Best Discoveries This Year

Before I start this post, I want to take a moment to acknowledge the tragic shooting that occurred just a few days ago in Aurora, CO. It’s always hard to hear and read about these horribly sad events, but even more so when they happen in your own state, only about an hour’s drive away from where I live. Please keep all the victims and their families in your thoughts and prayers!

Now onto something lighter! Yes, I realize it’s not the end of the year yet–but it will be soon if the year keeps flying by like it has–but since my birthday is just around the corner, it kinda feels like a new year for me.

Anyways, I’ve made a lot of new purchases and discoveries since last July 27th so here are some of the best! They’re not all food related but knowing me, most of them are 😉

Whole Foods Hot/Cold Bars

The most recent edition, and one of my favorites so far!

Honestly, if I could, I would eat at Whole Foods once a week, it’s just that good! But $7 salad boxes just aren’t in my budget so I’ve only had them about 5 times over the past year. But each one is amazingly delicious, and I can always find something new. Oh, and I never stick with the boring spinach leaves and black olives…no, I load my boxes up with flavored tofu (they have the best stuff), cold veggie salads, fresh fruit and yummy grains. They never disappoint!

LabelBox (and Phonto)

I love all the colors!

Move over, Instagram, you’re old news! LabelBox and Phonto are the perfect way to jazz up your Instagram’d photos and if you’re as much of a font nerd as I am, you won’t be able to live without them. Plus they’re free, and who doesn’t like free?

Veganism

Who says vegan foods have to be boring and tasteless?

My decision to go vegan a little less than a year ago has been seriously life-changing. During my eating disordered days, I relied on low-cal, low-fat things too much because I thought they were ‘healthy’. Now as a vegan I’m eating mostly whole foods and minimally processed foods, with plenty of nuts, grains like quinoa and oats and tempeh, all things I never would have touched a few years ago. I feel healthier, happier and more vibrant. I feel okay treating myself to things like coconut milk ice cream and tons of guacamole because they have health benefits and make my life better. Not to mention, I’ve become more creative in the kitchen and ordering things at non-vegan restaurants. I am not 100% vegan, as I do enjoy gelato or froyo and honey on occasion, but I know I’m doing a good thing for the animals, the environment and myself and that’s why I continue to do it.

Pinterest

I still want this for my apartment!

I don’t go on this as much as I should (or could?) but I still love how inspirational it is. I pin a lot of fashion and decor stuff and when I’m done, I get some closet and apartment inspiration. Sure, some of it is unrealistic but it’s so fun!

Kale

Kale: a nutritious part of this complete dinner!

How did I not discover what’s become my favorite veggie until February? I first tried this superfood in kale chip form and was hooked. I didn’t love it raw at first but when I figured out you have to massage a dressing or sauce into it, I fell in love. It’s also really great crisped up in a dry skillet with salt, pepper and garlic. Basically it’s awesome no matter how you use it, and I love that I feel like a superhero when I eat it!

Zevia

My second-fave flavor so far. This root beer’s got a bite!

I’ve never been a big soda drinker, but I would always always always stick to diet versions. But all that fake sweetener isn’t the best and it gives me headaches. So I went soda-less for awhile, until I stumbled upon Zevia. I love stevia as a sweetener and thought why not. Yeah, $5 or 6 is kinda a lot for a 6-pack, but it’s worth it for a 0 calorie natural soda. The cream soda is the bomb, and I also love the cola and root beer. Still have yet to find the lime cola and strawberry but I’m on the hunt!

Bold Shorts

Dark grey and hot pink make a perfect outfit!

I’ve never been one to shy away from bright colors, but I wasn’t so sure about the neon shorts trend. Luckily I got over that quickly because I love my hot pink shorts! They’re fun and different while still being polished and pretty. I’m planning on investing in a few more pairs of bright shorts (and some bright jeggings) before the summer’s over!

Sweet Quinoa

I need to have this deliciousness from breakfast again soon!

Who knew quinoa could be tasty for dinner and breakfast? I was skeptical at first but after seeing some mouthwatering breakfast quinoa pictures on Instagram, I knew I needed to try it for myself. And now I’ve got a new breakfast obsession, along with fluffy homemade waffles and overnight oats. Give them a try if you haven’t already, they’re worth the weird stares you might get from people 😛

What’s one of your best discoveries from the past year? What’s your favorite veggie?

Style Phile: Apartment Design, Pinterest Style

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

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

Anthro has the best dishes.

Such a cool room divider.

The perfect closet for a girly-girl like me.

I love how bright and open this kitchen is.

Now I know my ABCs...

A seriously awesome light fixture.

A must-have for my future kitchen.

I love the purple, black and white combo.

Great room layout.

I like how the green pops against the white.

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

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

Such a pretty glass.

This looks like such a fun room!

Now this is my kinda bed.

Love the lime and aqua dishes.

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

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

Saturday Seven: Oh, Fudge!

Let me just say that I loved all your responses to my WIAW post–you guys are the best, seriously, so thanks! I’ve been getting some…erm, weird, creepy and downright mean comments in my spam box but seeing all the supportive and nice comments from you all has really helped me brush off the anonymous negativity.

Anyway, I’m spending another weekend on campus, this one filled with tons of studying and homework, but at least I have a weekend at home to look forward to a week from now! I thought I’d do yet another Saturday Seven post because they’re just fun so here we go!

1. You can make fudge in a dorm room

Oats topped with peanut flour paste and frozen PB fudge cubes.

I know I complain a lot about not having the best food living in a dorm, but honestly, I’ve been making do and it’s not that horrible. I actually eat pretty similarly here and at home, just minus the extra cooking appliances like an oven, stove and food processor. However, I think this is my first real recipe that I’ve ever created in my room–and it rocks! I made two variations and I really love both. So simple, so tasty…make it now!

Frozen PB Fudge (vegan)

1/3 cup unsweetened chocolate almond milk (I used Almond Breeze)

1 tbsp dark cocoa powder

1/2 tbsp peanut flour

sweetener, to taste (I used 2 packets of Truvia)

Stir all ingredients in a microwave-safe measuring cup or bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute; take out and stir til mostly mixed. Microwave for another 3o seconds and then pour into an ice cube tray and freeze for a few hours (makes 1 small tray of fudge cubes or half a tray if you have a bigger tray)

I was surprised how delicious these little fudgy cubes are. They’re a bit icy, but I don’t mind that. They’ve got a rich chocolate flavor from the combo of the chocolate almond milk and dark cocoa powder. And they’re a lot healthier than traditional fudge–low cal (about 40 for the entire batch!) and sugar-free (if you use a natural no-calorie sweetener like stevia or Truvia).

Frozen Vanilla PB Fudge (vegan)

1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (I used Pacific Naturals)

1/4 scoop vanilla protein powder (I used Soytein)

1 tbsp peanut flour 

sweetener, to taste

Stir all ingredients in a microwave-safe measuring cup or bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute; take out and stir til mostly mixed. Pour into an ice cube tray and freeze for a few hours (makes 1 small tray of fudge cubes or half a tray if you have a bigger tray). 

This combo is also super yummy and has about 8 grams of protein in the entire batch–not too shabby for ‘fudge’!

2. Snow is really pretty…as long as you don’t have to be out in it

The view from my room on Thursday night. Isn't it gorgeous out there?

I’ve lived most of my life in Colorado, so it’s safe to say I’ve been through my fair share of real winters. Almost 17, to be exact. Okay, okay, maybe they’re not as brutal as Midwestern or even Northeastern winters, but they can still be pretty rough. I used to love snow as a kid, because it meant sledding, hot cocoa and snow days. Now, it means cussing under my breath while trekking to class. Even last winter, when we had sub-zero temps (which never happen here!) my college was basically the only school in the state that didn’t close. Yeah, didn’t appreciate that. Anyway, this Thursday and Friday was supposed to be the mother of all winter storms. As far as I know, it snowed a ton in Denver and at my house, but not so much in my college town. It probably snowed 5 inches, which isn’t horrible, and the sidewalks were just a little slushy. But still, I hate having to be out in snow! Can it just be summer already?

3. I really love quick cardio circuits

Looks easy, but it's a really effective workout!

I am not the kind of girl who likes to hit the gym for a workout–I prefer fitting exercise into my day, like walking to classes (I walk for 30-60 minutes 5 days a week!), outdoor sports like tennis and biking or my personal favorite, shopping! What, it totally counts as cardio 😉 Because it’s winter, doing stuff outside is usually not an option, so I turn to cardio circuits I can do in my room. I love that they’re quick but they do give you a really good workout. I’m definitely sweating and my heart’s pumping after 15 minutes of these circuits. I typically do two different ones per day, as well as some yoga and walking to class. The one above is a new personal favorite, and I also love this free workouts app I have on my iPod that gives me a good full-body workout.

4. I’m obsessed with ordering food online

Still waiting impatiently for my kale chip order!

I ordered a Hugh Jass thing of peanut flour as soon as I got back from winter break (hey, I was running out!) and earlier this week I ordered some Natural Nacho Brad’s Raw Kale Chips. I’m really nervous that my order isn’t going through, since I got the confirmation email and it said that there’s a lot of demand for the chips at the moment…and then the other day, the charge was canceled on my credit card. I’m holding off on reordering for a few days so I don’t spend money that I don’t need to in case the shipping is just delayed. I can’t wait to get my hands on the kale though–I’ve heard good things about it!

5. I have 4 tests coming up in the next 2 weeks

So. True.

They’re not even midterms–I’ve only ever had two midterms in my year and a half in college, so I don’t know the awfulness that is midterm week. I’ve got a weather & climate test on Tuesday, a broadcast writing test on Valentine’s Day, an American environmental history essay exam on that Thursday, and a national parks history test the next day. Yikes, I hate having three tests in a week! It makes me think it’s finals week, which sadly it isn’t. Luckily, this semester I only have ONE final exam, so I guess it’s not too bad having so many tests back-to-back.

6. I don’t get Recipage

I just don't understand how it works!

I’ve seen a lot of bloggers using Recipage, and I think it looks really professional, so I set up an account and followed all the directions, but it didn’t create a Recipage on my blog! WTH? I don’t get what I did wrong, so for now, I’m still storing my recipes in a somewhat disorganized way on my Eats & More page. I really want to set up a Recipage at some point, so does anyone have any advice for me on how to make it work?

7. Naps are my new BFF

I can only hope to look this cute when I take a nap!

I don’t know what’s been up with me but lately, an afternoon nap has sounded so good to me. It’s not like I’m not sleeping enough at night–I get about 8 to 9 hours per night (I’m one of those people who needs that much to function) but I think it’s because my Tuesdays and Thursdays are crazy-busy. I have classes straight from 9:30-2 and by the time I get back, I just want to take an hour-long power nap. I’ve napped 3 times in the past week, and that’s just something I never do. But I don’t think it’s a bad thing right now since I’m getting used to having a crazier schedule, plus I feel so refreshed when I wake up.

Do you take naps? What do you think about snow?

Random Ramblings During Finals

Heeeeeeeeeeey all! What is up? I’m so glad the week is over–I’m ready to spend this weekend chilling at home before heading back up for a couple days of finals and what-not. I’ve already got one of of the way (yay!) with just 2 more left next week and a take-home one. I lucked out this time with finals for sure.

I basically have no brain cells left, and no motivation (thanks, school!) so my next few posts before break might be kinda sketchy. And by that, I mean pretty random. But random is good, and I hope you think it is too because that’s what I want to post!

A lot of people have shared their site stats in the past and I thought I’d jump on that bandwagon because I have some pretty hilarious search terms just within the past week or so. I’m not sure which one takes the cake for being the weirdest–I’ll let you decide that for yourselves!

  • Little girl leggings. Okay, you guys, you caught me. I do shop in the kids section (basically just Abercrombie Kids) sometimes…
  • Ultra nerd. You knew that already though.
  • Scrawny Christmas tree photos. Ummmm, what?????
  • Hummus myths. What, that it tastes awesome? ‘Cause newsflash, it actually does! That’s not a myth!
  • Good. Pooped out and ready for my weekend break haha. You? I feel ya. And thanks for asking.
  • Naked Hollister model. As yummy as that sounds, let’s keep it PG, ‘k?
  • Foodies love Medjool dates. Yes. Yes they do.
  • Why did I born. Obviously not to be an English major.
  • “Gun show” brides. I would actually really love to know what this is.

Yeah, okay, some of those were just too bizarre to even comprehend.I’m just gonna wrap up this quickie of a post with a few of my favorite fashion/beauty inspirations from Pinterest. But first, a little thank you to Abby of iHerb! She saw my mention of their great services on one of my posts and now she’s sending me a little package of some free stuff. Can’t wait to see what I get (and review it, of course!)

I want sparkly eyeshadow so bad!

My obsession with tights/boots continues with these cute patterned version.

A hair bow made out of...hair? Yes please.

These booties are so fierce!

I love the boots/leggings/long sweater trend for winter.

Who could pass up a Santa mani just in time for Christmas?

What is the weirdest search term you’ve ever had for your blog, or from the ones I shared? Anyone else a Pinterest addict?

WIAW: With a Side of Survey

Hiya guys! I can’t tell you how glad I am that I’m not the only one who seems to be stressed out around this time of year! For any of you currently in the same boat as me (finals, packing, etc.)–hang in there! We will make it through, and today is one day closer to freedom break.

I decided to interrupt my studying (ummmm who am I kidding, I haven’t started yet!) and bring you this week’s edition of WIAW, aka the best part-ay ever! I mean who wouldn’t want to party it up in the midst of finals and projects? I know I do so let’s get to it! This week’s version includes a fun little survey brought to you by Tessa at Amazing Asset.

1. Four TV Shows I Watch

  • The Office—OMG, so funny! I started watching this show religiously a couple of seasons ago and haven’t stopped since. It isn’t quite the same with Steve Carell (aka Michael Scott) around, but it’s still hilarious
  • What Not to Wear—probably my favorite show. Stacy and Clinton aren’t afraid to tell people that their style is horrendous, and I love seeing the before & after, and their shopping trips.
  • Saturday Night Live—okay, maybe this is my favorite show? This show makes me crack up every time, and I love watching it with my family. Looking forward to some hilarious fam time over winter break catching up on SNL. Seriously, we are so obsessed that we constantly quote the sketches.
  • The news—haha I watch the local news on a pretty much daily basis, whether I’m at home or at school. What can I say, I’m a broadcast journalism major and I pretty much have anchors who are my idols on the local news!

Breakfast of champions: (last) Clif Kids full moon brownie bar, spicy veggie sausage, gummy dinosaur vitamins, frozen pineapple/banana chunks.

2. Four Things I’m Passionate About

  • Healthy living. One positive thing that’s stemmed from my eating disorder is my passion for eating healthy. I am now vegetarian/semi-vegan and it just feels right for me. I also like to stay active in fun ways like playing tennis with my dad and sister, going for a long bike ride or a major shopping trip  😉
  • My faith. I don’t mention it a lot on here, but I have a growing relationship with Jesus Christ, and it really fuels everything I do. I’ve been  Christian my whole life but my faith has grown even more as I’ve struggled with things during the past few years.
  • Fashion. I really need to do another  Style Phile post on here soon, because I’m missing having a fashion outlet through blogging. I am not the kind of girl who goes to class in sweats or jeans and a t-shirt. That being said, I do think comfort and style can go together and that’s how I strive to dress.
  • Staying true to myself. Sometimes, yeah, I do feel out of place for not going out and partying every weekend (or ever…) but I remind myself that that’s just not who I am and I know personally that that’s not what I consider fun. I prefer hanging out with people on a closer basis and just doing low-key things and that’s perfectly okay.

Seems like a bizarre lunch, but I promise you it was delicious! 1/2 cup organic kettle corn (my new addiction), tablespoon peanut flour sauce, plain Greek yogurt mixed with cinnamon and Truvia.

3. Four Words/Phrases I Use A Lot

  • Like, especially when I’m nervous!
  • Definitely. It’s pretty much my go-to phrase.
  • Haha. That one is definitely overused in my text messaging!
  • That sucks! So creative, I know!

Apples and peanut flour sauce are a match made in my mouth 😉

4. Four Things I’ve Learned in the Past

  • Don’t take things too personally. Honestly, I am still so bad at this. I get emotional really easily and I read too much into people’s words and reactions. But really, most of the time, people don’t care that much about me, so I should just move on.
  • Comparisons suck. I am so done with comparing myself to others, it’s just completely pointless and has it ever made anyone feel better about themselves?
  • Making excuses all the time can really bite you in the butt. I make excuses a lot and while they sometimes work to my advantage, sometimes I just need to suck it up and do the work.
  • I am so glad I’m not majoring in a math-related field. Pretty self-explanatory, but I am so over math and science. I definitely wasn’t expecting to have to take some classes in it in college…

And this is why I've stopped taking pictures of my dinner! The sun sets basically at like 5 pm, so lighting at a quarter to 7 is awfulness. But it honestly was good--volume oats topped with peanut flour sauce (I'm on a roll with this, obvs) and organic raspberry jam, with a side of cinnamon-spiked butternut squash.

5. Four Places I’d Like to Go

  • Somewhere in the Caribbean. I love that whole tropical atmosphere, plus the water there is gorgeous!
  • Mall of America. Shopaholic over hurrrrr! Haha but seriously, this mall has everything (or so I’ve heard). I just need a ton of cash to spend first!
  • Australia. I’d actually love to go there this time of year (when it’s summer there) and spend Christmas on the beach or something. It would probably blow my mind.
  • A vegan/raw restaurant. They have these in a few places across the U.S. but they just sound so yummy whenever someone posts about going there. The food seems so creative and I’d love to try a raw recreation of some of my fave foods.

This banana looks suspiciously vibrant...with some almond peanut cashew butter and a couple of vegan dark chocolate chips.

6. Four Things I Did Yesterday (I’m writing this on Tuesday, so it’s what I did Monday)

  • Gave a presentation in my PR class. My group did pretty well I think, but I just can’t wait to be done with the project altogether. Just some issues I’m having with the group…
  • Did NOT slip on random ice patches in my new heeled boots. We had to dress professional for the presentation (I was basically the only one who really did) so I decided to wear my boots with tights and a dress. Luckily, I didn’t slip on the stupid random patches of ice all around campus.
  • Took an hour-long nap around 5:30. I try not to nap so late in the day, so it doesn’t wreck my sleep schedule, but I was honestly so exhausted yesterday that it felt good to just rest. I didn’t really sleep much, but it was still a nice break.
  • Continued to count down to Christmas break. Yeah, it’s down to only 8 days total, as of Wednesday!

And finally, for a pin of the day--how women see color vs. how men see color. So. True.

7. Four Things I Love About Winter

  • Starbucks holiday drinks and red cups. You could say I’m obsessed.
  • The holidays. Christmas and New Year’s, it doesn’t get any better than that!
  • Wearing tights and boots together. It’s one of my favorite outfit combos—sometimes I wear (different) tights and boots every day of the week!
  • How pretty snow is when it’s falling. Once it’s on the ground and frozen over so you slip every few seconds, not so much…

What is one thing you love about winter? Do you have a peanut flour obsession?