Dear FitBit,

It started out so perfectly: your snug grip around my wrist was reassuring. You motivated me, inspired me to do more, be better. With you, I felt alive. My life had purpose. We took long walks at sunset. You struggled with me through my workouts. We even matched, your chameleon cases always there to blend into whatever outfit I had on that day. Yes, we were one of those couples, who just looked like we belonged together. I felt more and more accomplished as you encouraged me to reach my step goals: 5,000…6,000…7,000…all the way up to 9,000 and, I hope you’ll believe me when I tell you that I had every intention of taking you all the way to 10,000. I hope I haven’t let you down.

It’s just, the honeymoon phase dissipated. I started to feel the 7 month itch. You were always around. What once felt like a calming weight against my wrist began to feel heavier and heavier as time went by. There was a tightness within me, a pressure to not disappoint you each night when I failed to elicit that all-telling trail of excited lights on your progress bar. I paced while I brushed my teeth. I walked farther and farther. More and more of my time was spent traveling in circles, going nowhere except further into a spiral of your demands. I’m embarrassed to admit that I even caught myself jogging in the bathroom — before getting in the shower, after washing my hands — anything to get a few more steps in. It wasn’t even about the calories burned — I didn’t care about that. I just didn’t want to let you down. Let myself down. It wasn’t healthy. I wasn’t healthy.

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love in this moment

subtitled: “one of these days, I will post an original thought.”
sub-subtitled: “apparently I really like putting dashes between totally-separate-words-like-this, this week.”

bookmark love.
these gorgeous fairy cakes with a ridiculous layer of poured fondant.
these they-totally-count-as-nutritious-but-OMG-do-you-SEE-them?!? chocolate covered peanut butter banana pops.
this “I-put-all-other-egg-benedict-recipes-to-shame” tex-mex grilled potato eggs benedicts. oh, plus the “hollandaise?” totally made from avocados. I know.
this pistachio kale pesto with zucchini ribbons and cherries. why must organic cherries be $7.99??

What have you been loving lately?
(Links welcome!)

banana strawberry chia pudding via @floptimism

Just so that we’re all on the same page, let me warn you that I am all about the berries right now. Like, all I want is a bottomless bowl of mixed fresh berries. All. The. Time. It is to the point where I went to 4 different grocery stores in one afternoon on a mission to locate the perfect package of strawberries. Like a modern day Goldilocks, I turned over countless containers at each store: one too dark, one too white, so many promising enough to make me lift them up and carry them off, only to spot that heart-sinking glimpse of mold before I even stepped beyond the produce department. I hesitantly entered the final store, hopeful somehow still, yet cautious not to let my hopes up. And there, just to the left of the front door, sat the most beautiful display of organic strawberries you could dream up: vibrant, unblemished, each package I studied better than the last.

If I can ever stop eating them by the fist-full in all of their natural, untarnished glory, perhaps I will pull out some equally exquisite recipes that will let them shine in new and wonderful ways. Until then, my notes from last year’s berry recipes, held close to heart and unpublished until the leaves turned and all thoughts wandered from summer fruit to the robustly autumnal flavors of cinnamon and cloves, will have to do.

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thai chicken flatbreads vertical via @floptimism

That’s it. The end. I have nothing more to say.

No, I’m just kidding. Of course I have more to say. Have you read one of my other blog posts? And, you guys, half of those recipes I blathered on about in the past were not even in the same league as this flatbread. I rarely repeat recipes, and not only have I made this twice, but I would happily eat it again tomorrow. And the next day. And the next. The notes I took on the recipe are barely coherent, my enthusiasm too exhuberant for trivial things like grammar and full sentences. Case in point: “Pizza I thin crust and crispy, spicy, sweet, savory, ugh. So good.” I definitely did graduate college. Promise.

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antipast-salad via @floptimism

Can we talk for a second about how it is currently 86 degrees in my apartment and my brain has been reduced to a puddle of goo behind flushed cheeks after spending just an hour sitting here? L and I are cave people living in darkness, our unspoken lights-off policy the only reprieve from the heat. Even flinging the windows open wide and hoping for a cross breeze is proving to be in vain. Situations such as these call for one kind of food, and one kind of food only.

…but my dietitian handbook says it’s not appropriate to eat ice cream at every meal from now until autumn, so it looks like we’ll need a plan b.

When the heat is oppressive (am I a total wimp for calling 86 oppressive? I think my body has adjusted to the snowpocalypse of a winter we had, plus working 40 hours a week in a supermarket) and you can’t justify another bowl of ice cream, there’s always salad.

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love in this moment

pinterest love.
this coupon binder printable for when I stop keeping my coupons in haphazard stacks around the apartment.
this formula for homemade salad dressing because…have you read the label of store-bought dressing lately?

bookmark love.
forget the doughnuts, I just want a big spoon of this samoa topping.
the rare ice cream that makes me want to bother with an egg base.
this paleOMG fudgy skillet brownie.
these campfire scones.
this dark chocolate peanut butter ice cream (!)
and these peanut butter mousse cups, which understand that pb wears the pants in the pb:chocolate relationship.
this carrot, chickpea & tahini salad…because we can’t always eat dessert.

blog and article love.
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If you follow me on instagram or twitter, you’ve probably spent the past 3 months being inundated with a daily hashtag of #100happydays. On Tuesday, February 18th I saw a Facebook post from a friend about a website challenge known as 100 days of happiness. The challenge was to spend 100 days in a row noticing at least one thing that made you laugh, smile, content, pleased…happy…and take a picture of it. Upload it to social media. Send it to the foundation. Take that brief moment of time to hit the pause button and say, this is it. This is why I do what I do. This is what makes life worth living. From profound and philosophical conversations with an old friend, to a youtube video of a kitten tumbling clumsily down the stairs, there are no right or wrong posts. They said most people never complete the 100 posts, mostly because we say we’re too busy. Too busy to take that moment to acknowledge, process, appreciate those things, big or small, that make us happy.

We are too busy to be happy. I certainly seemed to be.

And so, on Wednesday, February 19th I posted my first #100happydays picture:

“Sometimes, counseling sessions w/ clients just go so well.”

And then on Wednesday, May 27th I posted my 100th:

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Sunday Food Prep

When it comes to meal planning dinners, I’ve got it down pat. I’d say that I’m a pro, but seeing as how it still takes me eons to choose the recipes for the week (I’m working on it), let’s just say that I’m at the very least solid on the dinner-meal-planning front. I’m also fine with breakfast, because I always have a big tub of Wallaby’s Greek and a plethora of nuts, seeds, spices, and some combination of fresh-or-dried fruit to round it out. Sometimes I mix it up with cereal, milk…and nuts, seeds, spices, and fruit. I know. So anyway, breakfast and dinner? No problem.

It’s the middle of the day that gets me. Lunch used to be no big deal; I would just scrounge and come up with something, but lately, I’ve been really focusing on making sure I get a well-balanced diet. Apparently, that’s important, or something. Which means more thought out meals. Which means, odds and ends don’t really cut it. Which means, L and I have stood in the kitchen on numerous occasions as of late, staring at the hodge-podge of edible foodstufffs we had in, wondering how to turn it into a meal.

L’s been eating a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I keep trying to add my hemp protein powder into all of my meals. Truth time: it makes me feel like I’m eating grass. Powdered grass.

As it turns out, the most important thing to do when trying to “brown bag it” more frequently, is to figure out what food you want to brown bag to begin with…and then buy it. Crazy, right?

Yes, that means meal planning your lunch, too. It doesn’t have to be as structured as your meal plan for dinner, but you have to know what meals you need in order to make sure you have enough food for them. Here’s what I do (and by “what I do,” I mean, here’s what I did last week when I realized we were in desperate need of a plan, and it worked out pretty well):

    lunch prep 1 via @floptimism

  1. Make a list of all of the meals you will need. Some days, I’m at work for lunch and dinner, so I have to remember to have one extra portable meal for that day.
  2. lunch prep 2 via @floptimism

  3. Figure out how far your dinner leftovers will stretch. We almost always make full recipes, which generally yield at least 4 servings, which will give us each at least 1 meal of leftovers each. For this example, I knew that I would have leftovers from dinner on Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday, so I wrote “leftovers” in for meals needed on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. That left me to figure out lunch for Wednesday and Friday, and my extra late-night meal for Tuesday and Thursday.

    Note: If you’re not a big leftovers person, then you’ll just skip this step — leftovers take some of the effort out of figuring out what to pack for lunch because they can be packaged up the night before as you clean up from dinner, but if it’s not your thing, it’s not your thing.

  4. lunch prep 3 via @floptimism

  5. Take stock of what you already have. Do you have lunch meat? Canned tuna? A frozen meal? A ton of vegetables? Can you make a meal out of any of this? I had a can of sardines — the lovely people at Wild Planet insisted that I take the plunge and try them (gulp!) — so, for example, I planned to put together a sardine sandwich that would make enough for 2 meals. Assuming I didn’t chicken out / hate it / get all squeemish and weird. Update: I didn’t die.
  6. lunch prep 4 via @floptimism

  7. Make a list of everything you need for the meals you’ve already planned, and see if you’ll have leftovers. Recipe call for 1/2 bell pepper? Slice up the other half and put it in a salad the next day for lunch. Already buying chicken? Buy a little extra and grill up some pieces for a sandwich. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy.
  8. lunch prep 5 via @floptimism

  9. Leave a little wiggle-room. Usually, when I’m meal planning – whether it’s dinner or, now, lunch as well – I like to leave a day toward the end of the week “up in the air.” That empty day might get filled in with extra leftovers that I hadn’t anticipated, or a sudden desire to get away from the “brown bag” and treat myself to a meal at a restaurant. It’s nice to know that I have the flexibility to “wing it” that day without worrying about letting good food go to waste. This week, I wound up with a ton of leftovers from Wednesday’s dinner, so I was able to use those to fill in the gaps.
  10. So, there you have it! Meal planning, lunch edition. Oh, and while we’re on the subject, some lingering tips:

      lunch prep 6 via @floptimism

    • Buy pretty things! If you’re going to be bringing your lunch on a regular basis, invest in a solid lunch bag that makes you happy when you look at it and stock up on really good containers. I recommend glass with snap-lock lids, but BPA-free plastic is ok (just please don’t microwave it or put it in the dishwasher, even if it says it’s safe). Also: sturdy reusable plastic utensils, nifty reusable sandwich and snack bags (I’m looking to replace mine after years of wear ‘n tear, and I’m eyeing these cuties from spbang)*, and an appropriately sized BPA-free water bottle that you can fill up at home and cart with you all day. Mine is named Bubba. Yes, really.
    • Prep it the night before. Whether it’s packaging up leftovers, making a sandwich, throwing together overnight oats, or tossing together a salad (just consider leaving the dressing on the side), get it over with when you’re cleaning up from dinner. That way, you won’t have to dirty the kitchen twice and you can go to bed knowing that you won’t be scrambling to throw things together the next morning.
    • Even better, see if you can prep at the beginning of the week! Clearly, a sandwich made on Sunday wouldn’t hold up for lunch on Thursday, but you can certainly do things like big batches of oatmeal, a salad-in-a-jar, homemade hummus, or even simply washed and sliced veggies.

    I’m new to this put-an-ounce-of-thought-into-lunch-prep too, but it does make things much easier and less stressful to know that you have a set of go-to meals for the week.

    *Disclaimer: this post is a response to the Around the Plate May challenge to write a post with tips for packing a lunch. By mentioning spbang, which I hadn’t heard of before the challenge but upon researching the product think it’s brimming with both adorableness and eco-friendly wonderfulness, I will be eligible to win a prize pack from them. Promise, I wouldn’t mention them if I thought they were a rotten company, even if it did mean free stuff. And yes, I really am considering their snack bags when my current ones officially bite the dust (re: when I stop being lazy).

love in this moment

pinterest love.
this latest-gorgeous-love installment of why-am-I-still-so-lazy-about-food-photography-when-tutorials-like-this-exist?

bookmark love.
these mascarpone swirled brownies with hazelnuts
these shakshuka egg pitas
this slice of chocolate peanut butter heaven
these cherry pie bars < -- with creamy pudding-y filling!!! (!!) (sorry, excitement)
these fruit & nut bars
peanut butter cup “cheesecake” — it probably deserves its own post.
this whole food protein berry smoothie, no protein powder needed!
these whole fruit ice pops actually don’t interest me in the slightest, but L would probably go bananas/love me forever-and-ever-and-ever if I made them for him, and fresh fruit > HFCS always, sooo….bookmarked! Cause I’m the best girlfriend.

blog and article love.
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