14
Aug 14

Four Years

 

strayHappy four years to us! This picture was taken last August when we went on a camping trip in the eastern Sierras. Can’t wait for our coastal California adventure next week. We’re going up to Big Sur, Carmel, and Monterey. I’ll definitely share more about it when I get back from vacation.

heartsteph


13
Aug 14

What I Ate Then vs. What I Eat Now

I can’t believe it’s been nearly 10 years since I started my (first) senior year of college. I was thinking back to all the foods I used to consume back then when I worked 2 jobs and went to school full-time.

Life was crazy.

Well, it still is. But now I make time for proper nutrition.

I thought it would be fun to take a look back at the foods I ate then vs. what types of foods I’m eating now for What I Ate Wednesday.

WIAWbuttonBreakfast

Then: Low fat honey graham crackers with Betty Crocker funfetti frosting or a pack of instant oatmeal.

Now: My usual routine is to blend up something quick in my Vitamix. On this morning it happened to be a combo of vanilla SunWarrior blend protein, 1 Tbsp. raw cacao powder, 1 tsp. chia seeds, 1/2 a frozen banana, 1 Tbsp. almond butter, and 2 cubes of ice. Sometimes I’ll throw spinach into my smoothies. Or I’ll switch up the fruit for variety.

breakfastsmoothieIf I’m not in a hurry, I’ll make a veggie omelet with some sort of fruit on the side. Or gluten free oatmeal, if that’s what I’m in the mood for.

Mid-Morning Snack

Then: I always needed something with salt and flavor so I usually opted for a bag of chips. I remember buying Sun Chips because I thought that was a healthy option. Still better than potato chips, but not something I’d eat now.

Now: I really like veggies and dip. I actually hardly ever eat carrots. I usually have bell pepper slices or celery sticks for dipping. But on this particular day, it was carrots with a single-serving size of spicy Wholly Guacamole.

snackattackPlantain chips are fun to dip in guacamole too, but I’ve been trying to cut back on those because I can eat the whole bag when I shouldn’t.

Lunch

Then: Lunch was almost always some sort of fast food. There was a Subway on campus that I frequented because I thought it was healthy. I also ate at Panda Express and Carl’s Jr. a lot. Sometimes I would just drink a 24 oz. Jamba smoothie and call that lunch. I don’t know how I never gained a ton of weight.

Now: I rarely ever buy lunch. I am one of those “bring your own lunch to work” people. I think it amazes my coworkers that I can stick with it every single day. I’ll usually bring a homemade salad with some type of lean protein, and maybe a piece of fruit on the side.

But on this particular day, I wasn’t working so I grilled up a Trader Joe’s frozen turkey burger and covered it with some weird mustard blobs. Plus romaine and bell peppers with Tessamae’s dressing. This is the best dressing ever, by the way. I used to make homemade dressing, but found this to be tastier and more convenient.

lunchtimeIf, for some reason, I do end up going out to lunch, I usually try to stick to Chipotle, Panera, or the Whole Foods salad bar.

Afternoon Snack

Then: I wasn’t too bad with afternoon snacks back in college. I think I ate a lot of oranges and apples. That was when I was trying to be good and wasn’t in so much of a hurry. Sometimes I would get cravings for sweets between lunch and dinner. I used to eat a lot of Luna bars. I had to keep one in my backpack or purse to prevent a hanger attack.

Now: I’m currently loving dried mango as a sweet-tooth tamer for my mid-afternoon snack.

mangoOther snack choices include protein in almond milk (when I’ve worked out), apple slices with almond butter, or roasted seaweed.

Dinner

Then: Dinner back then might have been some type of frozen lean cuisine, frozen pizza, or fast food. I remember going out to eat a lot with my boyfriend at the time (we really liked TGI Fridays, Pat & Oscar’s, and Rubio’s). I sometimes made sandwiches or stir fry for myself, but that was only when I had enough energy and felt like cleaning up the kitchen after I was done.

Now: I cook most nights. I have a lot of frozen meats and veggies in my freezer that I can throw together to make a quick meal. On this particular night though, Ray and I went out to get Thai food at our favorite Thai restaurant because I didn’t feel like cleaning the kitchen.

yumthaiI got garlic vegetables with chicken. I ate every single last bite. Well, maybe Ray helped me eat some of it after he devoured his yellow curry (and licked his plate clean).

As you can see, the way I eat now is so much better than how I ate back when I was in college.

Has your way of eating changed from what it once was? Are you choosing healthier options now?

heartsteph

 


08
Aug 14

Fun at Paint Nite

The other night I took my friend Michelle out for her 30th birthday. I found a really good deal for Paint Nite on Groupon.

If you guys aren’t using Groupon, you really should. There are so many great deals on that site. The one for Paint Nite was too good to pass up. It was basically 2 for the price of 1. And I thought who better to take with me than Michelle. She’s an artiste.

adorbsI’m not an artist. But little known fact about me…I taught at an independent kids art studio in the summer of 2006. That’s how I discovered my love for teaching. I was then asked to stay on the staff and be the lead art teacher until the school went out of business in 2008.

Anywho, my art skills don’t go above the 5th grade level (much like my math skills). That’s okay because there was an instructor present at Paint Nite who walked us all through each step.

Step one. Paint the sky.

skyStep two. Paint the green-ish background.

backgroundStep 3. Add some tall grass.

grassStep 4. Add the fireflies.

firefliesStep 5. Add some darker, shorter grass, and some white dots to look like smaller fireflies.

finalThis is how our masterpieces turned out.

10491114_550544551717306_571444618440755374_nNow mine is hanging on the wall in my bedroom.

eggsingrassRay calls my masterpiece “Eggs and Grass”. Now every time I look at it, I see eggs instead of fireflies.

That’s okay. I like my masterpiece and had fun creating it. Definitely check out Paint Nite if it’s available in your area.

Happy 30th, Michelle!

shellerz30

heartsteph

 


07
Aug 14

My Morning Detox Drink

Good morning! I like to start the day off with a detox drink. It energizes me (no need for coffee) and revs up my metabolism.

detoxdrinkTo make the drink, just combine

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1-2 dashes of cayenne pepper

8-12 oz. water

I like to add 1/2 a tsp of L-Glutamine powder if I’m recovering from a tough work out. Optionally, you can add a splash of pure maple syrup if you’d like it to be sweeter. Or a dash or two of cinnamon to make it more palatable to you.

Try it. Let me know what you think.

heartsteph

 


06
Aug 14

Things I Ate [7/31/14-8/6/14]

Let’s kick off Wednesday with some humor, shall we?

a04434156de1d4d12553f0028dac4a93Now, as promised, I am documenting some of my eats from this week by linking up to Jenn’s blog for What I Ate Wednesday.

WIAWbuttonRay made me breakfast the other morning.

bfastHe fried up some eggs (I like them well done. None of that drippy, gooey, yolk porn for me) and cooked me a chicken apple breakfast sausage from Aidells. I also ate this kiwi on the side.

kiwiDid you know that Sunday was National Watermelon Day? I should have celebrated with a nice, juicy slice of watermelon but I didn’t. I had these instead.

gummiesLunch was a colorful plate full of chicken tenders marinated in Janetha’s mustard marinade, plus yellow and orange bell pepper strips and cauliflower florets with 2 tbsp. guacamole for dipping. I like to keep it simple.

lunchI went to Whole Foods the other day looking for my favorite treat.

barnanaI couldn’t find the original flavor so I bought the coconut ones instead.

Ray and I collaborated on dinner.

dinner2He really likes seafood so I bought Trader Joe’s white fish Vera Cruz and had him cook it up. Have you tried it? It’s okay. I don’t think I’ll buy it again. We paired it with sauteed broccoli slaw, plus roasted cauliflower and sweet potato bites on the side.

Most of my daily meals are similar to this. My snacks however, are usually much healthier. I rarely ever eat gummy treats, but I found them on sale at Whole Foods and couldn’t resist. They reminded me of being a kid and eating those apple rings. Plus it would be silly to pass up watermelon candy that’s on sale on National Watermelon Day. Just saying…

What treat did you eat recently that you normally don’t eat?

heartsteph


04
Aug 14

Music On A Monday

Happy Monday! Hope it’s a good one. I said I was going to post all of my food and fitness info daily. That’s silly. I don’t have time to do that everyday. But I do plan to highlight some good weekly eats every Wednesday and link up to What I Ate Wednesday each week.

However, today is Monday and not Wednesday. How about some music for your listening pleasure?

I am completely in love with this acoustic version of “Hold On” by The Gospel Whiskey Runners. The original studio version isn’t bad either.

I miss music. I hardly ever listen to anything besides the radio lately. Mostly because that’s all I can access in my car. I need to dedicate more time to good music because we all know 99% of the crap on the radio is not stuff I enjoy listening to.

Suggest some good music for me to check out.

 

heartsteph

 


01
Aug 14

This is Not a Flashback Friday Post

I’ve been inspired to blog more. But for myself mostly. I have been working out and eating better lately, and I have been encouraged to track my results. I even found this cute diet and exercise diary on the clearance table at Barnes and Noble a few months ago, only to have it sit on my desk unused.

dietdiary

And you know what? It will probably remain unused. It’s not hard to fill out. You just put your food on the left side of the page and your workout on the right side. Simple. However, I think I’d rather track it on this blog. Because that way others can hold me accountable. I don’t care if anyone reads my blog or not. I never have. Because hardly anyone does. So this will just be for me and whoever happens to stumble upon it.

In other news, this is not a Flashback Friday post. I was thinking a lot lately about how fun my early 20s were. I wasn’t a “bad” kid. I just partied kind of more than the average person. Humor me. I went to SDSU. That was the norm there.

I had a MySpace profile (because who didn’t?) before Facebook came around. But then one day in the Summer of 2008, after being “stalked” by this weird guy who would not stop messaging me, I decided to just delete my profile without saving any of the content on it. That included a huge bunch of incriminating pictures. But that was okay because they were saved to my computer hard drive. Then my computer crashed a few weeks later. My hard drive completely failed. My hard drive that had never once been backed up because I thought it was invincible. Macs don’t die, I thought. Not so. Lesson learned. I had to send my computer away to Tennessee for a few weeks for the good people at Apple to repair it. This repair included installing a completely brand new hard drive. I lost everything. Pictures, epic college essays, and whatever else was never saved.

I’ve been seeing friends and other bloggers post pictures from their earlier days when they were “bad” and drunk and partied too hard. I can only go as far back as Fall 2008.

oktoberfest2008

Maybe it’s for the best that there is no evidence of me sneaking into a No Knife show at the Open Air Theater, or being an obnoxious band groupie (so sorry, Thrice), or road-tripping to San Francisco just because. That’s okay. I don’t need to post flashback photos for you to know who I am and where I came from.

I am content with where I’m at right now and I try to live in the moment rather than in the past. So it’s just me moving forward from here. No flashbacks on Fridays for you guys.

heartsteph

 

 


09
Jul 14

Get Your Gluten Away From Me!!

ryanisasweetheart

What a sweetheart. I wish everyone was like this. But for those of you who just don’t understand, see the next image.

celiacawareness

Now does it make more sense? If I say “I can’t eat that”, don’t tell me that just one bite won’t hurt. It does. Keep your gluten away from me.


01
Jul 14

Summer Fun With Blue Diamond

classroomsnacks

These Blue Diamond almonds have saved me twice now.

The first time I was “saved” was on my last day of work. My boss promised to provide breakfast. That included a big giant pile of a dozen gluten-filled bagels. No thank you.

I slept in that morning, opting not to set an alarm. I just planned to roll out of bed and go clean my classroom. No need to look put-together when no kiddos are in school. Plus, showering before cleaning a classroom full of cobwebs and spiders is pointless. I didn’t have time for breakfast that morning. Enter Blue Diamond almonds to save the day! I shared them with my coworkers. Sharing is caring. They devoured the blueberry ones. Lucky for me, not many people are fans of coconut flavored things. So I got those all to myself. It’s a good thing too, because I had some leftover to take with my on my trip back to Ohio.

fwabluediamond

My flight was delayed because of bad weather in the Midwest. So I had to practically sprint to my connector flight so I didn’t miss it. No time for a lunch break. I snacked on these almonds to hold me over until I could find something decent to eat. These almonds are a great travel snack. I will definitely remember that for the next time I travel. You should keep that in mind too.

* I received these delicious almonds courtesy of Blue Diamond Almonds.

What are your favorite travel snacks?


11
Jun 14

Blend 2014

It’s now Wednesday night and I am just getting around to writing a Blend Retreat 2014 recap post. See, told you I’ve been busy. In fact, there are so many other things I should be doing right now instead of blogging. But I am going to put them off until tomorrow just because I feel like it.

This past weekend was my second time attending Blend. You can read my recap from last year here. Blend is a girl’s weekend where bloggers and their readers can get away from reality and get to know one another in person. I started reading blogs several years ago. I eventually decided to start my own blog. To be honest though, I’m not too passionate about blogging these days. I kind of felt like a fraud attending a blogging event. It didn’t matter though. Everyone at Blend was so welcoming and sweet. They didn’t care about my blog credibility. Blend 2014 actually helped me renew my passion for blogging. So expect to see me post more frequently.

Now for the recap of Blend.

I cannot do this awesome weekend justice in just one blog post. But I’m going to try my best to help you visualize what it’s like to be there.

I left LAX on Friday morning eager to see blends (blogger friends) that I met at last year’s retreat and at HLS. I was also excited to meet new blogging friends.

Friday night at Blend is for cocktail hour and dinner. It’s our way of proving that we don’t live in workout clothes 24/7. The cocktail hour was sponsored by Flourowater and Sizzlefish. I was too busy stuffing my mouth with delicious salmon from Sizzlefish to snap any photos.

I did however take a picture of the gluten free pizza and salad from dinner.

fridaydinner

I can’t remember the last time I had pizza, so this was a fun treat. The cheese wasn’t very kind to me though.

Friday night shenanigans continued after dinner. We wanted to go to the photo booth and take pictures but it was broken. So I had the idea of using all their props and taking pictures in the hotel lobby. Worked well since we could fit more people in the picture.

blendfriends

In the back row (from left to right) is Amanda, Nicole, Nicole, Ari, Katie, and Erika. I’m in the front (wearing bunny ears) with Mollie.

I went up to my giant 2,000 sq. ft. suite after dinner and asked my roommate Alex if she wanted to play a game of Cards Against Humanity. It turns out Lauren had also brought the game and was starting a round in her suite down the hall. So that’s where we headed before going to bed.

I didn’t sleep well Friday night so I skipped Saturday morning’s boot camp sponsored by Onnit. I did however manage to peel myself out of my giant king sized bed just in time for the breakfast sponsored by Quest. They treated us to chocolate fudge cookie cups, as well as regular breakfast foods like eggs, sausage, and potatoes.

questcollage

Quest also provided each Blend Retreat attendee with a swag bag full of Quest bars. These are my favorite protein bars so I was more than thrilled to receive some swag from them. Unfortunately my doctor told me today that I shouldn’t be eating them because of the cow product that they contain. Womp womp. I may #cheatclean anyway. Sinuses be damned.

After breakfast we went up to our suite and discovered that there had been a room drop. Thanks, Camelbak for the filter and water bottle.

cbswag

My blue bottle disappeared. So if one of my roommates went home with two, you’re welcome.

We went on a hike Saturday after breakfast. Organic Valley sponsored the hike and gave everyone backpacks to take along with them.

hikegroup

These were my suite-mates (minus Kate, who took the picture). From left to right is Amanda, Julie, Mollie, Katie, me, Alex, Maddy, and Kait.

We had to take a gondola up the mountain, but it was worth it. The views were breathtaking. Check out some of these scenes from the hike.

hikecollage

We were on our own Saturday night. I decided to tag along with a group of girls who were going to the High West Whiskey Distillery.

highwestgroup

My goal was to find a restaurant with a TV so I could watch game 2 of the Stanley Cup. I eventually ended up at Wasatch Brewery, where they had the game playing on 4 TVs. No pictures were taken here since the food was mediocre and not at all photogenic. I came back to the hotel and watched the rest of the Kings game (they won!!) before heading downstairs to Janetha’s suite for a Utah scones party hosted by her mom, Momma B. Most of Saturday night was a blur. I was so tired, but I slept so well that night.

It’s a good thing I got a good night’s sleep, because Sunday brought about a tough GPP boot camp. I learned that burpees do indeed hate me just as much as I hate them. But it’s cool. I still had fun doing the team workout with Danica, Sam, Mollie, and Kate.

gppblend

I don’t remember much of Sunday’s breakfast other than that it was sponsored by Yoplait and Nature Valley. I was too busy saying goodbyes to all of my new blends. Plus, I was really excited about the closing ceremony. I ended up winning 6 jars of peanut butter from my favorite peanut butter company of all time, Peanut Butter & Co.

pbcocollage

My plane didn’t leave SLC until Sunday night so I had some extra time between the closing ceremony and going to the airport. Canadian Julie, my roommate Julie, Amanda, and I decided that we should make a trip to Cafe Rio for salads. It was the perfect lunch and just what we needed before we said goodbye to each other.

cagirlsinut

And then because I still had some time to waste before going to the airport, I stopped to visit my friend Bethany in Sugar House. We went to high school together and even lived together for a few years back in college. It was great spending time with her and her adorable 17 month old daughter.

sugarhousepark

Thank you so much to Lindsay, Janetha, and Lauren for putting in so much work to make this past weekend possible. I cannot wait to see everyone again in Boulder for Blend 2015.

blendgroupsunday