My First Resolutions

Happy New Year! It feels so weird that the holidays are already over, and even weirder that I won’t be heading back to school in a couple of weeks, so I’m not really getting back into any sort of routine. I really want to enjoy the time I have off though, because even though I’m beyond excited to get my first real job, I know I won’t have much free time once I start. So I’m excited to have some down time at home…but I’m hoping it doesn’t last more than a few months!

I’m not one to make resolutions. I do like to set goals for myself, but they’re rarely something I put into words. I really want to set some goals for myself this year, because my life will be changing a LOT, and I want to set some clear resolutions for myself. I’m not saying I’ll be perfect at all of these goals, but having them written down keeps me accountable to them, and I think choosing more realistic goals will help me achieve them.

1. Apply to at least 3 jobs per week. Ideally, I’d like to apply to one (on average) each week day, so 5 per week. But if I get at least 3 applications done, I’ll be happy.

2. Drink more water! Having a reusable water bottle handy in the fridge has helped me drink more water over the past 6 months, but I would like to go through at least 2 full water bottles each day. That’s 2 pints of water, and I think that’s a doable goal.

3. Eat more raw foods. This is a little harder to do in the winter months, when fresh produce isn’t as good and I want warming foods more often. But I know I feel my best when my diet is at least 50% raw, so I’m planning on incorporating at least one big salad per day (I usually do this anyway), fresh fruit at every meal and trying my hand at sprouting beans/grains.

I will definitely keep eating banana softserve for breakfast as often as possible.

I will definitely keep eating banana softserve for breakfast as often as possible.

4. Take control of my health. I mentioned in this post that I haven’t had my period in now (almost) 8 months. Obviously, that isn’t healthy and I know I need to see my doctor about this issue. I think there are some other underlying issues, since I’m dealing with acne and I’m not as lean as I think I should be for how clean I eat and how much I exercise. On that last topic, I really think I need to change my routine drastically–I don’t incorporate rest days as much as I should (I take one once or twice a month on average, and they’re very hard for me to take mentally), I have some digestive problems (even after cutting out most gluten) and I’m not sure I’m eating enough for my workouts. I will definitely discuss these issues with my doctor and hopefully I can get an answer as to why my body isn’t functioning the way it should.

5. Do something out of my comfort zone. I tend to be kinda cautious and not totally adventurous, but I’m really considering doing something that scares me, like cutting my hair shorter or telling somebody I love them or going skydiving or something. Okay, probably not that last one, but I need to challenge myself in some way. I think that maybe if I end up moving out of state for my first job, it’ll be a big step out of my comfort zone since I’ve never lived farther than 2 hours away from my family. We’ll see what happens with this one!

6. Stop comparing myself to other people. This is one of my biggest bad habits. I constantly compare my body, my workouts, my lifestyle choices, my success to other people’s and all it does is make me miserable. I need to take more pride in myself, and realize that there’s no point in comparing myself to other people because I’m unique and I need to respect that.

I can see more selfies in my future as a way to reassure myself that I'm awesome just the way I am!

I can see more selfies in my future as a way to reassure myself that I’m awesome just the way I am!

Do you make resolutions or goals? What are some of yours for 2014?

Happiness

What is happiness? I think it means different things for everyone, but there are some universal things that make most of us happy in some way or another. With that, I’m sharing a fun little list Emily posted the other day…feel free to repost with your own answers!

8 Things Every Happy Woman Should Have 

  • A go-to drink: For me, it’s sangrias (love the white wine versions especially), cider on the rocks (I had a really good one a few weeks ago) and homemade margs. And for daily drinks, water always.
  • A go-to karaoke song: Anything Lady Gaga. Her songs just pump me up like no other.
  • A uniform: colored skinny jeans (especially burgundy), faux leather jacket, riding boots, statement necklace or loop scarf
  • A hair stylist they love: I’ve switched stylists a lot over the years, so I’m going to change this one to hair style. I love my hair in big curls with full bangs.
  • An exercise routine: At home workouts 7 days per week, with some walking thrown in as well.
  • A hobby: Grocery/clothes shopping, blogging, yoga, cooking.
  • A best friend: my sister, always and forever. And at the moment, a really close friend I’ve made through working together and having classes together. I’m going to miss her a LOT when I graduate but we’re hoping someday we end up at the same TV station!
  • A healthy sense of self: I feel like I’ve really grown a lot in the past year. Maybe it’s partly because I’m almost a college grad (scary!) but I’ve been maturing and becoming more independent and focusing less on things I used to freak out about. I can’t say I don’t worry about things anymore, but I’m trying to let life happen and just being okay with whatever comes my way. And I’m excited for the future.
Selfies make me feel good, too #noshame.

Selfies make me feel good, too #noshame.

What makes YOU happy? 

Currently: August

Thanks for all the birthday wishes! You really know how to make a girl feel special 😀

I’m not sure when (or if) I’ll get back to a regular posting schedule with a vacation coming up and settling back in at scchool but for now, enjoy this little survey I always enjoy doing.

Current Book: I’m loving my new “Going Raw” cookbook. I like that it’s not just recipes (and delicious-looking ones at that) but it also came with a tutorial DVD and has tips for implementing raw foods into your lifestyle. I basically want to make everything in the book!

That burger on the cover looks unreal.

That burger on the cover looks unreal.

Current Music: I’m loving the new Grouplove song “Ways To Go” and “Hurricane” by MS MR. Alt Nation on Sirius XM is my all-time favorite radio station.

 

Current Guilty Pleasure: Phoney Baloney’s coconut bacon. Gah, I need to stop devouring this stuff–I only bought a small bag of it and the stores around me don’t sell it yet! Sooooo addicting, and awesome ingredients list.

Current Nail Color: Mint Sprint by Sally Hansen.

This goes with almost everything.

This goes with almost everything.

Current Drink: Water all day errryday in my VS PINK giant water bottle. It makes drinking water that much easier. Also, coconut water iced coffees.

Current Food: Salads at least 1X per day, protein banana softserve (though not as much anymore), protein fruit ‘cereal’ (Sunwarrior+almond milk+fruit+other toppings in a bowl), Larabars, ice cold watermelon.

These veggies aren't for eating but they sure are cute! An adorable recent IKEA find.

These veggies aren’t for eating but they sure are cute! An adorable recent IKEA find.

Current TV Show: I’m not watching much right now, but I like that new Hollywood Game Night show on NBC. I like seeing celebs in real life!

Current Wishlist: Some clothes I can transition into fall (particularly a hi-lo dress), more cute oxfords (spotted the cutest pair at a little boutique the other day!), a new planner for the school year…and motivation to get through this last semester. Senioritis is hitting me hard!

How cute is this one!

How cute is this one!

Current Needs: The need to pack! Seriously, I actually like packing but I always procrastinate. I can’t even think about packing up stuff again for school in 2 weeks…I just need to pack for vacation first!

Current Triumphs: Finishing up my weather internship with a bang. Last summer’s internship was a bit of a letdown but this summer’s was an amazing learning experience and I got to work in a great environment with awesome people. I’m going to miss that place a lot, but I’m thankful for the experience I got there. Annnnnnd, I may end up posting some of my work from there at some point on here, who knows!

Current Bane of Existence: School coming up. I’m sorta looking forward to it, but after 16 years of school, I am beyond ready to just get my diploma and move on to the real world. I loved college but at this point, I’m so done.

Current Indulgence: The vegan carrot cake ice cream I enjoyed the other day. Totally fine with having ice cream right after a delicious salad, and it was really good ice cream. It was like two of my favorite desserts (carrot cake+vegan ice cream) in one.

Ugh so good.

Ugh so good.

Current Blessing: Being able to see my extended family again. We haven’t been back to see most of the fam in 4 years and it’s good timing now because one of my grandpas is not doing so well. Hopefully our visit can lift his spirits and help him feel better. Not to mention, it’ll be great to get away for a week and enjoy a different state!

Current Outfit: Strapless blue-checked corset-style top from Abercrombie & Fitch, navy blue twill shorts from Hollister, jewelry from American Eagle.

It's getting hot again (wooo!)

It’s getting hot again (wooo!)

Current Excitement: Vacation…and college graduation in T-minus 5 months!

Answer any of the above! 

An Unconventional Christmas

Hey there 😀 Hope you all had a very lovely Christmas (if you celebrate)! As usual, it went by wayyyyy too fast but at least there’s still New Years and post-Christmas shopping to look forward to.

You might be wondering why I titled this post ‘An Unconventional Christmas’. While it was definitely enjoyable and memorable, there were a few unexpected things that happened, some good and some bad. Let me explain…

The huge, beautiful Christmas tree at church!

The huge, beautiful Christmas tree at church!

It all started out on the morning of Christmas Eve. I woke up feeling out of it, sick and nauseated. Not the best way to start any day, but especially not Christmas Eve. I hoped it would pass but it didn’t. I spent most of the morning trying to fall asleep so I wouldn’t have to focus on feeling sick. My mom was prepping food downstairs and literally every smell made my stomach churn, even the smell of fresh-baked cookies. Yep, it was that bad. I attempted some toast but couldn’t stomach it and spent the afternoon watching Friends with my mom and sister. I still wasn’t feeling great, but I was determined to go to our church’s annual evening Christmas Eve service so I stuck it out and got ready for church. By this time I had started to feel achy and had chills. But the church service itself was beautiful, as usual. We sang lots of traditional Christmas hymns and the best part, as usual, was singing ‘Silent Night’ by candlelight. I always feel so emotional after the Christmas Eve service, and I was glad I didn’t let my sickness get in the way of soaking up the experience.

My present for my mom. She loved it :)

My present for my mom. She loved it 🙂

Back at home, we started watching ‘A Christmas Story’. It’s a tradition for us to watch bits and pieces of the 24 hour marathon they play every year–I love that movie! But I still wasn’t really feeling that great and I was kinda upset that I wasn’t going to be able to make my planned dinner for Christmas Eve–coconut curry tofu. This year marks my second Christmas as a vegan, and I was disappointed that I wasn’t going to be eating anything special…or much of anything really. I was able to have a bunch of water and some applesauce but that’s about it. The worst thing is, I had been telling myself for days prior to Christmas that I was going to relax my food rules over Christmas–I was still going to be eating vegan, but I wasn’t going to count calories, or worry too much about fitting in all my usual exercise and I was going to eat things that I wanted, when I wanted. So I was upset that I couldn’t eat the things I wanted, let alone most foods.

Waking up to snow on Christmas morning is always magical!

Waking up to snow on Christmas morning is always magical!

But I don’t want to go all Debbie Downer on you guys. I most definitely enjoyed my Christmas, sick or not. One ‘unconventional’ surprise that was good was getting snow on Christmas. I’ve lived in CO for most of my life, and one of the misconceptions a lot of non-Coloradans have about the state is that we get a LOT of snow. Not true, unless you live in the mountains. Living just east of the Rockies and being at a higher elevation, we do tend to see some snow throughout the winter and early spring, but CO rarely gets a white Christmas, especially a real white Christmas where it snows on Christmas. Even though I knew that snow was in the forecast, I was still thrilled to see a few inches of snow on the ground on Christmas day.

Stocking...

Stocking…

...and stocking stuffers!

…and stocking stuffers!

My family does things a little differently on Christmas. We’re only allowed to open our stockings before breakfast and getting ready for the day. This year I got lots of beauty related things in my stocking, and of course, a bar of my favorite dark chocolate!

My family's Christmas tree on Christmas morning.

My family’s Christmas tree on Christmas morning.

After getting all ready for the day it was finally time…for presents! As I’ve gotten older, I still love getting Christmas presents but I appreciate all the other parts of Christmas–the family traditions, the story of Jesus’ birth, the lights and the music and all the excitement that the holiday season brings. However, I did receive many wonderful gifts this year. Some of my favorites include a pair of dark brown riding boots (I’ve been wanting these forever!), a pink blingy cell phone case (my old blue one was falling apart), a heart-shaped donut pan, a couple of vegan cookbooks (Veganomicon and Practically Raw) and some clothes/gift card to Hollister. Honestly, I really love all the presents I got, no matter how small, because I know my family took a lot of time picking out things they knew I’d like.

So excited to try out some vegan donut recipes with this bad boy!

So excited to try out some vegan donut recipes with this bad boy!

The rest of the day was pretty chill. We just spent it relaxing inside, since it was below freezing outside! My dad got a Google tablet for Christmas so he spent most of the day playing around with that, and the rest of us listened to Christmas CDs and watched the rest of the ‘A Christmas Story’ marathon. Even though I started feeling sick again later in the day, I still thoroughly enjoyed my Christmas.

Me and my little sissy. Some people think we look alike...can you tell us apart?!

Me and my little sissy. Some people think we look alike?

Christmas wasn’t what I was expecting at all, between getting sick, the snow and cold weather and of course the presents I got, but it was still a wonderful day, filled with love and appreciation. I’m glad I didn’t let my sickness ruin Christmas for me–after all, it only comes around once a year, and even though it isn’t always ever perfect, it can still be an amazing day if you spend it with those you love.

P.S. I’m feeling better now…so you better believe I’m trying out some of the recipes in my new cookbooks!

Did you have a normal or unconventional Christmas this year? What’s one of the best gifts you got?

WIAW: Spring Break Bonanza!

Let me start off by saying…thank you all SO much for your comments on my last post! It seriously means the world to me that you all care so much about me and want to see me live my life to the fullest–without ED in it, of course.

BTW to all who asked, the doctor appointment was not what I expected. My weight was a little higher than it was when I weighed myself at home, because the appointment was soon after breakfast and I was wearing jeans with a belt, but both weights were low and I was expecting the doctor to say something about it but she really didn’t. I guess she didn’t think losing about 5-7 pounds was a big deal, which obviously I think is, considering my BMI is now between 15.5 and 16. It’s kind of discouraging to not have the support of the doctor is my efforts to eat more, but I will just have to rely on my own strength (and your comments) to take the plunge and fuel myself properly. It’ll be hard, but I know it’ll be worth it.

Anyway, on to more exciting things–like this week’s WIAW! I have tried a ridiculous amount of new-to-me things in the past couple of days and I’ve loved being home because I can actually cook things. I only have a couple of recipes for you so far, but I will be sharing more in the next few days as I continue to cook up a storm! Today, I want to share the recipes and also my reviews on some products I just tried. Let’s get to it!

Probably the best nondairy 'ice cream' I've ever tried!

I love almond milk, especially Pacific Naturals unsweetened vanilla, but I had never tried (or even seen) almond milk ice cream. I’ve had a couple of flavors of soy ice cream before and they were okay but nothing too great. Luckily, this Almond Dream ‘ice cream’ was way more amazing! It was super creamy, and tasted exactly like an iced latte from Starbucks. The swirl of chocolate was a nice surprise too. I would definitely buy this again, but I also want to try the new So Delicious almond milk ice creams.

Orange and dark chocolate is almost as good as raspberry and dark chocolate.

And to think just a couple of months ago, I wouldn’t go anywhere near chocolate! Yes, it is still somewhat scary for me to eat, but I still eat a little bit of some dark chocolate every day, because it makes me happy. When I discovered this mini Chocolove bar at Whole Foods, my dad encouraged me to get it so I did. The moment I tried my first square, I fell in love. Orange and dark chocolate are a match made in foodie heaven, for reals! Now I really want to try all of their other dark chocolate bars–I love that they’re dairy-free, and local-ish (they’re made in Boulder).

Quinoa pasta with vegan spinach 'cheese' sauce, smart bacon strips.

Since I bought nutritional yeast a few weeks back, I’ve been really wanting to try a vegan mac and cheese recipe. I kind of improvised my own and it actually turned out pretty tasty. The quinoa pasta I served it on was new and really yummy. I loved that it’s just made out of corn and quinoa flours (so it’s gluten-free for all of you out there who are gluten-intolerant or just want to switch it up from wheat pasta) and this variety also incorporated some spinach and beets. Extra veggies = win!

Spinach ‘Cheese’ Sauce (vegan, high protein)

1/2 cup unsweetened plain almond milk (or other nondairy milk)

1/2 tbsp whole wheat flour (or cornstarch)

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

cracked pepper, to taste

handful spinach

Mix almond milk and flour in a pot over medium heat until combined and thickened. Add in rest of the ingredients and stir until spinach is wilted. Serve over pasta, quinoa or as a spinach ‘cheese’ dip (makes 1 serving). 

Red cabbage with vegan Caesar dressing, Ezekiel cinnamon raisin toast topped with almond peanut cashew butter and peanut flour, frozen pineapple, orange seitan.

Westsoy seitan strips and Follow Your Heart vegan Caesar dressing are two of my many new Whole Foods finds. It was my first time trying seitan and I wasn’t really a fan. I love that it has tons of protein (21 grams per serving) but the texture just sketched me out. I made it orange chicken style, and it was decent but I wouldn’t buy it again. Maybe it was just the brand, but I didn’t really like it. The dressing on the other hand, was perfection in a bottle! It reminds me of regular Caesar dressing, only less rich. I love dipping carrots in it and topping fresh cabbage with it. I even made kale chips with the dressing that turned out pretty yummy.

This is my "Gotta go take a drug test so I have to drink up" face.

I have been loving being able to drive myself places over the past few days. At school, I don’t have my own car but being at home and having three cars at my disposal has been so nice! This may sound weird, but I love driving all by myself because I can sing along to “Starships” (one of my new fave songs) and go wherever I want. The reason I’ve been driving myself so much is that I’ve had tons of appointments this week and since both my parents have to work, I had to go to them on my own, which was fine by me. That means more singing 😉 Plus I’ve always wanted to take one of those pictures when you’re in the front seat so yesterday before my internship meeting, I did just that. No worries, I was parked–otherwise I would have had no hands on the wheel! And I was just drinking some iced water sweetened with some vanilla stevia so I could take a required drug test for my summer internship. If you’ve never put liquid stevia in your water, dooooo it now! The vanilla reminds me of a non-carbonated cream soda.

There's no shame in going to Whole Foods three times in five days!

Speaking of going wherever I want, I made a pit stop after my meeting on Tuesday at Whole Foods. It was weird shopping on my own, mostly because I think other people thought I was just a kid and not an almost-20-year-old because of my size, but I didn’t get too many weird stares because the store was pretty dead compared to most times I go. At first I was going to grab myself a lunch thing from the hot/cold bars but I decided to play it cheap and just buy a bunch of random stuff I’ve wanted to try. I’ve had the unsweetened chocolate Almond Breeze before, but not in a while and it’s just so good (plus it was on sale). I grabbed a couple of fruit strips, some vegan sprinkles because sprinkles are just fun, another mini Chocolove bar (this time raspberries in dark chocolate) and a Two Moms in the Raw cacao chia bar. I really wanted to get their almond butter cacao truffles, but they were a little bit too expensive. I love raw bars in general (especially Pure bars) so I can’t wait to try this one. I also snagged a couple cappuccino Larabars when I hit up WF on Saturday–this is my first time getting a Larabar and I’m so excited to try out their new flavor!

The perfect dessert for spring.

I finally got around to making raw cashew ‘cheesecake’. I mentioned in my last WIAW that I wanted to make a key lime version so I did! I tweaked the recipe I’m posting a little because I had to basically scrape the crust together out of a few things I had and it didn’t make enough to be the base for a whole cheesecake. But it’s pretty tasty and really simple.


Raw Key Lime ‘Cheesecake’ (vegan, raw, gluten-free)

1 cup cashews, soaked for 6-12 hours

1 tbsp sweetener (I used a mix of maple syrup and vanilla stevia drops)

1/2 lime, squeezed

1/2 cup raw almonds

4-6 Medjool dates, pitted

2 tbsp raw rolled oats

Mix cashews, sweetener and lime juice in a food processor until thick, creamy and combined. Add water as needed. Set aside and blend almonds, dates and oats in a blender or food processor until combined. Spread crust in a small dish and top with cashew cream. Top with key lime slices (makes 4 slices).

The newest overnight oats flavor--chocolate covered orange!

I haven’t come up with a new overnight oats combo in a while–obviously that had to change. Taking inspiration from my newest obsession, the Chocolove orange peel in dark chocolate bar, I whipped up chocolate covered orange oats. I sweetened the oats base with some Valencia orange stevia drops and then in the morning, topped them with Sumo tangerine slices and a square of the orange peel chocolate. Mmmmmm! Next time, I’d make a parfait, layering chocolate oats and orange oats with orange slices and keeping the chocolate on top.

This vegan meat sub is a definite winner!

So you know how I said above that I’m not a fan of seitan? That doesn’t mean I don’t like any vegan whole food meat substitutes. I think I’m a tempeh girl at heart! The first time I tried Lightlife’s tempeh bacon last summer, I fell in love. I finally decided to try their flax tempeh, even though I’ve heard people say that the plain varieties can be bitter. Not to me! I even tried a little piece uncooked and I loved the nutty flavor. I cooked some up fry-style (sliced thin and sautéed until browned) and served it on top of a spinach salad with spicy avocado hummus and a side of a yam topped with nut butter and raisins. I loved this tempeh even more when it was cooked–I’m thinking it’s definitely a new staple. It’s actually got pretty stellar nutritionals–20 grams of protein in 4 ounces, plus 11 grams of fiber!

Curried sweet potato pinto burger (under the red cabbage and jalapeno), grilled asparagus, sweet potato tots, mustard.

For dinner last night, I made some veggie burgers for my fam–first time ever making them for someone besides just me! These were a winner, which is always exciting for me to hear because I love seeing my family choose healthier options. These are totally healthy, but hearty enough for any meat lover…and they’re perfect for sweet potato lovers like me! They’re based off Mama Pea’s recipe, but I made some tweaks to make them my own.

Curried Sweet Potato Pinto Burgers (vegan, gluten-free)

1-15 oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 small sweet potato, cooked and peeled

1 1/2 tbsp nut butter (I used almond peanut cashew)

spices, to taste (I used cumin, turmeric, curry powder, garam masala, garlic salt and black pepper)

Puree all ingredients in a food processor until mostly smooth. Transfer to a bowl and put in the fridge for 15-20 minutes. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat with a drizzle of olive oil. Flatten bean mix and make into four even-sized patties, and place patties in pan. Cook for 5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and slightly crunchy. Serve on buns, in a wrap, on top of a salad, however you like your veggie burgers!

Wow, this was a crazy-long post! Sorry about that, obviously I am just so excited about all my new finds and recipes I’ve tried out. Of course, there’s still more to come, but I will save that for a later post. I don’t want to bore all of you 😀

Have you ever tried tempeh or seitan? What’s your new favorite Whole Foods find (or from another store if you don’t have one near you)?