Running Conversions

I enjoy running alone when I just want to wake up and go for a quick run, no fussing, or if I need some alone time.  I like to think life decisions out on long runs.  I always come back with a clear head, endorphins, and an idea of what I want to do.  (Or, if it’s a situation where I can’t do anything, at least some peace of mind that I need to leave it up to the universe, and it’s out of my control.)

Flow.  I like being on that running flow, when all your thoughts just swirl around and you can focus on your breathing, and the air, and the sunshine (if you’re lucky), the breeze, or that delightful, slightly obnoxious hum of lawnmowers.

But yesterday, during my shopping trip, my friend Deanna and I made a pact: running today!


Awwyeah, ready to run!  We were shooting for three miles.  We took a little detour to the beach, parks, and a quaint residential area I never knew existed!  We ended up running 3.18 in ~38.  Woo!

After all, we ate a lot of cheesecake yesterday:

The Cheesecake Factory’s 30th Anniversary cake.  Yuuuuuuuuuum.  Sugar coma

Deanna got the oreo cheesecake.  I’ve never tried it, but I don’t think you can go wrong with any flavor there!

I also had the gigantic (lunch portion!) barbeque chicken salad from The Cheesecake Factory that lasted for three meals (seriously, I just ate some more of it for lunch).  Craaaziness, what a deal, they really give you a lot!

Well, it’s off to pack for my upcoming trip to Vancouver/Alaska/San Francisco! Woohoo!

Have you been to any of these places? Are you going on a vacation soon, or did you have one already?

Favorite type of cheesecake?


Late Night Laundry

Wednesday I went to yoga with Mel…I could finally do the chair pose without completely dying! It was intense, but it felt good.
Then…late-night laundry!

A friend surprised me by making extra chicken nuggets in the kitchen…wooo for an unexpected snack!

I decided to treat myself to some waffles-a-la-mode this morning…for no other reason than the fact that it has been a crazy week. Very stressful. It was almost *too* sweet, though. I think I prefer my usual combo of peaches and whipped cream, instead.

After classes and some homework, I ran with L for a speedy three miles (splits were 10:23, 9:50, and my watch died, so…I’m guessing 10-10:20ish).
We went to the Relay for Life rally!
I had a giant salad and baked penne:
And then I piled peppers on my pizza, yuuum.

I’ve been listening to so much Glee music lately (“I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” is SO SINGABLE while studying!), but I haven’t watched any tv.
What’s your latest tv addiction?
I miss watching Glee and White Collar, but there’s simply too much going on for tv time too!
My friends have weird nicknames for each other. Mel alternates between calling me anything from puppy to pumpernickel (really). Do you have a nickname?
I’ve called her jellybean and sour patch kid. Sense a trend in my nicknaming? Hehe.

Pastel de Nata and B19

So, this past Saturday, I ventured into town with my friend A and Mel to look for dresses. There’s going to be a Yule Ball this weekend (woohoo!), and it’s semi-formal, so we were on the hunt….

(Passing some cool shrubbery-people)

(We needed another goofy roomy photo. Stuffed dinosaur? Check.)

We stopped at a bakery and I treated myself to a pastel de nata, something I’d never heard of. It’s a Portuguese egg cream pastry…or so I read on the menu! Delish.

(So flaky and goooooood.)

Although shopping in town (and trying on elegant dresses in thrift stores!) was tons of fun, we turned up empty for something we could *actually* wear.

Home to the rescue! My mom mailed me a package, and I got it in the mail today. I love getting mail, it’s one of the coolest feelings in the world.

(Totally worth the long wait in line.)

After some cheese quesadillas and a salad with iceberg and shredded lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, cheddar, refried beans, and lots of guacamole, we headed to bingo (sorry for the blurriness…cell phone camera). I had some oreo cheesecake that I devoured too quickly to photograph…oops. Custard-like, but deeelicious.

He’s hard at work on B19.

(Out of our entire table, none of us won. =( Bummer.)

And if you were wondering, it’s completely normal to wander by a first-floor dorm and peek inside to see what they’re watching (Food Network!) Not that we did it….

Good Tuesday. Time for some more homework and SLEEP!

I had so much work today that I’m skipping my run. Do you get workout guilt?

Oreo cheesecake! Yeeeaaah! Do you have a candy/dessert combo, or unusual favorite dessert?

The Week Where I Give In To Every Craving….

Okay, I’m only going to be gone for about two weeks before I visit home.

Still, the past week has been packed with visiting friends, eating a TON of delicious food, and basically traipsing around my house like I’m leaving forever. Oh, and shopping. I caved and bought New Balance Minimus Life sneaks. I love them so far–review coming soon!

Canceling my gym membership and returning all my library books seems so final. How did summer go so quickly??

With a number of things to do before I left, close to the top of my list was to make a Green Monster smoothie. I used the simple-yet-delicious recipe from JuliannaBananna. It isn’t the prettiest, but it was delicious! (My mom tasted it and was shocked when she heard I put spinach in it. I eat the most vegetables in the family, haha.)

Bottoms up!

I have been craving s’mores lately, so I finally bought all my ingredients at the grocery and concocted a ton. This one is made with a dark chocolate Reese’s. YUM. Dark chocolate + pb = amaaazing combination.

We finally went to a new(ish, new to me is about…a year?!) restaurant, CheeburgerCheeburger. I did the unthinkable and ordered a salad. They have unlimited toppings on their salads, so I went a bit crazy. It was gigantic, with grilled chicken, banana peppers, red bell peppers, grape tomatoes, salsa, black olives, cheddar cheese, guacamole, onions, baby corn, and romaine. *phew* I think that’s everything! I liked the salad even better after it marinated overnight, and I stuffed it in a wrap, which toned down the spiciness a bit.

I leave with this (so flattering) photo of me, because my mom thought it was funny I was in bliss, and I made s’mores three nights in a row.

Have marshmallows, will microwave.

I might become a s’more.

What food can’t you get enough of lately?

I loved my Green Monster! I wish it had more green. Do you like smoothie/shakes?

Shopping Spree!

With only a few weeks left until I leave for college, I decided to go on a shopping spree! Woo! Time to raid the mall. I drove on the highway for the first time (phew!). I bought some cute red flats and some new clothes. I can’t seem to get the shopping bug out of me, though…I’ve been eyeing the New Balance

I bought these flax roll-ups the other day…nervously. I had never actually eaten flax seeds before and I wondered how these would taste. I love wraps…but would they be compromised?!

Nope! Not at all. They were absolutely delicious. I had a wrap with garlic hummus, romaine, and a granny smith apple. It was a weird combo (I go with whatever’s in my fridge), but it worked! The sweet tartness of the apple balances out the strong bitterness lettuce sometimes has.

After a day of shopping, we headed to The Cheesecake Factory.

I had the Southeast Asian Chicken, yum. String beans + sesame seeds? AWESOME.

And chocolate raspberry truffle cheesecake for dessert. Yum.

Today: 2 miles in 25:35 (I took it slowly because I was feeling tired.)
Saturday: 2 miles in 22:29 with a negative split!
Thursday: 2.01 miles in 22:26

It feels great to be running on a regular basis again. Most of my workouts these past few weeks have been walking hills on the treadmill with my hiking boots on (3-5 miles) so I can break them in. It feels so FREE to be running again!

How are you enjoying summer this month?
I spent a ton of time at the beach this summer. Lots of time hanging out with friends and family, reading a ton, and watching movies (Netflix…oooh, it is much too handy. Luckily, it keeps me from getting bored while walking on the treadmill.)

I have had scrambled eggs a TON lately for breakfast. I need a new method! What’s your favorite way to eat eggs, and with what?

What Writing Is….

The lovely Cat Hellisen over at Inarticulations posted about what writing is. I’ve been thinking lately about why I started blogging. Probably so I could have a reason to take even more delicious photos of food.

(Some great Thai in Chicago. I’ve been on a Chicago photo kick lately. Great city.)

Don’t forget to photograph dessert, too!

(Cheesecake cake pop. Mmmm.)

Or maybe it was because all the cool cats were doing it, and I wanted to get in on the fun!

(Those are my friend’s kittens. That kitten in the back corner is actually blogging. I. Know. He’s so talented.)

Truth is, I love entertaining people. I don’t hesitate to crack jokes and blurt out my life’s story in person…so why not combine it with writing? I like to write novels, but I love the idea of writing for an audience in real time. It connects people in ways I never thought possible. I get to read slices of life from all over–Puerto Rico, Utah, Florida, and even in my own backyard, NYC. I probably would have never encountered these wonderful people without blogging. I’m a fiend for tracking my exercise, and I love to watch progress. And…I like to talk. Writing novels will always be my passion. There’s nothing like finishing a draft and going, “Oh, thank goodness that’s over,” but blogging is an exciting aspect of writing that I wish I had discovered sooner.

As Cat said, the lows of writing novels (and the beast that is publishing) can be very low, and it’s nice to have feedback from non-industry people. Now that I’m not working on the school newspaper, I need to keep my skills fresh. Blogging is a great way to do that. What’s writing to you? So as you all read this, I’m cooped up in the car! Hopefully rereading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows right now…what’s on your to-read list?

That’s the Way I Roll

Sitting here in my Nike tempo shorts is just too comfy. I’m supposed to be packing for orientation (YAY!), but right now I am simply basking in my day. It was one of the days you don’t expect to be amazing, but it was amazing anyway!

My day started with oats in a jar.

While I love oatmeal, I ran out of steel-cut and had to use blueberry instant in my emptied jar of Dark Chocolate Dreams.

I bought this jar on Thursday. Don’t judge.

Okay, you can judge, but it was DELICIOUS.

I also put in strawberries, blueberries, and strawberry yogurt. (In case you can’t tell, I dig strawberries!) I wasn’t wowed…maybe because it wasn’t overnight? Maybe because it was just too much sugar for me in the morning? It was awfully sugary, even for me, and I’m a sugar fiend!

After this experiment, I think I’ll stick to salty/savory flavors for breakfast, the most amazing meal of the day for me.

Speaking of amazing, I have two new features on my page! There is now a Races tab (where I can eagerly stare at the upcoming Walt Disney World Princess Half-Marathon in 2012), as well as a Blogroll! If you’d like to be added to the Blogroll, simply shoot me an email at adventureapril(at)gmail(dot)com. I love reading blogs and the best way to find gems sometimes is simply to ask nicely! That’s a good rule for life, I think, too. Asking nicely never hurt anybody.

Today, on a whim, my mom and I decided to have a picnic at the local park. I love an excuse to lug a ton of food with me, so I packed the cooler with fruit salad for the two of us (blueberries, peaches, bananas, watermelon, and strawberries!) along with a regular salad for me with breaded chicken, cucumbers, cheddar, and honey-dijon dressing. Yes, that cooler was packed full and 95% of the food was for me.

(Baby carrots are hiding in my hip Mickey Mouse container.)

Hey, that’s just the way I roll. =D

The park was crowded, but it was a nice ride down to the marina. There was a 50s-70s car show going on, so we got to look at all the cool vintage cars! My favorite was a VW Beetle, like this one:

We rode by quickly, keeping about a 9:30 pace (slight incline), and about 7:30 on the way back. Halfway through, we stopped to eat at a picnic bench!

(Take a photo! Of me! Of the bike! Of me…looking like a palm tree?!)

(Yes, that is my red helmet in the corner. Safety is sexy. Yes, I whip out cheesy quotes like nobody’s business. But seriously, the Safety is Sexy campaign is a great movement, and you can find more info and swag here.)

After a quick stop at the bike shop to fix my flat, we headed home. It turns out that I rode 3.42 miles on a slow leak. I suspected that was why it was so hard to balance, but I didn’t want to derail the picnic. I biked for 33 minutes to top everything off (and it was a MUCH smoother ride!) Today’s total mileage was about 8.5 miles–my Garmin is charging, so all my data will be in this week’s total.

I love biking, and that was my first long ride outside in over a year.

It’s good to be back.

What’s your favorite picnicking food?

Have you been biking lately?

Something That Scares You

I promised a while ago that I would post about trying spin for the first time. Technically, it wasn’t my first time (I tried it once in June 2009). I’ve blocked that memory from my head.

This is what I knew when I first signed up for spin that fateful day:

-It was on a bike.
-It was set to music.
-It was a good workout!

Hey, it sounded good to me. At the time, I had just started my gym membership and only taken half-hour classes, so I assumed spinning was a half-hour, too.

HAHAHA. As you spinners know, it is quite intense. However, I didn’t read fitness blogs at the time, and I had absolutely no idea what was in store for me.

I had only been running for twenty minutes at a time back then, and I was just starting to get in shape. When the instructor said to increase the tension, I increased it every time. I struggled, waiting for the half-hour mark. When we showed no sign of cooling down, I assumed it was a 45 minute class. At 40 minutes I realized it was an hour class. I looked around me at all the hardcore spinners and felt crestfallen. They were still going strong.

They even had fancy water bottles. =(

I was exhausted. I was intimidated. And I wanted OUTTA THERE! I hopped off that bike at the conclusion of the class, felt happy that I survived (and defeated at the same time), and thought I would try again someday. When I was ready.

“When I was ready” turned out to be two years later. Today. I’d been eyeing the spin schedule, but I didn’t have the guts to take it on.

Thanks to prom, my sleep schedule was all messed up. I woke up at 5:00 am. I’m an early riser, but that’s pushing it for me! Despite trying to get back to sleep, my stomach was roaring, so I gave in, made breakfast, and decided to do something crazy. Spin.

I drove to the gym with classical music on, hoping to calm down. I mustered the cheeriest good morning to the receptionist and signed up at 6:10 am, then hopped on the treadmill for forty minutes. Guilty pleasure while walking on the treadmill: reading the Gossip Girl series. It’s so addicting! My 2 miles were filled with the cattiness and glitz of Manhattan socialites.

I was so scared of taking spin again that I almost walked out after my warm-up. After a quick stretch, I entered the workout room. Luckily, some nice spinners showed me how to move and adjust my bike.

I’m proud to say I didn’t struggle until about 40 minutes in. I stopped increasing the tension, then, and didn’t hesitate to back off. After injuring myself from pushing it, I’m slooowly learning the difference between challenging your limits and pushing myself past the critical point of pain. Discomfort is okay. Sharp pain is NOT okay. This is now permanently ingrained in my head.

I walked out of the class today encouraged by the friendly spinners. I’m going to back just to completely get over my fear of it, but today was encouraging. I really love working out in the morning.

Good day! Now if only I could get my left eye to stop burning from too much chlorine….

(Dinner was leftovers from T.G.I. Friday’s: Jack Daniel’s chicken and sweet potato fries on top of romaine and tomatoes. My mom thinks I’m weird because I combine potatoes and lettuce. I THINK NOT.)

My legs were sore today, so I took it easy and stretched out with a swim.

I was craving a burger (although I doubt nothing will surpass my beloved Shack Shack), so I decided to head to Checkers. I got a Cheese Champ accidentally, but it was good. Next time, I’m going to forgo the mayo. (Sometimes, I just have to say AYYYYYYYO, PLEASE NO MAYO.)

(I took it on my phone, because in true classiness, I ate in my car.)

For dinner, I cooked grilled some delicious eggplant with mozzarella and tomatoes, on top of spaghetti. I also had a salad with tomato, mozzarella, and honey mustard dressing. YUM.

(SO DELISH. I could eat eggplant forever, pretty much.)

(I love putting the cheese from the main course in my salad. It’s like the previews that get you excited for the movie.)

(My snack on top of my workout schedule. The banana is covering all my “tough” workouts, I swear. Accompanied by much more than two of those amazing chocolate-covered cashews. I could munch on these lots more. Soooo good.)

40 min. walk (2 miles) + 60 min. spin + 45 min. swim
Monday: 30 min. swim

What’s something that scares you? Is it a workout that pushes your limits, or a new situation that gives you the jitters?

A Taste of New York

Since my last post, I’ve had the opportunity to dine at several AWESOME places in NYC. The past week was filled with a trip to Denino’s on Staten Island, as well as Max Brenner and the Lotos Club in Manhattan. Pizza, chocolate, and elegance? It was a great week!

After the trek to Denino’s, I came home with a delicious slice of white pie. It was cheesy perfection, loaded with garlic, and I enjoyed it the next day for lunch. Their pizza is definitely one of the best in the NYC area.

Another day, I went to Max Brenner for dinner with friends. I love the atmosphere of this place, especially on the second floor. Christmas lights and chocolate-colored piping throughout the room make it cozy and festive. The tables are a little tight on the first floor, but the second floor is especially nice for larger groups. I had a mushroom burger (so delicious that I scarfed it down without pictures), and split the Sharing sampler, which consisted of a Belgian waffle with toffee bananas and vanilla ice cream, chocolate biscotti, a chocolate egg roll, chocolate brownie and chocolate balls to top everything off.

Just in case there wasn’t enough chocolate, you know.

The sampler also came with a chocolate fondue. This was the star of the show for sure. The fondue arrived with fresh bananas, strawberries, and marshmallows and our own little fire for roasting.

The fondue is fun and savory, and those marshmallows were life-changing. This is easily the best dish Max Brenner has to offer.

Finally, the topping on this week was a trip to the Lotos Club. I ordered ravioli as an appetizer, filet mignon for the main, and chocolate cake for dessert. The food was extremely decadent, but I was most impressed with the gorgeous architecture. The staircase railings were encased in red velvet and luxurious furniture and detailed wooden paneling were everywhere. The magnificent library alone made me want to stay all day.

The apartments were given by Mrs. Vanderbilt to one of her daughters as a wedding present. Can I get such an awesome wedding present, too? The lobby here is breathtaking.

Well, it was a great week! Here’s hoping next week is just as adventurous!