Tag Archives: Olympics

A to Z

13 Aug

Happy Monday! Hope everybody is having a great start to another week.

I spent last night watching the closing ceremony of the London Olympic games and rocking out to Spice Girls. It was so much fun to see the girls back together and was a serious childhood flashback. On a related note, if you want a fabulous 90s pop station on Pandora, try Spice Girls radio. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m serious – do it.

I also prepped some food for breakfasts and lunches this week, including baking some eggs for McMuffins and cooking up a big batch of quinoa to throw into salads and add to veggies.

This morning, I had an egg sandwich for breakfast, with a slice of fresh mozzarella and some tomato basil pasta sauce for a pizza-style sandwich. The English muffin had some casualties as a result of poor slicing on my part (I blame a dull knife!).

The rest of this morning’s blog post is inspired by a post that has been floating around the blogosphere, which I caught up to on a post of Julie’s over at Peanut Butter Fingers (she’s got a great blog, go check it out!). It’s called A to Z and the basic premise is to use each letter of the alphabet to describe something in your life that makes you happy or that you really enjoy. Capite? <– That’s the grammatically correct way to say “do you understand?” in Italian (in second person plural). Yes, I know it’s too early in the morning for such nerdisms, but I can’t help myself. I like this A-Z idea because I feel like it really reiterates one of the goals of my blog, which is to relish the day-to-day things that make life special. Anyway, without further ado, I present to you my alphabet of joy.

Alphabet of Joy

A: Arabic. I love this language because it is my dad’s native language and part of my heritage. I studied it in college and love the grammatical rules that multiply your vocabulary exponentially, once you unlock them (major linguistic nerd reference). Plus, the script is super beautiful!

B: Blogging! Even though I’m a newbie at it, having a blog has been such a nice outlet for me to talk about my day, plus show my family and friends what I’ve been up to. It’s also a great way to connect with people all over the world and find out how much I have in common with so many people. The world is small, my friends.

C: Cupcakes – I think that cupcakes are one of the world’s greatest ideas. I would love to have cupcakes at my future wedding because then you can get a ton of different kinds and have people choose their favorite! I really hope to get baking soon so I can perfect my cupcake technique and make a dent in all of the Pinterest recipes out there!

D: Dill pickles. I cannot stand the sweet pickles, but I could eat dill pickles for days! You can put them in sandwiches, chop them up in salads, or just eat them whole, like I do. My favorites are the spears that have a nice crunch to them.

E: Exercise. I was going to say eating, but I figure that would be a given. I’m going to go with exercise because it is something that is so important for everybody. It is amazing how effective daily exercise is for alleviating so many bodily issues and it can come in all different forms. Zumba, Body Pump, belly dance, and volleyball are just some of my favorite ways to get moving!

F: Foodie Pen Pals. As I explained yesterday, Foodie Pen Pals is a brilliant creation of Lindsay’s over at The Lean Green Bean. This is my first month participating, but I was just so, so excited to get my first package from my first foodie pen pal!

G: Goat cheese. Goat cheese, like most kinds of cheese, can be eaten with just about anything. One of my favorite things about it, though, is that it can be part of a dessert to tone down the sweetness. For one of my birthdays, Stef took me to a restaurant in Seattle called Lola, and we had honey goat cheese turnovers for dessert – easily on the top 5 for best dessert I’ve ever had.

H: Hot weather. I am pretty sure I was a lizard or something in another life, because I love the heat. Summer in DC has been the best because it’s in the 90s every day and I wear shorts and dresses without worrying about getting cold!

I: Ice cream. I can’t keep it in the house because I fail with portion control whenever ice cream is around. My favorite flavor is vanilla, which some call plain. I prefer classic – what doesn’t go well with vanilla???

J: Jet-setting. I am a travel nut and I love getting on planes to faraway places. Luckily, I had a chance to do plenty of jet-setting during my year in Italy, but it’s only a matter of time before the travel bug hits and I will need to go somewhere new again!

K: Kittens. I always grew up having cats around the house and when one of my cats was still a kitten, she would snuggle up under my hair at night to stay warm. Adorbz.

L: Lion King. Favorite movie of all time!

M: Movie nights. My roommates and I love to pick one night where we make yummy snacks and watch a movie. It’s a great way to spend some quality time together and watch something we have all been wanting to see!

N: New purchases. I love that excitement of buying something new and not being able to wait to use it! This can be anything from a new book to a new grocery item that called to you at the store.

O: Olympics! I am so sad that they’re over, because I didn’t get to watch very much of them, but I love watching so many amazing athletes from around the world compete on the global stage. The stories are always so inspiring and it’s wonderful to see what the human body is capable of doing.

P: Pizza. I am of the belief that pizza is just a hot, open-faced sandwich, which means you can put anything on them and it will taste good. One of my roomies is a baker and makes a mean pizza dough, so we like to have pizza parties (on movie nights) and put our own toppings on pizzas to make delicious creations.

Q: Quiet nights in. Some nights I love to go out with friends and dance the night away, but there are other nights when all I want to do is snuggle up on the couch with a movie or a good book, some snacks, and my favorite boy.

R: Reading. I am a huge bookworm and can spend whole weekends reading the day away. I recently gave in and bought a Kindle (which I have mixed feelings about – more on that later), so it has been easier than ever to tear through books back to back.

S: Stefano! My best friend and my boyfriend of almost six years. We can have fun doing just about anything together and I can always count on him for a pick-me-up hug or a laugh.

T: Tea. On cold, winter days, I can count on tea to warm me up and feel cozy, even when it’s snowing outside and all I want to do is stay in bed. My favorites are spicy, Chai-like teas, but I also love fruit teas. A big mug of tea and a good book is my favorite way to spend a cold, winter morning.

U: UpcyclingAs somebody who is on a tight budget and cares about our environment, I love it when people have great ideas to turn everyday things that would normally get thrown away into something useful. My biggest upcycling project right now is to find all sorts of uses for yogurt containers, because they don’t recycle them in Washington D.C.!

V: Volleyball. As many of you can probably guess, I am a huge fan of volleyball. I played competitively in high school and college and am still finding ways to get in as much court time as I can. I love that the USA did so well in indoor and beach volleyball this Olympics and that the sport is gaining prominence all over the country.

W: Weddings. I have been to a few weddings for close friends this year and the invitations are still coming in. I love watching two people who love each other commit to spending the rest of their lives taking care of one another. I also love the reception when everybody gets to eat yummy food and dance the night away!

I caught the bouquet at my friend Jenica’s wedding!

X: XOXO – I love kisses and hugs from my friends and family! I know I sort of cheated on this one, but x is a hard letter!

Y: Yoga. I really love how yoga relaxes me and calms me down at the end of a busy day. I don’t do it as much as I’d like, but every time I get done with a session, I feel so calm, yet energized! I prefer vinyasa yoga, but I think all types are beneficial – find one you like!

Z: Zumba! Zumba makes me so happy – I am not a very good dancer, but even I can follow along with these moves and it is just such a fun workout. For those of you that want exercise that will get your heart rate up but don’t want to feel like you’re exercising, this is a great choice! The atmosphere is energetic and the instructors are always so friendly and supportive.

WHEW! That was a long one. It’s definitely time for me to get to work. I hope everyone has a great start to your week!

Back to School

12 Aug

Good morning, darlings! Happy Sunday! It is a beautiful day in the neighborhood and I can’t wait to get outside. For now, I’m inside doing house-y things like organizing my room and doing laundry…less than spectacular.

Brief recap of Friday night and Saturday:

I had an epic feast for lunch on Friday: a peach, small container of almonds, 2 pita pockets filled with turkey, tomato, and cucumber; and pita chips with a tub of guacamole for dipping. I was so full for the rest of the day!

After work on Friday, I went over to Stefano’s apartment and we took a quick dip in the pool, before spending the rest of the night watching the Olympics.

Saturday morning, Stef had to work (work on a Saturday? Criminal.) so we woke pretty early and when our separate ways. I went to the gym for a great class called Muscle Up, which is a mixture of weights and aerobics, so it’s a really good cardio and strength workout. I always feel so good after a morning workout, the rest of the day just feels better. I am really going to try to work out some mornings this week.

I stopped by the grocery store on the way back to pick up something for lunch. The store was doing a special for $4.99 footlong subs, so I headed in the direction of the deli. I was distracted on the way, though…

Samples!!! I love a store with free samples. This particular stand was rosemary sourdough bread with butter, aka my kryptonite. Is there anything better than bread and butter??? After helping myself to a million a couple of slices, I continued on my way, until I was distracted yet again.

Free cake. Seriously?! I didn’t even need to get lunch at this point…but I did anyway.

I decided to go with a roast beef sub on whole wheat bread, with all the fixings (except for jalapenos because I have ZERO spice tolerance). I also swung by and picked up a really delicious Cripp apple.

I only ate half of the sub to begin with, but I went back a couple of hours later and finished off the other half. Sandwiches are the best – you can put basically anything between two slices of bread and it will be delicious.

After spending all day watching the Olympics, Stef came home from work and we took a little swim. It was pretty cloudy all day and it wasn’t the warmest outside, so I didn’t spend too much time in there. I’m a pretty horrible swimmer, but now that I have easy access to a pool, I am hoping to improve.

Today is going to be spent running errands and preparing for next week, especially since I really didn’t do much of that last weekend. Stefano needs to go to the “teacher store” (no idea what that’s supposed to be) to pick up supplies to decorate his classroom this week, so I’m going to help him out. Neither of us are the most creative, but I figure that two heads are better than one! Then I will probably watch the closing ceremony of the Olympics!

Quick question: Do any of you have ideas for a good classroom theme for Stef’s classroom? He teaches 8th grade science.

Pack Horse

8 Aug

Good evening, lovelies. Man, it is late over here. I left my house over 15 hours ago! Busy, busy.

Work went well today, I got to have lunch with one of my co-workers who I really enjoy talking to. We had lunch at Dupont Circle, which is essentially a large traffic circle, but is big enough to be a small park with benches and fountains.

Today’s lunch was the last batch of quinoa and veggies, with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

And on the side, I had my ever-present strawberries and carrots, along with a package of Planter’s Nuts and Chocolate trail mix. Tomorrow’s lunch will be different, I swear!

While I munched on my lunch, Ashley looked over a Supreme Court case that she was writing an op-ed piece on.

Studious Ashley

I worked a little later than usual tonight, but still had plenty of time to get to the GWU gym where the volleyball open gym was taking place. On the stroll over, I munched on another Kashi trail mix bar that I nicked from the office stash (this must end!).

I arrived at the gym a few minutes early, so I caught up with Stefano on the phone. He got into a fender-bender earlier in the day (his first accident ever!) when a guy rear-ended him as he was stopped at a light, waiting to turn (he’s fine, don’t worry!). The drivers in this city are absolutely ridiculous, but that’s a blog post for another day. By seven, it was time to volley!

There weren’t as many people there today and winner stayed on for the advanced court. My team won all of our matches, so I fit in two hours of straight volleyball – it was fabulous!!! Speaking of volleyball, did anyone catch the beach volleyball match at the Olympics today??? Let it be known that Misty May Trainor and Kerri Walsh are absolute legends.

After volleyball, I really wanted to stop by Trader Joe’s, since I was in the neighborhood of the only TJ’s in town (criminal, I know). I was a little hesitant because I was already carrying my workout bag, my purse, and my lunchbox, but TJ’s won in the end.

The TJ beacon

I tried to limit myself this time around, since I had to carry it all on the metro with me and I was already loaded down with stuff, but I always get carried away when I’m here. The cost of living is so high in Washington and Trader Joe’s is the only place I’ve found with grocery prices comparable to Seattle. It’s a little out of the way for me, so I always try to stock up whenever I’m there (which has been twice since moving here in July). Here’s a little peek into my basket…

Don’t mind the huge bag of white cheddar corn puffs, just focus on the eggs, peaches, zucchini, and other healthy goodies 😉

The trip home was definitely a slog, but luckily I had my mom on the phone to keep me company. I made a half-hearted attempt at photographing myself looking like a pack horse.

Lunchbox, one bag of groceries, and keys in the right hand. Big bag of groceries slung over right shoulder. Workout bag and purse (with phone inside) slung over left shoulder. It’s official: I’m a bag lady.

Finally made it home and stuffed my face munched on a few corn puffs before getting my clothes all ready for tomorrow. The alarm is set for 6 AM so I can get to a Body Pump class at 7…yikes. We’ll see if I actually end up getting there. It’s almost midnight here so it’s off to bed for me – hope you all have a wonderful night!

Rooftop Party

28 Jul

Good morning! It’s the weekend!

When I left you last, I was headed to the gym for a personal training session, a workout, and then a rooftop screening of the opening ceremony of the Olympics. This was my last of the three personal training sessions that came with my gym membership. I enjoyed working with my personal training, who was fun and had some great workouts for me, but it is very costly and I don’t know if it would really benefit me when I can come up with workouts on my own.

After the workout with my trainer (approximately 40 minutes), I was originally going to take a boot camp class, but decided that I needed to do some cardio to prepare for the Rock ‘n’ Roll in Virginia Beach over labor day weekend. I went upstairs and hopped on a treadmill to do a 5k. I’m at a 10.1 minute/mile pace right now, but I took it really easy, so I think I could drop at least a minute off of that time.

After the workout, it was time for the rooftop party! When I got up to the roof, they were doing a yoga class to raise donation money for a yoga instructor who was beat up last weekend on the way home from his house and needed surgery. Like many people, he doesn’t have health insurance, so the fundraiser was to help pay for medical expenses.

As we were waiting to get the screen set up, a lady manning the drink station asked me if I wanted to try some kombucha. I have liked kombucha in the past, but I never buy it because it’s generally really expensive and I like to eat my calories instead of drink them. They had a couple of different flavors, but I ended up trying the lemongrass basil, which was super tasty! I find basil coming up in a lot of sweet things and I feel like it gives a refreshing flavor, much like mint does. Again, I’m probably not going to start buying kombucha, but I did enjoy this after a workout.

They started setting up the screen and so I, along with a girl from my boxing class who I ran into, went over to grab good seats.

The gym had ordered a bunch of pizzas from Dominos and even had a popcorn machine set up! I am not the biggest fan of Dominos pizza, but it was dinner time and I was really hungry after running that 5k, so I downed three slices of the veggie pizza. It actually turned out to be quite tasty! There was even spinach and feta on it!

And then it was time for the Olympics to begin!!! I was so, so excited and definitely got goosebumps, what with all the epic music and intense set changes. I loved how quintessentially British it was and thought it was hilarious that they included things like the National Health Service as highlights of the performance.

Later that night, Stefano arrived from Philadelphia and we are now officially living in the same city after 13 months! I am so excited. His parents also flew in late last night and we took them over to the place they were staying, so it was 3 am before I got to bed.

We are going to spend this weekend furniture shopping for Stefano and me and car shopping for Stefano. My hope is to find a bed today so I can move into my permanent house as soon as possible. I will let you know how things go and I hope you all have a great weekend!

Quick Question: Did you watch the opening ceremonies? What did you think of it?

U-S-A!

27 Jul

Good morning and happy Friday!

Have you all seen Google’s image today?

Today is the first day of the Olympics in London!!! I love the Olympics, especially the summer ones, and this is one of the few times I walk around sporting red, white, and blue (aside from the 4th of July) and chanting “U-S-A!” I am super excited to watch the beach and indoor volleyball, the running events, and gymnastics.

My gym is hosting an opening ceremonies viewing party this evening on their rooftop deck. They’re providing the big screen TV, the food, and the beverages, so it’s going to be a party!

Quick Recap…

Dinner Last Night

When I put my dinner together last night, it looked so delectable, all arranged!

My (lately) ever-present bowl of veggie pasta; a side salad consisting of some romaine, sliced tomatoes, diced cucumbers, a drizzle of balsamic, and a dash of salt and pepper; coupled with a side of baby carrots and red pepper hummus. This is what my elementary school teachers would have called “aesthetically appealing”. I’m just going to stick with the word “yummy”.

I did some bed shopping online last night and found a great GroupOn deal for mattresses at a store that’s not too far from my house, so Stef, his family, and I will probably stop by the store this weekend to test out the mattresses in question and if we like them, we can save oodles of money! I love it when deals are available for something you really need or have been looking for.

Breakfast

This morning I combined my daily oatmeal and yogurt bowl and just tossed in a handful of raw oats with my strawbery Chobani yogurt. I like it because it adds some more texture to the dish, along with plenty of fiber. This is a great option for people who like the taste of raw oats and forget to make cold oatmeal overnight.

After topping it with blueberries, strawberries, and walnuts, I added a glass of Silk vanilla soy milk. Look at all the red, white, and blue-ness of it! U-S-A! U-S-A!

Today I have my last personal training session at the gym and then I’m going to go to Happy Hour Boot Camp, which is a class at the gym that is totally unknown to me and then head up to the rooftop to get my Olympics on! Have a great Friday and I will check in with you later!

Quick Question: Are you a fan of the Olympics? Do you prefer summer or winter? What are your favorite Olympic events?

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