Coffee Break

That’s an upside-down picture of a green tea match latte from Perpetuum Cafe in Flatiron. I love those. They’ve been my main jam for the last week+. I woke up last Tuesday, after a night of a couple of drinks and some shitty (yet delicious, of course) bar food during the first debate and decided, “Nope, no coffee.” 

I wasn’t tired throughout the day, while opting for tea. I’m well aware that tea has caffeine, but when it’s steeped, the caffeine weakens greatly. Tea doesn’t send my digestion system into overdrive and make me feel like shit, so there’s that, too. 

I did it the next day. And the next. And the one after that. I kept doing it until yesterday, Tuesday, morning rolled around and it was super dreary out and all I really wanted was a Hungarian Coffee from The Hungarian Pastry Shop. I had one, but I got decaf. 

Fact: Caffeine isn’t all that. It just blocks the adenosine in your body from telling the receptors in your brain that you’re tired. Hence why you often crash after it wears off and need more.  

I still felt pretty good after my decafe Hungarian Coffee. I haven’t had anything yet today, besides water, and I’m not at all tired. I’ll probably have tea soon to help digest the cupcake I just ate. 

I love the smell of coffee and the process of making it, and drinking it (you know, with whipped cream and almond extract). But it doesn’t really make me feel great. I’m going to try to keep transitioning to tea. We’ll see what happens. 

My Post-December Detox

I eat pretty well on a regular basis. Ask my boyfriend. He’s continually astounded by how well I eat. I don’t think it’s THAT good, but he does, so let’s go with that. But then the month of December comes and the snacking goes to shit.

December is always a difficult month – lots of crap to eat in the office and then the holidays come and you’re told to splurge because “it’s the holidays,” and then before you know it, you’ve gained 5 pounds. Let me first say that 5 pounds is no reason to get your panties in a twist. Honestly, between water weight and what we’re eating on a daily basis (did you eat a burger last night or a salad?), I don’t think it’s crazy to fluctuate in the 3-5 pound range from week to week. (Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. I’m just going off my own experiences and things I’ve read.)

Even though I was making my own lunches (and oftentimes my own dinners), exercising regularly (5-6 days a week), and living in a city where your feet are your main mode transportation (I ❤ you, NYC), I think my weight still went up a bit in December. At the beginning of the month I was still hopping on the scale every few days. But after I realized that the number was making me feel like shit, while I didn’t physically feel like shit, I thought that I’d better cool it. At least for December.

And so that’s what I did. I splurged, ate what I wanted (but not to the point of sickness), exercised a lot, and didn’t step a foot on the scale. If I felt sluggish one day, I’d work out some more (having a gym in my building’s basement is the best). But now… now December is over, New Year’s Day is over, so it’s time to get my eating back on track. There won’t be cookies and chocolate in the office anymore so this should be relatively simple. Here’s my detox plan…

Replace coffee with green tea: I’m not totally getting rid of coffee – I love making coffee in the morning. The process is almost therapeutic for me. I love the smell and setting the timer for steeping. The only thing I don’t really like the taste. Of the coffee. So sue me, but whatever, that’s why there’s honey and whipped cream. I’ll continue to drink coffee in the morning because it’s my crack but I’m going to go back to drinking tea first (which is something that I always used to do before I started getting into the groove of using my Fellow). I’m generally of the belief that drinking caffeine on an empty stomach is a recipe for feeling like shit. It sends your digestive system into overdrive and bloats you.

Go to the gym three mornings per week: Thirty minutes on the elliptical and I’m golden. I was doing four mornings before the New Year, but I want to have two mornings to wake up slower, do my 8-minute flow, and drink my tea in peace.

Yoga at least 3 times per week: I’ve been doing yoga 3+ times per week since 2011. I’m going to continue this, obviously. Even if I’m not sweating after every class, it’s still beneficial to move and stretch.

Continue to make all of my own lunches: I need to make more turkey chili STAT and find a few new soup recipes. I’m going to keep eating warm, soft foods during the winter (Ayurveda, FTW). More risotto, too! 

Eat less dairy: Since I consumed my cheese for the year on New Year’s Day, I think I need to eat less dairy. Dairy is gross and pure fat. I’m going to go back to not keeping any cheese in my fridge and only coconut milk.

Drink 3 cups of green day per day: This is just good for your metabolism, so duh.

Bring snacks with me to work: You know what the best way to eat shit during the work day is? Not bringing your own snacks with you. Then you end up eating whatever is left around in the office kitchen, or going out to get a cookie or some other processed nonsense that will sit in your gut for an extra week.

Eat minimal processed foods: My guilty pleasure are the peanut butter filled pretzel nuggets from Trader Joe’s and those are processed, but I can pronounce all the ingredients, so I’m giving that a goddamn pass. I’m really into apples and carrots these days. 

Meditating: Always. Twice a day. I’m going to try to incorporate longer sessions into my evenings or weekends a couple of times a week though. It’s so important and so relaxing.

I think that’s about it. If you see me posting pictures of crap food on my Instagram, yell at me. 

Morning Glory

Since it’s starting to be darker and darker in the morning, it’s been realllllly hard to get out of bed and make it 7 flights down to my basement to go to the gym. I know: life is hard. So, instead I’ve been taking it easy and drinking tea, meditating, stretching, getting ready, and then walking a couple of miles before I get on the train (i live about 3 miles from my office). Today I listened to a podcast called The Bowery Boys and “Supernatural Stories of New York.” I’ll usually stop at The Hungarian Pastry Shop or Irving Farms for coffee along the way too. I like Plowshares on 102nd and Broadway too, but their takeaway cups are the worst.

I’m trying to take it easier during the week because I’m usually booked up 100% between yoga+shows+friends+errands. Last night I had to run or go to yoga, so I ran down to Trader Joe’s (2.12 miles) and then shopped. Running on Broadway is kind of a pain in the ass, but it was okay. I ran sub-10 minute miles which is way too fast. I was dead by the time I got to TJ’s. I’m starting to love/hate running again because it’s so mindless. Just one foot in front of the other.

I’m going to go to a yoga class and then make it home to chill out and hopefully be able to stream the democratic debates (#feelthebern). I also need to buy kale, so there’s that.

What’s your morning routine? 

(The above photo was actually taken during a sunset one night in the last month.)

Semi-normality.

I went to bed at 8pm on Monday night – I was exhausted – and woke up at 6am on Tuesday. That was awesome. I didn’t have any coffee all day either (and it was National Coffee Day – so bad). I wasn’t tired at all in the afternoon or at night. I had beaten jet lag! I went to bed on Tuesday night just before 10pm. This time I woke up around 5:45am. I wasn’t tired anymore, so I decided not to try to fight it and I got up and went down to the gym in my building. I ran 1.5 miles and then walked another .3 miles (+ 80 sit-ups). I was exhausted and called it quits.

With all of my extra time, I planned out my food for the day (1 cup greek yogurt with 2 tbsp of granola and 1/2c frozen cherries for breakfast, kale salad with chicken, cabbage, 1/3 of an avocado, and peppers for lunch, and two snacks: banana with two tbsp peanut butter and a cup of grapes) and then did some other food prep. I was a tad more tired than I’d been the previous day, but, duh, I’d run and gotten up earlier.

I broke down and had coffee today, but it’s decaf so it’s not as super caffeinated. I’m still trying to get back to my normal routine after traveling for almost two weeks. Slowly but surely.

(The above photo is apropos of nothing. It’s from my first night in Oslo. Norway has the best sunsets ever.)

Mornings in Morningside

Because I ran myself ragged yesterday (in the best of ways), I decided to take this morning off from the gym and instead spend 20 minutes or so drinking a Hungarian coffee (coffee with almond extract, cinnamon, and whipped cream) and reading (current read: Spinster)  at The Hungarian Pastry Shop. 

It wasn’t the suffocating 90* that it is currently and there was practically no one else sitting outside. There were hoards of Columbia students having just moved back into the neighborhood this past weekend already making it their morning routine to grab coffee on the way to their classes though. My neighborhood feels incredibly packed and busy again, but in a good way. Not in the same way that Times Square feels packed. I shudder to think that I almost moved into Hell’s Kitchen. 

I think this week I have to make it my priority to take it easy in the mornings, sip coffee outside, read, and go to yoga after work. I probably won’t, but it sounds nice.

So, I gave up my 58 day ban on coffee last week and started drinking it again. It’s not because I was necessarily tired (I sleep 7-7.5 hours a night FFS), but I just felt like I missed it in my morning routine, and perhaps it did make me a bit more alert. And I definitely need to be alert at work right now. Also? I’m sick of grabbing a drink on dates. I’d much rather grab coffee. 

But I do still think it tastes like shit. And adding milk to it doesn’t really help the situation as milk is tending to make me feel ill. 

Can anyone recommend some really brilliant tasting coffee? Nothing too bitter – rather on the sweet side. 

Staycations

I haven’t had an entire week off since about July 2012 (before I started my full-time internship in early August 2012). I’m a bit of a control freak and a worrier so I never like to take time off and detatch from work. I had used about five of my twenty vacation days so far when I realized it was late September and I could only carry over 5 of those remaining days, I decided to take this week off and do nothing.

Well, I took this week off, but I didn’t do nothing, technically. I slept in most days to 8am (a good two hours later than I usually sleep!), which was nice. I kept track of my work email on my phone and as far as I could tell, no shit was hitting the fan at all. Which was nice. Very nice.

Movies: I saw two – Cuatro and Gravity (in IMAX 3D). They were both good.

Shows: I saw A Night With Janis Joplin & Bronx Bombers. Both were awesome!

Cooking: I made chocolate chip pumpkin muffins, chocolate chip cookies, butternut squash soup, and this linguine without the shrimp. Because I was lazy.

the beginnings of butternut squash soup

TV: I don’t have cable, but I do have Netflix and I felt called to watch seasons 1 and 2 of Scandal. So I did. It was good, but you had to really be paying to it. I’m looking forward to the next episodes! But damn, Kerry Washington, I wish you wouldn’t have had all that plastic surgery.

Yoga: I made it to six yoga classes. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday (x2), and Saturday. I took four classes with one of my favorite teachers whose classes I can never make (because of timing) anymore. It was awesome. Apparently I have to slow my practice down. A lot. And she taught me how to use a yoga block to give myself a neck massage. Amazing. Below is my heart rate monitor after my most grueling vinyasa class:

Running: I ran twice. Once last weekend (6 miles) and once today (3.2 miles). That’s good enough for me.

Coffee: I drank lots of coffee. I went to Birch, Ground Support, Think, Joe, and Everyman Espresso. I spent too much money at these establishments.

Food: I finally got to try Dakota Bar on 72nd and Columbus with two of my friends last night. I liked it – though it’s incredibly overpriced. The mini-burgers were really good though! I also had lunch with a friend down by his office at Bar Ciccio in SoHo. 

Firsts: I went to my first meditation class tonight. It was awesome. And it cost only $5. It was a thirty minute meditation, followed by a thirty minute dharma talk, and then cookies and tea. It was amazing. They were incredibly welcoming. Check them out here.

Banksy: The incredible and elusive street artist left his mark on the Upper West Side last night so I went right over to see it this morning. Pretty amazing.  My dad was with me and asked me to tell him when he gets arrested. After which he asked me to email him the photo and he put it on his FB wall. 😉

Central Park: And lastly today I spent the afternoon with my dad taking photos in Central Park. We walked around most of the park (except north of 100th, just because we ran out of time), walked through the Whitney, and got lunch at Untitled. My dad had shockingly never seen the Reservoir before, or Bethesda Fountain (even though he did see the original Broadway production of Angels in America (part 1) in the early 90’s!). It was a nice day!

Overall: Not a bad 9 days off.

I’ve been kind of over drinking lately. Maybe it’s my liking staying in my yoga pants from Friday night to Monday night. Or it’s the dislike for being hit on my drunk slobs at the bar. Or the slight hangover the next. But really it’s probably just the amount of money that I’d spend.

And it’s cold.

So on Sunday, when I texted one of my friends and asked what he was up to, I was thrilled when he suggested getting tea. We decided to meet at 4pm, in time for high tea at the 72nd Street Le Pain Quotidien.

Over our bowls of hit beverages and a croissant, we caught up on each others lives for under $12.

Next we walked (yes, in 20* weather) up to the JOE on 84th and Columbus. Named the best coffee in the city, I insisted he try it. He said it was “really good” and we warmed up for a bit inside. This cost $6.50.

Our last stop of the afternoon was Two Boots on 96th and Broadway. Possibly overrated pizza, but we enjoyed it. Two slices were around $8.

The whole afternoon cost around $25 collectively, with no hangover included “free” of charge.