Let’s be friends.

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I’ve never really had a hard time making friends.

Is that weird? Sometimes, when I hear people constantly complain about how hard it is to make friends as an adult, I think maybe it’s weird.

Even weirder? I’ve also never had a hard time making girl friends.

I think it’s a pretty common trope in our society that some women take a certain amount of pride in the fact that they can’t get along with other girls. (I’ve mentioned before that this makes me not trust said women.) But I’ve always been extremely fortunate in that I’ve always had girls/women in my life that were just awesome. It’s part of the reason why I was a tiny bit surprised to discover that there are genuine mean girls in the world as an adult — I simply didn’t deal with any for most of my life.

Like I said, I think I’m weird.

But the fact is, while not every friendship I’m fostered post elementary school has continued to flourish, I’ve continued to make what I would consider close friends even now.

Then yesterday I read this article that talked about making friends like a 6-year-old. I just find something incredibly poetic about that. I immediately forwarded it to my friend Diana because it basically described the premise of our friendship — you like doing the same things at the same time, you share food, you lend each other clothes, and you basically became friends in exactly the same scenario described in point #3 in the article.

Joey and I discussed the idea last night and came up with about three skills of mine that make it easy to make friends:

1. I ask a lot of questions. Blame it on my journalism background, but I have no qualms about sitting down with a stranger and asking them to tell me their life story. I like knowing a little bit about everything, and I love hearing people talk about something that gets them excited, and curiosity is sometimes all people need to get going. And who doesn’t like someone who listens to them talk about things that are important to them?

2. I’m kind of loud. If I’m with someone who isn’t a big talker (at least initially), I’m more than capable of carrying the conversation. My friend Annie is also really good at simply talking through an awkward situation. The trick is having an arsenal of funny anecdotes that don’t require the listener to be at all connected to the story to find them funny. I also laugh a lot, which (I hope) puts people more at ease.

3. I actually like making plans with people. I typically dedicate one or two nights a week to getting dinner with someone and catching up, and I try not to let more than a month go by without any kind of interaction with most of my friends. I’m fortunate in a way that most of the people I like spending time with are just as busy as I am, so none of us get especially needy with each other’s free time. When we do get together, it doesn’t really matter how much time has gone by. So maybe it’s also important to make friends with people who have similar expectations as you do so as to avoid any hurt feelings.

I think I’m really fortunate to have a good mix of lifelong friends and new friends. The lifers know all your business and never need an explanation for why it was funny that that random guy from high school looked at your LinkedIn profile. The newbies don’t carry around any ancient history or assumptions and haven’t heard all your stories already.

So tell me: Am I weird? Or just in a weird situation that I’m meeting new people (and new potential friends) fairly regularly? Or is the whole “it’s hard to make friends as an adult” thing just a myth?

The hardest workout I’ve ever done.

I’m aware the title of this post is a bold statement. But it’s really the only way to describe what I did this morning.

(I’m also aware just YESTERDAY I said I wasn’t going to talk about working out all the time. But I’m boring. And a liar. Deal with it.)

I’ve mentioned before the intense Epic classes that I signed up for with my friend Diana. What I have not mentioned?

Burpee Thursdays.

What is a Burpee Thursday, you ask? I’ll elaborate.

The class is broken into eight stations. Each station is comprised of some kind of toning move followed by five burpees. You perform each station five times before moving on to the next station. You have 45 seconds to perform each set.

So, for example, at one station you might do five dead lifts followed by five burpees. Five times. Then, at another station, you might do a box jump followed by five burpees. Five times.

Occasionally you finish the set before the 45 seconds are up, which means you have time to fit a few more burpees in. (Lucky you!)

I’ll save you the head scratching and just tell you that all of that averages out to at least 200 burpees per class.

I know you’re no doubt a busy person, so you probably read the last sentence kind of quickly and the meaning didn’t truly sink in for you. So I’m going to need you to pause for a second and really think about that.

Two. Hundred. Burpees.

In case you are unfamiliar with burpees (in which case, you were probably pretty perplexed at the 800 references to them I made above), this is a burpee.

It might look like the slightly more energetic cousin of the jumping jack, but rest assured — it’s so, so much worse.

If you don’t believe me, get on the floor right now and do ten in a row. Just ten. Go on, I’ll wait. I DARE YOU.

Now that we are all in agreement that these things are the work of the devil, it seems only fitting to remind you that I did over two hundred of them this morning.

TWO HUNDRED, YOU GUYS.

Even crazier? It’s the second time I’ve taken this class. The first time, I think it was actually worse because I had no idea what to expect and I was by myself. This time, it was still a beast, but at least I had my pal Diana to grumble with.

In case you were wondering, this is what you look like after you’ve done over 200 burpees:

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Diana defies the laws of science and logic with her ability to still look cute. (I credit the mystical powers of her entirely jade outfit.) I look appropriately near death.

Of course, the obvious benefit to doing The Hardest Workout You’ve Ever Done (besides bragging about it 8,000 times in your next blog post) is that you feel like a warrior princess the rest of the day. No matter what you accomplish for the next 12 hours, you’re doing this in your head:

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Because you accomplished anything after doing over 200 burpees. (Say “over 200 burpees” again.)

And that, my friends, is pretty epic.

A little alone time.

I feel like I so rarely have time to myself anymore.

It’s not that I don’t do things for myself. I still take the time to go for a run or to the gym. Last night, for example, I spent an hour at another Epic workout that may go down in history as the toughest workout I’ve ever done. (Burpee Thursday ain’t no joke, y’all.)

But usually I’m at work with coworkers all day, then I spend my evenings and weekends with Joey. During hockey season, I’ll usually have a few evenings at home alone when Joey is at games.

I kind of like having this time. Don’t get me wrong — I love spending time with Joey and my friends. But the time to myself is when I feel like I check things off my to-do list and re-center a bit.

I guess this is on my mind because Joey is doing some volunteer work Saturday and Sunday during the day, meaning I’ll have almost the whole weekend to myself. My first instinct was to text a bunch of friends to come over and hang out, but then I started thinking about the work I’d have to put into making sure the apartment was nice and generally being “on.”

Then I imagined just using the time to take care of things that I’ve been meaning to take care of. Like cleaning out my closet, dropping off my old clothes at the Buffalo Exchange, really deep-cleaning the apartment, and relaxing at home (in my newly organized apartment) with a glass of wine.

It just sounded kind of decadent, ya know?

So that’s what I decided to do. I have a few things to take care of in the mornings, but I’m dedicating the afternoons to those “one of these days, I’m going to…” tasks that have been hanging over my head. I feel like it will make me much saner in the long run.

Do you find you have to consciously schedule alone time for yourself? Or do you find it harder to get things accomplished and be social at the same time?

How to: Healthy Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip “Cookies”

I feel obligated to tell you that I don’t make much of an effort to “eat clean” in my every day life.

I fully recognize the benefits, but try not to be one of those all-or-nothing types when it comes to diet, exercise, or pretty much anything else. Plus, I just really like cheese and wine and ice cream. I don’t consider this a character flaw.

That being said, I do try to make healthy choices where I can. And as a lifetime owner of one of the biggest sweet tooths (sweet teeth? Grammar.) on the planet, I’m always excited when I find a more nutritious version of my favorite desserts for the every day.

Because as much as I’d like to, I can’t eat cheese and wine and ice cream every day.

One of my ALL-TIME favorite foods? Freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.

(Is it just me, or did you mouth start watering when I said that? Just me? Okay, moving on.)

But, again, I can’t just eat chocolate chip cookies every day if I want to be able to fit in my clothes every day. It’s a choice. A very, very difficult choice at times. And I’ve tried those “healthy cookie dough dips” on Pinterest that are made from chickpeas and sweetener. They are NOT delicious. They do¬†not solve my problem.

Which is why I was SO EXCITED when I spotted this pin on Pinterest:

Screen Shot 2013-08-06 at 10.03.24 PMBananas? Oats? Chocolate chips and peanut butter??? I love ALL those things. And this recipe could even be considered (GASP) clean??? (I think? I guess peanut butter and chocolate probably aren’t technically clean, right? Well, save your judgement until I tell you more about those ingredients.)

As if by fate, I also received an email from Kallari Chocolate asking if I wanted to sample their product. Kallari is a cacao grower that makes gourmet chocolate in Ecuador using biodiverse cacao groves. They use organic heirloom cacao, gourmet recipes (no emulsifiers, artificial flavors and half the sugar), and minimal processing to provide a chocolate experience unique from other chocolate chips for baking.

Plus, they retain most of their farms in primary and secondary rainforest, with an average of 1.5 acres of cacao planted per family, less than 2% of our total territory. This allows them to earn a living and provide for our families without sacrificing natural resources or forgetting our cultural traditions. (They also have a Kickstarter if you’d like to help support this honorable initiative.)(SUPPORT THE EARTH-FRIENDLY CHOCOLATE, PEOPLE.)

Anyway.

So a couple of nights ago, I decided to finally make the cookies. I went to click on the link from the pin, and LO AND BEHOLD, the recipe it linked to was nothing like the recipe in the pin caption. It linked to this.

Pinterest, this is why you are annoying. THIS.

The actual recipe called for a bunch of ingredients I didn’t have, and wasn’t even baked like a real cookie.

Though I was a bit more apprehensive, I decided to just go with what was written in the caption. Worst case scenario, I figured the globs of “cookie dough” would just bake down into a granola bar-type consistency. I could still eat that. (Obviously my standards are SUPER high, right?)

So I combined:

2 bananas, peeled
1 cup quick oats
1 heaping spoonful of natural peanut butter
1 bar Kallari dark chocolate (85% cocoa)

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I mashed everything together with a potato masher and baked 1 T rounds on a parchment lined baking pan at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes.

When they came out, they looked nothing like the original pin (BECAUSE THE RECIPE WAS TOTALLY DIFFERENT), but they DID somewhat resemble chocolate chip cookies. Sort of.

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The actual consistency was a little mushier than real cookies, but the oats gave the “cookies” enough chewy texture to satisfy the craving. The chocolate I used wasn’t particularly sweet because of the high cocoa content, but it wasn’t at all bitter either, and the bananas and peanut butter added sweetness.

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All in all, I’m pretty pleased with this accidental recipe. Even better, it’s practically a health food! COOKIES FOR HEALTH.

What’s your favorite healthy dessert that tastes like a not-healthy dessert? Lord knows I’m always in the market.

What Greek yogurt and Barry’s Bootcamp have in common.

You know what we haven’t talked about in, oh, four posts or so? Working out.

About a week ago, Chobani reached out to me and asked if I wanted to review some of their product. They’d noticed that I cook with Greek yogurt often (exhibit A, exhibit B, exhibit C, and exhibit D), but that I typically prefer Fage and would I be willing to try out cooking with Chobani. Obviously, I was thrilled to be asked (I never say no to Greek yogurt) and happily accepted.

As if that weren’t enough, they also offered me an invitation to a special Chobani workout at Barry’s Bootcamp specifically for bloggers and media members.

Um…free workout? I’m down.

I don’t know if any of you have ever tried Barry’s, but it’s pretty hardcore. It’s broken down into alternating sessions of treadmill sprints/incline runs and weights/step/bands.

IMG_5073They also keep the mood lighting appropriately intense.

I run pretty regularly, but I’m a distance runner. Hills/sprints kick my butt. And 20 straight minutes of lunges, squats, and step moves didn’t make it any easier.

By the time I left the class, I could barely walk down the steps to the subway. That, my friends, is a good workout.

IMG_5075Plus, class ended with a free Chobani protein smoothie. Can’t beat that.

IMG_5094So sweaty. So thirsty for yogurt smoothie.

I don’t know if I’ll attend another Barry’s for a while (it’s a wee bit expensive), but it was fun trying something new.

Thanks again for the invite, Chobani!

The quietest milestone

As my friend Gabby kindly pointed out, I have been slacking a bit on the blog.

My deepest apologies.

To be fair (and as Gabby pointed out), I’ve been a little busy. Mostly with going on the first real vacation Joey and I have taken since our honeymoon.

vacation

(Get more pics as they happen by following me on Instagram.)

It was, in a word, lovely. And relaxing. And warm. (Okay, if you know me at all you should know I usually need more than one word.)

Now, though, we’re officially back to real life and real jobs and real blogging. (Well, me at least.)

The only other semi-important thing that happened over our trip was that I turned 26. Obviously I didn’t make nearly the fuss this year that I did last year, but 26 isn’t all that much of a milestone, really.

The head of my department says it was her favorite age, though, so maybe I’m wrong?

I’ve said it before, but getting older doesn’t really freak me out that much. I mean, I’m not ruling out the chance that it will someday, but for now, I’m okay.

I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I’ve felt roughly 26 since I was about 13. If anything, I’m just relieved to finally actually be an age appropriate to the way I act. I’m married, have a full-time career, and am starting to think about buying a home and having kids in the next couple of years. Let’s hope I’m in my mid- to late-twenties, right?

I do wonder what will happen when I start to be in my 30s. Will I feel younger than my age? Or will I (*gulp*) actually have that house and kids, so feel appropriately 30s?

Guess you’ll have to wait and see with me, huh?

It does make me curious, though, what age do you feel?