl! I mean, look at this view from lying on my back:

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Once the sun started to go down, so did the temperature, so we knew it was time to head back. For dinner, I had part of an amazing cauliflower (vegetable of the weekend!) crumble and spaghetti in a lemon cream sauce. For after-dinner drinks, we had trouble finding a spot that stuck, but we finally did find one (my poor, sore feet!) and enjoyed a nightcap before heading back to bed.

Sunday sadly was our final day and we kicked things off with brunch. I had trouble deciding, but the waiter recommended the hot dog (kind of an odd choice for brunch, sure) and it didn’t disappoint. By the time we got back to the apartment, Lauren and I decided to pack up and head out to stay in the general area of our bus. Even though we weren’t hungry at that time, we knew we would be once we were on the bus, so we trekked over to Whole Foods with our luggage and got some snacks.I enjoyed a roasted chicken sandwich and a cookie! The journey home was even longer than the one there, and even though I love and miss New York, I was happy to be home.

For one, after a weekend of indulgences, I always love getting back into my food and exercise routine as it’s so motivating to feel healthy again! Another, I always feel so inspired by the city and ready to work hard, so I know I’ve got a lot of exciting things to do over the next few months- and choices to make!

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend, wherever you are and whatever you did! Happy Monday!

Happy Birthday To Me Indeed!

Yesterday was the greatest day of the year, my birthday, but now that it’s over, we can start to look forward to the holidays! Before we move on so abruptly, however, let’s recap my super exciting birthday weekend extravaganza!

I was up very early on Saturday morning to catch my bus to New York City- my favorite place in the entire world! The bus ride wasn’t terrible and I slept for half of it, so I was feeling pretty swell once I arrived. In the city, I met my best friend from college, Stephanie, and we both agreed we were starving.

First on the menu was this delectable burger and fries. We were so hungry once we sat down to eat and I enjoyed this sucker. No roll was needed- I find if it’s nothing impressive, I’m not missing much. But boy, did this hit the spot!

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For most of the day, we walked around the city, just taking in the sights. Both of us share a favorite place in the city, which is the High Line- an elevated outdoor walkway near the river that has amazing views. It was super crowded on Saturday, but we weren’t in a rush.

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This city feeds my soul. Maybe it’s because I’m only a visitor or maybe it’s something more I don’t understand. It just makes me happy and inspired and it was exactly what I needed.

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Our travels took us through Chelsea Market where we stopped for a small treat at Doughnuttery, which has the best little doughnuts I’ve ever tasted. Wow! After, we made our way to Union Square where we walked through a Farmer’s Market and made our way to Barnes and Noble to do some browsing and rest our feet from all that walking!

For dinner, we met up with my friend, Bobby, who lives in the city for a Mexican-inspired dinner. We split an order of nachos to start and then Stephanie and I were still feeling the ramifications of lunch, so we split a chicken quesadilla for our meal, which was just enough. Since it was my birthday weekend, we also split dessert- churros and ice cream with chocolate sauce! It was dark in the restaurant and I felt weird taking a picture with flash, so I apologize for the lack of visuals.

Both Stephanie and I were tired from our early morning wake-up calls and walking around all day, so we headed across the river to stay at her friend’s place for the night, which was so helpful!

The next day, the sun came out and it was the perfect fall day! We had considered seeing a matinee, but with the weather so nice and fresh, neither of us wanted to be inside. Instead, we stopped at a bakery for a doughnut breakfast- I have never had so many doughnuts as I had this weekend and the one before at my friend’s wedding- whew. It was really good quality though, so I won’t complain!

Into the city we went where Stephanie rocked her new Chewie hat.

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We started walking from Wall Street and continued down Broadway until we found ourselves near Washington Square Park. That place is magnificent if only because of their quality public restrooms. Thank you! Since it was so nice out and the park bustling with excellent people watching opportunities, we decided on a picnic lunch. Where might we go? Only the place that makes the greatest invention known to man kind….Peanut Butter and Co! My love of their peanut butters, in particular their chocolate varieties are well known, so I’ve always wanted to stop by the shop for lunch. That we did! I selected the Dark Chocolate Dreams sandwich that included dark chocolate peanut butter, shredded coconut, and cherry preserves. Oh my.

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The sandwich was delicious, filling, and huge! I wanted to eat it all since it was such a novelty, but I had a hard time, especially because I paired it with a peanut butter milkshake. Don’t judge me, it was my birthday weekend! While we ate, we noticed how some people in the park didn’t mind having all of these pigeons hanging out on top of them. I was a little skeezed, but people will do as they do. I was too busy trying to take the perfect selfie to really judge.

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That was until a squirrel climbed onto my lap. No, I’m not joking or exaggerating. I felt something tickle my leg as I was pointing out something to Stephanie, looked down and saw the squirrel, screamed and ran away. Looking back, I’m thankful because it makes for a funny blog story. But still, ew! And as I ran away, I looked back and noticed the stinker staring me down.

After that little adventure, we were women on a mission. Thanks to Daylight Savings Time, we knew the sun was going to set around 4:40 PM that day and we wanted to see Central Park, so we got our walking shoes on and stepped up our stride and made it all the way to the park with time to spare. If you’re not familiar with the city, let me tell you, that is a hike. Wall Street, our starting location, is close to Brooklyn and well before the numbered streets begin, as well as Washington Square Park. Central Park is on 59th Street. It was a hike!

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Well worth the trip however!

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Once darkness set in, we decided it was time for a drink. We found a place that offered wine and cheese and we were sold. With our glasses of chianti, we split a mozzarella and prosciutto roll over arugula and tomatoes. Divine!

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Then it was time for more walking! We stopped at Bryant Park to browse the shops, where I picked out a birthday present for myself- this hat! I was very excited for my purchase!

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Instead of a full dinner, we agreed to stop at two separate places for drinks and an appetizer. Place two took us to a Chinese restaurant where we split crab rangoon and sesame chicken. Stephanie ordered the Mai Thai, but I stuck with wine.

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By the time we finished our meal and checked to see how far away we were from my friend’s apartment, we decided we were tuckered out from walking and settled on an Uber. I wore my Garmin during the trip and calculated that in two days, we wracked up over 50,000 steps, which totals to about 30 miles (if I’m doing math right). I think it was quite acceptable that we were tired!

The next morning- my birthday!- we had to be up early for me to catch my bus because I had to work that night. It wouldn’t be my birthday if I didn’t stop for breakfast, so we found a diner near my bus stop. The eggs were normal and the waffle okay- honestly, I prefer making my own or Eggos even!

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Then it was time to say goodbye to my city.

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All the birthday love made it okay though! Thanks again to Stephanie for making the trip with me! And to my sister for picking me up back home! We decided to be good and made it to the gym for a workout where I led us through a series of circuits that included strength training, plyometrics, and core work!

My stomach was raging after that weekend of eating, so instead of going out, I was craving something healthy, delicious, and homemade. We threw together these salads with black bean veggie burgers for protein.

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After work, dinner was a veggie and chicken stir fry I topped with sesame ginger dressing.

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I also indulged in a birthday treat of my mom’s apple crisp!

It was a wonderful birthday filled with love and I felt warm and fuzzy! To end the day, Stephanie had tweeted a surprise, which led to this exchange.

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That was Freddie Prinze Jr. using a birthday cake emoji to wish me a happy birthday. Yup. I’m still blushing.

Sit Up Straight! No, But Really, You Should Do That

Is everybody recovering from their (hopefully) fun-filled Labor Day weekend?

Saturday morning, I opened at work, but I was out by noon and ready to enjoy a weekend! After lunch, I picked up my friend Nouha and we headed out to the store. Now’s the perfect time to buy a bathing suit because everything is on sale. Now is not the perfect time to buy a bathing suit because 1. they are hard to find in the store 2. all products are tossed together in one section regardless of size, shape, and match.

Fun fact: I found the bathing suit of my choice lying on a dressing room bench. It was 75% off and I just so happened to have a gift card, so I spent a whopping $3.44. Time well spent.

After our shopping trip, Nouha and I walked the five mile trek around a local lake. It was hot, but trees shaded us for the most part and things didn’t feel too bad. We rewarded ourselves with frozen yogurt after- mint chocolate chip is amazing! When I got home, my legs were still itching for a bit of a workout, so I took off for a run. By the end, I reached five more miles for a wonderful and exhausting tally of 10 miles.

The ability to walk/run 10 miles = my strength for Saturday.

I came home and grilled up the rest of the tilapia for another delicious meal! As I settled into study for the rest of the night, my parents came home and bullied me into going over to my neighbors’ house to sit by the fire pit. I say this in jest as it did not take much to tear me away from my textbook. It was the weekend after all!

On Sunday, I got to try out my new bathing suit. I had one goal in mind when it came to selecting a new suit: I wanted something I did not need to keep adjusting as I dove into the waves. I am a big beach girl so far as I love the ocean. Yes, it scares me because, sharks. Pools are also very nice and safer because, no sharks.

But there is something majestic about the salty water, the push and pull of waves, and connection to nature. So long as I can see through the water and there isn’t any seaweed hooking its way around me, or, sharks, I’m a happy girl.

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This picture just proves I have a humungous forehead. But at least it’s a happy forehead. Every dive into the wave on Sunday, and trust me, I was in the water for over an hour so there were a lot, gave me my strength.

As far as food on Sunday, I had a toast breakfast before the beach, a deliciously well-crafted sandwich for lunch, and barbecue for dinner (hot dog, grilled chicken, the fixings). On the way home, we stopped at Dairy Queen and I indulged in a blizzard- reese’s cup!

Monday morning, I set my alarm early to get in a workout before work. I started with a dumbbell strength circuit and I was feeling tired. I think it has to do with all the wave-diving of the previous day. I followed my strength routine up with a core circuit. I’ve been more devoted to core strength since I started studying for my personal training cert, as I grow increasingly aware of how important posture is for the body to function.

True Life: I am a sloucher.

Listen to your mamas and papas, folks, and stand/sit/walk with that head held up high and back straight. Damn.

To end things on a high note, I rocked a plyometric circuit that left me nice and sweaty. Before a few hours of work, I showered and stuffed down a peanut butter wrap, feeling strong to start my day.

I was out of work by noon and ready to relax by the pool. I fully intended to swim, but the water was a little chilly and I tried to take things slow by sitting on a raft. Relaxing turned into a full blown nap and I only woke up when a bird cawed loudly in the distance. For my life purposes, I am thankful I did not topple over into the water. For blogging purposes, I am thoroughly disappointed I could not share a story of me tumbling into the water with you.

After my nice nap, it was study time! I have a nice feeling about the nervous, skeleton, and endocrine systems, but the muscular system is still proving to be difficult to comprehend. I’ll get there, I hope.

Dinner was tilapia once again. This piece was intended to be spread over two meals, which means, yay! I don’t have to cook much for lunch. I topped it with thin slices of butter and a lemon pepper seasoning. Since it was a slightly thicker piece, I cooked the fish for six minutes on the first side and four for the second. Perfection! I paired the fish with a heaping portion of broccoli and a sweet potato topped with butter and cinnamon.

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I met up with my friend Molly to walk. We haven’t seen each other since our Californian adventures, so it was great to catch up! I’m not sure how far we got, but I do know there were a ton of laborious hills that left my legs feeling sore today. Chatting away as day gave into night and it was still hot as balls  was my moment of strength for Monday.

Before bed, I put in a few more hours of studying.

This morning, I woke up and made myself a pancake breakfast. Pancakes, peanut butter, jelly, coconut, and a berry bowl = delicious.

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The cakes with ample water and coffee left me feeling energized and ready to attack my strength workout. Now to get to it!

The Entertainer

Last night I went to see Billy Joel at Fenway. This is my second time seeing him and he does not fail to impress. Both of my parents are big fans and I started listening to his music on a family trip to Ireland. There is not one song that I don’t like. It’s funny because he could have played a complete different playlist last night that still would have been full of hits.

  
After every song, I kept shouting, “that one’s my favorite!” I don’t think there’s anything quite like hearing a packed stadium of 30,000+ people singing along to Piano Man or an a Capella version of The Longest Time. Even the two songs I didn’t know, I enjoyed. It was a perfect night for an outdoor concert too. Not too cold or warm, a few stars speckled the sky, and a great time with my parents and cousin Maura!

  
  
We started the night by hitting up a restaurant and getting a few drinks. I had a watermelon beer (the piece of watermelon on top was my favorite) and then had a glass of raspberry sangria. For my meal, I selected the chicken and shrimp sesame stir fry that was chock full of peppers, snap peas, and mushrooms on top a bed of jasmine rice. The portion size was just right so that I easily polished it off and washed it down with a soft serve cone in the stadium.

  
My workout for the day was a body strength circuit that had my sweating and sticky before I jumped into the pool to swim a mile. I was feeling strong yesterday and was in the zone and could have swam another mile (at least it yet like it) but I was on no time crunch and had to get ready for the concert! To add to my exercise for the day, we did quite a bit of walking to the concert and a ton of dancing! Once Billy came on stage, I didn’t sit for another two hours.

I was feeling sleepy this morning and took my time getting out of bed. Somehow it seemed easier at 5. I eventually got up and grilled up some French toast. In my batter, I tossed an egg, an egg white, a splash of milk, cinnamon, and vanilla together, soaked the bread, and fried it up. I thought I would get a little fancy with my topping and mixed a fourth of a cup of plain Greek yogurt and two tablespoons of dark chocolate peanut butter together. Combined with blueberries and banana, it was quite tasty. I ended up having too much for the toast, so I just ate the rest of it as a parfait.

  
As I enjoyed my breakfast, I watched a clip of Amy Schumer on Jimmy Fallon’s show talking about how she engaged in a bread eating war with Mindy Kaling and sexted from Katie Couric’s phone when she got up to use the bathroom. Comedy right now is huge, especially as people realize that women are actually funny. I am actually going to see Amy’s movie that comes out tonight, which she stars in and wrote. I think it’s so important to have celebrities, especially female, get so much positive exposure for being smart, funny, confident, and strong. And she was just nominated for an Emmy for her show Inside Amy Schumer, which is great!

Now onto a day of studying, writing, and exercising! Happy Friday!

Unplugged: But Not On Purpose or In An Artful Kind of Way

I was digital-less for about two hours yesterday and I was pretty sure the world was going to end. Actually…it wasn’t that bad. Before I headed out to meet my friend for lunch, I wanted to update my phone to get some new music on there for a run later in the afternoon. I’ve had some trouble with my phone syncing to iTunes for awhile now, but with some persistence, it usually works. Not so much this time.

The phone was three-quarters of the way through the update when it decided the phone was no longer plugged in and demanded that I do plug it in. Well, I hadn’t touched a thing. I tried to re-plug it in and it told me to restore it, then proceeded to say that it needed to be plugged in to be restored. Um. My phone was gone. There was probably a way to fix it at some point, but I was running short on time and was planning on getting a new phone the next day anyways.

Phoneless, I met my friend Molly for lunch. Everything was fine and I was barely thinking about it until I realized I couldn’t snap a picture of my lunch when I tried for you fine people. Hmph. It was a tasty meal with chicken curry, green beans, carrots, baby corn, and a side of pad thai. I don’t eat Thai food frequently, but I do enjoy it a lot. There’s always a ton of veggies involved, so it makes the other indulgences not seem so bad.

After lunch, Molly was kind enough to trudge over with me to the mall. Let me tell you, getting a new phone is a hassle. It’s fine. I’m okay with it. I just didn’t expect my current phone to go down as it did. Whatever. First selfie on the new phone.

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Once again equipped with my lifeline, it was time to walk. Rain was threatening, so I put my phone into a plastic baggie into another bag and prayed for the best. We did bring an umbrella solely to cover our electronics for extra precaution. How have we fallen so far down?

Our walk took us in the way of ice cream, which I will never complain about. I chose a flavor that had a vanilla base, fudge swirls, and peanut butter cups. Uh huh. It was divine. More walking entailed after with a little drizzling, but nothing extreme. It wasn’t necessarily hot out so much as humid, so by the time I arrived home, I was sweaty. I still had a run on my mind, especially after I pulled out an old iPod and threw a new playlist together- no, I’m not running with my new bad boy, I think it’s too hard on it’s joints, er, systems.

My legs were a little sore from the past few days of workouts and from walking, but I took off strong from the start. I ran three miles straight, walked up a gigantic hill, then ran another mile or so. Overall, it was a five mile trek that left me hot, sweaty, and feeling strong. My mom did not want me sitting on the couch once I got home because I was covered in and dripping sweat.

IMG_3343 For whatever reason, I most always feel strong during my run, but I feel terrible after. It’s a stomach thing. I chugged a few glasses of water and tried to eat something to recover, but my appetite was null and my stomach was having none of it. I didn’t even feel hungry later. It was a good-looking meal though.

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I need to get back into a more realistic routine, but last night, I got into the writing flow and I couldn’t very well stop it. I’ve started writing a book based on my experience with my weight and weight loss with lots of encouragement from my parents and my Grandma and it’s coming together pretty well. I’m excited about it. By means of an outline of sorts, I actually developed chapter titles that sum up what I want to cover throughout. I don’t lead a scandalous life by any means, but I do think it will be fairly interesting. Who knows?

I woke up a little later than usual this morning and had eggs on the brain. I fried up two with a chicken sausage and a whole grain english muffin. Strawberries and blueberries made an excellent accompaniment.

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Before a swim and a body strength workout later this afternoon, I picked up where I left off last night and started to write some more. You can blame that for the delay in my post this morning. Exciting things are happening today, so I will be back tomorrow morning to check in with you all.

It’s almost Friday! Yay!