Phew!

I’ll thank my mom for today’s wonderful lunch!

Following our dinner party with Ryan’s family on Saturday night, we had a lot of roasted chicken leftover, so I took a big bag of it back to Orlando with me.

It made quite the stellar appearance in my lunch today!

Chicken Salad + Roasted Veggies

I had chicken salad (made with light Miracle Whip, Dijon mustard, relish and sweet corn) with a side of roasted veggies.

I prepared the vegetables last night by tossing them in olive oil and garlic salt and roasting them at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

Wednesday's Lunch

Which do you prefer: Chicken salad or tuna salad?

I’m a tuna salad kinda girl, though this chicken salad was awfully tasty!

Dessert

A coworker also brought in homemade chocolate chip cookies. They were made from scratch and who am I to refuse warm, fresh-out-of-the-oven cookies? 😉

Chocolate Chip Cookie

It was the perfect sweet ending to my lunch!

AMA: Final Round

This is it… the final round of Ask Me Anything questions.

Phew!!!

Thank you to everyone who submitted questions. This whole “Ask Me Anything” ordeal was a much bigger undertaking than I anticipated, and I appreciate your support and kind words throughout this somewhat revealing process.

I tried to address most of your questions and I apologize if yours slipped through the cracks! I’m happy to answer your questions privately as well. You may email me at pgfingers@gmail.com if I didn’t get a chance to answer your question and you still have something on your mind.

You say you use a food scale but don’t count calories, is that right?  So why do you weigh oatmeal and what not? How do you know how much you want?

I do not count calories, but I am aware of calories. While I do not count calories, I try to keep my portion sizes in check and using a scale is a great way to ensure that I’m eating just one portion of oatmeal (or whatever food I’m measuring) rather than two. I do not use it to weigh everything, but I do use my scale a lot for portions of food I’d likely overestimate.

I notice your meals are so small and hardly any calories. Like the other day you had some turkey tacos but all you ate with it was lettuce and tomato. Do you think you could eat more than that? Are you afraid to eat more calories?

I am never “afraid” to eat. With regard to the taco meal you referenced, I really only like tacos with the shell, meat, lettuce and tomato, so that’s all I put on my tacos. I had two tacos and a big plate full of taco salad. If you’re a calorie-minded person, I’d estimate that meal to have around 450 calories, which isn’t huge, but is a decent size meal. I make an effort to eat healthy foods. I definitely eat until I am satisfied and I do not go to bed hungry, I promise! 🙂 Also, as I’ve said before, I do not post everything I eat in a day, like the majority of my snacks or “random nibbles.” If I am still hungry after a meal, I’ll grab something else, like a handful of nuts, to satisfy any lingering hunger.

What is your greatest fear and why?

I know it’s cliché, but my biggest fear is losing a loved one. My family and friends mean the world to me.

Do you buy organic fruits and vegetables?

Not unless they’re on sale.

What kind of makeup do you use?

I am doing a post on my makeup routine within the next couple of days. Stay tuned!

I’ve been with my boyfriend for quite awhile.  We plan to get married one day.  I worry because we live together that  there won’t be a big enough difference or change once we get married to “feel married.”  What is your take on this?  Are you and Ryan doing anything different or special before the big day? I just wanted a perspective from you since you and your fiance seem very similar to my boyfriend and I!

I love this question and think it’s wonderful that you’re concerned about making the transition from a happy couple to a happy, married couple successfully. Ryan and I really aren’t doing anything differently. To be completely honest, I hope not much changes when we get married because I really like how our relationship is right now. I’m not naive enough to think that things won’t change, but I love our relationship as is. We’re getting excited for married life and have really enjoyed reading 1,001 Questions to Ask Before You Get Married. Though there are tons of silly questions, there are a lot of thought-provoking questions as well that touch on questions just like the one you asked, such as “What do you expect to change after we’re married,” etc. It’s fun to hear your partner’s answers!

Self Secrets

Are there little things you do that make you smile to yourself?

I feel like I do the most random little things that are like little “self secrets” that no one else knows about, but they make me smile.

Today my “self secret” is that I am wearing festive Valentine’s Day heart socks under my professional work attire.

Silly Socks

Silly and stupid, I know, but it makes me smile! 🙂

Workout + Breakfast

Today when the alarm went off at 5:30 a.m., Ryan rolled over and said “Wanna sleep ’til 6:30?” Yes, please!

Since it was raining outside today, I knew I’d have time to spare in the morning since Sadie is a princess and doesn’t like to walk for too long in the rain, so I jumped at the chance to enjoy an extra hour of sleep.

My workout today was a lazy lady’s workout… I hopped from machine to machine:

  • 15 min. stair master
  • 25 min. adaptive motion trainer
  • 15 min. elliptical

I followed my cardio session with five minutes of lying on the gym mats stretching.

Breakfast came together quickly and hit the spot. I was in the mood for cereal!

Tuesday's Breakfast

Fage Greek yogurt + Kay’s Naturals honey almond protein cereal = yummy!

AMA Round Nine

Phew! NINE rounds of Ask Me Anything questions… holy guacamole. 🙂

As I said before, I will be ending Ask Me Anything tomorrow, so if there’s somethin’ on your mind that you’d like to ask, please click here to submit an anonymous question.

What kind of camera do you use to take pictures for your blog?  Do you have two different cameras; one for blog pictures and one for every day things?

I do have two different cameras, but I greatly prefer my “big” camera. I use my Nikon D3000 whenever I can, which is typically at dinner, on the weekends and during trips to the dog park. This camera is awesome and I still have so much to learn about how to use it to its full potential.

I use my little crapper Canon PowerShot SD630 for pictures I take at work, which are often my breakfast and lunch pictures during the week. I also use this camera in social settings or when we go out to eat because it’s much more portable. I am not a huge fan of this camera, but it does the job. 🙂

How do co-workers and strangers react when they see you taking pictures of food? I’m sure you’ve gotten a lot of interesting reactions!

I usually have to follow any food photographs up with an explanation that I have a blog and post pictures of my meals. Most people are pretty intrigued by it and have a lot of questions. Ryan calls me his little tourist when we go out to eat because I snap pictures of everything and we definitely get some strange looks (especially at The Capital Grille on Valentine’s Day when my flash kept going off in the middle of the dimly-lit restaurant).

What is your typical day like during the week?  You seem to get so much accomplished in your days.  How do you find time for Ryan and friends?

I actually did a post about my morning routine, which you may find here. After that, I am at work until around 5:15 p.m. When I arrive home, Ryan and I always do something active with Sadie for about and hour, whether it be taking her on a long walk or to the dog park. We typically make dinner around 6:30 and eat a little before 7 p.m. After dinner, I blog while Ryan reads ESPN.com. The rest of the night is dedicated to checking random things off our “to do” lists or “couple time,” and we try to be in bed by 9:15 p.m. so we’re asleep by 10 p.m. every night. This is just a typical week day, and obviously plans come up frequently so we’ll adjust accordingly.

How did you get your job?  I’m looking for a career change and would love to be involved with writing in some way, but am not sure how to go about it.

I love my job and if you have even the slightest interest in writing, I definitely encourage you to pursue a career in the field because it’s challenging, rewarding and you learn something new every single day. Before I had this job, I worked as the marking manager for UCF’s dining program and hated it. I was truly miserable and was desperate for a different job. I spent a lot of time on the typical job posting Web sites and ended up finding my job on craigslist.com. This is shocking since craigslist is filled with scams and illegitimate jobs, but fortunately I found a good one! Phew!

What is your favorite meal of the day?

Breakfast! I think that’s why I eat breakfast for dinner at least one night a week. 🙂 (If dessert counts as a meal, I’d like to change my answer.)

Who was your favorite character on Friends?

Ross, without a doubt. I think he is hysterical and so adorable. Plus, I have a soft spot for smart, nerdy guys. (Don’t worry, Ryan, you’re not a nerd, but I think we can both agree we’re pretty big dorks together!)

How many calories on average do you eat?

I answered the calorie and weight question here.

How did you feel when your body started changing at puberty? I’m having a hard time dealing with gaining weight (especially my hips and thighs)!

You are not alone!!! I think that gaining weight and having hips all of the sudden is definitely something women struggle with, but it is an important part of becoming a woman. When you’re not a little girl anymore it’s unrealistic to think we’ll always have the body we had when we were a freshman in high school. I still struggle with embracing my hips, but I’m sure you will find that there are a lot of people out there who love the look of a curvaceous body (It’s just hard to convince yourself to be one of them!). I only wish my chest would’ve decided to “gain some weight” when I hit puberty as well… 😉

I notice none of your meals have cottage cheese(unless I just missed it)… Which is a staple for me—Is it that you just don’t like it or is there something bad about cottage cheese? I know the sodium can be a minus, but I thought I’d ask.

I actually love cottage cheese! I guess I just haven’t been using it a lot lately! (Click here, here, here, and here for some past cottage cheese posts.) As far as the sodium in cottage cheese, I try to buy cottage cheese with no salt added if I am using it as a mix in with other foods (Warning: Alone this stuff tastes terrible!).

Did you know Vienna from The Bachelor? I heard she was a KD at UCF!

That she was! 🙂 I did not know her though. I believe she came through rush two years after I graduated, though we’re only a year apart in age.

AMA Round Eight

AMA Round Eight

More Ask Me Anything Q & As!

I’m pretty sure you guys are gonna get really sick of these by the time Wednesday rolls around and the Ask Me Anything days are over. 🙂 Until then, enjoy a few more Q & As!

You may still click here to submit an anonymous question.

I have been curious about your honeymoon plans, but someone beat me to it!!  What are you doing for your bachelorette party?!?!?  I just saw that Ryan is going on a cruise–fun to where?!?!?

I am SO excited about my bachelorette party! I will likely be having two bachelorette parties because I have good friends from college and high school and will probably be celebrating on two separate occasions because of everyone’s busy schedules. So far Bachelorette Party Part One will take place at the end of July in Chicago. We’ll be going out and havin’ fun and a group of us are actually crazy enough the end the sha-bang by running in the Chicago half marathon on August 1. Let’s hope we survive!  Bachelorette Party Part Two is in the works.

Ryan’s cruise plans are also in the works, but they’ll likely go on a weekend cruise to the Bahamas or an island in the Caribbean.

You and your sister both look great, but is there ever any competition between you about who is smaller?

No, because she’d always win. 😉 My sister and I have completely different body types. I am a “pear” with a big ol’ booty and she has a cute lil’ tooshie. I’ve always envied her figure but I don’t feel like I need to be smaller than her because I’m more concerned about feeling happy with my own body size, not my body size when compared to my sister’s. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel jealous of her body at times, but I try not to compare myself to her because we are built so differently and comparing my body to the bodies of others isn’t healthy for me, as it only leads to negative thoughts about my own figure.

I noticed that you use the Carba Nada pasta a lot. Do you try to limit your carbs?

No, I don’t. I love carbs and actually purchased Carba Nada pasta for the amount of protein it has in each serving (12 grams!). I sometimes struggle to get a lot of protein in my diet because I naturally enjoy fruits and grains (and ice cream) more than many protein-rich foods.

Do you usually choose sugar free and light products over regular?

No, I do not. I loooove full-fat cheese! Of course here are a few exceptions: I do choose to buy some sugar-free products like sugar-free Jello, sugar-free instant pudding mix and sugar-free syrup. I also use Splenda (Ah!!!) to sweeten plain Greek yogurt.

Do you usually eat all of your meals at the same time of day, or do you just eat when hungry?

During the week, I typically eat around the same time every day since I pack my meals and work full-time, and my meals and snacks fit into my schedule best at certain times. On the weekend I will eat around whatever activities we may have planned. I do like to eat breakfast before 9 a.m., lunch before 1 p.m. and dinner before 7 p.m. if I can control my meal times.

What kind of cars do you and Ryan drive?

Believe it or not I received this question a couple of times! Unfortunately I do not feel comfortable answering it for safety reasons, but I will tell you that we both drive SUVs that we love dearly. Ryan’s car’s name is “Gunner” and mine is “Lexi.”

Have you ever thought about becoming a Group Exercise Instructor or Personal Trainer part time? You seem like you would be great at either with your passion for health and wellness!

Yes, many, many times. I would love to teach group exercise classes and have particular interest in spinning and BodyPump classes. Unfortunately, as of right now I am not willing to dedicate the time required to be a quality fitness instructor because I work 40+ hour weeks and really value my free time with Ryan, family and friends. It is definitely something I’d consider in the future.

Do you plan to keep working after you get married and have kids?  Does your mother work?

Yes, I do plan on working. Right now I am fortunate enough to love my job and I cannot imagine not working or writing. My long-term goal is to be able to work as a freelance writer and be my own boss.

My mom is a nurse and worked up until last year when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and took time off for surgery and treatment.

What is your favorite kitchen accessory?

My griddle! I use this bad boy almost daily.

What shampoo/conditioner do you use?

I use Marc Anthony Instantly Thick shampoo and conditioner and I buy it at Ulta. I have the thinnest hair in the world and it’s the only shampoo and conditioner I’ve used that actually seems to make it a little thicker.

How much water do you drink in a day?

Not enough. 😦 I try to drink three three-cup bottles of water daily, but sometimes I forget to refill my water bottle and will only drink two full bottles.

How do you deal with “haters?” Sometimes I get some nasty comments on my blog and even though I try not to take them to heart, I do.

I really don’t want to jinx myself, but I feel very fortunate to have very kind readers and the comments I receive are typically very warm and supportive. I do receive some comments that I can see are a little judgmental regarding my meals sometimes, which I don’t let bother me because I eat what I eat because I love it and it makes me feel good. I know I’m sensitive and I’m sure I would have a very hard time letting mean comments roll off my back, so please continue to play nice! 🙂 My best advice for mean comments or mean people in general is to recognize that some people are unfortunately not blessed with the “compassion” gene… We’ll just beat ourselves up trying to understand what makes mean people so mean. Feel free to email me if you get a mean comment and I’ll tell you how wonderful you are. 🙂

Bowled Over

I made today’s lunch last night as I was making my dinner. I swear I never get sick of pasta bowls!

Parmesan-Topped Pasta

My noodle bowl contained:

  • Carba Nada egg fettuccine pasta
  • Emeril’s roasted gaaahlic pasta sauce
  • Portobello mushrooms
  • Broccoli
  • Parmesan cheese

Monday's Lunch

For dessert I enjoyed a cup of sugar-free strawberry Jello.

Snack Time

Today’s morning snack was lemon yogurt pudding!

Lemon Yogurt Pudding

I stirred lemon instant pudding mix into a cup of Fage Greek yogurt and it tasted like creamy lemon mousse. So good!

AMA Round Seven

Thanks for submitting more questions! Click here if you still have something you’d like to anonymously ask. You have ’til Wednesday to submit a question fo’ me! 🙂

Have you ever had to officially “diet” or have you always been naturally thin and active?

I have never considered myself naturally thin, but more “average” in body weight. I have always been active and was involved in sports growing up (basketball, swimming, diving, water polo). I didn’t worry too much about my weight until I entered into college and found myself surrounded by weight-related conversations constantly. It made me much more aware of my own appearance and I felt more critical of myself. I worked out throughout college and never really dieted. My eating habits changed last year a bit when I realized that living off Lean Cuisines, Lean Pockets, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and oatmeal wasn’t going to cut it. By incorporating fresh vegetables and fruits into my diet and preparing my own meals, I naturally lost a little bit of weight but never once felt deprived or like I was dieting.

I love your hair and can’t believe you get it cut at Great Clips for only $5.99! I would be so nervous to get a $5.99 hair cut! How do you get it cut and how often?

My hair cut is hard to mess up because I just get it trimmed every time! I ask them to cut about a half of an inch off every two months, and angle it a bit in the front.

I love your blog!! My family also has a vizsla. She’s only 6 months and I noticed that you had said your dog stays home during the day while you and Ryan are at work.  My question is how did you go about training her to stay home alone? And how long did it take for her to adjust to it and at what age did you start this?

Vizslas are the best!!! I’m obsessed.

Since Ryan and I both work full-time and have since we first got Sadie when she was 8 weeks old, she’s been home alone her whole life. Fortunately, when she was a puppy I worked less than three miles from home and could come home every day at lunch to let her out and take her on a walk. This helped a lot with the potty-training process and she adjusted to it pretty early. I felt awful leaving her alone, but she really did get used to it fairly quickly. I make it a point to take Sadie on a long walk (approximately 2.5 miles) before work and Ryan and I always do some sort of a physical activity with her after work for at least an hour, whether it be another long walk or a trip to the dog park.

Have you and Ryan picked a honeymoon destination?

Ahhh no!!! We NEED to do this! Any suggestions are welcome!!! Ryan is a nervous flier, so we’re trying to brainstorm places we could go that wouldn’t involve a long plane trip, though he said he would “suck it up” for our honeymoon. Still, I don’t want to make him fly somewhere far away because I’m claustrophobic and totally understand the anxiety that comes along with certain fears.

You have a gorgeous flat stomach! Do you do a particular ab workout? Do you mix it up? Have a you found a particular set of exercises really works for you? Do you find any particular foods help you achieve a flatter tummy?

Thank you. 🙂 I briefly touched on this same question here. As far as abdominal workouts, I do not have a set routine when it comes to working out my abs. I typically workout my abs during BodyPump classes three times a week, but find that cardio and healthy eating is really what keeps my stomach the flattest. Eating a lot of fibrous foods (veggies! fruits! whole grains!) keeps me “regular” 😉 and I think this helps with the appearance of a flatter belly.

Are you planning on stopping biting your nails before your wedding?

This question literally made me laugh out loud. Gosh, I sure hope so! I’ve already made tremendous strides in overcoming this terrible habit because I am going through Invisalign and it’s impossible to bite my nails when wearing the aligners. I am going to make every effort to have pretty nails on my wedding day!

How long have you been using Invisalign? Do you like it? Does it take forever? Tell me everything!

I never had braces as a teenager and was always bothered by my “fangs” as I called them. The two teeth on either side of my two front teeth stuck out a bit and I finally decided to bite the bullet and commit to adult braces. I couldn’t commit to real braces because I knew I’d feel too self-conscious, so I elected to do Invisalign (clear braces). I started Invisalign in April of last year and should be done with the treatment in two months or so (Hallelujah!).

The actual process has not been bad at all. I was never in too much pain and while taking the aligners in and out can be a pain, it has never been that big of a deal for me. It took a while for me to notice changes, but after a couple months I really began to see a difference in my “fangs.”

What I haven’t liked about the treatment is wearing rubber bands, though most people don’t have to do this. I have two little attachments attached to two of my upper teeth and two of my lower teeth and I have to string rubber bands between them to prevent an overbite. Not so cute! I’m great about wearing my rubber bands to bed, but take them off a lot in the day or in social settings because I feel like a 12 year old. 🙂

Would you care if Ryan went to a strip club for his bachelor party?

No, I really wouldn’t because I trust him 100 percent and I know his feelings about strip clubs are not positive. Also, it’s not something I even am concerned about because I know that his bachelor party plans involve all of his groomsmen taking a bachelor party cruise. Fun, huh?

Why do you use so much processed and packaged food?

I really do try to buy fresh foods, but I definitely buy packaged goods as well because I’m not about to make my own pasta sauces, cheese and soups every week. I work full-time and love cooking but definitely use packaged foods for the sake of convenience and affordability.

AMA Round Six

Good mornin’ and happy Monday!

I  wanted to respond to a few of your Ask Me Anything questions quickly this morning before the craziness of the day sets in, so heeeere we go!

I will be ending Ask Me Anything on Wednesday to round out a full week of Q & As. 🙂 Again, thanks to everyone who submitted a question. It’s actually a lot more work answering these bad boys than I thought it would be, but I’ve really enjoyed it. You may still click here to submit an anonymous question.

I’ll be back in a bit for a yummy breakfast post!

AMA Round Six

Your engagement ring is really pretty. How many carats is it? How did Ryan know it would be perfect for you? Did you guys ever go shopping together for engagement rings?

Thank you! I LOVE my ring, too! It is 1.2 carats. Ryan and I did not go engagement ring shopping and I was totally blindsided by his proposal (in a good way). He bought the ring 100 percent on his own and knew what  I wanted because apparently during the second year we were dating I was talking about wedding rings with my girlfriends and he remembered that I really liked the Lucida ring from the Tiffany’s Web site. He used that as his guide when selecting my ring, but altered it a bit to get a smaller band, which I liked a lot. I love the simplicity of the ring and think he did a wonderful job.

How do you and Ryan handle the money situation (daily spending and long-term saving)? How are you planning to pay for the wedding?

Right now Ryan and I still pay for things like our groceries separately and we split the rent to our apartment every month. When we get married we’ve discussed continuing our current saving habits (we’re both savers, not spenders, by nature) and are looking into creating an account that we would both contribute to and use for food, rent, dates and other couple-related expenses.

As for our wedding, we have been blessed with the assistance of my family when paying for the big day. We have a budget we’re working within and feel very grateful to have help from loved ones. Ryan’s family is generously contributing toward the rehearsal dinner and honeymoon, which we are very thankful for as well.

What are some good, relatively cheap foods to keep on hand for snacking that don’t ruin your whole day of healthy eating/exercise? Here’s the tricky part: no fridge, no stove/oven… Only a microwave to work with. (Gotta love living in KD, huh?) I find myself eating a lot of sugary, high carb granola bars and would like to steer away from them.

Yay for Kappa Delta love! I love this question and the limiting parameters because they’re applicable for many people and create healthy eating challenges. Here are my initial suggestions: apples or whole wheat crackers with peanut butter, nuts, whole wheat tortillas with light jelly and nut butter, trail mix (low-sugar cereal, chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruit), oranges, 100 calorie packs of popcorn and oatmeal.  

Where did you get that brown purse in your driving range pictures? I LOVE it.

Ah, I love it too! It is a Michael Kors purse and I received it as a Christmas present from my family. You can see a close up of it here.

Have you ever been interested in doing a Fitness or Figure competition?

No. I admire the women who are dedicated enough to compete but I do not personally have the desire.

 I’m sorta new to this blog and I love it! I’m sure you answered this already but when is your actual wedding date?  Also can we see a picture of your ring?

Yay for a newbie! I am getting married October 30, 2010. A picture of my ring may be seen here.

On the weekends do you ever feel “guilty” for eating foods that you may not eat during the regular work week? Are you ever afraid that indulging here and there will lead to binge eating?

I soooo wish I could answer this question “no,” but that would be a flat-out lie. Yes, I sometimes do feel guilty after a weekend filled with unhealthy eating. I’m not talking just one meal of unhealthy food, but rather a Friday night, Saturday and Sunday comprised of sugary baked goods, greasy restaurant fare and unlimited snacking. If it’s just one night of indulgence I really don’t let that get to me, but if I’ve abandoned my healthy eating habits for the entire weekend, I do feel slightly disappointed in myself though I know it’s totally normal to indulge every once in a while. I brush it off though because I know that it’s not something that happens all the time and I try to return to my healthy habits on Monday morning.