Birthday Weekend

25, I have a good feeling about you.

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I spent A LOT of time contemplating this crop top and if I felt cool enough to pull off a crop top. I certainly wouldn’t wear this to work, even though our dress code is super lax. I think I’ll stick to pairing crop tops with more conservative bottoms like this slightly longer skirt. Both the top and skirt are from Abercrombie. I wish I was kidding but hey their clothing still fit me really well and they’re always having massive sales.

My birthday was spent surrounded by the people I love, doing the things I love. Can’t complain about that.

Kicked things off with a ridiculously sweaty workout courtesy of Jess and Uplift.

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For the record… we did not use kettle bells let alone 25 pounders. Just thought it was a cute way to ring in 25. Spending my birthday at Uplift has become a sort of tradition because I also rang in 23 and 24 there. Can’t say no to birthday burpees!

For brunch Jeremy and I met up with my close friends Ali and Jenna at Dos Caminos.

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I frequently mention Dos Caminos because I almost always go there on the weekend nowadays. I’ve successfully gotten Jeremy, my parents and now Ali + Jenna hooked on their guacamole and amazing brunch specials.

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The weather held out all afternoon and we walked around Soho for a bit before ending up in Washington Square Park people watching. Eventually it was time for dinner with my brother and his girlfriend Lauren at Ribalta nearby. All the birthday carbs.

I also have a tradition of seeing Broadway shows on my birthday and my brother suggested we go see Something Rotten. It ended up being the perfect birthday show, a lot of fun and non-stop making fun of musical theater. I’m happy I got to see it now because I’m sure it will rake in a few Tony Awards in June.

And of course I finished off my birthday with a slice of Peacefood vegan peanut butter cheesecake. My favorite.

Thank you all for the kind birthday wishes and making me feel super loved on my birthday. You can bash social media all you want, but nothing feels better than a Happy Birthday from someone you haven’t heard from in ages.

 

 

I’m now less than 1 month out from the Walkway Over the Hudson Half… which means I really need to get it together on the training front. Here’s the workout plan for the week:

Monday: Circuit of Change
Tuesday: Yoga
Wednesday: Mile High Run Club
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Uplift Strength
Saturday: Exceed
Sunday: Long Run– hopefully 8 miles

 

Hope you all had a lovely weekend too :)

24 Things I Learned From 24

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1. Yes, I am an awkward person. But that’s who I am. Apparently people find this quality cute now.

2. Going on Birthright was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’m so happy I took a chance on this trip.

3. My phobia of vomit isn’t as bad as it used to be. I’ve come a long way.

4. Every single day I’m grateful for my theater education, despite not being an actor.

5. I will forever be a student, even if I’m not officially in school. I simply love education and will always find a way to learn more.

6. Control the controllable.

7. If you’re unhappy, change something.

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8. Say yes, but not too much.

9. Friday evenings are for resting and eating chicken korma.

10. My friends are really something special and seriously helped me through the worst of times this year.

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11. Don’t let someone else define your worth.

12. Never burn a bridge, you never know who you’ll need a favor from.

13. I’m happy with many of the traits in me that other people see as flaws.

14. My parents are the coolest, most supportive people a gal could ask for. They also give great advice.

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15. My body can do amazing things which is more important than how it looks.

16. Take big chances, because why not?

17. A good relationship is easy to maintain. It just works.

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18. I love performing and being on stage. It makes me happy.

19. I will always love musical theater.

20. It sounds cheesy but be yourself. Even if that’s an awkward, introverted, self conscious person. It’s still authentic and truthful.

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21. Sometimes sleeping in is better than working out.

22. The best way to end the day is curled up with a good book.

23. Listen to your body, it knows what’s up.

24. Even with all the ups and downs from this year, I’m still a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and it will all work out in the end.

My Favorite Dairy-Free Products

Unrelated to my dairy speak for the day… I went to The Fhitting Room’s newish Flatiron location this morning for my birthday workout. Studios that give free birthday classes rock my world. This new studio is STUNNING. I already knew I loved their signature workout and this new downtown studio really puts the icing on the cake. Also, I’m going to be really sore tomorrow.

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Now let’s talk about dairy-free stuff…

People frequently say to me “Oh I could never go dairy-free because I love ______”. I don’t blame them, for me going gluten free would be SO hard because I love bread more than I love most things in life. The truth is, you’d be surprised how easy it is to stop eating something when you know it will make you feel better.

It took me awhile to realize that dairy was causing a lot of my stomach pains and frequent nausea. At this point in time I eat roughly 95% dairy free. I love Indian food and consider chicken korma worth the inevitable belly ache. I also try not to drive myself too crazy about what secretly has dairy in it at a restaurant. The only time I’m super cautious is when I’m traveling. Disney World is not the place to find out how much dairy my poor belly can handle.

While yeah, I miss cheese and making quesadillas for dinner when I’m feeling lazy, I’ve learned to cope and cook sans dairy in my own apartment. Here are some of my favorite dairy-alternatives.

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Favorite replacement for shredded cheese: Daiya. While it doesn’t taste exactly like shredded cheese, it does the trick if you’re making a quesadilla or tortilla pizza and melts pretty well.

Favorite replacement for parmesan cheese: nutritional yeast. This stuff kind of looks like fish food, but hear me out. On top of pasta or sautéed with kale and chickpeas if gives off a deliciously cheesy flavor.

Favorite replacement for brie cheese: Kite hillThe first time I tried this stuff I almost started crying I was so excited. The flavor is pretty spot on yet it’s shockingly dairy-free and has a simple ingredient list.

Favorite replacement for butter: Earth Balance. These sticks of “butter” are really great for greasing up a pan and I love this stuff with matzoh brei. Do not, I repeat DO NOT use it for baking though. I learned that the hard way making toffee bars one time.

Favorite replacement for ice cream: Lots of things. Ice cream is one of my favorite desserts, so of course I’ve tried every dairy-free option out there. So Delicious makes a heavenly coconut based chocolate chip cookie dough. It’s so good I honestly don’t let myself buy it anymore. Here in NYC the Van Leeuwen truck is almost always parked outside my apartment, tempting me with it’s delicious vegan pistachio ice cream. When in doubt though, frozen banana does the trick.

Favorite replacement for cream cheese: Tofutti. I think what makes cream cheese so delicious on a bagel for me is the texture and creaminess. Tofutti mimics both those things pretty perfectly.

Favorite dairy-free protein: Sun Warrior classic vanillaI don’t drink protein shakes all that often, but when I do Sun Warrior is my powder of choice thanks to it’s subtle taste.

 

Question: What other dairy-free favorites should I check out?

Mudderella + Tips For Your First Obstacle Course Race

Saturday morning I got down and very dirty in Jersey with Mudderella.

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I’ve always been curious about obstacle course/ mud races but too afraid to actually sign up. I’m not an outdoorsy person in the least, I can’t really swim and I’m certainly not tough enough to crawl under barbed wire or endure electrical shocks. I’m a wimp and totally okay with admitting it. For this very reason I was excited when Mudderella asked if I wanted to participate in their upcoming New Jersey race because I knew this would be my kind of mud run.

What is Mudderella?

Mudderella is a muddy, 5-7 mile obstacle course race designed by women for women. What makes them unique, in my option, is the focus on teamwork and as cheesy as it sounds “girl power”.

Their motto is “Own Your Strong” and all about empowering women to take pride in their strength. A message I can certainly get behind. If you’ve never done an obstacle course race before I can tell you from experience this is the perfect intro to obstacle course races– it’s about teamwork and crossing the finish line– not competition.

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I had an amazing morning bonding with a crew of new friends from the blogging/ media community as we conquered this race together.

The Race

We finished the course in roughly 90 minutes– our particular event was around 6 miles and had 13 obstacles. As a group we decided to run from one obstacle to another. If running isn’t your thing you can absolutely walk in between and that’s what a lot of people were doing.

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The obstacles were a perfect balance between challenging and doable. I especially loved/ hated the obstacle fittingly named “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” where we literally had to make it over mini mountains of mud

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That face says it all…

In between the 7 different mini mountains you were wading in 3 feet of muddy water. What made this bad boy especially tricky was the fact that there was no traction while trying to scale the mini mountains– you had to rely on a boost from a nearby friend to get you over the hump. When I first jumped into the muddy water I seriously struggled to scale the first hump and basically told myself after getting over 2 of the 7 I would call it quits. After that first struggle, our group figured out a method to getting over each hump in one move which meant I had no excuse. Did I mention I was up to my waist in muddy water?

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Not wimping out from this obstacle was probably my proudest moment of the race.

Everyone I met throughout the race was supportive and encouraging. I probably awkwardly groped more strangers than I care to admit while trying to help them during certain obstacles like the mountains or rope climb. Since the race wasn’t timed there was no sense of competition, instead everyone was helping everyone when they needed a little boost.

After the race we enjoyed some beer before heading back to New York feeling hella strong and accomplished :) Well done, team.

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Tips For Your First Obstacle Course Race:

Grab a group of friends. Trust me. I’m all for solo workouts and fending for yourself, but being surrounded by a group of supportive people made a huge difference and was super necessary during a few of the obstacles.

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Wear shoes you don’t care about. I decided to ditch my shoes post-race because they were pretty beat up to begin with. Supposedly you can wash them in the washing machine… I decided to bid farewell to my sneaks because my building doesn’t need me ruining the washers with my muddy shoes.

I personal don’t recommend wearing shorts. There was a fair amount of crawling which might not feel great on your knees if you’re in shorts. Before the race I was chilly in my tank top and capris, during the race though I was happy with my outfit choice. Also, the mud came out of my crops completely, the shirt is about 85% clean…. but my undies weren’t as lucky. So there you have it, wear undies you don’t care about.

Pack a towel for afterwards. This race had a communal shower area where I rinsed off the layer of mud caked on my skin. The shower was only 2 minutes long but it felt awesome. Afterwards I was happy to have a towel though because it was cold and I wanted to change into dry/clean clothes.

Pack a change of clothes wisely. Definitely pack a change of clothes, however pack carefully. After running around in the mud and taking a quick rinse off shower, pulling up a pair of tight yoga pants felt like pulling up a wet bathing suit. So uncomfortable. One of the girls from the group was wearing a dress afterwards. I think she had the right idea. Also, I wish I was wearing flip-flops after the race instead of another pair of sneakers.

Sign up for a race appropriate for YOU and your fitness level. Obstacle course races come in all shapes and sizes. I think Mudderella is a great intro to obstacle course races since it’s not incredibly long, you can skip an obstacle if you want, and you’ll be surrounded by a group of supportive ladies there to have a good time. There’s also something to be said about not feeling completely beat up after the race– I only endured a few scrapes on my shin and my body was super sore Sunday but nothing too serious to worry about.

 

Question

Obstacle course people: What are your top tips for race day?
And which muddy race should I sign up for next :)