Simple Berry Breakfast Parfait

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I’m a big fan of breakfast. I’m also a big fan of lunch, dinner, snacks, happy hour, mid-morning coffee breaks…. basically I love to eat. Besides loving to eat, I also love all types of food. I’m lucky enough to not have any food allergies (knock on wood!) and am the complete opposite of a picky eater. In fact, I can count on one hand the foods that I don’t like (which include Blue and Gorgonzola cheeses and shiitake mushrooms). There are other foods that I prefer not to eat, but there are very few that I genuinely dislike the taste of.

I eat dairy. I eat soy. I eat gluten. I eat fruits and vegetables. I eat sugar. I eat meat. I eat dairy and meat alternatives. I eat grains. I eat it all. (And I’m still alive!)

One of the foods that’s a staple in my diet in yogurt. I alternate between Greek yogurt, skyr, almond milk yogurt, plain (dairy) yogurt.. heck, even frozen yogurt! Until recently, there was one particular type of yogurt that was not in my rotation: soy. I have nothing against soy. As long as it’s certified non-GMO (of which Silk products are!), I’m a fan . But, the majority of soy yogurts that I’ve tried taste like crap.

I had completely written off soy yogurt as an option in my yogurt rotation until I tasted Silk Dairy-Free Yogurt Alternative at the Silk Blogger immersion almost two years ago. It was literally love at first taste- and since then, it’s become a staple in my refrigerator.

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Silk Dairy-Free Yogurt Alternative doesn’t have that icky chemical taste that I’ve found other soy yogurts to have. It tastes delightful! And, there are delicious chunks of fruit swirled into the yogurt- it’s basically perfect.

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Currently: May 2015

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Whoa- I’ve been majorly slacking at posting. I’m ashamed that I couldn’t even manage to get a Currently post up in the last few months! When everything else is occupying my time, blogging definitely goes by the wayside. I appreciate that the five of you that are still reading… are still reading. :)

We’ve got a bunch of exciting stuff going on at work (I’ll share soon, I promise!) that’s been making my usual 40-50 hour work week more like 60. And, add planning Blend on top of that (along with Janetha and Lindsay)- it’s pretty much like two full-time jobs. Let me make this clear though: I’m not complaining! I love my job and planning Blend… but I need a nap. :)

Currently: May

Current books: I have a bad habit of starting books and then bailing halfway through to start another one. I did that with The Andy Cohen Diaries in favor of Gone Girl, and was then distracted by a few other books. The last (full) book I read was this one, which I totally loved and could relate to on almost every level. But, now I’m back to Andy Cohen and am determined to finish it! I have Torch waiting for me next.

Current music: Pandora station: Mumford & Sons (always)


Current guilty pleasure: I don’t know if it’s really a guilty pleasure, but I get an awful lot of entertainment from the How-Old.Net site. I think I’ve tried about 10 different photos, and it usually ages me anywhere from 40 – 72 (I’m 35, btw). These two photos were the youngest. I guess a stupid bright red lipstick selfie reverses the aging process?

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Current nail color: I really should change this to (toe)nail color, since my finger nails are almost always naked. I got a much needed pedicure on Saturday and am now sporting clean, short gold toes.

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Working from Home [+ Late Morning Soy Lattes]

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Working from a home office definitely has its pros and cons. The most obvious “pro” is that you get to be home- no commuting, no office drama and you can work in your pajamas all day long if you want. I’ve been working from home for a little over a year now and am definitely a fan. But, there are also some drawbacks. I miss the socialization and relationships that I had with co-workers in some of my former jobs. And, it’s also nice to have structure. Even though having a set schedule can be a pain sometimes, it’s also nice to have a routine. All in all, I like the balance that I have now: I generally work from home three days a week and go into the office the other two (and I always work a bit on either Saturday or Sunday- from home).

I know that it’s common for people to gain weight after they get an “office” job due to eating out, going to happy hours after work or any other calorie-inducing habits. It was actually the opposite for me. After I quit my teaching job and was home all of the time I quickly packed on the pounds. For me, having constant access to my fridge and pantry (stocked with delicious food!) was not always the best thing. I had a few snacks that I kept in my classroom during my teaching years, but in general I could only eat what I packed for breakfast and lunch (I never got desperate enough to buy cafeteria food!).

With my current schedule, I teach early morning (6:00 am) Spinning and Bodypump classes two days a week, which are followed by breakfast, a shower and a full day of work. On the other days I generally wake up around 6:30 a.m., work for a bit, exercise, eat breakfast and work for the rest of the day. I take a few breaks throughout the day to walk the dogs and to eat lunch. And, I always have my first (and usually only) cup of coffee in the late morning. Lately that cup of coffee has consisted of the following:

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Silk Unsweetened Organic Soymilk, coffee and a milk frother.

Fortunately I am able to function in the morning without drinking a cup of coffee first (I actually can’t drink coffee before exercising). And, this “latte” is much more filling than a cup of coffee, so it’s almost like a late morning snack (one cup of Silk Soymilk has 7 – 8 grams of protein!).

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[Where I'm at with] Weight, Body Image + Dieting

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For almost as long as I can remember, I’ve been either on a diet or planning to go on a diet soon. I was a “normal” sized child until age ten, when my parents got divorced (and I rapidly put on about 60 lbs over the next two years that followed). My mom went back to work full time and took classes at night to get her degree, so I was often left alone. Food was a comfort, a babysitter and a friend. I remember that I didn’t eat junk food all the time, but I definitely didn’t make the best food choices (and was clueless as to what was “healthy”). I was also never the type who could eat anything- it always seemed like if I ate a doughnut I’d gain five pounds. From my early teen to young adult years I was chubby, out of shape and extremely uncomfortable in my own body.

It wasn’t until after college that I decided to actually make a change. I joined a gym, starting eating healthier and the weight came off consistently. I got down to a very healthy weight and for the first time in my life LOVED going shopping for clothes. It’s definitely much more pleasant to shop for clothes when you’re a size 4 or 6 (as opposed to barely being able to squeeze into a 16)! Unfortunately, it was hard to see my body as “thin” from years and years of only seeing it as fat. Even though everyone else may have looked at me and seen a slim, healthy woman, I didn’t see that. When I looked in the mirror I saw a girl with loose skin, a fat stomach and always thought I needed to lose ten more pounds. I went through some pretty drastic measures to try to lose weight, which totally backfired resulting in weight gain and the loss of my period.

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I was a slave to the gym, calorie counting and trying to be thinner. Even though I had a lot of good in my life, it was one of the darkest, most unhappy times that I can remember. Luckily, I was able to pull myself out of my exercise obsession (switching from exercising a minimum of 3 hours every day- mostly cardio- to less than an hour a day, 5-6 times per week), but my issues with food were a lot tougher to overcome. When I quit my teaching job and spent all day at home studying for my personal trainer certification, the weight piled on. I gained 15 lbs. within a few months, due to lots of mindless eating and constant access to my pantry and fridge. I ended up joining Weight Watchers (for probably the 10th time in life) a few months before moving away from Maryland and lost most of the weight I had put on the fall before.

When I got to Colorado, I quickly gained the weight back. Even though I was hiking (all the time!) and working out, I went out to eat much more than I did in Maryland (and drank a lot more beer). Over the next year, I made half-ass attempts at weight loss and had very little success. I still felt “fat” and uncomfortable in my body, but started to care a little less about the aesthetics. I knew I was fit and able to keep up with my “thinner” friends, so who cared if I had more fat around my belly than everyone else? Losing weight in Colorado proved to be SO much more difficult, mostly because all of the eating out. I know that it’s easy to make healthy choices when you’re out to eat, but really- who wants to eat a salad after a hike (especially when all of your friends are eating burgers, fries and beer!)?

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Expo West ’15 Finds

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In my previous career, I used to envy people who got to travel for work. The only “travel” I was ever afforded was to check out another high school’s art department (ten miles away) to compare notes with another art teacher. In my current job I have to travel just the right amount: about 3-4 times a year. Two of the largest events that I travel for occur every March and September (Natural Products Expo West and East). One of the benefits of traveling east in September is that the expo is always held in Baltimore, so I get to tack on a few extra days to visit my family.

Expo West was earlier this month and held at the Anaheim Convention Center, which is right across the street from Disneyland. This event is the largest natural foods expo that we attend (and might be the largest in the world for all I know!) and we spend months preparing for it. Thousands of natural foods, supplements, personal care, cleaning, etc. -based brands set up booths for buyers, media, brokers (and other people in the industry) to visit. Last year was my first Natural Products Expo and I had no idea what to expect. It’s basically four days of insanity (1 day setting up the booth, 3 days running it).

I started working for FlapJacked about a week before Expo West last year, and really had no idea what I was doing and how to talk with brokers and buyers. :) This time, with a year of experience and two Natural Products Expos under my belt, I felt much more prepared and confident. My bosses were a lot more confident and less-stressed too, and (along with help from some of our awesome ambassadors) made a great team!

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One cool thing about Expo West and East is that I always run into a few friends. I’ve gotten to know a number of people in the natural foods industry, who I usually only see at these types of shows. It’s kind of like camp- we see each other once or twice a year and it’s like no time has passed. :) I also usually run into a few blogger friends, like my friend Ashley who stopped by to say hello over the weekend.

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Currently: February 2015

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Hey friends. It’s been kind of a tough month. I don’t want to bore you with my complaints, but I’ll just say that I’ve been burning the candle at both ends and will be happy to be able to take a few days off next month! Greg and I did manage to get away to Crested Butte last weekend, but we had to cut our trip short due to a crazy storm moving in (that would have had us stuck there for an extra day or two). The funny thing is, there wasn’t any (new) snow at Crested Butte- it was all at our house! I managed to ski for a few hours one morning, but it was icy and not desirable (but super pretty!).

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Hopefully we can go back next season, because it is a really nice resort and cute town!

Let’s get on with it, shall we?

Currently: February

Current books: After hearing so much buzz about it, I ordered this book from Amazon:

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Nutty Raspberry Dark (Hot) Chocolate

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I’ve been completely spoiled this winter. Though the season started out with record cold temperatures, things quickly changed after the new year. We had weeks and weeks of spring-like weather with a random (small) snow storm thrown in every once in a while. After each small storm, we’d be back to enjoying the sunshine and temperatures in the 60s one or two days later. I’m all for tons of snow in the high country (which is actually necessary to avoid going into a drought in the summer!), but am not a huge fan of it down in the foothills (and I realllllly don’t like driving in it). Even though I have been loving this “winter” weather, I knew that eventually we’d end up getting slammed. And- that’s finally happened.

We got a sizeable storm here over the weekend and there’s nothing but cold temps and snow in the 10-day forecast. I’m hoping that it will turn back to spring again soon (especially since spring is only a few weeks away!)- but for now I’m going to make the best of it. Besides, being able to walk out your front door and snowshoe on your neighborhood trail is pretty awesome.

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Once again, I’ve rambled on about the weather… but I promise- it does relate to the topic at hand. Another thing that helps me make it through the cold and snowy days is anything hot- soups, drinks and comfort food in general. I can even go on a long walk outside in the freezing cold- as long as I’ve got a hot drink in my hand.

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Thirty-Five

I turned 35 today. THIRTY-FIVE. That number always reminds me of the episode of Sex & the City when Carrie “celebrates” her 35th birthday (and no one shows up). I think I was in my early 20s when this originally aired.

Side note- if anyone in their 20s says they are “old,” I will slap them.

In this episode Carrie calls herself “officially old” because she is 35. While it is quite hard to grasp that I am well into my mid-30s now, I will not say that I am old (because then I’ll be the one that needs to be slapped).

Truth be told, I’m super happy to say goodbye to 34. It was definitely not my best year (especially after 33 being so wonderful). It started out great, but then quickly took a turn for the worse in April (you all know the story by now) and the majority of the year was a physical and mental struggle. I am determined to make up for all of the crap that happened during 34 and make 35 the best year yet.

I hope I’m not sounding totally ungrateful and like I’m throwing a pity party for one- there were definitely some things about 34 that we pretty fantastic. Visiting Greg’s dad in Boston, having my mom visit us in Colorado, taking a trip to Steamboat, making some great, new friends and finding a job that I am in love with were right at the top of the list.

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Currently: January 2015

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It’s my first Currently post of the new year! The winter is certainly flying by (and I am definitely not complaining about that!). I was looking back at last month’s post and remembering how COLD it was. It’s definitely been a different story this week- Monday and Tuesday were in the 70s! I’ve been enjoying this taste of spring and trying to get outside as much as I can (because I’m sure it’s going to be followed by another cold spell soon enough!).

I’ve been talking about going to the Wild Animal Sanctuary since last summer, but had yet to actually make the trip there. Greg and I (along with our back-door neighbors) took advantage of the great weather on Sunday and finally made it over there! If you live in Colorado (or are visiting), I highly recommend visit the Wild Animal Sanctuary. You can read about their story here (and then you’ll be planning your trip!). There were lions, tigers and bears (oh my!) but the wolves were my absolute favorite. They were so much fun to watch- and it was so cool when they started howling.

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I’ll definitely be going back in the spring. Most of the bears (they have 150 total!) were hibernating, and apparently they are all out and about after winter. :)

Moving on…

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Fruity Vanilla Swiss Oats

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Almost three years ago, on my 32nd birthday, Greg surprised me with the gift of a weekend trip to another city to see the Red Sox play. He gave me the option of choosing Boston, Chicago or Cleveland. It was a no-brainer to me- I chose Chicago! I had never been to that city and it was at the top of my “must visit” list. We had a great time and experienced as much of the city as we could in the few days that we were there.

Generally when we travel, Greg and I like to get restaurant recommendations from locals or spend a good deal of time scouring Yelp  beforehand. We don’t really plan for breakfast or lunch (and if we end up at a chain, so be it!), but try to make dinners special. Our hotel happened to be next to a Corner Bakery cafe (which were all over the city!). Since it was a cheap, fast way to get breakfast we ended up there every morning. Even though we had them in Maryland (where I was living then), I had never been to Corner Bakery prior to our Chicago trip. I know that it sounds really silly, but out of all of the delicious food that we ate while in Chicago, the thing that I remember the most are the Swiss Oats from Corner Bakery.

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Swiss Oats are similar to the “overnight oats” that I was used to making- but something about this particular version tasted SO much better! I loved the combination of apples, dried berries and banana, along with the creaminess of the yogurt. I immediately started doing some research on the web to figure out just what went into these perfect Swiss Oats. Luckily, it wasn’t that hard to figure out.

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