Whatever You Are, Be a Good One

Today was quite the busy day! Fortunately for all of us, it kicked off with a trip to the gym where I strutted through 25 minutes on the elliptical followed by a half-assed strenuous ab workout. While on the elliptical, I was approached by the BodyPump instructor who tried to corral me to tomorrow’s class and while I haven’t completely given up on my ex-favorite strength class, I don’t think I will be going tomorrow.

Today I also met with someone about some chances to seize some public-relations-y opportunities in the coming months.

Later in the afternoon, I met up with my former boss from my student job that I held throughout my four years in college. We met up at a local cafe where I scarfed down a delicious piece of coconut cake and enjoyed a cup of butterscotch toffee coffee (SO delicious! It’s made by the same company that makes my beloved Jamican’ Me Crazy coffee. <— aka the coffee that my boss “cut me off” from last year because I was JUMPING OUT OF MY SKIN for the entire afternoon after I had an extra cup one morning. 😛 )

I always love having conversations with this lady because she is the epitome of one of my every favorite mantras, “whatever you are, be a good one.” She is a doctor who has been in practice for decades and decades. She has pioneered so many different things and takes her work so seriously, even this far into the game. She is kind and respectful and 100% committed to her students, colleagues and family.

Now this morning, I woke up to an e-mail from someone who has been “helping” with the website for my job. Unfortunately, this individual isn’t the best in the business and my minor changes that I send along usually end up turning into quite a production. Simple things such as spelling, grammar and general formatting seem to be lost along the way and it gets to be quite frustrating! So all of this left me thinking about that idea of being the best you can be at whatever  you do. It reminded me of a lecture in one of my psychology courses on human motivation. There is a whole philosophy centered around the idea of “optimal challenges.” Supposedly, these challenges are the things we do that give us just enough of a challenge to make us feel mentally engaged and stimulated, but that allow us to succeed when we put in hard work. Anything past this optimal level makes us frustrated and we start to lose interest and perform poorly. Any task lower than this level makes us bored and complacent.

So what does all of this psychological mumble jumble mean? Well, as I sift through 12,000 different applications and attempt to figure out what it is that I want to do with my graduated life, it has made me think about what it is that will make me into a person more like the doctor and less like the webmaster. I smell some sort of New Year’s resolution forming here!

My night finished off with a lovely dinner with Katie and Grace and concluded with a cozy evening of knitting, reading and writing this here post! It seems like knitting and reading are about the only two things that I like to do with my free time these days! Tomorrow it is back-to-work for me!

Have a great night!

Oh! Let’s not forget our Christmas Challenge!

25 Days of Blogging Christmas Challenge Day 8: Post a picture of Christmas decor.

photo-130Our fully decorated Christmas tree this year!

Day 9: Who is the easiest person to buy for? My mom is actually a pretty easy person to buy for! I love surprising her with “fun things” that she wouldn’t typically buy for herself.

Day 10: What is your favorite holiday scent? My favorite holiday scent is the smell of those pinecone bundles they sell at the craft stores! Weird thing to think of, I know. I am not exactly sure what it is, but it is cinnamon-y, nutmeg-y, ginger-y, holidayish smell that is wonderfully homey and lovely.

 

One Week Later…

Hello my faithful friends.

First of all, I can’t believe the cliffhanger that I left all of you with! For those of you who are avid 5KCB readers, I must apologize. I don’t know exactly what the problem is, but ever since the storm hit, we have been sans-internet in Brittany World! I am SO grateful that the internet is the only negative thing to have hit me from Sandy and my thoughts and prayers are with the victims who were hit in much more serious ways.

Now, that being said, I am still an entire WEEK behind on updates. I don’t know where to begin! Fortunately, I haven’t been up to anything too wild and crazy, so this post will be a hodgepodge of everything and with any luck, tomorrow things will be up and running fully again.

Today was a day off that was full of errands! (As usual.) I ran all over town collecting various applications for part-time employment (my store will be closing very soon!). It was endlessly stressful and even though I was able to score an application at virtually every store I stepped into. Hopefully something will work out.

I also got to hang out again with Katie today, early this morning, we met up at the gym for my favorite Total Body Conditioning class. The class was very different today from previous times and included a LOT of weight-lifting and some work with resistance-bands (<– I am in LOVE with these things. Who knew that they could be used in so many different ways!?) The class was fantastic and I definitely felt the burn.

Before class started, I hit up the elliptical (which is quickly becoming my favorite cardio machine!) and did a quick 20-minute interval workout that left me sweating even despite the short amount of time.

That is about all for today’s updates, but let me break down the rest of my week for you that you all missed out on!

Storm 

As I mentioned, I was very luck throughout the hurricane. Despite the terrifying weather advisories and the school cancellations that were happening left and right throughout my area, once the storm actually hit, we experienced nothing more than some bad wind and rain. Fortunately, everyone I care about was safe and even all of our trees remain standing!

Halloween 

Halloween was very laid-back this year. I’m never really sure what will be happening at work, sometimes the whole crew dresses up and other times, no one really gets into it! This year, I decided to go with an old standby costume of mine that is very easy to make and is always a crowd pleaser, it was an old-fashioned box of popcorn costume! My mom did this costume for me back when I was a kid and all of these years later, I decided to bring the idea back. All it took was some fresh-popped popcorn, a red marker and two sheets of poster board. After I colored the boards in with red stripes, I used a hot glue gun to glue pieces of popcorn to the top of it. Definitely a quick and easy costume to make! (I’ll try to get a picture up eventually…)

Haircut from Hell 

In case you haven’t noticed from the pictures of myself that I have included in previous posts, I have EXTREMELY curly hair. It took me the better part of the first 18 years of my life to figure out what I could do with it that didn’t involve an extremely boring, unflattering pony tail. Eventually, it calmed itself down and earlier this year, I decided to get it cut shorter than I typically do. I was very nervous, but in the end I LOVED it. It framed my face and was flattering and fun and different. It should be noted that the person who cut my hair that time was the same person who has cut my hair for the past SIX years and also the person who made me look like an untamed lion last week.

I am not entirely sure what went wrong, but for some strange reason, after years and years of cutting my hair, my stylist decided that now would be a good time to layer and thin my hair. For those of you who have little experience with these things, just take my word for it: don’t ever layer OR thin extremely curly hair. Ever. Basically it made everything stand on end and fly in every which way. She cut it about 4 inches shorter than I wanted her to and also didn’t do a single thing that I DID ask her to do. It was a disaster. That night, as I saw my dreams of a cute and sassy holiday hairstyle swirl down the drain, there were many tears involved, but after a return to the salon (grrrr.) an angry customer call (I never do that…) and about $4,500 spent on conditioners and styling agents, I have everything under control. This new ‘do (even though it’s about a foot shorter than I wanted it to be) is starting to grow on me.

Ugh.

Well I hope you all had a wonderful week and I won’t leave you in the lurch for a FULL SEVEN DAYS ever again! (I hope! 🙂 ) Tomorrow I will be sharing an extremely tasty, wildly simple, fall-inspired recipe with you. Stay tuned!

Goodbye for now!

 

 

Armageddon??

Hello friends!

So this happens at least once a year. Every news program is overrun by reports of an extreme storm that is headed in our direction. Oftentimes, at some point in the winter, Western New York is threatened by some major “NorEaster” storm that promises to dump 5,000 inches of snow in less than an hour. Usually, they end up downgrading the storm and nothing significant ever happens. I don’t usually get caught up in this sort of stormy hype, but I must say, this FrankenStorm feels different. Everyone who knows anything seems to be in total disaster-preparedness mode! Even at work, people who are normally very leery of overzealous weather reports were preparing for the very worst.  Earlier today, I made my way to the grocery store and not only were the managers in complete panic mode, but nearly every “staple shelf” was empty! The bottled water was sold out, the bread was gone, the stock of canned goods was nearly annihilated! I don’t know what is going to come of this, but let’s hope it doesn’t turn out to be anything too monstrous. Stay safe everyone!

This morning was definitely a sleep-in sort of morning, but Katie and I had made rough plans to hit the gym this morning and I remembered that my favorite Total Body Conditioning class is on Mondays. Since I’ve missed the gym for the last two days, I figured I might as well go. Also, staying in and hibernating all day today was out of the question anyway as I had a dentist appointment at noon!

Prior to TBC, I hit the elliptical for an interval workout that ended up totaling around 2.3 miles (and according to the calculator on the screen, scorched nearly 300 calories in just 25 minutes!). Even though my legs felt a little like Jello afterwards, TBC was a lot of fun and was filled with new moves that the instructor hasn’t really used before. It was also great to have Katie there as I usually attend those classes all by my lonesome.

Next I made my way to the dentist (is it just me, or does it seem that every Monday post I am talking about a dentist appointment?!) Today we were discussing a plan to fix a tooth that has been uneven for as long as I can remember and is a rather prominent spot. He did a composite “mock up” of what it will look like when he is all done and I am thrilled. So fortunately, no drilling today, unlike last time. 😉

Today’s lunch consisted of a bowl of my new favorite soup: Progresso’s Reduced Sodium Tomato Parmesan.

Tomato Parmesan Soup Progresso

It wasn’t until VERY recently that I decided that I am a soup-lover. I have always hated any and all soups (aside from maybe one or two of my mom’s homemade varieties), but other than that, I just couldn’t get behind it. Apparently I have chand my mind 100% and jumped right on board because now I can’t get enough of it. It’s the perfect lunch and if you choose wisely, it can be a pretty healthy option as well! Today I broke up half of a small dinner roll into the bowl and it was as tasty as could be. It is also nice that this particular variety is reduced sodium. I’m generally not too worried about sodium (unless we’re talking Chinese take-out or Ramen Noodles), but I do try to make myself aware of my intake. I once did a 10-day, VERY low-sodium “diet” around New Year’s. I lost about quite a bit of weight in less than two weeks. It was certainly a good New Year’s resolution jumpstart, but overall, that turned out to be not-so-helpful. I gained the weight back immediately after I started eating normally again (it was almost all water weight from the salt), but it definitely served to show me that sodium may be a good thing to at least be conscious of! Since then, I’ve read several articles suggesting that it is unnecessary to be too much of a sodium-stickler at my age if you are in good health and maintain a healthy lifestyle/ eat well otherwise, so I have definitely loosened the reins on that rule.

As it turns out, today has been the perfect combination of activity and hibernation. I really don’t like staying in all day anyway, but now it’s time to hunker down with a dog, a blanket, and a book and wait out this storm!

Stay safe, my friends! I will see you again tomorrow.

A Mid-Autumn “Hike”

Good afternoon and thanks for stopping by today!

I have some very exciting news. I am back in the business of having a gym buddy! I was able to spend the better part of my day off with katie today and we were extremely productive!

First of all, we ditched Boot Camp. The forms have been filled out for a refund and I should be getting about half of my money back ($5 cancellation fee? What is that nonsense. They are charging $5 to avoid certain death  unnecessary pain and suffering!

Next, we hit up my gym since this week is “Member Appreciation” week which means that Katie could come along for free to test the place out! (She also ended up joining so now I officially have a gym buddy which is endlessly exciting.) First up was a 20-minute stint on the treadmill. In that short time, I tackled both sprinting intervals and inclines and by the end I was sweaty and red-faced. Next Katie and I did the following arms and abs circuit (thanks Jordan, for the arm-moves that I STILL use all of the time!)

After that, we realized that the weather was just too beautiful to spend inside so we “went for a hike”. (What actually happened was we walked the perimeter of a large field and followed a “path” for a short time that led to yet another field and some spritely, unleashed dogs.) Despite the fact that we didn’t cover much ground and really didn’t hike at all, it was nice to be outside in the beautiful weather and the trees were still gorgeous! It was almost 70 degrees, I couldn’t believe it!

 

I also spent some quality time in a coffee shop that is right in the middle of the village. It was very quiet and the view out the window was gorgeous. We all know that just about any day of the year I would choose coffee over tea, but for some reason, I bought a cup of hot tea and it was absolutely delicious. Maybe I should consider coffee’s backup drink more often.

 

Numi Tea

Now it is time to head off to tutor. We are in the middle of completing a big project! Sometimes I wish I could go back to high school. And then I snap out of it real fast. 😉

See you all tomorrow!

Happy Birthday, Momma 5ksandCoffeeBeans!

Today was a very special day indeed. It was my mom’s birthday! What made matters even more exciting was the fact that we both had the day off! That never, ever happens. So lucky that her birthday just happened to fall on my day away from work! It worked out perfectly.

I am definitely a huge fan of birthdays. I love celebrating and making people feel extra special on their birthdays! Today was a day full of cake, tasty restaurant meals and cake. I am pretty sure that myfitnesspal probably couldn’t even calculate my calorie totals for the day. 😛

Early this morning, I was happy to present her with her gifts which featured a set of tickets to an upcoming show that she has been wanting to see. We also enjoyed both breakfast and dinner out today. (Hellllloooo Cheesecake factory. I managed to keep my meal under 800 calories somehow. It was quite miraculous.)

Perhaps my favorite part of the day was the cake that I made. Get ready for this.

Given my mom’s mid-October birthday, I remember many-a Halloween flavored cakes over the years. They’re festive and fun and what could be better than that?! This one was no exception.

This spiderweb was created with a tube of the Wilton sparkle gel. It ended up looking very cool, but it was ridiculously tedious to make it even.

The inside was AWESOME. <– she says so humbly…  Heh. I separated the cake batter into four separate bowls and tinted the sections orange, purple, green and black. After dropping spoonfuls of the colorful batter into two 8″ cake pans and baking them, the result was a vibrantly colorful birthday cake that was perfectly suited to an autumn birthday!

The cake, gifts and outings of the day were definitely a hit with mom so I was happy!

In other news, there isn’t much new going on! Tomorrow will bring an early morning workout (I feel like I weigh about 2,000 pounds today! I hate that feeling!), breakfast with Chloe, work and tutoring. I must say, as much as I enjoy my job, it was awfully nice to have a day off.

(Side note: I have PROMISED myself that tomorrow, I will NOT shy away from the workout that I want to complete due to my apparent “stage fright” when it comes to working out at the gym whenever cardio machines aren’t involved. I need to remind myself that a) I know what the heck I’m doing (or at least I’m good at pretending that I do 😉 b) everyone is there to get their fitness on. Many are entirely shameless about it– proof = the ridiculous noises that the weight-lifting guys on the strength side make and c) I never, ever, ever think ANYTHING of the people doing their own thing on the mats. Why would I expect that they would be judging me? Time for me to stop being silly and get to business!)

Goodnight all!

 

 

Happy October!

October is here and fall is in the air! Today was yet another beautiful fall day. October has always been one of my favorite months between the weather and the seasonal fun. I love that from now until December there is an exciting and seasonal holiday every month!

This morning, I (once again) managed to crawl out of bed in time (barely) to make it to my conditioning class at the gym. I actually considered heading out a little early so that I could hit up the treadmill before class, but that didn’t happen. I also decided to cut out the RPM class that is scheduled just before conditioning as I didn’t find it particularly inspiring or energizing last week.

One thing that I really like about this class is that it could easily be replicated at home (that is, if I could ever remember a single move for the life of me). The routines are very easy to follow even with limited space. This is what the set-up for a typical class looks like:

 

(I don’t think you actually need two sets of dumbbells… the instructor always differentiates by saying “pick up your lighter set of dumbbells”… I use an 8 lb. set and a 5 lb. set and I am pretty sure that I could use the 8s for all of the moves). Also, a random side note: do you see that resistance band? That thing tried to attack me last week. It SNAPPED on my KNUCKLE and hurt like crazy for the remainder of the class. I still have a teeny tiny little cut there :’-( )

I really like that this class hits every major “problem” area within an hour and by the end of a set, your muscles are pretty much screaming.

We also used a tight resistance band around the ankles to target the thighs (it worked. Too well.)

 

Source

Try 64 reps of that move on EACH LEG. Oh my goodness. Ouch!

I definitely liked the combination of sets that the instructor used last week better than this week, but it was still tough and enjoyable!

After the gym, it was time to run a few errands which included stopping at a new bank to open a new account. The conversation with the banker began like this:

“Do you work yet?”

“Yes.”

“Ok. Does your employer have direct deposit?”

“No, they actually don’t.”

“Ok. Well, what I was going to say is that if you have a parent who is able to go ahead and sign on along with you, you could get a CHECKING ACCOUNT!!!!!”

….silence. Dirty look. Deep breath.

“I’m twenty-two years old.”

“OHMYGOODNESS! I’m so sorry! I thought you were sixteen!”

There are a few things wrong with this. A) It was 12:30. If I were sixteen, shouldn’t I have been in school on a Monday at 12:30? B) I know I may not look 22, but I’m almost 100% positive that I don’t look so young that I haven’t had a solo bank account yet. I am also 100% positive that I don’t look 16. C) You should never, ever. And I mean NEVER. EVER. assume that anyone who looks to be under the age of thirty is a teenager without very good reason. Especially a customer. Especially me. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

After I managed to convince the woman that I am a big girl who has not only graduated from college and purchased their own car, but that I have also had both a job AND my very own bank account for seven years now, it was time to meet Katie for an afternoon outing!

First we hit up one of my very favorite local restaurants for lunch. I love the breakfast options at this place and they serve it until 5:00 so I couldn’t resist my favorite breakfast combo.

Next it was time for a froyo treat! And much to my excitement, they were featuring two new flavors: Pumpkin Spice and also “Pumpkin Roll” which was a combination of cheesecake-flavored yogurt and the pumpkin spice one! You know how I love fall-flavored treats and I couldn’t pass this one up! Plus, there were only 120 calories in a serving. After circling around the topping tables about 2,000 times, I finally settled on graham cracker crumbs and dark chocolate curls.

 

Tasty and under 200 calories! Also, I might point out that I made it out of that store for only $3.09 this time! I think the first time I tried it, my dish came to over $10. It’s a pay-by-weight thing and with a zillion toppings to choose from and over a dozen flavors of yogurt, it is way too easy to get carried away. I was quite proud of myself today. 😉

We also took a walk outside in the beautiful weather. At one point, I also stopped and demonstrated a proper “burpee” for Katie in the middle of the walkway. The onlookers probably thought that I had lost my mind. Or that I had a sudden urge to breakdance. Heh.

Our last stop for the afternoon was the bookstore where we wandered around for quite some time. Katie and I both decided that it was time for us to start reading more avidly once again now that we’re done with school and I still had a gift certificate for the bookstore from my graduation. After perusing many different books, I finally decided to cave and follow along with the rest of America. I purchased Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Since it is a bestseller, it was 30% off so I figured this was a good time to go for it.

 

This book has been on just about every “must-read” list that has cropped up recently. It has been on the New York Times Bestseller list forever. It has been the choice book for countless book clubs and reading groups. After Katie told me that both she and her mother finished reading it in less than two days because they couldn’t put it down, I was sold. I will let you know what I think of it. I am finally almost finished with Defending Jacob.  I was reading that one on a Kindle and as much as I love the Kindle, I definitely enjoy reading an old-fashioned book every now and again. It’s just completely different!