Category Archives: nature

Let Freedom Ring

My Fourth of July weekend was all sorts of fabulous. Let’s recap, shall we?

Friday: After work, I forced myself to run a 5K. I wanted to make sure I could do the length, since Chris and my first official 5K race (since I was in high school) is coming up soon. It wasn’t so bad! My biggest issue with the run was pacing myself. I went out too slow most of the time, since I was scared I couldn’t make the distance, and then ended up finishing with a lot more to give. I guess over time I will remember how to pace myself? When I ran in high school, I was able to autopilot whatever time I sought, but that skill is long gone. I guess there could be worse problems.

The run paid off. I already proved I will run for pasta. Well, I’ll also run for Mexican. Chris and I meet up with Lauren and her BF for Mexican food. It was finally good real Mexican food, none of that fancy NYC Tex-Mex that drives me nuts. We shared guac to start (fresh-made at our table = awesome), enjoyed sangria (BYOB wine and they do the rest), and I polished off my entire veggie burrito plate, rice and all. I paid for that with a food coma, but it felt so worth it at the time.

Insane amount of Mexi food.

After dinner, I watched my new obsession HGTV, and Chris and I fantasized about buying property all over the world. Julian Alps, I’m coming (one day) to you! We ended the night watching She’s Out of Your League. Good concept, but meh movie.

Saturday: Woke up early for a Saturday (before 9AM = early on the weekend) and headed down to my brother’s place near Princeton. Hadley meet bro’s adorable pup that he rescued last month, Rider, for the first time. At first Rider was timid, but Hadley showed him the ways of the good life. By the end of the weekend, Rider was all play all the time.

Hadley and Rider playing tug of war.

After introducing the pups, we took them on a hike that lead to a pretty waterfall. Hadley was even brave enough to follow us into the water, but then freaked out a little (water and kayakers are Hadley’s two big fears). Even with lifeguard Hadley (I swear he thinks that water is dangerous and only he can save us from it), it was a great way to spend the afternoon.

The evening was spent in New Hope, PA. My brother’s GF recommend an awesome garden restaurant there that offered American, Italian, Thai, and Mexican food! We all choose Thai, and I had my first yellow curry. Very yum. Dinner was followed by walking around the cute town, the bro and his GF trying out chocolate covered bacon, and then we all ended our food fest with ice cream. Homemade ice cream is always a good thing.

Teddy bear shaped rice with my yellow curry.

Sunday: Sunday was supposed to be a beach day, but it was raining. We slept in and then headed to a famous Princeton pancake spot, PJ’s Pancake House. We ate at the counter, which made me feel like a kid, so I went with that feeling and ordered a chocolate milk. It really hit the spot.

Chocolate milk goodness.

My egg white veggie omelet with a side of pancakes was huge. I ate two of the pancakes, but failed to eat the rest. Next time, I must remember that my eyes are bigger than my stomach (sometimes).

Too much!

We spent the rest of the afternoon food shopping (outside of NYC = real super markets) and playing lawn sports when the rain finally let up. My parents joined us for a pizza party at night and supplied a strawberry shortcake. Yes, this weekend was a fattening fest.

Monday: We were up early to head back to our apartment. Chris and I spent the rest of the day prepping for our Fourth of July party. We are lucky to have a view of the Macy’s fireworks from our apartment terrace, so we invited over friends to share in the festivities. It was the first time I saw the fireworks live (something I’ve always wanted to do), and it was really great to be able to do so surrounded by friends both old and new. All in all, it was a wonderful weekend.

Let freedom ring (they looked better in person!).

Now it’s back to eating healthy. Today so far = chobani kids yogurt with honey bunches of oat cereal for breakfast and a TJ’s frozen Indian meal for lunch. Some fresh sliced strawberries and blueberries are coming up soon for a snack. You know what, healthy is yummy, too!

How did you spend your Fourth of July weekend?

One Week Later

I promised to post pictures of Chris, Hadley, and my adventure to  Audrey’s  Farmhouse in Wallkill, NY. The B&B was adorable and made you feel sorry you had to leave from the moment you entered. Chris and I spent our first evening eating homemade pastries left out for the guests, drinking wine, and watching a fire roar in the fire place. We spent the weekend enjoying the B&B and their wonderful breakfasts, looking through old photo albums from the 30’s in the B&B’s library, hiking, dining, wine and whiskey tasting, and exploring the town.


First thing we saw when we walked in.

Homemade cookies? Yes, please.

We stayed in the LL Bean Room.

Poached Pear for breakfast

Lovely breakfast.

I wish I had one of these in my apartment.

Hadley hiking.

Frozen branches on our snowy hike.

Wine tree at dinner.

Hadley exploring the wine cellar on our wine tasting.

Whiskey tasting.

Thanks Audrey's!

Do Pilates and You Can Hike Too

Like my infomercial title? 

This past weekend, Chris, Hadley, and I went to a B&B in Upstate NY. I’ll post about the entirety of our trip later when I upload all the pretty pictures.  Right now I want to talk about one of the best parts of our mini-vacation, a long hike through the Mohonk Preserve.

I’ve always loved nature and hiking is one of the best ways to experience it. However, since my knees are always bummy, I’ve had trouble doing long strenuous hikes in the past. This always upsets me, because I hate calling a hike short or having to stick to a flat path when everyone knows the most fun path is the one going straight up and giving you the best views.

Our Sunday hike was probably the best hike I have ever taken based not on sights, but rather on my level of ability. I hiked up hills in the snow in sneakers for around 2 hours and had little to no knee pain!

 I am pretty sure I started to sound like a Pilates infomercial while we were hiking. Every time I went to do something that in the past may have hurt my knees, I focused on drawing strength from my core like we learned in Pilates. It worked! I was able to make it to the top of the hill no problem and get the good views I craved without suffering. I was able to bound through the snow on slightly treacherous paths and not cry out from pain. It was fabulous.

So thank you Pilates. Building up my core strength and learning to focus on drawing from my core muscles, such as my abs and thighs, has been such a beneficial lesson. I am officially hooked to Pilates and aspire to become a true Pilates-nut. I had no clue that it was going to help my knees so much, but quickly after starting I realized that going up stairs wasn’t hurting my IT-bands and knees like it has for years. I started to read up more on Pilates and learned that its wonderful for people like me with joint issues. I plan on rearranging my budget and figuring out how to continue to pay for classes after my Groupon runs out.

So if you have knee problems like I do, I really recommend giving Pilates a shot. It is really helping me so far and it’s only been 3 weeks. It also helps tone muscles – my friend just told me the other day I looked so much smaller and I haven’t dropped any pounds recently. I’m just toning up from my workouts. Pilates won’t help you lose weight, but it will give you lots of other benefits. So yes, that’s my infomercial for the day.

What are your experiences with Pilates?

Who doesn't love a good infomercial?