Starbucks in NYCStarbucks in NYC

On Fridays I envision myself as the woman I dreamed about being at this point in my life when I was younger. Sometimes, I’ll look at the hazy glare of the storefront windows on my brief walk to my Friday “work from home” oasis, and think to myself that this is exactly what I envisioned I’d be doing at this point in my life. On Fridays, I plug in my laptop, and as uber lame as it sounds, channel that inner Carrie Bradshaw that every young girl dreams about being at one point or another, and get to work on my purple MacBook Pro that drastically needs a trip to the Genius Bar. Continue reading

Food Friday: Steaz Teaz

Confession: Once the temperatures get over 50 degrees for the first time, I swap out my occasional afternoon coffee for a grande iced passion tea with raspberry from Starbucks. And while it may not have STAYED above 50 degrees since the first gorgeous day in March — I refuse to give back my passion tea. In fact, I look forward to it.

So you can imagine my delight while on a spontaneous grocery trip post-gym time on Tuesday, I saw this:

Enter Steaz iced Teaz in blueberry pomegranate acai. First things first: Yes, the company spellz it with a Z. And for about $1.20, it’s about half the price of my Starbucks alternative and JUST as delicious. It’s refreshing and unlike a lot of canned or bottled iced teas, it’s all organic, so it’s actually tea and natural juices without the artificial sweeteners or additives. It ALSO comes in lemon, lime pomegranate, mint, peach and unsweetened lemon. Ooooh, AND it’s only 80 calories, just like my ‘Bucks of choice. Winning.

Other things bought during my trip:

After scoring that case of pineapple Chobani, I wanted to get a few things to spruce up my morning ‘gurt. Enter strawberries, blueberries and Casadian Farm’s fruit & nut granola. Nom nom nom!

And that’s all. Today’s all about eating well, workin’ and resting my feet. I actually ate a cinnamon raisin bagel for the first time in … forever this morning. How I love pre-half marathon fueling of the glycogen stores.

What’s your favorite iced tea? Do you have any pre-race eating tips?

“The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking places” [Author unknown]

I’m exhausted. The day so far in numbers:

4 The number of miles I’ve run today (It’s 8 a.m. for those following along at home)

6 Hours of sleep I got last night

13 Number of people standing in front of me at Starbucks as I sit here writing this

310 Songs on my “Just chillin'” playlist. Breathe in, Exhale: Namaste.

What better way to kill time between my early morning workout and the office than with a grande sugar-free caramel iced coffee and some quality time with my Macbook Pro.

This morning, I have some comparisons for you. I’m going to throw this out there – catch it if you’re interested.

In today’s economy – the job hunt is a lot like hitting a weight loss plateau.

FirstThere’s a lot of effort. Every day, I wake up – search my three main job websites, and go from there. Like a fitness aspiration, there is always that one main goal. Whether it be losing 20 pounds, starting to see definition in your calves or running more than a mile without huffing and puffing – all of the aforementioned take focus, concentration and determination. At the beginning of each week, I wake up – attempt putting my best foot forward and say to myself: “I will get an interview this week.” Since every position is unique – cover letters are constantly changing, the standard resume needs tweaking and of course: once you land the interview – you’ll need a brand new outfit, to reprint your resume and do a fair share of research.

Second: It’s frustrating. When you hit a plateau, you feel like you’ve stopped making progress. Often, individuals gauge their efforts by the numbers on the scale. Big. Mistake. The truth is, when your body is going through a huge change, like dropping pounds, there are other ways to manage success. Perhaps one week, you’ve put on some muscle, and lost an inch in your waistline. The numbers on the scale won’t reflect this change, because muscle weighs more than the fat it’s replacing.

Third: You’re not alone. In terms of the job hunt, everyone is looking right now. I keep telling myself that this will get better, that it’s going to work out and what is supposed to happen, will. With weight loss, it is so SO important to realize that SO many others are struggling with many of the same scenarios as you. Plateauing is part of the whole process. It is your job to accept it, set goals to help you work through the angst and focus on small wins.

Do not to give up. Yes, I understand this concept. Is it easy? Of course not. The truth is this: Whether or not you’re immediately successful in either realm, appreciate what you’ve got. I may be frustrated, but I’m learning a lot: How to interact with editors, what’s appropriate to wear to an interview, how to perfect a cover letter, not to put on my heels until I’m strolling up to the office (Blisters? No thanks), what stylistic tone fits different types of media outlets and so much more.

… one day at a time. That’s what I keep telling myself.

What’s the best thing to pull you out of a rut? A fiesta of course!

I cooked chicken and shrimp fajitas for both of my parents Monday night – and they were absolutely delicious! After doing a bit of research, I decided to cook onions, green and red peppers in the oven instead of on the stovetop.

The ingredient list:

  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 1/2 sliced onions
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt, pepper and cayenne pepper

I put my concoction into the oven at 450 for around 15 minutes, stirring up the veggies twice throughout the cooking process. On the stove, I took chicken strips (marinated in taco seasoning), sauteed them, added some frozen thawed shrimp ($8.99 at my local Stop&Shop) and seasoned to taste.

After taking the veggies out of the oven, I combined them in the pan with the proteins – and they got along pretty well, if I do say so myself. With Pandora’s John Mayer Trio channel (personal favorite track: “Good Love Is On The Way”) playing, I was reading to set the table.

The fajita mixture, fresh guacamole, salsa, black beans, sour cream and mexican rice (from a box, I’ll admit it). Oh – and some white wine. As for the whole wheat tortillas, I simply brushed them with a little bit of olive oil, sprinkled (literally, less than a quarter cup for all three wraps) them with some 2 percent reduced-fat cheddar cheese and popped them into the 450 degree oven for about six minutes, or until the edges were golden brown. Mmmm, the perfect added crunch to our dinner-time fiesta.

I have to confess: I actually had a ton of fun making this meal. Eeeeek, I’ve gotta run – Just peaked at the time and I’m pretty sure my parking meter is about to expire.  What’s your favorite meal to cook for family and friends? Are you a fan of early morning workouts? Have you ever felt like you were in a rut?

“Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better” [Albert Camus]

And so the holiday weekend begins! First – let’s track back to last night.

Sauteed scallops with asparagus and penne, courtesy of momma. YUM! The scallops were so tender and it was nice to take a night off from my newfound Julia Child tendencies. Spent my night in watching a rerun of “Glee,” followed by “Bethenny Getting Married.” In the words of my friend Brynne (wait ’til later in the post) – I undeniably have a girl crush on her. Her brutal honesty may turn some off … for me, it’s refreshing. Not to mention, her apartment is adorable. And her pup Cook? Forgettaboutit.

Three cheers for success today – hip hip – hooray! Hip hip – hooray! Hip hip … well you get the point. My first successful experience with egg puffs after some failure earlier this week. Breakfast today: two egg white puffs topped with paprika, pepper and feta on a whole wheat english muffin, alongside blackberries, peaches and a sliced banana.

Cue rendezvous with Brynne for a morning run. I convinced her to attempt a modified Crossfit workout – which consisted of:

  • 800 meter run
  • 15 squats
  • 10 push-ups

And we did circuit four times, for a total of two miles, 60 squats and 40 pushups. With the cool temperatures and shady path, it was the perfect morning workout! And what better way to top off a workout then with two iced green teas, mine – with a shot of raspberry!

We took a quick field trip to grab my diploma at what my dad refers to as “The Fraternity House” (it arrived in the mail yesterday) and some mail … but not before snapping this quick pic of Brynne sporting her UConn pride with this blue and white leis (loveyoudon’thateme!).

To pair with your embarrassment, I’ll share what we snapped after opening my diploma:

Lunch was inspired by nostalgia. A ton of my friends are just returning from Birthright trips. For those of you who haven’t heard of the opportunity – Taglit-Birthright Israel provides the gift of first time, peer group, educational trips to Israel for Jewish young adults ages 18 to 26. I went on it in December 2007 with my good friend Ali.

Ali and I in the Negev desert.

… after seeing all of these Facebook uploads, I decided it was time for some Mediterranean cuisine. Enter hummus, Israeli salad and baby carrots.

SO FILLING. A whole wheat wrap with spinach and artichoke hummus, sugar snap peas, romaine and feta (it was a feta kind of day), a chopped tomato and cucumber salad and baby carrots (with more hummus, of course). Another beautiful day summoned me to the beach, where I was joined by my friend Ali.

We finished up our day in the sun with smoothies from Liquid Lunch. My weapon of choice: A raspberry banana smoothie with skim milk, the perfect blend of tangy and sweet!

OH … and how could I forget – Happy Food Friday! This week’s find, Sunland banana peanut butter. For a true banana fan (I did mention how much I adore banana chocolate chip ice cream from the UConn Dairy Bar, right?) – this is heaven. Looking forward to pairing this with some sliced granny smith apples in the near future!

For now, I’m looking forward to attempting my first whack at tofu. Look forward to see whether I succeed, or fail. What was the last food you took a risk on in the kitchen? How about your favorite vacation destination?