Runner’s High

So…I’m becoming a runner. And I love it. My obsession with running is a fairly new thing, but it’s one of the best things that’s come out of my move.

Before I got my job, I was living at home. It was great to have a rent-free place to live, and have nothing to do but look for jobs, but I was getting antsy. All winter long I was stuck doing the same circuit-style workouts in my tiny bedroom and it got so boring. I also was dealing with some bad body image at the time, so life was just rough. Yeah, it was great to be free but I needed a change.

Once I moved to Tulsa and got all settled in, I was hitting up my complex’s fitness center every other day or so (alternating with circuit-style workouts in my apartment). It was great to have all that equipment so close and for free. And then when it started getting warm, I ventured to the riverside trail literally across the street from my apartment. First I was just walking, but at the beginning of last month, I started running on a whim. I was doing a mix of running and walking, with a lot more walking while I built up my endurance.

Even on a rainy day, I'm not sick of this view.

Even on a rainy day, I’m not sick of this view.

I used to hate running, because I felt like I could never catch my breath. It felt a lot more exhausting to me than biking, or playing tennis. But I always dreamed in the back of my head that I could someday become a runner.

And while I’m still quite a newbie, I’m proud to call myself a runner. I finally have running shoes instead of trying to run in Converse (bad idea — I hurt my Achilles’ doing that!), and I’m consistently going for runs outside 3 or 4 times per week. Having incredible weather helps — it’s been so warm that I can barely motivate myself to go to the fitness center to cross-train. And having my weird schedule means I can go for a run right after I get off work and I get the best weather of the day and fewer people are out.

The face of a proud runner.

The face of a proud runner.

The best part is, I can really see myself making strides. Yesterday, I ran my first 5K — the entire 3.1 mile distance — without a walking break (I stopped at a park at the halfway mark to shake out my legs for a couple minutes, but then I ran all the way there and back without breaking). It felt incredible to be out there, in the rain, just me and my music and the trees flying by. I still have to work on my breathing — I do feel out of breath sometimes so I need to find a better pattern that feels more natural — but my endurance has really improved. And running is really giving me a high! I truly look forward to my runs, and they’re the highlight of my days.

I might not be the fastest runner, and I may not be running that far, but progress is what it’s all about for me and the fact that I have a new-found love fills me with such joy. I finally understand why people love running so much! And I hope my love for running continues to grow with each and every run.

What’s something you never thought you’d love but now you do?

From Texas to Tulsa

Thursday is the big day. AKA I pack up my life in Colorado and move 600+ miles away to Tulsa, OK. I also start my first real girl job in less than a week, so all that adds up to one stressed chica. I’m just trying to take things one day and one box at a time and enjoy the time I have left as an unemployed Colorado girl 😉

But enough moving and life change talk, let’s talk about spring break instead. Specifically my spring break. I spent most of it in Houston, TX at my aunt and uncle’s house and then a couple days at their lake house a few hours away (along with a side trip to Tulsa the weekend before to find me an apartment and furniture). This was possibly my last family vacation ever and even though it wasn’t always perfect, I tried to soak up every minute (even our way-too-long 18 hour drive home on Saturday) of the trip.

car snacks

Prepping road trip snacks.

Lunch at Whole Foods after a morning of apartment hunting in Tulsa. This WFM was huge, had a great salad bar selection and is a 7 minute drive from my new place!

Lunch at Whole Foods after a morning of apartment hunting in Tulsa. This WFM was huge, had a great salad bar selection and is a 7 minute drive from my new place!

lizard

A cute li’l lizard I found (you can barely see it, but it’s in the middle, on the fence) when I was laying out by the pool.

I could get used to this #poollyfe

I could get used to this #poollyfe

Galveston day trip.

Galveston day trip.

I love my sissy!

I love my sissy!

They had the most colorful parrots at the Moody Gardens rainforest.

They had the most colorful parrots at the Moody Gardens rainforest.

I dressed up for a day that was mostly spent driving to the lake house.

I dressed up for a day that was mostly spent driving to the lake house.

Rain on the window.

Rain on the window.

Doesn't this look so real? It was actual a fake turtle in an exhibit at a national park visitor center.

Doesn’t this look so real? It was actually a fake turtle in an exhibit at a national park visitor center.

Easy and healthy road trip snacks in the car on the way back home. Grapes, carrots and one-ingredient PB.

Easy and healthy road trip snacks in the car on the way back home. Grapes, carrots and one-ingredient PB.

I didn't know the TX panhandle had so many mesas! I absolutely love desert-like terrain.

I didn’t know the TX panhandle had so many mesas! I absolutely love desert-like terrain.

I love vacations, but it feels great to be back in my own bed!

I love vacations, but it feels great to be back in my own bed!

This vacation really challenged me A LOT! I had to deal with 4 really long drives (CO to Tulsa, Tulsa to Houston, Houston to the lake house, the lake house to home) where I was eating on the road (either Chipotle salads or healthy road trip snacks like Larabars and kale chips and carrots) and not getting much movement (I HATE sitting for long periods of time), as well as eating meals at weird times (my aunt and uncle love eating dinner late, so every night we ate after 8:30 pm!) and sometimes skipping meals because I wasn’t hungry, and also not getting any real exercise other than some walking. There were times on the trip I was miserable, because the humidity was messing with my hair and skin and I felt downright ugly and fat. But honestly, it was a nice trip, even though it wasn’t necessarily very relaxing. And when I got home, I was surprised to notice that my body didn’t really change at all during a week of no formal exercise and mostly eating snacks and not a ton of veggies. Of course, it felt great to get back into my daily workout routine and eating normal meals/snacks at regular times but this vacation taught me that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Flexibility is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, a part I’ve been mostly neglecting. Yes, regular exercise and balanced eating are incredibly good for you, but eating at Chipotle twice in one week or taking a break from working out on vacation is normal sometimes, and there’s no reason to beat ourselves up about it. This is hopefully something I can carry into my new life, because there may not always be time for 2 workouts a day or homemade salads for lunch, but I can still be healthy, and that’s what matters.

Do you prefer road trips or flying? How do you fit flexibility into a healthy lifestyle? 

Friday Five: T Minus 2 Weeks

Before I start, I want to thank everyone who commented on and emailed me about my last post. I really appreciate all the feedback you gave me about my “no added sugar” plan, and I’m working towards being more flexible with my eating and not letting food become an obsessive thing in my life. Especially around the holidays, when I’m already stressed as it is, and sometimes a girl just needs a Hail Merry miracle tart (which I’ll be treating myself to at the end of finals week).

1. There are just over 2 weeks left til the big day…graduation!

I feel like I’ve been waiting for this day for forever. Okay, maybe not, but it’s been a source of excitement and fear in my life since at least last year. I think getting the opportunity to graduate a semester early, and start my ‘real’ life will be the best Christmas present I get this year–and it just so happens to be right around Christmas. I’ve just got to get through one more week of classes, 2 real finals, 1 take home test and an online final and then I’m there! I know the next two weeks are going to fly by, but I hope I can enjoy them to the fullest. My time in college has been so much more than I could have ever imagined, so in a way, I’m going to miss it. At the same time, I’m ready to be done with school!

2. I’m obsessed with balls.

Nope, not those ones 😉 I’ve been whipping up some Larabar knock-offs in ball form and eating them for snacks, at breakfast/lunch, you name it. My latest creations are PB&J (my favorites, and literally just raisins+no salt/sugar PB), protein peppermint mocha (recipe below!) and cookie dough (almond meal+dates+stevia chocolate chips+vanilla extract). Let’s just say that my Ninja has been getting a lot of love lately!

Some of my 'balls'.

Some of my ‘balls’.

Protein Peppermint Mocha Balls (vegan, gluten free, grain free, raw, no added sugar)

1 scoop Garden of Life RAW Marley coffee protein powder (can sub any coffee-flavored protein powder, or just chocolate and add a little instant coffee)

1 tbsp cacao powder or dark cocoa powder

8-10 pitted dates, soaked 2 hours

3-4 tbsp pumpkin seeds, soaked 2 hours

dash peppermint extract, to taste

In a food processor/high speed blender, process all ingredients until they start to come together. Roll into balls or flatten into bars and enjoy.

3. I am seriously looking into moving to California. Or somewhere else warm.

Not that I wasn’t already, but after this week, I’m considering it even more. Not only did we get 6 inches of snow (not too unusual, and it made it feel more like Christmas, but it made the roads horrible) but we’ve been having Arctic-like temperatures since Tuesday, and they will be continuing until this coming Tuesday. I’m talking daytime highs of 10 degrees at the most, and overnight lows in the negatives. That just doesn’t happen here more than a random day or two, usually in February. The strange thing about Colorado is that we still get plenty of sunshine on these frigid days, so it’s like the weather is taunting us by looking warm but feeling beyond cold. This awful weather has made me just want to stay in and watch Christmas movies #noshame.

This sums it up, basically.

This sums it up, basically.

As does this tweet.

As does this tweet.

4. Some random search terms for your enjoyment.

I haven’t looked at my search terms in awhile, so I knew there was bound to be some, erm, interesting ones. Here are some of the weirdest!

  • drinking olive oil with salt to jump start my period: I would suggest putting that olive oil and salt to better use as a dip for some fancy bread…
  • cappuccino float: I’m not even sure how that would work, but coffee+ice cream is always a winner.
  • how did i spend my thanksgiving holiday for middle school: I haven’t been in middle school for 8 years, so I can’t remember that far back what I was doing for Thanksgiving!
  • selfies gone wrong: If they’re referring to my car selfies, they couldn’t be more wrong!
  • slang saying yaaasss: I personally love slang words, so go for it.

5. My apartment is sufficiently Christmas-ified.

2013-12-05 17.41.082013-12-05 18.23.02

It’s hard being away from home during the holidays. I really struggled with this during my freshman year of college–it was my first time away from home, and I was dealing with all the typical finals-time stress, along with a not-so-great roommate. What’s made my holiday seasons since then a little better (besides living in an apartment on my own!) is having Christmas decorations up and listening to Christmas music as much as possible. My lovely mom was nice enough to decorate my place while I was at class when she dropped me off after break on Monday, and now my apartment is looking pretty festive. Having all that snow helps too (though, lets be honest, I’m sick of it already) and even though I won’t be going home for good (aka until I find a job) until the 23rd because that’s when I’m moving out of my apartment, I can still enjoy this holiday season, while looking forward to the time that I’ll get to be home with my family again. T-minus 17 days until I’m home for Christmas 😀

Do you like to decorate your home/apartment/dorm for the holidays? What’s the weather like where you are–I need some hope that warmer temps will return soon!

Friday Faves (August 3)

Long time, no Friday Faves post, huh? I guess I’ve just been a little too busy these last couple of weeks, with my birthday, finishing up my internship and planning things for the upcoming school year. I’m still pretty busy these next few weeks–in fact, when you’re reading this, I’m probably up in FoCo setting up my apartment for the fall!–but I really wanted to get in a Friday Faves post.

Favorite Milestone: Finishing my first internship

Sorry about the lame screenshot of the video!

When I started my internship at one of the local TV stations back in late May, I had no idea what I was in for. And, well, it was both a lot more and a lot less than what I was expecting, but I’m so glad I did it (and that I’m done on Saturday, woooo!) Now I know that being a reporter (and even anchor) is less than glamorous, but it is incredibly exciting. Unlike most office jobs, being in TV news brings new stories and new challenges every single day. Some days were crazy, others were slow-paced and almost boring. I wrote a million stories, practiced live standups (where the reporter is on the scene and reporting about the events going on, like in the above photo), tried my hand at some editing and video shooting and answered more phone calls than I would have liked to. I talked and joked around with all the reporters and photographers, stalked and admired the anchors and cussed at my supervisor under my breath. Yeah, not everything about the internship was ideal. But I learned more in just 11 weeks than I have so far in my journalism classes over the past 2 years. And now I know that I am crazy enough to want to continue in this business 😉

Favorite Vegan Re-creation: Tempeh “Crab” Cakes

Crumbly and messy, but so so good!

I honestly can’t remember ever having crab cakes in my former omnivorous life. I used to be a huge fan of seafood, but I always went for the shrimp, scallops and white fish. This vegan rehash of the classic crab cake is probably not much like the real thing, but I really liked it. Best of all, it’s pretty simple and healthier than the original.

Tempeh “Crab” Cakes (vegan)

1/4 block tempeh

1/4 cup to 1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used leftover cooked multigrain pizza dough and grated it)

handful broccoli slaw, shredded carrots, chopped celery or green onions

1 to 2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning (I didn’t really measure it out, just tasted it!)

1/2 tsp garlic salt

2 tbsp vegan mayonnaise (Veganaise or Nayonnaise)

1 tsp mustard

Chop or grate tempeh into small pieces and place in a bowl. Mix in veggies, Old Bay, garlic salt, half of the bread crumbs and 1 tbsp of the vegan mayo. Pack together with hands until mixture can mostly stick together. Form into 3 or 4 small patties and roll in the remaining bread crumbs. In a small pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray or a little olive oil, cook patties for 3-5 minutes per side, or until slightly crispy and golden brown. In a bowl, mix the remaining vegan mayo, mustard and a little Old Bay until combined. Serve tempeh cakes topped with the vegan remoulade. Serves 1.

Favorite Thing I’m Looking Forward To: Estes Park

So gorgeous, even on a cloudy day!

A yearly trip to Estes Park, CO in the summer has been a family tradition since I was at least 10 or so…so we’ve been doing it for 10 years now! I love the gorgeous scenery and hiking trails that nearby Rocky Mountain National Park have to offer, the condo-side pool surrounded by giant mountains, quirky cool boutiques and great restaurants (with some vegan options). What’s not to love? I’m going there next week, so I may or may not have some posts lined up for the days I’ll be gone. But I’ll for sure have a recap post!

Favorite Thing I’m Doing Today: Setting up my apartment

I still want this for my place…

In just a few weeks, I’ll be living on my own for the first time ever. Okay, yes, I’ve been technically living on my own for the past two years at college, but both years were spent in the dorms, meaning not a lot of freedom and minimal cooking opportunities. But now I have an apartment of my own (it’s a one bedroom) and I’m beyond excited to move in and start living independently. Well, for the most part since I’ll still be coming home on breaks and once or twice a month, and still relying on my parents financially. But it’s still exciting for me! I can’t wait to actually cook for myself every day, figure out the transportation thing (I’ll have a car, but I still will probably take the bus sometimes), go grocery shopping on my own and maybe even go on mini road trips on the weekends. Oh, and I can’t wait to start decorating the apartment too!

What are you looking forward to in the next week or so? What do you think about apartment living?

Style Phile: Apartment Design, Pinterest Style

Happy Friday ladiesssss! Did you all make it through the week okay? For some reason, this week really dragged on for me, which is weird because last week, the first week back from my spring break, flew by. Maybe it’s because this weekend is being spent at home–whenever I look forward to something, it takes  forever to get here! Anyways, I’m just glad it’s finally the weekend.

Like I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I am officially moving into my first apartment in August and I couldn’t be more excited. I can’t wait to have a place of my own to decorate the way I want. Having a dorm to myself has been great, but I’m definitely limited by space/stupid dorm rules. Of course, there are still a few limitations next year, but it will be so much better. That being said, I’ve started to brainstorm ideas about how to design my future apartment. Of course, I turned to Pinterest, aka the blogging world’s mecca for some cool ideas. Sure, some of them are a little out there, but who said I can’t create my dream apartment?

Anthro has the best dishes.

Such a cool room divider.

The perfect closet for a girly-girl like me.

I love how bright and open this kitchen is.

Now I know my ABCs...

A seriously awesome light fixture.

A must-have for my future kitchen.

I love the purple, black and white combo.

Great room layout.

I like how the green pops against the white.

I want fish just so I can have this amazing fish 'tank'.

Ummmm, yeah. I need a hanging bed in my life.

Such a pretty glass.

This looks like such a fun room!

Now this is my kinda bed.

Love the lime and aqua dishes.

This rug is just too cool, especially with the chair.

How would you decorate your dream place? Do you like colorful rooms?

Saturday Seven: Counting Down Already?

Hi guys! It’s my first weekend back at school and I can already say that I think I may be overwhelmed this semester! Not that I haven’t thought that pretty much every semester of my school career, but this one looks like it might kick my butt if I don’t stay on top of things.

The classes, while probably difficult, are at least hopefully interesting. I’ve got a broadcast news class–what I’m majoring in and want to do with my life (and apparently it’s a very popular class…there’s a gigantic waiting list)–a business reporting class, a studio production workshop class, an American environmental history class, a class on the history of U.S. national parks and a weather & climate class. So, all things I’m interested in (journalism, U.S. history and weather) but this is my first semester taking all 300 and 400 level classes, aka I’m one of the only sophomores in most of them! Which is fine, but I can definitely predict them being a challenge.

1. Colorado’s getting a Trader Joe’s!

These look like tasty veggie burgers!

I actually mentioned this in one of my most recent Saturday Seven posts and just the other day on my Twitter. I was sooooo upset that TJs had no future plans for a store in Colorado, but then a few nights ago on the news and two days ago on the Coloradoans for Trader Joe’s Facebook page, it’s apparently official that they’re coming to good old CO sometime soon. Of course, the first location will be in Boulder, but I don’t care that it’s 2 hours from home (or an hour from my college campus)–I am dragging my parents there as soon as it opens! I can’t wait to try all the amazing products that everyone in the blog world raves about!

2. I’m already counting down to spring break

This is where I spent my spring break 2 years ago--any guesses where I was?

Yes, I’m fully aware that school just started, but can you blame me for wanting a break already? The weather here, despite being fairly warm for winter, still isn’t as great as spring (or summer) weather and I’m longing for the days when I can wear skirts with bare legs again, and reunite with my flip-flop collection. Until then, I’ll just be inside, bundled up, counting down the days til spring break (only 35 school days left!)

3. I need this puppy in my life…stat!

Who could resist this little face?

I got a daily calendar of cute animals for Christmas, and this is by far the cutest thing I’ve seen in it! I just want to keep this little guy forever and ever. I used to think I hated little dogs, but this is one of the most adorable dogs ever! If I can’t have a greyhound (dream dog), I’ll settle for a cute Chihuahua!

4. I have a new drink obsession

Mmmmm, Country Peach Passion tea!

I used to be a hardcore hot tea hater. I could only stand iced tea, which is ironically my drink of choice during the summer (preferably flavored and sweetened only with Truvia). Once I tried the Celestial Seasonings candy cane lane and sugar cookie sleigh ride teas, however, I was hooked! Before heading back up to school, I grabbed the fruit variety pack sampler and hoped these teas would be just as amazing. And…they are! I especially love the peach one, since it reminds me of summer, but the true blueberry and wild berry zinger ones are also winners. The acai mango zinger flavor is on my list of flavors to try!

5. I’m really loving this song right now

I don’t know why, but this song just makes me super happy! It doesn’t hurt that Enrique is a super-sexy beast 😉 I just bought it the other day, and every time I listen to it, I pretend that I’m the star of a movie and this song is the soundtrack. Anyone else ever do that with songs? It’s just me then?

6. Trying out new products is the highlight of my life

Just a few of the new products in my life!

Ever since NaNeFoMo, I’ve been more motivated than ever to try out new foods! On my back-to-school shopping trips, I bought a bunch of new-to-me things, including blood oranges, Amy’s bistro burgers and vegan soups, organic refried pinto beans with chile and lime, Lightlife vegan smart bacon, Ezekiel sprouted corn tortillas and Archer Farms frozen grilled peppers. What I’ve tried so far has been amazing, and I can’t wait to sample the rest. The only way you can find out if you like something is to try it!

7. The only two things on my wishlist: an apartment and a car

The Mini Cooper: (one of my) dream cars.

Even though I signed the lease for my apartment next year a month or so ago, I’m still nervous that something will fall through and I’ll have to do the dorm thing again, which is NOT okay with me. I did it for a year and a half, and I’m already so done with it. I need a kitchen and more independence, ya know? And a car…well, that’s also a big one. I could live without it if I had an apartment, but I’d prefer to have one so I could actually go places on my own without relying on other people. Of course, I have a few cars on my dream list, but I’d be perfectly okay with any safe, working car!

What is the best new product you’ve tried lately? What is your ‘dream’ car?

Style Phile: Fierce Fashion Inspiration Board

Hey lovelies! Hope your weekend is going well for you so far. Eeeee, I still can’t believe it’s September. And tomorrow is the 10th anniversary of 9/11 for all of my fellow U.S. bloggies. I can’t believe it’s been that long since the terrible tragedies of that day, it seems like it was just yesterday. Anyways, on to happier thoughts!

So I started this new thing on my fashion blog where I feature a mini-slideshow of all the things that are inspiring me during that season. Natch, I steal borrow photos from weheartit (love their stuff!), and I include everything from style to beauty and even just random seasonal things. Here’s my debut of the fall slideshow in inspiration board format!

Yeah, a lot of them are completely random-ish (like the pumpkin cupcakes and the Starbucks cup that says you’re extremely hot–bahaha I love that one 😉 ) but most of them are very inspirational to my style this season. I love love love Emma Stone–she’s so down-to-earth and I wish I could pull off her amazingly-rich red hair. The Coach Poppy wristlet is totally adorable and I like the combo of pink and silver (in fact, it’s on my nails right now!). The A&F billboard, well…that’s a given 😛 I love A&F, especially their hot half-naked male models. Yum. I’m really into boho hippie fashion right now so I’d love to have a headband and shades like the girl in the middle does. The iPod cases with little bows is just too cute. I’m going to find a way to incorporate pastels and bows into my wardrobe this fall without it being a faux pas. And gosh, who wouldn’t totally adore those cheetah lips? Fierce, I tell ya 😀 I am dying to figure out how to create that, and also to pull it off without looking like a freak.

What are you inspired by this season?