Fall · Photography · Self-reflection · Summer

Last days of summer

I can’t believe it’s already the last day of summer! The past month and a half flew by! I’ve been so busy and now I’m horribly sick. Let’s see if I can sum up what I’ve been up to with some pictures:

20130920-142155.jpg

Went to a wedding with my lovie, in New Hampshire.

20130920-142424.jpg

Then worked about a week and a half without stopping.

20130920-142524.jpg

20130920-142546.jpg

20130920-142607.jpg

And last weekend went to an Aaron Carter concert.

I’ve also been taking an English class to try and slowly complete my degree.

And tomorrow my favorite season begins! Back to the gym as well!

Fitness · Photography · Self-reflection · Summer

Summer Nights

1069982_10200515376751097_1271716018_nAhhh finally, the heart of summer.  When I drive into work in the evenings, I can still see my way to the car without too much light – smell bonfires and barbeques.  It occasionally makes me long for that type of summer in the olden days where people all knew each other, had dinners on picnic tables out in the lawn and spent the whole evening with family.  I have two absolute hands down favorite things about summer.  Fireflies and S’mores.  I can’t really partake in s’mores this year as my program doesn’t allow much gluten or sugar.  But I usually give myself one cheat a week so I don’t go insane with cravings – this cheat comes in the form of a Russell Stover S’mores that we sell at the registers where I work.  I will be the first to say – I adore Hershey Chocolate.  That being said, Russell Stover is a whole other level of Amazing.  What this amazing snack is: two small Graham Cracker Squares, with a Marshmallow covered in Russell Stover Milk Chocolate around it.  The second the entire combination hits your taste buds I swear there is an inner mind chorus singing “Ahhhhhhhhhh!” in rapture.  It’s that good.  It’s serious.

The second thing I love about summer is the fireflies – or Lightening Bugs – whatever the people in your area call them.  They’re like little magical orbs of light that glitter on and off and make your backyard or garden look just a little more magical in the moonlight.  The first night I saw them I think I jumped for joy and actually squealed – it seemed like they came out so late this year! It’s been a strange Summer in central New York, weatherwise.

I’ve been trying to experiment with a camera my dad gave me, one of the Canon Rebels, I’ve been carrying it EVERYWHERE. Literally. I need to read up on aperture and exposure information and investigate tutorials on this nifty amazing cameras.  Here’s a few shots I took yesterday!

1003997_10200515376951102_872036695_n1014149_10200515374351037_1791070053_n1002122_10200515376551092_1107111238_n
I’d really love some tips and tricks any of you might know! I don’t have photoshop or anything anymore so I’ve been using Picasa and Instagram for any kind of filters or photo editing I’ve done.  I know I should get a tripod or one of those tripods that you can attach to things by wrapping the legs around it, so I don’t have to worry about the long shutter speed of a night time photo.  Any other tips?

1017546_10200515374711046_644054090_nI am beyond excited to share this next news.  I can run.  Yes, you read that right.  I. Can. Run.  I can also jog, but running, oh man, I’m excited.  I was starting to worry I might be doing the Run or Dye 5k I signed up for as a Walk or Dye 5k.  Now though, I can run! Week 5 of the LiveFit program starts today and I’m so excited! I’m finishing my egg whites and spinach, smelling the chocolate protein bars baking, lunch is a 3-bean organic turkey chili and is all prepped and ready to go, apple slices and almond butter ready as well.  It’s going to be an excellent week.  Weight Training + Cardio I’m really hoping to start seeing some change in the scale instead of staying the same, but seeing the effects in my muscles.  Don’t get me wrong – I love seeing the changes! But I’d also like to see at least a little bit of a change on the scale as well.  I can’t wait to hit the gym after work in the morning, what a great start to this week!

Any tips for training for a 5k? How about any clean eating recipes? What do you love about Summer?

Cooking · Fitness · Self-reflection · Summer

A new mini chapter and Protein Pancakes

So, in my journey of weight loss and self improvement, I am starting a new chapter! Today marks the 8th day that I have been following Jamie Eason’s LiveFit program. 72 Days to go! This program is pretty great for me (and this coming from somebody who can’t even do a 30 day photo challenge) mostly because of the meal plans, and it gives me a guide to something I’ve already been thinking of getting into but completely lost on how to start. I shall explain:

iphone june 2013 backup 3921I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been going to the gym since January and changed my eating habits since last August. Since doing these things I’ve gone from 195lbs to 167lbs or so and I am so much happier – still have about 30-40lbs to go and lots of toning before I’m wear my height says I should be but I am so happy with the progress that I’ve made. There is only so much that a treadmill can do for you though. I’ve been looking longingly at the weight section in my Planet Fitness for a while now, but had no idea where to start! This program gives me specific exercises on specific days to target two muscles each day, and makes sure to have rest days each week. To read more on those you really should check it out, even if just for your own knowledge! I also have a meal plan to follow – which I normally cringe at! I’m in general the pickiest of eaters – usually a crucial spice or ingredient is something I’m not overly fond of (aka my mortal enemies: Pickles and Celery) But this meal plan is so easy and versatile! I LOVE her homemade protein bars – so far I’ve made the chocolate and carrot cake ones.

So far I’ve made: Turkey Meatloaf Muffins (not a muffin – more like a muffin shaped meatball), Chocolate Protein bars, Carrot Cake Protein bars, Peanut Butter Banana Ice cream, and Banana Protein Pancakes. I’m really looking forward to making more of these recipes! So far I really love clean eating! The only thing I’ve been missing is Raisin Bran muffins and breads. I love eating Turkey and Chicken though! I can’t wait to see where this new lifestyle leads me!

I am the first to admit I have cheated once, no twice. I ate two small squares of a sheet cheese pizza that somebody had left in the office, as well as a half a Russell Stover’s S’more. Those by the way are amazing. I really recommend them if you love s’mores. Which I do. I really really do.

I wonder if there’s a healthy version of salted Caramel gelato. No, that would be too good to be true. Much too good to be true!

I’ll be going to North Carolina soon to see my dad and I really can’t wait. I miss him so much since he moved down there and I am beyond excited to see him. Just need to make sure I stay on track that week and do some exercises while I’m with him.

iphone june 2013 backup 3879In completely other news I went to see Man of Steel at a prerelease showing with my friend Susan! It was awesome – not even a little bit disappointed and Henry Cavill being pleasing to the eye didn’t hurt one little bit! I’m not going to say another word as it’s a pretty new movie – and I hate when people spoil things for me – so I promise that you will love it – just embrace the changes that were made, and delight in the delicious man candy that’s in front of you. Amy Adams is also cute.

That’s all for now! I’ll include a recipe down below!

Protein Pancakes with Strawberry Sauce!

Cooking · Fun and Games · jarred · Long Distance · Self-reflection · Summer

Hello, Summer.

ImageI can’t believe it’s already June 1st! I feel like May went by way too fast.  Let’s see…to sum up the month: I got to see my love, went to Niagara Falls, and I turned 27.

Ah, 27. I don’t feel any different, but at the same time I don’t feel that old either.  Maybe I’ll never feel as old as I actually am.  Before you pounce – I’m not saying I’m old, just that however old I imagined 27 to feel like…I don’t feel it.  If that makes sense.  No? Moving on.
The picture you see to the left is the most delicious thing on this entire planet.  Not the healthiest but who cares about health when your taste buds are singing songs about Euphoria and delight.  Something about Salty Sweet foods calls to me.  I crave them and develop an  immediate fondness and addiction to them that I should probably seek further knowledge on what my body is lacking that I crave these foods so badly.

Niagara Falls, this is the fourth time I’ve been and it’s always magical to me. Something about completely natural water with that much power is awe-inspiring. Someday I’ll manage to cross the Rainbow Bridge to Canada and see what I’ve heard is the much better view of the Falls.  Or at least a most entertaining one.Image

Jarred and I went to a concert on my birthday.  It was a concert I’d been really looking forward to; Volbeat, Big Wreck, 10 Years, Eye Empire, Wayland and Surrender the Fall.  The crowd killed this concert though.  It was dead, drunk and less enthused than anything I’ve ever seen in my life.  The Bands were great, I just didn’t enjoy myself when they were not playing.

I’m currently sitting in my kitchen typing on my laptop because the house in unbearably hot and my room turns into a heat pod, where heat comes in and never leaves. It’s like a haunted house of heat.

I have never craved an Iced Chai more than I do at this exact moment.  I’m going to have to remedy this situation pronto.

So, as I sit, typing…sipping lemon water and smelling deliciousness from the oven (vegetable Lunas!) my little cat, Jack and my behemoth puppy, Sydney are both on opposite sides of the room collapsed on the floor.  These two are enemies you see.  More on Jack’s side than Sydney who probably doesn’t care about the irate kitten at all.

Upcoming recipes!

I made my own recipe for the first time for a yummy Corn Chowder that is super healthy and only about 160 calories per serving! I also made a creamy chicken and wild rice soup, that is less healthy. I’ve made some MuffinsImage from a recipe I found over at Ambitious Kitchen – Link is in the Blogroll.  They are delicious! and Guilt Free! I’ve been watching some food shows on Netflix and Hulu lately and I’ve been dying to try making Thai foods, maybe a Pad Thai, or a curry.  Tikka Masala sounds divine.  I’m always disappointed in the tofu though.  I can’t find the type of tofu in the grocery stores that I get when I order from a thai restaurant.  I wish I knew what the difference was or where to get it.  The texture is completely different – even from extra firm.  WHHHHHHHY can’t I find it? If you have any light to shed on this subject, I will pay you in diamonds and rubies.  Just kidding, I don’t have those types of riches.  But I would love you forever and promise to post pictures of the results of such advise!  That’s enough for now, until my room cools down enough for me to go through the pictures I took for those Muffins.

I hope you’re all having a wonderful June so far and look forward to the rest of the month.

Cooking

Cooking, it soothes my soul

There aren’t many things in life that I can really just zen out an enjoy.  Reading is one of them, gaming is yet another of them.  Cooking however is the main one.  I could cook all day – and I have!  Two years ago I tackled Thanksgiving Dinner, no turkey – but I did make a giant beast of a ham, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, honeyed carrots, dinner rolls, sweet potatoes, and that’s all my now hungry brain can remember.  It was an entire days worth of work, but it was one of the best cooking memories I have!

This past week it was ridiculously hot in New York, especially at my house where we live in the dark ages of no Air Conditioning and no Central Air. I have a small tower fan and two windows, and a very energy usage conscious mother.  Turning on a TV in my room makes it feel like a Sauna, so I can tell you it was not a fun place to be at 90 degrees.  This did give me the opportunity to spend lots of time downstairs however to cook! Currently my oven is out of commission due to a Natural Gas Leak as well as a since fixed rodent issue with the insulation between the range and the oven.  As in, they took it all away.  Nice little pests we have.  it would make sense I’ve never wanted to make cookies as much as I have since pretty much the second they shut the gas to my oven off.

But let’s talk of happier things! And Peppers! This recipe is good Hot or Cold in my opinion, uses a lot of salt though so prepare your taste buds and your body for a little water retention.  Or you can experiment with different spices to add flavor boosts as you will.  I found this recipe over at the Pioneer Woman and had to adjust it to fit what I had in my pantry and fridge.  The substitutes I used worked perfectly though! It is important to know I doubled this recipe so I’d have lunch this week at work!

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce over Pasta!