Boulder or Bust!

Howdy howdy, folks! Happy Thursday! Except, it’s really like Happy Friday for me (YAYYYYYYYYY!) because bright & early tomorrow I’m boarding a plane bound for Denver, CO! Why? For the Fitness & Health Bloggers Conference taking place in Boulder, of course! I am very excited to be attending my second blogging conference, and am sure that I’ll be coming back with even more inspiration and passion for this li’l ol’ blog of mine (lucky you, eh? Hahaha.)

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I’ll be rooming with Casey, and am really looking forward to meeting more people, as well as reuniting with some of my Fitbloggin’ pals! I just have to make sure I pack my bag much more mindfully, since I don’t have the luxury of driving back with all my swaaaag this time, hahaha.

Since I’ve been doing so much traveling lately , I have to admit that the condition of my room has been, uh, less than stellar. After all, what’s the point of unpacking a suitcase if you’ll just be packing it back up the next weekend, right? This week I did finally hit the breaking point of my slovenly living though, and it was time to finally do something about the warzone-room flashbacks I was having. I even ended up scrubbing my bathroom from top to bottom! And bonus? I got supah sweaty cleaning up, so I’m totally counting it as my workout for the day. 😉

AVERT YOUR EYES!

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Atrocious, I know. But! Have faith, my friends! It wasn’t long before all of that became all of this:

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And the suitcase HAD to stay out, since I’m doing that whole traveling thing again starting tomorrow. But at least it’s not buried under a pile of dirty clothes anymore. Progress, right?

The bro and I took the pups over to the ‘rents for family dinner (another money-saving tip, in case you missed yesterday’s Weight Loss 101 installment!)

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I think my mama would be very pleased with my productive afternoon.

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Total resemblence, right? Hahahahahaha.

Who else is going to the conference in Boulder this weekend? Shout out! And for those of you who aren’t going to be there, what are your tips for staying healthy while traveling? I think it’s pretty obvious that if I continue spending as much time away from home as I have been, I need to start implementing some much better practices. This weekend I’m specifically traveling to a conference that centers around health & fitness, so I’m hoping the damage won’t be too bad, but still! Can’t hurt to have some tips/tricks to pull out of my pocket!

Daily Eats – 6/22/11

Breakfast

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Fresh juice! Juicing is back!
– 1 granny smith apple
– 1/2 cucumber
– Slice o’ lemon

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Lemon Zest Luna Bar

Snack

Pop chips!

Popchipppps

Lunch

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Veg’d up turkey burger
Asparagus
‘Taters

Snack

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I got hit with a MAJOR sweets craving this afternoon… which doesn’t usually happen to me. And I didn’t have anything healthy on-hand so I went to the deli downstairs and got… a cookie. Except, they automatically come in packages of 2. So I was just gonna eat the one…

But then I ate the other one, too.

Oops. I need to find the Popchips equivalent of cookies.

Dinner

Family dinner night at the ‘rents!

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Baby carrots & TJ’s tomato-basil hummus

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Carrot & cilantro soup (um… yeah.)

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Sweet & sour pork

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Shrimp & veggies

All on top of about a half-cup of white rice.

Dessert

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Grapes and cantaloupe!

Weight Loss 101: Eat Real Food, Not Your Savings

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So lately I’ve been thinking a lot about eating healthy and finances. As in, how do you eat REAL food without going REALLY broke? And then yesterday Ali tweeted at me that she had similar concerns: How do you eat healthy without going bankrupt at the grocery store? Which obviously got me thinking about it even more. I’ll be the first to admit (and I’m sure that my sister will be the second, haha!) that I am not exactly the most frugally minded person. Sure, I can appreciate a good deal as much as the next person, but for the most part I adhere to the mindset that I would rather pay more for better quality, faster service, or convenience, than have to deal with the opposites of those things. Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate a rockin’ deal as much as the next person, but some things aren’t worth the hassle to me. Hence why it’s more likely you’d find me leisurely perusing the displays at Nordstrom than getting sweaty and harried pawing through the racks at Marshall’s, haha.

That being said, I’m not exactly rolling in it over here. And real food is expensive! Ramen is cheap, produce is not. So while I often ignore my own advice, I do feel like this is an area where saving money really matters. And I feel there are some surefire ways to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck when it comes to healthy eating.

Number 1: Eat at home.

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Uh, duh. This should probably go without saying, but I’m gonna say it anyway: If you want to save money, don’t go out to eat. Shop for your own groceries, and prepare your own food. I spent just over $20 at the store yesterday and will be covered for meals for three days. When you break that amount down, you’re talking about something like $2 – $3 a meal!

Number 2: Meal plan.

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I’ve admitted in the past that I’m not very good at creating and following meal plans. I try to pretend it’s because I’m all spontaneous and like to be creative with my meals, but really I’m just lazy and unorganized hahaha. This week I tried to make an exception, however, because I’m taking off for the Fitness & Health Bloggers Conference in Boulder, CO on Friday morning! So going grocery shopping mid-week, while a complete necessity given the state of food options in my house, wasn’t the most ideal situation. I didn’t want to buy things that were just going to spoil when I left! I feel that the biggest money-suck when it comes to eating real food is having it spoil because you weren’t able to utilize it in time. Meal planning is the absolute best way to avoid this.

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Number 3: Make (and stick to!) a grocery list.

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My list yesterday was super short because I was literally only shopping for a few days’ worth of food. But if I hadn’t done up a list, I would have walked out with so much unnecessary, unusable food.

Number 4: Buy generic.

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Stacy’s pita chips are priced at $2.99 a bag. Giant’s Nature’s Promise brand pita chips at priced at $2.49 a bag. Which product should you purchase? Seems like it should be a no-brainer, right? I mean, sure 50 cents might not seem like that much, but it adds up. Fast. And this rule applies across the spectrum: groceries, pharmacy items, etc. People will pay a lot more just for a particular brand slapped on the packaging, when the generic version is just as good (and oftentimes, the same manufacturer makes both products anyway. So you are LITERALLY just choosing between a branded and a generic version of the exact same thing.)

Number 5: Stretch your meat.

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There are lots of creative ways to make the expensive items you buy, like meat, last longer. Cara gave me the tip of adding ~2 cups of mashed chickpeas (which you can snag for about $0.89 a can!) to turkey burgers to bulk ’em up and stretch ’em out. I took that tip as inspiration for my own dinner last night, which involved bulking up my T-burgers with tons of veggies that I already had!

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I chopped up green onion, red onion, button mushrooms, and grated baby carrots and added it all to the mix. Not only did it make for big, thick patties, the mushrooms kept the meat SUPER moist (often a complaint when it comes to turkey burgers — thanks for that tip, Aunt Lynda!), but the meal was healthified with the addition of extra veggies, AND it helped alleviate that whole food-spoilage thing mentioned previously by letting me use up more items that were just waiting to spoil in the fridge! Win-win-win.

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With the addition of asparagus that I subbed the grocery-listed bibb lettuce for because it was a much better deal, and potatoes that I already had lying around, we have a complete meal, with enough leftovers to last me for lunch today AND tomorrow (and would have lasted another dinner, too, if I hadn’t been a piggy and had two patties last night. Whoops! Hahaha.)

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I really need to get on this meal-planning train much more regularly. That way I’ll have more money leftover for the massages I apparently desperately need! 😉

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What are your tips for saving money but still eating healthy? Another thing I should probably look into doing more is deal-shopping (going to different stores for specific items) and couponing, two things I’m terrible at! Any advice on those fronts?

Daily Eats – 6/21/11

Breakfast

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Green smoothie with frozen tropical mix (pineapple, banana, strawb), spinach, and almond milk.

Except, I could only end up stomaching like 2 sips of it because the spinach was obviously bad and I didn’t realize it. So then I had Luna Bar instead. Oops. (180 calories)

Lunch

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Spinach salad, chicken and broccoli, and some kinda pasta with marinara sauce thing from the deli downstairs. I KNOW, I KNOW. I need to stop buying lunch at work. Don’t worry, I actually went grocery shopping today! 🙂

Dinner

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Turkey Burger inspired by Cara’s Thai Turkey Sliders (details on this dinner coming tomooorrrooowwww!) – 2 patties. Kekeke.

Taters and asparagus sauteed with a wee bit o’ EVOO

Dessert…

Unpictured. Laaaame, I know. But you wouldn’t want to see it anyway: A few spoonfuls of coconut milk ice cream, and a few leftover pieces of roommate-delivered sushi leftovers. Sushi can be dessert, right? 😉

Too many unknowns for full calorie counting, but I feel pretty good about today’s eats despite the lapse in late-night-eating-judgment. I’m trying to detox from the weekend a bit, and now that I’ve gone grocery shopping (to tide me over until COLORADOOOO!) I can fully embrace clean eating until then. Huzzah!

OMG PUPPIEEEEZ!

Warning: You may at some point during this post go into cuteness overload. Symptoms may include: cooing, scrunching of the face, speaking in baby-talk, and an incredible urge to touch soft things.

Heh.

But before we get to the overwhelming adorableness that is my sister and her husband’s new puppy (!!), let’s finish up the rest of the non-food related weekend, shall we?

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I got to spend some time at the pool! Hooray! As you all know, I spent most of the weekend in Delaware visiting Steve for an early birthday celebration.

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So we spent Saturday afternoon at his uncle’s super nice pool…

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Aaaaand so did the pups. Bahahaha!

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Now hold on, before you go on thinking that I’m a cruel, cruel dog owner (which, let’s face it, we all know just isn’t true.) Let me just preface this by saying that we weren’t risking their lives, we were just helping them broaden their horizons by giving them their first (and considering how much they hated it, probably their last) swimming lesson. Let the hilarity ensue:

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See? No harm done other than a lot of post-pool shaking and wriggling. Well, to the dogs, at least. But to me, the experience was totally worth the ten bazillion scratches I have on my neck and shoulders now, hahaha.

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And yes, this weekend’s pool trip also included another attempt to build up my bank of bikini confidence. I struggled with whether or not I wanted to post the following pic, but I’m sucking it up and going for it. After all, despite the misleading number of posts that center around my dogs, this really is supposed to be a weight loss blog, right? I figure that A) I really need to try to tie this post in at least SOMEWHAT to what my blog is about, and B) everybody get stomach rolls when they sit, right? RIGHT?!!?

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So, the confidence is slowly coming. And even though I obviously still have a little ways to go yet, I strengthen my resolve that I really am going to get there this time. After all, just yesterday I was brought a little closer!

And now, to help you forget about having seen the above-posted flubbery, enjoy the following photo smörgåsbord (yep, that just happened) of Harry & Daxter’s new little cousin: Oreo!

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Isn’t he adorable?! He’s a schnauzer-lab (schlabrador? Ha!) mix. So even though I was clearly HIGHLY-affronted that they didn’t go full-schnauzie (I don’t know if you could tell, but I kinda dig this breed), I think he is a perfect compromise for my sister, who loved the size and temperament of my babies, and her hubs, who is a manly, lab-owning kinda guy. We went up to Columbia Sunday night for Father’s Day dinner and to meet the little guy!

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It took a second for Harry & Daxter to warm up to Oreo at first…

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But eventually they were comfortable enough to play with him (Daxter) or moderately ignore him (Harry), hahaha:

Cousins.
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Much to my mother’s delight:

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And my father’s indifference:

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Hahahaha. Puppies everywhere! But don’t worry boys, you’re still #1 for me:

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Puptastic weekend: check. I love life. And I love you guys! And clearly based on the inordinate number of comments you left as entries for my giveaway, you guys LOVE Popchips! So I’m going to try to channel all this love by announcing the randomly selected winner:

Drumroll please…

Chloe!

Congratulations, Chloe! Email me ([email protected]) your full name and mailing address, and I’ll get the info to Popchips so they can send you your month’s supply!