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.

Surprise Guest

When I woke up this morning I figured the most exciting part of the start of my day would be wearing my new Victoria’s Secret foldover yoga capris to the gym.

New Pants!

(Sadie clearly thinks I’m a nut job. I can’t blame her though, as this was taken at 5:35 a.m.)

Though wearing new clothing is always fun, the real excitement would come later.

At the gym I took a BodyPump class and followed it up with 25 minutes of light cardio on the elliptical. Today I did my typical weights in BodyPump (and even went heavier on the back/hamstrings track), but apparently I was feeling extra-strong because the weights that typically exhaust me weren’t really cuttin’ it. Odd!

A New Playmate

After the gym, I leashed Sadie up for her morning walk.

About half way through our walk we were greeted by an adorable bulldog. I figured her owners were around the area somewhere, so I let Sadie and the dog sniff each other and play for a bit. It was becoming increasingly clear that no owners were in sight. The dog had a collar on and was really sweet and very friendly and followed us when we started walking.

I brought her back to our apartment and had one heck of a time getting the phone number off her collar as she and Sadie were playing. Our new friend’s name is Lily and after speaking with her owner, Sadie, Lily and I played for a while in the backyard waiting for him to arrive.

Meet Lily!

When Lily’s owner arrived he thanked me for keepin’ Lily safe. Apparently she slipped out of a hole in the fence in their backyard.

We got to talking and Lily’s owner realized that I am actually one of his wife’s patients! Lily belongs to my orthodontist and her husband! How’s that for some small world stuff?

Breakfast

After all the excitement from this morning, my breakfast seems rather boring… but it tasted great!

Friday's Breakfast

I enjoyed a cup of Fage Greek yogurt and a small bag of Kay’s Naturals apple cinnamon protein cereal. (For those of you who enjoy a gluten free diet, this cereal is gluten free and tastes delicious!)

Apple Cinnamon Protein Cereal

I also sipped on a hot mug of my gym’s free Barnie’s French vanilla coffee. Yum!

AMA Round Two

Time for more Ask Me Anything questions! (Round one question and answers may be found here.)

Thanks again to everyone who submitted a question. If you have somethin’ on your mind, you may click here to submit an anonymous question.

I think living together before marriage is A MUST, but I was curious what your and Ryan’s parents thought about the idea?

To be honest, I actually thought I would wait until marriage to live with a boy. When I graduated college, I moved into an apartment by myself. Ryan ended up staying with me every night, and even had an entire closet full of clothes. My parents liked the idea of him being around a lot because they think very highly of him and also liked the security of a he-man hangin’ around. 🙂 When we made the move to live together officially, it just kind of happened. Ryan’s parents were always on board and my parents were supportive as well since I was financially supporting myself and was now a real “adult.” They trusted my judgment and thankfully it’s all worked out wonderfully!

Your fiance is adorable, how do I get me one of them? 😉

Try hangin’ around the UCF gym… Worked for me! 😉

What do you and Ryan do and what are your normal work hours?

When I told Ryan about this question his reply was, “They’re gonna come rob us!” …So please don’t come steal all of our stuff. Sadie is at home in the day and will bite your face off (and by bite I mean lick).  She’s ferocious.

Now, to answer your question, I am a full-time writer and editor and manage a content team of three other writers for an internet marketing company. Ryan works in finance in the defense industry. I work from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily (sometimes later) and Ryan works a 9/80 schedule (nine-hour days, with every other Friday off) and typically arrives home between 4:30 and 5 p.m.

Have you ever had a problem with body image or being overweight (in your eyes)?

Yes… Oh yes. Though my BMI has never technically been in the “overweight” category, I have definitely struggled with body image (and still do!). I actually had a mini breakdown to Ryan about a month before I started this blog. We were on a walk with Sadie and I just felt sad and upset with my appearance. I know in my heart that I am a healthy person and weigh a healthy weight, but I couldn’t seem to stop negative thoughts about my body from entering into my head daily… all the time.

I cried to Ryan and he said he’d been in the same place before… many people have. He said that no matter how thin I would ever be, it wouldn’t matter until I accepted myself and loved myself. He is 100 percent right. I still constantly struggle with negative thoughts about my body. However, I’ve found that it’s a lot easier to focus on health than on appearance and weight. I have made a conscious effort to think about my health and make decisions that lead to a healthy lifestyle rather than concentrate on my weight and it’s honestly made a huge difference for me. It’s so much easier (but still not easy!) to feel happy with yourself knowing that you’re doing your best to fuel your body with healthy food and exercise, rather than depriving it and beating yourself up with negative thoughts.

Any advice on how to incorporate more variety in my everyday meals and to be a little less controlling with my calorie intake?

Like I said above, try focusing on health rather than a certain number of calories. Think about how much happier you’ll feel with yourself if you choose to pack an apple for dessert after lunch rather than a brownie. (Easier said than done, I know!!!) As for variety, buy a vegetable you haven’t tried in a while. I literally wouldn’t touch broccoli or asparagus for my entire life… then, last year, I tried them again and I actually liked them! I also encourage you to incorporate foods you love that might not be as healthy into your meals in healthy ways… like sprinkling chocolate chips into your morning bowl of oatmeal or yogurt. It tastes indulgent but you’re enjoying it in a controlled, healthy way.

How much do you weigh and what size do you wear?

I answered the weight question in round one and I typically wear a size 2 or size four dress unless it hugs my hips… I’m definitely a lot smaller up top than on the bottom… my wedding dress measurements were: bust – size two, waist – size two, hips – size eight. I typically buy my shirts in a size small and my jeans in a size 28.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

I know this will make me seem totally lame, but the first thing that came to my mind that I think I did that was pretty crazy was get scuba certified in February. Why, when I live in a state that’s ridiculously hot for nine months out of the year, would I choose to get scuba certified (outside!!!) when it’s in the upper 30s to mid 40s? Ryan and I did it so we could be scuba certified for a cruise we were going on in March, but the process was one of the most miserable experiences ever! Crazy? Maybe. Stupid? Yes.

What’s the most important thing in your life?

My family, friends and Sadie.

Do you and Ryan want to have kids? If so, how long do you plan to wait after you get married?

Yes! We both definitely want kids. When I told him about this question he replied, “Yep! Two boys!” to which I replied “Yep! Two girls!” 🙂 Kids are a long way off for us though (definitely several years) because we both have goals we’d like to achieve and want to feel financially secure enough to start a family.

You have great skin! Mind sharing your routine?

I wash my face with Clean & Clear morning burst shine control facial cleanser in the shower every morning and use Clean & Clear oil-free dual action moisturizer right afterward, otherwise my skin is tiiiiight.

How much time do you spend working on your blog every day?

I probably spend approximately an hour total actually creating blog posts every day, unless something big happened and I write a more extensive post with lots of pictures which takes more time. I consider responding to emails part of blogging and this also takes up additional time every day.

If you could change one thing about your appearance what would it be?

Anyone that knows me well could probably answer this question for me: my hips. I swear I’ve had a boo-tay and hips ever since I was born! I’ve always wished I had a slimmer bottom half… slimmer hips, butt and legs. Thankfully I’m marrying a self-proclaimed “butt man” who likes a lil’ junk in da trunk. 😉

What brand of scale do you have at home?

I have a Thinner scale that looks a lot like this one.

I’m sorry I couldn’t get to all of your questions, but I’m workin’ on it!!! Stay tuned for more Q & As later today! 😀

Protein-Packed Breakfast Cake

My friend Merri may be my blog’s number one fan and I just love it! She’s always sending me awesome recipe ideas and pictures of her meals.

Merri (top left), Me and My Girlfriends

Last night at girl’s holiday movie night Merri brought me two protein breakfast cakes she made this week.

Like me, Merri works out in the morning. After eating a small bowl of oatmeal before her workouts, she’d still feel lightheaded in the gym. Her trainer told her to incorporate more protein into her morning meal. Since she is at the gym early, she wanted to eat something she could grab quickly and found a recipe for a protein-packed breakfast cake.

Protein-Packed Breakfast Cake

She made the cake into muffins to create a grab-and-g0 breakfast. I loved this lil’ cake! I gobbled one up last night and ate the other one she gave me after my morning run. This recipe is great pre- or post-run fuel.

Merri’s Protein-Packed Breakfast Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 packets of oatmeal (banana bread flavor or Kashi Golden Brown maple oatmeal work really well)
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 6 tbsp Splenda or sweetener of choice
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp cinnamon (sprinkle on top before baking as well)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all ingredients and bake in oven in a 9×9 pan or make individual servings in a muffin pan for approximately 20 minutes.

(You may also find this recipe here.)

Workout

This morning I went for a run with my favorite running buddy, little Miss Sadie. She’s the best running partner because she always goes my pace and is ridiculously excited to be running. Plus I like to say things like “only one more mile, Sadie” to make me feel better offer her encouragement. It’s nice to have her cute little face look up at me when I’m plugging away.

Today we ran for an hour. Once again it was very foggy. My hair and eyelashes were wet from all the moisture.

Orlando Fog

Breakfast

Breakfast today was easy and yummy and very similar to Monday’s morning meal.

  • Chobani Greek yogurt
  • Clementine
  • Kay’s Naturals honey almond cereal
  • Yogi Tahitian vanilla hazelnut tea

Tuesday's Breakfast

Festive Clementine

Kay's Naturals Honey Almond Cereal

Easy and tasty – that’s all I ask!

Engagement Gift

Ryan and I have been fortunate to receive some really thoughtful and wonderful engagement gifts. Last night we received one of our very favorites from my Aunt Barbara and Uncle Randall.

Engagement Gift

How wonderful is that picture? It already found a home on our wall. 😀

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

Freegans

Hooray for Friday! I love the energy on Fridays. Everyone seems 10 times happier.

Plus, there was free food in the break room this morning, which made all the freegans happy. Unfamiliar with the term “freegan?” A guy I used to work with informed me of this term used to describe people who will eat anything, as long as its free.

I’m sure you’re familiar with these people. Anytime something free is suddenly available in the break room or at an office potluck, they load up as if preparing for hibernation. Freegans can also be found prevalently around college campuses and are frequently seen hording free pieces of pizza  in their dorm room to enjoy throughout the week.

Are you a freegan?

I passed up on the freegan frenzy since I was nice and full from my yummy breakfast.

Friday's Breakfast

Yeah, you know that’s my College Park Orthodontics free coffee cup! I’ve been rockin’ it almost daily. It’s awesome.

CPO, what, what!?

Ballin'!

I think I may be a little overly excited about this free mug. Might I be a freegan, too!? Ah!

For breakfast I enjoyed a small pack of Kay’s Naturals French vanilla protein cereal on top of Chobani Greek yogurt.

French Vanilla Protein Cereal

Yum Yogurt

This was my first time trying the French vanilla flavor of Kay’s Naturals protein cereal and I loved it! 😀 It was crunchy, sweet and very flavorful.(I bought it online at Netrition.com.)

Also, the nutrition facts are pretty impressive. One pack of the cereal has 100 calories, 15g carbs, 3g fiber, 3g sugar and 9g protein. Plus it’s all natural so it’s sweetened with honey, cinnamon and vanilla extract. It’s also gluten free.

Workout and Walk

I woke up this morning feeling wishy-washy about going to BodyPump. I walked to the gym thinking I’d do my own total-body weights routine.I even got on a cardio machine for a little warm up for about 30 seconds before changing my mind and rushing into BodyPump just in time! I scrambled to get the weights and everything ready, but I made it! So indecisive.

I’m glad I went to the class though because it was a good one. I am obsessed with the song “Now You’re Gone” by Basshunter that was played during the shoulder workout. It makes me wanna sing and dance, but at 5:45 a.m., I think I’d get smacked in the face by other people in the class if I was too enthusiastic.

I finished up my workout with 25 minutes of light cardio on the elliptical.

Then it was time for Sadie’s morning walk. Since Ryan has the day off work, he joined us. While he was grabbing a jacket, I snapped this very presidential-looking picture of Sadie.

Wise Old Sadie

Yes, she is wearing a red t-shirt. 🙂 She gets cold really easily since vizslas have no undercoat and she’s so flippin’ skinny.

I ordered this t-shirt for her last year around the holidays. It says “Santa Paws’ Little Yelper” on the back. I’ll snap a picture of it this weekend for ya. It’s way too big on her, but it looks adorable. She actually likes wearing it! Whenever we bring it out of her little doggie storage bin she jumps around and wags her tail. She must get her love of clothes from her mama. 😉

Weekend Plans

After work today I’m swinging by the apartment to pick up Ryan and Sadie for a weekend at my parents’ house in St. Pete. We have wedding planning appointments with a florist and a photographer. I also have an appointment at a bridal boutique to try on dresses tomorrow at 11 a.m. Can’t wait! Will it be simple or sha-zaam???

For those of you with wedding planning experience, aside from food, drink and the overall expense of the reception, where did you end up spending most of your wedding budget?

All this finance/budget stuff is tough! Thank goodness Ryan is number-savvy. Every time I’d send him a potential wedding venue he’d reply with a spreadsheet breakdown of all the costs. I love my little mathematician.

Breakfast Bomb

Not every random breakfast concoction I make is a success. Today’s breakfast would be a prime example of a breakfast bomb.

It wasn’t so awful that I didn’t eat the entire thing, but it wasn’t amazingly delicious either.

I started with cottage cheese and applesauce.

apple & cottage cheese

Cheesy Apple

I blended the two together with lots of cinnamon.

apple & cottage cheese blended

Cinnamon Apple Cottage Cheese

The flavor was great, but the texture was all wrong. I think it would have tasted ten times better if I would have skipped the blending.

I topped the cinnamon apple cottage cheese with Kay’s Naturals apple cinnamon protein cereal.

apple cinnamon cereal

Kay's Naturals Protein Cereal

apple & cottage cheese breakfast

Added Crunch

The tasty little o’s definitely saved this breakfast mess.

While I was quite disappointed with my sorry attempt at a innovative breakfast, my mood remained positive because I was greeted with a wonderful little surprise when I opened the fridge to pack my meals to take to work today.

i love you note

Who Doesnt' Love a Love Note?

I have one heck of a fiance! 🙂

Soft Serve Bananas

I am not the proud owner of a food processor. I want one, but haven’t decided which one I should purchase (recommendations welcome!) and my mom let me borrow hers until Thanksgiving.

Using my loaner food processor, I was anxious to make the soft serve bananas Gena blogged about, saying they would “change your life.”

banana

Frozen Bananas

I started by placing chunks of two frozen bananas in the food processor.

I let them blend away for several minutes until the bananas were creamy and totally blended.

banana softserve

Soft Serve Bananas

I cannot believe how delicious this is! It honestly tastes like creamy banana gelato. I was so impressed.

When I brought Ryan his bowl he loved it and asked what was in it. He was shocked when I said that bananas were the only ingredient. If you haven’t already, you must try this!

What is your favorite healthy dessert?

Yeehaw! Breakfast Time!

Howdy, ya’ll! My Friday is off to a festive start.

cowgirl

Me and My Faithful Steed

Today we’re celebrating Halloween at work so I am currently surrounded by Waldo, a sea captain, a golf player and a zombie. I threw my costume together this morning using stuff I had around the house, namely a shirt I’ve had since high school. You never know when the good ol’ Abercrombie button-up will warrant a wear.

Breakfast

Breakfast today was mmm, mmm good!

My friend Minda gave me a big ol’ box of Brothers-All-Natural fruit crisps after she bought them and wasn’t a big fan (Thanks Minnie Minn!), so I got to try a new flavor.

strawberry banana crisps

Strawberry Banana Crisps

I loved these! The freeze-dried banana was soooo flavorful and tasty. At only 45 calories a pack and one ingredient (freeze dried fruit!), you can’t go wrong.

I used these to beef up my Greek yogurt. I also added a bag of Kay’s Naturals honey almond protein cereal to the mix.

protein cereal

Honey Almond Protein Cereal

This cereal is SOOOOO good. It was my first time trying it and wow-zaaa. It was flavorful, light and oh-so-tasty.

yogurt mix

Overflowin' Yogurt

Can you tell I love cramming as many extra toppings into my Greek yogurt as possible?

yogurt close up

Thick and Crunch-ay!

I’m excited to check out some other costumes around the office today! I love Halloween!

What was your best Halloween costume?

I think my best costume was in sixth grade. I dressed up as the Energizer Bunny in a bright pink sweatsuit with bunny ears, sunglasses and a drum my mom made featuring the Energizer logo.

energizer-bunny-page

(Picture from EnergizerCanada.ca)

That night I was a trick-or-treating mad woman. I just kept going and going and going… 😉