Tag Archives: coffee

Friday Ramblings

15 Feb

HAPPY Friday!

Man, am I glad to see this weekend. This week has been a bit blah, so I’m just so happy to have a couple days to relax coming up!

How was your Valentine’s Day? Mine was spent much like this:


…except add in a couple more cats. Zach and I watched Perks of Being a Wallflower last night. Have you seen it? I read the book a long, long time ago — I believe I picked it up in a secondhand bookstore in Pittsburgh after high school, and it’s been one of my favorite books of all time to this day. One thing I love about it is that it is very Pittsburgh-related. I was born and raised just outside of Pittsburgh, so I love reading books about my hometown. It’s just a great book, in general, and I urge you to pick it up if you haven’t read it.



I wasn’t sure what to expect from the movie, but it was really great! I knew that Stephen Chbosky wrote the film (he’s also the author of the book), so I expected it to be pretty good, but I have to say that it was even better than I expected. Like I said above, one of my favorite things about the book was all the Pittsburgh imagery, which they really brought to life in the movie. One thing they talk about in the book is travelling through the Fort Pitt tunnels into the city. If you’ve ever done this (especially at night), it’s the most amazing sight. Now, I haven’t been to a lot of cities, but I think this is one of the most grand entrances into a city ever. If you haven’t seen it, this video might help you get an idea of what I’m talking about:

Click the picture to go to the video, and fast forward to about 0:58.

Click the picture to go to the video, and fast forward to about 0:58.

In the movie, they definitely give you a great feeling of what it’s like to do this when you’re young! I had the advantage when reading the book to really know what they were talking about, the feeling you get when you leave the tunnel, so if you read the book and you don’t, the movie will give you an idea! But really, you should do this one day because it is a must see. It’s better at night!

And now, for something completely different.

Sometimes, if I feel like sleeping in or I’m running late, I like to get breakfast to go from somewhere nearby at work. Usually, that means Starbucks. The staff is friendly, the food is good (and not terrible for you), and they have good coffee…right?

Well, I’ll tell you lately I’ve not been pleased with their regular brewed coffee. The last two times I’ve had it, it has been downright gross. I’m not sure what they are doing to it, but it definitely isn’t what it used to be. This leaves me with a dilemma, because the other option is the bagel shop, which, while they do have decent coffee (Green Mountain I think?), the staff who works there is just…annoying. There is one guy who is in there in the mornings who, while I think maybe he’s just trying to be friendly, he’s just a little too friendly, and it makes me uncomfortable… do you know what I mean? Plus, there aren’t as many healthy options there.

They never spell my name right.

They never spell my name right.

Anywho, today I found the solution to my problem! Instead of getting the regular drip coffee, I went with a grande Cafe Americano, which was only $0.10 more than the regular drip coffee, and tasted much better! Success!

In other news, my workout plans today are another round of Crossfit this evening, which should be interesting since I’m having trouble walking from yesterday’s beast of a WOD! 

Question of the Day:
What’s the very best thing about your hometown? 



Fitness Confidence

13 Feb

Though Zach and I celebrated our Valentine’s Day last Friday, I still had a trick up my sleeve. Our philosophy on gifts in general is to never get a gift just to get a gift. We only get something for each other and our friends if we think of something they truly want, or the perfect gift for that person. Last year, we didn’t get each other anything for Valentine’s Day, but this year we each ended up getting something the other person wanted.

This year, Zach got me something I’ve been wanting very much:

pitch perfect

Whoa, sorry for the blurry camera photo!


Ever since we watched the movie a while back, I’ve been talking about it non-stop, so he bought me the Blu ray! Best present ever.

Me, I had a little idea up my sleeve. I read Gretchen Rubin’s Happier at Home recently, which is pretty much just a continuation of her Happiness Project Book, one of the topics I flagged was that she would celebrate minor holidays with an elaborate breakfast for her children. I adored this idea, so I decided to do this for Zach on Valentine’s Day morning. However, I have Crossfit at 6:15 on Valentine’s Day morning, so I did it a day early:

breakfast table


I decorated the table with little heart stickers (they are hard to see because my tablecloth is so busy already), and I bought Zach a card and an iTunes gift card (because he’s been talking lately about some music he wants). Then I made us a delicious breakfast!

His and hers breakfast. Zach prefers a more savory breakfast, so he got an egg too.

His and hers breakfast. Zach prefers a more savory breakfast, so he got an egg too.

The pancakes are roughly heart shaped. I made a little aluminum foil heart mold for the pancakes, but they tended to spread out a bit after I took the mold away, so they were just kind of heart shaped.

And, with that, I promise the Valentine’s Day posts are over! I fully intend that our Valentine’s Days will be less eventful as we grow as a married couple, but this will be our only Valentine’s Day as an engaged couple, so I wanted it to be a bit special. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The other thing I wanted to talk today about is fitness confidence. I promise this is relevant, but here is what yesterday’s Crossfit WOD looked like:

100 KB swings (35, 52)
100 Double unders
100 Wall Balls
100 Air squats

Now, keep in mind that I did Angie in 27 minutes, which is also 100 reps, but is (in my opinion), a bit more difficult than this WOD, especially since I can’t really do double unders, so I modify that to regular jump rope (although I double the reps), and air squats are no biggie for me (I attribute my runner’s quads for my ease with air squats). So, when I tell you that I was the very first person finished, with a pretty great time of 20:17, you may not be surprised.

I was.

In fact, as I sat guzzling my water, I started getting insecure as to why I finished so quickly. Did I modify too much? Did I accidentally skip a round without realizing it (I broke up the exercises into sets of 25 — going through 4 times)? In short, I was pretty much putting myself down. I was telling myself, “There is no way you finished this workout this quickly, when these other people aren’t even close to being finished yet.”

But, I did. I know I did all the reps of the exercises, I was keeping careful count. I wish I could just be confident in my abilities.

I do this a lot, actually, but usually it’s in the form of thinking I should have pushed myself harder. No matter how hard a workout is, once my heart rate is back to normal and I’m hydrated, I feel like I didn’t push myself hard enough.

Question of the Day:
Am I the only one who isn’t very confident in their abilities? What should I do to increase my confidence, or does this just come with time? 


Getting Back on Track!

7 Sep

As I mentioned on Wednesday, I’ve been having some trouble getting out of bed and getting to the gym in the mornings after a week of indulgent (and wonderful, amazing) vacation. Well, I’m glad to report that it is getting easier! I didn’t make it to the gym yesterday morning, but I got my speed work in after work, and then this morning I woke up and went to the gym with only a minimal amount of internal grumbling.

It helped that the gym was introducing two new morning classes today. One is a 6:15 yoga, and the other is an “Express Workout” class. I’m always excited for Express Workout classes because you never know what you’re going to get. I did know that the instructor is one of my favorites, so I didn’t want to miss it. Kelli decided to make it into a HIIT class since it’s shorter than usual classes (40 minutes instead of an hour), so we did 5 rounds of Tabata drills (20 sec high intensity, followed by 10 sec rest), followed up by about 8 minutes of Abs. Quick stretch and we were out the door. I owe myself 3 miles of running today for training, so after I was done with class I went down to the treadmill. I wasn’t really feeling it, so I did a mile. I have time after work to fit in at least 2 more.

After the gym, Zach and I got ready really quickly to go look at a venue for the wedding (more about that on a wedding post later), but it was too small for our quickly growing guest list (eek!). Since I hadn’t had time to make breakfast, we had to stop somewhere. Zach wanted Tudor’s, which made me sigh. If you’re not familiar with Tudor’s Biscuit World, you probably don’t live in WV or you’ve never visited. I’ll admit Tudor’s is amazing — because they are famous for their huge homemade butter biscuits piled with egg, cheese, and greasy meat! Not exactly healthy! Of course I wanted a biscuit (they are truly delicious), but this is what I settled for:


Scrambled eggs (with a blob of mustard I added), cinnamon apples and coffee. It was really good, filling, and I didn’t feel guilty about eating it. Score! This was a very filling breakfast. I wasn’t even that hungry at lunch time, so I just ate some leftover quinoa from dinner last night and some veggies. The health train is back on track!


In other news, Monday night a cat showed up on my back porch. She seemed skinny, or scared or maybe even sick, but she was wearing a collar:

Sweet girl!

I didn’t know what to do! I have three cats, and I absolutely can’t fit another one in my apartment. Plus, I didn’t know if she was sick or what. She’s been basically living on my porch since Monday evening. I’ve been feeding her and giving her water, and petting her, but she just pitifully cries when I come outside. Today, I decided to find her a home (assuming someone had abandoned her).

So, I pulled out the big guns: Social Networking. I posted a Facebook plea, a Twitter plea and even a Cragslist ad, offering to pay for her first vet visit if someone would give her a good home. A girl who used to live in Huntington but now lives in Philadelphia saw my Facebook post and shared it. Then, she realized that her sister (who lives nearby) was missing her cat, so she contacted her. It turns out, it WAS her cat! And she only lives ONE block away from me!! Hooray!

I immediately felt bad for assuming the cat was left on my doorstep due to bad ownership, because Sage’s owner (turns out the cat’s name is Sage, how adorable!) is very nice and was worried about her. The silly kitty had only wandered a block from home and didn’t know how to get home! I tried to take her inside to keep her safe until after work when I can take her home, but she wasn’t having it. I figure she’s been there for days, and she has food and water so she’s probably ok. I can’t tell you how relieved I am to have found her home.

Question of the day:
Has a stray animal ever found their way to your doorstep? What did you do? 

A Long Run and Sunday Eats

20 Aug

I slept so well last night.

Like, the best night’s sleep I’ve had in a very long time.

I did not wake up during the night one time. I did wake up at 5:45 AM long enough to decide that I’m going to be keeping Monday as a rest day, and then rolled right back over and went to sleep until Zach’s alarm went off at 7. Ahh, sweet relief!

I’m in a great mood today, because we have officially entered the period of time which it is appropriate to count down to vacation! Although, in the interest of full disclosure, I’ve really been counting down since August began. I really can’t wait, and I have a few vacation related blog post ideas formulating in my mind.

Yesterday was long run day, and I had such a great run! I took a ton of pictures:

From left – right: Me taking a break near my favorite water fountain, my favorite view, and my nemesis/lucky charm, the Muscovy duck that lives in the park where I run. I would have gotten closer to him to take a photo, but I harbor a healthy fear of him, so that’s all you get.

Backtracking a bit, I thought I’d share my meals from yesterday with you. Prior to heading out for my run, I had some greek yogurt with granola and “fruit” (it was really just fruit syrup):

I also had some instant coffee (still no coffee pot), which is surprisingly not bad. I followed it all up with a glass of water and a probiotic (I’m going to do a probiotic post soon, because I’m loving them!) and caught up with some magazines while my food digested.

I had a great run, as I mentioned. My training plan called for 6 miles, but I had to pause my CardioTrainer app (which was tracking my miles) at one point because some guy and I were running a ridiculously similar pace. It was awkward, so I stopped and pulled over to let him go ahead a bit. Apparently I forgot to restart the app, because I didn’t notice it until much later. I estimated I had ran about a mile or so, so I just added an extra loop on at the end of my run just in case I was shorting myself. Well, when I got home, I logged on to Map My Run and I had done 6.81 miles! To be honest, I could have kept running too, so that felt great.

I had planned to make brunch for me and Zach when I got back, but he decided to go golfing with his dad, so I whipped up some lunch for myself. I was surprised that I wasn’t famished right after my run like I usually am, I guess the yogurt/granola combo is a winner for staying power. I’ll have to remember that come half-marathon race day.

I bought some local tofu at the Wild Ramp market which I really wanted to try. I’ll tell you this: I’m never buying any other tofu again. This tofu had the best consistency, I only had to press it for 5 minutes, and I was able to cook it without the tofu breaking up and turning into a scramble. Even when I buy extra-firm at the grocery store, it doesn’t have the firm texture I’d like. I made the Cast Iron Tofu  using Caitlin’s method (Healthy Tipping Point is hands down one of my favorite blogs!), added it to some sauteed Kale and served it over Ramen noodles. Yes, Ramen noodles! I’ll admit I love ’em.

I don’t know if I’ll ever cook tofu another way again. It was so crispy on the outside! I love the texture of tofu, so I left the cubes to be kind of on the large side, but if you made them smaller this would be even crispier. I had a few strawberries on the side also. All of the meals I had yesterday had amazing staying power, and this was no exception. I was full for a long time after I chowed this down.

I went to a 5:30 yoga for runner’s class (which was incredible!) Our instructor focused on the Piriformis, which is a muscle in your glute area. It’s a deep muscle that is hard to stretch, but we sure did stretch it. In fact, I didn’t even know that mine was tight until we started stretching it out. My legs feel  great today! I’m on a budget, so I don’t know if I can afford to shell out the $8 a week to go to this class, but I think I’ll try to make it at least a monthly thing.

After yoga, it was late and we had movie plans with friends, so I whipped together a quick dinner. Earlier in the day, I had made a batch of Indian Curry veggie burgers from the No-Meat Althlete veggie burger formula (found here.) So, burgers it was:

This was an amazing veggie burger! I basically just used the recipe at the end of that post for the Indian Patties, but I didn’t have chickpeas so I used Great Northern instead. Also, I subbed carrots and yellow squash as my veggies. Yum! I made it a double decker because I was quite hungry. Add some baked french fries (yay, health!) and some steamed broccoli w/ a bit of shredded cheddar and it was a yummy meal. I decided to put a dollop of plain yogurt on my burger, and it was a very good decision. After dinner, I was ready for some dessert, so I had a frozen greek yogurt bar (flavor: blueberry), and it was delicious.

It was a great day for food at my house, and I didn’t realize how much yogurt I ate yesterday until I typed it all up. I swear, that isn’t typical!

Question of the day:
What is the best thing you’ve eaten recently? 

Half Marathon Training and Can women’s world records catch up with men’s?

8 Aug

Did I tell you that I broke my coffee pot this weekend? I know, I’m pretty upset about it too. I was in a cleaning frenzy and just…knocked it off the counter. Yep, I haven’t had coffee all week. Even Monday morning, after I didn’t sleep at all, I went coffee-less. I have no idea how I did it, but right now, this is happening:


Yes, I broke down and bought a coffee. I’m going to have to buy a new coffee pot ASAP, because buying coffee is too expensive.

This week marks week 1 of my half-marathon training:

I’m following Hal Higdon’s Intermediate plan found here. The one and only time I’ve ever run a half marathon, I didn’t really follow a training schedule, other than running outside a bunch and making sure I did long runs once a week. I knew the magic number was 10 miles, so I ran a 10 mile long run exactly one week before the half marathon. My final time was 2:13:45, which isn’t too bad for my first half, but this time I hope to do much better with a proper training schedule.

As anyone who has trained for a race knows, training schedules rarely go as planned. I’ve already had to do some significant juggling, and it’s only Wednesday of week 1! Again, I didn’t sleep well Sunday night so I took Monday as a rest day. Instead of a three mile run, I did a nice and sweaty speed work session on the treadmill yesterday evening:

6.8 mph = about 8:50/mile which is my 5k pace. This morning I woke up and went to my Cardio Fusion class, and when I got there our instructor had us get out all kinds of equipment: a short circular resistance band, a body bar, a step, a mat, dumbbells (I got 8lb and 6 lb, but I stuck with the 8lb weights for most of the class), and a Bosu. We definitely used all of that equipment too. My arms and butt feel like jelly. So, I’ve got my speed work and one strength session in for the week. I plan on doing a three mile run after work and I should be caught up to the training schedule above. Even if life happens and I don’t get in a run this evening, I still have that Friday rest day that I can do something if I need to. So the first week of training is going well, albeit not according to plan.

Now, let me share with you this amazing article I read yesterday from The Atlantic:

The ‘Golden’ Ratio: The One Number that Describes how Men’s World Records Compare with Women’s

For the first time ever this year, there was no country that marched with only male athletes. With the introduction of female boxing to the Summer Games, there are no longer any male-only sports. Ye Shiwen, a Chinese female swimmer, shocked Olympic judges by swimming a faster 50 m split than Ryan Lochte. Of course, no female can out-perform a man without automatically being suspected of using illegal substances.

The Atlantic article above shows that perhaps we shouldn’t be so surprised, because according to World Record data since the early 1900’s (using running and swimming as the model), women may start to consistently out perform men in this century. Over time, women’s records have improved at a much greater frequency than men’s have, so it stands to reason that eventually, women will ‘catch up’ with men. If you extrapolate the data found in these articles, you will see eventually the men’s and women’s data will converge. How cool is that?

Question of the day:
What is the most interesting article you have read lately?