Orange Theory

Gooooood morrrrrning!! It has been a while. 

We have had a great weekend so far. On Friday night, my dad was coming through town so Mike and I walked to meet him for dinner. One great thing about having a dad who travels a lot for work is that I feel like I get to see him a lot more now than I would normally, being an hour and a half away. The next morning, Mike said I had a friend coming to surprise me and it ended up being my nieces and sister in law which I was so thrilled about. I have really been missing them lately. 

After, I went to my first Orange Theory class for a fundraiser for Mass General Hospital and The March of Dimes. I was feeling somewhat nervous because I didn’t know what to expect and was somewhat regretting having eaten half a jar of cookie butter.

The idea of these classes, if you haven’t done one before, is that they strap a heart monitor on you and then you are hooked up to a big screen in the workout area where you can see your stats. When your heart rate gets to a certain number, you enter the orange, which is where you want to try and stay for the majority of the class. There are three stations, the erg (brought me back to my college rowing days), the treadmill and weights. It actually ended up being really fun and a lot less scary than I anticipated. They bump loud music (a lot of which also brought me back to my college days) and a man yelled encouraging words through the microphone at us. Me and another girl really struggled to get anywhere near the orange, unfortunately. I felt like I was working hard…especially when it came to lifting weights which I neverrrrrrr do, but it didn’t seem to make a difference for our heart rates. There was a period of time where we remained in the gray zone (resting heart rate) while running which was a bit baffling. 

While my wallet can not support 30 dollar classes (I think I heard that is what they cost per class), overall, it was fun to workout with other people and support two awesome causes. 

 

Birthday Babes

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This past week we celebrated my mom’s birthday on Thursday and Mike’s on Friday. It is only fitting that their birthdays would be so close together since they are kindred spirits. I took a drive to see my mom Thursday night to celebrate and it was fun to eat and chat and just have some gal time. Mike’s birthday was great too. Except he also had a lot of speed bumps over the weekend. Poor fella.

On Thursday night, I got text from him as I was about to head back home “I just got a letter from the IRS saying I owe $4,000”. Mike, for those who don’t know, likes mischief. So my initial reaction was fairly tame since I thought he was trying to play a trick. As the flurry of texts began to come in from him, I soon realized he was not joking and that H&R block had made a big oops. I began to feel hot and panicky. Just the day before we had decided I would likely need to have a surgery that would cost who knows how much…but based on the fact that the doctor’s appointment alone cost me $400…it wasn’t looking good for our wallets. I didn’t want to upset Mike any more than he already was and I was hesitant to contact our parents since I did not feel calm, cool and collected but more like a shrieking pterodactyl (who knew there was a p in that word?). So I called my brother. As soon as he picked up the phone I turned into a blubbering mess and explained my feelings of panic. My brother is a really good person to talk to when one is feeling emotional because his affect doesn’t change much no matter how much you hoot and holler. You know when you are on the verge of tears and someone hugs you and it makes you break down faster? With my brother, it is somewhat the opposite in that you will feel fairly unstable if you continue to weep like a willow while he is calmly sitting on the other line. My tears immediately evaporated and we moved right on to the next order of business. If it sounds like I am dissing his approach, I am not. And in fact, it is what I needed in that moment. He is a straight shooter and quickly goes in to problem-solving mode which is sometimes what one needs. Anyways, I spent the whole ride home praying to have things work out…and on Saturday they did! Mike met with the tax people and they fixed their mistake.

On Mike’s ACTUAL birthday, I made surprise plans to take him to The Loeb Boathouse in Central Park. Last time we were in central park, Mike had referenced wanting to go there but not having been able to make reservations because it books up pretty far in advance. I squirreled that info away and reserved us a table for his birthday. After work on Friday I hopped on the train and planned to meet him like I did the last time, just a block or two away from Grand Central, so I couldn’t get too lost. Right before arriving at the station I got a text from him that something had gone wrong at work and he would be there for a while. I walked the same couple of blocks that I did last time and then went and waited inside the H&M that I had gone to last time. I wandered the store for about 20 minutes mustering up the courage to try and find my way to his work. I put the address in google maps but the little dot was bopping all over the map and clearly that wasn’t going to work. I had to use my spidey senses to make my way there. Just when I had determined I was very lost, I looked up and saw a sign he had pointed out once. Eureka! I found his building! I waited outside for an hour and a half until he emerged…smiling as always 🙂

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We had an awesome dinner at the boathouse which for me, mainly consisted of carbs, followed by sugary carbs for dessert and then walked back through central park. On Sunday we returned for the bacon and beer festival. I had gotten him tickets in an attempt to try and do something new and unique (and what guy doesn’t like beer and bacon?). It was a blast but not our prettiest moment. It is probably for the best I don’t post the pictures from that day. Happy Birthday, Bud!

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The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Did anyone else read Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day as a child? From the second Alexander wakes up his day is bummer after bummer. Today was like that (I wouldn’t call it terrible, horrible since no one got hurt but you get the gist). Sometimes when I have bad days, I think about that book. I even catch myself saying in my head “some days are like that, even in Australia”. If you have never read it, then you have no idea what I am talking about.

I don’t like to be a complainer but today STUNK. I knew it was going to stink when I was having my normal morning phone chat with my mom on the way to work and burst into tears (here’s hoping none of my co-workers witnessed this on their way in to work). I just could not get my head above water. Every time I walked into my office the voicemail light was blinking (that red light makes me so anxious), I messed up multiple VERY important tasks and I was late to just about every meeting after getting caught up in other meetings. Do you ever have those days where it seems like all you do is run around yelling “SORRY!”? There were a few points throughout the day where I thought “Should I hide under my desk until the day is over?”. I didn’t. But probably should have. Anyways, as much as I know how important it is to vent, I also know we all have stressful days and it is really unappealing to listen to someone complain when you are just trying to get through your own stuff (seems kind of backwards for a counselor to say, right?). Actually, the other morning I put on a random workout video on YouTube and was taken aback to hear the lady complaining THE ENTIRE TIME. I am no stranger to huffing and puffing through a workout however, I needed motivation from this youtuber and she was being a real drag. She spent the video saying how hard the workout was, talking about all her injuries and breathing heavily into the camera. Rather than feeling pumped and getting in a hardcore workout, I ended up staring blankly at the screen and feeling melancholy.

Anyways. That story kind of got off track but I just thought it was weird and I wanted to share it.

My point is. We all have our stuff and it is ok to take a minute to vent but then it is time to move right along. I actually wasn’t in a bad mood considering the stinky day (perhaps they call that defeat?). And once I left the building I was done with that portion of my day and I was determined to have a better finish to the day. And I did! Sometimes I feel like I can will myself to have a good day. Other days I get chased through the parking garage by a terrifying drug addict.

So like I said…things turned around! My favorite staff member was working at the front desk of our apartment. He told me that Mike and I made an impression on him because we are always so smiley (also probably from the time he caught Mike “borrowing” a stack of paper cups and Mike got scared and put both his hands up like he had just been caught by the police) so that was pleasant to hear. Then I went for a walk with my friend Bridget. We seem to be in really similar places in our lives right now with work and getting married and such so it is just easy to have endless conversations. And THEN I was surprised with Mike coming home early. He opened his birthday gift from his parents and it was the Ancestry DNA test for BOTH OF US! I literally was just saying to Bridget two hours ago, how badly I wanted this. Mike and I jumped for joy! I sure hope we don’t discover we are related. I will let you know in 6-8 weeks.

So here are some things, in my humble opinion, that can make a bad day better:

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Everybody’s Working For The Weekend

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This weekend we took a trip to Cape Cod with Mike’s parents to check out our rehearsal dinner spot. It was so exciting to see the place and sit down and talk about food (when is that not exciting??). We also stayed in the hotel that Mike had always stayed in when he was young. It was so fun/cute to hear about stories and see how excited he got remembering various details. It is pretty amazing how fast time goes by. It makes me think about how important it is to not wish time away (even on the dreaded Mondays). Mike had told me how Chip Gaines (I love him) from Fixer Upper likes to live every day like it is the weekend and I think that is such a great way to be. I have been trying to think about how to make this happen more and was trying to understand why that feels so complicated. So I broke it down….What does the weekend mean for me?

1. Waking up whenever I want (which is usually 6am- thanks Fin and Sophie)
2.Going out to dinner (this one we could do sometimes but I try and be healthy during the week)
3. No time constraints for activities (this is tough because we only have a few hours at night)
4. No work (our apartment building insists we pay rent, unfortunately)
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So…that stuff makes it a bit challenging to live like it is the weekend…but not impossible. So I thought about what is in my control and what I can work on. Here is what I came up with.
1. Eating in different locations-still cook healthy meals but take it places: on the porch, picnic in the park, overlooking the water, etc.
2. DON’T WATCH TV- ok, well some nights this is ok. But it is soooo easy to plop on the couch to watch a show and then look up at the clock and 3 hours have gone by and it’s time for bed. No TV means more time for other activities that will make the day feel longer and hopefully more fun).
3. Get outside- even if it is just for a little while. Now that it is warming up, I don’t want to waste a second of the nice weather. We are lucky enough to live by the water and have some pretty gorgeous views so I want to take more walks and enjoy them.
4. Surprises and exploring- I got so excited one night when I picked up Mike at the train station and brought him to this restaurant that I had found on YELP. He loves sliders and this place specializes in all different types. I know he was giving me some looks as I drove him through a somewhat dicey area but it was awesome once we were there and we never would have known about it if we hadn’t done a little exploring.
5. Take advantage of community events- we live in a place that has a lot of cool things to offer whether it is yoga in our building, comedy night, dancing in the park (in the summer), social gatherings…lots of stuff. Sometimes at the end of a long day, engaging in any sort of activity seems so unappealing but I never regret doing it after the fact. I want to push myself (and Mike) more to do this stuff during the week.
That’s all I can think of right now. What makes weekends special for you?
xo
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Easter

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Well, this is a bit delayed but better later than never! Easter was a blast. We hosted and had both of our parents as well as Michael’s uncle join us. What a gorgeous day it was…nearly 80! Giving a nod to my Italian heritage, I put out enough hor d’oeuvres (spelling?) to feed an army…I also made sure we were not lacking desserts.

The day before I prepped banana cream pie (my favorite)…

I also made a chocolate lava bunt cake. I purchased the bunt cake mix from Williams Sonoma to finally test out my bunt cake pan that Mike got me as a stocking stuffer…It was a very large stocking.  So. I made the cake and took it out. The directions told me to wait until the cake was ENTIRELY cooled. As we have covered, I don’t have any self control. So once the pan was luke warm, I decided it was time.

It was not time.

I flipped the cake onto the cooling rack and it looked glorious. I hooted and hollered and pat myself on the back, while Mike cheered me on from the sidelines. And then the lava began to seep from the bottom. All over the counter. I lifted the cake with my hands and yelled for Mike “HELP ME!!!”, chocolate dripping everywhere.

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In retrospect, my reaction may have been a bit dramatic.

I went through the 5 stages of grief. Denial- as I tried to slop all the bits of cake onto a plate. Anger- NO NO NO NO NO NO. Bargaining- IF ONLY I had waited, like the directions stated! Depression- I wasn’t actually depressed (I’m not that unstable) but I did stare sadly at the chocolatey mess for a while. And finally. Acceptance. Mike, being his normal optimistic self was certain we had plenty of time left in the night to start over. So he took my hand and led me (dragged my slug-like self) to the mall to get a new package and then to the store for more ingredients…I WASTED 6 EGGS. 

The final outcome was a much greater success, if I do say so myself. Although it was very exciting to have sugar again, after not having it for 40 days…it hit me hard. I almost immediately got a splitting headache and stomach ache. It is amazing what sugar can do to you…If I didn’t believe it before…I sure do now. I decided that while I won’t give it up forever (why would I ever do that), I won’t be incorporating it into my daily meals like I was before. 

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Happy (belated) Easter!!

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Oils & Provisions

This week there was a lot of wellness going on. I got another Goddess Provision box and was able to sit down with Jen, the woman who sold me my essential oils and pick her brain a bit.

This box was the Sun Energy box- here is the break down of what I got:

 

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The Coal Miner’s Daughter Sun Mist- it’s an energizing spray of organic rose water and essential oils, meant to nourish skin and reduce stress. I haven’t sprayed it yet because I am trying to ease Mike into the essential oils and I worry if I come at him with another spray trying to decrease stress, he is going to pull out all of his hair and that seems stressful. Let’s ease into that one.

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Violet Lace Energy Perfume- I am not a big perfume-y type of gal. It sometimes gives me a headache to be around people who have perfume on, and also, the name of this one makes me picture an old woman playing a piano in a haunted house. It also has little things floating around in it which, at first looked to me like they were teeth but upon further investigation I discovered they were in fact, jasmine flowers which is much less unsettling. Despite my initial hesitation, after smelling the perfume it actually smells more citrusy and light and not overpowering. This one you can use before a workout to boost mood and energy though so I may give that a shot.

Amethyst Orgone Pyramid- this is meant to neutralize energy from electrical devices. I put it on my nightstand next to my phone which is right by my head and I KNOWWW is the worst possible place to keep your phone and I am a living, breathing, hypocrite for allowing the phone to be near my head as I am on a health mission. I will break that habit. Soon.

Emmy’s Organices Lemon Ginger Macaroons- vegan, organic, gluten free- I want to try and make something like this on my own next week.

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Andalou Naturals Konjac Sponges- I am excited to use this with my favorite face wash! It is supposed to brighten your skin.

Healthforce Vitamineral Green- This is a superfood with antioxidants, chlorophyll, phytonutrients, minerals, vitamins, amino acids etc. It can go into food or a drink- I will probably add it to my teas with the rest of my concoctions.

Sunstone- Another crystal. This one promotes abundance and enjoyment of life. I still haven’t used the other crystal but am feeling more motivated to give them a shot after chatting with my friend, Brie, who loves them. I think I figured out why I am hesitant to use crystals. They remind me of Spencer from the reality show The Hills. Does anyone know who I am talking about/ remember him? He was mean to everyone and then helped to BREAK UP the friendship of Lauren and Heidi (looking at you too, Heidi, for your role in that one) and then it seemed like at one point his marbles went a little loose and he because obsessed with crystals.

And thennnnnnnnn- I met with Jen about the oils. She was awesome and like chatting with a friend. I love learning about health supports and looking through the information about oils, I realized if there is an ailment…there is an oil for it, from cellulite (what?!) to thyroid support. There are three ways to use the oils.

You can use them aromatically for respiratory or emotional support. It can also clean the air when you diffuse which is one thing I really love. I feel like our apartment has never smelled so fresh and clean. I used to burn candles (although that is not good for you) because I was desperately trying to cover up any smells of our two cats. I love them and I will embrace the cat lady that I was born to be but I will never embrace the pet smell.

You can also use oils topically to help with irritations or discomforts as well as for immune support. I was told that you can put oils at the bottom of your feet because they are less sensitive to irritation and they are also thought to be the end of your nerve line. If you believe in reflexology (which OBVIOUSLYYYYY I do) there are areas on your feet that correspond to your body’s organs. Also, with the pores on your feet being thicker than pores on the rest of your body, the oils will absorb faster. Oh! I should also mention, if you are going to use oils topically, you need to dilute them with coconut oil (maybe you can use other oils but I have only heard of coconut oil thus far and also, if you read my earlier love letter to coconut oil, I think it is pretty clear that that would be the only oil I would use).

Anywho, the last way to use oils (that I am aware of) is internally. A lot of people, at least initially, are hesitant to try this one. Some people argue whether or not this is safe to do. From what I have read, it is indeed safe in the appropriate quantity. But as we have observed, quantity control is not my forte.

Ok, bye!

 

Tavern On The Green

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We had to take advantage of the 80 degree weather today. It was amazing. Since I am on break and I was unable to convince Mike to play hooky from work, we compromised and he cut out of work a bit early and I met him in the city. Since NYC is one of the places we are talking about moving to next, Mike is trying (unsuccessfully) to teach me how to navigate the city on my own. I’ve been going to the city for years now but tend to have the duckling approach where I just waddle after whoever I am traveling with. I am not what one would consider “city folk”. Looking back on my many trips to the city there were many times (whether it be my aunt yanking me back on to the sidewalk right before almost getting swiped my a cab, or giving 20 dollars to a not-so-homeless, homeless man) where it seemed that even trips to the city might not be a good idea for me.

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But alas, I have grown. I usually look where I am going now and almost always am able to say “no, thank you” to street solicitors. Last time, Mike gave me directions on how to get out of the building once I got off the train, and he met me half way. This time, I had graduated to meeting him a few blocks from the train station. As you may have imagined, I went the wrong way. However, the good news was, I found an H&M and purchased $10 dollar shoes since the fashionable ones I had decided to wear had already destroyed my feet during the 5 minute walk from my apartment to the train.

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We walked to Central Park and BOYYYYY was it rowdy. I love seeing how excited everyone gets when the weather gets nicer. I feel like people literally crawl out of the ground…where was everyone during the winter?? I could sit and watch people in the park all day. Not in a creepy, hiding in the bushes type of way though. There is just so much to see. Mike asked me if I am ever able to sit and just relax my mind because he could see my eyes darting everywhere.

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We sat outside Tavern On The Green and had a cocktail and a couple apps. We split the risotto since ever since seeing The Zookeeper’s Wife, I have been struggling to eat meat. I go through phases of this like the time I saw a dead cat in the road and couldn’t eat meat for a month. Anywho. It was a gorgeous night. Unfortunately, it ended with us sitting next to a man on the train who was looking at pictures of topless men and zooming in on their crotches. Ya win some, ya lose some.

xo