Healthy Balance, Healthy Life

I’ve followed and looked up to Caitlin from since I entered the world of blogging and twitter in July (only 4 months ago!). When I woke up yesterday morning I never would have guessed that I would be eating dinner that night in Burlington with her! I think it was fate (I say that half jokingly) because I usually wouldn’t be in Burlington until much later on Wednesdays. I usually have my internship but this particular Wednesday I didn’t go! Meant to beee!

F.A.T.E. Caption later.  Photo by Telle Delvo.  • The Bipolar Child

Here’s a picture I got from because I don’t have any pics for this post it’s pretty

Here’s how it all went down. I spent yesterday cleaning the kitchen and doing school work. Around 4:30ish, I had a quick and early dinner of quinoa with zucchini and broccoli slaw drizzled with sesame oil and topped with several grinds of steak seasoning (I loooove spices), which includes dried onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and paprika. I had a meeting for a group project at 7:30 and I was planning on finishing a paper and going for a run at the gym before getting to the meeting. That’s when I got an email from Caitlin asking if I wanted to meet for dinner and to call her. I took a double take. Whaaaaaaaaat?! Obviously a paper and a run were no longer top priorities. I immediately called her and we settled on American Flatbread. Thirty minutes later, there I was sitting with Caitlin already chatting away while simultaneously watching her take pictures of everything. A real blogger! After enjoying a salad and stealing a piece of a flatbread special she got with spiced pumpkin sauce (mmm!) off I went to my meeting still in awe of what had just happened.

What amazed me the most, other than the fact that this was a completely last minute thing that was not in any way planned, is how much you really do know someone just by following their blog or on twitter. Caitlin and I talked about how people who don’t follow blogs and/or are not on twitter don’t realize that this stuff is real! The relationships are real, the content of the posts are real, and the people are real. For me, the appeal of healthy living blogs (and just blogs in general) is that you see ordinary people doing amazing things! If they can do it, I can do it. Not only is it motivating but you can form a relationship with bloggers and readers as well. I’d rather get my health tips from real people than celebrities I can’t relate to any day!

Saying Images-Amazing Images With Inspired Sayings - Part 6 picture on VisualizeUs

Also from Also something I believe in (you can’t help what you feel). Also adorable.

Imagination Exists (When I Am Bored)

I also like this.

All of this talk about blogging has gotten me inspired to get back into it. Since grad school started, I haven’t made it a priority. Those days are over, though—I’M BAAACK! (I should probably start bringing my camera places, huh? No more cell phone pictures!) I have officially bought the domain name I’ll let you know when it’s all set up! :)

What are your favorite blogs? Let’s get a good list up here and share the bloggin’ love! Caitlin asked me what blogs I follow and I mentioned some of my faves. Caitlins, of course, as well as,, and my most recent find

I’m going to Connecticut this weekend for an early Thanksgiving meal with my dad’s side of the family. I told them I’d bring dessert so I whipped up some yummy buttery sugar cookies. No, they’re not healthy. But I’ve made them less bad-for-you with a little help from my friends. Want to meet them?

Mr. Arthur

Suga suga

Mrs. Balance

Here’s What You Need:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter at room temp (I zapped my sticks for 30 seconds to soften them up quickly)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour

What You Do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or Silpat
  3. If you want to be a pro, measure out flour sift the flour into a bowl and set aside (I’d rather have one less bowl to clean than be a pro so I skipped this part)
  4. Cream butter and sugar together with an electronic mixer
  5. Add the vanilla
  6. Add the flour slowly
  7. Roll 3/4 tablespoons of dough into balls and flatten before placing on the cookie sheet
  8. Bake for 8-10 minutes (took me 9) until the edges turn a slight golden brown.
  9. Cool on a wire rack (if you have one! I’m not that sophisticated yet so I used the rack in my toaster oven!)

Cream of butter and sugar <3

aerial view of the sugar babies. The cookies got bigger as I went!

I know I didn't need another picture of them but I like this view

Poor (but creative!) student's cooling rack :)

Nom nom nom. Of course I tried them. Really yummy. I think I’m experiencing a sugar coma now, though. I mayyyyy have had a ton of dough–luckily there’s no salmonella risk in this recipe!

Happy Friday!

Hey all,

Second day blogging in a row–woot! I have a ton of things to do but I think I may be more energized and focused after some writing, so here I am!

After graduating from Muhlenberg College this past spring, I moved to Burlington to live with the boy and start my MSW program. Since moving in, sprucing up and decorating the apartment has taken up a big chunk of my time. This summer I completely revamped an old dresser I bought for $50 at a thrift store and I painted every room in the apartment except for the kitchen (I’m waiting on new shelving before I do that). Recently we’ve added some more furniture, rugs, and some decorations. Here’s where we’re at!

The bedroom

Paintings I did. Inspired by Georgia OKeefe

More bed room, featuring the dresser I refurbished

Living Room. P.S. my mom got that chair for free!

Since we don’t have side tables or a coffee table, I made a tray that matches the decor in the living room which we can place in the center of the couch and put food, drinks, and anything else on. I purchased an unfinished wooden tray from a craft store, painted it a beige color and then hot glued blue patterned paper onto the bottom. I sealed the wood and paper with polyurethane so that it would be water resistant (it’s not water proof but stains can be cleaned off with a sponge). Here’s the finished product!

Above my desk in the office (featuring adaptable vision boards)

Shelves I made out of snowboards in the office

The bathroom isn’t too exciting but you can see pictures of it here.

As I mentioned, I’m waiting on some new cabinets for the kitchen. In January my landlord is having wooden cabinets put in. This will be a welcome change from the dirty, dented, metal cabinets from the 70s that we have now! After that I’m going to paint the kitchen blue! I’ll document it all :)

And noooooooow lettuce-less salad!

During a break in class earlier this week, I was craving salad. I mentioned it to one of my friends in the program and she said “go with it!”–my thoughts exactly! I enjoyed a small garden salad with italian dressing both days of class this week (monday and tuesday) and then I made myself a lettuce-less salad for dinner last night and had the same for lunch today! I got the idea for lettuce-less salad from Julie at When I saw the lettuce-less salads she was making I really thought she was onto something. Lettuce is FINE with me but it’s kind of boring…and I don’t want to waste money on boring things! So I whipped this concoction up last night.

In the mix: black beans, broccoli slaw, julienned zucchini, chopped cucumber, chopped green pepper, and adzuki, pea and lentil seeds + italian dressing.

Got this for less than 2 bucks! Good deal for 7 grams of protein in a one cup, 89 calorie serving!

I’m on a salad binge and I’m lovin’ it! ;)

What’s your favorite salad concoction?

Talk to y’all soon!

Hey guys. I know it’s been SO long since I’ve posted. My other domain still isn’t ready and, to be honest, I’m not pushing it because I’m so busy with my first semester of grad school! As crazy busy as I am, I’ve managed to do some fun things in the past few months. Since one post of everything I’ve been up to is too intimidating, I’m going to break it down into separate, themed posts that I’ll slowly write! First up, RUNNING!

I’ve run my first organized races ever in three consecutive weekends in a row in September.

I started with Laura’s March, a very informal 5k on a flat course next to Lake Champlain, and I ran it with Carrie. Easy peasy–I’m used to that distance!

The next weekend, I ran Warrior Dash with boyfriend, a 3.23 mile obstacle course on Windham Mountain in New York.

Psyched to begin! (I'm on the left)

Unfortunately there is no warm up for this particular Warrior Dash. There is no picture of me 30 seconds after this but if there was it would be of me with a pained look on my face walking up the side of the mountain. The boy and I walked quite a bit of the first two miles that went straight up the mountain. Coming down was much easier as we had gravity, and a ton of momentum from the incline, on our sides. We went through tons of obstacles–jumping over hurdles, climbing up a cargo net, running through tires, and then we jumped over fire.


After our fire-y leap


and then we army crawled through mud under barbed wire

and got a little muddy...

but we did it! (I dislike the bottom portion of this picture because it shows my sway back, which I'm working to correct! More on that later.)

After running a little over three miles up and down a ski mountain, I thought that the 10k (in downtown Burlington) I was planning on running with Carrie the next weekend would be easy peasy.

I was right for many reasons: All I had to do was run– there were no obstacles and little incline. I also had Carrie with me which helped keep us motivated. We were very positive and proud of ourselves.

I was wrong for one reason: I had never run six miles outside with no breaks. I had run that many miles on a treadmill but running on a treadmill is very different from running outside. On a treadmill you can control the incline and you don’t have to worry about wind and weather. I felt great until the last mile of the race. I was pretty much dying. My legs and butt were stiff and achey and I wanted to quit. If it weren’t for people cheering me on and Carrie’s support, I don’t know if I would have been able to finish! Another thing that helped a ton was that I didn’t allow a negative thought to take up space in my head. Any time a negative thought came, I dismissed it and verbally thought of something positive to think or say to Carrie. We really worked off of each other’s positivity. I think that staying positive is what made me decide to sprint the last leg of the race, even if I wasn’t to enthralled to do so. The last part of the race was down the center of Church Street, the big marketplace in Burlington, VT. The center was clear for the runners and people were cheering on the sides. At the end was the finish of the race. I don’t think I’ll ever forget what it felt like to sprint down the street with people cheering, knowing I just ran my first challenging race. When Carrie and I finished, we were so happy that we finished. We were so happy that we ran ten minute miles in our first race (6.2 miles in 62 minutes) but most of all we were amazed that we had run non-stop for over an hour. Such an accomplishment! :) We immediately wanted to sign up for another race. The post-race feeling is addicting!


We did it!

We haven’t yet signed up for another race together. Grad school is just too much for me to plan anything like that. I am, however, signed up for a 5k Turkey Trot/Fun Run that I’m doing with my mom and brother (who are not runners) on Thanksgiving day in Maryland!

So, in addition to all this, the boy has also started joining me on some of my runs. I hope this sticks! He was the one who got me into running in the first place. He was on track and cross country in high school and I would tag along when he did his informal summer training runs. Since college, though, he’s been way less active. This past Sunday I made him bundle up and get his butt outside with me for a run. We did two miles and I’m proud of him!


Bundling up means letting go of style. I kind of like this athletic-geek-chic look though!

I’m still running on my own, too. As much as I love running with other people, running is my therapy and it’s something that I do for myself. I’ve cut down on the frequency of my runs since starting grad school because I’m just so overloaded with work. Recently, I’ve made the conscious decision to change that. Since I am so stressed I need these runs more than ever. It’s amazing how different I’ve felt since going back to my schedule of running every other day. I have so much more energy, I’m less stressed, more positive, and more present in my everyday life. Running, I love you!

And new music helps re-energize my runs. When I made the decision to go back to my usual frequent running routine I decided that my library needed some new tunes. I checked out Lululemon’s 10k Running Playlist and downloaded Fly Like a G6 by Far East Movement, Club Can’t Handle Me Right Now by Flo Rida, One by Swedish House Mafia (love love love this) from that list in addition to Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” because it’s so fun and upbeat. I’m also planning on downloading Will.I.Am and Niki Minaj’s “Check it Out”. It uses a portion of “TV Killed the Radio Star” and has an awesome beat for pacing. I think it’d be perfect for the warm up portion of my runs.

What songs do you love to run to?

It feels really good to be back, both to running and to blogging.

Hello Loyal Readers :)

Just wanted to let you all know I’m sorry for the lack of posts lately. I have a TON to write about but I’ve been busy working on my new domain for this blog (you’ll find out what it is soon enough!).

I’ll let you know when the new domain is up and ready and send you all there!

So I wasn’t really into the Jillian Michaels brownies I made :( . Quite sad, I was hoping for a good healthy brownie! Other people who have tried this have liked it, though. Both blogger, Pretend Cook, and one of the teenage foster girls I work with really liked them so maybe my taste buds are just on strike.

Sad, they look so good. What a tease!

For dinner I made Garlic-Chile Flank Steak, originally from Eating Well Magazine. It was REALLY good and I didn’t over cook it (this is a big deal for me with steak)!

Steak and veggies

Tender + Juicy = Eat Me!

Did you notice the lack of potatoes to go with my steak and the massive amounts of green on my plate? I hope so! I’m working on eating the right portions so I’ve decided to do two things for every plate of dinner I eat:

  1. At least half of it will be filled with veggies
  2. The other half will be home to the animal protein and grain.
  3. Each serving of meat I eat will be no larger than a deck of cards (which is the recommended portion size)

These rules are pretty easy to follow and they really do help me get the amount of each type of nutrient I’m supposed to have. Some grains and protein and lots and lots of veggies! I’m lucky I’ve always been a vegetable lover!

Questions for You:

Do you like veggies? If so, what’s your favorite veggie dish and how do you make it? If you don’t like veggies, how do you find ways to sneak them into your diet?

You May be Interested in:

Making Sense of Portion Sizes –

The WebMD Portion Size Plate

How to Avoid Portion Size Pitfalls to Help Manage Your Weight – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

10 Ways to Control Portions –

Soooo I definitely just a quarter of a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips and I could have gone for more if it weren’t for my self control. What is it about mother nature’s monthly “gift” that makes me ravenous for chocolate?

You might be surprised to hear this, I don’t feel guilty at all. Why? Because sometimes we should relax and give into our cravings. Let me rephrase, in my opinion, we should give in sometimes. Some people can be so strict with themselves but I’m not that girl. My eating philosophy is to find the healthiest possible way to get what I want and when there isn’t a healthier substitute and you just have to have it, HAVE IT! Just don’t go crazy and don’t beat yourself up afterwards (there’s no point). Enjoy your indulgences. Savor them. and then continue on with your healthy eating plan. Eat as healthy as possible most of the time so you can give in sometimes. I think being to hard on yourself 24/7 will only frustrate you and set you up for failure. A healthy lifestyle is about give and take and moderation. And sometimes, you just have to have moderation in moderation (translation: pig out sometimes!).

And get this. My chocolate binge is NOT over yet! I’m planning on baking Jillian Michaels’ recipe for healthy brownies tonight (86 calories each, my friends!). I’m really picky about brownies; they have to be fudgy, moist, and chocolate-y so we’ll see how this goes. Pictures to come!

Oh and thanks, Mother Nature, for inspiring the chocolate therapy! ;)

Looks Like Craving Chocolate Aint so Bad. Articles You May Enjoy:

Health Benefits of Chocolate – About. com

Sweet Science: The Health Benefits of Chocolate –

Heart-Health Benefits of Chocolate Unveiled – Cleveland Clinic


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I am a 22 year old social work graduate student living in beautiful Burlington, Vermont. I love do-it-yourself projects, being active, and cooking delicious, healthy food! Feel free to leave comments or email me at You can also anonymously ask me questions at I would love to hear from you!

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