Thursday, July 31, 2014

Some Facts About Me

     I have seen bloggers do some of these posts about facts about themselves and I love reading them so I thought I would do a post about some facts about me. It's a perfect day for it too as it's Thinking Outloud Thursday with Amanda!


        I had planned to write up 24 facts since I am 24 years old, but I only got to 14 as I was writing them down while sitting at the duck pond and being eaten alive by bugs. Thank goodness for anti itch cream when I got home.

 Let's get to the facts now...

1) I was never good at keeping a diary when I was little, but once I got to college, I typed a personal journal nearly everyday for the first two years anyway. Sometimes I would come up with 1,000 words a day!!

2) I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago (45 min from downtown) but still have never been to a Chicago Cubs or Sox or all those Chicago sports games, except for the one Chicago Bulls and one Chicago Blackhawks games I attended thanks to box seats from my last job.

3) While talking about Chicago, I have visited the museums numerous times with my favorite being the Museum of Science and Industry. I've actually slept over there many times. A night at the museum is quite fun :)


4) I have also "slept with the fishes" at the Shedd Aquarium.
5) I used to eat mint chocolate chip ice cream every night after dinner and if we ran out of ice cream I would complain of getting a sore throat without my ice cream

6) I used to drink at least 6 glasses of milk a day (since I don't like juice) in addition to that ice cream. Now I'm lactose intolerant (though never actually tested for to make it official, but I avoid dairy products now)

7) On that note, I was never a big cheese person. I hear this is "un-American", but I was always weird ;)

8) Ever since being lactose intolerant ( 6 years now), I miss mac and cheese the most. Kraft thick and creamy was my favorite! Oddly I don't miss ice cream, the stomach pains I started to get after trying to continue to eat it were too much.

9) I didn't start working out at a gym until my junior year of college when my boyfriend get into weightlifting. Funny thing is now I'm a workout addict and he is lazy and not wanting to get out of bed...

10) I am a very low maintenance person. As my dad likes to point out, I went to college freshmen year with more stuff than I brought by the time my senior year came. Each year everything fit into one car and by my senior year, there was actually EXTRA space in the car for more things if I had wanted.

11) I love being outside in big open fields! Especially when I get a good yoga practice in.

12) I majored in math because I couldn't imagine not having a math course in my schedule.

13) I never had a plan of what to do after college with my math degree. I just thought it was good to give me lots of opportunities for jobs but slowly learning how I can use my analytic skills I developed in my new job :)

14) two months ago, I packed up my car and moved to a new city, not knowing anyone and no job lined up. People keep telling me how brave I am. Years ago I never could have imagined doing that but I think it was one of the best decisions of my life :D

      And there you have it, some random facts about me. Hope you enjoyed them!!

P.S. Anyone in the Philadelphia area, I would love to connect with some people.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Good Company and Good Food

    I know most people usually do summaries of their weekend, but my weekend is usually the same grocery shopping and gym and food prep. This week, however, has been quite different besides just working at the office and I wanted to share.
     Monday after work, my cousin, Chris, had driven down to Philadelphia to see my apartment and the new town I was living in. I got home from work, quickly changed my clothes and then we were off to dinner. I decided to go to Samurai Japanese Restaurant. I had tried it once before with Brian and we really enjoyed it and they have sushi which I know Chris enjoys (me, not so much). I ordered the chicken fried rice while Chris got some sushi. I was a bit too busy talking to take pictures of my food, but instead enjoyed the evening.
    After dinner, we took a walk through my town and over to the next town where Haverford College is and the wonderful duck pond, though the duck pond was filled with like a million geese. I did see 2 ducks though. We talked through the whole walk and walked through the campus of Haverford College a bit. Neither of us knew where we were going, have to love the blind leading the blind, but we ended up on a main road and I knew where we were from there. It was about a 4 mile walk, but with talking the whole way, the time flew by.
     It was just after 8pm when we returned to my apartment and we got to talking about my kitchen light being out. I found a box of my books sturdy enough for Chris to stand on and take the cover off the light. We then decided to take a drive to Home Depot to get a couple light bulbs and voila! A working and brighter light in my kitchen!! [If you ask Chris the story of Monday night, he'll tell you he drove 400 miles to change a light bulb lol]

    Anyway that was a good perk to having him stop by and getting light in my kitchen again. I bet maintenance forgot about me. They are so terrible here and only stop by when they get a long list of things to do it seems. 
     The rest of Monday evening was pretty great! Clearly me and Chris had a lot of catching up to do because it was non stop talking till midnight when we decided we should get some sleep. 
      Tuesday morning came and Chris and I chatted a bit while I ate breakfast before I headed to work. Then he left to go back to Rochester, NY for the week for his vacation. 
       I made it through Tuesday morning at work pretty well, despite my 5 hours of sleep. Lunch time came and I was expecting a cupcake truck at Love Park that was on the schedule but sadly, it didn't show up. Feeling like I needed something to get me through the rest of the day and since I was kind of craving sweets after thinking about what cupcake I would order, I headed to Corner Bakery. When I ordered just a chocolate chip cookie, the woman at the register was like "that's it" and didn't even ring it up. She grabbed the cookie and I tried to give her a dollar for it and she said "don't worry about it." My response was "really?!?" as I was all excited that I got this cookie for free. Their cookies are so good and it tasted even better getting it for free. 

           I'm not going to lie, Tuesday afternoon was pretty rough. The lack of sleep was catching up to me as I stared at spreadsheets on the computer. Of course staring at spreadsheets can be pretty tiring when you do get a decent night's sleep. I couldn't wait to leave the office for the day and when 4:30 finally came, I was so happy!
          My energy started to return after I ate a quick snack and finished my leftover fried rice for dinner before heading to Zumba. I was pretty determined to make it through Zumba despite how tired I seemed and guess what? It was one of the best Zumba classes I have had in a long time!! I really got into the music and singing along and dancing and had a blast. I made it through the whole class without a problem and was fully energized again. 
           When I got back to my apartment, Brian had already arrived!! We hadn't seen each other since July 2nd, which wasn't that long ago, compared to how long we are usually apart, but it was nice to see him again and spend the night with him. 
            On Wednesday, I had plans to go out to lunch with some of my co workers. They decided on Ruby Tuesdays and the service was kind of slow. I think our lunch lasted a bit longer than an hour, but we enjoyed getting out of the office and I enjoyed talking to them about my move here and my boyfriend. I order the Chicken Fresco. Ruby Tuesdays has two serving sizes, a petite portion and an entree portion. When I asked the waiter how big the petite portion was, he said "it's really small" so I surprised the ladies and ordered the entree version and I was glad I did. The entree version came and we were all like "if that's the entree, what does the petite size look like??" as it was a very small piece of chicken and my sides of broccoli and grilled zucchini. It was tasty though and then I munched on some french fries from other plates. 

                 Meanwhile, Brian was setting up a tv he bought in the apartment and making the apartment a huge mess. After I got out of work, Brian met up with me in the city. Seeing as I had a late lunch, I wasn't ready for dinner yet, so we walked around and stopped at Philly Cupcakes. I was feeling a bit cupcake deprived after Tuesday and last Friday when the cupcake trucks didn't show. I got a delicious cookies and cream cupcake. It was a great before dinner snack!
                   We then headed to the restaurant I had planned to go to but it was quite packed and so we turned around, planning to go to a bbq place, but passed a steak house and decided to just go there. It was 90 degrees and very humid outside, so after all that walking, we wanted some air conditioning and to cool off. The steak place was very delicious and also VERY expensive. Luckily Brian treated us to the steaks and we both enjoyed our steaks sizzling with butter on the plate when they came out and also a nice salad beforehand. Since we don't see each other often, a date night is nice when we do. 

                Wednesday evening, we could not have timed our train ride back any more perfectly. We knew there were storms coming and after dinner, we walked to the train and saw the dark clouds appearing in the sky. By the time we boarded the train and got out from underground, it started pouring! Brian turned to me and asked "you don't melt in the rain right?" and I said "no." 
                While sitting on the train, Brian was looking at the radar on his phone with the yellow and green areas hovering over our town. Luckily, by the time the train got to our stop, the rain had passed. There was still lighting and thunder as we walked back to the apartment, but no rain. The rain started again a bit later, but we stayed nice and dry :)
               By the time we got back, I was so tired. The lack of sleep during the week was really catching up with me and we pretty much just headed straight to bed. Finally I got a decent night's sleep and woke up Thursday well rested. 
               Brian met up with me in the city for lunch on Thursday and we went to the restaurant that I had wanted to go to last night that was too crowded. It was much better at lunch time and I got a delicious salad while Brian enjoyed some quesadillas and soup. 
                  Once we finished with lunch, we walked over to Corner Bakery and I got another chocolate chip cookie and a snickerdoodle cookie for us to share. I have had a lot of sweets this week, but I don't regret them at all. They were delicious treats!!
                 I then brought Brian up to my office and introduced him to a few people. He had some nice conversations with them including my boss. The rest of my day went by pretty quickly and then I headed to the gym after work for a nice workout, including running a mile in 11 minutes and 30 seconds. That is pretty good for me not being a runner. I think all the walking I have been doing lately is definitely getting me in better shape for running. 
              To sum it up, it has been quite a week. A lot more eating out than I am used to but I made some healthy choices and really enjoyed all the company over the week. 
             I am happy today is Friday and I will get some time to catch up on reading blogs and checking Instagram over the weekend and also get to play around with a new 39 inch TV in my bedroom. I don't have cable, but Brian got an antenna and a Roku box. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Yoga Love: MIMM #10

      I think it's safe to say that I have yoga on my mind all the time! I just finished the book Living Your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life. So many inspiring quotes. I actually got the kindle version and used the highlight feature for the first time and I like how it groups all your highlights together in "My clippings" on the home screen. One quote I loved was the following:

"Keep up the rhythm of your practice. Remember, the point is not to do something just because it is scary. The point is to choose to do what is possible in the face of fear. That choice defines courage. And with it comes a sense of freedom" - Living Your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life

      There were so many quotes and examples throughout this entire book that I connected with in my life. Things I need to do to face fears for instance. I recently packed up the things I needed and moved to a new city 800 miles from home without knowing anyone in the city or having a job. It was probably near the top of the bravest things I have done in my life. I am so happy I made the choice to move though. With my own place and a fresh start and a world of opportunities, there is that "sense of freedom."
      I can also relate this quote to my yoga practice. One pose that I am finally able to hold is crow pose. I practiced daily for months. I always felt so close and yet so far. Back in March when I first started taking photos of yoga poses, I caught myself mid air in crow. A split second that I was so excited about capturing on camera.
        I was afraid of face planting and leaning too much, but it was when I finally got over the fear and made the choice to lean farther that I found myself holding the pose and not face planting. Success! I continue to make progress on this pose as there is no such thing as perfect in yoga.

         I am also amazed to see my progress in what I view as a "simple" pose in yoga, downward dog.

          I have learned to move my chest in towards my legs more and I definitely feel the difference and get a deeper stretch in this pose than I used to.
           Lately, on weekends, I try to get outside and enjoy the sun as much as I can and also do some yoga. It was hard to take pictures before unless there was a bench nearby to set my camera down on, but now I have a little tripod that I got for my camera and had some fun trying it out on Sunday at the park. Here are some of my favorite photos from the day.

             After lots of yoga and photos, I relaxed at the park for a couple hours reading. Getting a head start on my yoga reading before teacher training, but I am sure I will have to re read it then.

           Before bed lately, I snuggle up with my yoga anatomy book. I was never an anatomy person and the only science I took in college was physics (which I was never good at either despite being a math major), so I have a lot of learning to do. I'm hoping that by looking at photos of muscles and bones and reading before bed maybe it will start to sink in on its own, or it will wait until teacher training. Either way, it is definitely fascinating information. I just have to try to remember it.
          Besides yoga, my weekend was the usual grocery shopping, some Zumba on Saturday and a bit of food prep on Sunday. This week I am kind of just going with the flow and trying to use up things in the freezer that seems to be filling up.
        Between the sun, yoga and reading, Sunday was certainly a marvelous day, so I am linking up with Katie.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Delicious Eats for WIAW #5

    So I got home from work yesterday, was caught in the rain for the first time walking from the train station, but it wasn't that bad. Then I got inside my apartment and first thing I do is walk into the kitchen and turn on the light and out went the light :( I spend a good portion of my time at home in the kitchen between meal prepping, cooking, cleaning up, eating, snacking...and now there is no light in there. Good thing there is the dining room light or I'd have to manage cooking with a flashlight because I don't own any lamps or anything. Hopefully maintenance will come by and fix that soon.
   Meanwhile let's get to the eats that come out of my kitchen. For breakfast this week, I have been enjoying a half a grapefruit, sausage and my usual oatmeal with a few fresh blueberries I got from the farmers market Saturday.

     Around 11am, I snacked on some multigrain crackers and cashews.

   For lunch, I have a salad, the usual for me, spinach base and then whatever other veggies I feel like throwing in, such as spiralized cucumber, sweet potato, brussel sprouts, tomato and then a protein, which today was honey ham.

I also donated a dollar and got a lemonade to enjoy with my lunch, because summer means lemonade, right?

I also snacked on some pretzels in the afternoon and a cookie that was leftover from a lunch catering at the office. 

     Before Zumba, I had a quick dinner of turkey meatballs (yay for meal prepping so I just have to heat them up) and brussel sprouts and sweet potato and half an avocado.

   After Zumba, I had a delicious Larabar and some tea to settle down for the night.

    Delicious day of eats!! Thank you Jenn for hosting!!

Happy humpday everyone!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Treat Yourself Tuesday #6

Do you ever have days where your head just feels clogged and you are so tired and just don't feel like really doing anything? Well that was my Monday this week...a true Monday, tired all day. I blame the clouds and the rain that was coming. My mood is seriously so different when the sun is out versus when it is cloudy, but at least the sun was peaking out for my lunch time yesterday and I dragged myself to the gym after work even though I was still tired. Once I got to the gym though, it was a different story. The weights were a bit heavy, but once I started sweating and getting into the groove and lifted some weights, I hopped on the treadmill and ran a mile in under 12 minutes. I'm not a runner at all so my fast walk/running a mile in that time was pretty impressive to me and I was so energized. Suddenly after a long Monday, I had energy and after that mile, sweat was dripping into my eye, which wasn't too fun, but I was happy to have some energy back. Guess I just needed a little bit of gym time to cure my cloudy mood.

Anyway enough about Monday, today is Tuesday and that means it's time to link up with Becky for some treats!

Honestly this treat yourself Tuesday makes me so happy! It definitely serves its purpose in reminding me to treat myself from time to time (or weekly).

Let's start with a real treat on Friday! As I have mentioned previously I am kinda obsessed with cupcake places and cupcake trucks ever since watching Cupcake Wars. Friday I got to try a new to me cupcake truck, Buttercream. I got the chocolate chip cookie dough cupcake. It was delicious!!

After last weekend, I thought I was done shopping, but I guess I was wrong. The day after my shopping spree, I was doing my laundry and then noticed my bra broke. Have you ever had the underwire come out of your bra? At first it was just poking out a bit, but after wearing it during Zumba on Saturday, it was quite painfully poking into my chest. In case you were wondering, but you probably weren't, that's the underwire and the ends are sharp, just a warning...

Luckily I had already ordered a new one. I like Victoria Secret bras but I prefer using a coupon when I buy things there. I searched online and found myself a $10 off a bra code and purchased this one in the nude color. It's so comfy and I love it! 

Saturday morning I walked to the farmers market. I have only been going there for a few weeks, but love the fresh produce. Today I just got some blueberries and kale and a granola bar which was my post workout snack later in the day. The past couple weeks I have also bought some zucchini (the whole reason I got a spiralizer), but decided to wait till next week for those as I have so many veggies filling my fridge right now. I also get the chance to use my lovely canvas bag from Insprialized. I love this bag for the farmers market, carrying books and more!  

After my Zumba workout Saturday I went to Target and there happens to be a DSW across from it, so I decided to stop there and look at shoes for work. My black flats are starting to wear out, probably because I have had them for 2 years and wear them all the time! So I tried on some flats. First let me say I really hate flats! They are too flat for my feet. My feet like arches like in running shoes, even though I am not a runner. However my other issue is I really can't walk in heels nor do I want to wear those either, so work shoes are tough. I stick with flats, but try to get some that have a slight heel. After trying on many pairs of flats and thinking I would leave the store empty handed, I tried these on.

At first I couldn't decide. They were a little snug, but they didn't have the next half size up so it was either this size or no flats. I stood in them for a bit, walked the aisle of the store for a bit and honestly they were pretty comfy. I then tried on some other pairs of flats and then made my way back to these and decided that it was best to have a back up pair of shoes. If I only buy flats once every 2 years, well I guess that is worth it. These seem a lot more comfy than my other pair so I definitely hope they are better for walking around the city with.

Later on Saturday, I went to Whole Foods. Half the reason I go there is to bring my recycling, because my apartment complex doesn't have recycling. I like to be as environmentally friendly as I can and so I bring my paper, plastic and bottles to Whole Foods. Unfortunately it's not like when I was in college and people would bring cans and get a 5 cent credit per can, but I still reward myself with a chocolate bar and also picked up some tea, plus I know I am helping the environment and having less waste by recycling. I always find a little treat for myself at Whole Foods! As you can see I like mint and chocolate. They are probably two of my favorite things!   

       I have been drinking a cup of tea each night as I always need something after dinner and am trying my best to avoid too many sweets. The tea is perfect to end my evening and help me relax!
        Those were my treats for the week. I think I should be set on clothes for now. There is always room for chocolate treats though :)  Hopefully today will go better than yesterday.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Eating Out: WIAW #4

    You know what I love? When someone else treats you to lunch or dinner! Especially when you are meeting some new people, even if it is for a work meeting. It makes me feel so grown up to say I went out for lunch/dinner for work. I know my new job is going to start getting busier and may be stressful at times, but I am loving the opportunity to learn so many new things and meet some great people. Monday night I went out for my first business dinner and then Tuesday we all went out for lunch after our meeting. Great people, great food and great conversations! Now let's get to the eats lately.
Breakfast: oatmeal with chia seeds and strawberries with some bacon. Fruit, protein and oats does a great job of keeping me full throughout the morning.
Tuesday was out for lunch at Marathon Cafe. If you live in the Philadelphia area, I definitely suggest going to this place. Great place if you eat paleo style too. They have a section on the back of the menu where you can pick specific ingredients to build your own salad. There were so many items on the menu I wanted to try, including pancakes that you can add chocolate chip cookie dough to. I don't even have words to express how amazing that sounds, but must try that sometime. They also serve breakfast all day, so it was really tempting. 
Anyway I got the marathon burger without cheese (I'm not a cheese person and also try to stay away from dairy products) and some fries with an iced tea. Doesn't it look delicious?!? [Also no clue if the business people noticed as I snapped a quick picture of my food. If they did, I must seem so weird to them]

When I got home from work, I had some soy milk with vanilla protein powder and a handful of these almonds before zumba.

After zumba, I came home and had a small salad. I ate so much at lunch, I didn't feel that hungry in the evening and I like having a salad a day. 

However if you want to see a great dinner, here was Monday nights when I went out. [Again I hope no one noticed that quick bringing out my phone to take a picture of my food]

I ended my night with a delicious homemade chocolate chip cookie. 

Those were my delicious eats from Tuesday (and Monday). It's nice to go out for food once in a while. As much as I love my salad bowls and simple meals, they can get boring, especially to photograph, so I enjoyed having some different meals in the last two days. 

Thanks to Jen for hosting! 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Saturday Shopping Spree: Treat yourself Tuesday #5

    Today I am linking up with Becky for another Treat Yourself Tuesday!                                                    

    On Saturday, I decided to take the train to a nearby shopping center and Trader Joes. I have been looking for more work shirts and with it being a holiday weekend, that of course meant sales! However it seems that every time I go shopping for something in particular, I can never find it. It's when I am casually browsing and don't plan on spending money that I find tons of things I like...
     I walked in and out of many stores empty handed. Then I came to a new to me store, White House Black Market. I was walking around and a sales woman asked me if I was looking for anything in particular. I always tell the sales people I am just browsing around. After I was looking around for a few minutes and was about to leave, she said to me "if you like denim shorts, we have some over here" as she noticed I was wearing denim shorts. It's funny because I wasn't looking for shorts in particular, but I actually have been wanting new denim shorts for years. I always see the pre-ripped and frayed shorts in the stores and I just want some plain denim shorts that aren't torn up like the teens wear these days, but I want short shorts, not knee length which is all I usually fine in the woman's section. The shorts I have been wearing and that I was wearing on Saturday are actually a few sizes too big for me (I used to buy clothes a size up or two from what I really was and I do weight maybe 5 pounds less) and probably from my middle school years, so I'd say they are almost 10 years old....yeah...probably time to get some new shorts and really I have been looking for years. So when she mentioned shorts, she definitely caught my attention. It also helped that shorts were 40% off. She got me started with the shorts and then asked if I wanted blouses for work. I mentioned I wanted blouses that look good with jeans and black pants, because I actually learned you can wear jeans to the office everyday of the week. EVERYDAY! It is pretty awesome!!
       So I started trying on shorts and the woman assisting me was going through the store with another assistant and looking for things that I might like. Before I knew it, I had probably 20 shirts to try on. That is definitely my style of shopping, have someone pick out things for me and bring them to me. I am no expert at all when it comes to fashion and style...I mean I was wearing my big shorts for nearly 10 years...My other problem is I hate spending money. Really, I do. But I have finally learned that my wardrobe needs some updating and so I am trying to buy things here and there to hopefully get some style and look like I am older than 16 (because I get mistaken for being 16 when I am actually 24).
        I have no idea how long I was trying shirts on, but it was tons of fun! I tried things on that I would definitely not pick out myself and some of them I just hated and I would immediately make faces in the mirror looking at myself in them. Others, were OK and the few I bought were the ones I loved. Here is what I ended up with at the end of the day:

new shorts and top

another nice top for a night out

the top is new. I had the short sleeve jacket and pants
             It may have been a little more than I would have liked to spend but all but 1 of the tops was on sale and the shorts were a good deal, super comfy and actually in my size! Now I can go to work, smiling and feeling confident in my new clothes.
           After getting my clothes, I stopped at Trader Joes which is also in the shopping center area and got this treat.
         That wraps up my treats for this week. I have to find some cheaper treats next week LOL. Hope everyone enjoys their day and remember it's alright to splurge from time to time. :)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Weekend Recap in Pictures

     Recapping my long weekend with me, myself and I. It was lonely at times, but enjoyed the weather and experienced Philadelphia's big free concert and fireworks, although around 10pm Friday night at the fireworks people started running for their lives and I heard someone was shot and I was really scared too, but I made it home alive and safe. Not sure what I will do next year for the 4th because basically Philadelphia was a concert which was cool except when the speakers would stop working and it was just very crowded and a short fireworks show.

     Starting with Friday morning, I went to yoga, because my gym was closed, but luckily the yoga studio I go to was open.

Didn't do much during the day Friday other than catch up on some tv shows, but then Friday evening headed down to the largest free concert on the parkway in Philadelphia! Crazy amounts of people! It was pretty cool to see Jennifer Hudson and Nicki Minaj among many others perform, even if I could only see the screens. 

At 10:55 pm, my legs were so tired of standing and the fireworks finally began. 

I started walking towards the train during the fireworks but was able to get a few pics. 

this was the finale behind the trees
Saturday morning I enjoyed the sunshine, reading and doing some yoga at a local park. 

In the afternoon, I went shopping. I will share what I actually bought tomorrow. 
Then there was some more reading time and getting some sun before it set for the night. 

Sunday was grocery shopping and food prep day. I felt like packing the rainbow for my lunch today and eating the rainbow for dinner last night. 

        It was nice to have a long weekend and the last one until Labor Day. Today is the beginning of week 4 for me at work. I have been easing into working again with a couple short weeks, but now it's 5 day weeks for a while. Hoping to learn a lot in the coming weeks!!