For those of you who saw my post on my goals for 2018, you know that every month I’ll be reading one new book, learning one new recipe, and trying on new fitness studio. Well, I can proudly say I survived the first month with all my goals still on track, though it did require a lot of last-minute reading (about 70 pages if I’m being honest).
The Book: The Lovely Bones
I’ll admit that I cheated a little bit this month and finished a book hat I started about 6 months ago – but that just helps prove how badly I need this resolution. During the flight home from a trip to Vegas I started this book and absolutely loved it, but once I was home and not stuck on a plane without WiFi and cable I let it sit on my bookshelf untouched. Only about 120 pages in, I decided to start my resolution off determined to finish this book.
The book starts off about as depressing as you could imagine from knowing the storyline – a young girl is raped and murdered and then narrates from heaven while watching her friends and family try to pick up the pieces after her disappearance. The book started out very interesting, but for me it quickly plateaued into something that I was determined to finish rather than excited to read. While the story did a beautiful job of showing how different people grieve and the intricate dynamic of a family struck by heartbreak, it also lacked elements that really could have peaked the reader’s interest more. While I wanted to leave the book I found myself ready for February and excited to read something else.
The Studio: Soulcycle
I’m a little ashamed to say I just finally did my first Soulcycle ride. With all it’s hype and my love for working out, I always wondered when I’d finally give in and go ride. After riding a few times at Cyclebar and Cycle X, trying out Soulcycle was a little rough for me at first. My first ride I love my instructor, Naz, and I loved the playlist, but I honestly didn’t enjoy the full experience. I had help setting up my bike but it was horribly off – the handlebars were too low so my back hurt, the seat was too low so my knees kept hitting my metal water bottle, and not being able to adjust my handlebars like on other spin bikes I’ve used meant I had an uncomfortable distance between my booty and my bars. During the whole ride I felt like an out of sync mess, and to top it off, after numerous rides growing accustomed to seeing my RPMs and resistance levels, I felt lost without the monitor on my bike. I left happy that I tried it out, and eager to give it another go, but wondering why I didn’t leave with a newfound obsession and a member of the “Soulcycle cult” that people joke about.
After posting about my experience, Lori commented on my Instagram inviting me to go back with her. I met her for a Hip Hop Monday ride with Naz again, and to stay next to Lori I fearlessly jumped in front row center for only my second ride. I had help setting up my bike again, and felt much better during my whole ride. My seat was set higher, and, knowing that my arms and torso are short for my height, requested that my handlebars be a little bit higher than they would typically set them. This setup worked perfectly, and I was comfortable and confident to nail my ride. And, after thinking the playlist was great for my first ride, I was blown away by the hip hop selection that night. In fact, Naz if you read this where can I get that 1/22/2018 Hip Hop Monday playlist?! After that ride I knew I loved Soulcycle.
So why do I tell you the story of my not so great ride first? No, it’s not to say Soulcycle is bad, though no workout is for everyone and just because a lot of people love Soulcycle doesn’t mean you have to or there’s something wrong with you. But, I want to share that sometimes you have an off ride. Maybe you’re not comfortable on your bike yet or it wasn’t set up properly so you feel uncomfortable. Maybe it just didn’t click right away. I always try to give every workout at least two chances – once to just get a feel for what to expect, and again to be able to go in more confidently and try it out while knowing what to expect. Sometimes the first impression isn’t the best introduction and that’s okay, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth a second go.
The Recipe: Lemony Salmon Salad with Oven Roasted Asparagus and Tomatoes
I told myself that every month I would find a recipe to learn, but once I got to Whole Foods with my ingredients list for the soup I wanted to make I suddenly lacked a desire soup. After wandering around the store for what felt like hours (in reality it was maybe 3 minutes) I saw a beautiful piece of salmon and decided to just get inspired. Rather than take a page out of someone else’s book I was going to create one of my own. After perusing the store for a few minutes and picking up a few things I finally came up with an idea and went home to get cooking. The final result: a delicious, healthy, and unintentionally Whole30 approved salmon salad.
The dish itself was easy to put together (I’ll create a full recipe post for you soon). I roasted some cherry tomatoes with thyme, EVOO, salt and pepper, some asparagus with EVOO, salt and pepper, and salmon with EVOO, salt, pepper, garlic powder, red chili flakes and some sliced lemon. After everything was cooked and had a chance to cool down to just above room temp (I hate unintentionally wilted greens) I put all of the above ingredients over a bed of spinach and arugula and dressed them with EVOO and the remaining half of my lemon. Sounds almost too simple to need a recipe post, doesn’t it? Don’t worry though, I’ll still post it so you can find it more easily!
The dish turned out delicious and was so easy to make! It will definitely become a staple in my kitchen.
Have any ideas for recipes, books or studios? Let me know so I can try out some of yours favorites!
Photos by Laura Waldron Photography