WIAW #2: Nonstop Hunger {What I Ate Wednesday}

Hello friends, and happy Wednesday! Since I like order and schedules (I’m weird like that) I’m going to continue with the tradition of What I Ate Wednesdays. Head over to Peas and Crayons to check it out! This month is all about adding an extra cup of veggies to meals. I think I did alright, but I know I could have done better.

Breakfast: 1 vanilla Chobani yogurt, with 1 tbs ground flax, blueberries, and some Quaker Oatmeal Squares. Hmmm. Never get tired of Greek Yogurt.

Lunch: A turkey and cheese sandwich. I feel like a little kid again every time I eat them – this was my mom’s go-to when we were kids – but it’s a little more adult now. Organic roasted turkey breast, muenster cheese, dijon mustard, baby greens, and Ezekiel bread.

and some pretty sad looking grapes. They still tasted yummy.

A couple hours later, I had an apple pie Larabar. My hunger was on fire today!

Snack: After work and a good gym session (my foot is feeling so much better! I was so tempted to run but I held back) I headed home to shower. While waiting for Bernie to finish up at the gym, I had a protein shake. Chocolate protein powder+ice+water.

Once Bernie got back, I headed over to his place to make dinner for us.

Dinner: Chicken breasts, roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli, and rice pilaf. On the sweet potatoes was some olive oil, salt, pepper, and cinnamon (yum). After roasting for about 10 minutes, I added the broccoli so it wouldn’t burn. Paired with some wine, it was a perfect dinner.

What are some of your favorite eats lately? What’s your favorite way to add veggies to your meals?

My 23 Hour Trip

Phew! It’s been a busy couple of days! Sorry for being away this weekend, but I had a whirlwind trip that lasted a whole 23 hours.

I got to see this little face

Saturday morning I woke up bright and early to head to my parents’ house in Upstate New York. The reason for this quick trip?

Trading in this baby…

For this!!

Look who’s joining the 21st century!!!

I was super excited to finally get rid of the heavy, useless brick that was my Blackberry. I had it for a whole two years and hated it almost immediately. I got it in that little sweet spot time where the iPhone was available, but it wasn’t SUPER popular yet. The whole concept of playing games with people like Draw Something, or Word With Friends didn’t exist. I liked my Blackberry, but recently with my upgrade due, I knew that I wanted an iPhone 4S. My Blackberry sucked. It froze. It deleted things out of the blue. The battery life was a joke. Time to go.

I even ordered my iPhone case weeks ahead of time in preparation. Isn’t it adorable? I got it on Etsy from the Pretty Smitten shop. The case wasn’t cheap, but it is gorgeous! It’s a quality hard case, and it arrived quickly and easily. Working with Elizabeth was fabulous! I highly recommend her Etsy services.

I’m still trying to figure out my phone – I feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface of how to utilize it to its full potential!

I also did ‘home’ things. I got my highlights touched up and a much needed haircut. I haven’t been able to find a hairdresser in Boston that I LOVE, so I take advantage of getting my hair done at home. My hairdresser has been cutting my hair for over 10 years, and she’s amazing. I also got a pedicure. It was MUCH NEEDED! Saturday night I met up with an old friend who recently got engaged! Congrats, Amanda!

Sunday morning, I got up at 8am to head back to Boston. On the way back, I decided to stop at Ikea. As you read earlier, Bernie and I finished painting the final rooms of his condo, so it was time to start decorating. Bernie HATES Ikea, but I love it. So I took a solo trip and got a pretty good haul of stuff! I have some plans for the living room!

I got back to Boston around 3:30 in the afternoon. After a quick trip to Whole Foods for groceries and a shower, I reunited with Bernie for dinner. After making dinner, I finally got to sit down!

I’m tired just thinking about this weekend. Glad that I’m home!

Readers: How was your weekend? Do you have an iPhone? Any fun fitness/health apps I should download? Do you play Draw Something or Words with Friends? I do — username: BlondeBostonian

Homeward Bound

Usually on a Saturday morning, there is NO reason for me to wake up at 6am – aka: death hour. Even while training, my morning runs usually happened around 9am.

Well, I’m up at death hour today for a reason. Can you guess? It involves…

and….

and finally…

 

Have a wonderful weekend!

Feeling the Pressure

After my half marathon, I seemed to recover much more quickly than I ever thought I would. I wore compression shorts immediately after and overnight in the days after the marathon. Two days after the marathon I had zero soreness, which I tie to the compression.

It’s been almost two weeks since the race. I’ve been running, but not a ton. I’ve been mostly doing lower impact workouts in the time since. Weight training has returned and I’m actually enjoying it. However, while Bernie and I were painting his house past Saturday, I noticed a very sharp pain in my right foot. All of a sudden, I went from feeling fine to having a super tough pain radiating from my foot, up my ankle, and into my calf.  Oh. Shit.

I immediately didn’t know what it was. I thought to myself, “Maybe it’s from standing on my feet all day and painting. Maybe it’s from lifting heavy cans of paint. Maybe it’s from standing on the super scary rickety wooden ladder.” As the night went on, it continued to hurt. I went to sleep somewhat worried, but chalked it up to overexerting myself.

The next day, I woke up to the same pain. I changed my shoes from my Nike Free’s (little support) to my Brooks running shoes (more support) and it seemed to help. I had on and off pain the whole day while painting. Again, I hoped and prayed it was nothing serious.

So this leaves us to now. I’ve been having a pain in the outside/bottom/top of my foot (it keeps changing). I also noticed that the calf on that leg was SUPER tight, especially along the outside. So I rolled it one night and was left with a really sore lower leg, but a somewhat better foot. I’ve dealt with ankle/calf injuries before when I had peroneal tendonitis. I used to get really bad ankle/calf pain when I rode horses and my orthopedist at the time told me to get a foam roller for my calves. Within a week, the pain was gone forever.

So right now, I think it might be one of two things:

  1. The peroneal tendonitis is back since I have pretty tight calves from all the training I did.
  2. I strained a tendon in the bottom of my foot from walking around in very unsupportive Nike’s while painting all weekend (lifting heavy cans, standing on my tippy toes a lot, standing on a rickety wooden ladder).

At least, that’s what I’m hoping.

I know that the best thing to do is rest, so I’m taking 5 days off from any exercise and waiting to see how I feel on Monday. That would be 9 days after the pain started. I know if I go to an orthopedist, that’s going to be their suggestion. I don’t believe it’s a stress fracture, because I don’t have any tender spots on bony parts of my foot. I don’t think it’s planter fasciitis, because my heel doesn’t hurt (at least that’s what I’m hoping – PF is scary for runners). I am worried, but I’m trying to focus on resting, icing, stretching my feet and calves, and foam rolling. I’d like to not be sidelined from running for longer than two weeks if I can help it. I have a 5k in a little over 2 weeks! If I’m still in pain by Monday, I’m going to make an appointment with an orthopedist.

Please ignore my scary toes. They're getting a pedicure this weekend - promise!

Since I’ve had multiple issues with my calves, I decided to finally make another investment in compression gear – compression calf sleeves. After researching different brands, I headed to City Sports and picked up the CEP Sports Compression Sleeves. After foam rolling, I slipped them on and they felt super comfy. I’m excited to start using them for runs. After walking around in them for a little while, I noticed the bottom of my foot didn’t hurt quite as much anymore. Good sign? I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

For now, I’ve been rocking these at night and will most likely be wearing them under my pants during the day. Shhhh – it can be our little secret ;).

Readers: Have you ever had calf muscle issues? Ever try compression gear? Do you think they make a difference? Ever had arch pain? How do you deal with annoying injuries?

Link Love

Happy Thursday everyone – only one more day to go!!

I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that everyday there’s some new viral video or something funny on the internets. I just can’t seem to keep up!

Something that I noticed a couple other bloggers mention is the tumblr site #whatweshouldcallme. Have you guys seen this!? So funny!! My favorite that made me laugh this week was this one:

“Getting out of bed on a Monday”

and…“When you realize your friends are taking a group photo without you.”

I do this a lot….

and here…more subtle this time.

…and here…..

COME ON SARAH! GET IT TOGETHER!

Anyway.

Bernie also sends me/shows me hilarious gifs all the time. This one is my favorite.

I like to imagine that this is how the T and bus drivers feel in Boston.

Now for a more serious one – to all of you running the Boston Marathon!!

I found a link to a really awesome article all about each mile of the Boston Marathon and what to expect during each one. I thought it was pretty accurate. I can only speak for miles 21-26.2 because I live within those miles, but either way, it’s worth a read. Check it out here!

 

Any other fun internet things you read/see/enjoy? Any Tumblr users out there? Have you seen #whatweshouldcallme?

WIAW #1: My First {What I Ate Wednesday}

When I first started reading healthy living blogs, I noticed that many bloggers post the meals that they eat throughout the day on their blogs everyday. From these posts, I’ve gotten some really good ideas for recipes and creative meal ideas.

Overnight Oats in a Jar -- what is that?!

I don’t do this. While I occasionally talk about my eats and my mentality on healthy eating, I don’t regularly post a list of meals that I eat throughout a given day or week. This is because, honestly – it takes time and I’m lazy/busy. I didn’t intend for this blog to become a ‘food blog’, but since I’ve learned so much from other blogs in terms of healthy meal ideas and eating whole food is such an important piece of the healthy lifestyle pie, I thought I would start posting food more often.

Which leads me to my FIRST WIAW {What I Ate Wednesday} post! I found out about WIAW from my fellow bloggers and from Jenn’s blog, Peas & Crayons. Head over to her blog and check it out!

Now for the eats. The rules of WIAW are that you post your eats from a whole day (any day, doesn’t have to be Wednesday). So without further ado…my eats from Tuesday:

Breakfast: plain Chobani with a tsp of fig butter mixed in, blackberries, and Bob’s Red Mill granola on top for added crunch.

Lunch: mixed greens topped with chopped cucumbers, red onion, and a chickpea salad. When Bernie and I were in Italy, we found a place that had this amazing chickpea salad of chickpeas, chopped tomato, onion, and peppers, olive oil, salt, pepper, tuna, and cilantro (at least those were the ingredients I could taste). I replicated it by using TJ’s fresh salsa (chopped onion, cilantro, tomato, peppers) chickpeas, EVOO, salt, and pepper to taste. It’s amazing on its own or topped on a salad. Also with lunch was roasted sweet potato and onion from dinner last night.

(sorry for the non-creative/pretty non-existent plates. This is how I pack my lunch for work.)

I snacked during the afternoon on a couple of these babies!

Dinner: Amy’s Vegetable and Lentil soup and a grilled sandwich on Ezekiel bread with roasted turkey, muenster cheese, and dijon mustard. Hit the spot!

What are some of your favorite eats lately? I’m obsessed with fig butter lately – so good!

Travel Tuesday: The Contiki Experience

Hello everyone and happy Tuesday! After a few weeks’ hiatus, Travel Tuesday is back! Over the last few months, I’ve chronicled my and Bernie’s trip last summer to Italy, France, and Spain with Contiki, a travel guide for 18-35 year-olds. We did a ton of things during our two week tour around the Mediterranean. We explored the Colosseum and visited where the Pope lives.

We took a bus to a bus, to a boat, to a train, to a bus, to get to our hotel.

We toured the smallest Museum of Natural History ever in France.

And we saw architecture that would make Dr. Seuss happy in Barcelona, Spain.

 

 

We saw a lot of sights in 2 weeks and experienced things we never would have if we didn’t decide to travel together. It was a once in a lifetime experience and I don’t regret a second of it.

When Bernie and I decided to take a trip together, we sat down and brainstormed ideas of where to go. Ever the adventurer, it was Bernie’s idea to go to Europe. At that point, he and I had been together for about 4 months. I didn’t think the relationship was going to end before, but that’s a big commitment to make, to schedule a huge trip together months in advance when you had only been together for a short period of time. I took the leap of faith and said yes to Europe. A few weeks  later, we paid a visit to a AAA travel agent in search of some help. We had both been abroad, but never traveled within Europe before. We didn’t have the faintest idea of what to do. This is where we found out about Contiki, a travel company that plans trips/tours throughout Europe and other countries. After crunching some numbers, we realized that traveling through Contiki would be about the same cost-wise or somewhat cheaper than traveling on our own. Between Euro Rail passes, hotel/hostel stays, and food/activities the trip’s cost added up fast. Contiki takes care of everything for you – hotels, travel between countries, some meals, and many activities. And during the entire trip, you’re lead by a guide who deals with logistics and helps you navigate a foreign country.

After searching through the GIANT Contiki tour book, we settled on “Mediterranean Highlights” which started in Rome and ended in Madrid. A few days later, we booked the trip online and waited!

Overall, there were good things about our experience with Contiki and some not so good things. Here’s a quick rundown of the pro’s and con’s of budget traveling.

Pro’s of Traveling with Contiki

  • Convenience. All of the logistics of traveling in foreign countries is taken care of for you. Your hotels are booked for you, group dinners are scheduled for you, and tours of monuments/attractions are organized for you.
  • Inexpensive (in comparison). While it’s not cheap to travel with them, it is cheaper than traveling on your own. There are many dinners and tours included in the cost of your trip. When we went to visit the Colosseum, we had a two-hour guided tour lead by a local guide. This was included in the overall cost of the trip. The day before, Bernie and I went to the Colosseum and had tours pitched to us for about 25 Euro each – VERY expensive!
  • Hotels>hostels. We got to stay in some pretty nice places (for the price) while traveling. Our hotel in Madrid was beautiful; it even had a pool.
  • Tour guides are live-in teachers. Our tour guide, Giuseppe, was amazing. He was from Italy, so he was fluent in Italian, but was also fluent in Spanish and knew a lot of French. He led us on some great walking tours of all the places we went, and taught us the native language of the country we were in. This proved to be key. It felt good speaking the language and experiencing it with more knowledge than the average tourist who was on their own.
  • Traveling in groups is better than traveling alone. We made a ton of friends while on the tour. Since Contiki caters to 18-35 year-olds, everyone was in a similar age group. We all became very close over the two weeks and had a blast together exploring. I think it also helped me and Bernie not want to kill each other by the end of the trip. Don’t get me wrong – I love my boyfriend and spending as much time with him as I can – but traveling is stressful. Having other people to put your focus on and interact with makes a big difference.

  • Free time. We were given at least a few hours each day for free time to rest, explore, or do whatever. We found these free time hours to be key to enjoying our vacation. While it’s great to go with the group, going off and doing things on our own was sometimes better than group outings.

Con’s of Traveling with Contiki

  • This is a tour, not a vacation. While we knew that this trip wouldn’t be all rest and relaxation, I felt like sometimes the go-go-go nature of the trip was overwhelming. There were days where we were so completely exhausted, almost to the point of not even wanting to go out on the tours (which is crazy talk!). Our tour guide said on day one, “This is not a vacation, this is a tour.” He couldn’t have said it better. If you’re looking for a low key adventure vacation, Contiki is not for you.
  • Cost. While the trip was cheaper overall, we ended up spending more money while there than we thought we would. Many of the extra excursions through Contiki were not included in the price – which we did not know. When we got to Europe, our tour guide laid out to us how much each excursion would be over the course of the trip. Before we knew it, we were dropping 250 Euro each for excursions. I wish I had known this beforehand so I could budget accordingly.
  • Hotels are so-so. It was hit or miss with the quality of hotels we stayed in. The hotel in Rome was great, but the hotel in Nice, France was HORRIBLE! A kid in our group was covered in bed bug bites from that hotel. I developed a cold after two days in the hotel. There was visible mold everywhere. I know the trip included budget accommodations, but some of the hotels were even worse than “budget” level in my opinion.
  • The tour group’s dynamic can be hit or miss. Our group had a fabulous dynamic! Our tour guide took us out to enjoy the nightlife, but we didn’t do it every night so it wasn’t overkill. We all bonded well as a group and I stay in touch with many people from the trip. We saw some other Contiki groups along the way, and some of them were wild – going out every single night, never sleeping, drinking until all hours of the night, hung over on all excursions. Apparently Contiki has a reputation to be sort of wild and crazy. This was not the experience I had, but I can imagine that the mindset of your tour guide and the people in your group makes a huge difference. Our group was all about going out and having a good time at night, but we also wanted to be refreshed enough to enjoy the sights during the day.
  • Not enough free time. I wish that we had an extra day in each country to experience things on our own. Unfortunately, we didn’t. Free time was numerous, but it was often short and was spent napping, resting, or getting ready for the night ahead of us.

Overall, I don’t think we would do a Contiki tour again. Not because we had a negative experience, but because we’ve figured out how to travel through Europe and we want to do it on our own. Going our first time with a tour group was the best thing we could have done – we aren’t travel virgins anymore. Also, we weren’t nuts about all the countries in the tour. Italy was phenomenal, Spain was way cool, but France wasn’t great. I wasn’t that much of a fan, and could have done without it. If we were to go back to Europe, we would stick to one or two countries and tour those extensively.

 

Readers: Have you ever traveled through a foreign country? Did you do it through a tour or on your own? Share your experiences!