monday

almost wordless week(end)

What’s new, crew! Sorry I disappeared for a few days – the rest of the week was a bit of a blur thanks to some unforeseen family stuff and I usually don’t have time to write on the weekends (too busy eating to write about eating, yaknowwhatimean?)

But while it’s been eventful to say the least, I did manage to have some great moments of fun out and about. If I took the time to explain each and every moment this post would be a decade long so let’s do an (almost) wordless weekend.

IMG_8973

Just a little pumpkin-crazy

IMG_8950

Early morning run in my favorite tech top from lululemon.

IMG_8964

…Followed by a heavy dose of veggie icing and the Today show

IMG_8933

Got some Skoop in the mail! So excited to review this next week for you guys!

IMG_8977

And just like that it’s fall in Chicago! On the walk to work

IMG_8984

Avocado-tomato grilled cheese + pumpkin beer.

unnamed (7)

Slowly (but surely) building up the muscles again. Yoga Sculpt

Homeslice Wheelhouse patio - my new favorite happy hour spot. I didn't take my own pic because the travel channel was filming there!

Homeslice Wheelhouse patio – my new favorite happy hour spot. I didn’t take my own pic because the travel channel was filming there!

IMG_9023

Eating allll the pizza

IMG_9021

Moscow Mule + pizza with olive oil, garlic (so much!), basil, feta and tomatoes. I died.

Been listening to a lot of John Mayer lately. It's the perfect writing music! You either love him or you hate him...

Been listening to a lot of John Mayer lately. It’s the perfect writing music! You either love him or you hate him…

IMG_9005

BYOO – Bring Your Own Oatmeal to Starbucks. 9 out of 10 times the baristas will help a sister out 🙂

IMG_9029

Bad mood killer. Best snack in the history of snacks. Candy corn + super salty peanuts

I’m also trying to create a pumpkin chili recipe today so I’ll be sharing that as soon as I’m sure it tastes great 😉

Can’t wait to read all about your weekends! Have a fabulous Monday!

Questions:

  • What’s your favorite day of the week and why?
  • Love or hate John Mayer?
  • Best part of your weekend…go!
Advertisements

Caprese Salad Salad (recipe)

Why the double salad, you ask? Because I was worried that people would read the title and expect your typical caprese salad, made up primarily of huge chunks of mozzarella on top of sliced tomato and slathered in balsamic. This is not that salad – but it is so much more.

The foundation is arugula, which, up until this point I hadn’t seen a need for. But I can’t stress enough how important arugula is to keep the integrity of this salad. It has a bite, taking this green meal to the next level when combined with the flavors of balsamic glaze, herbs, fresh mozzarella and tomato. It’s everything you’d ever want in a summer salad and more. Plus you just need to make one shopping trip to Trader Joe’s – they have all the ingredients and make it super simple to throw together.IMG_7875 Caprese Salad Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 package cherry tomatoes
  • 1 package arugula (mine was 7 oz)
  • 1 package Trader Joe’s mozzarella balls packed in olive oil and herbs
  • 1 bottle Trader Joe’s balsamic glaze

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients except the glaze and oil from the mozzarella. After your salad is assembled, whisk equal parts oil from the mozzarella container and balsamic glaze and drizzle over the salad.

It’s as simple as that – Enjoy!

Questions:

  • Do you like arugula?
  • What’s your favorite product from Trader Joe’s? 

scenes from the weekend

Hi folks! I can’t wait to read about all your weekends. Mine was filled with tons of activity, sunshine, furniture shopping and, of course food. Is anyone else blown away that it’s June? March, April and May flew by but I’m hoping that June will slow its roll so we can enjoy the nice weather that we all deserve so much.

As you saw yesterday, Zain and I started out the weekend by biking to the farmers market early Saturday morning. We didn’t buy anything but it was just nice to walk around and see the options for the future. Next time I’ll be sure to go around lunch time – there were tons of awesome food options! Tacos, fancy grilled cheese, crepes…I was pretty mad I had just eaten breakfast haha. I never like to miss out on food like that.

Breakfast before the market was peanut butter and bananas on a sandwich thin + coffee

IMG_7799

 

Zain finally learned what it takes to date a blogger so he likes to take “spontaneous” pictures of our adventures.IMG_7804

I also noticed that everyone at the farmers market was in athletic gear. These are my people.IMG_7856

After the market I met up my friend Megan for a bootcamp class. It was the last class in my two week pass at Yoga Loft and I really can’t tell you how much I’m going to miss it. Once I have to stop paying all those beginning fees and additional costs of moving I’ll for sure get a 10-pass there to use over the span of a few weeks. That place kicked my butt and I loved every second of it.

IMG_7850The rest of the day was spent furniture shopping. Zain is all about the deals so we ended up biking + walking about five miles or so to a furniture outlet in the middle of nowhere. We felt like we were on a pilgrimage across the Sahara (it was 95 on Saturday) so when we saw 7-Eleven and were sure it wasn’t a mirage, we picked up some Slurpees.

IMG_7863

Saturday night I hung out on Megan’s roof watching the sunset and drinking wine, so it was basically the perfect day.

Sunday was spent church-going, grocery shopping and Blackhawks-watching. The weekend was full and fabulous – but don’t think I’d leave you without showing you all the food I ate!

For some random reason I was all about the salads this weekend:

IMG_7858

Mixed greens with hard boiled egg, tomato, blue cheese, avocado and balsamic vinaigrette.

IMG_7875

Arugula with mozzarella and baby tomatoes (dressed with the oil that the mozzarella was soaking in plus TJ’s balsamic glaze)

But don’t think I just ate salads all weekend – that would just be nonsense.

IMG_7798

Mahi mahi with herbes de provence and lemon, breadcrumb and herbes de provence-stuffed tomatoes and roasted brussel sprouts

IMG_7751

Spinach-egg white breakfast wrap from Starbucks (plus it looks like the barista was cursing me out haha)

IMG_7868

Veggie burger topped with cheddar, bbq sauce and onion straws

It was a blast of a weekend – I even started off Monday right with a 6:00am 4 mile run. Now that summer is here morning runs are going to be a lot more common. Everything is on the up and up!

IMG_7881IMG_7880

Happy Monday!

Questions:

  • What was the best thing you ate this weekend?
  • What’s your favorite homemade salad combo? I need some new inspiration!
  • Did you try anything new this weekend?

the sunshine award: I promise I’m unique!

Holla at my fellow Chicagoan SuzLyfe for nomiating me for the Sunshine Award! You know what that means…you’re about to learn new, random, unique things about me!  I never in a million years thought that strangers on the internet would want to know intimate details about me, and I wouldn’t be creeped out by it. In fact, it only seems appropriate that you all get to know more about what makes me, me, other than my insatiable love and need for food and a good sweat session. So without further ado….

Image

1. I have been to 12 different countries. My favorite place was Prague in The Czech Republic, and my lease favorite was Venice, Italy. I haaaated that place. It was a claustrophobic girl’s worst nightmare.

Image

2. Speaking of that, I’m claustrophobic. I had a traumatizing experience when I was little where I got trapped crawling through a dark tunnel, with someone in front of me and behind. It was the worst feeling of my life and I’ll never forget that panic. Ever since then, I can’t be in small, dark, enclosed spaces, and if I’m locked in somewhere, I have a panic attack.

3. In high school I pierced my cartilage with a safety pin (it didn’t end well)

4. My head is too big to fit into hats. I just tell myself it’s because I have too big of a brain 😉

5. I ate so much cereal in college that some of my friends referred to me as the “cereal killer”. I even went as that for Halloween once.

ImageImage

6. I have a twin brother!

Image

7. Austin is my favorite city in America

ImageImageImage

8. I lived in Washington D.C. for a summer – and in two months made some of the best friends in the world. We still talk today!

Image

9. I’m in a sorority – Pi Beta Phi

Image

10. I was a barista in college. It was a humbling experience but also one of the most fun. I wish everyone could work in the food industry for at least a year because it really gives you a whole new outlook on life. Plus, I got free drinks whenever I wanted, so not only did I make money but imagine how much I saved on coffee throughout college!

Image

So there’s that! I feel like you know me on a whollllle new level now. But now I need to hear some random things from you! Tell me something unique about yourself! Give me some workday entertainment.

keep calm and run like simba

Hey all!

I hope you had a kickass weekend.  Mine was….busy to say the least, but I like it that way! I ate great food and even got to run outside, so I can’t complain.  The fact that it was warm enough to get outside and pound the pavement got me way too excited for spring, a pretty premature feeling here in Chicagoland according to the weatherman.

But hey, I’ll take what I can get. The only downside was I couldn’t find a headband for the life of me so I looked like Simba by mile four.

Image

One of the most important things I did this weekend was sign up for the Shamrock Shuffle downtown this upcoming Sunday! I was going back and forth about actually running this…call it fear, call it laziness, call it tight-wallet syndrome but I just couldn’t commit. Well I finally bit the bullet yesterday and registered. I’ll be running with my friend Jordan, and with a new playlist and visions of our post-race brunch, I’m confident that I’m going to kick butt.  Here’s to hoping it hits 40 degrees!

In terms of food I’ve been trying to incorporate more veggies and pure sources of protein into my diet in preparation of summer, and I’ve definitely been making some progress! Like we talked about last week, it’s hard to crave veggies in cold weather (unless they’re covered in cheese, of course) but I’ve done a decent job. Not to mention I’m still balancing those healthy choices with things like cheesy chicken quesadillas the size of my head and chocolate. It’s a work in progress.

I have a crazy amount of work to do over the next few days so I’ll be back on Wednesday! But until then, here are a few pictures of my weekend happenings. Have a great Monday! Can you believe it’s almost April? Good lord.

Image

shrimp, jicama, avocado, black beans, queso fresco, corn, peppers, tomatoes and onions

Image

Protein Box from Starbucks

Image

Pounded chicken with a panko/red pepper flake/garlic crust, baked at 400 for 45 minutes. Served with “hot pasta” aka pasta, finger hot peppers, parmesan cheese, olive oil, garlic and salt. Also the smallest glass of wine you’ll ever see

Image

Image

Homemade bran muffins

Image

This was the best thing I saw all weekend. I don’t understand if there’s a cake in there or if m&ms just spill out, but either way, sign me up

Questions:

  • What was the best thing you did this weekend?
  • What’s your favorite part of spring that you’re looking forward to?

 Image

weekend happenings: oscar edition

wooooo happy monday, everyone!

It’s -12 here in Chicago (I know I know, I’ll stop talking about the weather once it stops being so freakishly unbelievable)

Did you watch the Oscars last night? I did and I had so much fun!! I don’t even watch, usually, but for some reason this year a small group of friends and I decided to get together and make it a big deal. So a big deal it was — full of funfetti cookies, m&ms, popcorn and Stella. Speaking of that, did you know you can use funfetti cupcake mix to make cookies?! My mind was blown.

ImageImage

The rest of the weekend was full of delicious eats (as most weekends are). I was happy to finally have the chance to take Zain to one of my all-time favorite little sandwich shops after we spent some time getting work done on his car on Saturday. The only thing I love more than a delicious sandwich shop is a cute, quaint, historically-themed sandwich shop in a picturesque downtown suburbs setting. Just adorable. Enter, Bluffington’s, named after a British man who met his demise when a cricket ball flew thru his windshield. I mean, not the way I’d like to go but it certainly makes for a good story! They have the best tuna melt in town and it’s always a treat when I can make the drive to get one.

Image

For as I love the city, there’s something special about being in the suburbs. Everyone’s just so friendly. At Bluffington’s it was the owner’s birthday so he had a giant birthday cake sitting there for all the customers to share. Loyal customers kept coming in and wishing him and happy birthday, stepping behind the counter to give him a hug. It was really precious and I love witnessing little moments like that between people.

You know you’ve been dating for over 3 years when walking through a candle store is a hilarious and cute date idea.

Image

Good lord there are some weirdddd smells out there now. Do you know anyone who wants to smell popcorn in there house WHEN NO ACTUAL CONSUMABLE POPCORN IS TO BE FOUND? Idk that just seems like torture to me.

ImageImage

Weirdly enough, though, they captured the “Football” scent very well.

I had to work both Friday and Saturday nights so nothing fun or exciting there. Sadly I’m just not a night owl – I accepted that a long time ago and would much rather fill my days with fun activities than stay up late getting into mischief, you know? 😉

Sunday played out like it usually does: church with my family followed by a mammoth breakfast and workout:

ImageImageThis workout murdered me! When did burpees get SO hard? I mean they’ve always been hard but DAMN.

Oh and side note I cried when Jared Leto won Best Supporting Actor, so there’s that.

ImageAn incredible actor, musician, humanitarian, and soul. I love him and am so happy he got the recognition he deserves as an artist.

Questions:

Ok now it’s your turn — tell me the best part about your weekend! Did you watch the Oscars? Who was your favorite?

weekend happenings + finding peace in a culture of scarcity

Welcome back to Monday! I’m tempted to be overwhelmed by all the negative parts about Mondays – missing the weekend, having obligations, less time to do what I want, feeling an overwhelming sense of scarcity (I didn’t get enough sleep, I should’ve worked over the weekend, I need more coffee, I didn’t get my to-do list done), and already, before the day’s even started, looking forward to the weekend.

Do you ever wonder if this is why life seems to fly by so fast? Because we’re constantly “looking forward” to things instead of enjoying the simple things that we get to do every day?

I’m in the middle of a new book (shocker, because I haven’t read a book by choice in God knows how long) called Daring Greatly. It’s all about our culture of scarcity, of “powering through” to get to the relaxing or fun parts of our lives. Ideally we’re all supposed to be doing something we love each day, but even if that’s not true, it’s seriously so important to realize and catch yourself when you look past the day and to the weekend, or a trip, or a happy hour, or even just 5:00 that night. Life happens all the time, not just when we barrel through a workday and finally get comfy on the couch 8 hours later.

Do I seem emotional? Man have I been lately. That, coupled with the fact that I did an hour of yoga before dawn this morning, have turned me into complete mush. Heartwarming commercials are making me cry, and One Republic is playing constantly on my computer and giving me the kind of butterflies in your stomach that only really personal music can give you.

I’ve been freaking out lately. Overreacting, having panic attacks, even practically pulling my hair out.  Nothing has changed but for some reason I’m not coping well with my life right now. But I do know one thing – waking up this morning and doing sun salutations while the sun rose was quite literally one of the most peaceful things I’ve done in awhile. Daring Greatly has made me take a step back and see everything in life as something to be appreciated for what it is—living! I sometimes look around the train on my commute and wonder, do the people around me realize how random and insane it is that we’re even alive? It’s too early to get too deep (haha) but really…think about your life and how crazy lucky you are! I know I’m doing that more and more lately.

Image

 I’m really trying to get a handle on this out-of-control feeling that keeps rushing over my body when things don’t go my way. I had a bad weekend. I looked forward to a night off on Saturday and, so is life, things didn’t turn out exactly as I’d planned. What was my response? Pure anger. I was so, so angry. I let it ruin the whole night, and I wasted it. Now there’s nothing I can do to change what happened, but it’s so therapeutic to write it down, admit it, and hopefully react better next time. No more running to the bathroom to breathe deeply into my hands and pull at my hair.

I woke up this morning with every intention of running four miles. I was going to pound the pavement and get that high that only comes from a good run. I was going to turn my music up to max volume and tune out the world. But when I woke up this morning I felt a voice telling me that tuning out the world by blasting loud music and pushing my body to its limits this morning was not the way to start my week. This morning, the only answer was yoga. I didn’t have a mat, my hands are covered in rug burns now, but I feel incredible. I woke up with the sun and now I’m going to start my week in peace. I got enough sleep last night, I’m excited for the week ahead, and I know I’ll handle whatever comes my way. Let’s all avoid the culture of scarcity and just accept ourselves, and our lives, as enough, as worthy.

Image

My weekend wasn’t all bad—Saturday morning I spent some great quality time with my parents. We went to the grand opening of Trader Joe’s in my hometown and it was, as expected, a blast and a half.

Image

Sunday morning Zain and I went out to brunch at a French-themed restaurant, so right there we were combining two of my favorite things. It was almost an hour-long walk there and back to the restaurant but the sun was out and it gave Zain and me a chance to talk, electronics-free and enjoying the sights and sounds of the city. I was able to indulge in one of my favorite French treats (a croque monsieur—holy moley) and enjoy the feeling of Spring in the air.

Image

Also, in a weird twist of fate we passed by a CTA stop that looked IDENTICAL to the metro stops in Paris. The whole morning took me back to my time aborad.  I think it was a sign – that was a time when I was forced to be independent, flexible, and vulnerable. Who knows, maybe it was God’s way of telling me to reignite that strength inside of me, even though I’m home now

Image

As I sit here, writing this early in the morning, I can’t help but have this awesome feeling of hope for the week. I’m smiling because I can feel myself growing emotionally and spiritually, two parts of myself that I tend to neglect. Don’t get me wrong, I have the physical health down pat. As “healthy living” bloggers it’s basically a rule, right? But health isn’t all about getting your vegetables in. We are complicated, beautiful, messy humans, and we have many sides to take care of. So I hope that by acknowledging my weaknesses as of late I’ll be able to make a difference in my emotional and spiritual state. That way I can truly call myself healthy.

Okay—so enough about me. Tell me about your weekend! What cool things did you do or how did you relax?

Questions:

  • Do you see yourself living a culture of scarcity?
  • How do you take the time to cultivate your emotional and spiritual sides?
  • And to lighten things up, tell me your favorite animal and why 🙂 I love pugs and can’t stop looking at pictures of them. INSTANT HAPPINESS!

Image

Have a beautiful Monday!