Weekend in Photos

Welp, another summer weekend come and gone! Sorry for the brief hiatus. I was on quite the emotional roller coaster last week, given last Friday’s events at my alma mater, UC Santa Barbara.

I’m really glad I made the decision to invite a few other Sacramento-area UCSB alumnae to join me at a candlelight vigil at UC Davis honoring the victims of the shooting in Isla Vista on Thursday. It was seriously touching to see one of our sister campuses showing their support and solidarity for the community of which we have so many fond memories. Continue reading

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Friday Faves

Hey friends! I survived my week! I am currently writing this post on Thursday night, the first night this week that I didn’t work overtime and/or didn’t have some kind of function to attend after work. PHEW.

My office hosted/coordinated/attended quite a few events this week (ALL of which took place on Wednesday, I might add) so it was a crazy time. And much like I said in my post about staying healthy in times of busy-ness, I have still been keeping up with my workouts…buuuut just not so much with the healthy eating part. Though I can successfully say I haven’t had any cheese and crackers dinners this week! Small victory.

In the little time I’ve had to surf the web over the past few weeks, I’ve accumulated a few fun finds, along with other things I’ve been enjoying IRL, that I wanted to share today. Enjoy! Continue reading

What My {Teacher} Mom Has Taught Me

Today, and this past week, mark two very important (Hallmark-created) holidays for which I’d like to take a minute to commemorate.

Teacher Appreciation Week and Mother’s Day.

I am fortunate to have been blessed with a wonderful mother, who just so happens to also be a teacher. Continue reading

Healthy Grocery Shopping on a Budget: May Check in!

So……… the big B word is bout to rear its ugly head again.

That’s right – it’s budget time.

I didn’t do an official “budget check-in” for the month of March…..Stuff happens.

I mentioned it in passing in my “If We Were Having Coffee…” post.

Just like in February, I was really close to breaking even during March. However, my monthly budget is actually $300-$400 less than I make each month, so ideally I should be saving that much. I spent a little bit more this month than last…Regardless, I am still $1,000 less than the levels I was spending in November-January.

And so it goes…..

April was actually not too bad. I just about broke even again, which means I’m still spending much less than I was last fall! However, I started to realize that my lifestyle was changing from the very first budget I set for myself in January when I started this whole ordeal…and even from in February, when I modified it to more realistically reflect my spending habits.

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Even though I was within my budget (in the grand scheme of things, if you don’t include my Blend fee and airfare, I spent $100 less than I earned this month, not including a big tax refund. Cha ching!)…I was waaaayyy off in some of my spending categories and I noticed a couple of trends in April.

First of all, I went down to playing dodgeball only 1 night per week and have have been staying in a lot more and not drinking at bars. Hence the extra moolah in the Entertainment category. However, the reason that I’ve been spending less at bars…is because I’m spending more at home.

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The “Misc” category is where I put any non grocery purchases (alcohol, nail polish binges at CVS, etc. etc.)…It’s wayyy cheaper for me to split a bottle of $4-$5 wine between a couple of nights than to go out and spend $5 per drink at the bar over the course of a few nights. Plus I am just l-a-z-y 😉

For reference, here’s the budget I was going off of. That “entertainment” budget of $120 was a combination of dodgeball bar and “activities”:

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Another area that seems to be in flux is my eating out, or “restaurants” budget. For someone who almost never eats out, going $15 over budget was surprising…However, check out my purchases:

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Over half of it is coffee!

On days that I am really busy and am tempted to eat my lunch at my desk, I try to follow my own advice and escape for at least a few minutes to walk around outside for a bit. The easiest way to do that is often to walk over to Starbucks, Ambrosia, or La Bou and grab a coffee or tea.

SO, keeping in mind all of these changes, I once again edited my budget to reflect my spending habits. I am allowing myself more money for Miscellaneous purchases, a little less for bars, and I’m going to try to limit myself to $25/month at Starbucks. The main reason for this number is that I can easily reload my Starbucks app with $25 at the beginning of each month!

 

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One big thing that will affect my budget going forward is my new gym membership at California Family Fitness. I decided to take the plunge and join a gym for a few reasons that I think make it worth the cost:

  1. Convenience. The gym is 3 blocks from my office, meaning I can go in the morning, work out, shower, then get to work! And hey, if I use their shampoo and conditioner I may even save money there 😉
  2. Variety. Since I left my old job (which had a gym on-site), I have been focusing mainly on running 3 times per week and I do “strength training” 1-2 times. However, I never feel like I get a great workout when I use my little hand weights in my living room, and I am extremely limited in what I can do. I would like to start including more variety in my workouts and pushing myself harder in non-running activities. I did my first ever group fitness class yesterday, and I loved it!
  3. Human Interaction. With the exception of one run with Chris and one with my friend Liz, all of my half marathon training runs were done alone. I work out in my living room alone. I like to work out alone because I am pretty good at self motivating, but I am by no means an introvert and I love being around people. Even working out by myself in the middle of a gym full of people would be an improvement over what I’ve been doing!

So, there’s my official justification for forking out $60/month when I have a limited budget. I think I am going to aim for 2 gym workouts, 1 group class, and 2-3 runs per week. It sounds like a lot, but I figure I’d like to be there 3x a week to make the price worth it!

I will do my best to keep y’all updated at the end of this month on how I do with the new budget. Till then, stay tuned and have a great weekend!

How has your budgeting/spending been lately? I’ve reeeeally had to fight the urge to spend all my money on shopping for new spring clothes. I’ve been pretty good about staying away…unless it’s on sale 😉

Do you belong to one or more gyms? Do you think you get your moneys worth?

Treat Yourself Tuesday: Back on Track

Today, I’m linking up with my favorite lady Becky (who I get to see in 1 month minus 1 day at BLEND!!!)  for Treat Yourself Tuesday. As Becky puts it, Treat Yourself Tuesday is a way to reflect on the ways you’ve treated yourself lately:

“Do whatever feels best for you. Do something that will make you feel relaxed and loved and happy. Treat yourself well and treat yourself often so that you will become the best you possible and in turn be your best for others in your life!”

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With things as busy as they’ve been lately (as I mentioned on Friday), it’s been more important than ever for me to remember to slow down and take care of myself. Now, while that often includes indulging in comfort food (or dranks), sometimes the best way for me to treat myself is by treating my body AND soul well…and that is just what I did this Sunday! It was a great way to start my week on the right foot and get back on track.

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It all started with a nice early morning bike ride to the Farmers Market. Tulips, rainbow chard, sweet potatoes, portobello mushrooms, medjool dates, and sugar snap peas…all for about $20. Win. I don’t do it all the time, but I love treating myself to flowers!

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Next up was a longggg overdue pedicure. I hadn’t gotten one since December (due to the whole being on a budget thing), but I decided my poor feet couldn’t go any longer without! I calculated it out, and I had run over 300 miles since my last pedi. DANG. My feet are much happier now!

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After bringing home my loot, I changed into gym clothes and checked out the brand new California Family Fitness (CalFit) on K Street. This crazy ab machine has had my core in a world of hurt ever since I took it on!

The gym literally just opened on Friday, when my friends and I went over to look at the facilities:

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Ummm yeah, that’s a ROOFTOP basketball court. There will also be a bar with wine & beer. Needless to say, I was sold! I now have my first actual gym membership for the first time in almost 3 years! I am really excited about it and am pumped to try out some group fitness classes and switch up my routine a bit. Did I mention the gym is only 3 blocks away from my office? There was really no downside to joining!

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After a good stair master & core workout, I headed home to be even more productive! I prepped some food for the week- made more curry patties (this time with white beans instead of chickpeas), chopped up broccoli and bell pepper, made snap pea baggies to bring to work for snacks, and par-cooked a couple of sweet potatoes.

I did this all in about 1 hours time while I chatted on the phone with my mom. Easy peasy, and it feels good to know I won’t be eating out or skipping any lunches this week!

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And to top off a seriously perfect day…we arrived at the dodgeball gym only to be greeted by FREE BEER. The gym is located in a German cultural center and they had leftovers from a fundraiser. Twist my arm, why don’t ya.

I felt so energized, healthy and productive on Sunday that it really put me in a perfect place to start the week off right. I had 3 good meals yesterday thanks to meal prepping (OK, and the fact that Yvette hosted ladies Dance Central night and made spaghetti 😉 ), and I woke up bright and early for a quick work out at my new gym this morning before work. Happy body = Happy Katie!

What are your favorite ways to treat yourself?

How do you get back on track after days/weeks/months of slackin’ off?

5 Ways to Stay Healthy, Even at Your Busiest

I feel like I say this every time I’ve written lately, but life has gotten really busy.

I thought that cutting out a night of dodgeball each week would free up extra time in my weeknights, but in true Katie fashion, I’ve really just used it as an excuse to take on more non-dodgeball activities. My evenings seem to fill up with meetings, appointments, trips to my parents house to do laundry…..and sometimes a girl just needs to hit up happy hour after a long day.

Between work and after-work meetings (slash the aforementioned happy hours 😉 ), I often find myself arriving home after being out of the apartment for 10-12 hours and immediately plopping down on the couch to zone out while staring at the wall to give my brain – and body – a break. Ain’t nobody got time (or energy) to make dinner after a day like that!

Don’t get me wrong — I love my job and I love being busy. However, I also love feeling good about my body and what I’m putting in it. And to be honest, I don’t know that I can say I do right now. I’ve been struggling to find a balance between the two — being busy and being healthy — and I think my lack of substantive updates on the blog probably reflects that struggle.

To give myself some credit, I have been keeping up with my workouts – I still run 3x per week and ran 70 miles in April (which was the same # of miles that I ran in January and February, when I was training for my half marathon). I do strength training 1-2x per week, and I’ve been organizing weekend practices with my Ultimate Frisbee team…

However, I’ve also eaten cheese & crackers and/or french fries for dinner most nights this week.

In the spirit of keeping myself in check, and inspiring others to do the same, I’ve come up with a list of 5 tips for surviving the hectic workweek while still keeping a healthy lifestyle. As always, I’m hoping that writing this down for the world to see will help me be inspired to practice what I preach. That has yet to be seen, but at least I’m trying, right?

1) Break up the day with an actual lunch break

This is one that I could definitely work on. On the days these past weeks where I actually exit my office for at least 30 minutes for some kind of break in the middle of the day, I always end up feeling the most energized. That 2pm feeling of dread and desperation for coffee doesn’t exist on days that I actually see some sunlight or take a walk in the middle of the day. And chances are, if I’m not feeling bored/exhausted, I’m not as likely to dig in to the snack cabinet in the kitchen for a pick me up, either!

2) Eat 3 full meals

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Actually making sure you have 3 solid meals throughout the day is a big help in keeping you energized and also ensuring that you’re taking care of yourself. Of course, for me this is easiest when I do meal prep on the weekends (see above) and have stuff to grab in the morning for nutritious breakfasts and lunches. But making sure you don’t skip a meal is so clutch! I might try to rationalize a crackers & cheese meal as “hey I’m getting my protein AND my carbs!”….but we all know that’s a stretch 😉

3) Get up and move when you can

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I get it…Not everyone is gonna wake up at 6:30am to run 5 miles (and of course take a pre-run #workoutselfie that they then snapchat to all their friends).

If you can, great. But if not, there are other ways to stay active throughout the week that don’t involve your typical workout: Bike to work! Take a break to walk around your office building. Walk to lunch! I always feel like I’m more active on the days I walk to work, even if biking is a “tougher” workout. If you have the option, it’s nice to be able to spend your commute taking a relaxing walk and listening to music instead of struggling to get through traffic. That’s gotta be a good thing, right?

4) Swap out the junk food for healthier snacks

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If you need snacks to get you through the day…Make sure they’re good ones! Luckily, my office keeps some pretty healthy snacks in our breakroom. Pretzels, cashews and almonds…not too shabby! However, I’m pretty sure even the healthy fats in cashews and almonds lose their nutritional value when you have 5+ handfuls throughout the day. I try to buy baby carrots and other random fruits to snack on instead of fatty nuts. BUT I do love me some cashews…old habits die hard.

5) Most importantly….Don’t beat yourself up if you have an off day.

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If you have a rough ass day at work and you want to just come home and have a drink with some chocolate and cheese…Then by all means, just do it. If you snoozed through your workout this morning after yesterday’s stressful late night at work, don’t turn down pizza night with your friends because you can’t afford the calories today.

Being hard on yourself just contributes to the stresses of life. Of course it’s great to have a regular fitness routine, and eat healthy…but we often forget that treating ourselves right emotionally is just as important.

It’s all about finding a balance.

Have a great weekend! Check back next week for a budget update 😀

 

How do you manage stress at work/school? I like taking at least one day out of the week to clean my room and paint my nails – those are my 2 relaxation activities!

What is an indulgence you never feel guilty about? I think having a glass of wine or 1 beer at the end of the day is one of the best things about being a working adult.