New Hampshire Weekend: The Friday Hike

This weekend I got to get away with some lovely ladies.  It was a great end-of-the-summer type trip that included lots of hiking, eating, and wine drinking!

Amy and I headed up to New Hampshire very early Friday morning- 6 a.m. to be exact. Our plan for the day included a moderate hike up Mount Kinsman to Bald Peak, which has a summit at 2,470 feet and a total mileage of 4.6 roundtrip.

We got to the trail head around 8:45 and promptly geared up with our sneakers, lots of bug spray, and an energy bar.  I had a Blueberry Bliss Luna Bar.

The hike started off pretty easy, with wide, flat surfaces that walked us passed an old sugar house and plenty of trees 🙂

Sorry it's sideways 😉

But, let me tell you, once we started our climb to the summit (I’d say around the end of mile one?) we didn’t stop climbing.  It was pretty tough!  We would keep trying to push through until we came to a plateau but they almost never came!  It was a pretty steep climb too!

Now you see me...

Now you don't!

My hamstrings and calves burned almost 100% of the time (in a good way).

The ground was mostly dry so I didn’t get muddy like I have in previous hikes.

When we reached the summit  around 10 there were 360 degree views of Mount Kinsman and the surrounding area.

We took a bunch of goofy pics.

cell phone service at top of the mountain!

We also met a girl who had camped there at the top for the night.  She must’ve been super lonely, or friendly, because she talked our ear off for about twenty minutes.

We lounged around the top for about an hour before heading back down.  Say hello to Mr. Frog!

Thanks to Amy for being such a great hiker/photographer.  I don’t know how she had the energy in her to snap pics while walking up a steep mountain side.

After the hike we drove into the town where we were staying for the weekend.  We parked in front of a wine shop (my idea) and ate a couple of peanut butter sammies and sour cream and onion Cape Cod chips.  Yum!

Friday night dinner post and Saturday hike post coming up!

Stay tuned 🙂




Good evening peeps!

Let me tell you, after a nice relaxing weekend in New Hampshire with a few lovely ladies I was up and rearing to go early(ish) this morning.  A post will follow about the weekend so for now let’s get to my Monday.

First off, I was hoping it would rain because I knew it would make me productive today.  Thank you Mother Nature.

I was up around 8:30, showered, had a huge bowl of oatmeal, and headed to my school to start beginning of school preparations.  Basically this included me sitting at my desk for a while (a loooong while) doing nothing.  Lots of ideas are swarming in my head about how I want to set up my math block (a full 90 minutes!).  Since I have taught a self-contained fourth grade class for the past four years (meaning I taught all subject areas), I am excited to be solely a MATH TEACHER.

The highlight (and breakthrough) of my day came when Amy sent me her procedures and policies she uses in her 8th grade algebra class.  Why reinvent the wheel I say!  I modified it to be fifth grade appropriate and called it a day.  THANKS AMY!


Around 4:30 I headed to BSC to meet Amy to work on shoulders and do some yoga.  Shoulders went smoothly with a quick 4-exercise circuit that included 3 sets of 10 reps of the following:

  • Circles using 5lb weights: Hold arms to your side and lift to shoulder height, make 10 small circles (front then back), 10 large circles (front to back), then hold weights at shoulder height in front and do 5 circles clockwise and counterclockwise.
  • front raises using 10lbs
  • arnold presses using 12.5lbs
  • upright row using 40lbs

I haven’t taken a yoga class since November but since my 10K training plan (which officially starts today) calls for Monday to be a “stretch and strength day” I figured yoga would be the best way to stretch.  Interestingly enough, my fav yoga teacher, who left a few weeks ago to move to DC, was subbing for the class.  SCORE!

I really enjoyed the Vinyasa style yoga because it was fast paced and kept me moving the entire time.  My wrists were definitely sore during any side-planks and downward dogs I did.  I noticed a huge difference in my strength and stamina to hold poses from my last class in November too.  Overall I was happy I did it and will take another class soon.


I headed to Jack’s house after to cook some dinner for him since he is busy finishing up some school work 🙂

Salads to start:

I always make his and hers salads:  hers has tomatoes, cucumbers, green olives, and croutons.  His has lettuce, pepperoni, and American cheese.  What can I say, I am a gourmet chef 😉 .  Both topped with Newman’s Own light balsamic vinaigrette.

I made Shake and Bake chicken with Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Medley.  I make the rice with chicken stock instead of water so it gives it a really nice flavor.

Healthy Living Blogs:

In other news, Want.Believe.Achieve has joined a new resource for the health blogging community on a site called Healthy Living Blogs.  It was created by Lindsey of Sound Eats. HLB is a site designed to enhance the positive community of the healthy living blog world. Bloggers and readers can explore the site and find more blogs to love, bloggers in their area, and forums to deepen healthy discussion and support. If you’re interested in having your site listed on HLB, simply send the following information to and check the site out for yourself! (Thanks to HLB for this neat little blurb about the site!)

There are some really interesting healthy living blogs out there and what I like most about the HLB site is that I can search for new blogs to read by country and state.  I love finding other blogs to read from the Boston area!  Check it out!

Are you a blog reader?  If so, which blogs do you read?  If not, which aspect of a healthy living blog would interest you most: food, exercise, relaxation, spirituality?  Something else??

Well friends, I am going to sort through pictures from the weekend and get started on some catch-up posts.  Tomorrow I have a 2.5 mile run planned (possibly on the treadmill) and some strength training with legs to do before I head back into the classroom for day to of Operation Back to School.



Letting the Universe Guide You….


I have no idea where my Thursday went!  I basically woke up in a panic at 9:50 thinking I would get a parking ticket (2 hour parking starts at 8), rushed to get ready, shoved a Luna Bar down my throat and headed to the gym.

Interestingly enough, I unintentionally drove past the gym and ended up at Target? Huh, well, I believe the Universe wanted me to buy something. So I did!

The new Ray CD “God Willin’ & the Creek Don’t Rise”.  Actually, I had to go to Best Buy because Target didn’t have it (WTF Target, seriously!)

I love the CD already because after seeing him two nights live I got a good feel for a few of the songs.  I love all of them and think this is his best CD yet. 🙂  You definitely need to check it out NOW, please! And let me know what you think…

Last night I was so excited to go to the show again.  It was so fun taking Jack because he only listens to Ray when I make him listen in my car.  He really thought he was great.  He also loved David Gray!

The crowd was so into both sets and at the end they played TWO ENCORE songs together!  The first was David’s “In the Morning” and the second was a cover of the Beatles’ song “Dig a Pony”.  Perfect ending to a perfect night!

If the pictures look blurry it is probably because you need glasses, because they are crystal clear to me.  Haha….my camera was not working with me last night..

Before the show we went to Morton’s in Boston’s Seaport.  It is restaurant week so we got a salad, entrée, side, and dessert for $33.10 a piece.  We got a great table overlooking the ocean on the patio.

We started with their onion crusted bread and butter

I got a Caesar salad

Petite filet (cooked medium) and mashed potatoes.

I also enjoy a Raspberry Pineapple Mor-tini (get it?!) and a glass of white wine.

Moving on…

I met Amy at the gym at 11 and came to the conclusion that it was quite possible I was still sleeping.  My eyes were heavy and I didn’t want to move a muscle.  But I did.  Well, my back and triceps muscles at least.

Tonight for dinner I made some eggplant, which I baked and breaded and served it with whole wheat angel hair pasta.  Yum.  I used some sauce I froze before I left for Maine and it was the perfect spur if the moment meal.  I even made Jack his favorite pasta too! (Light sauced ziti with melted mozzarella cheese).

In a bit I am headed for drinks with some of my teacher friends who I am sure in as much disbelief that school starts a week from Monday!  After this weekend I got to get my boot-ay into the school and look at my new curriculum!



Running on Ray

Happy Tuesday Wednesday everyone!  I actually sat to type up a post yesterday and got way side-tracked and was definitely in no condition to do so last night after the concert.  Let’s say that I stayed out very late and did something I haven’t done in a while: shut the bar down, ha!  I was, however, reminded this morning that I do not bounce back the way I use to 😦 Boooo for getting old.

With that being said (and I don’t admit to hangovers very often so feel lucky I am admitting it now) I will not be gymming it today.  I was going to take the noon spin class but I am opting for a full day of channel surfing on my couch and some napping.

While we are on the subject, let’s talk gym:

My goal (in case you forgot) is to run a 10K this fall in late October and I have found a training plan that I am starting Monday.  I think I will be adding a page to keep you updated on the runs.  Maybe some of you will train with me??

I picked the training plan because the six-day-a-week cycle combines running, cross training, strength training, and stretching.

Yesterday I unofficially began my training with a 2.5 mile run on the treadmill.  It was really humid outside and I wanted to do weights too so running at the gym just made more sense.  When running I kept it at a comfortable pace and tried not to wish it was over.  Sometimes I can’t get my head into it but I pushed through.  Note to self: I NEED NEW MUSIC!!

It was Leg Day so after my run I headed up to the top floor.  Amy and I planned a new routine a few weeks ago which cycled some oldie-but-goodie moves with a new (and super challenging) one.

Smith Machine Single-leg squat: (I did the modified version, a regular squat because one leg squats are like the hardest thing I have ever tried!) 3 sets of 10, 70lbs

Leg Press: 3 sets of 10, 100lbs

Deadlift: 3 sets of 12, 60lbs

Adductor Machine: 3 sets of 10, 90 lbs

Pre-gym snack:

After the gym I snacked on a sliced pink lady apple and a whole wheat pita with Trader Joe’s salted peanut butter.  Yum!  At first, when I switched to Trader Joe’s PB I didn’t like the taste because it wasn’t sweet at all. But then I realized that PB isn’t naturally sweet, it is the sugar and high fructose corn syrup that make Jiffy and such so sweet.  After a little time for adjustment I like the real PB 🙂

Of course we all know that last night was the concert of a lifetime: Ray Lamontagne and David Gray are co-headlining a tour.  I went last night and I am going again tonight.  Ray went on at 7:30 which was such an appropriate time for him.  To me he is the perfect 5 o’clock music and for him to come on while the sun was setting and the sky was pink and orange was just impeccable timing.  He played lots of songs from his new CD “God Willin’ & the Creek Don’t Rise” which just came out yesterday, but also played some of his older music (Trouble and Shelter are two of my favorites, but he didn’t play Jolene 😦 )

Ray and the Pariah Dogs (his band) did an amazing job.  They really meshed well together and not one member stood out beyond the others.  Even Ray wasn’t front and center, he was kiddie-cornered at the side of the stage.  He is a very timid guy (because we are friends and I know this) so it seemed fitting that he wouldn’t be in the center of the stage.

This show was much different from his other shows I have seen.  It wasn’t as intimate but I was just as mesmerized.  I also didn’t appreciate that people were still coming in and getting situated while he was playing.  Usually concerts don’t start until 9 so I can understand why people may not have planned on being seated and ready so early.  (I knew only because I Face Book stalk him 🙂 )  Good thing is, Ray didn’t seem to mind!

David Gray was awesome too.  His new CD came out yesterday but he played no new songs, which is fine by me!  I really like to sing at the top of my lungs at concerts so the fact that I new most of the songs really made me happy.

His set was high energy and I could tell the audience had their share of fun (and drinks?!) by the end of his set.  I loved the blues, yellows, and greens of his lighting.  Toward the very end, there was dancing and hooting in the aisles galore!

BEST MOMENT? When Ray joined David for the very last song: an acoustic version of the song “In the Morning”.   Ahhhh, melt my heart 🙂

I will leave you with one of Ray’s new songs called “New York City’s Killing Me” which he played last night.  It is so lazy sounding.  A perfect summer song.  Goodness, I love this man!



Getting Back into the Swing of Things

What crazy weather we had today here in Boston! It was raining and a bit chilly when I left the house at 7 a.m. and by the time 2 p.m. rolled around the sun was pushing its way through the clouds and the humidity shot through the roof.  I do not generally enjoy the slimy feeling on my face and back when it gets humid 😦  But then again, I am not sure too many people do!

*dramatization* I definitely don't wear pearls, ha

ANYWAY- I spent today running around doing errands and sweating my butt off so I am counting that as my workout.

I actually knew that it was going to be a busier day than I am used to this time of year (I only had like two things to do but neither was laying in the sun) so I made sure I went to the gym yesterday to hit the weights and do some cardio.  It was actually nice to WANT to be at the gym yesterday afternoon as a spur of the moment decision. Sometimes the downside of planning your gym sessions is planning your gym sessions, know what I mean? Most of the time it helps me mentally prepare but sometimes is stops me dead in my tracks (the latter has been happening A LOT since Hawaii).

Going yesterday reminded me of how empty the gym is around noon on Sundays and I really enjoyed having space to myself.

As I said I was going to, I spent much of this weekend thinking about all the workouts I have been skipping since getting back and I am happy to say that I think I have gotten my motivation back!  Last week my gym buddy and I were on opposite schedules so I had to force myself to get up and at it.  To be honest, it may have been what I needed!  Sometimes there is no substitution for having to drag yourself to the gym.  Because nobody is responsible for my health but me it was important to me mentally to get myself there (as opposed to doing it for someone else if that makes sense).

On Friday I shared with you my three steps to getting back into the swing of things. The three steps (planning, prepping, and setting goals) have really helped me get back at it in the past.  I’d like to share my P.O.A (plan of action, peeps!)

1) PLANNING MY WEIGHTS: I am going to be doing my gym sessions around 10 in the morning four days a week for a few weeks until school starts.  The gym sessions will be broken into four-day splits where I will focus on one to two muscles groups per day (and abs three days): back and triceps, chest and biceps, legs, and shoulders (details to follow).

2) PLANNING CARDIO:  My cardio has been lagging more than my strength training and for that reason I know I need to switch it up and/or find a focus.  I really enjoy running but I haven’t challenged myself with it much.  First I want to note that I DO NOT WANT TO BE FASTER (yet)!  I am not looking to win races, but I do want to run LONGER. And that is where the exciting (for me) part comes in!  I am going to sign up for a 10K race with my sights on a half-marathon! I am already pretty sure I could make the six miles already but I found a training plan I want to use so I can do it up right!  I also like how the plan I found incorporates running, cross training, strength training and stretching (which I don’t do regularly, bad Lisa).  So I am going to start the 8 week plan Monday and then I am on the search to find a 10K sometime toward the end of October.

3) GOALS: a 10k!

In food news, I made myself some gingerbread tonight using a mix made by Hodgson Mill.

Minimal ingredients on the label is a plus and it was super easy to make: add milk, butter, egg.  Mix and bake!  I added chocolate chips (duh!) and am anticipating my cup of tea and a huge warm slice of gingerbread 🙂  YUM!  I love my sweet tooth!

On a final note tomorrow is THE DAY I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR!  It is Ray Day!  Months ago I got Ray-D.D when I found out he was coming to Boston to play two shows with David Gray.  I can’t believe that show is tomorrow!  I am going with Maureen and Amy on Tuesday and then with Jack on Wednesday.  Hopefully I will be able to sleep tonight.

Any 10K words of advice??  or races you can suggest??



Welcome Back to Meeee

Hello all! I know I have been noticeably absent from the blog world since Hawaii but I think I have finally pinpointed what I can credit this absence too: laziness and post-vacation blues!  I mean, it takes so long to finally get into a routine and only one short week for it to all fall apart.  And no matter how much I begged, Jack wouldn’t let me stay in Hawaii…

You can't tell me he doesn't look like a native Hawaiian 😉

….and I was on a family vaca in Maine for a week and I enjoyed my time there Internet free! 😉

Me, and my cousins Brendan, Casey, and Carney

Me, Casey, Carney (and Brendan giving us bunny ears, he's mature like that)

OH, and it took me five days to write this post (not because of the content but just because it took me that long)!  I am sure you all realize that busy people get things done and since I haven’t been too busy I haven’t been getting much done.  (Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU in advance for your understanding!)

AND now that I am back I am facing the reality that I need to get back into the swing of things.

~School starts in a few weeks (I know how bad you probably all feel for me, but try to remember what it was like as a kid and summer was ending, I have that same feeling!)

~I have a new classroom to move into and a new grade level curriculum to prepare (I am officially a math teacher!)

~I have a hallow leg which is causing me to eat everything under the sun and an insatiable thirst for wine and fruity beer.

~My workouts have been almost nonexistent ( I have done weights 4 times since before Hawaii)

and running has given me shin splints (because I am THAT out of routine).

Obviously, I am in DIRE NEED to get back into routine, but it really isn’t easy!  I have found that working out takes getting use to and sometimes it seems like a nuisance!  I can use almost any excuse to try to get out if it once I am out of routine.  With that being said, I also know that many of my excuses don’t hold true.

EXAMPLE 1: “I’m too tired” (I’ve found, that contrary to popular belief, it gives me more energy and a huge burst of contentedness and self-esteem!)

EXAMPLE 2: “I’m just not in the mood” (Working out leaves me with a “high” which,for me, is an instant mood booster.  I am a firm believer that a workout of some sort should precede all important events.  Smiles all around! 🙂 )

EXAMPLE 3: “Well, I haven’t worked out all week, what is the point of going for only one day” (AHHHHH, you can not have an all-or-nothing-mentalitiy when it comes to your fit life (this includes diet too!) every little bit counts)

What excuses do you use to get out of a sweat session?  How often are you able to talk yourself out of your excuse and get moving?  What motivates you to get your butt in gear?

I have been really trying to find a balance in my life between eating, working out, and living a normal life since last November and have found that there have been a few occasions where the motivation dwindles and the excuses are enough to keep me from moving.

Here are my tips for getting back into the swing of things (or if you are getting INTO the swing of things this is a good place to start!)

  1. PLAN, PLAN, PLAN– It is important to schedule time in your day for exercise.  I sit down during the weekend and evaluate work duties and personal commitments for the upcoming week and then plan in gym and running sessions.  Setting the time and place will help you hold yourself accountable for the workout (and help you realize that you really aren’t “too busy” to workout).  It also lets you know how much time you have to spend on your activity.  I typically like working out during the off-peak times at the gym so I tend to like morning workouts but when running I try (sometimes unsuccessfully) to plan early a.m. or evening to avoid the high heat and humidity of the summer.  Finally, don’t forget to know WHAT you will be doing! I think the worst workouts I have ever had stem from heading to the gym with no plan of attack.  Decide if you are doing cardio or strength training (or both) or taking a class so your workout will be effective!
  2. PREPARATION IS KEY! I am a prepare-a-holic when I am on top of my fit game!  This prep includes meals, snacks, clothing, music choice, and workout selection.  This is especially important when hitting up the gym for a 5:30 a.m. gym session.  Preparation allows you just pick up and go when you need to and also allows you to mentally know what to expect for the next day.  I start my prep with my meals and snacks.  I have found that eating every 4-5 hours keeps my energy level and mood stable throughout the day.  I eat breakfast first thing when I wake up (whether I am hungry or not) and have a snack around 10, lunch around 12:30, another snack at 3 pm, and dinner around 6.  I know when my munchies are going to hit me so I make sure to pack myself a healthy and filing snack before leaving the house.  The night before a gym session (especially an early morning one) I make sure all my clothes are packed and ready to go.  I even plan what I will wear to the gym!  Music selection usually pertains to when I do cardio because it is my main source of motivation (unless I am taking a class or have company for a run).  I like to mix up the songs depending on the time of my run and my mood.  I try to make sure I select songs I won’t want to skip over during a run and arrange them on a playlist so they can take me through the phases of a run: warm-up, run, and cool down.
  3. SET A GOAL (or two)- Goals are the ultimate source of motivation.  They should be manageable and challenging but do-able and attainable.  To start off (or get back into routine) a goal could be just to get to the gym 4 days a week to strength train or run three days a week for at least 20 minutes. When your fit life starts to evolve and those original goals are habit (i.e. you make it to the gym four days with little to no problem) then you can re-evaluate and set new ones.  In addition to forming good habits through goals though you can easily find yourself just moving through the motions once a routine is set.  This isn’t good because you can’t grow (or shrink?!) much physically when you are doing the same exercises at the same pace and weight for an extended period of time.  For this reason, it is wise to use goals to constantly switch things up and target different aspects of your fit life (eating and exercising).  Goals can bring you to the “next” level, keep you interested, and keep being fit FUN!

My plan of attack using my three steps above will come in a later post.  It has to do with switching up weights, incorporating a couple of classes like spin, Body Pump, and yoga (I mean it this time), and a possible 10K race this fall, but I don’t have any concrete plans just yet.  To be honest I really just need to get back to my 4 day strength training and 3 days of running first!

On that note, I am going to skidaddle and get ready for some drinks with my ladies.

It is good to be back.  I honestly missed getting my writing on for y’all!



PS- don’t forget to tell me your excuses and motivations for getting you butt in gear!