Less than a week ago, my crazy sweet dog was diagnosed with cancer.  After a weekend spent spoiling Champ with Frosty Paws, rotisserie chicken, and tons of hugs, my family made the decision to put him to sleep before the disease took complete hold of him.  As difficult as it is to say goodbye, there is a real comfort in knowing that he did not suffer a slow and painful death.  After giving us nine years of laughter and love, the least we could do was give him a peaceful end.  I would give anything to lose one more pair of shoes to him, or to play “Golden Receiver” with him one more time.  I hope he knows how much I loved him. 
{my boy}


The Powers

This weekend I headed back to my hometown for a good old-fashioned Power Family Reunion.  Needless to say, I had NO idea how much family I really had until I met the 100+ Power clan members who also attended.  I was so happy that so many of my immediate family members were part of that 100, especially my Pepe, who is the sole surviving child of the family who started us all.

It was so enjoyable to catch up with everyone and peruse through ancient photographs of never known great aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins.  I have to say though, my favorite part of the day was hanging out with this little miss, Marin, who is one third of the Power triplets (not pictured: sibs Michael and Marleigh).  The trio currently holds the high honor of being Pepe Norman’s only great-grandchildren, and they were the belles (and beau) of the ball.  I mean come on, look at those baby blues!

{gerber babe}

This reunion has left me inspired to dig further beneath the family tree.  Has anyone ever used Traced a geneology? I’d love to hear about your experience!

Till next time- hug your family!

Go Green

My new favorite obsession: the green smoothie.  While I’m not exactly new to whipping up these babies, I’ve found myself craving them every morning for breakfast for the past few weeks.  For me, they are the perfect way to pack some fruits and vegetables into my tummy right at the start of my day, and  drinking them leaves me feeling satisfied, energized, and refreshed until lunchtime.  While my usual choice is a power green smoothie*, I love mixing up ingredients to keep myself from getting bored.  

While I am far from an expert on nutritious smoothies, I do think I’ve picked up a trick or two while blending my drinks.  Here are some of my go-to smoothie blending tips:

1) Use frozen bananas as a base.  This adds a delicious, frosty, milkshake-esque element to your drink.
2) Don’t neglect your greens.  When blending a power smoothie that I’ll need to get me through my day, I always include baby spinach.  The leaves provide you with a punch of essential vitamins and nutrients, without compromising the flavor of your drink.  If baby spinach isn’t your style, try kale or another dark, leafy green.

3) Mix up your fruits!  To save time, I like to buy packages of frozen, unsweetened fruit to add to my smoothies.  This cuts prep time in half, giving you more time to experiment with fruity flavor combinations.  My current favorite are frozen sweet red cherries…magical.

4) Add your protein.  Nuts, nut butters, protein powders, seeds- you name it! 

5) Pick your poison.  The type of liquid you choose to blend with your smoothie gives you more taste options!  For a purer smoothie, go with chilled water or coconut water.  If you want a creamier taste, go for your milk of choice (side note-avocado can also add a delicious creamy element to your drink).   For a fruitier taste, you could use fresh squeezed juice.  Try out a few of these liquid bases to see what you like best!

6) Treat yourself to little extras; they add depth to your smoothie’s flavors, and make them more visually appealing (I’m looking at you Instagrammers).  I LOVE adding a touch of coconut sugar to my drinks to give them a naturally sweeter flavor.  Coconut flakes, fresh fruits, brown sugar…the list goes on and on. 

What are some of your favorite smoothie recipes?  Need inspiration?  Try starting here and here for some ideas.  I’d love to hear from you!

Until next time- happy blending!

* In this recipe, I use chia seeds instead of the Superfood Blend, and spinach instead of kale.

Challenges and Changes

It’s been forever since my last post; I know and I’m sorry.  Between finishing up my first semester of grad school, working my regular job and tutoring, trying to stick to a workout routine, and finding time to breathe and spend time with my nearest and dearest, it’s safe to say that this blog slipped off the back burner and behind the stove.  But!
I’m back and it feels so good to be here.  So let’s get right to it.  Remember how I said I was trying to stick to a workout routine?  That has been more or less happening.  What I’ve really been struggling with is keeping my body healthy with nourishing food and adequate sleep.  I’ve been noticing that I’m “good” during the week…but once the weekend hits?  Forget about it.  I find that every Friday night I slip into an over-indulgent weekend mentally that causes one cheat meal to morph into two days of terrible eating.  When I wake up on Monday morning I feel tired and heavy.  I motivate myself to do better that week and the vicious cycle repeats itself.  And it’s starting to show.
I’ve been struggling with whether or not to even write this post, but I’ve decided to move forward with it for the sake of keeping me honest.  I’m at the heaviest weight I’ve ever been, I feel sluggish all the time, and I’m tired of feeling this way.  I’ve decided to push myself, for real this time, and commit to a solid workout schedule and clean-eating plan.  On Monday, I started following a Hiit workout plan, combined with ab, leg/butt, and arm/back workout challenges.  Both workouts can be found here and here (enjoying both so far!)
My plan is to check in once a month over the next three months to track my progress.  To start, here’s my before picture, taken right before I did my first workout this past Monday. 

{Don’t mind my dorky pose}

I have never done anything like this before, and I’m hoping the results will be worth it.  See you in the 10th of August with a progress picture- wish me luck!