Life Update: From NYC to Stamford

Happy Tuesday! My week is off to a pretty good start. Despite a late start to the day, I managed to get some training in yesterday and coaching in the evening. I’ve got a few minutes this morning before I head off to practice, so I figured I’d try and finish write the life update blog post which has been in the making for a while. Until my new visa and job had been confirmed, I thought it would be best to keep them off the blog, but now that everything has been finalized, and I’m in the clear!

As you may know, I was working as a personal trainer/fitness coach at Body Space Fitness for most of my time in New York City. I also coached squash out of the Princeton Club of NY, which is where I did nearly all of my on court training. A little while ago, I quit BSF, and began coaching/playing pro full time. (This is partly how I racked up 17 tournaments last season…!).

In January, my coach, and then-head coach at the Princeton Club, John Musto, was offered a job as the Director of Squash at Chelsea Piers CT, located in Stamford. Having worked with me at PCNY for a couple years, he was able to put in a good word for me at CPCT, and offered me a coaching job starting this summer. So, in July, once my new visa came through, I became a full-time employee of Chelsea Piers Connecticut! Since my apartment lease wasn’t up until August, I stayed with a very kind family in Greenwich during the weekdays, and went back to Brooklyn on the weekends. This cut down my commute a ton, and it also meant I got to bike to/from work! I’ll take 26k of cycling/day over 4 hours of commuting any day!

Once my lease finished up at the end of August, I moved up to Stamford. I’m currently living with two other squash pros who work in the area, and so far it’s going well. The suburbs are certainly much quieter than the city, but it’s nice to have more space to move around… and for less rent!

As for the work/training up here, it’s going to be a very productive setup. There are lots of training partners in the area, my coach is here, and Chelsea Piers is a world-class facility. There are 11 singles courts, 1 doubles court, an enormous gym, plus a billion other sports arenas (hockey, skating, gymnastics, soccer, tennis…). One day during summer camp we took the kids upstairs to play soccer on the indoor turf and I was in heaven. My favourite sports all under one roof!

While the city was very fun and exciting, Stamford will likely prove to have fewer distractions, which will be good for the pro athlete lifestyle. I am pretty responsible when it comes to no late nights/drinking during the season, but I think I’ll be much less tempted to go out in Stamford than in the city (for obvious reasons!). Furthermore, having all the Chelsea Piers facilities at my fingertips will cut out the commute time of to/from the gym/courts.

Canada

One of the highlights of the summer was my two week visit to BC in August. Part of the reason I went home was to “activate” my visa, but also to celebrate my moms birthday! While I was there I also played a local tournament, Sun and Surf, in Vancouver, which I used to play when I was a junior in BC.

I came up against very tough competition, as I played in the Men’s Open, but had a great time and realized there were a few things I still needed to really focus on and sharpen up before the season. The guys play consistently at a faster pace, and since I hadn’t done quite enough on court fitness training or full matches yet, I found it difficult to keep up while playing well. When I stopped trying to outhit them, and play instead play smarter, I found I did better (surprise, surprise), but it took me a couple games to get that idea through my skull.

Upcoming season

My first tournament, Nash Cup, is in a week and a half’s time, in London, Ontario. I don’t really feel I’m fully ready for the season/tournament play yet, but am going to go into the tournament prepared to use what I have. For the most part, I plan to train through tournaments this fall, and probably not compete quite as frequently I did least season (17 tournaments was too many). In having more training blocks, I’m hoping that I can focus more on the process, and that that will lead to results, general enjoyment, and less stress about outcomes!

That being said, I’m off to go bike to Chelsea Piers for some training!

Baking, NYC Marathon, and a Headband

This weekend went by very quickly. After a hard week of training, I was prepared to take the weekend off of training if necessary, and I did just that. However, I didn’t spend the entire weekend resting, as I spent Saturday afternoon and most of Sunday coaching. I’ve recently started loading up my Sundays with lessons and clinics, which I’ve started to enjoy as it gives me the flexibility to focus on training and work a bit less during the weekdays.

Despite a lack of training, there were some fun and exciting things that happened, so today’s post is going to be a little catch-up of my weekend!

Baking Muffins

Friday night I wasn’t in the mood to do much other than bake and chill out. I made two batches of grainless (almond flour) zucchini banana muffins.

With some chocolate chips, of course!

I have nearly perfected my recipe now, which is turning into a bad thing, since it means I can easily put away 6 muffins in one sitting and feel absolutely fine. Granted, they’re lighter than normal muffins and healthy (no sugar/syrup), but still… it’s Monday and one batch is already entirely gone. I’m obsessed!

NYC Marathon

Yesterday, some of my friends and I went to Clinton Hill (Brooklyn), to watch some of the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon. Apparently, it’s the largest marathon in the world, attracting ~50 000 participants!

Todd held a little “marathon party” at his place starting around 9:30 am, where we made signs to cheer on our (few) marathon-ing friends. It was so fun to get together and track the athletes online, while thinking of punny sayings for our posters.

Around 11:15 am we headed out to cheer on the runners. Although I’ve now lived through 3 NYC marathons, this is the first one I’ve ever witnessed. Part of me wished I was running it, and the rest of me wished I could travel to different spots in the city and watch it all day long! My friends and I had a blast cheering on friends and also random people. Tip: if you ever run a marathon, write your name on your shirt so that strangers on the sidelines can cheer for you by name!

Halo Headbands

For the past year, I’ve been struggling with my hair up-do for squash. I’ve got a lot of hair which I need to keep out of my face, and the simple ponytail doesn’t quite work anymore. My hair is too long, and a ponytail will whip me in the face if I turn suddenly (which happens a lot in squash!).

After a lot of experimenting, I’ve finally found a way to secure my hair in a bun, which doesn’t annoy me or fall out mid-match. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to tame the little fly-away pieces of hair around the fringe of my face. Previously, cloth headbands/sweatbands have never, ever stayed on my head (I have a weird shaped head, it seems), so bobby pins, barrettes, and plastic headbands litter my bags and pockets.

White, Blue, and Black Halo Tie-headbands

Lately, the bobby pins haven’t been cutting it. My fly-away situation has gotten out of control, so I decided to try out a couple of cloth headbands I’d received for free as a sample. They worked out pretty well, so I expanded my horizons.  I stumbled upon Halo Headbands on Amazon, and after doing some research online and talking to a friend who is a loyal Halo user, I was sold! I bought a couple on sale on Amazon, and tried it out in practice this morning. Practice didn’t go so well, but I was relieved that the headband stayed put, and I had no issues with it.

Monaco…!?

As I was about to book my flight home from London for the beginning of next month, I logged on to the PSA website to look up some of the tournaments. Last time I’d checked, I was a reserve for the 25k in Monte Carlo, Monaco, immediately following the London tournament. Looks like some people pulled out, because when I looked at the entry list, I had magically been bumped up to #5 in Qualifying! I’m pretty excited, as not only do I get to go visit Monte Carlo, but now I will be traveling to Europe for two tournaments, not solely the London event.

That’s it for now! Time to go coach, before heading home for the evening.

Socks, Shoes, and Taylor

Let me start by saying that the title of this post does not by any means list the events of the weekend in ranking order. As much as I love my socks and shoes, the Taylor Swift concert I went to on Saturday definitely took the cake as the prime event of the weekend!

Taylor Swift concert

IMG_7167Saturday evening, Hadley, her sister Emma, Katie and I headed out to MetLife stadium to see Taylor Swift’s concert! She is currently on tour promoting her album “1989”, and was able to sell out not one, but two full MetLife stadiums! Yep, both Friday and Saturday nights MetLife was jam-packed with people, all eagerly awaiting T-Swift.

IMG_7171Taylor opened with “Welcome to New York”, which made the crowd go absolutely nuts. One thing I appreciated a lot was that the country singer didn’t take mounds of time in between song sets to change. Within a minute or two, she was back on stage rocking out with some sort of accessory. By accessory, I mean a guitar, a piano, or a handful of men who would fawn over her as she sang. Ah, the things you can do when you’re a pop star.

taylorswiftconcertusAll in all, I had a great time at the concert, and am so glad that I had the opportunity to go. It seems as though my teen pop music summer concerts are forming a trend… One Direction last summer, Taylor Swift this summer, what will be next year’s teen sensation?!

Shoes

On a slightly less exciting note, I bought some shoes this weekend. I’ve been needing some wedges, flat/casual shoes to wear with dresses, and a pair of Birkenstocks (I LIVE in my Birkenstocks) for about a month now. Saturday afternoon, I finally got around to a few minutes of shopping and picked up all of the above at DSW!

The wedges are extremely comfortable, not super high (because I don’t need to be 6+ feet tall), and involve no buckles or anything to be secured. Slip on, slip off!

IMG_7161Great shopping attire, eh?

IMG_7163I also found these Birkenstocks in the sale section at 30% off in DSW. They’re different than the Birks I usually get, but for that price I couldn’t turn them down. Plus, after 4 years, it’s gotta be time for a change- right?

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Kushyfoot

A few weeks ago, Kushyfoot reached out to me asking if I would be interested in trying/reviewing a few of their products. I’ve had the chance to try them out, but totally forgot to snap pics until this weekend when I finally remembered!

I was sent two pairs of white athletic socks, normal pink socks, grippy yoga socks, and roll-up flats.

IMG_7187White athletic socks: These socks were super comfortable, but a little small on my feet (I’m a size 10). IMG_7189Pink socks: Again, a little small, but that’s definitely my fault and not that of the socks! They work great for just casual sneakers, or if you like wearing pretty thin socks when you work out, these could work as well!

Toe socks: These grippy yoga toe socks are hilarious! They remind me an awful lot of the Barre socks, because of their grippy bottom. I haven’t been to yoga in a while, but next time I do I’ll bring these socks! When I sweat (particularly in Vinyasa), my feet have a hard time staying put, so hopefully these socks will help with that.

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IMG_7192Roll up flats: I saw these at first, and I was so confused. Why would someone want to wear shoes with little to no support? Just as I was standing at the kitchen counter looking confused, Hadley’s sister, Emma walked in and started raving about the roll-up shoes. Having recently graduated from high school, Emma had been at prom a few days earlier and had seen quite a few girls whip out these portable, light-weight slippers later on in the evening. A lot of her friends weren’t used to wearing heels for several hours at a time, let alone dancing in them, and had clearly thought of this in advance!

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IMG_7195And even though I have relatively big hands, I’m pretty certain that anyone could hold at least one of these shoes in the palm of their hand, which means they could easily fit in a purse!

Clearly, I had a pretty good foot-apparel weekend.

Questions:

Are you a Taylor Swift fan? Yes? No?

Have you ever heard of Kushyfoot? Would you use a roll-up shoe?

 

Hello, NYC!

I didn’t get around to blogging last week/this past weekend, because I was in the process of moving to… you guessed it, New York City!

IMG_7111We were also wifi-less until yesterday, which made tasks such as blogging a little more difficult. It’s nice to have my computer back with access to all those little things you miss so much (YouTube, Spotify, reading long emails on a computer, not an iPhone).

IMG_7112I’ve managed to get my room mostly in order, but am still missing some basic necessities, such as a dresser, mirror, and a lamp/standing lamp. Yes, as soon as it gets dark out, my bedroom gets dark. Thankfully NYC is always full of light at all hours of the day and night, so it never gets pitch black (unless I close my blinds all the way).

4th of July

My 4th of July celebrations were spent partly at a beach club in Westchester, and partly back in NYC. Some friends and I watched the fireworks from our rooftop before heading out to check out the nightlife around town. I had a pretty fun time, but by the time 2 am rolled around I was beat. 4th of July will do that to you, I guess!

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Work

More to come on my work happenings, but I’ve begun my training at a coach/trainer at a fitness studio here in NYC (woo!), and have also been doing some squash coaching back in the NY suburbs. That, along with my NASM studying (and of course moving) have been taking up the bulk of my time!

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Meals

Now that I’m officially shopping for myself and preparing all of my own foods, I’ll try to post some recipes, as well as shopping tips for healthy, 1-person grocery lists! So far I’ve found that Trader Joe’s has the best deals, although they do have the longest line. Still, that extra 15 minute wait is worth the saved $$$!

Chocolate Quinoa Chia balls

Last night I was messing around in the kitchen and made some quinoa/chia/PB/chocolate balls which turned out pretty well!

FullSizeRender(They don’t actually have any banana in them… the fruit is just there for aesthetic purposes).

At some point I’m going to recreate them with exact measurements, and post not only the recipe, but also the price breakdown. It has most definitely come to my attention that making homemade bars (which I’ve loved doing for quite some time) is so much more cost effective than buying $2+ bars from the store!

That’s all from me now. I just got back from work training (which involved taking a workout class-not complaining!), and now I’m off to squash coaching. Later days!

 

 

Back to School, Back to Parties!

Hi guys! How was your weekend?! Mine was a ton of fun but I think I’m ready to get back to a lower-key routine… at least for a few days ;).

It’s safe to say that I finally wrapped up summer this weekend, in the best possible ways: PARTIES!!

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Superman being carried in to give Alex a celebratory drink of champagne

The start of school always brings a lot of parties. Most are your typical college parties, but there’s always a couple that are special and have standout themes. This weekend happened to have two of these parties, one on Friday night, and one on Sunday!

Friday Night: “A” Themed Birthday Party in NYC

On Friday night, I headed to New York City to celebrate my friend, Alex’s birthday. The theme? Dress as something starting with the letter “A”! I had originally planned to go as Athena, the Greek goddess, but this plan quickly fell through as I was unable to attach the garland of ivy leaves to my head. (I should mention that I spent a good 10 minutes outside one of the buildings on campus looking for the “perfect” strand of ivy. Yep, I most definitely got a lot of weird looks for resembling a nature nerd.)

Instead, I managed to find a halo, and “magically” transformed into an angel for the night!

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The party was fantastic, and absolutely everything as on point, from the food to the staff, who were dressed up in costume as well!

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One of the staff, dressed as an angel

Although all of the food was fantastic, I found that the appetizers stole the show. My particular favourites were the tuna tartare and the mini grilled ham and cheese sandwiches. Later on when dinner was being served, I actually went back to scrounge for leftover appetizers, but sadly they had all been taken away.

The lighting was very dim, which made for some questionable food pictures, but I did manage to snag a couple. Everyone I talked to (regarding the appetizers) agreed that the tuna tartare was out of this world. I probably could have polished off the whole tray by myself, but I decided to be nice and leave some for the other guests ;).

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It was tender and flavourful, and I really wish I had access to it more often!

Dinner was served buffet-style, and although I wasn’t super hungry by this point, I knew that I should probably put something a little more substantial in my stomach besides the appetizers I had consumed earlier.

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I filled my plate with caesar salad, chicken, and potatoes, and also snagged some gnocchi off of Todd’s plate.

I could talk forever about the amazing night filled with chocolate mousse, dancing, and “A themed” costumes, but I honestly don’t know if words could do it justice! All of the guests, myself included, had an epic evening, and I am so glad that we were all there to celebrate Alex’s birthday in such style.

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Angel and….Angel-athlete?!

Sunday: Lawnparties

Princeton has two University-sponsored parties each year, one in the fall and one in the spring, called “Lawnparties”. In a nutshell, it’s a day party that is held on the lawns of the Eating Clubs, and bands perform. Oh, and one other thing: everyone wears their absolute preppiest, brightly coloured outfit that they own, for a day of dancing in the sun to bands.

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In the past, some pretty big names have performed at Lawnparties, such as Far East Movement, , B.o.B, Third Eye Blind, and Edward Sharpe. Rihanna and Maroon 5 even came back in the day!

I actually didn’t even make it to day’s main act, Schoolboy Q, because I was just too tired but that point, but I did make sure to see Jojo earlier on!

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Remember Jojo? Aka, singer of “Leave (Get out)”…

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggWyUEuGcWY&w=560&h=315]

and “Too Little Too Late”?

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8LIRtPnuA8&w=560&h=315]

I was transported right back to middle school for some sweet R&B jammin’ and I loved it.

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I spent the rest of my time singing and dancing with cover bands at the various clubs, and just hanging out and catching up with friends I had missed over the summer.

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Meals

Food was just way too weird this weekend. I grabbed dinner from the dining hall on Saturday night, and although the food was okay, the lighting was abysmal and it wasn’t too special to report anyways.

I warn you, it’s about to get reallllly random up in here in the food department. My “highlights” from the weekend are snacky and delicious, but by no means balanced. Hey, it happens!

Chia Pop popcorn:

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this healthy chocolate milkshake (recipe to come TOMORROW!)…

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And Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter!

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News: Tomorrow

Also, be sure to check back and read tomorrow, as I’ve got a few exciting things to share with you:

  • a giveaway
  • a recipe
  • a review of a delicious product

Have a great rest of your Monday!

Questions:

What were some highlights from your weekend?

When/what was the last dress up party you went to?