Monday, March 14, 2016

A Fine Line of not Neglecting the Ones you Love, While also Keeping Yourself Healthy, 11 weeks out

     My week started out like any other week; grocery shopping on Monday, meal prepping and tea making on Tuesday, and a lot of workouts, yoga, and meditation the rest of the week. I've found that repetition and following a routine is what keeps me sane. The more I am able to refine and plan my time, the better I feel from day to day. As it is, I already feel short on time and relaxation so it is ideal for me to fit these important things in throughout my day. I even implemented my 35 push-ups, 50 sit-ups, 50 Russian twists, and 100 body weight squats daily, as well as some late night mindless coloring. I have found it rather tough to balance family life with my current lifestyle; and I envy Seven Lemons and other parents out there who are working full time and caring for a family. Granted I do have an unorthodox job that leaves me sleeping until late morning early afternoon, and going to bed well into the next morning; but still I have upmost respect for parents who also compete. There comes a fine line of not neglecting the ones you love, while also keeping yourself healthy and on track of your goals; and I find myself constantly dancing back and fourth across that line. This Saturday comes to mind; when I didn't get to bed until 4:30am Friday "night," which lead me to waking up around noontime Saturday and having to be back at work again for 5:00pm. Andrea stopped over with Ellone who is now no longer a newborn and growing tremendously with each new visit, Hunter got home around 2:30pm, and my Nana came over as well. It was nice to sit and relax and talk with everyone; but the thought of yoga and meditation before showering and eating before work was pressing in my mind. Then I got word that my Aunt Robin, and Mike were going to stop by and I figured I might as well get it in now before I ran out of time to do so. I felt anti-social and a little selfish for grabbing my yoga mat and stepping outside on this gorgeous Saturday afternoon; until I rolled it out and started to breathe and knew it was the right thing for me to do. I don't want to get too carried away with talking about Saturday at the start of the blog before the rest of the week; but it was a perfect segway into routine and balance so I hope you don't mind. I started practicing basic yoga in high school; South Windsor High offered yoga integrated in our gym (P.E.) class and I really felt the benefits of being more relaxed throughout my day on the days when I practiced yoga. I took it a little further when I joined LA Fitness, and they offered yoga classes included in their membership pricing. I would go on Sunday when I could, sometimes my Mom would come along, and other times I went with my Aunt Robin. It was basic, and the same every week; and I wanted to further my practice and knowledge but didn't know how at the time. It wasn't until almost registering to become certified in yoga this past year that my experience deepened. I didn't decide to become certified in yoga for the soul reason of I didn't see myself necessarily teaching yoga; I just wanted to become more knowledgeable in the practice and experience more difficult poses. This was when I realized I could just register for a retreat at some point and probably get what I was looking for. My first unforgettable yoga studio would be the one I would go to for the day while visiting Eric in Sedona, Arizona on my cross-country road trip this past summer. It was everything I was looking for in a yoga studio and more; it was intimate, the instructor looked like a yogi instead of a newage yoga instructor, everyone in the room was very serious in their practice, and the poses were more advanced. I fell in love with the process, never wanted to leave, and wanted to be able to live like that daily. However, upon returning home that was not the case; there seemed to be no studios around that were not overpacked and with such a positive vibe like the one in Sedona. So I started practicing outside on my own, granted I stick to basic poses since I don't have an instructor with me to correct and help my posture but it seems to be filling the void just fine now that it is nice out. This is where yoga has become part of my lifestyle to the fullest this past week. The benefits of yoga are quite extensive but here are a few; increased flexibility, muscle strength and tone, respiration, overall energy, and preventive from injuries to name a few. (If you want to check out a great website that goes more in depth with the benefits of yoga check out this link here: 38 Health Benefits of Yoga.) All sounds great for someone who is in the gym six times a week, not to mention the stressful nights at the bar. Which leads me to the other thing that goes hand in hand with yoga for me, meditation. I have been practicing Transcendental meditation on and off since college when I first learned the practice. My mom and I went to a transmitter who studied under the guru Maharishi, which lead to my Nana and Papa coming to practice and learn as well. Meditation is something that once you learn it; you have that tool with you forever, it is not something you forget, or that is difficult to practice. I notice myself being more refreshed and energized when I sit for even just 20 minutes once a day, though it is recommended twice a day. I replaced the naps I would take in the middle of the day before work with yoga and meditation and have only seen benefits in the small change.

     Now let me fill you in on what went on this week physically, mentally, and everything in between. I went grocery shopping alone stopping at the usual Big Y and SAM's Club, came home to grill up some chicken breasts since the weather was impeccable, and was reminded how much I missed summer. I just love being outdoors; living in the woods for 6 months you would have to, and I find any excuse I can to spend time outside so this was a perfect opportunity. After grilling, as you know I blogged since I didn't have the post ready for Monday morning (we'll see if I do this week.) Seven Lemons texted me saying we needed a photo together and I agreed that we did and I'm not sure why I hadn't already thought of it. Thankfully we had training together tonight so that would be the perfect opportunity. I came home to throw in a load of laundry, and finish the blog before coloring before bed.

     Tuesday was another busy day of running around and prepping things; I stopped by EMS in the early afternoon to visit a trail friend who didn't hike my year, but prior and he and I have done trail magic together for current hikers. I wanted to get two more Nalgene 32oz bottles since I currently had two (I have another one but have no idea where it disappeared to) which would total a gallon of prepped tea for each day. I stopped in, found my bottles quick, and messed around on a balance board while talking with Michael before he rang me up and I was on my way. I have become slightly obsessed with things that make my life easier such as Nalgene bottles, protein shaker bottles, and glass food containers I will admit. I planned it perfectly (or so I thought) to get to Iron Will in time for posing at 12:30 (which really was supposed to be at 12:00.) I was due for measurements and progress photos so we did that first, and I will add that Carmen was very happy with my numbers as was I. Posing too was quite the success; I still feel un-natural and constantly thinking about my routine, but at least I now know my routine pretty well. Small tweaks and revisions here and there to make everything flow and look natural on me is what we were working on this week, as well as walking. When I think back to my body (both how I felt, and how I looked) in December; I don't feel any different now than then. Now, I know it has changed; I can see subtle changes in my stomach/abs and arms being more toned. But, I don't feel mentally much different; until looking at the progress photos side by side then and now. I didn't view myself as being "average" then, I thought of myself as an athletic build, but now it is apparent that I was wrong. My body has changed a lot, and I even look taller from my mid-section slimming down and becoming more of an hour-glass shape. I am no longer bottom heavy, and have shoulders which makes more of an upside-down triangle which is more flattering. I can't stress the progress photos enough to being a key factor in any fitness journey. At home I prepped out all of my meals for the week, and tea for the next two days; if I ran out of glass containers I used temporary ziplocks, and for the tea I used mason jars. This is where things get unfortunate for Tuesday; as I was bringing my meals downstairs to the spare refrigerator, I dropped two of my meal containers and they shattered. I was at the verge of tears; for one the containers are not cheap, and for two all of the time that went into prepping and measuring, and now cleaning up the mess. And let's be honest, I lived in the woods for 6 months; I picked up that chicken and asparagus and washed it off ridding any glass that may be left on it (hopefully) and planned on saving it. Why waste the money in food, the time in prepping and measuring, and well the food itself otherwise? Here's to hoping I don't swallow a small shard of glass and cut my insides, though most of the pieces broke rather large which lead me to this decision; plus I threw out the beans since they were smaller and would be difficult to clean and save. I went online right after and ordered three more containers, in hopes they get here soon! I saved enough time to practice yoga and meditate on this once again gorgeous day before getting my hair trimmed since it had been some time and I was due, nothing fancy just a trim to keep the hair healthy and growing. Training legs with Darian was intense since it was heavyweight week and I squatted 155 pounds, did a plate up from maxing out the leg extension machine! A good personal record week for sure which needed to be documented (see video below, noted I can go deeper in a squat, just not at this weight.) Seven 'o clock rolled around and that has me running out on Tuesdays since I am at work for 8:00 and need time to shower, get my food together, and well drive there. There is not much to report in terms of work on Tuesday since it is usually pretty laid back and manageable which is always appreciated.

     Wednesdays have me cleaning for a good portion of the day before other weekly priorities; this week cleaning really bogged me down mentally. I have never liked to clean; I am more of an organizer/tidy-up kind of person, which in retrospect makes things appear more clean. Growing up, my room was always a mess; I had clothes everywhere, and clutter. It wasn't until I moved into my own apartment that I found a new side of myself; once that is kind of obsessed with ordinance and simplicity. I get more enjoyment out of cleaning up Hunter's toys, and emptying the sink of dirty dishes, and organizing cabinets than I do of physically cleaning. This is where my dilemma arose from, I realized I loathed the time spent cleaning, and resented my family for coming home and making it all a mess within an hour. I didn't want this kind of tension between my family and I, and I wanted my free time back to myself now that it was getting nice out again. The idea popped into my head to ask my Mom that evening if she minded finding someone else or a service to clean our house once again. After cleaning, Padraic flaked on our weekly gym session at the Edge; which meant he was cancelling on yoga afterwards at the reservoir as well. I took it personal and was bummed that it was so last minute and that I was now going alone, though I don't mind going to the gym alone it's just the fact that I thought we would be lifting together. Wednesday is back day, and I hope I pushed myself enough without someone there telling me one more rep; I finished with some quality time on the rowing "machine." In the past I have learned the only person you can truly count on is yourself, and that is why it is so important to know what you want. Today, I wanted to do yoga; and though I had asked Padraic to join me and he had other commitments I still wanted to do yoga–so that is what I did. I came home, grabbed my mat, rolled it out on the cement slab we have out back and concentrated on my breath. The sun beamed on my face and it made it that much more enjoyable, I have noticed my mood is highly effected by the weather and I try to get as much sunlight as possible. This was my time, so I decided to do another thing I enjoy; photograph the experience for the blog of course. Had I been with someone else, they may have rejected the idea of documenting the experience through photographing the poses due to it taking away from the overall vibe, but for me it enhanced it. I felt satisfied with my stretches and meditation, finishing right before my weekly 5:00 massage with John. I walked into Massage Envy and as I approached the waiting room there was one seat left, seems like it was a busy time to get a massage this week! I sat, and made sure my ringer was off on my phone and browsed over Instagram while I waited; a woman walked in so I stood to offer her my seat. She refused but I insisted, and stood against the wall in the small 15x15 seated room waiting for my name to be called. As you know, John is never on time and typically I am the last one in the waiting room; and that was still the case today. We went over my typical, with a special focus today a little extra on my legs/knees from last night's heavy lift. My back and shoulders felt a mess, he did a lot of hip stretching since for some reason I have been consecutively tight in my hips which was both horrible and amazing at the same time. At some points I couldn't even breathe the pain was so bad, but I implemented my lifting breaths of longs and deep and just trying to get through the stretch. When I returned home, I had a few more meals and tea to prep for the following day. This was when I noticed more than ever the bruises that were apparent all over my body, but mainly on my legs. Could this be from lifting? Maybe the deep tissue massage, or possibly the combination? I have always been the one to bruise easily, and am constantly banging my arms and legs on various items around the house or at the bar; but these I did not remember. I quickly resorted to a staple while on the Appalachian Trail; Arnica cream/pellets. Now if you followed the blog then, you know that I had knee problems and wanted an alternative to living on Advil everyday; this is where Arnica came in and was a life saver. I rubbed all of my bruises with the cream, and popped five of the pellets under my tongue to dissolve. If you are not familiar with Arnica and have bruising, sore muscles, or pain from injuries be sure to check it out! I practiced my posing switch to either side for a couple minutes to be sure my muscle memory remembered and thankfully it did. Tomorrow is the start of what usually has me overwhelmed and that is Thursday and Friday nights at work. It's crazy how just two nights can feel like a whole week, because really Tuesday doesn't stress me out usually; and for the most part Saturday doesn't either. Here's to hoping yoga and meditation pays off during the worst of it.

     Thursday I woke up deciding to cook the ground chicken I took out the night before, since I was now out of the grilled chicken; and then clean the upstairs so I didn't have to on Friday. Eric had texted me and said he would be done training at 12:00 on Friday instead of 1:30, and since we were meeting at LA Fitness in Farmington (where he works, and I used to) instead of Edge Fitness which is 5 minutes from my house, I decided to clean today to get it out of the way. After cleaning, I had scheduled a photo shoot with Daniel; a photographer that Iron Will has worked with in the past, and is now working on special weekly project with. Every week, us as competitors are to go in to the studio, in the same bathing suite, and stand (front, side, back, and other side) for photos. Each week they will be recorded and added to compile a moving picture of our 360 degree weekly progress transformation, sounds pretty cool! I texted with Daniel and decided to come in at 2:30 for my first photo shoot, lucky it was only about 10 minutes away in Manchester at an old mill brick building. I am not one to be alarmed by showing up to meet a random photographer at an unknown factory; but decided to Snapchat the experience as though I was for entertainment. I sent out a snap of the dim lit old factory entry way saying, "If I die..." Daniel was very friendly and we quickly got to talking how I too am a photographer and went to school for graphic design (they are a marketing firm so we share common interests.) I didn't know how common until I walked in the studio and wasn't sure if I was walking into a high end bar, or photo studio. There was a gorgeous stone bar top, fully stocked bar with accent lighting, and shelving around the room with bottles of wine, and bourbon, and other collector bottles. I expressed how I am currently a bartender and he explained how the owner Kyle is quite the collector. The shoot was rather quick; I stood and waited as he got the exposure, (how odd is it to be on the other end of the camera) when Kyle the owner walked in and asked if I minded being featured on their Snapchat as kind of a behind the scenes of the whole project. I accepted the offer and he stated he would give me a bottle of wine for doing so, if only I wouldn't have to wait weeks upon weeks to drink it. I quickly added that I wouldn't mind waiting and it would be a nice celebratory thing, he added, "white, or red?" And I replied, red. He left me a bottle on the counter and thanked me again as he exited. Let me get this straight, I just got my photos taken, and handed a bottle of free wine! I left, Snapchatting further my experience and the gift I was given (you can see the video sequence below) and drove back home to eat before saving time to meditate before Hunter got home and before I had training with Carmen. Most of my videos used to come from when I was at the Edge (unless Darian took them of the team but that was more in the beginning he hasn't in awhile) though I have been asking or carrying my phone around with me at Iron Will to get some of my workouts there. Face (Billy but everyone calls him Face) was sitting on the dip bar like a chair eating peanut butter out of the container with a banana making us all "peanuhanger" (a cross between being angry because you are hungry for peanut butter, yes I made up that word.) I snapped a photo of his ridiculousness, and then put him to work filming my shoulder press while Carmen spotted me. It was a great night in the gym, not only did I feel strong; but I got complimented on it. June; a badass woman in her 60's who competes made a comment to me, "you're little, but you are strong" which of course gave me a little ego boost. We finished a minute or two before 6:00 and I dashed to the door to get home in time to get ready before work, wouldn't you guess that I hit every red light on the way home. Thankfully I had plenty of time still to get ready and get to work a few minutes before 7:00; Thursdays bring karaoke and the night can really go either way. Thankfully tonight it wasn't bad, and Bill the karaoke guy actually closed up shop early today which meant less money to pay him, and a smaller crowd of singing drunk people. It's funny; being a bartender you strive for busy nights of course because your tips are based off the amount of traffic that comes through the door, at the same time, I much rather have a group of regulars who come in for dinner and drinks than 20 randoms asking for beers or mixed drinks. I was able to maintain and clean the bar with a few stragglers left at the bar-top before it was closing time and Mickey was asking me if I wanted to try a real Indian treat high in protein; so I said of course. I had already eaten, but figured I could take it home for tomorrow's meal since we constantly talk about kidney beans, black beans, and my diet. He brought me out a large rectangular plastic to-go container filled with basmati rice, and this bean slurry on top, it smelled amazing. I took a bite and it was great, I missed Indian food (though I always throw Indian spices into my ground chicken.) Mickey told me there were 17 spices in those beans, how impressive, no wonder mine didn't taste as good! I stood in the kitchen talking with Mickey and V (the owner) while enjoying my homemade authentic Indian cuisine. He came over and spooned a little of something from his bowl into mine and it was more green in color, I took a bite and it was nothing short of amazing. But I knew why; it was creamy, "Mickey! Is there butter in this!?" He laughed and said "no." So I asked how he got it so creamy, and he said; "that's exactly how, cream." Well there you have it, I had a bite of purred spinach creamy goodness with some homemade high in protein cheese that I thought was tofu and I don't regret any of it. I really enjoy the nights when I get to know not only Mickey better, but able to talk and hang out with the owner as well; they are all great people. I got home at a decent time, and even had time to color before bed.

     I made it through another Thursday night; which meant I only had Friday night, and a few hours of Saturday night until freedom. I woke up, partook in my morning ritual; and drove the familiar route to LA Fitness in Farmington, CT (for those who do not know, I used to work there last year.) I would be meeting Eric who currently is still a personal trainer there, to workout instead of at the Edge. Typically we do arms/shoulders; but since I had pushed heavy last night at Iron Will on my shoulders I didn't want to work them again. I walked through the door to all new faces, with the exception of Eric standing there waiting for me. I ducked down as Eric called Joe over to "check his guest in" as I popped up and got a nice Loreti smile. We stood and talked for a bit, Jackie walked in and I was able to say hi to her as well; it was nice to see everyone I spent my days with last year. Eric and I started with some abs, and it wasn't before long when I was throwing my own twists (pun intended) on things; in-between reps on the cable I threw in my 50 Russian twists for the day, no rest for the wicked! We had a great workout as always catching up, usually Eric and I only workout together every two-three weeks so when we do it is nice to see him. I not only cut the workout short for shoulders but also because my meal was waiting for me in the car, seems a lot of my meals are "fast food" these days and I don't mean McDonalds; see the photo below, but typically I am always on the run eating my meals while driving (shhhhhh.) I came home to cook up some Mickey inspired ground chicken and dance around in the kitchen to Pandora, I tried to use a variety of spices in the cabinet, as well as Sriracha and chili garlic sauce as a finisher before getting ready for work. I walked through the door to Sue behind the bar, and a gathering of white collard males yelling at the television spilling their beers, "oh joy." She seemed flustered and aggravated with the current crowd saying that she would probably leave soon since they were being rude, oh thanks. Thankfully the game was wrapping up, and so were their tabs; before long the bar was more manageable and quiet. The lull before the storm they say; X notified me that we were having a 40th birthday party in the bar with a DJ and around 40 people attending; great. He said everything would be cash or credit then and there so we didn't have to deal with tabs and walk-outs. There was a group of 3-4 guys around my age that kept talking to me and ordering drinks, though when the time came to cash one of them out; Sean, his card wasn't in the pile with the rest of them. I started to panic, I knew Sean's drink orders, I knew we had his card, what I didn't know is what had happened to it. Had Sue cashed him out and not told me and this was a joke? Had we given his card back to someone else? How could it just disappear in thin air? Everyone around the bar on this side started to notice what was going on, and so did the guys. I told them what was currently happening and Sean went from flirty to annoyed real quick (I don't blame him.) I asked X if he had done anything with it, he called Sue; we were coming up short. Collin, one of his friends suggested he write down his information to leave and if we find it or if someone returns it, we have a way of contacting him. I must have apologized a thousand times; Jed another one of the guys tried to hand me foreign currency and I told him I cannot accept that. He replied, "no we will tip you, but this is just a souvenir, you know so you can tell people you have 5,000 dongs." It was hard to laugh at a time like this, but he insisted and I took the .45 cent conversion of US dollar to Vietnamese. Collin was very understanding of the situation and told me to cash him out, and put Sean's bill on his card as well; I thanked him for the gesture and he said it wasn't a big deal that it could have happened to anyone. By this point I was on the verge of tears because I felt so bad, so I really appreciated him being so understanding about it. No one could read what Sean wrote; he was a few Jameson deep which could have contributed to the factor, so they re-wrote his information down for me. By their departure; Sean was smiling and joking with me that I better call him at least to go out for dinner if his card doesn't turn up, this made me feel slightly better that he didn't walk out hating me (because I would have.) The night only got worse, if you can imagine that. The party came in, which lead X and I running around the bar grabbing Heinekens, Coronas (which we ran out of, had to send one of the guys from the back to pick up more, and then listen to everyone bitch they were warm,) shots of Hennesy, and Sex on the Beach, and Long Island Iced teas. We ran out of every un-flavored vodka we had which left us only with Stoli Razz, Stoli Orange, and every Ciroc flavor which also annoyed people. I had a list of three drinks I had to make in my mind, the change I had to give back to the man at the end of the bar, the credit card I had to return to the woman at the front of the bar, and three guys waving and trying to get my attention. I went to the back to grab another bottle of Hennesy and before I made it to the liquor storage I was on my ass. Apparently someone had either spilled liquid in the back hallway, or mopped and didn't put up a sign; which lead to me slipping and falling right on my tailbone unknowingly. I felt everything compress and spring, I sat there for a moment contemplating crying but knowing it wouldn't help. I stood up slowly, made it to the liquor room, closed the door, and took a few deep breaths. I cracked my neck from side to side, twisted my back to crack it in either direction, and grabbed the bottle of Hennesy. Stopping in the kitchen I yelled to Dorothy to put up the caution when wet sign in the back hallway; I heard her reply "we don't have one." I said, "yes we do and I just slipped and fell on my ass" and walked back to the bar. A minute later the sign appeared, imagine that. Time creeped by slowly, and I am not sure why; I looked at my Fitbit and it was 11:00, 12:00, 12:30; how was time going by so slow at such a high paced night? The music was loud as ever, all great songs; but the impact of my fall, and the loud music was causing a headache and ringing in my ears. I looked down the bar to see a set of familiar faces, and I smiled; it was Collin and Sean. I went down to greet them ignoring the people waving in my face and leaning over the bar. Apparently they left to see Deadpool and decided to come back for a couple beers; Sean's beer was on me of course and we talked briefly before I tended to the hyenas continuously barking orders at me. A few minutes later as I made my rounds back to them, I had noticed a piece of paper that had Collin's contact information on it; he said "well this is kind of awkward, but I was going to leave this for you when we left, but here you are and we're still here." He explained how Sean loved my smile and asked if I could smile for him, was there some sort of ménage à trois going on here?! I smiled of course, took Collin's information to add to Sean's information I already had, and apologized one last time for earlier. X and I continued to run around the bar, clearing glasses, popping beers, pouring shots, and taking payments up until 1:45am when we turned on the lights and watched people continuously linger drunk while we cleaned. The night was finally coming to an end; we cleaned in unison, X took care of the cashout, and people were still being loud and drunk as ever as the DJ packed up his equipment. There was even one woman trying her heart out to leave with the DJ, poor girl; even more unfortunate for the DJ. I gathered all of my souvenirs for the evening, tips, and meals I forgot to eat, and said goodnight to X who I would be seeing in a few hours anyways. I drove home mentally and physically exhausted and couldn't wait to get out of my work clothes and into my sweats. I combined my missed two meals together, grabbed a jar of nut butter, and sat to eat my feelings away while watching Grey's Anatomy (recorded) before bed. I also grabbed my biggest 6pack ice pack to sit with on my back/tailbone to prevent any bruising (hopefully!) I got to bed around 4:30am, after the hour of decompressing, no coloring for me tonight. 

     Since I started the blog talking a lot about Saturday, I won't go into too much detail there; as you know I wake up late Saturdays due to the nights before at the bar, only have a small window of relaxation before heading back in for 5:00. I knew the only thing on my agenda for the day was to get in yoga and meditation. I didn't want my muscles to tighten up and cause problems from last night's slip and I wanted to have a clear, and focused mind for tonight. As you know I sat with family for awhile before taking some "me" time to revitalize and reflect internally, which lead to showering, getting ready, and stuffing my face before running out the door for work. When I got there, Sue was annoyed that she wasn't tipped out last night and I let her know that X took care of that, though she did leave us when we had a huge party coming in so I am not going to pick sides on that one. She took off when I got there since there was only a couple people at the bar; off to a good start! It gave me plenty of time to re-stock the glasses, pick up any mess she had left, greet the current customers, and re-stock the beer, and open some wine bottles for the night. I checked my phone to see that X sent me a text that he was running late and asking how things were going, I let him know I was just prepping him for the night and everything was manageable. About a half hour later I was sticking my foot in my mouth though when we got a little dinner rush and I was struggling to greet and tend to the new arrivals. I did however get the compliment from a group of three guys that I was much more attentive and better than the woman who was on before me, which was nice to hear since Sue has been bartending there for a couple years now. X walked in to help me out and everything was manageable again. I made new friends with the three guys one of which has a fiancee named Ashlee and even spelled the same way (she ended up coming in later from the St. Patty's Day parade and we got acquainted as new best friends.) It's night's like these I enjoy at the bar when you can really get to know people and connect with them instead of running around like a chicken with your head cut off. (I am constantly hitting at least 10,000 steps a day on my Fitbit easily.) Kenton would be stopping in at the end of my shift to make sure I was out on time and possibly grab something to eat. I haven't seen Kenton in probably 5 years, and that is outrageous to me since it doesn't feel nearly that long. Granted we have Facebook, Instagram, and we text which makes us seem closer but I physically haven't been in his presence in that long! He would be staying with me Saturday night, and we would hang out Sunday before he headed back to Massachusetts. Kenton arrived around quarter to 9:00 and since he is Pescatarian I recommended the salmon, since it is phenomenal. We caught up, as I tended to others at the bar as well, he loved every bite of the salmon and lentils, and we were out the door around 9:30, not bad! Back at home we walked into my Aunt Heidi and John visiting, as well as my Nana, I got Kenton settled in the guest room, went and changed into my sweats of course, and then we joined everyone in the living room talking and catching up. He and I stayed up later than the rest of the family, just talking before calling it a night around 11:30. He went right to sleep (I later found out) while I stayed up coloring for an hour or so. I knew I wanted to get to bed somewhat early however since I knew he would be waking up early, and to me 9:00 is early these days.

     I was awoken by Baron barking downstairs and when he wouldn't stop, I got up to yell down to him to stop. I might as well wake up now, but I continued to lay in bed since I am never the one to hop right up and be ready for the day. I texted Kenton that I was awake, but not up yet and would be in a few minutes. Since daylight savings time happened overnight; it was 8:47am when I texted him and had it not been for Baron I probably would have slept until 9:30. He got to see how extensive my morning routine is, and my Mom made him and the rest of the family delicious smelling waffles. After, we got ready for the gym and I prepped out a few meals for the rest of the day to have. We got to the Edge and I was very disappointed in their out of state policy of having to pay $10 for a first time visitor, when in state I can bring people for free. I debated calling Carmen to see if we could just go to Iron Will because that was ridiculous (good thing I didn't; her, Darian, and Gabby were here.) He paid, and we did some warm ups; Kenton hurt his hip in a Russian Kettlebell Challege so he is still recovering from that, it is important to not only stretch, but be warmed up to prevent further injury. I always love learning new techniques and today would be nothing short of that; I partook in something called a stiff leg windmill with a barbell, a hinge row, Farmers Walks, and mobility work, and of course I did some heavy cable curls because well, I like to lift heavy and couldn't leave the gym without doing at least one set of it; 135 pounds, 8-10 reps for 3 sets (the fourth set was for the video see below.) I also jumped on the rower for a few minutes while Kenton finished up part of his routine that I opted out of. I introduced Kenton to Carmen and Darian, and before we knew it, it was over an hour and we were ready for lunch and then a hike! It was another beautiful day, and I was excited to get outside. I came home to eat my meal, and change into something a little more hiker friendly and grab my pack. We decided to go to the Manchester reservoir since I have only been there one other time with Padraic. We walked around, sat by the reservoir for awhile in the sun talking, and then continued our walk back to the car. It was so nice to hang out with someone with all of the same interests and lifestyle; it's true, unless you workout, hike, or go to the bar (where I work), I typically don't see you otherwise. I didn't have to pull Kenton's leg to workout, he actually asked me if we could and that was awesome! Back at the house; I ate again, showered, and got ready to go see the Easter bunny with Hunter while Kenton packed up and left to see his friend in Middletown before heading back to Massachusetts. Great seeing you Kenton, thanks for coming to stay, and I hope you can make it down again, you're always welcome! Plus, after my competition I'll defiantly be coming up to try out that pure chocolate factory! We had a 4:30 appointment at Buckland Hills Mall to get a photo with the bunny and wouldn't you know she ran right up to him to give him a high five; but when it came time to take a photo with him she wanted nothing of it. It took a couple minutes, but we finally got a great one of her and I where she is genuinely smiling which is nice. The remainder of the night was yoga and meditation outside in the now cloudy cool weather, and the majority of the blog (though I did finish the weekend writing on Monday.) Another week down, and another one about to begin!

New oatmeal additives
Clearly not just shopping for me today
Grilled chicken is so much better than ground, or baked
Grilling season, my neighbors must love me
Beautifully grilled Korean BBQ chicken and Lemon Pepper chicken
Smells like summer
Eating made easily, out of a ziplock

Seven Lemons and I hanging out at the gym
So glad she suggested a photo together!
They're so beautiful
Two more to my collection to make prepping a gallon a day easy
My collection of shakers is growing as well
I actually like to mix the colors too by using different colored tops
Posing Studio
Measurements, still progressing nicely
March 18, 2016

Notice I no longer clench my hand (a huge pet peeve and less elegant way to pose)

Well that's unfortunate
Totally washed off the chicken and asparagus so I didn't waste and have to weigh again

And then I ordered more
Daily meditation outside since it's been so nice
Iron Will Fitness, Manchester CT

Seven Lemons looking like a jacked diva
Eating outside because it's too nice not to
Back day by myself; ending with some rowing

Better grip means calluses
My 35 push-up daily goal
50 Sit-up daily goal
50 Russian twist daily goal
Outdoor yoga (Cobra or Up Dog)
Open Triangle
Down Dog

Left thigh bruise
Right thigh bruises
Right outer quad bruise
Right forearm bruise
Anica products; loved them on the trail, love them now
Naturally helps muscle pain, stiffness, swelling, and bruises
Daniel the photographer
This is not the pose of the photos but one I did for my Snapchat

The bottle of Cab I got for being featured on their Snapchat

This cutie and I, she's eating ice cream
Face being Houdini eating Peanut butter and teasing us all

The cooks are Indian, and Mickey made me Basmati rice with this black bean and 17 spice goodness
LA Fitness Farmington, CT (I used to work here)
Joey cheesing as always and the only one left other than Eric
Eric and I getting in a nice ab and arm workout

Always have my meals with me no matter where I am

Second number obtained at the bar
Guy said; "This is a souvenir for you, now you can tell people you have 5,000 dongs"

My favorite time of the day
Since I have to be back at work at 5:00
Family day, Ellone came to snuggle
Kenton and I at breakfast
Bringing him to one of my gyms to check it out

Cable curling 135 pounds; 8-10 reps for 4 sets 

Rowing in between activities
I love when friends have the same interests and goals as I do

Gorgeous Sunday for a hike

I probably should have saved this for the week of Easter post, but this is what I did this Sunday

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