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? 

 

Post-Thanksgiving (No) Blues

Do you ever feel let down after a holiday is over? I almost always do, especially after Christmas. It’s always a little sad to have to take everything down, and move on to real life again. I’m usually a little upset after Thanksgiving is over, usually because it means that I have to go back to school in a few days. This year, though, I’m kind of ready for Thanksgiving break to be over. Not that break was bad–I really needed the time off from school–but I’m more than ready for the semester, and my time in college, to be over. Senioritis, much?!

Even though break is almost over, and I’m itching to go back to school and finish up the semester strong (just 8 more days of classes, then finals) I’ve definitely enjoyed Thanksgiving break while it lasted. It was pretty low-key, mostly just plenty of time spent with my parents and sister and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But I also had some pretty delicious food (on Thanksgiving Day and otherwise), did some retail therapy pre-Black Friday (it was way less crazy to shop on Wednesday) and even got some school stuff done.

Snow on campus to kick off Thanksgiving break.

Snow on campus to kick off Thanksgiving break.

I love the Mexican-inspired dishes at Native Foods!

I love the Mexican-inspired dishes at Native Foods!

Caught up on a few episodes of my new favorite show--The Newsroom.

Caught up on a few episodes of my new favorite show–The Newsroom.

Native Foods leftovers. Ensalada Azteca salad+sweet potato fries and some black beans, sauerkraut and pomegranate seeds.

Native Foods leftovers. Ensalada Azteca salad+sweet potato fries and some black beans, sauerkraut and pomegranate seeds.

I was feeling the navy blue on Black Friday. Cardigan: American Eagle. Strapless checked peplum top: Abercrombie & Fitch (hand-me-down from my younger sister). Dark wash jeggings: American Eagle. Necklace: American Eagle.

I was feeling the navy blue on Black Friday. Cardigan: American Eagle. Strapless checked peplum top: Abercrombie & Fitch (hand-me-down from my younger sister). Dark wash jeggings: American Eagle. Necklace: American Eagle.

Pumpkin nog banana softserve. Made with pumpkin puree+Califia Farms almond milk nog+frozen bananas and topped with cinnamon and pecans.

Pumpkin nog banana softserve. Made with pumpkin puree+Califia Farms almond milk nog+frozen bananas and topped with cinnamon and pecans.

Desert-like field near my house.

Desert-like field near my house.

Thanksgiving snack plate in lieu of lunch. Date+romaine wraps, sweet potato chips, olives, homemade guac, Skinny Crisps.

Thanksgiving snack plate in lieu of lunch. Date+romaine wraps, sweet potato chips, olives, homemade guac, Skinny Crisps.

The cutest car ever, spotted on a walk through the neighborhood.

The cutest car ever, spotted on a walk through the neighborhood.

Parnsip mash, with olive oil, sea salt and garlic.

Parnsip mash, with olive oil, sea salt and garlic.

Maple orange shredded brussels sprout salad.

Maple orange shredded brussels sprout salad.

Sweet potato fritters coated in pumpkin seeds+pistachios.

Sweet potato fritters coated in pumpkin seeds+pistachios.

Raw caramel pecan pie topped with cacao sauce and more pecans and raisins.

Raw caramel pecan pie topped with cacao sauce and more pecans and raisins.

I have some exciting (well, for me) plans for my time post-Thanksgiving. It might seem a little cliché to be hyperfocused on clean eating after the holidays, but that isn’t what I’m intending my plan to be about. I’m going to be avoiding all added sugars for the next two to three weeks and trying to get back to eating more whole foods. I generally do pretty well with this, but I also sometimes buy some cleaner packaged foods that happen to have added sugars. Things like store-bought buckwheat rawnola or the Larabars with chocolate chips aren’t necessarily unhealthy, but all those added sugars do add up, and I know I feel my best when eating foods without added sugars. So what will I be eating the next few weeks? I’m not going to be drastically changing anything, just focusing more on fruits, veggies, nuts and nut butters (with nothing added), beans and lentils and some raw stevia-sweetened protein powder. I will not be avoiding stevia during this mini-challenge because I feel like it’s a healthier alternative to sugar and I don’t tend to go overboard with it, so it’ll be nice to still allow it in my diet in things like stevia chocolate chips, black coffee and homemade desserts. I don’t think this challenge is coming from a disordered place–I just want to be more mindful of what I’m eating because added sugars are in EVERYTHING, and even the sweeteners I feel comfortable with (maple syrup, coconut sugar and raw honey) are much better in small amounts. So hopefully this challenge will help me realize that I can live without added sugars in my life. And I will definitely keep you all up to date on how this goes for me!

Do you ever feel sad when the holidays are over? How do you feel about post-holiday eating plans?

Take Me Back

Thank you, so much, for the responses to my last post! I’ve had some honest and heartfelt posts in the past, mainly about my ED, but this post was hard for me to write because it brought up so many memories and feelings about the house I left a year ago, and that may never be the same again. Natural disasters are sadly something that everyone can relate to, but it’s great when communities can come together and rebuild. The best part of this is that the fire is now 55% contained as of Saturday night, and so many homes have been spared, as well as the lives of some animals caught in the fire who were saved by the incredible firefighters.

Today I want to talk about something more fun…namely, the mini-vacation I took last week! I call it a mini-vacation because it was just a trip into the mountains (about a 2 1/2 hour drive) and we were there for only 4 days, but it was a nice escape from real life for a few days and it kinda prepared me for our longer trip to visit the grandparents in August. I’m excited for that vacation, but also nervous. It’s the first time we’ve gone back since I’ve been vegan, and since my grandparents all live in Wisconsin, it’s definitely not the most veg-friendly environment. My mom’s being really accommodating with the trip and is promising a trip to Whole Foods (and possibly my first trip to a Trader Joes!) once we land so I’m hoping I can find plenty of vegan options and not stress out too much about eating and exercise.

Anyways, onto the vacation pics! I’m going to go wordless style on this and take you through the highlights of the trip in order. And…go!

Selfie on the way to Estes Park. Don't worry, I wasn't driving!

Selfie on the way to Estes Park. Don’t worry, I wasn’t driving!

Finally in Estes.

Finally in Estes.

Elk right outside our car! They're pretty normal around those parts.

Elk right outside our car! They’re pretty normal around those parts.

 

View of the mountains from the condo.

View of the mountains from the condo.

 

Excited to go to dinner and a movie (we saw The Internship).

Excited to go to dinner and a movie (we saw The Internship).

Late night Starbies after the movie.

Late night Starbies after the movie.

 

Poooool.

Poooool.

 

I got a little burned...

I got a little burned…

Winery with the parentals. Only a month and 10 days before I can partake ;)

Winery with the parentals. Only a month and 10 days before I can partake 😉

It's not everyday you see llamas on your way to dinner.

It’s not everyday you see llamas on your way to dinner.

Cute swing by Fall River.

Cute swing by Fall River.

View of the condos from below.

View of the condos from below.

Chillin' by Fall River.

Chillin’ by Fall River.

On Fern Lake Trail.

On Fern Lake Trail.

Big rocky cliffs on the Fern Lake trail.

Big rocky cliffs on the Fern Lake trail.

Seestas on the trail.

Seestas on the trail.

 

 

 

Big Thompson river.

Big Thompson river.

Snow on Trail Ridge Road...in June!

Snow on Trail Ridge Road…in June!

Um...wow!

Um…wow!

 

 

Beaver at Trail Ridge Road visitor center...not real!

Beaver at Trail Ridge Road visitor center…not real!

Awkward wolves at a gift shop in town. It's been a running joke in our family for a few years.

Awkward wolves at a gift shop in town. It’s been a running joke in our family for a few years.

Baja blackened tacos at Native FOods in Boulder on our way back home. New favorite vegan restaurant!

Baja blackened tacos at Native Foods in Boulder on our way back home. New favorite vegan restaurant!

Gluten free PB parfait at Native Foods. I was stuffed after eating half of this, and one taco!

Gluten free PB parfait at Native Foods. I was stuffed after eating half of this, and one taco!

 

Besides all that, we packed even more into 4 days, like tennis, bumper boats and mini golf, window shopping in town and making fun of  the local TV station’s funny commercials. My family’s been going to Estes Park every summer since I was 9 or 10 and I love it every time! Even though I might not be living with them next summer, I hope I can still go back…I miss Estes already!

Do you go on vacations to new destinations or old favorites? Any tips for veg-friendly long distance plane and car travel?