Saturday, November 24, 2012

Giving Thanks & My 18th

I am so happy right now. I love my family, I love my hometown, I love fall weather, I love leaves that actually CHANGE color, I love it all. Everything about this weekend has been absolutely wonderful - I think that Thanksgiving is rising in the ranks as one of my favorite holidays. I never really was all that excited about it in the past because Thanksgiving food isn't my favorite, but this year was the first year that I truly realized that the food is not what it's about. Being away from home has made me cherish my time with my family (including the kitties) all the more and made me appreciate so many things I would've taken for granted before.

I didn't end up taking any photos of the Thanksgiving meal but I did want to share some of the things I'm thankful for this year (not in any particular order).

1. The Lord's crazy love that never fails, never runs out, and never gives up on me. No explanation needed. I am so blessed.
2. My parents and my older brother - I don't know what I would do without them! They never fail to make me laugh when I'm down, always have the best advice, and just get me like no one else.
3. Being able to attend one of the best universities in the country. Not many people have the privilege of saying that - I am so grateful for my education!
4. My kitties! These little balls of fluff always turn me into the 5-year-old that I am at heart and give me so much joy.

5. Coffee that doesn't taste like dirt! I came home and my dad had bought my favorite coffee (Starbucks Blonde Roast) and made it for me - I don't know how I've been surviving on that nasty dining hall coffee. Maybe adding all that hot chocolate helps ;-)
6. Fresh fall air. Every time I've stepped outside since I've been home, I just stand there and breathe it in. I miss the fresh air and the colder weather a lot more than I thought I would. 

7. All of the little things I take for granted - always having food and water, a warm place to stay, safety, my health, and so much more.
8. Almond butter - Barney Butter especially!

9. The amazing friends I have, both old and new.
10. My Bible study at UCLA. They have made me feel so welcomed and and home which is a tough feat when you're making the tough transition to college. I love those girls so much!
11. My ability to run, lift, dance like a crazy person, and so much more. I am so lucky.
12. Music. Happy pop music to dance party to, down to earth country music, worship music, all of it.
13. Baking.
14. The blog world - the blogs that inspired me to create my own, the blogs that I read daily, and especially you guys. I love you all<3

I could go on and on.. I have so much to be thankful for! 

Anyway, I also wanted to share some photos of the past few days! :) 

When I got home on Wednesday night I stuffed my face with berries and pomegranate seeds, made pumpkin bread and dance partied with my mom, watched a random movie on an actual TV screen on my own couch while drinking pumpkin tea, and most importantly - was reunited with my babies!!

nose kissies! 
On Thursday morning I went to the gym with my mom and took BodyPump and BodyCombat. BodyPump used to be my favorite class, but since I started lifting heavy weight in my IFT classes at school, I wasn't as big of a fan. The bar constantly felt light and I'd rather do less reps with heavy weight than spend a really long time doing more reps with light weight. But BodyCombat was awesome! And just getting to workout with my mom made me so happy. 

We spent the rest of the day prepping for Thanksgiving - we had over 20 people over at our house - and then Thanksgiving night I got to go see the new Twilight movie. It was really good! I couldn't quite remember what was supposed to happen at the end but I was still surprised. Minus the creepy baby I give it a thumbs up!

Then Friday was my 18th birthday! I woke up to my baby girl snuggling with me, made pumpkin spice pancakes with almond butter and sprinkles and ate them while catching up on Glee, went for a run in the beautiful fall weather and ended at starbucks where I got a PSL. And then my brother came and picked me up<-- he's the best! 

I showered and then my mom took me to get foot massages, which were heavenly!! We came back home and cleaned up a bit and then went as a family to get a late lunch at Panera. I got broccoli cheddar soup, the turkey avocado BLT, and asiago bread as my side. So good! 

After Panera my mom and I got Peet's (my family always gets afternoon coffee together) - I ended up getting a pumpkin chai latte that I didn't snap a pic of, but it was really really good. Then we headed to Target (because I love that place!!), Whole Foods (more pomegranate seeds for meeee!), and came home to start making my birthday dinner. We made the Pioneer Woman's mac n cheese, and my dad made me steak. So delicious!

I opened presents after dinner and all I can say is that my family went above and beyond to make me feel loved on my birthday. I got some homey things - a kitty towel, two cute little bowls, a little decoration thing for my dorm room, and a super nice mattress topper for my bed at school! 

My brother got me a Starbucks gift card and the ZZ Ward album (love!). I love actual CDs. 
I also got almond butter, dark chocolate, and rainbow sprinkles (!!) and three new workout tanks. If that doesn't show you how well my family knows me, then I don't know what does. 

And to top my already amazing day off, the Christmas lights were up, the fire was lit, and I was snuggling on the couch with my man and a mug of sugar cookie tea. It's the holiday season!

I had a huge mug of mocha and peanut butter ice creams with some leftover chocolate cream pie crumbles for dessert - I think I've single-handedly taken down an entire half gallon of ice cream since I've been home! We also opened the ginormous peppermint patties that I got my brother for his birthday (it was earlier this month) and I had a few pieces of that too. It was so much better than a regular peppermint patty!

This morning I got up and made another batch of pumpkin spice pancakes (1/3 cup Kodiak mix, 1/3 cup pumpkin, a few shakes of pumpkin spice, a sprinkle of brown sugar, and enough water to get it moving) with almond butter and more rainbow sprinkles. Who says you only can have rainbow sprinkles on birthdays?? 

I'm sad that today is my last full day at home but I'm trying not to think about it too much because being sad will ruin the rest of this weekend and I don't want to do that. The sadness needs to wait until I'm actually leaving tomorrow! I'm going to just focus on how wonderful my mini-break has been already - filled with family, kitties, and good food. What more could a girl ask for?

how was your thanksgiving?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

One Day.

Guys it's BIRTHDAY WEEK! Haha can you tell I'm excited?? I'm actually way more excited to see my parents and my kitties (I can't wait to bury my face in their fluffiness and call them weird pet names and snuggle with them basically 24/7) and to bake for Thanksgiving than I am about leaving lucky number 17 and turning 18, but my excitement levels about going home in general are pretty ridiculous.

I'm finally done with my math and chem midterms and barely survived them.. I don't want to see another integral or wave function or probability distribution for at least a week a year. Finals are going to be just dandy..

I've been running on lotsa coffee as usual:

Then last night after my chem midterm I went for froyo with my bible study (and they sang me happy birthday and sufficiently embarassed me. Love them so much!) and let's just say I went a *little* bananas. Almost $6 even with a student discount but it was ohsoworthit. Minus the tummyache after. Oh wait.. that was kinda worth it too.

I've also had One Direction's new album on repeat ever since I discovered it was all on Spotify a few days ago. I just love how upbeat all the songs are! I am obsessed with crazy dancing with this album and T-Swift with my awesome roomies. Just FYI, dance parties are the best way to procrastinate studying. They happen a lot when I get stressed. I also am pretty sure that all my floor mates have no doubt about my craziness after that night before my chem midterm.. we were blasting music and going all out and a lot of them paused on their way down the hall to see what shenanigans were going on in our room.

Oh and I can't leave before mentioning that UCLA BEAT SC last weekend! We got drenched at the game and it was a long day of being cold and wet and hungry (long story short I didn't have snacks and had to go 8+ hours without food. When I finally got my hands on food I'm pretty sure I demolished it all in less than 4 minutes. Serious.) but in the end it was so worth going! The energy of the student section was so insane and I'm surprised I didn't lose my voice. So proud to be a Bruin :)

Anyway, this post was basically my way of procrastinating that paper I need to be working on. It's the only thing standing in the way between me and going home tomorrow!! T-minus 24 hours and I will be en route to the airport. CAN'T WAIT.

how are you celebrating thanksgiving?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Weekly Workout Recap

Since I've started taking IFT barbell classes, I've started making notes of the workouts we do on my phone, so I thought it would be fun to share them in weekly recaps! This week has been an awesome week for me personally - I love this mix of running, IFT, and rest days.

Sunday: 4-mile run with one of my girls in my bible study!

Monday: Rest day

Tuesday: IFT Barbell Class

  • Strength: 5 x 3 push press
    • I maxed at 75lbs - I'm still trying to master the form on a lot of the lifts we do.
  • WOD was 5 rounds of:
    • 5 clapping push-ups (I did regular push-ups since I can't do them properly and clap)
    • 10 slam balls (I used a 16lb ball)
    • 20 second bar hold overhead (I used 65lbs)

3.5 mile run - killed it! :)

(^^see that bruise on my left collarbone in the photo? that's from doing cleans!!)

Thursday: IFT Barbell

  • Strength: 5 x 2 power cleans (I got up to 80#)
  • WOD was 8 rounds of:
    • 1-5 pull ups or 1 negative
      • I did negatives instead of pull-ups since I can't do a pull-up without a resistance band yet. Negatives are where you start at the top of a pull-up position and lower yourself as slowly as you can, which builds strength in the muscles that you need to do a pull-up. 
    • 10 box jumps 
      • I *think* my box was 20" but I could be wrong on that one
  • After the WOD I did two planks (2 min & 1 min) and some stretching. I'm trying to do planks and stretching a lot more because I know both are really good for me and will help me to get stronger.

Friday: Rest day - my upper body and abs are so sore!! I never have focused much on ab work because it's just not my favorite, and I really want to build up my upper body strength so that I can do a pull-up. 
Which leads me to two new goals I set for the end of the quarter:
  1. 3 minute plank
  2. 1 pull-up
Random overall thoughts:
  • I am LOVING my IFT classes. Although I'm not lifting really heavy weight yet in comparison to most people and I still need to work on form, I look forward to the classes every week because they're so challenging. 
  • I'm getting calluses on my hands!! Proof of hard work ;-)
  • I realized that my arm muscles are finally looking more defined because I am doing less reps with heavy (for me) weight. I did BodyPump for an entire year and never was able to get my biceps to show and now they finally are a little bit! I can't wait to see how much progress I make this year. 
what was your favorite workout you did this week?

Monday, November 12, 2012

I'm Baaack! {Sugar Overload}

AHH I am so happy to be posting this right now - you guys have no idea how much I've missed you all!! I haven't read (or commented on) any blog posts, nor did I write any of my own, for an entire WEEK. Why? For a paper for my communications class, I had to give up a mass medium that I use and rely on the most, and write about how my life was changed (and so on). I picked blogging because in all honesty it is the mass medium I use the most - way more than I watch TV, listen to the radio, or read the news - so it was the perfect choice for me to write my paper on.

But can I just say how hard it was to give it up for a week?? I missed it so much in so many ways and all I can say is I'm glad to be back :) And that my google reader is literally exploding!

Anyway, I wanted to share some highlights of the past week with you guys!

We finally are getting more fall-ish weather here - it's been pretty chilly the past couple of days and even rained one day last week. Made me feel like I was back at home:) 

I got my hands on a red cup<3

I had a Diddy Riese date with one of my floormates last night (yayyy for no school today!) - I got espresso chip and peanut butter cup ice creams and was in heaven. 

I treated myself to Jamba Juice after my first real IFT barbell class (similar to the IFT class I took on Monday, except this one used barbells) on Thursday. The workout was so tough!! We did 4 rounds of burpees and Romanian deadlifts and I was so sore on Friday that walking hurt. I spent some quality time with my foam roller and then went on a shake-out run with a girlfriend on Saturday night that made my legs feel a lot better! 

Someone on my floor randomly gave me a pomegranate and I spent like 20 minutes at the laundry room sink getting all the arils out but it was so worth it. You do what you gotta do, right? 

I also discovered that there is a trolley (well, a bus disguised as a trolley) that goes from campus to Target, Ralph's, and Trader Joe's every Saturday. Needless to say I was stoked to not have to carry all my groceries all the way back up the hill! One of the things I bought was this dark chocolate coconut caramel bar - the perfect study fuel when it comes to quantum mechanics. 

Getting cupcakes at 1 in the morning after having a paper-writing date on Saturday night with one of my girlies. We burnt popcorn and spent far too much time playing around on photo booth pretending like we had mustaches but it was so much fun. Not to mention I actually wrote 4 pages of my paper that night too! 

Coffee and an amazing vegan chocolate chip walnut cookie while doing my readings and writing more of my paper. 

Looking back on this post made me come face to face with a reality that I've been denying - I'm eating a LOT more sugar and junk than usual. And what you see isn't even all of it. Candy corn, scones, brownies, all of it -  I've been indulging a little too much lately and the more I think about it the more I realize that it is affecting me negatively. I feel more weighed down, in general I have less energy, and I just haven't been feeling too good about myself. 

I know part of the cause is that I am an emotional eater and that I've been pretty stressed about midterms lately. Part of it is that there are just SO many more sweets and goodies available to me than I'm used to having access to. I have a huge sweet tooth and it's tough to pass up the dessert case every single night, especially when people I'm eating with are eating multiple desserts. And I also think that not having access to blogs for the entire past week didn't help - because reading other blogs is so helpful and encouraging when you're trying to live a healthy lifestyle. 

To be honest, when I was looking back through my photos for this post I almost didn't include some of them because there are so many treats that have been happening lately. But then I realized that not posting about it would mean not being real with you guys, and that's the last thing I want to do. 

So I'm being honest. I'm being real. I'm saying that living a healthy life in college is HARD. Being thrown into an entirely new life, in a new place with new stresses, being without your family and your home and your comfort zone, all of it is so utterly overwhelming.  And suddenly it makes perfect sense to me why people gain the freshman 15 so easily. 

But I'm so glad that I'm realizing this now and not at the end of the year. Because I can do something about this, I can make a change. I don't exactly have a game plan yet, but I know that I need to do something differently. And that's a start. 

So you tell me: what are your suggestions for cutting down on sugar and getting my energy back? 

Monday, November 5, 2012

My First IFT Class!

Hey guys!

Since I finished up my Intro to Barbell class last week, which was a prerequisite to the IFT (Intense Functional Training) classes offered here, I decided to go to IFT tonight. And let's just say I completely had my butt kicked in that super awesome I'm not gonna be able to walk tomorrow kinda way.

I've been told that these IFT classes are very similar to CrossFit - and if they are, let's just say that I will be hitting up CrossFit in my hometown this summer! There's two types of IFT classes here - just plain IFT and IFT barbell. Tonight I took the plain IFT class but I'm planning on hitting up the IFT barbell class on Thursday.

Anyway, back to today's workout! We started out with a few laps around the gym, and then we used these little balls and did some myofascial release exercises. After that we did some jumping jacks, hip thrusters, bodyweight squats, and pushups, before starting the actual workout.

Today's warmup:
1. TRX Rows
2. Vertical Jumps (sideways next to a wall, trying to hit higher each time)
3. Push-ups*
4. Flutter kicks

*side note: it is SO HARD to do push-ups with proper form. it's crazy that i've been doing them wrong for my whole life, but doing them so you actually work your chest is so hard. i could only get through 3-4 at a time before having to take a break. 

Once we finished the warmup, I was already a little out of breath and sweaty! And then came the killer WOD.

We did 4 stations of 3 minute AMRAPs
1. Sit-ups and slamballs (alternate 10 reps each until time is up)
2. Pull ups and jumping lunges (7 reps each)
3. Burpee Broad Jump w/ wall ball
4. Medicine ball side tosses and agility square (which was just 4 cones set up that you had to go around once, changing direction quickly)

The killers were the burpee broad jumps and the pull-ups. I did my pull-ups with the Level 2 resistance band and my arms were shaking so much by the end. I can't imagine doing pull-ups without a band right now - but that is one of my goals for the end of the year!

After the WOD we did a round of tabata abs (v-ups, superman, cherry pickers, and something else that I can't remember) and by the time we finished that I was laying on my mat completely wiped. Whoever said that short workouts aren't effective is lying. This one hurt more than any workout I've done in quite awhile!

And you can bet I'll be there next class ready for more. This girl can't turn down a challenge!

Even though my butt really, really hurts.

have you ever taken an IFT class or something similar?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

An Amazing Weekend.

I had one of the best weekends! My parents flew down to visit and I have been looking forward to seeing them for so long!!

They came and picked my brother and I up on Friday afternoon and as soon as I saw my parents I launched myself at them and tackled them in hugs. I had tears of happiness coming down my face because I was so overjoyed to see them.


Although this weekend was Parents' Weekend and a lot of families did the planned events for the weekend, my family decided to do our own thing and just spend quality time together. And I'm so happy we did!

After my parents picked us up, we went and got our afternoon coffee and then stopped at Whole Foods to pick up dinner. I saved a lot of errands to run this weekend (because a. running errands is a LOT easier when you have a car, and b. grocery shopping with my mom is one of my favorite things to do) - and my mom said that she would buy my usual groceries. I usually pay for them with my own money so needless to say this made me so excited!

I got some of my groceries (see the loot at the end of the post!) and picked steamed broccoli, tomatoes baked with cheese, and roasted potatoes for my dinner (forgot to snap a pic) since all of those things are really hard to find in the dining hall. The rest of my family got salads to go with the pizza that we ordered!

After dinner we just talked and caught up and then I crashed hard in the beautiful big fluffy hotel bed. It. was. glorious.

Saturday morning I slept in and then worked out with my momma! That was one of the things I missed like crazy- that and having someone to show off all my hard work to! haha :)

After showering up I had an amazing breakfast- all things I can't have in the dining hall yet again. Fresh raspberries (!!!!), chobani, and ciabatta bread with almond butter.

Once I finished eating my mom and I headed out to the mall where we got chair massages, went shopping, and got Subway for lunch (fyi their chopped chicken salad is really good!).

Then we met up with my dad and brother to go see Flight - it was a pretty good movie although I prefer happy feel-good movies. And then I GOT FROYO!

I got peach, tart, and coconut yogurts with raspberries, cheesecake, cookie dough, m&ms, almonds, and coconut shreds.

Before dinner we had a hotel hair-cutting session (cracks me up everytime) and then my mom and I did a little more shopping before we got seated at BJ's. The restaurant is right in the mall that our hotel is close to so it worked out perfectly! I didn't snap any photos because the lighting was so bad, but in the end it didn't matter anyway because I didn't end up eating the steak I ordered. Long story short they lost my order somewhere along the way and then tried to act like they hadn't messed anything up and served me a medium-rare steak (barely cooked on the outside) when I'd ordered medium-well done. Since we'd already waited so long for our food we just asked them to take it off the check instead of making me another one. So I just ate the veggies that came on the side and some of my brother's fries and then... froyo happened for the second time in one day! #noshame

After dinner my brother opened his birthday presents (he's turning 20 tomorrow!) and then my mom and I watched the first two episodes of Nashville - I'm officially hooked. That show is so good!

This morning after another workout with my mom, my parents dropped us back off on campus. It was so hard to say goodbye - I tried to hold myself together but I just couldn't. I'm so close with my parents and being away from them has been one of the hardest things about coming to college. But how lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard?<3

To pick myself back up, I got a pumpkin spice latte and then set to work getting unpacked and putting all my food away.

please disregard the fluffy pillow pet and the computer - there's not much space to take photos in a dorm room! haha:)
The loot: honey pretzel twists, bulk cinnamon raisin granola, dry roasted edamame and goji berries, roasted almonds, Barney Butter (!!), dark chocolate chunks, a dark chocolate bar, whole wheat tortillas, string cheese, baggies of trail mix (my mom brought them from home),  greek yogurt, fresh raspberries, bars, and a box of candy corn and other halloween goodies.

Needless to say I'm one happy girl right now!

The rest of the afternoon has consisted of lots of laundry-doing and after I publish this post I'm going to get to work on all my homework and studying that has yet to get done.

what was a highlight of your weekend? 
ever had froyo twice in one day?