New Exercise Plan

Next Tuesday, Chris and I are running are first 5k together! I’m scared and excited at the same time. I hope it goes well! I also hope that my knees continue to hold up. In an effort to make sure I don’t end up back in PT, after our 5k I will take some time off from running outside. Instead, I will get my cardio work outs on the treadmill. The treadmill is softer on my knees, so hopefully that will keep me fit and healthy.

However, running outside gives me a thrill that running on the treadmill lacks. That being said, I’m looking for ways to stay motivated in my work outs. My current idea is to begin weight lifting. I’ve never been a fan, but I’m learning how important it is to lift weights. I’ve starting researching how to begin weight lifting, and it seems that there are lots of great books out there specifically for women.

So I ask you: what weightlifting book do you recommend? The most important thing would be something that provides alternatives for exercises such as squats. Since I have bad knees, I cannot do that motion. Suggest away – I would love to start in the coming weeks!

Kicking my own butt

As promised, I trucked through my 3 mile run last night. I didn’t head out until 7:30 so it wasn’t sweltering, but it was still pretty hot out. The heat definitely took a toll on me, and though I ran a little less than I did on Friday, I felt a lot more was taken out of me during the run. When I got home, I forced myself to do some foam rolling and then plopped on the couch. I would’ve been content spending the entire night without moving off of it – I was that exhausted.

Finally, around nine, I convinced myself that I needed a good dinner. Does anyone else often eat dinner past 8:30 or is it just a me-thing? I went for quick and easy, because it was late and Chris was working late. Also, because the couch was screaming at me for leaving it. I baked a piece of salmon that I seasoned with lemon juice and garlic. Will it cooked, I broke out the Trader Joe’s frozen asparagus risotto and heated it up. I combined both and paired with a glass of 3 Buck Chuck. The risotto was so good – it didn’t taste like freezer food at all!

While eating dinner, I started in on a new series for me American Dreams. Netflix kept suggesting it, so when I found Season 1 on Amazon for $10, I decided to pick it up. I’m two episodes in and so far so good. I especially love the historical aspect of it and how big events are intertwined with the characters lives.

What’s one thing I failed to do last night? Make Chris a birthday cake! His birthday is today and though I bought all the ingredients, I was too exhausted to bake last night. That means tonight I’ll be baking a cake and cooking dinner for my birthday boy.

Which brings me to: Happy Birthday Chris!

I love birthdays, and can’t wait to spoil him tonight. I’ve been itching to give him his gift ever since I bought it last week. Let’s hope he loves it!

Good reads, good workout, good dinner, good day

I was busy busy busy yesterday. After work, I ran home to grab returns and headed off to the library. Chris currently is into Mad Men, so I picked him up Season 2 and picked myself up a new book. The book I just finished, The Principles of Love, is a young adult novel about a 16 year old girl starting at boarding school. Yes, I’m a 26 y/o with a ivy league degree, but I still love me some young adult fiction. Some y/a novels captures life moments so much better than many adult novels. Do you know what I mean? This book was particularly good at capturing the main character’s emotions, and I’m excited to read the next book in the series. Plus, the book is set at Hadley Hall, so how could I not read it?

A school named after me? (photo by Chris's sister)

Pilates was great yesterday. My instructor has been slowly upping the difficulty level, and yesterday’s class was really demanding. I felt a little Cirque du Soleil with some of the moves we were performing. It’s actually super fun doing these new crazy moves. I sweated more in Pilates last night than I ever have before (sweating = sexy). My teacher waited to the end to point out that we did the whole class without taking any breaks for the first time. I hadn’t even noticed, but I guess that explained the pile of sweat on my mat (sweating = still sexy).

I came home to Chris busy making dinner (swoon). Here’s a look at my plate:

Mock chicken sandwich, corn on the cob, and sweet potato fries.

The Morningstar mock chicken breast made a yummy sandwich when I added some relish and lettuce to give it an extra oomph. The corn on the cob hit the spot, as always. The only disappointment was the sweet potato fries. I was really hoping they would be stellar, but they turned out to be mushy. Next time I’ll make my own instead of buying them from the freezer section.

This morning I had promised myself I would get up early and go for a run. Chris wasn’t able to join, because he had to be at work extra early, so when the alarm went off I just couldn’t find the motivation to get out of bed. I hit the alarm and ended up falling back asleep and having one of those dreams where I am back in high school, forgot to study for a French test (it’s always French or Math), and thus end up bombing it. The sleeping-in guilt was talking loud and clear. To make up for missing my run, I will brave the heat and go out tonight. For now, I’m busy hydrating.

Are you a before or after work exerciser?

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?

Little Miss Competitive

When I was little, my dad would call me Little Miss Bossy. I hated the nickname then, but nonetheless, I’ve always had a fondness for the Little Miss characters.

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In fact, I have a Little Miss magnet on my fridge courtesy of the Target dollar bins that allows me to circle with a moveable magnet what Little Miss I am for the day. Last night, I was Little Miss Competitive. Sure, there isn’t actually a Little Miss Competitive, but work with me here.

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Since I’ve been doing Pilates 2x a week since February, sometimes the classes can feel a bit repetitive, and I feel myself slipping into an only okay workout. Last night, I started to feel that way at the beginning of class. I decided to create a game to remedy the situation. I decided that I was trying out for oh-say the Olympic Pilates event – because yes, if they had that I’d surely be top contender, hah – and had to stick every move perfectly. Well call me crazy (it’s okay, go ahead), but it worked. My ultra competitive side came out, and I tried my best to hold all the moves perfectly. I had a strong workout, and I’m currently watching my phone for a call from the IOC.

After my competition workout, I was ready for a big dinner. In the summer, that means one thing, a big salad. I hard boiled eggs, while Chris chopped up all the veggies. In the mix was lettuce, tomato, onion, chickpeas, shredded cheddar, and hardboiled eggs. Chris surprised me by bringing home a French baguette to go with the brie I picked up for $2(!) at Zabar’s the other day. It was the perfect summer dinner.

I love Zabar's.

We rounded out the night with a fabulous trip to the dog park. Often, Hadley is incredibly obsessed with playing fetch, but last night we refused to give him a ball. Eventually he relented and had a wonderful play session with another pup. My little welshie is learning lessons!

Whatever, I do what I want.

The night ended with my catching up with Friday Night Lights and enjoying some dark chocolate pudding I whipped up. Instant pudding is currently one of my favorite quick snacks. A ½ cup is all I need to cure my chocolate cravings, and I get a serving of dairy in. Double score.

Oh, and let’s end this post on something exciting: Chris and I signed up for our first 5k on July 12!!!

What Little Miss (or Mr.) are you today?

Will Run For Homemade Pasta

I was short on time when I came home from work yesterday. I had to take Hadley to the dog park and be at dinner by 8PM. But, I also really wanted to take a run. So I decided to risk going to dinner a hot sweaty post-run mess, and after the dog park laced up my sneakers and went for a run.

I’m so happy I took the time – it was my best run yet! My legs felt stronger, my breathing wasn’t all over the place, and I really loved the feeling of pushing myself. When I was done, I was indeed a hot sweaty mess, but I also was filled with an awesome runner’s high. I used that runner’s high to jet back to my apartment, foam roll, ice, and take a super quick shower. Booyah. Yes, I said booyah. I even made it to the restaurant 5 mintues early, so it really was a booyah moment.

Oh, the restaurant. If you’re a fan of homemade pasta, and really, who isn’t, then you must check out Da Andrea in Greenwich Village. Our party of four was able to sit outside and take in the beautiful evening. We split one two carafes of the house red wine, which was a reasonable $25 as were we able to get more pours out of it then a typical bottle. All the breads and pastas are homemade daily and were delicious. I ordered cavatelli with shrimp and salmon in a light pesto sauce. I was glad I went running earlier, because I ate the whole darn thing. It was that good.

I was full, but I still found some room for a mini Pinkberry on the way home. I haven’t had Pinkberry in too long, so I couldn’t resist when Chris beelined for the glowing storefront.

Pinkberry = irresitable

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Tonight my exercise is coming in the form of awsome. Or specifically, in the form of swing dancing at Midsummer Night Swing. The event runs nightly until July 16th at Lincoln Center where a different type of music plays every night. Tonight is big band swing, and I’m super excited! I’ve no clue how to swing dance, but I’ve always wanted to learn.

I’m sure I’ll look just as cool.

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Can you swing dance?

Tuna steak and cupcakes, but not tuna steak cupcakes

Rain was pouring down in the city off and on all day. I had the pleasure of getting stuck in a downpour on my way back from lunch. I didn’t have an umbrella, but I did have a cardigan. I ended up wrapping it around my head Fiddler on the Roof style and running back to work.

Rocking the babushka.

After work, the rain let up, so naturally it was time to take Hadley to the dog park.

Chris's sister took this picture on her last visit, but this is his typical dog park look.

Then, I made my way to Pilates. My Pilates instructor told me that it seems like I’m getting a lot stronger and that I’m keeping my legs straighter during the exercises. Success! I felt pretty dizzy during class, though, but I’m pretty sure its because I have to exercise without wearing my glasses. Once I put them on after the workout, I was fine. How do other glasses wearers deal with this issues? Unfortunately contacts aren’t an option for me.

I was super hungry after Pilates. Guess what I made for dinner …

Ceasar salad! But not just any ceasar salad, I made tuna steak ceasar salad. A friend recently convinced me that tuna steak is super easy to make. It turns out she was right. I bought two frozen tuna steaks from TJ’s, set them out to thaw while I was at Pilates, rubbed them with salt and pepper, and then cooked them in a frying pan for 3 minutes on each side. I added one steak to my ceasar salad. Instant fancy ceasar salad! Tomorrow, I’ll enjoy the second steak in a sandwich.

Tuna steak makes my salad seem fancy.

Learning how to make tuna steaks was a good lesson for me. Even if something seems hard to do in the kitchen at least check it out. It may be a lot easier than it seems.  I always was afraid to try cooking tuna steak, because it seemed difficult to cook it just right. Now I’m thinking about taking on homemade pasta this weekend, but we’ll see.

I spent the rest of my night watching HGTV. Kelley recently introduced me to this channel, and I’m hooked. Even though Chris and I are still ions away from buying, it’s fun to watch other people find their dream homes.

I winded down the evening making a batch of cupcakes to bring into the office tomorrow.

They all couldn’t fit into the container, so Chris and I were forced to eat one each. Such is life.

Want one?

What is your TV guilty pleasure?

My second most favorite activity

This morning started with an early wakeup call, so Chris and I could run before work. Boyfriend rocked it and put in his best run yet. I cannot say the same. My knees weren’t bothering me (yay!), but my breathing was totally off and I had the worst stomach ache. Usually my breathing is spot on, so I don’t know what was going on there. I trucked along at a slow pace and was just happy to finish the run. Hopefully, Friday will be a happier run for me.

For breakfast, my stomach didn’t like the idea of eating the greek yogurt I eat most mornings. Instead, I switched it up and bought a D&D egg white veggie flat bread. When my body is off, I do my best to listen to it (when it asks for mainly healthy things), so this was a good call. The sandwich steadied my stomach, and I got over my belly ache.

Lunch was another flat bread, because apparently they are all I eat. I seem to have one for at least one meal or snack every day. My favorites are Arnold’s Multigrain Sandwich thins. I use them for sandwiches, but I also use them to cover in PB and add chocolate chips. This is one of my favorite snacks. For lunch I put a chick patty and a ridiculous amount of homemade hummus on my sandwich thin. I made a batch on Sunday and took the container to work. It needs to be all eaten up by Friday at latest, so I’m doing my best to munch through it. I may have been the weird girl who offered people hummus out of my Tupperware today at work.

So now that I’ve shared the mundane, let me share the exciting part of today! Chris and I bought plane tickets to go out West in the end of September!!! I have time off between my current job and my new job that I start in the Fall, so we have been keeping our eye out for vacation options. Yesterday, we found out that Southwest is having a great fare sale. We are going to go out for 13 days (!!!!) and spend half the time visiting Chris’s family that lives in the Sacramento area, visiting San Francisco, and camping in Yosemite and the other half road tripping up the Pacific Northwest. We are currently thinking of going to Crater Lake, Portland, and Seattle. If you are from any of those areas or have suggestions for places to go on route, let me know! I can’t wait to start my second favorite activity – creating a vacation itinerary. It’s second only to the trip itself!!!

Crater Lake, I'm coming to you!

Where have you traveled lately? Have you visited San Francisco, Portland, or Seattle? I have such a travel bug now!

Burn, Baby, Burn

Any other heart burn suffers out there? I always saw the Pepto commercials, but I never myself had to deal with the pink stuff until my second year of law school. My heartburn would get so bad at times that I would find myself calling Chris to come to my apartment with a carton of milk in the middle of the night. A friend of mine, who is much more knowledgeable about these things than I, said that milk helps being a base and all. I knew the heartburn had something to do with a mix of gaining weight, being stressed, and not eating as healthy as I should be, so I felt it was justified to attack me. I took some medicine and promised to get healthy later.

Now, I’ve gotten healthier (I could never say I’m completely healthy, what with my love for dark chocolate and a glass of wine). I’ve lost the weight I gained and try my best to eat healthy (I’ll really never fully stop stressing, it’s ingrained). Still heartburn gets me from time to time. Maybe it’s one of those get it once, have it for good type of things? Over the last two days I’ve had some major heart burn issues. The good news is that I reasoned buying fro yo for later was a good call, because it’s a dairy product. Fro yo is dairy right? Well, either way, I hope it helps …

Do you suffer from heartburn? Any advice on how to deal with a bout of it?

Besides my griping on heartburn, I’m excited to ring in the weekend. I’m planning on starting my evening on the treadmill to complete a 3 mile run. Now that Chris and I are running outside, we aren’t exactly sure how far we are running. I’m hoping to get a sense of how long it takes me to run on the treadmill, so I can have a better guestimate to our outdoors distance. How does mileage on the treadmill transfer to running on flat surfaces outside?

Following my run, I plan on grabbing dinner with a friend, and hopefully enjoying some wine from the sweet view my apartment complex’s shared patio provides of the city. That’s only if it’s doesn’t rain, of course, so here’s hoping for sunshine! What are your weekend plans?

A healthy spin on Spinach Dip

I love week nights where I’m productive after work. Last night was one of those nights. When I got home, I took Hadley for a long walk. My knees and body in general was a little sore from my morning run, but taking a walk really loosened me up. I felt much better by the end of it.

After our walk, I dropped Hadley off, picked up my library returns, and headed off for some new finds. In addition to picking up Sloane Crosley’s How Did You Get This Number?, I also nabbed some CD’s. I just discovered that my library has a great CD collection last week, and its fun to explore all these new musical options.

Yes, that's Fiddler on the Roof.

When I got home, I started on dinner. Chris and Evan were both joining me, so I decided to try out a new recipe. I modified a recipe found here to make a healthy dip. I love dips and one of my favorite is spinach-cheese dip. It’s creamy, warm, and delicious. It’s also pretty fattening. This recipe is a great alternative as it’s much healthier and you can decide to skimp on or skip the cheese all together. Plus, its a great way to get lots of veggies and protein into a meal.

Spinach and White Bean Dip

Ingredients: 2 TBS olive oil, 10 oz. frozen spinach, 1 can of white beans, 1.5 TBS lemon juice, loads of garlic powder, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1/4 cup mozz. cheese (optional).

I sauteed the frozen spinach in a frying pan with 1 TSP of olive oil. When the spinach was wilted and no longer frozen, I added a heavy handed amount of garlic powder. Then I allowed time for the spinach to cool a little. Next I added the remaining olive oil, other ingredients, and the spinach into my food processor.

Full to the brim.

I processed the ingredients on the chop function until it became a smooth mixture. I stopped blending a few times to mix it around with a fork. I threw it in a bowl, heated it up in the microwave (its much better warm), and served with lentil chips. We all loved it!

I love dips.

We dipped dinner paired with Cupcake Vineyards red wine, while watching How to Train Your Dragon. I recommend adding the movie to your Netfix list – it’s a cute, fun, easy watch.

The dragon looked a lot like a cat.