Thursday, April 27, 2017

Spring Has Sprung: Thinking Out Loud #34

Happy Thursday! This post is going up much later than it was supposed to but sometimes life happens. This week has been incredibly chaotic and for once I'm actually looking forward to a rainy weekend to relax and unwind. Anyone else down for a lazy weekend🙋 On that note I'm just going to jump right into this weeks thinking out loud.

1. Spring is slowly but surely arriving in the mitten! This past weekend was gorgeous so a friend and I took full advantage of the weather by taking a mini road trip to a town that has a super cute downtown. We walked around, window shopped, and ate froyo in the park. There was a wedding party taking pictures while we were there and the brides dress was stunning. It was the perfect day to be outside. 

2. Sunday was an exciting day for me because for the first time in I don't know how long I had a totally pain free run🎉🎉 I had a longer run planned, but I stuck with six miles because I had some home construction projects on tap for the day and didn't want to be totally exhausted. Living with lupus and chronic pain and fatigue makes running far more difficult than it is for the average healthy person. I took it slow and steady, but all in all it felt great and I can't wait to push myself more.

3. Cora has been LOVING the beautiful weather. We have been spending tons of time outside soaking up tons of vitamin D. Her favorite thing to do is play frisbee so we've been doing lots of that, but it's been almost impossible to get her out of the lake. I'm telling you she's half fish🐟

4. I stumbled upon this shirt while I out running errands this week and I had to get it because it totally fits my personality. It says, "I just want to drink wine, do yoga, and sleep." The only thing missing is running and lifting and it would be me to a T. It's ridiculously comfortable too. For those wondering the top is from Betsy Johnson and I got the x-small, but even that is a tad big. 

5. Tuesday I was running around like a chicken with it's head cut off. There was so many places I had to go and as I made my way through the list I wound up near a Whole Foods. I had a list of produce that I needed to pick up so I just stopped in and got it there. Berries were all on sale and on the Whole Foods app there was a coupon for berries so I saved even more🙌 I also got a salad from the salad bar because I was starving and no one wants me driving around hangry😳

6. I LOVE this quote. So many awesome quotes have been popping up on my pinterest feed recently and I have zero complaints. I've been sharing some of my favorites on my instagram stories. This quote is incredibly fitting for this week as I have received a number of rather mean comments and emails. Honestly, what the people had to say had zero effect on me. I didn't even bother replying because I have better things to do with my time. Who those people thought I was couldn't have been further from the truth and the people who actually know, know the kind of person I am. I'm a big believer that the words you say can reveal a lot about your character, so choose your words wisely, and for pete sake just be nice to others. Kindness gets you so much further in life.

I'm going to end things there this week. Don't forget to smile and have an amazing weekend😃

What is your favorite season and why?
If you could say one thing to your younger self what would you say?

Friday, April 21, 2017

Allergy Friendly Paleo Banana Bread Muffins

For the first time in awhile I bought bananas and then I watched them turn brown before deciding that I actually needed to do something with them. It's been a long time since I've actually baked something, but I decided I wanted to make banana bread muffins. 

I have shared a lot of banana bread muffin recipes before, but I wanted something that was dairy, gluten, and peanut/almond butter free. There are so many people have food allergies and sensitivities, including myself, that I wanted to be able to enjoy them without having to worry about anything. I love these muffins because they're packed full of bananay goodness and the pinch of brown sugar on top give them a bakery like taste. Do yourself and make these muffins for your next brunch or just because👌

Allergy Friendly Paleo Banana Bread Muffins
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 Tablespoons coconut flour
  • heaping 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (more or less to taste)
  • brown sugar for topping
  • 3 small/medium bananas, mashed
  • 2 eggs 
  • 3 Tablespoons liquid egg whites
  • 1 Tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Maple Grove Farms sugar free syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • heaping 1/3 cup Don't Go Nuts slightly sweet allergy friendly spread (or the chocolate spread)

Preheat oven to 350F degrees and spray muffin tins with nonstick cook spray.

In a mixing bowl combine coconut flour, baking powder, and cinnamon. 

Once dry ingredients are combined add in wet ingredients and stir until everything mixes and batter forms. 

Scoop batter into muffin tins, filling about halfway full. Crumble a little bit of brown sugar on top of muffin batter.

Bake at 350F degrees for 17-20 minutes. The muffins are done when a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean. The edges should also be a darker brown and slightly crispy. Allow muffins to cool completely before removing and storing. For optimal freshness keep muffins in airtight container in the refrigerator or freeze for up to six months.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Self Care and Sunshine: Thinking Out Loud #33

Happy Thursday! I hope everyone had a good Easter and got to spend time with family and friends. My Easter was pretty low key, I spent time with my parents, a few family members and then went and saw my boyfriend and his parents. We stayed up way too late playing Cards Against Humanity but I hadn't laughed that hard in a long time and it felt really good😂 This weeks thinking out loud is pretty low key because this week has been low key but I have zero complaints!

1. I have been trying to be more intentional about taking time for self care. Of course working out is a form of self care and I love it, but I hadn't been doing anything to help myself relax or unwind at the end of the day. On a whim I got a jar of dead sea mud mask because it was on sale on Amazon and I love it. I've always been a fan of face masks because they make my skin feel so soft, but this one felt so good! My skin felt hydrated, clean, and so soft. 

2. The best part about face masks is you look so hot wearing them😂 maybe not, but I'll deal with 15 minutes of looking silly to get soft, healthy skin any day👌

3. Speaking of self care I found this quote as I was scrolling through Pinterest and honestly it hit home for me. I have always loved being busy and rarely took time out for myself. In the past few weeks that I have been making myself more of a priority and taking time out to do simple things like face masks or go to yoga I have felt more relax than I have in a long time. Running yourself ragged isn't going to get you where you want to go any faster than if you take time out to rest and relax. You'll be doing yourself and others a big favor.

4. Spring is FINALLY starting to arrive in Michigan and I couldn't be happier. Last weekend was sunny, warm, and absolutely gorgeous. My boyfriend and I hiked around a local nature preserve to soak up some of the beautiful weather. Luckily he doesn't mind that I'm not a sit still person. When it's nice outside I want to be outside 24/7 because spring and summer don't last nearly long enough in Michigan! It's nice to finally be seeing some blooms on flowers and the trees budding, although my allergies think otherwise. Anyone else suffer from allergies🙆

5. After hiking and getting a bite to eat we drove into a local downtown area to walk around. Since it was such a nice night out there was a ton of people out and about, but it was nice to stroll around, window shop, and not rush through anything. We stopped at a local froyo place that served dairy free frozen yogurt and I was beyond ecstatic. I'm pretty sure I ate more than a pound of dairy free froyo but I have no regrets (other than the stomachache that later ensued)🙈 of course I had to add rainbow sprinkles and cocoa chips on top😋

6. Cora has been soaking up the warm weather too. Every day for the past week she has been in the lake swimming, I'm telling you my dog is half fish🐟 we have spent tons of time outside playing Frisbee and she has been chasing a ton of squirrels that decided to make one of the trees in my yard home. She's living a good life what can I say?

7. My latest obsession has been The Chainsmokers new album. It's pretty rare for me to like an entire album by an artist but dang they knocked this one out of the park🙌 my boyfriend is loving the album too and we typically have pretty different tastes in music. I've had the album pretty much on repeat and I have no regrets. Definitely check it out! My favorite song off the album so far is Paris because it brings back so many amazing memories of being in Paris.

8. I couldn't talk about Paris and not share one of my pictures from when I went with a group of AP students from my high school. Paris is one of the most magical cities I've ever been to and some day I want to go back and explore it some more. I'm all about living life well traveled. 

9. Finally I want to end with this quote. I love it because it's such a simple reminder, but I think all too often we find ourselves in a rut and don't know how to get out. Life isn't always going to be easy, but you always have the power to change your story. If you're not happy with your job find a new one. If you're not happy in a relationship, change it or maybe it's time to move on. Life is too short to be anything but happy, so if you find yourself in the wrong story, leave.

Have a great Thursday and check back tomorrow for a delicious banana bread muffin recipe😋

What is your favorite form of self care?
If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and why?

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Glitter and Cupcakes: Thinking Out Loud #32

Happy Thursday! This whole week has felt off and for most of it I've felt like I'm walking through a sleep deprived fog (#teamnosleep). On a positive note Easter is this week and that means summer isn't too far away😎 I'm more than ready for sunshine, beach days, and running outside every day. Anyway, onward to this weeks thinking out loud!

1. Last Friday was one of my friends birthdays so of course I had to make her a cake. Every time I've made a piñata cake it has been a huge hit so I made her a chocolate piñata cake the infamous chocolate fudge frosting. It's taken some time but I have perfected the frosting. The secret to making the smoothest, fudgiest frosting is to leave the butter on the counter for a few hours to make it room temperature. Also let it whip in the mixer for awhile, scrap down the blade and sides of the mixer, and whip it some more. While I personally can't eat the frosting everyone who's had it has told me it's hands down the best frosting they've had. You can grab the recipe for the cake and frosting here.

2. Of course no birthday is complete without presents, so while the cake layers baked I went to work wrapping her presents. Cora is super nosey so of course she had to "help." By help I mean stick her nose in absolutely everything, walk on the wrapping paper, and slow down the entire process. Not to mention there was more than a few pieces of tap that had dog hair on them😒

3. I've been a little better about meal prepping recently. I had to be somewhere all day so I whipped up a giant pan of chicken and vegetable stir fry to have for dinner and I packed some of the leftovers for lunch. I have also been loving papaya since Hawaii. They put papaya in salads, smoothies, and basically everything there and I loved how fresh it was. Rxbars are my go to protein bars because there's so few ingredients in them and they're so delicious. 

4. The weather was absolutely gorgeous over the weekend so my boyfriend and I hit some area trails to soak up some much needed vitamin-D. Afterward we got breakfast for dinner then got some dairy free frozen yogurt and strolled around a local downtown. We are both super simple so days like that are my favorite. I can't wait until it's warmer and spring weather arrives so I can be outside even more. I'm itching to ditch the treadmill and run outside but it's still too cold in the mornings to do that. 

5. Sunday afternoon I set out for a run after squeezing in a quick short run at the gym in the morning. It was in the upper 70's and I was itching to be outside, but the run did not go like I hoped it would. The wind was so strong, it was a bit too warm for my running preference, and I never like to run in the afternoon because I don't do well running after I've eaten. Even though it was 3+ hours after I had eaten lunch food and running just don't mix in my body. My quad starting hurting a mile in, I was battling ridiculously strong winds, my pacing was terrible, and I was so frustrated. I finally stopped and just admitted it wasn't meant to be, looped back home, and stopped. Not all runs are going to be good, but one bad run doesn't deter my love of the sport.

6. Every year I color eggs for Easter and this year I bribed my boyfriend into doing it with me. I had a kit to make glitter eggs, but my boyfriend doesn't share my love of glitter so he had to be bribed with vanilla bean cupcakes topped with chocolate fudge frosting. The cupcakes and frosting turned out perfectly and he dyed eggs with me. I consider it a victory😏

7. I wasn't kidding when I said I had all the glitter for Easter egg dying. We made eight eggs and all but one has glitter on them😬 I was definitely a happy camper, but the time we were done we had glitter everywhere and my boyfriend was not overly happy to be wearing glitter. I on the other had thought it was terrific, I somehow still had glitter on me when I got to the gym the following morning😂 and for those who are going to hate on me for being 22 and still dying eggs, there is no age limit on egg dying fun!

I'll end things on a sparkly note this week😜 Have a terrific Thursday, a fabulous weekend, and a very Happy Easter!

Do you dye Easter eggs with your friends or family? 
What are your plans for Easter?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Lessons From Running

I'm a giant running nerd and I have no problem admitting it. Running makes me happy, but I'll be the first to say running didn't always make me happy. Heck I still have days when I get so frustrated because I'm fighting the wind, or my pacing is terrible, etc. However, I've come to love running and I mean really that. There's something really special about running that makes me feel genuinely happy and sets my soul on fire.

Running has also taught me so much. I've learned more about myself by running than through anything else. It's broken down my pride but it's also made me more confident. I really could talk my love for running for a very long time, but I want to share some of the lessons I've learned from running that apply to everyday life. 

1. There are good days and not so good days. Some runs feel effortless and everything is going right. My pacing is awesome, the weather is perfect, I'm not in pain, and I'm genuinely loving every step. Then there are days (like Sunday) when it seems like everything that can go wrong is going wrong. I was fighting strong winds, my pacing was terrible, my quad was hurting from lupus pain, and I was so dang frustrated. I stopped stretched out but still my quad was hurting and I was so frustrated with the wind I was almost crying. But one really good run makes me forget every bad run and makes it all worth it.

2. Hard work pays off. Running isn't all fun and games and like I said before there are good days and bad days, but all the work you put in will pay off. The early morning runs, the runs where you didn't think you could go one more step, and the runs where you pushed yourself beyond what you thought possible will all make you a better runner. You get out what you put into running. I'm always striving to be better so I combine strength training with speed work with regular training runs, and in the past few months I've seen so much progress. My pacing has gotten faster, I feel stronger, and I'm genuinely loving running more. Put in the work and you will reap success, maybe not instantly but down the road. 

3. The first step is always the hardest. I really don't know why it is but it's so true. Every morning when I step out my door or onto the treadmill there's always that instant where my brain is like, "WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?!" Once I get going that thought goes away and I'm focused on the finish line. 

4. Running is the cheapest form of therapy. Running causes a flood of emotions; sometimes there's joy, sometimes there's frustration, but it's also the best way to get out emotion. Whenever I'm working through something my go to is always a run. If I'm angry or hurt I'll lace up and pound the crap out of the pavement, pushing myself to the limit on pacing, and pushing myself until I can't go one more step. If I'm happy my steps are light, my pace is just enough to push myself but still feel comfortable, and I'm loving every step. I've run with the biggest, cheesiest smile on my face and I've run with tears streaming down my face. Running allows me the space to clear my head and focus. Nothing beats soaking up some vitamin D, breathing in fresh air, and just focusing on putting one step in front of the other. 

5. Running allows you to see more places than you'd ever see in a car. When I go on vacation I love to go running because it allows me to explore a new place. I saw more sights running in Hawaii than I ever would have seen had I just set out in a car. A lot of places are inaccessible by car but when you set out on foot they're easily accessible. It's also a fantastic way to meet locals. 

6. You meet some really awesome people. Everywhere I have gone and run I've meet tons of awesome people. Runners tend to be a friendly bunch of people. I always run in the morning right around sunrise so I saw the same people almost every day. I was lucky enough to be able to talk to some of them and get to hear some of their stories. Running is a fantastic way to meet people because you already have something in common, you both run! It's also a great way to find a running buddy- someone who will keep you accountable to getting up and lacing up. Running with someone tends to make the miles go by faster and running feel easier because you're focusing more on conversation and less on the actual run.

7. You'll learn you are stronger than you ever imagined. There will be days when a run breaks you and you feel like you cannot go on, but something inside of you doesn't want to quit. When you push past that barrier and dig in even though your body is tired and your mind is screaming at you to stop you will learn that you are so much stronger than you ever thought possible. 

8. Running is a quick way to swallow your pride. Think you're really awesome? Go for a run. You'll quickly learn that you are in no way an extraordinary human being. You are at the mercy of weather conditions, your body, and often fellow runners. No matter what there is always going to be someone who is a better runner than you (unless you're an Olympic gold medalist). 

9. Your only competition is yourself. While it's true there are always going to be people who are better than you, your only true competition when running is yourself. PR's exist for a reason- to be beaten. Set goals for yourself and then crush them. Focus on beating yourself not others.

10. Run because you love your body not because you hate it. Fitness is such a personal thing and not everyone is going to love and that's ok. If you keep trying and never like running then maybe it's not your thing and that's totally ok! Find something you love and do it. I run because I genuinely love running. I love running in the morning so I can watch the sunrise and watch the world come to life. I love feeling the wind in my face, soaking up sunshine, and pushing myself to go further and faster. I run because I love my body. I have a chronic disease and I want to take care of my body because I'd like to be around for awhile. I run because I love how strong it makes my body feel. Run for the love of it.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Running and Giant Jackfruits: Thinking Out Loud #31

Happy Thursday! I apologize for being a little MIA recently on the blog and social media this past week. Some things came up and I needed some time away to think things through. Let's jump into thinking out loud and I'll explain.

1. One of my friends decided to sign up for a 5K in June and I was so excited for her. She's not a runner so she didn't even know where to start, I helped her find a training plan and now we run together on the weekends. I'm so proud of her for making this step and I've seen her improve so much in the past week that it excites me. Sharing my passion for running with someone else makes me all giddy. The weather was gorgeous over the weekend so we found some trails along a lake and ran. There was a ton of people out because it was finally warm and we hadn't seen the sun all week. I'm already looking forward to this weekends running date. 

2. Speaking of weather, this past week has been really hard for me. I've struggled a lot since returning from Hawaii because I am an outdoorsy person by nature. I hate being trapped inside, thus Hawaii was perfect because I was outside all day. Every single day this week it has rained and been dark and cloudy and it's really affecting me. Most people have heard of SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and I'm convinced I have it because I've just been depressed with this weather. I need a big dose of vitamin D ASAP!

3. One of the things that did make me feel a little better and helped relieve some lupus pain was a slow burn yoga class. I haven't been to a yoga class in months and I've missed it so much. My boyfriend was a trooper and went with me. It felt amazing to stretch out and forget about everything except being present. Yoga really does work wonders and I'm going to try to go more often.

4. I had some banana that were getting mighty spotty on the counter so I decided to whip up some banana bread muffins. I modified rachLmansfield's famous banana bread recipe. I used a nut free butter, two eggs and one egg white, more cinnamon, no chocolate chips, instead of a bread I made muffins, and I sprinkled a little brown sugar on top. The muffins came out and are so good! I definitely recommend trying out her recipe. 

5. Have you ever seen a 20 pound jackfruit? Yeah me either until I went grocery shopping last week. I've seen jackfruit down in the tropics, but never this big and honestly I have no idea what you do with a jackfruit. It was priced per pound and when I calculated it out it would have been over $30 to buy this jackfruit! I wonder if anyone ended up buying it. Side note, please excuse my appearance. It was pouring rain and I had a bad hair day, thus the hat and I was attempting to hide the fact I haven't gotten more than 3 hours sleep since returning from vacay. 

6. I came across this quote as I was scrolling through my pinterest feed and it totally resonated with me. Someone from my past had recently reappeared and wanted back in in my life in a way that wasn't possible. I had long ago forgiven this person, but sometimes it's better and healthier to let people out of your life and heart. Relationships can be toxic, thus you need to be careful who you let into your life. Surround yourself with people who support you, are positive influences in your life, and only want what is best for you. 

I'm going to end things there this week. Have a terrific Thursday and an awesome weekend! 

What is your favorite way to beat the weather blues?
Have you ever seen a jackfruit or do you know what to do with it?

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Glitter and Running: Thinking Out Loud #30

Happy Thursday friendly faces! The sun has been out most of the week and it's been above freezing almost every day so I am one happy camper🌤 It's supposed to be nice this weekend, last weekend was a total washout, so there's plenty of reasons to be happy. Let's jump right into this weeks thinking out loud

1. I saw this post from women's running community on instagram and had to laugh. My hobbies literally are running and napping😂 I do do other things like paddleboard, cycling, etc., but my main hobbies are lifting, running, napping, and stalking dogs. I'm not the least bit ashamed to admit to dog stalking either. 

2. I may be slightly obsessed with glitter. Ok, that's basically the understatement of the year. I LOVE glitter. I'm not overly girly but I love glitter on basically everything. I saw this post from Love What Matters and about died of happiness. A GLITTER WALL🙆 Of course I immediately snapshotted it and sent it to my boyfriend and informed him this needed to happen. He's not as fond of glitter as I am (he doesn't like glitter at all) and somehow wasn't as thrilled about this idea as I was. The guy who made this glitter wall for his girlfriend should win boyfriend of the year award. Now that's a dude you marry💍

3. Ever since I posted about not wanting to be labeled as a food blogger (read the post here) I have gotten such an outpouring of support. I cannot thank everyone enough for all the emails, messages, and texts. I feel like I've been sharing more genuine content on instagram and here on the blog. I'm still sharing some of my eats in my instagram story, but largely I'm sharing content that's 100% me. I love sharing workout and vacation pics and I feel like I've had genuine conversation with some really amazing people. It makes my heart happy because I genuinely love going on now and connecting with people at a personal level, not just based on food. 

4. Last weekend was an absolute washout. It rained and was cold the whole weekend so it was a good time to hole away, read a book, watch some movies, and aimlessly scroll through Buzzfeed. One of my friends sent me a link to the 100 best dog memes and I could not stop laughing. This one really got me laughing because it's SO TRUE😂

5. While we are discussing dogs this one has been a total nutcase recently. It's getting into the weather that she absolutely loves where it's warm, but still kind of crisp. She has been running around the yard like a nutcase, playing nonstop, and going in the lake like she did when she was a puppy. Now when I finish breakfast she thinks it's playtime despite it still being early in the morning, so she brings me her favorite toy chicken and looks at me like this🐶

6. I haven't seen warheads since I was a little kid. That makes me sound really old, but I had no idea they still made them! My brother and I used to eat them and see who could hold out the longest without making a face from the sourness. Sometimes he would suck the sour off and give me the candy, absolutely disgusting but when you're a kid you don't care. Seeing these again brought back some fun memories😂

7. This was 100% me Tuesday night. It was leg day and it was really stinking hard, but I was proud of myself for pushing through and getting it done. My legs were already sore when I left the gym so waking up on Wednesday was fun to say the least. I was able to shake out my legs on a run Wednesday morning so that definitely helped. Soreness is always satisfying because it means you've worked hard but it can be uncomfortable, especially when your house has a lot of stairs😳

I'm going to end things there this week. Have a terrific Thursday and an incredible weekend🎉

Do you have a favorite thing to work on at the gym, if so what?
What are your weekend plans?

Monday, March 27, 2017

What You Say Matters

The idea for this post struck me while I was babysitting a few weeks back. Kids are like sponges and soak up everything you say- the good and the bad. I found it odd that parents teach kids to say please and thank you, the ABC's, and about the world around them the lesson most often missed is how to love yourself. Kids parrot what they hear from their parents. Ever hear a kid say a bad word and ask them where they got it from? Chances are they heard it from one of their parents.

One of the things I heard most often growing up was how unhappy my mom was about how she looked. She always complained about needing to lose 5 pounds, how she couldn't have whatever food because it would make her fat, body part x is ugly, oh my gosh another wrinkle, a zit appeared and now I'm hideous, never wanted to wear a bathing suit because I jiggle, and the scale was never far away. This is what I heard over and over and over again and let me tell you it stuck. I grew up incredibly insecure about how I looked, my weight, and I never thought I was good enough. It lead to some pretty bad habits.

At a really young age I remember weighing myself and trying to figure out what was a good weight and what was a bad weight. When a zit would appear I would think it was the end of the world and want to put a bag over my head. I would stand in front of the mirror and pick out flaws- my stomach isn't flat enough, I don't have a thigh gap, my hair is too wavy, and so on. I literally had zero self confidence. It was what I saw, so I didn't think there was anything wrong with that behavior, but there is. 

I'm not trying to pick on my mom, but to say her behavior was healthy is far from the truth. I wish I would have had a woman tell me that looks are not the end of the world, everyone gets zits, for the love of pete throw the dang scale out the window, and nothing is more attractive than a woman with self-confidence. Instead I struggled for years with restrictive eating, then binging because I was so hungry, I hated wearing a bathing suit, and honestly I hated myself. 

Self-love is not something that comes easily and it's a process to learn. Surrounding yourself with strong women who emulate a healthy lifestyle and don't obsess over weight, every calorie consumed, etc. will help you immensely on the journey. You're not going to love yourself every day. Some days you might be more bloated and feel nasty, other days you may feel super confident rocking a crop top- everyone has good and bad days, that's life. 

I have days where my stomach is flat and I feel great, but I also have days where it looks like I'm six months pregnant and I feel like a bloated whale. No one, not celebrities, not fit instagram stars, NO ONE stays lean 24/7. Do I love my body every single day? No I don't, but I respect my body and it's limits. 

You have one body for your entire life so be kind to it. Fuel it with fruits, vegetable, and whole grains, go to sleep, exercise regularly- find a workout that you enjoy doing, but also live your life. If you want froyo, get froyo, but don't get an overflowing cup. Don't go for a run after to burn off the calories. Find balance in your life. Find what works for you. Everyone is so different so what works for me might not work for you and vice versa. 

Just remember that what you say and what you do impact those around you, whether it be positively or negatively. You never know who is watching you so be mindful. Most importantly, love yourself. I never want to hear my baby cousins fret over how much they weigh or if they have love handles. Instead, I want them to embrace their uniqueness and be proud of who they are. A scale simply tells you how much you weigh. It cannot tell you anything else. Do not let that number dictate how you feel about yourself.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Smoothies and Vet Trips: Thinking Out Loud #29

Happy Thursday! It's officially spring but I'm still waiting for the any sign of spring to show up. Yesterday the high was a balmy 35F degrees😳 I have been freezing since I got back from Hawaii and I'm crossing my fingers that warmer weather is on the way. Anyways, onward to this weeks thinking out loud!

1. What I miss most about Hawaii, aside from the weather, is running outside every day. I've said it before and I'll probably say it again but NOTHING beats running next to the ocean and watching the sunrise. It was hands down my favorite part of the day. Running on the treadmill feels like such an effort, whereas in Hawaii running was effortless. Running on the treadmill was really terrible on Sunday when all the TV's were out so I got to stare at a blank wall for an hour🙈

2. For the first time in I don't even know how long I sort of meal prepped. I didn't prep stuff for every single meal but I made a big batch of roasted veggies (I added butternut squash and didn't include potatoes) and crockpot turkey veggie meatballs. It's something easy for me to heat up throughout the week and eat for lunch or dinner. Plus I love me some roasted veggies, but I was bummed I forgot to buy mushrooms to include. I think my brain is still in vacation mode and not functioning properly.

3. Speaking of meal prepping I decided to try HelloFresh. I got three meals for two people so my boyfriend and I are going to try them. I will write up a review on how I like it, but all of the meals look really good! If you want to try HelloFresh you can use my code RACHMIN or use this link and you will get $40 off your first box. I think the first meal we are going to try is sweet and spicy apricot chicken😋

4. While I'm on the topic of food I had a smoothie bowl the other day and it was the first smoothie bowl I have had in a LONG time. Even though it's freezing outside and I'm freezing all the time I wanted a smoothie bowl, figure that one out haha. I blended together frozen strawberries, pineapple, blackberries, half a banana, one scoop of Vega protein powder, one packet of vital protein collagen, and some almond milk. I topped my smoothie with banana slices, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, Purely Elizabeth probiotic granola, and a little bit of honey. It was so thick and creamy and it made me crave sunshine and warm weather.

5. Tuesday morning I took Cora to the vet for her yearly checkup and to get some of her shots updated. I always feel terrible bringing her in for shots even though she's such a trooper and doesn't make a peep when she's poked with the needle. Dog mom problems. Cora has a lot of anxiety problems anyway but she was not happy to be at the vet. She ended up crawling up in my lap in the seats in the exam room. At 50lbs she's a little big to be a lap dog. She was back to her spunky self as soon as we got home. 

6. I just want to say a big thank you for the response I got from my last post. It was something I struggled to write because I'm still going through this transitional period not only on my blog, but also in real life. Once I wrote it I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. That may seam strange, but I felt so inauthentic with you guys and I had no desire to continually post food. My life is so much more than that and I want to reflect that on my blog. If you're wondering what I'm talking about you can read the full post here.

I'm going to end things there this week. Have a terrific day and a great weekend🎉
What would you like to see more of on the blog? I'm all ears so please anything- advice, relationships, real life talk, etc. Any and all ideas appreciated!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Identity Crisis: moving on and living in the moment

I've been struggling to write this post for a number of weeks. The ideas were in my head but getting them to come out and form coherent sentences was another story. It's also a scary topic and something that I'm struggling through right now, so opening up and being vulnerable is hard (plus Internet trolls exist). 

When I was on vacation I had plenty of time to unplug and just be present. I didn't realize the hold social media had on my life until I disconnected. For the first time in months I felt free. Freedom from the fear of missing out if I didn't log on and scroll through the various feeds. I knew I was missing out on what my friends were doing and I was ok with it. I five time zones away from home, there was simply no way I was going to stay caught up on what they were all doing. 

A large part of blogging is connecting and sharing on social media, but for a number of months I felt so uninspired. I started this blog as a way to share the recipes my friends and family always ask me for, but it ended up turning into so much more. I've been blessed to build relationships with some really awesome companies, test out some really cool products, and connect with fellow bloggers, some of whom have become really great friends. 

I got caught up in it though. I got caught up in the need to share. If I went out to eat, I had to take a picture before I dug into my food. The lighting needed to be good, I had to get the right angle, etc. But I was tired. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I have walked into my kitchen over the last few months and felt so uninspired that I turned around and walked out. My meals have mostly consisted of leftovers I have found in the fridge. I honestly can't remember the last time I meal prepped or planned out my macros for the week. I can't remember the last time I baked something for sheer enjoyment. Even logging onto instagram felt like a monumental task because I was tired of having an entire feed filled with food, no matter how delicious it looked. I was so tired. 

My soul craved more. I took my vacation as a time to recenter. I did things I wanted to do for sheer enjoyment. I ran early in the morning so I could watch the sunrise, I played in the ocean, napped by the pool, ate my body weight in açai, watched the sunset, took longs walks, practiced yoga on the beach, and I didn't have my phone on me 24/7.

For the first time in months I felt alive and invigorated. I was doing things I was passionate about simply because I wanted to.

Of course I'm still passionate about healthy eating and helping other people who suffer from food allergies, intolerances, and autoimmune diseases find recipes that are delicious and don't contain crazy ingredients, but I don't think that's what I'm meant to do. 

To be totally honest I don't know what I'm meant to do. I have lots of things I'm passionate about but finding what you're meant to do is hard. I'm only 22 and I'd like to think I have a lot of time ahead of me to figure it out. 

I do know that I don't want my instagram to be a reflection of everything I have eaten. Will there still be food pictures? Maybe. If I feel inclined to post one I will, but I want my feed to show who I am. 

I'm not a girl obsessed with food. 

I'm a girl who's passionate about running, lifting, relationships, trying new things, traveling, connecting with people, rescuing animals, and living life to the fullest. 

I am so much more than the food that I eat. 

So what's next for the blog? I don't know. I do know that I love the community I have gotten to know in my little corner of the internet. I'm going to continue to share thinking out loud posts and probably an occasional recipe, but largely I don't know. I love opening up and sharing random bits of my life with you. I also want to continue to connect with others and at the end of the day if I've made one person smile or brightened someones day then that's good enough for me. 

Thank you for sticking with me on this crazy journey and through this identity crisis. I don't know where I'll end up, but I'm excited for the ride. Most of all I'm excited to be real with you guys and to not have the pressure to just be a food blogger. 

Cheers to a new chapter, figuring out life, and sharing moments that actually matter🎉 

If you want to connect with me and see bits of my real life feel free to do so on instagram or Facebook.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Vacation Hangover: Thinking Out Loud #28

Happy Thursday! Sadly this weeks thinking out loud is not coming from the Hawaiian Islands🌸 I'm back home and digging out after a glorious welcome home snowfall😒 I left and it was 65F degrees and sunny in February, yet it's March and it's 20F degrees and snowing. Sigh. 

1. The thing I miss most about Hawaii is the ability to run outside every single day. Even if it rained in the morning it was done in a few hours (or less) so I was able to get a run in every day. I've never run in a place so beautiful and it was definitely a challenge because I've never run up mountains before, so some days were so darn hard but it was always worth it.

2. While I was on the south end of Kauai I ran to Spouting Horn every morning and watched the sunrise. I always used to be a person who never stopped once I started running, but running in Hawaii taught me to slow down and enjoy the beauty. Watching the sunrise became my favorite thing about the day and it was the best way to start my morning. Almost every day I had Spouting Horn to myself so I was able to be alone with my thoughts. I can't imagine being lucky enough to run in a place so gorgeous every single day. 

3. Coming from the Midwest seeing signs warning about a tsunami hazard zone was definitely different. I had to question some of their placement of signs though because some of the exiting tsunami hazard signs were right by the water where a tsunami could easily reduce the area to rubble. But what do I know I'm not a scientist🤔 

4. I'm serious when I say I don't think running in Hawaii could ever get old. On one side of me was the ocean and on the other side were mountains! I was literally surrounded by beauty and I was so in awe of everything. I loved the days where the mountains were clear and you could clearly make out their jagged features. I'm already missing these views while running.

5. Another reason I'm missing vacay is because I did not do my hair or wear any makeup at all🙆 my hair is naturally very wavy but I think the salt water made it even wavier but it was beachy so I went with it. I was also surprised by how at ease I felt wearing no makeup. I'm not one to wear a lot of makeup anyway but constantly being surrounded by people perfectly made up to go on camera can make you feel like you have to measure up. Nothing feels better than bear skin👌

6. There are so many awesome foodie place on Kauai so one night I stopped in Papalani Gelato. They had a ton of dairy free and gluten free flavors so I was pretty excited. While it wasn't as good as the vegan ice cream I had in Kapaa it was still good and coconut shavings were a nice touch. 

7. I'm not one to complain about airlines because despite having my luggage lost by Delta or delayed flights Delta has always treated me very well. This time I flew Alaska airlines and I can honestly say I've never had such a terrible time with an airline. I've flown quite a bit in my life (and a number of different airlines), but I will never be flying Alaska Airlines again. I had several problems when I was flying out to Hawaii, but returning was a total nightmare. My amazing dad surprised me by getting me a first class seat (I've never flown first class before) since it was a red eye flight out of Kauai. The day my flight was to depart I never got my flight confirmation, well come to find out Alaska Airlines had cancelled my reservation and resold my seat, so I didn't have a seat. I got stuck in one of the last rows on the plane in which the seats did NOT recline- absolutly horrible for a redeye flight. I was also nervous because I had less than 30 minutes between connecting flights so getting off the plane was going to be problematic, but it turned into an even bigger problem when my flight was delayed by over an hour. It was basically 1am by the time my flight departed, thankfully there was a lot of other people connecting to the same flight I was so the next plane was held for us. There was one last first class available so I was thrown in that because my original first class seat had been resold. I was starving because I didn't have anything to eat on me, but luckily they had steelcut oats which I could have and some fruit. I couldn't have the muffin or nuts, but overall it was pretty good for airplane food. However, my overall experience with Alaska Airlines was incredibly poor- from the flights, to bad customer service over the phone, to wasting my last day in Hawaii stuck on the phone with them, so needless to say I will never be flying with them again. I guess there's something to the say ole reliable. 

8. I think the biggest lesson I learned while I was on vacation was the importance of self-care. I'm going to write a separate post about it, but basically I had been wearing myself ragged trying to do everything, have everything be perfect, and trying to be everywhere at once. Hawaii was the perfect reminder that self-care is absolutly necessary and self-care is not selfish at all

I'm going to end it here for the week. Have a terrific Thursday and even though it's a day early Happy St. Patrick's Day! Please be safe and have fun celebrating if you are🍀

What is your favorite way to treat yourself while you're on vacation? 
Are you celebrating St. Patrick's Day or what are you doing for the weekend?