random thoughts friday

Vacation dreaming

I love to travel. I have a lot of favorite cities depending on what kind of trip I’m looking for.  Feeling patriotic? DC all the way.  Beauty in nature? Sioux Falls, South Dakota. International adventure? Prague Prague Prague.

But the one city that I think has it all…is Austin, TX.



I’ve been there twice in the past year and a half and it. has. everything. From paddleboarding to live music to breakfast tacos and everything in between, I’m head over heels in love with Austin. Now that the weather is getting colder and colder I can’t stop dreaming about frozen margaritas overlooking Lake Travis while the sun goes down.  It’s a cheap trip and definitely worth it if you just want a few days away to escape to a land where there’s music in the streets and food trucks abound.

Food for thought (literally)


It makes me so sad that my beloved Mars company is up there. M&Ms, I’ll never give you up but man, I just don’t feel good about looking at this chart.  I hate thinking that very few corporations have so much control over what I eat. I’ll never be fortunate enough to go totally organic, but this kind of thing makes me step back and really think about what I’m buying. There’s a reason why no conglomerate can get their hands on apples, you know? Whole foods FTW.

Why I love to write


There’s something special about writing. Until I started this blog, I had pretty much stopped writing for fun, an activity that took up much of my life before I left for college. I’ve always been a million times better at writing than I am at speaking. There’s just something about a pen and paper that helps me get out exactly what I mean, with no fillers or things that can be misconstrued.  I’ve also always valued the fact that I can write down how I’m feeling and look back on it in retrospect. It’s almost as if with everything I’ve ever written I can get a better picture of who I was at that time, when all that I have besides my written words are pictures, and those don’t say much. Most people who write aren’t writing for the sake of it, but because they have something to share that they just can’t muster up the words for.  Even food bloggers, who don’t seem like they have anything important to say, are usually sharing some parts of their personal life through their blogs. People like me who have spent years trying to figure out the “right” way to eat and have come out on the other side just want to share their love for food and fitness to the world. We have something to say.  And while some people can read blogs like mine and think “what’s the point?” others read it and can relate.

Thanksgiving is almost here!

Thanksgiving is on the way! It’s no surprise that this is my favorite holiday of the year. I’d imagine that for many food bloggers it’s the same. And it’s funny because it’s not the food itself that gets me so excited for this day. I’ve always been in love with the process of making food. The family all jammed into a small kitchen, each calling dibs on different stovetops and oven temps. I love having football on in the background while we prepare mashed potatoes or set the table. The rituals are what I look forward to the most. The idea that it’s not about giving/getting things (which can be stressful) but just about being together to eat at one beautifully filled table once a year–that’s why I love turkey day!  In the spirit of Thanksgiving, here is the recipe I made for the big meal last year.  If you’re struggling to think of something to bring to your celebration, definitely consider this (minus the mushrooms because that’s just gross).


Burned out

I’ve worked out once this week. Oh well. I’ve been burned out. My days this week have been spent looking like this:


I also have a pretty bad cold and this weather makes my asthma go nuts so nothing about waking up each morning made me want to exercise. The funniest part is that even though I’ve barely worked out all week, the world is still spinning. Weird, right?

Luckily New Girl has kept me great company. Until this passes, it’s just me, my couch, and Schmidt.



Happy Friday, everyone!


100th post!

Well there’s not much to say except I can’t believe I’ve stuck with blogging for 100 whole posts. Considering it took me years to even get the courage to start one of these things I’m really impressed with my commitment to “I Had a Big Lunch”.  It’s been so much fun documenting my healthy living journey and even though it has become a bit of an obsession (i.e. taking pictures of eveeeeerythingggg), I’m so happy to run this little ol’ blog.

The end of today can’t get here fast enough. Tonight I’m leaving for my first-ever HOMECOMING as an alum. To say that I’m giddy like a little kid on Christmas is an understatement. I can’t wait to dance in the slimy bars, prance down the quad, and visit my friends at the coffeeshop where I used to work…it’s all going to be a blast.

I can’t wait to go home!

Of course before I can go off and celebrate for 48 blissful hours I have a million and one things to take care of. I just sent in a final project for work, packed a dinner for the car ride (mom status), and snuck in a workout that will let me justify my nonstop pizza and beer consumption this weekend.

So without further ado, just a few of my favorite things from this past week.



I’ve been throwing this bad boy into just about everything. Omelets, sandwiches, and of course guac. Let’s just say it’s been a fat-filled week (in a good way!)


Midweek drinks with friends

I was so lucky this past week because I got to spend some time with one of my oldest and dearest friends. Frank and I have been close ever since religion class freshman year of high school. We’re both still in the suburbs most days so it was great to grab a drink with him after work.


I also got lucky and was invited to a company happy hour with Zman downtown, so I finally got to check out the bar I’ve been dying to visit, Howl at the Moon!


No pictures from inside, but just imagine two guys playing piano and a bunch of drunk businessmen. That about sums it up! It was so much fun and I can’t wait to go back on a weekend.

New Workout Moves

IMG_3580 - Copy

Yesterday we took some time to learn the proper overhead squat technique. It was actually pretty tricky! You basically squat while raising a bar over your head.

Look how good I look! Just kidding. Lawlz. But this is essentially the movement. The only problem was that for about 12 hours after the workout my left hand was asleep. It had that “pins and needles” feeling all day. That feeling has gone away today but it’s been replaced by some serious shoulder pain. I think I’ll stick to straight cardio/couch-laying over the weekend to let my muscles rest. Has anyone ever heard of that “pins and needles” feeling happening after lifting weights?


Ughh I’m too obsessed with these guys. I send out pictures of pugs to my friends more than I’m willing to admit. They’re just the cutest.



IMG_3545IMG_3117They just tug at my heart strings every time.


I’m sure this needs no further explanation. Now that the temperatures have dipped into the 40s, there is nothing better than coming home to a hot cup of coffee.


Thanks to everyone who reads and supports this blog! It’s such a fun hobby for me and I really appreciate all you guys–there’s no way I’d have made it to 100 posts without all of you. It started with just my mom and dad reading this to support my silly love of health and fitness and has now become a great outlet for support and sharing with tons of other bloggers and friends. Thank you!

things i love friday

Well it’s one of those days — gloomy and cloudy but still a little humid. Probably my least favorite environment to be in. That probably explains the bad mood I woke up in this morning. You know what the best cure for a bad mood is, though? You guessed it: work. it. out.

I honestly can’t think of a time in my life when I went for a workout and it made me feel worse. Endorphins FTW!

Today’s workout was back to the basics.  After a 200m run warmup along with stretching and some quick practice moves, we got started with the WOD.


Seems easy, but after the first 5 minutes my whole body was on fire. After this 22 minute workout we all tested out our core strength by holding side planks as long as we could. I have to admit I loved this part because this is one of my strengths, so it felt good to be the last one in the class holding up my plank (especially because my upper body strength pales in comparison to most of the people at bootcamp). The whole workout, including warmup and planks, took a little under 30 minutes.  Fast and intense, as always.


Each day I get closer to my goal of being able to do pull-ups and push-ups like a champ. For some reason, while I have always had legs built for a horse, my upper body has been super weak.  It’s funny because you always wonder “what’s the secret?” I’m learning now that there is no quick formula or secret. Since I’ve started doing simple exercises such as ring rows, pushups, burpees, and resistance-band pull-ups, my muscle is slowly but surely building. Don’t come across me in a dark alley!

Now here are a few of my favorite things from this week.  It’s going to be extra food-heavy because I did a great job preparing creative lunches this week so I’d love to share my ideas with you. Enjoy!


I’ve loved Ellie Goulding since I heard her perform on SNL. I’m so happy she’s getting more popular so I get to hear her songs on the radio more often.

I heard this song on the radio the other day and I immediately became 13 years old again. This is definitely a sing-along-in-your-car song. It’s beautiful!




Alright you got me. The closest thing I did to reading this week was looking through inspirational instagram quotes.  I’ll admit it.

Oh and this. Hilarious.

“How the Government Shutdown is Exactly Like Mean Girls”

ImageNow to the best part.



Hummus and veggie sandwich with a slice of swiss cheese and a bowl of black bean sweet potato soup. My mom brought the soup home from work because she knows I have an obsessive love for sweet taters and it was all kinds of yum.


I’ve been doing such a great job of only drinking water (and coffee of course), but when I need something different nothing beats a rootbeer Zevia.  October decorations hanging out in the background just waiting to be placed around the house.


Fruit/veggie bowl. Sugar snap peas, farmer’s market carrots, granny smith apple and lots of pb. This is a much better midnight snack than my usual tortilla chips or chocolate. I’m working on it!


Tuna salad sandwich with half a sweet potato topped with cinnamon. So much going on here it’s mind-blowing.


Peanut butter oatmeal. Filled with lots of chia and flax seeds for extra crunch, fiber, and protein. I’m a weirdo and don’t like eating peanut butter in hot oatmeal (it makes me nauseous for some reason) so I let the oatmeal cool down and then topped it with extra chunky pb.


Remember that time I decided to get all unique and creative and buy a horned melon to see what it tastes like? Yeah it’s not good. It’s like a cross between a cucumber and a kiwi. AKA two foods that should never be in the same realm of tastes. Skip it!



I realize now that I did a good job of conveniently not snapping many pics of all the treats I had this week. I promise my life is not a perfect world of vegetables and whole grains. My sweet tooth is a raging monster and I often munch on the extra fries at work. It’s not about eating 100% healthy during the week and then binge eating on the weekends. It’s about balance and intuitive eating every day.

Have a wonderful weekend! It’s supposed to rain over the weekend so I’m thinking cozy movie days are ahead 🙂


  • Do you have any fun plans this weekend?
  • Out of the four basic exercises in my WOD today (pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, and squats), which one is your favorite? Your least favorite?



Current Music: 

If you haven’t heard Timeflies before, you’re missing out on some serious talent.  This guy is a talented rapper/singer who has his friends put topics in a hat and then he raps about them without knowing beforehand what the topics are. It’s crazy! These are some of my favorite versions of his songs. Not all these songs display this raw rapping talent but if you wanna see that just check more of his stuff out on YouTube.

Current Food: 

I did a lot fewer food pictures than normal this week so I have quite a bit to catch you up on!


Quinoa, black beans, avocado, Morningstar chickn patty, bbq sauce, salsa, sea salt and cayenne pepper.


Snacks on the go (I ALWAYS have food in my purse): almonds and carrots


Overnight oats: 1/2 cup oatmeal, 3/4 cup almond milk, chia and flax seeds, 1/2 banana, truvia and cinnamon, all topped with chunky pb!


Tuna salad sandwich, Ezekiel bread, grapes


Plain greek yogurt mixed with truvia and a chocolate Vitatop


Confession…the past week has had a lot of late nights thanks to worries about work and life in general, so I’ve made nachos  twice this week right around midnight (and that’s not including the chocolate chips that have made a permanent residence next to my bed lately). Definitely not the best for me, and I feel it in the morning. Oh well, mistakes happen!

Current Obsession:

I figured I’d rather buy this than end up in the Starbucks drive-thru five times a week for a pumpkin spice latte.  Plus I’m not a huge latte fan when I can just get a nice cup of black coffee.  This just takes coffee to the next level!

ImageCurrent Read: Relish by Daphne Oz



I bought this book a few months ago and after a quick browse I forgot about it. Fail! I really like this book because it isn’t just a cookbook, it has a lot of tips about life in general. I really like Daphne after seeing her on “The Chew”–she seems like someone who has a beautiful, balanced relationship with food.  I highly recommend this book.


The 100 Things Every 20-Something Needs To Realize


LOVE this list. I’m seriously considering printing it out, laminating it, hanging it on my fridge, whatever. It’s just awesome.

A few of my favorites:

  • 13) When you think you’re missing out, you’re not.
  • 44) You should always do your best to look your best because it will make you feel your best.
  • 75) You don’t need to be an assh*le to get ahead in life, but you can’t be a pushover either.
  • 76) Your cellphone is ruining your life. 
  • 88) Sudoku helps fight off future dementia. (Great! I love me some Sudoku).

Have a great Friday!

Question: what’s your favorite item from that list?

currently: friday the 13th

Just a few things that I’m loving this week! TGIF 🙂

Current Music:

Fall is the time of year I start to gravitate towards more indie/alternative music instead of the country tunes that take up 100% of my time throughout the summer. Autumn and indie just seem to go together beautifully

But there is always room for a guilty pleasure, bubblegum pop song obsession

Current Eats:

In breaking news, this cereal is heaven. Also, it only has 8 grams of sugar per serving? How is that even possible? That’s less than the twigs and branches cereal from Kashi that I usually eat. Actually I take that question back. Not gonna question it.

ImageCurrent Shows

god I am LOVING DC-related shows. First “House of Cards” and now “Scandal”. I know I’m a few years late to the party (what else is new) but this show is great!


Current Read:

“11 Life Hacks for the Emotionally Struggling 20-something”

“If you can’t enjoy what you have now, you are not in the right mindset to enjoy anything else”

It’s VERY hard to enjoy your day to day life when you feel like you aren’t moving in a certain direction. For me, I have always been used to moving forward–going to high school, making varsity basketball, taking the ACT, getting into college, picking a major, getting my degree.  There’s always been something new to achieve, fairly easily too as long as I wanted it to happen.

Nowadays, life is more of a mystery. I have no idea where I’ll be one year from now. Many people my age have the same problem. But I’d be a fool to not enjoy what I have now because I feel like “less of a person” without a plan. I have parents who love me and give me a place to live, a boyfriend who would support me no matter what I chose to do or where I chose to go, and a genuine group of friends who I can always have a good time with. That’s enough for now.  Even though I occasionally have to have an awkward minute-long conversation with people who ask “what are you doing with your life?”, that’s okay.

Current Style:

I just made some pre-Fall purchases that I couldn’t be happier with.


Fall fashion is the best.

Current Happenings

The U of I game this weekend!


My alum mater is playing football tomorrow at Soldier Field in Chicago! I’ll be heading downtown after getting a quick workout in so I can enjoy the first brisk day of fall tailgating and watching the game. I’m so excited!

In other news, happy Friday the 13th! Can you believe we’re basically halfway to October?!

Question: what are you loving currently?


Good morning! You made it to Friday!!! Is anyone else as excited as I am?!

ImageToday I’m going to start a weekly post called “currently”.  It’s just a little idea so that you can get to know me better instead of just looking at pictures of what I eat each and every day. Gotta switch it up every once in a while!  I’m currently en route to Washington D.C. so I’ll be back Sunday for a weekend wrap-up. It’ll be a good one since vacation=tons and tons of pictures. TGIF!


Current food: cherries

ImageMy dad has been scouring the farmers’ market the past few weeks and each time he picks up a HUGE (I’m talking $40) box full of cherries. Then at night he takes the pits out and leaves them in a bowl in the fridge. I never knew I liked cherries so much! They’re oh so sweet and go great in yogurt, oatmeal, over ice cream or just popped in your mouth like I’ve been doing constantly. You have to get some before they go out of season!

Current song: “Counting Stars” by One Republic

One line from this song really resonates with me during this time in my life: “Old, but I’m not that old; young, but I’m not that bold”. I do feel like I’m in limbo at this point in my life…no longer a kid but also not yet an adult. I feel like the expectations of both identities are put on me at different times and that can be frustrating and confusing. As usual, music always helps when I’m feeling out of sorts, and I found this song to be a very powerful reminder that I’m not alone in the way I feel.

Current purchase: Cate & Chloe earrings.

ImageJune “Youthful” Studs. Normally $89, now $14.  I haven’t worn earnings in years, but these silver studs stood out to me when I saw the deal pop up on Groupon. Plus, what a steal! They match my necklace perfectly, and since I’m trying to be little miss grown up and all I figured one more professional-looking accessory would be a welcome addition.

Current person: Mom

ImageI’m so proud of my Maja. She just started a new job and is absolutely kicking butt at it. Not only that, but every day I can tell that she’s happier, more passionate and challenged than she’s been in quite some time.  She is growing as a human being and gaining back her confidence as a professional woman. It’s a beautiful thing!

Current wanderlust: Washington D.C.  Good thing I’m headed there now!

ImageSince I interned in DC two years ago I haven’t been back to see my roommates, who now live scattered all over the country. By some crazy twist of fate we all decided to book a flight to DC this weekend and have a reunion! I’ve been so busy this past week that it hasn’t even hit me yet that I’ll soon be on a flight to see them, but I know this weekend is going to be loads of fun. DC is one of my favorite places in the world (I’m a politics geek).

Current show: Suits


Harvey Specter. Enough said.

Current obsession: Carmex chapstick

ImageNo, it doesn’t smell like peppermint or lemon meringue pie, but this stuff works. My lips have a tendency to get incredibly dry when the weather makes a quick and drastic change (my skin does the same thing…lucky me), so I grabbed the first chapstick I saw at Walgreens before work on Tuesday.  I was pleasantly surprised—it goes on like a gloss but doesn’t just sit on top of your lips and make a sticky mess.  It really felt like its moisture was sinking in to my lips the moment I put it on.

Current read: “6 Ugly Truths You Need to Accept to Pull Yourself Out of a Rut”


I found myself nodding furiously to each and every point made in this article, especially the “you already dreamed the dream” advice. It’s sobering to have it thrown in your face that hey, you actually DO know what you want to do you’re just afraid to do it because your 22 year old self doesn’t believe in yourself the way that you did back when you were 8.

Current excitement: FALL!

ImageAnyone else excited for boots, leggings, infinity scarves, and pumpkin-flavored everything?? Get at me, Autumn!

Have a great weekend!

Question: what’s one of your current loves?