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Category: Life

Christmas Break Happenings

Hello there!

Today I’m finally heading back to my place in Durham. But only for about 24 hours! Tomorrow I leave for our class trip to DC. I’ll be there until Wednesday, then start classes on Thursday. I’m kind of in denial that class is about to happen again, but it’s my last semester (of classes–I have internships until December) so maybe I’ll have some extra motivation once it starts.

Anyway, I’ve been at home for the past THREE weeks! It has been such a wonderful break and I feel like it flew by. There was a lot of sitting on the couch cuddling the dogs, and a lot of Livi sitting on Bella (see above). Here’s what I was up to and some exciting things that happened.

I did some wedding planning

Wedding planning felt so much more manageable since there was no studying to be done or classes to go to! I feel like I got a lot done, but not much to show for it lol. I finished setting up all the hotel room blocks, booked hair and makeup, and worked on our website and save the date. We picked a rehearsal dinner location and got the ball rolling on that. My sister and I shopped for bridesmaids dresses-we didn’t end up picking one that day, but I figured out what style and color I like. So that’s something!

Another great shot from the fabulous Olivia Suriano

I cannot believe it is finally our wedding year! We still have a lot of things to do, but I feel really good now that most of the big stuff is out of the way.

I got a new cookbook

I’m kind of cheating here because I haven’t made anything from this cookbook yet (I got it for Christmas). But I have heard awesome things about it and her writing is hilarious. My goal is to make something from this cookbook every 2 weeks or so. I totally fall into the rut of making the same meals over and over, so this will be great to help me switch it up and learn to make some new things.

I read two books!

In the past few weeks I almost read as many book as I read in all of 2017. Which isn’t saying much at all. I read Something Borrowed and Something Blue, and now I’m working on What Alice Forgot and Body of Truth. Looks like it will be time for another book review soon!

I ate plenty of delicious food

Chip and I went to Raleigh for NYE and had to stop at our favorite biscuit place the next day. I totally blanked on my order and got cheddar cheese instead of American. It was good, but not as good as American cheese, which I quickly remembered is my usual order.

I enjoyed pestering my parents to eat with me during their lunch break. Pro tip: when your parents are buying, order multiple things because you might end up with leftovers and can stretch it into another meal.

Of course I had to go get my most favorite meal when I am home: jerk chicken pita and salad with all the ranch dressing. I really should see if that restaurant will give me a gallon of their ranch to take back with me.

I became a puppy aunt

Sarah Beth and Cody got an adorable puppy named Ruby a couple days after Christmas. She is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the cutest little nugget! She currently weighs about 2 pounds and alternates between 5 minutes of play time and 3 hour naps.

I met her the first day they got her, and then a few days later we went to visit them in Charlotte and took Livi so they could meet. Livi is much bigger (although still small at 7 pounds) and funny enough, Livi was scared of Ruby! Pretty soon they were playing and running around and it was very cute. They are going to be best buds for sure. On the first day that SB and Cody both went back to work, I eagerly volunteered to puppysit.

She’s currently pottying in this little box because she’s too little to go outside where other dogs go. Clearly she wasn’t having it here, but word on the street is that now she goes into the box by herself and does her thing! Go Ruby!

Ok, a cute puppy seems like a great place to end this post. I hope you have a great weekend!

New Year, New Mantras

I hope you all had a very merry Christmas! I had a great one. I’ll share more of what I’ve been up to in a Christmas break faves post next week. Today let’s chat about the new year that is quickly approaching. Talk of resolutions is ramping up, yet I’m coming up empty with any idea for myself. I’m not saying there’s nothing I can improve about myself or try in the new year. I just don’t have any big, sweeping goals. However, I do have some mantras I’ve been thinking of lately that I want to take with me into 2018. Resolutions sound big and scary to me. Mantras…I can get on board with those. Ok, here are my mantras for 2018-feel free to borrow and please share any you’re loving!

Good for them, not for me

This is adapted from one of my favorite quotes in Amy Poehler’s book Yes, Please. I read it a few years ago and enjoyed all of it, but what has stuck with me since then was this quote: “Good for her, not for me.” Amy (I like to think we are on a first name basis) wrote about this in terms of women supporting each other, even when we have different goals, approaches, and so forth. I absolutely love this and especially like to keep it in mind in terms of health and wellness.

When I hear people talking about things I know would not be helpful (or healthful) for me, like a new diet or exercise plan or pursuing weight loss, I think “Good for them, not for me.” Maybe this year you are trying to move away from dieting, or have more self-compassion, or reframe exercise as something enjoyable rather than a way to punish yourself. That can be really difficult, and even more so when everyone around you seems to be doing the opposite. Even if you are feeling good about where you are, hearing about a cool-sounding new workout or popular diet plan may lead to some FOMO. If you know it doesn’t align with your values and goals, or you tried it and had a bad experience, you can think “good for them, not for me,” and keep on doing you.

This is also reminds me that we all have different goals. We are at different points of our intuitive eating journey. Heck, many people will not even be on an intuitive eating/intuitive living journey, whether it’s because they haven’t heard of it or just are not interested. This saying helps me remember that what is important to me may not be important to others, and vice versa. Of course I would love to see the tide shift towards a more relaxed and compassionate attitude towards food and exercise and our bodies. I’m very open about that here and with people in real life as appropriate, but sometimes I just don’t want to go there.

I may say something about intuitive eating or why I’m not dieting if prompted, but nobody is going to listen to me if I’m smacking diet food out of their hands. If I say anything at all, I just try to phrase it as, “This is what works for me and makes me feel good, I hope XYZ will be good for you!” And then the conversation can continue or just end, and everyone leaves happy and feeling respected.

My point is that I am strong in my values and beliefs, but I try to remember good for them, not for me when I see or encounter someone who approaches things differently-whether that’s trying a new diet or prescribing them for others. It can be hard because I tend to get riled up about this stuff, but over time I’ve learned to simmer down a little and be understanding-after all, even just a few years ago I had totally different ideas about health.

I am enough

This mantra is simple and powerful. I have a tendency to dwell on things I did or said, and generally just be self-critical. I know, I’m also all about self-compassion so shouldn’t I be better about this?! I’m a work in progress. When I’m being critical of myself, I try to remember that I am imperfectly me, and that is enough. I hope to remember this and be even nicer to myself in 2018. 🙂

Worrying is wasting my time

This one isn’t beautiful or groundbreaking, but important as someone who has been a worrier since my early years. Sometimes worrying is fine and serves a purpose, but mostly when I’m worrying about silly things or the future it’s just ruining the present moment and stealing my joy. Get outta here, worrying!

I hope you find one of these useful as we move into a new year! Chip and I are heading to Raleigh on Saturday to ring in 2018 with some of his college buddies and their significant others. I’m excited and will see you back here next year!

One Year of Soon to Be RD!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I’m enjoying my time at my grandma’s house. We come here every year for Thanksgiving and I always look forward to our time with her. She is an amazing woman and one of my most loyal readers. Love you, Sasa! (Her name is Sarah but we call her Sasa. I know, so cute.)

Yesterday was exciting for another reason-it marked 1 year since my first blog post!

Oh my goodness, I remember being so scared when I pressed “publish” on that first post! I was even more nervous when I published the next one about my journey with food. I was really nervous to post about my evolving relationship with food and moving toward gentle nutrition. That felt really bold for me at the time!

Thankfully, having this blog and my Instagram has allowed me to connect with so many awesome people who practice the way I hope to one day and who help me strengthen my resolve. As I wrote this post and looked back on my first ones, I could see how much stronger my beliefs have come over the past year and how much more confident I’ve become in expressing them.

I’ve learned more of the language of the non-diet world, and reading Intuitive Eating really helped me say goodbye to the final pieces of diet culture I was holding onto. I’ve edited some of my earliest posts to be more in line with what I’ve learned over the past year. My core beliefs haven’t changed, but I’ve learned even more to strengthen my values and some of my language has changed. I want posts to be up-to-date and in line with my values so readers don’t see an old post and wonder why it seems at odds with what I write now. Like all people, I’m constantly changing and learning. I’m going to make mistakes along the way, but I can have self-compassion when I look back and see something I wouldn’t write now, knowing that I did it with the best intentions and information I had at the time.

Since that first post, a lot has happened in my life! I finished my first year of grad school, got engaged, completed my first dietetic internship rotation, and now I’m almost finished with the toughest semester of the program. (Or so I hope, please nobody tell me that next semester is even worse!) I read Intuitive Eating and Health at Every Size and got even more fired up about the non-diet approach. I spent countless hours listening to podcasts and reading blogs from many dietitians I look up to.

I’m excited to see how this space evolves over time. I plan to keep posting weekly, but we will see how that changes when I’m doing internships again and once I graduate! This time next year, I’ll be married (!) and so close to being a forreal forreal Registered Dietitian. Obviously I am going to need a new blog name! So that will be a change. Oh, and I’ll be moving to Charlotte in May! I’m sure I’ll talk about that more another time, but I’m so excited to be closer to my family (and Chip’s!). I can’t wait to see what is in store for us in Charlotte.

I get wrapped up in my dreams a lot. It is still my dream to have a private practice and to work with clients to heal their relationships with food and body and discover what health means to them. I have a long way to go before that is a reality. I have so much to learn, but that’s exciting to me and one thing I love about the field of nutrition-there is always more to learn! No matter where I end up or what the journey is to get there, I hope you stay along for the ride. I think it’s going to be fun.

Thank you for following along over the past year! Even if I’ve never talked to you or you’ve never commented, just knowing you’re here makes me so happy. If you have any suggestions related to the blog or topic ideas, please let me know! I’m always open to feedback and inspiration. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

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Friday Favorites #4

Hi everyone!

I was planning on writing a post tomorrow, but I’m at home with a cold today so I figured I would get on here and chat. I haven’t done a Friday Favorites in a while, so let’s dive in!

Intuitive Eating Workbook

It has been almost a year since I first read Intuitive Eating, and I truly believe it changed my life. I know that sounds corny, but it’s true. I was already pretty sure I didn’t want to diet or help people diet as a RD, and this book strengthened my beliefs and showed me another way. I had already learned a lot about intuitive eating from podcasts and blogs, but reading the actual book was so valuable. It laid out an alternate to participating in diet culture and pursuing weight loss, and gave me the courage to learn how to treat myself well and work toward food and body peace.

Earlier this year the authors came out with a workbook to provide a way for readers to practice the 10 principles on their own. I finally ordered a copy last week and I love it so far! I’m only on principle 2 but I feel confident that the rest of it will be just as awesome. It has been a great way to brush up on the concepts and reignite my passion for this approach without reading the whole book again. I plan on doing that over the holidays, though, because I love it so much and feel like I’ll take something new away from it each time.

The Carbonaro Effect

Have y’all seen this show!? I hadn’t until last night, and then I watched about 3 hours of it. It comes on Tru TV and features Michael Carbonaro, an amazing magician and prankster. He pretends to be different regular people, like someone selling supplments or tea or a wildlife tour guide, and does crazy magic tricks to unsuspecting strangers. There are hidden cameras to capture their reaction and it is hilarious. It also makes me want to know HOW DOES HE DO IT!? I spent way too much time Googling “is the Carbonaro Effect show fake” last night, and have concluded it is pretty real.

Letting Sarah Beth Plan Our Wedding

I told y’all that my mom and sister visited last weekend because I got to try on my wedding dress! It was so much fun and I loved it even more than the first time I tried it on. Anyway, I was telling them how I am so slow at wedding planning and hate making decisions. Sarah Beth was like, “seriously, send me a list and I’ll get on it.” I am so excited to get married and for our wedding day but I don’t love communicating with vendors back and forth (I lose track of what’s going on) and most of all MAKING DECISIONS. I didn’t mind making choices about the venue, dress, and catering, because I care a lot about those things. Choosing our photographer was also easy, because we loved Sarah Beth and Cody’s so much we snagged her for our wedding, too! But when it comes to things like flowers and ceremony music, I have no idea where to start.

sneak peak from our engagement session with Olivia Suriano -she took this on her phone once we were done and I can’t wait to see them all!

For example, the florist asked me what I wanted the flowers to look like, and my answer was “I don’t know….pretty?” I have no clue. In contrast, Sarah Beth LOVES wedding planning and browsing vendors and has a total vision for how the day can look. Also, she just got married in case you forgot (which I doubt, I talked about it every day for forever), and her wedding was perfect. We have very similar taste—I told her that she could literally do everything and I would show up on wedding day and be thrilled! She does event planning at work and I know she would make a FAB wedding planner on her own one day.

I gave her a list to start with and said I would tackle what’s left over Christmas break, and I think she has made her way through most of it. It would have taken me 2 weeks to draft an email to a vendor and she did it in like 10 minutes this week. She’s awesome and I couldn’t be more thankful for her help. One thing I am excited about is our catering tasting next Wednesday! My mom and Chip’s mom are coming with us and it’s going to be fun and delicious.

New Spices

Ok this might be a weird one, but I’m really excited about these new spices I got last weekend. When mom and Sarah Beth were here, we met up with Cody and his mom to shop. I was not interested in the clothes stores, then Cody’s mom mentioned there was a Savory Spice nearby and I was like YES LET’S GO NOW.  I think mom and I smelled every spice in the store-don’t worry they had samples to smell lol.

I haven’t used the taco seasoning yet, but it smells amazing. We used the butcher’s rub on some chicken earlier this week and it elevated an otherwise boring chicken breast. I like chicken in other dishes, like pasta or curry or soup, but on it’s own it’s just ‘meh’ to me. This made it super yummy and I’m going to try to make a pot roast with it soon. Stay tuned!

My stomach is growling so I’m hitting publish then going to make a bowl of Ramen, which sounds perfect on this cold and sniffly day. Have a great weekend!

Hygge + Current Self Care Practices

Hi everyone!

I didn’t mean to go MIA on ya last week, but I’ve been a bit overwhelmed. More on that in a second! Fall break was last Thursday and Friday, and it was nice to have time away from classes. We took our engagement pictures on Thursday and we had a great time with our photographer! I’ll be sure to share some pictures once we have them back. Livi was in them, of course, and she did great. Here’s a sneak peak of her outfit–I die.

Anyway, onto today’s topic of self care! I have a handful of things I do for self care, but before I get to that, let’s take a short detour to talk about mental health and therapy. Lately I’m seeing how what I need for self care changes through different seasons of life.

Recently my anxiety has been giving me trouble after a lovely few years mostly apart. I’m so thankful to have a wonderful family and people in my life I can talk to when I’m struggling, but I realized I wasn’t feeling better as time passed like I hoped. Thanks to some encouragement from Chip (a future therapist himself) and my mom, I reached out and scheduled a counseling appointment and massage for last Friday.

Once I made the appointment, I felt like a weight lifted. Just knowing I had a session lined up made me feel better. I’m putting this out there because, 1-I like to be open, and 2-I want to do my part as a future healthcare practitioner/general human to reduce stigma around mental health. Mental health is such a huge part of overall health and wellbeing and it’s talked about way less than other components of health. I am very open about my anxiety with Chip, my family, and my friends, and I’ve been in counseling before, and it was still really hard for me to reach out for help! I remind myself it’s no different than seeking out medical attention when something hurts, but taking the step from “I’m not feeling so great” to “I need some extra support from a professional” is always scary for me. I know it would be a little easier if we, as a society, had open and vulnerable conversations about mental health and counseling.

I’m so, so thankful to have health insurance that covers most of the counseling and wish we lived in a country/world where everyone could access the care they need. During our session the therapist asked about my coping mechanisms and I told her all the things I do for self care. See, I told you this story would relate to the blog topic! She said I’m already doing a lot of things she would encourage clients to do, but I left asking myself what else I could add to my bucket of tools. (Obviously we talked about strategies for anxiety and some things to work on–I’m definitely not saying these ideas will treat symptoms!)

To me, self care isn’t just like, “today’s a self care day, I’m going to do all these things for myself!” I totally do that from time to time, but equally important is doing nice things for myself daily. I also don’t think self care has to be expensive-it’s usually not for me! It pained me to spend $ on the massage, but I think it had been years since my last one and I really needed it. Anyway, here are my current self care practices, including one new one I’m excited about.

(because this post would not be complete without a Parks and Rec treat yo self reference)

Therapy. Well I just told you about that, but I think it’s important for me to realize this will be an important part of self-care for me throughout different times in my life.

Light all. the. candles. I LOVE candles and I don’t care who knows it. I love putting on cozy pajamas, lighting a candle, and reading or watching TV in bed. Sometimes I light a candle in the morning while I study just to make myself happier.

Take Livi for a walk. Fresh air always does wonders for my mood! Even taking my Livi for a short 5 minute walk helps me clear my head and a little movement usually feels nice. If I’ve been studying for a while or I’m stuck on an assignment, this is my go-to move.

Adult coloring books. This is something new I added after my counseling session last week! I was trying to think of something that might be relaxing or allow me to be creative, and then I remembered adult coloring books are a thing. I went to Barnes & Noble and got one all about “hygge,” which I actually heard about on Kylie’s blog a while back. It’s a Danish and Norwegian word which translates to a quality of coziness and contentment.

If you ask Chip what my favorite thing to be is, he will tell you “cozy,” so obviously I am all about hygge. I feel like that’s is what self care is all about: making life joyful, cozy, and peaceful in big and small acts of kindness to yourself and being in tune with what you need. Anyway, here is a link to the coloring book if you are interested! It’s full of nice sayings and pictures of things like tea cups and sweaters. The other night I listened to a podcast while coloring with a candle burning and I was like “yasss queen of self care.”

Read a book. I don’t do this that often but sometimes putting away my electronics and turning the pages of a book is a nice way to relax. Right now I’m working on Body Kindness, but I am reading pretty slowly. Like, a few pages per week slowly. It’s a good book, but lately I’m turning to things that don’t require much brain power.

Cook a new recipeMost of the time, I love to cook. Trying a new recipe is always exciting, and if I’m feeling kind of wonky it’s a great way to help me feel more like myself.

Yoga videos. I’m still loving Yoga with Adriene videos from time to time, especially when I’m feeling the need to slow down. Even if the video has a faster pace, yoga is always a great opportunity for me to connect to my breath and my body and practice gratitude. (All aboard the cheesy train, I know, but it’s true!)

Watch a good TV show. Obviously everyone watches TV so it seems kind of stupid to list it as a “self care practice,” but whatever it’s my list I’ll do what I want! No but seriously, some nights my motivation to finish studying is so I can get in bed and watch TV. Lately I’ve been working my way through Veep so I need another funny TV show for when I’m done! I’ve watched The Office and Parks and Rec all the way through a million times and feel like nothing compares, so send me your recommendations 🙂

That’s all for me today-feel free to share your favorite self care activities!

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My Venture into Gardening

“Gardening” might be a generous term to use here. I was thinking more along the lines of “growing things in pots on my balcony,” but that doesn’t make for a great post title, does it?

I had absolutely zero experience keeping any type of plant alive prior to this, so trust me that if I can do it, anyone can. It all started this spring, in April I think. It was National Nutrition Day and my school was kind enough to provide some seedlings for us to take home and plant.

I got swept into the excitement and grabbed a bell pepper one. I wish I had a picture of it but I don’t. Anyway, shortly after picking it up, I thought “Ummm I don’t have a garden, a yard, or any gardening knowledge. This might be a bad idea.” I spent the next 2 class periods Googling things like “How to grow a bell pepper,” then I made a beeline to Target to get my supplies. I planted it and it quickly popped up, then looked like this for a while. It’s even taller now!

Approximately 4 years later (ok it was like 2 months), I saw signs of life! Side note: I had to transport it the 3.5 hours to my parents’ house, where I lived this summer. It stayed on their side porch which has plenty of morning sunlight!

For any garden newbies like me: a bud forms, then a flower grows on it, then the flower falls off, then the pepper grows. I’m sure none of those terms are accurate or scientific, but you get it.

This pepper got scorched by the NC summer heat, so I had to cut it off before it turned red. Yes, green bell peppers turn into red ones if allowed to ripen! I didn’t know that before. I was pretty amazed at how huge this pepper was, and I haven’t been able to get one this big since.

I was out of my mind excited to chop it up and use it in pasta sauce! Of course I had to top it with basil from my basil plant (more on that in a minute). I felt pretty legit.

It was weird that out of my huge bell pepper plant, I only got 1 bell pepper all summer! I fertilized it whenever I saw new flowers and watered it daily. I even brought it inside when it was too hot. Since I’ve been back at school some new ones have popped up on the other branch of the plant. One is almost ready-it’s turning red and looks awesome!

A few weeks ago more buds popped up. I noticed they looked “spikey,” which you can see below, but didn’t think anything of it. The next week I realized it wasn’t just a spikey pepper-THOSE ARE ALL TINY LITTLE GREEN BUGS!  I got a safe insecticide from Target and they were gone soon after. I really should get a book deal for Gardening for Dummies. 4 of those buds have turned into peppers, and they are on the small side right now.

Hopefully they will be ready in a few weeks! Usually I’ll see about 10 buds pop up, but only 1-4 make it to an actual pepper. Maybe next year I’ll figure out the recipe for success.

After building confidence with my bell pepper and some garden duties at work this summer, I went to our local garden store and got some basil and cilantro seeds.

The middle one is basil, and the other 4 are cilantro.

The basil has done pretty well, I think! I’m not really sure how fast it is supposed to grow, but here’s a snapshot of the progress.

The last picture was actually taken about a month ago, so it is a bit taller now! It sits in my kitchen windowsill and I water it daily. Every week or so I clip some of it to use in pasta sauce or on top as garnish, like on the yummy gnocchi dish below!

Ok, this is getting long, so here’s what you need to know about growing cilantro: it is hard. It was for me, at least! I transferred the cilantro from the 4 original small containers to one large one, because it seemed like they just didn’t have enough room to take root. Every website advises against transferring cilantro, so I wasn’t surprised when it didn’t work out well. It basically all died. I dumped the whole thing out and started over with a bigger container, shown below.

You can see it was growing, but they were very “leggy” AKA flimsy and wouldn’t stand up. I read conflicting information about whether this was normal. I clipped some of it, but didn’t have any more seeds to replace it. So this week I clipped the last bit and declared myself done with cilantro for now. Maybe I’ll try again next year.

It was still fun to have my own cilantro on hand, although it wasn’t very much! It smelled SO good.

I’m guessing my bell pepper plant will be done for the year after the peppers I have on there now have matured. My plan is to keep the basil going as long as I can, so we will see how that goes! I don’t know much about fall and winter gardening, but it seems like that season is for things you need an actual garden for. Like, I just can’t grow potatoes in my apartment. If there is a way… tell me. I’m interested. I can’t wait to have my own yard one day with a killer garden.

I’m having a lot of fun growing a very small portion of my food and have even more respect for farmers now. Note to self: shop at the farmer’s market more often.

Have you ever grown anything? If you’re a gardener, give me all your tips! Can I grow anything inside during the fall?

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Scenes from the Week

Good morning!

It feels weird popping in on a Sunday. I had all intentions of posting on Friday, but life happened. It was a stressful week packed with lots of visits to the vet, but the weekend has been much calmer. So I’m here to share some of it with you! For anyone in Florida or Texas, my thoughts and prayers are with you in wake of Hurricane Harvey and Irma.

Return of Dog Seizures

After going 4 months seizure free, Livi had two more seizures last Sunday night. The first one lasted about 3 minutes, and the second one was only about a minute or so. She stayed overnight at the emergency vet for monitoring and has been doing well since. Well, there was another day with a vomiting and shaking episode, but I snapped a short video of it and our vet did not think that was a seizure. We are so thankful that her seizures are considered mild at this point. Of course it is still terrifying and it’s an awful thing to witness, but she stays conscious and perks right up after. Even though Chip and I were scared, we felt more confident and calm this time around.

Over the past few months we have run all kinds of tests and as of now, we don’t know what is causing the seizures. Our vet does not they are linked to her liver issues, which seem pretty mild. The vet also discovered a heart murmur this week, but we did another test and found it out is benign as of now. Thank goodness! So yeah, it was a stressful and emotional (and expensive) week. It’s hard not knowing why she has seizures or when she will have another, or if they will get worse. If they do, we will start medications. I remind myself that out of her whole 2.5 years of life, only 6 minutes or so have been really bad and scary. She has a good and happy life, and I know she has many more years of being my sidekick.

We Bought Kayaks! Well, Chip Did.

Onto happier things! Chip and I are now kayak owners.

Last weekend, Chip and I discussed going kayaking but never did. He worked a lot of the weekend, so we planned to go this Friday instead. After all of Livi’s scares this week I was tempted to just hole up inside and stare at her, but I knew I needed to get out. I can’t life my life in fear, and I can’t be with her 24/7. On Thursday Chip called and asked if I wanted to go with him to pick out some kayaks. We had planned on renting them (that’s what we did when we went a couple of years ago) but he thought that it would be a good investment to buy our own if we start going more. I thought he was crazy and after asking, “Where will you store these? What about when we move next year” and getting satisfactory answers, I got on board.

We took them out on Jordan Lake on Friday and had a blast! Someone at work told him of a spot 10 minutes from my apartment where we could park and get in the lake. It was a very quiet area, and we had to carry the kayaks down a path to the beach. That was the hardest part, but at least the scenery was beautiful!

We were out there for a few hours and hung out on a cute little island. I brought the snacks and Chip brought the waterproof speaker for music. It was the perfect way to spend a Friday afternoon! It also made me super thankful for our school schedules-it’s nice to be able to do random fun things during the week. I know, we are spoiled right now.

Free HelloFresh Box=Lifesaver

My mom sent me a free HelloFresh Box a few weeks ago, and I totally forgot it was coming this week! I was so excited to see it when I got home Wednesday night.

That night, I made one meal that had chicken, zucchini, and mashed potatoes. Last night I made burgers and zucchini fries. Let’s just say my pictures haven’t been quite as pretty as the ones on the recipe card, so just enjoy the cute tiny ketchup. Usually by the weekend I’m throwing together random pasta dishes or getting takeout to avoid getting more groceries, so it has been nice to cook actual meals this weekend! I’m making the final meal tonight-it’s a pork + kale salad. I actually hate kale and meant to change that on our order, but I’ll still make the pork and rice or something to go with it.

I do like HelloFresh because it helps me branch out in terms of cooking. Last night was my first time making burgers! It’s nice to follow a pre planned recipe and not have to think about what I’m making for dinner. However, I can’t see myself getting these boxes on a regular basis until I’m out of school and have a bigger budget. They’re about $60/week, and I spend about $70/week for all my groceries and household items. That covers all breakfasts, lunches, most dinners and random things like cleaning supplies and candles that I pick up while I’m at Target. Chip cooks some, too, and we could split the cost of the box, but for now I feel like we can make pretty yummy dinners for much cheaper. See: Budget Bytes, my favorite place to find recipes that won’t break the bank!

A Low Key Weekend

After kayaking on Friday, I went out to dinner with my roommate and another friend. Yesterday I did laundry, studied, and just relaxed at home.

Today I’m planning on going for a run, grocery shopping, and watching the Panthers game with Chip. Ok, he will watch it and I will be doing school work. Weekends lately have been pretty slow and sometimes I feel like a homebody, but it doesn’t bother me. I’m trying to be more intentional about planning to see friends or do something fun so I don’t just turn into a hermit, but I also enjoy having nowhere to be. I know there’s a season for everything, and sometimes life is loud and crazy and other times things are more calm. There will be plenty of go-go-go as my sister’s wedding gets closer- just 20 more days!!! I seriously can’t wait.

Thanks for letting me chat your ear off today-tell me about something from your week!

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My Sister’s Bachelorette Weekend in Virginia

Before I dive into this post, I want to say a word about the abhorrent racism and hate on display in Charlottesville this weekend. We did stay in Charlottesville, but most of our activities took us out of the city. Several people checked in after hearing about Charlottesville on the news to see if we were safe. We were, but so many people are not. Many people bravely risked their lives this weekend to let those awful people know that their hatred and racism is not welcome here, and Heather Heyer lost her life. Many people turned on their TV to see people marching in opposition to their mere existence. We have to do better. I have to do better and to speak up when I see injustice on display. There is absolutely no place for white supremacy, neo-Nazism, and racism in our county, or anywhere for that matter. My thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of Heather Heyer, Lieutenant. H. Jay Cullen, and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates.

Friday

On Friday, we left Raleigh around 9am and headed to Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards. My sister made the planning really easy for me because she loves to make travel plans. All I had to do was take her recommendations and make it happen! She read all about Pippin Hill online and tagged me weekly in their Instagram posts of their picture perfect landscape, shown above. But first, I gave everyone a welcome box I made! I had the best time buying decorations and things to make Sarah Beth’s weekend fun and special.

I got the custom labels on Etsy, and the shop owner also sold the accompanying gable boxes, so that was convenient! Here’s what was inside:

You can see my main priority was plenty of snacks, and yes, that is a tattoo of my soon to be brother-in-law’s face. They were a huge hit among all of us and random people we saw out on Saturday 🙂

Ok, back to the weekend. We had a wine tour scheduled for Saturday, but Pippin Hill wasn’t on the agenda so my sister was dying to go there Friday. We got there around 1 or 2, did a wine tasting and ordered some food! Everything was delicious, and it was such a beautiful place.

There was even quite an impressive garden that we all had fun checking out. Everyone was like, “You have to get pictures of the garden for Soon to be RD!”

After Pippin Hill fun, we stopped by the grocery store then headed into Charlottesville to check into our house. We booked the house and the wine tour (Monticello Wine Tour) through Stay Charlottesville, and I can’t say enough good things! Plus, you get a discount on the wine tour if you book one of their houses. I got to work decorating the house with the help of her friends and we had it looking so festive.

That night, we ventured into downtown Charlottesville to eat dinner at Red Pump Kitchen. Everything was AMAZING. I had the lobster tortellini and never wanted it to end. I assumed we would go for a round of drinks somewhere after, but then my sister asked, “Do y’all mind if we just go home?” Um of course not. Pajamas > bars any day.

Saturday

Saturday was wine tour day! We were picked up at 11:45 then spent the next 5 hours in wine country. Instead of doing matching shirts, SB suggested a floral theme. So we all got dressed in our best floral outfits and tattooed Cody’s face on our arms, then it was time to go! Um, how adorable is she!?

Our driver picked up our lunch for us while we were at the first stop, which was so nice. We ordered sandwiches from Greenwood Grocery, which our wine tour planner recommended, and I got the meatball sub. It was not photogenic but it was delicious. 3 vineyards were on the agenda: King Family, Pollock, and Veritias, and they were all amazing. I can never go back to grocery store wine. The views at each stop were to die for!

Put a group of dog lovers at a vineyard, and they will find a dog.

Once the tour ended, we ordered pizza and spent the rest of the night at the house. We weren’t planning on going out anyway, and we ended up having a 3 hour dance party in the living room. That probably sounds really lame, but trust me we had a blast!

Sunday we cleaned up the house and headed home. We had a great time, and agreed we would love to come back again. There are a lot of other vineyards we didn’t go to, and I would love to get to see more of downtown Charlottesville. This weekend was the perfect way to celebrate my sister and her upcoming wedding. I’m really sad her bachelorette weekend is over, but I can hardly wait for their wedding next month!

Summer Break + Thoughts on Starting Second Year

Hello there!

I’m coming at you from the beach, because I’m on (a brief) summer vacation! I wrapped up my internship yesterday with a half day, and then I headed to the beach with Chip and Livi.

I had such a wonderful experience in my public health rotation, and I was sad to leave all the awesome people I met there. School starts back August 22, so I have about two weeks off! I’m in denial about being back in school soon. Most people say that this next semester is the toughest in our program, so I need to get ready! So far I haven’t ordered any books and I definitely have not studied the biochem review sheet we were sent this week. Ah, I have time.

I’m at the beach until early next week, then it’s back to western NC to pack up all my things. Then I’ll move back to Durham, and a week from today I leave for my sister’s bachelorette trip! We are going to Charlottesville, VA, and a wine tour is on the agenda.

To say I’m excited is the understatement of the century. Once I get back from that, I have a whole week to get my life together before class. I really can’t believe it’s my last year of school.

Class will wrap up in May and that’s the last I’ll see of a classroom. Next summer I have a clinical rotation, then advanced placement is in the fall. Oh, we are also getting married next fall. Just a minor detail 🙂 Then I graduate in December! I’m doing my best to soak it all up. If this past year is any indication, this time is going to fly by. Pretty soon I’ll be out of school working in the real world. Although I know where my passions lie, I wonder what my career will end up looking like.

I really want to work with clients on Intuitive Eating and healing their relationship with body and food, but I also really like the science/biochemistry side of things. Our bodies are SO AWESOME and I love learning about all of the little reactions that go on all the time just to keep us functioning. I love learning about metabolism and how when we eat, a number of events occur so we can use that energy.

I don’t feel that this is information the general public needs in order to eat nutritiously. Many people who are at diet rock bottom know too much about nutrition and can’t get away from food rules! However, I can’t figure out if this is stuff I just like learning about in school or if I might want to have an avenue to use parts of it in my career.

I really love that the field of nutrition is so varied. I could potentially end up working part time in a private practice and part time in a clinical job. While I don’t think a hospital clinical job is for me, maybe I’ll find I like it next summer. Maybe I’ll find I like inpatient eating disorder work vs outpatient or private counseling, or maybe I’ll find out that’s actually not the field I want to work in. I’m open to wherever my experiences and education lead me.

What I do know is that I’m passionate about Intuitive Eating, Health at Every Size, and the non-diet approach. My big picture dream is to have my own private practice or work in a group practice doing that type of work. But maybe I’ll discover there’s another aspect of nutrition I can’t let go of, and I’ll do work in that, too. One huge benefit of this program is getting to discover what I like, and what I don’t like. It’s really exciting, and I can’t wait to see where I end up! I’ll report back if I start to figure it out. 🙂

Ok, I think that’s enough rambling for the day! Unfortunately it’s looking like a rainy one here, so I’m hoping it clears up later for some beach time. I hope you have a great one!

This Week: Countdown Style

Hi everyone! It’s Friday! I hope you have a fun weekend ahead. But first, here’s a countdown from my week. Yes, it’s basically Friday Favorites. I was planning on publishing a nutrition-related post, but it’s not quiiiite ready yet. Be on the lookout for that on Monday or Tuesday. In the meantime, here are some things from my week in the form of a countdown I made up.

5 Things I Did for Self Care

  • Yoga after a long day
  • Dinner with a friend
  • Had coffee with my parents at home every day before work-I always wake up in time for a slow cup of coffee at home, and it’s a nice way to ease into the day. We drink coffee, the dogs cuddle and go back to sleep.

  • Brought myself lunch on days I didn’t feel like cooking
  • Looked up honeymoon destinations with Chip-I say this counts as self care, I love planning vacations! Except I’m in grad school, so I can really only go on vacations when my parents foot the bill for it 🙂 It was exciting to plan our first big adult vacation.

4 Favorite Podcast Episodes

  • The BodyLove Project Podcast Episode 31 with Kylie AKA ImmaEatThat

from Jessi’s website

  • Episodes 68 and 76 of the Love, Food Podcast
  • Episode 38 “Why Do Men Hide Their Body Image Issues” on the Body Kindness podcast

3 Blog Posts

  • This post titled “What it’s like to be that fat person sitting next to you on the plane.” My sister sent this link to me and I found the author’s words to be so heartbreaking and powerful. Shame and hate do not promote health and happiness. Even if you think someone “should” lose weight and could do it safely (well, for one, that’s not your place to decide that about someone) every single person deserves respect and equality in the body they have right now.
  • The Problems with Elimination Diets: Paige dives into her perspective on elimination diets and the potential consequences of starting one
  • What To Say Instead Of “You’re Not Fat”

2 Awesome Things I Ate

  • Last night, I made this seared sirloin with caprese pasta salad all on my own. Just kidding, it was a HelloFresh meal! I left off the balsamic vinegar because I hate it, and also roasted a bag of frozen broccoli to go along with the meal. It was delicious and I felt super fancy cooking a steak on a weeknight.

  • Ice cream! I finished off the last of some moose tracks ice cream that we had at the house this week. I’m not exaggerating when I say it was up there with my beloved Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie. It was the regular old PET brand and it was insanely good. Plus, everything tastes better out of a coffee mug am I right?

1 Thing I’m Looking Forward To

  • My sister’s bridal shower tomorrow!

After work, my mom and I are headed up to Raleigh/Durham for the weekend for a bridal shower for my sister. I’m so excited to celebrate her-the wedding is just 70 days away now! I hope you have a great weekend, and I’ll see you back here soon for a post on gentle nutrition and what it means to me.