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Hopping back into it!

Hello healthy life!

Hello healthy life!

Whew! It has been MONTHS full of stress, budgeting, cutting corners, adulting, working on the weekends, and all sorts of other non-fun things, and I’m happy to say that it’s finally, pretty much over. CELEBRATE!

I paid off my taxes, got my driver’s license and Texas plates, and even took Blanche to the vet for a checkup, and then I went on a much-needed beach vacation where I ate fried foods and drank lots of beer. It was incredible, and although I’m not thrilled to be back at work, I am happy to be back to a life I like: one with a friendlier budget.

My tight budget unfortunately involved eating more processed foods, and in return, I wasn’t feeling great. So, I’m happy to say that I’m back to organic, fresh foods, and it’s happening at the perfect time! The dance studio where I regularly go is having it’s showcase in six weeks, where I will be perforning a stiletto routine.

And so – this six weeks I’m hitting the dance studio hard, and I’m also eating as healthy as possible in order to hit the stage in November feeling confident and well.

Truthfully, I enjoy eating healthy. I think healthy foods are delicious, and I’m often too cheap to eat out. Plus, I enjoy cooking. My true weakness? The snacks at work. There are always chips, cookies, muffins, and other indulgences in the office that I don’t keep at home.

To combat this, I stocked my pantry with healthy snacks I enjoy such as almonds, individual packs of dried fruit and nuts, and organic popcorn. I’m making it a priority to pack these types of things in my lunch box so I can crunch on them instead of greasy chips or sweets. I know it’s still going to be a challenge, but once I get started, I think I’ll be okay.

I was also worried about the fact that I JUST discovered a vietnamese restaurant across the street from my apartment – it’s delicious and inexpensive. However, I looked up the nutritional value for my normal order: a vermicelli noodle bowl with grilled shrimp, and a side of egg rolls.

According to My Fitness Pal, as long as I swap the side of egg rolls for spring rolls (which aren’t fried), I’ll actually be eating something pretty healthy. If you’re not aware, one of these bowls is simply rice noodles with raw veggies and a choice of meat. There’s a small side cup of oil, but I mainly just use sriracha as a “dressing”. If you can get your chopsticks on one of these things, you will thank me. I swear.

The other side of this, is alcohol. I pretty much stopped drinking during my budget crisis for two reasons: 1. I couldn’t afford it, and 2. it was doing nothing for my depression. I’m not going to sit here and say I won’t enjoy a glass of wine on a Saturday night, but I won’t be doing any drinking during the week, or excessively at all. I’m in it to win it, folks – a rejuvenation of the mind, body, and soul.

Of course, I’ll be documenting my journey along the way, and if you’ve got any tips for me, I’d love to hear them!

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What I’m eating this week…

I’ve been eating 90% of my meals from Green Chef for the last few months (catch a recap of how much I love it here). To say the least, it’s really convenient, delicious, healthy, and affordable. I’ve really come to rely on that box of ingredients at my doorstep every Friday evening.

But last Friday, I wasn’t going to be home (or all weekend), and I waited too long to tell Green Chef, so I had to skip my week’s delivery altogether. Major bummer!

While my deliveries will resume this Friday, this meant I was actually going to have to go to the grocery store and buy enough stuff to eat this week. I usually go to the grocery once per week, even when I’m getting the deliveries, because I still need breakfast items, wine, and cases of La Croix. But I haven’t dug through my recipe stash and actually planned meals in so long.

I was a little stressed over it, to be honest. But, I was relieved when I saw all the yummy recipes in my collection – I rip pages from Real Simple magazine. I settled on two recipes, one from Real Simple and one from Red Book magazine; both recipes vegetarian (I do eat meat, but I find it’s the most difficult thing to find good quality meat, so I skipped that this week).

For lunch, I wanted to make “Better-for-You Hummus Wraps” and for dinner, “Quesadillas with Poblano Peppers and beans”

Once I got to the grocery, I was not surprised to see that most of the ingredients I needed for the wraps, such as collard greens and alfalfa spouts weren’t available. This is when you’ve just got to get creative. So, instead of wrapping the hummus and veggies in the collard greens, I got whole wheat pita pockets.

I also got arugula, white bean hummus, tomatoes, cucumber, red bell pepper, red onion, and avocado to fill the pocket. I got grapes and string cheese to have with it, for my lunches at work. Easy, delish, and healthy!

Luckily, I was able to get all of the ingredients for the quesadillas, no problem, and they ended up being really easy to make. For these, you’ll need:

  • tablespoons canola oil (I used organic coconut oil)
  • poblano peppers—halved, seeded, and sliced
  • large white onions, sliced
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 115.5-ounce can low-sodium black beans, rinsed
  • ounces sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
  • 10-inch flour tortillas

I actually used 6 tortillas, with the same amount of filling, just an FYI. Get the simple cooking directions here. These have been yummy, and not as spicy as you may think. If you’re into spicy stuff, you’d either need to add heat or keep a few of those poblano seeds in tact.

Even though I’m enjoying my own meal ideas this week, I’d love for YOU to be able to try Green Chef for one week, entirely free (seriously, no catch here), to see how you like it! If you’re interested, shoot me your email, and I’ll draw a number tonight around 10pm central time. If you’re chosen (I only have one free week to give away), you’ll get an email from Green Chef with the details.

The free week will provide you with enough organic ingredients to make 6 meals (I can usually get 9 out of it, but that’s just me). If you want, you can get 4 free meals free, just by clicking here.

So, shoot me your email and maybe you’ll win some free food! In the meantime, let me know what you’re eating this week. I’m always looking for meal ideas, and I like to prep everything ahead of time so I don’t have to worry about it each night. Got a good method? Share it!

Fresh Friday: Gold.

This is how I snuggle up, too.

This is how I snuggle up, too.

The scent this week is Gold by fashion designer, Michael Kors. He has a ton of different perfumes (I’m guessing to go along with his many clothing styles), so I’m sure you’ll be seeing his name on these posts quite often.

Cool bottle.

Cool bottle.

I’ve got a sample of Gold, and have been spritzing it on every morning for the past few days in preparation for this post — it’s a good scent!

It has been described as floral, tuberose (perennial plant related to the agaves), white floral, a little animalic, with a touch of amber. Gold was Michael Kors’ fragrance, launched in 2011, that features notes of freesia, violet, and magnolia, along with African orange flower, peony, musk, and woods (you know I love a little woods).

According to Makeup Alley, 90 percent of buyers would buy Gold again, describing it as sexy, sweet, big, and fresh.

From InStyle magazine in 2011: “Tuberose – Intoxicating. Loud. Sensual. Sexy. That’s how perfumers describe this heady white flower that can lend a creamy, almost coconut-like aroma to a fragrance, says perfumer Frederic Malle. If you love being in the limelight, this could be your calling card. “You can’t miss a scent with tuberose in it — it’s like saying, ‘I’m here, watch me!'” says perfumer Bruno Jovanovic. Michael Kors Gold. Mixed with magnolia and freesia, this blend offers a slightly lighter take on the classic scent. “It’s for the woman who perhaps hasn’t worn tuberose before because she thinks it’ll be too much,” says designer Michael Kors. “This is her entrée into a white floral.”

After wearing this perfume for a few days, I really do like it — I am a sucker for Kors — but I will admit that the scent fades around mid-afternoon.