Thursday, August 17, 2017

New Kicks and Body Loving: Thinking Out Loud #50

Happy Thursday! Once again it seems like this week has been flying by. Life has been hectic since I came home from Northern Michigan and I'm actually on the road again, or the sky again, for a few days. Even though I'm away for a few days I didn't want to miss a TOL post, so let's jump right into this weeks thinking out loud.


1. I've taken to the skies this week for an opportunity I am really excited about. Of course I couldn't travel without snacks because no one wants to be stuck next to me when I'm hangry😳 Normally I don't eat protein bars, but for traveling they are quick, convenient, and they make it through airport security. My go-to protein bars are No Cow Bars by Ds Naturals. They are gluten, dairy, and soy free and don't taste like chalk. Each of the bars are between 160-180 calories and pack 20 grams of protein which help keep me full until I can get some real food. 


2. Speaking of food, I am obsessed with a new restaurant that opened in a nearby town. It's a farm to table type restaurant and aside from the amazing food the interior is GORGEOUS. It's in a historic building that was abandon for years, but they restored the interior and brought a modern twist to it. It's so bright and inviting inside that I could spend hours and hours in there. The entire menu is gluten free (YAY🎉), but my favorite item is a flatbread that has goat cheese, bacon, and caramelized onion. I'm not a pizza person by any stretch, but this is the BOMB. I can demolish the entire thing by myself.


3. Last week my boyfriend and I celebrated one year together. The funny thing is we never really had a day, we knew it was sometime in early August so we decided to randomly pick a day😂 I know, we are probably the only people who have zero clue when their anniversary is, but honestly neither of us really cared. He was super sweet and brought me flowers and even remembered my favorite flowers, hydrangeas and lilies, and even tried to get my third favorite flower which is a plumeria🌸  


4. For my birthday I was given a gift card to get new running shoes. My current running shoes are still in really great condition, but Nike had an awesome sale happening so I snagged a new pair for $80🙌 they normally run $120 so I was pretty happy with the savings and they're in my favorite color. Now I just need to be able to run so I can use them🏃


5. Speaking of running, it's going to be even longer than I hoped before I can run again. Last Friday I finished up my round of physical therapy with no noticeable progress. The therapist and I discussed at length what the next course of action should be and earlier this week I saw my doctor. I got an x-ray done, and a MRI is scheduled for next Monday and I was referred to an orthopedic surgeon to talk about what is the best next step. Surgery is a possibility and at this point I'm open to anything that will stop the pain and allow me to return to running. Prayers would be appreciated for the orthopedic appointment next week💜


6. On a brighter note, I got to take part in a body positivity empowerment photo shoot a few days ago. I got to spend time with a dozen other incredible women discussing all things body love. All of the women were so incredible and I left feeling so empowered. Our bodies are so amazing and capable of so much. Talking to the other women between takes made me realize even more how awesome my body is. My body can run miles and miles at at a time (although not in my injured state), it can lift heavy weights, do fun yoga poses, and it carries me through life. It really does blow my mind how amazing our bodies are. I can't wait to share more from the project with you when it comes out!


7. Of course I had to end with a quote. It's a little different than what I normally share, but I left the body positivity shoot so empowered and feeling really dang proud to be a woman. There's nothing wrong with being strong and fierce, but also embracing a softer more feminine side. Be who you are and never apologize for being your true self🙅

Have an amazing Thursday and a terrific weekend🎉🎉🎉

What is one thing you love about yourself and why?
What is your go-to snack to pack when traveling?

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Homemade Granola Bars


It's officially halfway through the work week, which means only a few days until the weekend🎉 I thought it would be fitting to share a snack recipe because I am toting tons of snacks today as I sit in the airport. 

I bring all my own snacks to the airport because it's so much easier to know what's in my food, I can feel better about what I'm eating (most airport food is total junk), and I'm saving tons of money. When I was younger I used to eat granola bars all the time, but my current self would like to go back and change that because store bought granola bars are loaded with sugar and some not so great ingredients.

Recently, I've been making granola bars for my boyfriend to take to work for a mid-morning snack. He wanted a snack that would help hold him over until lunch and cheez-its weren't doing it (no surprise there). I suggested granola bars because oats are complex carbohydrates, which take longer for your body to break down, chia seeds expand in water and are packed with awesome nutritional benefits and also help keep you full, and he's a peanut butter lover so it's a win for all sides. These are a healthier take on a childhood staple that is both better for your wallet and for you! 

Homemade Granola Bars
  • 2 cups gluten free quick or old fashioned oats
  • 3 Tablespoons ground flax seed
  • 2 Tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup nut butter of choice
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • OPTIONAL: chocolate chips
  • OPTIONAL: pinch of cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350F degrees and line a 8x8 pan with tinfoil and spray with nonstick cookspray. 

In a medium mixing bowl combine oats, flax seed, chia seeds, and cinnamon. 

In a separate mixing bowl add nut butter and honey. Microwave for 30 seconds, then stir until nut butter is mostly melted. Mix nut butter and honey until fully combined.  

Pour nut butter/honey combo over dry ingredients and use a spatula to combine. Stir until dry ingredients are all coated with mixture. 

Take "batter" and press into lined pan until it's an even layer covering the bottom of the pan. If using, gently press chocolate chips onto top of batter.

Bake at 350F degrees for 15-18 minutes, or until edges are slightly brown. Remove from oven and allow it to cool completely before cutting. You should get 12 medium granola bars or 8 large granola square depending on how you cut them. 

Enjoy and if you make them take a picture, tag me on instagram, and use the hashtag #thesimplelife so I can see your creations😋

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Northern Michigan Getaway: Thinking Out Loud #49

Happy Thursday! This week has flown by in an absolute blur, but it's been a good week so I can't complain. I took time out to head up north to spend some time with my parents and it was nice to get away for a few days. However, I'm very happy to be back in civilization with high speed wifi and the grocery store less than 10 minutes away- I'm definitely not cut out for rural living😂 Anyway, let's jump into this weeks thinking out loud!


1. Northern Michigan in the summertime is beautiful. There's so many things to do outdoors and it's the one time of year where there's not snow on the ground so it makes exploring a little easier. While it is beautiful and peaceful living in the muddle of nowhere isn't for me. I like having a 24/7 gym and having a Target less than 15 minutes away. 


2. There is a gym in the small town I was in, but their hours were super weird. I still made it a priority to go and workout, especially since I needed to do my physical therapy work. I'm much more thankful for a 24hour gym now because having to wait until 9am to go workout drove me crazy. My knee has not made nearly the progress my physical therapist and I were hoping it would. At the end of this week I'm being evaluated to figure out what the next steps are and if surgery is possibly needed. 


3. Since I still can't run and the gym didn't open until 9am I took to long morning trail walks. I'd head out and watch the sunrise along the trails. It was incredibly beautiful and peaceful, but I still miss running those trails. Nothing beats breathing in the clean, cool, summer air of Northern Michigan. If you've never been add it to your bucketlist because there are TONS of waterfalls, amazing trails, and really beautiful scenery to explore. 


4. While out walking one morning I stumbled upon a smiley face someone had spray painted on the road. It made me smile right away, plus it was before a big hill which definitely was taxing on my knee. Sometimes even just a smile ca turn even the saddest of days around. 


5. I got lots of cuddle time in with Cora. She was always exhausted by the end of the day because there is so much for her to chase and explore up there. She saw a garner snake for the first time and was immediately fascinated, while I know the snake can't hurt her I was still concerned, but it kept her busy and out of trouble so I can't complain. 


6. I stumbled across these bites by Enjoy life while I was at the grocery store and they are SO GOOD😍 there's a hard chocolate coating and a small burst of cinnamon at the end. They're delicious, although a tad pricey, but 100% worth it in my books.


7. For those who don't believe being hangry can cause serious issues, this woman is evidence. Apparently hanger got the best of her😳 While I would never stab anyone there have been several scientific studies which have shown hanger is real and can make people do crazy things, however, stabbing someone is never acceptable.


8. And of course I have to end with a quote. Be a good person to everyone you come across, even the people who are rude and don't deserve it. Being good will speak volumes about who you are as a person and it leaves a good impression with everyone. 

I'm going to end things there this week, have a terrific Thursday and an amazing weekend🎉🎉🎉

What is your favorite snack?
Are you more of a city person or more of a rural person and why?