Friday Faves

Happy Friday friends! Any good plans for the weekend? I have a 6 miler on Saturday, then maybe indoor rock climbing.  Mike and I also have to start prepping to tutor a girl at our church for the fall PSATs – remember those days? Here’s a few things I’ve been loving this week:

Zen Koi – I don’t usually play a lot of phone games besides Sudoku (weird, I know), but I’ve been spending a lot of time at the acupuncturist and this game really helps pass the time (and ignore the pain, lol).  The design of the game is beautiful and very low-stress. I’ll talk more about why I’m getting acupuncture next week after I (hopefully) start seeing some results!

Halo Top ice cream – I was so hesitant to try a low-cal ice cream after trying Arctic Zero years ago (pretty gross), but after seeing so many positive reviews for Halo Top, I grabbed a pint of mint chocolate chip at Target.  It’s actually pretty good – very creamy and filling and minimal taste of artificial sweetener (after the first bite, I don’t really notice it).  I’ll report back after we try the other flavors!

Eyebrow razor – this is a weird one, but after I complained about how my eyebrows were growing bushy too quickly between waxes, a friend introduced me to eyebrow razors! They’re so easy to use and hard to mess up (unlike waxing at home, which I couldn’t get the hang of).  I bought this cheap set of three on Amazon.

Buzz bakery specialty cakes – this is for any DC local readers out there – Buzz has the best specialty cakes for baby showers! We’ve had a few showers for ladies in our small group recently, so I’ve picked up cakes both times and gotten rave reviews.  The cake is so moist and delicious (we’ve tried red velvet and cookies & cream) and the decorations are gorgeous.

 This super-easy recipe for “spaghetti cabbage” – I was scrambling for a fast dinner idea a few nights ago, and I realized I had a bag of shredded cabbage to use up and I vaguely remembered this recipe off of Detoxinista’s website.  I used jarred spaghetti sauce and added some chicken sausage and it came together in no time. We’ve been trying to eat more vegetables at dinnertime, so this was perfect.

Last Week’s Workouts: Running Again!

I am slowly ramping my mileage back up after recovering from an Achilles tendinitis injury back in early January – probably the longest recovery I’ve needed from a running injury yet.  I got a chance to talk to author Matt Fitzgerald in April (I’m going to be in his new book!), and he mentioned that his AT injury sidelined him for two years, so this injury is no joke.  Given the length of time I took off from running and desire to avoid re-injury, I ramped up much more slowly than I have in the past – weekly mileage started at 12 miles 5 weeks ago, then 12, 14, 13, and 16.5 this past week.  I did no speedwork the first 4 weeks, and introduced a short speed workout last week.  Here’s how last week’s miles went:

Mon: 6 X 400 meters on the treadmill – I did a one mile warmup, then 400 meters around an 8:10 pace, followed by 400 meters of walk/ jog recovery.  Finished with a half mile cooldown. The last two intervals felt tough, but doable.

Tues: rest day – had to travel for work

Weds: XT day – Body Pump in the morning, followed by a cardio dance class at Kazaxe with a friend at night.

Thurs: 3 easy outside (9:14 pace) 

Fri: Zengo cycle class

Sat: 6 miles outside (9:34 pace) – this was a tough run; it was about 75 degrees when I started, and I didn’t bring water because there’s a water fountain around 2 miles in on the path.  The water fountain wasn’t working, but I decided to keep going since I wasn’t thirsty yet.  As the temps rose into the low 80s and the sun came out, I didn’t feel good so I took frequent breaks during the last 2 miles to cool my body temp down.  Definitely carrying water for any runs over a few miles from now on! I went rock-climbing with a friend later that day for a little upper body exercise too :)

Sun: 3.5 miles on T/M (10:13 pace) followed by some yoga

Friday Faves

Happy Friday! I always look forward to publishing these Friday faves posts to share some things that have made me happy this week.  I haven’t written one of these in months, so we have some catching up to do ;)

Iced green tea lattes.  I strangely lost my taste for coffee as the weather got warmer this summer, and landed on green tea lattes as my caffeine substitute! Mine is super simple – I just add water, soy milk, half a teaspoon of this matcha powder, and some granulated honey into my Contigo shake and go tumbler (the BEST) and shake it up.  If you try this, I recommend adding the matcha powder/ sweetener after you add all your liquid so that the powder doesn’t stick to the bottom.

Red Rising series by Pierce Brown – probably the best sci-fi/ fantasy series I’ve read in a long time.  Mike’s co-worker lent me the first book and I blew through the trilogy in less than a week.  Everyone I’ve recommended the series to has been similarly hooked!

My new favorite take-out lately is Cava Grill, which is one of many Mediterranean-style build-your-own bowl/pita/salad restaurants in the area.  I’ve tried a few, but Cava’s toppings and falafel are the best, and their drinks are really good too.  I tried the watermelon soda last time and it was incredible.I was looking for some affordable workout clothes earlier this year (I have a huge running wardrobe, but not a lot of capris/ tanks for cross-training), and was really impressed by Gap’s workout line! I bought a couple of their tanks and capris for barre/yoga type workouts and found them to be really stylish and great quality.  They always offer free shipping on $50+ and nearly always have a 40%-50% coupon code.

theSkimm.  With my new job, I don’t have a lot of time to read the news anymore, so I love this daily digest sent to my inbox every day.  It’s very readable, gives you the background and highlights, and takes less than 5 min to read.  Best of all, the subscription is free :)

 

Last Week’s Workouts

Our weekend started off strong with an escape room adventure with our small group on Friday night! We split up into 2 groups (too many for one room) and tackled two rooms at Escape Room Live in Alexandria. Mike and I were in the Poe-raenormal Room (Edgar Allen Poe-themed, if you hadn’t guessed) and we juust got out with two minutes to spare! I loved the theming and decorations at this location – they did a great job setting the mood for each puzzle.
We grabbed ice cream afterwards at the new Old Town location of Nice Cream – it had opened that day! Still our favorite ice cream; the pistachio flavor was amazing.

Saturday was spin, spin, spin at Cyclebar – we liked the studio so much that we added two more classes to our intro class pack. I really appreciate the great and friendly customer service we’ve experienced at this studio.
After cleaning up and taking care of the usual chores, we hung out at home for a while before I started getting ready to go out for a baby shower for one of our small group women. I was in charge of the cake – the one I picked out from Buzz Bakery was a big hit :)

Unfortunately I came down with a small case of food poisoning that night – I think it was some old yogurt I ate earlier in the day – so I was out of commission on Sunday. I managed to clean up our file cabinet, but didn’t do much else all day. Thankfully, I’m feeling much better today and got in a good workout this morning.

Last Week’s Workouts

I realized pretty early on this week that I needed a bit of a cut-back in effort, so I substituted one tough workout (probably would have been bootcamp) for a yoga class on Sunday. As a result, I don’t feel so sore going into this week and I’m ready to push a little harder again. I really believe in taking cutback weeks and even entire rest weeks when my body starts to feel a little run down – a little recovery can prevent future injury and illness. Listen to your body :)

Mon – short run (2.5 miles) and 15 min elliptical – I tried to test out my Achilles again, but it just wasn’t having it.

Tues – rest day

Weds – boxing class at UFC – I paced myself much better than last week and didn’t feel like dying the next day ;)

Thurs – 45 min elliptical and 10 min row – for the row, I did 3 – 500 meter rows with rest in between, and then repeated 10 forceful strokes with 30 seconds recovery row till I hit 10 minutes.  Short but effective.

Fri – 40 min elliptical

Sat – spin class at Cyclebar! Loved the sprint repeats at the end of class – we did 20 sec on, 10 sec rest repeated 8 times.  My quads were on fire.

Sun – short yoga video

Friday Faves

TGIF friends! I have a pretty easy day today – teleworking from home, and then we’re meeting our small group tonight for escape room adventures.  Should be fun :) I’ve got some Friday faves below.

I recently decided to learn some basic Spanish to help me communicate with the people we’ve been serving during volunteer activities, like the food distribution event I went to last weekend.  I was looking for a audio-only learning program I could do during my commute, and ended up buying Pimsleur‘s Level 1 package of classes.  It’s been awesome! It’s just a 30 minute lesson each day, and there’s lots of repetition to help you remember the words.  I’ve only been doing it for a week, and already have several useful phrases under my belt (e.g., “I am an American and don’t speak Spanish” lol).  It also makes my evening commute go by so much faster.

After making our way through lots of bad TV, I’ve decided to just go ahead and re-watch my favorites – so I’ve been re-watching West Wing in the evenings.  Just as good the second time around.

Homemade almond butter – I go in and out of food phases, and I’m all about the almond butter right now.  I’ve been buying the roasted, salted almonds from Trader Joe’s and making (and eating) a jar a week.  Sometimes I’ll go plain, and sometimes I’ll add in a little honey and unsweetened coconut.

If you’re looking for a pair of comfortable and cute sneakers, I highly recommend Allbirds. Mike’s brother and sister-in-law turned us onto them, and they’re amazing.  Made of wool, they’re machine-washable, warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and comfortable enough to wear without socks! I got a ton of compliments on my mint green pair the first weekend I wore them out.

I’ve been on a huge pancake kick lately (see my breakfast above) – I’ve made buttermilk pancakes, sour cream pancakes, and ricotta pancakes in the last couple of weeks to use up random dairy products left over from recipes.  And you know what? Ricotta pancakes are THE BEST – so fluffy with a luxurious creamy center.

Arrow Endure water resistant mascara – I got this as a Birchbox sample and wasn’t expecting much, but it works so well! It’s the first mascara in a while that actually helps me look like I have lashes ;)Britt Marie Was Here – I’ve loved all the books I’ve read by Fredrik Backman so far (including A Man Called Ove and My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry), but I think this one is my favorite! I love the way he transforms his characters through interactions with other people – like softening wax with a flame.

I’m making this warm kale salad with dates, bacon, and other goodness for lunch next week.  Make it with me!

What’s one thing you’re looking forward to this weekend?

Last Week’s Workouts: Boxing!

We had a fun weekend with gorgeous weather here in DC!  We took full advantage, starting with a cherry blossom viewing party at night with our Friday small group.  The cherry blossoms surprisingly survived the sudden cold snap, some snow, and very windy days over the last two weeks, so we made a trip to the Tidal Basin around the Jefferson and FDR memorials to see them at night.

On Saturday, I was up nice and early for a short treadmill run followed by volunteering at a food distribution event, hosted by ALIVE!, a local organization focusing on assisting those in need in the Alexandria community. I have a lot of time on my hands right now, so I’ve been looking for more ways to get involved in serving – being Jesus’s hands and feet in the world, especially in the current political climate. The food distribution event takes place the last Saturday of every month, and although it was scheduled to go from 8:30-12, we ended an hour early because apparently fewer and fewer immigrant families have been coming due to fear of deportation. We actually had to pack up leftover goods and store them because there weren’t enough people to take them all. Trump, that’s what’s sad.

We got some chores done the rest of the day and then headed out in the evening for a fun date at Komi! I really wanted to treat Mike to a nice dinner for being so supportive of new work schedule – earlier alarms, longer hours, more trips – and he had heard great things about the creative Greek-inspired cuisine at this upscale restaurant, so we decided to give it a shot. One of Komi’s interesting policies was no pictures of the food so they can keep it a surprise for others, so you’ll have to take my word for it that the food was amazing.

We did get a course list afterwards of everything we ate, and one of my favorite dishes was actually super simple – oven roasted dates stuffed with mascarpone topped with some sea salt.  Very few ingredients, but they all went so well together, and we loved the crispy skin on the dates.  We’ll be re-creating these for a fancy appetizer at home.  (we didn’t actually celebrate my birthday there, but it isn’t too far off so when they asked if we were celebrating a special event, that’s what I went with)

Sunday was church and teaching Sunday School, and we tried out a new Vietnamese place afterwards.  This vermicelli from Super Pho didn’t disappoint – nice clean flavors with tender shrimp and pork.

Last Week’s Workouts

I mentioned last week that I’ve started taking classes at my UFC gym. You might be wondering why I joined UFC and the answer is no, I’m not planning to enter the ring ;) I actually joined when I started my new job because I was looking for gyms near my workplace (which is 40 min from home), and UFC had the best deal at the time. They have two treadmills and some other basic fitness equipment, so I figured I could do some running and maybe take a class or two in the future. Since I haven’t been running all that much, I’ve started checking out the classes – first Daily Ultimate Training (DUT) last week, which was basically boot camp, and boxing this week. It’s been fun to do such functional workouts and challenge my body in a new way. Here’s how last week went:

Mon – OTF – I broke 200 watts for the first time on the rower! The rower is definitely where I’ve noticed most progress for me – when I first started OTF a few months ago, I was maxing out at 130 watts or so, but that number has been increasing a little each week. I felt so strong when I saw 215 pop up on the meter, even if just for a few seconds. Can’t wait to see where I am in a few more months.
Tues – boxing class at UFC – holy smokes, I was so sore when I woke up the next morning. Apparently 60 minutes with the heavy bag will do that to ya ;) I actually loved this class, but definitely need to learn to wrap my hands better and pace myself with the punches instead of going all out in the first 5 minutes lol.
Weds – rest day.  Definitely rest day.
Thurs – Daily Ultimate Training (DUT) class at gym – just as good as last week! The killer station in the circuit for me was definitely the eight minutes of battle rope. My arms were dead after first three minutes.
Fri – 4 miles on T/M (10:13 pace)
Sat – 4 miles on T/M (10:30 pace)
Sun – rest day (achilles was bothering me)

I think I do need to take a few weeks off from running entirely to let my achilles heal (heel? haha), because it’s starting to feel aggravated even on my short easy runs.  I’ll probably move to the elliptical and rower for my 3-4 cardio days each week.  I’m hoping it heals up in time for me to get in some spring weather running…

Friday Faves

Happy Friday friends! Any good plans for the weekend? I’m volunteering at a food distribution center tomorrow morning, and then we’re heading into the city for a date night :)0317170950_HDR

About the fake plant on my desk above – I wanted a plant for my office, but I don’t have any windows so I figured it would be a challenge to keep a real plant alive.  But then I remembered this interesting article about the soothing effect of artificial plants (in prison) so I picked one up from TJ Maxx.  I think it’s working :)

I listened to this audiobook on a business trip to Raleigh a few weeks ago and LOVED it.  Jim Gaffigan might be my new favorite comedian.

This jacket for spring.  I tried it on in the store a few weeks ago, and ended up buying it at half the price on Poshmark.

GoT coasters – I got them from Etsy as a surprise for Mike! I’m House Greyjoy all the way – who doesn’t want a kraken as their house symbol?IMG_20170218_192928

I made this recipe last week and it was a HUGE hit with both of us. So easy too – I just used red curry paste and coconut milk for the base, and subbed the veggies for what I had on hand (red cabbage, frozen edamame, mushrooms, kale).

I’ve spent a few days in Raleigh over the last couple of months on business trips, and have discovered there’s a ton of great restaurants/eateries in the city! This gourmet hot dog from Tasty 8’s was everything.  I’ve been told I need to eat some BBQ next…0216171149_HDRThe Sing movie soundtrack on Spotify.  We watched this months ago and I’ve been listening to the soundtrack several times a week ever since.  Fave song: “I’m Still Standing” – so good!

Speaking of movies, I watched Hidden Figures with my girlfriends a few weeks ago and it’s one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time.  Such an amazing story – from the women determined to make an impact to the people in their lives and at work who supported them against the racist/sexist backdrop of the time to America’s ground-breaking achievements in space exploration.  ALL the feels.  I’m going to watch it again with Mike when it comes out on Google Play!

What’s the best movie you’ve seen lately?