Eggplant B.L.T.

Yesterday was nothing special- but it was definitely a better day than ones I’ve had of late. It wasn’t exceptionally good or anything, but it was a solid day where everything sort of just went right. As I was saying on Tuesday, you can’t force good days to happen and you can’t predict them. They happen organically and they tend to happen more when you just stop trying so hard to make things perfect. Enter my Wednesday.

It started with an email from Whole Foods telling me of their one-day only special BOGO sale on KIND bars. I got this email literally right after I was thinking hmmm I should pick up some Kind bars to take with me on the long plane ride to Russia. Whole Foods can read minds apparently. Side note- today they emailed me telling me that I could enter their little giveaway contest to win FIVE pounds of cherries. Regular readers know my recent woes with cherries and so again, that email was another weird telepathic connection between Whole Foods and I. I don’t even know how I’d handle five pounds of cherries. Oh wait. Yes I do. I’d eat them all. Okay glad that’s settled.

ANYWAY. Work was good yesterday- I was productive and efficient. I squeezed in a blog post where I got to get some excitement about Russia off my chest. And I was even able to talk to my sister briefly on my lunch break.

I didn’t really want to go to the gym after work. But I did. I planned to go to yoga at 6pm, but first do a quick thirty minute treadmill run. I like to run and then go to yoga because I feel like its a really good stretch for me post running.. I would normally run and then go home and stretch anyway so I might as well have someone lead me in a better stretch than I would get by myself.  Plus my body is warmed up very well to get all those yoga benefits

I was kind of in a negative mindset though when I got to the gym and almost talked myself of doing everything. Somehow I managed to stay and ended up not only tackling this challenging run (that I stole from Tina)…

  • {set incline to 1%}
  • 00:00 – 05:00: 6.3 mph
  • 05:00 – 07:00: 6.5 mph
  • 07:00 – 09:00: 6.6 mph
  • 09:00 – 11:00: 6.7 mph
  • 11:00 – 16:00: 6.8 mph
  • 16:00 – 21:00: 6.5 mph
  • 21:00 – 22:00: 6.7 mph
  • 22:00 – 23:00: 7.5 mph
  • 23:00 – 24:00: 6.5 mph
  • 24:00 – 25:00: 7.5 mph
  • 25:00 – 26:00: 6.5 mph
  • 26:00 – 27:00: 7.5 mph
  • 27:00 – 29:00: 6.5 mph
  • 29:00 – 30:00: 6.3 mph

…but also then at yoga, despite being thrown off slightly by 1) a girl passing out at the beginning of class (wah!) and 2) this guy with awful balance standing in front of me and wobbling all over the place- I was able to concentrate, focus, and have a really really good practice. I think it was the best I’ve ever seen my crow {which made me smile like a huge idiot}.

I wasn’t expecting a good workout AT ALL but I beasted out a run that I had seen a couple months ago and thought was borderline impossible AND held poses at yoga that usually are the hardest ones for me to handle.

Moral of the story: always attempt a workout even if you want to throw in the towel.

Second moral of the story: be patient with the fitness progress you want to make- keep working hard and one day you’ll be able to do things you never thought you’d be able to do.

The rain promised by the weather man held off till later in the evening so I was able to call my Mom on my walk back from the gym. Man I miss her {and home in general}.

And then- while my day might not have been exceptionally good for any reason- my dinner certainly was. I didn’t think it would be anything special- but oh- it was.

I used to love when my Mom would make BLTs at home. Love. The smell of bacon that would loft through our house was intoxicating. I just could never understand how such a simple sandwich could be so delicious. Toasted bread, mayonnaise, tomato, lettuce, and of course- bacon. I have distinct memories of licking my fingers and devouring a BLT at my kitchen table.

I upped the ante last night and concocted one of the best sandwiches I’ve had in a while. A lot of you know- I love eggplant {a fairly recent discovery}. I usually buy it every week and roast it to have on hand to add to sandwiches or salads. So when I decided that I wanted BLTs this week (mainly because they’re cheap and easy) and was thinking of ways to “beef up” the sandwich… my mind went to that roasted eggplant.

P1010418

I already had the eggplant sliced and roasted in the fridge so all I had to basically do last night was cook the bacon. Mmmm bacon.

While cooking the bacon (to which I added some garlic so it would get all roasted and whatnot in the pan yummm), I toasted some ezekiel bread in my toaster oven- and melted pepperjack cheese on one piece of the bread. You can use whatever bread you would like. Maybe try and make it whole grain to cancel out whatever “unhealthy” feelings you have about bacon. I put it in quotes because bacon isn’t unhealthy. Get outta here.

Speaking of “unhealthy,” I only put the cheese on one slice of bread so that I could spread a small amount of mayonnaise on the other slice. Say what you want about mayo- but I’ve always loved it. And to me- it’s just as critical to a good BLT as the bacon itself. Yep I said it. I rarely eat mayo as I’ve turned to other spreads that are yogurt or avocado based- but it’s a must on my BLT. I just made sure to not go crazy with it.

P1010438

I used the gooey cheese to hold down a small handful of spinach and then added the tomato, slices of roasted eggplant, and bacon.

P1010439

P1010442

Served with a side of cucumber “chips” and Trader Joe’s reduced guilt guacamole {it’s made with greek yogurt in addition to the regular guac ingredients}. I was introduced to this magical concoction by my Aunt and Cousin at home.

P1010440

I took this pic pre-cutting the sandwich into triangles. My favorite way to enjoy a sandwich.

Filling, comforting, and just as good as I remembered it as a kid. BLTs man. They are great. Even when you try and health-ify them a little bit. Extra added bonus- I made TWO sandwiches, resisted the slight urge to eat them both ;), and packed one up for lunch today. Needless to say… I’m excited for lunch.

And the Red Sox won yesterday. Obviously making the day better all around. Although, the Red Sox winning these days is certainly not a rarity. I love all Boston sports, but the Red Sox are my number one true love SO  their recent success has made me a happy gal. Baseball is my thang. With all the Patriots drama happening {see: murder charges} and the Bruins losing the cup {so sad}… can we all just take a minute to recognize that the Red Sox are absolutely AMAZING right now?! I feel like they’re not getting the credit they deserve. I’ll just continue to sit over here and be their number one cheerleader. It’s fine everyone. BUT someone needs to cover me when I go to Russia… damn I’m going to miss my guys…

sox

Anyhoo- TODAY is my Friday! Yes! And TODAY is pay day! Yes! And we’re having a party today at work for my boss aka free cake. Yes!.AND TODAY is my last day of work until Monday, July 15th. YES YES. YES. Oh and I leave for Russia in four days. No biggie.

This weekend is going to be filled with lots of time with Will {I haven’t seen him in two weeks and miss him like a crazy person}, trying to make sure I have everything figured out for my trip, and celebrating Will’s 23rd birthday SO I’m not sure how much I’ll be around or when you’ll hear from me next.

I can promise at least one more post pre-Russia so stay tuned. It’s weird to say, but you guys are going to have to get used to hearing from me less though because I’m about to go on a two week hiatus- eep! Can’t say I’ll be blogging from the Motherland.

Hopefully everyone is having a solid Thursday thus far. If not and you’re riding the struggle bus- just keep in mind that your life is at least better than THIS lady at the moment…

Did anyone else watch Paula Deen’s interview with Matt Lauer yesterday… holy awkward uncomfortable mess.

Keep it wicked healthy xoxo

More About Russia

Okay so this time next week I’m going to be in Moscow. Just writing that out seems flat out ridiculous. It definitely has been hitting me harder and harder that I’m actually going to be there soon- which is SO exciting. On Wednesdays I usually kick my butt into high gear with finding recipes I want to make in the upcoming week and filling up my calendar with events going on in DC… not this Wednesday. My professor took the liberty of  planning all that out for me.

The more and more people ask me about my upcoming trip- the more out of control happy I get about the whole thing. Like I said yesterday, I think it’s going to be really good for my mental state to just step away from the States and my life here for a little while. Starting Monday when I get to the airport, my only plan is to try and experience everything and take advantage of every opportunity presented to me. I have no idea if I’ll ever be able to get back to Russia- let alone on a trip all planned out for me and organized by someone who knows whats up. SO needless to say- I need to live it up.

It should be noted that a few months ago- the idea of food and eating in a foreign country made me really nervous. Especially in one that specializes in a lot of meat and potato dishes. BUT I am announcing to the world right now that the food aspect of this trip is one of the things I’m MOST excited about. So if you were worried about me being weird about food when I’m there and not indulging- I assure you- I will be MORE than okay 😉 I’ve already come to terms with the fact that healthy eating is not going to be a priority whatsoever- eating all of the things that come my way definitely will be. I’m only going to be there for 11 days! That’s such a short amount of time to acquaint myself with all of the food they have to offer over there.

As I say all the time- life is all about balance. On a regular basis healthy eating is a priority of mine. It’s something I feel strongly about, good about, and that I love. But I am also a foodie and I am naht about to turn down what is going to be the biggest food adventure of my lifetime. While eating real food and healthy meals is something I enjoy doing, I also enjoy learning about other cultures and experiencing the things that make other countries/areas of the world unique. ESPECIALLY Russia. I’ve only been interested in this place for about seven years of my life. You guys don’t see the history major/culture obsessed freak side of me that often (as it is not the focus of this blog) BUT you must remember, history was my first true passion in life.

History and the study of peoples and cultures are some of the things that make me truly happy. And I cannot wait to make those things my priority for a couple of weeks. I cannot wait to immerse myself in Moscow and St. Petersburg. I literally cannot wait. Can I get there now? Pretty please?

It also should be noted that I’m quite certain I’m going to be way too overwhelmed by the everything to even worry for a second about the things I worry about here. I’ll be trying too hard to remember my Cyrillic alphabet (I did take the language intensively for two semesters at school!) and get my body to recover from the serious jet lag mess that will be happening. When I asked a friend of mind who went on a simialr trip last summer for some advice, the first line in his response was: The first thing you should accept is that its going to feel weird. Even that I feel like is a massive understatement. Life is going to be so bizarre.

I wish I could paint you a clearer picture of everything I’m going to be seeing and doing when I hit Russia, but seeing as I’ve never been there before- it’s a bit of a challenge for me to explain to people what I’ll be up to. Plus, I’d rather give you the low down on the trip after I actually go because then there will be lots of pretty pictures to go along with everything. And you know a narrative other than, oh my god I’m so excited to see this and this and do that and that.

Lucky for me, my professor sent me and the other ten students going on the trip an itinerary of everything (so I at least have some semblance of what life is going to be like). I thought it would be nice of me to give you a sneak preview of my Russia whereabouts.

On Tuesday morning we will arrive in Moscow and after registering at the hotel, head over for a lunch featuring Georgian food at the Khachapuri Restaurant. We’ll then take a tour of the Novopassky Monastery and take a boat ride along the Moscow River. On Wednesday we will visit the State Historical Museum and Red Square. We will also see the Kremlin Territory and Cathedrals. Dinner will feature Uzbek food at the Samarkand Restaurant.

Fancy, huh? Just a little different than my average, every day schedule…

One of the cool things about food in Russia is the conglomeration of food from various countries (thank you, Soviet Union). So I’ll get to experience a wide variety of different types of food when I’m there that are native to different places.

I think I’m most excited to try some блины (blini). Mainly because I’ve just heard so much about them. They’re basically Russian pancakes that are sort of similar to crepes and can be filled with savory things like caviar or sour cream (Russians are big on sour cream) or sweet things like jam. I’m also pretty excited to try пельмени (pelmeni). They’re similar to dumplings and are in essence- dough stuffed with things like meat, potatoes, and mushrooms. Mushrooms are BIG in Russia so its a good thing I recently discovered how much I love them- I am going to be eating a lot of them. And I’m sure the rest of my meals will consist of a lot of potatoes, bread  (especially of the darker variety, like ryes), meat, butter, cabbage, caviar, herring, pickles, and wine and vodka. I mean what? Who said that? I’m also under the impression that kebabs, meatballs, other pancake varieties, and different types of dumplings are very popular. Oh and opbviously some  борщ (borscht- you know, that beet soup) and Бефстроганов (beef stroganoff) will have to happen.

I’m not going to lie- I did ask my professor if running outdoors in Russia was “normal” or a weird thing to do. Running can be a really cool way to explore cities! And it looked like our morning schedules on the itinerary were pretty open in terms of having some down time. But I didn’t want to try and do that if people would think I was a huge freak… not trying to look more like a tourist than I l already will He told me that I’d probably too tired from the jet lag and all the walking to go jogging- but that our hotels would have gyms and pools to swim in if we wanted to take advantage of them.

Check out the fancy pants hotel I’ll be staying in once I’m in St. Petersburg!

We’ll just see how things go when I get there. In the meantime I have so much to think about and plan for- so little time! I keep thinking of things to ask about and to figure out- like having a power adapter there to charge my camera (seeing as they have European outlets) and whether or not I should bring shampoo/conditioner/toothpaste.  Packing is definitely going to be interesting…

And I mean before all of the packing shenanigans can begin, I really got to get through this busy week at work. I need to remember to pay my rent and my cell phone bill before I go. Little details- no big deal. And, most importantly, there are celebrations to be had before I jet off- Will’s birthday is Sunday! Wahoo!

Time to focus and as they say, getter done.

Keep it wicked healthy xoxo

Win Some Lose Some

I don’t know when I’m going to get the idea out of my head that I can make every single day absolutely wonderful if I want to. Some days and some things just aren’t going to go well. Things cannot always be perfect. I need to stop trying so hard to make them that way and just be. I need to accept that you will win some moments and you will lose some moments. It’s life. Planning and figuring out will help things to go smoothly but they absolutely will not ensure that everything will be 100% to my liking at all times.

Taking the bad with the good is a hard concept to swallow for some reason. Probably because the bad sucks- but I digress. I need to reset my expectations meter and push Ms. Perfectionist into the closet (along with Ed and the scale and all those stupid things).

My frustration level with this nagging desire for ultimate perfection and satisfaction and approval is at an all time high today. If you can’t tell by the aggressive intro to the content of this post. Instead of continuing on with the whine fest- let’s cover the good and the bad.

Win: Honey Cilantro Shrimp

I saw this recipe over on The Adventures of Z and K and decided to make it my own. Mainly because I don’t have a grill (her method of cooking) and it was cheaper at the grocery store to buy precooked shrimp than uncooked shrimp for some reason.

I probably would have never thought of the concept for chilled, marinated shrimp if it weren’t for Sweetgreen. They recently had a salad with citrus chilled shrimp and I absolutely loved it! I usually season my shrimp, cook them, and serve them warm. Sweetgreen helped my brain get out of that box and break into a chilled shrimp phase. Which really is perfect timing because cold shrimp is a great protein source for the summer months. But really, up until recently, the only time I enjoyed cold shrimp was in the form of shrimp cocktail. No mas!

P1010415

So I marinated my bag of defrosted, pre-cooked shrimp in 2 tbl. of honey, 2 tbl. of olive oil, 1 tsp. of cumin, 1 lime juiced, and lots of cilantro overnight. I then added them to about 1 cup of brown rice and spinach (making some sort of salad mess). I also roasted some broccoli and red peppers and added those to the bowl.

P1010420

My creation ended up being some delicious shrimp mixed with brown rice, spinach, roasted red peppers, and roasted broccoli. I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out- but it has been a pretty tasty lunch this week. I cannot lie. Thank you for the inspiration, Kerry!

{Side Note: they just finsihed working on the FIRST Boston location of Sweetgreen- on Bolyston Street- and the grand opening is tomorrow! They’re letting you pay what you want and donating all their proceeds to One Fund Boston! All my MA people, GO!}

SWEETGREENBOSTON

Lose: Lack of Sleep

I don’t even have much to say on this issue but um- I have not been sleeping well lately. Last night I fell asleep around 2 or 3 in the morning. Not pleased. I got up at one point. Was hungry- because you know- it was like 7 hours ago that I ate dinner (sigh). Ate some cucumber slices and snap peas dipped in lots of guacamole. Watched Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (the first time I’ve ever actually seen it on at its real time). The only “win” of this overall “lose” was getting to watch Bruce Jenner be really awkward with Jimmy.

Woke up this morning- zombie alert. I am not a happy camper today. I feel totally out of sync and weird. Not okay. I definitely think that some type of acute exhaustion has set into my body.

Win: Good workout.

Last night at spin I felt like I could take on the world and it was a wonderful workout that left me feeling great.

Lose: No workout?

Due to my lack of sleep and overall feeling of exhaustion- I don’t think working out today is going to happen. Or it shouldn’t happen. And that just annoys me.

Win: I got a package from home last night!!!

It was filled with some new summer clothes from my Mom and a DVD copy of the play that my little sister was the star of in school recently! Not only did I appreciate the clothes, but I am SO EXCITED to watch my sister’s play! I was so bummed I couldn’t be home in person to see it live.

P1010424

Just seeing my Mom’s handwriting makes me feel better.

P1010425

P1010435

One of the things my Mom sent me was this denim-ish tie in the front vest. Sometimes I think she can see into my mind because I’ve wanted one of these all spring/summer!

P1010434

This is kind of a crappy picture BUT the tank top featured fits me really well and it’s really pretty!

P1010430

Casual yet girly tank tops that were much needed for my wardrobe! I have a severe lack of summer clothes and its been HOT in DC lately.

Lose: Bruins (literally)

Sigh. They’re still the best team out there and this was an amazing season but man. SIGH. That is all.

Win: Russia. Leaving in six days.

I think its going to be a really good time for me to reset in general. Yes, it’s going to be tiring, stressful, and overwhelming in its own ways- but I think the eye opening and out of body experience is going to make me a bajillion times better coming back to the U.S. Plus, all of the things that stress me out here just won’t be an issue there. Money. Food. Exercise. Being alone. Etc. Etc. Everything in Russia is going to be planned out for me and I need not worry about a thing. Thank the Lord.

Lose: I’ve been way too introspective lately.

This usually isn’t a bad thing but it’s not really a good time for me to be trying to reconfigure my life when I have a lot to do before going to Russia. I’m trying to push out all of these overall big picture life thoughts till after I get back from my trip. There’s no sense in me trying to look picture and make big moves right now. I really need to just focus on getting through the next several days. When I get back I’ll do a serious body scan- mentally and physically- and reassess where I’m at in life. What my needs are. And what I can do to make changes to increase my overall happiness.

Win: THIS Thought Catalog article: Insights That Will Get You Through Your 20s (And the Rest of Your Life).

Sometimes Thought Catalog can annoy me and sometimes I think a lot of their stuff is a little too cliche BUT today I needed an article like this to remind me of how insignificant some of the things I worry about really are. It’s ridiculous how many of my problems I create myself and blow totally out of proportion. Here are some of the quotes that I’m trying to pocket as takeaways from reading the article:

Sometimes your passions and what brings your income in don’t overlap. That’s okay. Life rarely comes neatly packaged. At some point, you probably won’t know whether to stay or to go– from your job, relationship, home. You won’t be sure whether or not you should give up or keep trying. That’s also okay. You don’t have to know. Life is never clearly black and white, it’s most often a masterpiece of greys that make it dynamic and complex and interesting. You shouldn’t want it any other way. Uncertainty is nothing to run from. It keeps you guessing, trying different things and going down paths you wouldn’t have otherwise. Be patient.

We build our own cages and live within them because we think they will keep us safe. Free yourself from the confines that bind you.

There is no wrong way to live. You can love who you love. No excuses or justifications required. You need not feel guilty or have to explain your choices to anybody if you don’t feel the need to. It is your body and if it leads you to your mistakes, then so be it.

Win: Egg Sandwiches

{I thought I would end the chain of win/lose with a double win to try and channel extra positivity. I need all that I can get today}

I bought whole wheat english muffins this weekend to have on hand for breakfast for me and my friends. I usually don’t buy them but they were on sale and I thought it would be a good thing to easily feed/please people’s breakfast food needs. I still had some leftover and have been swapping out my usual overnight oats with egg sandwiches. And they have been delicious. Breakfast food is so comforting to me- hence why I even had one of these egg sandwiches for dinner on Sunday night.

P1010436

Open faced egg sandwich for one! Whole wheat english muffin topped with pepper jack cheese, guacamole from trader joes, tomato, garlic, and a fried egg. Served with a side of fruit.

Blah. Okay. I need to step away from the computer. I think one of the things that leads to my ultimate unrest and unhappiness is too much time online. Sometimes I think it only contributes to the activeness of my brain. Which has been keeping my away from those quality zzz’s.

I’m just hoping that at the end of today- I can find some sort of peace with myself. And if not, I need to not forget that tomorrow is a new day.

Keep it wicked healthy xoxo

Transient

I’ve gotten used to the fact that DC is a transient type of place. People are always coming and going- it’s hardly a permanent place for almost everyone I know. Even I don’t plan to be here forever. It’s a relatively small city and a lot of people make the move to DC for school or work. Maybe to push some legislation on the hill- maybe to volunteer some time to a non-profit- or maybe to learn about the world of international relations at one of the universities here.

When I went to American University, everyone I met was from somewhere else. No one I met was from DC, born/raised. Thus, its no surprise that throughout college and especially post graduation, a lot of people moved back home. People who come to DC tend to get pegged as “go-getters” and “social movers or shakers” so it is also no surprise that many many many people moved to a new city or a bigger city like New York- or even to another country. I’ve gotten used to the fact that DC is a temporary home for people. My friends have come and gone too many times to count. Hell, even Will leaves DC for more than half of the week and he technically lives here.

As someone who thrives on a feeling of community, this whole concept is rough for me to accept. As someone who feels detached from home quite frequently, the coming and going of friends and people I grow used to being with is frustrating. I should come to terms with the fact that I will always be in the constant state of missing someone. Because for the past five years of my life- I have been. Which is weird to think about- but its true. I think growing sort of cold and emotionless to it all is one of the only ways to do it. But I’m way too emotional to keep up that act for long.

Yesterday, after a weekend spent with one of best friends who now calls Louisiana her home and another friend who is currently in Jersey- it was really hard to see them go. The weekend was a lot of fun and full of catching up and reminiscing. I had to fight a lot of emotions after walking them to the metro. While I did a much better job of handling myself than I did when I left NYC last Sunday, it still wasn’t good.

I say it often, goodbyes are the worst.

I tried to go to yoga in Meridian Hill Park to get my brain in a better place but the instructor never showed up. Boo. So I went back to my apartment and worked on some “things to do before Russia.” It felt good to get some of the more annoying things done {side note: student loan shenanigans are the worst}.

I also tackled my meal prep for the week. I’m pretty excited about some of the things I pulled together. I roasted some vegetables for one of my favorite dishes- my one clutch meal {roasted potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, red onions, brussels, garlic- served with eggs and bacon}.

I also did a play on Kerry’s Honey Cilantro Shrimp (I promise to share my recipe sometime soon!)

P1010416

lots and lots of cilantro.

P1010417

lots and lots of shrimp.

P1010419

lots and lots of veggies.

And I also have eggplant BLTs {BLTEs?} on the menu so salting and roasting eggplant was on the to do list as well.

P1010418

As I wound myself down for the night (aka watched Keeping up with the Kardashians while eating whipped frozen banana) and thought about the week ahead- it hit me- for the first time in five years- I’m leaving DC for a significant amount of time. I’m going to Russia in seven days. I have lived in DC for five years and have been the constant amongst my friends. Everyone I know has traveled and moved and gone elsewhere for at least a brief amount of time. But I have been here. DC has been my home. And now I’m going to be cut off from people and away for a little while. It’s exciting, thrilling, nerve wracking, terrifying, stressful, and amazing all at the same time. It’s not even that long that I’ll be there- but it’s long for me- someone who doesn’t travel in a big way often.

For as blue as I felt about missing people, it cheered my up to imagine what next week will bring in a foreign country. It also cheered me up to remember, while I have been in DC for five years and everyone else has gone elsewhere- I am still amazingly close with SO many people that became like family to me at American and even people back in Massachusetts. You know you have lifelong, quality people in your world when you are able to make time for each other despite distance. It’s not the same as being together all the time- but that would be impossible anyway right?

My number one wish is that I never have to miss anyone or say goodbye- we’d all just be in one place forever. But that’s not realistic. And if you think about it, life itself is short and fleeting. As Billy Joel says in “Say Goodbye to Hollywood,” So many faces in and out of my life- some will last- some will just be now and then. Life is a series of hellos and goodbyes…

Sorry to get all introspective and weird on this Monday morning, but my brain has been thinking and thinking and thinking nonstop lately. Over thinker problems.

Moving on to other Monday news:

  • Bruins vs. Blackhawks game six tonight {we don’t need to talk about Saturday’s game}- and there WILL be a game seven on Wednesday. Because the Bruins are taking the cup.

gamesix

  • I’ve never really liked Paula Deen, so I can’t say I’m too surprised to find out she has some less than favorable things to say about people. I also can’t say I’m too bummed to hear the Food Network isn’t renewing her contract. See ya, Paula.
  • I found out that we’re seeing La Traviata at the Mariinsky Theater when I’m in Russia. That’s the opera that they go see in Pretty Woman and I’ve had the music from the opera in my iTunes for years {so I actually know the show and the music really well}. I thought that was bizarre and exciting.

The music is better known from the end when Richard Gere blasts one of the songs out of his limo as he goes to “rescue” Julia Roberts.

  • I really want to see Bling Ring and Monsters University. Like real bad. Act my age? Never.
  • I was just reminded by my friend Zoe how much I love ricotta on warm fruit by her broiled peaches recipe. Ricotta + baked/roasted/broiled pears and apples = one of my favorite healthy desserts. Need to revisit this stat.

Keep it wicked healthy xoxo

Speechless

Some weeks I just have less to say. There are times where I feel like I could talk and talk and talk {and then some} but this week is just not one of those. Lots of little things are happening per usual but nothing that I want to zero in on and dedicate a whole blog post to. And for some reason, writing just isn’t coming easily to me these days. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I’m just straight up tired. I’m craving some quality sleep but for some reason my body is not letting me have it. Boo.

This explanation is the preface to the following blog post which is really just a conglomeration of my thoughts at the moment. A little stream of consciousness for you on this Thursday morning.

I present to you, the things on my mind:

  • My body is sore. Between spin on Monday, OutRun on Tuesday, and Goruck Bootcamp last night… my upper legs are feeling the burn. And at bootcamp we were lifting this heaving piping until our arms were exhausted basically so my upper body is questioning my choices in life at the moment.
  • My gym has gotten more into posting pictures of various workouts on their Facebook and Instagram. This means I get to see what I look like when I workout- which is like, every girl’s dream right?
  • Could this Stanley Cup match up BE any more intense or well matched? Obviously the Bruins are better and are going to win it all {obviously} but man- two great cities, two great teams- one great series for sure. 

bruins

  • Will shared this video with me of a guy from Chicago on the news trying to give Blackhawks shirts to people in Boston. It’s a riot.
  • WHATEVER Rays. We won the series. Now go back to the Trop where you belong.
  • If there are no cherries available when I go grocery shopping tomorrow- I’m going to be VERY angry. I’ve been craving them like a mad person and have had them on my shopping list for the past month yet every time I’m at the grocery store they either don’t have them {like what?} or they’re sold out. WHAT GIVES. Save some for me please and have them available. Okay great.
  • At the very least, I have Chobani’s black cherry yogurt which is not the same at all, but did help me make a sweet smoothie last night:
P1010410

Almond milk, ice, cocoa powder, frozen banana, cashew butter, and black cherry greek yogurt. OH and the last minute addition of some spinach {for good measure}.

P1010411

Hence why the smoothie is green. The color is not reflective of the taste whatsoever.

  • Usually I am an advocate for adding chocolate to anything and everything but I would have left it out of this smoothie I think. Lately I have been craving non-chocolate things… which is weird for me.
  • Like my obsession with vanilla soft serve cones is OUT OF CONTROL at the moment. I crave them at least once a day, every day. No joke. Ask Will if you don’t believe me.
  • But as a creature of habit, I do still love my chocolate. And it tasted amazing in my overnight oats this morning:
P1010412

1 ripe banana mashed up with 1 tbl of unsweetened cocoa butter (the banana makes the chocolate sweet but not too sweet), 1/3 cup oats, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1 tbl. chia seeds, 1/2 cup sliced strawberries, 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt. This morning I stirred in 2 tbl. of sunflower seed butter.

  • Back to Chobani- if you don’t follow their pinterest boards do so immediately. Especially their “Bananas ‘Bout Breakfast” one. It was simultaneously the best and worst decision of my life to follow them. So many good recipes, so little time.
  • And when I say so little time- I really mean it! I go to Russia for eleven days IN eleven days! THAT’S not even real. The thought itself is so overwhelming/exciting that I haven’t even begun to prepare for reals. It’s too much.
  • I keep an ongoing list of recipes I want to try to make meal planning easier and it hit me hard yesterday when I realized that I would have to wait till mid-July to make any recipes I find now… my pre-Russia meal planning and menu is all finalized. Sorry aloha burgers, breakfast sweet potatoes, spanish cauliflower rice, garlic pancakes, yogurt strawberry cake, and broccoli, grape pasta salad… you’re going to have to wait.
Spring-Garlic-Pancakes3(pp_w664_h489)

No but actually- I love garlic pancakes more than you know. These paired with Trader Joes Korean Style Beef Short Ribs that I’ve been eyeing? I’m drooling just thinking about it.

  • Instead of thinking about food {#foodieproblems} maybe I should get crack-a-lackin’ on that book I have to read before Russia seeing as I’m less than halfway through it? Maybe?
P1000957

I like to think that if I had a beach nearby that I would get a lot more reading done.

  • It’s hard to concentrate on book reading though when I have other stuff happening though (you know, other than going to work everyday).
  • Like MY BFF KATE COMING TO STAY WITH ME TOMORROW.
  • AND MY FRIEND ALLI! Will is going to be in Florida so it’s an all girls weekend in my apartment starting tomorrow. Girls rule. Boys Drool.
  • But even before that, I have dinner tonight with my friend Sara which is usually pretty normal but this will be the last time I see her until I’m back from Russia. WAH!
  • We’re going to my favorite restaurant, Busboys and Poets, so at least we can have our bittersweet dinner over some amazing food.
  • Also, Will’s birthday is the day before I leave for Russia {June 30th} so I’ve been doing work on that. This time last week I had NO IDEA what to do for him and now I have it all in the works he he he.
  • As someone who also has a summer birthday, I can honestly say that summer birthdays tend to suck in comparison to other birthdays {you kind of have to have one to understand what I’m saying here. If you don’t- I point you to THIS buzzfeed article} so I’m all for making sure the people I love have GREAT birthdays. No matter when they are.
  • And let’s be real. If anyone deserves a kickass birthday, it’s Will. Dude is pretty amazing if you ask me.
  • Speaking of Will, I’ve been obsessed with this song lately. It’s newish and I’ve been listening to it for a while but these days I’ve had it on repeat quite often. Emeli Sande sings about this great guy in her life that she trusts and loves to death. It’s only slightly relatable 😉
  • This song + JT’s Mirrors + Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines = all I’ve been listening to. OH and Gavin DeGraw’s new single. And maybe a little bit of some new Backstreet Boys too.
  • Besides over playing the crap out of those songs, other things I have to do before Russia…
  • My professor said to bring our student IDs with us for discounted museum prices. Problem is- I graduated a year ago and don’t think I have my ID anymore. Though because I’m a pack rat and borderline hoarder, I keep memory boxes and thought maybe I would have thrown it in one of those. I cracked two of them open last night.
  • No ID was found, but what I did find was letters, cards, and assorted memorabilia from the past four years of my life that made me a weepy mess. I have good people in my life.
  • Nostalgia + being wicked exhausted = emotional train wreck Allison
  • Speaking of EMOTIONS- this whole week I have been SO HOMESICK. Gah. Looking at pictures from my little sister’s 8th grade dance doesn’t help.  Not to brag or anything, but my sisters are gorgeous.
rachel

Pretty sure when I was in 8th grade that I was a HOT MESS. Like I cringe looking at my pictures from this same dance. My sister Rachel is ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL. I can’t get over it. Not only is her natural beauty just out of this world, but she found the PERFECT dress for her personality and my sister Jess did an amazing job on her hair and makeup.

rachel2

Rachel and my Stepdad being photo bombed by my sister Angie (look closely), And my sister Jess looking fresh in the background 😉

  • Good thing it’s Thursday aka my Friday {just have to make it through today!}
  • And again, good thing I have some great friends coming to stay with me this weekend.

Life is madness, but I’m used to that by now. I’m just going to keep my head up high and keep trucking along the best that I know how. And you know, try and enjoy myself as much as possible. The life of a twenty something is supposed to be fun, right?

Keep it wicked healthy xoxo

DC Swamp Monster

Since getting back from NYC, I’ve been a bit of an emotional basket case. You know I’m not feeling too hot when I can’t even blog (whoops, sorry Tuesday). DC apparently decided to overcompensate for me not feeling too hot mentally by delivering a couple days full of sweat, heat, and humidity. The DC swamp monster I’m referring to in my blog post title is me.

Cranky Allison + DC humidity = swamp monster.

After some on and off rain all day yesterday, the weather finally turned around last night though. It was absolutely gorgeous outside around 8pm and then don’t even get me started on how happy I was to experience a lack of humidity this morning. Thank you for the respite, DC.

Not only is the weather on an upswing, but so am I. Maybe my emotions really are just controlled by the weather forecast. Maybe it’s the Bruins game tonight. Maybe it’s the amazing-ness that was the Red Sox during their two games yesterday. Maybe it’s the anticipation for the announcement of Kim and Kanye’s baby’s name {don’t judge me}. Maybe it’s the excitement for TWO of my best friends to stay with me this weekend.

Wherever my better mood is coming from- I know that the workout I did last night is definitely a part of it. In the beginning of June I mentioned that I was looking forward to trying out a new fitness adventure at this place called Roam Fitness.  

roamfitness

I was finally able to check them out yesterday! They’re new and a relatively small gym over in Glover Park on Wisconsin. But don’t let the size of their space fool you- size isn’t everything. They focus on functional training (much like cross-fit), cross training, and adventure. You read that right- adventure. I love the message they display on their website:

At Roam we want to explore. We want to explore the city, find a hill and run it. Lift heavy things because we can. Move because it’s fun. Fitness without boundaries.

Their signature class, Out Run, takes you out on a 3-5 mile run through different areas of D.C. and has participants stopping every so often to perform various exercises. And guys, let me just say- it WAS fun!

Owner and founder Graham King (who sounds like a total boss) reached out to me last month and told me about Roam Fitness. Honestly, I was just surprised I hadn’t heard about them already because what they offer is right up my alley in terms of interests. I love workouts that combine strength training and cardio.

But anyway, for most of June I have been waiting patiently for my schedule to clear up in order for me to try them out {that sentence makes me sounds like world’s busiest and most important human- I’m not at all}.

I was in an awful mood for most of yesterday and the weather had me down. I was excited to do Out Run but not so much for the weather. I also knew that I had to bike like three-ish miles mostly uphill to get there so I was not looking forward to that. Buttttt in addition to me trying to embrace the expression about doing something everyday that scares you- I also support my own saying- do something everyday that challenges you. The bike ride to Out Run was just that. Uphill. Heat. Slight rain. Humidity. City biking (aka dealing with cars and other things out on the road). Once I made it to Roam- I felt like I could do anything. Even if I was covered in a layer of dripping sweat.

I was immediately greeted by Chris Geier– their Director of Group Athletes and the guy who would be leading our Out Run excursion. He was wicked nice and seemed very genuine in getting to know me and what I was all about it. Chris introduced me to Haleigh and Jill (other Roam employees) and a handful of some Roam regulars- Mike, Gary, and Jessica to name a few. All made me feel welcome. I always worry walking into a new fitness environment- sometimes people are mad territorial. I mean, I’m sort of guilty of being territorial over at my gym (whoops). But all of them were cool and kind to this lil newbie. I was happy to not be the only fresh meat there that evening and got to know a lovely lady named Brittany (sorry if I spelled your name wrong, girl!) who just moved to DC and has been trying out gyms in the area.

We hit the great outdoors and the weather ended up being perfect. The sun wasn’t beating down on us and the slight drizzle kept us slightly cool. Chris told us at the beginning we begin and finish this run together. I liked that team feel. We ran through some trails “out in the wilderness” where I quite literally felt like a swamp monster- combating trees and their roots, mud, rocks- you know, nature. But it’s rare that in fitness classes you get this type of experience! Chris even had a sound system in his backpack {apparently a new element!} so we got to hear tunes for part of our trek.

outrun1

Doing some resistance band running training! I’m the one in the blue running pants and the white/gray shirt.

We ran uphill, downhill, through trails, and on the pavement. We performed push-ups, burpees, tricep dips, calf raises, box jumps, planks, and pull-ups. We did some resistance band training and utilized some TRX bands for more strength training.

outrun2

Fun group picture under the trellis we did pullups on! The sun is sort of illuminating my face in this snapshot

The whole thing was a great experience and I find that workouts like this go by quickly because they’re actually enjoyable. You’re constantly engaged in whatever is going on. It’s great to breakup the monotony of just running and not only incorporating functional exercise training into your run, but running on rugged terrain. Plus, it’s “team focused” so you get that feeling of community and support. Working as a team helps you get out of that “me me me” mindset and again, makes working out more about having a good time and less about personal improvement/development.

That’s not to say personal improvement isn’t going to happen during this class- because it definitely is. There was one guy who impressed me with his pullups and when I complimented him- he admitted that when he started Out Run he struggled through them. Way to go, man! Cross-training is so important to becoming a stronger runner and to being a well rounded athlete.

Which is weird to say that I sort of am both of those things now… but that’s a blog post for another day.

Like with a lot of group exercise classes that offer a lot of variety- some people were faster than others and some people were stronger than others. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. I might be able to run longer than someone, but they can beast out pull-ups at a level I can only dream about. Seeing the abilities of others is motivational.

If you’re looking to switch up your own routine- I HIGHLY recommend checking out Roam Fitness. I think Meaghan put it perfectly by saying: If Bootcamp and Your Weekly Group Run Had a Lovechild. {Side note: let’s do Out Run together sometime, Meaghan!}

They’re wicked awesome. And it’s only $22/month for unlimited Out Run classes- what a steal! Anyone can also get a FREE 7-Day pass to try them out! DO IT.

I can’t wait to check out one of their other classes this Friday called Row Con (which they describe as spin on a rowing machine plus squats and pushups). And I can’t wait to do Out Run again! That was definitely not the last time I do that workout. I really really enjoyed it. Thanks again Graham! And thanks again to you, Chris, for leading us on a good workout and for being so nice and so positive.

As we were getting close to the end of the run, the weather magically cleared up. It was in the 70s, low humidity, sunny- gawgeous. And I knew that my bike ride home was primarily down hill. Score. The rush of wind riding back home never felt so good. Such a great feeling. I may or may not have sang out loud while riding my bike the entire way home. And no- I didn’t have any headphones in or my iPod on. No shame.

I didn’t get home till after 8 o’clock which is late for a girl who goes to bed at 10. Lucky for me, dinner has been made simple this week thanks to frozen mixes and precooked chicken by Trader Joes. Oh. And sriracha. Can’t forget sriracha.

P1010407

They have this mix of white and red quinoa, zucchini, and sweet potato which is delicious! All I did was add some frozen broccoli when cooking it up and then tossed in some chicken, avocado, and spinach. Obviously drizzled with sriracha.

P1010408

I actually made the dinner on Monday night and was able to stretch the ingredients for two tupperwares full of leftovers. Wahoo!

Despite my lack of time before bed, I still managed to make dessert and watch last night’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon- priorities.

P1010409

Okay this tasted totally “decadent.” I mixed together a laughing cow cinnamon cream cheese wedge with a tbl. of cashew butter and then sandwiched that “spread” between slices of four big ol’ strawberries. You could totally just use regular cream cheese and peanut butter- or whatever you have. This may have been better than my frozen whipped banana creation…

And of course- check in with the Red Sox. They had a double header yesterday against the Rays and were plagued with rain delays. BUT both games were completed and WON by the Sox. BOO YAH. Buchholz, one of our best pitchers, went on the DL {which I was quite upset about} but this move only made room for Dubront to kill it last night! Add in the two-run walk off homer by Jonny Gomes- good night for baseball indeed.

gomes

Love this picture of Jonny Gomes!

And while I’m hoping for a Red Sox sweep of the Rays tonight, my attention will admittedly be toward the BRUINS who are going into game four for the cup. WE GOT THIS.

bruinssssss

Following the Bruins on instagram is enjoyable.

Lastly- I would greatly appreciate it if Kim or Kanye could graciously tweet out their baby girl’s name. Because we all know it ain’t official till that news is announced via Twitter or Instagram. So hey you two- I know you’re both avid readers of my blog so get on that.

Keep it wicked healthy xoxo

LGA to DCA

Back from NYC and back to work. I can’t quite explain to you all how great it was to be with some people that mean the world to me this weekend. While I was excited to go to NYC and experience lots of new things- what I was most excited about was just to be with Will and my friends. And what a shocker- that was what made the trip amazing and that was my favorite part about it all. It was ridiculously painful to leave yesterday and to be back here today after spending so much time with everyone.

Last night and today I’ve been letting myself have a bit of a pity party (you know, tearing up over the handful of pictures that were taken and listening to songs that I know full well will make me cry). I know I’ll get used to be being back in DC- I always do- but this brief transition period is not fun.

But just to give you all a recap of what I was up to these past couple days- I figured I should share the highlights of my quick little trip. I didn’t take too many pictures but only because I was way too involved and interested in living in the moment doing whatever it was I was doing to stop and take pictures. I saw and did a lot of things that I have no photographic evidence of- so my apologies on that front.

Even though I had my touristy moments (see: hunting down the Friends apartment and Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment), I enjoyed just blending in and seeing the life that my friends lead on a regular basis. I also enjoyed seeing what Will does during the week and where he goes- because up until now- I literally had no concept of what his life was like when he leaves me on Monday mornings for NYC.

I was exhausted when I got home last night. We packed a lot into a really short period of time and I wouldn’t have changed anything about it. To ensure that I will make a return trip to NYC, we started a running list of things for me to see and do next time. 

The Highlights of NYC:

  • Staying with my bff Russ and his girlfriend Sara in Midtown Manhattan hearing about where people live is one thing- seeing where they live and living with them for a few days is completely different.
  • Dinner at Mesa Grill (Bobby Flay’s restaurant): I had this pork tenderloin that was served with a sweet potato tamale and the tamale was definitely one of the best things I’ve eaten. But the star of the dinner was definitely the side of roasted corn. Which sounds weird- but holy crap- it was amazing. It had this cojita cheese on top of it and was in a smoked chili aioli sauce- to die for. I’ve been craving sweet potatoes and corn ever since.
  • Seeing Rockefeller Center and pretending in my head that I was Liz Lemon
  • Running around the reservoir in Central Park on Saturday morning this was my first time in Central Park and the first time Will and I ran a significant distance together (about the length of a 5k)!
  • Bagels at Ess-a-Bagel for both breakfasts this weekend we went here. the first time I got intimidated by the guy behind the counter and ended up ordering not necessarily what I wanted (typical allison move)- but on Sunday I got my vengeance and ordered the perfect bagel. I also got to try a knish!
P1010372

ess-a-bagel… where bagel dreams come true.

P1010371

whole wheat everything (wanted pumpernickle- they were out) with jalapeno cream cheese, capers, lox, onions, and tomatoes. it was better than it looks.

  • Seeing Citi Field we were lucky enough to be able to meet up with my friend Andrew from Jersey and also currently living in DC (he’s a die hard Mets fan- what a sad life he leads, I know) and go to a Cubs vs. Mets game! I didn’t get a picture with Mr. Met (boo! I tried- such a bummer) but I saw the scoundrel out on the field during the 7th inning stretch.
P1010361

we’re on a mission to see all of the ball parks!

P1010356

the old home run apple from shea stadium.

P1010368

at least I got to see Mr. Met. even if I didn’t get a picture with him.

P1010354

seeing this mets dog sort of made up for not taking a picture with mr. met.

mets1

in the words of my friend andrew: mets can’t play baseball but they can take great photos! (Will, me, Andrew, and Russ)

  • Getting a brief tour of Queens one of my best friends, Michael, has been talking my face off about Queens ever since I met him freshman year at AU. He met up with us after the game and showed us around his neck of the woods. We went to an old school ice cream parlor/soda shop- where I tried my first ever egg cream- and he filled us in on some fun facts about the borough, his neighborhood, and even his own backyard.
P1010370

the unisphere in flushing meadows/corona park in Queens.

  • Experiencing the Subway and we were even entertained by some subway car performers on our way back from Queens.

P1010375

  • Mexican for dinner at Dos Caminos on Saturday night- me, Will and Russ went out for a late dinner at this Mexican place near Russ’s apartment. It was absolutely beautiful outside and we got to sit out on their patio. There was plenty of delicious guac and I ordered scallops- my latest love affair.
  • BRUINS WIN! Yep- we saw that happen.
  • Unknowingly hearing a man hole cover explosion and then Will being interviewed by the local news about what we heard
  • Touring Greewich Village there was the Friends apartment, Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment, the Magnolia Bakery (accompanied by Lazy Sunday rapping)…
P1010379

FRIENDS. my favorite TV show. seeing this apartment was a major bucket list item.

P1010391

you home, Carrie Bradshaw?!

P1010384

our goal: to mack on some cupcakes.

P1010382

this bakery has all the bomb frostings- I loved my vanilla cupcake with chocolate buttercream frosting like McAdams loves Gosling.

P1010396

P1010397

give me all of the peanut butter you have.

P1010399

the heat is on sandwich! whole wheat bread, the heat is on peanut butter (made with cayenne!), chicken, and pineapple jam! served with their potato chips and carrot sticks. Russ got “the Elvis” which he let me try- bacon, peanut butter, and banana- also wicked good. if I ever go again, I will definitely get this sandwich they had with their dark chocolate peanut butter, cherry preserves, and coconut!

  • Seeing where Will works listen- for all I know- Will could be sitting in a Starbucks down the street when he leaves the apartment Monday morning for work. It was weird to see and walk in the building he spends so much time in during the week and that I hear a lot about.
  • Seeing a lot of sights that I had never seen in person before the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Freedom Tower and Ground Zero, and everything else I usually just see from afar in the NYC skyline.

P1010395

P1010392

  • Finding the Boston Apple for all you non-baseball fans out there, the All-Star Game is being played at Citi Field this year. Because of this, there is an apple for every MLB team decorated accordingly out in the city somewhere. We made an effort to find the Red Sox one and the Cubs one for Will.

P1010402

And for as much as I make fun of NYC and hate on the city- it isn’t so bad 😉 The good thing about having low expectations for a place is that you’re only pleasantly surprised by everything you do! Plus, while I don’t want to live in NYC and I know where my true home is, I feel like you can carve out a home wherever you go. And again, it was cool to see how my friends have made NYC their home. Or in the case of one of my best friend’s, how NYC, and Queens more specifically, literally is his home. I even felt “at home” to some degree because of the people I was with. Home is such an interesting concept and my definition of it only continues to expand with time. Hell, there are so many layers and levels of “home” in my life- it’s absurd.

*BUT it must be noted that I remembered to call my one true home on Sunday for the appropriate Father’s Day wishes.

Anyway. Because it’s one of those days where the grass seems greener just about everywhere else- I’m just trying to distract myself with work, reading predictions on the Bruins game tonight, and trying to find out every detail possible about Kim and Kanye’s baby. I might not be seeing Will for two weeks (as he’s traveling to Florida next weekend with his parents) but at the end of the week my best friend Kate will be here. And THAT I cannot wait for.

In the meantime, I’m just going to play out all my emo music and eventually transition over to Wale’s 2010 mix tape More About Nothing. That always brings the swagger in my step back.

“The Friends N Strangers”
I’m the mouth of the District, nobody work harder //
My heart is in the monuments, the life is in the harbor

Side note: if you’ve never listened- Wale’s mix tape is him rapping awesomely per usual over some Seinfeld sound bites. It’s great. Actually in some weird way it’s the perfect album for me to transition to- DC rapper with some sage advice from arguably one of the best shows of all time set in NYC.

Keep it wicked healthy xoxo