Home Sweet Blacksburg

I know, I know. Once again, I went ghost on a Monday.

The truth is, this summer (which seems to have rolled right into fall) has been busy. In a zero free time, you-should-see-the-mess-that-is-my-DVR kind of way. Which usually means that by the time Sunday night rolls around, all I want to do is curl up on my couch, in my PJs, and watch 15 minutes of a TV. Which is about all I get most of the time, because there just never seems to be enough free time.

I know it’s an excuse, but I wanted to let you know why things have been a little… lackluster around here lately. I’ve just been feeling a little uninspired. My workouts have been falling into the same routine for the past month or so, and other than the half marathon training (which is still in its early stages), they’ve honestly been fairly boring. I’m sure I’d bore you all to tears if I posted the same picture of my BodyPump setup every Wednesday night.

So I’m trying to get some things in the works to amp things up a bit, both from a workout standpoint and a blog standpoint. Now that fall is officially here, and things don’t seem to be slowing down for me at all, I need to find a way to turn all this into my new normal.

Hopefully in the next few weeks you’ll see some new goodies around here – new recipes, new workout routines. Just something more than my boring day-to-day life. You know, unless you like that kind of stuff.

Home Sweet Blacksburg

Well now that we got that awkwardness out of the way, let’s take a look back at the weekend that I was SUPPOSED to tell you about yesterday!

Basically my entire weekend revolved around one thing – Hokie football.

As many of you may know if you’ve been around these parts for awhile, I was a member of the marching band in college. So when we got the email about the 40th anniversary alumni band day, Chris and I were both in. #banddorks

So after a drive down to Blacksburg Friday night (about 4 hours for all you non-Virginians), most of our morning was spent like this:

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Followed by this. Gosh I love the smell of football in the morning!

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I mean, seriously. How beautiful is that view? I always forget just how much I love the southwest VA mountains until I see scenes like this.

The whole thing was made even better by the fact that my Hokies dominated! Including a touchdown in the first 8 seconds of the game! It doesn’t get any better than a start like that!

By the time the game was over, around 4:30ish, Chris and I had seriously only eaten a few chicken wings all day and were starving. So we headed immediately over to one of our favorite local restaurants, Cabo Fish Taco, before it got too crowded with the post-game masses.

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I was so hungry that after scarfing some chips and salsa, I literally inhaled these buffalo shrimp tacos and jalapeno-cheddar mashers. Plus 5 glasses of water. Then I thought I was going to explode.

Lesson learned – dehydration and starvation do not go well together. You’re just going to end up with a tummy ache.

We spent the rest of the evening catching up with some old friends and attempting to pretend that we were 21 year olds all over again. Yup, definitely not.

Sunday

Despite the evening of drinking and hanging out downtown until way past this old lady’s bedtime, I was still able to do the adult thing and get up early the next morning for my run. Not only was the weather absolute perfection, but it was so great to be able to head out on some of my old college trails again.

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With views like this, how can you not have a great run?

After getting cleaned up, Chris and I met up with my sister in law, step-sister in law, and boyfriends for brunch before hitting the road on our way back home. It’s always bittersweet to leave Blacksburg, which is honestly still where my heart is.

Overall it was a pretty great weekend. It definitely makes me miss the good old college days when waking up at 8am seemed ridiculously early, 2 am was an appropriate bed time, and I ciukd drop by the gym whenever I felt like it. Oh… the woes of being a real adult now. Stay in school, kids.

So tell me: Is there a time or place in your life that you really miss?

Five Favorites Friday: Fall is Here!

Welcome to the official first week of fall!

Since I have a September birthday, fall has always been my favorite season. Not only do I get to celebrate turning a year old (or turning 25 again, this year), but it’s also the start of so many new things: New school years, new sports, new TV shows, new weather… Maybe I’m just spoiled because I’ve lived in VA my whole life, but we sure get some beautiful falls around here! All the color changes and fall foliage!

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Anyway, now that I’ve fully professed my love for fall, I wanted to share with you a few of my favorite things so far this fall!

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Linking up with Clare for Five on Friday and Katie for Friday Favorites!

Favorite Sweet Treat: Pumpkin Dream Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

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Guys, seriously go make this cake immediately. Birthdays, football games, tuesday afternoon, I dont care – make it to celebrate fall. It’s literally everythinf I love about fall rolled up into a single cake. And it’s amazing.

Favorite Fall Drink: PSLs (Duh!)

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I know, I know. There is so much controversy over these things. But this is one time I don’t care. I prefer to be ignorant and assume that they actually do out real pumpkin in here, along with fairy dust and magic. And it’s perfect.

Also, as a second runner up, I’ve been loving pumpkin nonfat mistos. Which is basically just coffee with skim milk and pumpkin syrup. A poor mans PSL, jf you will. Because we all know that shiz is expensive!

Favorite New Discovery: Complexion Concierge

Personalized Skincare Consulting

So i recently won a free consultation from Anna Lise at the Complexion Concierge! Guys, this was seriously life changing! I have a follow up appointment with her soon to discuss her recommendations (all 13 pages of them – this woman is amazing!) I cant wait to share more with you guys soon… including a possible *wink wink* giveaway! But in the meantime, go check out her blog. She is chalk full of good information on how to keep your skin healthy!

Favorite New Fall Show: Forever

(source)

So in case you havent figured it out yet, I’ve got a bit of a TV problem. As in, thank goodness for DVRs. But I am super excited because some new shows are coming out this fall, and I cant wait!!

One that I’m already loving is Forever, which is basically a crime/drama based show right up the lines of Bones and Castle (both of which I’m a big fan of). The show just started thid week, and I highly recommend you check it out!!

Favorite Fall Indulgence: Red Wine

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Fun fact about me: I actually didnt drink until I was out of college. And when I did, I hated red wine. It was too dry and tart for me.

Now, I’m obsessed. Oh how our palattes change! Especially in , I’ve found myself happy to settle in for the evening in my sweatpants and a nice glass of vino. Lindsay actually got me this ome for my birthday – how cute is that name?? Honestly, sometimes I pick out bottles just for the names!

Well there you have it, 5 totally random things that I’m loving this week! I hope you have a terrific weekend, and I’ll see you on the flip side!

So tell me: What are you loving this week? What is your favorite thing about fall? Are you a red or white wine (or no wine) drinker?

Welcome to The Fitness Games

I received the premium version of The Fitness Games app free of charge through my partnership with Sweat Pink in exchange for a review. However, as always, all opinions are my own. If you have additional questions, please check out my disclosure policy.

Welcome to the Fitness Games!

Like The Hunger Games, only less death and general mayhem.

The Fitness Games is a new fitness app that is all about challenging yourself and others to push harder and farther in your workouts. Combining fitness, head-to-head competition, and social media, the app allows you to challenge anyone, worldwide, to a workout!
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The Fitness Games can be downloaded here for iPhone and Android users.

So what does it do?

The app allows users to choose from 4 different kinds of workouts: Cardio, Strength, Full-Body and Cross Training.

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Once you choose a category, you can challenge yourself, friends, people nearby or people worldwide to a workout. There are over 50 designed workouts, or you have the option to create your own.

Each workout then has a unique scoring system to determine the effort put in by each competitor, which determines the winner. Points are earned during challenges, which can help unlock new workouts!

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There is also a live feed, similar to what you’d see on instagram and twitter thay allows you to see recent pictures and viedos posted by your friends, and you can give them a shout out for their hard work!

So what did I think?

One of my favorite features about this app is that it allows you to track, score and save your workouts so that you can follow your progress over time. So even if you’re not into the whole competition thing, you still have the option to compete against yourself and better your own time.

Which, if you hate losing like me, is sometimes a good option.

The other thing I really like about the app is that all of the workouts have pictures/videos for each move. I personally hate when I find a workout online, and then have to spend 20 minutes while at the gym trying to find an examplr of proper form. This app has it all right there to make it easy and ensure your safety.

So overall, will I continue to use the app? Yes and no. Do I think that I’ll use the app on an everyday basis, probably not, only because I like my current routine of gym classes (shout out for BodyPump). But do I think I’m going to use it on those days when I’m lacking inspiration at the gym, or need a quick HIIT-inspired workout to push me out of my comfort zone? Absolutely. I think this app is great for that!

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So now that you’ve gotten a feel for the app, I challenge you (literally and figuratively) to come join me! See how you can push yourself! Who knows, we might even end up in head-to-head competition!

See you in the Hunger Fitness Games!

Tweet: Challenge your fitness with #TheFitnessGames! Check out @TFGapp and let the games begin! http://ctt.ec/gd5dj+ @fitapproach #sweatpink

So tell me: Do you like using apps for your workouts? What do you do when you’re lacking inspiration at the gym?

WIAW: Restaurant Edition

Happy Wednesday! We’re officially halfway through the week! And considering that this week has been full of sleepless nights and 1,000 things to do in the evening, I’m definitely excited that we’re halfway done. Fall is shaping up to be super busy already!

One of the downsides to being so busy lately is that we’ve been eating out a lot. Breakfast while running to work, lunch out with my coworkers, and a quick dinner out before meetings or ballgames. I feel like I’ve barely actually cooked a meal since last week!

As a result, I’m definitely trying to be more aware of it, and get back into eating at home or bringing my lunch. Not only is it way cheaper, but it’s typically a much healthier option!

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This week, however, you’ll get to see what it looks like when I eat out for several meals in a row…

Because it’s time for everybody’s favorite Wednesday tradition: What I Ate Wednesday! Don’t lie, you know you love it! If you’re not familiar with what WIAW stands for, I highly encourage you to check out Jenn’s blog for more information. Plus you’ll get to see what a ton of other awesome bloggers are eating! Thanks Jenn!

Breakfast

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As per usual, I managed to be running late this morning. Wild decided that she wanted to be nutzo last night and this morning, and kept both of us up nearly all night. And then woke me up by jumping on my head and dropping her toys on my face for an hour. It was lovely.

So needless-to-say, I was running even slower than usual this morning, and ended up having to make a Starbucks detour to get breakfast. Hard life, I know. Good thing I’ve basically become obsessed with these spinach, feta and egg white wraps. So tasty! Paired with coffee of course. I would have preferred a coffee IV, but this was my second choice.

Lunch

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Total bad blogger moment. I literally got to the last bite of my lunch before I realized that I never took a picture. FAIL. So I’m going to ask you to use your imagination. My lunch was basically leftovers of the meal above, minus the sweet potato and green beans. So it was basically half a chicken breast with artichokes, sundried tomato, turkey bacon and lemons.

I also paired it with a banana and a bit of peanut butter on the side, because I was still hungry afterwards and craving something sweet. Double win.

Got it? Thanks for working with me here, guys!

Dinner

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I ended up having to work late, and since we had a 7pm church meeting about 15 minutes away from my office, I decided it didn’t make any sense to head all the way home only to turn around immediately. So instead I just met Chris at Panera. Because my stomach was feeling a little funky, I decided to skip my precious power bowl, and instead went for some broccoli cheese soup and the new Mediterranean flatbread.

Dessert

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I cant even describe to you how much cake we have in our house at the moment. It’s a little ridiculous. That’s what birthdays will get you! So I did enjoy a small piece while watching the pilot for the new fall show Forever. I have to admit, I’m intrigued. Anyone else watch it?

Workout

Well, my original plan called for 3 miles today, which I had every intention of doing. Until my stomach started acting up around 2pm. I swear, I’m starting to think I might need to go on an elimination diet or something, because my tummy seems to be getting more and more sensitive! I just never seem to know what’s going to upset my super sensitive stomach anymore!

Anyway, as a result of feeling like I was going to puke for a little while, I decided to forgo the run and make it up tomorrow instead. Life is all about being flexible, right?

Overall, not the greatest day of eats. It has definitely made me aware that I need to prep some more on-the-go breakfast options since I’m so often running late in the morning!

I hope you all have a great Wednesday!

So tell me: What did you eat today? What did your workouts look like? What fall shows are you watching?

Turning 25… Again

Well hello there! Sorry I totally disappeared yesterday!

Truth is, we were out so late celebrating my birthday on Sunday night, that getting up early to write a post on Monday morning just wasn’t happening. So I decided to start off 27 with some extra sleep instead!

But now that I’m fully recovered (kind of) from a weekend of birthday celebrations, I’m back to share how I spent my 27th birthday. Er, I mean, my 25th birthday. Because I’ve decided I’m turning 25… again.

27 just seems so old. 25 sounds much better.

Agreed? Good. Glad we’re all on the same page.

Here is what my birthday weekend looked like!

Saturday

Chris spent nearly the entire day in the yard on Saturday, doing something with aerating the lawn that I really don’t understand. So instead, I decided to make it a super productive day instead. I deep cleaned the bathrooms, I cleaned the house (which has been seriously neglected recently, whoops!), I ran some errands… it was pretty awesome!

The Hokies played at noon, but because Chris was working on the lawn, we decided to turn off all of our social media and wait to watch it later in the evening once everything was finished. So around 6:30, we met up with my in-laws for dinner and a delayed football watching party.

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My mother-in-law made this delicious caprese chicken. I’m going to have to copy this ASAP!

Sadly the Hokies still lost, which was quite a bummer, but it was still a fun way to spend the evening.

Sunday

I started my birthday off right, by sleeping in and having donuts for breakfast! Hey, calories don’t count on your birthday, right? We picked up these sour cream and apple cinnamon donuts from a local bakery, and they were so fluffy and perfect!

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After spending a little bit lazing around my in PJs, I decided to head out on a 5 mile birthday run. With all of my tech gadgets too. I may have a little bit of a gadget problem…

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It wasn’t the prettiest run, but it definitely got the job done. I’m still trying to get my endurance back from taking nearly 5 months off from running more than a few miles. But it’s a start!

By the time I got back from my run, I had to run around to get showered and changed before we headed out on my real birthday treat: A trip to the National Harbor for a Cirque du Soleil show!

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We ended up seeing Amaluna, a love story that takes place on an island full of strange creatures.

It was my first ever Cirque show, and I was seriously mesmerized the entire time. As a former gymnast, this was right up my alley and I loved watching all the tricks! In fact, at one point Chris goes “I wonder what kind of people grow up thinking ‘I want to do this as a career’.” Then he looks at me and goes “Wait, nevermind. That was probably you.” Haha.If you’ve never seen a show before, I highly recommend it!!

After the show we headed over to Rosa Mexicana for dinner, but sadly it was too dark for pictures. But I’m pretty sure I ate my bodyweight in guacamole.

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After dinner we made the trek back home where we did cake and presents. Look at this beauitful pumpkin and maple cake my MIL made!

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Although this is how I feel about turning 27…
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Overall it was a great birthday weekend. I really couldn’t have asked for anything more! I dont know what it is about birthdays, but they are just so much fun!

Well I hope you all have a great Tuesday!

So tell me: What is your favorite way to celebrate your birthday? Have you ever seen a Cirque du Soleil show?

Hummus is like my high school boyfriend (Five Favorites Friday)

Happy Friday!!

I cant believe it’s Friday already! I feel like this week has just flown by. Then again, when you cram vet visits and dog spays and book club and church meetings and rehearsal and race training all in to one week, no wonder it flies by!

Which is why I’m looking forward to a super chill weekend. I plan to spend the whole thing relaxing, getting some housework done, and watching football. And of course, celebrating my birthday on Sunday!

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Since I’m in such a good mood this morning, I just thought we’d jump right in to my weekly favorites! So without further ado, here are 5 totally random things I’m loving this week!

Linking up with Clare for Five on Friday and Katie for Friday Favorites.

Favorite New Fitness Toy: Jawbone UP24

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Chris is the absolute WORST at keeping secrets. So when a package came in for me earlier this week that contained a birthday present for me (my birthday is on Sunday), he just couldn’t contain himself and gave it to me early. It was kind of adorable, he was so excited.

Then I was excited when I opened it! The Jawbone UP24! In Pink!

I’ve been wearing this guy for a couple of days now, and it’s already love. I’m going to do a full review on it soon, but for now I’ll just say that it’s been so fun to track my steps and try and challenge myself!

Favorite Recent Fall Premier: The Biggest Loser

 

Any other BL fans out there? I know it’s been on for a gazillion seasons, and most people have probably moved on by now. But I’m still holding strong!

I know there have been plenty of debates in the health and fitness world regarding some of the things that they promote on BL, and whether everything is really done in the healthiest manner. And while I definitely agree that there are concerns, I just can’t help watching it for what it is – motivation. Seeing how they push themselves, and complete these amazing transformations just inspires me to push harder. Low-fat everything and coffee for breakfast concerns aside, I still love it and I’m so excited it’s back!

Favorite Current Food Obsession: Hummus

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Hummus and I go through a bit of a up and down relationship. It’s like that boyfriend in high school that you didn’t want to be with, but didn’t not want to be with either, so you were just constantly back and forth to the extremes. Lots of tears, lots of love notes in your locker. That’s me and hummus. One week I’m absolutely obsessed and want to put it on EVERYTHING (literally). And then the next week I forget it’s even in the fridge.

This week was a good week in the life of our relationship. It’s love. And I want to eat it for every meal.

Favorite Recent Lunch Experiment: BLT Lettuce Wraps

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For some reason earlier this week I was craving bacon like whoa. No idea where that came from. But I went with it.

So for lunch on monday, I threw together this BLT Lettuce Wrap. BT lettuce wrap? Is that too redundant? Essentially a topped romaine lettuce leaves with a touch of olive oil mayo, roma tomatoes and turkey bacon. And it was amazing.

Favorite Surprise: Birthday Cupcakes

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As I said, my birthday is on Sunday, and for book club on Monday the girls surprised me with birthday week cupcakes! My friend Bethany even stalked my Pinterest boards to find a cupcake recipe that I clearly liked (Lemon-blueberry). How sweet is that? I’m so thankful to have found such a great group of girl friends!

Well, I’m off to enjoy my last workday before my birthday. There may be cupcakes involved again… people know me too well!

Have a great weekend!

So tell me: Do you have a love-hate relationship with any particular food? Are you a Biggest Loser Fan? What are you loving this week?

Banana Bread Protein Smoothie

I received free sample sizes of the Manitoba Harvest Pro70 Hemp Protein through my ambassadorship with Sweat Pink. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Please see my disclosure policy for any questions.

Happy Thursday!

I hope you all are having a terrific week so far. Despite my lack of sleep (I need to get this sleep thing in check ASAP! ), it’s been a pretty good week. Busy, but good.

I am jealous of Chris though, as he gets to spend the next 2 days at home having what we like to call a daddy-puppy day. Wild is getting spayed this morning, so Chris gets to be the lucky one who spends the day on the couch cuddling with the dogs and making sure Wild is recovering. Jealous.

On the positive side, at least I’ve been able to give him a list of things to work on while he’s home, so at least he’ll get something productive done!

Banana Bread Protein Smoothie

So a few weeks ago I was sent Manitoba Harvest’s new Hemp70 protein powder to review. You all know that I love me some protein powder, and I especially love trying out new types. I think they are a great way to get more protein in your diet, but you definitely have to be very careful about the ingredient lists.

One thing I love right off the bat about the Hemp70 brand is that is vegan and non-GMO, so it’s perfect for those who are avoiding whey or soy. It’s a plant based protein, and the Hemp70 powder is the only water soluable powder on the market. With 15g of protein and 3.4g of Omega 3 & 6 per serving, you really cant beat that.

Plus, look at this ingredient list: Hemp protein concentrate, organic coconut sugar, organic vanilla flavor, natural plant extracts.

That’s it. Seriously.

So what did I think?

I was sent 2 flavors to try – their new vanilla and chocolate.

Right off the bat I knew I was going to be a fan, because it disolved super quickly in my smoothie liquid. I HATE when you get chunks of protein powder and feel like you’re eating chalk.

Banana Bread Protein Smoothie

Well, I LOVED it. In fact, this may be added into my top 3 favorite protein powders ever. It did not taste at all “protein-y” (you know what I’m talking about), and just added a subtle vanilla/chocolate flavor. To be honest, if I hadnt put it in there myself, I probably would not have even guessed it had protein powder!

Overall I was super impressed and am absolutely considering purchasing a tub for myself! (HINT: check at the end of this post for a discount!)

And since I loved it so much, I wanted to share with you one of the delicious smoothies I made with it. As you well know, I’m a banana lover. In fact, my “last meal” dessert would probably include with banana bread or banana pudding. Or both. So I wanted to try and replicate those flavors in smoothie form!

Enter the banana bread protein smoothie!

Banana Bread Protein Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 frozen banana

1 cup vanilla almond milk (or dairy of your choice)

1 tsp honey

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

1 packet vanilla hemp protein powder

 

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend. Add in additional sweetener or liquids as necessary.

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Super simple, but has that awesome cinnamony, banana taste that you totally associate with warm banana bread. For any fellow banana lovers, it’s a perfect healthy alternative!

I know I promised you a discount code, so here it is – Manitoba Harvest is giving 20% off the Pro70 Vanilla and Chocolate flavors! Woohoo! Just use the code sweatpinkpro70

So tell me: Are you a protein powder person? What do you look for in a good powder? Do you use them for workout recovery or just to get an extra protein boost in your meals?

WIAW: Intuitive Edition

Phew, this is turning into a busy morning already!! It’s not even 8am and I already feel like I’ve been up for hours (which I guess, technically, I have been…)

Since my brain doesnt seem to be functioning quite properly this morning yet, I’m just going to jump right in to the important stuff.

Yup, It’s WIAW time! For anyone not familiar with WIAW, I highly encourage you to check out Jenn’s blog and see what it’s all about! Thanks Jenn!

Breakfast

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This breakfast has been my absolute obsession lately. 2 eggs on a toasted whole wheat thin, topped with a slice of cheddar and a large amount of sriracha. Not only is it delicious, but it keeps me full straight through lunchtime, which is a rarity considering how early in the morning I eat breakfast!

Lunch

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So I have been hardcore struggling in the morning lately (see above for prime example) and tuesday morning I completely ran out of time to make lunch. So I had to run out and grab something near my office, and ended up with this amazing chicken taco rice. A little more basic than your fancy chipotle, but so, so tasty!

Dinner

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Since we had to take Laney to the vet after work to get her leg looked at (thankfully no stitches, just some antibiotics to make sure it doesnt get infected), we literally had about 10 minutes to scarf dinner before heading off to a meeting at church.

I couldn’t quite figure out how to get a good angle on it without the whole thing falling apart, but I ended up throwing some shredded salsa chicken, a sprinkle of cheese and several pieces of lettuce into a tortilla and calling it dinner.

 

Dessert

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By the time we got home from our meeting I was really craving something sweet, but I didn’t want to go overboad. So I threw together my first ever mug cake. It didn’t come out perfect (I overcooked it just a touch), but it hit the spot.

Workout

Since I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get a workout in thanks to the vet visit/meeting, I managed to sneak in a hot 3 mile run on my lunch break. Why is it that it’s always hot on the days I decide to run, and cool on the days I dont?? #conspiracy

Overall, not too shabby. Because my breakfast and lunch were a little bigger than usual, I didnt feel like I needed any of my snacks. I’m definitely trying to be a little more aware of eating only when I’m hungry, but that’s been a bit of a struggle. So I’m proud that I was able to recognize it yesterday!

So tell me: what did you eat today? What did your workout look like? Are you an intuitive eater?

5 Fall Sweet Treats

Well I don’t know about you, but I had a bit of an interesting night last night!

While I was at book club, I got a text from Chris requesting that I pick up some gauze and sports tape on my way home. Ummmm, excuse me? What happened?

Apparently Laney managed to impale herself on a metal rake and take a giant chunk out of her leg. Not exactly what you want to come home to.

Thankfully Chris did a good job of cleaning her up, but I do have a call into the vet today because the poor thing is hobbling around looking pretty pathetic.

Needless to say, I’m feeling a bit rough this morning!

5 Fall Treats to Try

Since my birthday is coming up on Sunday (I’ve decided I’m just going to keep turning 25 all over again), I’ve been asked several times this week what kind of cake I want for my birthday.

And where else am I going to look to answer thay question? Pinterest of course. (PS you should follow me on Pinterest to see more!)

There were so many delicious looking fall treats that I just felt that I HAD to share some of my favorites with you! You’ll notice a trend – I’m all about the pumpkin and the apple once September hits!

So here are 5 delicious sounding fall treats that are on my “to-make” list!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes - this is the ultimate recipe for moist, fluffy, thick pumpkin pancakes! Recipe by sallysbakingaddiction.com

Found here.

Ummm, yes?!? Chocolate? Pumpkin? Breakfast food? I’m all about that! I feel like these would be perfect on a lazy Saturday morning, with a nice cup of pumpkin spice coffee.

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Caramel Apple Cupcakes  http://recipesforourdailybread.com/2014/09/09/caramel-apple-cupcakes-cookbook-giveaway/

Found here.

Don’t these just look decadent?? All that caramel drizzle and pecan topping. I love cucpakes that have different texture or toppings, so I think this would be a perfect sweet copy of the traditional fall treat (and probably a little less messy!)

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

This recipe makes one heck of a super-moist pumpkin bread! This fall favorite is packed with sweet cinnamon spice, chocolate chips, and tons of pumpkin flavor. Recipe via sallysbakingaddiction.com

Found here.

Once again with the chocolate and pumpkin! Since I’m not really that great of a baker, I love breads because they tend to be a little more forgiving. Plus I love that they can be a great grab-and-go breakfast option.

Caramel Apple Cookie Cups

Caramel Apple Cookie Cups - a brown sugar cookie cup filled with caramel and crisp cinnamon apples

Found here.

How perfect is this? It’s like an apple pie and a cookie got married and had a delicious love child. Those chunks of apple, that cinnamony cookie. Excuse me while I wipe the drool off my chin…

Apple Cider Sangria

Apple Cider Sangria I howsweeteats.com

Found here.

I know, I know, this isn’t quite a treat like the others. But in my opinion, a fancy drink like this can definitely serve as a treat too! I love the idea of mixing a traditional apple cider with the usually summery sangria. And floating chunks of apple? I’m all about that bass boozy fruit.

So now that I’m completely sugar hyped just looking at thesd, I’m going to try and figure out how to eat all of these without totally blowing my healthy eating habits. Apples and pumpkins are healthy… right? Fruits? Maybe?

So tell me: What is your favorite fall treat? Are you all about the apples and pumpkins in the fall? What one food screams “fall” to you?

Saying goodbye to summer

Back to Monday, and back to the grind. Now that fall is here, my mornings are now spent almost entirely in the dark. It’s like winter is here already!

Let me just say, waking up at 5:30am in the sunshine > 5:30am in thr pitch black. One is much more conducive to getting out of bed than the other…

Thankfully I had a pretty awesome weekend to counteract the Monday morning slump!

Friday

After work on Friday I met up with a bunch of friends for an “end of the summer hoorah”, which naturally started out at Chipotle for dinner. I have a newfound love for chipotle salads, because I feel way less guilty for eating the whole thing when it’s 50% lettuce!
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Post-Chipotle we all headed over to a nearby venue for a goodbye summer concert from Dierks Bentley!

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It was a great night of hanging out, drinking beer, listening to music, and chatting with some good friends.

Plus, the people watching was off the chain. Quite possibly the best part of the whole night was watching drunk girls in very short skirts trying to climb a fence. I’m sorry, but when you have to have a friend on butt coverage, your skirt is just too short, honey!

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Reason #1,093,387 that you should follow me on Instagram, You get to see pictures like this.

If you tell Laney to “go to bed”, she’ll go into whatever space you point. So when we told her to go into my in-laws dog’s bed (a 12-lb dog, PS), this is what we ended up with. Big dog in little bed…

It was the perfect ending to a great night, and the best way I can imagine to say goodbye to summer for good!

Saturday

Saturday for us was all about sleeping in and having a super lazy morning.

By about 11, I finally convinced myself to get out of my PJs and get a workout in, so I laced up my shoes and hit the road for a drizzly 3.1mi run. It wasnt the best, but it got the job done.

Taking a few months off from running is no joke! I am just dreaming about the endurance that I used to have…

From there we headed over to our friends Charlie and Lindsay’s house for wings, cheese fries, celery (because #green) and football watching.

Except that it ended up being a terrible game for my Hokies. So now I’m just going to wallow.

Thankfully we got to play with their new kitten which KIND OF made it better.

From there Chris and I headed up to the mall to do some serious retail therapy (aka shop for some new fall clothes). Not that I condone it as a regular practice, but boy did it feel good!

We had plans to go to Cheesecake factory for dinner (and an early Bday celebration for me), but we were still so full from lunch that we could only manage appetizers and cheesecake to go.

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Sunday

Sunday was all about productivity for us! Starting with some meal planning over breakfast.

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I used to be really good about meal planning, but I let it slide a bit this summer with all the traveling we’ve been doing. So I’m trying to pick it back up again.

The rest of my afternoon was spent grocery shopping and running errands, with a trip to the gym in the middle. At the gym I ended up doing 35min of elliptical intervals, followed by a 30 min arm circuit workout that has left me with jello arms today!

By the time I got home I had just enough time to shower, change and head to church and dinner with the in-laws.

Overall this weekend was a good balance of fun and productivity. If only my Hokies had pulled off a win, it might have been nearly perfect.

So tell me: What did you do this weekend? How have you said goodbye to summer?