Making the Rounds

I’ve been trying to see as many of my friends as possible before I leave for Florida. Last night I metro’d into DC to catch up with my high school BFF Caitlan. We stopped by Sephora in Georgetown so I could pick up some makeup:


Whenever I buy anything Sephora brand, I get inordinately proud of myself for saving money. Like, “OMG I just bought $10 lipgloss instead of $22 lipgloss, I am so responsible and really deserve two of these.” No you don’t, Shannon.

Then we went to an Italian restaurant. I had a salmon salad which was delicious even though there wasn’t much salad:


I also had bread and butter and a glass of chardonnay.

It was SO great to catch up with Caitlan, especially with just the two of us. We’ve been BFFs since 8th grade and even though we’re very different, I feel like we’ve always been on the same wavelength. I felt the same way I did a couple weeks ago when I saw my little sister for the first time in awhile, where I had SO much to say that I couldn’t even remember my train of thought!

On the way home from the metro, I stopped by one of our bars to hang out with my friends Kim and Meagan, although I opted not to drink in anticipation of a busy day today.


Afterwards I went to the 24-hour CVS to buy sunscreen and travel-size toiletries to take to Costa Rica for B and I. I ended up not getting to bed until past 3:30am, but fortunately I still woke up early(ish) today at 9:30am. Just drank a smoothie and tea. Now my agenda for the day is:

  • Gym
  • Laundry
  • Finish packing
  • Clean room
  • Nails done
  • Buy shorts at Rugged
  • DC for Happy Hour at 4pm

Then tomorrow I’m off to Ft Lauderdale!


Bench Press PR: 100 lbs!!

 Last night I went into Baltimore for margaritas and Mexican food with three of my best friends from high school. We spent the night at my friend Lauren’s house, then this morning my friend Sarah gave me a ride home. When I got back to my apartment it was about 11am and I was starving! I immediately made a beeline for my leftover eggs and fruit cereal from yesterday’s lunch:


Of course, it wouldn’t be breakfast without a protein smoothie, so I followed with a mango-banana one and a cup of tea on the side to balance out the coldness:

I was still hungry an hour later so I had a ThinkThin bar and polished off my remaining watermelon…giant breakfast!

Then I headed to the gym for an upper body workout. I will miss my nice campus gym once I leave!! I knew this was my last shot at benching for several weeks/months, and I REALLY wanted to beat my PR of 95 lbs and hit my goal of 100…and I did! I was SO excited! Here is what my whole workout looked like:

Upper Body Workout

  • Bench press: 8×1’s with 70 lbs, 75, 80; 8×2’s with 85, 90, 95; 4×1 with 100 (!!)
  • Incline chest press: 8×3 with 30 lb dumbbells; 6×2 with 35
  • Incline chest flies: 8×3 with 25 lb dumbbells; 6×2 with 30
  • Dumbbell flies: 8×6 with 12 lb dumbbells
  • Weighted tricep dip: 8×4 with 25 lb plate; 8×3 with 35 lb plate
  • Barbell bicep curls: 8×3 with 30 lb barbell; 8×2 with 40 lb barbell

Following by stretching, planks, and ab work.

In addition to hitting my PR, this was a really good workout! I maxed out on just about every exercise, and even collapsed on my last weighted tricep dip. Performing exercises on an incline makes them more difficult, which is why I started with 5 lbs less than normal for incline chest press and flies, and performed less reps with my normal weight. I will definitely be feeling this tomorrow!

Now I’m getting ready to head into DC to meet up with another of my best friends from high school. She couldn’t make it last night and I want to see her before I move to Florida! And I might be going out for one last night in College Park once I get back–we’ll see!

Eggs, Legs, and Margaritas

Yesterday morning I woke up and started my day with a mango-banana protein smoothie (as usual!) Then I spent a couple hours packing  before taking a break to make eggs. Because I finally own a camera and love it, I decided to document how I make eggs:

  1. Spray pan with olive oil cooking spray and sauté mushrooms, tomatoes, and spinach: 
  2. Add feta cheese and stir until spinach shrinks down
  3. Remove vegetables, re-spray pan, and pour in eggs (this was 2 whole eggs plus 3 whites with pepper and garlic)
  4. Flip over and cook the other side
  5. Reunite eggs and vegetables. This was too big to fold over, so I made it an open-face omelette.

On the side, I had what I call “fruit cereal”: watermelon, frozen blackberries, and walnuts with almond milk. The almond milk sort of crystalizes on the fruit and it’s SO good. I don’t like regular cereal so this is a good substitute!

I ended up getting full halfway through the eggs and fruit, so I put the rest in the fridge to save for later.

Afterwards I went to my apartment gym for a quick leg workout:

  • Seated leg press–150 lbs: 8×3, 170 lbs: 8×2, 190 lbs: 8×2
  • Straight-leg deadlift (with dumbbells)–90 lbs: 8×3, 100 lbs: 8×2
  • Split squats–30 lbs: 8×3 on each leg

Then I quickly showered and got ready for a night in Baltimore with three of my friends from high school. I hadn’t seen them in a couple months, and I wanted to reunite before the summer!

We went to a Mexican restaurant called Nacho Mama’s to get margaritas:

Mine was the frozen strawberry margarita all the way to the right, which I followed up with a frozen lime margarita (the one all the way to the left). We also split a giant watermelon “hubcap” margarita among the three of us who weren’t driving:

For dinner I had a salad with blackened chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, corn, black beans, and avocado vinaigrette on the side.We also ate chips and salsa beforehand. It was really good and it was fun to catch up with my friends before I leave for Florida–I won’t see them again until Christmas!


I have a very full itinerary over the next few weeks:

  • Thursday I am flying to Fort Lauderdale
  • Friday morning B. and I are flying to Costa Rica for 8 nights
  • I fly back to DC on Thursday June 7; my parents are picking me up and I hope to be fully moved out of my apartment that night
  • Friday June 8th we’re driving to Ohio for my grandma’s 95th birthday; we’re staying there 3 nights and then my parents will drop me off at my sister’s in Pittsburgh for another 2-3 nights. I’ll take the bus back on the 13th or 14th
  • Saturday June 16th I’m moving to Ft Lauderdale. If everything goes according to plan then I won’t be home until Christmas

Everything I want to take with me to Ft Lauderdale has to fit in my suitcases on my two flights there. I want to bring as much as possible on the first trip and pack as efficiently as possible so I’m not bringing things to Florida, then home, then back to Florida. I also want to be packed for Costa Rica ahead of time so I’m not stressing out Thursday night–my flight gets in at 5:30pm, we’re having dinner with B’s parents (!!), then we have to be at the airport at 7am Friday, so that doesn’t leave much time. Additionally I want to be packed for Ohio and Pittsburgh ahead of time so I’m not trying to come home and do laundry the night before we leave, AND my whole room has to be packed up and ready to go when my parents pick me up on the 7th.

What that means is that everything needs to be packed NOW before I leave! For the past two days I have been packing up my room and sorting everything into one of five categories:

  1. Costa Rica
  2. Florida now
  3. Florida later
  4. Ohio and Pittsburgh
  5. Leave at home

I’ve packed up three suitcases as well as several rubbermaid containers:

  • Big suitcase: B and I are splitting this suitcase, which can weigh up to 40 lbs. When I had packed everything for Costa Rica it was less than half full and weighed right about 20 lbs (11 of which are the suitcase itself) which is perfect. I filled the rest with heels, purses, dresses, and jeans, which will be easy to take out when I get to Ft Lauderdale
  • Little suitcase: more clothes to take to Ft Lauderdale
  • Duffel bag: clothes for Ohio/Pittsburgh/home

I was happy to see that I was able to fit almost all the clothes that I want for Ft Lauderdale on this trip. That means that I’ll have plenty of room on the next flight for non-clothes items–number one being my blender! I’m also hoping to bring my ihome and speakers as well as personal things like books and pictures–we’ll see!

I also filled several big plastic containers full of things to bring home, and then Thursday morning I’ll pack up my bedding and bathroom items so it’s all ready to go. Getting a lot of it done in advance makes life so much less stressful!

I’m Going to Costa Rica on Friday!!! (How is this my real life???)

As I have mentioned before, I am going down to Ft Lauderdale from this Thursday, May 24 to June 7. Then I am moving there officially on June 16 and moving in with a guy I am dating. He’s a bartender/surfer who I refer to here as “B.” On Thursday I received the following text from B:

B: You have your passport with you right?
Me: Yes! Are we going somewhere?
B: Maybe 🙂
Me: Omggggg WHERE
B: No guarantees I’m trying to make something happen cross your fingers and pray.

Cue me spending the next 2 days trying to wheedle it out of him. Finally he told me that we were going to an island, but wouldn’t say where. Obviously I assumed Caribbean, considering that’s it not far from Florida. But last night he told me the destination…Costa Rica! In retrospect I should have guessed because he goes there all the time to surf, and I knew his friends were going to be there at that time. But the island thing was an effective red herring, because I was convinced it was somewhere in the Caribbean.

We leave at 10am on Friday and are staying until the following Saturday, June 3. We’re flying into San Jose and meeting up with his friends there, but after that he doesn’t know exactly where we’ll be because we’ll be following the waves.

Obviously I am really excited about this! But I will be honest:

1) This is somewhat out of my comfort zone. I love to vacation, but I don’t inherently love to travel–and there is a difference. I would never go traveling around Central America on my own; I wouldn’t even know where to begin. And while I don’t think I’m high maintenance, I’m not completely low maintenance either. I won’t bring a blow dryer (actually I never use one) but I will bring makeup. I don’t HAVE to have/wear makeup, but I do have to have soap and shampoo and access to a regular shower. I’m fine with wearing nothing but tank tops and cut offs and bathing suits, but I wouldn’t be fine with wearing the same shirt three days in a row. So I do need some advanced planning for this.

2) I should also note that B told me where we were going by ACCIDENT. As in he slipped up and mentioned it. Maybe he would have told me at some point between now and Thursday, maybe not. I don’t think it even occurred to him that I would have any problem with going to Costa Rica for eight nights on about 12 hours notice. To be honest, that would have been really stressful. I would have probably pretended to be thrilled but then broke down crying at some point because I ran out of shampoo or something.

3) It feels like less of us going on vacation together and more of me tagging along on his surfing trip with his friends. And these guys are professional-level surfers, while I am only JUST starting to learn how to surf. I’m also not a great swimmer. I don’t think I’m going to feel confident surfing unless B or someone else is in the water next to me helping to guide the board, telling me when to push up or stand, and basically paying 100% attention to me. I’m a little worried that he has visions of my surfing abilities that won’t match up to reality and that will affect how he feels about me.

4) This is a test. Not that I think B’s intentionally trying to test me, but that’s just the reality of the situation. (Remember how Lindsay Lohan got rid of the evil fiance in Parent Trap?) He told me his dad asked what he’d do if I didn’t want to go to Costa Rica, and he said he’d be like, “see ya” and go without me. Yes he was partly joking but the truth is that if I wasn’t the kind of girl who who would get excited about a spontaneous trip to Costa Rica and who could go with the flow and be flexible and low-maintenance, then we wouldn’t be compatible and it would never work out in the long run. Which would really, really change my game plan for the next eight months.

I don’t want to sound bratty or ungrateful about this trip because I’m not–I’m incredibly excited! I feel like this is an immediate manifestation of how my life is going to become more vibrant and interesting and full and I know I will have a great time. But I also know that my experience isn’t going to hinge on packing the right things or staying in nice accommodations or getting perfect weather or having access to food I like, but rather my ability to have a positive mindset and go with the flow. And this is 100% mental and 100% in my control.

Also, I think if you asked my parents they’d say that being flexible is something I need to work on as part of the process of growing up and maturing…so this is a good opportunity. It’s also funny because my parents love Costa Rica–we went when I was 13 and they went back a couple years ago for their 25th anniversary. And they used to do outdoors-y trips like this all time when they were dating and first married…until someone came along who insisted on wearing dresses and tights every day and refused to sleep in a tent and hated getting dirty (Hint: me! Of course this was all circa 15-18 years ago and obviously I’ve chilled out a lot since then.) But it’s funny how things are coming full circle and it seems like I’m entering into a relationship similar to that of my parents’, in more ways than one. Which is what I’ve always wanted and always hoped I would find.

Wow, this got a lot more philosophical than I intended! Okay I will wrap it up just by saying that I’m SO excited and still pinching myself because I can’t believe it’s my real life.

Question: Do you consider yourself high-maintenance or low-maintenance? If you found out you were leaving for vacation in a foreign country the next day with zero notice would you be thrilled, or freaked out, or a mixture of both?

College Graduation!

As of today, I am officially a graduate of the University of Maryland!


My school had one big commencement ceremony as well as individual ones for each school. I opted just to go to the business school’s ceremony since both in one day would have been too much. My parents, sister, and aunt and uncle came for the ceremony, which was from 5:30-8pm, and we went out to lunch beforehand.

I intended to wake up early to get in a workout beforehand, but I’m still feeling under the weather with a cold/sore throat so I slept in until 11. I made a smoothie for breakfast then spent a couple hours quickly straightening up my apartment since I knew my family would be seeing it.

My parents picked me up at 1:30 and we headed to a local seafood restaurant for lunch.

My sister and I (she just finished her sophomore year at Duquesne University and is staying in Pittsburgh for the summer):


I ordered a salmon and scallop salad that was delicious:


My mom, dad, and sister all got mixed seafood platters, which I was a bit jealous of! I ended up stealing some of their seafood 🙂


Overall this restaurant had some of the best seafood I have ever had! The crabcakes and salmon were my favorite.

Afterwards the waitress brought out a dessert tray full of little cakes and pastries that reminded me of the bakeries in France. My sister and I both ordered desserts:



It’s always interesting when you’re with a group of people trying to decide whether or not to get dessert. I am definitely a dessert person, but it depends on what they have and who I am with. Normally I would only get desserts when I was out with my friends or sister at PF Changs (the Great Wall of China!) or Cheesecake Factory (cheesecake obvs). But when I started reading food/health blogs last year I got jealous of all the dessert pictures, and when I went to Charleston with my parents in March 2011 I insisted on ordering dessert every night. (Note: this would be the trip that I figured out I could indeed eat more than 1500 calories to maintain my weight–once I came back I upped it to 2500 and never looked back.) I joked that this ensured my dad would always want to bring me on vacation, because he has a sweet tooth too but my mom rarely eats sweets!

We also split 3 bottles of Chardonnay among the six of us. It was some of the best white wine I’ve ever had, but I was definitely a little tipsy heading into graduation!

Graduation itself was fairly boring–I’m pretty sure most are! The most eventful thing was that in the rush to line up beforehand, I dropped my stole…then when I was running around looking for it, the tassel slipped off my hat. At the time I was really upset about this and was close to tears (this may have had something to do with the wine) but I managed to keep it together and ultimately it wasn’t that big of a deal. And the good news is that I found a tassel in the parking lot afterwards, which I immediately snatched up and attached to my cap. So now I’m just on the look out for a stole!

Afterwards we went back to my apartment so I could send some stuff home with my parents and show it to my aunt and uncle, who hadn’t seen it yet. They have a friend whose son might be interested in subleasing my room for June and July, which would be awesome since I won’t be around and it’d be nice to get some rent money back! Then we said goodbyes and with that they were gone and I was graduated.


It was strange saying goodbye to my aunt and uncle and realizing that I won’t see them again until Christmas most likely. And I’ll spent time with my family again in a couple weeks before I move to Ft Lauderdale officially, but that’s the last time I’ll see them until Christmas as well (although I’m hoping that my sister will visit me this summer!)

However I think this is a good step for me to take. I went to my state school about 40 minutes from home (not my first choice but I received a full scholarship) and with the exception of studying abroad last fall, I’ve never lived far from home. I’ve been living on my own for the past two years in the sense my parents’ house was never my primary residence except for a couple weeks between leases, so I have experience with paying my own rent, paying bills, buying groceries, etc. But I was always close enough that I would go home if I was sick, if I had to get my oil changed, if I had a dentist appointment, etc–heck last year when I had a car on campus I would drive home every week just to do my laundry! This year when I haven’t had a car, I’ve relied on my parents to take me to the grocery store occasionally, pick me up when I had doctor’s appointments, provide me with transportation to family get-togethers, etc.

Now I’ll be 900 miles away and I won’t have that safety net anymore–I’ll have to navigate a new area by myself, figure out my own transportation, find new doctors/dentists, take care of problems by myself. Obviously this all becomes a lot easier when I’m moving in with a boyfriend who already lives in the area rather than trying to figure out everything by myself. So in the sense this is the perfect transition: I’m taking a big leap, but I’m not going at it alone. Baby steps into adulthood, you know? 🙂

Question (because I’m trying to be more interactive!): Did you or any of your friends and family graduate this spring? Are you a dessert person at restaurants? What was your first big step in becoming independent?


Last night one of my friends from high school, Steven, who also just finished undergrad came up to visit so we could catch up and party before I leave for Florida. This morning he took me to the grocery store because I was super-low on food. My haul:

  • 2 watermelons (one I cut, one hiding in the back)
  • strawberries
  • blackberries
  • frozen blackberries
  • frozen mango
  • 3 peppers
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 2 500 oz 2% Greek yogurt
  • unsweetened almond milk
  • frozen pre-cooked chicken breast

The above came to above $45. Hopefully it’s the right amount to last me until I leave for Florida Thursday!

After unpacking I made Steven and I both protein smoothies-I love showing off my smoothie making skills! Then we went to the gym in my apartment. I did an upper body workout:

  • Chest press: 35 lb dumbbells, 8×5
  • Chest flyes: 30 lb dumbbells, 8×5
  • Straight-arm flyes: 10 lb dumbbells, 8×5
  • Bicep curls: 15 lb dumbbells, 8×5
  • One-leg tricep dips: 8×5

Working out with another person was really fun! We had the gym to ourselves and could chat between lifts. Steven knows a lot about lifting and was able to give me some helpful tips, like telling me to use a lower weight for the straight-arm flyes in order to raise my arms just slightly above parallel instead of below (really I needed 12 lb dumbbells but they didn’t have them) and going slower on lifts for a better workout.

After he left I threw in a load of laundry, straightened my apartment, and made 3 small chicken breasts, yellow pepper, tomato, mushrooms, and avocado for lunch. Then my old roommate picked me up to go tanning at the campus pool for a couple hours. I wanted to get a nice tan but not turn into a lobster for graduation tomorrow, and I think I was successful!

After the pool I walked down to the main part of campus to run some errands:

  • Got my eyebrows waxed and toenails painted for graduation. (I always get a polish change which is much cheaper than a pedicure–only $8-10!)
  • Picked up some clothes that I’d left in my friends’ apartment, and nabbed a chocolate chip cookie that one of them baked.
  • Bought new headphones for $4 at the discount clothing warehouse.
  • And…got a new camera! It’s a Canon Powershot Elph 300 HS:

My old camera broke in France, so I’ve been camera-less for awhile and I’ve really been missing it. I decided to check out Radioshack to see what they had. I’d read really good reviews of this camera and when I saw it on sale for $149, I couldn’t resist! I’m excited to be able to document my time in Florida as well as take higher quality pictures for this blog, so expect some better pictures forthcoming!

Afterwards I made a GIANT (22oz) frozen yogurt at the self-serve fro-yo place, which I demolished on the walk home. According to the nutrition facts the original frozen yogurt is 75 calories for a 4oz serving (except um that’s not a serving?) so 22oz is less than 425 calories—SO worth it IMO. I’ve been fighting a sore throat/losing my voice and the fro-yo felt so good on my throat.

Now I’m back in my apartment, and my plan is to stay in for the night—I’ve been out the past two nights and I’m pretty tired! I also don’t want to be hungover for graduation or lose my voice anymore than I already am! This is one of those nights where it sucks to living right above a bar—I’m pretty sure it’s going to be LOUD. Crossing my fingers that I can sleep through it!

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