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.


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.


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:


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


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? 

Behind the Scenes #33: Feeling Productive Again

I haven’t thought out loud in forever (at least, in numbered list form), but today we are BACK.


1) I regret calling these kinds of posts “Behind the Scenes”. It was originally my attempt to come up with something other than “Thursday Thoughts” as a title, but I ended up joining Amanda’s thinking out loud linkup every time, so why didn’t I just call it “thinking out loud”?

I make life too complicated, that’s why.

2) Speaking of Amanda and her genius ideas, I made her pumpkin pie breakfast bake yesterday and it was a wintery pumpkin spice fiesta in my mouth!


The breakfast bake is under there. Blessed are those who do not see yet believe.

I dressed it up with plain Greek yogurt, sunflower seed butter, pomegranate arils, and banana slices. Just beautiful.

2) I contemplated running yesterday, but the cold weather just killed it for me. I’m weak. Instead, I opted to take my moves to our basement (which is still pretty cold) to do this yoga video that focuses on hip-opening. Hallelujah, did I need that!

3) As I approach the start of second semester, I’m feeling the urge to be super productive in these last few days before I leave. Perhaps it is a result of my anxiety for the workload ahead, but I’m “warming up” by making checklists with activities other than eat and go to Disney.

4) Julianna even inspired me to make a budget spreadsheet! Since I haven’t worked yet this year, I am off to a great start with zero income and all expenditure.

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Yay for adulthood! (Note the childish font and color code.)

5) You know what else I realized when I lost all my hard drive information? I no longer have my thousands of recipes that I bookmarked on Safari. All my years of recipe hoarding…poof!

That could be a good thing though, because maybe now I’ll start only bookmarking recipes I honestly WILL make. Doubt it though.



I pin all the recipes too.

6) Still going strong with the egg, feta, and spinach + avocado toast for lunch! I bought the feta cheese in Florida, so I feel responsible for helping to finish it. (We packed it in ice on the way up, plus the car was freezing as it sat in the train. The cheese is still fine, I’m alive.)


Also, this combo is just delicious. I ♥ fats.

7) I am currently rocking knitted socks and the fugliest sweater in the all the land, but I don’t care because I am superbly snug.

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8) We also had our first use of the fireplace this winter! I happily stationed myself right in front of the fire while I did some work.


I kept singing “chestnuuuuuts roasting on an open fire…” in my head. 11 months ’til Christmas!!!

9) I am thinking about how bittersweet it is to be going to back to college tomorrow. Bitter because…work, less sleep, less blogging, no family. But sweet because I get to see my amazing friends and learn more about this wonderful world!

My friend Sam told me that if you’re dreading going back to college, you’re probably not in the right place. Fortunately, I’m mostly looking forward to going back!

10) What should I make for breakfast today??? #WinterBreakBreakfastMission is almost at an end. PRESSURE. I’m thinking either this “cream cheese frosting for breakfast” or the classic cookie dough cereal.

Hope you all have a thankful Thursday! (what other positive adjectives start with “th”?)

So tell me:

How will you be productive today? 

Are you a recipe bookmarking fiend?

Do you care about wearing cute clothing around the house?

What are you eating for breakfast? 

Saturday Morning Defensive Driving Course

My family and I just got back home from a 6 hour defensive driving course. And I surviiiiiiived.

I’m so overdramatic. Actually, it wasn’t terrible at all, and the instructor was informative, funny, and engaging. The lecture was basically a more fast-paced version of the drivers’ education classes I took just earlier this year. But, uh…why were we doing this on a Saturday morning? I was asking (more like groaning) the same question this morning.

My parents have been taking the course every two or three years because it gives them 10% off their auto insurance premiums for each car. Ben and I don’t own a car, so the insurance reduction doesn’t apply to us, but it was still a good refresher for how to drive safely (especially after our mini catastrophe last week).


What is defensive driving? 

According to the handy dandy booklet we received:

“Defensive driving is driving to save lives, time, and money in spite of the conditions around you and the actions of others. Defensive driving protects us from what is happening around us.”


I took the little “How Do You Drive?” quiz in the booklet and my results told me that I am an average driver. Merp. There are two levels above that— safe driver and defensive driver— so I guess I need to get my stuff together! There were also some surprising and scary facts that I learned from the course that I think you guys might find interesting as well:

  • Collision is 23 times more likely when the driver is texting
  • Taking your eyes off the road for 1 out of 3 seconds doubles collision risk
  • Eating is the #1 distraction when driving (….we can vouch for that)
  • Peripheral vision minimizes when you’re talking on the phone, handheld OR hands-free
  • The most dangerous place to speed is a parking lots
  • The highest death rates while driving are in young people ages 16-25
  • 25% of drivers have fallen asleep at least once while driving (<— This one is scary! Apparently the common times include around 3-4 PM, which is siesta time in other countries. I think Americans should have siestas. Who’s with me?!)
  • Leaving early can decrease aggressive driving behavior (and stress)

Despite my butt being numb from sitting down for such a long time, the course was definitely eye-opening and ultimately beneficial as I now have some defensive driving skills up my sleeve!


Before heading off to the course this morning, I ate a quick and simple breakfast:


Finished off a tub of plain Chobani with a small banana and salted almond butter


Along with a nut and fruit bar

It did a good job of keeping me focused during the first couple hours of the lecture!


We had our first break during the course at around 11:30, and I was already hungry by then, so I had half of a panini that my mom packed. It was grilled chicken, cheese, whole grain mustard, and spinach between potato rosemary bread (from our new favorite bakery).

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Mom is the bomb. That sandwich was delicious. I’m sure it beats all of the food court options that were right outside (the course was in some tiny back room of a mall).

I’ve also been snacking on a huge orange, peanuts, and edamame to hold me over until dinner, which will be at a new burger place in town! It serves more exotic meats (think elk, ostrich, and bison), as well as vegan burgers! This will be our first time trying it out, so I’m pretty excited.

Off to Mass first! Hope you all have a lovely evening 🙂

So tell me:

Do you think you practice defensive driving?

What do you think of America adopting the siesta tradition?

How else have you been moving and grooving today?

I Miss These Kinds of Posts + My New Favorite Salad Dressing

I haven’t posted twice in one day since before school started I think! I’ve actually really missed the multiple posts in a day because I just get to rant and chat with you all about life’s little things. Also, I haven’t been talking about my daily moves (workouts) and grooves (whatever else is going in my life, like food) as much. So I’m taking advantage of my extra time this Christmas break to talk to you guys more! And if you’d like, you can listen and talk to me too 🙂


I’ve been going to bed no earlier than around 1 AM in the past few days. The best part? It’s not because of insomnia! It’s mostly because I’ve been sleeping in and there’s no stress to get up early. Three cheers for Christmas break!!!

Late risings mean late breakfasts. I had my breakfast at around 11:30 AM…heh.

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After not eating a full meal for over 12 hours, I was pretty darn hungry! I fixed myself some sunflower seed toast with coconut oil, a drizzle of honey, and cinnamon (<— DO THIS), Greek yogurt with a small banana, and then a bowl of cereal because I was still hungry. Such a delicious way to start my morning  afternoon!

New Car

After reading blogs and doing nothing entirely productive besides washing dishes, I found that my parents came home with a new van! Our old 2003 Honda Odyssey’s tires got smoked in the accident last week, and it was pretty dated anyway. The new Odyssey is spacious and shinyyyyy. But our garage smells like new car, which for some reason kinda makes me want to gag.


Pre-workout fuel:


Homemade granola bar

I headed to the gym where I did 20 minutes on the elliptical and a 15 minute incline walk on the treadmill. I was thinking of going for 25 minutes on the incline walk, but I got a HUGE cramp at 15 minutes that I just couldn’t shake off, so I just stopped. Then I did some bodyweight leg circuits that included TRX pistol squats, weighted wall sits, and hamstring ball curls. ‘Twas a slow but sure burn.


…If you call a meal at 5 PM lunch. Is it “linner?” Either way, it was delicious because it involved my new favorite salad dressing that is super simple and quick to prepare!


I had a salad with some soft boiled eggs and a side of leftover roasted potatoes and carrots. The salad was dressed with a fabulous homemade honey mustard dressing. I don’t even bother to mix the dressing separately or measure anything— I just add all the ingredients right into the salad and toss! I put in (approximately):

  • 1-2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. spicy brown mustard
  • drizzle of honey
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Very precise, I know. Basically, just adjust the honey and mustard to taste, and you’re good to go!

Also, did you know that soft boiled eggs can keep quite well in the fridge? My mom cooked some up a couple days ago, and the yolks stay viscous and creamy!


So…I guess I’ll be having dinner at, like, 9 PM? Eh, that’s not too crazy.

I hope you have a lovely evening!

So tell me:

Do you like it when bloggers post more daily life posts? I know I enjoy them!

What is your favorite homemade salad dressing?

Do you ever keep soft boiled eggs in the fridge, or just hard boiled?