Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The great storm of the day.

Have you guys ever had one of those days at work where every it seems like every single thing you are working on just falls apart?  Ugh, it was not a good day and I left work feeling pretty crummy.  And once I got home the news started going crazy saying that there was an extreme weather warning in effect.  Severe thunderstorms and tornado warnings coming right at me!

This is pretty much my worst nightmare kind of day.

Well, I don't want to speak too soon but I think I made it through the storms alive.  The news was saying people should be taking shelter in their basement and stay away from windows.  The storm didn't end up being that bad at all.  Really nothing worse than your usual summer thunderstorm, but being a scaredy cat like I am, I may have hidden down in my basement for just a little bit. [Mind you... my basement is unfinished, smelly and dirty, full of spiderwebs, and scary as it is.  So going down there means I was really scared upstairs!]

My upstairs neighbor probably thinks I am a big dork because it was barely even windy out and still sunny and I texted him saying "Tornado warning!!" and letting him know he and his daughter could come take shelter in the basement if they wanted.  He wrote back and was like, "Huh? What?  I'm at the laundromat.  Are you okay?"  He didn't even know what was going on or that there was supposed to be a bad storm.  Woops.  Clearly I'm a potential hero alarmist. 

Years ago there was a bad storm when I was driving back from my annual family summer vacation in New Hampshire.  Before I get to the storm, I have to tell a little bit about the vacation and about my family.  It, and we, revolve around candy and junk food and eating.  We eat at the same restaurants.  Our days are planned around when we're going to go to the candy store.  And one year the unspeakable happened and the local fudge shop didn't have my mom's favorite flavor -- so now we call ahead the week before to make sure that our favorite sugar filled sweets will be available when we're in town.

The day before we go home from vacation, we make a trip to all our favorite places and we stock up.  The candy and crap needs to last us a while and there are some favorites that we can only get in that area!

So back to the storm... I'm driving back home through an intense thunder storm.  With a massive pile of candy in the passenger seat next to me.  I was so scared and so uneasy about the storm that I started to eat.  And then when the storm got worse, I started to get more and more scared.  I was already eating the candy next to me and I just kept on going, with the thought, "If I'm going to die in this storm, this candy cannot go to waste!"

Well, needless to say, I made it home.  I remember opening the door to my car and candy wrappers falling out.  I remember myself tumbling out after, in a whacked out, over-adrenalined, sugar high.  I ate a year's worth of candy during that drive and that storm.

I'm happy to report today was day 2 of sticking to Weight Watchers points, despite the storm and the crappy day had here in Albany :)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I haven't been completely honest with you guys.

So, I haven't been completely honest with you guys.  I guess I haven't told any lies.  I just often... withhold some things.  I wrote about this almost exactly a year ago when I posed the question, "Is this real life?" wondering if my blog is indeed capturing the real Katelyn.  Although I post a lot, I don't post everything.  Maybe it's an annual review I do but last night it hit me loud and clear again.  I am holding back from everyone on here.

Last night I was having a text message conversation with my friend Kate about what else, but snacks.  She is coming to visit this weekend (yay!!!) and when I inquired what she wanted for snacks she said she wanted some of the hummus she'd seen on here.  "However," she warned me, "When I eat hummus it's usually the inverse veggie/hummus proportions of what you showed.  Like, one bucket of hummus for 10 carrot sticks."

She is talking in reference to the following picture I posted on Friday.

I replied, "Yes, I would prefer to eat a butt load of hummus but I try not to.  AND... My blog isn't always "real life"... aka... you don't see the spoonfuls of straight hummus I ate while I was making it or scooping it onto my plate, ya know?  If I ate as I portray myself on the blog, I'd be so skinny."

And as soon as I wrote the words it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I am purposely withholding my poor food choices from the blog.  I wrote about all the veggies, hummus, and Indian food I ate this weekend but did I mention that after drinking beers all night on Sunday, the second part of our tradition is to go for late night pizza?  And not only did I eat two pieces but one of them was a "chicken bacon ranch" piece of pizza.  Or those cookies I baked?  Yeah, I ate at least 2 cookies worth of just straight raw cookie dough and then two more once they were out of the oven.

Nope, I don't tell you guys any of that.

I think that almost every weight loss blog I read has at some point had an article about eating alone or in secret.  It's something that I think a lot of people who battle weight issues have struggled with before.  It's when you hide shameful eating from the people that you love.  Shoveling candy and then hiding the wrappers at the bottom of the trash.  Ordering a meal for 3 at the drive thru window, eating alone in your car, and throwing out the evidence.  Binge eating alone is a serious driver for many people.  Although my late night pizza with friends wasn't exactly binge eating and it was definitely not alone... I hide some stuff from you guys so that you won't think less of me I guess.  It's my own little form of "eating in secret."

To get over that and move forward, I decided to post a picture of something that is truly embarrassing and deeply shameful to me.  You guys might think it's funny, which I guess in a way it is.  But take a look at the back seat of my car:

Yeah, those are spare running sneakers covered in crumpled Dunkin Donuts wrappers, a McDonalds bag, and an empty cup of TCBY.  Do you guys recall reading about any meals from Dunkin Donuts besides the day I got a bagel after my long run?  Do you recall me writing about TCBY except for the day I got froyo with no toppings and said I had to throw it away?  Do you EVER recall me writing about McDonalds?  Nope, you don't, because I never wrote about any of this junk.  Yet, I literally took this photo this morning as I got into my car for work because it's sitting there as evidence of me being lazy in my eating, lazy in writing about it, and lazy in not throwing away the trash... (woops.)

If I ate exactly what I wrote about eating... my weight would be under control right now.

I couldn't sleep last night as I was thinking of all of this.  Should I really write down every single thing that I eat on the blog?  Would that make this a better, more "real" blog?  Would it help me?  Would anybody come and read this thing every day if it was just a list of food?

And then I realized... no, Katelyn, you don't need to write everything down on that blog.  BUT, you do need to write everything down.  That's why Weight Watchers worked for you and works for others.  When you track what you eat, you can't lie.  You can't paint the best picture of yourself that you wish were true, it forces you to paint an honest picture of yourself.

So I was up last night having this internal battle with myself.  Do I go back to Weight Watchers? I just wrote all about "doing it on my own" and all about how I want to be "normal" and not analyze every single thing I eat.  And it's true.  I do want to be normal.  It's exhausting to have to write down every single bite I take and calculate the points.  I also felt like I was letting you guys down for some reason, or letting myself down if I went back to Weight Watchers after writing about doing it by my own will power. However, it's not helpful to myself or to you to come on here and paint a picture of myself eating baby size portions of hummus and you guys thinking that you're the weirdo for eating buckets of it.

Which is why, as of this morning, I logged back on to my Weight Watchers app.  I really don't want to let myself be okay with these 15 lbs.  And you know what, "normal" isn't losing weight, it is maintaining weight.  So maybe when I get to where I want to be, I can try to be normal.  But until then, I guess I have to realize that I'm not "normal" when it comes to food.  Well, I'm not really normal when it comes to most things, haha.  Which, is evidence by the fact that I hung a pair of shorts on my refrigerator to remind me of what I'm working towards.

Last summer was the first summer in my entire life I felt comfortable wearing shorts.  It's not that they are particularly cute or that I looked particularly good in them... it's just that for the first time ever I felt COMFORTABLE wearing shorts.  Which was huge for me.  I want to feel confident again in these shorts.

We'll see how this goes.  I won't be going to Weight Watchers meetings and I will be monitoring my own weight, just using the online app and tracker.  Which, as it turns out, I never formally cancelled so they've still been charging me the monthly fee and all my data is still there.  Go figure.

I'm going to try and be more truthful with what I write about on here and admitting the bad along with the good.  And I am honest and truly scared to hit "Publish" with that picture of my fast food trash from my car on here.  SO I am just going to tell you this one thing and then publish the post and go to bed for the night (or call my mom, read a bit, dick around on my phone for a bit, and then go to bed, rather.)

I just want to say... that in the Dunkin Donuts and McDonalds wrappers held egg white sandwiches and the TCBY wasn't *that* big and didn't have TOO much candy on it!!! I swear!  Don't hate me :(

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend Recap

Happy Memorial Day everyone!  I hope that you all enjoyed your weekend and for those of you not in Upstate New York, I hope that the majority of it was filled with better weather than we had.

I had a really nice weekend filled with lots of relaxation, getting caught up on things around my apartment, and seeing friends.  On Saturday I got a workout in at the gym in the AM...  a little running and rowing. Then I came home to bake some cookies to bring over to a friend's house.  I am not much of a baker, so I just did a packaged chocolate chip cookie mix with some M&Ms thrown on top, because, why not?

Pay no attention to the missing cookie in the top right...
The [majority of the] cookies were brought over to my friend's house for a small cookout/party to celebrate the long weekend... and his upcoming move to the U.K.!  It was fun to get together with all of my friends for one last hurrah at his house.  Of course, there were some shenanigans involved.

But mostly just lots of laughter and of course, delicious food.  I swear, there are some really amazing cooks in this crowd of friends!  My friend Andrew has hosted a number of parties at his house over the past few years... most notable are his annual Thanksgiving with deep fried turkey and his New Year's Eve parties.  Everyone always brings a different dish and it's so fun to try everyone's cooking.  Yesterday included a couple delicious salsas, cheesy bread, pizza, perogies, stuffed peppers, burgers, homemade baklava, key lime pie, and of course, my cookies.  Everything was so good!

I feel like I must have written about Andrew's get togethers in the past and the delicious food spreads that always are included, but I can't seem to find any blog entries off the top of my head, besides this old Thanksgiving post.  This surprises me because the food that my friends bring to these things is always killer.  It's an end of an era with Andrew moving away so I hope that in the future someone picks up the tradition of the annual Thanksgiving dinner and New Year's Eve parties!

On Sunday I got up early and went out on a 5 mile run.  I was really proud of myself for doing those 5 miles because that's the longest I've run since the half marathon!  The motivation came from a tweet that I received from my friend Kelly on Saturday evening.  Kelly is in the hospital battling cancer and she sent me a message on Saturday saying she was thinking of me and asking me to pray and run for her every day. I thought to myself, if Kelly is strong enough and brave enough to take this on... I can get out there and run for her.  I did 5 miles for her, thinking of her throughout the whole thing.  When I wanted to give up, I thought of what I would say to Kelly if she were to say she wanted to give up, and I kept going.

You know, since I wrote the post about trying to get in shape "on my own" my motivation has and my most successful days of being healthy, have come with motivation from my friends.  My colleague, N, pushed me through the Corporate Challenge 3.5 mile run.  Then, Kelly got me up and out running this weekend.  And I've also received some amazing encouragement from all of you out there.  It's made me realized that I'm not so much on my own in this after all.  So thank you.  And everyone else out there, put some miles in this week for Kelly!

The rest of Sunday was spent catching up with a friend and her two ADORABLE kids.  I've mentioned before that one of my favorite things about my job is meeting people from all over the world and experiencing their cuisine... I've written about both Ghanain and Persian food before.  On Sunday I was lucky enough to have lunch made for me by one of my Indian friends.  Everything on the table was delicious and I told her next time we hang out, I need to come over while the cooking is taking place so that she can teach me how to prepare Indian food.  However, for the time being, she sent me home with leftovers and some ingredients and seasoning to try it on my own.  I can't wait!

I went out with some of my favorites on Sunday evening -- it's become somewhat of a tradition when we have a Monday holiday to go to one of our favorite bars on the Sunday night.  They have a regular 2-for-1 special on Sunday nights, but it's not something we usually take advantage of.  UNLESS... there is a Monday holiday :)  Lately these traditions I have with my friends, the annual events and the get togethers that come and go remind me of how long I've been living in Albany and what an amazing home and family of friends I've made for myself here.  It boggles my mind that it's been 5 years!

Today was a pretty boring day, but nice because the weather finally turned warm and sunny!  I was in spring cleaning mode and got my apartment ready for upcoming nice weather and visitors.  I cleaned up my porch and moved the furniture back outside then spent quite a bit of time reading today.  Woohoo for summer!

I'm currently in the middle of "Lean In" by Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook.)  I had to sort of laugh at myself today at the irony of the fact I spent my day cooking and cleaning... and taking breaks to read Sheryl's book all about breaking gender roles and empowering women in the workplace.  It's a really interesting read and I recommend it not just to women out there... but to anyone with a sister, mother, girlfriend, wife, or female friend who works!

I also got in another 3 miles today running for Kelly (I'm trying to fulfill her request of running for her every day) and ate dinner outside on the porch.  I had roasted some mushrooms and onions earlier and ate some of those with leftover Indian lentil stew and whole wheat pita.  Not a pretty picture, but a delicious, delicious meal!

Hope you all had a great weekend and are ready for the [short] week ahead!  I have a visitor coming to stay with me next weekend so Friday cannot come soon enough for me!! XOXO.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Ten random things for Friday...

1.)  On Monday I was driving home from work and right by the toll plaza was a broken down tour bus.  It was probably the warmest day we've had so far this year.  It was around 5:30 p.m. and the sun was still out in full force.  It looked like there were a lot of elderly people and I assumed it was one of those guided group tours that people go on where they all wear name tags.  As I drove by I thought, "Ugh.  How miserable.  Hopefully someone brings them food or at least water."  And then I thought.  Wait a minute, why don't I?  So I got off the highway really quick, stopped at Target, bought two 24-packs of Poland Springs and went back to where the bus was broken down and dropped them off.  The old man I spoke to had an accent, tried to give me money, and said thank you about 10 times.  I don't think he understood why I was randomly dropping off water.  I just said they looked like they could use it and went about my evening.

2.)  I bought so many vegetables at the grocery store this week.  I went a little overboard I think. But I made some veggie packed salads at work.  Refreshing!

3.)  I also made my own hummus tonight!  My friend Teenie, who I just saw in Chicago, sent me a link to a blog she thought I would like: Clean Food, Messy Closet.  Well, she was right.  Tonight I tried two of the first recipes on here. The chili lime almonds and the hummus.  It was my first time making hummus and now I am SO excited about it!  Like my quiche muffins, there are endless ways to mess around with this recipe and make a million varieties.  Making my own food rather than buying processed stuff is so fun.  Plus, I got to use my food processor I got for Christmas.  I ate some of the hummus tonight with those veggies I bought this week.  Yummy.

4.)  Every other Thursday I organize a happy hour for people at work, and anyone else who wants to get on my list.  The e-mail distribution is around 160 people and usually I get about 15-20 people to show up.  This week we tried out a new restaurant/bar in Schenectady called Johnny's.  Turns out the Mayor of Schenectady was at the bar having drinks.  Someone someone in my group ended up talking to him, called me over, and the Mayor of the city where I work told me to put him on my happy hour list.  Bizarre and totally random happening, but kind of cool.  People at work say I am one of those people that you find often saying, "Only her..." about :)

5.)  We had some crazy weather this week!  So many thunder storms, which I find terrifying.  Check out the photos I snapped from my desk at work.  This was all within about 30 minutes.

6.)  Did you see the color of my nails up there when I was holding my salad?  Or the color of my thumb that's poking into the photo, rather?  It's Sally Hansen "Green Tea" and it is legit my favorite color right now.  Gym tops, formal dresses, pants, necklaces, tee shirts... if I see anything on a clothing rack this color right now I am drawn to it.  I need to stop.  But I love it.  The head of sales in my business called it "Sea Foam" rather than green tea.  Listen, I don't name it.  I just buy it.

7.)   I was literally crying I was laughing so much scrolling through the images in this article, "Photos You Really Need to Look at to Understand."  The captions made it that much better.  This gave me a smile in a week where I really needed it.

8.)  I ate french fries for dinner on Wednesday night.  And last night I tried "italian nachos" at the restaurant Johnny's we went to.  Oh. My. God. They were so good.  Neither night was too good on my plan to get ready for the summer...

9.)  Thank you to all of those who reached out to me to wish my friend well.  We'll all praying for a speedy recovery for her and I started working on a little project to help boost her spirits and make her smile.  Hopefully we'll all hear good news soon.  But please keep her and her family in your thoughts and prayers for the time being.

10.)  It's Memorial Day weekend!  I cannot say enough how much I value and am thankful for our American soldiers.  Please, as you enjoy your time with family and friends this long weekend, think of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for you, me, and our country.  To those in the military out there, to Veterans, and to the family members and friends of those who are passed... thank you, thank you and please know that you are appreciated by those around the country who don't know you, but value you.  XO.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Healthy single serving crustless quiches recipe

Hey guys, I haven't shared a recipe in what feels like a million years so I figured I'd give you a recipe for real today!  Earlier this week when I got my life in order, I made myself some mini quiche muffins to eat throughout the week.  Because I've been trying to eat more in line with the "Happiness Diet" and eliminate processed foods, I've been making eggs for breakfast in the mornings for the past couple weeks.  To try and make things a bit easier on myself, I whipped up a batch of quiche muffins that are delicious, easy for those on the go, and pre-portioned, which always helps.

Healthy Single Serving Crustless Quiche Recipe
Serves 6-8
Weight Watchers PointsPlus value: ~2 points per serving

3 eggs
1 package frozen broccoli
1/4 cup skim milk
1/2 cup grated muenster cheese (or whatever your favorite cheese is!)

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook the frozen broccoli on the stovetop according to the packaged instructions.

Step 2: Whisk 3 eggs and milk together.

Step 3: Add salt, pepper, nutmeg, cheese and broccoli together with eggs and mix.

Step 4: Pour into greased cupcake tins so that they are filled to the top.

Step 5: Bake for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees

And then... enjoy!


Guys, this is legit the SIMPLEST way to make this recipe.  When I say simple, I say mean simple.  It makes a simple egg, cheese, and broccoli egg muffin.  I would highly recommend adding chopped shallots, sundried tomatoes, and/or switching up the vegetables.  Add some spinach or substitute the broccoli for spinach.  Add some red peppers or give them a little heat with some red pepper flakes.  Once you have the basic ingredients down, you can really do this dish with anything.  And the cheese is totally switchable as well.  Cheddar, American, Mozzarella, etc.  Really ANYTHING will do!  Just get the simple ingredients of eggs, milk, cheese and veggies, and you are good to go!  If you want to bulk up the servings without adding much calories or Weight Watchers points... add a couple more egg whites to the entire thing.  You'll get more muffins without affecting points too much.  I'm good having one for breakfast with some fruit, but you could have two if that works for you!

Let me know if you have any fun combinations that you try.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Not in the best place.

Hi guys, so I want to tell you a little bit about what has been on my mind this week.  I just have to say that when I arrived at work on Monday, I saw in my e-mail some news that made me sick to my stomach and completely devastated.  Unfortunately, a coworker, who has become a good friend was very, very suddenly diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, which has spread to both her lungs and brain.

I'm doing my best to stay positive here, but I just wanted to ask that everyone please send their thoughts and prayers to my friend and her family.  She is a reader of my blog, dedicated member of the "find Katelyn a guy" club, fellow Weight Watchers devotee, and all around amazing and wonderful person.  She is incredibly positive and energetic and brightens up everyone's day she interacts with.  I'm doing my best to send all my strength and love her way and am trying to keep positive for her and her family. It's funny, because she has been doing awesome on Weight Watchers over the past year, losing a lot of weight and it gives me a little comfort because as a food lover, I know if she is strong enough to lose all that weight, I know she is strong enough to get through this!  Please send your prayers, thoughts and love to my friend Kelly and her family.  Thank you.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Weekend in NYC: Food, fun and friends!

Hi everyone, I hope your week is going well!  I was so tired on Monday I feel like I finally just got caught up to normal time and was running behind schedule until tonight.  I was able to buy some groceries and have real food in my house, do a little cooking, prep some fruits and veggies and I'm ready take on the week!  Starting Wednesday.  Better late then never!

This past weekend I went to New York City with Dani to visit our friend Lama who had moved away in January.  She came back alllllll the way from Dubai just to give us hugs!  Well, just kidding, she had vacation time and shopping and other people to see, blah blah.  But I like to pretend it was all for me.  Because in my world, most things are :)

I left Friday afternoon and had such a good time even starting before the trip officially started.  It was a gorgeous day out and I had myself a little snack while waiting for Dani to pick me up to go to the train station.  I snacked on an apple dipped into a mixture of peanut butter, honey and cinnamon.  I stole the idea for this flavor combination from Julie over at Peanut Butter Fingers (I tried to make her popcorn, and as simple as it is, I couldn't figure out how to melt my peanut butter right) and have been using it to snack with!

While I had the cinnamon out I tossed some plain, dry roasted almonds in some cinnamon to flavor them a little bit to take with me as a snack.  I love the cinnamon dusted almonds that you can buy at the grocery store but they are also filled with preservatives so I figured, why not make my own?  They came out really yummy and I'm now going to explore more flavored almond combos.  I bought things to try these chili lime spiced almonds this week. Yum!  The cinnamon almonds were a perfect snack to bring with me on the train.

Traveling with Dani is always an interesting experience for me because she is so very laid back about things and I can get a little more... on edge.  When I travel I don't like to have an agenda, although there are some things I do my best to stick to, such as times for trains and planes and things of the like.  Dani, not so much.  If we miss a train, we take the next one.  No biggie.

Now, I know this is the logical way to think about things but something like missing a train really stresses me out.  I try to let some of Dani's laid-back-ness get absorbed by me because sometimes I could use it.  It's not always a big deal to miss a train when they run every hour.  Which, was the case when we missed the train we were supposed to take to the city.  This sort of set the stage for the weekend because almost nothing went as we had planned/discussed prior to the trip but it was so much fun nonetheless.

And the timing of the new train worked out perfectly to run into this girl right when we arrived at Penn Station!

Kristen is one of my closest friends and she had told me she wouldn't be around in NYC this weekend. Dani and I had hung out with Kristen last time we went to the city for the half marathon and wouldn't you know it, we walked right into her when we arrived at Penn Station.  Small world, I tell ya!

Our weekend in the city was full of lots of food, walking around, shopping, laughing, catching up on life, and making new friends!  Let's recap the food a bit before we go any further though.

We started things off eating at Rio Grande on 38th and 3rd in the city.  I texted a friend who now lives in LA a photo of the menu and I think made her entirely jealous.  At least I hope it did.  Because that was the point, in an effort to make her miss the east coast and come back for a visit!

It is a favorite of my friends and I as we are Mexican food fanatics, they've got great guacamole, margaritas and a fun atmosphere.  One infamous time eating here, the night we were introduced to a delicious cheesy item on the menu called "fundita" we ate so much that we literally couldn't even go out afterwards and went straight home to just lay down.

Lama, Dani and I fared a bit better than that and the meal was delicious nonetheless.  We started things off with the steak nachos and the meal did not disappoint through until the end.  These nachos were recommended to us by a friend we made at a table sitting next to us and I think next time I might just order this as my meal.  It has everything you need and is so good!

Oh, and did I mention that Friday was Lama's birthday??  So of course, we had to get dessert.  And sing!  Happy Birthday Lama!!!

The next day we did a lot of walking, visited the Highline, which was my first time doing so (loved it!) and also walked through Chelsea Markets.  Next time I go to the city, I am going to have to spend more time there.  There were some spice rubs and teas that looked amazing but we didn't have enough time to really browse there (I legit could have been there for hours) as we had to meet up some friends for a late lunch.

I didn't even realize until we were literally in front of the place, but the restaurant our friends had chosen for lunch was in the same building where I worked when I had my internship in New York City in the summer of 2007.  In fact, the restaurant we were eating at, opened that summer, and I had eaten there for it's grand opening!

We had some barbecue, which you know I am now an expert in, at Hill Country in NYC.  The food was good, but nothing to rave about.  My favorite I think was the green bean casserole.  I cleaned the plate that had my green bean casserole side in it.  It was a really fun time though and a good place to eat as a big group in New York if you're ever looking for a fun, laid back place to take a crowd.  And a crowd we were!

It was such a fun mix of people made up of friends, and friends of friends, who were all fun, outgoing and incredibly interesting.  It was funny to me that I was the minority in the group of people being American.  The rest of the group was all made up of people from outside of the U.S.!  Mexico, Canada, Egypt, and Lebanon.  I love that I have close friends from all over the world and having friends who live in neat locations makes vacation decisions pretty fun.  As you know last year I went on vacation to Rio de Janeiro while a friend was living there.  I loved having an apartment to stay at, rather than a hotel.  Now that Lama is in Dubai and I was hanging out with a big crowd of people from Lebanon, there was LOTS of talk about how a vacation to Dubai and Beirut should be in my future...

The rest of the weekend included lots of food, silliness and walking around.  We had coffee at the Ace Hotel, which is an awesome place to sit back and relax if you are out having a long day of walking around.  You can also get drinks, and they've got big leather couches that our whole group managed to find seats on.  There was also a photo booth that provided some incredible entertainment and LOTS of laughs.

I actually, even now, cannot look at these photos without smiling.  They gave us such a laugh how Dani is literally taking over EVERY photo.  Nobody else barely even made it in.  I absolutely love these photos and now have mine hanging at my desk at work to keep me smiling all day!

Later that night, we ate dinner at a yummy Thai restaurant called Potjanee.  Apparently all that laughing worked up an appetite because I forgot to take a picture until the plates looked like this:

It makes me a terrible food blogger that I always forget to take pictures of my food.  But at least proves my case that I do love food so much because usually I just can't stop myself from diving right in once I see the food in front of me.  You see a lot of half-eaten plates on here because it isn't usually until a few bites in that I think, "Aw crap, I should take a picture."  Here, I didn't even stop until there was literally nothing left to eat.  However, we got the pad thai that Lama and I split and I also ate a fair amount of the Papaya Salad off of Dani's plate, which was really good!

Later that night we also visited a bar called Professor Thom's which is actually a Boston bar in NY!  The decor inside is all Boston & New England sports associated, which was really fun for me.  This probably isn't a surprise to any Boston-ers living in NYC, but if for some reason I am informing you of this place.  Check it out for the Thursday Bruins game against the Rangers!!

Like any good weekend in New York City, brunch was had.  We ate brunch on Sunday at a cute little placed called La Villette where I got an egg white omelet with goat cheese and herbs.  I ate quite a bit of this, as well as, per usual, bites off of everyone else's plates!  I am so lucky that my friends put up with me.

So, those were some of the highlights of my trip to NYC!  The one thing that I wish I'd snagged a picture of was the gelato that we got at Eataly on Sunday afternoon.  Eataly is a really amazing italian market in NYC that has incredible bread, homemade pasta, meats, cheeses, wine, olive oil, sauces (I actually got this pesto there on a previous trip!), coffee, and like any good italian market... gelato.  That thing was enjoyed without my camera being anywhere near on my mind. It was so good!  I got salted caramel, because, well, you know that's my jam right now.  Yum, yum, yum!

It was so good to see old friends and make some new ones and try a few new places in the city, as well as some favorites.  And I made a mental decision after my weekend in the city so I now have quite a bit of research and planning and reading to do.  Check out the purchases I made at the book store yesterday.  I am so excited to start planning my next vacation :)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

CDPHP Workforce Team Challenge... year four!!

Tonight I ran in my 4th CDPHP Workforce Team Challenge 3.5 mile race with the team where I work.  This race is always meaningful to me because it was 3 years ago in the spring that I finally got my butt in gear and decided to do a Couch to 5K training program to work up to the Workforce Challenge.

I trained throughout the spring in preparation, and come race day, I wasn't able to run the whole thing and had to take a walking break.  I was disappointed but kept with running and the next race I did... the Freihofer's Run for Women in June, I officially ran my first 5K without stopping to walk.  Fast forward three years, I spent the spring training for a half marathon, and ran that whole thing without stopping!  It's pretty cool to think how far I've come.

The Workforce Challenge is always a fun race, aside from it's personal meaning to me.  It's cool to see all the runners and people from work come out and do this race.  We've been lucky as well and every year had great weather.   The backdrop of the Empire State Plaza is always a gorgeous place to start a race too!

It's not a run that you should ever try to PR in as it is always SO crowded and you spend the first mile just trying to dodge around people and get into a pace.

The start of this year's race.
But it's a great course and there are so many new runners that do this, it is just a friendly and fun atmosphere.

Part of the team!
I was a bit nervous going into it because of my knee pain but decided to just take it easy, and even walk when I needed to, if I needed to.  For whatever reason I've just had a tough time getting back into running since the half marathon.  I was really proud of myself because I was able to run the whole race!  I didn't really have knee pain either which made me even HAPPIER!  I am so thankful that a friend of my N, kept with me the whole race.  I told him numerous times to just run ahead but he didn't, he stayed with me.  And I'm pretty positive that if he hadn't, I wouldn't have kept pushing myself to run and ended up walking for a portion of the race.  I am so thankful to have had his encouragement because it gave me back a little confidence that I am in better shape than I thought right now even with having taken a couple weeks off from running.

He kept me in positive spirits throughout the whole race and we had a lot of fun in the last half mile cheering for random people by reading off the backs of their shirts and just shouting out words of encouragement.  Goofiness and laughter is always a plus with me :)

The race was a blast and heading out for beers afterwards wasn't too bad either :)

Unfortunately, it didn't end up being a good eating day for me due to the beers and hunger after the race that led me to make a couple poor choices.  However, I'll move forward and keep in mind that it happens sometimes and try to not feel guilty but proud of what I did accomplish and be ready for tomorrow.  I did enjoy the beer and food though :)

And side note... yesterday I didn't mention this in my post but I was proud of myself because I did an at home workout.  Generally my workout at home look a lot like this video from Jenna Marbles.

BUT I pushed myself and do this 50-40-30-20-10 workout of Julie's at Peanut Butter Fingers.  I already felt it immediately after working out and I think tomorrow it will peak. It was a nice workout though and I recommend it!

Happy Thursday everyone!!

P.S.  Are you on Twitter?  Follow me at @HungryTwenties!

P.P.S.  I just reread this in the AM and realized the irony of yesterday's "Doing it on my own" post and today's, "Yay! Thank you N for your help!  Maybe doing it "alone" isn't really doing it "alone?"  Love you guys!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Doing it on my own.

Hey guys, hope you're having a happy Wednesday!  So, today's post is a little update on my day yesterday followed by some stream of thought on where my mind is right now.  Hope it's not too long or boring for you because I'd love your feedback/motivation/encouragement/thoughts.  Your support really does wonders for me!

Yesterday I had a really fun evening where I had my friend Andrea over for dinner.  You remember her, right?  She was the sweetheart that gave me all those wonderful gifts before my half marathon!  I made dinner for the two of us that was actually quiet delicious and since Andrea is vegan, I had to alter a few of my recipes to make them work for her.

I started by having a simple guacamole and some carrots out for us.  The guacamole I made last minute because the avocado I had was going to go bad I thought.  I didn't have the ingredients I usually use to make guac but I had some shallots so I chopped up a shallot and added that to a mashed avocado and a little salt.  It was so simple but delicious!  I also made the salad that you've seen on here before... butter lettuce and mixed greens with some fruit and tamari almonds on top.  And some red bell peppers stuffed with a mix of grains, chick peas, spinach, shallots and garlic, with a bit of panko breadcrumbs sprinkled on top.

After dinner Andrea and I went to go see a comedy show... Aziz Ansari from Parks and Recreation!  Now, I've been to a few big name live comedians before (Tracy Morgan, Chelsea Handler, Dane Cook, etc.) and I have to say Aziz was the BEST of any of them.  I did not stop laughing the ENTIRE show.  And not just chuckling in my seat, but laughing loudly.  Something about his delivery just makes pretty much everything he says hysterical to me.  I left the show feeling great, having gotten in a big "Say Cheese" workout and also totally wishing that Aziz and I were best friends and could hang out and talk all the time.  I think that would be very good for my mental health.

Since the half marathon I've been struggling a little bit to get my mind back in the game.  It's been a little tough because my body still hasn't felt completely back to normal... I've been having pains in my right side when I run.  First my hip, now my knee.  I also have been eating way more than I should.  I have still been eating as if I am training for a half marathon, yet not putting in the work to burn it off.  That's caught up to me and I've gained a few pounds.  Which, is on top of the additional few pounds I've gained throughout the past year.

I've sort of convinced myself to be okay with my weight fluctuating a little bit as long as I remain happy, enjoying my life to the fullest, and doing the things I want to do -- like my exercise goals.  Oh, and I also refuse to buy new clothing.  However, it's getting to be summer and I've been looking at pictures/video of where I was at this time of year last year, and thinking of putting on those dresses and shorts I have had tucked away for a year... and it's starting to bum me out.

However, I'm a little bit stuck.  I've spent the past couple months trying to put Weight Watchers points counting aside.  I know it works for me to lose weight.  But I've been doing it for years now and it's honestly just draining to me.  It exhausts me and I just want to be able to eat like a normal person and not analyze every single thing I put in my mouth.

One of the blogs that I read recently had an entry where she was writing saying she wished she could just eat like a normal person.  I commented on the blog saying that I've realized that "normal" people don't have the same addiction to food that I have come to accept that.  But apparently I haven't and I need to take my own advice a bit.  It's so hard and so exhausting to have to struggle with this every single day. It's something that some people will just never understand... which is why groups like Weight Watchers and blogging communities around weight loss can be so helpful.

I'm just tired of it though.  I really want to try and be "normal."  But I'm scared because I don't know if I can.

I am also struggling with the pain while I run.  I did two miles on Saturday and I did three miles on Tuesday (that was total mileage. there was walking mixed in.) and I have been icing my knee all day today due to the result of yesterday's run.  Like any runner that goes through an injured time when they have to lay off, it's frustrating.  But I know I don't want to make it worse and just do what I can to get better before I start working towards my goals of running faster and pushing myself to do more long runs again.

I do know that if I want to be in the same place as I was last summer physically, or be in better shape in general, I need to do more strength training.  Since I stopped doing boot camp I have definitely lost definition and some muscle, which I can notice in how my clothes fit and the way I look.  Why not just go back to boot camp?  I have said before how much I loved it.  Well, it is expensive and it is in a new, inconvenient location, and also because I want to learn how to train myself.  I want to be able to keep this up for my entire life and I'm not sure if attending a class is something that will always be sustainable for me.

So anyways, I'm taking a stab at doing it on my own.  Losing a little weight and putting more strength and interval training back into my work outs.

After training for and running the half marathon on my own, I had this incredible surge of will power and self motivation, determination and empowerment.  I CAN accomplish unthought of things.  I CAN be disciplined on my own with my workouts.  I CAN achieve things on my own.

It was pretty ground breaking thoughts for me as I'm not really used to spending time on my own.  So I think this is my next little personal challenge for myself.  Can I get back in shape and lose a few pounds without weekly weigh ins and counting points?  Without a regular rhythm of classes at the gym and money out of my bank account to force myself to work out?  Can I use my own will power and determination to do this?

I get scared because I think I can't.  But then I remember the feeling of crossing the finish line and remember that I can.  I hope I am right again!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Happy Mother's Day: A Day Late!

To all the Mommies out there -- Happy Mother's Day and an especially big "Happy Mother's Day" to my own Mom, whom I adore!

I hope everyone had a great day yesterday and were able to relax and enjoy some time with those who they love.  I have said it before, but family is what you make of it.  And you don't need to be a biological mom or celebrate your own biological mom... but hopefully you made time to say thank you and celebrate the people who are a "mom" to you.  The people who take care of you, love you unconditionally, support you, encourage you, embarrass you, frustrate you, you frustrate back, and you love each other through it all.

Yesterday I started the day by attending spin class with my mom.  My mom has been an athlete and avid exerciser her whole life.  It is great to be able to share things with her on the "fitness" front and for the past couple years whenever I am home, I've been attending spin classes with her.  She has become a regular at the spin class and I often have old classmates or coworkers from when I grew up tell me that they love seeing my mom at spin class!

After getting a great (mostly pain free for me!) workout in, we showered and headed over to my mom's brother's house for a Mother's Day BBQ!  We ate some delicious chicken kebabs, grilled vegetables, bread and pasta salad.  Followed by a delicious spread of desserts made up of cupcakes and brownies!

It was a lot of fun to hang out with my brother, cousins, aunt and uncle, and grandparents and spend some time outside.  My family is always laughing and cracking jokes at one another and today was no exception.  We seriously are a ridiculous bunch if you hadn't figured it out from our music videos yet!

After we ate we gathered around the TV to watch some family slide shows of my mom and her siblings when they were younger.  As a Christmas gift for my grandparents we digitized all of their old slides and photos!  We're slowly trying to get my grandparents into digital technology... last year we got them an iPad which they use mainly to keep up with us all through Facebook (hi Grampy!)  We all got a good laugh though because just a few minutes into watching the slides my mom and I realized that all of the men in the room had fallen asleep!  On Mother's Day!

Go figure.

Anyways, I wanted to use the Mother's Day theme from the weekend to write a short little tribute to my mom and share a few pictures.  When I was home over the weekend I sorted through some old photo albums looking for some good pictures of my mom, siblings and I from when we were little.  It was tough to find a picture of my mom in the camera at first because frankly, she is usually taking the pics and/or hiding from them.

This picture of my mom holding me makes me laugh because I can totally picture her saying, "No!  Not with me in it!" and turning to get herself out of the picture.

My mom stayed home with us while I was growing up and made my childhood so much fun.  She wasn't a sideline mom.  Literally and figuratively.  She has always been incredibly active... playing in an adult soccer league, participating in an alumni basketball game at her college, running daily, completing road races -- including a marathon my senior year of high school!

She also was never on the sidelines with us kids either.  She was always right in the action.  One of the things I am proud to have inherited from my mom is her fun, young spirit.  Even though I am young myself, I hope to keep that with me throughout my life as I get older and start a family.  She was always coming up with crazy games, events, and activities for us.  I could list them on and on here... Friday prize, "Whatever You Want Day," basketball and four square tournaments, helping us set up lemonade stands, unique Halloween costumes, themed birthday parties, Dinosaurs, etc.  So many ridiculous and fun memories from my childhood came from my mom's creativity.

One of my favorites was the carnival themed birthday party I had.  There were so many fun and unique elements to this party... and all before the days of Pinterest.  Can you imagine that? Here my mom is, right in on the action along with my friends and I.

Aside from having fun, my mom also helped us to learn and grow.  I love this picture of my mom reading to my siblings and I.

Or this one of her doing a puzzle with my brother.

She was always looking out for us and keeping us safe.  I love her watching over me as I goof off,  pregnant with my brother, in this picture.

Simply put, my mom was the best.

And still is!  So, I wanted to say, once more, a quick Happy Mother's Day!  And a quick thank you to my mom.

Thank you for always being thoughtful.  Thank you for pushing me, motivating me, and inspiring me.  Thank you for helping me learn the joy of running.  Thank you for putting up with my complaints that I don't get enough attention.  Thank you for teaching me to write thank you notes.  For always responding right away to my text messages and phone calls.  Even though it sometimes takes me days to respond to yours.  And then when I do respond, it's just something random like, "Mom, my knee hurts. What should I do?"

Thank you for putting up with my teasing.  I know I do it a lot.  But it's not my fault, you make it so easy and fun!  (I'm sorry) Thank you for taking care of yourself being healthy. Thank you for being kind and giving in everything you do.  Thank you for teaching me how fun it is to make homemade goodies to give to others.  Thank you for protecting me.  For always trying to do what's best for me.  Thank you for cuddling with me, even when you don't want to.  For supporting my quest to get healthier -- even when I lash out at you sometimes when you're just trying to help.

Thank you for being so cute and tiny that I can pick you up and spin you around.  Thank you for being brave and exploring new things, even if they scare you.  Thank you for being fun.  For being someone I want to hang out with and someone I enjoy sitting at a bar and having a drink with.  Or sitting at home and watching TV and making up stupid games like the ball balancing game with.  Thank you for not judging me.  Thank you for making me who I am.  I see myself becoming more and more like you every day-- it's both horrifying and awesome.  And mostly, thank you for being my friend.  Someone I trust, I have fun with, and who I know I can always count on.  I love you Mom!

I also want to say thank you and Happy Mother's Day to my loving and caring grandmother's.  Who have both been incredibly influential and important role models to me.  Right below is my mom's mom, my Grammy, with me.  My Grammy is still as energetic, sweet, and loving as always.  She is so fun to be around and keeps everyone in our family young!

And one of my mom and Grammy from Mother's Day.  Isn't she a cutie?

And here is a photo of my dad's mom, my Nana, with my sister and I.  My Nana passed away in 2007 but she was more influential to me than she will ever know.  And I'm lucky enough to have had many years with her, although they weren't enough.  She has given me more gifts and lessons than she, or my father, probably realize, and I think of her every day as I have her paintings hanging throughout my apartment.  One of which I am looking at right now as I type this.  I love you and miss you Nana!

I am so thankful to have had so many amazing influences in my life, and many strong, caring women to look up to.  Happy Mother's Day to my mom, grandmother's, and all the other "moms" in my life.  It takes a village, and I love you all!

Me and my mom.  Then and Now.