Magic Shoes, Magic Foot

Happy Wednesday! And we’re halfway through the work week! I’m back with you guys to share a little bit of life, a little bit of fitness, and a little bit of food. Pretty much the norm round here. And of course, another coffeeshop review!

Tuesday was my day off, and thank goodness. Monday wore me out.

I got the call Sunday afternoon that they needed a last minute sub Monday at 6am, which I took on. I’ve never actually taught a 6am spin class, despite teacher for 2 years now! I went with a little bit lower key of a workout (easing into the warm up, fewer intervals), and more of a spinning style class, more similar to the normal teacher. I actually used a playlist I made almost 2 years ago! Crazy! My style has actually changed a lot, and it was nice to do something different.

Class went well, and I refueled after with a chocolate banana protein smoothie (cocoa+chocolate protein powder+frozen banana+milk) and pumpkin spice cheerios.

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After a 5am wakeup call, I was dragging a bit at the zoo. Then, it was time for my regular 6pm class! Class went really well, but I was pretty wiped out by the end of the day! I made a super basic dinner of mushroom onion polenta+egg+parmesan, and a mix of tomato and basil.

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I slept very soundly, but woke up still feeling a little run-down and dehydrated. Probably mostly dehydrated. It’s hard to drink enough water for that!

I toyed around with doing a Tuesday WIAW, but honestly was feeling a little too lazy, so we’ll just go through the basics (main meals, minus snacks).

For breakfast, I had a cinnamon apple flapjacked muffin. This was surprisingly good! I hadn’t tried this flavor before, and am not a fan of the pumpkin so I didn’t have super high expectations. Not as good as the chocolate, but I would buy it again. The cinnamon chips and apple chunks make it.

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Then it was time to head out to my coffeeshop of the week to work on my class.

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Fun fact: any picture of me in St. Louis is probably going to feature these shorts. I only packed 1 pair of normal shorts because I figured fall=cold. I’m already 1/3 of the way through my time here, and apparently fall is not cold. At least not yet. So I wear these several times a week.

I am now 60% through my coffeeshop list! Today’s pick took me to Comet Coffee in Dogtown. It’s interesting this area is considered Dogtown; it’s not really in the downtown area where I was expecting it to be.

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Good ambiance and vibes. I ordered my usual decaf cappuccino.

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I like the sparkling water palate cleanser served with it. Also bonus points for the kitty cup. (I should mention as well that I heard one of the baristas ask the customer if she had latte art preferences…so you might get something cool on there!)

The was really good. It was actually a really different flavor. Almost a deeper roast? The best way I can think to describe is to compare it to the deep flavor of a dark beer versus a light beer.

So where does it rank? Honestly, it’s a hard comparison since this was such a different taste. I would put it MAYBE tied with Blueprint, with the assumption that they can’t be truly compared, but maybe I would put them just below.

So here are my current St. Louis coffee rankings:

  1. Blueprint
  2. Comet Coffee
  3. Living Room/ArtHouse Coffees
  4. Rise
  5. Sump Coffee
  6. Kayak Cafe
  7. Northwest Coffee Roasting Company

*Note that Kayak isn’t on the list, but I ate there once and the coffee looked good so I decided to add it.

And back to regularly scheduled programming.

After a couple of hours, I broke for lunch at Saint Louis Bread Co. Aka the original Panera. Apparently Panera started here, and is called Panera everywhere else. I had my usual half Fuji Apple Chicken salad (no pecans) with an apple.

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My main snack was a Luna bar (though I had some other things as well).

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One thing I should mention…I made a Spotify playlist of the artists that played at the concert and now I can’t stop listening to it. I only knew a few of Kane Brown’s songs a little before but now they’re constantly stuck in my head. Especially Wide Open… I do try to limit my country listening though. I’m not in the South anymore, and I don’t want to get sick of it.

Before Crossfit began the rental car headaches. This whole thing has been one giant mess after another, and everyone representative I talk to tells me something different. On Sunday i went in to renew my agreement, and then had me pay for 2 days and said come back today. When I went back today, they told me I needed to call a different location. And then I couldn’t get through. Long story short, I had to make the 30 minute drive to the airport at 8pm, but now I’m squared away.

Let’s talk Crossfit. We did a TON of bench pressing. We started with 6 sets of 3, increasing the weight, and I made it up all the way to 95#. Somehow I keep getting grouped in with the strong people for bench, despite the fact that it is far from my best lift, so I’m always pushing myself further than I would expect. Then we did 3 sets of 8 narrow grip bench at 75#. That’s going to hurt tomorrow.

The WOD was interesting. 10 minute AMRAP of 30 double unders and 7 burpee pull ups (do a burpee and then straight into a pull up). I wasn’t sure how the double unders would go. To be honest, I haven’t done them much since hurting my foot (I couldn’t for a while, and then it only came up a few times in workouts).

Um, I busted out the first set of 30 unbroken. What?? I’ve definitely never done that before. SO unexpected. After class, one of the girls said “I didn’t know you had double unders.” I replied, “I didn’t either!”

Guys, it’s the shoes. Seriously. When I got my Nike Metcons wayyy back in April (pre-boot), my double unders magically got better. I used to always have to alternate single-double, but suddenly I could string doubles together. Not 30, of course. But maybe up to 7 or so?

Then I broke my foot, had a boot, didn’t do doubles, and here we are. And guess what? It turns out doing double unders without a stress fracture is easier. I think that probably helped things too, haha!

After my workout, I came home and made a quite gourmet (for me) dinner. I sautéed up some mushrooms, spinach, and chicken (ok, it was pre-cooked) in garlic and served that over mushroom and onion polenta with cheese. On the side, I broiled some asparagus in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Super delicious.

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That’s all I have for today. I’ll leave you guys with this:

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Something I Never Thought I’d Do

I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend! My was a great mix of crazy and low key.

Friday was a WET one. I couldn’t fall asleep the night before until really late thanks to cocoa late at night+allergies, so I was a bit of a zombie for most of the day after waking up to take 6am spin at the studio I teach at.

Midway through class, the thunder and lightning started. Having flashes light up the spin studio was certainly a new experience for me!

The drive home from the studio was insane. It’s normally a 20 minute drive on the highway, so combine traffic and a crazy storm, and it was a long drive home.

I have never driven in rain like that before. That is the closest I’ve come to driving through a river. The main road coming back was mostly under water, even though it’s a hill, because the rain was coming down in buckets.

Because the thunder and lightning, my morning was spent inside instead of out, but luckily it cleared up enough in the afternoon to be outside, even though I got a little wet (mainly my feet).

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After work, I went got myself changed and ready to go to a concert! I can honestly say I never thought I’d go to a country concert, but here we are. Tennessee changed me! In all seriousness though, I do feel like I came home a different person, not just the music, but all the experiences I had while I was there.

I considered going to a Luke Bryan concert a few weeks ago (I only know a few songs), but when I heard on the radio that Florida Georgia Line was coming, I knew I had to do it. They’re probably my favorite country group, and the group I know the most songs of since I use the FGL Pandora station as my go-to country.

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The rain did not stop. At all. The entire time. At least it wasn’t cold! I was going to wear my flats, but I’m so grateful I decided to stay in my still-wet zoo shoes. I had a lawn ticket, and apparently when you mix grass with copious amounts of water, you get a giant mud pit. I saw a couple people TOTALLY wipe out, so I was grateful I escaped with JUST muddy shoes!

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Also performing was Kane Brown (I knew 1 or 2 songs), The Cadillac Three (never heard of them), and Cole Swindell (I knew almost all of the songs performed). I ended up renting a lawn chair and planted myself under a umbrella, with my legs under a rain poncho, and grabbed a beer, managing to stay mostly dry. I opted for the seated option because juggling a beer and an umbrella is nearly impossible.

 

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The fact that I didn’t spill this all over myself is a freaking miracle. I hunkered down for the first 2 performers before ditching the chair and standing. Kane was funny—in the middle of the concert he took people form the audience’s phones and took selfies on them.

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I had a great time chilling in my lawn chair, reminiscing about Tennessee.

Then, finally it was time for Florida Georgia Line. At this point, my feet were balls of mud.

They made quite the opening, coming down from the ceiling, with flames.

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This was honestly one of the best concerts I’ve been to, and I had a great time.

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Also, I totally nailed the exit. I left in the middle of the last song, and made use of the fact that I was wearing my zoo running shoes by jogging out the gates to my car to beat the crowds. Then, I had managed to be directed to park right next to the exit. Score! I got out with no traffic.

Saturday morning, I was up bright and early to teach spin. It was a good class!

Afterwards, I was craving fruit and realized I didn’t have any, so I went to the store. I ended to buy just fruit…and went home with lots of ice cream (they had Halo Top this time!), including this baby:

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Zero shame in trying this at 10:30am, and then eating a serving right them. SO amazing. I’ve already had it like 3 times since buying it. Plus, the nutrition stats are not terrible.

I spent the rest of the morning in the best possible way: lounging around with Netflix and kitties. After a hectic and stormy day and then morning, this was perfect.

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For actual lunch, I made some egg whites+spinach+garlic and herb laughing cow, with toast and strawberries (and more ice cream).

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I spent the rest of the day cleaning up around the house, and then I went to get a pedicure because my nails were in rough shape.

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This weekend, the Cardinals were playing the Giants, so the games have been on TV. I decided to make a night of it and go out to watch the game.

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It was…painful. My heart hurt after. We were up almost the entire game, before having the save blown in the 9th, in a very predictable way. Ouch.

Sunday morning I decided to do a little Sunday Runday action. Even though I work in the zoo in Forrest Park, I’ve never been around the park at all, and it’s a great place to run.

I decided to push the distance a tiny bit, just because I wanted to see more of the park.

I made a little Spotify “Dig Your Roots” playlist featuring songs from the concert this weekend. I took a big step and upgraded Spotify. I have been so incredibly frustrated with iTunes lately, so I’m going to start doing my spin playlists on Spotify instead.

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I was just so happy out there. That music is such feel good music.

I made it 4 miles! That’s the most since my stress fracture, and the foot felt good! That last mile felt like I hadn’t run 4 miles in a while though..

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After my run I had a little time to kill before dealing with rental car stuff, so I dropped into Crossfit open gym to do most of the Saturday workout, which was 1/2 Murph. Since I had already run, I left out the running and did 50 pull ups, 100 push ups, and 150 squats. Pull ups and push ups are both things that I need to work on. I took this as more of a strength vs. a cardio workout and took my time. I didn’t have to break up any of the pull ups, and scaled the push ups by doing chest to box. It’s sad, but my push ups are definitely my weakest link.

When I finally got home, I was ready to eat! Since I actually happened to have all the ingredients lying around, I decided to test out a little meal I’ve seen going around the fitness world. Chicken+sweet potato+banana+peanut butter (I used sunbutter). Topped with cinnamon and salt.

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My sweet potatoes were mostly cooked, but I sautéed them in a pan before adding spinach, banana, chicken, and sunbutter. Overall, I liked this. It wasn’t the most amazing thing ever. Honestly if I made it again I might leave out the sweet potato because it didn’t add too much.

After more errands, I decided to have one last summer hurrah and bake Triple Lemon Blueberry Bread.

Honestly, this was a hot mess. Absolutely nothing against the recipe—I love it and I’ve made it before. But I have somewhat limited cooking tools. I had to chop up lemon peel in place of zest, and I could only find one mixing bowl so I tried to mix up the wet ingredients in a cereal bowl. Which was fine until I dropped the bag of sugar into that bowl, splashing the liquids EVERYWHERE. Plus, I’m making it in bread form. I thought the oven was preheated, but apparently it wasn’t because I hurt a ding 20 minutes after I put the bread in…

Just a flavor note though, I did add the juice of the lemon I took the peel from, and I added an extra teaspoon of lemon extract.

I took it out after 45 minutes and it was brown on top…when I took it out of the pan, I found it liquid inside.

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It was rough. I ended up slicing off an end piece before the center was done because the ends were in danger of being overcooked. It TASTED amazing though!

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I ended up cooking it much longer, taking it out every 10 minutes or so and just ruthlessly cracking it open in the middle to see if it was done, because at that point the hope of my creation resembling a loaf was lost. FINALLY the center cooked.

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….it’s going to be a while before I bake again. Yeesh. While I ate some in the cooking process, I froze most of it and put the rest in the fridge because I’m not risking any molding, although it’s extremely cooked through now. It was a journey, my friends.

I spent the afternoon watching the Giants lose to the Cardinals, and it definitely hurt a little, but at least we didn’t blow a lead. I also worked on some spin playlists. I have a long day ahead of my, my friends. I teach 6pm spin Monday nights after work, and am filling in at 6am as an emergency sub. So yes, long day!

After eating a hefty amount of bread in the baking process, I wasn’t super hungry for dinner so I canned my plans and made a simple craisin and goat cheese salad, and some egg whites with nutritional yeast.

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One notable thing missing from my weekend was time spent working on my online class. To be honest, I’m a little behind my schedule I set for myself, but I’ve been surprisingly busy. I was hoping to put some more time in this weekend, but it is what it is. I have to get to bed early tonight!

That being said, that’s all for my weekend!

What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to?

What’s your biggest baking fail?

#TransformationTuesday: The Final Chapter

Well, here we are, almost 4 months later. I owe you guys the final chapter in my #transformationtuesday series.

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Fun fact: I’ve had the pictures for this post on my desktop for said 4 months. Oops.

To be honest, there were a few reasons this took so long to write. First, I wasn’t confident in myself that I would be able to keep up my habits and keep the weight off. Second, things got crazy busy. Third, with all the vet school stuff going on, it honestly wasn’t a priority. But this is a post that does need to be written, so here we are.

Also, strangely, this photo is with the cluster on my desktop?

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Ok…

So, how did we end up here? (I feel like that’s a question I ask myself a whole lot in life.)

See part 1, part 2, part 3.

The summer before my senior year, my stomach illness was bad. But also, eating at home, I think portion control can be hard for me (it still is). I found myself the summer before my senior year at my heaviest weight ever, over 20 pounds above where I am right now.

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(Left is Hawaii before senior year, right is spring break.)

To be honest, my answer to what happened is not the most satisfactory. At least to how things started. In Hawaii, I started one of my worst stomach flares, which continued a few weeks into the start of my senior year.

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This picture is from that trip.

The two weeks after Hawaii were incredibly rough. I was SO sick. (Fun fact: that flare is when I stopped eating gluten altogether, 1 year ago.) I ended up scheduling a last minute endoscopy because I needed answers ASAP. The night before the endoscopy I had some gluten because I was supposed to have a celiac test and needed it in my system, and I spent half the night lying on the floor feeling like death. It was terrible. Things continued to be bad for the next few weeks. I could barely eat, and what I could eat I felt like my body wasn’t processing because I lost a lot of weight very quickly (I can’t remember exactly how much but it might have been like 7 pounds in a week or 2?) On top of that, I was teaching multiple spin classes a week and training for a half marathon (how, I don’t know).

Throughout the fall, I was still pretty sick. Honestly, looking back on it, it’s hard to imagine what it was like. As one side effect, I was forced to eat healthier. However, things were still really frustrating and I felt like what I ate and how it made me feel was totally out of my control. I felt helpless.

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By the fall, I was down maybe 10# from my heaviest weight, and feeling way better in my own skin. The biggest change, and biggest relief, came over winter break when I finally got answers to what the illness was that had plagued me for the prior year. Gastroparesis. With that diagnosis came a drastic overhaul of how I ate, which my body responded amazingly to in terms of my physique. I had to eat lower fat (I still do, or I’ll feel sick) and I had to eat more frequent half meals. As it turns out, my body seems to have always done well on half meals.

In terms of illness, the changes definitely helped but I was eating a lot of soup still. We even made a Christmas dinner in soup form that year!

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I think I was also doing activities that my body responded well to: more track workouts and teaching my spin classes.

As I implemented my half meals, my body continued to change. But more importantly, my mindset changed. To be perfectly honest, when I learned I had to eat half meals, I was really nervous. I didn’t think I would be able to do it. I thought I would have too much trouble with overeating. But what actually happened was totally different. Because I was eating half meals, I didn’t overstuff myself which for some reason makes me crave things. But most importantly, I was eating entirely for my health and wellbeing. There was never an aesthetic motivation. It was simply to not feel sick and to heal my body. Although to be fair, if I did overeat, I would often feel sick.

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But I learned so much about myself and what foods and amounts make me feel good.

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When I broke my foot, I was worried my progress would be hindered because I wouldn’t be able to do much. But guess what? I didn’t blow up like a balloon. I didn’t gain a single pound. I made the most out of what I could do and pushed myself in those areas, and I kept up my same way of eating.

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I felt so much more confident in myself though. I felt like I hadn’t been myself for the previous few years, and now I finally was again. One of my goals was to feel confident enough to wear spandex to workout again. Which is why I snapped this picture.

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I’ve honestly felt confident wearing pretty much anything now. I worked out in spandex all summer in TN because it was so dang hot and humid all the time, and my shorts stuck to me. I ran in sports bras because 1. hot and 2. I didn’t want to waste a shirt on a 2 mile run (#laundry)

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Also I’m totally wearing spandex right now, which I wore for Crossfit, because they were my only clean shorts. Just being honest.

So basically, over the course of my senior year, what changed? First, I was so sick that I couldn’t eat too much. Then I started eating half meals and learning what my body needed, but more importantly viewing eating purely in terms of healing my stomach, and in terms of overall health.  As a result, I stopped trying to cut any food groups out, because I knew it made me crazy. No more “no sugar” challenges. They were too unbalancing for me and rough on me mentally. For a long time, I absolutely could not listen to other people talk about avoiding sweets. I would have to flat out walk out of the room, because I felt like I was on the edge of falling back into these old habits, and making myself crazy. But honestly, now I’m in an even different place.

I think part of it is that my life has changed so much over the course of the past few months; I’m busy with other real life priorities that honestly, are more important. But also, I think living on my own has helped me immensely. Having total control of my food, without influence of others. I honestly don’t need to hear the details of other people’s eating habits, because it’s easy to compare.

Where am I now? I gained a couple of pounds back from the spring, but I’m still healthy. I’d like to get a few more off, but honestly I don’t care. It doesn’t consume my life. I might make a few changes, but it’s not that serious. I still feel good about myself, and I still wear what I want. I don’t obsess over food, for the most part. Eating feels a lot easier than it used to be. I feel like there is so much less attached to it now.

My stomach is SO much better now. As a result, I can loosen up on how I eat a little because eating a big meal won’t necessarily make me feel sick (within reason). I do still have to think a lot about how my stomach will react, but it’s not all consuming in the same way. It’s a little harder for me to eat half meals, even though I know they would make me feel better, just due to my schedule. That, and the fact that my body runs best on soup and soup takes a whole lot of effort to make (minus the boring canned stuff).

I do want to try to get back to eating more of the half meals, but it has nothing to do with weight loss or how I look, it’s solely based on how I feel. And to be honest, at this point all I can bring myself to care about is how I feel.

It’s amazing how things change.

I think back to how much I struggled the past 4 years, and honestly it seems so strange in retrospect, because I’ve found myself in so much of a better place.

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I feel like now in my real-life life and my real life career, I don’t have the time or energy to worry about those things anymore. Sure, I still sometimes struggle, but it’s not the same. Like I said, it’s not that serious. I will strive to improve my fitness in all aspects; we can always be better, and I always want to make changes and move forward. I will keep you updated on that, because it’s a journey. A lifelong journey. If you’re not where you want to be right now, know that it’s ok, and that things won’t always be that way. Learn what works for you, and stop paying attention to what everyone is doing. Everyone is different. Everyone has their own journey.

(*Note: I do wish I had written this 4 months ago because I think I would have had better insights on what changed over the year, because in the past few months my attitude has changed so much in terms of how my priorities have shifted.)

WIAW+St. Louis VLOG

Hey guys! Happy WIAW. As always, a big thanks to Jenn for starting this.

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I’m going to go ahead and say that there are too ways to view this post.

I’m not going to lie, it could be viewed as a sort of lame blog post. But the reason it’s so minimal?

I’ve been working on a VLOG, my second one! It is a full day of eating, plus Fitness is Sweet takes on St. Louis. Featuring lots of animals.

Check it out here!

But if vlogs aren’t your thing, everything else is below. But there’s no cool music or cute animals. Your choice.

Breakfast:

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Double chocolate flapjacked muffin+mango. I realize this is a kind of lame breakfast for a full day of eating, but it’s what I was in the mood for, and this is real life.

Coffee:

My coffeeshop of the day was Living Room in Maplewood.

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Guys, this was a good one. You can see that the milk foam is high quality, but the espresso had the deep, rich taste of top notch coffee. I would still put this slightly below Blueprint, but it’s certainly close, and I will be back! We have a new contender!

Lunch:

I went to Whole Foods to the salad bar for some veggies.

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Going clockwise from the upper left: dill and mustard brussels sprout salad, basmati rice, currant, and chickpea salad with curry and a few sweet potatoes, corn elite, and chilaquiles.

I realize I should have had something more photogenic for my vlog day! Oh well.

Snack:

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A mint chocolate Vega protein bar+cotton candy grapes. Still obsessed with these grapes.

Workout:

Nothing too crazy at Crossfit. We did close grip bench press, and then some hollow rocks and ring push ups. I mostly did the ring push ups scaled on my knees with the rings, but did one set from my toes. The WOD was a quick one: 10 minute AMRAP of 10 burpee box jumps (yuck) and 10 power snatches, which I kept reasonably light at 50#.

Pre-Dinner Snack:

You guys know I have to snack while cooking. This was an impulse buy from Target, and it was just okay. The actual bars are better, surprisingly.

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Dinner:

I made a BBQ chicken salad with pre-cooked pulled BBQ chicken. I tossed lettuce, tomato, red pepper, and corn with lime juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. I then topped it with Holy Guacamole. On the side, I had some steam in the bag sweet potatoes with nutritional yeast and ketchup.

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Dessert:

I had a square of milk chocolate, plus a Yasso Sea Salt Caramel froyo bar.

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That’s all for today—enjoy the vlog!

What’s the prettiest food you ate this week?

Just St. Louis Things

Happy Monday!

My Wifi is super spotty right now so we’ll see when this post actually goes up.

The weather this weekend was absolutely perfect. We had crazy storms all Thursday and Friday. I went on possibly the soggiest run ever Friday morning. Luckily, the rain settled down for a bit by midmorning Friday, and I didn’t get to wet at work. It was nice enough to enjoy my Friday treat, a raspberry Dole whip!

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This is Kali (pronounced Cully). He’s definitely the star of the zoo, and he’s the biggest ham.

I spent my Friday night in with cats and spaghetti squash mac n cheese.

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Saturday morning I taught an early spin class, and then my roommate (who is leaving soon!) and I went to St. Charles, dog in tow. St. Charles is about 30 minutes north of St. Louis, and has a cute historic downtown.

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We walked around a bit. It’s right by the river.

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It was an interesting environment that day because there was some sort of bar crawl for charity going on, so downtown was pretty packed with crawlers in matching t-shirts. That’s a cool event though! We stopped for lunch at a place with an outdoor patio for the dog, and after walking around a bit more, we stopped into Kilwins for ice cream.

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This was SO good. I haven’t had normal, non froyo/custard ice cream in forever. This was salted caramel. It had caramel swirls and pieces of chocolate covered, delicious salted caramel.

Sunday morning began with a run. I did a different route, and surprised myself by busting out a slightly faster pace. I’ll take it!

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The big event of the day was going to a Cardinals game!

Busch stadium is beautiful.

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Nothing like AT&T Park in SF, of course!

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I had french fries and a beer for lunch. So healthy. I’m actually really happy that this was something I was able to do mentally and physically and be ok with. A year ago, the fat in the fries would have probably made me pretty sick. Progress, my friends!

I had to get Budweiser given my location. It’s really okay. Solid but seems so watery.

The game was super fast, just over 2 hours, which is crazy. It was very low scoring, and the Cards lost. Honestly, I had trouble deciding if I should root for or against them. I’m a die hard Giants fan, and we’re competing with the Cardinals for the Wild Card. But I have always liked the Cardinals (as a secondary team, of course).

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I couldn’t bring myself to wear anything Cardinals. My loyalties lie elsewhere. But I did wear a Cardinal shirt! (Stanford Cardinal)

After the game, we walked over to Ballpark Village to the fudge shop to get chocolate covered marshmallows, which was something my roommate wanted to do one last time before she left.

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I want to apologize for the abruptness of this post. My Wifi has been pretty spotty so getting this together was the biggest pain. Also, I want to apologize for the relative lack of pictures. I’ve been working on something for you guys, which will hopefully be up Tuesday night!

Where are your baseball loyalties?