Greek fisherman stew on a snow day

Greek fisherman stew

Snow days as an adult are glorious.

Waking up like a kid on Christmas, peeking through the blinds at the measly 3 inches of snow, and eagerly checking my work website for the notice: Campus is closed…

snow day

*Whiny voice* “I used to live in Montana, you don’t know what real snow looks like! You don’t know what it’s like to be really cold!” (PS: no one cares)

Then right back to sleep. Continue Reading

8 self-care tips for the holidays

roaring fire

Ugh, I feel like self-care is such a buzzword these days.  If you think you’ve been hearing it a lot…you have.  Everything seems to count as self-care, even things like eating, sleeping, and breathing (I’m not kidding, google “self-care breathing” and read a million articles about the best way to breathe to reduce stress).

Despite my bitching………..there’s something to it.

It’s important to listen to your body and take care of yourself year round, but right around the holidays this starts to feel impossible.  How can you relax when you have to find personal/special/meaningful gifts for 47 different people, and bake dozens of cookies for the office, and look chic for all your friends’ parties, all while NOT GAINING A POUND OMG.  Oh, and actually doing work at your job?  Forget about it.

Though it’s hip and trendy, even the cynic in me has to admit that self-care is necessary and needed in these times of stress.  Here are some ideas on how to relax, all with a holiday spin. ‘Tis the season, after all.

1. Take a bubble bath.

Image result for bath gif

Clean out that bathtub, find some seasonal bubbles and give yourself a half-hour of bliss.  Gingerbread, vanilla, cookie, and peppermint scents will bring out your Christmas spirit.  Try this set of bubbles from Philosophy (it would make a great gift, too!).

2. Watch a movie.

Related image

Christmas Vacation, anyone?  My favorites are Elf, Love Actually, and Die Hard (if Christmas happens in the movie, then it’s a Christmas movie!).  Make plans to pop popcorn, turn off your phone, and spend two hours with the Griswalds.

3. Stare into a fire.

roaring fire

 Where I live, it’s really freaking hot (except right this minute, when we have a wind-chill of -4 degrees…).  Any excuse to light up our fireplace is welcome by me.  If you don’t have a fireplace, try a few candles or even some string lights and just relax nearby, even if you’re doing the usual stuff.  Would you rather scroll Insta on your lame couch or in front of a roaring fire?

4. Eat delicious food.

chicken soup with vegetables

You know what’s in season right now?  Pomegranates!  Greens!  Pears!  Citrus!  What about those classic winter foods that sound gross in the summer, light hot chicken noodle soup!  Chili!  Casseroles!  All those foods are seasonal, delicious, and healthy.  There’s nothing more comforting than a hot meal at the end of a cold day.  Try this tilapia and lentils recipe on for size…you’ll be too full to gorge on cookies.

5. Drink up!matcha latte art

Christmas = parties = booze = dehydration.  When you get dehydrated, your skin sucks, your energy tanks, and you feel crappy.  Stay on top of things by drinking tons of water and tea, and consider trying matcha or turmeric lattes for an extra boost of energy and nutrients.  That way you can indulge in that extra glass of champagne, knowing it won’t wreck your body.  Also, don’t overdo the caffeine and stay away from energy drinks.  Extra coffee will just leave you buzzing and anxious, and energy drinks are pure garbage.

6. Do retail therapy the right way.

Image result for treat yo self

Let’s face it: sometimes you go shopping for other people, and leave with bags of stuff for yourself.  Now you feel stressed (and maybe a little guilty), and you still have to get something for your coworker’s brother-in-law.  Try making a list of gifts in advance so you don’t go into unnecessary stores and spend unnecessary money.  And if you tend to treat yo-self, budget a little money for a present from you to you.

7. Have a snowball fight.

Wreck havoc on your enemies and burn mega calories while you’re at it!  If you’re gonna be stuck in the snow, you might as well play in it, right?  De-stress after a long day by acting like a kid again.

8. Make some healthy resolutions.

unbreakable-kimmy-schmidt-carol-kane

I’m alllllllllll about setting goals.  I set weekly, monthly, and yearly goals, so needless to say my New Year’s Resolution(s) is/are carefully planned out.  Even if you don’t go balls-to-the-wall like I do, take some quiet time to think about where you want your life to be in the new year.  Reflect on the good things that happened this last year and pick a few areas that could use improvement going forward.  Maybe you were really great about sticking to a workout schedule, but you didn’t get regular sleep (or you drank a bit too much).  As the new year approaches keep those goals in mind and set yourself up for success.

That’s all I’ve got for now!  If you’ve got other ideas for stress management, especially those with a Christmas-bend, let me know in the comments!

Portable lunches for taking to the gym

portable lunches for taking to the gym

Packing a healthy lunch is hard work.  All the traditional lunch choices, i.e. sandwiches, soups, and salads, get so boring after a while.  The internet teases me with posts like, “40 Salads That Are Great For Lunch!” but they all seem to require 27 ingredients, so no, that’s not gonna happen.  Salads are lettuce, chicken, dressing, or bust.  Soups are chicken noodle, lentil, or bust.  Sandwiches are peanut butter, or bust.  Burnout is a very real possibility, because I simply can’t justify spending an hour crafting some hipster salad that tastes funny and doesn’t fill me up, and I end up falling back on the classics.  Which are boring.

Besides the snooze-factor, those kinds of lunches aren’t really portable.  You need a can opener, bowl, microwave, and table to eat at when you bring soup to work.  It’s really freaking hard to eat a salad while walking somewhere.  And sandwiches, while easy to eat on the go, just suck after a while.  Leftovers?  Fugetaboutit.portable lunches for taking to the gym

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Lemon-garlic tilapia with warm lentils and mozzarella

lentils

Geez, what a title.  Though, I guess having a wordy, descriptive title makes me more legit…now I can hang with the other food bloggers.  Until they see my photos and kick me off the internet.  Crappy-camera-phone-in-my-poorly-lit-kitchen-pictures FTW.

Anyways.

It seems like each month I set goals that are really specific, which usually works fine, but this month I’m gonna be hella busy with last-minute wedding stuff (mainly because I haven’t done any actual planning until now…) so my goals for October are gonna be pretty loose.  Like, “you should eat better and exercise” kinda goals.  And by “eat better,” I mean “try not to inhale the twelve bags of cheesy-poofs Zack ordered online to sabotage my weight-loss goals.”

He actually did that.  What a dick. Continue Reading

Reflecting on May and setting goals for June

Woooo!  May is almost over.  In my neck of the woods, that usually means we swing our attention from tornadoes to heat stroke, which I’m actually okay with.  Tornadoes are super stressful.

Look at these smug bastards. I bet they didn’t even poop their pants.

I wanna take a few minutes and reflect back on the last month and the choices I made, and apply that knowledge to June.  There’s something special about starting a goal on the 1st of the month, so let’s make some solid plans and start June off right!

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How to make morning workouts not suck

This might surprise you, but I’m a morning person.

*Whispering* “Can it be? A bitchy morning person?”

30 Rock is possibly the best show ever made

Yes my friends, it’s possible!  In fact, if I don’t work out pretty early, it’s just not gonna happen.  By the time I get home from work I’m tired and hungry, and the middle of the day is just stupid.  Here are my tips and tricks to working out like an early bird:

Make your workout plan.  I know it’s cliche but failing to plan is planning to fail.  Don’t try to decide on a workout at 6 am…because you’ll decide to go back to bed.  Make a plan the night before: weights at the gym?  45 minute bike ride?  Cardio dance DVD in your living room?

In fact, have a plan A, B, and C.  Why?  Because it’s all too easy to wake up, see that it’s raining, and go back to sleep because you wanted to go running.  That exact thing happened to me recently when it was tornado-ing outside, and I moved on to plan B: row machine for a half hour.  Only guess what???  My legs were extremely tight and sore from yard work, and I knew I couldn’t do 30 minutes without hurting myself.  So I moved on to plan C: 15 minutes rowing, followed by 15 minutes light yoga and foam rolling.  Boom!  I got in my half hour and felt great the rest of the day.

Put your clothes out.  Now that you have a plan, get all your crap ready the night before.  What I pack in my gym bag (if applicable) depends entirely on how I’ll be exercising.  My examples:

Running around the block–>Lay out workout clothes and run first thing.  Shower at home.  Dress for work at home.

Weights at the gym–>Shower at home first thing.  Wear workout clothes to the gym.  Dress for work at the gym (pack work clothes).

Cardio at the gym–>Wear workout clothes to the gym.  Shower at gym (pack all my shower stuff).  Dress for work at the gym (pack work clothes).

See?  The prep scenarios are different based on my workout.  So make your plan, then set everything out the night before so you can grab-and-go.

Make your food.  Again, go off your plan.  I eat before and after weights, but only after cardio (eating before makes me sick).  I might take a LaraBar, protein shake, some frozen waffles with peanut butter, or a fruit smoothie with me to the gym.  If you can make it the night before definitely do so, but otherwise make sure your ingredients and utensils are set out so you don’t waste time looking for a shaker ball, etc.

Find motivation.  Normally, I roll out of bed, get dressed, and am three streets away before I really wake up and am coherent.  My morning routine was totally devoid of motivation, but it never occurred to me that I needed any.  All that changed when I found The Rock Clock.  The Rock

The rock fanny pack

Yep, this one

designed an alarm clock app that allows you to set a goal, and when the alarm goes off your goal is displayed.  There’s also a motivational video or saying from The Rock himself that you can play as you get up and get ready.  And the best part of all, you can choose a funny alarm, like The Rock singing to you or kittens meowing.  It might sound dumb, but the last several days I’ve been awoken by Dwayne Johnson crooning to “get my ass out of bed,” then read the words “lose ten pounds” on my phone, then watched as he lifted crazy weights…and I’m so freaking motivated to exercise.

You don’t have to use The Rock Clock if that’s not your jam, but try putting a motivational quote or picture where you’ll see it first thing.  Find an image, song, or whatever to focus on right when you wake up, and doing the actual work goes sooooo much smoother.

Alright, that’s all I have for morning exercise.  What do other early birds think?  Are any night owls gonna try this out?  Let me know in the comments!