This Just In: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Thai Noodles, and A Hairspray Hack

Let’s keep it short and sweet today, guys. I have a few things I think you should know.

Hairspray gets pen out of leggings

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I decided to be bold and brave and buy a pair of leggings that wasn’t black. Less than 24 hours later I ended up with a pen mark on my thigh. I thought I could quickly clean it with a baby wipe, but that just left a water mark around the pen stain. So I had the distinct pleasure of walking around the rest of the day looking like I had a boob on my thigh.  Let’s just say “Electric Coral” pants don’t hide mishaps well.

Thankfully, with a little help from Google + my mom, I tried spraying hairspray on the area, giving it a good rub, and throwing the leggings in the washer. Voila! The pen was gone!

Don’t say you never learn anything on this blog!

Jessica @ How Sweet Eats knows how to make KILLER Thai Noodles

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I rarely take the time to make a recipe from start to finish anymore. Usually because I don’t have the spices, oils, herbs, seasonings that are required, and I don’t want to spend the money to stock my cabinets (even though of course that would just mean I’m gonna have a kickass cabinet for the future). But when I saw Jessica’s Thai Noodles I bookmarked it and decided to make it for dinner last night. It was OUTSTANDING. I love pad thai, and even though this wasn’t that dish exactly, it was better than any Thai dish I’ve ever paid for at a restaurant.

Make them now make them now make them now. Thanks to this recipe, I now know how to blanch bok choy. BRB adding that to my LinkedIn profile.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

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…will take you out of your comfort zone. 

I’m not one to willingly put myself in a situation where I’m going to a) look like an idiot b) not be good at what I’m doing or c) be wrestling on the ground with complete strangers. But I did all of that at Brazil-021 in Chicago. Hannette, one of the instructors and possessor of eight world titles, has become one of my friends in the fitness community lately and she graciously invited me to come try out a class. I have never, EVER participated in martial arts, done any kind of combat, or taken a self-defense class, so I was truly at the mercy of the class (all incredible men and women). They were all so kind to me — there were times when I could tell that what they were teaching me was the equivalent of 2+2 to them, but they were patient and encouraging. My favorite part of the class was that all the students cheered each other on. It transported me back to my days playing sports, and I remembered how great it felt to be part of a team.

PS you can look like a fool for 60 minutes and survive. Sometimes I need to remind myself of that!

Dalmatia Fig Spread

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….is the soul mate of your fancy cheese.

You probably think you don’t need something like this. But trust me, you do. You know that sweet, delicious spread that’s always on the perfect cheese plate at your neighbor’s holiday party and you’re too shy to ask what it is because if you do you’ll probably get roped into dog-sitting again? It’s dalmatia fig spread.

I stared at it for probably a good three or four minutes at Jewel the other day, debating if it was really worth the $8. Let’s be honest. Today isn’t payday. But then I thought back to the cheese I was coerced into buying at Trader Joe’s on Sunday and I made the financially-sound and adult decision to buy some fancy jam to go with it. So now I have fancy cheese, fancy jam, and fancy crackers. Throw in the $9.99 bottle of Chardonnay that I snagged and I am turning into quite the broad.

I’m linking up with Katie and Heather — head that way to check out some other favorites of the week!

Happy Friday, folks!

Friday Favorites: skits, shoes, soup

First thing’s first…unnamed (31)Glad we got that out there……

“Say What You Wanna Say” SNL Skit

Please. I beg of you. If you spend 3 minutes and 47 seconds to do anything today, WATCH THIS. I promise you’ve internalized most of the things they say, verbatim. It makes me laugh so hard every time.

“We’re not friends, and we’re never going to hang out. So, I’m going to not do this. I’m going to go away now.” Haha don’t you wish you could say that when you run into that random acquaintance on the street? And how many times do you ask someone to repeat their name because you can’t remember at the end of your conversation…and then you STILL don’t listen?

Finding new coffee shops

On my way to my first Girls On The Run practice, my assistant coach and I decided to meet up at one of her favorite coffee shops in Lakeview. I had never been to Heritage before, but my iced soy latte was truly one of the creamiest, simplest and yet most decadent lattes I’ve ever had. It was unusually sunny on Monday so it was the first time I’ve ordered an iced drink in months.

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House of Cards Season Three

Spoiler alert: it’s devilishly addicting, as you would expect. If you’ve never watched this series, the first five episodes are dull as a doornail, but pleeeeease push through because it gets INSANE.


Snapchat: Discover

This new feature of Snapchat has become an awesome source of news and entertainment. Bonus? Food Network has a section and it’s always a random recipe or video featuring one of my favorite chefs. It’s the kind of stuff you don’t know you want to know until you see it — then you wonder how you ever lived a day without that knowledge.Yesterday I watched Bobby Flay grill pizza dough, and there was an awesome recipe for guava juice with chia seeds. It’s all the info I used to get when I forked over the $5 for Food Network magazine once a year for the October issue (autumn errrrythang). But now it’s fo free!

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Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Sometimes you throw things in a crockpot and magic happens. I’ve been swimming in chicken noodle soup this week and it’s been glorious. No recipe, really, just chicken, chicken broth, zucchini, green peppers, celery, onion and carrots, seasoned with salt, pepper, thyme and a little garlic, all thrown in the hot tub for a few hours and voila.

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So apparently going to that Metro City Soundtrack concert last week has permanently transported me to 2007 because I’m back to wearing Vans. They’re incredible. They’re the perforated black slip-ons and I haven’t taken them off my feet in a few days. Can’t stop won’t stop.

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So…shoes, SNL,soup, I think we got all our bases covered for a good pre-weekend “favorites” edition. What were some of your “favorites” this week?

Now seriousy….go watch that first video. Still peeing.

Friday Favorites: Saved By the XXL

I’m actually cracking up at this creative title I came up with. You’ll see how it all ties together below but just know in the mean time that I’m super proud of myself.

It’s been a good week. So that calls for some Friday Favorites, aka the best things I’ve come across the past few days. I’m still 5/5 with my #diningin challenge so that’s reason enough to celebrate. Seeing my bank account stay relatively the same for a full five days is pretty inspiring and it makes me excited to take control of my spending habits in the future.


Jimmy Fallon Saved By The Bell

Did you guys see this? How great is Jimmy Fallon??

This is the greatest thing to happen on TV since, well, ever. I may have teared up a little. Sidenote: it’s scary how people these days look the same, if not better, than they did 20 years ago. I see it all the time and it just freaks me out!

Skinny Buffalo Chicken Dip

I mentioned on Monday that my favorite part about the Super Bowl (besides Katy Perry and the avocado commercial) was all the buffalo chicken dip I got to eat. Now, this isn’t even the worst in the world of dips. After all, it’s chicken-based, right? But I wondered, why can’t I eat this more often than once a year? I love it so much! My coworker and I were talking about it the next day and she shared this recipe with me, so I’m really excited to give it a try! Maybe buffalo chicken dip will become a new weekend staple? 😀


The Definitive Guide to Healthy Eating

I was dying reading this. It pretty much encompasses everything that’s frustrating about mainstream “dieting” knowledge. Read it and weep, ya know-it-alls!


A snippet from the post:

  • Gluten is the devil.  The actual devil.  Unless you test negative for gluten sensitivity in which case it’s perfectly healthy and should be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet and eaten on the reg.


    Grains are the true devil and should be avoided at all costs, they will cause your gut to leak, destroy your relationships and they will make you fat and quite probably cause diabetes.  Unless you soak them overnight before cooking in which case they are slightly less toxic.

    Grains are the best and only way to receive enough carbohydrates for your body to function properly, one should make whole grains a regular part of one’s diet without fail.  Without them you will become a shadow of yourself and die.

Free Massages

We had the folks from Exhale Spa come in the store yesterday and give complimentary chair massages. I took a bullet for the team and went first so that the guests would be intrigued and hopefully want to do it too. I’m selfless.


Holy crap mother of god. I always forget how amazing massages are. It was less than ten minutes but I felt like a new woman (not to mention the masseuse said she was surprised I was functioning with how tight my shoulders were — apparently there was a “boulder” in my shoulder. — so I’m extra glad I got some work done on it). But what kind of person could possibly have a bad week when it included a free massage?

And last, but certainly not least:

Magic Mike XXL Trailer

No explanation necessary. I only love this movie for my all-time celebrity crush Channing Tatum. So the first 50 seconds of this had me giggling at my computer, alone, like I was 15 and just got my first kiss. Straight up giggling.

He is such an incredible dancer. That’s all I’m gonna say about that.


  • Any fun plans this weekend? Share!
  • Who is your celebrity crush?
  • Did you watch Saved By The Bell?

Life Goal: Be The Pioneer Woman

Happy Friday, all! Did this week fly by or what?

Well, you’re in luck. Instead of regularly scheduled programming, where I talk about things I see, do and eat, you get to hear me talk about myself. Aren’t you excited? Big thanks to Anne for nominating me for the Liebster award! I love talking about myself so you made my day (Disclaimer: this writer is not responsible for any and all oblivion to sarcasm).

1. If you could eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

  • Hmmmm…this is tricky. Can I say pizza, because I could then add tons of veggies one day, bbq chicken another, and arugula the next? Or is that cheating?


2. If you could lunch with any 3 ladies– alive or dead– who would they be?

  • Giada DeLaurentis, Ree Drummund, and Katy Perry. I have a note in my phone that says “Career aspirations: Be The Pioneer Woman.” True Story. I’m kinda going through a phase…


3. What inspired you to begin blogging?

  • I fell in love with food blogs my junior year of college while I was bored at an internship and needed to fill the hours sitting at a computer. I was instantly hooked and knew that once I graduated I wanted to create my own. My first favorites were Kath Eats Real Food, PB Fingers, Sweet Tooth Sweet Life and Hungry Runner Girl. I couldn’t believe you could write about food and fitness all day and call it a hobby.

4. What was your biggest accomplishment of 2014?

  • I got started on my path to having a career in health and fitness! It was tough making the decision to not directly use my degree anymore, especially with how expensive college was. But after a year in public relations I just knew there was something else out there for me that I was truly passionate about, and the second after I ripped off the bandaid, so to speak, my world opened up and I couldn’t be more excited.

5. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

  • I change my mind on this every other day. Currently, I would love to live in Los Angeles (and it only has a little to do with the fact that it’s 20 degrees here). I don’t think I want to live there permanently, but I’d love to spend a year or two there. I have this dream in the back of my mind that I move out there by myself, work at lululemon in Santa Monica, run along the beach, hike on the weekends, eat tons of avocados and fish tacos, and finally get a year-round tan on this pale, pale skin of mine. It’ll be my solitary year of sunshine and happiness.


6. Favorite song at the moment?

  • Another toughie. But Spotify doesn’t lie, and the song I’ve been playing the most recently is:

7. Chocolate or vanilla?

  • As much as I love chocolate, when it comes flavored things (cake, ice cream, pudding, milkshakes) it’s definitely vanilla. Chocolate-flavored stuff just never tastes right to me. But give me a vanilla malt and goodness gracious, life is over.

8. What was the best restaurant you visited in 2014?

  • My favorite restaurant was actually back in the beginning of 2014 when I visited Boston. JM Curley — they had the best pulled pork sandwich I’ve ever had and I still sometimes have dreams about it.


9. If you could relive any moment in your life, which would you choose?

  • Weird question! I’d have to say, the first semester of college. Is that a moment? Haha. I had never experienced anything like it. I was on my own for the first time, I didn’t know anyone in my dorm, and I just loved that new, exciting feeling. I met my best friends that semester and joined a sorority, which was a ball.


10. How did you come up with your blog name?

  • I explain this in my About Me section but here it goes: I was extremely close to my grandma. She lived with us on and off for five or six years throughout my life, so she was very influential for me. She was such a gentle, kind-hearted, quiet woman. Every night at dinner, we would always ask her if she wanted seconds, and she would always say, “No, I had a big lunch.” I mean, she responded this way at least three or four times a week, as if we hadn’t heard it before. It became a running joke in our family. When I was trying to name this blog I kept thinking “Peanut butter-this, healthy-that” and it was all just generic. The idea popped up and the minute I thought of it, that was it. I feel like I fell into the most perfect blog title, as it not only embodies me (most of my meals are pretty big haha) but it pays homage to a woman who meant so much to me growing up.


11. Blog goals for 2015?

  • I’m going to make this a much more running-focused blog. I’ve always been “a little bit of this” “a little bit of that” in terms of fitness, and while I think that variety is fun to read about, it’s really important to me that I dedicate myself to running this year and share my journey with you. As you know I’m going to be running my first marathon in October, so I have lots of work to do and lots of first-time experiences to share. I want to do it all as healthy as possible, so it’s important I focus on that throughout 2015. I’d also love to continue to do blogger meet-ups and become a more active member of the Chicago blogging community.

I’m not going to nominate anyone in particular, but I’d love to here your responses to one of the questions above!

What makes you strong?

After an insanely tough sculpt class tonight at Corepower Yoga, I got to thinking about strength.

I think we’ve all gone through that phase where we just want to be cardio bunnies. It seems to make sense – if I run, all the fat will just fall off my body and I’ll leave it in the dust, right? Most people now know (hopefully) that that’s just not true. Cardio is an amazing component to a healthy lifestyle, but it just won’t cut it if that’s all you’re doing. The truth is, once you’ve gotten a taste of what it feels like to be strong, you’ll never go back.


So what is it that makes YOU strong?

What workout do you do that makes you feel invincible, like you could conquer the impossible?

What’s your strength routine (or, are you a cardio addict?)

Non-fitness related, what is it in life that makes you feel strong? What gives you strength?

For me, it’s yoga sculpt once or twice a week, EGGS on EGGS on EGGS, wine nights and deep conversations with my friends, and when I’m out at a bar and “Teenage Dream” comes on. Then, I am a superhero. So, what makes you strong?

Every lesson I’ve learned in life, I’ve learned from Dove chocolate


Ok, slight overstatement, but those Dove squares just get me. Whoever in their PR department decided to write little messages on the wrappers really knew what they were doing.

I was going to write a post on my general lack of self-control when it comes to those little geometric pieces of temptation but instead, I decided to flip the switch and view it in a positive light. So what if I’ve eaten almost an entire bag in the past five days? That’s five days’ worth of confidence-building, life-inspiring, day-changing advice, right? Right!

I kept the wrappers lying around the apartment all week and, after a fun scavenger hunt last night, collected all the best tokens of wisdom I could find, ones that really spoke to me and had an impact on my day-to-day life. So without further ado, the lessons I’ve learned from Dove.

“Stretch your body, stretch your mind”

  • This one should come as no surprise that it stuck out to me. I think it’s so important to stretch, whether that be stretch physically (which, ironically, is what I’m the worst at), mentally or spiritually. I love to hear other people’s life views and opinions, learn about other cultures and debate over current events and politics. I can’t imagine a life more boring than deciding what you believe and then never being open to hearing other opinions. It’s so good for the brain to “stretch” past its everyday thinking and really branch out to hear and understand the differences in the world.

“Seek out small pleasures” and “Enjoy the small things in life”

  • I’ve noticed that a lot of people are quick to notice the bad things and skip over the good, especially when it comes to little things. I’d be lying if I said I don’t fall into the same trap, but I’m usually good about stopping to smell the roses, if you catch my drift. I’m known to stop in the middle of a walk to notice a beautiful painting in a store window or cut my run short to sit on the beach and stare out at the lake. You just HAVE to. The world is so miraculous and enough bad things happen on a daily basis that, if you don’t take notice of the good things or make room for small pleasures, you’ll just become one giant stress ball waiting to explode. No Bueno.

 “Create a happy place”

  • I’m definitely guilty of always looking to my surroundings to make me happy. “If I could just not sit at a desk all day I’d be happy,” “If our apartment was cleaner I’d be happy,” “If I had enough money to take more roadtrips I’d be happy.” But maybe happiness will come when I make every moment a “happy place.” It goes back to perspective, which I’ve talked about so many times. Also, I think it’s so important to come up with a ritual that puts you in a happy place. Whether it be a bubble bath or on a yoga mat reading a trashy magazine or in a local coffee shop sipping on a latte, we all need a ritual that centers us. Happy places are out there, just waiting for us to create them.

 “Too much of a good thing is wonderful”

  • This is interesting. The minute I opened this one I laughed because I thought, “Wow, perfect excuse to eat tons of chocolate!” Why is it that my mind always goes to binging on food when I think of rewards, celebrations, “good things”, etc.? Binging on chocolate takes a good thing and turns it bad, because let’s be honest, who feels amazing after scarfing down 35 pieces of chocolate in ten minutes? Too much of a good thing means more than just eating good food – for me it means taking more walks after dinner, staying up an extra hour to see a new episode of Chopped, running an extra mile because I feel a rush of energy at the end of my planned distance, etc.


  • It doesn’t get any simpler than that.

Now listen to some fun music and have a great Friday – the weekend is only hours away!


  • What’s your favorite type of Dove chocolate? I love regular milk chocolate, dark chocolate caramel and dark chocolate sea salt
  • What’s your favorite cliche lesson you’ve learned? Please don’t say  “Dance like nobody’s watching” – this isn’t your 13-year-old dream board… 😉