A Grand Ol’ Weekend Recap

Instead of thinking of a title for this post, I’ll just l start typing as I belt out “No One” by Alicia Keys (← quality song).

There’s so much to share today, so let’s nix a proper intro and catch up!

Thursday

On June 9th, 2015, I chopped my hair to shoulder length. On June 16th, 2016, I chopped my hair to chin length. Who knows what June 2017 will bring? #pixiecut?

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even the same shirt color as the emoji

My hair was shoulder length all year, but it was starting to flip outwards like Betty Rubble from the Flintstone’s, which is not the look that I’m personally going for.

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Just like last year, I’ve gotten mixed reactions to my new ‘do, but most people have been in support of the short locks (thanks, friends)! One of my friends from work said I look 10 years old though…

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Ya know, I’d rather look like Dora than Betty Rubble, so I’d say it’s a step up.

After a long day of work, Pop and I came home to a KILLER dinner made my Madre. She made sushi hand rolls + delicious chicken drumsticks. *jaw drop*

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leftover brown rice + roasted broccoli on the side (pro tip from Madre: cut the meat off the bone a little bit before cooking if you want the drumsticks to cook more quickly. it’ll still be juicy!)

Spoiled.

Friday

Banana and mango overnight oats to start the day— my forever favorite ♥︎ (p.s. post about how to make oatmeal two ways coming soon!)

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Dinner was simple and light because I was planning on working out soonish afterwards.

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sunny egg on avocado toast with sriracha + salad with homemade honey mustard dressing

But then I rebelled against my dairy cutdown and also ate cheesy jalapeño Popcorners. And then Pop came home and I decided that I really wanted Greek yogurt with dried figs.

“Sureeee. Go wild. But you might pay for it later.” – Pop

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I was totally fine later. Actually, my digestion this week might be the best it’s been in a while! Hmmm.

AFTER I ate dinner and dessert, I worked out at 10 pm in the basement. I needed 5 hours to decompress from work and nourish myself before working out, I guess.

A video posted by Alison (@alison_grooves) on Jun 17, 2016 at 7:52pm PDT

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Saturday

A weekend breakfast favorite:

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Kylie’s simple paleo pancake + peach + peanut butter + glass o’ milk

I really wanted to put Greek yogurt on this, but I think having too much dairy still wouldn’t be great for me.

Madre and I went on a couple errands including grocery shopping and clothes shopping. Productivity, I say!

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didn’t buy this, but LOL I am a mother from the 50s

Moves and grooves of the day: 20 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible)

After Mass, Madre wanted to take Pop out to pre-Fathers’ Day dinner, so we went to a place called The Iron Tomato. It’s a casual Italian marketplace, so we each ordered something at different stations and reconvened.

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I got chicken meatloaf + artichokes, beets, and broccoli rabe to share with mom

We digested for a couple hours before I made a beloved classic for Pop and myself:

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Peanut butter banana soft serve!!! For two people: 3-4 frozen overripe bananas blended with peanut butter in a food processor, topped with granola.

Sunday (Father’s Day!)

My dad just made a good point (as a good father does): I FaceTimed a lot of people from Europe yesterday.

  1. Rachel in Ireland.
  2. My brother in Spain.
  3. My uncle, who is a priest in Rome.

What a great day already!

I made breakfast for Pop (and myself) in the morn’.

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made him a chorizo, onion, spinach egg white omelette + banana oatmeal

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banana, mango, chia oatmeal for moi

He opened his gift while eating. Peep the Sephora-bag-turned-“man-bag”.

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He loves Under Armor shirts!

After some more FaceTiming and relaxing, we all got started on our late afternoon BBQ! Pop requested that he grill on his special day. Madre and I went shopping and marinaded/skewered everything, and he and Madre split the grilling job. Teamwork!

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Madre’s incredible ribs, smothered in Stubb’s sticky sweet BBQ sauce (thanks so much to my pal for sending us this— you know who you are 🙂 )

To think that I used to not like ribs… So naive.

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our favorite Moroccan chicken!

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We ate everything in lettuce wraps, Asian style — with Thai basil, cilantro, fresh backyard mint, cherry tomatoes, bean sprouts, and Madre’s fantastic peanut sauce. None of us could choose a favorite meat that we cooked (maybe the ribs though).

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don’t ask me what I’m doing because I could not tell you

We cooked way too much food for three people, but hooray for leftovers for work lunches this week!

We ended “dinner” at 5 pm (talk to Europeans, eat like Europeans), after which we chilled out and digested. Pop and I went on a 2 mile walk around the ‘hood in the evening, and the weather was absolutely perfect. Cool and comfortable.

I got started on dessert when we got back home. We had weird peaches that were ripening but not softening. Like, we had them for a week, and they were starting to taste overripe (read: kinda alcoholic), but they were still hard. So I tried this recipe for individual peach crisps to put them to use.

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Pop and I had one each, topped with Talenti pistachio gelato. I ate the peach first (it was still hard and weird even after baking) and then ate the gelato. And then went back for a little more gelato.

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I just proceeded to do the 7 minute workout with Madre shortly after finishing dessert. Ice cream and squats is not an ideal combo, but I’ll survive.

I might do some late night stretching before turning in. My legs are super tight (I was a bad girl/PT student and didn’t stretch after working out on Saturday).

Happy Fathers’ Day to all fathers out there— of children or of souls! 🙂 You are so loved and appreciated.

Hope you all have one heck of a good Monday! Strike a silly pose when no one’s looking, but someone could be looking.

So tell me:

Did you do anything notable for Fathers’ Day/the weekend?

Do you like ribs?

What is the best thing you ate this weekend?

What is the worst hairstyle you’ve ever had? Honestly, my “bangs” in middle school were pretty painful.

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seriously WTF is happening with that

Reinforcing Lessons About Exercise

There is currently a fly buzzing around the kitchen, which makes me equal parts mad and sad. Mad because it wants to get at my banana bread mug cake. Sad because flies are gross.

Alright, I have some foodie talk this morning before we get into the meat of the post.

First of all, I ate classic overnight oats in a sunflower seed butter jar (with 2+ tbsp left in the jar) for breakfast yesterday! It might be one of my all-time favorite breakfasts. I enjoyed it in my backyard since it was such a gorgeous and mild morning. Very few things could have made it more perfect.

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Secondly, I think pita bread needs to be on people’s grocery lists more often. That’s right, I’m asserting my opinion over your grocery list. *smiling purple devil emoji* For good reason though! Pita bread takes sandwiches to a new level. The fluffy, doughy factor is superb, AND you can fit more oddly shaped foods inside.

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inside the pita: avocado, pork souvlaki, mint yogurt sauce, tomatoes, and sriracha added later

Let me know if you buy some pita bread now. If you do, I’ll look into marketing and advertising as a side job.

Speaking of jobs, I want to talk about some lessons that my physical therapy internship has taught me/reinforced. There is very little doubt in my mind that physical therapy is what I want to continue pursuing as a career, and it’s thanks to my summer internship experience and what it has taught me!

Besides everything I’ve learned about anatomy, diseases, and therapy techniques, I’ve sort of re-learned a lot of lessons about taking care of our bodies through movement.

Health Lessons Reinforced Through My Physical Therapy Internship

  • Do not dismiss seemingly easy exercises. Go back to the basics and re-check your form/range of motion. Try an exercise that you’ve never done before, even if it looks easy. You’d be very surprised how well certain exercises can work those smaller (yet still very important!) muscles.

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like these…they kill those smaller glute muscles you never knew you had

  • Flexibility is essential. This doesn’t mean you have to be able to bend backwards until your head is through your legs, but flexibility is certainly important for your overall health and fitness. A full range of motion will help you in your fitness endeavors as well as in injury prevention.
    • P.S. Hold a stretch for at least 30 seconds. That is the minimum for lengthening to actually occur. You can hold it longer, but it won’t make any difference. 30 seconds is the magic number!
  • Almost every injury or anatomical issue can be aided by core strengthening. Planks, y’all. Your core protects your back, promotes good posture (which also protects your back), supports your legs, and helps with balance.

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speaking of form…

  • Form is everything. I’m sure you all knew this already, but this is just to reiterate. Don’t go for another rep or for the advanced variation of an exercise if your form is off. Don’t do it. Don’t do it. Oh, unless…DON’T DO IT. I’m guilty of bad form, and I have indeed injured myself as a result.
    • Also, make sure to learn proper form before performing an exercise. I’m guilty of this as well, and guess what. I hurt myself because I didn’t know what I was doing.
  • Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. This is especially for people recovering from injury or getting back into an exercise routine after some time off. You might feel great when exercising, so it is easy to over-do it and agitate your body. You have to think about how your body might respond later. 
  • It’s all about progressThe looks on patients’ faces when they can walk without a limp or raise their arms completely overhead for the first time in months— it is the best part of the job. Exercise and movement is about YOUR progress. You will be filled with so much more joy if you just concern yourself with that rather than everyone else’s abilities.

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even if it’s literally one step at a time up a mountain

  • Be thankful for the ability to move. Exercise is nourishing for our bodies (in healthy amounts, of course). Whatever you do to move, keep safety first and rest when you need to. Exercise doesn’t have to be about getting big, getting skinny, or hitting PRs. It can just be about joy. It can just be about necessity for health. In any case, be thankful for movement and don’t disregard the “easy” stuff. Every form of exercise has its place.

With all that said, my PT internship has helped encourage me realize that there are so many ways I can move my body and improve its fitness without pushing it too hard. I can work on flexibility/mobility, balance, and strengthening those smaller muscles.

Kayyyy I’m done talking…typing…whatever. Hope you all have a grand ol’ day!

So tell me:

Do you like pita bread? What would you put inside?

What is one way you’ve progressed with your exercise/fitness recently? Resting more counts 🙂 

{Disclaimer: All information I learned is from two physical therapists with their doctorate in physical therapy. One is also a certified personal trainer.}

Weekly Moves and Grooves XVII

Happy Sunday!

It’s been a while since I’ve shared weekly workouts (last year was the last time I did!), and since I can’t do daily posts throughout the week, I thought I’d bring them back on Sundays again. I do these posts for myself too as a way to track progress and see how I feel in terms of fitness on a week-to-week basis!

weekly moves and grooves

Sunday

5 minute stair master warmup + leg workout

Then a ton of foam rolling and stretching! I’ve been trying to spice up my strength training by decreasing reps and increasing weight and sets. It definitely makes for a waddling Alison the following day.

Monday

18 minute plank workout + “Run the World” gymnastics warmup

Lori and Michelle’s plank workout NEVER seems to get easier. You only need a little bit of space for the workout (I did this in my dorm room on our snow day!) and it’s low impact, yet you feel totally spent by the end.

Tuesday

Dirty Burpee Workout

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This was an early morning workout, woohoo! Although, I was very sleepy in my first class after this.

Embarrassing story: I missed the sign on the track that tells you which way to run depending on which day of the week it is. I didn’t know there were rules, so I was running the way I ran when I first used the track just the week before, but everyone was running the other way (why I didn’t just conform from the start, I don’t know…I’M SPECIAL). Then a guy came up to me and told me I was going the wrong way and that there was a sign with rules for each day. Heh.

Wednesday

5 min. row + shoulders and abs circuit workout

Another early morning with my friend PJ! I came up with this workout to work my upper body since my legs were beat from the past three days of workouts.

5 Rounds // 45 seconds work: 15 seconds rest // 12.5 lb. dumbbells

Thursday

active rest day // bodyweight countdown workout

10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 rep scheme of:

burpees, air squats, pushups, and situps

My arms were a lot more fatigued from Wednesday’s workout than I thought (those hand release pushups killed me), so I had to do pushups on my knees in order to move through this workout quickly and keep good form. Still a good way to move in under 10 minutes!

Friday

500m row warmup, then…

5 rounds of: 5 weighted pistol squats each leg (15#) + 500m row

I finished with Lori and Michelle’s 12 minute interval workout that kicked my butt.

Saturday

upper body workout + 8 minute ab tabata

I did some assisted pull-ups, seated rows, pushups, burpees, lat pull downs, and weighted tricep dips. My body was pretty worn out from the week, so it was telling me “nuh uh” during some of the exercises. I just felt kind of weak and tired overall. One of those days!

The 8 minute ab tabata was great though. 4 rounds of 20 sec work: 10 sec rest of weighted Russian twists, weighted toe touches, spiderman planks (first two rounds), modified v-ups (first two rounds), and side plank hip raises each side (second two rounds).

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Hope you all have a great week! Hopefully we have a full week of school this time around (although, it’s supposed to snow again tomorrow).

So tell me:

What is your favorite leg exercise?

How have you moved and grooved this week?

 

Motivating Myself to Work Out at Home

Boston, here I come!

Today is the day I go back up to Boston to settle in for second semester. I’m pumped and nervous at the same time. I’m definitely not as nervous as I was going into first semester (for obvious reasons), but I still get anxious about new schedules and professors, but the unknown is what makes life thrilling, right?

My last day at home was productive again! It started with a delicious and filling breakfast of course. I ended up making Amanda’s oatmeal cookie dough smoothie (plus spinach blended in) — not a new one, but certainly a great one.

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with Greek yogurt on the side for dippin’!

What do you think of THAT green color greeting you in the morning!?

After picking up my laptop (fitted with a brand new hard drive, hooray!) from the Apple Store, mom and I spent some last girl time together at the nail salon. I’m going to miss my parents.

Then it was time to come home and do some moves, which was butt-kicking at its finest.

full body supersets workout

Some of the exercises that may be unfamiliar: bench sitswalking pushups, (Bulgarian) split squatsin and out abscrab toe toucheslow jacksmodified V-ups

I used my ratchet, makeshift 25# “sandbag” (a canvas bag filled with a bunch of little free weights) and a 10# dumbbell for some of the exercises. Also, I did this while watching Aly Raisman’s documentary, which was very motivational. Some days are harder than others to motivate myself to work out when I’m at home, and I think that has a lot to do with the fact that:

a) I don’t have a workout buddy.

b) I currently don’t go to a gym when I’m staying at home.

c) I don’t go to fitness classes, a CrossFit box, etc. where there is a community of people pushing one another during the workout.

I’m not complaining in the slightest bit— I have an awesome healthy living blogger community (and Instagram) to help me get moving when I’m feeling in a slump, and I tend to be intrinsically motivated.

However, it’s not quite the same as working out with other people. Thus, I turned on Aly Raisman’s documentary because it was almost like I was working hard with someone. Actually, it was probably more that I was just plain inspired by her. Sometimes I might even put on another workout video on Youtube, even if it’s not the workout I’m doing. I just like the fact that someone else is sweating next to me…virtually.

I’M WEIRD, I KNOW. Many times I am indeed normal and I just blast some good pump up music.

I guess that’s another reason I’m looking forward to going back to Boston. There are runners everywhere and there’s always energy at the gym!

Moving on… Lunch tasted extra delicious after this workout. I found some leftover banana pancakes in the fridge, so I had three of those with sunflower seed butter and half a sliced banana. Accompaniments were two eggs with sriracha and veggies with hummus.

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Breakfast for lunch

I cooked last night too! It was salmon— my favorite fish to eat and one of the only non-breakfast foods I can cook decently. Mom bought a gigantic filet o’ salmon from Sam’s Club, so I cut that into portions and gave the fish a massage with a combo of garlic salt, cracked black pepper, spicy brown mustard, honey, lemon juice, and parsley.

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Baked at 400F in our toaster oven for 9 minutes. That probably sounds like our fish was still sushi-raw, but the smaller space in the toaster oven speeds up the cooking time, and we like our salmon “medium-rare.” It’s 10x more tender that way!

And as a “sending-off celebration” in Pop’s words, we ate this ice cream extravaganza that I created:

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Vanilla bean ice cream topped with banana slices, pomegranate arils, and graham cracker crumbs

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Yum yum yum yummm (sung to the Tums tune.)

Catch ya in Boston! The start of school means that posts will probably be on the back burner. Bear with me, I love you all and I want to blog as often as I can 🙂

So tell me: How do you motivate yourself to work out at home/when you’re by yourself? 

WIAW: Vacation Day in the Life

Hello!

How are you all? No one ever answers that when it’s at the beginning of the blog post, right? But I really do want to know how you’re all doing, and I hope you’re doing well!

I replaced What I Ate Wednesday last week with a favorites vlog done with Daliza. I’m joining Jenn‘s party again this week because I want to show you guys the epic dinner we had last night! I swooned about 15 times.

There were biscuits. CHEESE BISCUITS.

I’ll also throw in all the things we did yesterday for a little day in the life— vacation style!

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8:45 AM— Awaken from slumber. Brush teeth and wash face.

9 AM— Go downstairs to make Gina’s cookie dough cereal for everyone. My cousin, aunt, and uncle loved it!

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Cookie dough cereal with bananas and blueberries {recycled photo}

9:30 AM— Read blogs, answer comments, take care of college scheduling.

11 AM— Pray, do a couple rounds of 20 air squats, 20 pushups, and 20 sit-ups (for the 100’s challenge!).

11:30 AM— Stretch and 8 minute core tabata with the fit family!

12:15 PM— Lunch of leftovers. I failed to take a photo, but I had a salad with Chinese takeout leftovers on top, some fried rice, some leftover chips and salsa, and some perfectly ripe mango.

1 PM— More blog reading and dish washing.

2:30 PM— Make a quick grocery run to Publix with Amy.

3:15 PM— Eat a snack and make smoothies for the others.

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3:30 PM— A couple more rounds for the 100’s challenge and reading.

4 PM— Power nap.

4:30 PM— Cousin walks in and wakes me up in time for me to shower and get ready for dinner.

6 PM— Arrive at Hemingway’s Restaurant in the Hyatt at Disney. We were celebrating my uncle’s and aunt’s wedding anniversary + my uncle’s birthday!

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6:20-ish PM— Order and EAT! But first, we had the complimentary cheese biscuits and holyyyyyyyyy cow.

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I miss them already. The butter on the side is a joke because these were so fluffy, flaky, buttery, and cheesy on their own. Oh mah goodness.

Three of the four adults ordered the prix fixe, which came with appetizer, entree, and dessert. We all shared bites of each other’s dishes too.

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Clockwise from top left: key lime caesar salad, crab cakes with sweet corn coconut grits (some of the best crab cakes I’ve ever eaten!), my dessert order of peanut butter mousse bombe (ooooof so good), and my dad’s dessert order of key lime tart.

10 out o’ 10. This was one of the best meals I’ve had on this vacation! It was the cheese biscuits. It really was.

7:30 PM— Color. It’s a soothing activity.

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8 PM— Roll Walk out into the garden and pool area of the Hyatt resort. It’s gorgeous!

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8:30 PM— Make a quick drive over to Disney’s Boardwalk. Walk/digest/take pictures/limp because I wore super flat flip flops.

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10 PM— Head home.

10:45 PM— Make my family and myself some overnight oats! I hope they like them, despite how scary they look in the morning. It’s what’s on the inside that counts 😀

11:30 PM— Start typing up this post while listening to Tori Kelly music.

12:30 AM— Get ready for bed and do the last set of exercises to complete the 100’s!

That, my friends, is the slow and laid-back lifestyle at the moment. College is going to be a blast when all this turns upside down and inside out!! o.o

Hope you all have a great day!

So tell me:

How are you? 🙂

What is the best meal you’ve eaten recently?

Do you ever make breakfast for your family?