Return to the Mountains+Blog Updates

Wow it’s been awhile since I last posted! Honestly the last few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind, sometimes great and sometimes not so good.

First I want to (briefly) recap my long weekend trip to Salt Lake City. My best friend just moved there in August and though we now live even further apart than when she was still in Colorado, I knew I wanted to go see her. And bonus, I got to explore a new-to-me city. SLC is a lot more spread out than I was picturing it. My friend lives in a suburb that’s pretty far away from downtown so I didn’t get to see that area but we did drive all over town.

It was also my first time flying by myself, aka without my parents or in a group. I was nervous but mostly excited because I love airline travel. I don’t get to do it nearly enough (usually just once or twice a year) and I think that might be why I love it. Or I’m just crazy 😉 I did get to meet my mom at DIA where I had a 3 1/2 hour layover on the way out and that was nice to see her for a couple of hours. She was so great to drive an hour each way early in the morning to see me, but we hadn’t seen each other since late July so it was a nice surprise. My flights there and back were great and I got the hang of putting my carry-on suitcase up in the overhead compartments. That was legitimately my biggest concern…I thought I’d be that girl who couldn’t even lift her own bag over her head but it wasn’t that awkward. And my seatmates weren’t totally annoying so that was good too.

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No one's gonna confuse this bag for their own.

Salt Lake City reminds me a lot of my Colorado hometown, with lots of mountains but in SLC they surround the city instead of just being on the west side. And of course, the lake was unreal. My friend told me it was actually pretty dried out, but it was still huge and beautiful. I just have a love for mountains and water.

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I could get used to this view...

As far as what we did from Friday to Tuesday, it was basically eating (at Noodles & Co because we don’t have it in OK…and incredible sushi…and making tofu at her apartment), manicures, shopping, sleeping in, hiking, walking her dog, seeing a musical, more shopping, movie watching, a wine+painting class, even more shopping, Starbucks, seeing the lake (and me falling in…) and more eating. So basically all the best things.

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Bestie time is the best time.

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Random, but the sushi place had the best brussels sprouts ever!

Getting back into a normal routine after that was hardddddddd. Making it even harder was the fact that my workplace is now even more understaffed and its not even funny anymore. So basically I came back and had to work 9 days straight. Bleh. The first few days were a total struggle and I’ve seriously wondered if I’m going to even stay in the TV world for long. I don’t want to say bad things about my employer, but lets just say things are going downhill fast and everyone knows it but the management. The smart people leave ASAP and the rest of us are stuck there until we can do the same.

I’ve come to realize that I don’t want my job to be my life. I truly do enjoy working, but I think I’d actually like it more if I didn’t feel so overworked, stressed and taken advantage of. I also can say that I don’t really have enough of a passion for the news to want to keep doing it. I would much rather be involved in some kind of entertainment show or working for a fashion magazine or something. TV seems glamorous but behind the scenes, it really sucks sometimes.

So where am I going with this? Basically I’m kind of taking a step back from the blog. I enjoy doing this, but I just can’t promise the time that I used to spend on it. Work is all about writing, and at the end of the day I don’t really want to write anymore. Plus the time I spend away from work is either sleeping (I work overnights so I sleep until the early afternoon), running/working out or just chilling right before work. Plus I feel like talking all about food isn’t really me anymore. In case you haven’t noticed, my Instagram has turned into kind of a fashion space, and I really love that. It’s one of my biggest passions, and I don’t do enough of it on here.

I’m not saying goodbye to AlmostVegGirlie right now, just more like I can’t promise weekly posts anymore. Being an adult with a full-time job and other extracurricular priorities has to take precedence for now. And if you can’t get enough of me, I’m still active on Instagram so follow me on over there!

Have you had to take a blog break? What have you been up to lately….I miss catching up with y’all!

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25 Things

Y’all know by now I love a good survey! They’re fun, easy and I think they give you a good glimpse into my life behind the blog. So here’s one I’ve been seeing around a lot lately…it’s a little different than the usual survey but I really like it!

1. I’m happiest when…I can spend some time outside, preferably with my family (which is all too rare these days). Whether it’s being active by hiking or running or just hanging out by a pool or lake, I just love being outdoors.

2. Especially if it…is super hot out! I’m a total crazy who loves it when it’s in the 90s. As long as it isn’t humid, I’m just fine. Which is why I’m seriously considering a move to AZ or southern CA as soon as possible.

I seriously miss Phoenix...

I seriously miss Phoenix…

3. I’ve always wanted to…visit a Caribbean island. I’ve still yet to travel outside the U.S., and islands just seem so fun. Plus I want some really cool photos of the gorgeous ocean.

4. My family and I…are still close even though I live nearly 700 miles away. I still text my mom daily, Snapchat with my sister frequently, tell my dad to watch my newscasts and try to Skype them when I can. I love being so independent, but I love being connected to my fam.

5. I was a terrible…volleyball player. I dreaded the VB rotation in P.E. class because I could never figure out how to serve a ball over the net. Ironically, my best friend convinced me to join her intramural volleyball team during my last semester of college and it was actually fun because we all kinda sucked.

6. My first job was…technically the one I’m in now, as an associate producer (slash actual producer sometimes) at a TV station. But I did get paid for my “first” job as an editor for a monthly campus newsletter, so I guess that counts. Even though I worked maybe 10 hours per week!

7. I could probably eat ____ everyday…sweet potato fries. For some reason, they’re one of the few things I actually crave, probably because I don’t get to enjoy them that much. And I don’t mean homemade sweet potato fries that are just cut up sweet potatoes that are baked. I mean the crispy kind, preferably the ones at Native Foods!

Even 'raw' sweet potato fries are good!

Even ‘raw’ sweet potato fries are good!

8. I stole…stevia packets from a restaurant once. Hey, most places only have the crappy artificial stuff, so you gotta stock up when you can!

9. I was born on the same day as…Maya Rudolph (love her), A-Rod and Bugs Bunny.

10. My all-time favorite film is…The Devil Wears Prada. No freaking question. Runner-up: Mean Girls. I can quote that movie all day long.

11. I do a pretty mean…duck face. I’m a master of the pout, because I don’t really love my open-mouthed smile. Trust me, I don’t (think) I look like a preteen who’s trying to hard. It’s just a subtle pout…

Maybe this isn't considered a duck face?

Maybe this isn’t considered a duck face?

12. I’m still mad…I didn’t figure out I wanted to be a meteorologist until I already started majoring in journalism. I’ve always loved weather, but I thought the news was calling me. Yeah…no. Even though I know a meteorology degree would be tough (because math is not my strong suit — at least not calculus), it would be more in line with what I want.

13. I met my best friend…when I was three years old. Yes, my BFF is my little sister. I have another best friend (the one I mentioned above) but my sister is my forever friend.

Love this lady.

Love this lady.

14. I always knew I wanted…to move away from home. I know a lot of people tend to stay pretty close to where they grew up. I always find it funny when people ask me why I moved to Oklahoma — like if I have relatives here or anything. Nope, it was just for a job and it’s been a pretty fun adventure so far. I don’t love my job but I do like my new city and I’m excited to keep exploring new cities and states. Who knows where I may end up!

15. I’m not afraid to…cry in front of people. I’m a pretty emotional girl (well, when I take things personally) and I usually keep it together, but I’m okay with crying if the situation calls for it. I don’t really cry in public per se, just in front of friends and family.

16. I make the best…raw desserts. I’ve given up on baking but I still have a sweet tooth so I try to tame it with homemade (okay…sometimes store bought) raw treats. They’re always pretty simple, but somehow taste incredible.

One of the best raw desserts I've made...the raw caramel pecan pie.

One of the best raw desserts I’ve made…the raw caramel pecan pie.

17. I have almost no…coordination. I used to be even more of a klutz (in college, I’d often trip on the sidewalk while walking to class!) but I still sometimes get the feeling I’m going to stumble and sometimes actually do. Not sure why this is but it can be a little embarrassing nearly tripping on a crack…or wiping out on a run (true story).

18. I always cry when…I’m frustrated and tired. Lately this has been happening related to work. And I don’t cry at work, just when I’m venting on the phone with my mom. Having an ever-changing schedule and crazy demands can be a little tiring.

19. I’m now…a new(ish) runner…but I hope to…build up my endurance. I keep having annoying minor injuries that really slow my progress and I’m still only able to run a couple of miles per day but every pain free run is a success in my book.

20. I spent four years…of high school dealing with disordered eating. I always say my ED began my freshman year, when I was in health class and learned about nutrition. For whatever reason, something clicked and I began to get obsessive over it. By junior year, I was full-blown anorexic and the rest of high school was a blur of starting recovery and not partaking in traditional high school things. I don’t really regret missing out, because college was so much better for me, but having an ED kind of changed things for me.

I may have never gone to the prom but I went to many father-daughter dances with my dad (and sister).

I may have never gone to the prom but I went to many father-daughter dances with my dad (and sister).

21. I wish my folks…would be more into healthy eating. I’m glad they’re willing to visit vegan restaurants with me, but I know that now that I’m not near them, their eating habits are more in line with most Americans. They’re not horribly unhealthy, but they could always be better and I wish I knew how to encourage them to change without being pushy.

22. At age 5, I was deeply in love with…Beanie Babies, plastic snakes (don’t ask!) and re-enacting the Winnie the Pooh books with my dad. Typical kid, right 😉

I also loved dance recitals.

I also loved dance recitals.

23. I believe if everyone…considered how their actions affect others…the world would be a better place. Enough said!

24. I can’t stand…humidity. The sticky feeling, the weird smell, how wet it makes everything. It’s all so gross.

25. Whenever…Friends…is on, I’ll watch. That and Seinfeld are my two favorite ‘classic’ TV shows.

What things did you love when you were 5? What’s a food you could eat every day?

Fireworks, Food and Farmers Markets

I love long weekends! Especially in the summer — since I work full-time, it’s nice to have an extended break to enjoy the incredible weather and everything else the season has to offer.

My weekend is still going strong, but I thought I’d pop in with a few of my favorite moments from the July 4th weekend. After I got off work on Thursday morning, I didn’t really have any solid plans for my time off, other than to get in my weekly trip to Whole Foods, spend some time by the pool and go for some runs. And I ended up doing all that and more…

Double fisting it after a hot run.

Double fisting it after a hot run.

Lots of cold water is necessary after these hot runs I’ve been going on. One perk of having time off is I can go for a run earlier (like around 10 or 11) so it’s not quite as hot.

This is freaking adorable.

This is freaking adorable.

I love how Snapchat celebrates holidays — this was really cute and brightened up my morning (not that it was bad…how can it be when you have the day off?)

Taking advantage of July 4th deals at the mall.

Taking advantage of July 4th deals at the mall.

I haven’t been to the main mall here since Memorial Day weekend (who am I?) so I knew it was time to return. And I scored some pretty great deals. A cute top from Abercrombie & Fitch for $10? Unheard of, except for during holiday weekends. I’m a sucker for giant purses, so I went to ALDO for my fix. And I got a push-up bandeau bra from Victoria’s Secret because I love strapless styles but this girl needs some padding #ACupProblems. I spent around $50 for all this, which is cheaper than both the top and the purse alone were originally!

My patriotic outfit.

My patriotic outfit.

I’ve seriously worn these shorts every July 4th since I got them a few years ago. I love them, and I had to take advantage of the fact that I wasn’t going to work, so I could wear weather-appropriate clothes.

No watermelon but cherries are patriotic, right?

No watermelon but cherries are patriotic, right?

My breakfast wasn’t totally patriotic, but the cherries made up for it. By Friday, I was seriously running low on food, especially produce, but I made it work. These were the last of some super cheap cherries I found at Sprouts 2 weeks ago and they were incredible!

As for my July 4th evening plans? No photo evidence because it was dark, but I drove to one of my coworkers’ homes to watch the fireworks from his place. He invited a few other people I knew from work, as well as more crazy TV people from other stations in town. It was fun to hang out for a couple hours, but the parking situation and traffic coming home was insane. It would have been an easy commute about 15 minutes up the street from me, but most of that road was blocked off and even when I was leaving around 10:45 (an hour after the fireworks wrapped up), I got caught in traffic jams on another street. Also, I had to park a couple blocks away from his house, which was fine, but walking back in the dark had me a little on edge, especially after some recent assaults across the city. But I made it safe, and my car wasn’t towed, so yay!

Sweet potato salad with hemp mayo.

Sweet potato salad with hemp mayo.

My July 4th dinner was totally ‘Merican, but with a healthier twist. I had a weird craving for potato salad (which I don’t even like), so I decided to whip up my own version using a sweet potato, coconut ‘bacon’ and a homemade mayo made with hemp seeds/water/olive oil/spices. It turned out incredible, so I’m sharing it!

Hemp Mayo Potato Salad (vegan, gluten free, grain free)

  • 1 sweet potato, cut into small wedges (can use white potato if you prefer)
  • 2 tbsp hemp hearts
  • 1/4 cup water
  • sea salt, to taste
  • garlic granules, to taste
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum, to thicken
  • 2 tbsp coconut bacon (optional, but really good!)

Place cubed sweet potato in medium pot and pour water about an inch above them. Bring to a low boil; cover pot and lower heat and continue cooking for 5-10 minutes or until potato is fork tender (but not too soft). Drain water and set aside to cool. In a food processor, blend hemp hearts, water, salt, garlic and ACV. Add in xanthan gum if you want to thicken the mayo. Once potatoes are cool, pour mayo over them and stir in coconut bacon. Makes 1 serving. 

I'm obsessed with the farmers market.

I’m obsessed with the farmers market.

Saturday morning started early (well, if you think 8 am is early). But for good reason — I had plans to go to the farmers market! I usually only get to swing by after I get done with work, and by that time, most things are sold out. Getting to the market an hour earlier meant fewer crowds AND better selection. I got some organic potatoes, blackberries (!) and an incredible gluten free vegan cookie. I love supporting local farmers and restaurants and I hope to keep doing so throughout the season. And I WILL be back for more of those cookies 😉

Saturdays are for selfies.

Saturdays are for selfies.

No description needed…

Whole Foods buys (minus unpictured produce).

Whole Foods buys (minus unpictured produce).

And after the farmers market, it was on to Whole Foods! I made my weekly restock trip, and yes, it was more expensive than I planned on, but only because I needed to buy protein powder. I actually got a good deal on that — 2 pounds for $25, when it’s normally over $40! So my grocery trips for the rest of the month should be cheaper. Doesn’t it just feel so good to have a full pantry and fridge again though?

Picnic-style leftovers.

Picnic-style leftovers.

After restocking my kitchen, Saturday’s dinner was a repeat of Friday’s but this time with some watermelon and avocado oil potato chips. If you haven’t tried these, you may not want to…because they’re addicting. I usually prefer sweet potato chips, but these are still healthy because they’re cooked in avocado oil instead of unhealthy canola or sunflower oil and the only ingredients are potatoes, avocado oil and sea salt. And paired with some picnic-style sides (the above homemade potato salad and vegan firecracker coleslaw from Whole Foods) I totally fit in with all the other people enjoying traditional July 4th meals. Except, you know, vegan and gluten free!

That's hot!

That’s hot!

My run on Sunday felt hot, and now I know why! I went around noon, and while the breeze helped, I was still a sweaty mess afterwards. When I checked my phone later, I saw the heat index was 104 degrees! Luckily it wasn’t super humid, so I spent some time poolside both Saturday and Sunday. But check it — today is supposed to be 100 degrees, so who knows what the heat index will be!

Nothing like ending the day with some laughs.

Nothing like ending the day with some laughs.

I have my dad to thank for getting me into Dave Barry probably a good 10 years ago (that makes me feel old). If you’ve never read him, he’s freaking hilarious and you’re missing out. I enjoyed some of his work while chillin’ on my porch waiting to Skype my parents. Best way to end my Sunday!

Is it any wonder July is my favorite month? The 4th is one of my favorite holidays (#historynerd), it feels like the essence of summer and my birthday is at the end of the month. And this year, I’m really looking forward to that. My family is driving out here for a few days and I can’t wait to be with them again after nearly 4 months without seeing them and to show them around! T-minus 20 days til the big day…

How did you enjoy your weekend? 

Liebster.

Happy Friday! I honestly feel obligated to start out a post like that, but let’s be real — I now hate it when people get all hyped up about Friday. Because Friday isn’t my Friday. It’s generally my Wednesday, so nothing to get too excited about! But I realize most people have a normal work/school schedule, so happy Friday to all of you 🙂

liebster

What is happy about today is that I was nominated by the lovely Kaila from Healthy Helper to fill out the Liebster survey. You know I love surveys, so I’m alllllll over this. Thanks Kaila!

The Rules

1) You must link back to the person who nominated you

2) You must answer the 10 Liebster questions given to you by the nominee before you

3) You must pick 10 bloggers to be nominated for the award (with a small following)

4) You must create 10 questions for your nominees

5) You must go to their blogs and notify the nominees

Kaila’s Questions

1. What was your favorite show as a middle schooler?

Is it totally embarrassing that I still watched Arthur at that age? It was a really good show though…and in my defense, my little sister was still 7 or 8 at the time, so completely acceptable 😉

2. What season were you born in?

Summer! I’m absolutely obsessed with my birthday. I’ve never had to go to school (or work now) on my birthday and I’ve spent many birthdays at a waterpark or on vacation. Summer has always been my favorite season, and it’s partly because it’s my birthday season. Just a month and two weeks until the big day!

I just love summer!

I just love summer!

3. What Disney princess did you want to be when you were little?

I always identified with Belle, because I used to love reading (I was always in advanced reading classes as a kid and got to read all the exciting books) and I have long brown hair.

4. If you could wake up tomorrow and be fluent in another language, which would you choose?

Spanish. I know that sounds boring, but I took Spanish classes from second grade through my senior year of high school, and still didn’t pick up much of the language. I also want to live somewhere in the southwestern U.S., where Spanish really comes in handy!

5. If you could wear only one color or pattern for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Can you tell I love pink?

Can you tell I love pink?

Color: pink! Pattern: floral.

6. What’s your least favorite fictional couple? 

This is hard — I can’t even really think of any off hand! I guess I’ll say Chandler and Janice from Friends (still love that show!). Even though they didn’t end up together, they were totally not meant to be.

7. What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?

This is going to sound weird, but I’ve had a few people tell me I have a really good voice. Not singing-wise, but for talking. It makes me feel good, since I’m still chasing after my goal of becoming a TV anchor someday and having a good speaking voice is key!

8. What is the most unusual food you’ve ever eaten?

A raw enchilada at my favorite vegan spot. I don’t even know how to describe it — it was different than a regular enchi, but sooooooo much better. And the side of ‘rawfried’ beans was spot on like refried beans, but made with nuts and zucchini!

Not my picture, but they looked a lot like these!

Not my picture, but they looked a lot like these!

9. If you had to choose to lose one of the five senses, which would you choose and why?

would choose smell, but since smell and taste are connected (and I don’t wanna lose my sense of taste), I’m going to go with touch. Yeah, it’d be a little weird not to feel things, and I’d have to be careful not to get burned, but it would probably be the easiest to go without.

10. Name 3 blogs you read on a daily basis.

Hungry Hungry Hippie (even though she’s not vegan anymore, her food always looks so good and her little guy is so cute), Happy.Healthy.Life. (the most drool-worthy vegan food ever), Extra Petite (not necessarily on a daily basis, but I love getting fashion inspiration from a fellow petite lady).

Since I don’t know 10 people to tag who haven’t done this yet, I’m going to cheat and tag anyone who wants to do this…and you can just answer the same 10 questions I did!

Answer any of the above!

Homesick

If you had told me just a year, or even a few months ago, that I would miss Colorado, I would have laughed in your face. I was SO over the April blizzards, the generally bipolar weather, the seemingly-annual summer wildfires and the lack of certain things (ahem, lots of vegan restaurants, and up til recently, Trader Joe’s).

I spent most of my life in the Centennial State. I was born in Arizona, and while it still has part of my heart, all of my memories were made in Colorado. I started (and finished) school there, I made all of my friends there, some of my favorite vacations were spent there and I had the best years of my life there, in a town just a couple hours north of my ‘hometown’.

One of my favorite spots in the world.

One of my favorite spots in the world.

But when I graduated from college in December, I was excited for what the next chapter of my life would bring. I was ready to move up and out. I think I applied to a grand total of 3 jobs in Colorado, and 2 of those were in a town on the opposite side of the state, with a totally different vibe. I kept daydreaming about what my new life in a new state might be like, and I wanted it sooner rather than later.

Well…I got my wish. I moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma in early April. I’ve been working for just over a month now, and while that has had its ups and downs, I’m growing acclimated to my new city. I can say I actually do like it. The weather has been mostly fantastic — a lot less humid than I was expecting, and a heck of a lot warmer than back home. There are plenty of things here that remind me of home, like Whole Foods/Sprouts, lots of thunderstorms, a pretty active lifestyle.

Still getting used to seeing the waterfront on a daily basis.

Still getting used to seeing the waterfront on a daily basis.

But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss Colorado. I honestly thought once I moved away, I’d never want to move back, but part of me does. I miss the mountains so much, the dry air, the people I’ve left behind, the places I still remember with a little bit of a twinge in my heart. I’ve stumbled across a few blogs written by women living in Colorado, and it reminds me of what I’ve left behind. As much as I cursed every single snow storm and hated feeling like I’d never leave, now that I have left, it’s a little bittersweet.

Part of it is being hundreds of miles away from all my people. Most of my friends are graduating this week, and part of me feels like I should be there with them, celebrating with a fancy cocktail in Old Town, picking up my cap and gown and packing up my apartment to move back home. But I’ve already done that — that chapter of my life is over.

My sister is also graduating from high school next week, and it kills me to not be able to see her walk across the stage and get her diploma. After all, she’s been there with me for most of my life — attending both of my graduations and always having my back. To not be there for my bestie and little sister is hard. And it’s harder knowing that some of my extended family will be there too, people I see at the most once a year. Being so far away from that hurts.

TBT to last summer with my gorg sissy.

TBT to last summer with my gorg sissy.

Most days, I don’t miss Colorado. Not when they’re getting dumped on with snow in May and I’m running the river trail in 90 degree weather. I like Tulsa. It’s got a great big city vibe without being too big. I could see myself living here for the next year (hopefully moving after that for job-related reasons) and being happy most of the time. And I’m also looking to the future, and planning where I’d love to live in the next few years, and hoping that can happen. I’m not someone who can stay in one place for too long without getting restless.

But then I see friends posting that they got jobs in Denver or Boulder or whatever, and I really miss Colorado. Sometimes I even miss my ‘hometown’ (even though the general vibe is opposite of me for the most part). I definitely miss the mountains and my college town.

Miss you, FoCo, and the lovely Horsetooth Reservoir.

Miss you, FoCo, and the lovely Horsetooth Reservoir.

So here’s to the place that will always have part of my heart, no matter where I roam. Your beauty is unmatched, and even though you’re a little bit crazy sometimes, I’ll always miss you a little bit as long as I’m away. And even if I never move back, I want you to know that I’ll always remember you as home.

Do you ever get ‘homesick’ for a certain place? 

My (Now) Crazy Life

Sorry I’ve been missing lately! I wish I could promise a more regular posting and commenting schedule but my life is about to get even crazier and busier in the next couple of weeks so I may not be around much. But I want to fill you in on what’s been happening in my (now) crazy life lately!

I don't always get manis...but when I do, I take shameless selfies to show them off!

I don’t always get manis…but when I do, I take shameless selfies to show them off!

It all started on Wednesday. I drove up 2 1/2 hours to my college town to reunite with one of my best friends. We hadn’t seen each other since before I graduated in December and a fun girls’ day was in order. We got sushi for lunch with her boyfriend (I got an avocado maki roll and it was the cheapest lunch ever–like $4!) and then drove over to our favorite nail salon to get manis and then drove down to the outlet mall for a little shopping. We didn’t buy much (I only ended up getting a coral dress from American Eagle for under $20) but we had fun trying on different outfits and just reconnecting. She’s graduating in May so we talked a lot about our future plans. And I filled her in about my new job! I haven’t talked about it a lot here yet, but let’s just say I’m moving out of state in a couple weeks…

Of course, this chipped a couple of days later.

Of course, this chipped a couple of days later.

My first time at a Trader Joes! I fell in love :)

My first time at a Trader Joes! I fell in love 🙂

On Friday my mom and I headed up to Denver for a busy day of shopping and food. We got lunch at Native Foods first (my last time getting to eat there for awhile 😦 ) and then the moment I’ve been waiting for for at least a year…we stopped at the new Trader Joes! Colorado finally got with the program and opened up a few TJs last month, but since none are where we live, we had to drive about an hour up to Denver to check out the store.

Their produce is so cheap but incredibly good!

Their produce is so cheap but incredibly good!

The store was a little smaller than I was expecting it to be, but then again I’m used to Whole Foods and Sprouts which are a little bigger. But the selection is incredible! They had so many products I’ve never seen anywhere else, and a lot of stuff (like their raw almond butter) is just much cheaper than at any other store. It made me a little sad that I’m moving to a state that doesn’t have any TJs. Of course, I ended up with a bunch of stuff, including dried persimmon (!), almond butter, tofu burgers and a pink sea salt grinder. My mom was mostly impressed with their beer and wine selection!

Where else can you find exotic dried fruits for less?

Where else can you find exotic dried fruits for less?

IKEA has my heart.

IKEA has my heart.

After a quick trip to our favorite ice cream place (they always offer 4 rotating vegan flavors and I got the spiced cider sorbet–just like apple cider!), it was off to IKEA! If you’ve never been to an IKEA, you won’t realize how awesome it is. It’s also a decent workout, as you have to walk through the entire store to get to the checkout. My mom and I went to check out some inexpensive furniture for my new apartment but we didn’t get anything other than a tabletop ironing board because we realized we won’t have enough room in the car to move it. And there’s no IKEA where I’m moving to, so any IKEA furniture will have to wait until I come back home to visit and I can take some back with me.

An amazing locally-made GF vegan cookie. So buttery and maple-y.

An amazing locally-made GF vegan cookie. So buttery and maple-y.

On Saturday my dad and I hit up a vegan pop-up market downtown. The weather was seriously crappy (windy, cloudy and cool) but luckily the market was held inside. It was a lot smaller than I was expecting it to be, but we got free samples of kale chips and green juice and I also got a couple locally-made gluten free vegan cookies. I wish I had bought more, because they were incredible.

I love sangria.

I love sangria.

After church, it was time for my celebratory dinner out. My family doesn’t go out to eat often (once a month, if that) but we always do for special occasions, like birthdays and apparently job offers! I chose Tapateria, where I had my birthday dinner in July and even though we couldn’t sit outside because of the weather, it was still just as nice of an experience as it was the first time. We ordered a lot of the same things as last time, like the incredible fresh garlic bread (everything is gluten free, which I love!), the warm olives and of course, the sangria. I don’t drink that often (again, probably about once or twice a month) but I love sangria and I plan on making my own this summer.

So fresh, so garlicky, so good.

So fresh, so garlicky, so good.

It’s crazy that Saturday’s dinner was one of the last times I’ll be eating out with my family. I know it’s kinda hard on my parents too–my sister’s going off to college in the fall so they’ll officially be empty-nesters. I’m lucky to be so close with my family, so I know the transition period will be tough on all of us, but it’s nice to know that I’m always a phone call, text or 9 hour drive away from seeing them.

I'm finally an iPhone owner!

I’m finally an iPhone owner!

On Sunday, I officially became an iPhone owner! I’ve had an iPod touch since 2010 but all my smartphones have been Androids. I’ve been wanting an iPhone for awhile, and since T-Mobile finally offers them, I upgraded to the iPhone 5C. In pink, naturally. That phone is seriously my baby. I’m in love with iOS 7 and the feel of the phone. And I still have the best of both worlds, because my tablet still has all my Android stuff on it. Win win! The best part is, I can finally use emojis so…don’t be surprised if my Instagram is bombarded with them 😉

So there’s just a little glimpse into the craziness of my life lately. I’ve got one more post lined up for this week, and then I’m off to TX at the end of this week for spring break! Fair warning, my life will be even crazier post-spring break so I’ll try to keep up with commenting but I probably won’t post much for the next few weeks. See y’all in mid-April!

What were you up to this weekend? 

 

Looking Back on 2013

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! I still can’t believe it’s over, and that 2014 is just around the corner. I still didn’t feel like it was Christmas until earlier this week so it’s crazy that it went by so fast.

I’ll probably do a recap of my Christmas/New Year’s week sometime next week but for now, I wanted to share some of my favorite posts and moments from 2013. As with any year, there were some ups, some downs, but overall it was an incredible year for me for many reasons, and I’m hoping 2014 is even better!

January

I experimented with homemade donuts, I took a hiatus from WIAW and I shared my orthorexia story

Some post-holiday Christmas lights in Denver.

Some post-holiday Christmas lights in Denver.

February

I broke some fashion rulesmade some Superbowl-worthy raw jalapeno poppers and shared my thoughts on clean eating

No white after Labor Day? Pssh, I wear what I want!

No white after Labor Day? Pssh, I wear what I want!

March

I compared my meals from when I started my blog until nowI tried out grain free baking and I admitted to my struggles with the scale and mirror

My first sushi night with friends.

My first sushi night with friends.

April

I got snowed in, shared my fear of rest days and feeling full and made some homemade Easter candy.

Snow in April isn't unusual but a FOOT of snow definitely is!

Snow in April isn’t unusual but a FOOT of snow definitely is!

May

I spent some time at the poolgot all nerdy about cacao powder and started my weather internship at a local TV station. 

I also reunited with an old Starbucks favorite,, the unsweetened passion iced tea.

I also reunited with an old Starbucks favorite,, the unsweetened passion iced tea.

June

I started eating more raw foods, expressed my sorrow over a second year of wildfires in my hometown and revisited an old favorite vacation spot

More pool time for this chica.

More pool time for this chica.

July

I professed my love for homemade fooddealt with some flash flooding on the job and found that being sick can be an ED trigger

I also celebrated my 21st birthday in style, even while recovering from being sick.

I also celebrated my 21st birthday in style, even while recovering from being sick.

August

I indulged in some incredible vegan carrot cake ice creamvacationed to see family in Wisconsin and got a tablet to replace my dying laptop. 

I love airports and flying!

I love airports and flying!

September

I tried out eggs (and ended up keeping them out of my diet), gave an inside look at my fridge and struggled with senioritis

I also got my third-ever manicure.

I also got my third-ever manicure.

October

I shared my thoughts on figure competitionstalked about the ‘Ashley Diet’ and did some fun things with my family during a weekend at home

A quick and yummy lunch from a local vegan juice bar and cafe.

A quick and yummy lunch from a local vegan juice bar and cafe.

November

I let you all in on my meal prepping secrets, I talked about some girl problems and I bought a bunch of fun foodie products

I went to Native Foods for only the second time ever and I can't wait to go back again.

I went to Native Foods for only the second time ever and I can’t wait to go back again.

December

I started a no-added-sugar plan before the holidays, I got through finals week with some good food and I graduated college a semester early. 

The happy graduate.

The happy graduate.

I feel like I’ve grown up so much since the beginning of the year–I’ve conquered another year of living (mostly) independently, completed an amazing internship, got through a semester taking on a full course load, dealt with some personal struggles (some are still going on), made some great friends and most of all, started my new life as a post-grad looking for her first full-time job. It’s crazy how much things have changed since this time last year, but I wouldn’t trade any of it! I’m even more excited to take on 2014!

What were some of your most memorable moments of 2013? What are you looking forward to most in 2014?