Thursday, August 29, 2013

29 on the 29th

Today, I'm 29! I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be excited about that or not. When I was younger, I thought I'd be married with kids by now, but that hasn't been the case. Apparently that's just not God's plan for me quite yet. It's a little weird approaching my 30s, but I do think it'll be a great decade!

As I look forward to what the next year will bring, I thought it would be fun to reflect on some of the things I remember most about the past year.

August 29: Last year on my 28th birthday, I was off work because I was supposed to be on vacation in Austin, TX. But due to a tropical storm that was churning in the Gulf, I wasn't able to go, so I had a staycation instead. I spent the morning of my birthday at the pool, and since it was a Wednesday, I had the entire pool area to myself! It was so nice and relaxing! My mom and I had lunch at my favorite Chinese restaurant, and then she cooked some of my favorite foods for dinner. It was a great day!

December 3: I left for my very first trip to NYC! I was there for 4 days and had a blast! I'd go back in a heart beat! 

The weeks of Christmas and New Year's: My former job was working for a college, and I would get the week of Christmas and the week of New Year's off because we were closed. I absolutely loved having this time off! Christmas is my favorite time of year, and being able to fully enjoy the holiday season was amazing! I could go do last-minute shopping and the stores wouldn't be packed, I'd bake or cook, wrap presents... it was pure bliss! I will really miss that this year.

May 29: I flew to Dallas to meet my brother and head out for our trip to Hawaii! I was gone for a full week (even though I just spent 4 days in Hawaii) and enjoyed every minute of it! 

July 2: This was my last day at my former job. I had been there 3 and a half years, so it became very comfortable to me, and it was bittersweet leaving some of the friends I had made. And then I started my new job on July 8. 

I know there have been many more highlights, both ups and down, that have happened over the past year. Those are just the things that stand out in my mind the most right now. I am very thankful for my loving family, friends, and health. It's hard to complain when you have all of that! :)

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Goodbye, Unwanted Hair

Well, I finally did it. I decided to try laser hair removal. Last Thursday I went for a free consultation, and after it was confirmed that I'd be a good candidate, I took the plunge. I'll have treatments every few weeks for about the next year and a half. 

I'm really excited about it and hoping for good results! I did my research for quite a while before I even decided to make an appointment. I checked into the type of machines used and the feedback received.

If you wait until the hair turns gray, it can't be treated. Also, if your hair is blond or red it won't work. 

I can't wait for the day that I'll no longer have to use cream bleaches, tweezers, wax, etc! I also have to stay out of sun during treatments. If I do go to the pool or anything like that, it's fine as long as I really lather on the sunscreen and keep myself covered. 

Well, here's hoping for the best, and hoping to be free on the unwanted hair in about a year and a half!

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Packing in the Protein

Lately I've been wondering if, as a vegetarian, I'm getting enough protein. I always assumed I did, but now I'm just not so sure. I haven't had a great deal of energy lately, and that could be attributed to a lot of things... the heat, learning a new job, or worst of all... my metabolism could be slowing down as I approach my 30s! So, I've been trying to be more cautious of how much protein I'm consuming each day. I've been adding protein powder to my smoothies, and it bumps me up to more than 50 grams along with the Greek yogurt and milk I add. 
Along with the protein powder, I've been drinking the Kellogg's protein breakfast shakes, eating lots of hummus and Greek yogurt (which I've always done), eating protein bars, like the Kind brand bars, and I recently discovered how great quinoa can be. 
I'm up for trying any other tasty and nutritious protein-packed products! Please feel free to offer suggestions if you've had great experiences with anything.
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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Hello, Delaware!

Well, it's finally official. My brother is moving again. Two and a half years ago, he moved from our hometown in Florida to Dallas, Texas. I thought it was going to be awful not having our family all living in the same town anymore, but luckily with his job, he was able to come home quite often. It didn't take me long to get used to the new arrangement, and I actually enjoyed the two trips I made out to Dallas to visit. In fact, I'm pretty sad that he's leaving the area. It was always a fun place to check out, and there was still so much more I wanted to do there!

But alas, he's moving on, and this time he won't be able to come home very often. When I found out a couple weeks ago that his new job was in Delaware, I thought that sounded so depressing! Isn't that like the least popular state in the country?! I mean, who goes to Delaware, much less moves there? 

But I think maybe I could've made a quick judgment. Every state has something cool to offer, right? I'm definitely planning to make a trip up to visit in the next few months once he gets settled in. And let's face it, if there's not much to do in Delaware, New York City is only a short train ride away! 
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Friday, August 16, 2013

America's #1 Kettlecorn

I wouldn't consider myself a big popcorn eater, much less a kettlecorn eater. I like both, but it's just not something I typically buy... until now. The other night I was browsing the snack aisle at the grocery store and noticed this new product I hadn't seen before. It had a sale sign on it, and since there were only 2 bags left (I had to reach all the way to the back of the shelf), I figured it must not be that bad! (And yes, I am one of those people who judges how good something must be based on how few are left on the shelf. Hey, it always seems accurate!)

I present to you... America's #1 Kettlecorn from Popcorn, Indiana. Apparently, Popcorn, Indiana is the brand and an actual place. Who knew?! The best part about this stuff, besides the amazing taste, is that it's all natural and gluten free. 

At my grocery store, they also carried a white cheddar variety, but they were all out of it. That flavor must really be good!! But when I checked out the Popcorn Indiana website, I noticed that they have tons of other flavors!! There's a store locator on their website, so you can pop in (pun intended) your zip code and find out where the products are sold. I highly recommend this stuff. It's a great snack by itself, and I'm sure it would make the perfect side for a sandwich at lunch time. Buy it now, thank me later!

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Real Simple Pad Thai

I'm usually not a big Pad Thai eater. I do like it, but I feel like no two restaurants are consistent with it. Some of the sauces taste too sweet for my liking. And I always order it without eggs since I'm not such an egg fan, but then sometimes you're left with nothing but noodles! I found this recipe in Redbook magazine and just had to try it! Best of all, it didn't even call for eggs, but feel free to add them if you'd like. I did tweak the recipe a bit, and even though it doesn't taste that much like a Pad Thai to me, I still thought it was delicious and will definitely be making it again!

1 lb dried linguine
1/2 C peanut butter (I used the chunky kind, but use whatever you have)
2 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs lime juice
1 Tbs fresh ginger, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
a pinch of sugar
1/2 C water
1-2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced into long strips (I just used my peeler to make the long, thin strips)
1/4 C thinly sliced red onion
1 C sugar snap peas
1/4 C fresh cilantro, chopped

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling water according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking, you'll make the sauce. 

Using a blender or food processor, combine peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, ginger, garlic, sugar and water until smooth.

Next, heat your olive oil in a large pan, and then sautee your veggies... the carrots, onion and snap peas.

Drain the pasta, then toss with the veggies and sauce. Top with fresh cilantro.

I think this sauce and veggie mixture would be just as tasty served over rice instead of noodles! You'll love it!

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Kellogg's Breakfast To Go

I don't know how time has gotten away from me lately, but it's been tough keeping up with things! I haven't been posting as much lately, but I'm trying to get back on track.

Anyway, in my haste in getting ready for work in the mornings, I often don't allow time to eat breakfast at home. Yes, I could, and I often plan to get up earlier and cook a nice breakfast, but then when that alarm clock goes off, I decide that I'd rather have a little more sleep over food. Enter Kellogg's Breakfast To Go.


I'd read about these in a magazine or something. I can't remember where exactly I had seen them, but it was somewhere. And then while I was in the grocery store the other day, I spotted them, and it triggered my memory of wanting to try them! They come in chocolate or vanilla flavor. I bought the chocolate. 

I was really excited that these shakes have 10g of protein and 5g of fiber per bottle! They also have lots of other vitamins and minerals. But on top of being nutritious and convenient, they also taste great!! I honestly thought that the chocolate tasted just like chocolate milk. No weird artificial flavors or after tastes. It's really yummy!! I paid around $4.99 for a pack of 4, and I will say that they are also pretty filling. The first day, that's all I had for breakfast, and I was satisfied. The second day I decided I should try to get a little more protein first thing in the morning, so I also ate a Kind bar with added protein (almond, walnut, macadamia... also delish!!). 


Ok, as I was writing this post, I just discovered that they also make a strawberry flavor! I didn't see those at my grocery store, but I'll check Wal-Mart or someplace like that. I bet it would be equally tasty!

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Real Simple Lunch: Cottage Cheese Mix-Up

I'll admit that this recipe isn't really a "recipe." You basically just cut up some tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado, and mix it with some cottage cheese, and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. How simple is that?

Now, don't tune me out yet. I know, I know... cottage cheese isn't considered the most glamorous of foods. I'm not sure why a lot of people don't like it, but I think it's so versatile. You can use it in place of ricotta cheese when making lasagna, it's great as a side dish, or you can add fruits and/or veggies to it and eat it like a salad.

I was a little hesitant about adding tomatoes, cukes, and avocado to it, but let me tell you... it was delicious!! I ate this one day before I went to the pool because I just wanted a light lunch, and let's face it... no one wants to feel bloated when you're about to put on your swim suit! It really kept me full without feeling like a had a brick in my stomach. It was super flavorful, too! 

Add as little or as much of the veggies as you like. I added a handful of grape tomatoes, half an avocado, and about a 3" piece of cucumber, chopped. It's the perfect fix for this hot weather!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Get Pin-spired: August Edition

Happy August! I'm so excited that the summer is winding down! August, to me, is the end. It means it's time to get ready for fall! But, unfortunately, the weather doesn't agree. So here in Florida we're still wearing shorts. I'm linking up with Shay, Sheaffer and Mel again for this month's Get Pin-spired. This is where we find outfits on Pinterest and try to re-create them using items from our own closets.

I'm all about bright colors this summer, so here's my take on a couple Pin-spired outfits. I think the first outfit looks a little "grandma-ish" in the picture, but I tried to make it my own. I took some peach colored shorts and a navy striped top, and voila!

Top: Gap, similar here
Shorts: J. Crew
Watch: Fossil

My next outfit is the same basic concept... bright colored shorts, but this time with stripes AND polka dots! Since it's a little too warm for layering a blazer right now, I combined my striped and polka dots in one top!

You probably can't tell from the first picture, but see how my top has stripes AND polka dots?

Top: LOFT (old)
Shorts: J. Crew
Watch: Fossil
Bracelets: LOFT and Stella & Dot

That's it for this month! I'm can't wait for the boots, scarves, sweaters and layers that the next few months will bring!