7.29.2016

Summer Shakes

One of my goals for the year has been to improve the quality of my food intake. I have made it several months being really good about hitting a decent caloric deficit every day, but since noticing an annoying plateau in my fitness goals, I thought I probably needed to step it up a little in the macros department (and the strength training department). Right this minute I am at Newport beach in California, so my current shakes have been a little more of the sugary ice-cream variety, but over the past few weeks, I've been trying an assortment of protein shakes and smoothies to improve my fruit/veggie/protein intake and give myself a good energy boost in the morning and before my high intensity workouts (which are usually on my lunch break). I thought I'd take a minute and share some of my favorites with you!
This shake is a staple. The ingredients are by far the easiest [banana, protein powder (I use vanilla), peanut butter, and some low fat milk] and it's one of the most delicious shakes I've tried. It's extremely high in calories (usually around 600-700 with two bananas), so I try to save this one for days I know I'm going to be doing a much more intense workout (or dancing for 3 hours).
This berry-packed shake is light and refreshing (and if I don't finish the whole thing in the morning, I sometimes add a little gin or vodka to it in the evening for a light fruity cocktail). I'm sure there are a million ways to make this, but I generally prefer a combination of strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, a plum, and maybe a banana if the berries/plum combo turns out to be a little more tart than I'd hoped. Adding a scoop of protein powder and some milk to this shake usually caps it out around 400-450 calories, making a good breakfast substitute on a low-intensity exercise day.
I am absolutely a minimalist, and I am rather obstinate about not buying things I plan to only use once or twice, so looking for a green smoothie mix was a challenge. Many recipes had their complicated assortment of ingredients by which to mask the taste of a bunch of bitter vegetables, and I just didn't feel like investing in Goji berries, chia seeds, coconut flakes, or whatever else. Knowing that banana is basically the all-masking smoothie flavor, I decided to go for a simple kale, spinach, and banana recipe for my green smoothie and topped it off with some milk, cinnamon, and vanilla protein powder.

Do you have any shake recipes you really like? How are you getting your protein for the day in?

6.01.2016

Rueda de Casino!

This week, I found a new favorite quote about dance. I am reading/listening to Upton Sinclair's The Jungle and there is a line at the beginning about attendees of a wedding:

"Some do not dance anything at all, but simply hold each other's hands and allow the undisciplined joy of motion to express itself with their feet."
 
The undisciplined joy of motion...I can't think of a better way to express how I feel about dance, though I lack the eloquence of Sinclair (and boy is he eloquent in this book) in my expression. I have been quoting this to myself all day, while thinking about salsa class tomorrow and looking forward to it more than usual.


I mentioned a while ago about taking a salsa class as a means of completing part of a New Year's resolution. Well, here's that post I promised I was going to make about my salsa class. The style I'm dancing is called Rueda de Casino. The video above is actually some of my instructors and classmates dancing this style! Maybe one day if they get me on video, I will post that, but don't hold your breath, guys.  It's a group dance that started in the streets of Cuba and is danced in a circle or rueda, where moves are called out and partners are constantly switching. In Cuba, the moves would differ a lot even between different areas of the same city because people would make up their own and then groups jealousy guarded their own moves in their communities. The history of this dance and the flexibility and variety of moves is one of the things I have loved most about learning it! I've talked about dance as a passion of mine on this blog before; one that, in different phases of my life, hasn't been maintained as regularly or thoroughly as I really need in order to to feel fulfilled. Taking this class has been slowly filling that gap, teaching me to be confident in movement again and helping me feel that undisciplined joy of motion, and I am so happy and thankful to have dance to look forward to every week again!

4.24.2016

Book Reviews: Why Not Me? and Catcher in the Rye

In keeping with my resolutions, I recently finished two more books! The first, was Mindy Kaling's Why Not Me? which I basically knew I would like before I even started. Full of her usual charm and wit, Mindy Kaling rocked it yet again. I really enjoyed the glimpse into her life and how well the autobiographical and comedic components complemented each other to make this book so enjoyable. Also, reading the whole thing in her voice and with her delivery helped a lot. I would highly recommend this book.

The other book I read recently was J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. Somehow I managed to make it through the entirety of my primary education without ever having to read this book, but I'd heard a lot about it, namely that the characters get more and more annoying the older you get. I can't really speak to what high-school-me would have thought about Holden Caulfield, but adult-me definitely found him a little over dramatic and judgy. That being said, I didn't have any trouble at all getting through this book and found the story pretty interesting overall. I've notcied that when I read books I had to read for school over again, I like them A LOT more than when I struggle to read a chapter a day and identify themes and symbolism and whatnot, so for those of you who didn't like this book much as a student, it might be worth another try. I'm not sure I would choose to read this again, but overall, I would recommend this book, especially as a one-time adult, re-read.

In other news, IT'S FINALLY WARM OUTSIDE. I'm pretty sure my mood has improved like 1000% since March.

3.29.2016

Tuesday Tunes!

Spring is in full swing here, and as I've been trying to spend more and more time outside walking in the warmer weather, I've been on the lookout for music that matches this significant uplifting of my spirits. Here's a few songs I've been enjoying!
1. "Summertime" - The Mowgli's
2. "Bounce With Me" - Ben Drake, John Clay, & Josh Radden
3. "Words I Never Said" - Lupe Fiasco ft. Skylar Grey
4. "Nothing Without Love" - Nate Ruess
5. "High Society" - Betty WHO

Also, there's the Hamilton: The Musical soundtrack, which I haven't included above because otherwise this Tuesday Tunes would be 30 songs long, but is a complete goddamn masterpiece through and through. Happy Tuesday, friends!
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