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.

IMG_6012

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.

IMG_6014

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”:

newfoodbudget

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:

IMG_6013

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!

 

newbudgetMay2014

 

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?

Advertisements

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

photo 1

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

photo 4

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

photo 3 (1)

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.

image

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.

Five Word Friday: Life Lately

I’ve been MIA. Here’s why: IMG_5158 You already know my Sundays. IMG_5539 My weekdays are fun too! IMG_5206 Wednesday morning weights. The usual. IMG_5362 COURTSIDE seats: Kings versus OKC newdesk Moved up front at work. IMG_5555 Food Should Taste Good RULES! IMG_5478 West Sacramento Caturday Bike Gang IMG_5415 Spring weather + spring clothes = Love. IMG_5628 Easter church selfies with Mom IMG_5662 Feed fish, check. Next: abs.

10300907_10103096025751407_2921618017284207520_n

My job has its perks 😀

(for non-Californians, that’s Gov. Jerry Brown)

.

Describe your life lately in 5 words!

Spring Weekend in Photos

Spring has frickin’ sprung, people!

In true Sacramento fashion, we went from 2 straight weeks of rain and chilly winter-like weather…to pretty much SUMMER overnight.

You won’t hear (m)any complaints from me, because I’m a sun-lover through and through. I had a nice mix of relaxation and exertion this weekend, and lots of it was spent outside. Perfection!

On Friday evening, I decided to grab a glass of wine (thus ending my 5-day alcohol “cleanse” lol) with colleagues at a wine bar right by our office. I can’t think of a more perfect way to cap off a tiring week: with a nice glass of Sangiovese and hilarious conversation!

spring1

I headed home soon after to have dinner and wind down from the week. It was still breezy and a little chilly at this point, so I spent the evening in fuzzy slippers doing things aroudn the house.. My brother FaceTimed me later on in the evening and I played him a few ditties on my keyboard. “Hold on Andrew, don’t hang up yet! I have the sheet music to Let it Go too!!!”  — his annoyed face says it all 😛

spring2

After a few weeks of frequenting the giant Sunday Farmers Market, I revisited my favorite (smaller, more close by) Midtown Farmers Market on Saturday morning. I bought some gorgeous rainbow chard, carrots, and beets, and then splurged on a mason jar of kombucha. The kombucha stand that originally got me hooked on the delicious rotten tea drink was selling re-purposed mason jars from Discarded Designs…I couldn’t resist.

spring3

I hurried home and stashed the ‘buch in the fridge for later, because I had a long run planned! I very quickly regretted having waited until 11:30am to start my 8.5 mile run, because it was H-O-T. It only reached about 70 degrees on Saturday, but I was feeling it by the end. Check out the before and (sweaty) after! It was a beautiful day on the river as you can see, so I can’t really complain too much!

spring4

I lounged around for the rest of the day. I painted my nails and needed something to “watch” AKA listen to in the background, so I threw on RENT. Classic! After a quick grocery trip, I caught a Lyft over to my friend Fresh’s house where we played games and celebrated Yvette’s birthday a few days early! We played King’s Cup, Mad Gab, and Taboo…such good times!

spring5

To cancel out all the lounging I did on Saturday (minus the 8.5 mile run 😛 ) I had a seriously active day on Sunday. I corralled a few friends together to join up with other XOSO players and play Ultimate Frisbee for the cameras- we were on Good Day Sacramento! You can check out video #1 and video #2 online.

As soon as we finished, I saw a text from Chris saying he saw me on TV dropping the frisbee. D’OH! Of course of all the moments they could have captured…

Next up, we went to Pour House for brunch. No mimosas for me (shocker, I know) but I did taste Stone Brewing’s EnjoyBy 4/20 IPA. They come out with a new “Enjoy By” every few months and I’ve loved all the ones I’ve tasted!

Next on the schedule was another Ultimate Frisbee session with my team. CJ, Matt and I were pooped from playing earlier, so we were a pretty sad sight scrimmaging against Mikhail, Landai and Chris. Plus the temps had risen to almost 80 degrees by the afternoon!

photo (2)

We cooled off afterward on the patio at Beach Hut Deli while I killed some time before my dodgeball game.

We won our game 7-2 (the usual!) and I was POOPED by the end of it. My Fitbit said I only logged 12,000 steps, which seems low… Regardless, it was an action-packed day! And the best part was…no sunburns! Woo hoo! #palepersonproblems

Have a fantastic week!

How’s the weather in your neck of the woods?

Team sports- love em or hate em? What’s your favorite?

A Little of This, A Little of That…

Happy Friday!

Unlike recent weeks, I wasn’t SUPER OMG DESPERATE for this week to be over. It’s been a relatively quiet week at work (busy for sure, but not OMG-wanna-rip-my-hair-out stressful) and I have kept it similarly quiet at home — I’ve been laying low and been in bed by 10:30 every night!

I decided on Monday to give myself a little detox, so I’ve not only abstained from alcohol for the past 5 days, but I’ve also limited my handfuls of cashews at work, and spoonfuls of Nutella at home 😉

In addition to the detox and walking/biking to work every day, I ran twice (3 miles on Tues & 5 miles on Thurs) and did strength building exercises twice (on Weds and this morning):

Wednesday’s workout has been my tried & true upper body workout for almost a year now. It was pretty much the only strength training I did (1x per week) while training for my half…It gets in some good upper body work, but the better benefit may be the core strengthening that comes from all those planks! If I have time, I also finish up with V-ups and regular ol’ crunches for good measure.

 

photo (2)

Because I’m not doing Thursday dodgeball this season, I enjoyed an early bedtime last night and a rare 6:30am Friday morning wake up call! I’ve been doing the above workout for so long that I decided to look for a new GPP Fitness workout to switch things up. I did 2 rounds of Cross Sectional, and I did the V-ups, Stab Situps and high windmills from t-AB-ata. My legs are burrrrning from Cross Sectional!

.

ANYWAY, I digress. This totally wasn’t meant to be a Fitness post! I just wanted to pop in and share a few things I’ve enjoyed this week, and even a fun HANDWRITTEN quiz that I yanked from Christina at Hungry Meets Healthy. Enjoy!

 

75 Thoughts Every Runner Has While Out For A Run

LOVE. IT. My favorite is the thoughts that go through your head when you jump over puddles. Also, all the thoughts that go on in the last mile of your run.

 

AdvoCare Spark

My Blend-turned-Real-life friend Becky has been pumping up Advocare products for the past few months…I texted her yesterday that I ran out of my beloved pre-workout supplement (fitmixer Clean Energy) and she happened to have just gotten a bunch of variety packs of Spark, AdvoCare’s energy drink mix. I ordered some and can’t wait to try it! I’m not big on supplements, but I do like using a pre-workout drink before my long runs. I’ll be sure to report back on how I like it! If you’re interested, be sure to visit Becky’s blog or click one of the above links to be taken to her store!

 

The 10 Most Important Things We Learned from How I Met Your Mother

As you all probably know, How I Met Your Mother ended this week. Sadface. While I can’t say I’ve watched since the start of the show, I did start watching from the beginning about 4-5 years ago and have been hooked ever since. I love the writing, I love how they’ve kept us guessing about the Mother, and I lovelovelove the characters. I definitely cried multiple times during the series finale, and I have mixed feelings about how it ended, but I largely agree with this article about what went down. {spoiler alert in the article, obviously!}

 

And last but not least… you know those handwritten quizzes they have celebs fill out in Cosmo? Welp, I found one for bloggers! If you’re interested in filling it out, you can print out the blank template here. Enjoy!

SBIZHUBC28014040412060Before you say anything about liking my handwriting, please take note that I toootally spent 5x longer than usual writing out every single word to make sure it was legible. HA.

Have a great weekend!

What do you do to treat your body when you need to detox?

Are/were you a HIMYM fan?

If We Were Having Coffee…

Hello, my little long-lost blog… it’s been a while!

After being blown away by all of your support about my half marathon, then getting my act together and posting my first recipe in months…..I went radio silent.

I’m not one to post religiously regardless of whether I actually have anything interesting to say; I like to go for quality over quantity, you know?

Sometimes, a girl is just busy. Said busy-ness can take shape in the form of working late, or running around to different meetings every other night…And sometimes after a long day at work, being ‘too busy to blog’ just means I need to veg out while watching How I Met Your Mother and Parks & Rec for 4 hours.

Let’s catch up, shall we? Let’s go on a virtual coffee date.

photo (1)

If We Were Having Coffee…

…I would tell you about the afterglow of my half marathon.

shamrockn

Even weeks later, I’m still trying to hold on to the feeling of accomplishment and elation that I had after the race. This is the best solo picture I got from the race photographers- can you tell I was approaching mile 13 and desperate to finish? Ha! I was super impressed that there’s even video of me finishing – I come in on the right side of the screen around :20 then cross the finish line and pretty much bounce right back off screen.

…I would tell you how excited I am for spring & summer.

Although I got really lucky that I trained for my race from December-March in mild conditions with barely any rain, I am more than ready for some spring weather! During race weekend and the weekend after, we had beautiful 75 degree days, but it’s been rainy and cold ever since.

I’ve been pretty lucky with my seasonal allergies this year (knock on wood)…Sacramento is NOTORIOUS for being terrible in the allergy department. Hopefully my luck holds up, because I’m making the switch from indoor Dodgeball to outdoor Ultimate Frisbee next month and I can’t wait to run around outside!

…I would admit to you that I totally went over budget last month.

photo

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.

Hosting Tyler during race weekend definitely meant dining out more often than usual. Plus, I have been really busy at work, which means that some days I don’t have time to go home for lunch. ALSOOO, the rainy weather has made taking Lyft a much more desirable option than walking or biking in the rain lately. Good thing it’s affordable! (especially if you sign up using my code 😉 )

I’m hoping that cutting out one night of dodgeball from my weekly routine, as well as drinking less and avoiding more than one Chai Latte splurge per week will keep me on the straight and narrow budget-wise!

…I would ask you which race I should run next!
rainy 9 miler / sunny 8.5 miler!

rainy 9 miler / sunny 8.5 miler!

I have been keeping up with the same running routine as usual- I run 3-4 miles on Tues/Thurs, and I don’t know if I will ever give up my Saturday morning long runs! I ran 8.5 miles last weekend, and 9 rainy miles this past weekend.

I want to run another half marathon in the fall, and the top contenders at the moment are all in October: the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in SF, and two possible Rock n’ Roll Half Marathons – in San Jose and Los Angeles. HMMM!

The only downside of doing a race in October is the fact that I’ll be training in the Sacramento heat in August and September. Typically, we get a good dozen or so 100+ degree days during the summers here…training in that heat would definitely present a challenge!

…I would probably talk your ear off about boys.

I’m not gonna lie – I talk about boys a lot. (Just ask Carly and Becky!) But for the sake of my own privacy, and that of any guys I date, the most personal details you’ll get on this little bloggy blog are about my black toenails from running or how much I pay for rent each month. 😉

Anyway, I had a realization last week: I have been single for 9 MONTHS now. For the first year+ that I had this blog, I was in a serious relationship. My ex was a big factor in why I started blogging, and a lot of my early posts involved meals I made for us.

I’m proud to say that I’ve achieved a lot of personal growth in the last 9 months. However, like any single girl in her mid 20’s, I often have frustrations about guys and dating…

Why do they ALL send mixed signals? Why is every guy on Tinder revolting? That text was totally flirtatious, right?! I mean, he used a winky face and everything. Is there a real Ted Mosby out there, and if so, why haven’t I found him yet?

IMPORTANT QUESTIONS, people.

.

So that’s a little of what’s been running through my mind lately.

If we were having coffee, what would be on your mind?

Weekend in Photos

Hellooooo March weather and Spring time!

I know everyone hates springing forward because of the hour of sleep lost (the sleep lover in me can definitely hear that!), however it is arguably my favorite weekend of the year because I love having longer days! Don’t have to lug my bike light to work anymore or walk home in the dark– yippee!

I might (key word: MIGHT) miss my pre-sunrise 6:30am runs though once it starts to get lighter earlier again. Those were kind of nice 😉 …..NAH who am I kidding?!

Anyway, let’s jump into it!

10march

Friday was a weird day at work- half of the office was out, we went to a weird free breakfast event so I skipped lunch, and the day just seemed to drag. So the end of the day selfie was a given 😛 I came home to my new Fabletics outfit in the mail and IMMEDIATELY tried it on – will definitely be sharing more about what I bought soon!

I then cozied up with a plate of crackers and cheese (I also had a bowl of roasted veggies) and painted my nails while watching a classic: THE PRINCESS DIARIES. Oh, a green face mask may have also made an appearance. Yep, I’m 12 years old at heart. Did anyone else have a fat crush on Erik Von Detten as a preteen??

20140310-150857.jpg

A chill evening in created ideal conditions for my Saturday morning run. My internal clock was still on weekday time and I woke up at 7am 😦 after lying in bed as long as I could, I got ready and was out by 9am for my run! As you can tell by the sweat, it was a HOT day. It ended up being in the mid-70’s later on and I was definitely feelin it!

It was a good one- 11.5 miles at race pace. I was actually averaging a bit slower than I wanted from miles 3-6ish, but I picked it up for the last couple of miles and averaged a whopping 8:30 for mile 11- then I spotted my friend Danielle and pretty much sprinted my last half mile (8:19 min/mi) with her boyfriend Noel 😛

This week is tapering week, so that was my last long training run! Cannot believe race time is almost here! It’s forecast to be 80 degrees on Sunday- good thing our wave starts early.

10march3

Afterward, I walked to the Farmer’s Market to get my favorite salsa and flowers (I love daisies!) and of course a dirty chai 🙂
Then, I convinced my mom to come along for an impromptu Macy’s trip. Great/terrible decision… I love shopping with my mom, but she is a bad influence! She talked me into getting a couple of dresses. Luckily we had coupons 😉 However, I went with the intention of replenishing my BareMinerals moisturizer and left with everything you see above, including BB cream, which I apparently use now….

I don’t have any pictures from Saturday evening, but it involved one final Sacramento Beer Week event (Yummy Dogfish Head beers at BarWest), followed by a quick game of pool (props to Chris for knocking in the 8 ball 10 minutes into our game!), and an epic Beatles listening sesh. I instituted a 10pm curfew for the weeks leading up to my race, so I was home and in bed by 11!

10march4

On Sunday morning, I woke up at 8am (meaning 7am…merrrr) to make a full farmers market trip with Yvette. It was actually kind of crazy how much cheaper some of the vendors are at the big Sunday Farmer’s Market! I might have to switch up my routine! We stopped at Yvette’s parents house afterward and got treated to breakfast (and lots of fun stories) by her mom.

10march5

The weekend ended with our dodgeball championship game, which came down to the wire- we started off down 1-3 and pulled off a 4-3 comeback victory! (Editor’s note: we did come back to make the score 4-3, but we actually ended up winning 5-4 in an overtime victory. Ahem, thanks for the correction ALEX GRAVES) I have such a great time playing on Sundays because my team is made up of some of my closest dodgeball friends — many of whom I’ve been playing with for well over a year! It helps that Sundays are a little less competitive than the Thursday A league, and we use a smaller, lighter ball as well 🙂 Check out the play by play on the Xoso website here!

I’m now ready to take it easy this week- both with half marathon training and my social life- to prepare for Sunday’s race. Tyler is coming up on Friday night and we (+ Chris) start running at 8am sharp on Sunday morning!

Have a great week!

Do you have a favorite farmer’s market?

Any pre-half marathon race week tips?