Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Movie and A Smoothie

This past Friday evening I was having a conversation about food - well, most of my conversations center around food - and my friend asked if I had seen the documentary "Forks Over Knives".  I had not seen it, yet, but knew it was on my mental movie list.

So, Sunday afternoon, after Sparky and I had risen at 4:00 am to drive to Skiatook, OK for a road race and then drove home, all I wanted to do was relax and enjoy a movie on the couch cuddled up under an old quilt.  I activated our Netflix and instantly went searching through the documentaries.  There it was, "Forks Over Knives".  Perfect.

Here is the Trailer for those of you interested:

It was a good documentary.  I really enjoyed it.  It motivated me and it confirmed a few things I already thought.  That's all I will say.  I don't like to preach too much.  I like to watch different health and food documentaries to see if and what conflicting information is out there for us.  I also have switched my eating lifestyle and try my best to honor what I believe and say.  I'm not going to lie, being a HUGE food lover, eating what's right for me can be so incredibly tough.  I'm sure you all are fully aware of my dark chocolate, coffee, cupcake, ice cream obsessions.  I love SWEETS.  I need them everyday it seems.  So how do I incorporate & justify these indulgences to feel less guilty?

- dark chocolate.  I say it's better (for you and tasting) than crappy milk chocolate.  I especially dislike over processed fake milk chocolate coated candies.  ack.  I like fresh rich dark chocolate candies.  Yum.  I also LOVE Silk dark chocolate almond milk.  I will sometimes have a little glass after dinner to get my sweet craving knocked out for the day.

- coffee.  I try buying organic and low acidic.  I also have kicked creamers and try to add almond milk or cocoa powder to my coffee.  It has been tough but worth it.  I've also switched to every other day during the week and alternate the off days with either organic green tea or organic chocolate chai tea.  I used to have at least 2-3 MUGS of coffee a day.  Now I'm down to about 5 a week if I get a craving in the afternoon for one and just can't help myself because I've been so good.  If I'm purchasing coffee, I ask for soymilk, sugar free syrups if possible, and refuse the whip cream.

-cupcakes.  You all know I have an addiction to Green Goodies by Tiffany.  They're organic and I normally try to get a vegan cupcake to feel less guilty.  It works in my head.

-ice cream.  I try to limit my dairy intake as much as possible.  I do however, enjoy a little froyo on occasion and now that Green Goodies has frozen yogurt, I'm sure I'll be enjoying it a little bit more than I'd like to admit.  But, if I'm buying a frozen treat for the home, I usually get  soy dream or almond dream.  They are so yummy and decadent.

That's how I feed my sweet tooth and feel less guilty about it.  After watching "Forks Over Knives" I was inspired to eat more plant based foods.  I feel that I have been slacking the last few weeks.  Monday morning I woke up and instead of enjoying bran cereal and an english muffin, I made a fruit smoothie. It was so yummy and I felt so energized the entire day.  It was a great way to start the week.  Below is the smoothie I made.  Maybe incorporating a smoothie in the morning a few days a week will at least make me feel less guilty about enjoying the cheese with my wine.

I don't really have a name for this smoothie.  Let's go with:  Peach Orange Berry smoothie.

I threw in all the following into a blender.  I didn't really have a method or a plan.  That's the beauty of smoothies.

-2 handfuls of Organic frozen peaches
-2 handfuls of Organic frozen blueberries
-half an Organic orange (fresh)
-1/4 cup-ish cranberry juice
-1/2 cup-ish unsweetened almond milk

*I intended to throw in some ginger but forgot in all my crazy excitement.  I'm sure it would have been an amazing addition.  Next time!

Keep on Keepin on.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Local Love & Green Goodies by Tiffany

If you didn't already know, I'm a huge supporter of buying local.  I love small businesses and the creativity and kindness that typically comes along with it.  OKC and the metro area have been promoting local businesses for a while now and the best part is that there are so many incredible local businesses to offer almost anything you might want.  

There are two really great cards you can purchase that will provide you with a little discount when presented at participating local businesses.  The "Keep It Local" card and the Allied Arts "OKCity Card".  They are broth great cards.  Sparky and I have both just in case a business participates in one and not the other.  I carry one around and Sparky carries the other so we are always supporting and discounting even without each other.  I love local and I especially love a discount!

One of my favorite little businesses to buy delicious little human treats (sorry doggies) is Green Goodies by Tiffany.  This cute little bakery recently moved into Classen Curve and added even more greatness to their menu options.  Although I did love the cute simple bakery Tiffany started out on Western, the new location is still simple and pristine with more organic goodness to try.  She still has the same whimsy organic style with a little bit more modern flare.  I love the white tables and chairs, the large window overlooking the outside seating area, the white tiles, the larger glass case for cupcakes, and the large pink wall with the simple green tree logo behind the counter.  

Now to the goodies!  Tiffany is still baking her amazing organic, gluten free, vegan, and diabetic friendly cupcakes that are so incredibly divine.  I actually think they are even better now!  I have tried almost every cupcake and I have yet to try one I didn't devour in less than a minute.  I know, not a great mental picture for you.  And, yes, I can't believe I just admitted to almost trying every cupcake.  Back to the point.  The Vegan Hostess cupcake is still my all time favorite cupcake.  It is so moist and flavorful.  The Sopapilla Cheesecake cupcake comes in a very close second and once you take a bite into this wonderfulness you will be in love as well.  I promise.  You can walk in and enjoy any fresh cupcake available that day or pre-order your batch for a party or event.  

New to the goodies list is organic frozen yogurt & toppings bar, fresh espresso & coffee, and teas.  The other day I tried their dark chocolate frozen yogurt and salted caramel frozen yogurt with a few little treats from their toppings bar.  I am a huge dark chocolate fan so this frozen yogurt is my new best friend.  It was a very dark rich chocolate with a nice smooth and creamy texture.  The salted caramel was also magnificent not being overwhelming with either salt or caramel.  It was the perfect blend.  I will definitely make this my frozen yogurt destination.  

Yesterday, I went in yet again to try out their coffee.  Their coffee menu has so many options and I am so excited about this.  They have lattes, mochas, macchiatos, regular coffee, and espresso.  They also have different syrup flavors in sugar or sugar free as well as milk options.  I ordered a 16oz sugar free vanilla latte with soy milk.  It was perfect.  It didn't take me long to drink my entire 16oz and wish I had ordered the larger size!  Although they don't open until 10am on most days, I will definitely make my after 10am coffee stops at Green Goodies.  If you're not into coffee, they also have organic teas and other cold beverage options.

If you haven't been by Green Goodies' new location to try out Tiffany's new goodies, you should definitely stop in for a treat.  They have extended hours now (8pm on weekdays and 9pm Friday & Saturday), so they are a great little local spot to have an after dinner treat and coffee with your friends or lovey.

P.S. I also picked up some day old cupcakes at half the price yesterday.  They were the Guinness and Baileys cupcakes and they were just as yummy being a day old.  Just sayin.

P.P.S.  They accept the "Keep It Local" card on cupcakes!  Now go get a goodie!

Keep on Keepin on.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Hello, March!

I have always loved the month of March.  I don't really have any one specific reason to explain this love for a random single month for me; it's not the month of my birth or any family members of mine.  I think this love for March is a feeling that this month, for me at least, is a turning point every year that provides positive energy and hope for the remaining year.  I know many get this feeling at New Year's, and I do too to some degree, but the month of March is the beginning of possibilities in my opinion.

I can remember back to elementary school learning that March's description is "In like a lion and out like a lamb".  This saying has always stayed with me and every year I check to see if this is true.  I don't necessarily even care if this saying is true, I just like to check in with it.  I don't really care too much if the weather pattern matches the saying because I just know that March is the point I know warmer springlike weather is on the horizon.

I think I always was and am so intrigued by the possibility of such contrast and change in a one month period.  March is a hopeful month because the possibility of change is almost inevitable.  Weather changes and peoples' attitudes change with it.  It seems that many people get excited and get hit with the March-is-hopeful bug.  People are more positive, cheery, social, and all around possess a more bright and pleasant demeanor.

Today is a beautiful day.  It's the first day of March and the temperature will be a whopping 78 degrees and sunny.  I'm opening up the windows and playing outside today after I finish this post.  I hope you have the opportunity to enjoy this gorgeous first day of March!  I am hopeful of what the month of March will bring to my home and yours!

Get out and get some vitamin D aka sunshine!

Keep on Keepin on.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Unemployment - Keep Positive, Keep Busy

Today is a beautiful leap day outside.  The sun is shining, there is hardly any wind, and the temperature is supposed to reach a perfect 71 degrees.  I can't believe it is still February.  Rewind back to last week and I thought I would never get well.  I spent most of last week feeling weak, tired, and groggy.  I finally had the flu hit me Thursday night to explain all the cruddiness I had been experiencing.  I became a hermit last week with the exception of teaching a few practice classes at the studio.  

Although the weather outside is tremendously beautiful, I am still feeling a little down on myself.  I did not get the job I was so hopeful about last week.  That tid-bit of information sprung on me Friday and finally hit my reality on Monday.  I'm still undecided on what career path to choose and I'm beginning to get restless.  

I do, however, search for and hold on to all the positives of being unemployed.  Believe me, they do exist and I'm not always down on myself.  I have compiled a small list of the perks of unemployment thus far - because, honestly, I might go insane if didn't do this.

1.  I get to sleep in until 8:00 am or 8:30 am.  This has been nice.  I am typically a morning person and early riser, so stepping of bed at this later time is quite nice.

2.  I get to enjoy my breakfast and coffee slowly and quietly.  There is no rushing to get dressed to get to work or waiting to eat a quick breakfast at my desk when I get to work.

3.  I get to hang out with my dogs all day.  I get to hear them snore at my feet as I peruse facebook the Internet for jobs and hear them chase after bones and squirrels in their dreams.

4.  I get to grocery shop during the weekdays in leisure.  No hurrying, no crowds, no lines, and great parking.

5.  I get to workout during the day and get it done at a decent time rather than late in the evening or early morning.

6.  I can clean the house during the weekdays and have more free time with Sparky on the weekends.  This is one of the things I try to do regularly to pass time.  I average cleaning the floors 3-4 times a week.  When you have 4 shedding dogs it is absolutely necessary.  I may even up this to 5 times a week as it gets warmer.

Those are just a few perks that I enjoy daily.  My days do seem to go by quickly even though it seems I don't talk to many people on a daily basis.  My mornings consist of about 4-5 hours of job searching, job applications if I find anything worth my while, contemplating my future, researching about becoming a freelance writer, and corresponding back and forth through e-mail.  My afternoons I focus on cleaning up the house, doing laundry, and spending some time with the dogs for some sanity on my part.  I am going to start some organizing projects soon and painting projects so that I will have some great tips for you all.  I already re-organized my bookshelf in my office so that post is coming soon.

So my advice to anyone out there in a similar situation as mine is to do everything you can to keep positive and keep busy.  You may not technically have a job to report to everyday, but you should still put yourself on a schedule and stay consistent.  Leave some time for structure and leave some time for fun while you have this opportunity in life for it.  This will help keep your sanity,  I promise.  Your daily life is still full of responsibility so you should definitely take all those responsibilities seriously.  This will help you to be a self-starter which is what many employers are looking for anyway!

Keep on Keepin on.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Confidence and Coffee

Today I am feeling confident.  I have some big decisions still to make but I feel like I'm moving in the right direction.  I feel like I am where I need to be and I will go where I am supposed to go.

When I made the decision to leave my job, my biggest worry wasn't necessarily where am I going to work now (although that was on my mind).  Honestly, my biggest worry was what am I going to do with my time?  I am a restless person by nature.  I can endure, maybe, one day of resting and doing nothing before my mind is racing.  I get bored VERY quickly.  My mind is my best friend and my best adversary all at the same time.  I also drink a lot of coffee; doesn't really help the situation.  I've tried restricting myself to just green tea, but now I just drink both.  I'm weak.  I digress a lot too.

With that said, surprisingly, I've enjoyed my two weeks of unemployment!  I've kept myself busy and even Sparky has quite enjoyed seeing my happy little mug (face, not coffee mug) more often.  He also likes that when he comes home from work & riding his bicycle that the house is cleaned, dinner is made, his laundry is done, and I'm smiling.  I might get the hang of this after all...

Probably not.  There are quite a few things in the works at the same time.  I have options and that's my biggest dilemma right now.  One of the activities that has kept me busy is that I've been training this past month to be a barre3 instructor.  I am so incredibly excited about this opportunity, although it will more than likely be strictly part time.  I am excited about pursuing a passion and promoting health and fitness.  I am also so excited to surround myself with mentally and physically strong women who are also so intelligent and beautiful in so many ways.  It is such a positive atmosphere and I am so excited about this part of my future.

In addition, I have been interviewing at one business nearby.  I have been interviewed four times already and will have my fifth interview today as well.  I have a feeling that I will probably have at least two additional interviews after today's interview.  Apparently I interview well and I should provide interview I've been told.  Anyway, the position is a great opportunity and so far I am the only person to make it this far in the interview process for this specific position.  I am staying positive and relaxed about it.  

In addition to all the above, a friend of mine and I have been plotting launching our own business!  This  business is something I have dreamt about for years and with her AMAZING talents, I feel that this dream for the both of us may actually come true!  She has been so wonderful and patient with all my ups and downs (mostly downs) this year so far, but I feel I am making a comeback in my confidence.  Today we have a meeting about the business for some professional advice, and we already have a client lined up in March to add to our portfolio.  More details to come soon!

If the job opportunity doesn't pan out, I am flirting with the idea of moving into the freelance world of writing, editing, and proposal consulting...maybe even start writing a book.  That's on the back burner for now until I know more about all the other variables going on right now.

So, I'm planning.  I'm plotting.  I haven't gone into complete seclusion, yet.  And I'm drinking coffee.  Lot's of coffee.

Keep on Keepin on.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Life is all about choices...right?  And with all those life choices we are obligated to decisions.  Every day we can make decisions from the simplest or mundane forms to the life altering and life changing.  We are most often exposed to the simple.  The life changing decisions can define who we are or who we want to be in this world; they help build the foundation of our character.  I struggle with decisions every day because I am fearful of their impact on my life and others.

The year of 2012 has forced me into big decisions.  I am grateful for the opportunity and freedom to experience the choices in front of me, but I have never been so afraid in all my life of the impact of my decisions.  A huge part of this fear is because my decisions affect a whole other human being now that I am married (and four little dogs).  The upside is that Sparky is so supportive of whatever path I choose...assuming that I eventually come to peace with a decision.

I am currently unemployed.  Wow.  Typing those four words makes it so real.  I did make the decision to leave my most recent place of employment without a real plan.  This is the first time I've ever stepped out on my own without a solid plan.  I am a planner.  I am a controller.  I make sure I know what happens next and at least five steps afterward.  It is my nature and always has been.  Fear consumes me every millisecond of ever moment I breathe.  But, more importantly, I know my value.  Self worth will always overcome fear; that is what I repeat to myself.

I may not have solid plans, but I have ideas.  I am excited to share my ideas with the world, mold my ideas into plans, and make my ideas my reality.

Keep on Keepin on.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Chihuahua, It's Cold Outside

It is a cloudy, rainy, wintry day and although I enjoy any reason to cuddle and drink coffee while wrapped in a blanket with cozy house socks comforting my rice paddy feet, Miss Harley does not like chilly weather whatsoever.  She is wondering when Spring is going to arrive!  Her little Chihuahua body is in need of sunshine!

Keep on Keepin on.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. 
January 15, 1929 - April 4, 1968

Image via here

Martin Luther King Jr. was always a historical figure that intrigued me and one that I respect greatly.  I don't know if growing up in a mostly white community made me a little more aware and interested in the history of racism since I'm only partially white, or if the gravity of Martin Luther King Jr.'s power and influence is something that has to and needs to be respected by all.  I have grown to think it's a little bit of both.

Regardless of your personal beliefs of this day, I think people need a reminder of the atrocities the human race is capable of committing.  We are not a perfect race and we need to reflect on history and overcome hate.  We need to learn from our mistakes and our ancestors' mistakes.  I think especially today with the nation and world so divided with war, religion, money, power, POLITICS, we definitely need a reminder that we need to overcome hate in various levels of society. 

Today and everyday, try to reflect on the moments of hate you have experienced, both projected and received.  Do you regret the unnecessary hateful words you spoke?  Did you take the time to apologize?  How did you react to a random act of kindness/hate?  Did someone you trust do something hateful to you?  Learn from all these moments and focus on trying to grow and improve yourself.  Every moment, every encounter, every challenge is a lesson.  It's our individual choice to learn from those lessons or deny ourselves growth.

I leave you with the beautiful and wise words of the unforgettable Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation.  The foundation of such a method is love."  -Martin Luther Kind, Jr.

Keep on Keepin on.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Little Treat: Rice Cake w/Peanut Butter & Apple

I am naturally a BIG SWEETS lover.  I'd be dandy just eating sweets, mostly dark chocolate, all day long if it was good for me.  Unfortunately, it is not as good for me as I like to sometimes justify in my mind.  Also, I pretty much like food in general and love to eat...constantly.  I crave and think about eating something literally ever hour on the hour.

When I first moved out on my own and started college, this hunger situation got the best of me.  I'm only 5ft. 1in. tall and in my early 20's I jumped from a cute 115lbs to a sizable 155lbs.  The last couple of years I've dropped the weight naturally and healthy and have become more mature about my eating habits and lifestyle; and you could say I'm on the fence of being labled a health nut...who likes to indulge on dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate almost daily.  I've found many substitutions for my sweet tooth and cravings that I will share often on  this blog.  I think talking about eating healthy and making mature, honest decisions about our health needs to be discussed more often rather than fad, bad, quick diets. 

My afternoon snack yesterday consisted of an organic whole wheat rice cake with organic creamy peanut butter and an organic pink lady apple.  It was scrumptious...and FILLING.  Those rice cakes sure fill you up!  This 3:30 pm snack definitely held me over through my barre3 workout until dinner so it's definitely a go-to snack for me.  It's quick, easy, filling, and guilt free!  Well, as long as you're pretty easy with the peanut butter. 

What's your go-to snack?  What ways do you curb your cravings without cheating yourself?

Keep on keepin on.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Top 5 of 2011

As the New Year has quickly come upon us once again, I feel like I’m lagging in the resolution department.  It seems that everyone has made their promises to themselves of what they would like to accomplish in this 2012, and they are also full swing into making the promises come to fruition.  I, on the other hand, am still trying to figure out what I’d like to accomplish this year. 

2011 was filled with so much change, happiness and struggles…as I’m sure you feel the same for your year as well.  I debated back and forth on what kind of New Year post I wanted to share with you all and didn’t want it to be a long list of what happened in 2011.  At the same time, I didn’t share much of the last half of 2011 and I still need to get everyone caught up all the happenings that you’ve missed.

So, trying to be short, I will mention some of the highlights of this past year that really meant a lot to me.

  1. Sparky and I began our 2011 by making our relationship legal!  We are actually about to celebrate our 1st wedding anniversary and are still so stupid in love that I wonder what I did to deserve such happiness in love.  Our first year of marriage has flown by so quickly and we are looking forward to what the second year will bring us.
  2. Sparky and I went on our honeymoon in July.  Yes, I know it was 7 months after we were married, but it was definitely on purpose.  We experienced Sparky’s first overseas trip and he’s already begging to return.  We started our 10 day trip in Rome and then traveled to Paris for the Tour de France.  It was definitely a great experience for the both of us and we cannot wait to get our butts back to Italy!
  3. I changed jobs.  Yes, you all have not heard much about this and this has been the reason for my absence.  I got a great job offer shortly after returning from our honeymoon and it has definitely taken up a majority of my time.  It all happened so quickly and has just been a non-stop whirlwind ever since July.  I have forced myself to get back to more “me” time because one thing I’ve learned over the last few years is that EVERYONE needs to focus on what truly makes them happy and make time for it.  I still have to work on this every day.
  4. I’ve really grown so passionate about my barre3 workouts.  I need to have my workouts throughout the week to give me my balance, calm, and “me” time.  It’s definitely one of my loves in life and I am so grateful that I’ve found it.
  5. I finally got Sparky to replace our shower head.  OMG!  The difference a shower head can make on your body and mind.  Do not waste time.  It is a necessity in life. GET A GOOD SHOWER HEAD.  Just sayin. 

So those are my top 5 highlights for 2011.  Have you made your resolution/goals for 2012?  Do you feel behind as well?  I'm still working on some goals for 2012 and will share soon…I promise.  I might get to it by the time 2013 rolls around…which will probably happen sooner than we think!  

In the mean time, enjoy this cute little photo from our Honeymoon!

Keep on Keepin on.