A Day At The Ocean.

There’s just something magical about the ocean.

Life can (and most certainly does!) get messy, crazy, silly, outrageous.

It doesn’t matter.  The ocean waves go on.  The seagulls cry, the sun shines, the sand still sinks beneath my toes.

The ocean reminds me that life is, in the midst of all the messiness, quite beautiful.

Without getting into too many details, there are some major changes going on at my current job.  And instead of being calm and cool about it all, I literally feel as if I’m being pulled at the seams.

I like to think I’m totally adaptable.  That I’m ready for anything that comes my way.  And while that may be partially true, I also thrive on knowing exactly where my next step will fall.

I don’t like surprises and I really enjoy some level of certainty.

But none of my worries or fears seemed to matter all that much, as I stood there staring the ocean waves directly in the face.

What was it that I was so worried about again?

I was reminded of how silly it is to fret.  Reminded of how big and powerful God is.  Reminded of how lovely life is.  Reminded of how small this little fear actually was.

So I breathed in deeply.  And then I let it all out.  I stared into the deep blue ocean waves and I decided there and then that I was going to trust God completely, as I’ve always done in the past.  Why?  Because He has always taken my hand and brought me gently across the crashing waves.  And I’m always stronger once I get to the other side.

Always.

The ocean means a lot to me.  It’s one of my most favorite places on earth.

Not only because I always get a great workout in from walking through the sand (hello, sore calves!)  Or because I get to indulge in my most favorite foods…

…hello, lobster roll!

But also because of how good I feel after I leave.

Mentally.

Physically.

Spiritually.

(My mom and dad were both able to take the day off for a trip to Maine as well!  Love them!)

If you’re feeling frazzled and fried from anything (and honestly, who isn’t at one point or another?), I strongly urge you to find a favorite spot and just spend the day or even a few hours there.  Go to the mountains.  Walk through the ocean.  Enjoy a long bike ride.  Take a swim in the lake.

And remind yourself that in the midst of all that’s messy, life is absolutely beautiful.  And that challenges, fears and worries…if you let them…can actually make you stronger.

QUESTION: What is one of your most favorite spots/locations/activities to enjoy?

Blueberries & Seasonal Eating.

Every time blueberry season rolls around, I swear I’ll turn those yummy little berries into jams and jellies.

And blueberry cobbler.

And blueberry icecream.

But then.

Instead?

I just plop myself down and I eat.  As in, I eat pounds and pounds of those little blue berries, until the very thought of eating another makes me cringe.  (Which, come to think of it, has never actually happened.)

I’m all about loading up on the seasonal fruits and veggies these days.

Which is why I’m currently loading up on blueberries and peaches and things like that.  My freezer is stocked (absolutely stocked!!!) with frozen blueberries, which should hopefully carry us through at least the fall.  And then it’s on to crispy apples, which comes right along with the colors of autumn.

Eating seasonal is fun, delicious and healthy.  Produce picked at its peak of ripeness and then eaten straight away (or frozen for later use) is a great way to make sure those nutrients “stay alive” (so to speak.)

Seasonal foods are also usually cheaper (score!)

Ever notice how expensive fresh strawberries are in the middle of December compared to now?  Go for seasonal produce (e.g., forget eating apples in May!) and save on your grocery bill.

So, as I was saying previously, I don’t think I’ll be turning these beautiful blueberries into jam any time soon.  But I most certainly do plan on making plenty of blueberry pancakes and muffins.  And you can bet your berries that I’ll be topping my morning yogurt with handfuls of ‘em too!

Yup.  Seasonal eating.  It’s a wonderful thing.

QUESTION: Do you try to eat seasonal?  What seasonal item are you loving right now?

Head Colds and Learning to Rest.

Stuffy nose.

Foggy brain.

Heavy head.

Yep.  I’m battling that good ol’ fashioned head cold.  I’m a little worried of all the things I’m probably forgetting, with my head being somewhere up in the clouds.  Even yesterday, after my doctor’s appointment, I was driving off and saw the secretary running after me in my rear view mirror.  That sweet woman was carrying my water bottle and my (borrowed) book, which I had unknowingly left behind.

So.  In an effort to get back to my normal self, I’m trying to embrace the whole concept of “resting.”  Which isn’t easy to do when working and getting ready for a new semester of my master’s program.  But I’m finding there are all sorts of ways to “rest.”  Like taking a 10 minute break to “smell” (well, at least try to smell in my case…ha!) the flowers.  Or sitting by a campfire at the end of the day.  Or taking 5-10 minutes to feel the afternoon sunshine on my face during a busy work day.

Yep.  We all need rest now and then.  Sometimes it just takes a stuffy head and a sore throat to remind me of that.

Happy Tuesday!

 

Summer Livin’.

Campfires.

Grilling.

Iced tea.

Laughing and talking and staying up late.

That’s what summer means to me.

Sometimes, in the middle of my work week, I forget that it’s summer.

And then I come home and unwind and eat dinner at the picnic table.  I listen to the sound of birds, taking in the warmth from the setting sun and campfire.

Ah, yes.  Hello, summer.  

QUESTION: How have you been enjoying the summer these days?

On The Shelf.

As part of the “On the Shelf” series, I’ll be featuring different products that I find at the grocery store.  Products that sound interesting (and HEALTHY)…but are they really?  And are they worth the cost?  Most importantly, how do they taste?

All product reviews will be my own thoughts.  I’m not being endorsed by any company and I will let you know ahead of time if I receive any sort of promotional item versus paying for it myself.  If you have questions on any products that YOU have seen on the grocery shelf recently, let me know and maybe I’ll feature it in the series. 

Chobani with Oats

Chobani? Love!

Oats? Love!

So how about chobani and oats together??

Chobani has been coming out with all kinds of new products lately.  I’ve been a fan of their yogurts, but Fage Yogurt has been making more of an appearance in my fridge lately.

I was pretty excited to try this new product.  I like that there’s a boost of fiber (3 grams versus <1gram in most yogurts) and I would probably choose this yogurt if it was part of my breakfast on the go.  I would also choose it if I was at a hotel and needed a quick, all-in-one kind of snack or breakfast.

That being said, I wasn’t crazy for the taste of the yogurt.  This one was a little…gritty.  The chew from the oats was FUN but I wanted the yogurt to be smoother and completely creamy.

Overall?

I liked it but will stick to my 2% pineapple chobani and 2% plain Fage yogurt!

QUESTION: Have you tried this product?  Yay or Nay?

Vacation Recap.

Well.  I’ll tell ya.

Vacation certainly felt like a whirlwind.

Speaking of which.

Is it just me, or has summer been feeling like a whirlwind lately too?  I was making a list the other day, of all the summery things I need (absolutely MUST!) accomplish before autumn rolls around.  And there is so much still left to do.  Things like blueberry picking and swimming in a lake and making s’mores by the campfire.  I’ll share my complete summery list with you all as soon as it’s complete, and I’d love to hear what’s on your summery agenda too!

One of my “must-do’s” was to head to the White Mountains.  There is no other place on earth that makes me feel quite as happy as NH.  On top of a mountain, I instantly forget about all the worries and stresses of life.  It’s that feeling of absolute peace.

Here is the official photo recap!

HIKING

My goal is to hike all 48 of the 4000 foot mountains in NH.  I got 3 down on this one vacation trip.

First up was Mt. Osceola, which was a relatively steady climb with lots of switchbacks.  It’s one of the “easier” hikes, as far as 4000 footers go. ;)

My Dad taught me a lot about the mountains.  What to bring.  How to prepare.  And most of all, how to respect nature.  He’s hiked with me through all the mountains that I’ve climbed so far, until that day.

I shot off and did East Osceola on my own, which was a pretty exhilarating experience.  This part of the trail was called the “chimney” for good reason.  It was so steep and was WAY easier to climb up versus down.

The one other hike that was done was Mt. Eisenhower, which is one of my absolute favorites!  The view was spectacular.

FOOD

Icecream.  Every day.  What can I say?  I hold nothing back on vacation.  I will say, however, that it feels amazing to be back on track now that vacation has come to a close!

(My sistah is a fellow ice cream lover like myself!  So her little baby is almost guaranteed to love ice cream too…I foresee future icecream dates with my future nephew…yippee!) 

I do, however, still balance things out with healthier things.  Lots of fresh salads and fruits and lean meats.  One of my favorite salad toppings?

Grilled Cajun Chicken + Peach + Walnuts + EVOO & Balsamic Vinegar.  Yum!

JUST FUN

North Conway is one of my family’s favorite places to visit.  There’s all kinds of sightseeing, shopping, and people watching opportunities.

It’s a fun (slightly quirky!) little NH town.

We also went to visit some of the waterfall spots.

This is Sabaday Falls, one of my favorites…

And my sis and I (right) at the basin…

There was also this really cool trail that led through an array of birch trees.

Gorgeous.

And pretty rivers to wade through….

My mom’s favorite activity?

Miniature golf.

My dad always wins.  I almost always lose.  But I laugh the whole way through, so it’s totally more than okay. ;)

Me (left) and my sis!

My beautiful sis (and bestie!)

I need one of these chairs for my backyard.

Just sayin’. ;)

Yep.

Vacation went by way too fast.

But I already have plans to head back to NH later this month for another hike (woohoo!)

Off to relax before the work week begins tomorrow!

QUESTION: Do you take a summer vacation?  If so, what do you like to do?  

My workouts lately…

This is, perhaps, one of the first times over the past 8 years that I haven’t felt like training for a half marathon or a 10k.

This quite honestly caught me entirely by surprise, as I’m usually planning my days of summer around the local races.  But right now, the thought of training just exhausts me.  I’m wondering if this has something to do with how busy I’ve been lately.  Between my work schedule and studying for my master’s, the last thing I want is to have to be working towards something else.

That doesn’t, of course, mean that I’m giving up on exercise completely!  I need fresh air to make me feel good.  And I still like working out first thing in the morning before work.  But instead of focusing on running 5 days a week, I’ve been focusing on just being active with something different every day…this has been both fun and healthy.

Here are some of my favorite workouts lately…

1. KettleBells

I’m falling in love with kettle bells.  I find I get a lot accomplished in a short amount of time, and I love that I’m training muscles that running never honed in on.

2. Wearing a pedometer.

This is for those days when I don’t fit in a morning workout.  I slip on my pedometer and make it a point to rack up the miles at work.  This means walking to the furthest bathroom.  Taking the stairs.  Taking the long route back to my office.  My goal is to try and hit at least 10,000 steps for the day.

3. Running.

I still run, because I love it so much and it’s a fabulous workout!  Instead of 5 days a week, however, I’m focusing on running either a short & fast run or a long & slow run, about 2-3 times per week.

4. Biking.

Now that it’s summer, I’m falling in love with biking!  It’s a fabulous workout and a nice change of pace from running.  I like to pedal to the medal at least once a week.

5. Hiking, Tennis, Kayaking, Swimming.

Exercise is supposed to be FUN!  At least once per week, I like to switch things up and do something completely different than my normal routine.  This usually happens on the weekend, when I’ve got the extra time to head out and do something spontaneously fun!

6. Walking.

Never underestimate the power of speed walking!!  This is one of my favorite ways to work out these days.  It’s especially nice after a tough kettlebell workout, when running just isn’t possible due to sore hamstrings. ;)

7. Yoga.

Once or twice a week, my mom and I do yoga together.  It’s a great way to stretch out tired muscles and it’s a fabulous full-body toner.  My arms are my weak zone, but consistently doing yoga has made me a much stronger person.

QUESTION: What your favorite workouts lately?