IMG_7117

Laguna Beach: Day 5

Last day of vacation! As I mentioned in my previous post, my parents and I were traveling up to Los Angeles to meet up with some family that lives there.

Before we headed out, my dad and I wanted to tackle those menacing steps–118 to be exact– that led up to our hotel. We did nine flights total, some running, some taking two steps at a time, and one set sideways. Whew my legs were dead! Such a great workout

IMG_7177

We showered up, and grabbed breakfast down by the dock again. This time at What A Dish Cafe. I saw that their veggie omelet was filled with goat cheese and I didnt give my order a second thought. The waitress also asked if i wanted avocado with that… duh.

IMG_7127      IMG_7112

Dinner was at 6:30, but since LA traffic is insane, we left Laguna around 2 o’clock. The drive was… congested. And apparently this wasn’t even rush hour. No thanks. We arrived in Los Angeles a little after 4, parked our car, and started to walk around. We quickly realized that there wasn’t much to do downtown, so we got back in the car and took a ride into beverly hills, so i could see Rodeo Drive. I felt like a kid in a candy store shouting out all the names of the designers as we passed. By the time we fought the traffic back into the city, it was time to meet my cousins (yes, it took THAT long.)

We has reservations at Bottega Louie. It doubled as a bakery as well as a restaurant. They  had all different flavors of macarons in the window.. I couldn’t resist. We bought 5. The box was so cute, I actually decided to keep it! The chai macaron was my favorite:)

IMG_7114 IMG_7115

 

IMG_7117

For dinner, my cousins ordered 2 salads, 2 different pizzas, fried calamari, and brussel sprouts for all of us to share. I didnt get too many pictures during dinner unfortunately, we were having a good time catching up! But I assure you, everything was delicious!

IMG_7122

Thankfully, the drive back wasn’t bad at all, but after that, I was exhausted! We hit the sack around 10pm, we had another long day in the morning.

We didnt have to check out until 10am. And can you believe we were all up by 6am? So my dad and I squeezed in an arm/ab circuit, then met my mom for breakfast at the hotel. I was in the mood for oatmeal again, keeping it simple

IMG_7121

Im so thankful for another great vacation in the books. I love being able to get away and spend some stress free time with my mom and dad. Cant wait to see where the next trip takes us:)

IMG_7096

Laguna Beach: Day 4

My mom mentioned wanting to go kayaking while we were in California, so we made plans to give it a try Wednesday morning. The session was supposed to last around 2 hours, and started at 10am.

We left the hotel early so we could grab a quick breakfast beforehand, and see where the meeting spot was ( as you can imagine, Mom was a nervous wreck that we wouldn’t find it). We Ended up at Madison Square & Garden Cafe, which was actually right next to Urth Caffe, where we ate lunch the day before.

This place sold outdoor furniture and garden decorations, and they are all around the outdoor eating area, it really gave the restaurant an earthy feel. I hadn’t had oatmeal in a few days and I’m glad I ordered it here. It came with bananas, fresh berries, and warm milk

13668975_1183854101635789_1377440938960293822_n      IMG_7093

When it was time to set out in our kayaks, there were about 7 of us, plus 2 instructors. I hoped into a boat with my dad, and my mom was paired wth the owner of the business. We all paddled out into the ocean, and I must admit, it was pretty awesome. And MAN, is that paddling work on the arms! We got about 20 minutes in, but my dad and I started to feel pretty sick. So we turned in early. Not much of an experience, I know. But It was fun while it lasted. My mom made it the whole 2 hours and said she had a blast. She took a bunch of pictures with an underwater camera, I can’t wait to see them when they’re developed!

IMG_7096 IMG_7095

Dinner time rolled around, and my Dad and I picked Watermarc, a place we saw while we were waiting in line for gelato a couple nights before. We took a look at the menu, and one of the appetizers caught our eye. Homemade Ricotta cheese with macona almonds, honeycomb, and vine-dried raisins. Do you know that my family is STILL talking about this dish? My mom proclaimed this the best restaurant of the trip, even before she tasted her entree. Needless to say, when we got back to the hotel, my mom ordered all the necessities in order to recreate this at home IMG_7097

For the main course, I decided on the Chilean Seabass, it never disappoints. And it still holds true. My mom ordered the Fillet 3 ways, and Dad chose the paella (which was bigger than my face). I tasted each, and they were all fantastic. For dessert, I saw the word “bread pudding” and I was sold. We split the white chocolate bread pudding with macadamia nuts and pineapple ice cream… I basically licked the plate.

IMG_7100 IMG_7102 IMG_7103 IMG_7105

In the end, this actually did rank as the best meal of the trip. It was a hard call to make, but overall, this one took the cake!

We turned in and got some sleep for our day on the road to LA in the morning!

IMG_7090

Laguna Beach: Day 3

I have the hardest time adjusting to the time change. I was up everyday before 6am and could not fall back to sleep. Of course, i wanted to get a workout in before the day started. I hit the hotel gym for a 30 minute treadmill HIIT run/walk, and then met my dad for an ab circuit.

For breakfast, we walked over to the harbor and ate at RJ’s cafe. Hands down the best coffee of the vacation. Plus, their mugs were adorable! I ordered 2 scrambled eggs, toast and fruit– nothing fancy

IMG_7081         IMG_7123

 

My mom was determined to give hiking another try after she insisted that she ruined the first say for us (MOM, no you didnt!!) So we searched for other parks near the area and found Aliso Summit Trail. This was was definitely flatter than the trail the day before, but felt significantly longer. We walked about 2.5 miles before we turned back due to a rattlesnake coiled up right in the middle of the road! My mom and I are still convinced it was a rock.. oops.

IMG_7082 IMG_7085]

On the way back into town, we stopped for lunch at Urth Caffee. This place was a lot different for other restaurants I’ve been too. You wait in line outside until the hostess tells you to go inside and order, then your meal is brought to your table. I wanted a salad to a picked the Caravan Kale Salad with  Tuscan kale,  red quinoa, Persian cucumbers, heirloom tomatoes, roasted yams, red onion, pita chips and fresh mint tossed in our pomegranate vinaigrette. Topped with ricotta salt cheese. One word: YUM.

IMG_7087

Of course, after a hot day filled with walking, we relaxed at the pool. I was reading and got hilarious tan lines from my kindle. I figured id have time to even them out!

Tonight was Taco Tuesday! I only wanted 2 thing: awesome Mexican food, and a margarita😉 The Coyote Grill it was!

IMG_7088

I ordered the veggie fajitas, I love fajitas because of how the vegetables come out screaming hot!IMG_7089      IMG_7132

That guac tho… perfect.

I hope you see a pattern developing here.. we took a walk down by the harbor, and climbed up to the top of a park on a cliff across from our hotel. Man was it high.

IMG_7131IMG_7130 IMG_7128

We went back to the hotel and got ready for tomorrow mornings kayak session:)

 

IMG_7069

Laguna Beach: Day 2

Monday morning, my dad and I woke up early and hit the gym! We did a 2 mile run along the harbor, followed by an arm workout courtesy of the CHAARG booty camp I’ve been doing this summer! Not kidding when i say we were sore for at least 3 days after this!

IMG_7163

Today was a hiking day! I was looking forward to it after last years experience.

Before we started, we grabbed breakfast at The Penguin Cafe. This place was exactly what comes to mind when you think “diner”, plus, it lived up to its name with all the penguin decorations! I ordered the veggie egg white omelet, wheat toast, and fruit. Cant go wrong with that.

IMG_7124

When we finished, we drove to Laguna Wilderness Park and got right to it. We started walking and realized that this trail was no joke! I may be exaggerating a little but in my memory, this path was basically vertical! Dont get me wrong, it made for an awesome view, but man, was it tough to climb! After awhile, we decided just to turn around (no mom, it wasn’t your fault!!) and go back down. My mom wanted to wait in the car while me and my dad hiked one more trail. This one was had more ups and downs and  significantly more shade. So pretty:)

IMG_7079 IMG_7077 IMG_7052

As per vacation fashion, we came back and hit the pool for a little before getting ready for dinner.  This night, we chose to eat at The Cliffs. We heard that the view was incredible, especially when you’re eating outside. It sat right over the ocean.

IMG_7058 IMG_7060IMG_7057IMG_7065

For an appetizer, we got an order of hummus and veggies– one of my favorites IMG_7063

For my meal, I ordered the prime pork chop with a porcini glaze. The porcini mushrooms sold me. I can’t believe I’ve never had that before. Delicious. And just look at that presentation.

IMG_7067

After dinner, we took a walk down by the beach, and through town. There were so many people and little shops and restaurants, i loved the feel. My dad spotted a line to a gelato shop that was literally out of the door and we knew it had to be good (Spoiler alert– it was. Espresso flavored anything is the bomb).

IMG_7075 IMG_7069 IMG_7074IMG_7068

As it got dark, we drove back to the hotel and sat on the patio for a while before heading up to bed. Day 2 down, 3 more to go!

13707684_1183853598302506_3597891268118709347_n

Laguna Beach: Day 1

Oh California, how much I’ve missed you. After last years vacation, I was dead set on returning to the Golden State. My family decided on Laguna Beach for this trip, and it met the expectations set by San Diego

We got to our hotel around 12:30, checked in, and headed to the pool! After waking up at 2:45am and traveling all day, I definitely needed some time to relax. Our hotel was SO pretty, and the view was incredible, especially because we were staying up on a cliff that overlooked the beach. I took one look and I was googling dietetic internships in cali

13707684_1183853598302506_3597891268118709347_n 13709820_1183853574969175_2685972710943571031_n

If I’m being completely honest, the first day of vacation has always been my least favorite. I dont know. It probably has something to do with the fact that everyone is tired, along with the fact that you dont really know where everything is and you haven’t settled into a routine yet. Anyone with me?

After a few hours of laying out, we went back to the room, showered up, got ready for dinner. We decided on The Harbor Grill. It was so close that we actually walked there. It sits right on Dana Harbor, so the atmosphere was laid back and chill.

IMG_7141

Big surprise here– I ordered the salmon (oops!) It came with a red thai curry sauce, vegetables, and mashed potatoes. Now, I’m not sure if it was because i hadn’t eaten in over 7 hours, but this was DELICIOUS. The curry sauce was the star of the plate, and my salmon was cooked perfectly!

IMG_7126

We split a piece of key lime cheese cake for dessert. No complaints, it was awesome:)

IMG_7140

After dinner, we took a little walk along the harbor, and then climbed the literal cliff (let me tell you, this got real old after 5 days) and decided to hop on the trolly and ride the loop around Dana Point so we could get a feel for where everything was.

IMG_7050 IMG_7041IMG_7051IMG_7042

We went back to the hotel and sat on the patio for a little before turning in for the night! It was a good first day overall, and I was excited to see what else the trip had in store!

“healthy” or not so “healthy”?

Quiz time: When you look at these pictures, which one would you describe as most healthy?

image

….

I would assume to say that about 90% of people would say the one in the middle. I can see why. I get it. Society has shoved the idea down our  throat for so long that healthy = skinny. I openly admit that I fell right into that trap.

I spent most of my preteen to teenage years being fairly sedentary. Being active wasn’t really a priority, and I believed that being healthy meant eating “gross” food (veggies) and completely giving up the foods that I loved (can you say ALL THE CARBS?). Did it bother me that I wasn’t as tiny as the rest of the girls I went to school with? Sure, I was a teenager after all. But I had accepted the fact that I just was never going to look that way. That’s the picture on the left.

Fast forward to senior year of high school. That’s the picture in the middle. I had drastically changed my diet. I was working out every day. I had lost thirty pounds! Healthy right? After all, weighing less means healthy. But along with those thirty pounds, I had also lost my friends, my happiness and control of my life. As I’ve written before, this goal of being the” healthiest” I could be got me into trouble. I wasn’t anywhere close to being all right.

Health goes far beyond how much space we physically take up. It encompasses our body, mind, spirit, and attitude. It is being happy with yourself and the life you are living. That is the picture on the right, which, by the way, is the answer to my initial question. By no means am I the skinniest i have ever been. Honestly, I probably weigh as much as I did in the picture om the left. And that is completely okay. I was never meant to be 101 pounds. The difference? I’m eating to nourish my body with whole foods but not depriving myself, I am being active every day without going overboard. And I’m enjoying life without constantly worrying about a number on the scale.

That’s what health is. Again, HEALTHY DOES NOT EQUAL THIN. It is so important to emphasize this. We need to stop teaching that happiness is rooted in a pant size and realize that it comes from the ability to truly enjoy a live well lived.

College: Half Way Finished

I took my last exam, and just like that, I wrapped up my sophomore year of college at Kent State University. I can’t believe it already came and went, and i’ll officially be a junior in the fall.

When I started my freshman year, I was so incredibly nervous. Nervous about being on my own, nervous about classes, nervous about making friends. And even though at the end of it all, my first two semesters turned out good, my anxiety definitely got the better of me. I always tell people, I loved freshman year, yes. But would I do it again? Theres not enough money in the world. The feeling of being so unsure of everything doesn’t sit well with me. However, if you asked me to repeat my sophomore experience, I wouldn’t hesitate.

This year, I really started to find who i was again aside from my eating disorder. I was able to put aside all of the fear and anxiety and just be me and live life. And its funny because I noticed a significant change and I literally watched myself grow up and become Monica.  I wasn’t trying so damn hard at everything. And thats why things fell into place.

IMG_4949 IMG_5528 IMG_5540IMG_7721

I actually enjoyed (most of) my classes, even though they challenged me, I realized just how much I love my major. I got more involved on campus. I found the people who I truly consider to be my best friends. I started dating my boyfriend. I went out. Made plans.  And most importantly, I had fun.

IMG_7163 IMG_3244 IMG_6232 IMG_6237 IMG_6225 IMG_5231 IMG_5577IMG_5105

And for as sad I am to see this amazing year draw to a close, I can’t wait to see what next fall holds for me. I know theres so many opportunities out there for me, and I’m excited to see how much I’m capable of.