Monday, August 23, 2010

Grad School Gripes

All I can say today is grad school better be worth all the stress it's causing me! My day off consisted of hardcore emailing to professors and former employers for recommendations and various grad school administrative offices for the millions of questions I need answered before I can get all my ducks in a row for applications. I also am in the middle of writing my own recommendation for my internship boss, which seemed awesome in theory but is becoming a pain in my butt. On top of all of that, I am about three weeks away from writing the GRE, and I know I should be more prepared than I am at this point. I guess I can look forward to a few weeks of reading comprehension, analogies, vocab lists, quantitative comparisons, and so much more! Lucky me!

In less annoying news, I had a great time stocking up on treats at the grocery store today! I think my joy at buying produce is best understood by fellow healthy living bloggers!

Included are: sweet potatoes, broccoli, a lemon, kiwi, a big fat red bell pepper, some organic apples, avocado, a carton of strawberries, a couple squash, and a huge bag of cherries (SPLURGE, but worth every penny).

I got to thinking today about how far I have come this past year in terms of healthy living. I used to almost bypass the produce section completely, but now it's my favorite place to be! Experimenting with healthy, whole foods has absolutely changed my life in every way. I'm happier, healthier, my skin is clearer, my hair is shinier, and I'm having so much fun!

Another thing that makes my life more fun is watching trashy shows like Jersey Shore and the Real Housewives of New Jersey. I know, I know......but I also listen to NPR and watch Countdown with Keith Olbermann and the Rachel Maddow Show religiously, so I'm just going to call it even. Anyway, I saw this glass at TJ Maxx yesterday and couldn't help but take a picture - doesn't this look like it belongs in Pauly D or The Situation's cabinet? Oh boy, I need to get to bed.

Sweet dreams!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I Might Be Insane

Phew! It felt great to get out of work today - one of the girls got sick so I sent her home and was alone in the coffee shop for two hours...not fun at all. I'm not going to lie, the past couple of weeks have been pretty stressful for a number of reasons not worth getting into right now. I'm in the middle of trying to figure out some pretty big stuff in terms of school and my future, and it's taking an emotional toll. Needless to say, a run was exactly what I needed this afternoon!

I did an easy 3.5 miles after work, and already feel a million times better. I did an unplugged run, which means no Garmin, no iPod, just me and my thoughts. I really need to do these runs more often - they're therapeutic and HELPFUL! When my mind wanders it's surprisingly productive - I think I'm able to get into the nooks and crannies of my brain much better when all I'm focusing on is my breathing.

This afternoon, I did something I've been wanting to do for months now - I ordered Insanity! Running, biking, and my workout DVDs are great and make me happy everyday, but I'm ready for a CHALLENGE! I figure now is the perfect time for me to devote an ocean of sweat to this program - no school and morning shifts mean I am currently in possession of something I haven't had in years - TIME! I literally just clicked the order button, and I can't wait to get it!

Wish me luck! I'm sure I will be documenting my progress on the blog. Time for a green monster!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Seeing Stars

To say that today was interesting is a bit of an understatement.

About two weeks ago, the strap on my ancient bike helmet gave way and I wouldn't let myself ride until I got a new one (torture!) Well yesterday, I FINALLY succeeded at Target (I have a humongous head and hardly any helmets fit me well) so today was supposed to be my triumphant return to hardcore biker girl status. Except, totally not. Here's what happened:

I woke up this morning with a headache and a bit of nausea, but instead of listening to my body I chocked it up to the wear and tear of the past couple of weeks and threw myself onto the bike anyway. I figured once I was out on the road I'd be riding high. 10 miles on the agenda, and I got through the first five alright, until I stopped to look at some beautiful wildflowers and almost passed out.

You guys, I am not a fainter. There are actually two times in my life that I have passed out, both having to do with heatstroke. The first time was when I was about six, on the handlebars at my aunt and uncle's house, and the second time was after a brutal horseback riding session on the hottest day of summer. Suffice to say, when I get woozy SOMETHING IS WRONG.

I knew there was NO WAY I could ride the 4.5 miles home safely, so I sat down under a tree, called my stepdad to pick me up, and just tried to stay calm. Luckily, he showed up quickly, and with a couple glasses of water, a banana, and a shower, I felt better pretty fast.

I have learned some pretty valuable lessons though.

(1) LISTEN TO MY BODY. I knew I wasn't feeling well, but I didn't consult with myself before working out. Big mistake. I should have either abbreviated my ride or ditched it altogether. I will definitely be more in tune with myself in the future.

(2) PROPERLY FUEL. I wasn't hydrated enough before my bike ride, and I really think dehydration played a role. I am trying to drink more water in general, but clearly I haven't been doing as well as I could be. I have been peeing like a racehorse today with all the water I've been drinking since my ride, so future water intake is looking good for moi.

(3) HAVE A CELLPHONE. I am so happy that I always have my phone with me if I run or ride, because it matters. If I didn't have my phone with me, I would have been stranded five miles from home for who knows how long. I told my stepdad what I was doing and where I was going, but he was headed off on his bike too (on a different route). It would have just been bad news all around. I will never leave my phone at home again. SO important!

Anyway, that's it for my big rant. I spent this afternoon taking it easy and watching Up, which is probably the cutest movie in the history of the world. So not a wasted day overall I guess. Nighty night bloggies! I am planning on a nice wedding/beach photo post tomorrow after work. Wahoo!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My Crazy Life

So, a couple of things have been going on since my last post. I'll break it down for you guys:

(1) I've been hanging out with my extended family (my mom is one of SEVEN) at our cottage in RI for the past two weeks, and the internet wasn't invited.

(2) On August 1st, my mom got married! Wahoo! It was beautiful, and so much fun!! I'm going to do a post soon with pictures, since it was too gorgeous not to share.

(3) Last weekend I was in NYC for a nice visit with my dad, who was in town for a couple of days. He took my brother and I to a Yankees/Red Sox game! I'm a Boston fan, but holy moly did they not play well. No worries though, it was so much fun!

The past two weeks have been some of the most fun and exhausting of my life. Luckily, I have today and tomorrow off to FINALLY rest and get myself organized again. Although I wish I was still at the beach! I miss my family terribly - though I think the fact that I have to work and study for my GREs and apply to grad school might be a factor in that.

I'm off to run a million errands, and then I have a nice bike ride on the schedule and some great photos to look though. Bye for now!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fun in the Sun

Good evenin bloggies! I've been MIA for a couple of days, but I have an explanation! All my aunts and uncles and cousins arrived on Saturday at our family's cottage in Rhode Island and I scooted up there as soon and for as long as possible because my family ROCKS! I managed to score three days of sun, burgers, cards, wiffleball, cocktails, bug bites, and awesome times before heading home last night. I have to work for a couple days so I'm stuck here, but I'm back up to the cottage for a whole week after my Mom's wedding on SUNDAY! I can't believe it's so close!

Anyway, we don't have internet at the cottage, and to be honest, even if we did I wouldn't use it. There's something about family cottage time that makes surfing the internet just seem wrong - I have a big family and we only all get together for two weeks a year, so I want them all to myself!

I always worry about how I will maintain my fitness and healthy diet at the cottage, where ease and indulgence seem to win out over health. I'm lucky to have a pretty active and health conscious family, but I'm still tempted to sleep in and get that extra scoop of ice cream down in Watch Hill. My aunt is super fit and healthy, thankfully, so we usually try to motivate each other to run and hold back from completely losing control. Although I left my Garmin at home, we went for a couple of really nice long runs while I was up there, and I definitely reigned in my eating more than I have in past years. I find that on vacations it's good to go in with reasonable expectations - I knew I was going to indulge here and there, but I didn't want to throw away days on end to unhealthy eating and no exercise. It seems to have worked too - a successful trip all around!

Today after work I went for a nice bike ride - 15 miles in about an hour and fifteen minutes. It felt awesome to get on the bike again, and I picked a gorgeous route that ended down at one of our state beaches. I sat by the water before heading home and thought about how lucky I am to be happy, healthy, fit, and looking forward to a promising future. Endorphin induced or not, I'm living a pretty charmed life, and it's nice to think about it every once in a while!

I'm off to bed before work at 6 tomorrow, and I may or may not head back up to the cottage for the night. I am aching to get back to the beach again - my skin is going through sun withdrawal! I also want to finish up In Defense of Food - it's so eye opening! I already feel like my attitude towards food has dramatically changed. More on that later! Goodnight! xoxo

Friday, July 23, 2010

Preparing for Craziness

Happy Friday everyone! I have an unexpected day off today - so many possibilities!

I am happy to say that I'm back on track after my fitness frustration over the weekend. My 4 mile run the other day really gave me the boost I needed! Yesterday I went for a GREAT 3 mile run - the weather was much drier, absolutely gorgeous and breezy. PERFECT!

Mile 1 - 9:00
Mile 2 - 9:31
Mile 3 - 10:15

Although I love love love my Garmin, I think I have to adjust the way I use it a bit. I got it a couple of weeks ago and it has absolutely changed the way I run. It's so helpful to have all my stats on my wrist, and I definitely feel in tune with my workouts in a way I wasn't able to be before. However, I am also noticing that I've been running too fast initially, and towards the end of my runs I am huffing and puffing like a crazy person and petering out. I want to go back to finishing strong, so I think I'm going to need to cool it for my first mile or so. It's so hard to slow down when I see I'm keeping an awesome pace, but at this point it's too hard for me to maintain.

In other news, my mom is getting married in a week! I am so excited for her, and it's going to be so much fun! My mom is one of seven kids, and every year all my aunts and uncles and cousins rent a cottage in Rhode Island where they grew up. It's the most fun two weeks of the year - we are at the beach pretty much from 9-5, then we all grill, play wiffleball and cards, and drink all night. And the fun starts tomorrow! Well, I have to work on Sunday morning, so I'm heading up that afternoon and staying through Tuesday, and then after the wedding next Sunday I'm spending the week there. I also have a work party to go to - it's the 25th anniversary of the company I work for. Needless to say, it's going to be a CRAZY couple of weeks! I can't wait!

Now I've got to figure out what to do with all this free time! I got paid today, so I may head over to the outlet mall a town over to drool over fitness clothes. What can I say, I'm addicted!

Hope everyone has a good day!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Run Forest Run!

So after a couple of days of fitness frustration (see below for details), I FINALLY got my run on yesterday! And it was great. Once the rain let up I laced up my shoes, slapped on my Garmin and was off!

Here are the splits!
Mile 1 - 10:27
Mile 2 - 8:44 (whoa! Apparently I'm a speed demon all of a sudden)
Mile 3 - 9:06
Mile 4 - 11:09 (murder hill and heat caught up with me a bit :( - not the strong finish I was hoping for but I didn't let myself walk!)

I was pretty shocked at my time during this run because I consistently run ten minute miles. To have two miles around nine minutes was kinda nuts, but I'm thinking a couple of days off gave me fresh legs or something? Who knows. The beginning of the run was great, about 72 degrees and a little breezy after the rain. However, the heat and humidity shot up FAST, and by mile three it was back in the high 80s. Ugh. I definitely got my sweat on, and was so so happy to get in a solid run!

This morning I rocked out with Jillian Michaels to No More Trouble Zones. I've probably said it a million times, but I just love this workout! Especially the ab circuits - bring on the planks! After a quick shower I headed to my nearest Whole Foods, which is about 35 minutes away - something I have mixed emotions about. I love Whole Foods, and they carry a lot of my favorite foods that I can't find anywhere around here, but I spend wayyyy too much money there. My uncle calls it Whole Paycheck, and he has a pretty good point. Oh well, at least I stocked up on my essentials!

I am still debating which camera to buy so I dont have any pictures, but I bought some goodies, including a jar of Dark Chocolate Dreams for my best friend Christy. She is working at a summer camp in Switzerland and then bumming around in Europe for the fall, so I'm sending her a killer care package for her birthday! Gotta fulfill those best friend duties! Anyway, I'm off to write her annual birthday poem - we are huge nerds, and write each other acrostic poems for our birthdays - we've done it since freshman year of college and it's so fun!

Fitness FAIL

It's a rainy morning here in CT, so I'm curled up in bed with the laptop (AWESOME) waiting for the downpour to stop so I can get in a run.

The past couple of days have been a bit of a fitness fail. On Friday, I had an unexpected day off, and meant to go for a nice four mile run. However, as I was putting on my running gear, I plopped on my bed to check my email and PASSED OUT. I woke up two hours later, and decided my body was telling me it needed some rest, so I scrapped the run and hung out with the brother instead. Overall, I think this was a good decision. Sometimes you just have to listen to your body!

Saturday was another story. I had work at 6, and planned on my four mile run for about 2:30, after work. Too bad I had the most intense allergy flare up of my life the whole day! All throughout work I had a horrible headache, intense congestion and sinus pressure, and couldn't stop sneezing. Somehow I made it through my shift but when I got home I popped some allergy meds and passed out. I was really bummed to have missed my run AGAIN, and got pretty down about it. I hate missing scheduled workouts. It makes me feel lazy, unproductive, and just plain mad. I think I need to work on this though, because sometimes things just don't work out, and it's not the end of the world that I didn't work out for two days in a row.

Yesterday was better. I had work in the morning, then the brother and I went to visit my grandma at her retirement home. She took us out for brunch! It was super yummy - I had two eggs over medium with whole wheat toast and a side of fruit. Once we got home I had just enough time to squeeze in No More Trouble Zones, which is quickly becoming my go to workout. I love love love it, it's the best strength training DVD I've ever come across and it still kicks my butt.

After a fast shower I went to meet up with one of my best friends from high school for dinner and drinks and catch up. She is moving to NYC next week to start an amazing job and I'm so proud of her. Chrissy was the girl in high school who always worked her butt off and it has really paid off! I can't wait to go visit her in the city (it's only about an hour and a half train ride - gotta give it up for easy access!) It was really great to have some one on one time with her - I have lost touch with a lot of my high school friends, due to the fact that I went to school in Canada and because I noticed a lot of changes in myself and my friends that put everyone on a lot of different paths. Chrissy has been extremely constant though, and I think that the changes we went though in college were similar - we grew up. We've been friends since we were nine, and I love her to bits. After dinner we went and met up with a bunch of kids at the beach - it was like a high school reunion! So much fun to see everyone.

I'm off to put on my sneakers because the sun is out! Later everyone!

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Happy Thursday!

I have been running around like a lunatic all day! So happy to be snuggled up in bed with my laptop to decompress and finally relax. I worked an awesome shift this morning with my favorite coffee girls, then had to speed home to get some sweating in before my GRE tutoring session. Today I tried Rodney Yee's Power Yoga, and LOVED IT! Nice and challenging, a good length, and lots of awesome stretching and calm at the end. I am starting to absolutely love yoga - it's nice to have a great workout that is also relaxing at the same time. I love running, but I think it will always be a bit of a struggle for me.

I had just enough time to shower before meeting with my GRE tutor, and was surprised to have an AWESOME study session! I have not taken a math class since senior year of high school (my college didn't have general requirements like math or science), and boy am I rusty on the math section - especially the quantitative comparisons (choosing which is larger between two responses - SO HARD). I was feeling down on myself this past week with regards to GRE, but in an hour I felt much stronger and I think I'm really picking it back up. My SAT scores were probably the strongest part of my college applications, and I really want a bomb GRE score to give myself the best possible shot at a great grad program!

Immediately after my tutoring session, I whizzed to dinner for a little bachelorette action for my mom! My future aunt and cousins met us at a great restaurant a couple of towns over and we had the best time! I got steak fajitas (DELICIOUS), and a couple of cocktails. I was shocked by how affected I was by the alcohol - since being home from school I have hardly drank at all, and it definitely showed. I am pretty proud of myself for how little booze I've been drinking lately, but it did feel pretty good to let loose a bit! I'm heading up to Rhode Island in a couple of weeks with my extended family to our cottage, and I will definitely be upping my alcohol intake - at least I'm more of a lightweight now so that a little bit goes a long way!

I've been thinking lately about some short and long term fitness goals for myself, and have an informal list in my head:
(1) Run more races - The Branford Road Race in June (5 miles) was my first race ever, and it was a pretty huge deal for me. Since then, my dedication to running has waned a bit, and I want to get back in to it. Races are a great motivating tool, so I hope to put a couple on the schedule.
(2) Make time to make meals - I have a crazy work schedule that varies day to day, and I haven't been making enough time to make myself the kind of healthy meals I crave and deserve. I am really going to try to get up earlier and plan meals - I feel so much better when I'm organized about eating and making my own meals feels and tastes so much better!
(3) Work on snacking - Snacking is my food weakness, and I could eliminate so many unnecessary calories by being conscious of what I am eating and stopping the absentminded munching. I really need to work on this!
(4) More strength training! - I am a total cardio junkie - nothing in the world feels better to me than a runners high and my lungs pushed to the limit. But strength training needs to be a more present part of my workout routine. I can do it on days I do cardio too - No More Trouble Zones is my go to strength workout, but I just got the Women's health book of exercises and plan on pouring over it for some more tips.

That's it for now. I'm going to be checking in on progress for these goals and adding to the list as I come up with more.

Anyway, I'm off to bed - completely pooped from yoga and business and fun. I have tomorrow OFF (surprisingly) and plan on getting a notebook for GRE vocab and heading to the beach for as long as possible! So excited!


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Back in Business

So I've been gone for a bit - my apologies! Work, GRE prep, wedding prep (my mom is getting married AUGUST FIRST!), along with general summer craziness and workouts have left precious little time for blogging and relaxing. I have been feeling stretched a bit thin recently and unfortunately the blog has taken a backseat. But NO MORE! I am going to work a lot harder to make time to write down my thoughts and fitness pursuits - it's definitely therapeutic after a hectic shift or long day to write about my efforts to make my life healthier and more fulfilling!

I am happy to say my fitness has been faring better than my blogging - today I felt really strong while doing No More Trouble Zones. It's definitely becoming one of my favorite workouts - it's comprehensive, hard, varied, and makes me sweat like a pig and feel awesome after! I am really starting to feel stronger too - especially in my abs and arms! I'm wearing a strapless dress to my mom's wedding so triceps and biceps are definitely areas of interest in the next couple of weeks!

Tomorrow I have a new yoga DVD to try - Rodney Yee's Power Yoga. I am trying to expand my workouts and vary them as much as possible - I'm excited to try it! I'm going to attempt it after work and before a little pre-wedding get together with mom and my female cousins - another full day!

Goodnight everyone!

Monday, July 5, 2010

I'm Melting!

Well, the humidity is back!

Fourth of July weekend was a bit of a bust - I worked 25 hours between Friday and Sunday and basically watched everyone else have a good time and gave them their coffee. At least I made some good money! We are a bit short staffed at the coffee shop and the bosses made us extend hours over the holiday so EVERYONE was working. My next day off isn't until next Monday - I will have worked for nine days in a row! I can't think about it too much, but at least the paycheck makes it worth it!

I have my first session with my GRE tutor on Thursday - I'm nervous! Applying to grad school is starting to freak me out - I hate putting myself in a position to be judged! I know I'm qualified and that I have found the right program for me, but it's hard to put myself out there and have someone else decide what I deserve. Hopefully it all works out! It's going to be weird to get back into study mode again - luckily standardized tests have always been a strong suit for me, so hopefully the GRE will really help my applications.

On the totally cool side, one of my bosses from my internship last summer has basically given me free reign to write my OWN recommendation - he says he will sign whatever I write. AWESOME!

On the fitness side, today was interesting. I was originally going to run at 6 AM before work, but last night our neighbors decided to put on a two hour fireworks show that then drove all the dogs nearby crazy, so needless to say I didn't get much sleep and opted to stay in bed a bit longer in the morning. By the time I got out of work at 2:30 the sun was high in the sky, but I wasn't going to sacrifice a workout just because of a little heat. I ended up mixing things up a little bit - instead of doing a regular three mile run I decided to run one mile at my max pace and then go easy for the second and third miles. Mile 1 was a speedy 8:07! My usual pace is around 10 minutes, so I was pretty pumped to see a time like that! The next two miles definitely weren't as fast - went to about 11:30 minute miles - but it was fun to see how fast I could go! I was proud of myself for not losing it after mile 1, definitely a tough workout!

Now I'm being very careful to move as little as possible in an effort to stay cool. I've got a Band of Brothers marathon to keep me company!

Thursday, July 1, 2010


The humidity is finally gone! Yesterday morning I woke up early to put another blanket on the bed - it was a pretty great feeling. Starting yesterday the weather has dried out for a couple of days at least, and I am taking complete advantage of it! Yesterday I went for a nice long 4 mile walk with my mother, and then went out on the bike for about an hour. This morning I woke up bright and early and ran an easy four miles - it's been a couple of days since I went running so I want to ease myself back into it. I have to say - it's really nice to go for a run and not be completely wet afterwards!

I'm off to work in about an hour, and then tomorrow is my day off! I'm crossing my fingers that the weather is nice, because I'm really itching for a nice beach day. I'm planning on doing a fast three miles, maybe a little strength training, and then slipping on my suit and basking in the sun!

I was thinking the other day about what kind of exercise I want to get done in a week, and I think I've come up with a nice little outline for myself. In any given week, I want to do:
2 or 3 runs
1 or 2 days cross training (biking, most likely) - 1 of these should be pretty light
2 days strength training

I'm going to see how I like having a bit of a workout schedule - it may help me stay on track or I might ditch it entirely and just do what I feel like on any given day. I do think it's important to do regular strength training though, and I know I sometimes forget or opt for cardio instead.

Off to shower before work!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Foolproof Workout Motivation

Happy Tuesday!

I am so ready for this disgusting humidity to be gone already! It feels like I live in a tropical rainforest instead of shoreline New England! My inability to tolerate wetness in the air means I haven't gone for a run in three days, and it's really cramping my workout style (no pun intended). The weather reports say that it's supposed to cool down and dry out in the next couple of days, so hopefully I can get a couple of runs in before the week is out.

In the meantime, I have been utilizing the other forms of exercise I have at my disposal. No More Trouble Zones, the Jillian Michaels workout I lost my virginity to yesterday, IS NO JOKE PEOPLE. My body is screaming form places I haven't heard from in a long time, in addition to the regular suspect. It's so great to discover a workout that targets new areas! Can't wait to do it all the time!

The humidity has really been affecting my sleep lately - I don't think I've had a full night of sleep in about a week. I was so tired at work today that I was seriously contemplating just taking a big fat nap when I got home. An hour later, and I'm on my bike tackling hills and heat with a big smile on my face. You might be asking yourself how this happened.

I think I have discovered the most effective motivational tool for working out that I have ever tried. When I get home, I immediately want to change out of my work clothes - I'm usually covered in coffee stains and smell like milk and espresso. For the past couple of weeks, however, instead of changing into pj's, getting into a shower, or putting on shorts and a tee shirt, I've been jumping right into workout gear. That way, if I don't workout I have to take off UNUSED athletic wear, and I feel like a total dweeb. Even if I watch a little TV, or facebook stalk, or update the blog, once I'm done I go for a run, or a bike ride, or pop in a DVD. GENIUS! I'm surprised I haven't thought of this earlier, and since I've been doing it I have not skipped ONE workout. Success!

I ended up riding about 7 miles in a little under 40 minutes. Not my most intense workout, but definitely better than nothing, and I'm pretty proud of myself for pushing through my exhaustion to do something good for my body. It's true - I will never regret a workout, I'll only regret missing one.

Now I'm off to shower and figure out what the heck to eat for dinner - the heat really limits my options! Maybe a nice cool salad...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Shopping Warrior

Hello there!

Well, the humidity continues. I can handle heat, but not THIS kind - sticky, thick, sweaty air makes me crazy. I couldn't justify not getting some kind of exercise, however, so in lieu of a run I cranked the fan all the way up and got my but thoroughly kicked by Jillian Michaels' No More Trouble Zones DVD. At the end of 40 minutes I was pretty much soaked, what an awesome workout! I'll definitely be incorporating it into my routine more.

After a cold, refreshing shower, I had some almond butter on Ezekiel bread and half of the most delicious Larabar I have ever had - peanut butter and jelly. It was heavenly. Then I went on a hunt for air conditioning - my first stop was work to get an iced coffee with my brother. Even on my days off, I still end up there - unhealthy? Perhaps. We enjoyed our coffee inside and watched everyone outside look hot and miserable, and then when I felt we had spent enough time around coffee I went to the outlet mall a town over for some window shopping. I was originally just supposed to be browsing, since I just ordered the Garmin Forerunner and blew a sizeable chunk of my paycheck, but things didn't really go according to plan when I saw the amazing sale at J. Crew!

In high school, I was pretty much a walking J. Crew ad. However, my transition into a poor college student made keeping up my preppy lifestyle impossible, and Target, T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, etc. have come to make up the majority of my wardrobe. I think I may have to reintroduce J. Crew into my life, the outlet stores, that is. I walked out of the store today with five of the cutest tee shirts I have ever seen, and I spent less than fifty bucks. SCORE!

This shirt was originally 60 bucks, and I got it for 7! How could I resist!

This shirt was 4 dollars. It almost felt like stealing!

After my retail WIN, I went to Stop and Shop to pick up some VitaTops, and ended up buying not one, but THREE fitness mags. I may have a bit of a problem.

For dinner I prepared open faced Amy's burgers for the fam! Well, my brother had chicken nuggets with hot sauce, but everyone else loved them. Washed it down with my favorite beer, Magic Hat Wacko. Magic Hat is this awesome brewery in Burlington, Vermont. I lived there last summer for an internship I had, and developed a pretty serious obsession with their beer. If anyone is ever in the Burlington area, I would definitely recommend heading to the factory for a tour. It's super funky and at the end of the tour there are free samples - as much as you can drink! So fun. Wacko was their summer beer last year, and it's back! It's a reddish pink color because there's beet juice in it - how awesome is that!

Well I'm off to watch True Blood and hit the sack - work at 6 in the morning tomorrow! Ugh!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Take That, Humidity!

I think I'm starting to crawl out of my rut! And thank goodness, because being all mopey and bummed doesn't suit me well - I think it clashes with the normal happy go lucky thing I have going on. See, look how pumped I was to go on a nice bike ride today!

The original plan was to run after work, but a crazy exhausting morning shift coupled with the INSANE HUMIDITY we've been having kinda ruled that out. Bike rides are starting to come in handy as awesome cardio when the weather isn't cooperating!

I took my iPhone along for the ride to show how beautiful my route was, but please excuse the quality of the photos because I was sweaty and iPhones aren't known for their crystal clear images.

Pretty wildflowers! Alongside a beautiful sign for propane gas :(

Funky, creepy, pretty graveyard I passed. I remember in high school kids used to drink in graveyards - yikes! I can't imagine going in there during the day, much less at night!

My favorite cows! There is a farm about a mile and a half down the road from my house with the most awesome cows. One even has those super long curved horns - I tried to call him closer so I could get a better picture, but he wasn't listening.

I know I may be biased, but I'm pretty sure I have the most awesome driveway ever! It's super long (.2 miles according to my car), hilly, and beautiful. There are deer, foxes, chipmunks, squirrels - so amazing! Sometimes when I'm bored at home I'll take a quick walk up the driveway - I love where I live!

Had a great bike ride today - rode about 11 miles in a little under an hour. I'm glad I decided to exercise outside even with the humidity, it made me feel hardcore and strong. I used to see exercise as purely a means to an end, and I think I really cheated myself out of enjoying physical activity. Now when I miss a workout, I'm bummed because exercising is fun instead of punishing myself and feeling guilty. I feel like I've really turned a corner these past few months, and I think things are only going to get better! Although that might just be the endorphins talking.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Routine Rut

Hope everyone is having a good weekend!

I have to admit I've been in a bit of a rut lately. I don't have a set schedule at work, which means I have random days off and I open some mornings and close some nights. It might seem a bit counterintuitive, but the lack of routine in my life has made every day blend into the next and it's starting to drive me crazy. I never know what day it is, or have any concept of time or when I'm off next - it's throwing me off and bumming me out. On any given day I either work in the morning and workout in the afternoon (in the blaring sun), or squeeze a workout in the morning and work in the afternoon (until 7:30, which sucks). I feel like I have no time to breathe and decompress, and it's starting to really get to me.

I crave a regular schedule like crazy, and it doesn't seem like it's going to happen for a while at least. Oh well, I guess I just have to power through and try to keep a positive attitude. Sometimes it's hard to put a smile on when I'm running on empty and have no time for myself. Hopefully tomorrow will be better!

My run bummed me out today as well. I was planning on a nice four mile run, but it was hot, my legs hurt, and I just felt exhausted, so it turned out to be a slow, painful three miles. I know it's better than nothing, but it's always disappointing when a workout doesn't go as planned.

On the bright side, I had a heavenly green monster after my run!

1 banana
1/4 scoop protein powder
2.5 cups spinach
1 tbsp Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 cup light soy milk

It was bright green, refreshing, and stuck to my sides for hours. Everything a green monster should be and more!

I think I'm going to just chock this day up to a loss, and start fresh tomorrow. I'm only working til one, and I have a nice bike ride on the schedule, along with the start to my attempt at the Whittle My Middle challenge! Also, I'm working on making this blog a little more photo heavy. I'm just waiting until my picture skills become a little more acceptable. Goodnight!

Friday, June 25, 2010

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Today was absolutely GORGEOUS! We have been having some weird, humid, thunderstorm-y weather lately in CT, and today was finally sunny, dry, and beautiful! An added perk was that I had today off! What awesome timing.

My brother got his wisdom teeth out yesterday, so we planned on having some quality brother/sister time since his mouth was feeling ok. So what did we do, you ask? Maybe you're thinking we went to the beach, had a nice walk, ate lunch somewhere outside - anything to take advantage of the weather. But no - he had his heart set on seeing Toy Story 3. It felt a little ridiculous to be going to a movie on such an awesome day, but I have to say it was worth it! The movie was so great! I was in tears by the end - everyone needs to see it, regardless of age. I may have to see it again soon - so perfect.

Me and the brother. Isn't he a cutie? This is from his senior prom a couple of years ago. He's growing up so fast!

Luckily, I was able to get some quality outdoor time in before the movie, so I didn't feel to bad about being inside. After my amazing brother brought me an iced coffee this morning (he knows how to get to my heart), I was energized for my Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred DVD. I'm always amazed at how good those workouts are for being only 20 minutes. Once I was done and saw how nice it was outside, I decided to go for a run too! I ended up doing an easy three miles and felt fantastic afterwards.

I have realized in the past couple of years just how much the weather affects my mood. Going to school in Ontario was a struggle at times - cold, dark, windy, rainy winters did not always make for a happy go lucky girl. I guess it just makes the summer that much more worth the wait!

Anyway, I'm off to do some reading - one of my favorite things about summer is my newfound ability to read for pleasure! I'm currently reading T.C. Boyle's Water Music - it's great so far!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I'm in love!

With biking, that is. My shins and calves have been yelling at me for the past week or so from all the race training I've been doing, so I decided to give them a break from high impact road running by taking my mountain bike out for a spin. And oh boy, was it wonderful.

While I have always enjoyed a nice leisurely bike ride, and have frequently used the bike machines at the gym when the treadmill wasn't cutting it, before today I had never gone for a bike ride purely for exercise. I ended up riding about ten miles in 55-ish minutes, and loved every minute of it. There's something about going fast with the wind in your face that brings out my inner 8 year old. I had a huge grin on my face the whole time, and when I got back home I felt utterly exhilarated.

The other great thing about biking is you have too much fun to realizing that you're working your butt off. When I approach hills on my runs, inside I'm thinking 'why do I do this to myself?' Today I attacked hills. It was great. When I got inside to get myself a glass of water, I realized that I was dripping in sweat. Nothing better than working up a huge sweat and loving every minute of it. Needless to say, I will be incorporating bike rides into my exercise routine in a big way.

The only downside - my butt is KILLING ME. Hopefully my bum recovers soon!

Foodwise, my day was equally fantastic! After my ride, I downed a glorious green monster. My brother was disgusted, but I just pity him for being unaware of their amazingness. Work flew by with some help from Chobani greek yogurt (I like to cut the flavors in half with plain, otherwise it's too sweet for me), hummus and pita, and a banana. To be honest, all I was thinking about at work was dinner, because today was the day I finally tried a veggie burger.

I've been doing my research on these babies, because I didn't want to turn myself off to the idea of veggie burgers by picking a yucky one. I finally settled on Amy's Texas veggie burgers, and they are DELICIOUS. I toasted a slice of Ezekiel bread, smeared on a teeny bit of hummus, then added tomato, lettuce, avocado, and my yummy burger.

I don't know that I will ever go fully vegetarian, but I am going to try to see how much I can alter my meat intake by substituting foods like Amy's burgers. I really admire people who are able to cut meat out of their lives for good, for health, environmental, or cruelty free reasons. I'll see how it goes!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tired Tuesday

I love days when I wake up energized, rested, and ready to take on anything. Unfortunately, today was not one of those days.

I work at a specialty coffee shop (the owners travel to countries like Costa Rica and handpick coffees that we roast in-house) in my town, which makes for early mornings. To be at work by six, on a typical day I am up by five, ready for a big breakfast and quick chat with whoever is around (I come from a long line of early risers). Today, however, I would have paid serious money to burrow under my covers and hide from the day. I love my job, but people aren't always nice to the person standing in between them and their coffee, and putting on a smile when all you want to do is pass out isn't easy.

All I can say is, thank goodness for my mother and a gift from heaven (or Angela from Oh She Glows) called a GREEN MONSTER! One of my current food obsessions has to be these spinach packed energy boosters, and I have passed on my love to my wonderful mother, who woke me with my favorite drink! It included:
2 big handfuls of spinach
1 frozen banana
2 strawberries
3/4 - 1 cup soy milk
1/2 scoop protein powder
1 tsp chia seeds

After this baby, I was awake and ready for anything! A large iced coffee with soy milk may have also played a role though.

After work my energy was lagging again, but instead of getting sucked into my bed I immediately changed into my workout clothes and went for a quick three mile run. It was my first run since my race on Sunday (more on that later) and it was ROUGH. My legs felt like bricks, and my shins are still pretty sore from the road race.

I have been having some issues with my shins for quite some time now, and I'm contemplating joining a gym near my house to be able to run on a treadmill and elliptical instead of punishing my legs on concrete day in and day out. I'm torn, because I live to run outside, but I don't want to push my body to the point of injury. For now, I think I may take a mini break from running and focus on cross training and biking for a while. We'll see what happens, I don't know that I can stay away from running for too long. Nothing feels as good to me as a nice long run!

Now I'm off to take a nice hot shower and get ready to meet some friends for dinner. Ta ta for now!

My Fitness Journey...So Far (Part 1)

So since I'm planning on writing a lot about my efforts to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle, I thought it might make sense to talk a bit about what I've been doing up to this point. Be warned, it's a bit long.

Growing up, I was always a healthy and active girl. I played soccer from the time I was 5 until my junior year of high school, and was also an elite competitive horseback rider. Fitness was a big part of my life, although it was more a byproduct of competitive sports than an active choice to stay healthy.

My last horse, Gabby. (I can't find any pictures of myself riding at the moment, but I'm sure I'll dig some up at some point. Isn't she beautiful though?)

Midway through high school, I fell out of love with both sports. I quit soccer my junior year, and the stress and time commitment of horseback riding led to the end of that as well. I wanted to spend time with my friends and be a normal teenager instead of spending all of my free time at the barn, horseshows, soccer practice, or tournaments. Unfortunately, although I changed my exercise habits, my eating remained completely the same, and I began gaining weight. I lost a bit towards the end of my senior year of high school, but wasn't happy with my body.

Senior Prom. I'm second from the left. Is it really any surprise I had body issues when you take a look at my gorgeous friends? Dayum!

And then, a bomb dropped. Three weeks before I left for college in a foreign country, my parents separated. It was a shock to just about everyone, and started off the most difficult year of my life. The stress of the separation and subsequent divorce, coupled with drama in my extended family and the stresses of the college transition I already faced made for a really hard time.

Unfortunately, I am not one of those people who channels stress into working out or keeping busy. No, I slept, ate, sat, and steadily gained weight for my entire first year, and ended up about 30 pounds heavier come May. I was uncomfortable, unhappy, and unsure of how to move forward. The depression and confusion I felt about the end of my parent's marriage dragged on for another year, and brief periods of commitment to diet and exercise never lasted long enough to make a difference.

I tried really hard to hide myself in photos, but you can see the extra weight I'm carrying around my face. So uncomfortable.

My weight reflected my life in general. I felt out of control, useless, and miserable, and punished myself by eating horribly and indulging in self pity.

Luckily, I had some great friends and family to help me get through this time. I really don't know what I would have done if it wasn't for my support system - even at my lowest, I knew that there were wonderful people all around who loved and believed in me. All that I really needed to do was believe in myself.

More on that later.

Monday, June 21, 2010


Hello there! My name is Drake, and I'm a 22 year old New England girl living in shoreline Connecticut. This past January, I finally followed through on my goal of getting fit and healthy, and I've decided to take the next step and document my journey. Blogs have been a big part of my education and motivation to change my life, and I hope to gain further inspiration and advice by starting my own!

Here's a little more about me. I JUST received my Bachelor's Degree (Honors) from Queen's University in amazing Kingston, Ontario. Why Canada, you ask? Well, my dad was born and raised in Toronto, making me a dual citizen of the US and Canada. Although I lived my entire life in the Northeast US, when the time came for me to choose a college, the allure of going to school in a foreign country instead of Connecticut or Boston like the rest of my high school was too good to pass up. Four years later, and I don't think I could have picked a more perfect place to learn and grow. I already miss school and all my friends terribly, and hope that blogging, exercising, working, and discovering new and exciting foods and fitness tips will distract me from my post college depression.

As for the future, my life is up in the air. I studied political science at school, and am a complete and utter political junkie. Like, to a crazy degree. My career goal is to work in the public sector, for PACs, NGOs, nonprofits, government, etc. Originally, I was hoping to jump into work right out of school, but the recession has hit nonprofits and public organizations where it hurts. Therefore, I have become the stereotypical college student moving back home indefinitely, which I am not terribly proud of. However, I am studying for the GRE, and hope to be at grad school ASAP - I want to get my master's in public administration and then go save the world! Well, I'm not that idealistic, but you get the jist.

So that's the abridged version of me. I'll be (hopefully) writing regularly about life as a college grad stuck at home, trying to achieve a fit and healthy lifestyle during a pretty major transition period in my life. I hope to connect with others who share similar goals in the blogging world, and to share and support each other! Here goes nothin!