July 31, 2014

Thinking Out Loud #11

Happy Thursday!  :D

I.  I received an 83.7% on my final English I exam, which I was kind of surprised about. My final score for the entire course was 91.98 - ssssooo close to a 92. >.<
My final exam for Geography is now open for me to take, but I have a mini-essay to finish before I take it. Personal preference and all; I don't like completing a unit without having ALL the projects done. 

II.  Sad news aside: my Penny skateboard came in the mail last week [!!!!] Meet "Kamikaze":

I had the chance to ride it at the airport in town, on the bike path where the terrain is mostly smooth. I managed to fall off once, trying to accelerate a bit too abruptly.
Remember, kids, if you start losing your balance, do not lean backward. Kamikaze shot out from underneath me and proceeded to roll away as I plummeted to the ground. I was wearing long jeans, so I was left with nothing more than a nice bluish-green bruise and a patch of missing skin. The bruise is still there. Yippee. 

III.  My little brother has been learning how to ride his skateboard as well. Only, he weighs less than a grasshopper and can barely keep the thing moving. He wiped out on his first day too, and claims he needs knee pads and elbow pads and "all that stuff."
I told him to suck it up. A great big sister, I am. 

IV.  I finished painting my bedroom! The lime green is gone...
...and is now replaced with pale blue on two walls...
my little windowside workspace
...and cream/nude/tan on the other two walls.
a quote by John Muir
I moved all of my furniture (except for the closet doors) and primed and painted everything all on my own. If that's nothing to be proud about, I give up. I think I deserve a personal pat on the back for pulling and shoving my giant loft bed - as well as a full desk - from one end of the room to the other. *discreetly flexes biceps*

V.  The county fair was a little disappointing this year. Or, should I say, my visit to the county fair was a little disappointing.
I planned to meet up with my friend (who was crowned Jr. Leader Ambassador!) but she had to help judge a cow/pig/goat show; we only got 15 minutes together and afterward got less than half an hour to walk around and observe two of the many buildings that held the attractions and such before she had to get ready for the horse show.
We got free popcorn, which was nice, but overall I was upset that I didn't get to spend more time with her.

VI.  ...But, Kaylee and Kennedi's fair was incredible! Theirs was about four times larger than mine, and there were more rides to go on and attractions to marvel over. Also, I guess there were some South African guys working the rides. If that's not super cool I don't know what is!
I almost fell off the 'ring of fire' because there were no shoulder-holders, just the kind that latches over your lap.
Imagine: feeling yourself gradually slide backward off the seat, as you're hurled upside down, however many feet in the air, with just one bar across your thighs keeping you alive. That was arguably the scariest experience of my life.

VII.  I have Pinterest now. Follow me if ya like; if ya don't like, then, well, I understand. I suppose.
Now I can pin [er, re-pin?] all the other bloggers' stuff! :D

VIII.  I completed the 1,000 squat challenge by Blogilates[!!!]  If you complete it, let me know! I spent all day yesterday gloating about it because I was so proud of myself. Frankly, I still am but I won't go so far as to brag any more than I already have. Just try it. It'll hurt so badly the day after, trust me.

IX.  Speaking of physical exertion and such, dance sign-ups are coming up on the 13th! So pumped for this next dance year. I mentioned awhile back that I was working towards getting moved up into the Advanced Ballet class.
I'm still waiting for results (they're posted in the studio as we speak I type!). I've been back and forth all summer; being super confident that I'll be selected, then the next moment being incredibly discouraged. Either way, another year of ballet is coming soon!  :D

X.  I am still mildly in love with coffee. Put it this way: if I never land myself a man to call my soul mate, coffee can totally take his place. [not really. I need the lovin']
Jokes aside, I have been experimenting with different flavors and add-ins, my favorite combo being: just under 8 oz. medium brew coffee + about 2 Tablespoons no-sugar-added cocoa mix + a heaping spoonful of caramel cappuccino + 4 oz. hot water.
Another favorite that doesn't involve coffee, but coffee creamer: 1 packet chocolate Carnation Breakfast Essentials (the kind with no added sugar) + a little over 1 Tablespoon peppermint mocha creamer + 8 oz. hot water. I need to try adding some coffee to this one, to make it even more delightful.

As for now, I have a Geography essay to finish and an Algebra quiz to take. I'm truckin' right along...


July 29, 2014

Back Into the Swing of Things + Epic Food Survey Part I

Ahoy! I have returned fer me...er...me booty?
I haven't really returned for anything in particular. Except maybe a 'where have you been, ya slacker?!'
Actually I wasn't expecting any of that. I haven't been gone that long. Have I?

I was MIA for a time (12 days, to be precise) because - in short - I've had a lot going on. 
In a bit more detail: I had summer camp from the 7th to the 12th, and not long after I had a funeral to attend for my great-aunt. In all the hubbub, blogging wasn't the first thing on my list of priorities. 
In addition, I had some schoolwork to catch up on; and my mom had knee surgery so I've been spending a lot of my time planning meals and searching for more exciting lunches and dinners (toasted cheese gets boring real fast). When I haven't been doing school or playing chef for my family, I've been watching Regular Show and Pokemon - both of which are on Netflix. Praaaaaise. 

In other news, Amanda has put together a food survey that I am more than happy to join in on. I think it's about time I got back into the swing of things here...

{pt. I}


I.  Flavor-wise, do you prefer white or whole wheat breads?
Wheat, if it's in loaf form. White, if it's in biscuit form.

II.  What's your favorite type of grain to eat (oatmeal, bread, wraps, etc.)?
Oatmeal; although I ate waaaay too much over the last few years, so I only have it about once a month now. Dry cereal has kind of become my thing nowadays.

III.  What's your favorite sandwich filling?
Peanut butter, banana, cinnamon, and honey. <3 <3 <3

IV.  What's your favorite type of bread?
Banana. No question about it!

V.  How many servings of grain do you consume daily?
Probably way too many. Grains make up most of my diet, along with nut butters and cottage cheese.

VI.  What's your favorite cracker topping?
Hummus. Usually I eat hummus with carrots and broccoli, but it's delicious with crackers as well.

VII.  What's your favorite thing to do with rice?
Put it into a stir-fry. Then eat it. 

VIII.  What brand of bread do you usually buy?
My mom buys grain from an Amish bulk store, grinds it with her Nutrimill beast contraption, and bakes most of our bread. So much better than store-bought.

IX.  What's your favorite type of cereal?
Ack. Can I only choose one?... Mother's Peanut Butter Bumpers. My brothers ate the last of it the last time I bought some!  >.<

X.  What was your favorite type of breakfast cereal as a child?
REESE'S PUFFS. There was a time when Cocoa Pebbles were really high on my favorites list as well.
Ahh, I miss those carefree days sometimes. 


I.  Favorite fruit?
Despite the fact that the above photo is of an apple, my favorite fruits are bananas and blueberries. Blueberries are just so dang expensive, I can't buy pounds and pounds of them like I can with bananas...
II.  Least favorite fruit?
Dragon fruit. It has no taste - or at least, the one I tried didn't. It just tasted like water!
They look really cool though...

III.  Do you drink fruit juice often?
No. I used to on occasion as a kid, but I guess it always gave me 'the runs' so I steer clear of it to this day.

IV.  Do you consider tomatoes a fruit or a vegetable?
Vegetable. They will never be a fruit in my eyes.

V.  Do you think you eat enough fruit daily?
Oh yeah, for sure! I basically live off fruit. And nut butter. And cottage cheese...

VI.  Do you consider fruit more important than vegetables?
No, but I do consider them tastier.

VII.  What's your favorite citrus fruit?

VIII.  Do you like pastries with fruit in them?
I'm not a huge fan of pastries in general (they don't fill me up; and even the little ones have so much sugar stuffed into them!) but I used to be a major fan of apple turnovers. Sheesh those are good.

IX.  What's your favorite flavor of jam?
Blueberry; especially when we pick 23194 blueberries and Mom makes the jam herself.

X.  When do you usually eat the most fruit?
When I'm awake. ;)


I.  When you were a kid, did you like vegetables?
Not hardly. Unless they were canned or cooked to mush; I was very persnickety about them. Funny story: I loved Ranch dressing, and I remember one day I put together a big salad with oodles of Ranch slathered on top. I couldn't eat the lettuce, but I licked off the dressing.
I was a strange one, I admit.

II.  do you think you eat enough vegetables now?
It really depends on the day. Sometimes, no - other times, no question about it. If I have hummus on hand, I definitely eat enough carrots.

III.  What's your favorite raw vegetable?
Have I mentioned carrots yet?

IV.  What's your favorite cooked vegetable?
I really liked steamed-anything. Broccoli, green beans, corn, peas, etc. They're all good - except peppers. 

V.  What's your least favorite raw vegetable? 
Tomatoes (although science calls them a fruit, they are a veggie to me!) 

VI.  What's your least favorite cooked vegetable?
Peppers. I don't like them raw either, unless they're blended into salsa. 

VII.  What's your favorite kind of salad?
The kind with so many toppings you can't taste the greens.
But really, strawberry salad is pretty good, I think. Who knew strawberries + spinach went so well together??

VIII.  Do you buy spaghetti sauce, or do you make your own?
Buy it. It takes far, far too long to make it and it's almost not worth the effort. 

IX.  When you order a sub at Subway, what vegetables do you get on it?
Spinach, lettuce, & pickles. Done.

X.  Do you like vegetables more than fruit?
No. In no way will veg ever surpass fruit in my book.


I.  What's your favorite type of nut?
Pureed and plopped into a jar.
Also, I really like oven-roasted almonds. Cashews are pretty good, too.

II.  What's your least favorite type of nut?
I'm not a fan of Brazil nuts. I used to love them, but they taste too buttery to me for some reason.

III.  What's your favorite type of nut butter?
Either Earth Balance Coconut Peanut Spread, or Peanut Butter & Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams.

IV.  Are you good with portion control when it comes to nuts or nut-butters?
Not with nut butters. Ooooooh no.

V.  What's your favorite recipe that involves nuts or nut butters?
Banana bread, topped with peanut butter. :D

VI.  Have you ever tried pea-butter or soynut butter?
Pea-butter sounds horrendous, and soynut butter sounds pretty good, but I can't say I ever have tried it.

VII.  When was the last time you ate nuts?
This morning, whilst licking the spatula I used to transfer homemade peanut butter from the food processor to the peanut butter jar.

VIII.  Is anybody close to you allergic to nuts?
If they are, I am unaware.

IX.  What's your favorite way to use nut butters? 
Top it on something, or eat it straight from the jar. 

X.  Do you think nuts are worth the calories?
Heck yes! Forever and always! Unless you have an allergy, in which case; no, don't risk your life.


July 17, 2014

The "Healthy" Joke, and Why I Don't Use it

At some point in your life, you've probably heard someone remark over something unhealthy by saying "oh, how healthy this is..." or "I'll have to take a nice, long run after this!" I refer to this as 'the healthy joke', i.e. one of the most annoying things anyone could say to me. 

Now, if I was a hardcore athlete or personal trainer, I would appreciate strict accountability. I am not a person who is known for persistence and self-control when it comes to regular exercise and healthy eating; but I'm not training for the Olympics. I'm a 16-year-old Average Jane, and I eat what makes my body feel good. If I'm craving some chocolate, I'm gonna eat some chocolate! But I know what things make me feel not so good, so I steer clear of those things; if I choose to eat a box of fries or a vanilla cone, it's my body and I'll pay the consequences later, but I'm going to enjoy that soft serve while it lasts!

The big question here is: why do people judge themselves based upon how healthy or unhealthy the food is that they're eating? Better yet: why do people feel the need to point out what other people are eating? First of all, you are not defined by what you eat. If you want to go out for lunch with a friend and she orders a salad, you are not "required" to order a salad yourself; if you want a Big Mac, get a Big Mac and enjoy that sucker! Secondly, you shouldn't feel inclined to take control of what someone else has on their plate (unless it's your child, in which case you are the parent and I completely respect that).

I don't think it's wrong to approach someone you're very close to (say, a parent or a sibling) if you feel their eating habits are out of control, but even then, you shouldn't blatantly point out that what they're eating is bad for them. That isn't going to do anything for them.

When we constantly bash ourselves in the presence of other people, we make those other people feel lesser of themselves. You can say "I feel so fat...but you look great!" to someone who's 20 pounds heavier than you, and you'd better believe they aren't going to think "wow, I do look great!" they're going to think "wow, if she thinks she's fat, what does that make me?"

It's the same thing with food. If you bash yourself over how much you're eating or what kind of food you're eating, the person sitting next to you with an extra drizzle of Ranch dressing very well may go home and start weighing out all of the things she now feels is wrong about her.

That being said, you shouldn't bash yourself even when you're not in the presence of others. I've said it before and I'll say it again: you are not defined by what you eat. 
You and only you can determine what is best for your body. You can psych yourself into thinking that cheeseburgers and frosties make you feel good, but in the long run, you're only being fulfilled mentally. I love frappuccinos and french fries and pizza, all of which make me feel happy while I'm consuming them, but I don't feel so great afterward, which is why I don't eat them every day. When I do, I don't sit down and think "oh crap what am I putting into my body?" "This is going to make me so sick." "I have a five-mile run on my agenda now..." 

Truth be told, I used to think those things. I used to beat myself up for every little "bad" thing I ate. I used to want to throw up every time I smelled fast food. Now, after far too many years of self-destruction and negative self-talk, I have learned that my worth is not defined by the quality of the food I put into my body. 
I have become happier than I have been in years, just by letting myself be free of the negativity that plagued my mind for so long. 

Yes, I have more "soft spots" on my body now that I have stopped being so strict on myself. No, I don't limit myself to low-carb, low-cal, low-fat foods. 
Those foods never made me happy. That life never made me happy. If salads with no dressing, raw vegetables with no salt, and glass after glass of nothing but pure, double-filtered water makes you happy, then by all means, go for it! But for me, it was only when I stopped depriving myself of what brought me joy that I really began to eat the way I should.

I don't have a perfectly "clean" diet, but I have a much cleaner mind. By being happy, and by not stressing over what I eat, my body has learned what it needs to do. If I go out for a Starbucks and I want a mocha cookie crumble, it's going in my belly. It makes me happier than choking down unsweetened tea; and you know what? I'm fine with that.

My only request is that you stop bashing yourself, and stop bashing other people. If you're having ice cream night at youth group, don't sit down with your friends and whisper jokingly "how healthy are we?", just eat your fricking ice cream and enjoy it. We weren't created to stress out over food - eat what makes your body feel good, and don't neglect what makes your mind feel good too. 


Thinking Out Loud #10

Quick explanation: I missed the linkup last week because I went to church camp for 5 days.
Yes, it was fun. No, I'm not sorry. Yes, I really mean that. ;)

I.  I feel obliged to say something about my camp experience this year, but it would take far too long to cover everything in one little thought box... The biggest news would probably be that I met another girl named Janessa. Yes, it is real. There are others.  O.O

II.  I also learned at camp that one can draw on oneself with a Sharpie, rub baby powder over the drawing, and hairspray over the baby powder to form a temporary tattoo that [allegedly] lasts for a month. 
Lies. All lies. Mine only lasted for two days!

III.  As well as drawing tattoos, the artist in me was compelled to also repaint my bedroom from a bright, lime green to a pale blue with nude accent walls. It's nowhere near done yet, especially because I had to buy another can of primer. Bright green does not cover easily. :p

IV.  Because I'm changing the colors, I thought "why not change the whole room?" so I've been looking at DIY room decor projects.
I like this one from Pocketful of Pretty, particularly the wall canvas. Also, I got this idea from Pinterest:
I may have to try this one out someday.

V.  Speaking of books...I have been deprived for over two weeks now! I haven't picked up a book in so long, I fear I may be morphing back into who I once was; a lazy lowlife with no care or interest in the greatness of other worlds, the feel of paper on paper on paper, the smell of old hardcovers and the joy of living multiple lives! I need a trip to the library, ASAP. 

VI.  And while we're on the topic of insanity, is it wrong that I think I may be addicted to banana bread? I've mentioned before my emotional need to have this particular baked good present in my home at all times; but the more I make it the more attached I become. I feel an actual need to have it every day, at least once. I mean come on, it could be something semi-normal, like the need for water or the need for chocolate (we'll tough on that in a sec...), but of all things, it is banana bread. 

VII.  ...And chocolate. A much more standard addiction. I do believe I am becoming a chocoholic. Hoorah; one more thing to add to my list of obsessions. 

VIII.  I'm also mildly obsessed with a girl named Dodie Clark...she's a British YouTube video-blog-maker and ukulele-playing-songwriting-glorously-magical little fairy-like individual. She is absolutely adorable and you must check out her videos. She inspires me to learn the ukulele that I've had hiding away in my closet for a year and a half now. 

IX.  Because of all the YouTube-watching I have been doing lately, my sleep pattern has been way off and I'm finding it to be increasingly difficult to get up in the mornings. There is nothing worse than waking up prematurely to my alarm (even though it is Good Morning Sunshine).

X.  And as far as workouts go, I have been skimping for a while - but I am now back on track doing pilates and yoga 5-6 days a week, as well as some random cardio and ballet stretching when I happen to think about it. I've been feeling really motivated lately, so we'll see how long I can keep this up!


July 06, 2014

Spill it, Sundays #4 {Flashback Edition #1}

Congrats, Janessa, on managing to post twice in a row for once! Let's make it a streak this time...

[info here!]

Let us begin with the selfie:
Because I apparently wear flower crowns now...

This week's 'theme' is highlighting 3 previous posts in the archives that are my personal favorites.
My blog hasn't been going on for too long, but I think I might have some good old ideas under my sleeve...

1.  [My first "recipe"] - I was so proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone and posting something I wasn't sure was even good enough to share. It may not be up to par in comparison to the real bakers out there, but I was proud of it then, and I still like it now!

2.  [When Kennedi turned 17] - that was the highlight of spring for me. Although the weather kind of skipped the spring-y stage then and jumped from winter to summer and back again multiple times... still, it was spring. And it was the greatest to-date. 

3.  [That time I said I wanted to go everywhere] - I really enjoyed the entirety of the 10 Day You Challenge; despite the fact that I did it all backwards...
FYI, I really do want to go everywhere. Except for the terrorist countries where it's far too dangerous. I'll steer clear of those. 

Join in on the fun!