Whole30 Recap: Week 4

Hello and happy Friday! I finally found the will to recap week 4 of my Whole30 1 week after it ended. Let’s get to it, shall we?

If you’re interested, you can read about week 1, week 2, and week 3 also! 🙂

Day 22

Breakfast: Hard-boiled eggs, banana, and the last of the almond butter I had on hand.

Lunch: The rest of some stuff I had thrown in the slow-cooker on Sunday: chicken thighs, Brussels, sweet potato, and an apple. This sounded good in theory, but ended up only being OK. Especially on day 2—it didn’t reheat well.

Dinner: Apparently I forgot to take a picture of dinner, but I made tacos: ground beef, chopped zucchini and bell peppers, diced tomatoes, and a whole bunch of cumin.

Day 23

Breakfast: Hard-boiled eggs, banana, and a packet of Justin’s almond butter I had randomly picked up. Good thing too, because almond butter is where it’s at.

Lunch: Leftover tacos from the night before in 2 Siete tortillas.

Dinner: Quick and easy scrambled eggs in tortillas with hot sauce. Amazingly, I never really got sick of eggs on Whole30. If I had, making dinner on busy nights would have been much more complicated.

Day 24

Breakfast: The usual. By now, my coworkers were complaining about my hard-boiled eggs every single morning. #sorrynotsorry

Lunch: The rest of leftover tacos and tortillas.

Dinner: Spaghetti squash with sauce made of ground beef, chopped zucchini, diced tomatoes, and Rao’s.

Day 25

Breakfast: Eggs, banana, and another almond butter packet I had on hand.

Lunch: Leftover spaghetti and squash from dinner.

Dinner: We made plans to go to dinner at Hacienda that evening, and I ordered a salad. Which unfortunately turned out to be the single worst salad I have ever had in my life. I picked out some of the chicken and ate that, but went home hungry and sad. So I had a banana and more almond butter when I got home.

Day 26

Breakfast: Fried eggs over some arugula (finally something different, I know).

Lunch/dinner: After the previous night’s disappointing experience, we decided to try for some good Mexican food at Chipotle. I had a salad with carnitas, pico, and guac. Much, much better!

Day 27

 

Breakfast: Fried eggs over arugula with hot sauce and clementines. Maybe my favorite breakfast of all time.

Dinner: I snacked off and on all day and didn’t really have lunch. For a simple dinner, I fried an apple chicken sausage, topped it with mustard, and had riced cauliflower and sweet potato with ghee on the side.

Day 28

 

Breakfast: Back at work, so it was hard-boiled eggs, banana, and almond butter. And I promised my coworkers we were on the home stretch with the eggs. 🙂

Lunch: Chicken sausage and riced veg (I made extra the night before so I could have some for lunch).

Dinner: Last taco Monday of Whole30! I had 3 tacos (the usual mix) with Siete tortillas and a bowl of raspberries for dessert.

And that is the recap for my fourth and final week of Whole30. At this point, I felt…amazing. I plan to do yet another post recapping my last 2 days (because as they say, Day 28 is NOT Day 30), plus fill you in on my final thoughts and the benefits I saw during the reset.

I hope you all have enjoyed reading these! They have been a fun way for me to look back over the last month and see the changes I was able to make by doing the Whole3o.

I hope you have a lovely weekend, eat something delicious, and do something good for yourself. ❤

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Whole30 Recap: Week 3

Hi! Happy Friday/Groundhog Day!

So my Whole30 is officially OVER, but I’m still scrambling to post my recaps of the month. Let’s get started with week 3!

Also, if you’re interested: Week 1 recap & week 2 recap.

 

Day 15

Breakfast: The usual hard-boiled eggs, banana, almond butter.

Lunch: Leftover tacos in 2 Siete tortillas and a handful of arugula. Also v proud of myself for not even batting an eye at the pizza brought in for lunch at work!

Dinner: Chicken sausage with mustard, sweet potato with ghee, and a small salad of mixed greens, cranberries, walnuts, and oil + balsamic dressing.

Day 16

Breakfast: See above.

Lunch: The rest of leftover tacos with Siete tortillas and arugula, plus a red pear as dessert.

Dinner: Fried eggs over some mixed greens, sweet potato with ghee.

Day 17

Breakfast: Same.

Lunch: Leftover spaghetti that I had frozen from the week before. When I was packing my lunch, I cooked a spaghetti squash in the microwave and paired it with defrosted spaghetti in the morning. Less food waste is one of the changes I am most proud of from doing Whole30.

Dinner: Fried eggs, mixed greens, sweet potato, ghee.

Note: This was a super stressful week at work, hence the abundance of eggs + sweet potatoes for dinner. This meal takes like 5 minutes to make and was always delicious and filling. 🙂

Day 18

Breakfast: Hard-boiled eggs, almond butter, banana. Around this time, my coworkers were complaining about the smell of eggs every.single.day.

Lunch: The last of the leftover spaghetti I defrosted and spaghetti squash I had made.

Dinner: Friday night is usually our pizza night, but for Whole30 I started doing Chipotle night instead. Unfortunately, they were out of carnitas and guac that night, so I ended up with lettuce, chicken (technically not compliant because of the oil it’s cooked in), and salsa…a pretty sad little dinner. The good news is I got it for free!

Day 19

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with salsa and Everything But The Bagel seasoning with clementines.

Lunch: I went back to Chipotle to give them a chance to redeem themselves, and they did! I had a salad with carnitas, salsa, and guac.

For dinner we were at a birthday party for one of my best friends’ daughter, so I snacked on what was available and compliant: more guac, fruit, and some chicken. I also looked longingly at the giant fried ice cream she had made for dessert.

Day 20

Breakfast was at Kite and Key with my bestie: I got scrambled eggs, bacon, potatoes, and fresh fruit. Plus coffee (and I brought my own creamer in my bag).

Lunch was more or less some snacks: Larabar, banana, almond butter.

Dinner was chicken sausage with mustard and 2 tiny sweet potatoes with ghee.

Day 21

Breakfast: The usual.

Lunch: I put a bunch of stuff in the crockpot the night before to take for lunch: Chicken thighs, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and an apple. It turned out pretty good!

Dinner: Taco Monday! Our usual taco mix is ground beef, chopped bell peppers and zucchini, diced tomatoes, and a whole bunch of cumin. Served in 3 Siete tortillas.

That’s a wrap on week 3! This was the week where I started really feeling good. I woke up more clear-headed. I found that my need to eat every 2 hours was gone, and I usually went 4-5 hours between meals. I snacked less, especially in the evenings (I found a cup of tea or some fruit after dinner usually did the trick if I wanted something). And things became more routine…like when lunch or treats were brought into the office, it didn’t really bother me. I had way less cravings, and started feeling really good.

I’ll be back in a few days with the rest of my recaps and final thoughts on the Whole30, but until then, have a great weekend! ❤

Whole30 Recap: Week 2

So I’m pretty far behind at updating my Whole30 this month, huh? In actuality, I’m getting ready to END my Whole30 (spoiler alert: I am making it through!).

My original plan was to do an update at the end of each week, but life (obviously) got in the way, so I’m going to do several posts right at the end of my Whole30 and catch you all up. Let’s begin with week 2, shall we?

If you’d like to go back and revisit week 1, read here.

Day 8

I’m kind of bummed to admit my breakfast on work days consisted of hard-boiled eggs, banana, almond butter, and coffee. I had hoped I would be a little more adventurous with breakfast, but this was quick and what worked best.

Lunch was a chicken sausage I fried up the night before and topped with mustard, plus some riced veggies (cauliflower and sweet potato) topped with ghee and some salt and pepper. (Pro tip: Frozen riced veggies are the way to go. They are cheap, don’t have lots of extra ingredients, and easy to pop in the microwave on nights when I didn’t have a lot of time to make lunch for the next day.)

Dinner was slow-cooker barbecue and slaw (recipe here). I had randomly picked up round steak at the meat shop this week, and found this recipe while scrolling through Instagram. While I definitely miss sweet barbecue sauce, this was a good option and Whole30 compliant!

Day 9

Breakfast: More hard-boiled eggs, banana, almond butter.

Lunch: Leftover slow-cooker BBQ and slaw from the night before. (Leftovers for lunch ALWAYS for the win this month!)

Dinner: Fried chicken sausage with mustard, 2 tiny sweet potatoes topped with ghee and pepper, and grapes. Note: You’ll see a lot of eggs and sweet potatoes in this recap. While I wish I could have spent more time in the kitchen, this month ended up being really stressful and crazy. Finding quick, simple, compliant recipes to make for meals was more critical than my need for variety. 🙂

Day 10

Breakfast: The usual. My coworkers are SO SICK of the smell of hard-boiled eggs. (Sorry, guys.)

Lunch: The last of leftover BBQ and slaw. Another huge benefit I’ve experienced through this month is that the amount of food waste we have has significantly decreased. I was definitely in a bad habit leading up to this of just throwing out leftovers or letting food go bad. I’m so happy that I’ve been able to change that and plan on continue  doing so.

Dinner: Taco night! So this is where things got a little sticky. I picked up some Siete tortillas at Elbert’s Natural Foods and while they are technically compliant, they are definitely not encouraged. But by day 10, I was so bored and pushing through the changes I was making, plus my appetite was just gone. The thought of eating plain taco meat with nothing else was almost nauseating. So I heated up 2 of the tortillas (one cassava flour and one almond flour) and had them instead.

Day 11

Day 11 ended up being a snow day! My fiance and I both worked from home, which meant I got to make a delicious breakfast of fried eggs over arugula, topped with Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel seasoning.

I snacked throughout the day and didn’t really have lunch (also note: I haven’t been posting my snacks on here. While my appetite eventually changed, I was definitely still snacking a lot at this point in Whole30). For dinner I made amazing spaghetti with ground chicken, zucchini and mushrooms, diced tomatoes, LOTS of Italian seasoning, some salt and pepper, and this Rao’s tomato sauce. Finding tomato sauce without sugar in it is really challenging, but this stuff is legit—probably my favorite tomato sauce now, period. I made actual noodles for my fiance and had mine over half a spaghetti squash.

Day 12

Day 12 was a Saturday, and I made myself more fried eggs over arugula for breakfast and had some clementines on the side.

Again, it was kind of a weird day and I kind of snacked in place of lunch. We ended up going out for a late lunch/early dinner before going to some friends’, and I ordered grilled fajitas, skipped the cheese/tortillas/beans/rice/etc. and just topped the grilled veg and chicken with lettuce, guac, and some salsa.

Day 13

Sunday breakfast: Fried eggs, arugula, clementines (unpictured coffee).

Dinner: Sunday dinner has been really simple this month, another new habit I plan on keeping. I scrambled up some eggs and had them in Siete tortillas, plus a sweet potato with ghee and pepper on the side.

Day 14

Day 14 was back to work, which means back to the ol’ hard-boiled eggs, banana, almond butter, coffee routine.

I froze the leftover spaghetti sauce I made on Friday and had it plus half a spaghetti squash for lunch, plus a red pear.

Dinner: Taco Monday (with more Siete tortillas, because they are delicious).

And that’s it for week 2! To be honest, the first 2 weeks of Whole30 were really blah and some food ended up being kind of repulsive. I felt like I was grieving all of the food I couldn’t have, not to mention all the chips and salsa, cake, chocolate, whatever, that someone else always seemed to be having. However, I am also reading the Whole30 Day By Day guide as I’ve been going through this, and it has been a huge encouragement to stick it out.

I’ll be back in a few days (I hope) with a recap of weeks 3 and 4, plus my final thoughts on this whole process. Stay tuned. ❤

I’m Doing the January Whole30!

Hi there and happy new year!

Yup, I’m doing the #JanuaryWhole30. Insert a fair amount of eyerolls from people, I’m sure. 😉

I’ve had several people tell me they are interested in Whole30 and how the reset is going for me, but before I dive into meals and such, I thought I’d give you a little background if you haven’t heard of the program.

First, visit whole30.com and preferably, read the book It Starts With Food. I’ll give you a quick overview of the program, but if you’re really interested in learning more about the WHY and the science behind it, check those out for sure.

Whole30 is considered a reset, NOT a diet. The first thing people usually ask when they are curious about it is, What CAN you eat? Well, here you go:

Basically, you are spending 30 days focusing on veggies, fruit, animal protein, and fats. The aim is to spend 30 days feeding your body real, whole foods, break unhealthy cycles of eating (like using food as love or reward), and then gradually adding back in the foods you eliminated and seeing how they make you feel (also known as food freedom).

January is a really popular time to start the Whole30, mainly because we’ve just come off an indulgent holiday season and we’re all focused on “new year, new me.”

I’ve actually attempted to do the Whole30 2 other times, and both of them went pretty poorly. But I kept coming back to the idea of doing this reset, especially since I’ve had a lot of stress in my life the last few years, and January seemed like a great time to start. My start day was Monday, January 2, and I made sure to plan meal ideas and stock up on a ton of fruits and veggies at the grocery store that weekend.

Day 1

Day 1 I was feeling super pumped and got up early to make breakfast: 3 eggs scrambled in coconut oil, kale sautéed with lemon and sea salt, and 2 cuties (I also picked up black iced coffee on my way to work and used this coconut milk in it once I got to the office).

Lunch was balsamic chicken legs that I cooked in the slow cooker on Sunday, plus a salad of arugula, dried cranberries (these are Whole30 approved), and chopped walnuts. For dressing, I use olive oil, balsamic, garlic powder, and spicy brown mustard to make a vinaigrette that is SO good (normally I use honey instead of mustard, but unfortunately, honey is out for the Whole30).

Dinner was quick and simple: I fried an apple chicken sausage, microwaved some riced sweet potato and cauliflower, and topped it with salt and pepper and some ghee.

Day 2

 

Day 2 I was feeling less ambitious, so I hard-boiled 3 eggs while I was getting ready and grabbed a banana and spoonful of almond butter before I walked out the door (plus coffee).

Lunch was the same as the day before: chicken legs, arugula salad, a side of grapes, and a La Croix (side note: I miss my Diet Coke at lunch so much).

Every week we have taco night, so I made our usual taco mixture (ground beef, chopped red and orange peppers, zucchini, a can of diced tomatoes and peppers, and a TON of cumin) and had it sans cheese in lettuce wraps. It was only OK. The worst was having to look at my fiance enjoying his in tortillas with cheese. :/

Day 3

Day 3 breakfast and lunch: More of the same.

Dinner was a random assortment of things I threw in the crock pot before I left for work: chicken thighs, sliced zucchini and yellow squash, a can of fire-roasted tomatoes, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, and a big ol’ scoop of ghee. For being a random assortment, it turned out pretty OK!

Day 4

Breakfast was the usual hard-boiled eggs, except we were out of bananas and they didn’t have any at Starbucks, so I made due with the cuties I brought. I also had brought almond butter, but ended up saving it for a snack later.

Lunch was chicken legs and arugula salad.

Friday is our usual pizza night, but I opted for Chipotle since it’s much easier to find something Whole30 compliant. I got a salad with carnitas, mild salsa and guac. And then enjoyed mocktails and watched everyone else eat their chips and cheese with envy. 🙂

Day 5

Day 5 was Saturday, which means I finally switched up my meals a little. I had 3 fried eggs, lemony kale, cuties, and unpictured coffee for breakfast.

Lunch was an apple chicken sausage with mustard, some leftover riced cauliflower and sweet potatoes with ghee, and grapes.

I’m not exactly sure what happened with dinner, but we must have decided to keep it simple. Scrambled eggs and sweet potato (cooked in the microwave for about 5 mins—poke holes in it and wrap in a damp paper towel and it’s perfect!) come together really quickly, so that’s what I did.

Day 6

On Sunday, I was exhausted and didn’t get up until almost 10:00. I picked up coffee on my way to church (put my coconut milk in my purse so I could add it later haha) and grabbed a banana and Larabar to eat for breakfast. #makeitwork

I met my mom and my future mother- and sister-in-law for lunch at RiRa on Sunday. So full disclosure, I made the best decisions possible—but it’s very possible that the bacon in this salad wasn’t Whole30 approved. Whatever. I got their chopped salad (greens, bacon, avocado, tomato, red onion, and chicken) minus the cheese and subbed balsamic and oil for the vinaigrette. So good and I didn’t even miss the cheese.

Dinner was low-key again—fried eggs, sweet potato, and grapes. My fiance isn’t doing Whole30 with me, so for dinner (I enjoy cooking and usually do for both of us), I’ve been making something for him and something for me if I don’t have something planned. Most weeknights I have meals planned and prepped for dinner, but weekends we usually kind of wing it (which on Whole30 for me means eggs and sweet potato haha).

Day 7

I made it through week 1! Work breakfast on day 7 was hard-boiled eggs, almond butter, and a banana.

Lunch was a fried chicken sausage with mustard, riced cauliflower and sweet potato with ghee, and cuties.

I had a crazy day at work and had to work that evening, so we opted for “choose your own dinner.” Like I said, eggs and sweet potato are always quick and easy.

Week 1 Thoughts

Not to lie, the first week (especially days 1-3) kind of sucks. I thought about food all.the.time. I told one of my coworkers, “I feel like everything I love has been taken away from me.” So that was probably a little overdramatic, but I think it’s a pretty normal reaction for the program.

I was also tired during week 1, but not super grouchy or anything. Luckily, after the first few days I kind of got into a groove. Don’t get me wrong, I still thought about food A LOT—planning meals, looking at menus before we went out, having compliant snacks on hand at all times—but it wasn’t as much of a struggle after the first few days.

Positives from week 1: better digestion, fuller between meals, had more consistent energy throughout the day.

Negatives: really, really tired a few days, a TON of dishes to do, felt kind of blah about meals, especially toward the end of the week.

As I’m writing this I’m finishing day 10 and still going strong. I’ll be sure to update you in a few days with how week 2 has been. ❤

2017 Book Roundup Part 2

Happy New Year’s Eve! It’s been a minute, huh? (Also my favorite podcast—check it out!) Earlier this year, I published a list of the books I had been reading since I decided to take a break from exclusively reading Harry Potter. A lot of people seemed to enjoy it, so I thought I would finish out 2017 with a list of the rest of the books I’ve read this year.

(Part 1 is here if you want to catch up.)

If you are on Instagram, I try to document everything I’m reading. You can follow me or look for the hashtag #lindseysbookshelf ❤

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

This book. I hate to start a list off with a book that I hated, but here we are. I heard about this series on a podcast and thought it sounded interesting. Thursday Next is a detective in a futuristic world (that actually takes place in the 80s), and the book has a lot of literary references. I just could not get into it. I was kind of bored and had to trudge through. As much as I love mysteries and references to classic literature, I just don’t love sci-fi…especially in books.

The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking

This book was an impulse buy at Target one day. It’s a super short, cute little book that explains the Danish concept of hygge (kind of like cozy living). I read this in the summer, but I have big plans for putting some of the tips in practice this winter.

The Cafe by the Sea by Jenny Colgan

Oh Jenny Colgan, your British chick lit can do no wrong. I’ve read almost all of her books, and they are all lovely, quick little reads. Always taking place in the UK, usually involving a single woman baking something and falling in love. Enough said.

Funny Girl by Nick Hornby

This is the first Nick Hornby novel I’ve ever read! I actually have had this sitting on the “to read” shelf for a long time, and I just kept putting it off. I’m so glad I finally picked it up this summer. Funny Girl is about a young actress in England in the 1960s who wants to be the next Lucille Ball. The story follows her career, from her first auditions to her becoming a major star. It’s a really fun story and made me want to read some of his other books.

The Wild Woman’s Guide to Traveling the World by Kristin Rockaway

I picked this up randomly at Barnes and Noble one day, not knowing anything about it other than the title was cute and the back cover seemed like it would be a perfect book to end summer with. So, like a lot of chick lit, it’s not very deep and you can pretty much predict what will happen from page 1, but it’s a fun story about a single girl who meets a guy on a solo trip to China, and adventures ensue.

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

Eligible had also been on my list for a long time, and I finally bought a copy this summer. WHY did I wait so long?? This is probably my favorite book I read all year. It’s a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice and takes place in Cincinnati (in Hyde Park, the neighborhood I lived in when I lived there). It is so fun (unless you are an Austen snob, then don’t even bother—you’ll hate it) and I had a hard time putting it down at night.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Immediately upon finishing Eligible, I picked up my old Norton critical edition of Pride and Prejudice. I think the last time I read this book was my first year out of college (creeping up on 10 years now!). It’s such a timeless story—I loved reading it now just as much as I did the first time. Also need to watch the Keira Knightly movie version ASAP.

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

The first Agatha Christie novel I ever read was last year, when I read And Then There Were None. I remember that I liked it, but nothing about it made me particularly interested in anything else she had written. However, I had seen the previews for the new movie version of Murder on the Orient Express and thought it would be fun to read the book first. I am so glad I did. First of all, this book is SO good. I honestly had no idea what the resolution would be. Secondly, the movie was only OK. As per usual, the book was much better. (If you haven’t seen the movie, I’m not NOT recommending it, but I don’t think it is a must-see for the big screen. It will be a great lazy winter Sunday movie.)

The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories by Ernest Hemingway

I picked up this vintage copy of The Snows of Kilimanjaro on a girls’ trip to Nashville a few years ago, and have never gotten around to reading it. It wasn’t my favorite Hemingway—it’s a collection of short stories, and some were good, some were depressing as hell. I honestly don’t think I was in the mood for this book. I would love to go back to it later and see how I feel about it.

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

After loving Murder on the Orient Express so much, I decided to read another Agatha Christie. I had heard that Death on the Nile was another great mystery with a twist ending (and they also are making a movie out of this one). While I didn’t love it as much as Orient Express, it still was very good—it takes place on a ship on the Nile (duh). I had my suspicions about what happened, but wasn’t exactly sure how it would pan out in the end. Definitely recommend if you’d like a good, classic mystery.

Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

I finished out 2017 with the last book in Jenny Colgan’s Little Beach Street Bakery series. They are all so good and I really hope she decides to do more. This Christmas story was so cute and romantic, and the perfect ending for my reading for the year.

True confessions, I started reading a Harry Potter book the other night. I do have a few books lined up for the coming year, but the Freeform #HarryPotterWeekend marathon made me nostalgic.

I hope you all have had a wonderful holiday season and a safe and happy New Year’s celebration. And please try to read something good if you have a few days off work. ❤

Friday Favorites: Summer Essentials

If you weren’t sure if we were going to have a typical summer in southern Indiana this year, this week definitely confirmed it for you: 100 degree days with 200% humidity. Great days to enjoy some Netflix and chill in the AC. (Literally chill, guys.)

Today I’m going to share a few of the things I’m loving this summer + a few of the things that I feel like are saving my life. The bugs. The heat. Sigh.

I’m also linking up today for Friday Favorites, so be sure to check out all the other posts today! ❤

Bug Stuff

You guys, the bugs are insane this year. I think it has something to do with how warm it was all winter—things didn’t die as they were supposed to as part of the circle of life. I am particularly susceptible to mosquito bites, and my legs look like those of a child who has been playing outside all day (minus being tan, because I’m in an office all day). These are the products I’m relying on to help with all the bugs.

Badger Anti-Bug Shake & Spray

I love pretty much anything put out by Badger Balm, but this bug spray is pretty legit. You will smell like citronella. But I think this natural bug repellant is much more effective than some of the other hippie ones I’ve tried.

Witch Hazel

I’m convinced witch hazel will cure anything. But this is one of the ONLY things I’ve found that actually relieves the itching/pain from bug bites. I put some on every night after I get out of the shower.

Badger Balm also has an after-bug balm that works nicely, although I think witch hazel is a little better. Also, I’ve tried lavender oil to repel bugs a few times, and it worked pretty OK. It’s nice in a pinch if you would like a more natural bug spray.

Sunscreen

Speaking of Badger Balm, I’m a big fan of their sport sunscreen.

This is a zinc-oxide (HAY) based sunscreen, so it goes on pretty white—I recommend applying it with a mirror nearby so you can see what you’re working with. It’s waterproof for up to 80 minutes, which I think is a nice bonus. I definitely miss the convenience of the spray-on sunscreens, but I’m getting used to this natural option.

Sandals

I splurged on 2 pairs of sandals this year, and I have no regrets. My first purchase (which was technically this spring) was this pair of Birkenstock Mayari sandals.

I wanted these sandals like whoa last summer, but you couldn’t find them anywhere by August. So I got on it this year and ordered them in April. Sizing was a little challenging—I ordered a size down, and think I really should have gotten them in narrow, but I was sick of ordering and sending back and reordering at that point. Anyway, I tightened the straps and have never looked back.

Next up is this pair of Chacos.

First off, the style is called Dorra, so how could I not get them?? They are probably the most comfortable sandals I’ve ever owned right off the bat—no breaking in necessary. I also love that they are really functional, but could also be worn with a summer dress or out for a nicer occasion if needed.

Drinks

I got this Healthy Human stainless steel cruiser tumbler a while ago, but it has been a life-saver this summer.

The “keeps cold for 24 hours” thing is legit. I bring my iced coffee in it to work every morning, then on lunch will stick the tumbler out in my car for the rest of the day. In the 100 degree heat. In my car with black interior. And there is still ice in there when I get in at the end of the day to go home. It’s magic.

Also, this nettle tea from Republic of Tea.

I read an article earlier this year about how nettle tea can provide allergy relief, so I figured I’d give it a try. I don’t know if it has really affected my allergies, but this tea is dang delicious—it almost tastes like cake.

Fresh Fruit

Specifically, cherries.

I’ve never bought cherries before, mainly because they are $$$ at the grocery. This year I’m splurging on them every week and cannot get enough. They are the perfect amount of sweet and so refreshing.

Much thanks to Erika, Narci, and Andrea for hosting today’s linkup—be sure and go check them out!

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Quick & Easy Lunch Ideas

Like I’ve said before, I’m pretty OK at this whole bring-your-lunch-to-work thing.

So we’ve already covered the basics of successfully packing your lunch for work. Today I thought I’d share my 3 best quick and easy packed lunches.

These may not be the fanciest or most impressive lunches, but they are my go-tos when I’m really busy at work—and they get the job done. “The job” being feeding me mid-day so I don’t pass out from hanger.

Leftovers

This is probably the most “duh” of all lunch ideas, but bringing leftovers from the night before is cost-effective and helps prevent food waste. However, when bringing leftovers, make sure they will either reheat well or be OK chilled from the fridge—so, maybe avoid salads that are drenched in dressing.

I like to throw leftovers from the night before over some greens and make a salad. Confession: I stole this idea from a coworker. I have no idea why this never occurred to me, but it’s genius. In the photo above, we had grilled chicken kebabs for dinner, and I had an extra one that I put over mixed greens with some Tessemae’s ranch dressing for lunch the next day.

The Mindless Salad

A “mindless salad” doesn’t really have to be a salad—it’s just a very quick lunch that you will almost always have the ingredients on hand for. So for me, this is a salad: Arugula, dried cranberries, walnuts, chicken, and homemade dressing. It’s delicious and takes less than 5 minutes to throw together the night before.

I buy all of these ingredients at the grocery each week because I know more than likely, there will be one day where either we don’t have leftovers or I am uninspired to meal prep. To make it easier, I buy organicgirl baby arugula, which is prewashed, and Applegate Naturals precooked chicken breast. Sometimes I actually am not lazy and grill a chicken breast to have on hand, which saves a LOT of money, but having the precooked is a great backup.

Look in the Fridge

This last option is less of a planned meal and more of a strategy for utilizing whatever you have available in the kitchen. For each lunch, having a good source of protein and some greens is essential. If I’m out of almost everything, I can usually scrape by with a few staple ingredients.

Hardboiled eggs are easy to make in advance, especially if you have one of these egg cookers. At one point I thought an egg cooker was an unnecessary appliance, but then I realized the worst thing about hard boiling eggs is standing at the burner while they cook. Now I can make some eggs the night before without having to sit and watch a pot boil.

Sweet potatoes are another ingredient I usually have on hand—plus, they keep well so if I end up not using it, I can save it. The easiest way to cook a sweet potato is a tip I learned from Fed + Fit: Poke your holes in the potato with a fork (I usually do 4 lines of 3 holes with a fork), wrap the potato in a damp paper towel, and microwave for about 8 minutes (for a medium-size potato—adjust time according to the size). This is great for last-minute lunch packing the night before, because again, I just have to pop it in the microwave and not worry about it.

Lastly, like with leftovers, when in doubt, throw your food over some greens. I buy a few tubs of prewashed greens at the grocery each week, which come in super handy for these emergencies.

All that to say, plan ahead when you’re at the grocery store to have a few things on hand for emergencies—whether it’s a carton of eggs or some packets of tuna. Keep a few bags of frozen veggies in the freezer. ALWAYS buy some greens. Then you’ll have all the fixins for a last-minute lunch. Even if it’s not the most delicious, you managed to save a few dollars and eat something healthy and well-balanced. ❤