Monthly Archives: December 2016

Learning When to Step Back + Basically Running a Kennel

Hello friends!

I have to say, while Blogmas was a blast, it feels sort of nice to be back in the swing of things with normal posts.

Before we get into the food+fitness+animals (#prevetlife or something), I wanted to talk about one thing that’s been on my mind these past few days.

I love exercise. That’s no secret. And I’m lucky that I happen to love something that is so good for my health. But one thing I’ve struggled with in the past is knowing when to take a step back.

Yeah. Hello, stress fracture.


For years, I always felt like I had to work out every day, more than once often. Otherwise I wouldn’t be “fit.”

Ever since my stress fracture, I’ve exercised significantly less (but still regularly, to be clear). And guess what? I’m fitter than I was before, with all those extra workouts.

I thought I had to be dragging my body through workouts day in and day out; I had to run 3-4 times a week, spin, Crossfit 4 days a week, who knows what else. It was about quantity, not quality. But then I hurt my foot. And I got busy with various internships. I no longer had the free hours in the day to work out that I did in college, and ever since then, my fitness level has improved. Quality over quantity. In St. Louis, I found I didn’t really like doing runs the morning after a hard evening Crossfit workout, so I stopped doing Crossfit the night before. In the past, I would have struggled through the run. But now I decided I didn’t want to feel awful for the run.

This week, I had to convince myself to take a step back. My stress fractured foot is healed, but sometimes it gets a little bit sore, especially when I’m either wearing the wrong shoes, or jumping a lot. After walking around the city in boots on Monday, and then doing lots of box jumps at Crossfit Tuesday, my foot was bothering me a little bit. I didn’t want to step back, but I remembered how much worse it was to have to immobilize my foot for 6 weeks, so it was better to take some time off now than get that far again. I scaled my Crossfit workout this morning to take the jump out of burpees, and instead of my normal Thursday run, I decided to go to a much needed, low impact yoga class, and spend Wednesday off my feet for the most part.

I guess the main point here is, you have to listen to your body, and you don’t have to exercise 12341234 hours a week to be fit.

Back to life.

For some reason I have not been feeling yogurt in the morning, but I went with it because I thought it would go well with my amazing pears (it did). I had Fage 2% with Cinnamon KIND granola and sunbutter.


Tuesday was another packed lunch at the library, but I made it a little more festive by making a salad with pear, leftover turkey, and cranberry goat cheese. Plus crackers.

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Persimmon bread was my afternoon snack. Plus some other random things because I’ve been so freaking hungry these past few days. That usually means Crossfit has been especially hard.


I’m not super big on pizza (especially with the whole GF thing), but my parents really like it. We went to a place that had GF crust, and my family and I split a brussels sprouts salad, and then my mom and I split a GF pizza margherita.

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I got some ice cream for Christmas dinner that I really liked and wanted to get more of, so we walked to a local Italian grocery after dinner to pick it up. It’s really not exotic; Dreyer’s slow churned frozen yogurt, chocolate vanilla swirl. But I also picked up a couple of GF cookies! Chocolate chip, and chocolate mint.


Wednesday morning I tried Chocolate Cheerios for the first time, pre-workout. I like them! They’re definitely subtle.


Mid-morning, I took the crazy pup out for a walk at a park with some friends. They got to see crazy Chloe: at one point she was just running and jumping around in a circle, which is an interesting sight given I was holding her leash…


I have a problem with her riding in the car right now. She wants to sit on the center console. She does that with my mom which is fine for her, but problematic for me since she’s always really close to shifting gears in my car. On the way home, I tried having her in the front seat and she eventually settled down. Not ideal, but better.


And then began Aurora’s kennel. My parents were out of town for the day/night, so I was on full pet duty. Throughout the day, Chloe has been following me around (but being an angel), sleeping in every room I’m in. It’s actually adorable. I move rooms, and a few minutes later she comes in and settles down near me.


I had a lazy day. In the afternoon, I did a little baking. I made marble bread by making half persimmon bread, half chocolate banana bread. It came out really well!

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I do enjoy spending one on one time with Chloe. She’s honestly much better behaved with just me, and it’s good to have some pup-sister bonding. We went for a nice long walk before dinner. It’s the end of December and despite the 30-something degree mornings, I can’t complain about the fact that I can wear shorts and walk Chloe outside (ignore the fact I was wearing 2 jackets). And this area is so darn beautiful.

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With my family gone, I had the opportunity to crank up the heat. I swear, my mom and I have totally different internal body temperatures. This morning, both kitties were huddled under the blanket for warmth. I clearly wasn’t cranking it up enough though, because Lilly was camped out on the heat vent.


I cooked myself up a simple but delicious dinner. Scrambled eggs with high quality cheese is always delicious. I used cheese leftover from our wine and wine night, and paired my protein with some olive-fig tapenade, avocado toast, and leftover Christmas green beans that I added truffle salt to.


Chloe and I planted ourselves in front of the TV with a movie, and I enjoyed another bowl of ice cream and a cookie half.


The other part of my kennel duties came later than evening when I had to take care of our little visiting kitty. He’s almost 19, which is crazy. We’ve taken care of him before, so he’s staying with us for a week. He moves amazingly well for such a senior kitty, and he’s a big sweetie. He, however, wasn’t a fan of taking his pill. I got it in him eventually, but he was a master at somehow spitting it out and gave me a run for my money!


And with that, I’m signing off!

Post-Christmas San Francisco Trip

Wow. It’s all over. Christmas, Blogmas. Back to normal day to day life! Whatever that means for me right now in this in-between stage, right?

Monday my dad had off work, so we made a day of it.

I started the morning with 6am Crossfit. It was 37 degrees. The ice scraper is MIA (I haven’t needed it yet this year) and my windshield was totally iced over. So I got to scrape the ice off with my fingernails (my windshield won’t really defrost unless my car heats up which won’t happen unless I’m driving). The ice over my roof melted during the drive, but it was still so cold out that it refroze while I was working out. Did I mention Crossfit isn’t heated??

For the workout, we did our awful sets of 20 for back squat and strict press. The WOD was an AMPRAP with heavy kb swings and rowing.

What my kitty looked liked at 5:30am as I left my room:


Mid-morning, my family took Bart (the subway) up to the city to the big mall near Union Square. First on the agenda was lunch. I got a salad with chicken, goat cheese, avocado, and garlic vinaigrette.


For dessert, my mom and I split a Ghiradelli Hot Fudge Sundae. This is what San Francisco tastes like, my friends.


After eating, we left the mall to walk to Union Square.


Naturally, we had to stop at Macy’s to visit the kitties that are up for adoption this time of year.

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Obligatory Union Square Christmas tree picture:

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We stopped at the Nike store at Union Square as well before heading back to the mall to look around a bit.

We got back home in the late afternoon, and I got to work on persimmon bread. I used the recipe for banana bread, but used 6 chopped and blended persimmons, and tossed in a teaspoon of vanilla and a sprinkle of cinnamon.


I used a “wholesome” GF flour blend that has brown rice flour, oat flour, and ground flaxseed. It gave the bread a little more hearty of a texture and taste, especially since persimmons tend to be a mild flavor.


This hearty and healthy bread was a nice break from all the holiday sweets, and a great use of our fresh persimmons!

I whipped up a quick dinner for the family with leftover turkey from Christmas. Salads with turkey, fresh pear, dried cranberries, champagne vinaigrette, and bleu cheese for me and goat cheese for my parents. GF sourdough on the side.


And of course, to finish off the meal, I had to try a slice of the persimmon bread. Yum!


I love going to the city around the holidays, even if it’s after Christmas! It still feels festive, but it’s not quite as crazy.

What did you do after Christmas?

Christmas Eve+ Christmas 2016

I hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas, Hanukkah, or whatever holiday you celebrate!

I kicked off Christmas Eve with a morning spin class, before returning home to have lunch with my family.


I had leftover lentil/bruschetta/feta over lettuce, GF sourdough, and a little sauerkraut.

For Christmas Eve, we decided to take a trip to the San Francisco Zoo to see reindeer and the polar bear. They have the oldest polar bear in captivity right now; she’s 35! That’s crazy; the normal lifespan for polar bears in captivity is 20-30.

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She makes me miss Kali in St. Louis though!

It was also fun to see the decorations around the zoo.






I never once saw the anteater at the St. Louis Zoo while working there.

Grizzly Bears:


All the animals had Christmas trees!

The tiger was beautiful and we got up super close to it:

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River otters:


My parents and I split a Bobo’s Gingerbread Oat Bar, to get in the holiday spirit! These are delicious; I saw them and ordered them online since I couldn’t find them in stores, but I had to get a pretty big box of them, so we will be enjoying Gingerbread bars well into the new year!


As per our Christmas Eve tradition, my sister and her fiancé met us at Benihana, a Japanese steak house, for dinner.


I started with a salad, and half a sushi piece (they ended up messing up our order so I split it with my dad).

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It’s always a great show!

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I got fried rice, and picked some shrimp and veggies off my family’s plate!


Let’s be real: the fried rice is the best part.

After dinner, we relaxed on the couch with molasses cookies and Gilmore Girls.

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I was so tired from the previous days, and was in bed at 10.

On Christmas morning, I slept in more than usual and woke up feeling like a new woman.

So, here’s a funny Christmas story. We don’t really leave cat toys out because Chloe will take them, but when I woke up, I saw one on the floor. A little bit later, it was gone. And when my mom got up, she told me that it sounded like my kitty Charlie was meowing at 4am with a toy, which didn’t make sense because he didn’t have any out. Well, it turned out that he got into his Christmas present at 4am and was carrying it around yowling! Silly cat. And of course, my dad found it in Chloe’s mouth shortly after she came out of her crate for the morning.


After solving the mystery, I quickly ate a granola bar and helped Chloe to her stocking. She was a big fan.

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Chloe got a cool light up ball!

And this monkey, which quickly lost a leg.


I think I’m starting to get the whole snapchat filter on a cat thing down. I think it helps that Charlie has a patterned face (Yoyo was mostly just white).


The reason I only had a granola bar for breakfast was so we could go to the bay and do a little run/walk like we did last year. It was such a beautiful day; the thermometer said it was mid-40s, but it wasn’t windy and it was pretty sunny.


Chloe made a friend.

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This trail is so pretty in the winter, and I could see all the way to San Francisco! Plus, I think my pace was about 30 seconds faster than last year, and that’s never a bad thing!

After our run/walk, we went to Starbucks for some holiday drinks. I had a cappuccino. Someone in front of us was incredibly nice and got a $100 Starbucks gift card to pay for the people behind in line, so we actually got our drinks thanks to that anonymous Christmas person!


After getting ready for the day, I had a mini lunch to tide me over before the main meal. Just the same leftovers as the previous day, plus some crackers.


I also broke into some candy from my stocking. Yum!


Before long, my sister and her fiance arrived to open presents. Check out this amazing painting my sister made for my mom!



I think my favorite present had to be the matching scarf set for Chloe and I!


My mom and I actually got each other the same beer of the month club, but we ended up mostly choosing different months, so there’s only 1 overlapping month! It’s too funny though that we had the same idea!

We had a little time left before we had to leave, so we popped in a Christmas special. This year was my favorite: The Year Without a Santa Claus.


Then, we loaded into the car to head to my Grandma’s house in Berkeley!

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I broke out my sparkly pants for the occasion.

My Grandma outdid herself. Everything was beautifully set.

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We enjoyed snacking on olives and pickles, and sipping champagne. Olives feel like Christmas to me! When we were little, my sister and I used to put them on all our fingers while we waited for dinner to finish cooking.

My Grandma is also a fantastic cook, and she roasted an amazing turkey and ham.

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She also made manicotti in honor of my sister’s recent Italian travels.


My dad was on carving duty.

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My plate:


I was unintentionally a little heavy handed with the salad, but it was delicious! It had grapes, dried cranberries, and champagne vinaigrette. We also had glazed brussels sprouts, green beans, black eyed peas, mashed potatoes, and of course turkey! I’m glad I realized how delicious turkey is with cranberry sauce. I enjoyed mine with cranberry sauce and cranberry orange relish.

Next, we opened up our holiday party poppers!


I really liked my joke:

How did Scrooge win the football game?

The ghost of Christmas passed.

After cleaning up a bit, we embarked on dessert. My mom and I split a delicious piece of pumpkin cream pie.

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I didn’t have any, but there were beautiful cookies and a chocolate log cake.

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I also had some chocolate vanilla swirl frozen yogurt with fresh berries!


It was a fabulous Christmas, surrounded my those I love most. I hope you, and your family and friends had a great holiday!

Blogmas Day 24: Wine and Cheese Night

I cannot believe Blogmas is coming to an end, and Christmas is tomorrow! It’s crazy how time flies, isn’t it?

Merry Christmas Eve!

Today for Blogmas, I’m sharing the family wine and cheese night we had last night.

In preparation, my mom and I stopped by an Italian grocery store for cheese. While there, I also found gluten free sourdough! I had heard of the company, and when I looked it up, it was carried there. YUM. I had it with avocado toast for lunch!


We saw a vaguely Christmas movie in the afternoon which was a mixed bag, and then started prepping!

My mom and I made my great-grandmother’s Molasses Spice Cookies. They didn’t turn out quite like expected because we had to make a few modifications. We used gluten free flour, and butter in place of the Crisco the recipe called for (it was a different time then), and as a result, the cookies flattened a ton. But hey, still delicious!

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The only other thing that needed prepping (minus cutting) was a lentil tapenade we made. At Trader Joe’s, we tried a sample of this simple dish made using Trader Joe’s products. Simply stir together fresh bruscetta, cooked lentils, and feta cheese. It’s delicious atop crackers!


As my sister and fiancé arrived, we put the final touches on the spread and poured a glass of wine.


Here’s the spread:


Molasses spice cookies.


Cheese tray with persimmons and pear.


Lentil dish with pita chips, crackers, white chocolate cranberry bread (!), sourdough, and veggies with butternut squash hummus.


Goat and bleu cheese.


My plate.

We enjoyed the wine and cheese while watching Home Alone. We tried different wine pairings; I had some Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, but skipped the reds with dessert because I’m much more of a white wine girl.


We had a 2007 Reserve wine that has been aging in our house, and my family broke that out. It was definitely quality wine but sadly not my thing!
It was a really fun night with family, and a great way to start off Christmas!

Have a fantastic Christmas Eve!