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LA Food and Fun

smoothie from earth bar

I did a lot of eating out while in LA, I ate out everyday while there, usually 2 of my meals per day, so I tried to keep it somewhat healthy a majority of the time.  I also had my fair share ofindulgences while there, but all in all I don’t feel that I went too overboard.  I weighed myself 2 weeks after I got back, after giving myself some time to get back into my normal routine, and I was the exact same weight as I was since I had last weighed myself.  It was nice to see that a week away didn’t totally derail my efforts.  And now some pics of the healthy and not so healthy eats I enjoyed in LA and also a few pics just for fun.

half eaten southwest salmon

fresh squeezed oj

cafe primo salad, whoa bacon!

salmon at the polo lounge

millions of milkshakes

caught in the act

mexican at marix, best meal ever

laguna beach

laguna beach seagulls

say cheeeese

until next time...

last day brunch

LA Adventures

I’m finally getting around to posting a recap of my recent trip to Los Angeles.  I only got back, oh, 3 weeks ago, but better late than never right?

Something very exciting (well fitness related exciting) is that I realized I could do an unassisted chin-up!!!  More about that in a sec.

Our first full day there we decided to go bike riding on the beach.  I had wanted to do this on my previous trip but didn’t have time, so this time around it was a MUST.

We started in Santa Monica and biked to Venice and back and then did it again.  It took about 3 hours (with a 30 minute stroll through Venice and a stop for ice cream :)) According to the guy at the bike rental place we figured it was about 18 miles.

There are some really cool houses along the beach.

awesome treehouse looking house

and their neighbor with a buddha statue

I love looking at nice houses, I have ever since I was little, I know a little weird.

some more along the beach in Venice

Now on to the exciting part.  I wanted to stop at Muscle Beach in Venice just to check it out and take pictures there.  There were people doing all sorts of stuff.

muscle beach

not the greatest pic but I felt like a stalker

Check out really tan guy, he was the only real body builder looking guy there,  I thought there’d be more!

check this guy out

This guy climbed up the chains and then sat on the top of this thing, it was NUTS.

my attempt

That’s the most I could pick myself up on the tarzan rope.  That shiz is HARD.

me doing a chin-up!

And finally…drumroll please…I attempted an unassisted chin-up and did it!!!  My feet are not on the ground!  Although it kind of looks like they are, I should have bent my knees.  I was holding myself up there screaming at my friend to come over and take a picture, the guys around there must have thought I was nuts.  And yes there were only guys working out there, no girls working out at Muscle Beach sadly.

Some more pretty scenic shots from the ride.

Sigh.  I love palm trees.

Another day we went hiking at Runyon Canyon, this was my second time hiking here but I didn’t take any pictures on the last trip so brought my camera this time around.  Right outside the gate before you walk into the park there is a spot that has water and various snacks, but there is no one there to make sure you pay for it, it’s totally done by the honor system.  How cool is that?  I’ve certainly never seen anything like this in the NJ/NY area.

I have no idea who puts that there/is in charge of it but I think it’s great.

I’ve only done it twice but I love hiking here.  I don’t like the woods so I don’t think I would be into that type of hiking but here with the beautiful scenery (and the possibility of seeing celebrities-I saw Giles Meroni aka the naked guy from the SATC movie) I love it. I only bad part?


The first time I saw this sign I freaked out, I had no idea there were rattlesnakes around there.  Shiver.  Good thing I didn’t see any and had an enjoyable hike.  I don’t know how many miles we did but we hiked for about 2 hours.

me posing like a geek

lots of people with dogs, made me miss my brutus

we climbed to the top of that!

view of the city

the ocean on the horizon to the right

hollywood sign

I don’t know why the Hollywood sign looks so far away, it was actually much closer.  It’s hard to see but there are so many amazing houses in the hills, I would love to live there.

Besides biking and hiking, we went on a couple of leisurely walks on the beach in Santa Monica a couple of mornings.

I really wanted to take a yoga class on the beach but we never found one/ran out of time.  I improvised for a picture.

is this even a real yoga pose?

so pretty

the hardest part was the stairs!

I would really love to be able to hike around here, but my only options are to hike in the woods and I’m not even close to any woods/trails.  I guess I’ll just have to enjoy it when I’m vising the west coast.

Stayed tuned for my LA recap numero dos!

A healthy dose of bizarre-ness

I burn stuff all the time.  Just the other day I forgot about a pan of vegetables I had roasting in the oven and 75% of them were then inedible.  I wish the face of Jesus was imprinted on the burnt ashes like this guy‘s.  Crazy.

Coffee that you inhale?  Yes someone invented that.  Call me crazy but I prefer to drink a mug or a tall iced any day.  Would you try it?

I probably watched about 5 minutes total of the Winter Olympics, but I did come across a pic of Shaun White at an Oscar party, and so began the hair envy.  Our curls are actually similar but his look so healthy, shiny, and frizz-free without looking like there’s a ton of product on it.  A quick google search tells me I’m not the only one curious about his hair products, but everything I’ve found says the same thing, he just uses nothing but water.  SO NOT FAIR.  Guys always have it easy.  I like to think he just doesn’t want to spill his secrets.

Getting back in the groove

Well I’m back from sunny California and trying to get back in the swing of things!  I always have a such a hard time coming back from a vacation, especially from places as nice as this:

Los Olivos, CA

my first time wine-tasting, Santa Barbara county

These pictures were actually from my last trip back in October, I haven’t uploaded my new pictures yet and plan on doing a recap post, but you get the picture.  Plus I wanted to at least include a couple of pictures in this boring post!

Coming home to NJ after that is sad!  At least I came back to gorgeous weather here but unfortunately starting tomorrow it will be raining for 3 days straight!

I’ve been trying to get back into my workout routine/good eating habit  since I’ve been back.  I didn’t go to the gym at all while I was away (I never do), but I did do lots of other fun fitness activities.  My eating wasn’t that bad, not great, but not as awful as I sometimes let myself be when on vacation.  I did good about sticking to my no-wheat rule until the last 3 days, then it was downhill.  Too many delicious bread options when going out to dinner.  All in all I think I did pretty well, it’s not that I ate TON, but I ate out everyday which isn’t great.  The good news is that I didn’t get a sinus infection while I was gone, even after eating all that wheat.  I was very stuffy/congested the whole time, but I was like that before I even left, but never got SICK.  I thank Mucinex, Nasaline, and vitamins for that!

I jumped right back into my workouts on Monday.  I didn’t have the next stage of NROLW workout sheet printed out so I decided to do a workout on my own.  I haven’t done this in SO LONG so it was actually kind of nice.

Monday’s (3/8/10) workout:

Squats-3 sets 8, 1st set 95 pounds, 2nd and 3rds, 115 pounds

Single-leg deadlifts-3 sets 8, 115 pounds

Dumbbell shoulder press-3 sets 8, 20 pounds

Seated row-3 sets 8, 85 pounds

alternated with

Push-ups-3 sets 8

Straight arm cable pulldown-3 sets 8, 40 pounds

alternated with

Planks-3 sets 8, held for 60 seconds

Then I did what was basically one leg squats but where I literally sat down on a bench and then got up.  I did 3 sets 8 on each leg with 25 pounds.  I have no idea where I got the idea to do this, if they are even a real exercise, or what they are called!  If anyone knows please let me know!

I finished up with 20 minutes HIIT, doing 30 second sprints followed by 1 minute recoveries.

Tuesday (3/9/10) was an easy 15 minutes on the elliptical to kill time until my 45 minute spin class.  I hadn’t taken spin in a couple of weeks so it was pretty tough but felt good at the same time.

Today’s (3/10/10) workout wound up being my own made up workout again since I haven’t had time (ahem and also forgot) to make my workout log.  Must do that for Friday.

Plie squats-3 sets 8, 95 pounds

Step-ups, 3 sets 8, 50 pounds

alternated with

T push-ups, 4 sets 10 (2 sets narrow, 2 sets wide)

Stability ball against wall squats-3 sets 10, 50 pounds

alternated with

Front and lateral shoulder raises-3 sets 10, 10 pounds

Wide grip lat pulldown-3 sets 8, 75 pounds

alternated with

Bicycle crunch, 3 sets 8

2 rounds of 10 x-crunches, 10 pikes, and 10 oblique crunches on a stability ball

I ended with 20 minutes on the elliptical.

Another thing I forgot is my gloves.  I took them out to wash and totally forgot to put them back in my bag.  That’s why my workout didn’t include a lot of having to really hold a heavy weight.  I need to stop being so forgetful!

I also got back to tracking my food intake (calories/macros) on Monday and have been doing well with that.  I know, I know it’s only been 3 days but I find it so hard to get back into things after vacation!

I really don’t know if I gained while I was away because I didn’t weigh myself right before I left and don’t plan on weighing again for at least a couple of weeks but I definitely am feeling bloated.

What are your eating habits like when you travel?  Still stick to the healthy eating?  Healthy eating but include some treats?  Or a free-for-all?

Bon voyage NJ!

The NY/NJ area got hit hard by another snowstorm yesterday and today.  I shouldn’t complain because I got a  half day off yesterday and the whole day off from work today, but I am just so sick of the snow and winter!  My poor dog is sick of it too, he hates the snow, and it’s high enough that it’s hard for him to go out to go the the bathroom.

brutus braving the elements

Look at that face!  It’s a look of misery!

At least having off from work  gave me lots of time to pack and get ready to leave for my trip to LA tomorrow.  Hopefully my flight will not be delayed, but according to my flight as of now is ON TIME.

My day started at the bright and early time of 11:30 am.  I cannot get my butt out of bed early on days I don’t have to work.  So that means weekends and snowdays I sleep in.  I’ve been working full-time 9-5 for 5 years now and I still am not used to getting up early.  I mean I’ll wake up early on a day I have off but have no problem rolling over and going back to bed for another few hours.

I usually wind up getting up when my dog wakes me up or when I wake up and am hungry.  Today it was because I was hungry.  Brutus was cuddling next to me sleeping and I actually didn’t want to get up because he looked so peaceful!  Once I started moving he got up so it was time to prepare my breakfast.  I had my usual non-work morning breakfast of quinoa flakes but I switched it up a bit this time.  Instead of doing the usual banana/peanut butter combo, I opted for blueberries and apples made into a sort of apple pie filling.  I just chopped up some apple and cooked it on low heat with a little bit of water, cinnamon, and 3 tsp. brown sugar.  While that simmered I cooked the quinoa and added some f rozen blueberries to it along with a tbsp. of flax meal and, half a scoop of vanilla protein powder, and some more cinnamon.  When everything was done I just topped the quinoa with the cooked apples.  It was SO GOOD.  Tasted like apple pie with blueberries mixed in.  I’ll definitely have this combo again.

there are blueberries under there

Once I digested that along with some decaf coffee, I forced myself to do Jillian Michael’s No More Trouble Zones.  I had to force myself because I was feeling a little crappy, that I may or may not be getting sick feeling.  More about that in a second.  But I knew that this would be my last real workout until I got back from California.  While I do plan on doing physical activities like hiking and biking while I’m there, I’m 99% sure I will not be going to the gym.  So No More Trouble Zones it was.  This was tough even the 2nd time around, and I’m still surprised that this workout is as hard as it is!

Back to the fact that I may or may not be getting sick.  I’ve had that post-nasal drip/scratchy throat feeling for the past couple of days.  When this happens I start my arsenal of Mucinex/nasal irrigation/tons of vitamins to ward it off.  Usually it helps, but I am nervous that traveling is going to turn this into a full on sinus infection.  I really, really hope this doesn’t happen because I’ve gotten sick the last 2 times I’ve gone to California.  The first time I got the flu the 2nd to last day I was there and the 2nd time I got a raging sinus infection.  Hopefully this time I will stay healthy the whole trip!

The rest of the day was spent doing laundry, packing, and beauty preparations.  I took a nice long shower where I did a deep conditioning treatment, a face scrub/mask, a body scrub, and shaved my legs.  I don’t even remember the last time I shaved my legs before today, that’s single life for ya!  I also gave myself a pedicure and manicure (I’m actually in the middle of the mani as I finish this post, it’s all about multi-tasking).

What products did I use you ask?  The conditioning treatment was Philip B. Light Weight Deep-Conditioning Creme Rinse.  Highly recommend this if you like a lighter conditioner.  I have thin hair and not a lot of it so this is perfect for me.  I found this for cheap at Marshall’s though so not sure if I’ll cough up the money and pay full-price for this.  I tend to cheap out on hair products since I go through them so quickly.

The face scrub/mask and body scrubs are super cheap though!  The face scrub/mask was just sugar and honey, gently rubbed on and left on for awhile to let the honey work it’s magic.  Honey is wonderful for your skin, it has anti-bacterial properties so it is good for acne but is also hydrating.  I LOVE doing honey masks.  The body scrub was…again sugar and honey but also included olive oil.  Simply add the 3 together, add a bit of water once you’re in the shower to get it to mix and scrub away.  I promise your skin will be baby soft afterward.

Well I’m off to LA tomorrow to get in some much needed sun and stalk celebrities!  I’m only half serious about the stalking part.   I’ll try to post while I’m there but if not I’ll be sure to recap the trip when I get back!

I live for 3 day weekends

Especially ones that not everyone has!  I took tomorrow off from work and am so glad I did.  Work has been well…work.  It took me almost 2 hours to get to work today due to some snow flurries and saw about 10 accidents on the way.  This is NJ, not Hawaii people, it’s not like you’ve never driven in some snow before.  The day from there was just bleh.  I almost screamed out loud with glee when I clicked I AM CURRENTLY OUT OF THE OFFICE on the out of office assistant tool.

Good thing today was Thursday and my favorite spin class day!  The Thursday instructor is fan-f-ing-tastic.  Everyone loves this guys class and if you do not there right at 5:00 to sign up for the 5:30 class you are not getting a spot.  Someone took my usual bike before I got a chance too so I felt a little out of sorts today.  How is it that just being in a different part of the room makes you feel different?!?!  Am I a weirdo the only one that feels this way?!  I’d love to hear if ANYONE else experiences this also.

Another strange thing…there’s this guy that takes the class sometimes inwhat looks like a gas mask but it just covers his mouth, not his whole face.  The thing is he doesn’t necessarily wear it the whole time…sometimes he’ll have it on at the beginning of class and then it will be off at the end of class.  I originally thought it because he didn’t want to spread or get other people’s germs but since he takes it off I don’t think that’s the case.  I am DYING to know what this is and why he uses it.

R.I.P. Kris Kringle

Ahhh Sunday nights, such a sad time for many.  I think Sunday nights are in some ways worse then Mondays because you have that feeling of dread Monday is coming boooooooooooooo.  AnywayI thought I would finally post about yesterday’s workout before I get settled in to watch Big Love.

But first let me explain this posts title.  Quick Chek (do they have these in other parts of the country that aren’t NJ?  not sure) had this amazing Kris Kringle coffee out for Christmas but unfortunately I didn’t discover it until about a week or so before Christmas.  The flavor included vanilla, coconut, and cocoa…in other words AMAZING.  A couple of days after Christmas I went in and they still had it but one of the employees (who knew of my love for the Kris Kringle) alerted me that there were only 2 bags left and let me buy them.  I rationed it out but finished the last bit of it yesterday (Saturday) morning.  Sadness.  The rest of my breakfast included quinoa flakes with banana, chunky peanut butter, and cinnamon.  This was my first quinoa flake experience, not sure if I’m a huge fan yet but it was OK.  Only took 90 seconds to cook (after the water boiled) but it was a little soft and mushy for my taste.  The only way I like oatmeal is when they are a little chewy still and not a bowl of mush.  I still managed to eat most of the bowl with only a few bites left. Then I was off to the gym.

Saturday’s workout:  NROLW Stage 4, workout B3

Wide-grip deadlift -3 sets of 8, 1st set 115 pounds, 2nd and 3rd 125 pounds

Alternating sets

Bulgarian split squat- 3 sets 8, 50 pounds

Underhand-grip lat pulldown-3 sets 8, 85 pounds

Alternating sets

Reverse lunge from box with forward reach-3 sets 8, 15 pound dumbbells

Dumbbell prone Cuban snatch-3 sets 8, 10 pound dumbbells

Alternating sets

Swiss ball crunch-3 sets 8, 25 pound plate

Reverse crunch-3 sets 8

Pike on stability ball-3 sets 8

Own set-prone cobra-3 times,1st held 90 seconds, 2nd and 3rd 60 seconds

I had 90 seconds rest between each set.  Except for the ab stuff I usually do the 3 exercises in a row and then rest and repeat.

Last but not least…15 minutes HIIT: 3 minute warm-up at level 1 then 2.  Intervals were one minute at level 5, 2 minute recovery level 1, one minute level 6, 2 minute recovery level 1, one minute level 7, 2 minute recovery level 1, one minute level 8, 2 minutes recovery level 1.

Now this is a pretty hard workout but for some reason yesterday it was really hard.  This was my 3rd time doing this exact workout and it was by far the hardest.  I was all headache-y and kept getting really dizzy.  I even bought a Powerade Zero mid-workout because I thought the bit of salt and electrolytes would help.  I at first thought it was because this is period week but for the rest of the day and today I’m not feeling so hot and have that “I’m getting a sinus infection” feeling UGH.  The whole workout took me longer than it usually does because I took longer breaks between the sets of exercises that don’t alternate with each other. I came home and had a protein shake made with vanilla protein powder, half a cup of 2% milk, half a cup water, and half a cup blueberries.  Also had a slice of millet toast.

Now I’m trying to fight a full blown sinus infection with my usual arsenal of Mucinex, Sudafed, Nasonex, and nasal irrigation with Nasaline.

not as scary as it looks

Hmm mine didn’t come with that cool protective case, now I want that.  Anyway let’s hope all this works.