PSA: Don’t forget to floss

So, I had dental work last week. Turns out that when you rarely floss and “forget” to go to the dentist for 4 years, you end up getting yelled at by your dentist, making 2 appointments within a week of each other, and feeling really stupid for not just flossing your stupid teeth. 3 fillings and a deep cleaning on one side of mouth Tuesday. Spent that night with a numb mouth and an ice pack, and spend the rest of my work week feeling really sorry for myself and eating very little because it hurt. Lesson learned: FLOSS YOUR TEETH. I have another one coming up Wednesday (the other side of my mouth + 2 more fillings) and I am deeply not looking forward to it.

I went on a date Wednesday night. It was fine. It actually lasted a really long time and I had a lot in common with the guy, but I also get the impression that he thinks he is God’s gift to earth and, hey, maybe he is. But it’s a lot for me.

Friday morning, I woke up at 4:30am (dutifully, for my 5am Crossfit class), went outside, promptly realized that my battery was dead, shrugged, and went back upstairs to sleep an extra hour and half. Then I woke up and realized I was going to have to figure out what to do with my car because I was supposed to drive to Brooklyn for an appointment that night and then down the shore Saturday night. I had my car towed to the dealership (thank you, Geico, for coming in clutch as always) and spent the rest of the day playing the waiting game.

Here’s the weird part. I have a 2015 model car. So, it’s brand new. On top of that, my battery died in December and I got a brand new one. It’s been less than 6 months! What gives? The dealership couldn’t figure it out either. Until they did. I had my GPS plugged into my cigarette lighter thingy (you know what I’m talking about, right?) and I never took it out. I seriously never imagined that it would be eating my battery. BUT IT WAS. Apparently that’s why my battery died. Anyway, they didn’t need to replace it or anything and I got my car back the same day. Everything was free other than my Lyft car to the dealership, and I made it to Brooklyn in time for my appointment.

PSA Part 2 of this post: DO NOT LEAVE ANYTHING PLUGGED INTO YOUR CIGARETTE LIGHTER THINGY BECAUSE YOU WILL GET PREGNANT. AND DIE…I mean, your car battery will die. Scratch the pregnant thing.

Here’s a good segue I didn’t plan. Funny thing happened to me the other day. I made an appointment with a Nurse Practitioner to get a general check-up. I found her on Zocdoc and she had great reviews, so I was excited for it. The office sent me intake forms. Said intake forms informed me that the facility was Catholic owned and abided by Catholic rules regarding “birth control, abortion, in vitro fertilization, intrauterine insemination and other assisted reproductive technologies, and certain infertility treatments in unmarried women.”

Okay. I’m not looking to get any in vitro fertilization, infertility treatments, or an abortion at the moment. But I do have an IUD. And one of the things I was going to the doctor for was to make sure that everything was cool with my IUD and to make sure that it hadn’t fallen out of place or anything because apparently that can happen during the first year of use. Needless to say, I cancelled my appointment lol. That was clearly not going to be a good fit.

Saturday night, my friend Jason invited me to go to a bar in Asbury Park with a bunch of his friends. It was very kind of him to invite me because I don’t have a whole lot of friends in New Jersey. I had a great time, but had way too much to drink and ended up being very hungover and tired the following morning.

Mother’s Day was great. My sister-in-law treated my mom and her mom (and me…lol) to a foot massage at this amazing place. It was an hour of pure bliss. They even threw in some back and neck work. I was in heaven. Then, we ate way, way, way too much food and she gave me way, way, way too many leftovers. Family time is always great. I love spending time with my parents and my brother’s family, especially the little ones.

I won’t lie, this morning was rough. I could barely get out of bed for 5am Crossfit (BUT I DID…and then took a nap when I got back at 6:30 lol) and spent the whole day just very cranky and exhausted. A full weekend will do that to you, so I’ll have to make sure to get to bed at a reasonable hour tonight.

Tomorrow brings a vet visit for the lil’ bb and a trip to a sushi place. Wednesday is more dental work. Wahhhh. Send good vibes please.

Saturdaze

Started out this morning with a long walk with Brooks. There’s a coffeeshop in New Brunswick called Hidden Grounds. They have great coffee AND they are pet friendly, so I stopped in this morning to get a cappuccino for my walk.

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After my walk, I headed out to the gym. Today, I did 4×5 front squats @ 130 lbs and then a 20 min’ EMOM of a clean & jerk per minute. 10 @75 lbs, 5 @85 lbs, 5 @90 lbs.

While I was at the gym, I got a text from my brother that he and the fam were going to a park that was close by and also to bring lettuce. Yeah, that’s not a typo. Apparently, this park has a zoo, and you can feed some of the animals, so of course my niece and nephew needed Aunt Rachel to bring some goat food.

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That last picture cracked me up! Such a great moment to capture.

I’d like to come back to Johnson Park to check out the trails and whatever else the park has to offer. It looked pretty big, but it was kind of a cloudy day and was raining on and off, so we didn’t stay too long.

After the park, we grabbed lunch at one of my favorite places in New Brunswick. EFES has easily  the most delicious Mediterranean food in my part of town. It seems to be family-owned and a lot of the people that work there know me because I’m there so often. Seriously, I take everyone who comes to visit me to EFES.

Then we headed over to Milltown Ice Cream Depot for some ice cream, and Brooks came along for the ride! I’ve been trying to get to this place for a couple of weeks now because a lot of my friends rave about it. Honestly, it was really good. And the serving sizes were HUGE. My only complaint is that the service is a little bit slow, so the line is very long. But they’re really nice there, and it’s totally worth it. I got the chocolate chip cookie dough. I always get chocolate chip cookie dough the first time I go to an ice cream place–it’s my go-to, so I use it to judge whether or not the place is good because where I eat ice cream is very serious business. They gave Brooks a doggy cup, which is just some vanilla soft serve. But then my sister-in-law didn’t finish her ice cream, so he got a bunch of that too. This pup is super spoiled.

 

When I got home, I cleaned my apartment, took a quick nap, and made some cookies. I made chocolate chip cookies and, since my brother requested sugar cookies, I made a bunch of those too! All the cookies came out great and my apartment smells like delicious sugary goodness made with love.

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It was a great Saturday filled with everything that I love–coffee, family, friends, animals, heavy weights, and delicious treats.

I Missed A Day, Already?!

Damn it, lol. It only took 4 days for me to miss a day. Oh, well. I will just write two in one day at some point and that’ll make up for it. I had a good reason for not blogging yesterday! I went on a date. The date was okay. I’m not sure things are going to work out because I think we’re too different. But I’m dating again, and that’s what counts!

One of my friends sent an article to me today about raising a dog in your 20’s, and the article hit me hard. Here it is!

When I saw the line that read “It was not, in the least, an ideal time to haphazardly take on the responsibility of keeping another mammal alive,” I cracked up because when I got Brooks, I was in my second year of law school. Not at all the best time to get a dog. In fact, maybe the worst time to get a dog. My family told me not to do it, but I had it in my heart that I would, so I did.

Sometimes I wonder if I did the right thing. I have a lot more responsibility than the people I know without a dog. I can’t just go where I please when I please–I have to think about going home and walking the dog. If I want to go on a trip, I have to think about where Brooks is going to stay. Everything requires a little bit of pre-planning.

Brooks has seen me through a year and a half of law school, through the bar exam, through a move to Alexandria, a move back to Williamsburg, a move to New York, and a move to New Jersey. He’s seen me through the end of a relationship–a breakup that hurt me so badly, I thought my heart wouldn’t recover.

I rescued Brooks from the shelter. I showed him love when he wasn’t at his best and I loved him through torn up blinds, chewed socks, accidents on my carpet, and so much more. In return, he has shown me unconditional love. On my ugliest days, Brooks loves me. He forgives me every time I leave for too long or punish him a little bit too harshly for misbehaving.

I’m convinced that there is nothing so pure as the love of a dog. I have no regrets about my choice to get Brooks, even if it was at the most inconvenient, irresponsible time.

“Stephen Chobsky once wrote ‘we accept the love we think we deserve’. I’d like to think that somewhere along the way these animals – that in turn rescue us – drop subtle hints throughout their seasons, to show us that what we think we deserve doesn’t even begin scratch the surface.” Link

If you’re reading this and you’re thinking of getting a dog or a puppy, please adopt one. They will show you love that makes you realize that you deserve to be loved more, and that you deserve to love yourself more.

What I’m Reading Wednesday

Okay, my food today was really unimpressive. I mean, the eggs I ate were assembled well. I’m not going to lie. I created a really pretty plate today. And I’m going to share it at the end of this post. But I really dread the idea of doing a “What I Ate Wednesday” post when what I ate today was a beautiful plate of eggs and a bunch of leftovers. Also half a bag of edamame chips and a bowl of crunchy red grapes. But still.

So, instead, I’m going to do a post about what I’m currently reading! I grew up LOVING to read. I was reading chapter books well ahead of the time that kids are supposed to read chapter books. I grew up a 5 minute walk from a library. As a kid, I would proudly collect 7 or 8 books from said library on a Saturday and finish them all before they were due. Reading was my favorite activity.

But slowly, as I got older, reading became less fun. First of all, there was television. People really hate on the television medium, but I don’t blame myself for loving it. I love immersing myself in a good story (even ones that are not well-written). With books, I have to imagine what the characters look and sound like. With television, it’s right there in front of me. Anyone who loves a good story must love television–and if you don’t, I just don’t get it!

Anyway, the other problem was that I had so much reading to do for school that reading for pleasure took a backseat. As I grew older, I had to read textbooks in dry language, classic novels that I couldn’t relate to, and essays in Old English. Reading became somewhat of a chore. I still read for pleasure, but not nearly as frequently and not with nearly as much fervor as when I was a kid.

This problem increased tenfold when I got to law school. It felt like all I did in law school was read opinions by old white dudes. In my first year, I didn’t understand half of what I was reading and spent more time looking up words in a dictionary than I did actually reading. Reading became about how quickly I could skim the case for the important information so I could spit it out in class when I was cold called. It was no longer fun. It felt like all I did was read. Consequently, my idea of fun no longer included reading a book. In fact, after my first year of law school, I can’t remember reading a single book for pleasure.

One of my goals after leaving law school was to read more for pleasure. Of course, that proved more difficult than I thought. As much as I nostalgically recalled holing myself up in my bedroom to devour the latest Harry Potter book, recent memories of reading were unpleasant and I had an almost visceral reaction to cracking open a book. It took me roughly 6 months to finish Cider House Rules, which I had started (against my better judgment) while I was studying for the bar. I realized I had to start slowly and ease myself back into reading.

I had to start somewhere. I found it really easy to read autobiographies by funny women. I read Amy Poehler’s, Amy Schumer’s, Tina Fey’s, and Sarah Silverman’s. I also opened an Audible account and have listened to a lot of books that I never would’ve picked up to read. Not a lot of substance, but great stories nonetheless. Some of my favorites have been Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty, The Collector by Nora Roberts, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, Where We Belong by Catherine Ryan Hyde, and What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. I can’t recommend audiobooks enough. I love them for walks with Brooks or long drives.

In the past couple of weeks, after much “easing myself back in,” I have finally been craving a good read. I mean, a real read–not a listen.

So, without further ado, here’s what I’m currently reading (and listening to on walks with Brooks):

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty (on Audible)
I really do love listening to Liane Moriarty’s stories. The characters are always so well-developed and fascinating. This one is about a woman who finds a letter that her husband wrote to her that was only supposed to be opened after his death. I imagine she opens it while he’s still alive and it somehow shatters her world, but I’m still at the beginning so I can’t say for sure.

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
Hillbilly Elegy is a memoir by the author, a Yale Law School graduate, about his upbringing in Middletown, OH and the social problems his hometown faces. This book has been collecting dust on my shelf ever since the 2016 presidential election. My job prevents me from publicly sharing any political views, but regardless of one’s political views, it was an interesting and often surprising election season. I hoped that this book would shed light on why some of those surprises happened. I have about 100 pages left, but as someone born and raised on the East Coast, I’ve found this peak into midwestern life to be eye-opening. I definitely recommend it.

The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule
This one has also been on my radar for a while because I listen to a podcast called My Favorite Murder and they bring up this book and this author ALL the time. If you’re interested in true crime and you can take a joke, you should give the podcast a listen. The Stranger Beside Me is Ann Rule’s book about Ted Bundy, whom she knew personally before she found out he was a serial killer. I just ordered this one to my Kindle and I cannot wait to start it.

The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons
If I’m going to read a book about a real-life broken family and a real-life serial killer, I need some good fluffy fiction in my life. Otherwise, I’m afraid I run the risk of associating reading with sadness. That may be a step up from boredom or anxiety, but still not great. The Bronze Horseman is a romance novel and the first of a trilogy that takes place in Russia during World War II. I’ve ordered this one on Amazon and I’m waiting for it to arrive. I hope it lives up to its great reviews!

As promised, here’s a picture of my eggs from this morning! It’s no wonder I race home from my workout to eat breakfast–it’s the prettiest meal of the day. Plus, there’s chocolate milk and coffee involved. You just can’t go wrong with that!

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Apparently, I’m Selling Tickets to the Gun Show

This morning started out great! I went to the gym and did one of my RP Female Physique workouts. My exercises included shoulder presses, close stance feet forward squats, 1-arm dumbbell rows, and many more. Highlight of my workout, though, was walking back into the parking lot and seeing a goose, just walking around like he owned the place. This wouldn’t have been odd in some areas of the country, but in New Jersey, it gave me a good laugh!

When it was time to get ready for work, I put on this dress that I wasn’t sure would fit. I tried it on a thrift shop last summer (after I had gained all my bar exam weight) and knew I had to have it, even though it didn’t zip all the way. It was a size 10 Badgley Mischka dress, and it was incredibly cheap, so I couldn’t let it go. I tried it on for the first time towards the end of February. I did a whole lot of maneuvering to make it happen, but it fit. Today, I’m about a month into a very loose maintenance phase, so I really wasn’t sure how it would go. Lo and behold–no wriggling! It zipped right up. But it was tight in one place….MY ARMS. LOL. Can’t complain about that, right? Here’s my Instagram post about it! I think you can really see the difference 🙂

Work has been really busy lately. I’m working on this big case that requires hundreds of pages of reading and independent research, so I’ve been working longer hours than usual. By the time I made it home today, I was exhausted. So I walked Brooks for about 40 minutes, made dinner, and curled up on the couch to watch Bridget Jones’ Baby. The Bridget Jones movies have always been some of my favorites, and I loved seeing the character again. I won’t spoil the ending for anyone who hasn’t seen it, but I was really pleased with it!

Here’s some of what I ate today. (Btw, I feel like I have to say this. Please don’t think that my food is limited to what I post here. I usually have breakfast, lunch, dinner, and 1 or 2 snacks + a protein shake if I find that I’m not recovering well from my workouts. Sometimes there’s even a caramel macchiato involved. I eat plenty of food, especially now that I’m maintaining, and I don’t want anyone to think I lost weight or got strong by eating 2-3 meals a day!!)

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Post-Workout Breakfast: 2 fried eggs, 3 slices turkey bacon, handful of arugula, slice of french bread, 8 oz chocolate milk (my Snapchats are so obnoxious…)

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Dinner: Leftover’s from last night’s picadillo, in quesadilla form, with homemade pico! Click here for the recipe.

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Dessert: I had about a serving of Enlightened ice cream left in this pint, so I added some strawberries and fat free cool whip and went to town. It was amazing! ❤

A Perfectionist Writes

Happy Monday, and Happy May! I was hoping that we would leave the rain behind in April, but it looks like it’ll be raining or cloudy for the next week straight, so I’m soaking up every bit of sun while I still can.

I have so many good ideas for this blog, but I’m having trouble publishing any posts because I tend to strive for perfection. I never want to post anything unless it’s perfect.

Well, I have a couple of goals for the month of May, and the first one is to write a blog post every day! Not every day will be great, but maybe I’ll reverse some of this writer’s block that my perfectionism gave me.

May Goals
1. Write a blog post every day
2. Don’t count a single calorie or macro
3. Walk an average of 10,000 steps per day

Make an Effort To…
1. Cook more
2. Drink more water

What I’m Eating This Week
Take a look at my Pinterest to see what I’m cooking this week! All of the recipes this week are from Gina Homolka, over at Skinnytaste.com. I love her recipes! I’m not counting calories, so I’m making an effort to eat whole foods and proper portions. Gina makes it really easy to do that, so her website is a good place to start.

Some of Today’s Meals

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1 slice Whole Wheat toast, 2 eggs, 1 chicken sausage, a little bit of salsa, coffee w/ fat free creamer, and 1 serving of lowfat chocolate milk for breakfast, post-workout!

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Adapted from the Gina Homolka recipe with 2 slices sourdough bread, 2 oz leftover boiled chicken, a handful of arugula, 1 slice of reduced fat provolone cheese, and 1 tbsp of homemade chipotle mayo (low fat mayo + chipotle sauce)

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Stovetop picadillo with 3/4 cup brown rice and a sprinkle of Mexican blend cheese

Give Sunday a Break; Rx Bars review!

I think Sundays have a bad reputation. I mean, look, they’re not as glorious as Saturdays. No arguments there! On a Saturday, you can wake up whenever you want and go to bed whenever you want, and do whatever you want all day! The world is your oyster. Sunday has to be a little bit more structured in that you, at the very least, have to prepare a bit for Monday and get to bed at a reasonable hour. Ditto for Friday, when you actually have to be at work for a whole 8 hours before you feel freedom!

It’s no secret that I’m a planner. True to form, I’ve found that making a plan for the pre-Monday preparations is the best way to beat the Sunday blues. Figure out exactly what you need to do prepare for the week and then fit it into your day. I like to put half of my responsibilities in the morning and the other half in the evening so I have the whole middle of the day to enjoy myself. The good news is that, with just a little bit of planning ahead, most of the hours in your Sunday can be treated just like a Saturday!

My Sunday planning this weekend looked a little bit like this:

Morning/Afternoon–> Hit up Trader Joe’s for food (usually I’d have meal planning time too, but I’m only going to be home for 3 days this week because of some travel I’m doing Thursday-Sunday, so I just got a whole lot of easy stuff at TJ’s to last me 3 days)

Evening–> Put in a load of laundry while heating up dinner and watching Revenge (I know I’m super late on this show, but it’s soooooo good)

Those were the 2 big things I had to do this Sunday, so I planned out when I would do them and spent the rest of my day enjoying myself! I took Brooks for a 2 mile walk in the gorgeous weather, got in a great, long workout at the gym, explored a new town that I happened to stumble upon, had a nice phone conversation with my mom, AND finished Season 1 of Revenge.

A little bit of planning ahead made for a fantastic Sunday!

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On my walk around this new town I stumbled upon, I realized I was famished. It was almost dinner time and I hadn’t even had lunch yet. So, for the first time ever, I bought an Rx Bar.

Rx Bars have been on my radar for quite a while. I mean, I’m a Crossfitter. Of course they have. I hadn’t tried them yet because I’m pretty wary of anything marketed as paleo. Paleo doesn’t work for me. I know it works for a lot of people, but I’m not one of them. I’ll probably discuss it again in a separate blog post, but eating paleo just left me feeling weak, hungry, and unsatisfied. Because of my bad experience, I’m always wary of anything marketed as “Paleo” or “natural.”

Today, for some reason, I decided I was finally going to try one. The flavor I bought was called Coffee Chocolate. The main ingredients are 3 egg whites, 6 almonds, 4 cashews, and 2 dates. It also contains cocoa, coffee, sea salt, and “natural coffee flavor” (unsure what that last one is). Macros: 9g fat, 23g carbs, 12g protein.

First of all, it was seriously delicious. Guys, I’m a foodie. I love food. I have a serious sweet tooth. I will never say that something tastes good when it tastes like kale or soy cheese. When I say that Rx bar was good, I mean it was good. It took quite a while to chew (likely because dates are a great binding agent), but the flavors were like a party in my mouth. This bar paired perfectly with a small iced coffee from a local coffee shop.

The best part about this bar is the taste. The other good part, though, is that it fit really well into my macros AND it kept me full all the way until dinner. I was worried that, because it was paleo, this protein bar wasn’t going to give me any fuel. I was totally wrong! It really packed a punch.

I will definitely be buying more Rx Bars in the future for when I’m on the run and need a snack to keep my energy up or if I know I won’t be able to eat for a while after a workout!