WIAW: Leftovers Galore!

Hi and happy November! Seriously, how did we get to November already? Although the weather in southern Indiana doesn’t seem to have gotten the note—it’s been in the 80s the last few days.

Things around here have been pretty calm—I’ve been getting a lot of stuff done at home and have spent a lot of time watching TV lately haha. I’m currently typing this post up as I’m watching Game 6 of the World Series (go Cubs go!). I’m also watching lots of episodes of Last Week Tonight via HBO Now, and I finished The Jinx on Sunday. If you were a fan of Making a Murderer and have access to HBO on demand, do yourself a favor and go check it out.

Enough about my TV guilty pleasures—let’s get to another WIAW.

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This looks like the most unappetizing breakfast. I didn’t realize that until I looked back at my photos. But it was so good, thanks to Justin’s maple almond butter and these turkey sausages that I’m still loving. I grabbed a banana because they were looking like they were almost done, and picked up an iced coffee on my way to work.

Lunch was leftover chicken fried rice that I made Sunday night for dinner.

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This was white rice, onion, garlic, mushrooms, carrots, peas, chicken, and pineapple. Plus lots and lots of coconut aminos.

And an apple on the side for dessert.

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I was feeling really low motivation at work, so I went to the gym on my lunch break. I’ve been really trying to throw my gym bag in the car every day, just in case I get the chance to go. Sometimes it works out, and sometimes I skip. I made up this quick functional workout before I left the office and really enjoyed it!

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I warmed up with 10 minutes on the elliptical, completed this quick circuit workout, and then cooled down with some stretching. I’ve been really interested in functional workouts lately—I might do a longer post on this in the future, but here’s a quick overview here.

After lunch, I got back to work and had some afternoon snacks: an unpictured Larabar (peanut butter cookie) and baby carrots.

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Plus some leftover food from our office Halloween party on Monday: a fun size Kit Kat, 2 bites of cookie cake, and a handful of this puppy chow I made. Beware of the puppy chow, it’s so good, but you have to buy a jar of Biscoff…which if you’re me, means you’ll gorge yourself on spoonfuls of it until you get yourself together and throw the jar out. And then take the trash out. Because who knows—you might be crazy enough to get it back out of the trash and finish it off. (Kidding.)

Dinner was leftovers from Monday night.

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Lettuce tacos (filling was ground beef, tomatoes, onion, garlic, peppers, mushrooms + spices) with some corn tortilla chips.

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And a strawberry popsicle for dessert. Because why not?

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That’s it for this week’s installment. Thanks so much to Peas and Crayons for hosting these weekly WIAW gatherings. I hope you all are having a wonderful week filled with lots of good things! ❤

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Thursday Things + Food Journaling 101

Hello there! And happy October / Fall Festival week for those of you in southern Indiana! I have not actually made it down to the festival yet, but there ARE still 2 days left—who knows what could happen? The world is my oyster!

The last few weeks have been jam-packed with a ton of stuff, and on top of that I have been feeling run down.

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First and foremost, the boyfriend and I went to Notre Dame 2 weeks ago for their game against Duke. Sadly, the game was kind of a bummer, but we still had an amazing time. The campus is incredible and it was so fun to be part of a football weekend.

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The weather was absolutely perfect and we had a really great time hanging out with our friends and spending time on campus.

In addition to our trip, life has just been keeping me busy. I was trying to think of specific reasons why I’ve felt so blah, but there’s not one thing in particular. There are just some seasons of life that are like that—between work and friends and relationships and running errands, it just goes by super quickly.

Health-wise, I’ve been feeling a little off for the past few weeks. I have issues with my neck and shoulders, so a family weekend at Holiday World (riding the Scrambler in particular) left me in a lot of pain. Which turned into a migraine after an appointment at the chiropractor. I’ve also been experimenting a little with my diet, which leads me into what I want to write about today: food journaling, or why I think we should all be doing it.

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I have been a user of MyFitnessPal for years. I actually did a project involving it for one of my classes in school.

MyFitnessPal is both a website and an app you can download to track your food and beverage intake, physical activity, and progress toward goals. It can also sync with other apps you may be using, like Fitbit or MapMyRun.

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You can also connect with other users for accountability or motivation (don’t worry—you can choose what information is viewable to others, like weight, food diary, etc.).

So MyFitnessPal is one of the most popular food diary apps because it’s really user-friendly and has a really really large database of food and drink. Seriously, I can find almost anything I’ve eaten, including particular brands and specific entrees at restaurants. It also saves recent entries and recipes, so it’s very easy to track your food if you, like me, tend to eat a lot of the same things.

OK, this is probably starting to sound like this post was brought to you by MyFitnessPal, but it’s NOT. I just think it’s a really great app and a useful service. I personally use it to track my food and exercise, but I specifically love being able to see nutrient and macronutrient intake. If I’m feeling really hungry one day, I can look back and see I’ve eaten 70% carbs and very little protein—and this helps me know what changes I should be making in my diet in order to feel my best.

The other form of food journaling that I find useful is a good old fashioned notebook and pen.

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I started keeping a notebook and pen on my nightstand a few months ago, mainly to see if my diet affected anxiety and stress in my life. You can make this as detailed or as brief as you’d like, but generally I include:

  • What I had for each meal plus any snacks (again, this doesn’t have to be in-depth—simply writing oatmeal and coffee for breakfast will suffice)
  • How much water I drank that day
  • What my energy levels throughout the day were like
  • What kind of activity I did (how many steps I got, if I worked out, foam rolling, etc.)
  • What my moods were like
  • Any other major differences (was I exhausted all day, bloated, bad headache, etc.)

It can be tedious at first, but like most new habits, once it becomes part of your routine, it feels natural. And I can’t stress enough how helpful this has been. Like that really bad stomachache I had a few weeks ago? I can look through my notebook and find that I had a similar one 2 months ago, and both those days I had eaten X. Or if I’m feeling really good one day, I can see that I drank a ton of water and had 3 meals with a good amount of protein in them.

If you are trying to meet a weight-loss goal, have been having digestive issues, or just haven’t been feeling like yourself lately, I encourage you to give food journaling a shot. Even if you don’t include every single thing you ate every day (which I usually don’t), it is so helpful for both accountability and information. Knowledge is power, people! Especially in regards to your health.

I hope this post was helpful! If you have questions about food journaling or would like me to explain anything I forgot, please let me know. I hope you all have a wonderful week and a sweet weekend. 🙂

Workouts Lately

Hi there! Happy Wednesday and happy almost-fall. The weather here has been all kinds of nice lately, minus some mosquitoes that I guess won’t go away until the first freeze.

With school done and my crazy-busy summer almost over, I’ve been trying to get back into a routine that includes my old healthy habits. It’s a work in progress, and I’m trying to learn how to prioritize all the things. The last time I really was able to eat clean and work out on a consistent basis was like 3 years ago, and I was also living alone and hopelessly single. Translation: I didn’t have a lot going on, so I went to the gym every day and cooked all my own meals.

Right now, my plan of action is to go to the gym during my lunch break. Here’s the deal: I get a 1 hour break for lunch each day. I work in a pretty laid-back office, so we don’t have to look 100% profesh all the time. (Read: If I come back from lunch with a red face and sweaty hair, no one’s going to yell at me.) My gym is near my work. I have exactly enough time to get to the gym, change into workout clothes, work out, stretch, change back into work clothes, get back to work. No time for showers or any workout longer than 30 minutes.

Here are 2 workouts I’ve done recently during my lunch hour, plus a yoga video that I love so much and had to include.

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This is a little weights circuit I put together that includes some of my favorite moves. Do each set 3 times, rest 1 minute, and then move to the next set.

Exercise demos: bicep curls / squats / bent-over row / straight-leg deadlift / standing overhead press / standing tricep extension / stationary lunge / supine chest flydonkey kicks / leg pulse

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This is a cardio circuit I did when I had forgotten my headphones (hence the name). Normally, this would be an excuse to just head home. But since it was my lunch break, I had already eaten and didn’t have time to do anything else, so I toughed it out. I did 3 quick mini-circuits on different cardio machines to keep me from getting bored.

Finally, this is a really beautiful yoga sequence that I did after work yesterday. I have been craving lots of yoga lately, and this video was absolutely perfect. (Check out her channel on YouTube for lots of good videos each week here.)

Note: I am not a certified personal trainer. Check with your healthcare provider before beginning or making changes to your fitness routine. Honor your body and modify as necessary.

What’s New Wednesday

Hi! Hello. What’s new? This week is Fall Festival week in Evansville, and I am sick. Those two things are actually unrelated. I’m blaming this random bout of sickness that came out of nowhere on Monday night on the ridiculous weather we’ve been having. The last couple weeks here have been sunny and warm during the week and then cold and dreary on the weekends. I went to the store and loaded up on Emergen-C, distilled water (hello, neti pot!), bottled water, orange juice, throat drops, and the behind-the-counter Mucinex. Oh yeah.

So what else has been going on?

I started my lab rotations in the Sodexo kitchen at school.

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That, my friends, is me in my lovely chef’s coat. (Notice Dora behind me not caring less about it.) For one of my classes this semester, we’re working in the kitchens at school. Cue me being a nervous wreck: I’ve never worked in a kitchen and am not a terribly good cook. Thankfully, we only do this once a week for a month, and everyone (so far) has been incredibly patient and kind to me.

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Also, the chef I worked with last week rewarded us with this amazing brownie…thing? I split it with my boyfriend last week and it was to die for.

Still doing the running thing, although probably not as consistently as I would like. Meaning none so far this week, but I really can’t afford to get SICK sick right now—so I’m being kind to my body and giving myself a break. On Sunday I ran along the greenway downtown. It was the day after the half marathon, and there were lots of chalk messages still leftover on the path.

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Very inspirational, even if they weren’t for me necessarily.

On Monday, I tried Sunshine Juice Co.‘s new seasonal blend, appropriately named Fall.

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It is organic spinach, pear, and ginger, and definitely a winner. I know a lot of people are turned off by green juice, and some of it does taste like…you cleaned off the bottom of your lawnmower, as a coworker described it to me recently. I swear, stick with it. Your palate will adapt. But anyway, Fall does not taste like mowed grass. It’s sweet and mild and delicious. Definitely go pick some up ASAP. (And PSA: Sunshine Juice is doing some buy X amount get one free deals this weekend for their 1-year anniversary!)

Lastly, I make my boyfriend watch Wheel of Fortune all the time, which he hates. Why? I don’t know—maybe I’m actually a grandma, or maybe he has bad taste in classic TV shows. But anyway, we were watching last night and compelled to look up how old Pat and Vanna are on IMDB. (Side note: Is anyone else on IMDB like every day? It’s one of my most-used apps.) Anyway, I came across this bio of Vanna White on there:

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I loved this way too much. I hope IMDB never takes that down.

Well, now I’m off to drink some OJ + Emergen-C (which my friend Brit would point out as being completely pointless, because you just pee out what you don’t need) and to take a nice hot shower. Have a great evening, guys!

A Day in the Life: Back to School

Hi! I hope you are all getting ready to enjoy a nice long Labor Day weekend. I took a vacation day on Friday, and I’ll be busy doing a mix of projects, schoolwork, and having some R&R time.

I’ve been meaning to check in on here for the last few weeks, but, as you may have guessed from the title of this post, I started classes last week. That first week of getting into the groove can be killer—I always feel like I have to relearn how to balance work, school, fun, and my personal time. I’m pretty excited for this semester and the classes I’m taking. And best news—this is my last year! I actually filled out graduation paperwork this afternoon. 😀

One of my favorite blogs (and one of the first blogs I started following) is Carrots n Cake. She does this semi-weekly feature called A Day in the Life, and I thought it would be fun to try over here. I also originally intended this to be a WIAW (What I Ate Wednesday) post…but then I forgot to take a picture of dinner, and now it’s Thursday—so obvs not happening.

But first things first: I got a lot of my hair chopped off.

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That’s the before and after. OK, and now that I’m looking at it, it doesn’t look that drastic. But to me it was. And my hair feels so. much. healthier.

A Day in the Life: Tuesday, September 1

6:00am Alarm goes off. Hit snooze.

6:18am Actually get up. Head to the kitchen to make breakfast.

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3 scrambled eggs cooked in coconut oil (topped with black pepper and hot sauce), a big ol’ peach, and water.

6:45am Get ready to face the day!

7:15am Head to class at 8am, but stop for iced coffee on the way. (Duh.)

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Iced coffee + skim milk.

8:00am Class (stimulating PowerPoint lectures included).

9:45am Head out for my first Couch to 5K run.

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I have not run in several months. Starting last fall, I kept getting injuries in my left leg when I was running, and even though I love running, I just stopped. But lately I’ve been really missing it (plus, fall is like the best running weather, ever), so I decided to eat my humble pie and start really reallllllly slowly. The first run is a 5-min warmup, 20 mins of alternating 1 min run/1.5 min walk, and 5-min cool down. It was really good, but I have the most killer blister on my left ankle (TMI?).

10:15am Clean up and make a smoothie for a snack.

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This was 1 cup of almond milk, ice, and a packet of Amazing Grass Green Superfood. I found out about Amazing Grass through my blog crush, and it’s really good. You can actually order a sampler pack of several of their supplement powders (plus that cute little bottle above) for like $10. Check it out!

10:30am Settle in for a couple hours of schoolwork.

12:30pm Lunch and chit-chat break, followed by more schoolwork.

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Today I had an Amy’s burrito (gluten-free and dairy-free) over some mixed greens, plus a sliced apple with almond butter and chocolate chips. Oh, and a McDonald’s Diet Coke (Transparency!).

3:00pm Back to class (this one included a PowerPoint, but was much more interesting).

4:45pm Home to grab essentials for dinner and let little Dora out.

5:30pm Arrive at boyfriend’s house, light the grill and throw fries in the toaster oven. This is where I failed to take any more pictures for the day, but we grilled these amazing chicken sausages and had sweet potato waffle fries on the side.

After dinner, we watched some TV and caught up on our days. #theperfectcouple

10:00pm Home for the night. Talk with the roommate for a bit and get ready for bed.

10:30pm Get in bed, read for a bit (this), and hit the lights.

So that’s a typical school day right now. I think I might try to do a work day or weekend episode of these too, if you’re interested. I am super nosy and love reading these things, plus it’s nice to get ideas for meals or snacks or what have you.

Anyway, thank you for indulging me in this. I hope you all have a safe and happy Labor Day, and hopefully I’ll check in again on here soon!

Weekending & the Importance of Self-Care

Hi! I’m currently enjoying a quiet Tuesday night after a busy weekend + Monday.

Someone special had a birthday on Thursday, so I took a vacation day Friday to hang out. We ran a bunch of errands (including Chipotle and Target, my 2 loves) and then set up a sweet new projector for watching movies outside—and football games this fall. 🙂

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The first thing we watched? Parks and Recreation. ❤

Saturday was the annual Bluegrass in the Park fest in Henderson, aka my Most Favorite Event of the Summer. Seriously, I can never turn down pulled pork barbecue and fries.

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Saturday was miserably hot and humid, so we were all surprised with a-mazing weather Saturday night. Like this beautiful sunset.

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Plus a nice cool breeze and zero humidity. I was a happy girl. (Also there was an older gentleman with a fat chihuahua and 2 cockatiels present = best thing I’ve seen all summer.)

Sunday was church + hot yoga, followed by pizza with the roommates and a grocery run. And Monday ended up being a crazy day at work and a late night (like, not falling asleep till after midnight), so I was dragging all day.

So tonight after work I decided to take it easy. I cooked myself dinner,

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watched an episode of New Girl, and took Dora on a walk. And now I’m chilling out with the Balanced Bites podcast and probably some reading before hopefully heading to bed early.

One thing I’ve learned about myself over the past 2 years is how important having a night to myself is. I’m not really an introvert, so too much alone time and I tend to get weird. But just one night where I can do whatever I want—whether that’s being super productive and doing meal prep and exercising and whatever, or just laying on the couch with Netflix on in the background and catching up with my roommates—that’s my sweet spot.

I think my 20s have definitely been a lesson in self-care. When I was younger, I constantly wanted to be busy and fill all my time. Now, I still like being busy, but I can recognize how being busy all. the. time. is so unhealthy for me (cue stress/anxiety/depression perfect storm). It definitely takes time to figure out where you function best—maybe you need a solid 9 hours of sleep every night, and you have to work around that. Or maybe weekends are your time, and you like having your weekdays and nights full. There’s no wrong way to practice self-care. We’re all unique and awesome and again, just because something is good for someone else, doesn’t mean it will work for you.

And with that thought, I’m off to spend some time with this book. Have a great evening!

One Month of Summer

Hello and happy Monday to you!

So on Friday, I realized (with a slight sense of panic) that I had exactly one month until classes start again. What.

I realize that the first part of my summer was taken up with a summer session at school, so maybe that’s why it feels like it’s gone exceptionally fast? Who can tell. But I do know that, while I’ll be sad for summer to end, this is the start of my last year of school—PTL for that! It has gone by so quickly, and while I’ve loved my classes and am so glad I decided to take the plunge and go back to school, I will be so glad to just be a normal adult again. You know, just working for the weekends and all that (I kid).

OK, one month of summer left, and I want to enjoy it. I came across this post on Pinterest a few weeks ago, and I became sort of obsessed with it. I just really love the idea of developing habits that are focused on self-care. And you know I also love to-do lists. So kind of combining those two things, here’s what I want my last month of summer to look like.

1. Get up with my alarm.

If you ever think you are going to find a list of goals on this blog that doesn’t include becoming a morning person, you are a fool.

2. Commit to a regular yoga practice.

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Earlier this summer, my roommate and I joined a hot yoga studio for their promotional summer class rate—basically three months of unlimited yoga. Yes! Like with most things in life, I started out super strong, then fizzled for the last few weeks. I love yoga, and yeah, I really want a yoga body, but it is time-consuming. So I would like to commit to practicing in-studio three or four times a week for the next month—I think that will give me the benefits of practicing hot yoga, and also the benefits of having a life and seeing the people I love.

3. Take Dora for more walks.

While we’re talking about moving, little Dora has had little to no exercise this summer. OK first of all, it has been super hot and I am worried about her hydration (yes, that was an obnoxious dog mom thing to say). But I also just haven’t made the time for it, and I feel bad about that. So along with getting up when my alarm is going off, I’d like to take Dora at least for a short walk in the morning. It’s a lot cooler then (mostly) and the sun is up early these days, and I’m hopeful that getting up and moving for a bit will help me wake up and clear my head.

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4. Rekindle my love for podcasts.

I do this thing where I exclusively listen to playlists on my phone or CDs for a few weeks, exclusively listen to the Top 40 radio stations for a few weeks, and exclusively listen to NPR for a few weeks. Podcasts used to be in that mix, especially during the school year when I was practically living out of my car and driving out to campus all the time. I really haven’t listened to any lately—perhaps this entire year (the horror!). Over the weekend I downloaded a few different podcasts that I’d heard good things about, and I’m excited to get back into them.

5. Try some dessert recipes.

I came across this dairy-free ice cream the other day, and it looks amazing and refreshing.

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And also this fruit pizza. Fruit pizza! A dessert I love but somehow always forget about.

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There you have it folks: My summer to-do list. Let me know if I’ve missed anything, or what plans you have for the rest of your summer!