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My favorite things about Fall

I love Fall.

Do you call it Fall or Autumn? I never say Autumn but I like how it’s spelled. Either way, it’s one of my most favorite times of year.

The only bad thing about Fall is that it means Winter is just a little bit closer. But, except for the snow/ice hazards and the extremely bitter cold days, I have learned to appreciate that season more as well. But let’s not jump the gun. I’m here to talk about Fall because it’s what’s almost here!

I started this post about a month ago when we had a break in our seriously hot weather. But then it got hot again and didn’t feel like the right time to be talking about Fall just yet. Even though it was 94 yesterday, it seems that the cooler weather is just about here to stay and it is almost October so I did not want to delay any further!

I’ve also been thinking about Fall a lot because I work on a college campus and once the semester finally started, the students came rolling in and the restaurants and coffee shops went back to their normal hours (read: later than 2 p.m. and places that have been closed all Summer are finally open!) and there will be other exciting events going on here between now and the Christmas break.

Most days, the mornings have been on the cool side, cool enough as my friend Carrie said “to have a cup of hot tea in the mornings again!” She’s right about that. It’s also been darker in the mornings when I go out to walk Suzie and it’s been getting darker earlier at night. As much as I do love my daylight, it’s sort of cozy when it gets dark early and that makes me want to go to bed earlier, which is a good thing for me.

I have been feeling inspired 🙂 Change is good.

Fall means a lot of things to each one of us. But I think we can all agree that it’s generally a fun time of year. Now I just thought I would share a few of my favorite things about Fall with you 🙂

1. P-U-M-P-K-I-N!

Seriously, as soon as I see this stuff, I’m stocking up again! It’s been too long!

My pantry last Fall

I like to bake with it, put it in my oatmeal, make soup with it, pumpkin dip with ginger snaps, you name it. I’m also excited about pumpkin spice tea and pumpkin flavored coffee (not the syrup but the actual coffee flavor) and anything else coffee shops, cafes  or companies come up with to entice me into trying something. If it says pumpkin on it, I will probably at least give it a second look.

2. Art fairs, charity walks, outdoor events, etc.

Such as the St. James Court Art Show!

St. James is the event that really kicks off the Fall for me and it’s just a little over 2 weeks away. It also has the most unpredictable weather! I believe this picture is from two years ago, while last year we were in shorts! You just never know 😉 But I’m kind of hoping for a chilly morning this year, just not too cold!

The Louisville Walk for Farm Animals

I am one of the co-coordinators of this year’s Walk for Farm Animals (Farm Sanctuary)  on October 22nd and I am really excited about all that we have planned! Last year, we had a decent turnout and raised a good amount of money through our walk and a bake sale that we had beforehand. I’m looking forward to topping all of that this year! If you would like to sign up to walk or donate to my walk page, click here (thanks!)

Mighty Kindness Harvest Hootenanny

The Hootenannies take place in the Fall and in the Spring (on Earth Day) and it’s another time of rather unpredictable weather. Last year’s Fall Hoot was absolutely freezing and then the Earth Day hoot this year kept a lot of people at home because of rain/storms. Hopefully this time we will have a better day. I will be working at the Louisville Vegetarian Club booth this year and I hope my friend Kristin (pictured above in the hat and sunglasses) is there selling her goods again too 🙂

Fall Road Races!

While I haven’t decided to run any races this Fall (yet), I am going to be supporting my friends Farrah (pictured above on right) and Chloe in the Louisville Marathon on October 16th! I know it sounds corny but it’s long been a dream of mine to be on the sidelines cheering for someone else 🙂 This will be the first marathon for both of them and I can’t wait to see them cross that finish line!

3. Haunted Houses and horrors!

Courtesy of Nightmare Forest Louisville

I don’t scare easily but I do tend to jump at loud noises! My husband and I love the Halloween season. Soon we’ll be busting out our collection of horror movies and lining up on a Friday night to go through some scary forest, hotel or whatever attraction we choose to visit this year. We are also big fans of the Danger Run, even though we usually end up arguing and get lost at some point. All in good fun!

4. Football (sigh…)

I'm bummed he's not playing 😦

Never in my life did I think I would include this on a list of my favorite things about Fall. But the truth is, I do enjoy watching some football. It gets overwhelming when there are several games on in a week or when my husband is in the basement yelling at a particular team and I can hear him two floors up.

He’s not the only one who does this, but I just don’t like it when people get so mad about a game that they say terrible things to a team they claim to be a fan of and they just plain ruin my good time! But most of the time, it’s enjoyable to root for your favorite teams while spending time with family and friends over some chips and salsa.

We used to host Monday Night Football at our house every year but since we just moved and aren’t quite unpacked and my husband’s work schedule is a bit unforgiving (he wakes up at 4 a.m.!) we have decided not to do it this year. I kind of miss it already but hopefully we can get some people together for a game sometime this season!

I’m sure there will be some other adventures that I’m not even aware of yet but I will leave it at that for now. We are still settling into our new house and hopefully someday I will finally sit down and do a before and after post on some of the rooms we have redone and how the place looks now that we actually live here 🙂

What are you looking forward to this Fall? Anything not on this list that I should check out?

Not really Fall

If you asked about weather preferences, I would be the first to exclaim that I am totally a warm weather person! I hate being cold, so cold that no matter how many blankets you throw on or cups of tea you drink, you can’t shake that shiver.

But this year, it’s just been HOT. We hit the 90’s in June and hardly looked back. While that is okay for the Summer months, here we are getting ready to celebrate the first day of Fall and it’s going to be 96 degrees.

So as much as I love Summer and dread Winter, I need a happy medium!

Even though Fall has yet to really arrive, I’ve been getting a head start on my favorite Fall flavors.

001I actually found this tea on our trip to Brown County back in July, I’ve been saving it for a while! 🙂

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I also found some Pumpkin Spice coffee at one of my new favorite places in the world (haha): World Market!

Pumpkin spice coffee!

Sadly, even though I’ve been enjoying my pumpkin beverages, I have yet to actually make anything with “real” pumpkin. But it’s still early. Heck it’s not even really Fall yet.

Side note: has anyone been able to find Libby’s pumpkin anywhere? I’m still on the hunt. Whole Foods brand organic pumpkin just isn’t the same 😦

Update on goals

I decided to kick my caffeine habit on Monday, May 24th and I am happy to say that so far, so good.

I still drink one cup of caffeinated tea per daybut that is significantly less caffeine than I was consuming (19 mg caffeine vs. 90). I have only had one minor breakdown where I was literally falling asleep at my desk and had to have a cup of the “real” stuff.

(Image Source)

But once in three weeks is pretty good, no?

I wish I could say it is helping me sleep better but that has actually taken a downturn (hence falling asleep sitting up). I’ve been up every night past 11 (sometimes 12) and then I’ve been waking up every morning at 5 or 5:30 to work out before work.

I can function well on 6-7 hours of sleep normally, but when I start going under the 6, it becomes a problem. I need to work on this soon because not getting enough sleep can cause a whole lot of problems! It seems like it’s hard to fit everything in and still get enough sleep but somehow I have to do it.

I also gave up drinking diet sodas and I think now that I have found enough other drinks to enjoy, it’s not so hard to resist them anymore. I haven’t had one since May 8th! Josh even has a 24 pack of Coke Zero in our house where I can see it and I’m still not tempted.

A diet soda here or there isn’t such a bad thing, but I have no moderation. I would drink that entire 24 pack in just a few days. Then the artificial sweeteners wreak their havoc on me. No good for me, so no thanks!

If you read my fitness blog, River City Fitness, then you know that I have been taking Body Pump classes regularly the past two weeks (this week is the 3rd). Since I am in a regular weight training program now, I am trying to pay more attention to what I eat after my workouts, including adding more protein to some of my meals and snacks.

I’m also learning a lot thanks to this summer “Nutrition in Athletic Performance” class that I’m constantly cramming for taking right now. I’m also having a lot of fun, eating healthy, hanging out with friends, not worrying about my weight and just enjoying life.

So that’s what’s going on right now. How about you?

Have you given up something recently? How is it going for you?

#Fitblog time!

I am so excited to get to participate in the #fitblog chat on Twitter tonight. For more info, check out this link: http://katywidrick.com/fitblogchat/

But let’s talk about today first!

For breakfast this morning, I had oats (made with Silk almond milk and water) topped with almond butter and blackberries. It was delicious 🙂

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On the way to work, I had to get gas ($2.85/gallon, ugh) which is way too close to a Starbucks. So I got a grande coffee with soymilk.

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This was good, but I’m realizing more and more that it’s something I can live without. At least I know I don’t “need” it every day. So coffee is going on the backburner for now!

Mid-morning, I snacked on some Peeled Snacks dried apple, which I received for free from the company.

003Even though I did receive them for free, I promise you that I really like these. I like that they aren’t sweetened with anything and that they come in portion controlled bags.

For lunch, I had leftover bbq tofu on a salad 🙂

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And a banana!

006  Afternoon snack was some vegan jerky. I love these things!

007 I ate my snack kind of early so I got hungry again and decided to drink that carrot juice I didn’t get to last week. I’m so glad I had it!

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After work, I made a pit stop at Whole Foods and picked up a few things I need for my girl’s night potluck recipe for tomorrow 🙂

Then I drank a refreshing POM + Seltzer.

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Then I got started on dinner, which included these:

010   These:

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And this:

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Oh yeah and this too:

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I made some refried bean + avocado roll ups with taco sauce 🙂

014 I’m sure I’m not the first person to do this but it made me feel good to sort of “create” something on my own without relying on a recipe.

I also steamed some green beans with a little bit of Smart Balance Light.

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After dinner settled and I did the dishes, I was thinking about heading out for my run. But my legs and feet hurt! Like just standing up to do the dishes was rough.

So I decided to skip it and go first thing in the morning. Sometimes you just gotta listen!

Instead of running, I enjoyed a glass of wine…

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And a small serving of oat bran with almond butter and chocolate chips (x2)!

019Five more minutes. I’d better get back on Twitter, hope to see some of you there!

When something is telling you to skip a run, do you? Or do you push through it?

Sticking to bland

This morning, my stomach was still feeling a little weird (probably) from something I did or ate yesterday. So I decided to stick to bland foods for the most part.

For breakfast, my second attempt at a Chocolate Cherry Bomb 🙂

001 This one was much better. Adding the half banana is crucial. This smoothie contained: 1 cup Silk almond milk, 1/2 frozen banana, 1/4 cup frozen cherries, 1 (generous) tbsp cocoa powder and 2 cups of spinach. Yum!

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I drank this really early this morning and then went to the gym, so by the time I got to work I was totally hungry again! Note to self: need to invest in some protein powder.

003 Coffee with coconut milk creamer and mixed nuts.

Since I was sort of afraid to eat leftover falafel today, I stuck to easily digestible oatmeal for lunch 🙂

006And more coffee?!

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This is getting out of hand. I’m seriously considering a cut back or giving up caffeine for a while. I go back and forth. This is usually the time of year that I quit and then end up heavily addicted again by Fall!

I also had a few sips of this to try and get some more veggies in, but I decided to save it for another day. I like carrot juice a lot, I always get weird looks 😉

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Later in the afternoon, I got pretty hungry so I had a Tropical Fruit Tart Larabar. I love this flavor, you can totally taste the orange juice in it, which I like.

007 I added a little PB on the last little nub.

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I walked 17 minutes to my car after work (which I also did this morning, plus a 15 minute break walk) and took Suzie for a 45 minute walk when I got home.

This really worked up my appetite! I had a couple of snacks at home before dinner.

Carrot chips + hummus.

009 Leftover popcorn (about 1/3 of the bag).

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Someone else noted my snacks besides me 😉

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It’s about time to go to girl’s night potluck!

I love Wednesdays. We are having vegetarian chili and I made something awesome to go with it, which I will share with you all later 🙂

Hope my stomach is getting back to normal. I don’t like having anything unsettled in that area!

Race day again!

Good (very early) morning friends 🙂

I am up and at ‘em getting ready for my 10 mile race this morning. It is already 62* at 6 a.m., it is going to be quite a warm race day!

I fueled up with some oatmeal since that seemed to work pretty well for me before the last race I ran.

001This bowl contained: 1/2 cup oats (cooked with 1/2 cup almond milk + 1/2 cup water), 1 tbsp milled flaxseed, 1 tsp agave nectar, one sliced banana and a tbsp of PB 🙂

I also had some coffee to wake me up at this ungodly hour (for a weekend at least)!

002  Even Suzie is like “What the heck, Mom?”

004 Now it is time to get ready!

003 Thanks everyone for all the supportive well-wishes and advice. I am going to go out there, have fun and enjoy the weather for this race (since it is normally in the 30’s)!

Hope you have a lovely Saturday. For a race recap, check River City Fitness (and Twitter) later today!

“Trust me, I’m a doctor”

I think I have a thing for doctors. I’m a big fan of Dr. Drew Pinsky, he just seems so genuine and caring. I also love Dr. Oz and what he is doing for people to improve their health.

When it comes to healthy vegan soups, Dr. McDougall is the man!

001I’ve had several of these selections before but this was my first time trying the Lentil Couscous.

I love both of those things, so I figured it was a win-win.

002And I would be right! This soup was delicious.

At first I thought I had put too much water in but after letting it sit for several minutes, it had thickened right up :) 

I enjoyed this cup of soup along with an apple.

003 My afternoon snack was a Silk soy yogurt.

005Which I had with a cup of coffee. I tried to just drink tea today (I’ve been alternating to reduce my caffeine consumption) but it didn’t happen.

One day at a time, I guess!

004This was more like dessert than a snack 🙂

Check out the awesome run I did an hour later! Guess it was good fuel?

What is your go-to pre-run/workout snack?

Snow, waffles, ambience

We got a few inches of snow overnight and into this morning. I had a fun walk with Suzie!

suziesnow

Last night when we were waiting for it to start snowing (we stayed home and cozy), I had decided to make waffles in the morning!

My parents tried this mix recently and didn’t like it. I was bummed for them, but it worked out for me. 🙂

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I used 3/4 cup of the mix and then added 1/2 cup soy milk, 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup applesauce (for the egg) and 1/4 cup pumpkin (for the oil and flavor).

Plus some pumpkin pie spice, I almost forgot that!

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The batch made about 5.5 waffles, so I had two drizzled with peanut butter and syrup and topped with a lovely banana.

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Yumalicious!

Coffee was a must have, especially after my frigid trek outside (it’s in the single digits with the wind chill right now).

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Just French vanilla coffee and soymilk. The way I like it 🙂

Right now, I’m listening to the “New Age Ambient” station on Pandora and thinking of doing some yoga on my own. It’s quite relaxing, I like to listen to it at work too.

Eventually I’m going to have to venture out for a while to my mom’s and the grocery store. But I’m taking my sweet time!

What are your plans for the day?

Breakfast or dessert?

Caution: the following breakfast tasted so good that you might mistake it for dessert.

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Two pita pockets topped with Dark Chocolate Dreams and a sliced banana.

I love it when you can make something like this and be stoked that it is healthy too!

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Big coffee is a must on Saturday mornings 🙂

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It’s a French vanilla blend with plain soymilk.

I have a big day planned, starting off with a 5 mile run!

I can’t decide if I want to drive to a park or just go around my neighborhood but the sun is coming up now, so I’d better decide soon 🙂

Have a great Saturday!

Big coffee

Good morning! It’s big coffee time 🙂

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Thanks everyone who has entered into my Musselman’s Giveaway so far. You have until 11:59 tomorrow night so keep ‘em coming!

For breakfast, I did have more than a enormous mug of coffee. Enter some Ezekiel toast with peanut butter (which I measured today) and banana.

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I still haven’t decided what all to do today but exercise is making its way in there somehow. And perhaps a trip to Kohl’s?

I’m thinking either cycling, body pump, or just going in there and running on the treadmill and doing some weights on my own. We’ll see!

Hope you have a great day 🙂