Weekend of Food

We had such a fun weekend! I'm a pretty big introvert and homebody, but I actually made it out on both Saturday and Sunday night. After work on Saturday, I hurried up and got ready and we dropped Waves off at our friend's house. We were all going out together and Waves loves playing with their little girl so we decided to share a babysitter which worked out great. Waves was so excited and kept saying it was her first slumber party even though we were back home before 10:30pm.. we can't hang long anymore 😬

We went out to Flying Squirrel where I had a surprisingly good falafel. I'm usually not a huge fan of the food, but go there because they have the best drinks. I ended up getting my favorite - Laphroaig 10 year. I'm a big fan of lapsong suchong tea because I love its smokiness (it makes great iced tea too!) and someone told me if I liked that then I'd enjoy smoky scotch. At the time, I didn't know that was a thing so I researched it a bit, ordered Laphroaig, and it has been my go-to ever since. So, if you like smoky teas then I bet you'd enjoy it too!


After dinner and drinks we headed to The Coin-Op where we played some pinball. Creature is my favorite pinball game ever. It's the only pinball game I actually know all of the rules to which makes it a blast to play.

We played a few games and talked for awhile, then we ended the night at a new brewery that opened up down the street called Oddstory. We all had a drink while we talked for another hour or so. I ordered their Belgian Blonde and it was fantastic! After that we called it a night and headed back to pick up Waves. She was knocked out and made it all the way home and into bed without waking up.

On Sunday, we met up with another couple of friends that have a little girl Waves' age. We met up at The Pizza Place on Signal Mountain and I have to say.. it was the best pizza I've had since moving to Chattanooga. I definitely recommend it! If you happen to be local and planning a visit just know that it is cash or check only.

They have some arcade type games there (including pinball 😜) so it was nice to be able to let the girls play close by while we all talked. My macros definitely took a hit since I finished off a 12" pizza by myself pretty much. Waves had two slices and I took care of the rest.

It's back to counting and weighing today though because we just booked a vacation to the Tampa/St. Pete Beach area! I can't wait. We are normally just plan it last minute kind of people so to actually have something already planned and to be able to look forward to it is really nice. And there will be a Frida Kahlo exhibit at The Dali Museum while we are there and I am so, so excited!

I'm headed to go through all the stuff in our bedroom and throw out/donate a bunch of stuff. It is looong overdue and I'm in the mood to get it done. Have a great week!

A Little Bit About Me


Since this blog is new, I wanted to tell you all a little bit about myself so things make sense when I blog about them. I live in Chattanooga, Tennessee with my husband, Greg, and our 4 year old daughter, Waves (nickname).

My degree is in graphic design and I still freelance occasionally. We were living in Knoxville (where I was born & raised) when I quit my design job right before I had my daughter and I became a stay-at-home-mom. We ended up moving to Chattanooga in 2014 for my husband's job.

I have been working at a coffee roasters in Chattanooga since November 2015. I started out as a barista and I am now the marketing manager and part-time barista. I really love coffee and making drinks because it's so much fun and the customers are fantastic, so I'm behind the counter two days a week.

I used to have a blog called Working Out & Eating In where I wrote about food and workouts, but I wanted to blog about way more than just that so I closed it and started this one up. I noticed that I still seem to gravitate towards posting about food, but now I can include some other different posts like family things, my hobbies (painting, thrifting, coffee), and my daily life. I really miss blogs where you just got to see someone else's day and not only informational posts.. and that's what I'd love for this blog to be like.

So there's a little bit about me! Thanks for reading the blog and I hope you enjoy it 😀

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Yesterday was a super busy day at work since we had a lot of orders to fill. My coworker roasted while I bagged up coffee, made 200+ quick brews (check these out.. they're so neat!), picked up our milk order, and filled coffee/quick brew orders.

After I picked Waves up from preschool, she asked if we could go to the thrift store to spend some of her chore money. So we headed there, but she didn't find anything she wanted so we went to the Dollar Tree instead. Halloween is definitely my favorite time to visit stores, but man.. Valentine's is up there for sure. I love all the pink and red and hearts.. LOVE. IT.

She ended up getting a cute little mailbox to put Valentine's cards in and these little balloon-type things that inflate when you hit them. Have you guys seen these? She first watched them on one of those crazy surprise egg type videos - and I'm just gonna say it real quick.. if I hear CookieSwirlC's voice one more time I might lose my shit - and now she wants them all the time.



Waves and I have been loving zucchini "noodles" with marinara sauce (I add beyond beef crumbles to mine). I have to recommend the spiralizer that I picked up at Aldi. It was like $4 and works amazingly well. One side makes thin noodles and the other makes thicker ones. The picture up there is from the thinner side.

This morning was pretty awesome because I was able to score tickets for the Dave Chappelle show here in February! I really didn't think I'd be able to get any because I knew it was going to sell out super fast, but somehow I did. I can't wait for the show!

Waves and I went grocery shopping today and just a head's up that Earth Fare has 25% off all supplements this weekend. I was able to get a multivitamin and these probiotic gummies and save $6 in the process which was nice.

Okay.. I need to get moving and do some laundry, clean up a bit, and then we are headed outside to play because it is 65* here today 😳 We are definitely going to enjoy it! Hope you have a great day!

A Full Day of IIFYM Meals


Here's what I ate yesterday (Sunday, January 8th):

coffee with collagen and toast with nutella >>> coffee with almond milk and 3g of Great Lakes collagen mixed in, plus a slice of toast with 5g of nutella.

overnight oats >>> 55g oats, 31g optimum nutrition double rich chocolate protein powder (this stuff is awesome in oatmeal!), 8g chia seeds, 5g shredded coconut, 175ml unsweetened vanilla almond milk. I'm assuming it was the coconut.. but honestly this tasted/smelled like play-doh haha. I don't think I'll be adding the coconut again 😜

coffee with collagen and chocolate >>> 3g of collagen mixed into coffee and 22g of chocolate. I love these chocolate bars! They are $2 at Aldi and have great macros. One serving (17g) has 100 calories and 8g carbs / 6g fat / 1g protein.

fruit and cheese >>> oranges, blackberries, and a mozzarella string cheese stick

kashi dark chocolate mocha bar >>> I was out running errands, got pretty hungry, and wasn't prepared. So while I was at Target I bought a box of these and ate one before going to Aldi.

egg sandwich >>> english muffin, 115g egg whites, one slice of pepper jack cheese

zucchini spirals with beyond meat beef crumbles and ragu garden combination sauce >>> 73g of zucchini, 55g of beyond meat beefy crumbles, 90g of ragu pasta sauce. These beef crumbles are a great source of protein and they are soy, dairy, and gluten-free! I use them in pasta or for nachos. Good stuff!

bowl of chili >>> vegan chili with lettuce, fritos, greek yogurt, and cholula

My macros are 191g carbs / 47g fat / 127g protein and I ended the day with 188g carbs / 49g fat / 107g protein.

My only issue with IIFYM is that I have to really work to get more veggies in. That's something I need to be better at for sure. I still hit my micros and fiber so I'm doing well there.. just need more veggies! This was my fourth day back to tracking macros and I'm already feeling better and getting the hang of things again.

A Science Museum, Food, & Random Thoughts

>>> Today I'm linking up with Amanda over at Running with Spoons.


Last week we took a trip to the Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville, Georgia. It's about an hour away from Chattanooga and a super easy drive. Man, I really loved this place! The fossils were actually casts of the real deal which may be a bummer to some.. but I still loved seeing the actual size of the different dinosaurs. Like that T-rex up there is actually a young male and not even fully grown! Crazy.


They also had a mineral and gems exhibit with tons of beautiful specimens. My favorite was this giant amethyst.. just gorgeous! The picture does not do it justice. There was also a little area where kids could pan for gems and dig for fossils and actually take them home. This was included in the admission price which I thought was great since usually you have to pay for all the extras and it can really add up.

If you're close to this museum definitely give it a visit! It is small, but there is a ton of neat stuff to do. They also have a cafe that actually had some great options and was priced well. We had an awesome time here!


Greg and I went to Beast & Barrel the other night and can I just proclaim my love for cheese and bread plates. Muh God. They had cheese from Sequatchie Cove Creamery and it was incredible. We went bowling afterwards and even though I'm terrible, it was a lot of fun.

And for some other random things:


  • My next project is making coconut yogurt in the Instant Pot. I've heard that it's crazy easy and I'm looking forward to trying it myself!
  • My four year old fought me on wearing high heels to preschool the other day. Like.. what?! I'm not even talking the little pretend high heels for kids. Nope.. this was a pair of mine. She has become so stubborn about things lately which makes reasoning with her difficult at times, but she cracks me up. 
  • We are in the middle of planning some trips throughout the year. If we don't sit down and actually plan them out well in advance then it never happens. Right now we are thinking of Tampa/St. Pete Beach, Asheville, NC, Disneyworld, and Savannah, GA. If you have any recommendations for kid-friendly vacations/day trips I'd love to hear about them!
  • Waves picked up this giant Frozen puzzle at a thrift store for 75 cents and it has kept her busy for hours. No joke. If you have a kid around 4/5 who loves puzzles then definitely get this one. It's perfect to have on hand during cold winter days when you are hanging out indoors all day.
  • I've been doing a lot of reading up on hypothyroidism lately regarding the best foods to eat to keep things in check. I kept seeing Holy Basil pop-up as something to consider using to combat adrenal burnout, protecting the immune system, and managing stress. I picked up this Holy Basil tea and will occasionally drink it instead of my usual 3pm coffee and I have to say that it definitely does give me a bit of energy to get through that afternoon slump. I want to do some more research on it, but the tea seems to be giving me some more energy (it's caffeine free btw) and it tastes good so I'll keep on drinking it. 
I'm finishing up working my shift at the coffee shop and then headed home to probably help put together that Frozen puzzle about 20 times 😜. Have a great weekend!


A Full Day of IIFYM Meals



I got carried away over the holidays, so I'm back to tracking my macros starting today. I used the flexible dieting IIFYM calculator over at Healthy Eater to figure out my numbers. My current macros are 1,696 calories / 127g protein / 191g carbs / 47g fat.

Here's what I ate today:

overnight oats >>> 55g oats, 31g optimum nutrition double rich chocolate protein powder, 8g hemp seeds, 196ml of unsweetened vanilla almond milk. I mix all the dry ingredients together really well and then add the milk, stick in the fridge overnight, and breakfast is ready in the morning!

coffee with collagen >>> This brand of collagen was recommend in the Autoimmune Solution book I read last month in regards to gut (anyone else hate that word?) health. I've been mixing it into my coffee for about a week now and it truly completely dissolves and has no taste.

stir-fry >>> 153g sprouted tofu, 62g broccoli, 46g peas and carrots, 43g green bell pepper, 26g island soyaki sauce

yogurt >>> 166g greek yogurt and 70g blackberries

coffee and chocolate >>> coffee with 6g collagen and 22g chocolate

chili >>> I make chili with vegetable juice, chili beans, black beans, kidney beans, chili powder, and cumin. Then I top it with all kinds of good stuff! 274g chili, 28g fritos, 112g greek yogurt, 38g shredded lettuce, 25g cholula. Then I had another bowl with lettuce and greek yogurt - no fritos. I used this tutorial to figure out how to input a recipe on MyFitnessPal into grams.

halo top >>> Um, I tried the s'mores flavor the other day and it was amazing. New favorite for sure. When I went to the store after work today they didn't have that one so I grabbed my second favorite - birthday cake. 120g.

I ended the day with 134g protein / 183g carbs / 43g fat / 42g fiber / 56g sugar and met all my micronutrients (I take a multivitamin and probiotics daily).

Goals for 2017



I looove New Years and hearing everyone's resolutions and goals for it. I've always been into flipping through stacks of fresh, new planners and choosing just the right one fit enough to write down my intentions, appointments, and goals into. The new year feels just like that for me.. a fresh start to better myself and make my ideas come to life. I wanted to share some of my goals I have set for this year. I might add more to it as I think more about it, but for now.. here is what I'd like to accomplish:

BLOG MORE

I grew up in the land of blog making and Livejournal and as much as I think it's a dying form or I just shouldn't share so much.. this will just always be a part of me. It's something I enjoy and it's one of the very first hobbies that I had. 1999 was a year where I learned HTML and CSS, designed my blog in Paint Shop Pro, filled out applications to get my blog hosted (tinted.net and disturbance.net were a couple I made the cut at 😜), and it's where I fell in love with graphic design which is what I eventually got my degree in.

I had a successful run with my previous blog, Working Out & Eating In, but I grew tired of only talking about food and workouts. I wanted a fresh start and this blog is it. I want to share more of the things I'm interested in and not limit myself to just one topic. So here I am and I am hoping to keep this space updated all year long.


START AN ETSY STORE

One of my favorite things to do is go thrifting, but a few years back I stopped buying so much because we moved around a lot and I didn't like lugging around so much stuff so I downsized a lot. I got the idea to start a vintage clothing/homewares shop when I was thrifting and found this amazing kids vintage t-shirt. I couldn't pass it up even though my daughter was too big for it, so the idea to open an Etsy store was born. 

We'll see how it goes. It's a fun hobby for me and if I can do something I love and help people find things that they enjoy at the same time then that sounds great to me.

PAINT MORE

Greg bought me such an awesome gift for Christmas - paintbrushes, canvases, paints, and an easel. I'd been talking about how I wanted to start painting again and so got me everything I needed to do that! I'm really excited about this one.

KEEP UP WITH WORK OUTS AND HEALTHY EATING

A few months back, I discovered Glisten Fit. It's a site run by a personal trainer named Jessica and she creates incredible home workouts for only $10/month. I love it because you don't need anything other than dumbbells usually, the workouts are always new (I think I've only repeated workouts a couple of times), and they're effective and quick. 

Along with her site, I discovered this YouTube video where she discussed IIFYM - If It Fits Your Macros and well, that was sort of a game changer for me. Weighing food can get tedious, but this way of eating really works for me. My goal is to really focus on working out and tracking macros. We have a few long hiking trips planned later in the year and I want to be in great shape for those.

Also, I became really frustrated with my hypothyroidism and how bad I had been feeling late last year. My sister-in-law is a nurse and has been experiencing similar problems. She suggested I read The Autoimmune Solution by Amy Myers, M.D. I really enjoyed the book and I've been applying her advice bit by bit and have seen some positive results. I'm going to continue on with some of her suggestions and hopefully continue to see improvements.

That's all I have right now. And of course these are all in addition to being more positive, kind, and a better wife/mother/sister/friend/person during the new year. I wish you all a very Happy New Year!

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies


Through extensive research, I've found two of the best chocolate chip cookie recipes ever. One all full of butter and eggs, the other vegan. You can't go wrong making either of these as they are both amazing.  



I have no notes to add about the vegan ones as they are perfect when made as written. But for the Buzzfeed recipe I highly recommend chilling the dough for at least an hour. The cookies come out much better this way. I also advise weighing the ingredients and weighing out 2oz portions of the dough when ready to bake. I never realized how much of a difference having a kitchen scale and weighing ingredients can make. I got a cheapo one from Wal-Mart and it works great.

Preschool Lunches


I have been having way too much fun packing Waves' lunches for school! It's been a lot of fun for me and she says she can't wait to open her lunchbox and see what's in it each day which is super sweet. :]

Before she started school, I stressed a bit about which lunchbox to get her and I ended up going with this Yumbox and I couldn't be happier with it! I was worried it would be too small to fit enough food for her, but it's really a perfect size and I love how each section is labeled "protein", "dairy", "vegetables", etc. as it helps me brainstorm when planning her lunches so I don't just put a bunch of fruit in there 😜

The only issue I had with the Yumbox is that I put some Greek yogurt in the dairy compartment once and it did leak a bit, but now I just put yogurt in a separate container in her lunch bag if she wants some for lunch. Small issue, but I wanted to mention in. One thing I worried about was if it'd keep her food cold since her classroom doesn't have a fridge and the container just hangs out in a cubby until lunch time. I make her lunch the night before and keep it in the fridge overnight and  her teachers say her food is still cold at lunchtime - I don't even use an icepack anymore.


Her class learns a different letter each week, so I bought these mini abc cookie cutters at Wal-Mart so that her lunch would have a little snack in the shape of the letter of the week. I wouldn't recommend these cookie cutters since they're made for cookie dough and will only cut really soft foods like cucumber or cheese. They work well to stamp the letter shape into sandwiches though which works too.

I do recommend these sandwich cutters though as they are super cute and work really well! Wal-Mart had some really cute heart, star, and flower cutters for under $1 back in the party supplies section.

Here are some of her favorite things I pack:
- cheese sandwich (she hates peanut butter and is not thrilled with sunflower butter, sooo..)
- frozen peas
- pickles
- cucumber slices
- three cheese mini pizzas from Whole Foods fit perfectly in the main compartment and she really likes them. They are in the freezer section with all the other pizzas.
- edamame
- a chocolate square and graham crackers
- frozen blueberries
- broccoli
- clementines
- plain, cold tofu (she loves this for some reason)
- bell peppers

There are some excellent posts on Pinterest if you search "Yumbox lunches". Waves is in a bit of a picky stage at the moment, but really loves fruit and veggies so I just say whatever and don't worry about mixing it up too much or getting too fancy with lunches. I'd love to hear what you guys pack in your kid's lunches as I love getting new ideas!

Hypothyroidism: What I've Learned Along the Way

gotta have my coffee 😜


A couple of months after I had my daughter, I noticed that waking up was tough and getting through the day was even tougher. There were times during the day that I was so tired I couldn't keep my eyes open. It was impossible to stay awake no matter how much coffee I drank or how well she had slept the night before.

Of course I chalked this all up to having a new baby so I didn't seek help for it. But let me tell you, if you've just had a baby and are feeling the same way.. it doesn't hurt to get your thyroid checked. I so wish that I had known this and gone to the doctor and received help sooner.

I did seek help a year later, and thanks to switching doctors, I was advised to have some labs drawn to test my thyroid. If I remember correctly, my labs revealed that my TH level was around a 9 or 10. I was started on 25mcg of levothyroxine and then had a plan of having labs drawn every six months after to see how I was reacting to the dosage. I ended up with 112mcg of levothyroxine before I finally felt better.

The main reason I'm writing this is to help anyone who was in my same situation and didn't realize that maybe their thyroid is to blame. I had no idea that so many women developed hypothyroidism after pregnancy and giving birth.

Another reason I wanted to share this is I realized something that really helped me and it all had to do with coffee. I hated taking my medicine in the morning because that meant I had to wait thirty minutes to eat or drink anything and I really love drinking a cup of coffee right when I wake up, while the house it still quiet, and I wasn't able to do that because of the medicine.

So, I started leaving my medicine and a big glass of water by my bed and setting my alarm for 3am. When my alarm goes off I just take the pill, drink the water, and go back to sleep. Now, if you have trouble going back to sleep if you wake up in the middle of the night this won't work unfortunately.

I did this so I could have my coffee in the morning, plus I'm able to take my multivitamin and supplements first thing in the morning instead of having to wait 4+ hours. The biggest change I've noticed since I've started doing this is that I no longer get that urge to nap around 2 or 3 in the afternoon. It was getting so bad for awhile there that I actually went to my doctor and told her that I thought I needed to change my dosage because I was just getting so tired in the afternoon. My labs shown that all was good so I was a little confused and guessed that I wasn't sleeping well at night or something.

But ever since I started taking the levo in the middle of the night I have not had this problem at all. It's crazy and I actually didn't even realize I wasn't getting super tired anymore until about a week or so. I've just had so much energy and I haven't changed anything other than the time I take my medicine so I really wanted to share if maybe you're also hypothyroid and have been feeling tired but your levels are good.

I know it's tough and a struggle some days when you're hypo. I've been following a few Instagrammers that are also hypo and it has been really great and motivating to see how they deal with it and still leading an active life - fitwithvicki /// autoimmunepaleo /// oohsostacey 

*Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or health professional. I'm just sharing my experience dealing with hypothyroidism. Consult your doctor with any questions or concerns.

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