Perfectly Imperfect

This weekend was one of those weekends that I never wanted to end. Don’t get me wrong–it wasn’t the perfect weekend in every way. But perfection is boring! My weekend was perfectly imperfect, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  • I finally got my hair re-done.

It was time for a change and I’m so glad I made one. I got about 5-6 inches off the length (big for me since my hair’s been this long since 9th grade!) and got it colored darker. I’m in love with the results though–but of course, hair is never as amazing as it is right after getting it done.

I'm a brunette again!

I’m a brunette again!

I was a little worried when I went out with my mom later on Friday on a few errands because it was raining & snowing and I didn’t want my new hair getting ruined. Fortunately, it stayed pretty dry and I was able to score a new bikini from Target thanks to my lovely mom. Trying on swimsuits is still an anxiety-provoking thing for me but I was able to get over my body hang-ups and find a cute suit that I love!

View from my room on Friday afternoon. Looks more like December than March!

View from my room on Friday afternoon. Looks more like December than March!

I can't wait to wear this...hopefully soon!

I can’t wait to wear this…hopefully soon!

  • I went hiking with my parents. 

After crappy weather on Friday and some cold (in the 40s) sunshine on Saturday, I was more than ready for some springlike weather like we had on Thursday. Sunday delivered on that, so my parents and I laced up our hiking boots (okay, I just wore some tennis shoes) and hit the trails at a state park in the foothills on the south side of town. The weather was perfect–in the 70s with gorgeous blue skies. I was excited to fit in some exercise out in the fresh air. Everything was great…until we ran into some mud on the trails. And by mud, I mean several inches of sloppy, gooey fresh mud. Not so ideal, especially with the shoes I was wearing but with a little help from my dad, I was able to survive the muddy trails. You never know what’s going to happen when you’re hiking, and that’s what I love. Sure, it wasn’t quite the perfect conditions but we made the best of it and now we have a great story to tell 😉

I was finally reunited with the Whole Foods salad bar!

I was finally reunited with the Whole Foods salad bar for an almost-perfect picnic lunch.

Isn't this view just gorgeous? I'm so lucky to be able to call Colorado my home (for now)!

Isn’t this view just gorgeous? I’m so lucky to be able to call Colorado my home (for now)!

A photobombed selfie on the trail.

A photobombed selfie on the trail. I love my mom!

  • I got my grocery shopping done for the week. 

I’m being serious when I say that grocery shopping is one of my highlights of the week. I love browsing the aisles for new products and being able to pick out my produce and other food for the week. I get a little upset, though, when I have to push back my grocery trip because of my mom or dad’s schedule. Mostly because I go through my groceries by the time the weekend rolls around, and being low on my favorite foods is a little annoying. But I’m learning to be patient, and just to appreciate the fact that right now, my parents are paying for my (slightly expensive) groceries.

My dad and I didn’t get to the store until 5 pm on Sunday because of our hiking escapades earlier in the day, but I really enjoyed the time I spent with him at Sprouts and Whole Foods. We ran into my internship supervisor from last summer–he’s always been so nice and funny and supportive, so we talked a little about my possible upcoming job. My dad and I share a love for fruit, so we went a little crazy in the Sprouts produce area. At Whole Foods, I wasn’t able to buy everything I had on my list (no spinach, boo!) because things weren’t stocked or they were a bit too expensive but I’m just so grateful that my dad spent the time and money to take me to my favorite store. And now I’m all stocked up for the week and ready to try out some new recipes!

Homemade grain free pizza with homemade kale pesto made from the remnants of my last grocery haul.

Homemade grain free pizza with homemade kale pesto made from the remnants of my last grocery haul.

So yeah, my weekend wasn’t perfect. My nail polish chipped right after I painted them, I had some anxieties over my workouts, I ate too many Larabars (I’ve had 1 per day since Thursday even though I meant to save them…oops!), I was disappointed by this week’s SNL, I didn’t drink enough water, I got a not-so-great voice mail from my doctor’s office and I struggled with some lingering cold symptoms. But you know what? My weekend was perfectly imperfect. I enjoyed plenty of family time, I ate some amazing pizza (of the homemade, grain free variety), I helped my sister with a baking project, I slept in and stayed up late and I just lived. Not every weekend or every day will be perfect, but it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes, the imperfect days are the best!

What were some highlights of your weekend?

 

Thanks But No Thanks

Before I get into my post, I want to wish Emily a very happy birthday! She’s one of the most inspiring bloggers out there and she always leaves the sweetest comments. She has given me so much support over the past couple of years and I really appreciate that. Go over to her blog and wish her a happy birthday!

It’s probably no secret, but I love researching various health topics. I think it’s good to be informed about these issues so you can be an advocate for yourself in times of health crises or even just to defend your healthy lifestyle if need be.

That being said, it bothers me when others are misinformed about health, food and exercise…especially when they try to pass along their ‘advice’ to me as if it’s at all helpful.

Take for instance a situation I had with my mom the other day. I will admit, I was in a negative headspace at the time–I was having some ED-driven thoughts about eating and my weight and I reached out to her for some advice. I wasn’t really seeking advice, just reassurance that I don’t need to lose weight or drastically change my eating and exercise habits just because I’m currently feeling uncomfortable in my body. Unfortunately, my mom isn’t the most well-versed in eating disorders or nutrition, so what she ended up telling me was way off the mark and a little triggering.

  • “Maybe you need to switch up your workouts more.” A good thought, but I actually do this anyway. One day, I’ll focus on legs, then I’ll focus on arms, then abs, then maybe a yoga/stretching day and repeat. I understand the idea behind switching up workouts, but the problem is, she doesn’t understand my exercise addiction. I feel guilty when I take rest days, unplanned or not. She told me that when it’s cold outside, I should just run up and down the stairs for cardio. Ummmm…no. I’m trying to work on making exercise more than just a tool for my eating disorder–it’s something I want to enjoy for its own sake. I don’t need someone telling me to do something I don’t want to do just to maybe get results.
Lifting is something I love to do, and I'm NOT giving it up.

Lifting is something I love to do, and I’m NOT giving it up.

  • “If you’re worried about your weight, maybe you shouldn’t eat so many bananas.” Uh, I eat 1, maybe 2 bananas per day, tops. Even if I was following the 80-10-10 lifestyle and eating 10+ bananas a day, I wouldn’t be gaining weight from the bananas. Sorry, but fruit is good for you. I refuse to cut bananas out of my life because they’re something I enjoy eating daily, in moderation, and they’re way healthier than the breakfasts my family eats. I’m sick of being stuck in a restrictive mindset…the last thing I need is more restrictions.
How is this banana and other fruit unhealthier than your processed cereal?

How is this banana and other fruit unhealthier than my family’s processed cereal?

  • “I think you look healthy.” Probably everyone who’s struggled with an eating disorder will cringe at this one. This is still the last thing I want to hear, especially from my own mom, who was there for me during the worst days of my ED. Yes, I expect honesty but I also expect her to understand that I’m still struggling with my body image. To make things even more confusing, she will sometimes say that I’m ‘so little’ and petite but other times tell me that I look healthy and if I wanted to, I could lose 5 pounds. Not in the least bit helpful, and extremely triggering.
I may not love my body, but I don't need someone else telling me that I could lose a few pounds.

I may not love my body, but I don’t need someone else telling me that I could lose a few pounds.

It’s frustrating to me that people like my mom, or the rest of my family, or friends want to spew all their own advice at me without realizing that I’ve probably spent a lot more time researching this stuff than they have. I just finished a college-level nutrition class, I’ve done a lot of research on the vegan diet and its various forms as well as other diets such as paleo. Maybe what I’m doing isn’t working for me, but I want a dietitian to tell me that, not just an average person I know who gets their nutrition knowledge from The Today Show. I’m not saying that I know all, because I don’t and I’m certainly no RD, but I don’t want to be lectured at by someone who knows even less than I do. It’s not at all helpful, it’s confusing and at the worst, it’s very triggering to someone who’s struggled with and still deals with an eating disorder.

Do you ever deal with bad nutrition/exercise/health advice from people around you?

Being Sick as a Trigger

Who likes being sick? Probably no one. It’s not the most fun way to spend a perfectly good day or three and it can feel so overwhelming. Though I’ve never been one to get sick that often, when I do, it reminds me not to take my good health for granted.

But there’s a darker side to getting sick that can manifest in someone who’s struggling or has struggled with an eating disorder or disordered eating. Being sick can act as a trigger, restarting disordered habits even if they’ve been absent for awhile.

What do I mean by this? Let’s look at a recent personal example. My sister was sick with a sore throat and other respiratory issues a week or so ago, and she ended up passing it onto me. The day I started feeling a little sick, I felt pretty wiped by the evening. I ended up skipping dinner and my nighttime snack in favor of plenty of water and some cold medicine. The problem with this? Later on that night, I was obviously starving–I hadn’t eaten since 3 or 4 that afternoon and my stomach hurt from hunger. But I ignored it because I figured, I was sick and my throat hurt a lot, so I wasn’t in the mood to eat.

So true. Being sick sucks.

So true. Being sick sucks.

The next day, I was even more out of it. I slept in a bit, then mostly hung out in my room for the rest of the morning and early afternoon. I also didn’t eat anything until around 4 in the afternoon…and then it was only some applesauce, watermelon and later some banana softserve. I didn’t feel hungry at all that day, and I was just focused on trying to make my sore throat feel better. However, the lack of food for most of the day made me feel tingly (like the pins-and-needles feeling) and even more out of it. Truth be told, if my mom hadn’t insisted on me eating something, I probably wouldn’t have. Not good, I know, but it’s hard for me to eat when I’m not hungry or feeling good. I also did not take a full rest day. I have a really hard time taking a full day off from exercise, and I had already planned on taking the next day off from exercise because I was going to be out of the house for most of the day (I ended up not taking a rest day the next day, because I was feeling a lot better and had more time to workout that I thought). So I ended up doing some yoga for half an hour, nothing strenuous, and it didn’t exactly make me feel better. The stretch felt good but doing it made me feel a little dizzy and tired. I know that exercise can improve sickness symptoms, but I think it would have been better for me to try to rest as much as possible. It’s just hard for me to rest–I always feel so lazy and unproductive.

It is kind of a big deal, especially when you're sick.

It is kind of a big deal, especially when you’re sick.

Being sick can be a slippery slope. You may be able to justify not eating or eating less when you’re under the weather, or working out through an illness, and then it becomes a trigger for further restrictive habits. I’ve experienced this even more when I had some stomach virus, and I could hardly make myself for a few days. I told myself it was because I didn’t want to make my stomach feel worse, but it ended up making it harder for me to return to normal eating. Same with working out. If you aren’t used to taking rest days regularly (which I’m guilty of), it can be hard to admit that you need to take a day or two off to let yourself recover. But exercising can make you feel worse, not better, sometimes, and in those cases it’s better if you take a break. It’s better to take a day off and feel better sooner than to exercise through it and end up prolonging your illness. Again, though, it can be hard not to let being sick start to control your habits again–you just have to be proactive and remember that taking care of yourself means continuing to eat while your sick and listening to your body. Even if you can’t eat your normal foods, it’s better to eat something than nothing. It’s something I’m still working on, but getting sick recently has made me realize that I still don’t have the healthiest mindset when it comes to getting sick.

Have you ever struggled with keeping up healthy habits while sick? 

Excuses, Excuses

Excuses. We all have ’em. They can be a convenient way to get out of something we don’t want to do. But sometimes, they can really hold us back from doing something we want or need to accomplish.

I admit it, I’m an excuse-maker. I make excuses about small things, like why I didn’t clean the bathroom. But excuses I make about my health and well-being are a lot more important and unfortunately, I make them all too often.

Excuse #1: I can’t eat as much as ____ or I’ll gain weight…OR I can’t eat ____ without being unhealthy.

I’ve thought these things to myself a LOT throughout my recovery process, especially lately as I’ve been sharing my struggles here. It’s all really a comparison game for me. I see people in my real life and online who either do eat more than I do, or at least claim to eat a lot, and I always think “Well, good for them that they can eat that much and have an amazing body and life. Too bad I’d balloon up if I ate that much.” I know I’ve gotten countless comments on here about how I eat so little but it’s so hard to see for myself when it seems normal or even healthy to me. Four years ago, when I was at my worst, I was eating only a few hundred calories a day. Now I’ve finally gotten away from obsessively tracking every morsel that enters my mouth so I can’t say for sure how much I am eating but I know it’s way more than I was. I also know that it may not be enough, especially since I do workout pretty much every day. And I know there have been many success stories of people maintaining or even losing weight eating more than they used to, so it’s something I do want to ease into myself. It still seems crazy to me that I could be eating much more than I am now and still be the same size.

I might be eating more variety and incorporating more fats, but I still might be lacking in calories.

I might be eating more variety and incorporating more fats, but I still might be lacking in calories.

Excuse #2: I don’t look ‘sick’ so I must be fine.

At my worst, I was a good 15-20 pounds lighter than I am now which is definitely unhealthy, even for someone who’s only 5’1. I didn’t see it then, but looking back at pictures from 4 years ago I can see a definite difference and it makes me sad. Now, I’m at my highest weight ever and honestly, it scares me. I’ve never been in the triple digits so being so close to it is really scary to me. I always rationalize that I ‘need’ to be underweight to look halfway decent because I’m so short. I think that’s just how my disordered mind sees my body, though. I certainly don’t think I look underweight, or sick, or in need of help. But maybe I still am. And there are a few, rare days where I look in the mirror and actually think I look good, or maybe even a little thin, but those days aren’t often. Because I see myself in this distorted way, I tell myself that it’s okay to obsessively eat clean and rarely take a day off from exercise because if I don’t, all hell will break loose (aka I’ll gain weight). But you don’t have to look sick, or be at your lowest weight to need help. You can still be sick while barely underweight or even at a normal weight.

I may not think I look too skinny but maybe I am...

I may not think I look too skinny but maybe I am…

Excuse #3: I need to workout everyday or I’ll lose my fitness.

I always praise other bloggers for taking rest days when they need them, but when do I take a rest day? I’d say once or twice a month. It doesn’t matter if I have a headache, am feeling a little sick or am really busy, I will squeeze in exercise almost every day. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it is when I don’t listen to my body. And it’s also not good when I feel guilty for not exercising. Take this weekend, for example. I’m heading back up to my apartment with my parents to load up all the bigger items I couldn’t get on my trip home Wednesday and cleaning out my apartment so they can lease it out for the summer. I’ll be gone from Saturday afternoon til Sunday afternoon, and besides running errands and taking things up and down the stairs multiple times, I won’t be getting in much traditional exercise. I’m already stressing out about it. Not good. However, I’ve reached my breaking point with this. I’ll be busy this summer with my internship, a 4 week online summer class and just wanting to have fun. So I want to plan out 1 or 2 rest days per week, so I’m not a ball of stress figuring out when I can work out. And taking a day or two off won’t just not kill me, it’ll also benefit me and my energy levels.

I still want to play a lot of tennis this summer, but I won't stress out when I take a rest day (even if it's unplanned).

I still want to play a lot of tennis this summer, but I won’t stress out when I take a rest day (even if it’s unplanned).

Have you ever made any ‘excuses’ that you ended up tossing out? 

On Fullness, Rest Days and Intuitive Eating

You might be thinking right now, “Wow, 3 super-taboo blog world topics in one post? This girl is cray.” I can’t necessarily dispute that last statement 😉 but as much as I think these issues have been discussed to death lately, I needed to provide my own views on the topics. Amanda had a great post on this last week and it really got me thinking about how bloggers put too much emphasis on what they’re putting into their mouths and how much they’re moving their bodies. Health is important of course, but not when it becomes obsessive.

So first, my thoughts on feeling full. I have to admit, I don’t have the best relationship with this feeling. I have always had a small stomach capacity, so I’ve never been able to eat much without feeling fuller sooner than others. I’ve mostly resolved this issue by eating 5-6 small meals every day and this works for me. But, I still experience very negative emotions when I do get full. Generally, I only feel truly full after meals out, since restaurant portions tend to be larger, and even if I don’t eat the full amount, it can still be overwhelming, no matter what it was I ‘filled up’ on. Let’s look at two examples from this weekend. On Thursday night, my family came up to my apartment because my sister had a college visit at a college nearby and they wanted to save money on a hotel. We went out to eat at one of my favorite restaurants up here, and I had a delicious, individual-sized pizza with kale, garlic, figs and grilled onions on thin crust. I ate 4 out of 6 slices, along with a small orange cream vegan and gluten free cupcake following. After eating, I felt satiated but not too full. Usually, I would feel quite full for maybe half an hour, and feel some guilt over eating ‘that much’ but we ate fairly late and I hadn’t had much to eat in a few hours. However, the following day my mom and I got Qdoba for lunch. I had my usual, the naked veggie salad with black beans, habanero salsa and lots of guacamole. I ate most of the salad, and when we ran errands afterwards, I could sense that I was full, and it messed with my mind for most of the afternoon. Why was I feeling so full after basically just eating lettuce, beans and avocado? I felt guilty for eating most of my lunch, even though it was healthy and balanced.

The meal that made me feel more self-conscious about fullness.

The meal that made me feel more self-conscious about fullness.

Basically, I just have guilty feelings associated with being full, no matter what I got full from. I don’t think this is a healthy relationship to have–I’m not saying feeling full after every meal is necessarily good either, but it’s okay to feel full from a meal every once in awhile,  especially if you enjoyed it while eating. And some days, we just aren’t as hungry, and can get filled up from even little meals, and we shouldn’t beat ourselves up about it.

I didn't get in any tennis this weekend, but I was ok with taking a rest day on Friday.

I didn’t get in any tennis this weekend, but I was ok with taking a rest day on Friday.

About rest days. I’m bad about taking them myself, but I absolutely believe they’re essential for everyone, from pro athletes to casual exercisers. Since I’ve been exercising regularly (for about the past 2 years), I’ve rarely gone a day without some form of a workout. There were a few days when I was out all day and didn’t get in a traditional workout, but I was on my feet all day running errands or shopping and I counted that as my workout, since it was pretty strenuous after a full day. But even on the days when I exercised a little less than the day before (usually because I was too busy), I freaked out. I would love to say I work out just for the good feeling it gives me, but that’s not entirely true. I also do it for the calorie burn, and because it makes me feel okay with eating. Sad, but true. But on Friday, I worked on my exercise guilt. Since my family was up here, and then we headed back to the Springs after my sister’s college visit, I couldn’t fit in a lifting session or even a quick ab workout. I wasn’t completely sedentary (my mom and I ran errands around town for an hour or so) but I didn’t do much other than that, and surprisingly, I was kinda ok with taking a rest day. Sure, I got right back into my routine on Saturday, but it helped me realize that a rest day here and there isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it might help with exercise burnout, and in preventing overuse injuries. I’m not sure if I’m ready to take a full rest day every week, but I’m hoping to get there soon.

Finally, onto intuitive eating. This one has been discussed so much lately, so I don’t want to go into too much detail here. But I do think it’s been misconstrued a lot. I think moving away from calorie/macro counting and measuring is a great thing (and something I’ve been doing since the beginning of the year) but not when it turns into something that isn’t intuitive at all…orthorexia. I know, because I’ve fallen into it myself. I’ve become more hyper-focused on the ingredients in the foods I’m eating, and it’s been obsessive at points. It might seem healthier than calorie counting, but it can be just as destructive. When people start saying they’re eating intuitively, yet still stick with ‘safe’ foods, that could be a red flag for orthorexia. When someone’s obsessed with clean ingredients to the point that they get anxious about eating foods they don’t know the ingredients for (I’m guilty as charged), it could be a sign of orthorexia. Intuitive eating isn’t about stuffing your face with cake or ignoring all healthy eating guidelines, but it isn’t about eating ‘clean’ 24/7. It’s about being flexible, sensing fullness, enjoying your food and not letting it rule your life. I feel like I was pretty good about eating intuitively this weekend. I had everything from fancy vegan pizza, to nori wraps, to Larabars, to a vegan gluten-free cupcake, lots of guac and roasted veggies to protein smoothies. I ate pretty balanced everyday, enjoyed all of my food, didn’t freak out too much when I felt a little fuller than usual and didn’t overthink my choices as usual. I know this is something I’ll still struggle with, but feeling more free is a great thing!

A healthy weekend option, balanced by vegan desserts and pizza!

A healthy weekend option, balanced by vegan desserts and pizza!

What are your thoughts on fullness, rest days and intuitive eating? 

How I Spent My Thanksgiving Break

The title totally sounds like a middle school English class essay you had to write after coming back from Thanksgiving break, doesn’t it? Haha guess I just love reliving my younger years 😉

My break isn’t quite over which I am very thankful for–the last three weeks in the semester are always the hardest because you just got a taste of freedom but then you have to go back and get ready for finals and write papers. Not fun. But this is how I’ve been spending the past few days, with a mix of the successes and struggles I’ve had along the way.

Struggles

Still dealing with ‘disordered’ thoughts. 

Thanksgiving is a tough holiday for a recovering anorexic. And as a vegan, I’m not that thrilled by the usual selection of holiday foods. So I did struggle a bit on Thanksgiving Day. For one, I didn’t have breakfast. Yep, I wasn’t exactly planning on it (I love breakfast and never miss it!) but I wanted to have a pumpkin waffle with plenty of real maple syrup but my mom ended up using my waffle maker to make waffles for the rest of my family, and I freaked out about the ingredients she used in the waffles and decided not to make a waffle. But I didn’t end up making breakfast at all because I just got stuck in my disordered eating thought patterns and was getting anxious about Thanksgiving. I also didn’t eat lunch, because our family just does a lot of snacks in the afternoon. So I did enjoy some snackage (homemade guac I made myself, rice cake with pumpkin butter/chocolate chips, raw carrots and cauliflower, amazing spicy salsa). I also had a few adult beverages but we’ll save that for the successes part! I think I did an okay job eating once the big meal went around and I even tried some of the vegan stuffing my mom made. But I definitely struggled with feeling okay with being a little full. The feeling of fullness still scares me to death so that was hard to deal with. I also had some issues with exercising. I told myself I’d take a day or two off from working out this week but that hasn’t happened. It’s still too scary for me to take full-blown rest days.

The cute plate I had my snacks on.

Never being able to make a really delicious dessert from scratch.

Lately, I haven’t been able to make a dessert from a recipe that I actually like enough to eat. For some reason, I like it when I’m tasting it in the cooking process but then once it’s made, it doesn’t quite live up to my expectations. And then it goes in the trash. I can’t keep wasting food, but I can’t figure out why I can’t make an amazing dessert. I guess I should just stick with my simple, throw-it-together desserts like coconut milk ice cream or ‘banana bread’ protein bowls. Those are always satisfying.

A delicious lunch at my favorite restaurant. Falafel, tabbouleh, fresh red cabbage, lettuce and hummus.

Body image issues.

This kinda goes along with the first one, but lately I’ve been really having a hard time accepting what I see in the mirror. I always go through phases where I either like what I see or I’m totally disgusted by it, and right now I’m dealing with the latter. Anyone who’s ever dealt with this knows how much this sucks, but I’m hoping I start moving out of this phase soon.

Going back to classes after break.

Not gonna lie, I’m already burned out by school. The hardest time for me is always the three weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks, especially this year when I’m buried with a million assignments. I’m simultaneously freaking out and feeling passive about finishing up the semester.

These almost look like stars, don’t they?

Successes

Enjoying alcohol without worrying about the calories. 

I’m not quite 21 yet (just 8 months to go!) and I’ve never been one of those people who partied hard in college but lately I’ve been more interested in drinking, at least on special occasions. On Thanksgiving, I tried some cake vodka mixed with a little vanilla almond milk (to die for!) and I also had some green apple liqueur at dinner and I enjoyed them both. I did NOT get drunk or anything but it was nice to be able to sip my drinks and not freak out about drinking OMGsomanycalories.

This was soooooo good!

Getting a lot of assignments done.

I was kind of dreading Thanksgiving break, because I had a lot of schoolwork to do during it. But I’ve been splitting it into manageable chunks and working on a little each day and I’ve definitely been making progress.  I’m still stressing out about some of them, but I’ve got a few more days to finish them up.

I love fall sunsets.

Mixing in fun with the work.

My break hasn’t been all work and no play though. Yesterday we went up to Denver for the day for some window shopping, a cheap lunch at Garbanzo (they were offering a buy one get one deal all day) and checking out a cool German Christmas festival. We also played tourist with my grandparents and went to Garden of the Gods and Old Colorado City the other day. It’s kinda fun to explore the sites in your own city even if you’ve seen them a hundred times.

The weather was gorgeous and so were the views.

What have you been enjoying over the past few days? Do you like to be a tourist in your own city?

Best of…May! (and an award)

Uh, yeah, so how crazy is it that it’s already June? Where has this year gone? I can’t believe that last month at this time, I was stressing about finals and projects. Now I’m stressing (sorta) about my internship and packing. More on those later though!

Best New Find: Justin’s vanilla almond butter and So Delicious almond milk ice cream

Probably the best dollar I’ve ever spent!

Last month I discovered sooooooo many new-to-me products, it was a little crazy. Not that I’m complaining, though–one of my favorite things to do is buy new products and try them out. Sure, sometimes they disappoint but in other cases (like with the nut butter and ice cream), they were beyond amazing.

Best Discussion: Eating Comes at a Cost

I know I’ve said this before, but you guys are the best! Seriously, I’ve been loving all the responses I’ve gotten so far. I am very passionate about issues like this but these kinds of posts are always hard for me to publish because I worry about the backlash. You guys are always really respectful and thoughtful in your comments, though, which is great!

Best Recipe: Peanut Flour Pancakes

How delicious do these look?

Not gonna lie, this was muy dificil to decide on! Considering I had a record number of recipes in May (12 of them!) I had a really hard time narrowing it down to just one. But these protein-packed, peanutty pancakes are something I’ve been coming back to over and over. They’re simple to make but taste almost gourmet.

Best Non-Food Post: Work It Out

Hiking in snow…in the summer?!

Even though my blog is usually about food, I definitely have other interests, like fashion and fitness! I really liked sharing my favorite ways to workout and even though none of them involve the gym, I’ve come to realize that no one way to exercise is better than another.

Best Photo

I don’t know why, but this is just a gorgeous photo!

A lot of you commented on this photo and said you liked it. Well, I do too! Instagram is my favorite app, hands down, and this photo just speaks to me somehow.

And now for the award ceremony 😉 Hahaha, just kidding, but both Aja and Kat nominated me for the Reader Appreciation Award. Thanks, ladies!

1. Include the award logo somewhere in your blog.
2. Answer these 10 questions, below, for fun if you want to.
3. Nominate 10 to 12 blogs 
(I was too slow.) you enjoy. Or you pick the number.
4. Pay the love forward: Provide your nominee’s link in your post and comment on their blog to let them know they’ve been included and invited to participate.
5. Pay the love back with gratitude and a link to the blogger(s) who nominated you.

1. What is your favorite color?

Pink, for sure! I love hot pink, light pink, whatever shade. I also love orange, especially paired with pink.

2. What is your favorite animal?

This is really hard, but I’m gonna go with rabbits. I think bunnies are the cutest thing ever, especially the lop-eared kind. I really want to get a bunny for a pet someday.

3. What is your favorite non-alcoholic drink?

Iced coffee, no milk and sweetened with flavored stevia. I just discovered that Panera has this as a drink option by the soda machines…score!

4. Do you prefer Facebook or Twitter?

Twitter! I love reading really short updates (I have a short attention span) and funny tweets (like by Condescending Wonka).

5. What is your favorite pattern?

Is lace a pattern? If it is, that’s what I choose. I have a few lacy pieces that I really love–they’re girly and cute but still elegant.

6. Do you prefer giving or getting presents? 

Not gonna lie, getting presents is better. I do love giving presents, but getting them is just so exciting!

7. What is your favorite number?

7 or 11. I like 7 because I was born on July 27th, and I like 11 because it rhymes with 7 😀

8. What is your favorite day of the week? 

I probably would have said Saturday a month ago, but now that I intern on that day, I’ll go with Friday. It’s not quite as special during the summer, but it’s still great.

9. What is your favorite flower? 

I like those huge, brightly-colored daisies!

10. What is your passion?

Clothes and grocery shopping, being outside and yoga.

Now it’s time for some nominations!

Alexandra She just started a new blog all about lifting and life in general. I loved her old blog and I have a feeling I’m gonna love this one even more!

Tessa I can always relate to her ED posts and she always has the best insights! I love her honesty and she really takes the time to respond to her reader’s comments, which I think is awesome.

Chloe I am super jealous of her cooking skills! Her food photography always makes me drool, too.

Amy Lauren I wish I could be an amazing runner like she is! She’s also a really great writer, and her race recaps are fun to read.

Lena I love that she’s from Colorado too, and I’m jealous that she gets to go to all these cool Denver-area restaurants! She’s also an awesome runner.

What was the best workout you did in May? What’s your favorite non-alcoholic drink?

Work It Out

I don’t mention a lot of fitness stuff on here, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a big part of my life! Especially during the summer I love to get outside and get my heart pumping with some fun workouts.

I will admit that I’ve fallen into the trap of ‘exercise guilt’–you know, like feeling bad that I’m not a runner or for not working out as hard on one day compared to the previous one. But honestly, exercise always feels better when it’s something you truly love to do and aren’t pushing yourself to enjoy it. And I’m slowly learning that taking a rest day every once in awhile is okay. I’m not so good at that part right now, but I know it’ll come. For now, here are some of the things I enjoy doing, guilt free!

Tennis

How embarrassing is this photo? I’m so glad I’m not 15 anymore!

This is probably my favorite physical activity at the moment. It’s fun because I do with my dad (and sometimes sister) so we can talk and laugh. I love outdoor exercise, and being out in the sunshine on a perfect summer day feels amazing. Tennis works your whole body (and mind!) but it doesn’t feel like a workout to me because I enjoy it so much.

Biking

Another old-ish photo (from 2 years ago) but at least I look okay in this one!

 

Biking is another of my favorites. I love how powerful I feel when I’m pedaling along a trail, feeling the breeze and sun on my skin. I have definitely experienced a few wipe-outs and not-so-great rides, but I keep coming back for more. I haven’t biked in about a month, since I haven’t had the chance to refill the tires with air, but I’m excited to get back on my bike and ride!

Yoga

I wish I had a cool pic of me doing a yoga pose…

Yoga keeps me centered, focused and (somewhat) flexible. I love how it stretches out my muscles when they’re sore and I am obsessed with the feeling of weak spaghetti arms after doing a bunch of chaturangas. I still have yet to go to a hot yoga class, but I’m dying to.

Cardio Circuits

This one is my favorite at the moment!

Most days I just end up doing a bunch of 10 minute cardio circuits throughout the day. I like them because they’re short but kinda intense and they’re basically equipment-free. I space them out throughout the day for time’s sake and also because I like being active throughout the day.

Hiking

Why yes, we do like to hike in the snow during the summer!

This one is definitely a summer-only occurrence but I always look forward to hiking. Colorado is an awesome state for it, and I’ve climbed a lot of (small) mountains in my life. My parents are really into it and have dragged me and my sister along since we were itty bitty and now I can say I truly love it. It feels great to get more in touch with nature (I’ve even seen a baby bear on a hike once!) and challenge myself on the trails.

What’s your favorite way to work out? Have you ever seen a scary animal on a hike?