Life

Thursday Thoughts #3

Hey team!

Happy Thursday! Here is a roundup of some of my recent thoughts and shenanigans.

ONE

This past weekend Brian and I went to the North Fork of Long Island and had the best time with his parents! It’s one of our very favorite places in the world. We stopped by our wedding venue for a tasting, went to a couple of cute farm stands and picked up some fresh (and insanely delicious) local produce, and got a chance to relax. It was so nice to take a breather, cook a nice dinner together, and catch up with my in-laws. It was fun despite the rain. Plus, stay tuned for a post on my adventures cooking with local produce soon!

TWO

I am making sure to keep up with eating healthy choices and working out the next few weeks, but also trying to make a point to take some time in each day to really relax. I have an INSANE September (two weddings, a bridal shower, a bachelorette party, and Brian’s 30th birthday in addition to the new school year starting up again), so I’m making sure to get enough sleep and take some time to watch a show or read a book some time each day. I know that when I get stressed, it’s when I’m most vulnerable to getting sick and I definitely wouldn’t want that!

THREE

Summer running is still really getting me down, team. I have been hitting paces on the treadmill that I feel like I’m soooo far from hitting outside and it’s been so discouraging. I sent a text to my running coach who is super encouraging, but I never feel like this when I’m training in the fall and winter. Growing up, I danced year round, but I’m starting to realize that if I wasn’t a dancer I would have definitely been a winter athlete, because summer training is just not for me – and that’s okay. I’m not registered for a race right now, and I’m comfortable with maintaining my fitness so that I can really push myself towards my goals when the weather cools off.

IMG_1700
She’s so supportive!

FOUR

This week, two of my absolute best friends had birthdays! I am so lucky that I have such amazing women in my life and I hope that they both had incredible days! Happy birthday Allyson and Sara! I love you girls.

FIVE

Aaaaand the most random of all is a question for you all. I know a lot of you are on a budget and I am going to be moving in the next few months since our lease is up at the end of September. We are going to need some new furniture when we move. Ours likely won’t survive a move since we bought it cheap and it’s already moved once and is 4 years old. What are your favorite furniture stores and what pieces do you own and love from them? We’ve walked around IKEA and wrote down some ideas, but I just want to know how they hold up – especially the couch that has a trundle that pops up into a bed. I mean, it seems amazing, but it could break after a week and I wouldn’t know. I’ve browsed Wayfair, too, but I’m wary since they don’t have a brick-and-mortar that I can visit to see the quality. Basically, I need furniture help!

Well that’s it for my randomness today. I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend and I’ll be back here Monday bright and early as usual!

❤ LB

Food

Quinoa Salads We’ve Been Loving This Summer

Hey everyone!

Happy Wednesday!

Today I’m here to talk about lunch. Historically not my favorite meal of the day (#dinnerforthewin), but recently, I’ve been mixing up my lunch!

Since the start of summer my workload has decreased since there are no students at work. Because of this, I found myself having a bit more time to really enjoy my lunch. Normally, I’m a grazer. I pack smaller snacks and basically eat something every hour of the day. Brian and I have also had a bit more time on the weekends, too, so we decided to meal-prep some cold quinoa salads to grab for easy lunches.

IMG_0425

Brian prefers sweeter salads (overall, not just quinoa salads), while I prefer more savory so we’ve experimented with a couple of different varieties and we’ve really enjoyed them all! They’re also so easy to make, you basically just add all the ingredients to a container, stir, chill, and serve. I usually make one giant pot of quinoa and then split it in half to make our different salads. Also, I really eyeball these salads, and rarely measure, but they’re so simple, even some variety in the amounts is sure to be yummy.

My favorite salad has:

Quinoa, about 3 cups

Whole kernel corn, one can, drained

Black beans, 1 can, rinsed and drained

Plum tomato, diced

Your favorite salsa, about 1/3 of the jar (as a light dressing)

I cook the quinoa according to the package directions, dump everything into a tupperware, stir it up and voila!

IMG_0422
Don’t judge my knife skills! I’m not a master chef.

IMG_0423

IMG_0435

This salad is delicious, and of course, totally customizable. I like to pack half of an avocado to slice and add at work. I’ve also added a couple of scoops of this salad to chopped romaine as toppings for a more traditional salad. If you like green peppers or jalapenos – add them! Want to add more corn, beans, salsa, or tomato? Get after it!

Brian’s favorite salad has:

Quinoa, about 3 cups

Raisins, about a cup

Feta, about a cup

Spinach, one handful

Halved grapes, about 1.5 cups

Walnuts, about ½ cup, chopped

Balsamic vinaigrette, ⅓ of a cup

Cook the quinoa according to the package directions, while the quinoa wilt in the handful of spinach, add in the other ingredients, stir, chill, and serve!

IMG_0426IMG_0431IMG_0432

IMG_0436

 

Again, this is super customizable, too! Brian occasionally likes to add some cucumbers, raspberry vinaigrette, swap the raisins for dried cranberries, or add slivered almonds instead of walnuts for crunch.

These keep in the fridge for about 5 days, but you may need to add more dressing the longer you keep them.

I find that a quinoa salad at lunch is more exciting than my normal grazing routine, and it’s nice to be able to look forward to a “real meal” midday. I know I’ll go back to smaller meals and snacks once the school year is in full swing, but I’m already looking at ideas to mix that up, too! What are some of your favorite additions to a quinoa salad? Let me know if you try a version of either of these! Happy eating!

❤ LB

Fitness

3 Misconceptions I Had About Crossfit (and the Truth I Learned When I Tried It)

Hey team,

I wanted to take some time to talk about Crossfit for a bit. I know that there is a whole world of information about Crossfit out there for those who are interested in the theory behind it, famous Crossfitters, the best equipment/gear, etc. A lot of people (myself included) had heard of Crossfit, but haven’t experienced and it may have a lot of misconceptions about what it is, how it feels, and the results you get. So, I’m here to share some of the misconceptions I had about it and what I now know! Who knows, maybe this post will get some of you headed into your local box (Crossfit gym) for a trial class!

Misconception #1: It’s all meatheads and bodybuilders.

When I thought about Crossfit prior to taking my first class, I was sure that I would be surrounded by a parade of huge dudes, bulky women, and would be left in the dust as they threw giant barbells around and did 800 unbroken pull-ups. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there really were a variety of fitness levels and body types in my first class. People at my box have come to Crossfit from a variety of backgrounds, some distance runners and cardio-lovers, like me, and some from general weightlifting or classes at the gym. I’ve also met people who chose Crossfit as their first step into fitness. Yogis and ClassPass warriors alike have found a workout they love with Crossfit, and I’m sure my affiliate is not the exception. I have met some amazing people (and, surprise! Some of them ARE bodybuilders!) in the last year and I count myself lucky at that.

Misconception #2: You have to talk about Crossfit. To everyone. All the time.

I’d heard that Crossfit is “like a cult” and I’d met several people who really did talk about Crossfit all. the. time. They went on about eating paleo, talked about every detail of every day’s WOD and at the time, I cared only because I cared about those people. Now that I’m a part of the Crossfit community, I get how that could happen, but you don’t actually have to talk about ANY fitness regimen. My rule of thumb is usually that I will talk to other fitness enthusiasts about the specifics (you know, what the workout was today, maybe a PR I’m particularly proud of) but with everyone else, I tend to keep it pretty vague. Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud to be a member of the Crossfit community and I know that (like any fitness regimen) to see the best results, I need to be there consistently putting in the work. But, I recognize that my friends and family don’t want to hear about my Annie time or that I’m working on my snatch form. They know that I’m making healthy choices and staying active, and that’s really all that matters.

Misconception #3: All I’ll ever do in class is lift weights and I’ll get bulky.

First of all, woah, pre-Crossfit, Lauren. STOP JUDGING BODY SHAPES! Second of all, boy was I wrong. Crossfit is one of the most varied workout programs I’ve ever done. In a given day during a one-hour class I will complete heavy back squats, run a mile, do pull-ups, dumbbell presses, and a farmer’s carry. Or I’ll row 1,000 meters, do 50 sit-ups, and work on my deadlift form. Yes, there are weights, but to my surprise it wasn’t always your standard barbell. What I’m trying to say is – it’s all there. Well represented in a good Crossfit program, you’ll find cardio – my personal fave – strength, gymnastic movements and more that will work on every area of your body from core, to back, to shoulders, to legs, to abs. Also, my gym has several different programs to choose from including an obstacle course racing class, barbell class, and even Crossfit Kids, so there’s really something for everyone. Since my week in workouts consists of both running and Crossfit – I stick to the regularly scheduled programming and guess what? I am not “bulky” but I can definitely see more defined muscles (except the ever-elusive abs, ugh) and steadily increased my weightlifting capabilities.

IMG_1692
Sandbag over-the-shoulder. Photo by @antlucicphotography

I’ve found my Crossfit experience to be a really well-rounded experience overall. I’ve never felt pressure from anyone at my gym to eat a certain diet or to lift more weight than I am capable of. It’s well-rounded in terms of the people I’ve met, the workouts I complete, and the results I’ve seen. It’s worth doing research on your local affiliates (after double checking with your healthcare provider) to see if one of them is right for you! Thinking about joining Crossfit? Already a member? I’d love to hear your thoughts on Crossfit! Sound off in the comments below!

❤ LB

Life

Thursday Thoughts #2

Happy Thursday, friends!

The weekend is so close, I can almost taste it! Just like every Thursday, I’m here with my random mess of thoughts. This weekend we don’t have too much going on so I’m looking forward to just relaxing in my city or maybe going out to Brian’s parents house in Eastern Long Island (aka wine country)!

ONE

I’m still reminiscing about our amazing time at my brother’s beautiful wedding. It was beachside and we had a wonderful day! I’m so excited that now I have TWO sisters-in-law. Since I grew up with only a brother, it makes me so happy that these two amazing girls are part of my sister squad. Joslyn looked beautiful and John-Paul looked so happy. I love them BOTH so much!

IMG_9078
Selfies at the rehearsal dinner.
IMG_6153
Ahh – they just looked so happy all day!

TWO

I bought an anklet on my honeymoon (a 20$ one at a booth at the Maui aquarium haha) and I’ve been wearing it with EVERYTHING. I hadn’t thought about anklets since the early 2000’s but I’m super into them for my summer look! Things on my wrists tend to bother me, so I’m not usually wearing bracelets or watches, but I like the idea of wearing an anklet as an additional accessory. Not sure if anklets are “in” right now but I don’t really care. Mine has a tiny silver turtle and I think it’s adorable. 

THREE

I have been thinking a lot recently about getting a new tattoo. I have three already and i absolutely love them all. I have some vague ideas about what I want and there happens to be a highly rated tattoo parlor very close to our apartment, so the next step is meeting with an artist. I’m thinking I want just blacks and grays for this one , but stay tuned for exactly what it turns out to be!

FOUR

Need to know – who else is watching Alone Together on Freeform? I laugh out loud at least twice an episode. I don’t think it’s a realistic depiction of 20-something life, but it’s really amusing, has short episodes, and is fun to just throw on an episode or two before bed.

FIVE

Forgot to mention this before, but I set up an Instagram page that you can follow for updates, too! @lifewith_laurenb

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend, friends! Drop me a line at lifewithlaurenb@gmail.com or shoot me a comment below – I’d love to hear from you!

❤ LB

 

NYC

Rooftop Cinema in NYC

Hey friends!

I hope you’re all having a great day so far! So, one of the things I wanted to do when starting this blog was to get out and explore NYC a bit more. I live in Queens and work in lower Manhattan, so I get around, but the day-to-day really doesn’t afford me a lot of time to explore. Add that to the fact that lately, it seems like every weekend we have a wedding related event, and we just don’t see as much of our amazing city as we could. Womp womp.

BUT a few weeks ago, my friend Sara asked me if Brian and I wanted to join her and her fiance Jerry for a rooftop movie, complete with food, cocktails, and unlimited popcorn. We couldn’t say no, and it was a perfect opportunity to do something we had never done before.

We met up with Sara and Jerry at about 6pm on Saturday night. We went up to the third floor of the Embassy Suites to their Skylawn for what they call Rooftop Cinema Club. We checked in at the box office and grabbed a table to get some real food and a few drinks before they opened the movie seating on their “lawn.” The food menu was fairly limited for me as a pescatarian, but I found a salad with shrimp, and everyone else got sliders. We ordered a few rounds of drinks, the guys played a game of giant Jenga, and Sara and I protected our drinks from the impending crash.

When they opened the lawn, we scoped out some great seats, collected our headphones and popcorn and got settled. I have to say I wasn’t expecting that the audience would use headphones and I was a bit worried that the sound wouldn’t match the video perfectly (so annoying!) or that it wouldn’t be loud enough, but as soon as the movie started I was totally sucked in. We saw “The Greatest Showman” which I was already a big fan of, so I lip-synched along to all of the songs while Brian filmed embarrassing videos of me.

Friends, it was so much fun! Rooftop Cinema Club runs about once a week (I’m not sure what they do if it’s a rainy day) and I’m already looking at what movies are coming up so we can go again! We had an absolutely beautiful night to sit outside and watch a movie with our pals. We always have such a good time with Sara and Jerry and I hope that we get to go on more city adventures with them, soon! Have you tried a rooftop movie? Is there another in NYC we should try? Let me know in the comments or shoot me an email at lifewithlaurenb@gmail.com!

❤ LB

Life

Our Wedding: A Timeline – Part 1

Hey everyone! Happy Monday!

I’m excited to share this post with all of you. I’m totally in a wedding moment after this weekend (More to come on my brother’s beautiful wedding in a future post!) so I’m really excited to share with you a look back on my own wedding about three months ago.

Our wedding was a much awaited (hello, girl who had been planning her wedding since she was 13!), spectacular day full of fun, SO many laughs, and a ton of love from our friends and family. I want to write about it now, since it was so recent and I can still capture the feelings of the day. We got married on May 19th, 2018 after a 19 month engagement at the stunning Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead, NY. I can’t say enough good things about our vendors (who I’ll link at the bottom of my last wedding post) – they did an incredible job bringing our vision to life. All photos by my bridesmaids and the amazing Keith and Alexis of Anchor & Lace Photography!

IMG_0022

Rehearsed and ready!

6:00am – Good morning! I’m an early riser and woke up on my own at 6:00am despite knowing that it was going to be a LONG day. I started streaming the Royal Wedding immediately (obv). I had been sleeping in a room with two of my besties, Kim, who I dubbed my “best gal,” and Bree, who did an amazing reading at the ceremony. I took a quick shower, we relaxed, checked our social media pages and gathered up our stuff to head to Brian’s family’s house. It was finally our wedding day!

9:00am – COFFEE (and presents!). My bestie, and maid of honor, Nikko bought me an adorable picture frame to celebrate my wedding day, and my oldest friend Allyson gifted me an Armenian evil eye to pin on my dress to ward off bad spirits. Her card was beautiful and ended with an old, Armenian saying, “May you grow old on one pillow.” Cue the first tears of the day!

10:00 – 2:00 – Getting beautiful and even more excited! My cousin (who flew in from LA) came to my wedding as more than just a guest. She came as Makeup Artist Extraordinaire! Seriously, she is insanely talented and after having danced for 14 years with tons of stage makeup, she is the ONLY person to ever put fake eyelashes on me that I could. not. feel. A miracle! Our hairstylists had everyone looking so beautiful, too. I wanted my girls to look like gardeny princesses and they all truly did. We popped a couple bottles of champagne, danced to Jay Sean’s “Down” and Will Smith’s “Miami” (where I had my EPIC bachelorette party – but that’s a subject for another post), and had the absolute best time being together.

I kept thinking to myself that I needed to commit this whole day to memory, but luckily my girls were documenting everything to our shared photo album and I got to just soak in the time together with my best friends and family.

During this time, the guys were enjoying themselves, getting ready, and chatting over a few beers.

LB_0129v-XL

2:00-3:30 – We took some pictures of the girls together in our getting ready outfits, complete with flower crowns and I showed everyone my dress live and in person for the first time. 

LB_0027bw-XL

LB_0054v-XL

When it came time to put on my shoes (I had decided last minute to go with my original “reception shoes” for the whole day because the weather was biblical rain the whole day), I discovered that the bottom of my feet were BLACK from walking around the house barefoot all day. AND I was already in my dress. Enter a frenzy of my best friends scrubbing the bottom of my gross feet with makeup wipes in floor length dresses and full hair and makeup while I try not to kick them accidentally. Once the shoes were on, and I was recovered from my hysterical laughter at the ticklish-ness of my feet, we were out the door and into the trolley to the venue!

LB_0093v-XLLB_0101bw-XL

Check back for part two of the wedding day! It’s almost time to say, “I do!”

❤ LB

Life

Thursday Thoughts #1

Hey everyone!

I thought that I’d create a weekly feature on Life with Lauren B. to share a bit with all of you about what’s been going on, what I’ve been thinking about, working on, or just random things that have been on my mind lately. The number and topic will vary each week, of course, but I’m hoping to connect with all of you through this blog so if you have advice, share the same weird thought or habit, or have a question, reach out to me in the comments or email me at lifewithlaurenb@gmail.com!

ONE

I’m sure a lot of you are going to agree with me on this one, but I am seriously STILL so obsessed with the reboot of Queer Eye on Netflix! If you haven’t watched, it is so heartwarming, upbeat, and just tons of fun to watch. I’ve of course watched all the episodes, but now I’m beginning to think that the Fab 5 should be filming constantly just so there can be a perpetual feed of new episodes in my life. Quick episodes, happy topics, personal improvement, and the Fab 5 make this an easy show to throw on while I’m on the treadmill, cooking dinner, or just want to destress from a crazy day. LOVE!

netflix-2705725_960_720

TWO

Lately, I’ve been working on getting back into the swing of things fitness-wise after a recent injury. I sprained my ankle and sustained some ligament damage in the process while at Crossfit one day (a TOTAL freak accident, my coaches are super careful about making sure everyone in class is using proper form and using the equipment safely). I’m about a month and a half out from that injury and with the heat, post-injury fear, and being so busy this summer, it’s been difficult to be excited about working out each day. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still out there doing my workouts, but I just don’t feel like I’ve been “crushing it” the way I normally do. Like I said, it’s not always rainbows and butterflies.

IMG_1320.JPG (womp womp, after my last workout)

THREE

The past two weeks or so I’ve been experimenting with some meal prepping! I do not consider myself a true “meal prepper” it’s just the way things have worked out recently and I’ve really enjoyed it! I’ve been spending an hour or two on Sundays prepping some things for both lunches and dinners for the week. Most recently, I’ve been super into making a big batch of quinoa and then using it to make two different types of cold quinoa salads for mine and Brian’s lunches. I like more savory quinoa salads and Brian likes sweeter versions, so we’ve been having his and hers lunches recently. I’ve also been making an effort to chop and store romaine lettuce and veggies so I can throw together a dinner salad with the same ease as using bagged lettuces or salad kits. What are your meal prepping tips?

FOUR

I’m feeling super pumped today because TOMORROW my little brother gets married! Brian and I are both in the wedding party and I am so excited to walk down the aisle with him again to celebrate more people joining our family! Congratulations, John-Paul and Joslyn!IMG_9529.JPG

FIVE

Since this blog is so new, I’d love to hear from you! How did you stumble this little corner of the internet and what types of posts would you like to see featured? More on fitness? Food? Wedding? NYC adventures? Book lists and reviews? Let me know in the comments or send me an email!

❤ LB