Thursday, September 22, 2016

Thinking Out Loud

Happy Thinking Out Loud Thursday! I have been loving these TOL posts recently and I've gotten a lot of good feedback, so I'm going to continue with them. This weeks is longer than the previous weeks, but I guess I had to think about and share. Plus today's TOL falls on a very special day, which I talk about at the end of post. 

I'm all over the place again this week but that is kind of the point of these posts. I'm talking about fall, food, friends and of course Cora had to make an appearance. Are you ready for some randomness?  

1. Fall is officially here. Most people say fall starts after Labor Day, but technically the first day of fall is today. The leafs started changing ridiculously early (like middleish of August) this year. My neighbor said leafs can change color if the trees is stressed from lack of water. It has been a pretty dry summer in the midwest so it would make sense, but I have no clue if that is actually true. In any case I am loving the fall colors, but am not looking forward to raking and looking at naked trees for the next 6 months.

2. My obsession with sunsets continues. For the past week the sunsets have been absolutly stunning so I've been soaking them all in and of course capturing them. I've always wanted to live along the ocean so I could capture the sunset every night, plus I just love the ocean. A move to Cali or Hawaii is definitely in order 😉

3. Cora and I have been soaking up lots of sunshine because we know winter is right around the corner. It may be fall but the temperatures still feel like summer, it's been in the mid 80's all week, and I am going to enjoy every last second of it. If you have followed along on my instagram stories you have seen plenty pictures of Cora playing outside and swimming in the lake. She's such a ham for the camera<- not even kidding, she loves having her picture taken.

4. Ever since my boyfriend and I visited a cider mill last weekend I am dying to go back and take pictures. I didn't bring my camera when we went so I want to capture all the apples, fall colors and fall fun. Maybe one day I'll even get some pictures of us😄 When I travelled out to the west coast earlier this year people didn't know what a cider mill was and I was like WHAT?! Maybe it's a just a midwest or Michigan thing, but it's a must and I try to go every year. If you don't know what a cider mill is, it's basically an apple orchard where they make cider, you can pick your own apples, go on hay rides, go through a corn maze, drink lots of cider, and eat freshly made doughnuts (if you're not gluten intolerant). It's always a ton of fun and great place to go with family or friends, so if you're ever in the midwest go to a cider mill. 

5. Running has felt AMAZING recently! Monday I pounded out the most miles I have been able to since I tweaked my hip flexor awhile back. I have (not so patiently) been waiting for it heal while still running and let me tell you some days pounding out one mile has been hard. Tuesday I could tell it was bothered so I cut back on miles and pace but I hopped right back on board Wednesday and it felt amazing! I'm terrible at waiting for injuries to heal. I know I'm impatient, I've been told a few times. I also have a run streak going and I am not about to break it!! 

6. I don't like sweets but I must say Ben and Jerry's dairy free ice cream is pretty dang good😍 This is the only flavor I can have, the other ones contain gluten. I don't like coffee but this is ridiculously addicting, I may have had a few bites before lunch the other day and I have zero regrets😏

7. I may slightly obsessed with adding a sliver of Theo chocolate to my breakfast bowls😍 I don't add a sliver every morning but every once in awhile it's a great treat. The chocolate gets all melty because the oats are hot and then it runs over all the fruit and it's the BOMB! You must try it!  

8. Can I petition snapchat to bring the bunny filter back?! It was my favorite filter and I'm so sad that they took it away. I have been searching everywhere for a lip gloss/stick that is this color of pink. My best friend suggested a shade from Sephora but it's not made anymore so I'm back on the hunt😩 if you have any suggestions of where to look or shades please comment and let me know!

9. CAN IT PLEASE JUST BE FRIDAY!?!? I have been waiting for this weekend for a number of weeks because I am driving out to see my best friend for her birthday which is TODAY!! I have a whole day of surprises planned and I can't wait to celebrate with her!! She has been asking me to tell her what we are doing, but I refuse to- it's a surprise for a reason! I have been sending her hints on snapchat and she is not finding them nearly as amusing as I am😁

10. I'll end things here by saying HAPPY BIRTHDAY KATE!! I hope you have the most amazing birthday ever because you are the most amazing person I know. You are the kindest, happiest, most selfless person and I'm thankful every day to have you in my life. You're the best best friend a girl could ask for💜 I can't wait to spend the weekend celebrating YOU🎉

What are your plans for this weekend? 
How do you celebrate your birthday? 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Berry Breakfast Bowl

Happy Tuesday! I hope you had a terrific weekend, it rained for a little bit here, but as soon as it stopped my boyfriend and I headed to the cider mill for some fall fun. We did tons of walking through apple trees and I went through my first corn maze🌽 I'm not sure how I made it this long without going through a corn maze, but it was a ton of fun and I definitely want to do another one!  

I'm not ready to let go of summer just yet because then berries will be out of season😢 What fruit am I going to use for my breakfast bowls?! Speaking of breakfast, I get asked about my breakfast bowls a lot, so I figured why not tell you how to make them? They're super quick and easy to make and totally customizable. Fruit can be cut up ahead of time and oats packed in a bag or bowl and made at work if you're short on time in the morning. The addition of protein powder helps keep me full for much longer than just plain oatmeal. No one likes a hangry person or wants to be a hangry person by 10am😳 

Berry Breakfast Bowl
  • 1/2 cup gluten free oats
  • cinnamon, to taste
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons protein powder
  • fruit of choice
  • honey (optional)
  • sprinkles

In a microwave safe bowl combine oats and cinnamon. 

Pour water into bowl- use as much water as directed on the oat container- and microwave according to instructions. 

When oats are cooked stir in 2 Tablespoons protein powder, my favorite protein to use is Bob's Red Mill vanilla or chocolate or Vega protein

Once you've stirred in the protein add your favorite fruit on top- my go to's are strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. I like to add small drizzle of honey on top of the fruit, but that is optional. 

Finally add sprinkles on top because sprinkles are awesome :)

If you make a breakfast bowl take a picture, tag me on instagram, and use the hashtag #thesimplelife I'd love to see your creations! Don't forget to like my new Facebook page

Friday, September 16, 2016

Logging Off and Living Life

I have been spending a lot of time away from the blog recently and as strange as it may sound I'm 100% ok with it. 

I know I have talked about needing breaks before to just live life, but recently I have been stuck in a creativity rut. Every time I'd walk into the kitchen to work on a recipe I was not feeling the usual spark that I normally do. While I do have ideas for some new recipes to make the desire to get to work just is not there and that's not a feeling that I want to force. I want to want to be in the kitchen with my sleeves rolled up enjoying creating something for you guys. My dad always used to tell my brother and I that half hearted efforts produce half hearted results and I don't want to do anything half hearted. 

While the creativity bug has not been striking me I have been enjoying life away from the blog. I have gotten less screen time than I have in a very long time and I have ZERO complaints. I doubt anyone gets to the end of their life and wishes they could have spent more time on blogging or on social media. If someone said that that would be incredibly sad because there is so much more to life than social media. 

Instead of blogging I've been spending lots of time outside. I have been hiking some nearby trails, I hit up a local farm with a friend and I have been enjoying time with my boyfriend. I have only taken a handful of pictures while I have been out with friends but it is so liberating to be out and not take my phone out. 

I have laughed and smiled more in the past few weeks than I have in a long time. I have woken up genuinely happy and excited for a new day. It's no secret that the past few months have been a struggle for a me as I have been adjusting to post grad life and looking for a full time job. There have been a lot of days where I have woken up depressed because I felt like I didn't have a purpose. I am a goal chaser and a doer so not having anything to do has been a struggle. I hate mindlessly sitting around filling out job apps or scrolling through social media because I don't feel like I am accomplishing anything. I have been learning to find purpose by going to the gym and accomplishing running goals, but still it is difficult, especially when I see friends getting jobs and accomplishing big goals and sharing those moments on social media. I can't help but compare myself in those moments and I always feel like I don't measure up. Those moments helped me realize I needed time away.

Taking time away from the screens has felt so good and for the first time in awhile my soul feels refreshed. I have not felt pressure to post on social media, I have lost some followers but life is not all about gaining followers and likes. I have loved sharing some more personal posts on instagram, not just food posts. So what if the personal posts don't get as many likes? I like sharing glimpses of my real life because my life does not revolve around food. I love seeing other bloggers share glimpses into their real life because I love getting to learn new things about them that are not food or fitness related, so why not share a few of my own?

These past few weeks away from social media and all sorts of screens have been exactly what I needed. I needed time to focus on what really matters in life- people. I have been focusing on the friendships and relationships in my life and both are richer and fuller than before. So am I going to totally ditch social media and blogging? Of course not, but I have and continue to cut back. I spend less time scrolling through instagram and Facebook and more time having actual conversations. Social media is a fantastic tool to stay connected, make connections, and reach an audience but it's a double edged sword. 

Personally, I would not trade these past few weeks for anything. I love the memories I have made and all the friends I have gotten to spend time with. The simple moments of walking trails, watching farm animals and just interacting with other people have made my heart so incredibly full. My advice would be to intentionally close the laptop, put down the phone or whatever piece of technology you are using and go engage with other humans- friends, family, significant others, whoever it may be. Engage outside of social media because the nights you remember most will not be the ones you spent lounging around in your PJ's scrolling through instagram