Archive | December, 2012

Through Sickness and In Balance.

5 Dec

Good morning readers!

First of all, I am very sorry for my hiatus in posting this week. Ever since I ran on Sunday, I’ve been having a weird stomach issue going on. It seems to be pretty unhappy with me no matter what I do. Before we go into that, I’ll do a quick recap of what my week was like.

Monday I went into work for a couple hours at the lab to try and get some data organized and brainstorm ways to increase recruitment. I quickly made a Sweet Breakfast Scramble and then biked to work ūüôā I bike to work every morning. Not only does this save me gas money, and the time of walking, but I bike up a long hill to get to campus so I get a quick cardio challenge in first thing every morning!

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I know, I know, I could really use a new seat. Have no fear, I ordered one that afternoon when I got home from work. It was time.

Kevin had also returned back to DC from Vegas and was sick as a dog. Poor guy. After work, I took a nap, heated up some leftover Trader Joe’s Eggplant Goodness, we played with Liam a little bit,¬†then hopped in the car to take Kevin for some Robek’s. Robek’s is an¬†awesome healthy smoothie place in our neighborhood. They have a ton of different flavors to try and even make their own fresh juice! You can also add kale to any smoothie – aka¬†it’s the perfect place for me.¬†I chose the Emperor Acai¬†and I forget what Kevin ordered, but it was a ginormous citrus smoothie with tons of Vitamin C.

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We also did some grocery shopping, picked up my Mom and brought her home, then I dropped my car off back at my apartment and biked over to Kevin’s apartment. We started a new video game together,¬†Donkey Kong Country Revenge, which is pretty fun and challenging. We played that for a little while, then around 730 made some dinner.

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I had leftovers from my vegetable chicken wrap dinner the night before with Chocolate Milk and carrots with hummus. I tried this chocolate milk before and it’s really good! It’s skim milk, has extra Omega 3s and extra calcium! I treat myself to it about once a month. (this is a photo from October)IMG_1444

Kevin heated up some Mac n Cheese, a corn dog, and then Lima Beans.

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I know, polar opposite meals right? It used to be really hard for me to not over indulge when I ate with Kevin. He is a varsity athlete and needs to take in double, if not triple, the amount of calories and nutrients I do. For awhile, it was keeping me off track and I was making excuses for myself or didn’t want to miss out on an experience with him. For awhile, Kevin actually was cutting back on what he ate around me so that¬†I wouldn’t over eat. While it was a very very sweet gesture, it was also hurting Kevin because his body wasn’t getting what he needed. I had to learn how to manage my own eating, whether or not I was around other people. After Kevin and I talked about it a few times, I knew I had to step up. I had to start holding myself accountable. I started to think about the goals I wanted for my health, maintaining strength, feeling strong throughout my body, etc, and realized I needed to keep these thoughts in mind when I was eating around anyone, including myself. It’s easy to get caught up and eat half the pint of Ben and Jerry’s after you have seconds, or maybe thirds, at dinner. But I knew that wasn’t what I wanted for myself anymore. I wanted a balance. Not over indulging all the time, but not skipping out on meals or restricting myself. I’d have to plan ahead a little more with my meals and be aware and conscious of my goals whenever I was constructing a meal.¬†Although it was a tough one for me to learn, it has definitely paid off in the long run. Now, I stay on track with my way of eating and can balance myself out much much better.

Have you guys ever struggled with staying on track while you were around others? How have you worked on it?

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A 2 Ingredient Pancake & new PR!

3 Dec

Good morning readers!

It’s a very weird time for weather here in DC, yesterday was 60 degrees and today is 68! Needless to say, I’m absolutely¬†loving how warm it is ūüôā It feels like it’s spring time!

Yesterday morning I woke up with the full intent of taking the entire day off. More mental¬†relaxation¬† but most importantly my body needed to rest. However, with the warm weather I didn’t want to waste it! But, I won’t get ahead of myself.

First I woke up, watched some Glee, and decided to blog then do some chores around the house, which Liam decided to help with.

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flannel sheets! sooooo comfy.

flannel sheets! sooooo comfy.

someone's intrigued by the new sheets.

someone’s intrigued.IMG_1280

After that, I had definitely worked up an appetite and decided to try another new recipe I’ve been meaning to cook, a two ingredient pancake! Since I had never made one before, I logged onto Tina’s blog to see if there were any tips. Luckily, I found some and followed these! First, I got a small banana and one large brown egg from my fridge to whip together.

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Next, I poured the mixture into my small frying pan and waited patiently for the pancake to cook.

As Tina instructed, wait to flip until you see the bubbles in the middle and the edges are solid. (This is right before I flipped)

As Tina instructed, wait to flip until you see the bubbles in the middle and the edges are solid. (This is right before I flipped)

Voila! Not only did it stay together, but it was great timing! Thanks for the tips Tina!

Voila! Not only did it stay together, but it was great timing! Thanks for the tips Tina!

Then it was time to top it off with my favorite, Cinnamon Swirl PB, and dig in with a glass of milk.

After I did some laundry and digested, I decided I wanted to take advantage of the 60 degree weather and go for a run. I geared up in a long sleeve top, shorts, and my running shoes and was out the door. I originally thought I would run a nice and easy 3 miles, but once I got outside I was feeling really good so I ended up running a tad over 5 miles.

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I didn’t fully believe my Nike + sensor that I had run over 5 miles in 4o minutes, so I logged onto MapMyRun¬†when I got home and checked it. It was true!¬†Holy smokes, new personal record for me!¬†I think the key thing for me to be able to feel that strong during my run has been¬†cross training. Last year I was running 4 miles everyday. Not only did I injure my IT band, but my time wasn’t getting all that faster. I’ve been strengthening my entire body, especially my legs and core, through exercises classes, circuit workouts, and, believe me, rest days. Make sure you mix it up with your workouts, I promise you’ll see results!

Unfortunately, my stomach was not happy with me all during the run or after. I came home and heated up some chamomile tea and roasted sweet potatoes to try and ease it a little bit.IMG_1286

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For the rest of the day I took it easy, my stomach was not in good shape and I felt pretty out of it. I knew I needed to eat a big and satiating dinner to help me recuperate so after a small nap and some more cleaning I got all set-up in the kitchen to make a vegetable chicken wrap!

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After I had my vegetables goin and the chicken all set, I prepared some eggplant mushroom casserole for the week!

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Cut your eggplant, length wise, into about 1/4 inch thick slices. Coat a pan with non-stick spray or olive oil, and place the first layer of eggplant down. Then, place sliced mushrooms¬†(I use portabella),¬†spinach, cheese (I normally do mozzarella, but I chose feta this time),¬†and tomato sauce¬†on top! Repeat the process until you’re out of eggplant! Then pop it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.

Then, it was time to eat!IMG_1310IMG_1314

The final product!

The final product!

This. Wrap. Was. AMAZING.

I was still a little hungry, and knew my body could use the extra intake, so I heated up some leftover zucchini quiche my mom gave me and split half of it with  my roommate, Ami.IMG_1318

Hope you all had a good weekend!

Bosu and A Lot of R & R

2 Dec

Good morning readers!

This morning I have the apartment all to myself, which is a thing to treasure some moments since I live with 4 others, and after watching another episode of Glee decided it was time to blog about yesterday.

I started my morning by waking up around 830AM to a sleepy Liam,

and planned on going to the TRX class at 930. Whoops…turns out it starts at 9. Missed it¬†again. So I looked at my other options and saw Bosu Abs was up at 10AM. Since I’m used to doing all sorts of crazy exercises on a Bosu ball, thanks to my written workouts, I thought this class would be a breeze for me. I grabbed a fig bar to munch on while en route to the gym and was on my way.

When I got to the gym, they were wrapping up the TRX class so I snapped a photo so you guys could kind of get a visual of what I’m talking about. This was the cool down portion so it was just stretching, but here’s what it looks like:

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I filled up my water bottle while I waited and when it was time, I walked into class and grabbed all the equipment our instructor told us we would need.

One set of 3 lb weight, one set of 5 lb weights, Bosu ball, and mat.

I was so wrong about this class, it was a fantastic and challenging workout. We did 4-5 groups of exercises and would repeat each group 3 times through before starting a new one. The class was 45 minutes, but worked you from start to finish. I think the toughest was being in a plank, feet on the bosu ball, and with one hand lifting up one weight at a time and placing it on the other side of your body. Then repeating it, by bringing the weights to the other side of your body. That’s 1 rep.

If your gym has a Bosu class, I suggest trying it out! I think this will become a Saturday morning regular for me.

There is one thing I need help figuring out.¬†What to do with my hair while I workout. See, I have short hair now (totally new for me) and it doesn’t fit in a ponytail. However, since I have bangs, I’m not confident a headband would be great either. I’ve used a bandana before, and while it does wick away sweat, it doesn’t really stay in place as much as I thought it would so for classes where I’m really mobile it wouldn’t be a good choice. But this look…isn’t really working for me:

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It’s all over the place and quite a sweaty mess.¬†Does anyone have suggestions?

When I came home from my workout, I walked in the door to see one sleepy kitten who looked like they had just woken up from a nap when they heard Mom came home.

Tiger yawn.

Tiger yawn.

Look at those sleepy eyes.

Look at those sleepy eyes.

Time for breakfast!

I decided on Banana Whipped Oatmeal again, but this time with blackberries and blueberries! ūüôā I¬†love berries. While I cooked and heated up water for tea, Liam got cozy on the floor.

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I threw together the milk, oats and water into the pan before adding my thin slices of banana, then whipped it all together.

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Here’s what it should look like once you’ve whipped the bananas into the oats.

I washed off the berries, then tossed them into the pot right at the end so they would be warm. And served it up with just a little bit of real maple syrup drizzled in. Delicious.

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Liam was really intrigued this morning and was all over the place.

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Crazy kitten. After breakfast, it was time to shower then enjoy my day of¬†rest and relaxation. I do A LOT of running around during the week. By the time the weekend rolls around I sometimes overbook myself and Sunday I find myself exhausted. I decided Saturday I was not going to move from the couch (or my bed) all day. Something that’s really hard for me to do. Not only to sit with myself for a long period of time, but to not be active. To just allow myself some rest. I started by deciding to paint my nails, drink some tea, and watch Glee from the very beginning on Netflix.

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I absolutely love this color and was glad I rediscovered it in my collection. Around 230 it was definitely time for a snack. I was¬†starving. Since I didn’t have any peanut butter in my breakfast, I wanted to incorporate it into snack time. So I chose to have an apple.

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My roommates came home around this time too, they were all working on a world puzzle. Now, geography isn’t my thing (I don’t know where each state goes on a map of the United States) so I let them do their thing while we all talked. Autumn whipped out this dip we all had to try and served it on a big hunk of carrot.

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I still am not sure what was in the dip, but it was pretty good. Similar to spinach and artichoke dip. Autumn is a vegan though, so it could’ve been anything haha.

After a little while I found myself still super hungry, but with no idea of what I wanted to eat. I snacked on some grapes, and some Pumpkin Chocolate Chip bread while I waited to see what my dinner plans were. However, around 530 I decided I needed to start cooking and stop snacking. My roommates all were going out for dinner, so once they left I kind of just threw a bunch of things into the oven so I had a bunch of choices,¬†and leftovers for Monday’s lunch!

First, I cut up some sweet potatoes.

First, I cut up some sweet potatoes.

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SPAGHETTI SQUASH.

SPAGHETTI SQUASH.

Once everything was in the oven for about 10 minutes, it would take 30, I started to also sautee some vegetables as well.

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And before long, I had a mini feast for myself.

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Everything was really good, and I felt fully satisfied with my choices. I ate the whole bowl of spinach, but only half of everything else. I have plenty of leftovers since I didn’t even serve out all the vegetables. I’m really looking forward to having that all prepared and ready for me whenever ūüôā

Two hours of watching Glee later, I decided on having a little something sweet with a glass of skim milk. I chose a¬†Fiber One Chocolate Chip Brownie. They’re only 90 calories and have 5g of fiber, but still taste sweet! It’s a really good combination for me because between the brownie and the milk, I was full but my sweet tooth was also completely satisfied. Win win.

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I then took the time to start cleaning up my room. It’s been totally cluttered with all these pieces of paper and little knick knacks I couldn’t bring myself to throw out because “I may just need them one day.” Enough Natasha, you don’t use it so chuck it.

I started with my jewelry. I detangled all the necklaces and neatly hung them up in my jewelry dresser, then organized all the earrings, then my pen drawer in my desk.

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Liam was exhausted from all his hard work.

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It’s crazy how much such small organizing can make such a¬†big¬†difference for me.

At this point, I realized I had completely forgotten about my spaghetti squash! I ended up not having it with my dinner, but wanted to still carve it out so I had it on hand during the week. Some of my roommates had come home and Autumn had a couple friends over. Since I got all my roommates hooked on spaghetti squash, since I added it to our pot of pasta and veggies at our last roommate dinner, I was more than happy to give them a tutorial while I carved it out. (We’re weird, we know).

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I showed them,¬†and Autumn’s guests, (it’s totally normal) to first take out the pulp and then simply take a spoon or fork and go around the squash. It’s insides will fall onto the spoon in the shape of spaghetti. Pop it into a tupperware container and plop it in the fridge for whenever you’re ready!

I socialized for a little while with Autumn and her guests before they went out,

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then snuggled up to more Glee and Liam before bedtime.

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Although it took him a little while to get comfy, we passed out eventually.

Hope your Sunday is off to a good start!

Until next time,

Natasha

Canon PowerShot S100 & One Killer X Circuit

1 Dec

Good morning!

It’s weird to be awake on a Saturday at 830 AM without an alarm, but I was up 4 days this week at 8AM or earlier so I think my body’s just used to that. It’ll be good though because I’ll get a lot more use out of my day.

First, let’s rewind to yesterday. For this post, I decided I wanted to try out using my Canon PowerShot S100¬†instead of relying on my iPhone. Kevin bought it for me as my combined birthday and graduation gift last year. I have the Canon Rebel XTi and I had a really basic point and shoot Canon as well, can you see a trend here?, but didn’t buy a great one since I left the last one I had in a cab :(. The goal was for me to¬†always be able to take great pictures without having to lug around my Digital SLR. I did some research before picking out which Canon and decided on the S100.¬†It’s amazing. Not only does the picture quality blow me away, it’s the closest I’ve ever seen a point and shot come to my SLR, but it has a ton of SLR qualities like aperture control. It’s the highest quality point and shoot on the market and I highly¬†recommend¬†it. Thanks Kevin! ūüôā

I woke up at 7 to head to the research lab to run a participant at 8. However,¬†they no showed. It’s always frustrating when we make a special case for someone (i.e. allow them to schedule a time slot a whole hour early than the normal slot) and they don’t show up. While I waited, I had some¬†Cinnamon Apple Spice Tea and a Gala Apple.

ImageAround 910 I headed out and decided to try and make it to the 930 TRX class at my gym. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, TRX is a rope-like object that hangs and has two grips on it. Depending on how you adjust the ropes length you can use the grips as foot holds or for your hands. It’s great for doing more challenging planks, push-ups, glute exercises or lunges when your feet are in, but our class tends to do more exercises when our hands are on the grips like ITY’s, bicep curls, etc etc. I was sore for 3 days after the last class and really loved it.

Unfortunately, I walked in right at 930 and all the ropes were already taken! Guess it’s super popular on Friday mornings. I realized I was really hungry, since I hadn’t eaten a full breakfast, and I knew I was planning on going to the Killer X Workout that night at 630 so I decided to bag it and head home.

As soon as I walked in my apartment I started making breakfast. I was starving so I knew the best breakfast to fill me up, Sweet Breakfast Scramble.

ImageI whisked together¬†1 egg, 2 egg whites, 1 banana (I mush it by squeezing it while it’s in the peel and as it pops out I squeeze it into the bowl), 1/2 cup pumpkin puree and cinnamon. Mix it all together and put it on in¬†a skillet on medium heat.

Just like when cooking eggs by themselves, you want to cook this mixture until the eggs are no longer runny.

ImageNow it’s just looks like orange scrambled eggs! This is a good point to take it off the stovetop.

ImageThe final step to cooking this amazing meal is to add a scoop, or two :), of your favorite peanut butter. I’m sure you guys can already guess which one I put in.

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ImageCinnamon Raisin Swirl. Duh!

This was the first time I was able to eat the whole breakfast in one sitting. Normally I only put in 1 egg and 1 egg white and I’m able to eat it all, but whenever I put 3 eggs it’s just too much for me. However, I think between my hard workout Thursday night and my lack of a real breakfast before 10AM I was one hungry woman.

Whenever I eat breakfast, Liam always likes to check out what’s goin’ on and sees if he can try and sneak a bite.

ImageHowever, he decided on his favorite past time instead. Knocking over cups of water.

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“Oh…sorry Mom.”

Luckily I had already drank all the water this time. After breakfast, I realized I was really tired so I snuggled into bed with some Harry Potter, read a chapter, and took a nap.

ImageImageI woke up around 1230 and decided I was going to run some errands. First I needed a little bit of a snack, so I munched on half a fig bar while I checked some emails.

ImageAnd packed¬†some grapes for the road in my re-usable bags.ImageBefore I left I was browsing on Lululemon.com and saw they put the¬†Spin It to Win It¬†top on sale! I just tried it on last weekend and really liked it. A pit stop in at Lululemon would be necessary.¬†Then, I grabbed everyone’s rent and¬†utility¬†checks from the bulletin board and headed out.¬†I stopped the bank first and then drove into Bethesda. When I parked in the parking lot I saw a wonderful surprise waiting for me.

ImageSomeone had left over an hour in the meter!! I felt really lucky and fortunate because once i parked I realized I left my quarters in my other jacket. It’s a small random gesture, that probably wasn’t intentional, but it was still a really nice surprise.

I returned a shirt at City Sports, and bought the top I wanted from Lululemon, after trying it on in a couple different colors to be sure of course :). While I was walking around, I checked twitter for updates on Kevin’s matches in the wrestling tournament.

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Killin’ em.

Next I swung into Barnes & Noble for a little browsing, but the next book I read after Harry Potter I really want to be a good one. I’m going to wait and ask around to see what’s a good read.

I left Bethesda and headed for home. While I was out shopping, my brother emailed out his Christmas List to my parents and I. This was my signal to make my list, so that’s exactly what I did.

ImageWhile I caught up on Glee, Liam caught up on some sleep.

ImageImageAround 4 o’clock my stomach was growling. I planned to eat lunch this late today though since I knew I was getting pizza with my Mom at 8 after my workout class. With pizza on the brain, I wanted to have a healthy lunch with lots of vegetables.

ImageIn the bowl was spinach, avocado, chick peas, rasins, cucumber, tomato, yellow bell pepper, feta cheese and Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing. Delicious!

Around 530 I started to get ready for the Killer X Workout Class. I was so excited about my new top, so I chose it as my outfit for the class. Although the top is designed for a cycling class, I wanted to wear it anyway. Here’s what they say about it on their website:

“When we crank up the cadence in spin class, we want a tank that can handle our sweat and keep our girls under control. We designed this inherently wicking tank with a high neck and a grippy rear hem to keep us covered while we cycle.”

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I had not tried this class yet, but had a feeling it would be challenging. Besides being excited to wear it, I also wanted to test out my new top from Lululemon and see how it would hold up in a high impact class with a lot of movement (what I was anticipating). Since there’s no room for a bra underneath it, you rely on the support they build into the top to hold everyone together.

ImageSo I did some test jumps.

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ImageAnd messed up the timing …¬†a lot.

ImageGot a littttle frustrated.

ImageBut eventually got it! And I don’t have the crazy eyes like I do in that first photo. Anyway, as you can see, even when jumping, and landing, the support they built into the top holds everything secure and in place. It’s also suuuper comfortable. Not to mention eye-catching. Wearing this definitely made me feel great and look great at the same time, so I knew I made the right decision :).

Next I was off to class. Wow, they definitely weren’t joking around when they titled this workout Killer. Last night, she had us do a circuit workout. Since there were 13 of us there, we had 13 stations. No station was a rest station. As I looked around, I was confident I was going to be challenged.

Here’s the workout: (I linked almost every exercise so you guys can do the workout, or any part of it, on your own!)

1. Decline Crunches on the ab bench

2. Alternating Plyo Push-ups (we had 2 steps, one on each side, instead of the singular featured in this clip. When the left hand was on the mat, right hand on the right side bench, when the right hand was on the mat, left hand was on the left bench)

3. Arm Raises (we had a variety of weight choses, I chose 5 lbs)

4. Plank

5. 30 Box Jumps – **This person was the timekeeper. Whenever they completed their 30 jumps they yelled “SWITCH!” and that’s when you knew to switch stations.

6. Box Leg Press (closest I could find to it. Instead of doing the same leg over and over, we alternated one after the other. Lead with left leg, right foot comes up, right foot down first, then left. Then lead with right leg, etc..)

7. Barbell Dead Lift (45 lbs women 60lbs men)

8. Jack knife

9. Squat to Overhead Press (8 or 10 lb dumb bells for women, 15 for men)

10. Battle Rope

11. Jump Rope

12. Burpees

13. Kettle Bell Swings 

We repeated this circuit 4 times!! We weren’t given any rest in-between circuit repeats so if you needed water or rest it was at your discretion. By the end, I was hungry for fuel and feeling like I got a¬†really great workout in. Definitely will be doing this class more often.

I stretched and talked with a couple people I see regularly then walked over to Pete’s Pizza to meet up with my mom!

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We ordered the Down-the-Hill pizza. It had meatball, sausage, bell pepper, caramelized onion and olives. I also ordered a Spinach Olivada salad to start with.

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Spinach Olivada Salad

ImageI never order meat on my pizzas, but I realized I hadn’t had meat in about a week. I was pescetarian (no meat, but does eat fish, eggs and dairy) for almost 2 years and only switched back due to health concerns at the time. I’m still pretty used to not eating meat, but I do try and have it 2-3 times per week.

My mom and I decided we couldn’t leave¬†without dessert. There were WAY too many delicious sounding options. Pumpkin canolis, mini pumpkin spice or red velvet cakes, peanut butter chocolate cup. But we ultimately decided on¬†gelato. It was a tough choice between Pumpkin Gingersnap and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough for me, but I chose the dough (since I had pumpkin with breakfast) and my mom got the Double Chocolate.

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My mom and I enjoyed our dessert then took the bus back home. Her apartment is in the same area as mine, 4 minute walk away, so we could get off at the same stop.

I was really pooped after such a long day so I took a shower and got cozy in some wrestling sweats Kevin gave me. I wear them around the house or to sleep when I know he’s competing, kind of like a small good luck charm.

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I finished the latest Glee episode and was off to bed!

Hope everyone’s having a good start to their Saturday so far!

Until next time,

Natasha