Blend Retreat 2014: What Healthy Living Bloggers Eat on Vacation

So there’s this pretty generally accepted notion that if you’re on vacation, you can’t eat healthy.

While it’s definitely harder to watch what you eat – and much easier to overeat – when traveling, I don’t think it’s impossible to come back from a trip weighing the same you did when you left.

That being said, I ate a LOT this weekend at Blend Retreat. And my favorite part about eating with these ladies is that, before every meal, we ALL whip out our phones to take pictures of our food. Healthy living bloggers, you are so my people.

Anyway, I digress. I definitely ate a lot this weekend. But I also kept my booty movin’! I took 14,000 steps on Friday and 20,000 steps on Saturday..dang!

But this post is not about exercise. That post is forthcoming. This post is about not feeling guilty, it is about indulging (but not too much), and it is about balance. Balancepeople! Continue reading

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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

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?