“When I Feel Like It”

Just popping in on the blog today. I haven’t decided with what frequency I want to get back into my updates, so for now I am proceeding with “when I feel like it,” and seeing how that plays out.

Things are pretty busy in my little universe right now, but in the best way!

Wedding planning is in full swing. It feels weird to say that when we’re 10 months out, but I’ve been amazed by how much we’re needing to do now. Some of it, like nailing down our major vendors, had to get done in order to get who we wanted on our wedding date (Saturdays in June are pretty popular, duh). Some of it is just for my piece of mind, though. With my challenges with stress and anxiety, I figure the best thing I can do is knock out as much of the work side of “planning” early on, and just enjoy as we get closer!

We’ve been so lucky to have my wonderful friend Jenny designing the look/feel of our wedding stationary pieces. She created a beautiful Save the Date that we’re obsessed with, and a wedding “logo” that we’ll use on everything from envelope seals to menus. She has such an eye for clean, artistic and personalized design!

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Our Save the Date!

Our wedding "logo"

Our wedding “logo”

I was incredibly blessed to have my mom in town for the last two weeks. My parents live so far away (Guam), and having her here to go wedding dress shopping with me, work on our Save the Dates, see our venue, taste potential wedding wines and more allowed for us to make some wonderful, precious memories that I will treasure forever!

I found the dress at the end of an amazing day of dress hunting with my mom and future MIL!

I found the dress at the end of an amazing day of dress hunting with my mom and future MIL!

I’d say everything’s going great except for my efforts to make a healthy lifestyle a major priority. I have gotten so out of shape, and it hasn’t been helpful to be in a walking boot… result of a broken foot. A story for another time! I was super excited to order a new 48 oz Nalgene the other day. It may sound like ridiculous reason for excitement, but when I have a Nalgene on hand, I am so much more likely to chug water all day, and I know that’s a step in the right direction. I can’t wait for my foot to heal and get back to working out the way I like!

Until next time!

Guess Who’s Back… Back Again

I have taken quite the hiatus from this blog, and in recent weeks have often thought of firing up my posting again. I think some of my interest in writing again lies in my need to feel like I am feeding my creative side in a non-work way, and some is due to that fact that there is MUCH going on right now, and journaling it might be a good way for me to sort through everything and savor this happy time.

PG and I got engaged in December – Six months ago! I can’t believe how fast the time has flown by. Our wedding is next June, and I know that the next year will fly by just as quickly.

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Since then, I also have a new job that I really, really like. Between my previous job at the law firm where I used to be employed, and this job, there was an unsavory professional experience from which I learned a lot. I am extra grateful to now be in a role that I like, with a team I enjoy, doing work that is challenging and rewarding!

Healthy eating and exercise has completely fallen to the wayside lately, and I am really trying to fire up my efforts in that area. I know that when I am eating healthy and workout out, I feel better in every way. In the past, blogging has helped me keep on track in that regard, and I think that is another great reason for me to reconnect with WordPress.

I think that is all for my return-post. I am looking forward to getting back into blogging :)

Smother Everything with Hummus

Happy Saturday everybody!

I love weekends. I love everything about them – Open schedules, downtime, catch-up-on-my-life-time, it’s great!

I also love not being in a rush to get to work in the morning, and being able to wander around my kitchen while pondering breakfast. Today I went with an old favorite.

Banana Mega Pancake (5 WW pts)
– 1 egg
– 2 egg whites
– 1 well-mashed banana
– 1 1/2 tbsp chocolate chips
– 1 tbsp sugar free maple syrup

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Served with a mug of sugar-free caramel macchiato flavored coffee – nom!

In yesterday’s post, I forgot to mention a very big change in my world that recently took place! PG and I got a puppy – Tootsie! We picked her up in FEbruary from a breeder in Illinois, and she has just been the best little puppy. When we got her she was 10 weeks old and about 13 lbs. She’s now 17 weeks old and just under 25 lbs. She is growing so fast! Tootsie likes to sleep, eat, chase mom’s toes, snuggle on dad’s face, and pretty much just sit around. She’s a purebred English Bulldog and fits her breed profile to a “t! !!!

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After breakfast, Tootsie and I went to Bay View Bark – an indoor/outdoor dog park that also offers doggy daycare and grooming. It’s $35 for a monthly pass, and I plan to take Tootsie a few times a week with ours! She loves chasing the other little dogs around, and I love seeing her socialize!

When we got home Tootsie was pooped (understatement), so I took advantage of her nap time and did quite a bit of cleaning until lunch time. I wanted to save a good number of points for dinner since Laura is coming over for tacos, so for lunch I decided to fill up on my go-to-when-I-want-to-veg-out meal as of late: Broccoli smothered in humus. I love humus. I could eat humus at every meal for the rest of my life. I don’t love broccoli, but it’s filling and 0 points. Take something I don’t love, cover it with 2 pts worth of humus (1/4 C), and I’ve got heaven in a bowl.

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Add some red pepper strips and a diet coke and I call it a good mid-day dish.
Off to more laundry and cleaning!

 

 

Reboot = Fail. Try Again?

On and off for the past few weeks, I’ve been contemplating why my blog fell off the face of the planet last summer. I mean, I loved blogging and enjoyed recording my adventures in trying to lead a healthier life. When I was blogging, I was holding myself personally accountable for my food and lifestyle choices. If I started to get off track, I could see it in my posts, and would snap back into it.

There’s definitely some correlation with my lack of blogging since last summer. PG moved in, and with that change in my life, some things shifted. Pieces of my world that are really important to me (work, him, friends, school) remained huge priorities, but I sort of let go the whole “taking good care of yourself” part of the big picture.

Living with your favorite person in the world, who also loves junk food, makes it SO easy to say “Let’s order a pizza!” as you’re snuggled up on the couch on any given night of the week – instead of “I’m going to get off my ass, grill some chicken, roast some veggies, and make myself a well-balanced meal.”

There’s a bit of a learning curve with the work-life balance I supposed, and if I were asked if I’d rather give up all the things that have otherwise made me so happy this year vs. letting them drop and maintaining a super healthy lifestyle, I’d definitely opt for the first things. However, that’s not an actual choice that I have to make (thank god), and I need to recognize that.

Since January I’ve been back into WW and trying to make some better food choices. I gained like 20-25 lbs when PG moved in (frighteningly, I still weighed less than I did in Fall ’12!), and have been hacking away at that a bit. I’m doing better with what I’m eating, but now I really need to kick up my exercise and find that groove.

Part of the amazing groove I fell into last Spring was this blog. I really hope (though can’t promise, as I’ve tried a few times to no avail) to come back to this, and bring myself back to something I really enjoyed.

… and, that is all for today :)

Reboot!

I’M BACK!

After a summer/early fall hiatus from blogging, I have decided I need and want to get back to venting to the world and sharing my adventures in healthy eating and living a healthy lifestyle.

A LOT has happened since my last update! Here’s a little update!

School
Just after Labor Day I started working toward my second Master’s, my MBA, at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. I chose UWW because of their fantastic online course offerings in their MBA program, which I wanted at least initially while I adjusted to working full-time and taking classes. An added perk is that my dad went there! Go  Warhawks!

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My first course is Accounting Foundations. I’m not going to sugar coat it: This class is everything that is wrong with the world. I absolutely hate it. I (sort of) understand it’s value, but it’s really kicking my butt! My grades are good and I should finish, fingers crossed, with between a 95% and 100% average, but it’s definitely tough! The wonderful part is that my company is covering my tuition, so this really is a wonderful opportunity for me!

Fun
The summer is officially a blur in my head. I don’t think there was one open weekend. A few friends came to town,  I ran a couple of races, PG and I went to Pittsville for a couple of weddings, I had my weekly volleyball games… I don’t know where the time went! I’ll have to do a post sometime about our epic digestion competition at the Wisconsin State Fair. I’m talking chocolate covered deep-fried bacon. Yummmm!

Healthy Stuff
As great as life has been lately, I’ve seriously been slacking when it comes to healthy eating and making that and fitness a priority. I did a couple runs this summer and am signed up for more through the fall. I have grande dreams of doing a marathon in January, but I don’t know if that can happen. I’ve fallen into a bad habit of eating junk regularly that I seriously need to cut. PG moved in recently (whoo hoo!), and it is very tempting to indulge in pizza and soda while we lounge around at night. I need to start making better choices and prioritizing!

To kick off eating better and feeling better, I decided to try a three-day juice cleanse from a company right in my neighborhood, Juiced! Their juices are made fresh, in-house, and I had been dying to try them out. I am drinking six juices a day (with lots of water and fruits/veggies when I need them) for three days, and hoping it will be the reboot I need!

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My juices, ready to get chugged!

 

That’s all for now! I hope everyone had a great summer
and is enjoying a wonderful fall!

Glaciers, fireball, and the start of an amazing summer!

Blogging Hiatus = Over!

Hello world! The last few weeks have been a bit hectic for me, and blogging has fallen by the wayside for sure. I have begun to miss it, though, and I decided today is the day to return to the blogosphere!

June has been a busy, adventure-filled month! Between work and a few trips, I have done my best to keep up with healthy eating, though exercise as always has been abandoned a bit. I start training on Monday for a ½ marathon I am doing in August, though, so that is sure to kick me back into gear!

What I’ve Been Up To

A few weeks ago PG and I went to Glacier National Park in Montana for a long weekend. We had such a great time!

While there we stayed at Many Glacier Hotel, the oldest and largest of the lodgings in the park. The hotel was opened in 1915, and maintains a very rustic and old-world feel.

The hotel’s location gave us easy access to a lot of the park’s prettiest trails. We hiked and saw moose, bunnies, marmots (my favorite!), mountain goats, and even a momma black bear and her cub on our last day! Pictures just don’t do the area justice, but here are a few!

I had just a 4 day work week following my Montana trip before I was back in the sky headed to Denver with one of my best friends, Laura. We met up with our dear friend and college roommate, Alli, and headed down to Grand Junction, CO for Country Jam 2013. I had never been to Country Jam, or anything like it, and let me tell you: It was an experience.

Country Jam hosts a big line-up of the hottest country musicians of the moment, in a festival-like setting. Thousands of people camp in the grounds surrounding the concert grounds for the long weekend (some even for the week!) and gather in the desert for days and nights of country music and good times.

We had a great campsite, where we grilled out, consumed many a pop tart, and I was introduced to the infamous Fireball whiskey. Our site ended up hosting quite the party on the Saturday we were there, and we met a lot of awesome and fun people. It was a weekend I will never ever forget, and I can’t wait for next summer’s trip!

Back to Business
Now that the trips are over, I am trying to get back into the swing of things at work and in life in general. I put on a few pounds (I mean, between lodge-food in Montana and corn dogs at Country Jam, I’m talking almost 6 lbs!) but I am already working hard to return to my pre-vacation weight. The thing is, I’m doing my fair share of griping about it, but I’m really not too upset.. Because I know how to eat healthy and take care of myself, and I know that putting those habits back into practice will bring me right back to my happy weight.

So for now, I am doing a lot of scrambled egg whites, turkey bacon, fruits, veggies, protein shakes and lean protein. I am sticking with the basics that I know will get me back on track, and in a week or two will return to the exciting world of new recipes and fun food!

Exercise-wise, next week’s beginning of ½ marathon training will be a good wake up call. I’ve been working out sporadically, and that will be the consistency I need to get back into it (though hiking in the mountains and shaking my booty at Country Jam has to be some sort of exercise!) Tonight we have a volleyball double-header, so I decided to let that be my exertion for the day!

I hope everyone has had a wonderful June and a great start to their summers? Any big plans for exciting things on the horizon?

Come on, Positivity! Come on!

It’s Wednesday. Thank God. This week needs to be over! Have you ever had one of those weeks where nothing seems to go quite right? That is this week.. I don’t want to be negative, or dwell on things that aren’t good, but this week has not been my favorite. At least it’s nearing the weekend, when I can recharge and get myself together! I am writing this over my lunch break from the comfort of my couch – I needed to go home and take a load off over the hour today. Here’s to hoping the rest of this week will fly!

The week starting with a bad GMAT experience probably didn’t set a great tone. I tend to be kind of hard on myself if I don’t feel like I’m fulfilling my potential, and I know I can do better on that test. Onward!

I’ve also been forgetting things.. dropping things.. spilling things.. really. I am struggling.

Monday
Not all of Monday was bad! After arriving home from what turned out to be an odd day at work (I couldn’t snap into “focus” mode and was sort of bouncing from task to task – still productive, but weird), I wanted some protein, and needed to get rid of some turkey sausage in my fridge. So I made an egg white turkey sausage scramble, served on a 50 cal whole wheat mini tortilla, with a little cheese:

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Mmmm. This was pretty tasty. I had planned to fold it in half and eat it like a sort of taco, but ended up digging in with my fork instead!

Monday was also the night I made the highly anticipated (at least in my world) black bean avocado brownies!

Black Bean Avocado (yes this is legit) Brownies
(courtesy of Holy Cannoli Recipes)

Ingredients:
– 1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
– ½ an avocado (chopped into small pieces to make for easy blending)
– 1 egg
– 2 egg whites
– 1 tsp canola oil
– 1/3 C unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Nestle’s)
– ¼ tsp baking powder
– ¼ tsp salt
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 3 tbsp chocolate chips

Blend all but the chocolate chips in your food processor or good blender – Note this batter must be very thick. Pour into greased 8×8 dish and sprinkle with the chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

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These are not half bad, but here’s the thing: I omitted the sugar, as I noted some other bloggers had. Though these are rich and of a fudge-like consistency, unless I have a bite loaded with chocolate chips, they don’t taste amazing. I think in the future, I would definitely add the sugar, if not just find some other healthy brownie recipe. I’m glad I tried it, though!

Tuesday.. Back to Running
Yesterday morning I decided it was time to start running in the mornings before work again. I am pretty happy with where I am weight-wise right now, but I need to tone up. I’ve decided to make sure I get in a good run 3-4 days a week, and include strength training on at least 3 of those days.

I had taken a couple of weeks off of running for no particular reason. I’m not sure if I just had some decent karma coming my way or WHAT, but my 3 mile run yesterday was.. dare I say.. a breeze. I did not find myself struggling at all – I ran the route I often run down by Lake Michigan, and there are little milestones that I can identify as “trouble points” where I find myself wanting to take walk-breaks when I’ve been bad about running. You know, “Just make it to the Brady St. Bridge stoplight and you can walk to Alterra”.. or, “run to Alterra then you can walk up the Lafayette hill.” But I didn’t have to stop once. I was grateful for the universe giving me a nice little break on that one!

I decided ahead of time on Monday night that I would make myself a post-run smoothie for breakfast on Tuesday morning, and did something super simple that made Tuesday morning’s smoothie prep easy! I cut my bananas before I froze them.

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I’m sure plenty of smart people do this, but I often take the lazy route – throw the ripe banana in the freezer and deal with the peel/cutting when I’m ready to use it. Having my little pre-sliced chunks made throwing my smoothie together a breeze. How could I not have done this before?!

My smoothie wasn’t anything too fancy, but was delicious: The frozen banana, a scoop of Muscle Milk Light, a tbsp of chia seeds, a cup of Almond Milk, and a spoonful of almond butter. Yum!

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I’ve also recently decided to start using MyFitnessPal to track my calories and exercise and general nutrition/fitness progress. I like that they have an app that makes tracking super easy on my phone, and their database of foods/ingredients is pretty extensive. I am pairing that app with MapMyRun, which logs my run routes/times/calories burned/etc. I think the two together will help give me a good big picture view on everything I’m doing!

In efforts to make life easy this week, I also decided to prepare my poultry for a few days in advance! Time to try a new recipe – Salsa chicken!

Salsa Crock Pot Chicken
(Courtesy of PBFingers)

Ingredients:
– 2 chicken breasts (I like the WW pre-portioned breasts. They are all exactly 140 calories, and take the guess work out of portion sizes.)
– 1 jar mild salsa (or spicy, depending on your taste!)

I put the chicken breasts in my slow cooker and covered them with the entire jar of salsa – The recipe calls for half of the jar, but my chicken looked a little naked with that much, so I used it all!

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I cooked over night on low (10 hours), then cut up one breast to have in a pita for lunch, and saved the other for later use.

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It was really yummy!

While perusing PB Fingers’ (she really is my favorite blogger) site the other day, I also found a recipe for flour-less Peanut Butter cookies. I thought these would be good to have one or two for dessert last night, and freeze for future munching.

Flour-less Peanut Butter Cookies
(courtesy of PBFingers)

Ingredients:
– 1 C peanut butter
– 1 C sugar
– 1 egg

Mix well.. and be sure to take a big bite of the dough, as it is taaaasty!

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Form into 16-18 dough patties. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

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These were so soft and chewy, sooo good!

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The problem is… I had two after dinner last night.. and then they stared and stared at me afterward. So, I brought them into work to share with others on my floor today, in order to avoid letting myself eat them all in one sitting at home this week. I think I did the right thing. I loved these! *great with coffee or milk!

(Obligatory foster kitten picture from Tuesday night – she is such a little weirdo)

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Wednesday
Today started out with another morning run, though this one was rushed as I completely overslept! (I told ya, rough week.) I hope I am back in the swing of doing these! I love the convenience, weather-proof use of my treadmill at home, but do like when the weather is nice enough for me to run outside.

I started a 7 day cleanse today that I am already a bit nervous about, but I am going to try! My good friend Alli is doing one too, and I thought it would be a nice little recharge for my system. I had a fruit-filled breakfast to start today… I am drinking a ton of water (I normally drink about a gallon a day, so I am just continuing with that habit), and am mostly going to be eating more fruit, veggies and lean protein, in addition to the 3x daily supplements that come with the cleanse. My challenge is that my body craves carbohydrates, especially when I’m running regularly, so I am going to do some internet-perusing about other people who have done the cleanse and how they’ve handled the “vegetable and protein based, balanced diet” deal. I want to be sure to listen to my body and give in the fuel it needs, while actually “cleansing” properly!

That’s it for now!

Does anyone have any “This-Week-Sucks Pick-Me-Up” tricks to share??

**Update, the week already got much better. PG is the best boyfriend in the world –
these were waiting at my office when I returned from lunch today. How lucky am I?? :)

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