Happy Friday! And happy 9 degrees! (That’s not happy. At all. Just wanted to see if you were paying attention.)

I woke up this morning starving and fixed that problem with French Toast!

I mixed together one spoonful of flax seed, one egg + one egg white, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a little bit of milk, and dipped two slices of whole wheat bread (toasted so it would stay crunchy) into the mix. Then I pan-fried it and added half of a sliced banana for good measure, even though Marsh was OUT of organic bananas (the horror) and I had to eat a regular one.

Remember how I had a hair experiment last night? Well, it turned out to be a success! I didn’t do anything drastic, just a trim and a color update.

For some reason, every single time I get my hair highlighted, I HATE it the next day and feel like my whole face just looks unnatural and puffy afterward. I think it’s because I always try to go too blond. So I just asked for some natural brownish highlights instead:

Please excuse the weird way it’s lying against my head. My hair girl attacked me with a flat iron, as they always do, after she scolded me about how fried my ends were and how bleached out color made me look washed out. Which brings me to a Fun Fashion Friday!

I’ll just pass along this hair tip she gave me, because it totally makes sense:

Only wash your hair every other day at the most, no matter what the texture of your hair is. I am guilty of washing mine every day, and then torturing it with the flat iron and hair dryer afterward. I told her politely that my hair is hopeless if I don’t wash it every day and gets too gross, and she said that people think that because they don’t give it a chance.

If you let your hair get into a routine of only being washed every other day or every few days, it won’t stay oily on the off days more than three weeks to a month. You just have to give it a chance. She said not to give up and eventually it will start looking the same on the “on” days as the “off” days and it will be much healthier, softer, shinier, and less damaged in general.

Pretty cool tip….I guess I’ll give it a try and just wait out the month of ickiness. At least it’s only February, not one of the good months.

So that’s it on the fashion front…except for this hilarious quote I stumbled across on Glamour.com regarding harem pants: 

I think that the weirdest women’s fashion choice has been those weird dumpy pants that make it look like girls have poops in their pants. I don’t want to talk to anybody wearing those pants.

—Peter, 30

This reinforces the fact that guys will never understand fashion, per say, but they do know what’s horribly unflattering. For the most part. As for my opinion, unless you’re J. Lo, your boyfriend will probably wholeheartedly agree with Peter’s assessment. I actually agree wholeheartedly with it too. Who invented those things? Oh yeah, MC Hammer. I’m pretty sure they looked horrible on him too.

Deep thoughts by Casey. There you go.

Happy weekend! 🙂

Deep Fryer Dreams

Hi! So, it’s officially less than a week until my birthday :). Do other people love their birthday as much as I do? I’m curious. I get kind of unreasonably excited about it and decide that all day I’m totally special. I do get bummed about the fact that I had to be born in the dead middle of winter though. Thanks Mom. But I digress.

I wanted to update you on some of my eats from the past couple of days:

Falafel! Falafel (basically, chic peas that are mashed and baked) still makes me think of those 3 am weekend nights (mornings?) right after you graduate college, when you emerge from the bar ready to eat your arm, only to stumble into the path of a beautiful little Falafel place that tastes like the best thing you’ve ever eaten at that very second.

The only thing that can top this 3am miracle is chili cheese dogs from a cart, but that’s another story.

I made this for dinner last night, and it was SO good! The directions were for deep frying it, which would have been delicious, but I don’t own a deep fryer. Does anyone these days?

Honestly, I would love to get one and say I would only use it every once in a while, but the more likely scenario would be that I would start deep-frying donuts and french fries every day and all of a sudden forget that I love almond butter. That would be a tragedy.

So anyway, the Falafel came out of the oven still crispy and yummy minus the vat of oil:

I actually almost burned them, because my dog decided he had to pee at the very second I needed to be monitoring them closely and barked his head off to go outside, and it was either watch him empty his bladder on the floor or abandon my Falafel balls. True story. (We made it. Barely. So did the Falafel.)

So anyway, I haven’t mentioned it much on the blog, but I’ve still been running, and making some progress! Does anyone else feel like there is so much to learn/know/understand about running?

I read a lot about interval training, speed work, etc, but so far my plan has just sort of been to tackle the treadmill three to four times a week, increasing my mileage/speed a little bit each week. But I am training for this craziness and really want to be able to do my best:

The 500 Festival Mini-Marathon! Thinking about completing this 13.1 miles makes me really happy. Thinking of doing it at my goal speed (which is yet to be completely determined) makes me really extra happy!

So my question is this: would it be beneficial to sign up and train with a running group? There is one in my area, and it’s a little pricey, but it holds group runs once a week specifically target toward the Mini. I printed out this training schedule to use on my own, but am wondering if it would be better to run with a group. Thoughts? I am such a running newbie. 🙂

In related news, Dave and I watched Spirit of the Marathon the other night and it’s SO good! It really captures the reasons for running and the feelings you get from it. I highly recommend it for anyone looking for motivation. 🙂

So tonight involves a fun hair-related outing…come back tomorrow to see how that turns out (I know this sounds riveting) and Fun Fashion Friday! 🙂

HI friends! Happy Tuesday!!

Sorry I’ve been MIA for the past couple of days…despite all of my healthy eating attempts/working out efforts, I’ve had a bad cold for the past week or so with basically no voice, and no hearing ability in my right ear, which is super annoying.

Everyone keeps asking me if I went to the COLTS game on Sunday and screamed my voice away, which is irritating for two reasons: one, I’m reminded every 5 minutes that I have not, in fact, gone to a game at all this season, and two, I still sound like Lindsey Lohan attempting to sound like Marilyn Monroe. Not even my old friend, the Outback cheese fries, helped me feel better:

They photograph so beautifully. 🙂

So right now, I’m sitting on my couch watching American Idol and hoping this will cheer me up:

I’ve never tried this wine before, but officially decided it might be my favorite wine ever. This stuff is awesome. Maybe it’s solely because it’s called Cupcake. If so, kudos to you, marketing people.

So I was shopping (more like wistfully wandering) today at lunch, and I have to ask this burning question that has plagued me all afternoon. It involves this thing:

What are you looking at, you ask? Why, that strange flower-patterned garment is what’s referred to as a playsuit this season (I kid you not) due to some ill-fated attempt to make them look youthful and fun.

Before I make fun of this too much, however, I have to admit that I tried it on. And it did, in fact, look like the “playsuits” of yesteryear, like I wore back when I was five and walked my bike down the street instead of riding it because it was out of the question to actually ride that terrifying thing.

So anyway, the point of my posting on the playsuit is to ask your opinion on them. Is this thing cool? Is it flattering? Is it going to make me look like I’m wearing a tube top+CULOTTES made out of the same fabric for a 4-H sewing project? I need some help here.

Moving on to picture number 2 I snapped today while driving through the gray slush that has taken over the great state of Indiana:

Ok. I am the only one who finds this humorous? I’m not trying to be judgmental and/or snobby about Valentines Day, because I am aware that a fancy-pants dinner does not necessarily a happy V-day make. But White Castle, come on. RESERVATIONS? I’m just trying to help when I say that any boy who is reading this, PLEASE resist the urge to write down that number and proudly whip it out on Feb 13, in plenty of time to secure your coveted table. Your girlfriend will thank you.

I’ve got to get back to American Idol and watching Katy Perry stick it to these crazy contestants. LOVE her.  Talk to you soon!

Ice and Swimsuits

Good morning!

This morning I woke up to a pleasant surprise—a two-hour delay at work! Perhaps I need to drink some hot chocolate and build a snowman. 🙂

Actually, the roads are just icy. So no snowman for me :).

Just a quick note to let you know about a format change for the blog! I’m not going to be posting all my eats for the day anymore; rather, it will just be highlights so you only get the good stuff. 🙂 Don’t worry, you can still look forward to random thoughts, lots of pizza pictures, healthy and no-so-healthy recipes, and gentle ribbing of silly American Idol contestants.

I’ll leave you with this picture to cheer you up if it’s icy where you are too:

Clearwater Beach! One of my fave places in the world and where I will be lounging in exactly two more months. Sorry if this image made you sad rather than cheered you up. But remember my Target rant about the bathing suits? I have decided to look at this entire winter situation differently, and embrace Target’s plot to sell out of their bathing suits before the rest of the stores even come out with theirs, thus eliminating all competition.

I’m on to you, Target. But I might as well join the ranks of your swimsuit-buying customers and purchase one now, then put it on every night and kill two birds with one stone:

A) it will motivate me to work out and B) it will remind me that sunshine and beaches do exist, just not at this particular moment in Indiana (well, ok, beaches do not exist at any particular moment in Indiana).

Be back soon! I’ll let you know how that swimsuit-buying expedition turns out!

Flat-Out Domination

Happy Wednesday!

Since my camera was acting up last night, I couldn’t show you my dinner. So here it is this morning, for your viewing pleasure. And guess what? It wasn’t made by me! That always makes it taste better. 🙂

More pizza! You know how I feel about pizza. Corey created this masterpiece and topped a Flat-Out Wrap (you’re going to be seeing these things a lot :)) with spinach, tomatoes, marinara sauce, mushrooms, and shredded cheddar cheese. A simple, easy, delicious dinner! Pre-cooking:

Well….by a lot in that above sentence, I mean approximately every 12 hours or so. 🙂 Breakfast this morning featured another Flat-Out Wrap—this time in burrito form! I combined Applegate Farms provolone, a microwaved egg with hot sauce, spinach, and chopped tomato and rolled it up:

With a couple of strawberries on the side for good measure. 🙂

Lunch is a random mix of a bunch of stuff from the fridge. I’ve noticed lately that I’ve really been craving sweets, and I haven’t been working too hard to combat the problem. I figure if most of my craving is satisfied by fruit instead of massive quantities of ice cream, I’m doing ok.

A vanilla Dannon yogurt, baggie of sliced carrots, grapes, and another Dark Chocolate Coconut Kashi bar. I can’t get enough of these things! I might save the bar for a 2:30 snack, since I plan on heading to the gym after work today (with the 7 Benefits of Regular Exercise firmly in mind so I don’t decide on the way home that I’d rather just go home and drink a glass—or two—of wine).

So that’s my plan for tonight! And today is Wednesday, so that means:

Change the World Wednesday! Today’s organization is:

The Make-a-Wish Foundation!

This is a nonprofit you’ve probably heard of, and to me, it’s one of the most inspiring out there. Basically, the mission of the Make-a-Wish Foundation is to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.

This one is particularly special to me because my sister had to have open-heart surgery at 18 months old, and I know how a medical condition of that magnitude can affect not only the child facing it, but the entire family. The fear, uncertainty, stress, and pure financial strain of medical bills are hard to grasp if you haven’t gone through it.

This dedicated group makes these children’s biggest dreams into realities, often incorporating the family as well. One popular wish granted is an entire family trip to Disney World—there’s no place better to lift the spirits! 🙂

If you want to make a donation of money or time to this worldwide organization, visit the website. It’s full of unique ideas for helping out, inspiring stories, and news and events.

Have a great day!

Hi! I’m sitting here next to Riley, and both of us are eagerly anticipating making fun of this week’s American Idol hopefuls. If you go on the show, aren’t you just asking for America to rip you apart? We are obliging.

My internet is being really slow and not letting me upload pictures, so instead of a food post, I’ll leave you with this!

If you sometimes struggle to drag your booty to the gym after work like I do, it might help motivate you to check out this list of 7 Benefits of Regular Physical Activity on the Mayo Clinic’s website. It’s a little long, but SO true and totally worth the read! I’ll do a brief synopsis for you (like that word? It makes me think of college English and the world’s most difficult Shakespeare class…ah, Shakespeare. Thanks for dragging my GPA down—I still haven’t forgotten).

The 7 Benefits of Regular Physicial Activity:

1. Excerise improves your mood. So true! Don’t you just feel like you belong in a fitness DVD when you finish a sweaty workout? Sometimes, in the privacy of my own home of course, I flex my little biceps for good measure when I’m done.

2. Exercise combats chronic diseases. I’m not a doctor, but I think there’s plenty of proof on this one. I’ll buy it.

3. Exercise helps you manage your weight. Need I say more?

4. Exercise boosts your energy level. Physical activity gets the blood flowing to your heart and lungs, which gives you more energy for all the fun stuff you do, like reading blogs and watching The Bachelor. You may think this doesn’t take energy, but have you seen The Bachelor? It takes much physical restraint for keep yourself from throwing things at the screen.

5. Exercise promotes better sleep. It’s definitely better than counting backwards from 500 by threes. Because, let’s be honest—not only does that sound like the most un-fun thing ever, but who can even do it?

6. Exercise can put the spark back into your sex life. Do you even need to go on to #7?

7. Exercise can be—gasp–fun! Go to a Britney concert and tell me you don’t wish it was you up there, shaking your booty. Oh wait, maybe that’s just me. 🙂

Morning! Hope you’re having a great Tuesday! I woke up before my alarm went off this morning (best thing ever) and hopped (well, ok, maybe I didn’t quite hop) out of bed. I was excited to try out my version of a new breakfast concoction that I’ve seen floating around in food bloggie world for a while now:

French Vanilla Coffee Oatmeal!

If you don’t like coffee, you probably won’t like this. 🙂 But if you’re a coffee fan, you must give it a try! The star ingredient:

One of my favorite coffees ever. It’s mild, sweet, and smells SO good while brewing! This bag was part of my grocery excursion yesterday, and I couldn’t wait to make some this morning. I took 1/4 cup of the freshly brewed batch and poured it directly into a bowl filled with:

–1/2 mashed banana
–1/3 cup oats
–1/3 cup milk
—dashes of vanilla

And cooked it for two minutes (and watched in dismay as it exploded in my microwave. I cleaned up the sides of the bowl and pretended it never happened).

The end result:

A beautiful bowl of steaming oats with a hint of creamy vanilla coffee flavor! It was delicious. I mashed up my banana before adding it to the mix, because it makes it taste so much sweeter (I absolutely promise that organic bananas are SO much better and sweeter than regular ones).

Then I added a spoonful of BearNaked granola for crunch and ate with an almond butter spoon, because I am incapable of having an almond-butter-free breakfast.

Mmmm…mushy banana.

Lunch is a new experiment too: I finally bought some Flat-Out Wraps! Behold:

These wraps have only 100 calories are an excellent source of whole grain, fiber, and healthy omega 3s. (Yes, I am reiterating the package info. I’m a total sucker for packaging.)

I’m a little scared of wraps, I must admit, because my sandwich always falls apart halfway through. And then you have to put it back together, and who wants to work that hard at lunch? But I stuck in a toothpick to ensure minimum spillage:

Oh, you might want to know what’s in my pretty wrap that won’t be spilling out! I stuffed it full of thinkly sliced roasted deli turkey, two thick slices of tomato, a slice of Applegate Farms provolone (which is a pretty low-fat but still tasty cheese), and baby spinach leaves. I’ll probably heat it up before I eat it, because that’s how I roll with lunches. 🙂

My lunch also includes this:

A new kind of yogurt. In my never-ending quest to find a yogurt that doesn’t offer as much sugar as three donuts (mmm) but also is actually edible, I’ve decided to give Dannon a go. We’ll see. The flavor sounds promising—pineapple coconut! Makes me think of the beach. Sigh. 🙂

I also packed a Kashi bar for an afternoon snack:

Dark chocolate coconut. Enough said. 🙂 I love Kashi bars because they’re not too calorie-dense, like some bars, and they’re light and tasty–perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up!

My plans after work today include a gym session to make up for my somewhat pathetic attempt yesterday and, of course, American Idol! Do you have any fun plans tonight? I generally stay home and hibernate on Tuesday evenings. 🙂

See you tonight!