Mooooooore Spin!

Hey guys!!

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I am in a REALLY good mood today, and sadly that’s rare these days. I’ve taught 2 spin classes in the last 24 hours and one of those was at a new gym that I got hired at over the weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚ The gym just opened in June and it is super gorgeous. It’s a small gym in DUMBO, Brooklyn near the F train and A train (for my New Yorkers) called The Fitness Guru.

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I’ve been applying to gyms and ads on Craigslist so that I can obtain more classes since I am still just a sub right now at 24 Hour Fitness. However, I hope that will change soon too! ๐Ÿ˜‰

So what’s up other than spinning my butt off? I’m really not loving running at all right now. So much so that I kind of don’t even miss it. I woke up Sunday morning with the intent to run 10 miles to see if I was in any kind of shape to run the half marathon this upcoming weekend, but I couldn’t even get out the door to do so. I KNOW a huge part of it is the weather and the fact that the treadmill just isn’t an option for me (I’ve mentioned before it very badly hurts my hips and therefore my knees, shins, foot, etc.) for more than 3 miles TOPS. I KNOW the weather shouldn’t be an excuse but my heart is just not in it right now. I am pretty sure I will not run the half this weekend because it’s kind of stupid to do so with only having 2 long runs under my belt in 2 months, but I may wake up Sunday morning and decide to give it a try. Really probably shouldn’t since the last few runs I’ve done have left my knee in pain, but I may be stupid. (This is me talking out loud)

Well while I hem and haw about that, let me give you a recipe for the amazing iced mocha I made which is sugar-free and dairy-free. I’ve been using too much of the flavored creamers recently and while they are fine in moderation, I should back away from using them every morning. I also really don’t LOVE hot coffee so if you’re crazy like me and drink iced coffees all year, you’ll love this!

  • 1 heaping tablespoon instant espresso (I use THIS one)
  • 2.5 (ish) tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (I used a mix of dark cocoa powder and regular)
  • 1.25 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • Stevia or desired sweetener
  • Ice

Take the instant espresso and cocoa powder and put them in a cup or container of sorts. Add a little more than 1/4 cup hot water and mix thoroughly. Add in desired sweetener (I used 6 drops chocolate stevia and 2 packets of splenda) Put in the freezer for 10-20 minutes so it gets cold faster. Pour in cute, overpriced Starbucks tumbler and add in the almond milk and ice. Stir it up and sip away.

Said Starbucks tumbler.
Said Starbucks tumbler.

A cleaner coffee drink to get me out of bed ๐Ÿ™‚

Picked up a spin class for tonight! Woo hoo! Hopefully people will show up since when it snows in NYC, it becomes the apocalypse.

Do you prefer hot or iced coffee? Does it matter the season?

What form of cardio do you like better; spin or running?

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) 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!

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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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ˜€

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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the hostess!
the hostess!
wine. too much wine.
wine. too much wine.
loves them!
loves them!
:)
๐Ÿ™‚

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?

Those Things I Love.

Following your dreams is sometimes really, really hard to do. There are a lot of setbacks and it can really get you down, not to mention can take a long time to really get to. So sometimes you have to focus on what else makes you happy. Even if it’s superficial things. For me those superficial things are coffee and shopping. Coffee makes me happy in a HUGE way and I realize that may be kind of weird but I am more than just an addict. It makes me happy so I spend money on it that I figure into my budget, and only go to places that have rewards for what you buy. I justify it that way so I am at least getting a free drink every now and then ๐Ÿ˜‰ ย I don’t have much money to shop because I prefer to save what I can these days, but sometimes you just have to #treatyoself. A little. Right?!

My favorite mug, great quote and filled with the good stuff
My favorite mug, great quote and filled with the good stuff

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My new favorite drink you MUST try, especially if you like bubble tea. This tastes just like it but about 1/10th of the calories and totally customizable. I saw this all over Instagram this week. Order a 1/2 black iced coffee and 1/2 black iced tea (unsweetened) plus whatever milk you want. Add your own splenda or stevia on the side, gulp down. I’m so happy about this discovery because not only is bubble tea too caloric, they never have soy or almond milk so the dairy murders me. Wooooop!

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THE comfiest and softest shirt ever from the Gap, their Gapfit line. I got it in a large so it would be loose fitting even though it’s meant to be a bottom layer workout shirt. I wasn’t intending to run in it, but today was so cold I needed more than just a tank top under my Lululemon running jacket. Got this baby on sale for $12.99 a few weekends ago. I also got it in navy blue and gray stripes. Available here!

And these were an impulse purchase on my lunch break today. Well, technically I have been shopping around for a good pair of dressy yet casual booties like these.

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They miraculously had one pair left at the store and in my size. For the minute I walked around in them, they were comfortable. Let’s see how they do at my work holiday party Friday night. I’m definitely returning the watch I wrote about yesterday so this is also how I try to be mindful about shopping. I wouldn’t have bought these if I was keeping the watch, but technically now I spent less money. Mind tricks?

And the one place in the world that can always cheer me up and shower me with inspiration and thankfulness is Central Park. 4.25 glorious sunrise miles around this beauty this morning.

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What superficial things make you happy?

Are you a shopper or a saver? What things do you indulge in when shopping? I am much more a shoes/accessories gal than clothes.

Christmas Week & Cookie Recipe!

So I had figured this Christmas would be extremely depressing given that it was my first Christmas without my grandma, and while I definitely had some tears I also had some fun! I know it’s exactly what she would have wanted. As I get older, I truly am learning the real meaning behind holidays and it’s not what gifts you receive; it’s who you spend that time with. A little re-cap, shall we?

After almost 2 weeks of being sick and barely working out, I finally felt like I could breathe enough to get in some sweat sessions this week. Let me tell you,ย they felt reeeeeal good. I mean, I can barely walk and that’s how I like it! Life these days feels really weird if I’m not sore. Sunday I ran 3 miles and did Level 1 of Ripped in 30. After working all day, I came home and whipped up these cookies for my co-workers and they were a huge hit!

mmmm
mmmm

White Chocolate Cranberry Pumpkin Protein Cookies

Dry Ingredients:

  • 2 cups oat flour
  • 2 scoops protein powder (I used GNC’s pumpkin flavor, on sale now!! but vanilla would also work!)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4-5 packets sweetener (I used Splenda)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 5 (or more) TBSP’s white chocolate chips or chunks
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 15 oz can pumpkin

Mix dry and wetย separatelyย  then combine. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I made about 14 large sized cookies out of the dough. Bake for 25-30 minutes. If you choose to not use protein powder, they may take a little longer. I know cooking with protein powder tends to make things burn faster!

These come out the consistency of a cake/muffin but my co-workers loved them (and they don’t always love my healthy concoctions!) and I obviously did too!

Christmas Eve I worked all day and then ran a delightful 3.5 miles that evening. Later on, John and I decided to do what we did last year on Christmas Eve; order Domino’s. Before you judge me, hear me out. I used to LOVE Domino’s back in my extremely unhealthy eating days… loved their wings, pizza, and breadsticks. I went a long time without eating it, but recently I fell in love with their pizza again and have been ordering a much healthier version. I get mine with no cheese, and extra jalapeno’s! They have changed their pizza a lot and mine has virtually no grease and with the no cheese option I am saving a ton of calories. Pizza without cheese seems weird, yes, but I swear it’s good. I put crushed red pepper and garlic powder on it and dip it into hot sauce. I like my food VERY spicy.

The smell from the heat of the jalapenos is enough to make most people cry.
The smell from the heat of the jalapenos is enough to make most people cry.

‘Tis the season. BULKING season, that is ๐Ÿ˜‰

After sleeping in on Christmas morning, I headed down to Central Park for a run. A little background on my bladder; it’s basically non-existent. I swear. I have to pee at least every hour and that’s if I’m not drinking water or coffee. Since I usually am, I have to pee twice an hour if not more. So from my apartment to Central Park, it’s anywhere from 20 minutes to 40 minutes, depending how long I have to wait for the train and how slow it decides to go. First thing I have to do before I start running is find a bathroom. Generally not too hard in NYC, but many places are closed on Christmas Day so I had to get creative. The Time Warner building (aka Columbus Circle) is my go-to but they were closed, so I headed to the hotel that is connected called theย Mandarinย Oriental. Their lobby is located on the 35th floor (!!) and it’s a place I am definitely adding to my list to go have a drink! The views are amazing. So was their bathroom, to get back to my original point ๐Ÿ˜‰

Creepy face, but my favorite winter running gear! The vest makes me look pregnant, but it's warm so YOLO?
Creepy face, but my favorite winter running gear! The vest makes me look pregnant, but it’s warm so YOLO?
The huge lobby. This picture does it no justice.
The huge lobby. This picture does it no justice.
The bar/lounge area with the view.
The bar/lounge area with the view.

Once my peeing dilemma was solved, I ran an amazing 5 miles in the park. It was the perfect weather and totally sunny. I did a lap on the reservoir and it ended up being an obstacle course run, full of jumping over puddles and tourists (sorry I’m not sorry to the tourists I probably knocked over- watch yo selves.)

Beautiful!
Beautiful!

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After a shower and some relaxing, I headed back down to the park for a stroll with John! We also did this last Christmas, so I guess this is now a tradition. It was getting dark, but we walked for awhile with some coffee and started to freeze to death. I completely hate winter and temperatures that get below 50. I also voice this opinion quite frequently and loudly, so it was a miracle John wanted to take a winter walk with me ๐Ÿ™‚ I guess it was his Christmas spirit!

Central Park getting dark around 4:30. Another reason I hate winter.
Central Park getting dark around 4:30. Another reason I hate winter.
Walking action shot of John while he probably ignores my complaining.
Walking action shot of John while he probably ignores my complaining.

Last year we ate Christmas dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in the city, 5 Napkin Burger, which I have wrote about several times. We kind of just stumbled on it last Christmas and since it was open we ate there. This year we made a reservation for the Union Square location, mostly because we were too lazy to figure out what else was open. Upon entering, who do I run into other thannn.. my best friend Brenda and her boyfriend Eddie! Legit, great minds think alike. Us 4 made some fools out of ourselves when we saw each other and had the whole restaurant looking over at us, which is prettttty typical. They were just getting done eating so we ordered our food and got our fat Christmas feast on.

Romantically lit onion rings.
Romantically lit onion rings.
My usual- veggie burger with extra pickles (bun removed) and sweet potato fries!
My usual- veggie burger with extra pickles (bun removed) and sweet potato fries!

Delish as always.

The day after Christmas I was supposed to go upstate to see my family, but I woke up feeling really sick (again) and decided to stay put. Not the best idea to travel on a (dirty) bus for 4 hours when I’m still sick, plus they were getting hit with a big snow storm. I spent most of Wednesday sleeping, except for the one meal I ate all day at a diner near me.

Fav diner meal. 2 eggs over medium, bacon, homefries doused in ketchup and hot sauce :-)
Fav diner meal. 2 eggs over medium, bacon, homefries doused in ketchup and hot sauce ๐Ÿ™‚

More napping, then I finally made myself do Level 1 of Ripped in 30. That diner meal literally held me over all night (I ate it at 2 PM) so it was the only thing I ate all day! Sleep just sounded way better than food for once in my life.

Yesterday was more sleep, cleaning, Levels 1 AND 2 of Ripped in 30, and the return to healthier eating. My abs are SO sore today from both rounds of Jillian and I’m lovin’ it. I ate like a pig all week but the workouts balanced out some, so my pants aren’t too tight ๐Ÿ˜‰ As all of us are, I’m certainly ready for a new year and toning it up! It goes without saying that this year was really hard and awful for huge chunks, but I am picking myself up from the ground and determined to make 2013 better.

Slushie

It’s a gloomy, rainy, humid in January day here in NYC. It’s in the upper 50’s! I was sweating walking to work because I am obviously dressed in layers seeing as how it’s January… So weird.

Sleep never felt so good last night. I woke up once and shut off my alarm because sleep was more important than making it to the gym this morning!

I made a smoothie last night for a quick breakfast this morning because I had an early meeting. In the mix:

Frozen peaches
1/2 banana
1/2 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
1/2 + a few splashes more of light vanilla soy milk
3/4 scoop protein powder

Blend, and apparently don’t freeze for the next morning. It sat out of the freezer for over 3 years before I could have it and it was still like a slushie! A yummy and healthy slushie, but a little weird to be eating it with a utensil out of a shake cup.

Lunch was good but soggy. I saved my lunch from yesterday to have today, which was sprouted grain bread with guacamole, egg whites and cheese plus a side of butternut squash and edamame. The sandwich was really soggy which totally grosses me out… I ate it anyways obviously.

I’m going to try the new flavor of Lunabar later before the gym, which is honey pretzel peanut! Sounds so good. I have 4 miles to run at the gym after work, followed by tanning and having a relaxing night in with John. Crazy friday night, as usual. What can I say, my couch and sleep trumps being out in the cold and having a hangover!

Sore Calves

It’s been a solid 3 weeks since I have done any strength training, but luckily Caitlin and I are back on track with 30 Day Shred as of this morning. Besides my thighs killing from the squats, my calves are so sore from all the jumping. Despite my complaining, i love feeling sore! ๐Ÿ™‚

After Jillian I bundled up for my first real outdoor winter run ever! I was going back and forth between the treadmill or outside, but since it might rain this week and I will not run in the rain especially in winter, I sucked it up and wore the following:

Nike dry fit t-shirt
Lulu Lemon stride jacket
Under Armour vest
C9 running tights
Under Armour socks
Puma running gloves
Head/ear band

And obviously, sports bra, undies and my Asics. PS- I need to get fitted for new sneaks ASAP. I’ve had these since the summer!

mid- run, feeling fab!

That outfit was utterly perfect for a 15 degree run with minimal wind. The warm up was a bit rough on my lungs, but soon enough it felt great and I kept my pace sub-9, ending 3.5 miles with an 8:31 average pace. Super after not running for 4 days!

Today I am back on track, even though I have said it at least 24 times in the last few months, whether I need to hire someone to stop me from eating late at night or not! I am working on eating bigger portions and more often throughout the day so when I get home I’m not so hungry. It’s hard to find a balance on the days when I work out in the morning and at night, but much of it is mind over matter. I need to listen to my body more and only eat when I am actually hungry. I am testing out the “drinking water before I eat” theory that magazines love to throw around to fulfill any thirst needs that may be masquerading as hunger.

Breakfast: banana flax protein oats w/ new-to-me extra protein peanut butter (available at GNC) and black coffee

Lunch: spinach/feta/egg white wrap and coffee w/ a splash of half&half at Starbucks

Afternoon snackage: plain greek yogurt + frozen blueberries + crunchy PB

And unpictured cocoa roasted almonds โค

I went to my fav spin class of the week after work despite my achey legs and had a blast! So much energy in this class! He has one thursday mornings that I neeeed to get to!

Dinner: Trader Joe’s chickenless strips (meatless monday!) spinach, broccoli, goat cheese, hummus, balsamic & vinegar & chickpeas

Those chickenless strips are not very good. Lesson learned ๐Ÿ˜‰

NO after dinner snacking! I just brushed my teeth and am going bed. Success! Tomorrow morning = 30 Day Shred 1&2 + 60 min treadmill intervals! Ouch!! ๐Ÿ™‚