Spooktacular Favorites

Happy Halloween!!!!!

So I’m going to be honest, I’m not usually a huge Hallowern person. But for some reason I’m especially in the spirit this year. I dont know if it’s because my coworker is obsessed and she’s rubbed off on me or what (or if Walking Dead has upped my scary tolerance), but I’m ready for some creepy Halloween costumes this year!

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So in honor of this spooktacular day, here are five random favorited that I’m loving right now!

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

Favorite Fall-themed Meal

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Guys, I’m chili obsessed. I made this chili over the weekend and I’ve seriously been eating my way through it like it’s the only food in my fridge. I just cant stop! It’s so perfectly fall – warm and hearty and just the tiniest bit spicy! Yummmmm.

Favorite Halloween Moment

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My office throws a Halloween party every year for all of our kids, and this year I had a lot of fun coming up with my costume! I wanted to use my firebird tutu from last year, so I decided to go with a similar theme. Any guesses?

I’m a campfire, complete with marshmallows on a stick!

Also, this is what happens in my office when you try to take a picture. You get photobombed by a bee.

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Favorite Fall Drink

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I dont know if it’s because the weather is turning colder (there is a chance of “snowy mix” this weekend – save me!) Or I was inspired by my Halloween costume, but I’ve been obsessed with hot chocolate lately. I forgot how good it was! Not the best for you, of course, but there are antioxidants in there, right? …or something like that.

Favorite Jams: Taylor Swift

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve been a T.Swift fan for quite some time. And let me just say, her new album does not disappoint.

My coworker just purchased it, and we’ve seriously been listening to it non-stop for the last week. I’m in love.

Favorite Costco Find

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First off, never shop at Costco when you’re hungry. Those samples get you every time and somehow you’ll end up with 15 extra items in your cart, as I learned.

One thing that was a lucky splurge purchase though was these individual greek yogurt guacamole packets. Guys, I’m obsessed. They are the perfect size for and afternoon snack, have a great mix of ingredients and healthy fats, and they taste homemade.

Plus, guac every day? Heck yes.

Well there you have it, 5 totally random things that I’m loving this week! I hope you have a great weekend and a great Halloween!

(PSA: Dont forget to turn your clocks back this weekend!!!!)

So tell me: what are you loving this week? Any fun Halloweeb costumes? What’s the best costume you’ve ever seen?

Why I decided to go back to graduate school

Happy Thursday!

Thankfully this week has been one of those that has absolutely flown by, which is perfectly ok in my book. The faster we get to the weekend, the better! It’s been a particularly busy week though, which probably contributes to the quick factor.

Unfortunately it’s also meant that my workouts have been semi-lackluster, considering I keep finding myself with only abput 25 minutes to get something done! So here is to hoping that next week is a little less stressful!

Graduate School

So this post is a little bit different than my usual health and fitness stuff, but I’ve gotten so many questions about it lately that I thought it would be worth addressing.

As you may or may not know, I am currently sitting knee deep in graduate school applications for my PhD in developmental psychology, which are slowly but surely taking over my life! Most are due between Dec 1 and Jan 1, which of course is right smack in the middle of the holidays. So I’m trying to have mine done before Thanksgiving so I can relax (<- overachiever, I know. That's my type A personality for ya!)

But since a lot of you have been asking about the whys and hows of it all, I thought I'd take a few minutes to share. I know it's not everyone's thing, so feel free to skip and come back later!

Why Graduate School

Why I decided to go back to school

When I tell people that I’m applying to go back to school for my PhD, most people look at me like I’m a crazy person. Yup, I kind of am. I’m giving up a full time job (and more importantly salary and benefits), moving to a completely new city, and devoting 4-7 years of my life to living like a poor college kid again. Yup, crazy.

But the truth is, learning has been my passion for a long time, and I always knew a PhD was going to happen. I’m just a nerd at heart, and school is my happy place.

Plus, the reality is that in my career field, there is definitely a limit on how high you can move up without becoming a manager. And unfortunately I’m about at that place, but managerial positions dont happen for people my age. So while it seems like a step back to go back to school, for my career I’ll actually end up coming out at a place where there will be no where to go but up!

Finally, academia can be a great place for working moms. So down the line when we have a family, I’ll have a lot more flexibility in my schedule to be with my kids and be a working mom!

(source)

 

Where? How? When?

Question #2 I tend to get after the “Ummm… why?” question is “where are you going to go?” Honestly, I have no idea where I’m going to end up.

I’m applying to 10 schools that are spread all the way from Boston to Florida to Arizona. I’m hoping to get in to 1 or 2. That’s how competitive it is – my field is about a 10% acceptance rate. Yea, ouch.

So I’m going to be honest and say there is a good chance that I wont get in to any, and that’s going to suck. Which is why I’m still a little nervous to tell people that I’m applying. But the reality is that if I dont get in, I’m not a failure. 10% of people get in through a very subjective process. So I’ll just give it another go next year.

How I am going to manage financially

Always, ALWAYS question #3 – how are you going to afford it.

Yea, giving up a salary and going down to a mesely graduate student stipend sucks. A lot. And it scares the crap out of me. But, Chris and I have discussed it long and hard.

The truth is I’m lucky, because PhDs waive the tuition and pay a (teeny tiny) stipend, so there is very limited cost. And because I have a husband who will earn a salary, we wont have to take out student loans to eat and pay rent. Which makes me luckier than probably about 75+% of single grad students, a fact that I am quite thankful for.

That’s not to say it will be easy though. We’ve been taking Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University with our church, because we know our budget is going to drastically change. We will have a lot less fun money and vacations will be minimal, especially if we add a little one some time during this process.

But we’ve crunched the numbers and decided that we can make it work if we’re strategic about our money and know that this is going to be worth it in the long run. If anyone is curious about our budget plans, I’m happy to discuss that too, but I wasnt sure if people would be interested.

Well there you have it, the long and short of my decision to go back to graduate school. Even though I’ve been through this process once before for my masters, this PhD process is a totally different animal (as I’m finding out), so if anyone has any questions or you’re considering it yourself, I’m happy to answer questions at myfreckledlifeblog@gmail.com!

So tell me: have you ever had to make a major life changing decision? How’d you make the decision?

WIAW: Stress Edition

Well good morning!

I had all these grand plans for a post yesterday. I even got it half written. And then I was just feeling like crap and got lazy and never finished.

Guys, life is just really crazy for me right now. Between traveling, work stress, and these grad school applications, I feel like I’m hardly keeping my head above water! I’m not eating as well as I ususlly do, and I’m definitely not making it to the gym as much. I feel like this stress is just taking over my life!!!

Thankfully there is a light at the end of the tunnel. My goal is to have everything done by Thanksgiving so that I can enjoy the holidays before I get to stage 2: the interview process, in Februrary. So I promise that things will go back to normal (or some semblance of normal) soon.

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Now that we had that total Debbie downer moment, let’s focus on something more positive, shall we? It’s WIAW! Thank you Jenn for the linkup, and be sure to head on over to see what other awesome bloggers are eating!

Breakfast

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I was in a bit of a hurry on Tuesday morning (what else is new), so I ended up going with cereal for breakfast to speed things up. I had some Quacker Oatmeal Squares topped with frozen berries. Simple and delicious!

Here is a little sneak peak at what my mornings really look like: scarfing breakfast and trying to finish up a blog post. Exciting life, people!

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Snack #1

While cereal is delicious, it doesn’t always do a great job of holding me over. So around 10:30, I ended up snacking on some tortilla chips and guacamole. Not the most exciting of snacks, but it got the job done. Sadly I didn’t get a picture, because I was munching while in a meeting (<—the nice thing about having a tiny office, I can get away with it!)

Lunch

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Seriously guys, I’m SO obsessed with this salad ever since I recreated the one I got at SaladCreations. I mean, you know I’m obsessed with buffalo sauce already, so put it on top of a salad and it’s like my two favorite things in the world smushed together! Some veggies, some buffalo, some ranch… you cannot go wrong!

Snack #2

Unfortunately I was really not feeling well by the end of the day, and I ended up going home early. Something was really not sitting well with my poor, sensitive tummy (sadly I have no idea what – I’ve had all this stuff to eat before!). When I got home around 2:30, I ended up making myself a cup of hot cocoa, some tums, and taking a nap to help everything settle down. Hot cocoa does wonders!

Dinner

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On Sunday afternoon I made this big batch of turkey chili, because the weather just seemed to be calling for it. Nothing says fall quite like a hearty batch of chili! This one has ground turkey, kidney beans, black beans, corn and tomatoes. Plus a medley of spices that Chris whipped together. Topped with greek yogurt, mexican cheese and fritos. Yes fritos. Not the healthiest option, but I ONLY ever put them on chili.

Don’t knock it til you try it!

Dessert

After our evening meeting at church, I nursed a small bowl of salted caramel ice cream while we caught up on some of our DVRed shows. It was glorious.

Workout

Thanks to my tummy troubles, my planned workout didnt happen. But I did get in a nice sprint this morning when I was running late for the train and ran about .25mi through the parking lot as fast as my darn little legs would take me.

Until I got about 15 feet from the train and the conductor closed the door in my face. Rude.

So there you have it: A sick day of eats. My poor tummy is seriously a struggle sometimes – I have the most sensitive system ever! But I guess there are plenty of worse situations out there, so I consider myself lucky.

So tell me: What did you eat today? What did your workouts look like?

Double unders and green pumpkins

Why Monday, why?? Why must you come so dark and early?? Torture, I swear.

But I guess cant complain too much, because I did end up having a pretty good weekend. One of the few relaxing, productive weekends I’m going to have left before the holidays.

So you’d better believe I tried to make the most of it!

Friday

Due to some unforseen circumstances, I ended up driving in to work on Friday. Which is great in the morning – no traffic. However it sucks in the afternoon when everyone is trying to leave for the weekend.

So obviously I needed some extra something-something to combat the horrible traffic. Starbucks to the rescue!

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We had people over for bible study on Friday night, which meant that after hanging around chatting for awhile, our house didnt clear out until nearly 10pm. So Chris and I watched a bit of TV before calling it a night. We just cant hang like we used to!

Saturday

Saturday started off bright and early with something new and exciting for us – a crossfit class!

Our gym recently expanded and added a ton of new “athletic conditioning” equipment and classes, including options like powerlifting, athletic training and a crossfit-like WOD. Because they are totally new classes, they were offering free trials while they determine the new cost packages for these options.

So of course Chris and I had to take advantage!

Our class was taught by one of the strength and conditioning coaches from our local university, and he led us through a warm up, and then an AMRAP (as many reps as possible) workout.

The warm up consisted of 3 rounds of:
- 25 pushups
- 25 flutter kicks
- 25 double unders (or single jump ropes in my case)

Followed by the workout, which was 3 rounds, 2 minutes per exercise:
- kettlebell swings (15lb)
- box jumps
- rowing machine
- burpees

I ended up with 570 rounds total. And I pretty much cant move my arms today. So. Many. Pushups!

But I really loved the workout, and we are definitely considering purchasing some classes!

After coming home and cleaning up, we headed out to the epitome of an old person date – lunch buffet and a matinee movie.

Hey, whatever works, right?

At least our lunch buffet was exciting. Our favorite Indian restaurant has a weekend lunch buffet that we’ve been meaning to check out for ages.

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Chris made fun of my for the way I separated my food, but I thought it was resourceful. That way it all gets a bit of rice! Maybe?

We then went to see Gone Girl, which was Sooooo good! Of course I loved the book more, but I still thought they did a great job of sticking closely to the book. I highly recommend both the movie and the book.

We got home just in time to change and head out again with a few of our friends to a local pumpkin patch! Except this isn’t just any pumpkin patch. It’s a full on fall experience, complete with petting zoo, corn maze, and go carts.

How cute are these little guys???

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Sadly it got too dark to take pictures of most of the activities, but we had a great time watching pig races, launching corn cobs with slingshots, and getting completely lost in the corn maze.

I did manage to capture a picture of these precious guys on my way out though.

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Also, how weird are these green Australian pumpkins??

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Sunday

Sunday was all about getting things done. We did manage to sleep in and get a nice, slow start to the day, before finally getting our butts in gear around 11am.

He headed outside to mow the lawn, while I went on a crazy 3 grocery store shopping trip. It was pretty epic.

I got back just in time to grab some lunch, throw ingredients for chili into the crockpot, and head off to church and dinner with the in laws. Phew, busy but productive day!

Overall, not too bad for a weekend at home. Got some workouts in, some relaxing, some good food and some productivity. That’s what I call a well-rounded weekend!

So tell me: what did you do this weekend? Any good workouts or good eats?

Confessions

So I’ve seen these confessions posts on a couple of different blogs, and thought it might be fun to do a random brain dump. Because that’s basically where my brain has been the last few days – lost in the abyss of randomness. Maybe it’s the weather, or because I’ve got so much going on with all of these grad school applications, but I feel lately like I’m just kind of in zombie mode walking through each day.

Which probably explains my total lack of exciting posts around here lately. My bad guys. I promise things will get back to normal once I get all of this stuff finished. Whenever that is.

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So today we’ll try something different. I’m joining up with the lovely Amanda for Thinking Out Loud, and sharing with you some of my completely and totally random thoughts as of late. Hopefully they will be somewhat entertaining.

I think I am addicted to Panera.

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Seriously. We’ve been traveling so much these last few weekends, that I’ve stopped at Panera at least 4 times this month. And now I find myself craving it all the time. I think I have a Panera problem…

I’m really conflicted about Taylor Swift’s new songs.

I loved Shake it Off (I mean, how can you not. It’s so dagg-on catchy!), but was way underwhelmed with Out of the Woods. Her newest one “Welcome to New York” is growing on me. Why must you give me such a roller coaster of emotions TSwift? Why???

I am both seriously excited and completely petrified to see what happens with this grad school stuff.

This is going to change my life for real. And that is very scary. New city, new life, new goals, no income. YIKES/Bring it on!

THIS SALAD. I cannot get it out of my head.

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Ever eat something that’s so good that you just can’t seem to stop thinking about it. That’s me with this buffalo chicken salad. Why have I never thought to actually put buffalo sauce straight on my salad before? It’s making me salivate just thinking about it.

I think my sense of smell is turning more adult, if that even makes sense.

(source)

I went into Bath and Body Works today (they lured me with their darn 25% off sale and 2 for $22 candles. Darn you BBW marketers!) and instead of being drawn to all my old favorite Pumpkin Pecan Waffle and Vanilla Noel, I instead ended up with scents that make me sound like an old lady. Things like “Winter” and “Fresh Balsam”. When did I turn into a grandma???

Well there you have some totally random thoughts from me on a Thursday. Hopefully things will get back to normal soon, once these grad applications stop taking over my life. Which will happen eventually… I hope. Or I’ll drown in them, one of the two. If you don’t hear from me in awhile, please come check my desk to make sure I’m not buried under a giant pile of college transcripts and personal statements, k? thanksmuch.

So tell me: What are your favorite candle scents? How do you feel about TSwifts new jams? What totally random things do you want to confess share with the class?

WIAW: Daydreaming (of food) Edition

Happy Wednesday!

I’m actually really pumped for today, despite the gross downpour that’s happening outside. First of all, we’re having a coworker’s going away party today, and although I’m definitely sad to see her leave, party days are always the most laid back at work.

Then after work I’m heading down to Blacksburg (my old college town) to meet with some of my old professors about my grad school applications. Things are getting real, guys! I’ve been talking about going back to school for awhile now, so it’s crazy that it is getting closer and closer to a reality!

Since today is such a good day, let’s continue that trend with something else good: What I Ate Wednesday!

What I Ate Wednesday: FALL into Good Habits

Thanks to Jenn for hosting this amazing WIAW link up week in and week out. Be sure to check out her blog to see what many other awesome bloggers are eating!

Breakfast

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I’ve really been trying to change up my breakfasts lately to figure out what’s going to work for me. Because if I don’t eat enough, I end up with a rumbling tummy by 10:30am (that’s what happens when you eat breakfast at 6:30!), but if I eat too much then I’m thrown off in my meals for the whole rest of the day. So I’ve been playing around with things a little, trying to find a good balance. Tuesday morning I ended up with with 2 scrambled eggs, topped with a sprinkle of cheese and sriracha (ALWAYS sriracha!) and a peach, banana and strawberry greek yogurt smoothie that I drank an hour later when I got to work.

Sadly I was still pretty hungry by 11am. Guess I need to play around with things again, or find a good, small work snack!

Lunch

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Ever since last Tuesday’s buffalo chicken salad, I’ve been dreaming of recreating something similar. Oh, don’t try and pretend like I’m the only one who daydreams about food. So in honor of that amazing salad, I threw together this homemade version, which included spring mix, spinach, carrots, orange bell pepper, leftover roasted sweet potatoes (because why not), and was topped with buffalo sauce and ranch. And it was AMAZING.

Snack

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My snack was a bit boring, but I’ve been trying to get in more dairy lately after the bone scan lady at my office health fair freaked me out (she was a little “you’re all going to die…”) So yay for calcium! I have been loving these Chobani Simply 100s, made with stevia. And I topped it with the last sprinkle of my homemade coconut granola.

Dinner

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Sorry, recycled photo. This is what happens when I have to heat up leftovers and scarf food on my way out the door. But Monday night I recreated my Broccoli Cheddar Quinoa Bake from just a few weeks ago, because I’ve been dreaming of it ever since. And I’m NOT a recipe recreater at all. It’s actually really rare for me to repeat a recipe (outside the obvious staples like tacos and spaghetti), so you KNOW it has to be good!

This time I even used real cheddar that I shredded instead of the pre-shredded stuff. Do it. Now.

Dessert

I may or may not have had one or two (or ten) bites of mint chocolate chip ice cream while writing this post. But there is no photo evidence, so you’ll never know if it’s really true or not.

Workout

Tuesdays are really rough for me right now, because I get home sometime around 5:45, and I have to be out the door before 6:30 to get to a church meeting. And in that meantime I have to change, make/heat/eat dinner, and get a few chores done. So workout time is pretty minimal, unfortunately.

So I’ve been trying to just get in a solid run and/or walk during work (somewhere between 2-3 miles depending on how much I feel like running the ridiculous hills around my office), and then walking the dog another mile when I get home. It’s not much, but it’s at least something!

So tell me: Any good breakfast suggestions that work for you? For some reason since the fall started I’ve really started struggling with finding a good calorie balance throughout the day that keeps me from snacking the day away!

Should you workout when you’re sick?

Please note that I am not a doctor, and that these opinions are solely based on my own experiences. If you are sick, please make sure to consult with your doctor before working out.

Well guys, it’s officiay plague season. You know what I’m talking about. That time of year when everyone you know has come down with some nasty sounding illness, and you feel like everywhere you turn you’re walking through a cloud of germs. Yea, you know.

My office is currently going through this. Last Friday literally half of our office was out with the same hacking cough/stuffy nose/headache/sinus crap. Meanwhile, I cloroxed the hell out of my office.

But it got me to thinking about working out when sick, and when to draw the line. It’s always such a catch-22: sometimes working out can make you feel a lot better, but boy does it not sound fun!

So I thought I’d explore that today, and share with you some of my experiences of working out when sick.

Obviously the #1 thing you should do before exercising with any kind of illness is to listen to your body. If you’re body is telling you that working out is not a good idea – LISTEN. There is nothing wrong with take a rest day (or a few) to let your body heal. These tips are more for those occasions where you have a mild cold or discomfort and are debating what kind of workout you might be able to manage.

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Headache

I hate headaches with a passion. Stomach aches I can grit my teeth and deal with. Headaches turn me into a baby. I feel like my brain is turning to mush inside my head.

There are a million different kinds of headaches, so it’s definitely important to listen to what your body (and your head) are telling you. If you’re experiencing any kind of migraine or dizziness, then working out might not be the best option for you.

However, if I just have a mild headache, or especially a stress headache, I find that yoga is always a good option for me. It’s low impact (aka no jumping), helps me focus on my breathing, and helps me to relax. I just try to be aware of my body position and avoid inverted positions. But again, listen to what your body is telling you and go from there.

Stuffy Nose/Head Cold

Stuffy noses are probably the most annoying and inconvenient of all cold symptoms, in my opinion. There is nothing attractive (or professional) about having to blow your nose every 3 seconds and sounding like an old man.

But when it comes to working out, stuffy noses can really be a pain. I know that when I’m dealing with stuffy nose-issue, the last thing I want to do is go for a run (and carry a handkerchief?) or heaven-forbid, go to a yoga class and spend too much time in downward dog. If the stuffy nose has turned into a head cold, anything that involves jumping is also super out of the question.

In these cases, I tend to stick with straight strength training. That way I have a little more control over my movement, and can stop and take a break if I need to wipe my nose. Just make sure that you are conscious about wiping down weights afterwards – no one wants to share your snot!

Chest Cold/Cough

Similar to a stuffy nose, when I have a cold that’s settled into my chest and turned into a lovely cough, the last thing I want to do is try and run. Or really use my lungs at all.

With any kind of cough, I definitely try to avoid anything that involves getting my heart rate up too high and increasing my breathing. My lungs are already a little bit stressed trying to deal with this cold, the last thing I want is to stress them out even more with heavy breathing.

So if I’m going to do cardio, I tend to stick with something more steady-state (even like a brisk walk) so as not to overstrain my poor lungs. But typically I aim for strength training instead, to give my lungs a little break. Just make sure you still concentrate on your breathing to get enough oxygen to your muscles!

The other thing I like to do if I have a chest cold is yoga! There is such a focus on breathing that you can really give you lungs a chance to open up and relax. However, if you have a bad cough, I might suggest trying this one at home – you don’t want to annoy any other yogis during class with a hacking cough through savasanna!

Stomach Ache/Digestive Issues

This one really comes down to the severity. If you’re feeling like you’re going to be sick, or your digestive system is giving you some serious discomfort (I think you all can guess what I’m implying…), then please take a rest day. Tummy troubles are no joke, and you definitely want to let your system work things out.

However, if you’re just feeling a little bloated, that’s a different story. I have found that for me personally, one of the best things I can do when I’m bloated is cardio, especially running. I don’t know what it is about the movement, but it definitely gets things moving.

I can’t believe I just wrote those words for the whole internet to read. But you know it’s true. Anyone who has experience with running definitely knows what I’m talking about. Sometimes it just takes a little running to get things moving and help your digestive system out.

Plus, I don’t know about you, but the idea of trying to do yoga or squats when I’m bloated just doesn’t sound appealing. Yes, I went there.

Ok, moving on.

Body Ache

This is another one where it is 100% necessary to listen to your body. Body aches can mean that your body is seriously trying to fight something off, and it may be best to take some time to rest while your body takes care of itself.

However, if you’re just feeling slightly under the weather, consider something really low impact, like yoga. Or even just spend some time stretching and allowing your muscles to relax.

This is definitely not the time to push your body too much. There will be plenty of time for that when you’re recovered!

When push comes to shove though, it really comes down to listening to your body. No matter what illness you’re fighting off, now is not the time to push and weight limits or try for a PR. And please, please, if you’re using the gym, PLEASE make sure to wipe everything down thoroughly when you’re done. Ain’t nobody got time for your germs.

So tell me: What are your thoughts on working out when sick? Any suggestions?

The 1860s called, and they want their hoop skirts back

Well hello and happy Monday (if there even is such a thing).

I could definitely use an extra day of relaxing personally. I even briefly thought about calling in sick this morning… *cough cough*. But in the end my guilty conscience got the best of me and dragged my butt out of my warm cozy bed.

And let me tell you, that was rough. Especially since my bed felt like a 5 star resort after my sleeping arrangements for the last 2 days.

Meet my bed for the weekend:

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Nope, I’m not kidding.

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In case you havent guessed, this wasnt your typical weekend getaway. Instead of a relaxing weekend lounging around and watching football, Chris and I headed back in time for a weekend in the 1860s. To the Battle of Cedar Creek, to be exact.

Yup, we’re history nerds.

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Check out my Union solider.

Chris used to do reinactments when he was younger, so when his dad stated he was coming up for the 150th Battle of Cedar Creek, Chris and I decided to join. While I’ve spectated at many reinactments (one of the joys of living in Virginia – they are everywhere), this one was the first one I’ve ever actually participated in.

And I was a little nervous, I’m not going to lie!

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But it actually ended up being a lot of fun, despite the freezing cold weather. We spent the weekend hanging out by the campfire, walking around the sutlers (vendors of all things civil war), chatting with the guys (and a few ladies) in Chris’ unit, and living like it was 1860.

They are actually pretty big on staying fairly authentic, so all things modern had to be hidden away in your tent. (And for anyone wondering, there were port-a-potties. We’re not that hardcore)

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I did manage to get some pictures of the actual battle on Saturday though!

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The confederates preparing for an attack.

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That’s Chris, just left of center.

Also, please notice the guy on the right, mid-death. Have to keep it authentic, right? Chris said that he did a dramatic spin move when he “died” and then got to be carried away from the battle on a medic gurney. Gotta have a little fun for the spectators!

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When we decided we were going to attend, the food and the potty situation were my two biggest concerns. Well neither ended up being an issue at all!

We brought some snacks and canned soup for me, just in case, given some of my dietary restrictions. But I really didnt have to dig into them.

Breakfast ended up being eggs, potatoes and sausage one day, and french toast and sausage the next. Lunch I actually picked up from a vendor (chicken parm sandwich). Dinner was the best of all though: a full out campfire octoberfest complete with bourbon marinated pork chops, red cabbage, a German soda bread, and the world’s most amazing soup full of potatoes, bacon, carrots, and greens. Yummmm. All with that smoky campfire flavor.

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Overall it ended up being quite the fun weekend. If it hadnt been so darn cold and windy (meaning I hardly slept), it would have been even better. Maybe we need to do more spring and summer battles instead! Although now I think I’m going to be spending the next week trying to get the campfire smell out of everything that came with us!

And just because I’m sure you all were wondering, yes I dressed up. Go big or go home, right? I borrowed my day dress from my MIL, which I sadly did not get a picture of since we weren’t really supposed to have phones out.

But on Saturday night post-battle there was a ball, complete with civil war era dances (hey, I can waltz now!). Dress is supposed to be a bit fancier, so I borrowed a ball gown from someone in Chris’ unit and they helped get me all 1860s dolled up. Complete with corset and hoop skirt.

Prepare yourselves…

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You’re welcome.

So tell me: what did you do thid weekend? Any fellow history lovers out there?

5 Perfect Fall Soups

So the weather here in Virginia has not exactly been tour typical October fall. Instead of cool, breezy and full of beautiful colors, so far we’ve gotten cold, rainy and just generally dreary. Not exactly my idea of a perfect fall!

With this gross weather, all I’ve really been craving lately is soup (well that and a nap… rainy weather makes me sleepy!)

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I even threw together a quick chicken enchilada soup last night in the hopes of counteracting the rain. Nothing fancy, but it got the job done (plus, Mexican. Winning)

Eating soup on a cold, rainy night made me think about all the other soups that would have been perfect in this weather. So I thought that I would share 5 perfectly fall soups with you today, in case you’re feeling the rainy fall blues too!

Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup

Via Lovely Little Kitchen

Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup - easy, healthy, and a little spicy too. You'll love how fast it comes together!

Because everyone needs some tortilla soup in their lives, I thought I’d share this delicious looking crockpot recipe. Super easy, it cooks all day, and it’s ready to go when you get home from work. How perfect is that?

Black Bean Soup with Chorizo

Via Cooking Light

Going with the spicy theme, here is another hearty fall soup that sounds like it’ll stick to your bones. I’m not a chorizo eater, but Chris loves the stuff, although I think you could easily sub it out if it’s not your thing.

Perfect Broccoli Cheese Soup

Via Iowa Girl Eats

I dont know about you, but nothing screams comfort to me quite like Panera’s Broccoli Cheddar soup. So an easy copy cat that you can make at home? Sounds like perfection to me. Mmmmm, now I’m drooling over the thoughts of warm, melty cheese.

Sweet Potato Lentil Chili

Via fANNEtastic Food

sweet potato lentil chili

You cant have a fall soup round up without chili. That’s just sacrilege. In fact, nothing screams fall to me quite like chili!

While there are a million different schools of thought on what makes a good chili, I love the uniqueness of this recipe, with the lentils and sweet potatoes. Sounds like a perfect way to change things up this fall!

5-Ingredient White Chicken Chili

Via Gimme Some Oven

5-Ingredient Easy White Chicken Chili | gimmesomeoven.com #soup

And to round out our soup list (and stay with the chili theme), here is a white chicken chili for another take on classic fall food. Plus, 5 ingredients? Love those words!

Please tell me I’m not the only one out there who craves warm, comforting soup once the weather turns colder. Now if only the rain would clear up so we can enjoy the beautiful part of fall before all the leaves fall off the trees!

So tell me: what are your favorite soups to make? How do you like your chili?

WIAW: Eating like a college kid edition

Do you ever have one of those days where you feel like all the healthy eating information that you know just kind of goes out the window for the day? Where suddenly it’s like you’re back in college, living off of ramen noodles, 2am pizza and froyo?

Yea, that’s what my day was like yesterday. It didn’t happen on purpose, but one thing led to another and before I knew it I’d gone 3/4 of the day without really eating a vegetable.

Definitely not one of my proudest (or healthiest) moments, but I wanted to share it with you guys anyway. I’m not going to lie, part of me thought about skipping this WIAW because I didn’t want to show you a less-than-healthy day of eats. But then I remembered back to when I first started my healthy living journey, and how much I appreciated seeing bloggers who would share their successes AND their failures, because it made a healthy lifestyle seem more realistic.

So here it is – a day I’m certainly not as proud of, but one that truly describes my philosophy on healthy living: everything in moderation. Is this one bad day going to ruin all of my hard work and healthy eating? No. Should I just give up? No. Today was just a drop in the bucket, and tomorrow is a new day.

What I Ate Wednesday: FALL into Good Habits

Thanks to Jenn for hosting this amazing WIAW link up week in and week out. Be sure to check out her blog to see what many other awesome bloggers are eating!

Breakfast

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So I’ve been trying to get back into more meal prepping for the week, because we’ve gotten a little lax with our meals lately (aka I’ve gotten a little lazy in the kitchen). One thing I prepped this week was a breakfast crockpot casserole, which basically was a mix of hashbrowns, eggs, chicken breakfast sausage, red peppers, onions, carrots, and a bit of cheese. Sadly it just came out meh. Definitely lacking some oomph. I ended up topping it with sriracha just to give it some spice. I’ll have to make some tweaks before I decide it’s worth sharing.

Snack

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This was a total “my coworker made me do it” snack. And I gave in. The problem was, my coworker and I were at a meeting from 12-2, so by the time we got out we were both bordering on hangry. So when she made a detour to McDonalds and started talking about getting an ice cream, I couldn’t get it out of my head. When she offered to buy it for me, it was just too much. So I caved. And it was delicious. I literally can’t even think of the last time I went to McDonalds!

Lunch

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Just in case I hadn’t eaten like a college kid enough today with the ice cream lunch/snack, I topped it off with leftover veggie pizza for lunch. Not one of my finer moments, let me tell you. But we’ve had this sitting in our fridge since Sunday night, and running late this morning thanks to some computer issues meant that my salad just didn’t get made. So pizza it was. Sometimes it just happens.

Dinner

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After that pizza and ice cream, I felt like I needed to get a few greens in my life. So when I was running straight from work to a church meeting, I took a detour by Salad Creations to fill up on some veggies. I ended up getting a buffalo chicken salad, but subbing out the fake bacon and blue cheese for hearts of palm and a sprinkle of parm on top.

And asked for extra hot sauce, because that’s just how I roll. It was delicious and totally hit the spot. Even if it was eaten on my lap during my meeting. Gotta make it work, right?

Workout

Today was my monthly late Tuesday at work, so sadly it means that I don’t get much time for a workout. I did manage to get in a 30 minute hilly power walk on my lunch break though, so I consider that a success.

 

As I said, not my proudest day of eats, but I am happy to show you what my real life looks like. Sometimes I have good eating days, and somedays I have bad ones. As long as you have more good than bad, I think that’s all that really matters.

So tell me: What did you eat today? What did your workouts look like? Ever find yourself eating like you did in college? Do you get yourself back on track?