Bed Bugs & Brownies

Hey all,

Monday and Tuesday have already slipped right by it seems!

Here’s a recap and a special recipe I hope you’ll enjoy.

Monday morning was spent in class giving my final Econ presentation. My class was given an open topic essay to write about and were required to present about it, as long as it incorporated a concept we learned this semester (month). Naturally, I choose something that involves my passion– health.

I presented on the opportunity cost of healthy living in America, and my professor ate it right up! Here’s a brief summary:

Americans must forgo–

  • Cheap, convenient, nutritionally empty foods
  • Time spent on leisure, sleep, etc.

*The idea is to spend more time, money and effort on your diet and exercise in order to avoid spending that time and money on medical bills and suffering later

In return, Americans will achieve–

  • A healthier work force (higher quality human capital)
  • Increased global competitiveness
  • Decrease in annual healthcare expenses–> be better off $$$ wise

Sounds pretty good, right? K America, I’m ready when you are.

Here was lunch when I got home. That’s multigrain bread slices w/ garlic hummus spread, tomatoes, spinach, carrots, and more garlic hummus for dipping!


I relaxed outside for a little bit, then came inside a couple of hours later for a snack. You better believe I grabbed a Larabar, the chocolate coconut chew to be exact. Yep, I approve. I’d been missing my chocolate, and that hit the spot…or so I thought.


Later on, my dad grilled out for dinner, so I knew what needed to be done! I gathered a large pile of veggies with a sticky note asking him to grill them. Hehe how clever am I? When he was getting ready, I chopped them all up and put them in a plastic zip lock bag for marinating time.

When he brought them back in, they looked like this. Perfection!


While my brother and dad were having steaks (mom was out teaching fitness), I knew I needed to get my protein fill as well, so I roasted some garbanzo beans and added them to the mix once we all sat down to eat. I added a slice of the multigrain loaf we have too! Hey, gotta eat it while it’s fresh!


Along with the above pictured veggies, I asked my dad to cook two sweet potatoes, for I had a secret plan up my sleeve.

Immediately after dinner, while the oven was still hot from my beans and the sweet potatoes were still warm from the grill, I decided to get to work on my masterpiece dessert recipe experiment!

I found this recipe on Pinterest and slightly modified it.

Brownies, of the vegan sort, are something I’ve been meaning to try since I’ve began this journey. My review: they were good and chocolately, but not too sweet, and I would like them to be a little fudgier/softer, BUT that’s just my inner chocolate connoisseur kicking in. I think my next brownie recipe will involve an avocado. That should help.



Sweet Potato Nutty Date Brownies

  • 1 c mashed, cooked sweet potato (about 1 sweet potato)
  • 1/4 c + 2 T carob powder (I used cocoa powder)
  • 1/2 c oat flour
  • 5 T date paste (blend dates in a high speed blender with just enough water to form a thick paste)
  • 1 t flax
  • 2 T nondairy milk
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1/4 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t baking soda
  • 1/4 c walnuts toasted and chopped after measuring

Mix the flax with the nondairy milk and let sit to thicken. Place the mashed sweet potato, date paste and vanilla and mix. In a seperate bowl mix the remaining dry ingredients and incorporate it into your “wet” ingredients, along with the flax mixture. The batter should be very thick and rather dry like a yeasted bread dough or fudge. If it is too wet, add more oat flour. Also, taste test your dough and make sure it is sweet enough/caroby enough for you! Bake at 350 F for 35-40 minutes or until the top of the brownies have cracked all the way to the middle. Let cool and enjoy!

After a nice little treat for my sweet tooth, I headed upstairs to put clean sheets on my bed and to my dismay, found a tiny bug crawling on top of my mattress pad. I freaked. Working as an intern for the training & education department of a residential property leasing and management company, I’ve dealt with my fair share of bed bug materials and am aware that these guys are bad news.

I immediately carried the bug to my sink where I could better examine it and proceeded to have a little photo shoot. I squished it gently so it wouldn’t move and then kept it there while I googled bed bugs to see if the images matched.Image

Soon after, my dad called our family friend who owns a pest control company after I had sent him a picture. He concluded that it was a carpet bettle larvae, and that they aren’t harmful to humans and only feed on organic matter (pet hair, human hair, dust, etc). I was relieved, sort of. A bug is a bug though! I stripped everything from my bed after closely examining every layer and brought it all down to the dryer where I attempted to cook off any possible bugs remaining.

This morning, I finally got back to working out! It felt so good. No more sick Colleen here!

Today’s work out:

  • 3 mile run (steady, 1 30 sec sprint)
  • 250 ab exercises (sets of 25)
  • 50 squats
  • 100 jumping jacks (cheer style, of course!)
  • 1 minute plank

There’s no better feeling.


Well I’m off to catch up on some Bachelorette drama, my summer guilty pleasure. I hear there’s a lot of it.

Have a good evening, folks! Chow ya later! 😉

My Mysterious Sickness

Hey everyone! I must apologize for being MIA the past few days. This has definitely been one of the longest durations of time that I haven’t posted, but I promise there’s been good (unfortunate) reason.

On Friday afternoon, after eating lunch, I began feeling really nauseous. People at work would approach me to talk about something and I could barely focus on what they were saying. I took it upon myself to excuse myself the rest of the day. As much as I tried to stick out, I knew that wasn’t going to cut it. Nobody knows your body better than you do. If it’s giving you abnormal feelings, it’s probably trying to tell you something.

When I arrived home, I laid down on the couch and moped around with stomach pains for a couple of hours, unable to eat or drink anything. And it all went down hill from there. I was getting sick left and right into the night. It was scary. I had no idea what was causing it.

This was me. Sick as a dog.


I eventually managed to eat a couple of pretzels and sip some ginger ale, upon my mother’s request. That did help a lot, and reminded me a lot of my child hood. As a kid, I used to get sick anytime I would eat anything fried or too processed for my sensitive stomach, and my mom never failed to be right by my side, no matter what time of night. Looks like even at 20, the same is true.

I woke up Saturday morning feeling a lot better than the night before, but still weak and unable to eat like I normally do. In order to fuel up from going almost 20 hours without real food, I had my fair share of carbs.

Classic peanut butter and toast


My mom and I went out to IKEA to pick up some stuff for my new apartment, as the shopping trip was initially scheduled for Friday evening. I definitely wasn’t myself, but got through it. I usually feel pretty strong in the way I carry myself, but I felt like somebody could have easily pushed me over as I was hiking around IKEA Saturday. Not a good feeling.

I made the most of it though. Along with other necessary items, my mom and I picked out this little guy as the perfect accessory to my new kitchen! Who wouldn’t want to cook around him?


When we arrived home, I wasn’t too hungry, but everyone seemed to want pizza and since I’d been so off my routine, I didn’t really mind eating non-vegan for one occasion (first time cheating–3 weeks in).

We ordered pizza from Pomodoro’s, my most favorite NY/Italian pizza place of all time. Just cheese. It was perfection.


Yeah, so not the healthiest day of eating, but when you’re sick, anything goes.

Let’s flashback now to earlier this week, when I was myself.

On Wednesday, I had a dinner date with one of my sorority sisters, Taylor, that also happens to be in my business fraternity. I hadn’t seen her in ages it felt, but she happened to transition to vegan eating as well this summer, so we had to catch up and chit chat about vegan stuff. Obviously.

We met in Reston Town Center at SweetGreen, a favorite salad joint. The weather was beautiful, so we naturally had to sit outside. It also happened to be an ideal people watching spot. My favorite.


Yes, that is some falafel in both of our salads!


Afterward, we had to finish off the date with something sweet. Although there are plenty of froyo places in Reston Town Center, Taylor suggested Pitango, a gelato place that I’ve been meaning to try.

I was a little worried that there wouldn’t be any non-dairy flavors, but after talking to Taylor, I decided it was okay to cheat every once in a while. Although I was ready to eat a little dairy, I was pleasantly surprised that Pitango actually had a decent amount of non-dairy flavors and I didn’t have to. Score!

I got the dark chocolate orange. So decadent. So delicious. So worth it.


On Thursday, mid-work day, I went to MOM’s Organic Market with my work friend Paula and good friend Bong.

MOM’s is a whole foods market with a food-making counter. My sorority sister Alex works in that same shopping center and raved about the black bean burger, so I figured I would give it a shot, as it seems like something I would like at a place I would love.


I like this. Food should be naked. No processing, no transformations. You should get it as it comes.


I ordered the black bean burger, that came with guacamole and pretzels and my two gal pals got moaler bowls, which seemed to have a little bit of everything. I will definitely be going back to try more things.


Here’s Paula, the food model, displaying her lovely lunch.


Later that day, I tried a new Larabar flavor: Pecan Pie. It was delicious, but I will still have to say Peanut Butter Cookie still claims my number one flavor spot.


On Friday (dun dun dun dun), I started the day off with a cereal & nut combination with almond milk and cinnamon. The usual combo.


On my way to work and for the first hour or so, I sipped on my very green smoothie. I know it’s half gone in this photo, but the office lighting really accentuates the greenness. And yes, I usually add a few ice cubes when I get to work, as it tends to get a little warmer the longer I don’t drink it.


Very Green Smoothie

  • 1 scoop Plant Fusion chocolate protein powder
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach
  • 8 oz. almond milk
  • Shot of coffee
  • 1 Tb Chia seeds
  • 1 Tb Flax meal
  • Pinch of cinnamon

For lunch, I had a mixed veggie salad (spinach, broccoli, carrots) with balsamic vinaigrette and some cashews. Unfortunately, this girl wasn’t feeling swell enough to try that new Larabar flavor.


Almost immediately after I finished my salad and then ate about 2/3 of my cashews, the nausea began, which brings us back to the beginning of my story (post).

I still need to try the chocolate coconut chew flavor. It’s on my list.

Well luckily, I’m feeling a lot better, but not necessarily up to my full Colleenness. I obviously haven’t been able to work out all weekend, so that’s been a bummer, but I’ll get there. Time is the golden healer.

I just wish I knew what caused it. It still doesn’t make sense to me.

Well I hope all of you had a better, more healthful weekend than I did and are enjoying the remainder of your Sunday.


WIAW: Sweet & Savory Recipe Central

Happy Hump Day! I hope everyone’s weeks have been running smoothly and you all can feel the weekend quickly creeping up on us once again. The best type of creeping!

Since I’ve began my daytime classes and have only been working 3 days a week, I swear my weeks just fly by! I have felt a lot more relaxed since I no longer am taking 2 classes and working full time. I now have more time for me-things (the best things), and isn’t that what summer is about anyways?

Don’t take anything too seriously is what I’m slowly learning to do, or don’t.

Life is made to enjoy, so that’s just what I’m trying to do, starting with some of the food I ate yesterday of quite an enjoyable nature.

Thanks to Peas and Crayons for hosting so graciously, as she does every Wednesday.

I made Peanut Butter Blueberry Banana Muffins yesterday morning, after seeing the recipe on Modern Girl Nutrition‘s blog. WOW! So tasty.


I saw on this recipe that she had scooped some PB on top of the muffin, so I thought I’d do the same. It was a good life decision.


Oh, and don’t think I could only eat just one. I grabbed another for my car ride to work. This time I got adventurous and topped it with almond butter. Also, a great decision.


Peanut Butter Blueberry Banana Muffins

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp each baking powder and baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 mashed banana
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar (honey for non-vegans)
  • 1/4 c. almondmilk
  • 1 big Tb peanut butter
  • 1 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 375. Mix wet ingredients (except blueberries). Mix dry ingredients. Slowly pour dry into wet, mixing until smooth. Make sure PB is evenly dispersed. Then, gently mix in blueberries.  Pour into muffin liners and Bake for about 13 minutes or until done. Top with extra peanut butter and blueberries.

For lunch, I packed a leftover black bean burger in a sandwich along with spinach, tomatoes, portabella mushroom, onions, and hummus on whole grain (vegan-friendly) bread.


Tuesday’s professional attire:


  • BCBG Deep Periwinkle Blue Silky Dress (I got this soph year of HS (>4 years ago). Some pieces just work years later?)
  • Metallic Flats
  • MK Silver-Gold Bracelet Watch
  • Francesca’s Silver Knot Earrings

Since nothing was going on in the Howell Kitchen, I decided to cook up some of my go-to, Quinoa, for dinner.

Spicy Spinach Edamame Quinoa

First things first, garlic: the basis for all things great. I chopped and sauteed some garlic to guarantee some delicious flavor in my dish.


I then added some spinach and edamame to the pan. I would’ve added more spinach, but I sadly finished up the box. These edamame beans took forever to pop through. I had to go through each pod after I had microwaved them in their individual bags and get those little suckers out.


Meanwhile all this sautéing action was going on, I was cooking my quinoa to a perfect al dente. I then added it into the sautéing pan, along with more olive oil. After both pieces were together, I added my spices: chives, red chili powder, ginger, and a pinch of salt (literally).


The addition of the edamame was perfect. The consistencies and textures of both the quinoa and edamame compliment each other very well. And the spinach just kind of blends in, like usual.



I know I haven’t mentioned much about my work outs lately, but rest assure, I’ve been keeping up.

I haven’t done any Bikram Yoga this week, but I’ve been running about 3 miles every morning with floor exercises following that for about 20 minutes, the usual.

I actually have noticed the effects of the yoga from last week though! I feel just a little leaner and a little more toned. Looks like I need to be heading back ASAP. I’ve always heard about the amazing long-term benefits of Bikram, but I’ve never been able to keep with it long enough to experience them. Maybe one day (when I have more $$$). For now, the short term effects will do.


Oh, and incase you forgot, this girl has been vegan for almost three weeks now (with no cheating)! Crazy. I don’t even miss anything. Double crazy.

Well I’m off to start this Econ paper to wrap up my Macroeconomics class. Woohoo!

Chow for now.

Moving Out & Life On the Road

So the title of this blog post may be a bit dramatic, but it got your attention, didn’t it?

No, I did not move out of my parent’s house and am not now living life on the road. I did, however, move out of my old Blacksburg apartment and partially into my new apartment, after traveling to Blacksburg with my fam and my brother’s friend, which presented a few challenges to my diet/exercise regimen, as I assumed it would.

Friday’s lunch at work:

Baked sweet potato w/ almond butter & walnuts, watermelon, bell peppers & hummus


I got off early from work, as I do every other Friday, and hurried home to get my last minute things together for the trip. When I arrived home, my dad, mom, brother and his friend were ready and waiting for me to get on the road. I zipped up my suitcase, packed my to-go bag, filled up my Camelbak and grabbed an apple and Belvita wafers. Good thing too because this trip took way longer than usual.

We finally arrived to Blacksburg late Friday night, after loads of traffic, pit stops, and dropping little Hudson pup off at a family friend’s.

The next morning, after convincing my carnivorous dad, brother and his friend for what seemed like hours the night before, we went to Gillie’s for breakfast, the amazing little vegetarian restaurant in downtown Blacksburg.

I knew they would have food I could eat and enjoy with the rest of the group.

So Saturday’s breakfast consisted of steel cut oats w/ cinnamon, brown sugar and walnuts with one buckwheat pancake (prepared vegan). I also got coffee w/ soy milk! <–you think an ordinary breakfast joint would accommodate with soy milk? I think not.


After lots of packing up, boxing, and moving around, we decided to call it quits for the day and go river tubing, as the day was too beautiful to waste.

BUT before we headed to the New River, we filled up our bellies with lunch from Chipotle, a favorite. Did you know that if you don’t get meat in your burrito/bowl, then you get guac for free? (Veg perk!)


After a relaxing float down the river, we grabbed some dinner. Although we had just had Mexican for lunch, everyone seemed to want to go to Mariachi’s, another Blacksburg Mexican restaurant, for Saturday’s dinner.

I ordered the Veggie Fajitas! It came with steaming sauteed peppers, onions, and zucchini with black beans, rice, guacamole, pico de gallo, lettuce and corn tortillas (flour tortilla alternative). Unfortunately for me, they poured sour cream on top, so I gave it to my brother and tried not to eat that part (not-so vegan).


When we arrived back to my apartment after dinner, the sun was starting to set and I couldn’t help but take in the beautiful view from the third floor of my apartment building. I’m definitely going to miss this.


Sunday morning arrived and the crew actually split up for breakfast. The boys apparently “needed” their meat and my mom and I were completely happy with going to Gillie’s for the second time. I ordered the steel cut oats once again with my soy coffee and was one happy camper. My mom got the french toast on a baguette with strawberries. I just love how fresh everything is from Gillie’s! It’s most definitely a new favorite.

We headed back to my apartment and began moving all of the boxes down to the trailer my dad had attached to the back of his truck for us to move my stuff from one side of the apartment complex to the other. What an odd move LOL.

Here was my room almost completely packed. So bittersweet.


Here was the super helpful trailer we used.


And my lovely moving committee. Plus my amazing unpictured parents.


Once we finished moving my stuff from my old apartment to my new apartment, we were off! But not until after we made a routine stop to the campus bookstore. The boys needed the experience and my parent’s were on the look out for gifts. While I was there, I snagged the orange, maroon and white effect t-shirts for all the football games this season. So excited!

When we finally got on the road, it was noon and we hadn’t eaten since breakfast. I had a feeling this road trip would involve fast food that would leave me a little bitter. I also didn’t have the resources to pack snacks beforehand to avoid the situation.

I was right. We stopped at a small family restaurant in Lexington, VA to grab a bite to eat. Being in such a rural area at such a quiet, blast from the past restaurant, I was almost certain there wouldn’t be something I could/would be willing to eat.

I could have gotten a side of cooked mushy veggies or a stale salad that I had seen on other’s plates, but it didn’t seem worth it to me. Some may see it as being stubborn, but I just really wasn’t digging the whole environment. I didn’t want anything from that kitchen. First off, everyone there was geriatric and nearly silent. All the wait staff smelled like smoke and the facility looked as though it hadn’t been updated in 50 years. Second off, most everything on their menu was fried or had some type of thick cream sauce, so naturally, everyone ordered something of that nature. No thank you.

When the food was served, it looked like they had just zapped it in the microwave. I was so content not having ordered at that point.

Experiences like this make me realize even more that I need to live in an in-the-know, urbanized environment. A place where people are educated on the latest and greatest and value their health and the foods they put into their body.

I luckily had picked up some snacks earlier at a Sheetz gas stop. The PB pretzels held me over for a little while until we got home.


After that rather unpleasant experience in Lexington, I was ready to get back to my wholesome, fresh eating.

For dinner, my mom made black bean burgers and my dad and I went out to Whole Foods to get some quick things. It was so, so refreshing to be surrounded with so many wholesome, super foods in such a health-friendly environment. I LOVE that place.

We picked up some whole grain seed filled rolls to eat the black bean burgers with.


And some Asian ginger salad from the plentiful Whole Foods veg bar. I was so inspired checking out all of the different combinations of different grains, seeds, legumes and veggies. I have so many ideas just from that alone.


Black Bean Burgers:

  • 16 oz can of black beans (drained & rinsed)
  • 1/2 green bell pepper
  • 1/2 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic  (peeled)
  • 1 egg (we used 1/2 avocado)
  • 1 tb chili powder
  • 1 tb cumin
  • 1 tsp Thai chili sauce
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs (we used flax bran flakes)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly oil baking sheet. In a medium bowl, mash black beans with a fork until thick and pasty. In a food processor, finely chop bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Then stir into mashed beans. In a small bowl, stir together egg (avocado), chili powder, cumin, and chili sauce. Spread the egg (avocado) mixture over the mashed beans. Pour in breadcrumbs (flax bran flakes) until the mixture is sticky and holds together. divide mixture in 4 patties. Place on baking sheet and bake 10 minutes on each side.

We also picked up some fresh produce, a loaf of vegan-friendly bread, and some more Larabars! Score. My dad seemed to be getting pretty interested in stocking up on some specialty health foods. I was a fan.

Expect to be seeing some of those in future posts!

All in all, traveling will always present challenges in your diet. The best solution is to be prepared, but when preparation falls short, make do with what you can. Sometimes, yes, it sucks, but keep in mind, the way you’re eating will pay off for you in the end.

This was my first road trip as a vegan and I will definitely say I had a few hard times, but it wasn’t all too bad. My best tip would be to always look up the menu online of a restaurant you go to beforehand to plan out what you can get or if you can even get anything. Encourage the group of people you’re with to decide on a place, rather than going somewhere spur of the moment. This way, you can make your own arrangements.

Chow! Hope to see ya soon!

More Bikram for Me

Since I’ve purchased my unlimited Bikram Yoga class beginner week, you better believe I’ve used it!


Technically I’m not a beginner, but more like a begin-again-er. I think we all can relate.

I feel like every time I go, I am able to handle the practice that much better, without too much correction from the instructor. I always seem to be a favorite to point out and correct in class, I’ve noticed. Maybe it’s because I’m tall, usually wear bright colors, and have a huge knob of a bun on top of my head always, or maybe I’m just a favorite ;).

I will tell you, 26 poses in 90 minutes will be sure to wear you out. There’s no question there.

Post-class Colleen (After I’ve been towel dried…)


I found this online and it all made sense. This is why it’s all worth it (plus many more!).


Here was my post yoga shake! I would call it a green-almond-coconut-choco-shake? (The spinach & cinnamon are missing from the pic, sorry!)


For lunch on Wednesday, I whipped up a little mixture of some different yumz I found around the house.

First, I sauteed chickpeas, mushrooms and tomatoes in balsamic vinegar and olive oil.


Then I laid out a bed of spinach leaves, with some more balsamic!


Then I placed the sauteed fixings onto the spinach. It was quite tasty indeed.


For breakfast this morning, I had some Peanut butter Puffins cereal with walnuts, almonds, and cinnamon with almond milk.


For lunch today, I packed a baked sweet potato, alongside almond butter and walnuts with a spinach salad and balsamic vinegar (in the blue container).


I had seen others post about the sweet potato/nut butter combo and knew it sounded like something I would love, and right I was. This combo was amazing! I felt like I was eating a dessert.

Today’s professional attire:

(Again, sorry about the poor quality!)


  • Express White Ruffly Blouse
  • BGD Dark Coral “Cigarette” Pants <–favorite pants! I have 3 colors (Urban Outfitters)
  • Nude Skinny Belt (Target)
  • Patent Leather Nude Round Pointed Flats
  • MK Silver-Gold Bracelet Watch
  • Small Pearl Stud Earrings

Well I’m off to another Bikram Yoga sesh, sadly my last of the week.

I am leaving for Blacksburg tomorrow around 3 PM, after my “early-off Friday,” with my family and one of my brother’s friends, to move out of my old apartment and into my new apartment. This will involve carrying a heavy bedroom set, along with a boatload of other things, down three floors and up three floors. Yeah…hence why my brother’s friend was invited. We will be needing all the help we can get!

I think I know where my workout on Saturday will be coming from.

Have a fabulous weekend all!

WIAW: Living On the Edge

Good morning everyone!

This morning began a little later than usual because I decided I needed a little rest for my tired bod. Who’d of thought? Mornings runs and evening Bikram Yoga sessions have made me just a little more exhausted than I had anticipated.

I’m currently writing from my bedroom and about to head downstairs to whip up some breakfast, my forever favorite meal, and then head downstairs to take my virtual 9 AM wednesday class.

My Econ instructor decided that since Wednesday is quiz day, it makes more sense to lecture from the remote class session and then release the online quiz. Hey, I’m not complaining. College in your PJ’s isn’t a bad deal. Wasn’t there a super ridiculous commercial for that?

Here were some of my eats yesterday, going with today’s theme.

This was actually a little snacker platter I had on Monday that I thought I’d include.

We have some fiber from the bell pepper, carbohydrates from the pretzel thins, protein from the hummus and the almonds, calcium from the almonds, and also iron from the hummus (muscle juice!). Perfect balance.


Tuesday morning’s green smoothie

(Plant Fusion Chocolate Protein Powder, Spinach, Coffee, Almond Milk, Chia, Flax, Cinnamon, Ice)


My lovely work friend, Paula, and I went out to lunch at…you would never guess it…

Cava Mezze! Hey, when I like something, I like it, and I stick with it.


Aren’t we just precious? 🙂


I actually tried falafel for the first time yesterday. I’ve always eyed it in the protein section, but could never commit when the chicken always looks so yummy and is always a safe bet. This whole vegan thing has definitely got me living a little more on edge though, so falafel is just what I ordered.

P.S. I did not eat that flatbread tortilla or whatever it’s called. White flour=not my style.


Short WIAW commercial break!

Tuesday’s professional attire


  • Forever 21 Plum Slouchy Bow Tank
  • Express Editor Gray Skirt
  • Metallic Flats
  • MK Silver-Gold Bracelet Watch
  • Chinese Boutique Silver Pearls bracelet
  • J. Crew Gray Layered Necklace
  • Francesca’s Silver Knot Earrings


Yes, I finally snagged a cool back pic.

Keep in mind, taking pictures of myself in the office bathroom is not the most comfortable situation, so appreciate the “style” section of this blog to the best of your ability.

If I could slip into a private fashion studio to snap a pic mid-work day, you know I would.

Here were the snacks for the remainder of the work day Tuesday. Gotta stay content. You can never be too prepared for what your stomach might be feeling.


Again, I LOVED the Larabar. New favorite bar? I’m thinking so.

Tuesday’s dinner had to be light because I was heading to Bikram Yoga with my old cheer friend, Kayla, at 8 PM and it was already 6:30 PM.

I quickly devoured some of my mom’s delicious Baked Eggplant w/ Homemade Tomato Sauce.


Sorry about the shadowing. iPhone’s don’t make for the best blogtography, but it’s the best I have for now. BUT there’s always room for improvement in the camera world. Mom? Dad? 😉

Well I plan on getting some homework done today after class and attending another Bikram Yoga session tonight.

I’m out. Bounce.

The Big V Decision

So I said I would decide whether I would be continuing the vegan diet or going back to my fish/chicken/dairy/egg ways after my vegan week experiment was over, and I’ve concluded that…

*drum roll*

I will be staying vegan! At least for a little while.

I’m not making any permanent decisions, but for right now, it just seems like the best choice for the reasons I listed in my previous post.

Plus, I truly haven’t found it that challenging, so why not? If I can make a small contribution to improving the world by changing the food that’s on my plate, then why wouldn’t I?

Here have been some of my vegan foodz the past couple of days!

My summer staple and love, watermelon!


Oh my goodness gracious, I tried my first Larabar and was in love! It was oh so tasty. I even tried a portion of it heated up for 12 seconds like I was instructed to by other Larabar lovers, and that too was delicioso.


Although they are quite a bit of calories, I love that these bars have all natural, simple ingredients with such a great flavor. Remember– Calories aren’t everything, people! It’s the nutritional value you are getting from them that counts.


On Saturday night, my mom made an Asian Veggie Stir Fry w/ Tofu.


On Sunday night, we concocted Garlic Mashed Cauliflower, and we loved it. Minus the fact that my mom put in one or three too many garlic cloves…

Oh, and notice the mint in my fancy water glass. Yeah, that was all my mom. It was a nice little refresher from all that garlic though!


I liked it so much, I snagged a little for my Camelbak.


Later Sunday night, I had some of this Hibiscus Blueberry Tea. It had such a nice flavor and was so perfect right before bed.


This morning’s workout:

  • 2 mile run (interval)
  • 150 ab exercises (sets of 25)
  • Planks

I went easy on myself this morning because I was anticipating going to another Bikram Yoga session tonight, but ended up not being able to go. That’s okay. I’ll make it up to myself tomorrow, I’m sure.

Today’s work out attire:

I was very watermelon-y and matchy today, as you can see. From the tank to the shorts, from the sneaks to the socks.


Green Breakfast Smoothie


The smoothie was a little too chunky in my opinion, but the flavor was awesome.

  • Spinach
  • Granny smith apples
  • Frozen banana
  • Frozen strawberries
  • Orange
  • Coconut water

In class today…

I tried yet another new bar- the KIND bar. Again, SO good! And I just love how limited the ingredients are.


Another yummy snack– my lovely steel cut oats. Fab tasting, fab for you. Where can you go wrong?


Since I started up with My Music Monday, I figured I should stick with it. Thoughts on starting a theme-hosting for it (or whatever it’s called)?

So, this has been my favorite song to listen to lately. I feel like it’s a pretty reflection-worthy song about growing up and all that jazz, so it’s pretty relatable I would say. AND it’s Avicii. Everyone loves Avicii.

Well I’m off to start getting ready for bed. I think it’s gonna be an early one tonight, my favorite.


Getting Vegucated + Bikram Yoga

Happy Saturday! Welcome to the weekend!

So at this point in my vegan week journey, I knew I’d either be counting down the days until the end of this dairy-less, egg-less, meat-less haul or be getting happily acquainted with this new way of vegified-eating.

Turns out…I like it.

I feel that there are two main reasons behind the vegan movement. 1 being health and 2 being ethics and the good of the environment.

After seeing Forks Over Knives, I was reminded of the endless benefits of a plant-based diet and was informed of shocking health statistics you would have to see to believe.

After watching Vegucated (last night), I have been reminded of the absolute horror that is the livestock industry and the immense amount of carbon emissions the livestock industry releases each year (more than the transportation industry, people!).

I was also reminded that oh hey our population is growing by a lot, and our resources are diminishing by a lot, so like umm where does that leave us? Yeah, good question. If we continue to consume the way we do now (especially in America), we are done for. A change needs to happen.

You want to do something about this you say?

Eat less meat. That’s what the top man of the world’s largest organization dealing with climate change, the IPCC Chair, Rajendra Pauchari said.


I was shocked that some of the most brilliant minds of all time have either been vegetarian or vegan. Something tells me they had good reasoning for it too.


Here have been some of my vegan eats over the past couple of days. Secret: I’ve loved everything.


Green Mocha Monster


These shakes never fail to calm me during my morning time commute.


Almond Mocha Monster

  • 1 scoop Plant Fusion chocolate protein powder
  • 5 oz. coconut milk
  • 5 oz. almond milk
  • 2 tb almond butter
  • 1 large handful of spinach
  • Shot of black coffee
  • 1 tb chia seeds
  • 1 tb flax meal
  • Pinch of cinnamon



These two days’ lunches look about the same, and I enjoyed every similar bite of each.

  • Quinoa’d Veggies
  • Raw almonds
  • Granny smith apple
  • Almond butter
  • Vega One chocolate almond nutrition bar (amazing!)


  • Quinoa’d Veggies w/ black beans
  • Red bell pepper slices
  • Hummus
  • Chile chile apple
  • Almond butter
  • Coll Balls



Zucchini Flats Over Black Beans


Portabella Mushroom Pizzas (1/2 Caprese, 1/2 Peppers/Onions)


Vegan alternative item: Vegan mozzarella cheese (soy product)

It was more like a soft tofu than a cheese consistency, in my opinion. Not gonna lie, real mozzarella would have made this dish that much more tasty, but we did with what we could and the flavor was still phenomenal.


Watermelon, watermelon, and more watermelon!


Well I’ve been meaning to get back into yoga lately and I figured what better timing than while also changing my eating habits? Mind, body, and spirit, right?

I just got back from the 10 AM Bikram Yoga session with my good friend, ZTA sis, and prime workout buddy, Kendall! It was just as challenging and physically demanding as I had remembered. You push so hard, focus so hard and give your all for 90 minutes in a 110-112 degree room, and afterward, you feel so incredible.

For those of you that don’t know, Bikram Yoga is a yoga practice that consists of 26 poses, half standing, half sitting. Bikram yoga is practiced in a heated room to relax the muscles and warm the body, to allow for the deepest stretch possible. It’s known to be one of the most challenging forms of yoga, but comes with tremendous rewards for your body and health.


Anyways, I was a little rusty, but still remembered the jist of all of the poses. I did unfortunately get more lightheaded than I had remembered feeling in previous classes. Part of me thinks I’m just out of practice, the other part thinks it was a lack of proper hydration, which is so key in preparing your body for this class, considering how much water you lose via sweat. Anyone who has taken a class can attest to this: you feel like you’re in the shower. Yes, you are that wet.

When I’m doing it, there’s a part of me that hates it with a passion. I’m pretty sure majority of the class also has these feelings halfway through. Then, you finish class, feel so fit, so zen, and accomplished and start thinking about the next class you will come to. Craziness.

Well I’m off to do some Econ homework and hopefully get a little relaxing in as well.

Enjoy your weekends & make healthful decisions for you and for our world!

Chow for now!

WIAW: Coll Balls & Quinoa’d Veggies

Happy WIAW all!

Thanks Peas & Crayons for hosting!

Breakfast was the cereal combination I had on Monday morning.

My late morning snack was watermelon, mid 100 question Econ quiz. I kind of just cut and threw them on this platter. It was timed.


Lunch today consisted of yesterday’s Chickpea Spinach Burgers. So amazing.

I paired the burger with cherry tomatoes, baby spinach, and placed it between a whole wheat sandwich thin spread with garlic roasted hummus. A little sweet potato made it’s way on my plate as well.


This is what it looked like half way through. I figured you could get a better idea of what it actually looked like once it was all put together and from the eater’s point of view.


Side note: I had a dentist appointment today for my 6 month cleaning, and my dentist may or may not have told me I should considering becoming a dentist, because he thinks I’d make a great one. 🙂 #lifemade

It could be because I always ask a million questions about everything every time I’m there, or because he simply sees a dentist sparkle in me. Either or.

Did you know the hard white build up that typically forms behind your teeth is called “calculus?” Most don’t. It’s a combination of plaque and saliva. Those that salivate more have more calculus (P.S. fiber rich diets cause increased salivation). Since I was so concerned, he recommended I get a scraper from CVS and take care of this calculus myself between the 6 months. He even gave me lessons and let me try scraping with a model mouth. Some call it a dentist appointment, I call it a dentistry lesson. 😉

Since my mom was whining that I hadn’t saved any Coll Balls for her when I made them on Monday, I made another batch up. What a princess. I guess this would qualify as our afternoon snack.


Coll Balls

You can really put whatever your heart desires in here, as long as they stick together. This is my basic ball though:

  • 1.5 cup rolled oats (sometimes I do half rolled, half steel cut)
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar (or honey)
  • Handful of nuts (I used sliced almonds & walnuts)
  • 2 tb chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup flax meal
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

Just mix it all together in a bowl with a spoon. Form balls. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Eat.

For dinner, we had a quinoa veggie dish on the schedule, so I had a faint idea of what I’d be making…

Since this is one of my favorite dishes and most popular at school, I figured I would walk you all through the process. On Sundays at school, I make a huuuge batch of this to last me through the week. Just heat and eat OR go the cool route. Quinoa’s versatility is really quite spectacular.

Gather all your veggies and herbs! Big and tall, smelly or slimy, they’re all invited. I usually just use whatever I have in my apartment or house, but today I used mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, yellow tomatoes, white onion, green bell pepper, baby spinach, garlic cloves, and fresh basil.


Do a little choppity-chopping. I swear this part takes the longest.


Boil your pot of water. Pour your uncooked quinoa in. Today, I used 4 cups, which will last me at least a week. Immediately after, place your veggies in a large fry pan with olive oil on medium heat. Continuously stir both the quinoa in the pot and veggies in the pan.


You can tell the veggies are ready when the mushrooms, onions and garlic start to slightly brown, and the tomatoes, peppers and spinach start to shrivel. I personally just know it’s ready when the garlic aroma gets to a certain level. The nose always knows.

People have different preferences when it comes to quinoa doneness, just like pasta. I prefer it al dente, so when I reheat it later, it’s not mushy.

But when the veggies and quinoa are both done, drain the quinoa and put it in the pan with the sauteed veggies.


Mix them together. I usually add a little more olive oil at this point, along with some cracked  pepper and a little Italian seasoning. My mom suggested I add fresh squeezed lemon juice, so I did just that.

This part is easy. Serve and eat.


Vegan week update:

I still feel the same. I don’t feel like I’ve had to alter my eating too much at all. The only things I’ve felt like I’ve been missing out on are sweets, which is totally fine. Knowing my sweet tooth, that’s for the best anyways. Birthday cake at work, a cookie cake at home, no chocolate chips in my Coll Balls…I’m not even bitter. I find myself grabbing fruit when I want something sweet instead. OR now a Coll Ball. It’s worked well.

And yes, my energy level is still the same in my workouts. I can’t say I feel as though I have more energy, but I’m definitely able to keep up just as well as I did before.

I have noticed that after-meal bloating has gone away. In general, my meals have made me feel lighter in comparison. It’s as if I’m a feather verging on floating away. Lol jk, but really, it’s a good, satisfying feeling. I’m just always so content afterwards.

Alright, well I hope that WIAW helped ya c-how-i-do. 😉