Chi town and life updates!

Oh my goodness… It’s been so long since I’ve written anything but better late than never!  I have so much to share and I’m gonna try to fill everyone in as much as possible.  The biggest highlight of last year… I got ENGAGED! I’ll have a whole separate post about that but first I wanted to share some pictures from our Chicago trip a few months ago.  Chicago had been on both of our travel lists for a while because mainly we like to eat! And eating we did, the food did not disappoint!

My favorites included:

Lou Malnati’s– this is seriously the best deep dish pizza.  I loved it so much I insisted we come here multiple times.  If you go to Chicago you HAVE TO STOP HERE!

Portillo’s Hot Dogs– Because you have to have a hot dog in Chicago

Wildberry Pancake and cafe– We found this breakfast spot and yelp and it was soo delicious!  Those wildberry pancakes are such a sweet a delectable meal.  It was pretty busy, but worth the wait.

When we travel we love to walk everywhere and just absorb the people and places.  There’s so much to see in Chicago, I recommend staying downtown since everything is walking distance.  We did take their subway transportation one time…

You guessed it- we went to a Cubs game!  Even though we are Yankee fans, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to see the famous Wrigley Field.  This is a great stadium and a really fun area.  There are tons of bars and restaurants surrounding the stadium so you should get their early so you can eat and pre-party!

This was such a picturesque city… look at those tulips!  I couldn’t get enough of them.

While we were there we decided to do a segway tour.  I’ve always wanted to do one but once we got to the location I started to get super nervous and was wondering how people balance on them.  It took about 15 minutes to get the hang of it but once we did we had the time of our lives.  Segways are such a fun and unique way to explore cities and I really recommend it.

That photo on the right is not edited, Lake Michigan is so pretty and really is that blue!

Other highlights of the trip include:  The sears tower, seeing the bean at Millennium park, and the Chicago art institute.  I’m not scared of heights, but once we were actually up there in the glass tower it was scary for some reason.  Luckily, I overcame my fear long enough to take some pics 😉

Below are also some of my favorite paintings from the museum.  We were there while they were doing Van Gogh’s Bedroom exhibit.  He painted three different versions of his bedroom and they are displayed in different parts in of the world.  This exhibit brings all three together at one time!

We couldn’t leave Chicago without seeing the infamous Bean!

I think Chicago was one of my top two destination places.  If the amazing food isn’t enough to pull you in, this is a city that’s full of stuff to do.  We were non-stop for four days and I feel still like I could go back and see more.  Hopefully I’ll get the chance to go again one day soon.

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Things I’m loving lately…

I haven’t really talked about some of my favorite things before, but I wanted to touch base and share a few new things that I’ve been really loving lately.

 

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  1.  Green Superfood– I’ve had this for a while and only started regularly drinking it.  It’s full of green super foods that are just supposed to help you achieve the recommended serving of fruits and vegetables.  I *try* to eat pretty healthy during the week, but I sometimes I seriously lack energy.  I read some reviews in which people said it helped with that and I decided to give it a shot and drink a scoop a day.  I mix it with water and just chug it.  The taste isn’t pleasant, but it’s not unbearable and you get used to it.   Honestly, after two weeks of regularly drinking it, I do think it has helped with my energy level.  I’m able to wake up and and do my earlier workouts more often and that 3PM dip in energy hasn’t been that bad.  I recommend the lemon lime flavor. bodyshred
  2. Jillian Michael’s Bodyshred–  I was the biggest fan of P90X a few years ago and was able to get really good results.  Unfortunately, once I moved to the east coast and began commuting a total of 3 hours to and from NYC for work, working out 60-90 minutes every day just wasn’t as realistic.   I wanted to find an actual program (with a calendar) that was around 30 minutes a day.  I have a few other Jillian Michael’s videos that I thought were challenging and I enjoyed which lead me to find this one.  After reading the reviews on this I decided to go for it and order it!  I’m only a week into it, but let me tell you, it will definitely make you sweat.  Even though it’s a little more than 30 minutes, it’s ALL working out… no breaks here.  I’m excited to continue this and see  how it goes!                                                                                                                                            girl on the train
  3. Girl on the Train (trailer)- I read this book a few months ago and LOVED it.  It was the kind of book that sucks you in and you finish it in 2 days because you can’t stop reading it.  Well, the full trailer just came out and it looks just as good!  For once, I’m hoping the movie actually does the book justice.  I would have never pictured Emily Blunt as the main character, but I’m really feelin her in the trailer.  Have you read this book?image
  4. Colourpop lipstick–  I was introduced to this brand a few months ago when my friend bought me some of their makeup for my birthday.  Let me just tell you, these lipsticks (especially the ultra satin & ultra matte) are amazing.  They’re cruelty free, not tested on animals, and only $6!! Yes you heard that right, only six buckeroos.  My favorite colors are in order (pictures below): Dopey, Mess Around, Scrooge (shown on me above), and Toolips.  These are long lasting and very smooth.  Also,  if you sign up you receive $5 off your first order.

Half Marathon & Updates

Hi All!  Wow, it feels like it’s been so long since I’ve written a post.  Last weekend the day finally came… I ran my half marathon!  I was so nervous the week before because my training schedule was really sporadic.  Between winter and busy weekends I really didn’t run as much as I wanted to.  I didn’t feel very prepared and set a very loose goal for myself of 2:30.

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The marathon was about an hour south from me and started at 8:30 am.  Luckily, we had great weather.  I was so nervous before we started, I must have went to the bathroom a million times haha.   The adrenaline definitely kicked in right as we started…

The run itself started out great; I felt good and was able to pace myself and breathe right.  It was so nice running with the ocean view and not to mention all of the large beach houses. Around mile 9 the pain started kicking in.  My back and hip both started hurting.  I pushed through it and did walk a little bit.  It was hard, like really hard, but I tried to run almost all of it and ended up finishing about a minute before my goal.   I think running 13.1 miles is one of the toughest things I’ve accomplished.

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Over 4,000 people registered

After it was over it was a huuuuuge weight lifted off my shoulders.  Months of mentally (and physically) preparing was finally done.  Before running it, I thought I might want to sign up for more, but after actually doing it I’m not so sure.   After the run was over, I was ready to celebrate… Don’t judge me. 😉

Yes, burgers and beer!  We went to lunch and scarfed down.  Then I went home to sleep… I was so tired and definitely had a weird limp going on after.   The rest of the weekend I really just spent relaxing and eating!

Later that week, Brian and I ended up going to a Yankees game!  My boss got free tickets from one of our vendors and luckily we were both able to attend.

Again, we got lucky with some really nice weather!  Dare I say summer is almost here? Even though the Yankees lost, we still had a fun night and got to enjoy the game from pretty good seats.

I hope everyone is having a good week!  We are getting ready to prepare for our trip to Chicago, which I will be writing about of course. 🙂

Wine Weekend!

Did everyone have a good weekend?  Mine was excellent!  A perfect combination of being productive and also relaxing.

Saturday morning I woke up early to get one last long run in before my half marathon this weekend.  Sadly, it was raining outside so I was forced to run indoors on the treadmill.  I used to really like running on a treadmill (to keep my pace), but since I’ve been training I enjoy the outdoors more.  Send me your positive vibes for the run this weekend, I’ll need it.

After my run, Brian and I decided to go to Brotherhood winery, America’s oldest winery!  We normally go to breweries and wanted to mix it up a bit.

 

We got there around 3pm as the rain was ending and signed up to do a tasting and tour.   For only $10 you get a full tour and five sample tasting.  Great deal right?  While we waited for the tour to start we explored for a bit.  This winery is gorgeous and has a full tasting room, chapel, gift shop, cafe, outdoor space for weddings, and a mansion also used for weddings.

The tour itself was about an hour long and went underground through the old cellars.  Our tour guide was so funny and sweet.  She kept saying how she drinks every day, maybe that’s the secret to staying young! 😉

This is considered the oldest winery because it stayed open during the prohibition.  The catholic church needed to get their wine from somewhere!

We ended up sampling three whites and two reds…. The reds were my favorite!  If you like sweet wines (I don’t) then you will definitely like this winery.

After the winery we decided to get sushi for dinner.  You’re probably thinking sushi and wine?  Yes I know they don’t normally pair well together, but Brian and I always talk about how we’ve never gone to sushi together so we finally decided to go.

We went to Okaeri, which is right near his house and got good reviews.  I actually don’t like sushi, but I do LOVE veggie rolls.  In addition to sushi, they also had a huge menu of chicken and beef items for people like me who don’t want seafood.  I ordered the veggie roll and sweet potato roll… both were delicious!  And a beer of course. 🙂

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Sunday morning we woke up and went for a 4 mile walk on a trail near his house.  We worked up an appetite to go to this new bakery, Dottie’s.  This bakery is heavenly- they have a unique assortment of sandwiches, salads, breakfast items, and desserts.

I ordered the curry chicken sandwich which was paired on this home made cranberry bread.  It seems like an odd combination, but it was super tasty.  We couldn’t leave the bakery without sharing a few cookies too!

After lunch we just relaxed and ran errands! Here is Brian’s dog, Riley, trying to give me a kiss!

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I hope everyone had a fun and productive weekend!  Before I end this, I just wanted to show you guys the little plant I’m growing!  My co worker gave me this little poppy a few weeks ago.  I’ve been watering it and watching it (quickly) grow… Haha I feel like it’s my baby! In a few weeks I will transfer it to a larger pot.  I can’t wait to actually see some flowers on here!

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Sweet tooth?

It’s almost Friday!  This week has been pretty cold/gloomy, but luckily it’s going by quickly.

I try to eat relatively healthy, especially during the week.  Lately for lunches I’ve been making my salad at home which includes: spring mix, spinach, carrots, broccoli slaw, turkey patty, and a mix of hummus/cottage cheese instead of dressing.  It’s actually pretty yummy!

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Daily lunch

I do, however, have a really big sweet tooth!  Because of this, I don’t like to bake too much because I’m worried I’ll end up eating too much… I’m sure this happens to everyone right? 😉

Lately, I’ve been on quite a bit of a baking kick because I’ve had the chance to share it with other people.  Over Easter weekend, I made this three layer Hummingbird cake which was a huge hit!  It has pineapple, banana, pecans, and a cream cheese frosting.  Isn’t she pretty?! Everyone LOVED this cake and it was relatively simple to make.

 

A week later I decided to continue my baking and make cupcakes.  I think my favorite thing to make is cupcakes because you can get pretty unique with the flavors/frosting combo.  I also think it’s easier to control the amount you eat with cupcakes.  This time, I ended up just making a basic vanilla cupcake with chocolate frosting.  I was bringing them into work and didn’t want to get too crazy with the flavors.  These tasted like sugar cookies in the form of a cupcake!  I wanted a bold chocolate-y flavor so I ended up adding more coco to the frosting.. can’t go wrong with more chocolate.

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Yes I  used my fancy piping set 🙂

While I was at the store buying my cupcake ingredients, I decided to just go all in and buy a few additional ingredients and make blueberry muffins.  I’ve made these a few times and knew how delicious they were.   These were yummy but they could have turned out better.  I didn’t properly measure the crumble topping (I already had the cinnamon and sugar combined from a past recipe) so it wasn’t too “crumbly”.   With these, you can really control the level of sweetness based on how much crumble you use.  The muffins themselves aren’t super sweet, so if you like them really sweet just add a lot of crumble on top.

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Is your mouth watering yet?  While I was scrolling through my pics I found a doozy!  Now I didn’t make this, but I just had to post a picture because of how spectacular it is.  Well really, I had to post it twice because it’s in my cover photo as well. Let me introduce you to a Piecaken.  NYC is always coming out with the next biggest craze, and when we saw this we just had to order it for an office party.  This is a three layer dessert which consists of 3 types of pie stuffed into a cake!  Seriously one of the best desserts I’ve ever had.

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Pound cake with pecan pie, pumpkin pie, apple turnover, and cinnamon buttercream

Are you craving sweets yet? I hope this post doesn’t send you straight to the dessert aisle! 😉

A day in Princeton

How is everyone’s week going?  For those of you in the east coast you know that it’s been chilly!  We got a few warm days last week, and now it’s back to winter weather.  I’m definitely ready for summer!

A while ago, I made plans with my friend Lisa to visit the Princeton campus.  Both of us had never been before, and planned to check it out with our boyfriends.  I love to go on weekend trips, but there’s also so many things to do that are driving distance! It was raining pretty hard in the morning, but thankfully it stopped by the time we went.

I had previously heard that Princeton was a beautiful campus, but I was blown away not only by how nice the campus was, but the town in general.    Here are some pics of the chapel, the stained glass windows were breathtaking!

After stopping in the chapel, we really just walked around and explored with no particular destination in mind.

I must have taken a million pictures of just beautiful trees and plants.  It almost felt like we were at the botanical gardens.

Am I though only one who loves cherry blossoms?  They have to be one of my favorite trees.

The building were so cool and old looking.  Could you imagine living here in college?

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I thought this tunnel of trees was really neat.  I could get used to this. 😉

More random pictures of the camps and trees of course!

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I’m not sure what this “house” is used for, but I thought it was so cute and southern looking.

After exploring the campus, we decided to walk around the town and grab something to eat.  We ended up going to Triump Brewing company for food and drinks.  I was too hungry to take pictures, but this is a great place to go if you’re with friends.  I wanted to try all their beers, but just went with the saison which was tasty.  It kind of reminded me of a beer version of chai tea, is that weird?

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After dinner we walked around and explored some of the little shops around there.  We decided to go to the Peacock Inn for one more drink.  Lisa and I saw it on  yelp, and just had to check it out.   It’s an old house that’s been converted to a hotel and restaurant.  The food there is pricey, which is why we only decided to grab a drink.  On the way there, we saw this beautiful little park with this line of trees.  The photos we took doesn’t even do it’s beauty justice.

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After walking for about 10 minutes we finally made it to the Peacock Inn.

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Unfortunately, we didn’t really get to explore the inside of it too much.  I’d love to check out the rooms!  I was pretty let down by the bar area, it was nice, but more modern than I was expecting.  I think they could have done more with it to go with the theme of the rest of the Inn.

We were exhausted after that and ended up calling it a night!

If you’re ever in the Princeton area, I recommend stopping and check it out.  Even if you only have a few minutes to explore, it’s worth it!

A weekend in Newport, RI

Another destination checked off the list!

Hi everyone!  I hope you all had a great weekend.  I’m really looking forward to Spring time and the warm weather that comes with it.   A few weeks ago, Brian and I planned to go away for the weekend for just one night.  I didn’t want to take anytime off work, so we decided to plan a night in Newport, Rhode Island since neither of us had been there before.

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Crossing the last bridge.. almost there!

It’s about a 3 hour drive from us, so we got on the road a little after 7am.   The ride was pretty smooth with no traffic.  As we got into RI, we crossed a few steep bridges with views of the water!

We finally made it a little after 10:30 am and parked right on Thames street.  We decided to stay at the America’s Cup Inn, which is a cute little hotel right in the heart of Thames street.  We came during off season so parking was free.   They were so friendly there and let us check in early.

After setting our stuff down we decided to walk along Thames Street and explore the wharf area with all the boats.  Thames is their main street with tons of shops, restaurants, and bars.  It’s also right next to the water.

Here are some photos of the wharf area and the scenery… I love those brick sidewalks.   This is definitely a sailing town.  It was too cold to see any boats out on the water, but the boat theme was everywhere.  I’d love to go sailing one day!

After walking around for a bit, we decided to grab a late breakfast at Diego’s, which is a Mexican restaurant down on the wharf.   I ended up having the Diego’s huevos and Brian had the Wharf Hash.  We both agreed the food was tasty with the right amount of spice.  We didn’t end up drinking, but this would have been the perfect place for a boozy brunch.  They had all sorts of fresh cocktail ingredients out on the bar.

 

We walked around some more and took more pictures (of course!)

 

After breakfast we decided to burn some calories and walk to the Cliff Walk.  If you go to Newport, this is the one thing you HAVE to see.   It was about a 2 mile walk just to get there, but we decided to go for it.  We are big walkers!

We took Thames street to get there… I just can’t get over those brick sidewalks & streets.  It makes the city feel so rustic and old, which I love.

We saw some of the cutest houses on our way there.  Am I the only person who loves looking at cute houses and thinking about my future home?  One day… 😉

Certain parts of the walk made me feel like I was in Europe again!  It just had a really sophisticated look to the area.

Not to mention some huge houses!  Some of them have been converted to various museums.  We didn’t stop at any of them because we were limited on time.  I bet this area will be beautiful during fall when the leaves are changing.

We finally got to the Cliff Walk!  The view was phenomenal, not to mention really peaceful.  I’m not sure how far the Cliff Walk actually is, but it takes you all along the coast.  Most of it is a paved pathway, but there were areas where you actually had to walk on rocks and large boulders… good thing we were wearing sturdy shoes.

Look at those huge houses with a view of the beach!  I bet it’s so amazing sitting outside with that view every day.

After exploring the Cliff Walk for a while, we decided to head back to our hotel room.  On the way we stopped at Midtown Oyster Bar.  I previously saw this restaurant on Yelp, and knew we had to stop in.  While I don’t like seafood, Brian loves it!  I wanted him to be able to eat some yummy seafood.

He tried various oysters and clams there and said they were amazing!  I just had a light salad since I knew we were doing dinner later.   We also had a few beers, I was so surprised/happy that they had the Sam Adams Summer Ale there already.  That’s one of my favorite beers that I didn’t discover until the end of summer last year.   That means summer is right around the corner, right?

We were exhausted after that and went to our hotel room to rest/shower for dinner.   On dinner, we decided on Brick Alley. On our way there, we stopped and watched the sunset.  It was so beautiful and reminded me of the sunsets back home in CA.

Even though it was off season, the restaurant was packed!  After waiting 30 minutes we just decided to get burgers to go and relax back in our room.  The burgers themselves were just okay, nothing special.  We were both so tired from waking up early that we went to bed around 9pm!

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Waiting at the restaurant…

The next morning we woke up and checked out around 9am.  We decided to go to the Corner Cafe for breakfast, because it was within walking distance and a friend recommended it.   Apparently, this place is super popular because there was a 25 min wait.  We decided to stick it out since it had good reviews.  Once we were sat I ordered coffee and the light breakfast burrito which came with egg whites and veggies inside.  It also came with a side of yogurt & granola.  Brian ordered an egg/shrimp special and a pancake on the side.   The home fries were amazing but the rest of the food was just average.  Plus, I had to ask them for more coffee 3 times.   I need my coffee in the morning!

 

Before we left we decided to take a drive on Ocean Drive, this is a 10 mile scenic street with views of the water and huge mansions!  The photo above does not even do the house justice.  It’s fun to look at houses and wonder who lives there.  After looking at the mansions we headed home!

Overall, Newport is a beautiful, beach vibe town and I’d recommend stopping there if you’ve never been before.   Hopefully we’ll get a chance to go back once the weather warms up a bit.

How was your weekend?!

 

I’m not a runner…

… But here I find myself one month away from running a half marathon.

It all started last Thanksgiving. I signed Brian and I up for a 5k turkey trot because I wanted us to do something active before eating all day. I had run a 10k a few years back, but he had never run any type of race before. This seemed like something different for us to do together.

Needless to say, we had a really great time together! I was surprised by how well we did and man, nothing beats that runners high!

After that, I wanted to continue running and challenging myself. I’m relatively active and try to workout regularly. I didn’t really train for the 5k, except a few brief runs on the treadmill.  I researched half marathons in the area and decided on Runapalooza in Asbury Park, NJ.  It was 4 months away and that would give me enough time to train.

Thankfully, my good friend Lisa decided to sign up with me and we’ve been running together every Saturday. It’s so much easier and more fun when you do it with a friend! Slowly but surely, we’ve increased our distance. The park we run at has mile markers which makes gaging our distance easier. I also use the app, map my run, to track my distance/pace.  Here is a few pictures of where we run.  It’s so great when you have a running buddy to share accomplishments with!

As of this morning, we are up to 8+ miles

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Just training for the marathon has inspired me to be more active. Even when I’m not running, I’m trying to increase my walking distance. Brian and I walked 15+ miles!

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If you’re thinking about training for any type of race, here are some tips I recommend. I’m not a trainer, but these are just things that have worked for me.

  1. Research what race you’d like to do. Make sure you review the map and see if it’s flat or has hills. Also, make sure you have enough time to train- you want to be able to get through it. Lastly, keep in mind what the weather will be like not only during your race, but also during training. I signed up for one in spring, but sticking to my training schedule during winter has been challenging.
  2. Find a training schedule online that will help you reach your goals. It’s also good to run with a friend, or a running club to keep you accountable. Or, you can download a running app to track your progress/share with friends.
  3. Hydrate hydrate hydrate before every run! And I don’t mean just drink a glass of water. I try to drink three large bottles of water within the hour before my run. I have found that this significantly improves my performance.
  4. Eat about 30 min to an hour before you run, especially in the morning. I’m never hungry in the morning but I force myself to eat at least a banana before my runs. Find out which foods work best for you. I used to eat oatmeal but found a banana with peanut butter actually fuels me better.
  5. This may sound gross, but go to the bathroom ( number 1 & 2) before you go running. About 80% of runners experience stomach discomfort while they run.  Trust me, needing to go to the bathroom during the run is the worst.  Not only does it mess up your rhythm, but depending on where you are you may not even have access to a bathroom.
  6. Lastly, force yourself to breathe properly and pace yourself. Really concentrate on breathing in through your nose, and out through your moth. This is challenging in cold weather but if you continue to do this throughout your run you will be able to go further.

The biggest challenge I’ve come across is trying to stick to my training schedule. Based on the schedule, I should be running 4-5 times a week. Due to winter, and not wanting to work out after work, I’ve been running about 1-2 times a week. I still do my regular workouts in the mornings, but struggle to run long distances at night. Luckily, this has been okay for me. I’ve still been able to consistently increase my distance.

The half marathon is only one month away, wish me luck! I’ll definitely be doing a whole post about that when the time comes. 😀

Weekend update

Hi friends! How was everyone’s weekend?

Mine was busy, busy, and busy! This was the type of weekend that went by way too quickly (don’t they all ;))

Lets rewind to Friday. Normally I just relax at home after work, but this Friday I met up with my friends Lisa & Laura in Hoboken. If you’re unfamiliar with the area, Hoboken, NJ is right across the Hudson from Manhattan. It’s just a quick train ride from the city. We needed up eating at this restaurant called Blue Eyes, which is this cute little Italian spot right on the water. It has a nice intimate ambiance and great views of the Manhattan skyline.

We got there right as the sun was setting, look at that view of the Empire State Building!

We ended up sharing a bottle of Pinot noir and each getting our own pizza. We must have been starving because we finished the majority of it. My pizza came with broccoli rabe, sausage, and mozzarella. We were too full for dessert but Laura and I ordered espresso and Lisa ordered Nutella cappuccino.. She let us steal and few sips and it was tasty!

 

Saturday mornings I usually wake up pretty early so I can meet up with Lisa to go running. We are running our first half marathon in April (separate blog post later) and like to do our long runs Saturday mornings.  My intention was to run but I just got so distracted and time got away from me. In the morning I laid in bed and drank coffee.. I don’t know what it is about laying in bed and drinking coffee, but it’s so relaxing to me. I’m always on the go, so Saturday mornings is my time to unwind.

After relaxing with my coffee and writing my last blog post I decided to do a face mask and then do a quick p90x workout to burn off last nights dinner! I never really do face masks but my friend gave me a skin brightening one as a gift, my skin did feel a tad bit brighter afterwards! Sometimes when I’m short on time (or don’t feel like working out) I’ll pop in a Jillian Michaels or P90x dvd and do a workout at home. Something is better than nothing!

Yes I got the mask all over my shirt 😦

After working out and showering, I got ready to head to Brian’s house for the rest of the weekend. We actually bought kayaks online because they were on sale and needed to go pick them up.

These are the ones we got (photo taken from Dicks sporting goods website.)

I ordered a roof rack but we were limited on time and unsure about putting it together so we rented a Uhaul to go pick them up instead.

That thing had some power to it!

After finally getting the kayaks home we relaxed and watched an episode of jeopardy. Yes we are major nerds and love that show! Brian also had made me a cake in the morning so I had a piece of that. Cake you say? Well he had lost a bet and that’s what the wager was! Mmmm chocolate Nutella :p  The cake itself was really moist, but the frosting was a tad on the sweet side and I couldn’t really taste the Nutella flavor.  I give him an A for effort though!

Later on in the night we ended up going to our friends house to watch the UFC fight. I didn’t take any pictures because I was pretty much falling asleep on their couch. The fights didn’t even start until 10pm! I did manage to stay awake and the fights were pretty good, did any one watch them?

 

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My shameless car selfie on the way to watch the fights.  My mascara was on point! 🙂

Sunday morning we slept in and then had coffee and breakfast. We baked eggs inside avocados and ate them with wheat English muffins, they were healthy and delicious.  It took some work, but I got Brian hooked on my coffee in bed tradition.

Don’t let Riley’s cute face fool you, he’s a trouble maker!

In the afternoon we met up with a few friends and went to Magnify brewing in Fairfield, NJ. We both like beer, and it was fun checking out this new place! I loved the decor and the beers were tasty, we split a few flights so I ended up being able to sample most of them.

After the brewery we just ate dinner with Brian’s family and hung out.. After that long weekend we fell asleep early!

What did you do over the weekend?

I hope everyone has a good day and enjoys this warm weather!

“Are you going to move back home?”

That was the one thing everyone asked after my breakup.

I had been living in the east coast for about 6 months when my relationship ended.  My friends and family naturally expected me to move back home.  What they didn’t realize is, I didn’t just move out here to be with him, I moved out here to make a fresh start and a more fulfilling life for myself.

Shortly after I moved from CA to NJ, I knew he wasn’t the right person for me.  A relationship should be fun and easy (especially in the beginning).  It shouldn’t be a daily struggle. That’s when I started focusing on myself and building a life out here.  I began my job at a company that manufacturers stationery, made it a point to meet new people and build friendships, started developing hobbies and trying to see new places.  Once the relationship actually did end, I was okay.  I gained this sense of independence and I knew I could make it out here on my own.  About a year after that I met Brian and finally found out how it feels to be with the right person.  I love that he is always up for any type of an adventure and enjoys exploring new places with me.

Here are some of the new things experiences I’ve had since living here:

Kayaking- Brian and I went Kayaking in the Hudson to Bannerman Castle.  This is an old military property that used to store ammo, weapons, etc.  Since this was our first time, we went with a guided tour group.  The choppy waters led to a really great workout, our arms and backs were so sore the next day!

 

The Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania- If you love nature, or anything botanical related, this is the place to go.  It was about a 3 hour drive from me, but well worth it. It consists of 1,077 acres of gardens, woodlands, and meadows and takes almost all day to get through it all.

 

My first Yankee and Giants game-  I wasn’t a huge sports fan before moving to the east coast, to be honest I’m still not.  But my appreciation for sports has definitely grown,  the passion New Yorkers have to ensure their team wins is contagious.   It’s especially fun to get a group together and go to the games, or watch them on TV.

 

 

Hiked to the top of Mohonk Mountain- When I say hiked, it was more like we climbed the mountain.  We went on a trail called Labyrinth and Lemon squeeze which consisted of climbing ladders, squeezing through crevices, and straight up rock climbing.  Once we (finally) made it to the top, that view made it worth it.

Learning how to Golf & Rollerblade- Yes, I had roller-skated before in the past.  In middle school we used to go to the roller rink on Friday nights (we were so cool right? ;))  It’s been years since I’ve had anything so unstable on my feet, but I decided to give it another try.  Golfing is also something I’ve been wanting to get into.  Hopefully I can fit lessons into my schedule this summer!

Lastly, and I know this isn’t actually doing something new, but having the chance to experience actual seasons- This one was big for me, was I going to be able to handle the snow?  Being from Southern CA, the weather is almost always sunny and certainly never gets worse than a heavy rain.  I do have to say, it’s nice to finally be able to experience the different seasons and having the chance to see snow.  Having summer weather only a few months out of the year actually makes you appreciate it more and gives you something to look forward to.  And the snow?  You get used to it.  The best part of seasons, FALL!  The changing of the leaves is a sight that never gets old.

Staying here, and pushing through the hard times was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  Being able to succeed after making such a big change proves to myself that I can do anything.   I’ve set goals for myself that I never thought was possible and know that even if things don’t work out, I will be okay.