H A P P Y N E W Y E A R!
As I reflect upon 2017 and think about my 2018 intentions, I thought I'd share a few memories from 2017.
2017 was definitely a year of changes and adjustments. I moved out of my college apartment after 3 years to come home and finish my last year of graduate school instead of driving down from Maine once a week (I think I drive/spend more time in my car down here then I ever did before though lol). While I truly miss Portland and Maine, I know that I have a handful of good friends I can always visit. Before truly settling into my mom's place, I also did some traveling with my brother to Eastern Europe in May. We went to Berlin, Prague, Austria, Budapest, Krakow and Warsaw. I swear every time I travel I realize how close-minded many people are towards the rest of the world. Besides traveling and whatnot I also restarted CrossFit this year. It has brought back loads of confidence and positivity that had been lacking in my physical and mental health and I've gotten stronger than ever before. I can do a pull-up or two!! #fitspo. Moving back home also allowed me to become more involved in Salem State and my graduate program. I've met a handful of great people in my program and finally feel like I've found my niche in academia. Career-wise, 2017 brought me closer to my goal of being a classroom teacher as well. Needless to say, I'm excited for 2018!
To look at 2018 and to sit down and write out intentions is a challenge for me. I tend to break things down into smaller time periods, like months and weeks. I don't really have any big goals planned out- just little ones along the way. To get a teaching job would probably be my only intention(s). On the other hand, I would like to tune in on my nutrition more in 2018. I'm not going to lie and say that my body is where I'd like it to be, but no matter how much I work out, eating is still a challenge for me. I eat whenever I'm hungry, don't count calories, and try to eat as many whole foods as I can, but for some reason I still feel guilty when I eat certain foods sometimes. This has been a long process, but I've overcome a lot of body issues over the past couple of years, so I think that changing things up in the new year will be good for me. I'm trying out RP templates, but I'm not sure how long I will do them for. I figured it would be a good way to get rid of some fluff before the CrossFit open and the summer. I know my body best, so whenever I think it's a good time to wane myself away from the templates I'm definitely going to do that.
2018 will also be my last year of college (probably ever...unless I get my PhD). I would really like to finish off my last semester strong, but it will be a challenge with four classes. I'll be traveling to Europe again with my favorite professor and some students in my program to learn about genocide history in Poland, Germany, and Austria. I'm hoping that this experience will give me a better perspective on the past and how, unfortunately, many people don't learn/pay attention to events that happened many years ago. Honestly graduation and the trip will most definitely be the highlight of 2018...unless something better happens..who knows!?
Like I said before, I'm not keen on making year long 'resolutions.' I think it's more important to ground myself on weekly and monthly intentions. I do hope that this year brings happy and positive changes and additions into my life. I already started to cleanse myself of certain things, like snapchat, and cleaned out my closet and desk of things that weren't necessarily impacting my life. Starting small and cleansing your life of the unnecessary is always a good way to start off the year. I do suggest that everyone starts to make their own list of goals and intentions. Get a blank piece of paper, some colored pencils & markers, and think about the things you want to do more of. Think of what makes you happy, think of negative aspects of your life you want to change and write it down. Cheers to 2018!
"You probably shouldn't take three classes...you'll have your work cut out for you," said my advisor last spring. Apparently it's taboo to take more than two classes a semester in my graduate program. Honestly, I'm used to having a lot on my plate, plus...extra history! I'm a sucker for learning. Things were a little different for me this semester aside from taking an extra class. I left target and began working in a school, I started to become much more organized, and I kept the same routine nearly every week. I also had weekends off to meal prep, sleep in a little, and actually do homework. While I had something due every week, it was manageable. I read books efficiently and ahead of time, I only procrastinated my very first paper, and I actually felt proud of the work I turned in. Organization and list-making has forever changed my work ethic, and I wish I was more diligent with it during undergrad.
As someone who is extremely hard on myself, I legitimately felt good on my essays this semester because I started to get A's in a class with challenging readings. I felt pretty accomplished after I nailed an essay on the 'commingling of Nazi political ideologies and the expansion of capitalist big-business interests'. As someone who is typically confused AF about economics/politics in the United States, I was literally ecstatic that I understood something so throughly. I read Ian Kershaw's The Nazi Dictatorship literally three times until the content finally clicked in my head. It was totally one of those cheesy moments where I was like "I get this!!! I can explain this!" Useless knowledge to you, perhaps, but it got me an A on an essay. Lol. It's the little things that make me the happiest.
On top of nailing this semester, I also passed both of my MTELs on the first try. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but tears were shed when I found out about my history score. For one, I studied for practically two weeks straight before the test, realizing how little I knew about world history. I blasted Beethoven's 9th on the way to the testing center in hopes that I would somehow feel enlightened after listening to a classical masterpiece...but I was still a nervous wreck. Needless to say, I felt rewarded for the amount of studying I put into those tests. I was also relieved that I wouldn't have to pay another $130 on a standardized test. ;)
To get to the heart of this post, I'd like to address something that people said to me all semester. "How do you stay so motivated?"
-For one: I absolutely love my degree program. I don't like the looks people give me when I tell them that I'm getting my Master's in History, but I'm a firm believer in doing things that make you happy. Call me naive. Getting this degree is something that feels natural to me, its only going to enhance my content knowledge and resourcefulness in the future.
-Two: Prioritization. My mantra was to prioritize things. The week was for work and the gym, the weekend was for homework, catching up with friends, and meal prepping. I also learned to prioritize my mental health and binged Netflix and didn't guilt myself for having a drink with dinner while I was with friends. I felt truly happy with balancing everything.
-Three: Organization. I've said it a million times, but being organized, making lists, and being proactive about list making helps. You don't need to be in school or even be busy, when you make lists and goals, hang them on your wall or place them on your desk, it makes a huge difference. Even if it's just for food shopping, or for the day. Writing things out and crossing them off is so satisfying.
For those of you who also finished up a semester in college, go you. It's certainly a lot of work, but all of the effort you put into these days/weeks/months teaches us to be more responsible and organized. Your grades are also a reflection of the effort you put into things. I sent countless emails to professors, stayed after class to ask questions and to chat about relevant social issues that related to class. Besides doing homework and nailing essays, remember to use your social skills to build connections with professors too! You never know when you need them for a recommendation or for a good book suggestion.
Take this break to treat yourself and relax. I will certainly be doing so!
The gym. It can either be your biggest enemy, or your best friend. A place that induces stress and insecurity, or relieves anxiousness. Hell on Earth or a heavenly escape.
You get the point.
For many people, finding the motivation to step into the gym or muster up a workout pattern sounds far fetched. My outlook on working out is quite different though. Motivation and mindset is so important. The gym is my stress reliever, a place where I want to work on getting stronger, and somewhere I can push myself. I don't just work out to be more physically fit, I exercise because it gives me energy, I sleep better at night, and because it makes me happy, I look forward to working out, mostly because of the community, variation in workouts, and the individual challenges that my gym presents me with. I feel accountable for my workouts and there are always people there to cheer you on and recognize the hard work you put in. I literally look forward to the gym, making the regiment so much easier to follow (shoutout to CrossFit Wicked). For those of you struggling to get in the groove with your workouts, I'll present to you some ideas to get motivated for the gym, but ultimately this relies on you. I can't force you guys to exercise, but I can give you some suggestions that helped me along the way.
Making goals in an underrated habit. I try to make monthly and weekly goals/intentions on flashcards and sticky notes and put them in places where they are visible. Start small. Make goals like:
'taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator'
'stretch every morning after I wake up'
'park further away from the store in order to get extra steps in'
'go to the gym once a week' or 'take a walk every Sunday around the neighborhood'
Goals don't have to be long term unless you want them to be, but you have to start somewhere. I strongly suggest making a list of monthly intentions, regardless of the topic. I have been making one every month since the summer and it's helped me tune into my actions.
Pencil the gym into your daily schedule
I always get asked "how do you go to the gym as much as you do?" The answer is simple. It is a part of my weekly routine. I put it on my daily to-do list, and I give myself days off when I have class or if my body is sore af. I'm one of those people who is crazy about to-do lists, so crossing the gym off of my daily list always makes me feel a little better.
'Fitspo' or fit-spiration. Fitness inspiration or just general wellness inspiration. Instagram or YouTube will be your best friend for this one. I admire Revie Jane Schulz (@reviejane), Lee Tilghman (@leefromamerica), and Jeanette Ogden (@shutthekaleup). Each of these women are wellness centered, inspirational, and honest. They share their struggles and their accomplishments through their social media. Revie and Jeanette are both mothers too, and watching their journey into motherhood was pretty damn cool. It proves that taking care of yourself should never stop your ideology on wellness may shift many times throughout your life (I mean I don't plan on having a child ANY time soon but you get the point lol). All of their content is inspirational, from their food, their attitude, and their uniqueness. Having these outlets to admire makes my own journey really easy.
Try out different places
To your surprise, a workout doesn't have to happen at a gym. There are many online platforms that offer workouts, and even apps too like Nike and Kayla Itsines. You can workout at a yoga studio, orange theory, or your home. On my off days, I usually do stretching or bodyweight workouts in my room on a yoga mat. If you try out a few different gyms, you will know which one you feel comfortable at, what provides the best resources, and what price is the best. If you're a student, school gyms are a free and convenient place to workout and many cater to students through different fitness classes. Obviously I'm biased towards CrossFit, but I highly suggest trying out a box. Many places have free weekend morning classes, or will even let you drop into a class for free if it's your first time trying out a gym. When I was trying to find a CrossFit gym in Maine, I also found deals on groupon and tried out a couple different boxes until I found the one that worked best for me.
Get a gym buddy
Gym buddies are so important. Group fitness is an even better way to keep motivated and to stay accountable for your workouts. My two roommates in college were my gym buddies and I loved working out with them. Whenever one of us felt a little tired, the other always pushed to get both of our butts to the gym and just sweat a little, even if it was just a walk on the treadmill. Having someone as a motivator is really helpful. Now, I work out with my mom many days and it's great to have that bonding time with her for an hour a day.
Invest in some cute, comfy workout clothes
Having a few key pairs of workout clothes is a good idea. I try to stick with the same color scheme, mostly black. I absolutely LOVE Old Navy workout clothes. Their leggings are honestly the best. Second in line is Athleta. Their leggings are also amazing and their customer service is fabulous, they are always so helpful in store. C9, Target's brand, is another good company. All three brands are pretty affordable, Athleta being the most expensive for a student budget, but best sweat-wicking material. Having a few nice pairs of leggings and sports bras is important. Sorry guys...I'm not sure how to help you out with this one. OK long story short, invest in some good clothes that will last you. Comfy sneakers are always a priority too. My favorite brand of running shoes was either Asics or New Balance, and for trainers I love Nike Metcons.
Like I mentioned before, these are just a few ways that I keep motivated for the gym. Some days it's harder than others to motivate myself to workout, but I always know that I will feel better and stronger afterwards. Of all the ideas that I mentioned above, the one that resonates the most with me is goal setting. If you don't have a goal or something to work towards, it's hard to stay mindful of the things you want to accomplish. Set goals for yourself, always work to get better at something, and be proud of your accomplishments.
Most of these options can be eaten as they are, but some take more time and preparation to pack. The night before, I always pack a lunch and my snacks like cutting the veggies and washing them. I also bought small plastic containers that fit in my purse to bring these along with me. Many containers have dividers so you can pack a couple different kinds of snacks in one, like egg salad and plantain chips or fruit, nuts, and chocolate.
The Ultimate Snack List
There are probably some snacks that I forgot to mention, but this is a pretty comprehensive list. Enjoy!
Bananas (fresh or frozen into smoothies)
Applesauce Squeeze Pouches
Sweet Bell Peppers
Snap Peas (fresh or crispy--can find at most stores)
Cashews, Pumpkin & Sunflower Seeds
Go Macro Bar
Forager Cashew Yogurt
Kite Hill Almond Yogurt
Hard Boiled Eggs
Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips or any other dark chocolate
Dark Chocolate Almonds
Deli Meats (prosciutto, roasted turkey breast)
Beef Jerky (Krave or Whole Foods brand)
Kombucha (GT's, Healthade, Aqua ViTea)
Califia or Rebbl Cold Brew coffee
There you have it! If you have any questions about best brands, where to find products, or what my favorite snack is, please let me know!
You may be thinking, "What's so wrong with being healthy? How can you get shamed for being healthy?"
Most importantly, I would like to address the fixation with being 'healthy' in the first place. For me, healthy means an equilibrium of physical and mental well-being. While it's important to remember that everyone has their own definition of healthy, being healthy literally does not mean eating a salad. Being healthy encapsulates much more than what you put into your mouth; it's about your mental mindset on eating, being aware of the foods you're eating and how your body reacts to them, working out to keep yourself moving, your heart beating, and your lungs breathing- whether it's running, CrossFit, Orange Theory, Zumba, walking, etc, and taking time to care for your body. For me, that is what 'healthy' consists of. People take many different approaches on being healthy, but I think the most important part of health is the mental mindset. My journey has come full circle within the past year and a half because I learned how to balance. When I started to become more focused on my eating, rather than working out and binging, I learned the value of my body and how if I properly treated it, my mindset would change in return. It has only been until recently, within this year, where I stopped guilting myself for eating certain foods and I realized that if I want a slice of pizza I'll eat that slice, and maybe a second. I stopped fearing that I would gain weight from treating myself and started to appreciate my body for reminding me that I work hard, and progress won't be reversed with an indulgence.
Entrenching myself in a healthy community is something I pride myself with. I love working out, I love meal prepping, and I love trying new brands of food that offer alternatives and more wholesome ingredients. While this is and should be a positive a positive aspect of one's life, it's where I receive the most criticism and doubt.
"What are you eating? It looks like bird food"
"Why do you eat so much green stuff, that's gross"
"Is that enough food? You should probably eat more"
"You aren't having a piece of candy? Well you're no fun"
"Have a piece of cake"
"What kind of diet are you on?" (Apparently, the food I eat looks diet-esque)
"You're going to hurt yourself at the gym"
"You should be more careful with all that lifting...."
"CrossFit is so dumb, why do you do it?"
"It's unattractive when girls have too much muscle on their legs."
"You're gonna look like one of those women bodybuilders if you keep working out so much"
This is literally just a sampling of the comments people have said to me, whether it's coworkers, classmates, or acquaintances. I get that some of these comments are not meant to hurt me, rather just be funny, but there comes a time when the line needs to be drawn. There's a reason why I eat the way I eat and I keep such a regimented schedule per week. For starters: It keeps me hella happy. I feel energized, motivated, and proud of myself by the end of the week. Secondly: it's all about self-care. I find it important to take care of my body, it's literally the only body I have so why would I not nourish it? I just can't seem to wrap my head around the reasoning behind people who shame others based on their eating or fitness regime. It bothers me that some people feel superior to me because they think I'm missing out on something. Some people genuinely don't care about what they eat and as much as I would love to remind them how important nourishment is, I don't. The people who tell me that I 'work out too much' joke about the last time they stepped into a gym. Something I do remind them is that I am happy and that's literally all that matters. I have progressed, I have grown stronger physically and mentally, and I will continue to do so.
So, if you are trying to improve your healthiness, focus on the positives. Think of what works best for you and stick with it. There will literally always be someone who is against what you do. There will always be a 'doctor' or a 'dietician' (sarcasm) who will try to out their two sense in, but it's your life, your body, and your happiness, not theirs.
As I look back on my no added sugar, no dairy, and no gluten challenge..I realized that it wasn't that difficult. It honestly wasn't too hard because I already eat pretty well, except when I snack, go out to eat, or crave certain foods. I do realize that for others who embark on these types of challenges, it can be extremely difficult. It's hard to keep a food regime and to stay motivated, especially where we live in a society of individuality and fast food accessibility. Fortunately, I had a couple people who were also eating well alongside myself, and a community of crossfitters who would ask me how my food challenge was going. To those of you who encouraged me along the way or even popped onto my Instagram to express sentiments and gratitude- thank you! It's hard to embark on a refined road to wellness without the help and support of others.
The essential part to sticking with this challenge was to plan ahead, meal prep, and buy enough. If I didn't meal prep, I wouldn't have had any motivation throughout the weeks. I took my meal prep very seriously every Saturday or Sunday and made sure that I had plenty of food for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. I didn't experience any sugar detox side effects until about 3 days in. I was irritable and I had a headache for a couple of days..a sure sign of withdrawal from sugary deliciousness. I did notice that I had to increase my carbs before workouts; there were a couple of times during my three weeks where I felt particularly fatigued during a workout where I normally wouldn't have felt that way.
Why did I decide to cut out sugar, dairy, and added sugar for a few weeks?
I honestly wanted to detoxify my body for a little while. I did not restrict calories, and if anything, I felt like I ate more and was much more conscious about labels and the foods I was putting into my body. It felt great to be aware of additives in foods, and I certainly learned how many foods sneak in sugar...for no reason in particular. I also discovered a new appreciation for a few amazing brands while I was on this detox: Not Your Sugar Mama's chocolate literally fed my soul and even though the price tag is a bit steep for a chocolate bar, the quality and flavor of the chocolate proved its worth. GT's kombucha is the only kombucha that sweetens with fruit juices instead of cane sugar, and other brands like Bragg's gluten free, sugar free liquid aminos, and Simple Mills everything,. While this challenge took a lot of willpower, I survived eating in restaurants by sticking with salads with oil and vinegar dressing, meat, potatoes and vegetables. I was able to find accommodating meals at steakhouses, Fire and Ice, and even Mexican restaurants (minus the tortilla chips -_-).
And here's the moment of truth: did I accidentally eat anything with sugar, gluten or dairy?
Yes.....and it was actually a complete accident. I ordered a matcha tea latte at Starbucks and asked for 'unsweetened' matcha. When I got the drink and took a sip...I realized that it was very sweet and was also made with whole milk. I forgot to ask for almond milk lol... I guess myself and the barista flubbed on that one, but feelings aside, I still drank it. I did not want to make a fuss because the line was long and nor did I want to thrown out the $4.50 drink. It sure did taste good, but I didn't guilt myself afterwards.
So final consensus about my challenge....
Although it was hard, I realized that I should be much more conscious about the foods I eat. Since the challenge ended over a week ago, I have only had a couple of incompliant foods--ice cream, chicken pot pie, a bagel with cream cheese, and cane sugar sweetened kombucha. For the most part, I've been avoiding dairy and gluten without any troubles, but do find myself enjoying sweets in moderation. I wasn't doing this detox--if you call it--to lose any weight, but I did take a before and after picture. I did not change my workout routine, nor did I restrict any calories..this was clean eating, pure and simple.
As you can notice above, not much about my body has changed (left=before, right=after). I think my legs look a little more toned in the picture on the right, but that's about it. Like I mentioned before, I did not cut out these foods to lose weight, I did this to become a more conscious consumer. I'm comfortable in my skin and I'm grateful for my body's health and strength. Sometimes small changes are necessary to promote bigger health and wellness goals. This challenge has inspired me to change my habits but to embrace what my body wants and needs (whether it’s kale chips or a chocolate bar).
Again, thanks for reading and checking in on my blog and Instagram! More good posts to come.
Can you believe that October is halfway over? Neither can I! I had two posts lined up for last week, but the week flew by and I didn't end up publishing them..sorry guys!
I decided that my meal prep this week turned out so much better than last, so here's some ideas
Breakfast: Simple Mills Pancake Mix & Turkey Bacon
-I'm not going to sugar coat things. This mix is a little pricey, but absolutely worth every penny. The ingredient list is so simple... you would never be able to tell that these pancakes are completely grain free. They're fluffy, filling, and they reheat nicely!
Lunch: Instant Pot Shredded Chicken with Potatoes and Peas
1.5 pounds chicken breasts
1/2 cup water
seasoned with Himalayan pink salt, pepper, garlic, and onion powder
*Add everything to instant pot, put on 'manual' setting and adjust time to 12 minutes, sealed. Let pressure release naturally and shred with a fork
1 bag of baby potatoes
season liberally with salt, onion powder, paprika, and a little bit of parsley
drizzle of avocado oil
*Cook potatoes on a baking sheet for about 45 minutes at 400 degrees.
Pretty self explanatory here...divide half bag of frozen peas between each of the meal prep containers..they will cook in the microwave
Dinner: Asian-Style Chicken Meatballs with Roasted Veggies
1 pound 93/7 ground chicken
2 tbsp Liquid aminos (or soy sauce)
1/2 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp sesame oil--maybe a little less! I eyeballed it
2 tbsp Sriracha or whatever spice tolerance you have
1 tbsp almond meal
onion powder and garlic powder for seasoning
garnish with sesame seeds
*Mix all ingredients together, form golf-ball sized meatballs and line in a lightly oiled cast-iron skillet, cook at 400 for 20 minutes.
2 bags of Trader Joe's mixed cauliflower and broccoli
pinch of Himalayan pink salt
generous drizzle of avocado oil
*Spread veggies evenly on a baking sheet and massage oil and sea salt into them. Cook at 400 for about 35 minutes or until crispy.
Snacks: Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs & Oat Balls
Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs
1/2 cup water
*Set eggs on trivet and add water. Put Instant Pot on 'manual' and decrease time to 5 minutes, sealed. Let vent naturally then rinse eggs off in cold water.
Oat Balls (Disclaimer: I did NOT measure everything in this recipe so I'll try my best to estimate)
1 1/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup nut butter (I used a mix of PB and Trader Joe's mixed nut butter)
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/2 tbsp coconut butter
1/2 tbsp coconut oil
1/4 cup agave--add in small amounts at a time
pinch of sea salt
*Mix everything together in a bowl and form into small balls, freeze and keep in freezer for best texture.
Well everyone--here is my best guess at the amount of ingredients I used in each recipe. I honestly do not measure things unless I need to bake. If you would like me to be more exact, or if you have any suggestions for me please let me know! I love to hear from you guys, especially if you make something. The key to staying motivated and on track is prepping!
If you can't tell by my instagram, I love food. One of my favorite days of the week is Sunday- for many reasons. My Sunday routine looks a bit like this: gym, Trader Joe's, meal prep, relaxation, and lots of random snacking. Sunday is one of the most important days of the week to catch up on sleep and mental relaxation, but a good Sunday leads to an even better week. Let's talk Sunday meal prep.
I got challenged by a friend and classmate to do "no added sugar, no dairy, and no gluten" challenge. Well, originally it was just no sugar..but hardo me was like "Let's do no dairy and gluten!" Truthfully I can last without both as long as I'm well prepared. It's difficult to find quick snacks, besides literal whole foods, that are compliant with these terms. I made sure that I had enough food and snacks to last me throughout the week and through classes.
1 bag baby red potatoes
1 sweet onion
1 pack of Trader Joe's Spicy Italian Sausages
avocado oil, salt, paprika, onion powder
cast iron skillet
Preheat oven to 425
-Chop onion. Heat cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Once pan is hot, add avocado oil, wait....then add onions when oil is hot. Stir.
-Rinse and chop potatoes into small pieces. Add to skillet after onions have been cooking for a couple of minutes. Add seasonings, I like paprika, onion powder, and sea salt with taters.
-Pop in oven and cook for 1 hour. Stir occasionally. Chop chicken sausages and add to skillet about 50 minutes through.
Pack of chicken breasts, I've used anywhere from 1-2 pounds for this recipe
1 cup white jasmine rice or brown basmati rice
2 cups water
Pack of shelled edamame- defrosted
*Did not measure these* sriracha (yeah I realize that this has added sugar...I suck lol), coconut aminos (or soy sauce), a big spoonful of peanut butter, a squeeze of honey, squeeze of ginger in a tube, a tbsp sesame oil, chili flakes-optional
Place chicken breasts in the bottom of the instant pot. Add 2 cups of water and then the rice
Add in the sauce (I mix all ingredients in a measuring cup beforehand ) and mix everything in the Instant Pot. Place cover on Instant Pot, press 'poultry' setting, change timer to 10 minutes on high pressure, sealed not vent! Press 'poultry' button again..you should hear a beep and that's an indication that your food will begin cooking soon.
Once the timer is up, let the steam release naturally and shred the chicken. Rice should be soft! Add edamame. Add extra coconut aminos and or green onions to prep containers.
2 packs of Brussels sprouts, cut in half
Trader Joe's garlic sea salt
Preheat oven to 425
Lay brussels on a baking sheet, coat in avocado oil and toss with your hands
Add a generous amount of TJ's garlic sea salt (this stuff is addicting on everything..)
Cook in oven for 35-40 minutes until crispy and brown
**I cooked the brussels with the breakfast hash! Saves time and space
Note: I didn't cook the cod filets yet...I usually let the fish defrost at room temperature and I cook for about 10-12 minutes at 375. I coat the bottom of the pan with coconut oil spray and season the fish with herbs and sea salt. There are 4 generous sized pieces of fish in this bag.
Here are a few different ways to prep lean meats and lots of vegetables! I hope you enjoy! Feel free to give me some suggestions and ask questions :) Happy prepping!
Hello lovely people! For those of you who don't know me, my name is Ashley. If you followed my former blog, The Hungry College Girl, you probably noticed that I was M.I.A for quite some time. I posted a lot on my Instagram, but I was having a tough time getting creative content to post on the blog. It was hard to bounce back into writing and posting when I had so much to juggle, between work, school and moving preparations. Needless to say, I made it my goal nearly every month to post something on the blog, but I failed. My ideology around food and life in general also changed from when I started to post on the Hungry College Girl. I find myself now focusing not only on food, but life in general- including fitness, positivity, and all around-well being.
For quite some time, I was considering changing up my blog in some way. I had some hesitations before changing my Instagram handle from The Hungry College Girl to Ashley's Plate; it was like relinquishing a tiny piece of my identity. I absolutely loved my page, and I owe so much of my dedication to my lifestyle change to that blog. I didn't realize how much of an impact it had on so many people until I read old comments and cards written from girls in my sorority, friends, random followers and even family members. I often referenced pictures of my food to coworkers and friends who were looking for some inspiration. But at the beginning of this summer, I decided to switch it up because I needed a new beginning. I needed a name that would grow with me once I graduated college. As I look to my future with only 2 semesters of graduate school left, I'm also looking to my own personal future. I want this blog to be a part of it, since it has traveled with me for so long now.
There are a few new beginnings starting for me. One is my new and improved blog-- so welcome! I customized the pages to be simple, but reminiscent of my own style. Can you guess what colors saturate my wardrobe? (Pink and black!) Another new beginning starts with my departure from Target. As I continued to work for this company, I realized that my job was only temporary there. I felt like I was staying in my comfort zone because it paid decently well, and I could get any day off that I requested. Plus, the work wasn't challenging. Even though the work was easy, I did not feel appreciated nor was I using any skills at my job. I would wake up and dread driving into work and often times I would have to force myself out of my car in the mornings. Even though I met so many great people at that job, it wasn't for me. I watched a lot of coworkers get sucked into the simplicity of the work and not strive to do something better for themselves. I noticed this pattern at both of the Targets I worked at. At the end of the summer I took a shot in the dark and applied for a few paraprofessional jobs at the suggestion of a few classmates.
I was completely shocked that I received a handful of callbacks the next day and had a few interviews set up by the end of that week. For once, I felt like I was worthy to do something more for myself and my qualifications were more than enough for the position. I gratefully accepted one of the jobs at a middle school, and here I am. The schedule is perfect, my coworkers are supporting and encouraging, and I feel valued. Plus, I don't ever have to wear red and khaki ever again. Well....I do wear a cuter pair of khakis now. I spend more time on myself and I make sure that I'm at the gym 4-5 times a week, give myself facials, do my eyebrows, and get gel manicures. I've become so much more focused on list making and meal prepping as well. I have time on the weekends for dinners with friends and trips to Maine. I'm feeling great.
In just a few short weeks, I've been learning more than ever- about kids, myself, and my classes. I've put much more emphasis on my grad school work. I took classes this summer and I feel much more motivated to keep my grades up; this year I will pursue an extra certification and acceptance into the History honors society (last year I didn't have enough credits -_-). I'm savoring my last few months in academia, because a PhD is the next step and let's be real...who the F can afford that. Don't get me wrong, I could change my mind and apply for a few programs..don't put it past me. For now, my goal is to have my own classroom next year.
"So, what do you expect from this blog?"
My short term goals have culminated into this blog. I intend to post twice a week, dependent on my graduate school work load. I will touch upon meal prepping at the beginning of the week and share ideas, inspirations, and recipes. Later in the week, my posts will recap my feelings, stress levels, and anything else worth noting. SO! Thanks for reading (if you got this far) and I shall leave you with a few questions and thoughts to either ask yourself..or to ask me!
What changes are you making in your life?
What type of posts would you like to see from Ashley's Plate?
Enjoy the weekend, friends!