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?

New in Review: Nails & Noshes

Hey look, I didn’t totally give up on my new series! I’m going to try to get these up every other week so I hope y’all like them as much as I do!

This week features a couple nail-related beauty products as well as plenty of food items…

  • Veggie-Go’s (sweet potato pie)

2014-05-04 17.17.46

I’ve actually had these before but I never did a formal review on them. They’re anything but your basic fruit strip, because they include veggies (!) and have no added sugar. This flavor in particular tastes like a dessert, but it’s only got 2 grams of sugar, from the sweet potatoes and apples. They’re just fruit, veggies and spices — perfect if you’re like me and prefer your food to be as simple as possible.

Pros: extremely tasty, perfect for a quick 1/2 serving each of fruit & veggies

Cons: a little expensive for the size (~$1.25 per strip)

Where to buy: Whole Foods, their site

  • Sally Hansen Kwik Off Moisturizing Nail Polish Remover

2014-05-04 17.16.00

Has anyone else ever been intrigued by those little containers you dip your fingers in to get nail polish off? My friend had one and it worked magic, so I thought I’d buy one instead of the usual messy nail polish remover liquid. This stuff works like a charm, and it doesn’t smell all chemical-y or get all over the place. I will never buy acetone remover again!

Pros: inexpensive, easy to use, no lingering smell

Cons: honestly, none!

Where to Buy: Target, Sephora, drug stores (CVS and Walgreens probably have them)

  • Dr. in the Kitchen Flackers raw flax crackers

2014-05-04 17.19.15

Another cheat (I first started buying them like 2 years ago), but I started recently buying them more often now that the Whole Foods nearest me carries them. I’ve tried the dill, rosemary, sun dried tomato & basil and cinnamon & currants flavors (basically all of them but the savory flavor) and I love them all except the cinnamon and currants. That one gets a bit too chewy from the currants and the flavor is weirdly sour. But all the others are tasty, not too salty and have stellar nutritionals. 6-7 grams of fiber, raw, gluten free and 4-5 grams of protein per serving. Freakin’ delicious on a snack plate with some olives or raw cashew cheez.

Pros: really healthy, good flavors

Cons: a bit expensive, hard to find

Where to Buy: Whole Foods (not all carry them), natural foods stores, Amazon

  • Honest Fizz (root beer)

Y’all know Zevia has my heart. I mean, sure it costs a lot more than your typical diet soda but it’s so much better for you. If you drink soda, you really need to switch to Zevia.

But Honest Fizz is another great alternative that is a little cheaper. Currently, they only have 4 flavors but I’m hoping they’re successful so maybe they’ll add more. Fingers crossed they (or Zevia) make a watermelon soda. Obsessed. Anyways, the root beer is pretty spot on. I actually prefer the Zevia root beer only because it has a kick from the ginger, but the Honest Fizz was less filling (I don’t drink Zevias too often because I hate being filled up with soda, even if it’s zero calorie) which I like. And I think it would make a pretty good healthy root beer float!

Pros: cheaper than Zevia, less filling

Cons: not many flavor options

Where to Buy: Whole Foods, possibly Sprouts

  •  Broadway Nails imPress press-on manicure

2014-05-06 17.28.46

I’ve gotten into the habit of constantly having my nails painted. The problem is I hate constantly touching up and redoing my nails every few days after they inevitably chip. Enter the fake nails! This is my first time using them, and I can honestly say I am imPressed 😉

These go on really quickly and easily. You press them down for a few minutes and after an hour they’re completely good to go. My nails were fairly short at the time I applied these, so even the ‘short’ length had to be trimmed down a bit, but they look natural. Best of all, no chipping!

Pros: easier than nail polish, look natural

Cons: more expensive per use than nail polish, only get 1-2 uses out of each pack

Where to Buy: Target, CVS, Walgreens

  • Living Intentions superfood cereal (hemp & greens)

2014-05-04 17.18.15

I first discovered this granola at the Whole Foods in my college town. They started stocking it in the bulk bins last spring and once I saw it, I had to give it a try. Of course, being a sprouted, superfood-y type thing, it’s expensive. About $12 per pound! But if you only get a little bit at a time like I do, it’s a lot less expensive. Some stores only sell it prepackaged so you can’t buy only what you need, but if your Whole Foods sells it in the bulk area, BUY IT!

I’ve tried a few of the flavors, but my favorite by far is the hemp & greens. This one isn’t sweetened with agave like some of the others, which I like. It’s got a bit of a ‘green’ flavor from the added spirulina, chlorella, spinach, alfalfa and dandelion — what other cereal can boast those ingredients? It’s grain free (made from buckwheat), low sugar, high protein…basically the healthiest granola ever. It’s perfectly crunchy and just a bit sweet and pairs well with almond milk. I also love it as a topping for my protein puddings.

Pros: one of the healthiest cereals ever, great ingredients

Cons: expensive, I love it so much I keep buying it 😉

Where to Buy: Whole Foods, Sprouts, Nuts.com

What new products have you tried lately? 

Meal Prep Monday

Remember my ‘vegan on a budget’ posts from last year and earlier this year? I was planning on bringing them back once school started back up in the fall but it’s been…3 months since school started and I haven’t done one of those posts yet. Oops. Anyways, it’s a little late to do them again now since I only have 4 more weeks left, including finals! Crazy talk.

I’ve still been keeping up with my grocery budgeting and meal prepping, though, and I wanted to showcase a little of that, especially because I did a LOT of it this weekend. I managed to spend under $70 total for the week at 3 different grocery stores, which is way better than I was doing last semester, and I’ve been loving my long weekends (I only have classes Monday through Thursday, so 3 days weekends every week for this girl…enjoying them while they last!) because they give me plenty of time to go shopping and get my food prep done for the week. Taking an almost full course load means that I don’t have a ton of time during the week to do this, so it’s a blessing to have 3 days to catch up on stuff, including prepping my meals.

Anyways, here’s what I’ve been up to in the kitchen lately!

Groceries

Sprouts and Natural Grocers mini-haul.

Sprouts and Natural Grocers mini-haul.

I wasn’t planning on going to Sprouts this weekend, but when my friend said she needed to swing by there for a few things, I decided to tag along. I ended up getting some cheap organic Pink Lady apples (my favorite kind), Ataulfo mangoes (also my favorite) and Medjool dates. All for under $10. Afterwards I stopped at Natural Grocers, mostly because they’re the only store in my area that carries black bean pasta, which is a new high-protein staple for me. Unfortunately, they were all out but I still ended up buying a few things I needed wanted, like my favorite Hail Merry miracle tart, xylitol-sweetened gum, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seed butter–for under $15.

Whole Foods produce...

Whole Foods produce…

...and pantry staples.

…and pantry staples.

Whole Foods is a given, but luckily it hasn’t been a budget breaker lately. I’ve been able to spend under $50 there consistently if I also shop at another store, and I only spend around $60 if that’s the only place I shop for the week. I can’t complain! This week I bought two more expensive items (the stevia-sweetened chocolate chips and Skinnycrisps) but the chocolate chips were on sale and the Skinnycrisps I hadn’t had in months and I wanted to bring them home to have over Thanksgiving break. I was planning on buying Tessemae’s BBQ sauce (sweetened only with dates!) so I could make this ‘pulled’ BBQ cauliflower but they were all out so I just had to nix that recipe for this week. As usual, I got a ton of produce (bananas, pomegranates and persimmons on sale, romaine hearts, lime, cilantro, Hannah yams) and some other things I needed for recipes like organic peanuts from the bulk section (on sale!), raisins and yeast. And of course, a few Larabars for quick snacks during the week. This was all just under $45, score!

Meals

Some of these things I made before I did my grocery shopping, so I was kinda using up some things and getting creative. I ran out of nut butter on Wednesday I think so that was fun trying to find other fat sources in my pantry. It was nice to finally restock and have more fruit and snack-y stuff again.

Raw protein bowl for breakfast on Saturday. Garden of Life RAW Marley coffee protein powder+coconut flour+almond milk base, topped with homemade raw coconut 'bacon', pomegranate seeds and a little chia ginger rawnola.

Raw protein bowl for breakfast on Saturday. Garden of Life RAW Marley coffee protein powder+coconut flour+almond milk base, topped with homemade raw coconut ‘bacon’, pomegranate seeds and a little chia ginger rawnola.

I already plowed through one of the Garden of Life protein powder tubs my dad bought me late last month and I’m onto the second. I definitely recommend this brand, especially their new coffee flavor (it’s only available at Whole Foods right now, though)–decent consistency, especially mixed with coconut flour, and great stats for a raw protein powder.

Lettuce wraps...for breakfast?

Lettuce wraps…for breakfast?

This was another recent breakfast, when I ran out of bananas so I couldn’t have my usual banana ‘softserve’, which is what I have like 90% of the time. Instead, I took some romaine hearts and filled them with dates, raisins and the last of my PB. The date/lettuce combo is seriously killer! I know it sounds weird, but it’s really good. I also had some Garden of Life protein powder mixed with almond milk on the side.

Salad with romaine, leftover black bean spaghetti, pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds and sauerkraut.

Salad with romaine, leftover black bean spaghetti, pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds and sauerkraut.

Random black bean and kelp noodle bowl with cauliflower, sauerkraut and homemade pumpkin curry sauce.

Random black bean and kelp noodle bowl with cauliflower, sauerkraut and homemade pumpkin curry sauce.

Before my grocery trips this weekend, my lunches were getting pretty random. I was basically throwing together some leftovers, like the black bean noodles and pumpkin curry sauce, with some add-ins like pomegranate seeds and sauerkraut. These lunches were actually really tasty and filling–I just love the sweet and salty combos!

Oh She Glows' Thai veggie burger on top of spinach, topped with sunflower seed butter+aminos, peanuts, cilantro and mango. Side of roasted cauliflower.

Oh She Glows’ Thai sweet potato veggie burger on top of spinach, topped with sunflower seed butter+coconut aminos, peanuts, cilantro and mango. Side of roasted cauliflower.

Finally a more put-together meal! This was my take on Angela’s Thai-style veggie burger. I made a few changes to it though–I nixed the oats in favor of almond flour to make it grain free, I didn’t really measure anything, I only added in the spices/veggies that I had on hand like curry powder and cilantro and I topped mine with a sunflower seed butter sauce. These were pretty crumbly, but the flavor was spot-on and definitely the best homemade veggie burger I’ve ever had! I’m looking forward to leftovers all week..

Pomegranate seeds are well worth the work and the mess.

Pomegranate seeds are well worth the work and the mess.

Sometimes simple desserts are the best. Like these stevia-sweetened chocolate fruit & nut clusters.

Sometimes simple desserts are the best. Like these stevia-sweetened chocolate fruit & nut clusters.

As for the rest of meal prep, I cut up and stored the 2 organic pomegranates I scored at Whole Foods for just $2.50 (they were on sale 4 for $5)–always messy work but I’m obsessed with pomegranates so it’s all good–made another batch of homemade sweet potato fries out of one of the Hannah yams I bought, made some more PB&J bites and some healthy ‘rice krispies’ (cacao brown rice cereal made with coconut sugar+sunflower seed butter+1 tbsp maple syrup+1 scoop protein powder+some almond milk made into bars) to use up some brown rice cereal I had and I also made the chocolate-covered fruit and nut clusters above. It’s so simple it doesn’t even really need a recipe, and I have no idea where I came up with it, but it’s basically raw mixed nuts (mine were from Whole Foods) and raisins topped with the Lily’s stevia-sweetened dark chocolate chips and set in the freezer to harden. I used the stevia chocolate so these would be sugar free, but feel free to use whatever dark chocolate you have on hand. These are really good, and they’d be the perfect simple holiday dessert, maybe made more festive with dried cranberries instead of raisins and peppermint-flavored dark chocolate?

Do you like to do meal prep on the weekends? What are some of your recent favorite food finds?

.

 

Favorites Lately

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you all had a fabulous weekend. Mine was great–I spent it at home with the fam, and after not having been home in a few weeks, it was nice to be back again. While there, I got my hair done, saw my sister in her latest production, watched this weekend’s SNL (a lot funnier than I thought it would be), made a little Whole Foods trip, carved a pumpkin and watched some classic Disney Halloween cartoons. It was the perfect weekend, and the weather was unreal–sunny and in the 60s. Perfection.

I wanted to start off the week with a fun little post…and what could be more fun than sharing some of my recent favorites, from food to fashion and beyond.

I love being a brunette!

I love being a brunette!

So when I said I got my hair done…I really meant it! I’ve been planning on changing my hair color for awhile, mostly because I’ll be starting the job hunt soon and I needed a more professional/mature look. I decided to go back to a more natural hair color for me, and I absolutely love how my hair turned out. It’s a big change for me after getting full blonde highlights throughout my time at college, but I’m really embracing the change!

What American Accent Do You Have?

My dad and I are obsessed with dialects, and this quiz he showed me was super interesting. It’s a really quick quiz, but it’s fairly accurate. It told me I have a “Midland” accent, which basically means I have no accent. I’m not from the “Midland” (which they say is Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri–but I’ve always heard it’s more like Nebraska and Kansas) but apparently it means I have a good voice for TV which is exactly what I need!

I've been wishing for this forever!

I’ve been wishing for this forever!

A few weeks ago, I was looking for my usual favorite vegan chocolate chip brand, Enjoy Life, at Whole Foods when I stumbled upon this gem. Yep, stevia-sweetened chocolate chips exist! I was excited that these were vegan too because the rest of the Lily’s dark chocolate line has milk added in the bars. The price tag was a bit steep ($7 vs. $4-ish for Enjoy Life) but I bit the bullet and decided to try them. They’re REALLY good–a little more bitter than Enjoy Life chips, but just the right amount of sweetness and I love that they’re sugar free. These won’t be a regular purchase because of the price, but I will definitely choose them over any other chocolate chip most of the time.

So fierce.

So fierce.

If I had to name a favorite shoe brand, it’d have to be ALDO (wellllll, maybe Sperry’s too). I only own 2 pairs of their shoes, but I think they’re very well-made, reasonably affordable and cute to boot (see what I did there?) I actually own a similar style of booties to these from ALDO (but mine are grey corduroy with brown leather detailing) but I can’t resist how awesome these ones are. Definitely going on my Christmas wishlist–hey, I need black booties anyway!

Vegan comfort food at its healthiest.

Vegan comfort food at its healthiest.

When I saw this recipe for butternut squash pasta, I had no idea I’d be diving into a new obsession. Seriously. I’ve made the sauce twice and I’ve been so sad when it’s run out. This stuff is incredible, sweet and spicy, creamy and comforting but in a totally healthy way. I’ve served it with kelp noodles and hemp seeds, as a spread for socca, and even just eaten straight off the spoon cold. I made some changes to the recipe to make it my own and I hope to share it with guys soon. It’s a real keeper.

I've been wanting a cute capelet for forever...

I’ve been wanting a cute capelet for forever…

I’m glad the capelet trend is still going strong…I still need to get my hands on one for this winter! I think they’re so cute and versatile. I haven’t seen any in stores around me so this may be a Christmas wishlist item or a future online order. I really like this one, but I also love the houndstooth/plaid patterned ones as well.

What are some of your favorites?

“But Where Do You Get Your Protein?” (Garden of Life Review)

If you are or have ever been a plant-based eater, you’ll know that the protein question is all too common…and annoying! Many omnivores believe that the only sources of protein are found in animals, and vegans especially are scrutinized for the presumed lack of protein in their diet. My parents, though both omnis, are luckily very open to my veganism (they’ve even tried and loved some vegan dishes) and don’t question my protein content, but I know that I’ve been making more of a conscious effort over the past year to increase my protein consumption without turning to animal-based sources.

When I first started AlmostVegGirlie, I was mostly vegetarian but had never heard of tempeh or peanut flour. As I transitioned into a vegan diet, I eschewed shrimp and Greek yogurt, only to find myself lacking in the protein department. A year ago, I was only getting about 15% of my calories from protein on a daily basis–I know some sources say you only need roughly 10-20% from protein, but I wasn’t feeling as energetic as I knew I could be. So I started incorporating more protein sources: sprouted tofu, nutritional yeast (2 tbsp has 8 grams of protein!), nuts/seeds, tempeh, peanut flour and plant-based protein powders all entered my rotation of food within the last year.

One of my favorite (secret) sources of protein--a 1 ounce serving has 9 grams of protein!

One of my favorite (secret) sources of protein–a 1 ounce serving has 9 grams of protein!

Now, I try to include a source of protein with every meal and snack, and I’m getting between 25 and 30% of my calories from protein–what a difference! I feel like I’m benefiting more from my workouts and I tend to feel less hungry when I get enough protein (though increasing my healthy fats in the last few months has helped too). I’m strongly considering starting a strength training routine soon and I know that having more protein will be beneficial for that.

So what does all this protein talk have to do with a review? Well, about a month ago the lovely people at Garden of Life sent me some samples to review. I’ve mentioned my love of their protein powders before and I’m so glad I discovered them because they’re my favorite plant-based protein powder.

What I love about Garden of Life is that their protein powders are made from sprouted protein sources including quinoa, lentil, flax and chia seeds (instead of the usual soy-based powders), they’re sweetened only with stevia and they are a source of raw probiotics from chlorella. But the best part is, they don’t taste plant-y at all! The flavors are true to life and not overpowered by sweetness.

I was sent the RAW vanilla and RAW chocolate flavors to try. I had bought and tried the chocolate before myself so I knew I’d love it but it was nice that they sent individual serving size packets which are perfect for taking on-the-go. I had never tried the vanilla before but I was excited to see if it was better than other vanilla protein powders I’d tried. Usually, vanilla powders are hit or miss–some are delicious and not too sweet but others just taste fake. Garden of Life’s vanilla was very clean and a little bit ‘green’ tasting but I liked it. The consistency was great for making protein frosting and it works well in baked goods.

Chocolate peppermint buckwheat waffle with Garden of Life RAW chocolate protein frosting.

Chocolate peppermint buckwheat waffle with Garden of Life RAW chocolate protein frosting.

Overall, I would definitely recommend Garden of Life RAW protein powders. They’re well-priced (you can get them for $28 on iHerb, $25 on Amazon and Whole Foods has them for about $30 but they usually have a $5 off coupon for them in their monthly flyer), taste great, are made from plant-based clean ingredients and have great stats (90 calories, 17 grams of protein and 0 grams of sugar per scoop). I would recommend any of the flavors, but if you have a Whole Foods near you, be sure to check out the store’s exclusive vanilla chai flavor–it’s my favorite!

Disclaimer: I was given this product to review by Garden of Life. All opinions are my own. 

Have you ever tried Garden of Life protein powder? Do you prefer chocolate, vanilla or other flavors of protein powder? 

Saturday Seven: Good Things Come in Threes

Hi everyone! So here we are again at the end of another week…and it’s almost halfway through April! I feel like I’ve said this a million times before, but time is really flying by! It’s almost kinda scary, considering how much stuff I still have to finish before I can say adios to this semester. Oh well, that’s pretty much the status quo for the end of any semester.

I haven’t done a Saturday Seven in…um, 2 months?! Yeah, let’s fix that right now!

1. The countdown is SO on!

I'm hoping this doesn't happen (photo from here).

As the title of this post suggests, there are only 3 weeks left in my semester. Technically, there are 4, but I only have one real final (the rest are papers or projects, which I kinda prefer) so I’m planning on peacing out the weekend before finals and just popping back up here on that Thursday to take that final. This is the first time I’ve ever had only one final in my college career so I am definitely going to appreciate it! Plus going home a few days early is always a plus.

2. I have a shopping addiction…

Obviously I suck at being creative!

Online shopping, that is. It’s where I get all these new-to-me food products that I never seen in stores or that are a little too expensive when I do see them. The latest purchases are from Amazon, where I got some Vega vanilla almondilla shake and go protein powder, xanthan gum and liquid vanilla stevia, all for under $40 and free shipping! I’m really excited to try the Vega powder because I’ve been on the hunt for some good, fairly inexpensive vegan protein powder that is free of soy protein, and this fits the bill! The xanthan gum is something I’ve been wanting for awhile, after seeing everyone post amazing-looking, super thick smoothies. And the stevia I’ve had before, but now it’s in a bigger bottle so I’ll get to use it more.

3. I’m actually being creative with my hair

I'm lovin' the side ponytail lately!

I almost never, I repeat NEVER put my hair up. But three times in the past week, I’ve put it in a side ponytail. Who am I? Twice this last week, it was curly (and in a side pony one of those days), then it was wavy for two days and finally straight for two days (once as a side pony). It’s actually been fun switching up my hairstyles, because I used to only have it wavy or straight, and down. I’m going to experiment with a side braid next.

4. It’s supposed to SNOW this weekend

I'm not looking forward to this again!

I already know that Colorado is a bizarre state, after living here for 17 years of my life. But this unusually warm spring has thrown me for a loop, and now I’m expecting it to continue to stay warm until October. Yeah, too bad it’s still April, one of the snowiest months here. We don’t get spring showers, we get spring blizzards. Luckily they are usually short-lived, and warmer temps return the next day, but snow is still no fun.

5. I’m becoming a Larabar lover

My second-ever Larabar...almost as good as the first.

I used to say I wasn’t a fan of Larabars–not sure why, as I’d never tried them before a couple of weeks ago. But I actually do love ’em…a lot! So far, I’ve tried the cappuccino (mmmm!) and the chocolate chip brownie, which reminded me of a chocolate brownie Pure bar, except with the addition of fair trade chocolate chips. It was good, but I think I’d stick with the Pure bar version in the future, since it has more protein. That’s my only complaint–most Larabar flavors have barely any protein. But I think some of the more unique flavors might be worth the lack of protein, and a few actually do have 5-7 grams, so it’s not too big of an issue. I just love how simple they are, yet really tasty!

6. I’m really missing the food at home

One of my favorite lunches over spring break: curried sweet potato pinto burger, kale chips, fresh mango.

Yeah, dorm room food isn’t cutting it anymore. Every time I go home for the weekend, I remember how much I love being able to cook for myself. And no, the microwave and blender don’t count. This is another big reason why I’m so ready for it to be summer–I can finally cook again. Plus I love summery foods, like berries, asparagus (okay, this is more springy but whatevs) and grilled veggie burgers so that makes cooking even more exciting.

7. I’m all ready for next semester

Registering for classes is always really stressful, but it wasn't too awful this time around.

Next semester is going to be SO different than my past 4 semesters have been. Mostly because I’ll be living off-campus for the first time, and I’ll be taking the bus everyday to classes. So I’ve gotta learn the bus routes and schedules. I also tried to schedule my classes in a way that would either give me big breaks (so I can catch a bus back to my apartment) or really small breaks so I can stay on campus in between them. I’ll definitely have to do more meal planning, even more than I already do with my current schedule, but I’m excited for a change. I think I’ll feel even more independent than I currently do.

Do you like to change up your hairstyles? What’s your favorite or least favorite Larabar flavor?

Spring Cravings

Hi girls! Are you all pumped that it’s finally the weekend? I actually can’t believe how quickly this week flew by for me, no complaints here though. I’ve only got 6 more weeks of classes left til it’s officially my summer and with this amazing weather (it’s supposed to be 80 degrees by Monday!), I almost feel like it already is summer. Oh well, it’ll come around soon enough. For now, I’m embracing spring and all the things it has me craving, from fashion to food to beauty.

This is going on my birthday wishlist for sure!

I mentioned in my last post how much I love designer bags, specifically Coach purses. I haven’t browsed their website in quite a while, so when I checked back in, I immediately fell in love with quite a few of their new spring offerings. But I really love this tote, it’s just so spring-y and makes me happy. Too bad it’s almost $300…I’ll just wait til it goes on eBay for much less money like I did with all my other purses.

I realize this looks kinda gross, but it's so good!

I’ve been making more of an effort lately to get out of food ruts. I’m not sure why, maybe because I’ve had to go more than a week without peanut flour, aka my obsession and major source of protein, or maybe because the warm weather has me wanting different flavors, but either way, it’s been a good adventure. I threw together this wrap on a whim the other night and I was pleasantly surprised at how amazing it turned out. I mashed some pinto beans with a little nooch (it’s definitely growing on me), spread a brown rice tortilla with a dollop of avocado hummus (my current fave) and threw some spinach in there with the beans. Ummmm yeah, so it sounds really weird, but it’s actually delicious, trust me. And simple too, which I love.

Repeat picture, but I haven't worn the shorts yet so I don't have a pic of them on me.

Anyone else into the colored shorts trend? Yes, it seems a little weird, but I really love it! In fact, one of my purchases of spring break was a pair of bright pink twill shorts from Abercrombie & Fitch. Pink is my favorite color, and I just thought these were a fun shade. I could have bought the light pink pair, but I was feeling bold. Go big or go home, right? Luckily, I have plenty of things to pair with these new shorts and I’m excited to wear them.  Hopefully, these will not be my last bold-colored pair of shorts; I’m really wanting a pair of orange twill ones from Hollister or maybe their turquoise dyed denim ones.

Self-tanner with sunscreen built in? Sign me up!

Here’s a secret–I use self-tanning lotion. I’m a fairly pale girl naturally but I like to boost my color in a safe way during the spring and summer. I will admit that I do lay out during the summer to get a real tan, and I know it isn’t the safest, but I do apply sunscreen. My go-to tanning product is Jergen’s Natural Glow because it’s easy to apply and isn’t streaky. Now they have tanning lotion with sunscreen built in, which I think is really smart. You can get a faux tan while also keeping your skin safe. Win win!

Lemonade sweetened with stevia--what a concept!

When I was younger, I used to really love lemonade. When I became more health-conscious, I switched over to Crystal Light lemonade packets, which were decent and came in a lot of varieties, but let’s face it, they aren’t the healthiest because of their artificial sweeteners. While on one of my rare trips to the dining hall store near me to buy some gum, I happened to spot this zero calorie lemonade. I assumed it probably had aspartame in it and was going to pass on it when I noticed that it’s actually sweetened with stevia. A healthy no-calorie lemonade? Yes please! I bought it and tried it out–it has kind of a weird lime-y aftertaste, but it’s actually pretty decent. I’m still on the hunt for single cans of Zevia though–I haven’t had a diet soda or soda of any kind in a couple of years because they aren’t the best for you, but I’d be down for trying a stevia-sweetened soda. My Whole Foods has 6 packs of Zevia, but I don’t want to drop $4 or 5 on it in case I don’t love it.

Friday's outfit: navy cardi (AE), floral square scarf (AE), light grey tank (A&F), denim shorts (A&F Kids).

I really love square scarves! I only have two right now, but I think they’re more versatile and easier to wear than traditional long scarves. American Eagle is my favorite place to buy scarves, and it’s actually where I bought both of mine. Right now, they don’t have any square scarves, but they have quite a few really cute loop scarves, which I might end up buying. I love wearing necklaces, but scarves are a good way to mix it up.

What are you ‘craving’ right now? Have you eaten anything weird but good lately?