Early Workouts, Repetitive Food & SweetGreen

YES, Wednesday morning arrived, my favorite weekday morning so far this summer (day off, duh!). As soon as I got up, I was ready to get my work out on!

*Note: morning workouts seem to be more effective for me because I get up, get dressed, go do my stuff, get all sweaty, then shower, and get ready for the day. It’s all over and done with, most days, before 8 AM. This way, the workout is out of the way before I am even awake enough to realize what I’m doing. Key: there is no thinking involved, just doing.  It’s then also not on my mind all day, like a miniature personal trainer whispering in my ear nagging me through out the day that I need to get my booty to the gym. I also feel happier, more confident, and more awake when I begin my day with some exercise. I highly recommend it.

After my work out and shower, I sliced up some of my favorite fruit and enjoyed.Image

I was in a bit of a rush, as I had a 10:30 AM Starbucks date with my friend Kendall, so I grabbed one of these yummy protein bars to go.


We sipped, chit chatted, and eventually went our separate ways. (It’s *Kendall for the record, Starbucks)


I had quite a bit of catching up to do for my two summer classes before my class that evening, so I hurried home to get started. YAY, summer classes!

At home, I parted ways with my studies for a few moments and cooked up some lunch. You will never guess what it was…


Alright, you guessed it. Eggs, but this time in omelette form (with some added protein).

  • 2 eggs
  • Grilled chicken
  • Sliced roma tomato
  • Fresh basil
  • Slice of Swiss cheese
  • Ground pepper

*Note: I cook almost all savory foods in a pan in EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil).

I continued on my homework problems, chapter quizzes, and all that jazz until it was dinner time. My mom made one of my favorites! You can see my textbook was also present at dinner. We’ve become attached at the hip these past few days.


Pesto salmon

  • Salmon filet (fresh frozen for us)
  • EVOO (coat salmon)
  • Garlic basil pesto (top salmon)

Oh and my mom thought her salad was too pretty to pass up the photo op.


  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Wasabi peas
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Homemade Italian dressing

This blogging thing has become a family affair. My parents now never fail to notify me when I should take a pic for my blog. It’s cute.

As I’ve said before, these evening classes are about 4 hours, so naturally, snacks are crucial. This was the line up for last night.


Class was, well, class, but I think I’m actually really beginning to like my Econ professor. He was a little intimidating at first, not gonna lie, but he admitted last night that he does that act on purpose to weed out those students in the class to “check out.” Also, from the 6 chapters we’ve covered so far, I actually find Econ really interesting. Who would’ve thought?

This morning was actually a relatively easy morning to get out of bed. I tried my best to get to bed early last night and I did relatively well laying down at about 10:30 and being asleep by maybe 10:50. I got out of bed and went outside for a run at about 6 AM. Not everyone is an early bird, but you can convert if you try. I’m a living success story.

The weather was so perfect, as it usually is on summer mornings (another benefit of working out early). I could tell it was going to be a hot one though, with the temperature and humidity rising just through the duration of my run.

I ran about 2 miles in intervals, sprints and jogs. Afterward, I headed to the home gym and completed:

  • 250 abdominal variations (sets of 25)
  • 1 minute wall sit
  • 1 minute plank
  • Upper body work on machine I can’t remember the name of..(2 sets of 20 reps w/25 lbs)

Of course I was sporting ZTA gear, so here’s my half crown shout out to my zistas!


Woops, its blurry, but probs for the best. Oh yeah, the machine I was talking about it is behind me with the two metal arms.

My breakfast was more eggs and more watermelon. Sorry, I’ve been super repetitive with my eats lately.


  • Thomas whole wheat english muffin toasted
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 slice of Swiss cheese
  • Basil
  • Ground pepper
  • Watermelon slices

My mom and I have been meaning to make some green smoothies and lean protein shakes, but have just been so busy and our schedules haven’t matched up too well. We will get on that soon though, don’t worry!

Before I left for work, I noticed these frozen chicken breasts were sitting out. Keep in mind this was 7:45 AM. My mom must have just taken them out of the freezer to thaw for our dinner that evening. It reminded me that maintaining a healthy diet takes preparation. Hunger with no plan leads to poor choices. Fact.


My mid-morning snack was an apple. No, not a honey crisp, but it still did the trick. Of course I still wanted it to be cut cool so I managed with a plastic knife I found in the office kitchen.


Later at noon, I met with my friend Bong (a nickname hehe) at Sweet Green near my work. She also interns, but at a different company, so we are going to try and coordinate lunches together when we can.

Unfortunately with NoVA traffic being what it is, she got caught up so I spent a little time chilling solo outside the SweetGreen. Sorry, I’m not one of those people that can take crazy face selfies when surrounded by strangers in an unfamiliar place. Maybe I’ll work up to that. You’d think snapchat would’ve helped me out there, but I’m way more of a secretive snapper. Hehe people definitely thought I was just looking at my phone ;).


I’m pretty sure in that short amount of time, I got a sunburn. It was insanity out there.

When she finally came…


My salad:

  • Spinach/kale combo
  • Shredded carrots
  • Diced cucumbers
  • Sprouts
  • Spicy quinoa
  • Chile Carrot Siracha vinaigrette

Oh, and usually bread is one of my favorite parts of the meal, but this bread had to have been bad. I’ve had their bread in the past and I’ve always enjoyed it, but this time, as said by Bong, it smelled and tasted like dog food. Gross.

Right before I headed out of work, within the last hour, I had this little treat. I LOVE these bars. Chocolate mint too!


When I finally walked outside the office building after I finished my work for the day, I felt like I immediately started sweating, and this was at 4 PM. It was one of those type of days where it takes you like 1 or 2 minutes to sit down on your driver seat because it will burn you otherwise. It was a SCORCHER. I had left my SweetGreen water cup in the car and look what happened!


That’s when you know.

This was dinner for the fam, thanks to my momma! Plus some white pasta I decided to pass up. This was plenty.


Garlic sauteed chicken

  • Chicken breasts
  • Chopped garlic
  • Italian seasoning


  • Lettuce
  • Bell peppers
  • Red onions
  • Carrot shavings
  • Homemade Italian dressing

As for the rest of the night, I will be doing approximately 100 homework problems of Econ and then a three chapter quiz, as I’m leaving tomorrow for Ohio for my cousin’s high school graduation and have to get all my weekend stuff done now.


Memorial Day Festivities

Sunday morning arrived and as expected, I cooked up an egg sandwich. I’m wondering when I’ll get sick of these. My guess is no time soon.


  • Thomas whole wheat english muffin toasted
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 slice of Swiss cheese
  • Diced red bell pepper

We then headed 11:30 mass at our church, St. John Nuemann in Reston, the yuje (usual abrev).

Upon arriving home, I sliced up some apples and sprinkled them with cinnamon. I’m kind of a cinnamon fiend, if you haven’t noticed yet. I put it on so many things. I really feel like it enhances the flavor of anything, plus it’s awesome for you and preserves food. Say bye bye to browning apples!


My mom put the finishing touches on her red, white, and blue parfait dessert and we were off to our family friend’s Memorial Day cookout.


Recipe not to be disclosed, according to my secretive chef of a mother. Baker is actually her maiden name. Is that appropriate or what?

The cook out was at one of my dad’s best friend’s home in Mclean. We go there often for their many entertaining events. They are always top-notch hosts. My dad and him both share a passion for fine grilling and so I can always expect an exquisite, top-quality meal when we go over.


  • Grilled rockfish
  • Grilled lobster tail
  • Grilled veggie medley
  • Corn on the cob
  • Multigrain olive bread
  • Salad w/ chickpeas & lemon olive oil dressing

Here’s a pic of my mom and brother, unfortunately one of the only ones I snapped from the gathering.


I attended one of my good high school friend’s cookout after that, with a fire pit and all! It was nice catching up. Afterward, I headed back and whipped up some oatmeal, as I haven’t had any of that yummy, gooey goodness in a while.


  • 1/2 cup oats
  • A few dark chocolate chips
  • 1 spoonful of peanut butter
  • 1 spoonful of almond butter
  • 1 tb of chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxmeal
  • 3/4 cup almond milk

This morning, Memorial Day morning, I decided to make a rather festive breakfast. I incorporated some of my favorites while displaying a tidbit of due patriotism.


  • Arnold whole wheat toast w/ almond butter
  • Pink Cripps apple slices
  • Blueberries

Later on, my parents left for the D.C. Memorial Day Parade, that I would’ve gone to if I had known about it earlier and had got more of my school work done. So unfortunately I stayed behind and they left to celebrate in the nation’s capital’s festivities.

I have always been very patriotic, proud, and so grateful to be an American, as most Americans are. I’m sure a good part of it has to do with my parents’ experiences and what they have taught me as well, as they both served in the U.S. Navy. It’s crazy to think how adventurous their lives must have been when they were my age, traveling the world as government property, while I still feel like I live my life in a bubble.

I decided to go on a mission to find some old pics of them back in their Navy days, and these are what I found.

This one was my dad’s arrival back from one of his many trips out to sea. Weren’t they adorable?


This is the the aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Constellation, my dad was stationed on.


Here are the two love birds out of their uniforms. Navy sailors actually sail? Who knew!


Looking through all of these makes me want to get out there and really start living! I know my parents had a heck of a time traveling while in the Navy and then once out, traveling and living up the married life. I’m pretty sure they lived in at least six different states before settling in Northern VA.

From inspiring stories, like this one, and others I hear about all the time, it is truly so important to live life to the fullest. Put yourself out there, stay positive, and never give up. Life, and a healthy one at that, is a blessing.

Remember to fly your flags today for those who can’t. God bless and Happy Memorial Day.

Traffic, Chocolate, and Chipotle, OH MY!

Friday morning began with a later start (6:50 AM), as my right hip has been hurting a lot lately so I unfortunately had to skip my morning workout. I headed downstairs and whipped up a breakfast sandwich, my go-to.


  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 slice Swiss cheese
  • Spinach leaves (as much as I could fit)

Before I headed out to bear the crazy Northern VA morning rush hour, I grabbed some coffee and my trusty filled and chilled camelbak.


Friday’s coffee included:

  • Maxwell house original blend
  • Truvia packet
  • Almond milk (1/4 cup)

Friday is always an awesome day to be at work. Everyone’s spirits are lifted as they anticipate the weekend. Friday is especially happy around the office I work at because on Friday’s, or rather every other Friday, we get off at 2pm. It’s a nice little treat the employees get in the summer time.

On my way home, the traffic was insane, even more so than the usual NoVA traffic. I’m certain it was people leaving for vacation for Memorial Day weekend. So as I sat and waited and waited and waited, I opened up my lunch and snacked on the cucumbers and hummus I hadn’t eaten for lunch. It made the parking lot called route 50 a little less miserable.


When I got home, the weather was beautiful, a bit chillier than I was expecting, but nonetheless, beautiful. I swapped my work gear for some workout gear and headed out for a run. It ended up being my usual 2 miler, but way more gusty than expected. I was surprised I wasn’t blown over.


Upon my return back to my house, I noticed some of the patriotic decor my dad had put outside the house. My house is always decorated full-out for most holidays, especially patriotic ones.


Friday evening was a rather relaxing one. I hung out and watched a movie with my friend. She’s the one that has been across the Atlantic, in the Maldives and Russia, for a while and is now back, but leaving for a Dallas, Texas internship Tuesday! I’ve been trying to spend as much time with her as I can, as she will be gone the duration of the summer.

Saturday morning was the start of the street fair, Viva Vienna, in downtown Vienna. I’ve always loved Vienna, as it is old, but cutesy and well-kept. My family and I stopped by to see what all the hull-a-balooh was about. It was pretty cool, with a bunch of street vendors, rides, and newly opened shops.

We discovered one shop in particular that truly excited me, as it would for any chocolate lover out there: Vienna Cocoa. My mom has talked about passing it for quite some time now, but it never seemed to be open. Well it finally was, so we headed in to check it out.


The smell (mmm chocolately goodness) and look of the place was so inviting as soon as we stepped in. You can tell it had just been redone, as it looked so polished and clean. There were so many different types of chocolates in there: milk, white, dark, nuts, peanut butter, toffee, carmel, whatever your heart desires! I was naturally a little overwhelmed.

We spoke with one of the owners, Sam, and he began telling us a bit more about Vienna Cocoa. They’re still working on getting everything together, waiting on the arrival of a seating area and a gourmet coffee and hot chocolate selection, but It’s right on Church Street, the main drag of Vienna, and I can tell this place will do really well. I strongly encourage you guys to go check this chocolate lover’s paradise out!

I loved this sign.


As we walked further, there were some rides for the kiddies. Secretly I wanted to get on them with my fellow tots, but I knew society would not be too accepting of that. Perhaps next year.


Afterward, us Howell’s were pretty hungry, so following my brother and I’s insistence of having Chipotle for dinner, we went. Our whole fam went to Chipotle together and ate! How cute are we?!


Of course Kyle was still hungry after his 30 second devouring of his burrito. What else is new?

Here’s a snap chat from Saturday of brother Kyle and I. I thought it was worth sharing.


Later that night, my mom was baking desserts for a cookout the next day and so to save myself from some regretful snacking, I whipped up a little treat to satisfy my sweet tooth. I had seen a recipe for a popcorn topping, but I thought it might also be tasty with almonds


  • Raw almonds

Topped with this combo melted in the microwave for 25 sec

  • 1 tb almond butter
  • 1 tb honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

It was quite delicious!

I’ll have to save the rest for another post. This one’s getting a bit lengthy.


Thoughtful Thursday

This week has flown by! I can’t believe it’s already Thursday evening, then FRIDAY, then MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND, so 3 whole days! Sounds too good to be true. I actually just realized yesterday that that was this weekend. My professor had told the class that we would not be having class on Monday, and I thought he was just taking a personal day and going on some vacation, but no, it’s for the whole country! GO ‘MERICA!

I’ll give you a brief overview of Wednesday first, culinary festivities and all.

After a 2 mile run through neighboring streets, breakfast consisted of another honey crisp apple sliced all cool (I might have a slight obsession) drizzled with almond butter. How cheffy of me, right?


I spent most of Wednesday morning outside enjoying the sunshine (my one day off). I even took my Econ textbook out with me, so it could also get its tan on.

It was pretty hot and humid out so I eventually came in to have a cool snack. I sliced up a bell pepper and whipped out the rest of the roasted garlic hummus. Who needs plates anyways?


My mom cooked up some asian ginger mahi-mahi and edamame right before I had to leave for my night class, so I quick scarfed it down (something I need to do less of) and it was delish!


This morning began with a 6:20 AM alarm and a calling from the home gym spin bike. My workout consisted of:

  • 40 min cycling (sprinting, hills, isolations)
  • 10 min extra cardio (100 jumping jacks, 50 ski jumps, 100 butt kicks, 100 high knees)
  • 10 min abs (250 sum of various sequences of 25)

Greetings from early morning, sweaty me!


I quick took a shower and got all business casual for work, but felt super crunched for time. I am trying to remember whether I got up at 6:25 AM last summer or 5:45 AM last summer. As I have the same job, and my schedule worked so nicely last summer, I’m trying to get back to it. I know that I was able to fit a full one hour work out in, shower, get ready, and still make breakfast and pack my lunch with no rush. I’m thinking it was actually 5:45 AM. Yeah, that might be a struggle. I’m gonna give it a try tomorrow though. *Fingers crossed*

My mom being the sweetheart she is put my egg on while I was getting my lunch prepared and I popped in the english muffin. My perfect little breakfast was scrumptious, as you might be able to tell by the half eaten-ness. Woops, I’m still new at this whole blogging thing. It’s still not my first instinct to take a picture of the food when it’s first presented, especially when I’m hungry. I’m getting there though.


  • Thomas whole wheat english muffin toasted
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 slice of swiss cheese
  • Baby spinach leaves

Later at work, I whipped out my fully stocked lunch. This may seem like a lot, and it is, but I never eat it all at once. I space it all out through out the day usually.


  • Fage Total 0% greek yogurt
  • Jif peanut butter to-go pack
  • Raw almonds
  • Sabra original hummus
  • Cucumbers
  • Orange bell peppers
  • Triscuit brown rice sweet potato crackers

I was having an odd day though and was stuffed after my greek yogurt combo. My thinking is that it was due to the coffee I had had earlier that morning. I’ve been staying away from coffee lately and so maybe my system wasn’t used to it and filled me up more than just drinking water in the morning.

Anyhow, this was my greek yogurt concoction:


  • Fage Total 0% greek yogurt
  • Raw almonds
  • 1 spoonful of peanut butter

When I got off work, I headed over to my best friend’s house who had just arrived in from Russia earlier that afternoon. I hadn’t seen her in months! My other good friend also stopped by and we all went out to Reston Town Center to walk around, catch up and maybe eat.

Well, we did end up stopping somewhere to eat, Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant. I opted not to have anything, as I knew my mom had cooked up some good stuff back at home. Eating healthy comes with its plentiful benefits, but also drawbacks. It can make social situations, like going out to eat, kind of awkward. It’s like you don’t want to be that annoying one who doesn’t eat or only orders this small, healthy item or whatever, but you also don’t want to get off track just because you want to catch up with your friends. It gets hard sometimes, but stay strong! If you can avoid the situation, do it. Maybe invite your friends over for a home-cooked meal instead? Home-cooked=always best for the belly.

When I arrived home, my mom had made salmon, grilled chicken, corn on the cob (random I thought), and these lovely flatbreads. Sorry the coloring is kind of weird, it was dark out by the time I got home, and the kitchen lighting makes the flatbreads look pretty orange. It probably doesn’t help that our kitchen is painted black.


There are two types of flatbreads here:

Tuscan veggie flatbread

  • Wegman’s whole wheat pizza dough
  • Mozzarella/provolone/asiago cheeses
  • Rosemary olive oil
  • Chopped garlic
  • Peppers
  • Spinach
  • Mushrooms

Tuscan grilled chicken flatbread

  • Wegman’s whole wheat pizza dough
  • Mozzarella/provolone/asiago cheeses
  • Rosemary olive oil
  • Chopped garlic
  • Grilled chicken

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a bunch of different things health wise, and I feel like starting this blog and reading more into other related blogs has gotten the ball rolling on this.

I’ve decided that I want to “eat clean.” Then I thought, wait do I even really know what that means? Do I already do that? Incase anyone was wondering, I looked it up. According to Eating Well Magazine, 10 ways to eat clean are:

  1. Cut down on alcohol
  2. Cut down on sugar
  3. Cut down on salt
  4. Cut down on saturated fat
  5. Cut down on refined grains
  6. Cut down on processed foods
  7. Have more fruits and vegetables
  8. Have more water
  9. Have more green tea
  10. Have more whole grains

I think it’s safe to say I already do that or at least try my best to. I feel like I’ve eaten this way for a while now and am looking to try something new. It’s just like switching out your shampoo and conditioner when your hair gets too used to it. I’ve been thinking about all of the different diets out there, not the bogus fad ones, but vegetarianism, veganism, paleolithic, etc.

I could see myself easily able to be vegetarian, but I would miss fish too much and its health benefits. If anything, I could try being pescatarian (vegetarian plus fish). Most times, I feel like I already am anyways. I most certainly could not be vegan though. Paleolithic diets have always intrigued me though. For those of you who don’t know, think back to the caveman age and what they were able to eat. This includes grass-fed meat, fish, fruits/veggies, nuts, beans, roots, and excludes dairy products, grains, potatoes, refined salt, refined sugar, and processed oil.

I think it would be interesting to experiment with my diet to see if I feel any different in my daily activities. I’m a little worried about the no cheese and no grain part though. As you can see, they’re usually a part of my daily routine. Although I do try to limit myself to one serving of each per day, none at all would be killer. We’ll see. I’ll keep you updated.

Until next time! Enjoy the long weekend!

Busy, Busy Me

The past two days have been a whirl wind for me. It feels like this is the first time I’ve really been able to sit down and relax. I guess I’ll have to recap Monday for you since I was a little busy in D.C., going to my first summer class, and  getting ready for my first day back interning to blog.

On Monday, my parents and I headed to D.C. to meet up with my cousin and her boyfriend that currently live in D.C. and my cousins who were visiting from Nairobi, Kenya with their insanely cute baby boy.

We all met at Tonic, in Foggy Bottom, and caught up over some delicious food while quickly kindling our obsession with the baby, Kanoa. I feel like I never get to be around babies anymore, but when I am, I love it. Besides the fact that they’re so little and soft and pudgy and cute, they’re a little human being that will be somebody one day. It’s weird to think about, but life is so precious and to see it at its its early stages is truly something special, something worthy of reflection.

This is my cousin’s husband, Matt, and Baby Kanoa.


Onto the food! I ordered the Baja Veggie Burger and a side salad with balsamic vinaigrette. This came with guacamole, onion, lettuce, and tomato on top. My mom and cousin Laura ordered the same thing, and boy were we happy! I can honestly say this was the best veggie burger I have ever had.

Baja Veggie Burger (came on wheat bun!)Image

Here are some shots from lunch!


The restaurant was located in a rustic brick building that was previously an old-timey pharmacy. There were plenty of options on the menu, plenty of healthy options! The service was good and the prices were decent. I would definitely recommend it. Very metro accessible too!

Living in Northern VA, literally 20 minutes outside of D.C., you would think I would get to D.C. a lot, but I really don’t. I do love making the trip to D.C. anytime I have the opportunity though. There’s something about city life that just excites me. I snapped some pics of some colorful houses we were passing as we drove. I could see myself living in a city at some point, no doubt.


When we arrived home, I quick painted my nails with my new Essy “Mink Muffs” polish before I had to leave for my class. Of course as soon as I was sure my nails had dried and hardened, I got ready, and messed them up. Happens every time.


Since my class is 6:30-10:10 PM, that means I will be having to pack A LOT of snacks to keep me going. Here was my selection for the first class. I was just praying I wouldn’t get a professor that didn’t tolerate eating. That’s a professor that I wouldn’t be able to tolerate.


This is my first community college class experience and it was honestly just what I had expected. I will be taking Macroeconomics the first summer session and Microeconomics the second summer session. Hopefully I enjoy Econ, at least a little. It seems that everyone finds their hard business class that they can partially enjoy, and I have yet to find that in BIT or Accounting. Woops.

Today was my first day back to work!Image

I am continuing my internship that I began Summer 2012. I’m at a residential and commercial leasing and management company and do a mixture of different tasks, really whatever they need done at the moment. It’s a lot of time indoors, 9 to 4 each day, and has helped me to understand the dynamics of an office environment and help me better understand what type of setting I want to work in when I graduate.

It seems as though majority of jobs out there are desk jobs, especially being a business major, and that’s terrifying to me. I’ve realized that that’s not really for me, as I love moving around and interacting with people. Also– not all, but majority of individuals with desk jobs get sucked into this health disaster of a routine. Wake up, go to work, have coffee, eat, sit, eat, sit, come home, eat, sit, sleep. Repeat. It truly scares me.

As stated by my Econ professor, America has the hardest workers in all the world, the greatest human capital. We pride ourselves on our work: getting up, being productive at work, and coming home feeling satisfied knowing we’ve worked hard for our money. Other countries (he used Africa, his homeland, as an example) have workers that simply change their physical location to be at work, but take naps, go out for 2-3 hour lunches, come back, maybe do a little work, and leave because the work day is then “over.” We are so consumed by our work in this country that our health becomes second priority. I definitely feel that that is a main contributing factor to the obesity epidemic in America, and that has to change.

Anyways, back to food, lol, got a little carried away there. Gotta love the corporate life. My lunch consisted of a grilled chicken sandwich w/ hummus, spinach, onions, and tomato on whole wheat bread, a spinach salad w/ balsamic vinaigrette, and an apple. I will be sure to snap a better, more inclusive pic next time. My apologies.


As you can see, I ate lunch at my desk today so I could start with my econ work. Doesn’t my summer sound like a blast so far?

Later, I had the new carrot cake Luna bar. It was super yummy, but possibly too sweet for my liking (surprising for me!).


When I got off work and came home, I read the mail (one of my favorite activities) and snacked on some hummus and crackers.


Later on, my mom quick whipped up some whole grain garlic-tomato pasta, and us girls added some spinach on top.Image

I don’t know if it’s the weather and this awful humidity or what, but I’ve been feeling really grimy lately. Anyone else? You know what that calls for…some face mask therapy! Face masks never fail to make me feel just a little bit better about everything. Yes, it has that much power.


I hope you guys are enjoying all of these lovely selfies.

Tomorrow is my free day (Wednesday) and I am ecstatic. Is it sad I already feel like this midweek break day is much needed? It better be just as nice as it was today. This girl needs to get her tan on, of course with proper SPF protection!

Chow for now!

Sunday Funday

Yesterday was my first Sunday back home in NoVA, so my first Sunday back to church, running errands, and all that good stuff.

Sunday was my rest day and honestly not too eventful.

For brunch, my mom and I split one of our lovely omelets with some english muffins. I’ve been spreading hummus on my english muffins lately when paired with eggs. So tasty! I’m on some serious hummus kick lately and loving it. ImageImageAfter church, my mom and I headed out to errand run. First thing was first, we had to drive to the NVCC campus I will be taking classes at, that will actually be starting tonight, so I would have an idea of where I will be headed. My mom has always done that for me, never failing to give me exact mileage and alternative back routes incase of traffic. Gotta love my mommy!

We then headed to Target to pick up some much needed hangers. I kind of sort of accidentally left all of mine at my school apartment. Woops! We also picked up some snacks to pack for my work week. And by snacks, I mean 8 different types of bars, literally. One or two of them might have been for my brother, but regardless, we have quite the line up.

My dad ran out to Wegmans for our dinner, and went on and on about how packed it was. My guess was that all the college kids home from break missed their favorite high qual grocery store, good ‘ol Weggy’s. He picked up steak for him and my brother and fish for my mom and I, the usual. He also snagged some more honey crisp apples for me. $10 for 4 apples. It does make me feel princessy, but if anyone has ever tried them, they know they’re just that good.

Dinner was a little smorgasbord of a lot of things. I ended up having most of the shrimp, a little bit of halibut, half a sweet potato, a blue fingerling potato, brussels sprouts, and a spinach salad with carrots, peppers, and homemade Italian dressing.


I spent the rest of the night helping my brother with his Algebra 2 work. It definitely made me miss the good ‘ol days.

For dessert, I had some of those yummy pumpkin health bars microwaved for 15 seconds. Perfection.

**For those readers out there that don’t know me all too well, keep in mind I am a constant snacker! The food pics I post are the most substantial meals I have, but I’m always eating little things here and there. Eating every 2 hours may seem excessive, but it actually keeps your metabolism running at a faster pace. As long as you’re eating good, healthy snacks, you’re good to go!

As for today, I woke up at 8:45 AM and headed downstairs to our home gym to try a little solo spinning on our spin bike. It’s not the same for me in my basement by myself as in a spin room with others motivating me to keep pushing. For now, this will do though. Since the spin class I normally attend is focused around electronic dance music, I tried to incorporate that into my own workout. I do love making up my own stuff while trying to keep up with the beat.

After a much needed shower, I was looking forward to making myself a shake, but of course, could not find this Ninja blender we supposedly have, so I just made a greek yogurt concoction, similar to what I would have done in my shake.


Fage 0% fat greek yogurt
1.5 tb peanut butter
Squirt of vanilla extract
Squirt of peppermint extract
Ghiradelli 60% cacao dark chocolate (crushed up)

I don’t know about you guys, but I love the taste of peanut butter and mint. Maybe I’m weird, but I find it quite satisfying.

My parents and I have plans to meet up with my cousin, her husband, and newborn, who are in town for a few weeks from Kenya, in D.C. for lunch around noon. They moved out to Nairobi, Kenya 2 years ago as governement agency workers for environmental sustainability I’m pretty sure, but I can’t wait to hear about everything and meet their little baby, Kanoa. Love that name! Apparently we are going to some restaurant in Foggy Bottom called Tonic? I’ll let you know how it is and of course take some shots of what I end up ordering.

Bye for now!

Don’t Rain On my Parade [Pool Day]

So it rained yesterday. A lot. I had plans to have a pool day with one of my girlfriends, but mother nature wasn’t feeling that apparently. It’s cool because I went over to her house anyways and we had a splendid girls day, out of the pool.

We headed to Panera, one of our favorite spots. We both get about the same things every time too. Gotta go with “Pick Two.” There’s just so much flexibility with it. Soup and sandwich, salad and sandwich, soup and salad, it’s simply liberating. I of course got my favorite, the Thai Chopped Chicken Salad, and the Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich toasted, my sub for when they don’t have the Pesto Garden Veggie Soup, AND an apple!ImageThai Chopped Chicken Salad:
Grilled chicken
Bell peppers
Thai cashews
Low-fat Thai chili vinaigrette

Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich:
Piquant peppers
Feta cheese
Cilantro Jalapeño hummus
Tomato Basil bread

I definitely needed a little pick-me-up at this point if I was going to do anything else productive. I don’t know if it was the dreariness of the rain or my lack of coffee that morning, but I was a little out of it and getting a little loopy. My friend even noticed my inner-weirdness coming out a little more than usual. It happens.

So what now? That’s an easy one. Starbucks. Duh.Image

I almost always get a tall soy latte when I go. it has just the right amount of sweetness for a very low amount of calories and sugar. I’m pretty positive they use vanilla soy milk, so that’s where the sweetness comes from. Yesterday I decided to be adventurous and try a new drink though, one that my friend highly recommended. I ordered a tall skinny carmel macchiato. I felt like quite the wild child.

We headed to the mall afterwards, because what else are two college girls deprived of civilized fashion institutions home for summer going to do on a rainy day? Duh.

Keeping in mind that I am about to head off to work Tuesday morning, I was trying to look for pieces that would be appropriate both for work and play, as to spend my money wisely. I ended up with some cute summer finds and an unhappy bank balance, naturally.

Aren’t these earrings darling? Hehe love that post-shopping high! Image

Afterward, we headed back to my friend’s house. Incase you were wondering, it was raining. We stopped by Wegmans first though and picked up some honey crisp apples, salad stuff, and a favorite of ours, Amy’s pizza.

Our dinner ended up looking like this, plus some apple slices.

We popped in the movie Safe Haven, based off of Nicholas Spark’s novel, and enjoyed the scrumptiousness as we sat back and enjoyed our feature film. We had never tried this type of pizza before, and it ended being really tasty and even more flavorful than other ones we’ve tried in the past. In the salad, we added…
Spring mix
Toasted almonds
Sunflower seeds
Italian dressing

Who doesn’t love days like these?

Oh and Safe Haven was really good. We hadn’t read the book beforehand so my friend Kendall and I were caught a little off guard by the ending, actually mind blown. It’s a great chick flick though with the exception of unexpected scary parts. Maybe I’m just a baby and hate scary movies (not that this is even close to that genre), but I was actually pretty on edge for a few select scenes. Jeepers!

Today is Sunday, Sunday morning to be specific. Where’s Maroon 5 when ya neeed em? Well us Howells are off to church this morning and have errands to run following that. It’s Sunday fun-day, after all! Enjoy!

Bring On the Heat

Yesterday was a hot one! That’s for sure. I believe it got all the way up to 82 degrees! I’m not complaining though. I spent as much time outside yesterday as I could. A little Vitamin D never hurt anyone.

When I woke up, I had yet another free day ahead of me. I have to say, I’ve been loving this free time. I’m really trying to indulge in it as I know this blissfulness is growing shorter and shorter. Eek! Work. Ah! Classes. I know I am being slightly dramatic, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t dreading it.

Anyways, back to food, the important stuff! I had yet another honey crisp apple with almond butter for breakfast. ImageI don’t know why, but that’s all I have really been craving in the mornings.

I did a little more unpacking and then headed straight for the outdoors! I desperately needed to soak up some rays before I’m trapped inside an office building from 9 to 4 everyday. I put on my bikini, lathered on some sunscreen, filled my trusty Camelbak and was off to the wilderness. Not really. I just walked out my backdoor to our patio. Sweet setup right? It even has built-in company. Hey Hudson!ImageOf course I brought my birthday present Cosmo out with me, along with my newly downloaded Gatsby soundtrack. I am seriously loving that music, especially Lana Del Ray’s “Young and Beautiful.” I literally cannot get that song out of my head.ImageThere’s nothing more summery than sunbathing with your favorite mag and some sweet tunes. I was a pretty happy camper for a few hours. Don’t worry, I reapplied!

When I finally came back in, I found this passed out on the couch after a long, hard week of high school. Gotta love little brothers!ImageI weirdly haven’t had too much of an appetite since I’ve been home, so sorry, there are no cool lunch pics! I went on another neighborhood run, followed with about 20 minutes of floor exercises, and was famished.

I ended up having some hummus and pretzel thins right before dinner. Hummus and anything is always a favorite snack of mine.ImageWith that being said, we had an awesome dinner. My dad cooked out on the grill, which is his speciality. He prefers to be called the “grill master” when in the zone. We’ll leave it at that. Because the weather was so beautiful yesterday and began cooling down around dinnertime, we decided we would move our dining to the great outdoors, aka our deck.

We indulged in grilled salmon, grilled zucchini, corn on the cob, and some of my mom’s special-recipe 7 day cole slaw (no mayonnaise of course!). Image

Dinner was delectable, as expected, and peaceful as we all sat and enjoyed each others’ company amongst the fresh air, that is, after being quizzed on how our taste buds liked everything from the grill, as usual. My dad has been known to open up the floor to discussion about the food as we are consuming it. Too well done? Too much spice? Too fishy? I can’t complain I guess. The man just wants some feedback. Every time he grills.

In retrospect, I’m truly blessed to have a family that sits down for dinner almost every night together to eat. Not just to eat anything though, to eat some of the finest homemade cuisine out there. I never realized how lucky I am to have parents that appreciate the value of a home-cooked meal and have the ability to cook so well until I went off to college. You definitely come home with a whole new perspective of your own family compared to the friends you meet and eat with.

Unfortunately, I realized I did get a little sunburn on my shoulder/collarbone area, but obviously it didn’t bother me all that much.


I finished off the night with some more unpacking and then promised my mom I would watch the movie Les Misérables with her. We grabbed some pumpkin bar treats and popped in the DVD. As we were watching it, I could tell neither of us were into it. I kept checking my phone as she played with Hudson. The constant, drawn out singing, the 1800’s oddness…we just weren’t feeling it. Since the movie is supposedly 2.5 hours, she requested we split it up into part 1 and part 2, but honestly, I would be surprised if we went back and finished it. It just wasn’t really my style. Sorry Anne Hathaway.

Random thought: does anyone else insist on having clean feet before they hop into bed? I’ve always been the kind that will not get under my sheets unless I am completely showered and squeaky clean, but If I shower, walk around a little with bare feet, and then head to bed, I have to wash my feet first. Makes sense right? Or is it that just me?

As for today, I woke up around 9 AM and headed out for a run. When I walked out of my house, I realized it had just began sprinkling. Now I’ve been caught out running in a storm before and it isn’t the most fun thing in the world when you have an expensive electronic with you (iPhone, hello!). I just hoped for the best and headed out anyways.ImageThis time, I switched it up a bit and decided to run on the main road. Sometimes it motivates me a little more, as to not look bad in front of the many passing cars. I ran about 2.5 miles, which is a good distance for me lately. I don’t run at school too often, only occasionally. I really got into spinning this past semester. It’s a completely different type of cardio. Sadly, I don’t belong to a gym here so I doubt I’ll have access to another spin class until I’m back at Virginia Tech. Although I do feel that my endurance is up there, I’m simply not used to the mechanics to run for too long of a distance.

When I returned, I did some floor exercises. Snagged from my work out buddy from school, I like to start off by doing 250 ab exercises in sets of 25. Usually something like:

25 regular crunches

25 90 degree leg crunches

25 legs straight crunches

25 left side crunches

25 right side crunches

25 legs spread crunches

25 vertical lift crunches

25 ball crunches

25 left ball crunches

25 right ball crunches

Afterwards, I held a 1 minute plank and a 1 minute wall sit.


I then proceeded to the weights! Ever since I stopped cheering, I forget I need to work out my upper body to retain the definition. Nobody likes flabby arms! I used two 8 lb weights to do…

20 T-ups

20 extended arm drops

20 bicep curls

and I was pooped.


I then showered and made some breakfast in the form of an omelette. Sorry no pics! No time! Plus, I feel like you’ve already gotten your fair share of pics in this post. LOL sorry not sorry.

I think this morning blogging thing is going to work out better. I’ll just recap the day before. Yeah, okay good plan.

I’m off to my ZTA sister’s house in Gainesville for what was supposed to be a pool day…womp womp. We’ll probably just end up watching Safe Haven, one of my other lovely birthday gifts, and do a little shopping at the mall, which still sounds like a good day to me. Yay for the weekend! I hope you all have a great one!

Unpacking & Such

2nd day back home, 2nd day blogging, 2nd day unpacking my monstrous amount of stuff. The sad thing is, I really only brought home clothes and accessories. I can’t even imagine if I had to completely move out of my Blacksburg apartment. Luckily, I have the lease until the beginning of August, so I plan to make a few trips down there through out the summer and live up summertime Blacksburg a little bit.

Today was a lazy day, the best type of day. I had no plans to tend to when I woke up this morning. I laid in bed for  a while and finally made my way downstairs for some breakfast. My dad brought home some Honey Crisp apples upon request (my favorite), so I sliced one up and dipped it in almond butter. Perfect way to start my day! Sorry, I was so hungry I forgot to snap some pics.

Amidst my unpacking efforts, I ran into a few things:

Baby Colleen pics!
Which I thought would be oh so appropriate for the infamous Throwback Thursday (#tbt).IMG_6355

I found these neon yellow bermuda shorts I must have worn no more than twice, so I figured I would spice them up  a bit to something I might wear a little more this summer. Chop-chop!


I was going through boxes in my closet and rediscovered all my high school DECA Pink Rhythm Campaign project stuff. Oh the nostalgia. Some of the leftover Save the Ta-tas giveaways might be perfect for my little baskets this spring, as the sorority I joined this past January, Zeta Tau Alpha, has a fabulous breast cancer philanthropy. Score!


Of course the whole gang joined me in my mess of clothes that seem to have exploded through out the entire upstairs level. Hudson was being extremely helpful, as usual, casually sitting on everything that needed to be sorted through.

IMG_6358 IMG_6357

This is my mom! Isn’t she cute? She was about to head off to teach some water aerobics!


After all the unpacking, I needed a pick-me-up snack for sure. After raiding the fridge, I found an uncut baby watermelon! Jackpot! Let’s just say everyone in my house knows that when there’s a watermelon, I might as well write my name on it and call it a day. I can go through a watermelon like you wouldn’t even believe. Best fruit out there, in my opinion.


I also spotted this in the kitchen. All ready to go. Typical.


Oh yeah, I bought this Under Armour headband the other day and have been so excited to wear it. I’m a huge headband person when it comes to working out. My hair must be completely out of the picture when I’m concentrating on anything really, even schoolwork. I’ve always been that way.


Well, I am a little off my schedule being home, as far as getting my workout in and what/when I’ve been eating, but I will get back into a routine once my internship and summer classes start. For now, I’m kind of just going with the flow.

I am about to go on a little run around the neighborhood and later head out to see The Great Gatsby with one of my good friends from home! I’m super pumped. As far as dinner, I have no clue what I’ll be eating, which is very unlike me, but it’ll figure itself out. I guess I’ll also have to get into a schedule of blogging at a certain point during the day too. Just hang tight for now though while I’m still figuring it all out.

Well chow for now! (I hope you get the reference)

And So Summer Begins!

School’s out for summer! Or is it? Yeah, not so much for me. As happy as I am that my spring semester classes are complete and summer has arrived, I have one heck of a busy summer ahead of me. From three summer classes to my full time internship, I feel like I will hardly have enough time to relax, let alone partake in fun summer activities. Of course, I will try my best.

One thing’s for sure though, I will always make time for living healthy! For a kid my age, I know it might seem odd, but I truly value health.

This is my first, real blog post, so I’ll  give you a little background on where I’m coming from. My interest in health began toward the end of high school, although my mom, a long-time fitness instructor, fellow health nut, and master chef, had always fed my brother and I exquisite, healthy meals growing up. As I’ve matured and made my way through college, my motive for being fit and healthy transitioned from vanity reasons to true interest in my overall well-being. There is not one day that goes by where I take my health for granted. It’s a gift that should be treasured (I know I’m lame!).

Creating a healthy living blog has been on my to-do list for quite a while and now that summer has arrived, I figured it would be the perfect time for me to hop on that train. But really, these blogs are all the rage! I always find myself going through any I come across for new ideas and inspiration in my daily routine. Maybe someday I will even inspire someone like me now? Who knows!

Moving forward, today was a day for some recipe experimenting! After a nice morning run around my normal neighborhood route under beautiful sunny skies and a lovely afternoon of smoothies and girl talk with one of my good friends from school, my mom and I began preparations for our belated birthday celebration. Following some rigorous research on Pinterest, like usual, we found the perfect dinner and dessert for the occasion.

Chili-Lime Tilapia


w/ Garlic-Basil Multi-grain Penne Pasta (No white flour for me please!)


and Garlic Broccoli (my mom’s speciality!) Do we see a trend here? We may or may not LOVE garlic.


So my plate looked a little something like this…


AND dessert: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Health Bars


Healthy treats can be festive too! Happy 20th to me and Happy 29th to my mom…? Isn’t that right mother?


Recipes coming soon!

After enjoying our yummy food, doing gifts, and the whole birthday sha-bang, it  was time for my whole fam to wind down. After all, it is a weekday. Well, it isn’t for me just yet. I’m counting down the days until Monday when the real world sneaks in and kicks my butt. Until then, I am going to be living up some sweet summertime.

That’s all for today, folks! Sorry it was a bit lengthy. Hope to see ya soon!