Hi friends :)
Don’t you just love when you discover an amazing restaurant in the EXACT moment that you need something great to eat? A couple days ago Joel and I were out running errands when the hunger pangs struck us. We were in a town that we are not super familiar with and had no idea where to stop for lunch. We were debating what to do while at a stoplight when I looked up and suddenly saw the perfect place! Pho & Spice!
There is a special place in my heart for Thai food (and also Vietnamese… anything Asian really)! So I was very excited that we happened up on this gem. There is actually a Pho & Spice location in New Haven which we have been to a couple times. Based on our prior experience, we knew we were in for some good food. :)
The menu is quite sizeable with plenty of options to suit pretty much every preference. I debated a few alternatives but finally settled on one of the lunch specials. The lunch special price is pretty great (around $9) and you get 3 “courses”. First came a spring roll and dumpling… yum :)
And then came this incredible seaweed soup. It was a very cold day so this piping hot soup really hit the spot. I could have downed another 2 or 3 bowls of this.
The main course, star of the show… salmon with vegetables and rice. It looks like a small portion, but that’s just because the plate is enormous. This was a generous amount of food and half of it came home with us for leftovers. I’m pretty thrilled with our choice of restaurant. This is a good reminder that we need to return to the Pho & Spice in New Haven for a meal sometime soon! :)
Let’s talk footwear and back pain! When I want to do something outside in the winter, I generally reach for my hiking boots. They keep my feet warm and dry, and are super comfortable. Can’t go wrong, right? However, after going on a long (2+ hour) walk on a paved trail in my boots, I felt a NIGGLE in my lower back. Eeeek!
Let me give you some backstory here (pardon the pun hehe)… there is a specific muscle in my lower back that actually SPASMED a couple years ago after I went back to running too soon following a marathon (please do not repeat my mistake) –> the acute back pain went away in a couple days but my lower back took almost an entire year to feel back to “normal” again. Ever since then, I continually work on strengthening those muscles and the muscles surrounding (glutes, hips, hams, core, etc) and keeping up with stretching. All of this has helped a LOT.
It has now been 2 years since that awful back spasm, and in general my back feels fine. But when I felt that little niggle, it was a reminder to double-check everything from my form, gait, strength training, stretches, and even footwear. I think my hiking boots may have been partially to blame — they are heavier than regular running shoes and since I keep them loosely laced (I like to be able to slip my feet in and out) they may not have provided as much support as I thought. All of this may have changed my gait slightly. 2 hours is a long time to go with a modified gait, and it would definitely take its toll on any weak links in the kinetic chain!
In addition to keeping up with the strength training, I am also going to be careful about choice of footwear! Those hiking boots (properly laced up lol!) are great for actual hiking, but real training shoes are probably more appropriate for when I’m out on paved trails. I definitely notice that my back feels totally fine even after super long walks in these :)
In other news, Joel and I popped into Nica’s Market for sandwiches the other day. When we first moved to Connecticut, their sandwiches were around $6 each. Now they are $8 or even $8.50 depending on the sandwich. It’s still a pretty good deal considering the size of the portions (usually enough for 2 meals). But regardless, it sometimes stinks to see those prices going up!
While we were there, we spotted a couple of my favorite Toblerone! I wish our grocery store sold these but I must admit: finding this chocolate in random places makes it more of an exciting treat (compared to always having it in the house). Find it HERE!
My favorite sandwich from Nica’s is “The Flag” which comes with mozerella, tomato, fresh basil, salt, pepper, and olive oil. It’s pretty stellar! This time around I felt the urge to add grilled chicken for some extra protein. It tasted nice but I definitely prefer the sandwich “as is” (without chicken). Joel went for the “Alpino” sandwich, which comes with Bresaola, arugula, red onions, olives, shredded parmigiano or Swiss, and olive oil. He added a few kettle cooked jalapeno chips on the side :)
Just some cantaloupe in the car while heading over to BJ’s with Bernice. It may not be the most travel-friendly of foods, but its deliciousness makes up for that. Joel picks out the best cantaloupes — perfectly ripe, sweet, and juicy.
Would you believe this was my very first time in a BJ’s? Bernice has a membership and invited me to tag along on her shopping trip so that I could check out their bulk prices. I will be back with her to pick up things in bulk. Since it’s just Joel and I at home mostly, we do not have our own membership. I feel like memberships make sense for bigger families, or if you can split it with someone. It sure is nice to have friends who are members though! I need to put a list of things together for the next time I am here with Bernice.
Have I mentioned my favorite candle of late? I love this Rosemary Mint vegan soy candle. The scent is light and clean, and absolutely perfect for small spaces. Probably the best thing about it is that it isn’t too over-powering or cloying. I have a sensitive nose (Joel calls it my Super Sniffer) and do not always enjoy strong scents. This lightly fragranced little guy is perfect! I also love that it is soy so I don’t have to wonder what it is releasing into the air of my home. :) I got it on sale at Target over the holidays… I hope Target still carries these because I definitely want to get more!
What do you recommend buying in bulk? I’m thinking toilet paper, beef/chicken to freeze, but other suggestions are welcome! Your favorite soy candle? What exercises and stretches do you prefer for your lower back?
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