New York Rangers + Balls

Today is going to be a 2 post kinda day because I have some words about The Biggest Loser’s winner. I want that to be a totally separate post, so this one is to show my super fun night last night at my first New York Rangers hockey game! I bought tickets to it for John and I for our anniversary and the game was last night. This was my first Rangers game and first time ever at MSG which is just crazy huge and awesome inside. Also, everyone was REALLY friendly. I was scared. That is not normal in New York πŸ˜‰

Walking to our section and I yelled out "Holy Shit"
Walking to our section and I yelled out “Holy Shit”
I suck at pictures but this was the view from our seats. Really not bad for being up high!
I suck at pictures but this was the view from our seats. Really not bad for being up high!
During the first score for the Rangers. Love that everyone stands up and goes crazy!
During the first score for the Rangers. Love that everyone stands up and goes crazy!

Hockey is pretty cool but let’s be real, I was bored out of my mind by the 2nd quarter? Inning? What the heck is it even called in hockey? I started to make John take selfies with me and although he looks happy he was really annoyed with me. πŸ™‚

photo 4

And best of all, 2 of my favorite people in the world were sitting just 2 rows behind us and since the seats beside us were empty, they came down to party. No picture of Joyce (why didn’t we do this!) but Sam is the coolest girl ever.

photo 2

photo 1 (1)

photo 3

They went to the gift shop to get me this bunny! They are the greatest. Please excuse my extremely puffy face as I woke up from a nap about 20 minutes before I had to be there and I had an extremely painful dentist appointment Monday night. Also, that coat is very unflattering but it keeps me warm so I choose to look like a snowman.

John and I were starving after the game so we had a late night date at The Meatball Shop. As usual, it was delicious and I couldn’t finish it all. They give you a TON of vegetables when you order the “kitchen sink” salad and the balls are really filling. I started with a market salad which had romaine, kale, fried shallots, sprinkled parm cheese and shallot vinaigrette.

photo 5 (3)

 

Then I had the special balls of the night which were buffalo chicken in blue cheese. Also known as my favorite thing in the world. Next time I’d ask for the sauce on the side because this was WAY too much blue cheese, even for me.

photo 1 (1)

 

The stuff at the top right did not get eaten nor did the carrot salad. I wasn’t feelin’ it at all. John had regular balls and the most amazing mashed potatoes. Ever. I took a few bites and they were so creamy I could have died. I’m sure there was at least 3 pounds of butter in them, natch.

photo 2 (1)

 

Friggin’ comfort food at it’s finest. I’m so ready for this fat winter to be over! I seriously

Have you ever been to a NHL hockey game? MSG?

What’s your favorite (not so healthy) comfort food?

Just a Great Weekend

Hi loves! I hope your weekends were as fun as mine was. I really made sure to enjoy every minute of it and was able to do almost all of my favorite things with some of my favorite people. No complaints there! Friday night was low key and I was asleep by 10, and then slept until almost 10 AM. Needed it. I went to meet with a woman who owns a cycle/yoga studio to possibly pick up some classes and we ended up chatting for hours! She is awesome and I’m hoping I’ll be able to have some classes there.

John met me afterwards and I was HANGRY. We stopped and had brunch somewhere on the Upper West Side and I had eggs benedict ’cause it sounded real good. And it was.

photo 1 (7)

 

Followed by lunch dessert, some warm fresh cookies from Insomnia Cookies. Yes, this is a cookie shop that is open until 4:00 AM and serves totally fresh cookies all day and night. Janae, is this your dream? πŸ™‚

photo 2 (11)

 

John had the bottom huge one which was smores and I had the double chocolate mint and chocolate chunk. I ate less than half of each and gave the rest to John. They are super rich cookies so just a couple of bites is plenty! We went back home for a little bit then headed to the 7:00 hot yoga class. Who are we, going to work out together on a Saturday night?! I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT. I think it was the hottest vinyasa class I’ve ever taken and we were both drenched. I’m also still sore which is awesome.

Sunday morning I got up hoping to fit in 5 miles before teaching Spin but I overslept (what else is new) and only had time for 1.5 on the treadmill. I’m seriously failing hard at training for my spring half marathons which are starting in 6 weeks. Yikes! Brenda came to take my class which I love so much! She had to help me switch my bike halfway through because my seat kept sliding up (like as in the seat was literally pointing up in the air) and let’s just say it bruised me up good. I kept thinking I could just ride it out, literally, but it was violating me if you know what I mean. Ouch!

We showered quickly after class and grabbed brunch at Grey Bar before meeting up with the boys at the Museum of Natural History. It was so nice to have a little alone time with Brenda since we’re always insanely busy and usually meet up with the guys with us too. The food was super good and we have some plans to create a little business together. More on that when we know more!

photo 3 (7)

 

Fried egg, bacon and avocado sandwich and fries. Put back those 800 calories I burned!

Museum of Natural History was awesome. We saw a 25 minute planetarium space show that was mind blowing. It also made me extremely dizzy haha No pictures in there but here’s some from other parts of the museum.

photo 4 (7)

 

photo 5 (6)

 

photo 1 (8)

 

photo 2 (12)

 

You need an entire day to see the whole museum and I would rather stand outside naked in the cold than spend an entire day at the museum. I do NOT have that kind of patience! The boys went to get food at Shake Shack and Brenda and I got froyo at 16 Handles, our old stopping grounds.

photo 3 (8)

 

Then it was Superbowl party time. John and I headed to the Upper East Side to party at my friend Alyse’s apartment with some of her awesome friends. We seriously had so much fun just eating a ton of delicious food, playing with her adorable puppy and playing the best card game of all time. A.k.a didn’t watch the game at all.

potato chip brownie!
potato chip brownie!

photo 4 (8)

 

photo 1 (9)

Such a fun weekend.

How was your weekend? Superbowl plans? Workouts? Food? Tell me all about it! πŸ˜€Β 

Have you ever played Cards Against Humanity?? OMG it’s so inappropriate, and that’s why I love it.

Hot Yoga + Dinner Party

I feel like I just had one of the best weekends ever. It was a perfect balance of fitness, food, friends and a ton of fun (and only a little work πŸ˜‰ ) which I feel like never happens. I ended the week strong with staying on track and eating all of my meals at home Monday-Thursday and with some great workouts. Friday night I planned to go to my first hot vinyasa class (I’ve done Bikram, didn’t love it) and John agreed to come too! We went to Yoga to The People which offers $5 hot vinyasa classes at their 38th St location!! They fill up VERY quickly, so we got there a little early and snagged the last 2 spots. The room was less hot than bikram but I still was absolutely drenched just a few minutes into the class. I freaking LOVED it. I haven’t practiced Vinyasa in so long and the soreness in my back, shoulders and abs are insane. John liked it, too! Yay!

photo 1

 

We followed that up with pizza in bed. I had a long run Saturday morning and what better way to refuel from hot yoga? This was literally my dream date night. I love my soulmate πŸ™‚

Medium no-cheese pizza with grilled chicken and onions. Beyond amazing.
Medium no-cheese pizza with grilled chicken and onions. Beyond amazing.

Saturday morning: 8 mile run through the crazy fog of Central Park. IN SHORTS! πŸ˜€

photo 3

photo 4

photo 5

photo 1 (3)

photo 2

I had an awesome meeting with someone at noon at a Starbucks in Brooklyn so I had to shower quick and tried a new-to-me drink that STUFT Mama used to drink. Bare with me: Iced venti soy green tea latte with no classic syrup, 2 pumps of sugar-free vanilla, and a shot of espresso.

photo 1 (1)

 

SO good. I estimated the calories at 250-ish since I nixed the classic syrup and it cost almost $7 so I will not be purchasing these much unless I plan to get a 3rd job at Starbucks.

After my meeting I met John for brunch at… you guessed it… Brindle Room. We’re so predictable but it’s hard to try new places when you find a place that’s so perfect. I did however try a new dish there instead of my usual, which was Shakshuka. I didn’t know until I just looked it up but it’s an Israeli dish and really healthy! It’s just a base of spiced tomato sauce, poached eggs, feta cheese crumbles, scallions and parsley. At Brindle Room it’s served with grilled sourdough bread.

photo 2 (1)

 

Here’s a link to a great recipe for it. I think this may become a new dinner for me!

After brunch we stopped at Trader Joe’s wine shop and then back home so I could whip up an apple crisp for the dinner party we were going to. My good friend Sharde at work is an amazing event planner and host, and she had a dinner party at her apartment last night. She is a freaking amazing cook! She went all out and set up gorgeous tables with centerpieces that had flowers and goldfish in them.

photo 4 (1)

 

photo 5 (1)

 

photo 4 (4)

Her menu included baked chicken breasts (stuffed with mozz, tomato and basil but I had mine plain since cheese… boo), asparagus, caesar salad, potatoes, pasta salad and bread.

photo 1 (2)

 

While I wanted to dive straight into the bowl of caesar salad and eat all the chicken, I saved room for wine. Lots. Of. Wine. I hadn’t drank since September so I’m in struggle city today with a killer hangover. But it was worth it because we all had so much fun!

shots! i sat these out... it was best.
shots! i sat these out… it was best.
aren't we pretty?
aren’t we pretty?

photo 4 (3)

the hostess!
the hostess!
wine. too much wine.
wine. too much wine.
loves them!
loves them!
:)
πŸ™‚

Great, great weekend. Ready to tackle another healthy week tomorrow!

What were the highlights of your weekend?

Have you ever done hot vinyasa or bikram? Like it/love it/hate it?

Small Changes.

Happy 2014 you guys! I hope this year is terrific for you and myself as well. I think great things are brewing for me and I just have to put in the work to make them happen.

New Years Eve was spent with Brenda, Eddie and John at their apartment. We ate Domino’s and I drank about a teaspoon of champagne. We watched recaps of the funniest moments of 2013 and just laughed and talked. We were home by 1:30 AM and it was glorious.

My first ever New Year’s Day workout. It felt awesome.

photo 3

I have been hungover for every New Year’s for the last 8 years I believe. No more. Next year I am planning to do the midnight run in Central Park. On the train ride home from Brenda’s we saw so many runners leaving the park and I was pretty ragey that I didn’t do it.

The run was followed by brunch with my friend Alyse and her awesome roommates. We brunched at Riverpark which is a very fancy (for me) restaurant by the famous chef Tom Colicchio. The brunch prices were totally normal so I would recommend trying it for a fancier feel! We started with cinnamon doughnuts to share.

photo 4

So many dishes looked great but most of them had cheese and other things I would have had to sub out so I just went with the safest option, the wild mushroom frittata.

photo 5

AMAZING iced coffee, too!

I probably should have woke up early to run this morning but since I have 2 classes tomorrow and my legs are REALLY sore from my 6 miler yesterday, I slept in and am really aiming to eat healthier today. It’s a serious challenge after 2 months of being overly lenient in my food choices. Since I was also running less the last 2 months, I feel pretty fluffy and my pants aren’t fitting how I’d like them to. My mindset in the past would have been to restrict, or be too strict with how I would eat to reset my body (and mind, too). My will-power to be like that just doesn’t work anymore. And I don’t think that it’s a bad thing! In order to make changes that will stick, most people respond well to small changes. I know for me it’s really the only thing that will work. How do I do that? Here a few tips that work for me and hopefully will help you get back to healthier choices.

1. Obviously meal prep is important, useful and really does work in theory.Β You save money, calories and for me- a trip to the crazy streets of Midtown East in search of food for lunch and therefore a bad mood. But for me, after weeks of eating less-than-healthy foods, I seem to keep craving them. Were you eating a lot of breakfast sandwiches or french toast or pastries? Maybe you can keep eating those foods but make them yourself so you are saving the calories. Right now, oatmeal is just not doing it for me. If I make it at home on the stove and eat it right then it’s still great but for some reason making it in the microwave at work makes me gag now. Probably because I’ve been eating the same breakfast for 2.5 years straight. Except the last few weeks, I’ve been eating bagels and croissants for breakfast so I’ve been spoiled! I had the next best thing that I whipped up last night; healthy muffins and a big ol’ iced coffee.

photo 1 (1)

I’ll call them banana chocolate chip muffins. The chocolate chips I used are dairy-free mini ones from the brand Enjoy Life and I found them at Whole Foods. They seriously taste exactly like real chocolate chips, without the stomach ache for me. Win. Make these:

  • 2.5 cups oat flour (just grind oatmeal in a blender or food processor, about 4 cups worth)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 mashed banana
  • 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • Cinnamon (as much as you want)
  • Optional: 3 tbsp chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350, mix all together and make either 6 large muffins or 12 mini’s. Bake for 15-20 minutes, turn on broiler for 2-3 minutes for extra crispness on top. They come out about 260-ish calories for the 6 count with the chocolate chips so omit those and they will be closer to 220. Pair with some protein like some egg whites and a fat like a little peanut butter on the muffin and it’s an amazing breakfast that doesn’t seem SO healthy πŸ˜‰ Eat things you love, just modify them.

2. Make 2/3 meals healthier to start.Β Make at least your breakfast and lunch healthier, or your lunch and dinner. For me, if I eat a healthy breakfast and lunch, it’s actually easier for me to have a healthy dinner too. Why break the pattern, right? But if I start out the day with junk, I will be much less likely to eat healthy the rest of the day. After my healthy breakfast, it was easier to choose a good lunch today. I picked up a made-to-order salad at my favorite place and loaded it with vegetables and grilled chicken. It also had some crumbled blue cheese and a side of light ranch to dip my fork in, because that’s balance!

photo

 

3. Honor your cravings in an alternate way. This is kind of similar to #1 but it’s what helps me the most. I work long hours, no less than 10 hours of my day is spent at my job and therefore just a breakfast and lunch aren’t going to cut it. Around 4 I start to get antsy because I still have 3 hours of work left and I just want to leave. Then comes the late afternoon snack attack. BE PREPARED. Don’t come empty handed and leave yourself vulnerable to office junk food. I did this the entire month of December and that’s why I feel fluffy now. Bring an apple or banana with peanut butter, a Larabar or whatever your favorite type of bar is, portioned out trail mix, a fruity greek yogurt, or some dark chocolate. I prefer a bulkier “snack” that’s basically just another meal calorie-wise. I don’t get a chance to eat dinner until at least 8:00 PM but often later if I work later or teach a Spin class after work, so around 5:30-6 I am starving. Depending on your calorie needs and when you eat dinner, you can judge how big your snack should be. Also, maybe you are a big time post-dinner snacker. Since I eat dinner so late, I don’t usually have a chance to eat more because I need to be asleep. You don’t have to give up your dessert, you just need to fit it into your calorie needs for the day.

4. When encountering junky food that ya know ya just don’t need right now, repeat to yourself: “I know what this tastes like already. I’ve had it before, and I can have it again.”Β I may be crazy for this one, but I swear it works for me. If you really stop to think about a food you are about to dive into that you don’t exactly need, seriously remind yourself that you know what it tastes like. You know it will be available to you again. Why not just wait? John’s mom made a ton of her amazing cookies and I’ve been picking at them every day since before Christmas. I finally stopped myself last night and remembered that I had been eating them every day and I know what they taste like. They are freaking amazing so it’s hard to say no even when talking out loud to myself in the kitchen, but I managed to not even open the ziplock bag. There just seems to be less of a “I NEED NOW” feeling when you stop to think that it isn’t the last time you will see the particular food.

Let me know if any of these tips work for you! They aren’t anything special or unique but we often just need reminders of the basics to set us straight again.

What small changes do you make when getting back to healthier habits?

2013 Recap- Obvi.

I’m a complete sucker for all things recapped and end of the year recaps make me giddy. I never said I was cool, okay? So here are my top 10 favorite moments/events/accomplishments of my 2013, not in any particular order because I don’t wanna make one memory feel inferior to another memory. Aren’t I sweet? PS this is going to be a long post with a lot of pictures of me. Feel free to stop reading right here.

I’ll start with a short recap of my workouts. I use DailyMile to log my miles but I also use my iPhone notes to recap every day of the year with what workout I did including rest days. I will probably seriously do this forever, because I enjoy it. Just like logging my food every day on MyFitnessPal, it’s not even entirely about weight loss these days. I can look up any day in the past 3.5 years and instantly be taken back to that day. It’s not just about the food or the workout for that particular day, it’s the memories that came along with the rest of that day. Does that make sense? Anyways, without further ado, here we go.

Running- 572 miles

Spin- 35 classes, including teaching 8 of them πŸ™‚

Yoga- 6 (um, woops)

Strength training/weights- 41 sessions

2014 fitness goals: run a lot more miles than that. A.k.a BE MORE CONSISTENT. Less excuses, Jen, less excuses. Stop being lazy and run. A tentative goal I just decided on after reading this is that I want to run 2014K in 2014. That equates to 1,251.4 miles. Since there’s no way in hell I could run 2000 miles in a year without breaking my legs, I will shoot for the kilometer version of 2014. With marathon training starting in the summer, I can definitely do this. Being more consistent will likely result in me getting a little faster, too. I want toΒ Spin more, or more specifically teach more! I am loving teaching so much. I NEED TO YOGA MORE. My God, 6 classes over 12 months?! Pathetic. I am aiming to at least double that number, but hopefully a lot more. With strength training I really surprised myself. Didn’t think I had really done 41 sessions of it, but that was also counting very short 8-10 minute arm workouts which why would they not count? Just a simple goal to strengthen myself even more in the new year.

Top 13: (not in order of favorites)

1.Β Running my 1st half marathon with my best friend.

The months of training together every weekend was the best part. Achieving a hard goal with someone I love so much was one of the best feelings ever. I love this girl with all my heart.

photo 1

2. Falling even more in love with my Johnny.Β 

We strengthened our relationship so much this year. We did a ton of fun things together, including so many comedy shows I can’t even remember. We really made sure we made time for each other. He reminds me to think positively every day and makes me laugh even when I’m so mad at him that I want to punch him. πŸ™‚ I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings us! And no, that will not be a baby.

photo 3

photo 4 (1)

photo 5

3. Being in Women’s Health for my weight loss story.

Basically no words for how amazing it was to be chosen for it, have a photo shoot for it, and see my mug all over a magazine πŸ˜‰ It brought me a TON of views to my blog and I love all of the comments I receive telling me they found my blog because of my article!

photo 4

4. Deciding, at the very last minute, to complete NYRR’s 9+1 program to qualify for the 2014 NYC Marathonand actually completing it, despite having an injury 3 days before my final race.

1st race of 9.. Percy Sutton Harlem 5K
1st race of 9.. Percy Sutton Harlem 5K
2/9- 4 mile race for autism
2/9- 4 mile race for autism
3 of 9- Bronx 10 miler
3 of 9- Bronx 10 miler
4 of 9- Grete Gallop 1/2 Marathon (2nd half marathon!)
4 of 9- Grete Gallop 1/2 Marathon (2nd half marathon!)
5 of 9- Staten Island 1/2 marathon where I had a HUGE PR!
5 of 9- Staten Island 1/2 marathon where I had a HUGE PR!
6 of 9- Poland Spring 5 Miler
6 of 9- Poland Spring 5 Miler
Fulfilling my volunteer credit at the marathon expo
Fulfilling my volunteer credit at the marathon expo

(Sadly I have no selfies or anything from race 7 and 8 but they happened, obvi)

And the final race:

9 of 9- Ted Corbitt 15K
9 of 9- Ted Corbitt 15K

4 months of training and races, a wonderful volunteer day, and a lot of pizza later and I am qualified for the 2014 NYC Marathon. One of my top 3 proudest achievements.

5. Watching one of my greatest friends get married.Β 

photo (5)

I just re-read that post and teared up. She is due with her first baby this March and I am so excited to meet the little guy. Love you Frach!

6. Really appreciating the real friends I have, even though distance separates some of us.

I got to see most of the people that are truly my real friends at least once this year and it was great! It’s been really hard to find real friends in NYC. I’m lucky enough to have Brenda and John here but it’s proven difficult to find other people that I have things in common with and who want to build a real relationship. It’s tough! But I’ve heard it all my life that it gets harder to make friends as you get older. The few new people I became close with I am thankful for, though. And my brother is one of my closest friends which I never thought would happen! I love him to death and although we are really different, we’re still getting closer as we get older. I really hope 2014 will bless me with at least one new good friend that actually likes to do the things I like to do! When you stop partying to better your life, like I did, you see who sticks around and sadly I did lose some people. Their loss.

deuces1

7. Eating so much good food and developing a better relationship with it.

2011 and 2012 I was dealing with a horrible eating disorder, which if you’ve read my blog for long enough you know all about. After losing 110 pounds, I still thought I needed to lose a lot more and since my body was already at a super healthy (and borderline underweight) size, I had to nearly starve myself and work out for hours a day to keep losing weight. I looked terrible, lost hair, my period, etc. It was a time period more imprisoning than being overweight. Once I finally got help and started to eat more, I went way overboard and started binge eating for months and months. I gained weight in all the wrong places because of it and felt so miserable in my skin, once again, until this year. I found a comfortable medium between loving to work out but being okay with resting whenever I want to without feeling insanely guilty and eating what I want. I was in really amazing shape this summer and fall and while I’ve gained a little this month from all the dang sweets, I know that I can get back to feeling great without deprivation or anything extreme. I love to eat healthy, and I am so much happier eating pizza all the time by fitting them into my macros after a few doses of the healthy stuff, of course. If I could marry pizza, I would.

photo 1 (4)

8. Becoming a Spin teacher!!

photo

I got certified in March and finally got a part-time position in November. I am excited to see where I can go with this! It’s so much fun creating playlists and seeing the look on my classes faces when they hear a song they love. I also love the look on their face when they really don’t like me during a heavy hill climb. πŸ˜€

9. Finally completing my Associate’s degree.

Not something I talk about too often on here except for mentions of homework here and there, but school is something I have struggled with completing. Not for lack of intelligence but lack of time and money. I graduated high school in 2006 and went right to community college in my town and worked full-time. After 1 year I decided I would wait awhile because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and work was more important to me since I had no other choice but to support myself as I moved out of my parents house at 19. I finally decided to go back in 2010 but had to again take my time and take some semesters off, and long story short I am finally done with my Associate’s degree. It’s kind of embarrassing that it took so long, but in the end it’s my life and I have way more work and life experience than most people my age. I’m not sure what my path for school will be from here so just taking it day by day!

10.Β Cooking more and hosting my first Thanksgiving!

I thought at 25 it may be about time to start actually cooking once in awhile and trying recipes. I didn’t cook a lot or anything, but I did make many batches of the best turkey chili ever, a buffalo chicken soup that’s to die for, and I cooked all of our Thanksgiving food! One of my main goals for 2014 is to cook more and not eat out so much. The last 2 months i’ve barely been in my kitchen out of pure laziness.

And there we have it. Another year is gone and another one is on the horizon. I have realized that I am not Type-A enough to have a laundry list of resolutions that I will actually stick to. I think it’s important to constantly want to improve yourself and get more out of life and that’s what I am going to strive for!

I hope you all have an amazing New Years Eve and I want to hear what some of your goals are!!

Great People, Great Food.

Last night to get away from the stress of the holiday season, a bunch of my co-workers (and former co-workers) met up for dinner at a real Chinese restaurant on the Lower East Side called Congee Village. The place is really awesome inside with multiple floors and can seat big parties.

photo 4 (1)

 

The table has a glass circular set-up that spins so you can serve yourself buffet style right at the table. We let our asian friends do the ordering and everything was so, so good. I love chinese food, but I’ve truly only had americanized versions like general tso chicken. I can’t name everything but here are just some of the dishes we shared.

pork belly over preserved vegetables
pork belly over preserved vegetables
The green is bok choy I believe (sauteed) and the red-ish circular things are lotus roots
The green is bok choy I believe (sauteed) and the red-ish circular things are lotus roots

photo 5

One of my plates
One of my plates

I love the idea of ordering a bunch of dishes and sharing them, plus the small plates made it easier to not overeat. Usually when I eat chinese food I eat WAY too much and feel sick. I had multiple of these small plates but left feeling just a little full, not crazy. Everything was crazy good and my company was even better!

Meina & Angel! Former co-workers. We miss you!
Meina & Angel! Former co-workers. We miss you!

 

Erman, me & Sharde
Erman, me & Sharde
My giiiiirl
My giiiiirl

 

The whole gang of Chanel!
The whole gang of Chanel!

My co-worker Celine brought her husband and cutest daughter Olivia with us. We had so much fun with her!

how cute is she?!!
how cute is she?!!

After dinner we went to get bubble tea. Bubble tea is one of my favorite things EVER, however I can’t drink the milk tea anymore because of my dairy issues. I ordered just a plain black iced with half the sugar and lychee jelly. It was good, but nowhere as good as the milk black. Hopefully they will start to make it with soy someday?!

photo 1 (2)

 

photo 3 (2)

 

Love this girl! She's gorgeous!
Love this girl! She’s gorgeous!

It felt good to be out laughing and having a good time. I definitely do not do it often enough these days!

Have you ever had authentic Chinese food?

If you like bubble tea, what do you order? My 2 favorites of all time are coconut milk black with honey instead of sugar and honeydew milk black! Mmmmmm I miss you, dairy.

Don’t Make Me Laugh.

I am in so much pain right now. A good pain, but a strong one. I worked out with Brenda on Saturday morning, meaning I let her train me and I have never been in so much pain DURING a workout or after. Even after 4+ hours of cycling last week, she beat me to a pulp. More on that later, but let’s discuss the delicious food I’ve had since we talked last!

Backtracking to last week, I was so exhausted from my 3 spin classes in 24 hours that I took Wednesday and Thursday off to rest. Wednesday night my brother came down to the city so we met up in Brooklyn for pizza and froyo/Shake Shack. Grimaldi’s for pizza of course, 2 pies for the 3 of us. Demolished.

Pie 1 of 2.
Pie 1 of 2.
My 2 favorite guys in the world!
My 2 favorite guys in the world!

On the way back to my brother’s car we passed Orange Leaf and since I was on an antibiotic last week, I figured I HAD to get my yogurt intake for the day. Right?!

photo 3 (3)

Sadly I barely made a dent into it. I wasn’t crazy full from the pizza but my appetite just isn’t as raging since I’ve been running less. Even tons of Spin doesn’t make me as hungry as running! Anyone else?! The boys got Shake Shack shakes and John literally ordered a double burger too. After 6 pieces of pizza. No words.

Friday I was off from job #1 but job #2 I had at 6:00 PM so I got to sleep in a little and then busted out 1 of my finals. My class Friday night was so great again! I am loving teaching cycling SO SO much and right now since I’m just subbing I have no classes scheduled this week and I’m so sad. Hoping someone will need a sub!

1.5 mile treadmill run first then class!
1.5 mile treadmill run first then class!

After class I went back home to finish another final and get to bed relatively early for my morning session with Brenda!

Saturday morning was so beautiful and I was so grateful to be off from work to enjoy it. Saturdays have a great feel to them when you don’t have to be stuck at a desk all day! I ran 3 miles first to warm-up and then Brenda put me through absolute torture. It looked like this:

  • 1500 meter row in 6 minutes. Broken into 500 meters in 2 mins, rest, then repeat 2 more times. I was almost in tears halfway through minute 1.
  • TRX squats (20), TRX bodyweight rows (10) , tuck jump to squat thrust x 15— repeat this circuit twice. The bodyweight rows were INSANELY hard!
  • Assisted pull-ups w/ a band. In a nutshell, I could basically not even do 1 WITH the band. Hardest thing ever, great thing to work towards!
  • 3 sets of 10 lat pulldowns w/ 72 pounds (random weight but on a machine)
  • Ab circuit: full sit up w/ legs on the ground (pilates move) on the way back bring your legs back and then reach up to touch toes x 15; feet in TRX strap, bring legs to chest then pike x5, feet in TRX strap, brings legs to chest then spread legs apart x10

Sorry if my descriptions are weird, not sure of proper names just yet! All I can say is that besides my shoulders/lats/forearms/every inch of my arms being insanely sore, my abs have NEVER felt sore from a workout before. I wanted to punch her in her face, naturally. It hurts so bad to laugh, cough and sit up. I will definitely be repeating this circuit on my own!! She is AMAZING at what she does. If you are in the NYC area and want her info to get training with her, let me know!!!!

No better way to start a weekend than sweating with your best friend. The rest of Saturday was spent brunching with John at Grey Dog, of course. Afterwards we got coffee and walked around for a few hours, before deciding to go home and just relax since it was pretty cold out. I got pretty wild and made a big bowl of chicken noodle soup and ate it in bed. Have you ever heard of such a wild Saturday night?!

photo 2 (4)

 

By the way, Progresso chicken noodle is really good.

I also had a few bites of a chocolate chip cookie dough Questbar after. After 3 bites I realized I could NOT bare the taste of it anymore. Over the summer I loved them, but I was also still using a lot of artificial sweeteners. Now that I eat mainly real food and only really use stevia in my coffee in the morning and that’s it, it tasted awful to me. It also upset my stomach within minutes. Not knocking but all in all they are a pretty fake food and I will not be ever buying them again!

Sunday morning I woke up planning to run 8-9 miles. I woke up exhausted, sore beyond words, and nothing in the world sounded better than going back to sleep and just spending the morning in bed with John. Something we never get to do! It felt amazing and I felt no regrets. I have 2 races this weekend and haven’t been running much at all, but I have no worries. I’m enjoying the rest of the year before I get serious again with training and it feelsΒ good!Β After snuggling for a few hours, we made our way to brunch at Brindle Room. A weekend with my 2 favorite brunch spots is THE BEST. We were ready to gnaw our arms off by the time we got there since it was 1:30 and we hadn’t eaten anything yet. He got his burger and fries, I had my favorite smoked pork hash and for “dessert” we split the banana challah french toast with nutella and fruit. YUM.

photo 3 (4)

my cute date
my cute date

photo 4 (3)

photo 5 (3)

To avoid the food coma we were about to slip into, we walked around for quite awhile and did some shopping at Marshall’s. I got a new really big pot to make chili in, fleece lined leggings to run in, Nike training gloves (my hands get SO sweaty when I lift and hurt) and Nike dri-fit slight compression socks. I live and breathe for Marshall’s/TJ Maxx, dudes.

It started to snow around 4:30 so we made our way home and did a huge load of laundry. Our bag weighed probably 30 pounds and we have to lug it 2 blocks so we counted that as our workout. We worked up our appetite for dinner finally around 8:30 and got 2 human-sized pieces of pizza. $3 each. Can you seriously beat that?!

photo 3 (5)

(Don’t worry- I peeled off my cheese. Sigh 😦 )

Ha! So big
Ha! So big

Not the best pizza ever but good for being so cheap and huge.

And the weekend ended with setting up our first ever NYC Christmas tree that my roommate decorated so beautifully!

photo 2 (5)

 

So there ya have it. A solid week of workouts and not-so-healthy food. That’s what weekends are for!

My First Thanksgiving.

I hosted and cooked my first Thanksgiving yesterday for my best friend Brenda, her boyfriend Eddie, John and I and it went even better than I expected! Granted Thanksgiving food is relatively easy to make, but I really don’t cook so I was just hoping for the best!

I started off the day with a long workout to make room for the food. I ran 6.5 miles that felt really, really good and then practiced spin for awhile. Had a huge burn that put at least a little dent into all the butter and sugar I consumed last night πŸ˜‰

photo 3 (1)

Once I headed back to my apartment, I got right into cooking. Living in NYC means we have a very small kitchen but ours is actually big by NYC standards. It was still difficult to only have very small counter space but I made it work. First thing I made was my grandma’s delicious sweet potatoes. The recipe is actually my Aunt Judy’s, who is the most delicious cook EVER, but my grandma would make it for me every year and sometimes when I just was craving it. They are SO easy to make and are basically a dessert but they make your turkey and other sides taste so much more delicious.

photo

All you need to make these is anywhere from 4-7 sweet potatoes depending on how many people you’re feeding and how big the potatoes are. I bought the bag of organic sweet potatoes at Trader Joe’s which comes with about 6 medium sized potatoes. Just peel them (I didn’t even peel all of them) and then cut into chunks this size. Put them in a pot and cover with water and sea salt, then bring them to a boil. Lower the heat and then just cook until they are fork soft. You don’t want them to get mushy! Once they are fork soft, drain them put them to the side. In that same pot, melt either a stick of butter or 8 tablespoons butter substitute (I used Country Crock). Then add 1/2 bag brown sugar. I used the organic brown sugar bag from Trader Joe’s, not sure of the ounces, but I dumped in half of the bag and it was PLENTY!

My second favorite Thanksgiving dish is green bean casserole. This is such an easy dish to make super healthy while compromising no taste at all.Β I used about 6 cups of fresh green beans, not chopped but pulled apart so they aren’t super long. Put those along the bottom of a glass casserole dish. Mix together 1 can of 99% fat-free Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup, 1/2 cup milk, 2/3 cup fried onions and some black pepper. I actually had to use unsweetened vanilla almond milk because I had no regular milk on hand! Couldn’t taste it all, plus only added 15 calories. Pour that mixture over the green beans and then pour more fried onions on the top. Oven at 350, bake for 40 minutes.

Before
Before
After
After

I quickly whipped up 2 boxes of Stove Top and some crescent rolls too but those are so easy a 5 year old could make them πŸ˜‰

And last but not least… the turkey. Sorry I’m not sorry but I don’t have the patience that it takes to cook a turkey. Way too much work and I wanted to be able to enjoy my Thanksgiving morning with a long workout, so last weekend we decided to book a turkey at Popeye’s. Yes, the fried chicken establishment. A fun fact is that John eats there at least once a week, and somehow he isn’t obese. Anyways when he suggested it I laughed in his face but after some research we found out that it’s a pretty popular choice here in NYC and a lot of people gave it great reviews. They flash-fry it, roast it then freeze it so when we picked it up on Monday we just put it in the fridge to thaw out all week. Pop it in the oven for an hour and a half, then die of happiness when you take your first bite. Best turkey I’ve EVER eaten.

photo 5 (1)

My delicious plate:

photo 1 (2)

Now on to the desserts. Brenda my love brought over Muddie Buddies, cause she’s freaking awesome. We munched on those until the real desserts were ready. First up was my first attempt at John’s moms delicious apple crisp. Very basic and simple ingredients, but be prepared for an arm workout when mixing! I will post the recipe tomorrow actually because I don’t have it with me at the moment.

photo 4

photo 2 (4)

photo 3 (3)

photo 4 (1)

 

I also whipped up some last-minute muffins. The idea popped in my head earlier yesterday when I went into the store to grab eggs and saw chocolate chips and butterscotch chips on sale. Pumpkin butterscotch raisin muffins. I went to the cake aisle to get a box of spice cake mix and then saw carrot cake and realized that would be even better. These are easy and so so delicious, but they come out REALLY moist and they’re hard to travel with unless you don’t mind an already crumbled muffin. I used:

  • 1 box carrot cake mix
  • 1 15 ounce can pure pumpkin
  • 2 egg whites
  • pumpkin pie spice/cinnamon
  • 2 mini boxes of raisins
  • 1/2 bag butterscotch chips

photo 1 (3)

 

photo 3 (2)

 

I didn’t have one last night because I would have exploded but I took a small bite of one that I sent home with Brenda and Eddie. A whole one is about to be my afternoon snack πŸ˜‰

Amidst all these food pictures we totally forgot to take pictures of us! We had an awesome time though like we always do. They are my favorite people in the world to just lounge with. Comfy clothes, tons of food, Wedding Crashers, and just good conversation. I love my peoples ❀

The holidays are still quite hard for me as it’s only my second one without my grandma and family, but creating new traditions is SO important and I intend to host Thanksgiving every year now!

Have you ever cooked/hosted Thanksgiving?

How WAS your Thanksgiving? Favorite dish?

Bahhhhston!

My week vacation is now over but I will continue to drool over the pictures of the food I ate in Boston. Ya’ll know I LOVE to eat and Boston definitely didn’t disappoint! Since John and I couldn’t afford a tropical getaway just yet, we figured a few days with our friend Mark in Boston would be a good way to spend some of our week off together! I was born in Cape Cod but never went to Boston so I was super excited to see a new big city.

We caught the 10:00 AM bus way the heck over on the very west side of Manhattan. This was our first time riding the real Megabus that’s actually a double decker bus and I was weirdly excited. Trust me, when you have to travel by bus to see your family and it’s the grossest bus ever, you’d get a little excited for the promise of a better bus too.

photo 4 (1)

 

We sat on the top deck and I’d have to advise others not to do this. Unless you like roasting to death, which I do not. It was SO HOT up there and this was without the heat being on. Add on being stuck in traffic for an extra hour and I’d say John probably wishes he had been run over by the bus. πŸ˜€

We finally made it to Boston and immediately headed to Quincy Market for food.

photo 3 (1)

 

I felt like such a tourist and loved it. You don’t get those fun holiday feelings after living in New York City and wanting to start fights everywhere you go. Ha!

There is a ton of food options inside, but we had to go with some classic clam chowdah in a bread bowl!

Mark and I! Best buddies since 6th grade
Mark and I! Best buddies since 6th grade

chowda

mmmm
mmmm

Demolished. We walked around the area for awhile and went into some of the shops to look around. It’s really beautiful at night especially with the holiday decorations up.

quincy

 

We made our way back to Mark’s apartment who also lives with another friend from high school named Lauren. So fun to see people that I love but never get to hang out with! They took us to their favorite restaurant in their neighborhood where another one of my good friends from high school met us, too! Reunions!

Matty P!
Matty P!

The restaurant is called The Publick House and it goes down as one of the best places for bar type food EVER. If you are super into beers, this is the spot for you. I ordered a super loaded grilled chicken sandwich with fries but nixed the bun considering I ate an entire loaf of bread at lunch. YOLO.

photo 5

 

The grilled chicken itself was freaking amazing but topped with blue cheese, bacon and avocado?! Get out. I dipped the fries in their recommended beer mustard which was also delicious. Everyone else at the table absolutely loved their food too.

After dinner Mark took John and I out to a hilarious karaoke club. I had a few glasses of wine prior to this, but the buzz was wearing off and I wanted no more alcohol at all. Needless to say, I did sober karaoke and while it was still fun- it’s definitely more fun drunk. We still put on a great performance in my opinion.

photo 2 (3)

 

photo 3 (2)

 

We sang All Cried Out by Allure and I was told multiple times I have a hilariously awful voice. Thank you?

With barely 4 hours of sleep and a bad cold setting in later, I decided to get a short run in just to say I ran in Boston πŸ˜‰ Better motivation than none, right? It had warmed up a little and I knew the boys would be sleeping for awhile longer so I went out and ran 2.5 miles. They were GOD AWFUL. My chest is super congested and there will killer hills, but the morning was beautiful and it always feels good to move.

photo 4 (3)

 

so weird to me that the subway tracks are just on the road?
so weird to me that the subway tracks are just on the road?

Once everyone was showered and dressed, we set out for bloody mary’s and brunch. I kept mine virgin and it was still completely delicious and so spicy. Made my sinuses clear right up!

photo 5 (2)

drink

Brunch was at Zaftigs, a famous Jewish deli. Please go here if you are visiting Boston! Super cool inside with a great menu. I went with a basic egg, toast and potato breakfast like I always do. They also bring you out bagel chips and cream cheese to start.

photo 2 (2)

 

photo

 

The challah toast was amazing, a lot like potato bread which is pretty much my favorite. John had the biggest piece of french toast stuffed with sauteed bananas (ridiculous) and Mark had a fried egg and cheese BLT on challah. All so good. Is there anything better than breakfast food? There simply is not.

After a little shopping on Newbury Street, we had to head back to our home- New York City. Boston was fun and delicious, but NYC is definitely where my heart is!

Have you ever been to Boston? Do you like it better than NYC or no?Β Not meant to start a battle, I think Boston is better in some ways than NYC. For example, people are more calm and there is just less people which is a good thing πŸ˜‰

Vacation!

Ahhhh I am sorry for being MIA again! I had the last week off from work and had a few small fun trips planned with John to spend time with friends and family. We had a really great time and about 10 pounds extra to show for it. That is not an exaggeration either. Vacation = food, food, food. But now I need to really get my butt in gear and back in shape! This post is going to be long and picture over load, just as an FYI, but that isn’t much different than most of my posts πŸ˜‰

Our first stop last weekend was to go upstate to see our families. Saturday I got in first and John a little later so we could each spend only $1 on our bus tickets. Megabus for the win. I waited at this new coffee shop in downtown Binghamton that I was SO impressed by. Seriously why did this not exist when I still lived there? Brewed Awakenings is huge and so, so cheap compared to NYC coffee shops. $4 for a huge iced soy coffee and pumpkin muffin. You’re lucky to find just an iced coffee for under $4 in NYC!

photo 3 (4)

 

photo 1 (5)

portions = huge. barely finished the top of the muffin before i was stuffed!
portions = huge. barely finished the top of the muffin before i was stuffed!

My brother then picked me up in style. He drives for my Uncle’s limo company and had just finished a wedding near where I was.

photo 4 (4)

The rest of Saturday included going to a Binghamton Senators hockey game with some great family friends. I don’t like sports much but hockey is pretty cool to watch, and we ended up having a blast. Plus they have great pretzels.

Amanda and I!
Amanda and I!
My mom, Joyce, Me and Sam!
My mom, Joyce, Me and Sam!

Pretzel. My half is the mustard covered one. John gets the much smaller side ;-)
Pretzel. My half is the mustard covered one. John gets the much smaller side πŸ˜‰

Sunday morning was spent watching TV and drinking coffee in bed with my brother and John. That sounds really weird, I know, but it’s actually the greatest thing ever. My favorite guys!

photo 4 (5)

 

Then John and I went to spend the rest of the day and night with his mom. We stopped at Texas Roadhouse for lunch, did some shopping, then went back to her house and proceeded to eat half a pan of apple cobbler. Not a joke. It is the best dessert I’ve ever tasted.

jhdkjfhdshflsdkhfds
jhdkjfhdshflsdkhfds

Monday morning I ran 4 miles and walked 3 with John and his mom’s dog Lola. It was freezing but felt good to work off some of that cobbler! John got a new fancy camera so these next few pictures will actually be enjoyable to look at, unlike my awful iPhone pictures.

lola

Before we left Monday night, John’s mom made us pasta and we polished off the rest of the cobbler with no shame.

WW rotini, a little I can't Believe It's Not Butter, parm cheese and steamed veggies
WW rotini, a little I can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, parm cheese and steamed veggies

cobbler

I am going to attempt to recreate that cobbler on Thanksgiving!

We got back to the city late Monday night, slept in Tuesday and then I had a dentist appointment. We got a really early dinner and spent the rest of the night shopping before coming home to pack for our overnight to Boston. I will post about Boston tomorrow since I have overloaded you with pictures today and mostly because the food in Boston deserves its’ own separate post!