Everything You Would Want To Know About My Fitness Lately

Apparently being “on track” was a hot topic early this week!

I posted my thoughts on “getting back on track” after vacation on Monday. Paige posted “How to Bounce Back After Falling Off Track” on Monday. Colby posted “Staying On Track” on Sunday. (p.s. loved both of their posts! go check ’em out!)

Also hot this week? The TEMPERATURES.

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…for some people this is light cheese, but this is steamy for me.

These temperatures are making me feel perpetually sweaty. Not to mention how much my face sweats during my workouts, especially if I take them outdoors.

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I’m not a cat person, but this fella here is my spirit animal of the summer.

And that was the drawn-out transition to the real topic of today: how my fitness has been looking lately!

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have noticed that I’ve been posting more fitness videos in the past few months, ever since I officially joined Fit University.

I could say, “A bunch of people have been asking me about my workouts,” but that would be a big, fat lie. I think only my aunt has actually asked, but I thought I’d give you all a detailed post about my fitness in case you were curious!


How often do I work out? 

Right now, 4-6 times per week. I try to move in some way or another every day, but complete rest days are definitely in there every week.

What is a typical week of workouts for me?

  • 2-4 days of HIIT workouts OR strength/conditioning
  • 2-4 active rest days/lower intensity workouts (yoga, pilates, skill work, etc.)
  • 1-2 full rest days

I rarely do solely strength days these days, mostly because I don’t have time, but I also don’t currently have access to a lot of good, heavy strength equipment (read: a squat rack). If I do strength, there’s always some cardio/circuit training involved.

For example, here are last week’s workouts:

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sorry for the weird formatting — these are all screenshots

How do I decide what to do?

My workout depends on:

  • how much time I have
  • what kind of equipment is available/if I get to the gym or not
  • what I’m feeling that day (the #1 factor)

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sometimes I feel like this before and/or after the gym

Sometimes I write my workouts the day before if I have an idea of what my body will want/what I would like to work on. More often than not though, I just go with the flow. I love to challenge myself in order to improve, but I don’t strictly hold myself to a certain workout/rep scheme/weight if I’m really not feelin’ it. I’ve really learned to embrace modification.

I also like to add a lot of compound movements (like burpees!) to my workouts. I don’t usually like to dedicate any more than one hour to a structured workout, so compound movements help me work a bunch of different muscle groups in a short period of time!

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rowing is the only cardio machine I like these days

Lastly, I draw inspiration from so many different people around the internet. My favorites:

I love to do their workouts, but for the most part, I’ve been writing my own workouts based on their formats. Or sometimes I just come up with something completely new.

P.S. Most of the time, I end with stretching.

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Do I have any fitness goals?

I’m mostly just aiming to be consistent and to continuously challenge myself, but if I had to point out specific goals (which I have not written down until now):

  • handstand walks
  • one arm handstand hold with my legs together (against a wall for now)
  • strict toes to bar
  • increase pull-up reps
  • explosiveness

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I need to get back to these stairs sometime soon too.

How do I get better at a skill/exercise?

Do it over and over and over again. Use progressions (!!!), do drills, and focus on good form, but just practice. Take good rest days and eat enough too!

How do I decide whether I want to work out or not?

I do not work out when:

  • I’m absolutely exhausted, to the point where walking is difficult and I know I need sleep.
  • I have other fun plans that I cannot pass up.
  • It’s been a while since I’ve taken a rest day.
  • I just don’t have time.

I might work out OR do an active rest day if:

  • I’m sore.
  • I’m really craving a stretch.
  • I just want to work on yoga, pilates, mobility or skills.
  • I’m sleepy.
  • Sweating a lot would be inconvenient.

I do work out (i.e. circuit/HIIT/strength) when none of the above apply.

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Why do I work out?

It makes me happy. (Don’t roll your eyes at me yet!)

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No, working out did not always make me happy in the past. Yes, workouts can totally suck while I’m doing them.

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me between every round of last Thursday’s workout

That’s why I’m such a proponent of working out depending on how you feel. It’s important to challenge yourself and push past comfort if you want to improve, this is true. But if you’re making yourself miserable day in and day out, you’re damaging your relationship with fitness (and probably damaging your body too).

I still get nervous before some of my workouts, because I know they’ll be difficult. I still think of giving up after the first round sometimes.

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It’s an awesome feeling to be 100% spent after completing a workout, but not every day!

The difference between now and the past (when I obsessively exercised in tandem with my disordered eating habits) is that I don’t lift a weight just because someone else lifted that weight. I appreciate the progress that I make, but realize that some days are better than others. I no longer work out with the pressure of burning a certain number of calories. I am no longer ashamed of modifying. I am no longer afraid to fail.

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throwback to when Sarah’s Cyc class absolutely kicked my ass

It took me a long time to be okay with those things, but time is a great healer. I thank God for the gift of movement and its healing/therapeutic/confidence-boosting powers. I guess that’s why physical therapy is so attractive to me!

How do I motivate myself to work out?

Before the workout: The more I listen to my body and allow myself to do the workout I’m craving, the more motivated I am. On harder workout days, it does take a little bit more mental effort, but knowing that there is an opportunity to move, improve, and take care of my body is enough to get me to at least start the workout.

During the workout: I used to think of badass athletes for motivation when I worked out, but ever since starting work at the rehab hospital, I actually think of the patients when I work out. In my head, I hear the therapists saying things like, “You said you couldn’t do one more step ten steps ago! One more, c’mon.” People who are fighting to walk inspire me to fight during my workouts, as cheeeeeeee-zeeeeee as that sounds.

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How do I know when to push through workouts/How do I push through?

It takes time to truly listen to your body. I think each individual has to find out how to do that through trial and error. I’ve learned some nuggets of wisdom from great fitness role models that have helped me though:

  • Complete a good warmup and see how you feel if you are on the fence about working out or not.
  • The beginning of the workout is always the hardest…
  • …BUT if your form is failing (on exercises that you can normally do well) and you feel miserable after the first round, you probably need to stop and take a day off OR modify. Working out can do more damage than good on some days.
  • Focus on one exercise at a time.
  • Form and safety are most important.
  • You don’t have to push to failure every time. I don’t even think you should push to failure every time.
  • BREATHE.
  • You can often do more than your mind initially thinks you can do. (And if your body can’t, then at least you tried!)

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So there ya have it! Everything about my fitness that you didn’t even ask for. 🙂 But seriously, I hope some of you found this helpful for your own fitness journeys. Please remember that these are all things that have worked for me personally through experience. Everyone is different! And although I do my best to learn from credible sources, I am not an expert in anything.


So tell me:

How do you like to move on a weekly basis?

Do you have any fitness goals?

How do you listen to your body when it comes to working out or not?

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Sharing Food and Sharing Life in NYC

I am wearing fuchsia yoga pants right now and I feel fabulous.

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trying not to pull my tight hamstrings

I decided to attend ballet class at my old dance school tonight last night, but I don’t think I fit into any of my leotards and tights anymore. Ergo, these bright and fun capris! I never wear this color, but I’m a fan.

(Thanks for buying them for me, Madre ♥︎)

These past couple of days I have been meeting up with a few friends to share food and share life. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in college, it’s how to be a better listener and sharer. Last year, I developed a deeper and much more sincere interest in other people’s lives (especially people I don’t know that well).

I’ve also come to believe more that my own life experiences are worth sharing in conversation. I mean, I share my life to the whole world on this blog, but no one has to read it if he or she doesn’t want to. In real time conversation, however, I used to be afraid to talk about my life because I didn’t think it was interesting or that the other person wouldn’t care. Sometimes that’s true, but you never know which little stories could turn into great conversations.  It sparks human connection. I’ve said it before: Your story matters and it’s beautiful!

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Anyway, let’s talk about Monday. It started off with breakfast, an 8 minute ab workout, and a train ride to Grand Central.

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whipped banana oatmeal: 1/2 c. oats, half banana, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, chia seeds, an egg, and peanut butter

I was on my way to see my girl Colby, who was one of my cabin-mates at Blend Retreat last year! We met up at Grand Central before walking to The Picnic Basket for some bomb-dig sandwiches.

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French Goat Cheese – chicken, sundried tomato pesto, grilled zucchini, figs, tomatoes and fresh greens on multigrain

This thing was massive and so tasty. I ate one half and saved the other half for later (ended up being Pop’s dinner on the train ride home!). Then it was time for the 50+ block walk to get the beloved…

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Lloyd’s carrot cake! Remember when Ben and I detoured to get this over Thanksgiving break? Colby saw my snapchat at the time and told me she wanted in on it.

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I wasn’t mad about it.

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does she love me or the carrot cake?

We housed our hefty slices of carrot cake WITH raisins and walnuts (major key) while our fingers froze off. FUNNY STORY: When we were walking back, we stopped at a Barnes and Noble to use the restroom, and my fingers were so cold that I couldn’t re-button my jeans. I am telling you, I could. not. do it. My fingers were deprived of the energy to do any sort of fine motor movements. Luckily, I was wearing a big ol’ belt, so I just buckled that over the button and called it a solution.

Moving on.

We walked only 20-ish blocks back before we decided to take the subway to Grand Central where Colby and I parted ways. It was such a privilege to spend the day with this girl! She is so genuine and kind, and I admire her balanced outlook on food and fitness.

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From there, I had two hours to kill before dinner with my lovely friend, Christine. After half an hour of catching up with some things on my phone, I explored Grand Central.

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casual squash tournament of champions going down

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Grand Central Apple Store

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Grand Central Market

You literally have everything you need there.

My phone was running low on battery, so I walked to a Duane Reade pharmacy and stood awkwardly behind a wall of paper towels and nail polish to charge my phone at an outlet. Then it was time for dinner at Lan Larb with Christine!

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spicy basil pork with rice

I thought I was still full from carrot cake until I finished this whole thing. I guess that’s what walking over 23,000 steps does to ya!

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p.s. I never check this app, but I was interested on Monday since we walked so much!

It was so fun catching up with Christine and having some great girl talk. She is such a sweetheart (with substantial sass!).

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I need lessons from Christine on how to pose in photos

Bonus: Yesterday I met up with an old friend from high school for lunch! She was kind enough to reach out to me so we could catch up.

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tuna cucumber and eel avocado roll (my faves!)

And that, my friends, is how to share food and share life. 

Just kidding, do it however you like. This was all a grand time though. I am so grateful for good people and nourishment.

So tell me:

Are you an open book, closed book, or somewhere in between when it comes to sharing life stories in conversation? I’m still somewhere in between, but I’m more of an open book than before! Also depends on the person/context obviously. Fun fact: I used to be more introverted, but according to my most recent Myers-Briggs test, I’m an extravert!

Have your fingers ever been SO cold that you literally couldn’t move them?

What is the best thing you ate Monday/yesterday? The carrot cake for me. Duh.

The brightest color of clothing you own!

What I Loved and Learned at Blend Retreat

Guys, I have enough snacks to last me the rest of summer.

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Just kidding, more like the rest of this month. Nevertheless, it is clear that Blend brings swag game to an elite level. This isn’t even all of it.

First of all, there are several people/places to thank for this year’s successful Blend Retreat:

  1. Janetha, Lindsay, and Lauren for being the most hardworking, badass, and helpful hosts! You ladies are awesome.
  2. The bloggers/blog readers/Instagrammers who attended. You’re inspiring, and you made the retreat a fun time!

    Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetMy roommates (all Instagram stars)! Meredith @MeresNuttyKitchen, Amy @Clap4Fit, Aly @RunningHealthy13, Colby @EatClean_LiveStrong

    Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presethiking with Laura from 50 by 25 (she’s run over 100 marathons, it’s guatever)

  3. The sponsors for their work and for providing an insane amount of goodies for us.Processed with MoldivProcessed with Moldiv
  4. Chautaqua Park and Boulder, CO for providing cozy cabins and beautiful grounds for our retreat.Processed with Moldiv
  5. My family for letting me come and then coming with me to Colorado 🙂
  6. YOU, because you’re reading this.

Blend was an amazing experience. There were plenty of aspects that I loved:

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  • Being able to talk about health and wellness as much as I wanted

  • Doing active things

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  • The laid-back, no-judgement, supportive atmosphere and community

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Morning hike before yoga! #Blend2015

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  • Learning about health and wellness brands

Clark from the Quest team (his arms are almost as big as my legs, it’s fine)

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  • Being in the presence of the Colorado mountains

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  • The perpetual stream of swag

And there were plenty of things I learned:

  • Mental and physical investment in health and wellness varies significantly among bloggers in the healthy living blog sphere. Not everyone is equally “into” it as one another, and that’s all good.
  • I am so not in tune with the whole working-with-brands thing.
  • I’m not one to eat too many protein bars, but a lot of them are tasty!

    Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetfirst Quest bar ever

  • I sometimes forget that not everyone who is a healthy living blogger is recovering from an eating disorder. It made me slightly anxious when people were talking and thinking about healthy food/nutrition facts all the time, but I was inspired by my roommates who know how to eat well and trust their bodies.
  • I don’t really want to talk about health and wellness all the time.
  • You won’t get to talk to or hang out with everyone at Blend, which is kind of a bummer, but it’s still fun to at least say hi to most people!
  • The altitude still gets me, even after being here for a week.

All in all, I am happy I attended Blend this year. It was a fantastic opportunity to be with fantastic people. And now it’s time to go to sleep and head back to reality on the east coast today. I’ll miss you lots, Colorado! xoxo

So tell me:

If you went to Blend, what is one thing you loved and one thing you learned?

Do you like protein bars? Which is your favorite?

Do you want to go to Blend next year? I’m not sure if I would go again, but I definitely recommend going at least once if you’re even a little interested!

Current Simple Joys

New England Patriots REPPIN’!

[Confession #1: I typed that before the game even started…for optimism. Confession #2: I don’t give a single care for football. I just like cornbread, chili, halftime, and a reason to be excited. Confession #3: I was reading blogs throughout the game last night.]

For those of you who either don’t live in the United States or just don’t know why people are talking about bowls being so super, there was a very important football game on TV last night. Or should I say there were a series of weird commercials with some football woven throughout?

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Plus twenty more handfuls of popcorn, another wing, funfetti dip, and microwave pizza rolls. QUALITY DINNER.

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In addition to the simple joy of being in Boston when the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl, this past week has brought about an endless number of other blessings that have been making me smile until I look Asian.

Oh wait.

current simple joys

  • Biscuits with honey butter.

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My friend Arianna taught me yet another trick of the dining hall. When they have “shortcake” for dessert, they provide plain biscuits. She takes those biscuits, pops them in the microwave for a few seconds, and then spreads butter and honey on them. Genius, yes?

  • Spotify. (Below is a shorter version of my entire list of songs on Spotify, in case you were wondering what I’ve been grooving to. It’s a diverse list 🙂 )
  • Celebrating birthdays {and funfetti cake}.

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Happy birthday to Erica! And shoutout to Jonathan, who nailed that funfetti cake like no other.

  • Going to the chapel for Mass in the middle of a busy day of classes.
  • Weird combinations that end up tasting delicious.

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Cottage cheese, granola, peanut butter, and applesauce. I’m laughing out loud because I know my friends are probably making barf sounds at this.

  • The unlimited dining plan— I can just swipe into the dining hall for a snack.
  • Human anatomy (seriously). 
  • Checking things off your to-do list.
  • Awesome wins for BU Hockey.

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  • Coming inside after being assaulted by freezing winds.
  • A man on the sidewalk sounding extra cheerful when he said, “You’re welcome!” in reply to my rather dull “thank you.”
  • Sandwiches. 

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  • Warm laundry. And when the dorm dryer actually dries all your clothes.
  • Feeling spent yet accomplished after working out.
  • Just talking with friends.
  • Beanies.

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  • When the dining hall has spotty bananas, so that I can take them to my dorm and freeze them.
  • Clear, sunny days and Boston terriers.

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  • Yet another snow day.

That’s right— BU cancelled classes today due to more snow. It’s kind of a joy and kind of a hassle, because it’s nice to have a day off, but…when are we going to have a full week of school? I’m a nerd.

Oh well, that means more time to have dance parties in my dorm room! It’ll be fun active rest because I feel my legs getting sore already from today’s workout (as I type this on Sunday night) ahhhh.

Have a lovely Monday, friends!

So tell me:

Are you pleased with the Super Bowl outcome?

Three of your current simple joys! 

What is your favorite app for music?

Feelin’ Like Wonder Woman

Hello!

I feel so accomplished. I actually buckled down and got some serious work done this weekend, and I’m proud of myself. Now all I have to do is get into the mindset of studying like this every weekend….College is laughing at my face right now.

Even though it was a nicely packed weekend, it was nothing short of marvelous (and full of sunshine)!

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Katie‘s got the marvelousness all in one spot!

Friday

Once I got home from the gym, I was ready for a hefty snack— one that involved all my favorite things:

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Greek yogurt, apple banana muffin, half a banana, chia, hemp, and peanut butter. Are you tired of seeing this?? I’m not. 😀

Fast forward to 8:30 PM at a restaurant called Bistro Z, for which my mom had a Groupon. Expected. This time, we weren’t just going for our sheer foodie selves! Ben was home for a couple of days, so we wanted to have a farewell dinner with him before he left back to work in Boston for the summer.

Dinner was fantastic and super filling, as all Groupon dinner deals are. I could have been completely content going straight from appetizer to dessert!

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I started with crab cakes because they’re my all time fave. These were awesome!

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I also had a bite of mom’s brie with lingonberry jam on seedy baguette. Fruit and cheese is a match made in heaven.

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For my entree: Griddled polenta tofu cake with black bean ragou and jicama + anaheim chili slaw

When I asked the waiter if he would recommend this, he said: “I’ve never tried it. I only eat real food.” He was half joking, half serious, but I say that this is all “real food”, thankyouverymuch. And it was flippin’ delicious (even though I could only fit a little bit of this in my stomach➔ leftovers for the next day)!

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Apple tart with vanilla ice cream. Just…YES.

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Chocolate soufflé with vanilla ice cream. Just…meh. Although, chocolate lovers would LOVE this.

Thanks for coming home, Ben. 😉

Saturday

Wake up. Type out to-do list on my Reminders app. GO.

Oh wait, we gotta take a half hour or so for breakfast and Saturday morning Food Network.

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Greek yogurt + hot banana berry oatmeal + a luscious pool of sunflower seed butter

THEN I got started on my homework! I knocked off a bunch of things from my to-do list before noon, which made me feel like Wonder Woman. Is that sad?

Moves: I set my phone alarm to ring every 15-20 minutes so that I could chip away at the 100 challenge (100 squats, 100 pushups, 100 sit-ups) throughout the day! I also added 10 burpees of different variations every time I took my study break. I love doing this when I have a lot of homework to do because it’s a great way to stay moving (and have an excuse to step away from the work).

After some more AP Calc studying and evening Mass, I came home and had a home-cooked meal thanks to Mom.

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Malaysian chicken, coconut oil sautéed asparagus, and quinoa/wild rice

Mom, can you come to college with me? (<— I might regret that statement later.)

I was thinking of having my usual dried figs with Greek yogurt for dessert, but then my dad pulled out our long lost tub of vanilla bean ice cream from the fridge…

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…and that sounded absolutely fabulous with some fresh fruit. Yumyumyum.

Sunday

This Sunday was my last day of teaching religious education for probably a very long time (since I’m going to college next year). It’s another bittersweet end-of-the-year event for sure. Bitter because I absolutely love sharing my faith with the little munchkins, and sweet because, let’s be honest, third graders wear me out. But it was definitely more of a bitter goodbye with notes like these from my students:

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*sniff* It’s incredibly humbling to get such sweet notes from them because, in the grand scheme of things, I’m also still an inexperienced child learning more and more every day just like them. I give them whatever I have, and I can only pray that they’re walking away with something from the class.

Alright, moving on from the sappy stuff. Let’s take a look at this phantasmagoria of fruit that my mom assembled:

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Yup, I just said phantasmagoria. Look it up and add it to your daily vocabulary to see how many weird looks you get 😉

I had a 3-hour practice AP Calc exam on the agenda yesterday, but I wanted to let out some energy before I sat down for the torture...wait yes, torture.

The weather was gorgeous, so I knew I had to take my moves outdoors! I warmed up with 50 squat jumps, mountain climbers, and side lunge jumps, and then completed this KILLER 18-minute plank workout from Purely Twins. I just don’t get how Lori and Michelle do it with such ease. If you don’t think planks can’t make you huff and puff, I dare you to try this workout. It will actually make you feel like Wonder Woman/Superman.

After getting some exercise and fresh air, I ate lunch, showered, and hit the books. The practice exam was alright I guess. I sorta failed on the short answer part (my utter weakness), but I’m just glad I did it so that I know what to study and how to pace myself for the real exam on WEDNESDAY!!!

And there’s my weekend for ya! If I only I had the willpower and self-discipline to feel like Wonder Woman every weekend. But even superheroes need a break, right?

I hope you all have a marvelous Cinco de Mayo!

So tell me:

Best thing you ate this weekend?

What/Who do you feel like when you accomplish a lot?

Do you use a fancy word in your daily vocabulary?