Monday, September 30, 2013

finding a balance

This past week has left me feeling stressed to the max.
Over what?
Your guess is as good as mine.
I am doing fine in all of my classes, getting my running in, volunteering, hanging out with friends and family...yet I feel so on edge about everything.

Yesterday I didn't have time to complete my long run and I was beside myself.
"if I don't get in three more miles I won't be able to finish the marathon"
I am realizing now more than ever that I have such a desire for perfection.
I know I can't be the only one who feels that way!
I am trying to force myself to take a few moments this week for myself-drink an extra cup of coffee, take a nap, decompress. We all need to learn how to reward ourselves for our successes, and not to dwell on our failures.
At the end of this crazy week, I will be rewarded with a trip to Boston to visit my sister!
Gotta keep the end line in mind.
I wish I could document more meals on here, but lately my meals have been all about quick and easy! I am a huge fan of throw-it-in-one-pot meals that don't photograph well (maybe they would if I was a food photographer but I am not!).
Tonight I made a stew of sweet potato, black beans, corn, spinach and onion.
It was delicious and filling.
My goal in the next few weeks is to spend more time in this space because I really do love it.
Hope you are all off to a good start for the week!!

P.S. This post was written by a hormonal, PMSing woman. Keep that in mind when I sound like I am on the edge!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

apple picking

This weekend was a good one.
Girls on the Run.
Panera Bread.
Apple Picking with new friends that feel like life-long friends.
Harvest America.
A long, scenic run.
Birthday celebration!
We picked Jonagold apples and lemme tell ya-they are the BEST!
I made a pie with them today for my friend's birthday and they baked so well.
I also realized something...
my love language is pie-baking.
And I'm okay with it.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Women's Health Wednesday: Skin

How is it Wednesday already (not to mention: almost OCTOBER!)?!
Today's WHW comes from the October 2013 issue.
The article is Happy Body, Angry Skin
and it is an issue I have always struggled with:
Yuck-even the word grosses me out!

Happy Body, Angry Skin discusses common skin irritations and what moisturizers to use for them. It is very informative, especially for someone like me who feels like they have tried everything! 
Who knew that you should be using different products for different skin irritations? Not me! 

This article inspired me to take control of my skin and my confidence, but I am going to go a different route rather than trying out different products. I have tried countless skin care creams and nothing has worked for me. I have spent more money than I would care to remember on trips to the dermatologist for them to tell me "it's hormonal". I just don't feel pretty or want to go out and socialize if my skin looks terrible.

I am going to incorporate foods that are proven skin cleansers and eliminate ones that are not. Most of these are things I already eat-hopefully making this list will help me to be mindful of them and how much I include them each week.
-provides moisture so that your skin isn't dry and flaky

-antioxidants and vitamins.
specifically B vitamins, thiamine and vitamin B-6 are great for your skin

-zinc, healthy fats and protein
*almonds and walnuts*

-iron and vitamin c. jump starts collagen production. prevents wrinkles

I have already been testing my dairy-loving self with this one. With the exception of my Chobanis, I am trying to get rid of all dairy. After a few weeks, hopefully I will see some improvement! 

If dairy doesn't help, I will try eating less gluten. I know that these are fad diets, but there seems to be some truths to them. 
At the end of the day, I just want clearer skin. If it helps me to eat healthier in the process, so be it!

Do you have any skin clearing tricks?
Fill a sister in!

Monday, September 23, 2013

take me: healthy restaurants in Philadelphia

Since moving to a new area, experiencing the local food has been a top priority of mine.
I love going out to eat and trying new places, and I am in the perfect area to do just that!
Here are some that I am dying to try:
White Dog Cafe  in Philadelphia
community supported and locally grown foods
Harvest Seasonal Grill in Glen Mills
seasonal menu changes (and in a great shopping center-right next to a Whole Foods!)
Roots Cafe in West Chester
local, organic & sustainable foods. 

There is a trend in these restaurants: organic and locally grown foods.
I love that I am surrounded by places like this.
Do you like going out to eat?
Do you know of any great restaurants in Philadelphia?

post MB blues

It's a Monday and I've got the post Michael Buble blues.
It was the BEST concert/night ever! He sounds exactly as he does on his CDs and he is hilarious. I can't wait to see him again and again! I was a major nerd and was studying for my Chemistry test while we waited for the concert to start. It was a great night and I am so glad I got to spend it with my mom.

Nothing crazy is going on in my life right now-school, school, school! I am excited to make one of these for dinner 
and to start coaching Girls on the Run this Wednesday!!

Friday, September 20, 2013

5 on Friday

Linking up today for another 5 on Friday!

1. The Mindy Project is back! This is hands down my favorite current TV show. I might have gotten Hulu plus for the sole reason of watching this show.
P.S. I want to marry Danny Castellano.
2. In two weeks I will be a-flyin to Boston, baby! Besides the fact that it is my favorite city, we're running a race and I get to see my twin sister...I am most excited about being there in October. I can't wait to be walking down the brick streets while the leaves are changing!
3. Autumn Wreath time. I am a Yankee Candle kinda girl, and this week marked time to break out my fave, Autumn wreath. Since we aren't supposed to have candles, I went out and got an old school hot plate. I need to smell this scent every day or it's not really fall- you know?
4. TOMORROW! is the day I have been waiting years for. I will finally be seeing Michael Buble!! Words cannot contain my excitement! Also, I plan on being a major fan-girl at the concert. This means purchasing a t-shirt, coffee mug or whatever else they are trying to sell. I'm only living once!
5. Heading home after class today. It always seems like it has been so long that I have been away. I am glad that my friends are close with their families too, so we all go home the same weekends. I am excited to sleep in my comfy bed and wake up to my mom's pumpkin pancakes. She's the best.
And that's a wrap!
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

New Things on the Horizon/Women's Health Wednesday

I am not sure if I have mentioned this here before, but my career DREAM would  be to work for Women's Health Magazine. The PA offices are pretty close to my hometown, and my mom actually worked for Rodale press before Women's Health was developed.

Besides the appeal of working in the magazine industry, WH inspires me each month about countless subjects. On Wednesdays I try to write about different WH articles to improve my writing skills.
As of yesterday, I am minoring in Communications. Whenever someone in my Nutrition classes hears that, they think it is so random! I can understand why-but I think it will be beneficial to me in the long run. I am nervous that adding a minor to my already heavy schedule will make me crazy-but I know that this is what I want to do, and I have to be 100% determined and dedicated.

I also just sent in my first food and health advice article for the school newspaper.
I have always used writing as a way to document my feelings and memories, but lately I have realized that I want to use it to educate others and be a voice of positive habits and health.

Adding this minor opens many career doors to an already expanding nutrition and health industry.
It is so exciting for me to think about my future!

I hope to be able to document these steps on my blog in the coming months and semesters.
I know that I am just getting started and that there is a long way to go, but time flies when you are having fun so busy doing school work that you have no social life but studying. How's that for a run-on sentence?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Tacos

If the cold that I caught over the weekend wasn't a sure sign of fall, the jeans and jacket that I had to wear today definitely was. The past few days have been so fall-like! I am loving it.
This weekend I had a fall dinner with my family, complete with roasted sweet potatoes, pumpkin apple muffins, a roast for the meat eaters and s'mores by the campfire. I hope this becomes a yearly tradition.

I also went apple-picking with the girls that I used to nanny for and their mom. I love how our relationship has changed from nanny and kids I have to spend time with to aunt & nieces. We picked MacIntosh apples that they are going to make applesauce with.
Yesterday I spent the day in bed recovering from a crazy head cold.
Luckily, it disappeared after I slept for 13 hours last night!

Tuesdays are my crazy days, so by the time I get home I am starving.
I had some sweet potatoes left over from this weekend, so I decided to make some tacos with them.
I am a relatively new fan of sweet potatoes, but I am loving them lately!
They really are the perfect fall food: did you know that they are high in vitamins A and C?
Awesome for keeping a fall cold away!
Sweet Potato & Black Bean Tacos
-2 sweet potatoes
-1 can black beans
-about half a cup of water
-whole wheat tortilla wraps
-spinach/ other fillings if you want

Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into bite size pieces.
Put them in a large pot with the water.
Let it cook, while stirring, until the potatoes are tender with a fork.
Add the spices and stir.
Add the beans until they are warm.
Put in tortilla shells with your toppings and enjoy!!

These tacos taste just like FALL!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Why do you run?

This Friday, I went out for my weekly long run. My run was going great and I was almost done-literally on the last mile-when I hit a mental block. Every fall I get a little emotional because it is my favorite time of year, yet the anniversary of something very sad for me. As I was running and thinking about the impending anniversary of my "dark days", I started thinking all of these negative thoughts.
I couldn't push myself to keep going and almost just bagged the run.
I said a prayer and then kept going and finished my run, taking my time and just getting the mile in rather than rushing it.
When I got back, I felt so defeated when I should have felt great that I ran eleven miles and that I could check another LR off my training plan.

The next day, I went to training for an after-school program that I will be volunteering for.
Girls on the Run is a program for girls ages 8-10 to instill self-confidence, health habits and empowerment. The goal of Girls on the Run is to instill these habits at an age where girls are still willing to listen to adults. They are young enough that they haven't been fully taken over by peer-pressure and media yet.
I was already excited to be a part of GOTR, but training escalated it for me.

After hearing the history behind GOTR and about the lives that it has impacted, I got teary eyed. I know that if I had been involved in GOTR as a young girl, it would have been such a great help in my middle school and high school years. Don't get me wrong; my parents, family and friends have always been wonderful to me.I think that as a young girl, programs like this can be so influential to us.

That feeling of defeat that came over me during my run was brought on my years of hearing that I wasn't good enough. It's a place that I let my thoughts go to when I am reminded of him and think "I wonder if he ever thinks about me". They are thoughts that are ridiculous and should be pushed way out of my head. Yet every few months, they come up.

While at training, I started to think about why I run.
I run because it is an outlet for me.
I run because it makes me feel strong and confident.
I run because I was blessed with two working legs and I am going to use them. 

The next time I am feeling defeated or start thinking these ridiculous thoughts, I will keep running harder, and just remember why I run in the first place. I run because I am strong.

Why do you run?

Friday, September 13, 2013

5 on Friday


Another week has flown by!
Here's what I am excited about this weekend:

1. Sleeping in until 8 AM.
My morning class got cancelled so I gave myself the thrill of sleeping in. It. was. glorious.

2. These cookies.
Tonight we are having a movie night and breaking out the fall recipes!
3. Michael Buble
He seems to make it in all of my 5 on Fridays! In one week I will be seeing him live with my mama! Counting the seconds.
4. It's long run day.
Gotta get those miles in this afternoon! It's been thunderstorming all morning though, so I may be an indoor track girl today.

5. New friends
Once again, I am thankful for the new friends that I continue to meet at school. It has made the transition go from somewhat rocky to a lot of fun. I know that I am where I should be!

Hope everyone has a great, fall-weather like weekend!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Cosi copy-cat quinoa bowl

Have you ever been to Cosi?
I went for the first time a few weeks ago and had the best quinoa bowl in the history of quinoa bowls. I don't remember the name of my order or even what was in it-but today for lunch I made a replica!
Spicy Quinoa Bowl
I didn't measure-I just throw everything in a bowl, heat it up and add some toppings.
Black Beans
Salsa of your choice (I like black bean, corn and roasted red pepper!)
Plain greek yogurt

Mix together and enjoy!
If you prep ahead of time, this seriously take two minutes to make. I already had the quinoa, beans, corn and tomato rinsed and ready to go. Perfect for when you are in classes all morning and spent lunch hour at the doctors getting a drug test....or was that just me?!
(the drug test is mandatory for my new job, nothing to worry about!)

I love making copy-cat recipes from restaurants.
Have you ever recreated your favorite dish from your go-to spot?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Women's Health Wednesday

Just in time for Women's Health Wednesday!
I was so inspired when I read this month's issue.
It was full of greatness-but the Special Report was the icing on top.
"What It's Like To Be Stranded in a Food Desert" by Julia Savacool  is an eye opener, a thought provoker and a real kick in the pants to do something about an issue we all are surrounded with.
Hunger is everywhere.

Since moving to a new town, I see vast differences in the economy and health.
Eating is different here.
All of my life I lived one minute away from a high-end grocery store.
I took advantage of it and went there daily sampling new foods and picking up whatever I wanted or thought that I needed. Now at school, I have to drive at least ten minutes to get to a store where the produce will not be rotting and gross.
I am by no means hungry-just making a point that in different areas, the food circumstances change!

The best point of this article is something that most Americans don't realize. 
We are simultaneously in an epidemic of obesity and hunger. Two polar opposites, yet they are occurring right before our eyes. 

Next month I am running in the Women's Health Run 10 Feed 10 Race
By running, 10 meals are provided to the Boston area. 
Isn't that awesome? 
This is something small, but I want to start thinking bigger.
Volunteering at a soup kitchen is next on my list.

What are you going to do about it?

sweat is sexy

In contrast to last week's glorious 70 degree weather, today is supposed to be about 93 degrees.
The humidity level in the spin classroom I took this morning was a whopping 88!
Needless to say, sweat is on my mind.
(or as I should say: dripping from my face profusely).

I have always been self-conscious about sweating while exercising.
I am tired of being embarrassed about finishing an awesome workout.
I know that I'm not alone!

It's time for this to become our mantra

and to realize that the benefits of sweat greatly outweigh the temporary embarrassment it might cause.

Sweat can...
1. Cool your body down
2. Relieve muscle tension and stress
3. Boost your metabolism
I love this buzzfeed. #13 is my fave!

The next time you finish a workout, don't run of out the gym, hoping no one will see you.
Be proud of the hard work that you put in, because after all...

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Campbell's for Keurig

Did you hear about Campbell's new invention?
The idea is pretty brilliant, soup pods for your Keurig, but the thought of chicken noodle soup coming from the same place that my morning cup of heaven just grosses me out. 

"The new product is meant to serve as a low-calorie, mid-afternoon snack"-Campbell's.
The nutrition facts aren't out yet, but fingers crossed that these babies aren't loaded with sodium.

I think that these will go over well with my demographic: college students.
It's all about convenience these days, folks.

What do you think: gross or genius?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.
It might seem like a silly thing to name a month after this.
Maybe "Nutrition Education for Kids Month" would be better?

Childhood obesity is a subject that I have always been interested in.
I'm not sure why-no one in my family struggled with it-but it is a major reason why I am studying Nutrition and Dietetics. It is amazing what nutrition education can do for the future of our country.

What can we do?
1. Encourage exercise and movement
60 minutes a day is recommended-and it can be anything, as long as you are moving! Playing on the playground, sports, riding a name it!

2. Encourage fruits and vegetables
It's easier to get a kid to stop saying they are hungry by giving them sweets and junk food as a snack. I know this because I was mostly raised on TastyKakes. We need to be teaching our kids that food should be colorful and fun! Eating at least five colors of fruits and vegetables a day benefits the body in countless ways. More info here.
3. Be an example
Kids echo what their parents, role models and peers do. If we are teaching health, we need to live it also! If a change is being made in a child's diet, it should be made house-wide. This will make healthier kids, parents and families in general. 
Starting later this month I am going to be working with an after-school program to get kids outside exercising. I am excited about the opportunity to combine fitness and education in one setting!


Never underestimate the power of a routine!
Since coming to school, admittedly I have felt a little out of it in many ways.
I am a schedule girl-and I am not apologizing for it-and I was thrown for a loop.

This applies especially to exercise.
At home, I had the same workout schedule for almost two years.
Between group classes and running, every day of the week I was doing something.
Here at school it is very different.
I felt out of schedule because there aren't as many options as I had at home.

I had been struggling the first week about it because I was worried that taking time to get acclimated with a new schedule would effect my strength and how hard I had worked to get where I am.

I have finally realized that I was doing too much at home.
I needed to give myself some rest time, and I wasn't.
I am really trying to get into a healthy routine and trying different kinds of workouts.
I know that you guys can relate. 
Have you had a life change that made you form a new routine?
Share some tips!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

weekend eats

This weekend was a good one.
Like usual, it was centered around food, friends and running.

After classes on Friday I did my LR for the weekend: 10 miles.
Later that night I went out with friends to a delish Mexican place in town. 
We all ordered the same thing!

We went to a comedy show after and I stayed up later than I have in months. 
On Saturday some friends from home visited me and I got to show them around.
I made the best cookies I have ever baked!
I'll have to post the recipe soon.

We went out to eat Saturday night and I was reminded of my love for sweet potato.
I have to experiment in the near future!

Today I went for a run and studied for a chemistry test all. day. long. 
I am glad that my best friends here are all nutrition majors too-we study together!

Quick weekend eats:
Oatmeal with bananas & strawberries
Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal cookies
AKA the best ever.
Quick dinner: tortilla/hummus and veggie pizza!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

leftover lovin'

I was inspired by this post to write about something that has become very important in my life: leftovers!
I say very important because I literally have been eating (and loving) them all week.
Like I have been saying for the past two weeks, meal prepping has changed my life.
Taking the meal part of a meal, in this instance quinoa, and adding extras to it can totally change the meal, yet take a short time to prepare! 

Quinoa was the start of the chili, the quinoa bowl and the salad.
All three were great, easy meals and generally made up of the same ingredients.
It's all about how creative you want to be and what you are in the mood to eat.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


I took my own advice today from yesterday's post and followed number 4.
I worked out twice today with friends and it was so fun.
We went to a BodyCombat class-one of my favorites! and got our butts kicked.
Then my friend asked me to go running and I couldn't turn it down.
Usually I prefer to run alone just because I always have, but I am glad I found a training partner!

So now, as I am sitting in my bed already so sore, dreading the pain that I will feel tomorrow morning, I am glad that I went with my new friends to class and I am glad that I ran those extra miles.
Friends are so important in every area of life.
They are especially important when you are trying to reach a goal.
Friends can push you and encourage you, helping the journey become a little easier.

I am not sure why I am feeling sappy-I just hope that everyone has one friend that pushes them to be great and achieve your goals!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

how to stay fit & full in college

I have been at school for about one week, and already I have discovered how hard it is to stick to my health habits that I was in at home. I want to be successful and I want you to be too! Here are some tips that we can all follow to achieve our goals, no matter the temptations!

how to
1. Plan your  meals
    -Knowing ahead of time what/when you are going to be eating makes meal time easy.
2. Walk to class
    -Instead of driving or taking the bus, get up the extra fifteen minutes and walk to class. Adding exercise, especially in the morning, gets your heart rate going and burning calories for the rest of the day!
3. Be intentional with your time
   -You are at college to study-so don't forget to. It is also important to take a break from studying; both for your mind and body! If you find yourself staring at the computer for hours on end, go for a run to clear your head. You will feel better in every way afterwards.
4. Find a workout buddy
   - Don't want to be antisocial? Who does?! Finding a friend who has the same fitness goals as you makes the decision to workout infinitely easier. Go to group exercise classes together or a run around the block. Have fun!
5. Pack a snack
   -For me, Tuesdays are my crazy days. I have class non-stop from 8:30-2. Packing a few snacks in my backpack prevents me from eating everything in sight when I finally get to sit down for a late lunch. Some good options are almonds, grapes or a granola bar.
6. Don't drink your calories
   -I know, I've heard this before...but seriously: don't drink your calories. For a lot of people, college is crazy party time. Luckily, I have no interest in this but you might. Going out on the weekends is okay in moderation (if you are being safe too!) but you need to be aware of the calorie bombs that you are drinking. If you are planning on going out, eat clean during the day. Most importantly: remember to be safe!

Do you have any good tips for staying fit and full in college? Share!

Women's Health Wednesday

Today's WHW comes from the October 2012 issue.

The article I chose this week is Train Your Brain by Selene Yeager.
Train Your Brain discusses the effect of exercise on your brain and your mood.
It goes through three points in the exercise: The first step, the high point and the afterglow.
I love this article because I know how true it is and it inspired me to think about how my outlook on life has changed since I was bitten by the workout bug.

"What's more, studies show that your  mental outlook can affect how you react to pain during a workout, which can influence whether you dig in or throw in the towel." (page 72 in the issue)

We are coming up on three years in October when my life changed. I know, I know...sappy, dramatic high school love story...but it's true. I got my heart broken and was depressed for a good year and a half.
At the time of the breakup, I had been struggling with an eating disorder for a few years.
I was always pretty thin but didn't work hard to be that way.

Fast forward to one year after breakup: I had chosen to take a gap year before college since I didn't even think about college during my senior year. I started going to the gym and taking a few classes.

I ran my first half marathon in April with some family and was so shocked that I finished.

In September , I was still pretty down about life and the breakup that happened almost TWO YEARS ago.
 I decide to sign up for my first marathon.
My promise to myself is that when I crossed the finish line, no more negative thoughts about myself. 
No more thinking about how my sickness caused the breakup.
No more wishing I was with my stupid-no good ex boyfriend.
No more thinking that I wasn't good enough.

In November, I crossed the finish line and it felt freaking awesome.
After the race was over, I continued running like I had been while training and loved the time to think. 

While I think my heart will always have a sore spot in it-or at least until I find that something better-exercise really did help me heal. Endorphins are one thing, but pushing yourself and realizing that you are strong is another. Making friends in exercise classes who helped push me also made me feel like a beast.

I can't imagine my life without exercise now. 
I am 1000% happier and healthier because of it.
Now go read Train Your Brain and you will want to exercise too!