All Grown Up

Today’s Happy Note: An excursion to the new Trader Joe’s in Chelsea!  It was awesome; spacious and calm and totally the opposite of the Union Square Trader Joe’s.  Not frenetic and crazed.  Loved it.

Pretty good day.  Busy but not overwhelmingly so — those are my favorite kind of days.  I won’t lie though: I may be 20 years old, a senior in college, and holding down two “real” jobs, but there are moments when I wish I was twelve again, reading in my backyard and running through the sprinkler all summer long.  I used to have the house all to myself everyday of summer from when I was about twelve on.  I would make brownies, reread the whole Harry Potter series, and dance outside when it rained.

I kinda want that back.  Being an adult is hard.

Today started with a brunch for Second Job, which ended yesterday.  I feel really sad about it actually.  Organizing and overseeing within the framework of a non-profit has been something I have truly fallen in love with.  My students are my babies, my coworkers are heroic.

Also: I love huevos rancheros.

Cookie the size of my head.

That is oats topped with chocolate and peanut butter.  I know many bloggers have said this before so it kinda isn’t original but: PB and chocolate is my favorite food combination in the entire world. No questions asked.

Other favorite food combinations: hummus and cheddar cheese, carrots and almond butter, mango and coconut, salmon and asparagus.

Your favorite food combos?

I ended the day with a nice little workout: 20 minutes of arm strength and a 6 mile run with lots of hills.  Currently watching movies, snuggling in bed, and thinking of fun things to do this weekend.  Any suggestions?

I need an Adventure!  This is my first free weekend in a while.

What are your plans?

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Recommitting

Today’s Happy Note: It’s the weekend.  Somehow, four day work weeks always feel especially long.  My body never quite gets into the right rhythm.  I haven’t been this excited about a weekend in a long time.  With that said, I am feeling 95% better and am planning on enjoying this weekend and cramming it full of goodness and such.

The combination of recovering from a serious illness and the unbearable heat/humidity has left me exhausted. If I had to draw a picture of the way I feel right now, it would be a maple tree being tapped for syrup.  Endless syrup would be flowing out of an open gash in the tree until it was sucked dry.   I am the empty tree.

Bad tree metaphors aside (I have a minor obsession), I. Hate. Summer.  I am ready for it to be over.  My favorite season is fall, followed by spring, winter, and summer, at a distant last.  I overslept this morning, was late for work, and was still too drained after work to do anything besides collapse on my bed and sleep for three hours.  I had made plans for a quick run, yoga, and a meet up with a friend. Tired Caronae=Weakling Caronae=Anti-Social Caronae=Frustrated Caronae. Therefore when I am tired like this I end up frustrated.

I can’t even describe to you the amount of guilt I feel after a few days sans exercise.  I walk about two miles every day getting to/from work and doing errands.  But in my mind, it doesn’t “count.”  Regardless of whether it counts, I want to be moving.  It’s a healthy outlet that relieves my frustration.

So I am making a recommitment to my health. Less mindless eating, more fun exercise.  More fresh fruits and veggies (although my digestion is still not back to 100%, so this will happen slowly), less lying on the couch in a half-dead position watching TV.  Pretty simple.  This is NOT an obsessive goal or a calorie-counting goal or even a weight loss goal (although that might be nice since I did gain weight while sick).  This is just me consciously recommitting to the healthy lifestyle that I know I truly enjoy.  I am giving myself guidelines, not rules.  My goal is to have more energy and to feel better about myself.

Guidelines:

  • Water.  Drink it.  A lot.  I have a 32 ounce bottle and would like to get through it at least twice a day.
  • Strength training: 2-3 times a week.  Lifting makes me feel strong and toned and is, quite simply, fun.
  • One exercise class a week: this is a nice way to switch things up.
  • Cardio: 4-6 times a week.
  • Yoga: 1-2 times a week.
  • Positive self-talk (“gee  Caronae, you look great in this dress today!”): infinite times per week.
  • Real meals: no picking.  Sit down and eat the damn meal.  More veggies and real food in the evenings (this is where I really struggle).
  • Take advantage of the weekends: come up with some new, awesome, longer workouts.

So that’s the plan, roughly.  I might add more guidelines as I go along.  We shall see.  If any readers want to join me, that would be fun! It’s always nice to feel like you are doing a challenge with a friend.

Anyone have any recommendations?  I am certainly open to your suggestions!  What are your favorite ways to “get back on track”?

Okay.  Enough boring stuff.  Onto more important things:

Like blueberry banana smoothies:

And Mr. Softee ice cream cones (this was my Cookie Friday, although really, the whole rest of the day ended up being a Cookie Friday of sorts.  See recommitment plan above.)

Cherry-dipped ice cream cones is one processed thing I will never give up.  Another thing: the occassional goldfish (not the swimming kind, the cute little snacking kind).  Someone had these in our office today and my hand kept sneaking into the bag.  I’m sure they can’t be that bad for me.

The up-closeness of this photo is cleverly designed to disguise the size of my portion.  Which was big.  But I was feling genuinely snacky.  I balanced it out with a power lunch!

Delicious salad beast with spinach, peppers, carrots, plain raw tofu (surprisingly yummy) and sweet poppy seed dressing.

What was your Cookie Friday treat today?

Off to write!  Goodnight and happy weekend!

Yoga, Summer Foods, New Friends!

Today’s Happy Note: Weekly Trader Joe’s visit. 🙂  I always find new fun treats at TJ’s.  It’s my favorite.  Bonus: super cute checkout boy who randomly grew up in a small town near the small town where I grew up!

No post yesterday because  of emergency work business.  Gah.  One of the downsides of having two jobs means that I’m kind of always “on call.”  If it’s not emails from patrons at my office, it’s phone calls with students from the other job or paperwork or photocopies.  I had a lot of trouble getting up early to workout this week.  I feel like maybe it was a hormonal thing — normally I can drag myself out of bed around 7 but this week I even slept through my alarm a few times, or turned it off altogether.  This rarely happens.  My guess is hormones or stress.  I have had plenty of me time so I know that can’t be the issue…

Workouts!  Yesterday I did a 4 mile walk, 10 minutes with my new kettleball, and 20 minutes yoga in the park.  Today about 2 miles walking and an hour yoga class with my favorite teacher.

I have not wanted to run much lately, probably because of the humidity.  I already sweat a lot (related to my PCOS) and intense humidity makes that even worse.  Hopefully I can maybe do a nice short run and swim tomorrow and I might have a surprise for you on Sunday!  You’ll have to wait and see. 🙂

Fun eats!

Yogurt and frozen fruit go so nicely together in summer.  I am loving frozen berries, cherries, and mango chunks.

Those are beans.  Not poop.

Cookie Friday a la Tina!  This had vanilla, macadamia, and coconut.  Twas very tasty, although I’m sort of feeling a little overloaded on carbs (I just had fruit and two bowls of cereal for dinner).  Sugar coma.  Meh.

Tomorrow I am going to have a spectacular adventure!  That might mean two adventures in one weekend if my Sunday Surprise Adventure turns out as well!  Wow.  That’s a lot of Adventuring.  Maybe I’ll meet my adventure soulmate.  Or just a new friend.  I think it’s really important to make and cultivate new friendships.  I can’t be close to every individual I meet, but a few new rewarding friendships never hurt anybody.

1.  What’s your favorite summer food? I am loving the frozen fruit, coconut, cold milk/yogurt, crunchy carrots, fresh spinach/other leafy greens, and sorbet!

2. Do you make new friends easily?  Do you have a lot of friends or just a few? I like to have a decent amount of friends but too many people at once will overwhelm me.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!  What Adventures do you have planned?

Adventure Friday: Milk And Cookies And Yoga

Today’s Happy Note: Listening to my body.  I had this whole big workout planned for the evening, but when I got home from work I realized I wanted to do something a bit simpler!  At first I was nervous to ditch my plans for an hour long run followed by an hour yoga class.  I just went to the class and am so glad I did.  It was the perfect amount of movement!  Often, I am afraid to do a shorter, less intense workout (although yoga is actually pretty hard!).  But my body knows when it needs a break and I’m proud of myself for listening.

Perhaps a long run is in store for tomorrow.  We shall see.

I also walked a few miles today all over the place.  I went in search of dumbbells at TJMaxx but was unsuccessful. Where else should I look for low-priced sports equipment?

Announcements, announcements, announnnnnncements!

I have decided to stop tracking my calories!  May not sound like a big deal but it seems significant to me.  I’ve been doing it for a few months and I think I’m at a point where I have a better idea of what portions should be, what kind of food combinations keep me full, and how much I need on different days.  SparkPeople was definitely useful, but I think that if I go too much further with it, it might become obsessive and I do NOT want that.  I have become more intuitive with my food choices and am excited to improve even more, learning how to eat when I’m hungry and nourishing myself well.  With things like raspberry sorbet, of course.

So what was that splendiferous looking dessert from yesterday?

Warmed-up brownie (that I somehow burnt in the microwave) topped with raspberry sorbet and crunchy peanut butter.  That’s it.  So simple, yet so splendid.  I feel like this was a really eloquent dessert.  Does that make any sense?

I used this kind of sorbet:

It’s called Talenti and the flavor is Roman Raspberry.  Smooth, icy, sweet, deep.  Yum.  Okay, so I have a story now.  And I like to talk so I am going to tell it to you.

I thought that I didn’t like sorbet — I mean why not just go for the Ben and Jerry’s, right?  But when I was “home” (in MI) at my mother’s house, she bought this about two days before I left.  She bought it especially for me and I didn’t get a chance to try it (I was out for dinners, didn’t want it for dessert, etc.).  For some reason, this sorbet took on a massive emotional meaning for me.  I literally got to my apartment in NY and cried over it.  I wanted to be with my mother, eating it in the backyard in the evening, watching the peonies open.  I still want this.  But I live here, in NY, by myself right now.  And I confess: I am lonely.  I bought the sorbet a few days ago because it made me feel closer to “home.”  I’ll probably make a picnic for myself for the holiday.  And eat alone in the park.  My friends aren’t here right now.  Loneliness is a terrible feeling.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  Being lonely and anti-social has, time and again, proved to be one of the worst things for my mental health.  I seriously spent like ten minutes talking to the cashier at TJ’s this evening.  I will have to find ways to be social and meet new people this summer.  It’s not really an option.  I need people.  Making friends as an adult is hard.

Eats hodgepodge!

I like it when egg yolks get golden yellow, and they’re somewhere between drippy and solid.

Adventure Friday

Being that today is Cookie Friday and Adventure Friday (as every Friday is, I suppose!), why not combine them?  I wanted to run to a new bakery, but just was not in a running mood so I combined a trip to Milk and Cookies with my visit to Yoga Vida. It was a pleasant little end of the week adventure.  Not too strenuous, but still invigorating.  When are cookies and yoga not invigorating, though? 🙂

Milk and Cookies is a bakery near Union Square that is pretty well known for their cookies.  I think Ada first told me about it actually.  I went to their smaller branch which is actually inside of another store.  The woman behind the counter was really warm and welcoming.  She smiled and let me take my time and even pulled the rack of cookie sheets closer so I could get a good look at my options.  So far, so good.  I thought chocolate chip caramel, chocolate mint, and chocolate chip peanut butter sounded good.  I settled on the latter.

The good: Nice chunks of chocolate and peanuts, not too thin or too thick, decent flavor, perfect size.

The bad: The texture was off — there was no chewy, gooey soft factor and the flavor was just okay.  Too dry.  Peanuts were bland.

Overall, I think I’d rather have a bigger, undoubtedly more calorie dense cookie like the one I had from Levain.  This one was just okay.  My home made ones are definitely better.  With that said, I would love to go back to Milk and Cookies and try some of their other flavors, which may be better. Anyone else been there?

I would describe the flavor as dense, slightly chewy (but not enough), too typical, and not sweet enough or bold enough.

Home Is Where…

Today’s Happy Note: Family dinner!  I have not had a beautiful, home cooked family dinner with all members of my family (mom, dad, sister, me, cat) present at the same time in months, if not a year or more.  It was delicious, comforting, and loving.  🙂  And yes, my parents are divorced.  They’re still best friends!

Vegetables galore!

Pad thai cooking away!  My sister has the best pad thai recipe outside of Thailand.

My sister and me! Some people seem to think we’re twins, others think we look nothing alike.  She’s actually five years older.

Exercise:

Yesterday (Friday): 6 mile run plus four hours worth of MOVING  which I did entirely by myself.  It was a serious workout.  At one point a friend helped me lift a huge box back onto a dolly, and another friend returned a rolling bin for me, but everything else was all me.  Independent women rule.

Today (Saturday): Travelling with heavy bags.  Hey, that’s serious — I was lugging my bags around for five hours.  Won’t go into the details of why (JFK airport=evil) but suffice it to say my arms are feeling it right now.

So as you’ve probably noticed by now, yesterday I MOVED and today I am “HOME”. But, proximity does not imply relationship!  I did move, but not back home.  I moved into my apartment for the summer and then flew back to Michigan today.  Needless to say it’s been an exhausting two days, and I want to go cuddle with my sister and have some ice cream right about now.

Up in the air!

Random selection of eats from the past few days:

Biscoff.  In honor of Kath!

Cookie Friday and caramel fudge lite choice in one day.  It was that kind of a day.

Storytime: Home

Two and a half years ago, after about a semester of living in NYC, I felt decently at home there.  I knew that I felt a special connection to the city and that it would probably be an extraordinarily meaningful place for me.  I knew how I felt looking across the rivers, finding beautiful buildings, or noticing a depth of cultural diversity.  I knew these things made me thrilled and happy and I even referred to the city as my “home.”  Well, actually, I thought of the city as one of my homes, with my town in Michigan and the house that I grew up in being my other home.  They were both my special places.  In Michigan, I have open spaces with the most lovely pumpkin fields and running trails that wind lazily through meadows.  In New York, I have wonderful buzzing streets and 20-story buildings and thousands of restaurants in reach.

My father picked me up from the airport this afternoon.  As we made our way along the highway and then along smaller city roads and then onto the little side street where my house sits — looking content and almost serene — I had one of the biggest realizations I’ve had in a long while: New York is not only where I live now.  It is my home.  New York being my home was a story that I told myself for the last three years, and in a small sense, it was true.  But in the larger sense — of “home” being where my life and love and passions and future and everyday joy comes from — I wasn’t quite ready to declare the city my home.  It is now, and I suddenly knew this quite clearly today.

At the same time I feel a deep longing for my family.  I am not a child, but I am still a rather young person: I’m twenty years old.  I have been living on my own for three years now and I still miss them deeply, daily.  Many people refer to “home” as a place where their family is, and in that sense, I will always have a home in Michigan.  But in 5-10 years I think I will have my own family and I believe that it will surely be in New York.  With that said, being here, with the three people in the world for whom I have the most powerful, beautiful feeling of love, is a gift.  My mother, sister, and I have not lived together in seven years.  That’s more than a third of my life.  I intend to treasure this time with them (a week and a half) as I suspect that, outside of vacations, it is the last time we will be together in one place.  And not any place either, our original home.  Where we climb crab apple trees and jump from thick ropy willows and hide under the sleeping bags in the basement and sit at the same mahogany walnut wood dining table that we have sat at since before I was born.

The conclusion?  I love both places — among other places that are meaningful,including a special spot in Northern Michigan and Ottawa, the capital of Canada — but New York has moved from a place that I live to a home.  When I walk down Broadway and know exactly how the ground feels at every street corner, I know this.  I feel it.  When I lie down in the sun in Central Park I feel a bit like a compass, sometimes.  Like a compass that knows exactly where it’s pointing and wants to point in that direction.  I sprawl out into a star shape, my limbs different places in my life.  And through all this, I am centered in the city.  The gorgeous, flying city.  City like a flock of birds.