Friday, August 30, 2013

Old Patterns and New Beginnings.

I don't know if you've ever heard this but losing weight and getting healthy is a lot of work mentally!

I've been at this journey for quite a few weeks now and I'm about fourteen pounds down and feeling pretty good. I've had to tune out some negativity and I keep it at the forefront of my mind that this is a decision I'm making that goes deeper than vanity. I want to look better of course, but I also want to feel better and live longer and be more adventurous and be more comfortable in my skin. One of the biggest hurdles I've dealt with so far is the temptation to slip back into old habits and jump back into old cycles. 

While Rhyno was in Colorado I stuck to a relatively strict diet (eating 1,300 calories a day and exercising when I could) eating mostly the same things every day. This is what works for me--planning out my meals, knowing what I'll eat when, and having a work out plan of action. I saw great results in sticking to this plan. Once Rhyno returned I noticed that I was drawing us back into old patterns. While he had been gone I didn't order out (because, really, I'm not going to buy a whole pizza just for me) and when I grocery shopped it was pretty much just the basics. We celebrated his return with a bottle of wine and a big lunch out the next day. This is my cycle: I decide to make a change, I start doing well, I have one tiny slip up, and I go on a junk bender of sorts. Once I saw myself slipping back into the pattern of "Eh, I don't want to cook tonight...let's order Mexican food!" I knew I had to build up some type of structure to keep myself successful. I tried just researching different dinner recipes for the week but found it SO time consuming to figure out if each meal was low-calorie while being high-fiber and was it too much dairy? Too much wheat? I just wanted a general plan that I could stick to.

There have been three times in my life where I've lost a significant amount of weight. Once when I was in high school and I was at my healthiest/fittest ever, once in the middle of college when I lost the freshman 15, and then before my wedding when my extremely low-calorie diet helped me shed 50 pounds (only to gain them all back). The first two times I lost weight I did so with the Body for Life program. My parents were about to start it when I was in high school and I asked if I could do it too. I dropped about 20 pounds and was wearing a size Small t-shirt by the end of the 12 week program. It instilled an exercise habit in me and taught me to stop eating when I was full. Had I stuck with this through college, I know I'd be in a different boat physically and mentally right now. 

So, anywho, let's talk about today. After some thought and planning, I am going back on the program for the next 12 weeks (officially starting my challenge this Monday). The program works best for me because it's not hyper-intimidating and it isn't cutting out food groups and you get one "free" day each week to have a treat and rest your body. It's all about small, balanced meals throughout the day and rotating between upper body strength training, lower body, and cardio (so I can keep on my Couch to 5K regimen going). I can remember hitting the end of 12 weeks both times before and just being shocked at how well I'd done--I'm ready to have that structure again. I've mapped out the workouts, meals, and made my grocery list.

My challenge starts Monday and I am more than ready to tackle BFL again! Have a happy (hopefully long) weekend!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Kitchen Dreams.

Here's a secret: I love our home.

Okay, that might be the worst kept secret of all time. Ever since the first time we heard a rumor that the house was going up for sale and peeked at the outside on the way to our best friends' house I have been in love. A lover of old things, our house suits me perfectly with aged trees and lots of little nooks and crannies. I love the multi-level layout and the big side yard with the built in fire-pit and the two story shed out back. I love every inch of this place of ours.

Well...maybe not EVERY inch. One place I don't love so much? Our kitchen. With it's 70's (not in a good way) floor tile, dark cabinets, awkwardly deep pantry shelves, and shaky island counter it is the place where I spend most of my time and it needs a facelift. Don't get me wrong, the room is very functional and I don't walk in there every day shaking my fist but on the list of things we'd like to remodel that kitchen is very first. We've done small things to make the kitchen more appealing until we can afford a remodel--we painted the formerly DARK green walls a poppy seafoam and threw down colorful rugs and up colorful curtains. I filled the corners with thrift store treasures (glass milk bottles, a funny clocks). There will always be that vintage-inspired element (see: my 1980's hanging fruit basket and giant diner clock) but I wouldn't mind chucking those icky tiles to the curb forever.

So, Pinterest walks into a bar and...I basically start making out with it and begging it for cute kitchen inspiration. Some of the most drool-worthy ideas that have me counting down the seconds until we remodel?

Be still my heart! I love the colors, the light, and that beautiful stainless steel farm sink. My kingdom for a farm sink...

Not blue for me but me oh my do I love a glass-front cabinet with a colored backdrop! I might do ours a bit brighter. I'm partial to seafoam and mint...could you tell? Also...goodbye soffits! Cabinets to the ceiling for all!

I definitely plan to keep some type of island/breakfast bar once all is said and done (I like to chomp down my lunch at the counter while I work). BUT those basket woven chairs left by the last owner? They need to get to steppin'. I love the gold accents on these bad boys.

This kitchen is basically one giant eye-boner for me. I've always thought the kitchen should be bright and full of light with pops of color. This is a bit girly, I admit, but I'm lucky to be married to a hunk who doesn't care if our house dangerously teeters on the edge of twee. 

 Call the coroner because I am dead. I definitely want to get our pantry out of this house and start fresh. Our current pantry is so oddly designed and has carpeting and I feel like I can't full utilize it. The pantry above? Heavenly. Everything is visible and there is so much storage space. Plus, as a kid I totally would've played general store in this rad pantry.

We don't have a formal dining room and I've struggled to find a way to meet functionality and cute. I love the idea of half booth/half chairs. We have a sliding door on one side of our table and it opens into the front room on the other. If we could do a half booth against the back wall and a cute formica table? Hell schyes. 

Our current light fixtures are a bit heavy and dark. I'd definitely love to have a funky fixture for over the dining table--I've been obsessed with starburst lights since I saw one on an episode of Cribs as a teenager (um, embarrassing). I'm willing to go a bit more plain with the actual kitchen fixture because my main concern is putting a ceiling fan in there. We don't currently have one and, boy, it gets HOT!

Oh, pennies! Save yourselves so we can get to work on this dreamy kitchen! 




Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Feelin' Peachy.

"Grandma got some fresh peaches, when you go over there today she'll give you a few." Rhyno's mom. 

Turns out a "few" peaches actually meant a TON! Rhyno went to his Grandma's and returned with a bucket full of summery fruit goodness. I always think of that Dita Von Teese quote, "You can be the ripest, juiciest peach and there will always be someone who hates peaches." Ugh. I love her. Anywho!

I love fruit. Dang you, naturally sugary goodness! As much as I love a good peach, I knew we wouldn't burn through the entire bucket without a few going bad. I went to bed thinking of fun recipes I could make and when I woke up Rhyno had left a print out of this Mr. Food recipe on the counter. Hint taken!

I had picked up a package of fresh blueberries from the local farmer's market last week so I switched out raspberries for blueberries--honestly I probably would've done that anyhow because Rhyno is a blueberry fiend! He would eat them in everything if he could. 

Let's discuss how delicious this made my kitchen smell while it was baking--peaches, oats, brown sugar. SO DELICIOUS! End of discussion.

I think next time I make this recipe, and there will be a next time, I will drain the fruit before putting it in the baking dish. My crumble was a bit soggy. I don't know that Rhyno noticed though because he inhaled the piece I cut for him and asked if I could toss some in a Tupperware for his lunch...and then he got seconds. 

What's your favorite peach-centric recipe?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Dealing with Mean.

Sometimes it's seems like there is an abundance of mean all over the place and that's rough to deal with. With social media giving everyone digital courage, people sticking their feet in their mouths, and bully media there are days where I feel like everywhere I turn someone is saying something snarky or insulting something or being generally nasty. I have always been incredibly sensitive to nastiness--I was picked on growing up and when I see someone else getting the brunt of someone's mean streak it makes me cringe. When someone is mean to me it kills me a little bit, I've never been able to just shrug off an unkind word or a dirty look. 

"But why would they say that? Is she mad at me? Did I do something wrong? Why did he look at me like that?" As I grow older, I let less of what others think affect me but it still does.

The Incident: Recently a close friend said some unkind things to me. I don't believe she meant to be malicious but in the course of conversation she told me her mother called me fat. Not just fat, but something about how I joined "Club Fat-Ass." I let the comment slide and didn't bring it up again. She went on to say things about someone very close to me and my husband. Never one to confront things head on, I let the comments go by without a negative reaction. In the following days though I realized how deeply what she had said hurt my feelings and how much it was affecting me. I felt terrible about myself and those bad words crept back into my head, "You ARE fat. Why bother trying? You'll never look the way you want to look." I thought all these things as I sat in the kitchen and binged. People's words hold weight, it was a cold slap in the face when I sat back and realized that things people say really do impact me.

I decided to discuss the comments with her and I was met with a genuine apology and an open dialogue. It was refreshing to confront something head-on and receive a positive reaction.

Don't think I'm counting myself out of this whole mean thing. I do massive eye rolls, saying shitty things, and the whole nine yards. After the Incident I reflected on my own actions and what would cause someone to say things like that. I'm sure I've stuck my own big foot in my bigger mouth numerous times and I know I've said a nasty tidbit here and there. When I dive into deep thought about those behaviors I realize that I've acted those ways when I have felt badly about myself. Maybe I had a bad weigh-in or got in trouble at work or fought with Rhyno. Maybe I displaced that anger and decided to talk shit instead of confront my feelings. I'm trying to become more aware of negative feelings in my life so that I don't transfer my bad moods to everyone around me (and hurt someone's feelings in the process). 

How do you deal with mean?

Monday, August 26, 2013

In Praise of Rhyno.

The very first print of the first photo I ever took of Rhyno (2006).

Last week Rhyno finally came home from a three-week work stint in Colorado! (You had no idea, right? I'm awesome at keeping secrets.). I am so thankful for this man. He works so hard for our tiny family and I missed his guts so much while he was gone. 

I've been thinking so much about "meetings" lately (more on that in another post). I can remember exactly meeting Rhyno for the first time. He was in a relationship and ignored my existence and me? I was in teal tuxedo shorts and black high heels and kind of hot (it was 2005 and I was rocking it). He didn't pay much attention to me but I was so smitten.  I told my best friend at the time, "Hey, I met the dude who is gonna be my husband today."

I am thankful every single day for this weirdo. He supports me through every crazy turn of life and change of friendship. If I woke up tomorrow saying, "I want to be a vampire ballerina princess" (my childhood dream), he'd say, "Cool. Do it."He is chill and amazing and let's me just do whatever the eff I want. I missed his guts so much while he was in Colorado and when he came home his first words were, "Dude! You look beautiful!" I couldn't ask for a better best friend.

I love you so, Rhyno Guffey.  

Friday, August 23, 2013

I Wish My Name Was King Friday.

I just wanted you to know that since it's Friday and King Friday was adorable.

I am currently...
....eating spicy pumpkin oatmeal every single day for lunch! I use plain rolled oats and mix in some cinnamon and red pepper flakes and top it with lots of pumpkin. Mmmm, so good!
...making cupcakes for our friends, Erik and Liz's annual end of summer bash. I'm thinking chocolate cake with caramel buttercream topped with toasted coconut. Man, do I love me some coconut.
...on my To Do list cleaning out the garage! Our house is feeling so simple and light but that garage....woof.
...listening to Red Hands by Walk Off the Earth on repeat. Ugh, I love it so hard. It makes me want to dance in the street like a crazy hippie. Maybe I will later...(don't worry I'll watch for cars).  
...reading The Hunger Games. I know, I know. How did I not read this forever ago? I started it some months ago but then got distracted. I'm eating them up now though. Also, fun fact, when the books first came out (before I saw the movie obviously) I thought they were about werewolves so I wouldn't read them.
...watching the last season of The Biggest Loser in anticipation of the upcoming season (come quickly October!). Danni Allen is so inspiring, watching her journey is super motivational. I've also been watching Ugly Betty while I'm on the treadmill (I'm doing the Couch 2 5K program). I forgot how funny and adorable and wonderful that show is. I love you, Betty.
...loving breakfast smoothies! Who knew? I was never a smoothie drinker but I love how convenient it is and I keep 'em chock full of nutrients and low on sugar. This week I've been chugging what I call Power Green smoothies. It's 2 handfuls of spinach, 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk, a sprinkle of cinnamon, 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, and 1 teaspoon of spirulina powder.
...thankful for my husband who has been working crazy overtime all month. He is such a great provider and works his tuchus off.
 Have a great weekend!
If you also partake in Currently posts, please link up in the comments!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Treat Yo' Self.

Oh, Parks and Rec, I love you so.

Have you ever seen that episode of Parks & Rec where Tom and Donna explain Treat Yo' Self Day? If not, WHY? YOU NEED TO BE WATCHING PARKS AND REC. If so, congrats. You are very cool and awesome and you have good taste. 

In my weight loss journey I've been trying to keep myself motivated in different ways--hanging old clothes that no longer fit in plain sight to get myself excited to wear them again, watching reruns of my beloved Ugly Betty while I'm on the treadmill, and spending hours on Pinterest in the name of "healthy lifestyle research." I've heard a lot of people say they stay motivated by giving themselves small (non-food) rewards when they achieve a goal. I've decided to hop on that bandwagon and reward myself for every ten pounds lost. In the effort of simplifying and trying to save money, I saved the more expensive rewards for later down the line to give myself time to save up. 

10 Pounds Down
One new nail polish 
(got this one! Essie's Sugar Daddy)
20 Pounds Down

30 Pounds Down
Basket for my bike

40 Pounds Down
Pair of ballet flats

50 Pounds Down
One item from Soap & Glory

60 Pounds Down
One Bare Minerals item

70 Pounds Down
LoveQuotes scarf

80 Pounds Down
Bliss World Lean Machine

90 Pounds Down
New bathing suit

100 Pounds Down
New clothes!

It's still crazy to me to see that triple digit but I'm so excited to be getting healthy and to be rewarding myself in the process!

How do you reward yourself for goals achieved?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

Happy 31st wedding anniversary to my amazing parents!

These two crazy kids have taught me everything I know about love, putting thought and laughter into your marriage, and remembering to keep your spouse at the forefront of your life. In a world of divorce, I never take it for granted that my parents are still together and in love and setting a good example for everyone around them.

I love you, Bill and Riya!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Things I Don't Plan to Buy Anymore....for a While at Least...

In an effort to simplify our home, I've been purging things and really taking inventory of what we have. I've combed through each room and sold/donated things we don't use. I went through our huge filing cabinet and shredded old documents that we no longer need. I went through my email inbox and unsubscribed from any email I don't actually read. I've been feeling so refreshed, that catharsis that comes with getting rid of junk is amazing!

In addition to getting rid of things, a huge part of simplifying is to stop buying junk in the first place. I mentioned that we're currently on a mission to save our pennies. It seems easy enough, right? I thought so too until I realized there are just some things I don't need but I really enjoy having. 

Some of  the things I'm not buying anymore (and cheaper alternatives to cope with not having them)

I am a candle junkie--the fall scents are my favorites. I love to have a candle burning in our living room whenever we're home and it just feels cozier with that little flame burnin' bright. But, shit's expensive. For so long I'd drop an easy $50 on pumpkin pie candles from Yankee (oh, that heavenly smell!). Goodbye, my too expensive pals. I'm using up the ones we have left and after that I'm switching to some of these ideas keep our home smelling so fresh. 

Oh, boy. This one. Recently, as I heard my spoon scrape the bottom of the empty coffee can I decided to quit the stuff for a hot minute. I've read articles on both sides of the coffee war and for now I'm trying to stick to tea. We do have a Keurig and those k-cups can be crazy expensive. We originally cut down on that cost by getting an Ekobrew cup and would typically purchase store-brand cans of java. But if I can cut a cost on my grocery list, I'm going to do it (debt-free life, come at me!). When I'm jonesing for joe, I just make myself another cup of tea instead. I was usually a cup-a-day coffee hound before and I thought I would really miss my morning jolt. Truth be told? After nearly a week I don't miss the stuff just yet, though I am speeding through green tea leaves at an alarming rate!

Straws and Other Disposable Items
I need to tell you that I have a problem. I am crazy in love with those old timey striped paper straws. I keep them on display in our kitchen and burn through a couple a day. I also will snatch up paper plates and plastic flatware whenever we have company over (or it's cute or it's on sale) so that I don't have to use our glass dishes. This is not only a waste of cashola and so NOT green, it causes unnecessary clutter. We can do dishes when we have company over to eat. We must learn to deal with it.

Anti-Aging Anything
Admittedly, it is kind of dumb that I was dropping cash on this stuff in my twenties. I've been using eye creams and serums for years and I might not need them quite yet. I know, I know, "be proactive!" But I think with my healthier diet, weekly homemade facial masks, detox teas/baths, and exercise my skin will look younger on it's own.

How do you simplify your life?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Planning and Unplanning in Weight Loss, Work, and Life I Guess.

One of many calendars in our home--this is clearly health/beauty related with each day's work out and beauty treatment. It hangs on our fridge and I love ticking each work out off. I have another calendar in my office that details when bills are due, special events, birthdays, etc. It's a sickness.

Having a plan is my tip top favorite thing.

This summer especially I've just realized that I can plan and plan but in the end things will always change and things can always go awry. I am a planner to my core--I make my breakfasts for the week on Sunday nights, I lay out my outfits the night before (a habit that stretches back to my childhood), and I am always thinking of my next plan for my weight loss, career, life, etc. I thrive on consistency and feel calmest when I have a game plan for the upcoming day. But, know what? I'm learning that sometimes shit just doesn't go according to plan...and that's actually okay. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not throwing all my calendars into the trash but I'm just leaning into it when things don't go according to plan. As someone who is losing weight/adopting a healthier lifestyle I plan every meal for the week, I write down which work outs need to be done on which days (see psychosis above), and I plan to eat at the same times every day. Lately I've been in situations where the food I prepped isn't available to me or my schedule goes wonky and I can't eat when I should. Normally I'd fly off the rails a bit and allow myself to indulge in junk food or completely skip a meal (leading to a binge later). Each day I'm learning to make a healthy choice despite not having exactly what I planned to have in front of me. 

As a freelancer I think learning to go with the flow instead of the plan is vital. Though I know being such a planner is a big part of what makes me good at what I do (it's easier to plan events and coordinate media interviews when you are a crazy person who plans down to the fine details), learning to go with the flow is making me a better businesswoman. I am very lucky to work for an agency I love and do a job that I actually really enjoy and be surrounded with smart and positive people. Sometimes when things don't go according to plan at work, I remind myself of how lucky I am and I lean into that swerve.

I'm happy that after 27 years I'm finally learning to take things in stride as they change and I keep reminding myself that a plan isn't always necessary. Sometimes you have to lean into the swerve and accept what happens...and maybe try to enjoy it too.

Are you a planner? How do you deal with chaos?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday's Were Made for Smilin'.

So if you know me you know I'm basically obsessed with Marcel the Shell with Shoes On. Since Friday is such a cool day, I just wanted to share a tiny shell-sized smile with you in the form of my very favorite Marcel quote.

Marcel is so much goodness. Tiny Marcel's videos make me laugh every single time I watch them....cause I can smell his face*...I was babysitting a week ago and showed Addie and Olive a Marcel video. Giggles abound! "Eep, that shell is so toiny! That shell is so cute! That shell talks so nice!" (That was all Addie, Olive was chanting "'Nack, 'nack, markers?, 'nack" over and over again cause I had mentioned eating Cheerios and apparently she was thinking about markers?).

I hope you remember to smile a lot today, it's totally worth it.Oh, and have a snack.

Have a happy Friday!!

*Watch the videos. This is a joke.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

All About Bite. Cupcakes.

Over the last couple of years I've received quite a few questions about my side company that I co-own, Bite. Cupcakes. So allow me to shameless self-promote and chit chat a bit about my sugary passion.

 Lemon zest cake filled with fresh blueberry compote, topped with lemon buttercream

 I've always been a huge fan of baking--cupcakes, cookies, big specialty cakes, different breads. I just love it all. When we were living in our condo in 2010 I was constantly baking, bringing treats to family/friend gatherings, and posting photos on Facebook (yep, I'm THAT person). One of my very best friends, Katie, messaged me out of the blue one day and asked if I thought we should start a baking company--she's a baker too with a fantastic business mind. One question changed a lot of things. Of course, I said yes and we began to buzz excitedly about how we could build our business.

French toast cake with maple frosting, topped with crispy bacon

We began with bringing samples to different parties and spreading the word that way. We've been building this business very slowly but very surely (we both work full time and she has two babes so for now it's mostly a late-night/weekend job). We built our Facebook page, have recently printed out business cards, and book about two or three jobs a month. We are always trying new flavors and decorations--that's my very favorite part. I love getting together with Katie and figuring out different cake/filling/frosting combinations.  

Red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting

The holidays are a jackpot for us, obviously. Making themed 'cakes for customers' family gatherings is so much fun! I love seeing photos of people enjoying our desserts and hearing how much folks love them is a high that I chase constantly. 

 Hamburger cakes! Yellow cake "buns" with a brownie patty and colored buttercream. I saw this on Buzzfeed and made it for a family barbeque (pro bono, of course).

For the most part we try to use all nautral dyes and flavors. We use mostly organic ingredients and homemade extracts.We create recipes based on what the customer wants. You want a thick little poundcake cupcake with a light homemade whipped cream? Cool. You want a fluffier cake that tastes like the pound? We'll try our dangdest to figure one out.

 We helped my coworker with her baby gender reveal! Probably my favorite job so far--we helped share with the world that baby Aducci was a boy. Yellow cake with chocolate buttercream/red velvet with cream cheese frosting. Both are filled with homemade whipped cream (dyed blue). 

For now we bake in our homes and schedule pick-up or we deliver locally. We're still figuring out how to overnight 'cakes across the country. My brother in Florida has an order of key lime cupcakes on standby when we figure that out. I've also recently converted my second kitchen (yep, my house has two kitchens) into the Bite. offices so we'll have a dedicated space for work.

 Milk chocolate cake with vanilla sugar frosting topped with dark chocolate chips for a boy baby shower

The biggest question I hear is, "Are you hoping to open a store someday?" Yes. The answer is a big yes. I do dream of owning a local storefront and filling big glass jars full of colorful sprinkles and cupcake wrappers. Katie and I will cross that bridge in the future though since rent ain't cheap.

Dark chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream topped with a salted caramel bird's nest cookie and chocolate Cadbury mini-eggs

We've been overwhelmed with support from our friends and family from the very beginnings of our company. It's really special to me that so many people were quickly supportive of this dream o' ours.  

 Vanilla bean cake filled with fresh strawberry compote topped with homemade whipped cream and sugar hearts

The winner of the Worth Days 2012 cupcake contest! An "America the Beautiful" theme we went with blue velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and a homemade white chocolate star on the top. On the bottom is an apple-cinnamon cake topped with homemade apple jam and cinnamon buttercream.

It is a big goal of ours to spend more time on Bite. in the coming months and the upcoming year. We're hoping to expand into other desserts (cookies and whoopie pies, anyone?) and do more marketing (for a gal in marketing/PR I should spend more time on that). We're excited to grow this little business of ours with social presence, entering more baking competitions, photographing more of our baked goods, putting together some ads here and there, and our BFF word of mouth. We're continuing to expand our menu and really focus on what customers want us to create. So tell me...

What does your dream cupcake taste like?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Veggie Fest is Totally the Best (Sorry Again).

When I was yammering on about carnivals did I remember to mention I also love festivals of all kinds? The Taste of Chicago was an annual tradition when I was growing up and since moving farther from the city and realizing how ding dang expensive the Taste can be, I've stopped going every year. Plus, let's get real, when you're a vegetarian like I am (for 18 years, whattup!) it can be rough trying to find things to chow on at big festivals where the favorites are turkey legs and chicken cigars. 

Okay, so then Veggie Fest came into my life and made me as happy as a (free living, uneaten) clam. 

My mom and I headed out to Naperville on Sunday to check out all the vegan and vegetarian goodness. We're both longtime vegetarians and were so excited to be at a fest where we could eat anything instead of having to fight a sea of porkchops on a stick trying to find something meat-free. We weren't disappointed! It was a bit smaller than we expected but we found tons of goodies to snack on.There were plenty of veggie-friendly vendors handing out samples and offering up fried "chicken" or dairy-free fro-yo.

 I loved this dip! It had a bit of a kick and great flavor. I snagged a jar and plan to devour it with cucumber slices.

 Do you love this bad photo of a veggie empanada? It was crunchy perfection dipped in guacamole. 

 Another bad photo! Tiny purse = no room for Nikon.This veggie kebob was THE BOMB TASTE EXPLOSION. I want to eat one every single day.

 My favorite find of the day? Vegan marshmallows! S'mores are one of my very favorite things (they were even the guest favor at our wedding) but I don't eat gelatin. I've tried other vegan 'mallows but they were gritty or flat or otherwise gnarly. These Dandies tasted just like the real thing. I loved 'em so much I bought two bags!
 My mom's favorite dessert is carrot cake. This vegan version was pretty good but also incredibly sweet. We each took a tiny bite or two before sugar shock set in. 

This dairy-free fro-yo was my lover.
This singer was so energetic and rad. He's probably going to be my new best friend.

All in all it was such a great, delicious time! It definitely inspired me to try more vegan meals and get a little more adventurous with my vegetarian cooking.

See you next year, Veggie Fest!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Hungry for Change...and Also for Food.

I mentioned here that I recently embarked on a little detox from Hungry for Change. Welp. It was a bit of an experience. 

The detox is intended to be three days thought you can stretch it out to five or seven if you feel like it. Did I feel like it? Um, no. I had mentioned before that the prep time was pretty long but the food was really great. I loved the potassium balance soup--I added some cayenne pepper to it each day to give it a little kick in the pants. I really messed up on the dessert pudding which was supposed to be made with chia seeds but I used flaxseed. It looked like mold and never congealed. Overall the detox wasn't great for me. I had a couple slip-ups where I didn't eat the foods because I wasn't home and I don't think you can order Potassium Balance soup at Panera or anything.

It wasn't that the food was nasty or anything. I'm just learning that I am not a detox gal. I wish I was a woman who could just drink spirulina and kale juice for a week straight to detox my body. I'm not. Along my weight loss journey and building a healthier lifestyle I'm learning that I need to make subtle changes instead of my usual plan to just overhaul everything at once. I do like the idea of detoxing because the modern world is really full of some grody things but maybe a strict detox diet isn't for me. I'd rather just take a nice ginger detox bath, drink hot water with lemon in the mornings, and chug the good stuff all day long. 

I'm taking a break from these detoxes for a while because, honestly, it just makes me feel down on myself when I don't stick strictly to it. I will say I did lose a couple of pounds during the three days so that was a total plus. I will add some of these meals into my normal rotation because they were chock full of nutrients. I didn't stick to it like I should've BUT I still think it was a positive experience because I added some foods to my diet that I wouldn't have tried normally. Spirulina, what? The detox suggested it and I was skeptical but my mom surprised me with an Amazon delivery of yep, you guess it. Spirulina. It is definitely earthy and I've been adding it to smoothies (my current favorite breakfast smoothie is spirulina, kale, almond milk, chia seeds, cinnamon, and blueberries).

What are your detoxing experiences?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Festivals are the Bestivals (Sorry).

 I love a good carnival. Spending the whole day in the sunshine eating delicious junky treats, riding creaky rides, and oh! the people watching. Carnivals and town fests are one of my very favorite parts of summer. 

Saturday was probably one of my favorite days this summer. I spent the entire day with my best friends at our town festival, Three Rivers Festival. The only thing missing was Rhyno who was working overtime and couldn't make it out. Sad face emoticon, am I right? 
 Ahhh, all those rides that I could ride for hours as a kid and now just lookin' at them makes me pukey.

 Carnival food is kind of my weakness. Surprisingly I only had a cheese quesadilla and a Coke at the Fest. Dang it if I wasn't regretting not getting a box of popcorn or a big cloud of pink cotton candy.

 Little Addie made a pit stop at the Slush Stop--it was so cool! I had never seen a slushie bar before where you could just fill up your cup with 12,000 different flavors. 

 Always one of my favorite "rides" as a kiddo! 

 There was a cupcake contest at the Fest and we entered just for fun. We went full-out carnival themed and put together a sweet funnel cake cupcake with homemade funnel cake on top. They were SO GOOD! We got second place and felt totally robbed--these bad boys were amazing! Dang you, cupcake judges. 

 We stayed until near closing time--I love when they light up the big ferris wheel. It is such a summertime moment. Like I always say, it ain't summer til the ferris wheel lights up. Alright, I've never said that before just now.

It was such a perfect summer day (aside from the second place ribbon on our first place 'cakes). Addie even talked me and one of my bests Liz into taking her on the big ferris wheel--it was terrifying! She was a champ and was so excited though. I kinda loved looking over my tiny, wonderful town from the top of the wheel...and then I went back to clutching my seat and trying not to fear barf everywhere.
Have you hit up any great town festivals this summer?