A Little Taste of Home – veganized!

IMG_2034 I have been super busy all week trying to do a ton of homework early and clean the house, which with messy roommates is a challenge.  My dad is coming into town tonight and he hasn’t seen my house or my college so I’m really looking forward to spending time with him and showing him around.  All the cleaning and organizing made me really hungry but I didn’t want to take the time to cook a time consuming meal.  Being a college student, even an untraditional one, you get home sick (a lot!).  I went to the store awhile back and saw some of those hard taco shells (the ones in the picture) and decided I wanted to make tacos like we used to growing up for a fast meal.  However, growing up we used turkey meat, real cheese, real sour cream, you know all the non vegan foods… Now that I am vegan I try to make old recipes vegan so that I still have “comfort” food.  This was one of the easiest meals to make vegan.  I started with the Simple Truth Meatless Crumbles and Trader Joe’s fajita veggies and sauteed them.  I mixed some Trader Joe’s Salsa and Tofutti Sour cream together to make a sauce.  While everything was cooking I opened up a can of refried beans and heated them up in the microwave.  The last thing to do was throw the taco shells into the oven for a few minutes and try to not forget that I had bought lettuce to go with this meal!  Oh and when you take out the taco shells DON’T USE YOUR HANDS like I did, they are really hot LOL  The whole meal was done in probably less than 10 minutes and I only have a few dishes to wash.  It was a perfect meal for a busy day because it even allowed me time to write this blog before I got back to working on my homework.

Why You Need a Workout Partner and How to Know Yours is Badass

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Today I was feeling really crummy.  My stomach was in knots and I had no idea why, it may have been stress but it could have just been that I ate something that set off my sensitive stomach.  Yesterday I had texted my workout partner and asked if she wanted to go to they gym after our math class, knowing she would most likely say yes, which she did.  When it was time for class my stomach was getting worse but I couldn’t skip, plus if I skipped I knew I would not be productive at all today.  Throughout class I kept complaining that my stomach hurt.  My workout partner asked if I was sure I wanted to work out and I kept answering yes, without any sureness behind it.  Finally she said, just come sweat it out like I did last week when I was sick, you will be fine. That was it, she was right I was going to do this!  We had talked about how I should just walk but as soon as I got to the gym I knew I had to run.  Running is my therapy and I was determined to let my stomach know that I was in charge, not it.  I had a rough workout but I was so proud of myself for going and I was grateful for having a work out partner who made me go.

I know many people work out alone and it works for them but what about those days when they need to be pushed, who pushes them, or those days where you need to hear that you are awesome even if you didn’t do the best on your workout, who is their cheerleader?  I used to work out alone all the time. I loved the alone time, the me time, the not having to be “on” time but I always wished I had a partner.  If I am running outside I will probably always prefer to run alone and that’s okay with me but when I am confined to a gym, as I am most of the winter out here, I need a workout partner.  A workout partner is someone who texts you and says “gym?” or “we’re going to the gym after class, right?” A workout partner is there for you when you feel like going home, putting on comfy clothes and being lazy.  I personally think all gym goers need a partner.  Your work out partner doesn’t have to be on the same physical level as you, the same space as you working out, or even on the same work out plan as you but what they do have to be is someone you can count on.  They need to be reliable, pushy when needed, and understanding.  Basically, your work out partner is someone you know you will have to meet at the gym, someone who is waiting on you so you can’t back out but that you don’t have to work out with if that’s not your thing.

How to tell if your workout partner is a badass:

  1. They tell you you are working out even if you want to back out
  2. They encourage you
  3. They understand what kind of motivation you need
  4. They almost always want to work out when you do
  5. They have an understanding of why you work out
  6. They are positive, not negative (Negativity just brings everyone down)

 

Now go out and find yourself a badass work out partner and get sweating!!

Making the Best of this Snow Day with Fajitas

Chicken FajitaSnow is covering the ground again!  It’s not just an inch, it’s a whole lot of inches!  As previously stated in a post I am not a cold weather girl so you can guess how much I love the snow… Honestly, the only plus was that I didn’t have to walk to my 9 am class and had all day to clean and do homework (ok those are only considered a “plus” because they had to get done).  As the day went on I started to crave Mexican food.  I absolutely love Mexican food.  Being from Southern California I know what good Mexican food is, also being half Mexican also doesn’t hurt 😉  In Virginia finding good Mexican food is hard but I happened to come upon a place just down the street that is delicious!  Tonight that is where I wanted to go, however, my car was covered with snow, the roads were covered with snow, and I doubted the restaurant was open because everything was covered with snow!  Here is now where I put my disclaimer: 99.9% OF MY FOOD POSTS WILL BE ABOUT VEGAN FOOD.  I figured I should mention that so if you are not into vegan food then you know you won’t care much for my food posts or maybe they will peak your interest…   Anyways, I decided I had to have Mexican for dinner because I was craving it so bad and I started to look through my pantry, fridge, and freezer. I found enough to make do: Simple Truth “chicken” from Kroger (if you don’t have a Kroger by you I am so sorry, it’s a wonderful grocery store), frozen grilled fajita veggies from Trader Joe’s (if you are like me and have to drive an hour and a half to get to one of these I feel for you), and one lonely gluten free wrap.  This was the easiest meal to whip up and took less than 10 minutes to cook.  It definitely cured my craving for Mexican, for now, and was much healthier than going to a restaurant.  At Mexican restaurants I eat about a thousand chips, I don’t know about you but I would hate to actually count how many chips I eat when I go out.  The snow saved me a lot of empty calories and money today so I guess I can’t hate on it too much, until tomorrow when I have an 8 am and no delay as of yet from school.

How to Plan so You are More Productive

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I love my planner! When I was younger I would always buy one at the beginning of the school year and swear I would use it but I never did; it would just sit there and gather dust.  I don’t know if it was because it wasn’t pretty enough, the right size, or I wasn’t in the right mindset but my idea of planning never did work.  Now I can’t imagine my life without my Lily Pulitzer planner!!  I started using her planners when I first transferred to Radford University in the Fall of 2014.  I have used two of them so far; the medium and the jumbo size.  The medium is great because it is more compact and doesn’t take up nearly as much room as the jumbo but the jumbo one is my favorite out of the two.  It is about notebook size and gives me enough room to write ( I have HUGE writing).  I color code my planner using a different color for each class I am taking and a neutral color, usually black, for anything else going on such as library books due, meetings, etc.  I had read about color coding and planners for awhile, usually from Pinterest but always thought it was too complex and would take too much time, it isn’t.  By color coding I know  which class each thing is written for, even though I label that on the side (see picture above).

I always write a To-Do list for the week or weekend, sometimes even for each day, so that I have a compact list of things that I need to focus on.  When everything is laid out by the day and class it can be overwhelming.  I have been a believer of all lists my whole life!  I remember as a little girl writing lists even when I was playing make believe, my brain just works better when things are listed out neatly.  I think my love of lists come from my grandma and mom.  Growing up I saw lists on lists all over their desks, bulletin boards, and where ever else they would need one.  Anyways, I recommend if you are trying to get organized and don’t know where to start just make a list and go from there when you feel comfortable.  As you can see, I have THREE To-Do lists on my planner just for this week!

Besides for writing about my love of planners and To-Do lists I also wanted to give some very simple/beginner tips on how to plan to be more productive (hence the title of the post) so here we go:

  • Start with making a list in the morning of everything you want to get done for the day.  I like to do this right after I start brewing the coffee.  Something about the sound and smell of coffee in the morning makes me want to be productive right away.
  • Then take that list and break it up into sections: must do, would like to do, might be able to do (I recommend using different colors but that’s just me)
  • I have found that I am most productive when I use the timing system
    • I will put anywhere from 15-30 minutes on my phone timer and focus solely on one thing for that time, it could be doing dishes, cleaning my room, or an individual homework assignment.
    • The reason I like the timing system is because no matter how much I hate the task I am doing I know that when the timer goes off I get to go on to another task and I usually try to switch between “I hate” tasks to “I love (or at least like)” tasks
  • Use your planner!!  I like to write down everything for the whole semester when I get my syllabi and then add accordingly.  If you are not a student try writing down a week in advance and anything you know is coming up and add accordingly.
    • If your planner is large like mine and you don’t always have it when you go out make sure to set reminders on your phone of anything you planned while you were out.  I always set a reminder for a new Dr. appointment or plans with friends so that when I get home that night my phone reminds me to put it in my planner
  • Don’t forget to take time for yourself!
    • When using the timing system don’t forget to set a time where you can veg out, read, whatever you like to do to just breath for a bit.
    • Try to have at least half a day where you can be unproductive. Curl up with a book in bed, watch some TV, go hang with friends, whatever it is you enjoy do it!

There you go, your beginner steps to be more productive!  I hope this helps you or at least was an enjoyable read.  I’m off to work on a “I hate” task now…

 

 

 

Meet the Dogs

Sampson (aka Goof)

Sampson

Sampson is a happy go lucky kinda guy.  He loves cuddling, pillows, blankets and being loved by all.  He loves to people watch out my bedroom window and alert me of the “dangerous” dogs walking by.  He loses all control of himself when it snows!  You would think he was a wild, untrained dog when he sees the snow coming down.  While he loves to be outside he prefers to be inside on the bed cuddling like a lap dog.  He also might be just a little spoiled by his owner….

Harvey Lincoln (aka Wiggle Butt)

HarveyHarvey Lincoln thinks he is the boss of the house.  Everything belongs to him; all the toys, the crates, his brother, me…  He thinks that anyone or anything out the window is dangerous and that he must alert the whole house.  He also loves the snow!  He enjoys being the same height of the snow and jumping through it with his brother.  He adores Sampson and honestly it is the cutest thing even if Sampson doesn’t think so all the time.  Harvey also might be just a little spoiled…

No Way Around the Cold for This Cali Girl

Mpublic-domain-images-free-stock-photos-004oving from San Diego to Southwest Virginia a few years back was a huge leap of faith.  The move turned out wonderful and changed my life for the better, however, the only thing I still can’t get used to is… the COLD!  I love the fall out here, the leaves turn colors and slowly fall to the ground, the summer isn’t too bad now that I know how to take advantage of river tubing and hiking, and the spring is beautiful with the flowers and trees coming back to life but the winter, oh the winter… The winter is the hardest time of year for me.  I want to be productive, be outside, be active but when the wind blows and the real feel temperature is below 0 degrees I seem to lose all sense of motivation.  I stay inside and cuddle under piles of blankets and cuddle with my dogs.  Today for example I had planned to go to the gym, I’ve been doing great working out the last few weeks and didn’t want to mess up my routine but when I woke up and took the dogs outside to potty the idea of putting on my gym clothes and walking or even driving two blocks seemed to fade into the back of my mind and disappear with the whip of the wind.  I told myself it would warm up and I would try again but the day never did warm up, much, and instead of working out I played on my blog and read my book I just downloaded.  I should have done some homework while I was inside but my book, The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins is so intriguing that it is hard to put down.  I only make myself take breaks so that I don’t have to spend more money on another book so soon.  Not watching TV has made me realize that I do still have time to read, which I thought I didn’t once I started back in school.  I’m hoping that tomorrow will be warmer because no matter what the temperature I HAVE to workout and I can’t stay in bed all day, I have too much homework and prepping for the week to do, Sunday’s are always my busy days.