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.


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.




(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.


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’.



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.


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!


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.


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!


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.


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’. 😉


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?

To Paleo or Not To Paleo…


What is Paleo?

The diet encourages the consumption of what our ancestors were believed to have eaten as hunters and gatherers, such as meat, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, etc.  The diet discourages the consumption of foods that are considered to be primarily part of the modern day, post-agricultural “westernized diet” or “SAD” diet (Standard American Diet,) such as milk, grains, refined sugars and legumes.  Promoters of the Paleo Diet believe that these are the primary foods that have led to an overweight country, which have burdened us with an ever growing health care crisis.

Followers of the Paleo Diet claim that by eating the foods we were evolutionarily developed to consume, we can lower our risks for developing chronic diseases while also improving digestive problems, eliminating acne, increasing energy levels, etc.  They further claim that we can lose excessive body weight, thanks to the fact that we’ll be eating the foods our bodies have been programmed to fully digest and absorb.

Diet Do’s and Don’ts…

Do Eat…

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits (in moderation)
  • Nuts and Seeds (in moderation)
  • Wild Meats (grass fed beef, chicken, venison, etc.)
  • Eggs
  • Coconut, grass-fed butter, avocado, etc.

Do Not Eat…

  • Refined, Processed Foods (chips, donuts, soda, cereals, candy bars, snack foods, etc.)
  • Refined sugars
  • Juices
  • Grains and breads (quinoa, oats, bread, barley, etc.)
  • Legumes (beans, lentils, soy, peanuts, etc.)
  • Dairy (yogurt, milk, cheese, etc.)

Nutritional Basics…where do my calories come from?

Paleo Diet:

  • 30-40% Fat
  • 20-30% Carbohydrate
  • 35-45% Protein


2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans:

  • 20-35% Fat
  • 45-65% Carbohydrate
  • 10-35% Protein

Behind The Research…

Despite what some will tell you, research surrounding the Paleo Diet is still in its infancy stages.  While some research has pointed to low carb, paleo style diets possibly improving blood insulin sensitivity, blood pressure and improved lipid profiles, we do not yet know the long term effects.

However, in the research article Saturated fat, carbohydrate, and cardiovascular disease in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it was found that refined grains such as white pasta, white breads, etc. have more of a negative effect on our arteries than does saturated fat.  Whether or not we should be eating like a caveman, it’s important to realize that refined grains just aren’t good for our overall health.

The Diet’s Health Advantages:

  1. Excludes sugary and processed foods.
  2. Reduces sodium intake.
  3. Encourages produce consumption.
  4. Encourages weight loss.  By avoiding sugary, processed junk, you’ll inevitably shed some excess pounds.
  5. Focuses on real, whole foods.

The Diet’s Health DIS-advantages:

  1. May be difficult to maintain for a lifetime.  If the thought of giving up cheese forever and ever and ever sounds horrendous to you, this diet plan may be a flop.
  2. No large studies done to analyze long term effects.
  3. Contradictory evidence.  We’ve known for quite some time, the health benefits of following a Mediterranean Diet, full of fish, fruits, veggies, healthy fats and…YES…whole grains, legumes and some dairy!
  4. Possible nutrient deficiencies, such as calcium.  Paleo promoters claim that we don’t need as much calcium as once thought.  However, there is no evidence to back up this claim and it’s important that anyone going on the Paleo Diet be smart in choosing the right foods.

The Bottom Line…

The Paleo Diet does offer some health benefits.  However, it also requires some professional guidance in order to avoid nutritional deficiencies.  In addition, it is unknown what health effects the diet has over a lifetime and it may be difficult for many to follow for long periods of time.

Research is important in helping us unlock the secrets of health, but it was never meant to be the ultimate decision on how and what we eat.  There will always be conflicting reports, and it is important that we not base our diet solely on a trendy diet or on the newest research study. In finding that so-called “perfect” diet, we still need to remember the importance of making changes that will last, while also finding a lifestyle that will feel balanced and satisfying to us as individuals.

QUESTION: What do you think of the Paleo Diet?  Have you ever or will you ever try it?  Why or why not?

Rockport, MA

Rockport is one of my most favorites places on earth.

I’ve talked about this quaint little New England town many times, but I feel as if I could still gush on and on about it.  It’s one of those places where something new is always waiting to be discovered.  A little cove.  A beautiful view.  Some secret “hiding” spot.

My parents and I have a tradition of visiting Rockport, MA at least once a year.  It’s sort of an unspoken tradition, actually, but we’ve been following it since I was a freshman in college.

I hope this tradition never stops.

My parents have another tradition of stopping at “Top Dog” for lunch…

The Top Dog is this little restaurant at the corner of a side street, which you’re very likely to miss if you don’t keep an eye out.  Their menu has everything from the “seeing eye dog” to the “german shepherd” to the “chihuahua.”  Each ‘breed’ has a different topping, like macaroni and cheese or sauerkraut or vidalia onions & carrots.  The Top Dog also happens to have some of the best fried clams that I’ve ever had the delight of tasting.

(Tradition says we split a box of clams every time…don’t you just love traditions?)

I also ordered a hummus wrap from my favorite lil’ lunch spot: The Bean and Leaf Cafe.  They have the best Ginger Peach Iced Tea and their hummus wraps simply refuse to let me order anything else, despite their other tempting menu items.

The whole wrap was about the size of my head, but I still had plenty of room for some mint patty icecream!  Perfect for a hot, “summer” afternoon.

Till next year, Rockport!

You’ll forever be the town that holds my heart.

QUESTION: What is one of your favorite places to visit (within your own state)?


Then and Now.

I was recently looking back at my old blog from 2007 and found myself feeling amazed at how much I’ve changed over the years (good and bad!)

It can be fun to reminisce.  To see where I’m coming from.  To set goals for where I’m going.


I weighed 117lb and I was trying hard to gain weight.  I worked hard to consume well over 3000 calories a day and yet I was still not gaining an ounce.  This lead to some health problems and “weighed” on me psychologically and physically.


I weigh 135-140lb and have been maintaining this for the past couple of years.  This is my “set point,” where my body feels happy and I don’t feel the need to lose or gain.  It’s my happy weight!


I counted calories and measured EVER-Y-THING!


I eat intuitively and I’m too busy to anything. 😉

I rely mostly on what I call “eyeballing.”

THEN: I ran 3 miles, 3 days a week.  Rain, snow, sleet, shine.  I was completely devoted and wouldn’t have dreamed of missing a scheduled run.  I definitely enjoyed running but it was also sort of a love-hate relationship.

NOW: Even though I run more mileage these days, I feel much more relaxed in my routine.  If I need to miss a day because there’s a meeting at work?  Okay.  If I feel like taking a week off just for the sake of taking a week off?  Okay!  I also try to fit in alternative workouts, such as yoga, biking, hiking, etc.

I also have more fun with my workouts.  I run because it makes me deliciously happy.  Not because it’s on my to-do list.

THEN: I ate a lot of convenience foods.  Carnation instant breakfast.  Granola bars.  Frozen pizza.  “Light hotdogs” with beans.  Etc, etc, etc.

Slowly I transitioned into being a more health conscious eater.  However, I was less of a foodie and more of a “this is good for my body so I’m going to eat it.”  I enjoyed what I ate but I also kept myself in a box.  I went through spurts of being a vegetarian and then a vegan, which I loved, but I still felt restricted.

NOW: I’m still a health conscious eater, but I have broadened my horizons.  I’m somewhere in the middle of being a health nut and a foodie.  I like eating locally.  I still eat mostly plants.  But I also include cheeses, bacon, chocolate, and butter in my life.  And when I do eat meat, I like to support the local farms that raise and treat their animals well.

THEN: I loved and adored the Kodak camera that my parents had purchased for me.  I used it until the camera began to make funny noises and literally had a crack in the screen.  I took my camera with me anywhere and everywhere that I went.  And, for the record, I still hold on to it for sentimental reasons!

NOW: Photography became more than just a hobby.  I wanted to learn more about exposure and aperture and shutter speed.  I wanted to do more than just snap ‘n’ shoot.  I wanted to tell a story!  I still have so much to learn within the avenue of photography, but I’m happy to say that the Kodak was eventually replaced with a Canon Rebel which I love, love, love!

Then: I was happy.  I loved college.  But I was less certain of my future and who I was as an individual.  I felt that I had to prove myself in several different areas of my life.

Now: I’m more sure of myself.  The older I get, the more that I have peace with who I am.  I feel strong, healthy, happy.  Self questioning has been replaced with self confidence.

My family (as always,) mean the world to me.  They stand beside me through everything and they encourage me to be the very best version of me.

They have always been, really and truly, my inspiration.

Some things never change.

QUESTION: What are some of the ways that you have changed  over the years?