Thursday, August 31, 2017

Apartment Shopping & Goodbyes: Thinking Out Loud #52

Happy Thursday! Once again the week has flown by, but I am more than ready for the long holiday weekend. My days have been spent going through old things, getting rid of stuff, and packing stuff up to get ready to move, but more on that later. The sun is finally back out and I can't wait to soak up some sun this weekend. Let's jump into this weeks thinking out loud!

1. I haven't made any sort of announcement until now, but I am officially moving! A few weeks ago I travelled to Nebraska to check out a work opportunity. Long story short all the details ended up falling into place so I accepted the position and will be moving in mid September. I'm excited to start a new chapter of my life, but also sad to be moving away from friends, family, and my boyfriend. Probably the worst part about making the move is Cora can't come with me. My work hours are going to be all over the place and I won't be working from home anymore, so she is going to stay with my parents. I'm totally devastated I have to leave her behind, but I know they will take good care of her and I will be Facetiming regularly to see her. I'm excited for a new start and to see where this career path will take me. If anyone has moving tips, apartment shopping tips, or how to stay sane when moving halfway across the country please comment and let me know👇

2. Goodbyes are really stinking hard. One of my best friends was back in town for a quick appointment so I stopped by and saw her for a few hours last night. We've been friends since freshman year of high school and have been through so much together. We were diagnosed with lupus three days apart, we've been to London and Paris together, we went to the same college, sat through chemo sessions, and gone through so many ups and downs together. She is beyond a doubt one of the most amazing friends I have and my life would be dramatically different without her. Saying goodbye to her and her parents was so hard. Her parents have been a second set of parents to me and they've been so supportive of me over the years. They all hold a special place in my heart and I will definitely be visiting them when I come back home on vacation.

3. I have never bought furniture before now, so it's been a new experience. My boyfriend came with me to be supportive and we actually had a ton of fun testing out all the couches, chairs, and mattresses. I was pretty surprised by the lack of regard I was treated with. We were in the store for over 45 minutes before an employee approached us. The one who did approach was so incredibly kind, that I got her card and when I returned the next day to purchase the furniture I made sure she got the sale. In my eyes a customer is a customer and while all those other sales people disregarded me because I looked young the woman who helped me got one heck of a commission because I was buying furniture for an entire apartment. I ended up choosing this couch, but in a light gray, it has recliners so I'm pretty excited about that.

4. My appetite has been making itself known over this past week. I'm not sure if it's because I've been so busy moving or the change in medication has actually allowed me to have an appetite again. Either way, I've been packing snacks so I won't be hangry when I'm out apartment shopping. I tried BHU Fit protein bars for the first time and they're so good! It was perfectly chocolatey without being too sweet and it was paleo and allergy friendly. The protein came from egg whites instead of soy or pea protein which I was very happy about. I found them at the Vitamin Shoppe and I definitely recommend trying them out.

5. I am itching to run. The mornings have been slightly cooler and would be absolutely perfect for running. I'm obeying doctors orders and not running, but I definitely miss it. I've been walking and cycling a ton in addition to lifting just to keep myself busy. The doctor really didn't want me using the elliptical because it can still be hard on my tibia. I'm not so patiently waiting for it to heal and living vicariously through all my runner friends and my boyfriend who are enjoying this perfect running weather. I am counting my blessings it's not a stress fracture, but I'm more than ready for everything to be healed.

6. The mornings have been really foggy recently. As the sunrise gets later and later I almost miss is since I leave the gym around 6:45am. The past couple mornings fog has completely engulfed the area but it looks so pretty when the sun starts to rise. There's definitely a taste of fall in the air.

7. My heart is utterly broken as I look at all the images pouring out of Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. I have a lot of family members who live in Houston so the impact hits close to home. There really are not any words that can heal the devastation the hurricane left. Towns are utterly decimated and the water continues to rise in Houston. I believe it is our duty as fellow Americans to help those in need. Even if we don't have much to give there are ways you can help victims of Harvey. NPR (national public radio) gave a list of all the organization accepting donations of everything from cash, to clothing, to toiletries to distribute to those displaced by the storm. Here is a link to the list of all the organization accepting donations.

8. This quote I found fitting for this week. Despite all the devastation the hurricane left in Texas, there have been so many stories of hope coming out of the wreckage. I was in tears looking at the cars lined along the freeway bringing boats and waverunners into the Houston area to rescue people. That is what America is about- people lending a hand in the darkest of hours and supporting each other through the storm. Light shines brightest in darkness and the volunteers and first responders have demonstrated that this week.

Have a great day and a fantastic holiday weekend everyone🎉🎉🎉

What are your plans for the holiday weekend?
Have you ever moved to a totally new place? What helped you adjust and get familiar with the area? 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Nebraska and the Eclipse: Thinking Out Loud #51

Happy Thursday! This post is going to go up later than I'd like, but hey sometimes life gets super crazy. I've hardly been home this last week and while it's been crazy it's been a good crazy, I'll get into that later. I'm also questioning where summer went because it's currently 63F degrees. It's August, thus it's supposed to be upper 80's, tons of sunshine, but it's been a far cry from that. Anyway, lets jump into this weeks thinking out loud.

1. I caught four flights in a 48 hour timespan late last week. I spent two days out in Nebraska exploring a potential opportunity. Nebraska is not totally what I expected in the sense that it's not all just flat. There's a lot of hills, but there's a ton of corn too, which I did expect. The airport in Omaha is the smallest I've ever seen- there's only 10 gates in the entire airport😱

2. By the time I got into Lincoln I was STARVING. I hadn't eaten since 11am eastern time, so 10am central time. When I got to the hotel my first matter of business was dumping my luggage in the room and finding somewhere to eat. I found the absolute cutest restaurant called Source. EAT FIT and it's the BOMB you guys! Everything was set up to be allergy and macro friendly so I was in heaven. I got the bruschetta chicken, cauliflower rice and asparagus. The chicken was melt in your mouth amazing. If you're ever in Lincoln get them out, plus they are the absolute nicest people and customer service goes a very long way in my books👌

3. Even though I was away from home I still got my workouts and physical therapy work in at the hotel. I brought my resistance bands and sliders. Sliders have quickly become one of my favorite workout accessories because you can do so much with them. This is a great move for your legs, arms, and abs. Get in a plank position- make sure your shoulders a square- with the sliders under your feet. Keeping your abs tight and butt squeezed bring one leg out to the side as far as you can without bending or dropping your knee, then bring it back to a straight plank position. Repeat on both sides, normally I do 3 sets of 12 on both sides. I'm thinking of doing an entire post on slider workouts because I've gotten a ton of questions about them. 

4. A successful meeting calls for a froyo celebration right?! Or at least that's how I celebrate😂 I found the cutest froyo shop in Lincoln and it had a ton of vegan (aka dairy free) flavors and a bunch of allergy friendly toppings. I was really excited so of course I loaded up my cup, if you're going to do a froyo celebration you might as well go all out right?😉

5. While the meeting was successful I was beyond excited to get home to my pup. Thankfully my parents looked after her while I was away and I was that crazy dog mom that called to see how she was doing. Crazy dog lady status I know😬 nothing beats coming home to puppy kisses and snuggles.

6. Did you watch the solar eclipse? I wasn't in the path of totality, but Michigan still got and 80% cover, so a partial eclipse, but it was amazing to see. Of course we had our eclipse glasses on so we could safely look at the sun without burning our eyes. For the next eclipse I'd love to be in the path of totality because the images looked stunning. We've got a few years until the next eclipse and I've heard the word totality more times than I care to.

7. After a month of physical therapy with no improvement I had an MRI done and visited an orthopedic specialist. He was fantastic and I really liked him. He went through the MRI with me, explaining everything and I do indeed have a tear in my meniscus and there's fluid in there. It's a small tear though, so he said surgery wasn't necessary, but there was a lot of stress points that showed up on my tibia. He told me to keep taking time off of running and once the pain goes away give it some time then slowly try to build up to running. He wants my bone to rebuild itself properly, otherwise then it's a major surgery where they stick a rod in to support my tibia, which would mean no more running for me😳 while I'm not happy about being sidelined for probably the rest of the year, I want this to heal properly because I'd prefer not to have surgery. 

8. As always, I have to end with a quote. This one really resonated with me this week so I thought I'd share.

Have a terrific Thursday and an amazing weekend🎉🎉🎉

Did you watch the solar eclipse? Were you in the path of totality?
What is one good thing that's happened to you in the past week?

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?

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Dogs and Dinosaurs: Thinking Out Loud #48

Happy Thursday and happy August! How is it August already?! I am not ready for summer to be over because I know what's around the corner, aka winter, and I am certainly not ready to be freezing 24/7 again. We have been having some gorgeous weather in the mitten this week. There has been loads of sunshine and warm temps all equaling up to the perfect lake day weather. Anyway, let's jump into this weeks thinking out loud!

1. I'm still chugging away in physical therapy. I'd like to say I'm patient, resting tons to let it heal and all that junk but that's so not true. I'm beyond impatient and so ready to run again. The therapist gave me workouts that I can do, plus I can still lift (minus leg day), and I was given a cardio workout to do that involves the treadmill and the bike. The treadmill and I are not currently friends because I absolutely hate walking on the dang thing🙄 It's too early in the morning to go for a walk outside and for now the therapist wants me walking on a steady surface. I'm being good though and doing all my at home exercises and icing so fingers crossed I'll be running sooner rather than later. 

2. With the sun rising later and later in the morning I get to see the sunrise on my way home from the gym. I love watching the sunrise and with views like this who wouldn't?! I can't wait to be able to head out for sunrise runs again🏃‍♀️

3. I don't share a lot of food pics on instagram anymore, but I have gotten questions and comments asking if I still put sprinkles on my oatmeal. Of course I still put sprinkles on my oats! I used dinosaur sprinkles the other day, they're my favorite, but sadly that was the last of my dinosaur sprinkles😩 I've yet to find more dino sprinkles at the grocery store so I might have to hunt some down on Amazon. 

4. My boyfriend sent me this meme the other day and just said this is you. He's totally right, it's 100% me😂 anyone who knows me knows I'm totally obsessed with dogs. I have dog radar and I know when there's a dog around. I go up to people all the time asking people if I can pet their dogs. If I had the means I would probably have a house full of dogs, however, currently I don't have the means or the space for a house full of dogs, but one day.

5. I shared a pictures from the lake on instagram a few days ago and my direct messages were flooded with questions asking where I got my bathing suit top. I got it at Target and while the same one isn't available anymore I found two that are basically the same one that I have, except one is a bralette and the other is a regular bikini top. If you've never shopped at Target for a bathing suit you're missing out! They have a huge selection and they hold up really well. 

6. The weather really has been picture perfect, so I've been getting outside as much as possible. The lake has been really warm so I've been spending time floating on Henry soaking up the sun- with sunscreen on of course😉

7. I'm super excited to share a review with you next week for LoveBug probiotics. The company reached out to me and asked if I'd be interesting in trying them out, funny enough I had been eyeing them at Target for some time because I was looking for a new probiotic. I'm very excited to share that with you so be on the lookout for that next week!

8. Per usual I am ending with a quote. I love this quote because I firmly believe that stuff will never make you happy. Surrounding yourself with good people and living life to the fullest by enjoying the moment and traveling will make you happy. Possessions weigh you don't but memories don't.

Have a great Thursday and a fabulous weekend everyone🎉🎉🎉

Is there a trait that people associate with you, like being dog obsessed?
What is your favorite way to enjoy the beautiful summer weather?