Last Week's Workouts + This Week's Meal Plan

I woke up to some sad news on Saturday morning that a regular customer at the coffee shop had passed away in his sleep. This man was in his 80s but you would have thought he was in his 60s. Amazing shape, worked out at the gym daily, still driving better than 99% people on the road, funny, and just an all around super nice guy.

I saw him every shift I worked for almost three years. He always had a funny story to share and I was guaranteed to laugh at whatever he decided to share with me that day. Whenever I saw his car pull up, I would try to make his drink (double Americano in a small cup) before he made it inside the shop. He'd always beat me and I'd tell him he was just too fast and to please slow down for me next time 😜 He never did and I only beat him once in two and a half years because someone stopped to talk to him in the parking lot.

He told me once that I should be ashamed that an 85 year old man gets out and does more than I do haha This year, I vow to get out and do more because that man knew how to live life and he did it well. I can't believe I won't see his car pulling into his usual spot anymore.

Sorry to be a bummer on a Monday morning, but this has been rough news to process. I haven't been writing my workouts down lately, but there's been a little bit of strength training and a lot of walking. I set a goal on my Apple watch to burn 400 calories throughout the day and I've been hitting that every day so I'm happy. Walking and working out and been great for helping me clear my head and work through things.

Here is the workout I did last night. I went through each group of exercises three times before moving onto the next group. My watch was acting funky - turns out it needed an update - so I didn't get a calorie burn this time. I added videos from YouTube for some of the moves.

15 squats w/25lb plate
bicep curls w/20lb bar

12 dumbbell shoulder press w/8lb weights (video)
20 alternating lunges - holding two 10lb plates

12 donkey kicks w/8lb weights (video)
12 fire hydrants (video)

tricep kickbacks w/8lb weights
10 bent arm lateral raise w/8lb weights (video)

» meal plan for the week

tortilla soup from last night

- Italian wonderpot - always a family favorite - I leave out the cheese 

- Mexican quinoa - Waves loves this as is and I like it with Greek yogurt, hot sauce, and tortilla chips

- Veggie burgers - I stocked up when Aldi had their vegan protein burgers awhile back so we will be eating those this week for sure.

- Easy dal - so good and simple

- Vegetarian tortilla soup - I made this last night in the Instant Pot and added some red lentils then topped with Greek yogurt and tortilla chips. It was very good!

finally found some! » norm's farm

I did some grocery shopping yesterday but only picked up some fresh fruit, juice, elderberry extract, bagels/bread, almond milk, and soap. We actually have a ton of food in the freezer and pantry so I'm going to make this week's meals with what we already have on hand.

Quick side note » Last time I bought elderberry, I got the Gaia brand and it tasted so bad! Waves refused to drink it and I dreaded it.. but that brand up there is much better. Tastes like a raspberry/grape juice. Waves will take it on its own, but prefers it mixed with a little apple juice. Beware though, it is impossible to pour it without spilling everywhere! Super frustrating. Luckily I had a bottle of echinacea that was almost empty so I've just been using the dropper from that. 

I hope you all have a fantastic week :] 

What I'm Loving

In the past week or so, we've been crazy busy and have all felt like we're on the verge of getting sick. I'm actually starting to think it may be allergies. I was born and raised only an hour and a half from Chattanooga and never had allergies, but as soon as we moved here it has been horrible. I'm still learning what allergy symptoms are like and man, it can be brutal.

We have had some amazing weather lately - almost 80* yesterday! - so we've been living outside. Walking around the city, playing at parks, driving with the windows down. It's the best. I ran some errands yesterday after work, picked up a veggie pizza from Papa Murphy's, and we had a family night in. We ate a ton of pizza, watched Odd Squad (best kids show ever!), and played games. Right now, this is our favorite family game 👇

» race to the treasure board game
We bought this game as a Christmas gift for Waves and we all love to play it! It's really fun, goes quickly, and it's amazing because there is no winner.. it's all about teamwork and working together to come up with a strategy to beat the ogre to the treasure. Definitely recommend it if you're needing to buy a gift for a 5+ year old that is into board games. They also have a cool policy where if you lose any pieces they will send replacements to you for free 👍

and some other things I've been loving lately...

maesri pad thai sauce

» this pad thai sauce
I bought this at Asian Food & Gifts of Chattanooga and it is good. Pretty spicy and good for pad thai and tofu stir-fry. There is a ton of sodium of course, but otherwise the ingredients are just: sugar, tamarind, shallot, garlic, salt, tomato paste, distilled vinegar, soybean oil, and chili powder. It was only $2 for a 9oz jar.

» trader joe's visit
We took a weekend trip to Knoxville awhile back and I stopped by Trader Joe's as we were leaving to head back home. I forgot to pack a cooler so I had to stick to non-perishables. I managed to get some great things though! That almond butter is incredible and the coconut aminos are awesome - and only $2.99! That stuff can be $9+ at Whole Foods.

Those plantain chips are a must buy. And obviously that 85% dark chocolate is too since I couldn't wait to take the photo before I broke into it. I'd heard people were going crazy over that rose water toner so I grabbed one. I'm not a fan of rose scented products and this scent is strong. I've only been using it for a few days though so maybe it will do something good for my skin.

» lissletters instagram
I came across this Instagram account last night and I swear it is the most relaxing thing to watch her hand letter on her iPad. She makes it look way too easy!

» other stuff

- I've been using this keratin thermal protecting mist for a couple of months now and really love it. The smell is fantastic and it really does add shine to your hair. You only need three or four sprays max, otherwise your hair will look greasy. I blow dry my hair everyday and use my flat or curling iron once a week or so I am happy to find something to protect from all of the heat styling.

- I loved this vegetarian meal plan post that includes her family's feedback of all the recipes.

- Did you all her about this great white shark that was tagged over a year ago popped up in the Everglades awhile back?

- A coworker mentioned she had checked her Chinese horoscope for 2018 and I got curious and checked mine and of course got way too into it. This is the site I used and man.. everything was really accurate about my sign! The yearly horoscope is so detailed. When I got to the part about having no important furniture in the southwest corner of my home to protect from evil sprits I was like hold up  haha time to bust out the compass app and get to rearranging 😜

- Loved this idea to make your own zero waste perfume and room spray. I've become wary of candles and any other sort of air fresheners because of the funky ingredients. Lately, I'll just simmer water with orange, vanilla, and cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice on the stove to freshen up the house.

Hope that you all have a great weekend!

Grocery Haul + Meal Ideas

*picture from a prior shopping trip // Have you all tried Melona bars? Goodness.. they are amazing! 

I love grocery shopping. Absolutely love it. One of my favorite things to do is get up early on Saturday or Sunday morning - usually Sunday because everyone in the south is at church so I basically have the store to myself - and just walk up and down the aisles, drinking coffee and checking out new products.

Yesterday morning I woke up early and grabbed my list and coupons that I'd got together the night before and headed out on my marathon grocery trip. All these stores are close together minus Whole Foods. I started there first because it's usually the busiest and I wanted to shop there before the crowds came.

I don't know if any of you will even find this interesting at all, but I love seeing what people buy at the store. If any of you are fellow Livejournalers.. do you remember the "veggie_grocery" community? All it was were posts of what people bought at the grocery store along with the total of their purchase. No photos or anything fancy. And I loved it haha This post is definitely in the spirit of that community.

I'm also wanting to get a good idea of what I spend each month at the grocery store so that I'm able to reign it in a bit and realize any unnecessary purchases. It will be good to have a record here so that I'm able to keep track of everything. So, here's all the food I bought yesterday, in order of stores visited:

shopping trip on 2/10
total: $194.32
total excluding non-food items (probiotics, hand sanitizer, and math game): $159.32


- 2 shelf stable almond milks (one regular unsweetened and one chocolate)
- 2 bottles of hibiscus probiotic drinks
- package of Udi's whole grain bagels
- tempeh
- 2 boxes of Gardein beefless sliders
- 2 baby food pouches for Waves school snacks
- package of pancake and waffle mix
- 3 cans of diced tomatoes (not on the list, but on sale for $1 each)
- can of chickpeas
- can of black beans
- package of wild caught smoked salmon (the only thing Greg asked for)

I had $3.75 in coupons, $0.20 bring your own bag credit, and $6 on a gift card

total: $40.50

Mambo Sprouts had a lot of great coupons that I used. Check there before you go shopping and also look through the Whole Foods app as they have a section for coupons too.


- bottle of ginger kombucha (tasted like a cleaning product 😜 0/10 do not recommend)
- 2 frozen Amy's breakfast scramble wraps
- package of extra firm tofu
- 2 cucumbers
- 2 packages of blueberries (bogo!)
- red leaf lettuce
- bottle of probiotics - never tried this brand, but they were $31 with a $3 off coupon

I usually don't shop here, but I stopped by to see if they had elderberry syrup since Whole Foods didn't. I'm pretty sure every store is out at the moment. I spent a little too much here on the food items as I can get them much cheaper elsewhere but they always have great deals on probiotics and supplements so it's all good.

total: $53.80


- 2 boxes of ThinkThin protein bars (Love these.. only bars I like. Brownie crunch is my fave. Looks like they are much cheaper on Amazon, so I'll probably start buying there.)
- cheese pizza lunchable that Waves asked for
- 4 pouches of tuna in water
- 2 boxes of Annie's mac n' cheese (they usually have these on sale for $1 each - no luck today)
- 2 boxes of Special K protein cereal
- bag of pink lady apples
- can of Amy's organic spicy chili
- frozen Sweet Earth vegan protein lovers breakfast burrito
- 2 frozen Totino's pizzas
- a $3 math game for Waves in the dollar section

I had $4 in coupons. Target always surprises me since they can be much cheaper than other grocery stores in the area - especially if there's a good Cartwheel deal going on. Be sure to check Cartwheel when you shop here!

total: $41.73


- case of bottled water
- pineapple
- tub of nonfat Greek yogurt
- package of flatbread
- 2 thin pizza crusts with sauce
- juice boxes
- 4 cartons of egg whites
- hand sanitizer to keep in the car
- bag of oranges
- orange juice
- 2 cartons of almond milk
- cantaloupe
- shredded colby jack cheese
- ketchup
- Italian dressing
- tortilla chips
- sliced colby jack cheese
- hazelnut dark chocolate bar
- habanero salsa
- baby carrots
- bananas
- 3 green bell peppers
- 2 cucumbers
- box of protein cereal
- 2 dozen eggs

total: $58.09

I usually start my grocery trips with Aldi since they are sometimes out of a lot of things. That way I'm able to get what they didn't have at other stores. This time I didn't and it worked out. Here are some meals I'm planning on making this week:

breakfasts: egg white and cheese bagels // cereal with almond milk // breakfast burritos - I take these to work and heat in the microwave there // pancakes and waffles

lunches and dinners: baked potatoes with shredded cheese and the Amy's vegan chili on top // grilled cheese // make your own pizza // easy chana dal (already had most of these ingredients on hand) // salads // Mexican quinoa (Waves loves this)

snacks: protein bars (I only use these on days when Waves has a lot of activities going on after school) // Greek yogurt + fruit // cucumbers, tomatoes, baby carrots + ranch // fruit

I came home and immediately washed and cut up the lettuce and all the fruit except for the pineapple. I put it into the big one gallon rubbermaid tubs in the fridge. It makes snacks and packing lunch sooo much easier when I can just grab everything and it's already washed and cut up.

Hopefully we are set for the week. I'll have to make another trip then for more fruits and veggies so I won't have to spend that much on those trips. I'm also still keep zero waste in mind and am slowly trying to learn where I can get things with little to no packaging. I'm doing some research on that and will be sure to pass along any info I find.

Last Week's Workouts + Grocery Haul + Kid Lunches

Last week was for sure not the greatest when it came to getting my workout in. Waves was sick, Greg was out of town, I had to work, I was worried I was going to get sick.. excuses, but at the time I was finding it difficult to make time for workouts. I'm doing much better this week and feeling awesome.

I did my favorite Yoga with Adriene video after I dropped Waves off at school on Monday and it felt good. Yesterday was a rest day because I was exhausted after work. I got no sleep at all the night before due to Waves wanting to be right next to me, tossing and turning, a kick right to the face after she somehow did a 180 turn in the middle of the night.. aaaaand then my alarm went off at 4:45am for me to get ready for work 😭

Anyway, like I said.. not much to report on about last week, but I did make up a couple of workouts that I enjoyed so I wanted to share:

Sunday 1/28

no workout

Monday 1/29

This total body workout I made up. Took 33 minutes and burned 279 calories.

Tuesday 1/30

no workout

Wednesday 1/31 

no workout

Thursday 2/1

no workout

Friday 2/2 

20 minute amrap workout

I did this 20 minute AMRAP workout that I wrote out quickly. I warmed up, set a timer for 20 minutes, and then went through all the moves as many times as I could before the timer went off. I definitely took a few rest breaks in there. Burned 227 calories.

Saturday 2/3

no workout

whole foods grocery haul

I made a quick stop at Whole Foods today after Waves had a sports thing since I needed some basics for her lunches. I bought some fruits and veggies, cheese, and pouches for snacks at school. There were also some things in the bottom of the cart - almond milk, some candy from the bulk bins that Waves wanted to try, a giant jug of hand soap refill (the 365 brand of foaming grapefruit soap is awesome), crackers, and...

...some of these mini Gardein burgers. I was pretty sure these would fit in the Yumbox lunchbox and I was right, thank goodness! They fit perfectly. Waves had never had these before, but I heated one up for dinner so she could try it since I didn't want to pack something she didn't like and then be hungry.. but she really loved them. They took less than a minute to heat up in the microwave so these will be a good option for when I need to make her lunch quickly.

kid lunch - yumbox

I love getting new ideas for her lunches - which is why I was checking the #yumbox #schoolunch #schoollunchideas tags on Instagram for a good half an hour today - so I wanted to share what I've been packing lately.

This lunch was a bear shaped cheese sandwich that I had to smush in there to fit - I used the bear shape from this sandwich cutter set.. love these! and plain tofu cubes, cucumber, grape tomatoes, bell pepper, carrots, and strawberries. There are mini marshmallows in the treat compartment (the little round part on the middle right).

kid lunches - yumbox

Let me tell you, making a box of mac 'n cheese and having it in the fridge is such a lifesaver when you just don't know what to pack. This lunch is Annie's macaroni and cheese with peas, plain tofu, green beans, strawberries, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, and mini marshmallows and a probiotic gummy in the treat compartment.

kids lunch - yumbox

This lunch is for tomorrow and has one of the burgers from above, crackers with sliced colby jack cheese underneath, bell peppers, chickpeas, blueberries and strawberries with heart shaped cheese 😜, grape tomatoes and cucumbers, and mini marshmallows with some candy from the Whole Foods bulk bins.

The lunchbox is this style of Yumbox that we originally bought when she started preschool. I wasn't sure if it would be good for kindergarten too since her appetite might be much larger.. but it has been great. You can really fit a lot of food in there, plus I can just add things in a separate baggie or container if I feel that she needs more food though I haven't had to do that yet.

Hope you all are having a great week :]

Zero Waste Living

Guys, over the weekend I got completely sucked into the world of zero waste blogs. It all started when I clicked on this post over at the blogsnark subreddit. I really fell in love with Paris To Go and Litterless. They make it seem easy and doable while not going for an "all or nothing" sort of approach. It's more.. do what you can do.

Growing up working in restaurants you get used to all the waste - both from customers and within the restaurant itself, like all the cardboard on truck delivery days - and when you really pay attention to it, it's insane. Whenever I would gather up all the full trashbags to take to the garbage cans, I'd think about all the restaurants and businesses in the world that are producing the same amount of trash and how incredibly huge and really scary that is.

The things we throw away each week in my home are no better. While we do recycle as much as we can, what if I changed the way our family shopped so that there was no trash to recycle or throw away in the first place? I've already made a few changes that I think are a step in the right direction.

red leaf lettuce

// buying heads of lettuce instead of boxed spring mix

Not does this help reduce waste but it is also much cheaper! I usually buy those big plastic tubs of spring mix for $5 or $6 and sometimes it can be really hit or miss to how good they are or how long before it goes weird and slimy on you. 

This grocery trip I changed things up and bought a giant head of red leaf lettuce (in no packaging!) for $1.62, brought it home, washed it and ran it through the salad spinner, chopped it up, and put it into a big tub in the fridge. Yes, this is a lot more work but the lettuce has held up really well and is all nice and crisp even after three days.

Ways I could make this better? Buy some of these cotton produce bags instead of using the plastic bags at the grocery store and instead of lining the bottom of the tub with a paper towel like I did above, use a dish cloth.

ecolunchbox zero waste container

// bringing along my own to-go box 

I used to be so good about this but got out of the habit somehow. We went to eat Thai food over the weekend and needed two to-go boxes for leftovers. They were styrofoam and it felt like such a waste when I could just of easily brought a container from home.

My favorite containers are these leak-proof, stainless steel bento boxes by ECOlunchbox. They have them on Amazon along with a ton of other great looking options, but there's a really great bundle deal right now over on their website. I use these right now to send snacks to school for Waves and she has no problem opening and closing them which is a big plus too.

They are truly leak-proof yet keep in mind that I haven't ever put anything like soup or something in it before. I have put thicker dressings like ranch in the smaller container and it didn't leak.

// reusing glass bottles and jars

Although I would love to eventually get away from buying a majority of my groceries in packaging like glass jars, I think it will take awhile to get to that point so for now I'm going to reuse those containers for food storage.

I've read that some grocery stores will even let you bring in clean, empty glass jars to use for foods in the bulk bins. Definitely call ahead before doing so because some stores/states consider it a health code violation. 

So, those are a few things I've been doing in order to jumpstart this new way of thinking and buying. There are a lot more areas I need to work on - such as figuring out what to do about the Wal-Mart grocery pickups that I rely on. On one hand, they save me money by eliminating impulse buys.. but they also package each individual thing into its own plastic bag. Yeah, you read that right. I understand why it's done, but I'd love if it could just be brought out into the bins and then into my own reusable bags. I've been donating the bags to our local library so they can put checked out materials into them when it rains and you can bring the bags back to Wal-Mart to be recycled.. but back to my thought of how nice it'd be if there was no waste at all.

Anyway, I'd love to hear what you think about all this, if it's interesting, something you're already putting into action, or any tips/tricks/websites/product recommendations. Litterless has a great state-by-state guide on where to shop if you're looking to get into this as well.

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