They sent me to Binghamton

I've always wanted to be on the east coast, and the universe responded…by sending me to Binghamton, NY. Oh you've never heard of it? Neither had I, but I do so love adventures and that's how I choose to view this. Let the adventures begin!


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Fall is Coming!

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I was driving around today and noticed that some of the trees’ leaves have changed color! The slight cooling in weather was making me a little sad because I thoroughly enjoyed summer and wasn’t ready to part with it, but after seeing this I cannot wait to see Fall! I’m very glad I’m still around this area to see it!

 

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The Stages of Being Single

Last night, I went out to dinner with some friends and we were discussing why I keep saying no to all these guys who are interested in me. And yes, I know that sounds incredibly conceited but I am well aware that I have options should I choose to want it. 

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That’s right, look at me…look at me…no, don’t touch

Then I started reflecting on how much I have changed over the years since I first became single.

STAGE 1: Heartbreak

When it first happened, I was completely heart-broken and hid in a cave. And I kept playing this damn song over and over again.

Ever go through a breakup and you hear that one song that you swear was written just for you? This was mine. I happened to play an old CD my cousin had made for me when this song came on and I completely broke down. There’s a particular line in that song about “4 years down the drain” and I was all, “OMG! We were together for 4 years! This is my song *SOB*”

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This was me, everyday, on my way to work and on the way back home

Then things got better and although I was still a little sad, I was moving on.

 

STAGE 2: FUN

And then…I started having a lot of fun.

I’m laughing really hard right now because that’s actually how it pretty much started. My cousin and I were going through a breakup at the same time so at first we would spend weekends at each other’s apartments, watch movies and tv series, drink, and pretty much hide from the world. But then one night, we went to Hollywood Men for my friend’s bachelerotte party (it was my mom’s suggestion, I might add) and just absolutely had a blast. So much so that we went again for our joint birthday celebration. The bouncer recognized me and I even got hit on by one of the strippers. Hey, gurl, heeeeyyyy! This became our theme song:

Best. Year. Of. My. Life. Well, it was probably more like a year and a half…but you see what I mean. It was the most freeing, most carefree time of my life and I don’t regret any of it! Even the mistakes! Lol!

STAGE 3: The Grey Zone

Then I started meeting guys that I actually really liked. I realized I was done playing and started to want more. None of it worked out, which was still ok because I was able to shake it off and move on. That is, until The Man Who Made Me Crazy. I mean, he made me feel like this:

Just, no. Any man who makes you feel like that is your theme song is not the one for you. So now I am done with all of that, done with the grey zone, done with the “Oh, I don’t know where this is going but just now it won’t work…it’s the timing, you see?” and will not settle for anything less than the happiness I see with my married or in-a-serious-relationship friends. I refuse. 

STAGE 4: The In-Between

At the same time, I am also going through a huge transition in my life and trying to figure out where life is taking me so I am also not quite ready. That’s ok, I’ve got a lot to be thankful for and luckily this is one area in my life where I don’t stress or worry about too much. If it happens, it happens. If not, I’m still going to be happy. And now, this is pretty much where I’m at:

I’d say it’s a pretty good place to be. 🙂


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Take the Road Less Traveled By

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Someone here referred to me as a free spirit because of all the road trips I’ve taken and traveling I’ve done, even just since moving here to Binghamton. I am very flattered. Traveler and adventurer-seeker I may be, but free spirit? Not so much. I am too type A for that. I still always need to have some sort of plan in my mind, even though I no longer try to make a 5-year, 10-year, 15-year plan in my mind. I’m just trying to make it till the end of this year, and I still don’t have that much figured out yet. The best lesson I’ve learned since moving here though is just to let it go and see where life takes me. Choose the path that I really want even if it may seem risky. Walk down that road even though it seems scary and totally unfamiliar. It’s ok sometimes not to have a plan B, C, and D in place. It’s ok to put in work, send happy thoughts out to the universe, and trust that it will take care of you. I don’t think I’ll every truly be a free spirit and just completely let go but that’s ok. I’ve learned to let go just a little bit and not worry that I don’t know what’s in store for me in the future. Well. I still worry. Just not as much. 😉


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The Sea of Green

I don’t talk about it much here but a huge part of the reason I am so happy living in middle of nowhere, Binghamton is because of these people:

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I love them. They make me not miss home because GSR CrossFit has essentially become my home (no really though, I stay there till at least 9pm and have stayed till 10:30pm a few times 😛 ). It’s like they took the best things about my two previous CrossFit boxes and combined it into a pile of awesome. Not only am I becoming a total badass, but I’ve met some of the nicest, coolest people here, including my swole-buddy and absolute favorite, Strong Girl*! I almost didn’t even end up going to GSR but I just felt unsatisfied and somewhat antsy so I did one last Google search attempt and then boop! There it was! I’m so glad I did that!

This past weekend a bunch of us participated in the Lee Barta CrossFit Challenge. It was a pretty big deal, particularly because unlike back home, there aren’t that many local competitions and the local boxes don’t interact much with each other. We were all pretty serious leading into it, especially me. So serious that in the weeks leading up to it I went to Costa Rica, went to San Francisco for my friend’s bachelorette party, then went back to LA for my aunt’s funeral pretty much back to back. Oh that’s not how you get ready for a competition?

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I mean, of course I don’t regret any of that, but let’s just say I wasn’t in my best shape. In fact, I was ecstatic that I managed to get back in the shape I was in before all the trips (and all the food and drinking)! Despite that, let me tell you, I really wanted to win. My practical side was like, home girl, relax your face, you have not been training the way you needed to in order to win. But my competitive side was like, I DON’T CARE I WANT IT!!!

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When the results were announced, I have to admit I was really upset I didn’t podium. Then when I found out I was technically in third (two girls tied for second), I was even more upset. Just let me stand on the podium! I don’t care about the prize!

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Final Standing – I’m on the 4th row

But then once I saw the results and saw that I came in 1st in the the first WOD, 4th in the second, then 7th in the third, I realized it was pretty damn amazing that I even came in 3rd or 4th or whatever you want to call it. Like seriously, that means I completely dominated the first WOD.

Allow me to back track. The first WOD consisted of finding your 1 rep max on a snatch, then on your clean and jerk. Your total score is the combined weight of your max lifts multiplied by the Sinclair Coefficient, which is a coefficient that is based on your weight. Basically, the lighter you are, the greater the coefficient. Now, did I think it was appropriate to use this in a CrossFit competition? No, I thought it was weird. You don’t do that in CrossFit competitions. Normally, the WODs are varied enough that it’s not really advantageous towards heavier or leaner athletes, but their reasoning was if they didn’t use the Sinclair Coefficient then 2 out of the 3 WODs would be more favorable towards the heavier athletes…ok, sure. I wasn’t going to complain – the use of the Sinclair Coefficient was to my advantage because I’m one of the leaner athletes. Because of it, I got first place in that WOD!

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Even without it though, I would’ve placed 3rd, which I still think is pretty damn awesome.

Here’s a photo of me doing my final attempt on my 1 rep max snatch, captured beautifully by Driftpoint Media.

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“Happy Snatch” – Power Snatch @ 110 lbs

Here’s a photo of me after my Clean and Jerk, happy that it’s over.

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The second WOD consisted of 5 rounds of 5 front squats at 95 lbs, 10 deadlifts at 95 lbs, then 40 double-unders. This should’ve been something I did well, but unfortunately 95 lbs for a front squat is not that light for me. I mean, it’s doable, but I had to do them slow. So even though I’m good at double-unders and did them all unbroken, I still only got 4th place on this one.

Now the third one I was praying would get canceled due to the rain. I hated it. Didn’t want to do it. Wanted to cry beforehand. Felt like I was going to throw up. It was 3 rounds of 550m run, 15 hang cleans at 65 lbs, then 20 over the bar burpees. There was a time cap of 17 minutes, and I think I finished in 16:57, which was really, really good for me. I know I look like I should be good at running since I’m pretty lean, but alas, no. Running is not my friend.

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Except for me I also feel like the bottom picture

Here is the actual aftermath:

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Camaraderie at its finest

I LOVE this photo. Absolutely LOVE it! It totally captures the camaraderie that was present throughout the entire day. My judge was awesome, my Sea of Green teammates were awesome, the other competitors were awesome – it was just such a great day despite the rain! Just to give you an idea, two of my fellow competitors were cheering me on during the run while they were also running. My judge would shout, “Here comes Laura!” and get the crown cheering for me when I approached the tent. My Sea of Green teammates were shouting words of encouragement while I was doing those God awful burpees, and saying things like, “This is where you can make up time!” as I was doing the hang cleans. They made me not walk when I wanted to, keep going down and then back up during the burpee when I wanted to stay on the ground, and do the 15 hang cleans unbroken when I could barely breathe from the run. Seriously, they are the best. And major shout out to Thick to Thin owner, Andrea, who is the one holding my hand in the picture! We’ve adopted her into our GSR CrossFit family even though she lives in another state.

It was a really great weekend, despite my initial frustrations. Now it’s back to training and working on my weaknesses. I can hardly wait!

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*I’m not sure how she would feel about me naming her here, but really, this is how I actually refer to her when I talk to my friends back home lol!


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Feeling Restless

When I first moved to Binghamton, one part of me was incredibly excited and happy because I knew my life was about to change, but another part of me was pretty miserable because it was freaking cold and my body had no idea how to deal with it.

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I’m pretty sure this is what I looked like the first couple months

Then once spring came and I started making friends at work and at the gym I entered this euphoric state and felt like I was on a high almost all the time. I was annoyingly happy, pretty much inhaling rainbows and exhaling butterflies.

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It’s been about 7 months since I’ve moved, I’ve pretty much established myself in this area meaning I’ve got my routine down, I’ve got my local friends, I’m still very close to my CA friends, been to all sorts of cool places in the surrounding areas, been traveling, but…my euphoric zen state is gone. I’m still happy and I feel a lot better knowing I can totally stay here if I want to (one of my friends here said if I wanted a job in this area, I should let him know), but…I’ve been feeling restless lately. I can’t imagine why! I’ve been out of town most weekends, both locally and even out of the country, and yet there’s still that feeling that I’m missing something…what, man!?!? What is it!?!?

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Haha I really need to learn to be patient! I’m sure it’ll all make sense some day and I will look back at this time with fondness. Sometimes I wonder why I can’t just be happy with what I have and why I seem to need changes in my life to continue to be happy. I also worry sometimes if I’ll ever be able to “settle” down and be happy. But then I realize that I’m still young so this is the time for me to “do me.” I really only have one goal in life and that is to be happy. So yeah, maybe I’m the type who needs changes once in a while in order to be happy, but that’s ok. I mean, that’s probably why there’s that saying to “follow your bliss,” right? That shit don’t stand still!

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Me following my bliss

In any case, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing, stay happy (even if I’m no longer on that high), be grateful for all the wonderful opportunities that have come up so far, and keep my eyes open for other opportunities that may come up.

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In the Jungle, the Mighty Jungle… – Costa Rica Part 3

…the sloths sleep tonight (or morning, depending on which type of sloth).

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My friend has an absolute obsession with sloths. I don’t get it, I really don’t. You know my first thought when someone mentions sloths? This awesome video:

It always makes me laugh. Every. Time.

But really though, she was just melting at the sight of them. She thought they were the cutest thing. I beg to differ.

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Maybe I’m heartless, but that face does not melt my heart. Putting my sloth indifference aside, it was pretty interesting learning more about them at the Sloth Sanctuary in Puerto Viejo. We went on the sloth tour, which included a relaxing canoe ride and meeting the sloths that they’ve rescued.

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It was really beautiful!

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We came across crabs, water bugs, howling monkeys (we heard them, at least), and my friend even managed to save a butterfly from drowning!

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Then we got introduced to the sloth residents, and two, in particular, stood out to me.

Meet Toyota, the one-armed sloth who was named “Toyota” because of his resilience and will to live. He was crossing an electrical wire, got electrocuted, then contracted Gangreen on his arm.

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My hat’s off to you, sir, you’re a survivor!

And here we have Buttercup, who is known for her friendliness towards people. When we were first introduced to her, she was sleeping in the basket. My friend and I chatted with our tour guide for a moment and when we turned to look back, this is the position she was in.

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Errr…is this how sloths say hi?

Fun facts I learned about sloths:

1. They are in perpetual food coma, which is why they move so slow. (They must be my spirit animal then lol)

2. They only go to the restroom once a week.

3. They actually do go to the “restroom,” because rather than go where they’re currently hanging, they actually climb down the tree to do their business. Our tour guide called them “clean” for this reason, but given that there are lots of creatures living in their fur (since they’re actually mostly fur), I would not call them clean.

4. They are legal to have as pets in California. I haven’t verified this but our tour guide said this in passing and for the duration of the trip, my friend kept saying how she’s going to own a pet sloth someday.

We also went to the Jaguar Rescue Center (also in Puerto Viejo), which I highly recommend visiting, because even though the name is misleading and there are no jaguars currently at the rescue center, you get pretty close to the animals that are there. The center basically rescues animals, rehabilitates them, then releases the animals back to the wild if they feel the animals will be able to survive on their own. Some are too permanently injured to be released in the wild and survive, while others, well, they just seem to find their way back.

This pissed-off looking ocelot was one such animal who just came back (twice!) after being released into the wild.

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It was really cool to be on a tour where the animals are so close-by, just hanging out, all nonchalant.

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This baby monkey tried to get on my head

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We weren’t allowed to pet the doe but we got pretty close to it!

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Hi, I’m an anteater, just sunbathing, no big deal

If you’re the type who enjoys nature and loves animals, Costa Rica is definitely a great place to go!


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Just Breathe…

Work. School’s about to start. More work piling up. Need to think about my final school project. The work keeps piling. GAH!!!

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Ok, like this?

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The internet has some pretty funny things. I even found pictorial instructions on how to breathe.

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Now if you’ll excuse me, I am about to follow the instructions of Mr. Bunny up there then get back to the grind.