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?