Squash on Squash Turns 1 Year Old!

Hello hello! Hope you all had a good week, and have a fun weekend lined up ahead. I’ve had a very busy week, being back up in Princeton helping out with some coaching, training, and getting some PT done on my back. After a small (but exciting) detour in NYC yesterday afternoon, I finally made it back to my suburban home away from home- aka Hadley’s house!

IMG_7102Before we get to Squash on Squash’s little blog birthday celebration, let’s quickly cover breakfast. I woke up this morning not in the mood for eggs or Greek yogurt, which left me a little stumped. What to do when you’re not feelin’ your two favourite breakfast options?! You make lemonade out of lemons! Or, in my case, oatmeal out of oats!

For the first time in ages, I fashioned myself some egg white banana bread oatmeal. In the bowl went:

  • oats (maybe 1/2 cup?)
  • water
  • a banana (mashed)
  • a few generous dashes of cinnamon
  • one egg white

IMG_7110I then microwaved the entire mixture for about two minutes, stopping the machine to stir frequently, before eventually deeming my breakfast edible, and topping it with peanut butter (of course).

It was just as delicious as I remembered it to be, and I foresee an egg white oatmeal kick making a comeback.

Squash on Squash turns 1 year old!

I don’t want to go on and on about how much I love blogging or how much I love squash (because squash just doesn’t get enough attention on this blog…right?), but I do want to touch on just a few things that has made this past year so special- thanks to Squash on Squash.

  • I became a better writer

I would love to say that the mantra, “practice makes perfect” fully applies here, but that would be a bit of a stretch. However, I can say that although I do not write perfectly, nor am I an absolute poet with words, I do find it much easier now to express myself than I did a year ago.

IMG_6499The words come a bit easier, and the sentences flow a little bit better (which, I admit isn’t all that difficult to do when you spend so much time talking about squash or peanut butter). In any case, writing ~600 words nearly every day has given me a certain confidence with words that I would not have otherwise accumulated.

  • I learned about online marketing and (more) about social media

All of last summer, I learned the in’s and out’s of WordPress, Twitter, Facebook pages- you name it. I learned what a “link-up” was. I signed up for Bloglovin’. Thanks to my own research and help from other bloggers, I was able to navigate my way through

  • I made some awesome blog friends

When I had questions, I reached out to some bloggers who seemed approachable and knowledgeable (thanks, Erin aka the Almond Eater!). They were super helpful with blog terminology and other random things that you need to know in the blogosphere.

  • I got to try out some cool health and fitness products and then write about them!

I reached out to some companies, while other companies reached out to me, and either way I still had a fantastic time trying out their products and reviewing them. Some products I reviewed included Boomchickapop, Arctic Zero, and 38th & WICK. (Also, stay tuned for upcoming reviews on Quest, NASM, and Kushyfoot!).

  • I feel more justified in regards to my love for health and fitness

This one may seem strange. I definitely love health and fitness, so 1) why should I question it, and 2) who would think that’s a bad thing? Well, let me tell you- people do question it, whether they are jealous that you enjoy something which is hard for many people (I am not exempt from this- fitness is hard!), or whether they are “concerned” that the health/fitness obsession is motivated by superficial reasons.

IMG_4109The health and fitness blogosphere gave me much more confidence to be okay with my health-nut self. Sure, I still get teased about being a self-proclaimed health freak, but Squash on Squash acts as a bit of a shock absorber. (And fortunately, I’ve never, ever heard any negative or derogatory comments about my blog- a streak which I hope continues!).

Well, there you have it. Happy 1st Birthday, Squash on Squash! Part of me still cannot believe that I decided to name my blog Squash on Squash (other candidates that arose in its first month were “the Squash Nut” and “the Nutty Squasher”), but in the end, Squash on Squash stuck. Here’s to (hopefully) more blog-iversaries in the future!

Questions

What’s your latest favourite breakfast?

Are you celebrating anything around this time? Graduations, birthdays, anniversaries or anything?

Limbo Life

Things have started off well over here this morning! I’m currently sipping coffee out of a “Freudian sips” mug and munching on some Nutella-hazelnut granola that I made last night. Not a bad way to start of a Wednesday morning!

IMG_7093I’ve now been a college graduate for exactly 3 weeks now, and have been caught in a bit of a limbo between school and real life. Don’t get me wrong, the “limbo” period hasn’t been boring- just different. For the past 16 years I’ve followed education programs (ie. elementary school, middle school, high school, University), and now they’re over.

It’s strange to think that I really am an adult now, and that I won’t be returning to school in the fall. I’ll most likely get a Masters or Professional degree at some point, but for the next year or two I need a bit of a break from school. I love learning, but I’m really excited to apply the skills that I’ve picked up in college in a real world setting. (Not to mention- no (or less) homework!).

So, what does a recent college graduate do during her free time, when she has the rest of her life to figure out?

For a few years now, I’ve tossed around the idea of becoming a personal trainer. Since having started my blog (almost a year ago!), I have realized that becoming a CPT is without question something that I need to do. Health and fitness an integral part of my lifestyle, and there’s no way that I will be able to advance in the industry if I don’t 1) learn the material, and 2) get certified!

IMG_7071Fortunately, having a lifelong background in athletics, and a college background in biology is helping me understand the material much better, and I can honestly say that I enjoy sitting down to study! More to come on NASM later, but I am happy to report that so far, I am very happy with my choice of program. The textbook has been very informative, and I can see why many professionals swear by it!

  • Cover letters, applying, and interviews

Writing cover letters, applying to jobs, and interviews takes much more time than you realize. Or, if you understand where I’m coming from, then you can sympathize. It’s almost like taking another two classes! In fact, some of my friends argue that the job hunt is a full-time job in and of itself.

IMG_7091Interview-selfies aside, I really am excited to start work. I hope that I find a job where I am challenged, yet feel comfortable and excited. It would be amazing to work at a health and fitness startup, which there are many of in NYC, so fingers crossed that something of that nature works out!

  • Rehab and training

If you read up on my huge recap post from the past month, you’re aware of the turmoil of events that my body has been put through recently. Needless to say, I’ve been trying to regain muscle, strength, power, and endurance- if that’s possible to do all at the same time!

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On the mend! My knee post- surgery/crash (about a week ago)

 

So far the progress has been good. I ran for 10 minutes on the treadmill yesterday, and fortunately my knee felt reasonably okay! My back was tight and spasmed a bit, so I’ll need to get that checked out, but overall there has been good progress!

My chest is also feeling quite a bit better, and so I’m now trying to regain some upper body strength. Currently, I’m loving the TRX ropes for their versatility. There’s so many exercises you can do, and they can all be modified if you tire throughout the set (<- too real for me right now!).

Alrighty, time to go have some real breakfast, and get on my to-do list for today! It’s also gorgeous out, so I’m hoping to go cycling later on. It’s time I explore the backroads of the ‘burbs!

 

 

Raw Peanut Butter Banana Date Bars {Recipe}

Good Monday morning! Before I do a(nother) catch up post on my life, I absolutely have to share this recipe for some amazing raw energy bars that I made at my friend, Alex’s house the other day. They were not only consumed as my post-dinner snack, but also as part of my breakfast and lunch the following day. And no, there is no such thing as a PB/Banana overload. Ever.

Somehow, we were able to transform this peanut buttery mess…

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Bonus points if you can spot Sarah and me in the reflection of the Juicer!

…into delicious energy squares!

IMG_7082In addition to eating them as a normal snack (or meal, as I seem to have already done), I could definitely see myself bringing one (or more) of these bars in my back pocket during a long bike ride, or throwing them in my squash backpack to eat after a training session.

IMG_7084So, if you are like me and gravitate towards whole-food energy bars, and any sort of combo of peanut butter/banana/chocolate, I highly recommend you whip out a food processor and make these lil nuggets!

Raw Peanut Butter Banana Date Bars

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: none

Yield: ~ 32 squares

Ingredients

  • ~10 medjool dates, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup salted crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 banana
  • 2/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup crisp rice cereal (I used Special K)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup chocolate chips (depending on how much you like chocolate!)

Directions

  • Combine dates, peanut butter, and banana in food processor, and mix until dates are virtually visually undetectable. Note: If your food processor is small or medium sized, you may want to either halve the recipe, or process the ingredients in two separate batches.
  • Remove blended date/PB/banana paste from food processor and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add remainder of ingredients and mix in by hand to disperse evenly.
  • Transfer entire mixture to a large pan, spread evenly, and flatten.
  • Refrigerate for ~an hour, or until mixture has solidified before cutting into squares. Alternatively, if you are in a time crunch, try putting the bars in the freezer for ~30 minutes, and then cut into squares. Store in fridge.

Alright, it’s time for me to put the peanut butter jar away now (I may or may not have been eating PB out of the jar as I typed up this post), fold some laundry, apply to some more jobs, and get back to studying for NASM! (<- More to come on that soon!)

Have a great Monday!

A Lot Can Happen in a Month

What has it been, a month since I last posted?! Ugh, that’s too sad. I was so busy with end of year activities, that I honestly just didn’t have the time or energy to blog. Fortunately, now all (or most) of that is wrapped up, so I’ve got a bit of time to fill you in on my crazy happenings from the past month! There’s no way I can fill in all the details, but I’ll do my best to highlight the important events.

  • Final Exams

Since I was only taking 3 courses this spring (Thesis counts as 2 classes), it gave me a slightly lighter exam schedule. However, I found myself needing to spend a good full 6 days or so studying for my final exam, Comparative Physiology, since it was a departmental and I really wanted to achieve a good mark.

I studied a ton and even brought my notes down to the squash courts so I could work between rehab and squash coaching! Plus, I found a table where I was able to spread out all of my notes to get a grand picture of the course.

IMG_6836A bunch of the squash kiddies walked by and I think they were thoroughly freaked out by the amount of notes I had hand written. Don’t worry kids, you’ve still got another 8 years before you get to this point!

  • Senior Week in Myrtle Beach

After exams, about 1/4 of the senior class heads down to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for a few days before reunions and graduation start. Alex and I drove down in her white convertible Volkswagen bug, making the drive in about 11 hours including short stops.

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Taken at a stoplight in Virginia!

 

The weather in Myrtle was absolutely perfect. It was hot but not humid, and the breeze was strong enough to cool us off, but not so forceful as to make beach-walking unpleasant.

IMG_6863I was happily surprised at how active most of the students were during beach week. I was expecting the days to be filled with partying, followed by a nap, and then more partying at night. Much to my relief, I found that people decided to pick between day partying and night partying, which reduced my FOMO by a ton.

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Alex and me at the beach! How I miss the beach, the waves, and the beachy hair waves!

While I love going out and having fun with friends, there is really only so much partying my system can take, and I knew that I was going to have to pace myself going into the craziness that is reunions!

  • Car Crash

Heads up, this is where things get a little more serious. Alex and I were about 2.5 hours into hour 10-hour journey home from Myrtle, when we got into a car crash. No other cars were involved thankfully, but it was pretty serious, as we ended up hitting some trees on the left side of the highway at about 40 mph. I didn’t know it at the time, but the fact that we swerved a couple of times on the highway before heading into the ditch/trees saved our lives, as it allowed us to slow down a bit from highway speed.

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Alex’s side of the car

 

Long story short, I managed to get out of the car after about a minute or so of pushing and banging against the doors which had been barricaded by trees, and flagged down some cars for help. I was bruised and banged up, but fortunately, nothing was broken. With the help of some strangers who had stopped, we quickly rushed back for Alex, who had suffered some lacerations to her head and face, and wasn’t able to get herself out of the car. Ambulances rushed us off the a hospital in Raleigh, where I was discharged later that night, and Alex was held for surveillance for a couple of days because of her more severe injuries.

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Hanging in the hospital

 

Fortunately, I am happy to report that we are both alive and recovering. I had never been in a car accident of any sort, let alone one that was life-threatening. I’ll have to write another post on this, because I have much more to say on the matter, but I am very grateful for being alive, for not having suffered life-threatening injuries, and for friends who were extremely supportive during this time.

  • Reunions

Now car-less, I ended up flying home with a friend (shoutout to Bits!), and arrived just in time to have a quick shower, change, and head off to the Princeton Varsity Club awards banquet. Talk about a quick turnaround!

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The Princeton Women’s Squash seniors, class of 2015 (minus Alex). Hadley, Gail (coach), Hallie, and me!

 

We missed Alex, but she was there in spirit, and we cheered loudly for her when her picture came up on the slideshow!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with reunions, it’s basically a big 3-day party, where all Princeton alums are invited back to drink beer, see classmates, and march in the P-rade! Thanks to my 2 hours of sleep on Wednesday night, I was too tired to participate in the festivities Thursday night, and ended up passing out around 11 pm.

Friday I found myself much better rested, and had a great time catching up with recent alums and other soon-to-be grads like myself.

Although Friday was a ton of fun, Saturday was hands-down my favourite. Princeton puts on a “P-rade”, which involves every class marching down Elm drive with their class, starting with the oldest class, and finishing with the most recent. This meant that for the first time, my class of 2015 would be able to participate!

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Hadley and me at the end of the P-rade

 

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Bits and me at the beginning of the P-rade

 

It’s such an incredible experience, and I imagine many non-Princetonians could find it very overwhelming- it basically looks like Halloween on steroids! (Because of the black and orange, not because people are dressed up in costumes). I loved every second of it, and I am already incredibly excited for next year!

  • Graduation

For some reason, Princeton feels the need to stretch out our graduation ceremonies for a full 3 days. I guess it makes sense, given that we spent 4 years on the campus- it would feel anticlimactic to only spend one day saying “goodbye”!

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Chelsea, Rose, me, Matt, Blake after commencement

 

The Baccalaureate ceremony occurred on Sunday, followed by Class Day on Monday morning, Prom Monday night, and Commencement on Tuesday morning. And yes, parents attend all of these events, too! I suppose they must feel an obligation to come to all the ceremonies, since they would want to see where all (or some) of their money gets spent!

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Mom, me, Dad at Prom!

 

Ps. It rained for all of Commencement. While we were outside. That’s dedication, people! Gotta walk out the Fitz-Randolph gates, rain or shine!

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me n my umbrella-ella-ella

 

I still can’t quite believe that I have officially graduated from Princeton- perhaps it will finally sink in when I don’t head back in September!

  • Now: Job Search

Well! I have certainly ranted enough about the happenings from the past month. Now I am living at Hadley’s house in a suburb of New York, while I wait for my American visa to kick in (on July 1st), continue the job search, recover, and slowly get back into training.

More to come on current happenings throughout the next few posts!

Final Spring Houseparties

Well, it’s official. Spring is here, and this past weekend kicked off my final month at Princeton! The weekend between the end of classes and the beginning of reading period is always a fun one, because it’s filled with parties! The eating clubs at Princeton host formals on Friday evening for members and their guests, followed by semi-formals on Saturday, and finally Lawnparties during the day on Sunday.

  • Friday

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Hallie, Hadley, Alex, and me before Friday formals

I brought my friend Hadley as my date to formals on Friday. We had a little too much fun celebrating, making Saturday a rather rough day…

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Hadley and me!

 

The evening started off with pictures around 5pm in the residential courtyards. After we took enough photographs for a new profile picture/cover photo/Instagram/whatever the kids are doing these days, everyone headed over to the eating clubs for cocktail hour/hors d’oeuvres from 6-7 pm. Dinner and dessert follow from roughly 7-8:30 ish, and then there’s often a band or DJ that comes to perform. It’s a nonstop evening, but fortunately finishes on the earlier side since things get going around 5!

  • Saturday

I spent some of Saturday doing rehab, watching my friend Nana compete in the triple jump, and hanging outside with friends. However, before I knew it, it was time to get ready for semis!

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Me, Matt, and Chelsea

 

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After a lot of celebrating Friday night, I approached Saturday evening with a much calmer attitude, but still enjoyed the evening. It’s always fun to see people dressed up so nicely, and the warm weather most definitely helped put a smile on people’s faces (or maybe that was because of the beverages…;)).

  • Sunday

The final hurrah- lawnparties!

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Thanks to my rather tame Saturday night, I woke up Sunday morning feeling rather refreshed, and managed to make it out to lawnparties from roughly 11 am to 4 pm! Honestly, the weather was probably one of the biggest factors keeping me out there. I was tired and very dehydrated, but the bands playing were fun, and the sun was shining- you really couldn’t have asked for a better day!

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I ended up coming home around 4, passing out/watching Gilmore Girls, and then dragging my butt to the gym to do some rehab. I was exhausted from the weekend, but knew that the only way my knee is going to get better is through consistent exercises, and so I managed to finally make it to the gym around 6pm. Hey, even small progress counts, right?

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This week has somehow gone by super fast, which is crazy considering I have barely done any work! I have a paper and a lab report due next Tuesday, so I need to get working on those, but the past day or so have been consumed with visa/job things, rehab, as well as some thesis odds and ends.

As soon as this post goes up, I’m heading off to rehab, and then will hopefully be able to crank out a few hours of work and produce an outline of my lab report! Should be another busy day ahead!

Questions:

A full weekend of parties- too much for you? 

What did you get up to this weekend?