Why I Like Not Working the 9 to 5

I haven’t talked a lot about my job on here, but I’ve mentioned once or twice that I basically work a non-traditional schedule. Forget the 9 to 5, I’m working a 3:30-11:30 am shift, including the normal weekend days.

Does it suck being at work when most people are still tucked into bed? How do I deal with having my days off on Mondays and Tuesdays when everyone else has normal weekends?

My "I hate being up hours before dawn" look. This didn't last too long, fortunately.

My “I hate being up hours before dawn” look. This didn’t last too long, fortunately.

No, it honestly doesn’t suck working weird hours and days! It did at first, but that’s because I was coming from the opposite shift (working 1:30-10:30 pm) and I had to get used to going to bed at 6 pm and getting ready for work before 3 am. I really thought I’d be chronically sleep-deprived because I felt zonked by the end of my shift every day. But trust me, your body adapts. And mine did after about a week or two.

And after that transition period, I began to see the perks of working a weird schedule. First of all, there’s no traffic when I leave for work. There are some random cars out on the streets (which creeps me out just a bit haha) but obviously no traffic jams and I pretty much always get the green light at all three traffic lights on my drive.

And it feels great to get home after work before noon and realize I have the rest of the afternoon to do whatever. Sure, I have to start getting ready for bed around 5, but I have those precious afternoon hours. And I definitely use them to my advantage. I hit the running trail across the street and have it mostly to myself (that might change with kids/teachers being out of school now). I can lay out by the pool on a random weekday afternoon and get the best sunlight hours and heat of the day.

Love having this view (almost) all to myself on my midday runs.

Love having this view (almost) all to myself on my midday runs.

As far as working on Saturday and Sunday, I actually love it. The morning show team I work with is great — they always make me laugh and we get along really well. And it’s a lot less stressful than during the week. Without any managers around, we can do a lot more without feeling scrutinized. And I still technically can enjoy the weekend — I get off work at 10 or 11 and then usually run errands, fit in a run or a gym session and pool time.

And working those weekends mean my days off are during the traditional work week, which is also great. While everyone else is working, I can go to the mall, or do some meal prep at home or basically whatever other people do during the weekend, but I get more satisfaction knowing that those days are my weekend. Of course, it’s also a lot better for scheduling appointments. I shouldn’t have to take time off work to see the doctor or take my car in for an oil change because I have two weekdays off to do that kind of stuff.

Or I can go to a juice bar on a random Monday afternoon on my way to do some window shopping.

Or I can go to a juice bar on a random Monday afternoon on my way to do some window shopping.

It’s crazy what a little shift in perspective will do. I remember when my supervisor called me to say that my schedule was changing (and originally it was only supposed to be for the month of May) to early mornings. I called my mom immediately and started crying about how much life sucked. Well, work still isn’t ideal for other reasons, but I’m learning to love my crazy schedule. I’m getting used to my ‘grandma’ bedtime and eating my breakfast at 4 am. I’m looking forward to my days off and secretly laughing at everyone who hates Mondays, because they’re my Saturdays. There’s always something positive to be found in every situation, and I’m so glad I was able to do just that!

Have you ever worked a non-traditional schedule? 

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Working Girl

Don’t worry–I didn’t completely disappear on y’all (and yes, I can now use y’all because I’m living in Oklahoma)! It’s been a crazy busy few weeks, and I’m finally able to catch my breath long enough to share some of it.

I started my first job on Monday. This is actually my second paid job, but this is my first full time job, so it’s kind of a big deal. And…it’s actually in the field I’ve been pursuing since high school. How many recent college grads can say that about their first job? I’m incredibly thankful for this opportunity, and I’m making the very best of it.

Sneaky work selfie on my first day.

Sneaky work selfie on my first day.

I’ve also been living on my own, and while it’s not the first time I’ve done that, it’s the first time in a different state than my family, nearly 700 miles from the place I called home for 19 years of my life. I’m living in a bigger city, which is nice, and the climate is warmer but not too humid (which I appreciate coming from a dry climate) and everyone I’ve met so far is seriously so nice. It’s just a different culture down here, which is great, but a small part of me misses home. It’s hard to change your routine, but I know with time, I’ll get used to this.

Work hasn’t been too hard to get used to. I’m in a similar environment as I was in my internships for the past two summers, but I’m working 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, and mostly working through lunch. It helps that my coworkers are friendly and funny, so right now I’m just trying not to be the awkward new girl and hopefully make some friends in the newsroom AND make my boss happy with my work.

Apparently I overdress for my position...but I'm dressing for the position I WANT to have someday!

Apparently I overdress for my position…but I’m dressing for the position I WANT to have someday!

I’m taking on a lot more adult responsibilities, though. My car’s been having an issue, so I’m trying to live with that until I can take it in and (hopefully) afford to get it fixed. I had to deal with an ant invasion in my apartment–gross, but not awful. I have to figure out health insurance at work, pay my bills AND pay my parents back for things they bought for me. As much as I want to buy all the things now that I have a paycheck, I know I can’t do that. So I’m going to try to avoid the Target/Forever 21/Whole Foods temptations as much as possible, even though I plan on frequenting these stores. I just have to stick with a budget, and keep fun purchases to a minimum and limit them to things I will actually get some use out of.

The WF salad bar here is even better than back home...and it's closer to my apartment and work!

The WF salad bar here is even better than back home…and it’s closer to my apartment and work!

Adult life isn’t always fun, but it sure beats being in school (even though I’m seriously considering enrolling in an online program to get my meteorology certificate). It takes a lot of planning, and a little bit of luck, but I think I can hack this new life of mine!

What’s been going on in your world lately? 

Throwback Thursday: My First Posts

Throwback Thursdays are still a thing, right? I love finding old pics and sharing them on Instagram. Sometimes embarrassing, sometimes cute, but always fun to look back on the past.

As of May 24, this little blog will be 3 years old! I’ve blogged at various other blogs since 2009 but none have been maintained as regularly as AlmostVegGirlie! I almost can’t believe it’s been that long since I decided to start my first food/lifestyle blog and it’s all thanks to you lovely readers and commenters for continuing to support me and my blogging. So thanks so much! And in honor of my 3 year blogiversary coming up in the next couple of months, I thought I’d do a little Throwback Thursday to some of my earliest posts. It’s seriously SO crazy to me how much my life has changed since I started this blog, but then again, how boring would life be if it were always the same? I know a lot of people fear change, but I’ve made the choice to embrace it as much as possible. It’s just such an inevitable part of life, and it makes things interesting.

My first photo on AlmostVegGirlie. Possibly an iPod touch photo...oh how times have changed!

My first photo on AlmostVegGirlie. Possibly an iPod touch photo…oh how times have changed!

I think the WIAW party was just starting to catch on when I started blogging–it’s come so far since then! I participated in my first WIAW 2 days after I started blogging and it looks a lot different than my more recent WIAWs. For a little background, I named my blog AlmostVegGirlie because at the time, I was mostly vegetarian, but still eating some poultry/seafood. My first WIAW featured not only some very non-vegan food (Greek yogurt, ground turkey tacos) but some not so great photos either. You live and you learn! But in true HLB fashion, I did enjoy green smoothies and Ezekiel wraps.

I used to eat overnight oats daily!

I used to eat overnight oats daily!

Once I got into the blogging groove, I also discovered some HLB trends. Overnight oats was a big one. I was never an oatmeal fan, but overnight oats I could get behind! I started soaking oats in almond milk every night and dressing them up every morning with all kinds of crazy toppings. At one point, I dedicated an entire blog page to my overnight oat creations! I don’t think I’ve touched overnight oats since 2012–I got seriously burned out, and I moved on to more nutrient-packed breakfasts. Sometimes, you gotta get away from the trends.

My first selfie on AVG...certainly not the last!

My first selfie on AVG…certainly not the last!

I actually created my Instagram account way back in 2011 with my iPod touch (which I still use on a daily basis 3+ years later) but back then, I knew practically no one in the blogging world or on Insta so my account was private and I used it just to be artistic with my photos. I feel cool (in a nerdy way) that I was an early adopter of the app. According to this site, I was in the first 1.45% of Instagram users! I’m still a little obsessed with Instagram–I browse it at least once per day and I upload my own photos a few times per week. It’s such a great social media tool! And if you follow me, you’ll know that the selfie reigns supreme 😉

My first experience with the Whole Foods salad bar...and I've been addicted ever since!

My first experience with the Whole Foods salad bar…and I’ve been addicted ever since!

Blogging introduced me to the wonderful world of Whole Foods, which is both a blessing and a curse. My family shopped at Whole Foods every so often for specialty products, but it wasn’t until I discovered HLBs love for the store that I started going there regularly. Now it’s my main go-to store and their salad bar is one of my favorite ‘restaurants’. Where else can you get a random selection of vegan-friendly food for under $10? I know the salad bar isn’t exactly cheap, but for me, it often beats a meal out because they have so many more plant based options than a regular restaurant. And trust me, I have many more photos documenting my love for the WF salad bar!

An unconventional 19th birthday present--my first homegrown strawberry.

An unconventional 19th birthday present–my first homegrown strawberry.

Let’s pretend I don’t look like I’m about 12 in that picture! That was actually taken on my 19th birthday…what a youngin’! I remember being excited then because I was about a month away from living in a single dorm room for my sophomore year–no more roommates for this girl. And here I am now, a college graduate, about to really live on my own, 600 miles from my family (more on that later!).

Looking all professional for my second round of Skype interviews.

Looking all professional for my second round of Skype interviews.

It still blows my mind how much things can change in 3 years…or even in just 3 months! I would be lying if I said I wasn’t scared at all about the future, but at the same time, I am so ready to start my new life. I really feel like an adult, and even though I know I’ll make mistakes and probably miss my old life, I’m excited for what’s to come!

What’s changed the most for you in the past few months or years?

Growing Up

Awkward pre-interview face.

Awkward pre-interview face.

My life may be just a few weeks away from changing a lot. I had my first Skype interview late last week with a TV station in Tulsa, OK and then a phone interview with a weather app start-up company in the Bay Area the other day. I know I was complaining 2 months ago about how my job search was going nowhere but now I suddenly have interviews for two different jobs in just a few days. Crazy how life works sometimes!

I don’t want to talk too much about the jobs because nothing is close to finalized on either one yet but it got me thinking about how I’ve been growing up a lot lately. First, I graduated from college in December. I remember when college seemed so far away, let alone graduating college and going out into the real world.

The job search has been a whole other story. I’ve gone through times of excitement, finding jobs I’d hope I’d get. I went through frustration and disappointment when I didn’t hear back from any of the jobs I’d applied to. And now I’m kind of in a state of disbelief, as I consider that I could very well be moving to another state & another time zone very soon and starting my first job and really figuring out where to go with my life.

And then just other things in my life are changing, and helping me grow up. I’m apartment hunting, trying to figure out a budget for when I have a job, finding more confidence in myself, and maturing in my relationship with my parents & sister. I had some rough times last weekend, a few heart-to-hearts and I realized that my parents are still very worried about me with my thoughts towards food & my body. Remember my Fully Raw February challenge? That came to an end a little sooner than I’d thought due to getting sick and having my mom tell me that she thought I was being restrictive. I felt mostly really great eating raw but I realized I missed some things (namely peanut flour, lentils and sweet potatoes!) and having some digestive issues made me realize that I couldn’t sacrifice my health just to stick to a way of eating that I thought was ideal. I’m still eating somewhat raw, but being less restrictive and trying to figure out how to reincorporate foods I used to love while not feeling afraid of eating them. I made sweet potato+kale enchiladas with my dad the other night and I didn’t feel too guilty for eating corn tortillas or cooked food!

A [mostly] raw lunch that I felt good about eating.

A [mostly] raw lunch that I felt good about eating.

Things are changing over here, so there might be some changes coming to the blog too. I can’t promise any consistency in my posting, but I want to share updates a few times a week and keep up with my favorite blogs. I hope you’re all okay with that!

Any big changes going on in your life right now or soon?

WIAW: Makin’ Changes

No matter how much you may love your life–your daily routine, your meals, your workouts, etc.–there’s always a time for change. I’ve been making some changes lately and loving them…so let’s get to it, WIAW-style! (P.S. These are all my meals from Monday)

Breakfast: grain free almond joy pancakes (almond flour, raw cacao powder, unsweetened coconut shreds, cacao nibs, raw cacao protein powder 'frosting'), roasted kabocha.

Breakfast: grain free almond joy pancakes (almond flour, raw cacao powder, unsweetened coconut shreds, cacao nibs, raw cacao protein powder ‘frosting’), roasted kabocha.

I’ve been moving away from my beloved homemade buckwheat waffles to grain free pancakes. I change my breakfasts up every few months and now I’m on a pancake kick, especially almond or peanut flour based pancakes. They’re not pretty but they’re tasty and easy to whip up and change around. The almond joy inspired combo is a real winner…I can’t believe I hated coconut for so long!

My new hair (and new-ish dress).

My new hair (and new-ish dress).

I had a long overdue hair appointment on Friday. Seriously, I hadn’t gotten it done since August, yikes. I got more blonde highlights added and took the plunge and got full bangs, rather than my usual sideswept. I gotta say, I love my new bangs. I feel more adult and fashion-y, if that makes any sense.

Lunch part 1: green smoothie (made with unsweetened almond milk, spinach and Sunwarrior vanilla).

Lunch part 1: green smoothie (made with unsweetened almond milk, spinach and Sunwarrior vanilla).

I don’t do smoothies a lot (they’re too filling for me, and I’d rather eat my calories) but I wasn’t feeling a salad today so I went for my greens in smoothie form. I actually didn’t finish this because it was getting too filling, but it was pretty delish. I think I’ll be doing more green smoothies for lunch this semester on busy days.

Lunch part 2: Whole Foods salad bar leftovers.

Lunch part 2: Whole Foods salad bar leftovers.

Sorry for the millions of Instagrammed WF salad bar photos–can you tell I’m obsessed?! I’ve just been trying to get my fill of the salad bar while I’m still home on break because as I’ve said before, the WF near me at school has a subpar salad bar. Though, I haven’t been there in over 5 weeks, so maybe they’ve improved it…? I celebrated the Golden Globes on Sunday with half of this box, and saved the rest for Monday’s lunch. Leftovers have never tasted better!

Snack (reused photo, minus the bok choy): half garnet yam with peanut flour 'frosting', sunflower seed butter, mini dark chocolate chips and chopped dried fig.

Snack (reused photo, minus the bok choy): half garnet yam with peanut flour ‘frosting’, sunflower seed butter, mini dark chocolate chips and chopped dried fig.

As you may have noticed, I haven’t been eating too many grains lately. Not necessarily on purpose (oh and BTW, I am NOT going paleo, I could never eat all that meat/eggs), just because I’ve found that other things are more appealing to me, plus I just like to switch things up and I’m actually doing a lot more experimenting now without relying on grains for most of my meals. Anyways, my favorite snack at the moment is a sweet potato/yam topped with SSB, peanut flour paste, dried fruit and chocolate chips. Sweet potatoes are a great filling snack option, and they’re just amazing topped with nut butters and chocolate. Trust me, it sounds weird but when the chocolate gets all melty, you’ll understand my obsession.

Dinner: peanut coconut curry kelp noodle stirfry with kale, pineapple, peanut flour and edamame.

Dinner: peanut coconut curry kelp noodle stirfry with kale, pineapple, peanut flour and edamame.

I’m so glad I discovered kelp noodles, because they’re my favorite easy go-to dinner lately. They don’t add any weird taste and soak up other flavors easily so they’re perfect in stirfrys. I know a lot of people like using spaghetti squash as a pasta replacement and as much as I love squash, the spaghetti variety isn’t my fave. Kelp noodles are also a veggie-based pasta replacement (a sea veggie, so they have a lot of minerals!) but I just like them better, and there’s minimal prep work involved with them.

Dessert: PB chocolate protein microwave cake topped with sunflower seed butter, mint chocolate almond milk ice cream, Alter Eco dark mint chocolate square.

Dessert: PB chocolate protein microwave cake topped with sunflower seed butter, mint chocolate almond milk ice cream, Alter Eco dark mint chocolate square.

This is a normal dessert for me, but I’m planning on switching it up. I like having some protein before bed to keep me from getting hungry, but I’m going to forgo my usual almond or coconut milk ice cream for awhile. It’s kinda expensive to buy (even just twice a month like I was doing) and has a lot of sugar. I’ve been cleaning up my eats a bit lately and am trying to go for more natural sugars. Even though the ice creams aren’t unhealthy or as sugary as normal ice cream, I just need to take a break from them for awhile and try out different desserts like banana softserve, nuts and dried fruit, etc. But the daily dark chocolate habit won’t be changing anytime soon 😉

Have you been making any changes in your life lately? What’s your go-to breakfast?

Best of…June!

We’re officially halfway through the year–wooooo! July is my favorite month for several reasons, one being that my 20th birthday is on the 27th, which also happens to be the opening day of the summer Olympics this year. I also really love the 4th of July, even though this year I won’t get to see any fireworks because of all the fire bans. Better safe than sorry though–all the fires here have been scary and I don’t want anyone else to lose their homes because of a careless mistake. And I just love July because it’s pretty much the height of summer–my favorite season.

But backing up to June for the moment, here is my monthly recap of my favorite posts!

Best Deep Post: I’m Done…

I’m so tired of counting calories rather than enjoying my life.

I won’t lie, it’s always hard for me to hit publish on my more honest posts, but it’s always worth it. I appreciate all of the comments you guys left on that post and I’ll be looking back at it often to remind me of why I’m choosing life over calories.

Best Recipe: Sunny “Raw”nola

This stuff is beyond yum!

Sometimes the simplest things in life are the best. Since I posted this recipe, I’ve simplified it even more to just 3 ingredients and it’s just as delicious as the original 5 ingredient version. I’ve made it on a weekly basis and my dad even loves it, which is a testament to how good it is. If you have oats, sunflower seeds and agave–make this now!

Best New Find: NadaMoo! coconut milk ice cream

Review to come soon!

Let’s just say I don’t fear coconut as much anymore. I’ve mentioned it periodically on my blog, but coconut has been fear food numero uno since my ED. However, since seeing coconut products all over the blog world, I’ve become more and more interested in trying it again. I finally conquered my fear and bought a pint of maple pecan coconut milk ice cream last week. From the first bite, I was in love. I still love my almond milk ice creams, but this stuff was beyond creamy, which is crazy for a vegan ice cream! Best part is, it’s sweetened naturally (with agave nectar) and all the fat is from a healthy plant source, coconut. Never again will I shy away from a coconut product!

Best WIAW: Secret Nutrition Edition

Looks like dessert, but is secretly packed with antioxidants and potassium!

I love switching up my WIAW posts from the typical everything-I-ate-today kinds, and this was really fun to research all the health benefits behind some of my favorite foods. Look for another similar post soon!

Do you like coconut or coconut milk products? What’s your favorite Olympics event to watch?

Happy 1st Birthday

I can’t believe I almost forgot about this, but AlmostVegGirlie turned one year old on May 24th! When I first started this blog, I didn’t really think it would make it this far and I definitely didn’t anticipate having so many amazing followers and commenters. You guys have really made this blog what it is today and I’m so glad you keep coming back to see what kinds of shenanigans I’m up to 😉

My blog one year ago was kinda completely different. It had a different design, way too many emoticons and not as good of photos. A year ago, I was a flexitarian–eating vegetarian a lot of the time, with maybe some chicken or seafood a couple times per week. Now I’m almost totally vegan, and have discovered all kinds of new food that I didn’t know existed last year, like tempeh and almond milk ice cream and kale. I’ve gone from eating overnight oats almost every day for breakfast to switching it up with homemade pancakes, banana softserve and smoothies-in-a-bowl. I’ve kept my passion for experimenting in the kitchen but trying new things like raw desserts and veggie burgers. I’ve tried out new ways to exercise and fallen even more in love with yoga and tennis. I’ve slipped in my ED recovery but am working my way back up to being completely happy and healthy. I’ve made many ‘virtual’ blogger friends (you guys!) and I am so glad to know you guys and your blogs.

The first recipe I ever posted–strawberry melon gazpacho.

Thanks for sticking with me, and here’s to (at least) another year!