Jillian Michaels and Chipmunk Cheeks

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Hello! Just checking in at the end of an uneventful weekend and the beginning of finals… hell week. But this will be the last one ever of my collegiate career! Since that part of my life is almost over… crazy how time flies. The above picture is me driving home from school on Thursday afternoon, all bright eyed and bushy tailed because it was a beautiful and sunny afternoon and I had no idea what awaited me Friday morning. Well, I did, but no idea of how annoying it would be.

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Wisdom teeth surgery! Yahooooo! Happy happy joy joy. Friday after the surgery wasn’t so bad. Doctor said that I would not be able to focus on schoolwork so I took the excuse to lay around on the couch all day and catch up on magazines. Mum and I went to the store and I stocked up on smoothie ingredients, and the day felt like a nice, relaxing and detoxifying vacation. Then Saturday the chipmunk cheeks arrived. I slacked on the icing, went out shopping with Mum, and am paying for it today.

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I am sore, hungry, hangry, grumpy, and my belly is squirmy because it is too full of juices, soups, and smoothies. It doesn’t help that the weather has been gorgeous all weekend so Mum has been BBQing on the grill and it smells heavenly. Oh I cannot wait to be able to bite into a juicy turkey burger again! And go for a RUN! My body is probably loving this break though, from alcohol and all the pounding of the pavement that I have been doing lately. I am going to study hard tonight, get to bed early, and hopefully be a little more de-puffed by tomorrow.

In other news, Thursday night my friend scored us SECOND ROW SEATS to the Jillian Michaels show!! I knew that she was on tour, but never in a million years thought that she would actually be coming to Hartford. But she was! And she touched my hand! And we made eye contact for 3.7 seconds! (I counted).

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The show was great. I was shocked, even though I shouldnt have been, at how much energy that woman had! She must have spoke for almost 3 hours with only a 15 minute intermission. And she was jumping around the stage and yelling and laughing. Your probably wondering how on earth could you listen to her talk for 3 full hours? It actually went by super fast. She broke the show up in to 3 parts, all important to reaching your weight loss goals and being the healthiest you that you can be. The 3 parts were Science, Sweat, and Self. 20130505-085702.jpg

For Science, she went through all of the important tools and calculators used to measure your calories taken in and weight loss goals. Her weight loss philosophy was so simple and true, that it was comical: “Eat less, move more!” So plain and easy, yet millions of people struggle to do this. And there are so many simple equations to make sure that you are not eating too much. For example, she gave a formula to calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate, which is an estimate of how many calories you would burn by simply doing nothing, being at rest. It is the minimum amount of energy that your body needs simply to breath and keep your body functioning.

My BMR is about 1,579.9 calories per day. This means, that on days that I do not exercise, if I do not eat more than that amount of calories, then I will not gain weight. Multiplied by my exercise expenditure for a light physical activity level (x 1.2) I get 1,895.88 calories per day that I am allowed. If I do some exercise that day, then I can eat more! Woo!

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Jillian also talked about all of the bad things and chemicals that you should watch out for in your food, the things that are really making Americans fat. This included trans-fats, hydrogenated oils, pesticides, antibiotics, and even bug spray. She showed a picture of a pumped up on steroids fat cow, and a cow that had been naturally raised and grass-fed. The slabs of meat were identical, but the cow on steroids’ meat was huge, with fatty white streaks running throughout it, and compared to the lean slice of darker red meat that was the grass-fed cow. Almost just put me off red meat in general. Almost.

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Another interesting topic Jillian brought up was the importance of counting calories, at least to start off with your weight loss plan to keep you accountable and so you really know how much you were consuming in a day, since all of those “extra” calories do add up. She suggested treating your  calories like money to be cashed in each day. You should really be choosy and picky on how you want to “spend” those cash calories and how much that cupcake is really worth to you. If you have extra calories to spend, go for it, but if it is breaking the bank, then hold back. I need to refocus my financial goals at this moment and work on reigning in that spending, so I like the idea of treating calories the same way. Choosing wisely what to “spend” my calories on throughout the day is a really interesting and novel way to look at food recording. Lately I havent had to worry too much, since ive been spending my calories on healthy fruit smoothies and blenderized soups. I wonder if I will lose any weight on this liquid diet or just turn into a bloated ball of watermelon.

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While we are on the topic of soft foods and I am trying to think of something to make to satisfy my growling stomach, lets talk about some of the smoothie creations I have come up with! I have become quite the smoothie master if I do say so myself.

This morning’s one was worth mentioning:

Strawberry-Banana PB and J Smoothie: 

  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 2 tbsp PB
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2 oz vanilla greek yogurt

“Good for your Skin” Avocado Mango Strawberry Smoothie: 

  • half of an avocado
  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 1/2 cup mango
  • 2 oz vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Tropical Banana Mango Pineapple Smoothie: 

  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 cup pineapple
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • Naked mango juice (optional, I had it on hand)
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

I made this one for dessert the other night:

“Dirty Monkey”: 

  • 1 banana
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp pb
  • 2 oz vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk

Blueberry-Banana Smoothie: 

  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 banana
  • 2 oz vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • cinnamon

And I am gonna whip up this one for dessert tonight:

Chocolate Covered Cherry & Berry Smoothie: 

  • Frozen mixed berries and cherries
  • 1 tbsp chocolate chips
  • 2 oz vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Told ya I have been making a TON of smoothies! Anyways, I am off to get some more studying done and prepare for this week. Wish me luck and some de-puffiness tomorrow!

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Burgers, Sushi, and Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Goobers

Today is a giddy, elated, tingly, weird-feeling-kind of day. After a lazy and out of sorts weekend (read, hungover), I am anxious and excited to start this week off fresh, on the right foot, healthy, motivated, detoxed, and ready to focus. The case of senioritis has plagued me deep, and refuses to be shook off. I cannot seem to find a cure. So, I am going to roll with it. Because, in all honesty, I should be feeling at the top of the world right now, elated, happy, fulfilled, relieved, and proud. I graduate college in 4 weeks. I get a month to relax and enjoy myself, and in June I get to move to Toronto for 4 months on a yet another new adventure and phase of my life. Am I nervous? Hell yes. But these are excited-nervous butterflies.

Why am I not waking up feeling like it is Christmas morning every morning? This weekend was great, and spent with my amazing friends who I do not get to see enough, but it left me with a sense of emptiness in my stomach, and a weird nagging feeling that there is something else that needs to be done, something I am missing out on or forgetting. But even as I sit here pondering it, I still cannot hit the nail on the head. What is this feeling? Is it the fact that my body is angry with me for running so much and my hip/foot are constantly reminding me of that, keeping me from participating in one of my most loved activities? Is is the fact that I keep procrastinating planning this speech that I have to make on Thursday in front of 150+ people (as I am blogging right now instead of planning it), or is it the fact that in less than 4 weeks, all this, my life as I have known it for the past 4 years, will abruptly come to an end, and a new phase will begin? No more classes, college schedules, meetings with professors, Thursday & Saturday night shenanigans, shots after shots to make the bars more enjoyable (although my body will appreciate me for this)?

But first lets recap this weekend. Don’t get me wrong, it was a blast! But gave me an important life lesson: I fail at functioning at life when I am hungover. I must remember this. The next day will be shot and worthless.

Thursday night Steph and I made bunless roasted red pepper and feta stuffed turkey burgers on lettuce wraps for dinner, to go with our malibu bay breezes. Cleo came up and we went to Jaimies, and then went to the bar. It was your typical drunken Thursday night. Poor Cleo finished off a bottle of champagne and was struggling the next morning. I was feeling pretty useless as well after 8 too many shots.

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Friday night my dear Kara came to visit and Chelsea, Sarah, Kara, and I all ordered sushi. This was my plate —>

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The girls had their own platters unpictured. Only joking, sadly. Asian Bistro compiled all of our sushi rolls onto one platter, which we found quite amusing. Yummm hungry girls love their sushi. I had a spicy crabmeat roll, and shared the salmon avocado roll and Paradise roll with Kara. Paradise roll = heaven in your mouth. No other way to describe it. Shrimp and Banana (BANANA) tempura, drizzled with mango sauce. Hollyyyy goodness.

And what girls night would be complete without chocolate? At least none of my girls nights. As soon as dinner is over, the sweet tooth flares. And on this particular night, it flared for dark chocolate melted and layered around juicy strawberries. 20130413-141418.jpg

We also experimented with frozen banana bites, and my oh my these will definitely be becoming a new staple in my diet. They are so simple and easy to make, and I am already planning on the little banana and peanut butter frozen sandwiches covered in a layer of melted dark chocolate that I will be making tonight. Must buy more chocolate chips…..

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I had a great chest/back/leg strength training workout this morning and spinning class afterwards kicked my Monday blues.

Triathlon training starts now. 10 weeks until the Toronto Triathlon Festival, on June 21st. My first sprint distance tri. I am so pumped. I need this break from running, and I think the workout adjustment will do my body good. I am going to do a complete post soon about my training plan and equipment, but I plan to spin while still at school twice per week, then get out on my bike about 3 times per week when I get home. I am going to up my swimming sessions to twice per week, and incorporate more sprint workouts into them. I am going to run about 3-4 times per week, and still try and do one interval session and one long run on the weekends (if my nagging body will allow it, it isent too happy with my running at the moment). I also still want to get in 3 good strength training sessions, and keep incorporating leg weights. Phew. See what I mean? Who has time to worry about schoolwork anyway with all of this good stuff going on?

This is the picture of my girls from Saturday night, when we all finally got together to go out to the bar for Ladies Night. It has been so soo long since the 5 of us (Chelsea is unpictured) have gone out together, and that night may have been the last before graduation. But I truly hope not! These girls have been my core 4 friends since we all met and lived on the same dorm floor back in sophomore year. Times have changed and so have we, but we still know how to drink and have a great time together when it matters.

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Last night’s dinner is worth mentioning. I have been on a spaghetti squash kick lately, and found a roasted red pepper sauce recipe that I had to try. It really was so simple. You can cook up a spaghetti squash by poking holes in it with a fork and cooking it in the microwave for 15-20 min, depending on the size of your squash. Then toss it with whatever your heart desires and it will usually end up being delicious!

Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce:

I cooked the spaghetti squash like mentioned above. While it was cooking, I sautéed one onion and two garlic cloves in olive oil, added one can of diced tomatoes and half a jar of chopped fire roasted red peppers, and a little bit of red wine vinegar. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat and add basil, oregano, and spinach. Once the squash is cooked, peel the spaghetti strands out and add it to the sauce mixture, stir to combine, sprinkle in some feta cheese so it gets nice and melty (goat cheese or parmesan would be delicious as well). Once stirred and all the strands are coated in the sauce, but in bowls, top with your favorite toppings, and enjoy! I love walnuts on pasta so I served mine with chopped walnuts, kalamata olives, and some more feta cheese. Deeeeeelicious and nutritious.

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Finished off dinner with some more of those frozen banana bites and strawberries topped with melted peanut butter. 20130415-110055.jpg

One more picture —> I had to show you the gorgeous sunrise that greeted me before my 6am strength session at the gym this morning. It was great motivation, pays to be an early riser! I got rewarded for getting my butt out of my warm bed, where it was soo tempting to snooze my alarm this morning. Thank god I didn’t; I ended up getting in a great workout and enjoying this beautiful view and some perspective on my week. I hope that your Monday is just as rewarding and introspective! 🙂20130415-110101.jpg

Courthouse O’Putnam 5k Race Recap

Hi! I know that you are dying to know how my 5k race went today, but before I tell you, you must sit through the recap of my weekend! Another night, another bar, I know, I know. But Cleo came up to visit so it was special. I love her so much. Working at the liquor store and all, she has quite the taste in drinks. Friday night, she brought us strawberry liquor, creme de coco, and strawberry ice cream, which we combined in a blender and made the creamiest strawberry daiquiris that I have ever laid lips upon. Holy creamy berry goodness. I also had my obligatory kissed caramel apple martini, Sauvignon Blanc, a rum and coke since we had fajitas for dinner, beer at the bar (which never normally happens, true sign I was wasted) a tequila shot, and a random shot that that bartender named the “Britt-Burster” because I told him to make us something girly, fruity, and strong. Tasted like an amazing star-bust explosion in your mouth. It was a good night, but drinking that much always leads me to weird random binge eating disorders, and that night was no exception. I came home and housed about 11.3 tablespoons of almond butter and 2.8 tablespoons of maple peanut butter. No idea why. I just felt like it. Stomach was twisting and churning ALL DAY yesterday. woof. Almond butter hiatus for me this week please. Why oh why do I make those drunk decisions… im over it now. Needless to say, I did NOT go out last night. Stephy and I enjoyed a Target shopping trip, Subway, and the movies. We saw Silver Linings Playbook and it was the perfect chill night.

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I love these ladies so much. In the morning we went to the amazing Wooden Spoon. I so badly wanted to crave pancakes, and was planning on housing them all week, but with a tummy full of said nut butters, it just was not happening. I ordered the omelette special because it sounded good and I knew I needed something in my stomach. It had tomatoes, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, and feta. Deeeelish. Of course upon seeing food my appetite came back full force, so I also stole bites of Cleo and Steph’s blueberry pancakes and DELICIOUS banana, pineapple, pecan-coconut pancakes —–>MUST RECREATE (note to self.)20130310-163311.jpg

Another pic from the night that I found that I have to post, because it has two of my favorite things in it: Canada and Cleo. Perfect flag positioning. 20130310-163335.jpg

So the race! Courthouse O’Putnam 5k: 24:08 with an average pace of 7:46. Not too shabby for taking it easy and testing out my hip. If I had not been injured, oh man there would have been fire in my pants and I would have blown my age division out of the water for sure. I ended up getting 4th in the division, and Becca got 3rd, which is AWESOME cause it was her first 5k and she got a really cool beer mug, the same one that I got last year that has been sitting on my shelf collecting dust ever since. But that is besides the point. I am beyond thrilled that my hip felt okay!!! (as i knock on wood). It felt tight, and I ran sans music and garmin so that I could closely monitor it the whole time, but it never turned into a raging ache and pulling sensation, even when I ran up the hills.

I think this means that I can run the RnR D.C Half Marathon this weekend at least!!  I think this running hiatus has probably given my body some well deserved rest also. I have been thinking it over, and I am not sure if a marathon is in the cards for me in my future. I kind of like focusing on lifting and strength training, while still being able to do runs of 4-7 miles during the week for cardio and relaxation and mental purposes. I still want to do a long run on the weekends, but probably only from 8-12 miles, nothing too serious. I think that may become my new tactic. And I am going to ease into it slowwwwllyyy. I am not running again until Wednesday. Tomorrow I have another PT session, so I will see what David recommends. I like this new plan. I am beginning to realize that I would rather have small, short and sweet amounts of running in my life rather than no amounts at all. And if giving up the risk of hurting my body through marathon training to have that, it is what I am willing to sacrifice. And that is a great and fulfilling feeling. Thanks for listening to my sappy serenade.

We celebrated the race with bananas and green mint soy iced lattes, in celebration of St. Pattys. 20130310-163348.jpg

Steph was the adorable race volunteer directing traffic and waving everyone on by the 3rd mile marker. She rocked it. Check out that flashy traffic guard vest. 20130310-193532.jpg

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This post is already seriously way too lengthy, but since its Sunday, you know what that means….

Whats For Dinner? Week of 3/10: (holy cow how is it march 10th already…)

Sunday: Sweet Potato Gnocchi and Cinnamon Apples (–>just housed that holy yum)

Monday: Pulled Salsa Chicken Quesadillas

Tuesday: Steph’s Garlic Pasta on Spaghetti Squash

Wednesday: Pesto Spaghetti Squash w/ Chicken Sausage

Thursday: HOME

Friday: WASHINGTON, D.C

Saturday: WASHINGTON, D.C

Easy week of meal planning once again! My grocery bill was under 30 bucks… that never happens.

One last note: Cleo and I are ALL BOOKED for our trip to EUROPE!!! Officially purchased one-way flights to London, leaving on October 1st. Our plan is to travel the world and somehow make it home around November 5th. It is going to be an epic 22nd birthday. I cannot wait for what the rest of this year has in store for me. 2013 is shaping into being one of the best and most exciting years of my little 22 year old life.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza & Toronto News!

TODAY IS A GOOD DAY!

  • Crossed a bunch of assignments off of my to-do list
  • Got in a good swim this morning
  • Punta Cana is less than 20 days away
  • I GOT AN OFFER AT AN AWESOME FIRM FOR A TEMPORARY POSITION IN TORONTO THIS SUMMER

It is actually happening. I get to spend the summer in a city, a big city, and not just any city, Toronto! With gorgeous Lake Ontario and awesome shopping and my Nana and Grandad and their beautiful cottage only an hour up north, and all of my cousins so close! This is unreal. I am beyond excited. Next step is to choose which firm… and find housing!!

It is hard to believe that I actually have a plan. Everything is finally starting to fall into place. My schedule is going to be crazy for the rest of the year, but I am so fortunate and so lucky and looking forward to everything on it!!

March: Washington D.C MARATHON, spring break in PUNTA CANA, then wisdom teeth… :/ (it cant all be fun and games)

April: NYC for a half marathon, NASHVILLE to visit Becca

May: GRADUATION, lots of running, a duathlon, Burlington for the VERMONT CITY HALF MARATHON

June: TORONTO

July: TORONTO

August: TORONTO, with a week at CAPE COD for (im sure will be much needed) vacation with the family

September: TORONTO? for most of it?

October: EUROPE WITH CLEO

January 2014: START MY NEW CAREER AT GE

Gahhh life is good. If only my stupid hip flexor would heal so that I can RUN, I would be on cloud 9. Alright I promise I am done bragging now about how awesomely amazing my life is turning out.

Dinner last night is sooo worth mentioning. Stephanie made buffalo chicken pizza! Recipe adapted from our girl Tina’s blog.

Dinner: Pulled Buffalo Chicken Pizza 

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I am pretty sure that Stephanie just combined half a cup of ranch dressing, blue cheese, three cloves of chopped garlic (girl loves garlic) and Franks hot sauce and used that as the base, topped it with the pulled buffalo chicken and topped that with some shredded mozzarella. We rolled out some Trader Joe’s whole wheat pizza dough (love), piled it all on top, and baked for 10-12 minutes! Perfection.  20130226-092706.jpg

——-> This is all that was left of the poor pizza. Food around my roommate does not stand a chance. It barely had time to live its life, the poor piece of yeast. But oh boy, was it delicious.

20130226-151134.jpgI had mine with a side of celery and spinach salad. Stephanie had hers with a side of ranch because she is averse to anything green. and healthy. (jk steph, jk).

Tonight, I am going to try and relax a little, get some laundry done, and call my Mum! I miss her. I am beyond excited to head home this weekend. Have a good night!

 

Drowning in Hyannis

Hello! Last time we spoke I was off to Hyannis to attempt to run the Hyannis Half Marathon. Well, attempt failed. I ran 3 miles of the race and felt hip flexor pain, so ambled around a little and attempted a run-walk method to see if it would fade. No luck. So, I turned around and tromped back like a fish swimming upstream to the starting line. It was freezing cold and pouring down rain, and a nice race volunteer lady gave me a lift back to the starting line. She was currently in the middle of her training for the Boston Marathon, her 21st!! Marathon! Unbelievable. Hopefully that will be me someday.

IMG_2271I am trying so hard not to be bummed out about my hip and let it get to me. I need to keep my chin up and do my best to make it heal this week. I am taking a week off from running, with plenty of icing, stretching, and foam rolling. I can lift, spin, and swim to help keep me sane. Cross-training is great and fun and will keep my physical fitness up, but nothing beats a rewarding and beautiful early morning run and the endorphin rush it gives me. Yesterday I honestly felt like a drug addict coming down from an addiction, I was craving my endorphin fix and slowly crashing. Luckily spin filled it this morning, but I almost feel like it is only a temporary fix. Like nothing else can satisfy it but a fresh, crisp run. Spring is in the air though, and once I am healed I will be able to enjoy the joys of running in shorts and a tank top, outside, in the sun and snow-free roads. I am praying, PRAYING, that I am healed for the RnR D.C Marathon in 3 WEEKS! And last night Steph and I signed up for the More/Fitness Women’s Half Marathon in Central Park on April 14th, whoops. What can I say, we have an addiction. To that and Yankee Candles. More motivation to heal.

Of course, no trip to the cape is complete without the obligatory stop at Mary Lou’s. Peanut Butter Wonderful Iced Coffee, and I bought some Mocha Mint ground to make at home.

IMG_2277And we stopped at Trader Joe’s…. that right there is reason enough to go to the Cape. Stocked up on all the goods like yummy bread loafs, almond milk, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh produce! Check out our stacked fruit bowl:

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Whats for Dinner? Week of 2/24:

Sunday: Panera on the way home from Hyannis

Monday: Buffalo Chicken Pizza —>finally!

Tuesday: Greek Salmon Burger, Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Wednesday: Max Downtown in Hartford

Thursday: Herb Crusted Tilapia, Quinoa

Friday: Casino 😉

Saturday: HOME!

Again, its another busy week and not a lot of cooking. My old GE bosses are coming to UConn to do interviews on Wednesday, and are taking me and the other old intern out for dinner. I am feeling a steak in my future. Friday Sarah and I are going on a hot date to the Casino, and then the rest of the weekend I am going to spend at home. I have been weirdly homesick, and miss my puppies. It is hard to believe it is almost March, where is my life going? Everything is flying by, and I need to keep reminding myself to stop and breathe, and take it all in. You know where I am really going to stop and sniff the roses? Or rather, the salty-sweet sea air? In PUNTA CANA. IN 3 WEEKS. I can feel the sun roasting my skin now. Can’t Wait! And with that thought, I leave you. Have a good Monday and start the week off on the right foot 😉