Sephora VIB Sale November 2019 Picks

Beauty

My Sephora beauty insider sale picks (1).png

It’s beginning to look a lot like…the Sephora semi-annual sale! As mentioned in my last post, I’ve been saving up to shop this sale and now that it’s here, I’ve finalized my picks and am ready to take advantage of this twice-yearly discount.

I’m a VIB member (used to be Rouge level), which means I get 15% off my entire purchase from November 7 – 11. Beauty Insiders (the lowest tier level) get a 10% discount during the same time period, while Rouge members get 20% off from November 1 – 11.

I actually haven’t bought anything from Sephora since August, so I’m definitely overdue for a mini-haul. I’m keeping it small because Christmas is around the corner, and I can put some of my wants on my wishlist, or wait until after the holidays if I get a gift card and spend it then. Plus I don’t really need much makeup right now, so I’m focusing this haul on skin and hair products. So here’s what’s in my Sephora (virtual) shopping cart:

1) Amika Soulfood Nourishing Mask Mini ($12)

I shampoo my hair twice a week at most, and one of those washes is typically a hair mask rather than a shampoo. I’ve found this routine keeps my hair from getting too dry or greasy (it’s not healthy to wash your hair daily) and it saves me so much time!

The only hair masks I’ve used have been samples I got from Sephora, and I’ve run out of those so it’s time to commit to something. I chose the Amika mask because it’s vegan & cruelty-free of course, and it’s designed to improve softness, shine and elasticity, all things my hair desperately needs. And it’s safe for color-treated hair, which is a must.

 

 

2) Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Damned ($8)

When this cult-favorite lipstick is on sale for less than half its original price, you don’t ask questions!

My only exposure to this liquid lipstick is a sample I got ages ago from Sephora when I used to subscribe to their beauty boxes, and I really loved the bright pink color I received, plus the formula is amazing. I’ve been looking for a moody, fall lip color and this fits the bill!

3) St. Tropez Gradual Tan Watermelon Infusion Body Lotion ($25)

This is the only product in my cart that I’ve tried before, but I loved it so much that I want a restock!

Over the summer, I tried a couple different tanning waters, which are cool, but they left my skin looking splotchy, even when I tried to blend in the tan. But this lotion is totally fool-proof and not streaky at all!

I know it seems weird to buy tanning lotion in fall, when most people are covering up their skin, but it’s still so warm here in Arizona that I want to maintain somewhat of a glow. This lotion does just that, as it’s not too deep of a color that looks fake.

4) Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask Mini ($26)

Spoiler alert: I didn’t end up buying this during the last Beauty Insider sale, even though I included it on my list. This time around, I was going back and forth between this and the Overtime mask, which I’m running low on and know I love, but that one doesn’t come in a mini size and is $44.

I want to try out the Jet Lag mask because I’ve heard good things, and the small size and lower price point mean it’s less of a gamble. Plus, I plan on asking for the Overtime mask in a holiday gift set for Christmas.

5) Verb Ghost Dry Oil ($16)

I recently ordered the Verb Ghost shampoo from Urban Outfitters to try after running out of my old shampoo, and I’m anxiously awaiting its arrival in my mailbox. Then I thought, why not try using it with one of the other Ghost hair products?

This dry oil is supposed to extend blowouts, condition ends and prevent damage from washing and styling. Ingredients like sunflower seed extract provide natural UV protection (much needed here, as it’s always sunny) and moringa seed oil moisturizes and smooths the hair shaft.

Are you shopping the Sephora sale — if so, what’s in your cart? Have you ever used a hair mask?

Favorite Finds of the Month: October

Beauty, Food, Life

And just like that, October is over, Halloween is done-zo and we are officially in the holiday season! This time of year always goes by too fast, so I’m doing my best to slow down and savor it, rather than counting down the days to Christmas and then being sad when it’s over.

Since it’s November, it’s time to share my favorite finds from October!

Favorite Food: MUSH Overnight Oats

If you ever read my former blog, you may recall that I went through a brief phase where I LOVED overnight oats (circa 2011). I even had a page dedicated to all my flavor creations. Safe to say, I was obsessed for a bit, thanks to the influence of the many Healthy Living Bloggers (or HLBs) that I followed at the time.

But after a few months, that obsession faded and I was onto whatever was the next big trend. And thanks to my eating disorder and its silly ideas about food, oats were taken off the “safe foods” list and I haven’t eaten them in 7 years or so (other than in granola form occasionally).

I’ve never really been a hot oatmeal fan, but after seeing MUSH Overnight Oats on a few Instagram profiles I follow, my curiosity for cold (aka overnight oats) was piqued once again. Now, I still have a bit of a weird fear of oats, but deep down, I know they’re healthy and I was intrigued by the simple ingredients found in MUSH, so I mustered up the courage to buy a few containers at Whole Foods and give them a try.

Not gonna lie, I did pick out the flavors lower in calories but fortunately, the one I wanted to try most (coffee + coconut cream) was one of them. The first one I actually ate was the apple pie, which is seasonally appropriate. I absolutely loved how thick and creamy these oats are. I hate sloppy, runny oatmeal and these are anything but. The flavor was on point too — not too sweet, with a nice apple flavor enhanced by the addition of cranberries and cinnamon.

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Love how portable these are!

The coffee + coconut cream though. WOW. I love anything coffee flavored and these did not disappoint.

The ingredients list is what makes me go all 😍 The apple pie flavor is just oats, almonds, water, apples, cranberries, cinnamon and sea salt. That’s IT! It’s basically how you would make overnight oats at home, only way more convenient. The serving size is perfect (I was worried because the container seems so small, but it’s filling, at least for me) and I love the little spoon inside the lid.

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This is how ALL packaged food should be — short ingredients list made of all real food.

They are a bit pricey, at $3.99 per container, but they’re great if you’re on-the-go and need a healthy breakfast or snack option. I personally love them as a work snack at my desk!

Favorite Drink: Wine from Willcox Wine Festival

I know, this seems like a cop-out because I’m not naming a specific wine, but really, I liked almost all the wines I tried at the Willcox Wine Festival a few weekends ago.

I normally go for whites, but I tried a couple rosés and even a few reds and trying so many different styles helped me expand my palette and know what I’m looking for in a glass of wine. 🍷

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Branching out to some (fruity) reds…

If you’re from California and know the wine scene there, you may scoff, but Arizona has some damn good wines and I’ve loved getting to explore all three wine regions: Sonoita/Elgin, Verde Valley & Willcox. If you like trying new wines and find yourself traveling through Arizona, I would suggest stopping in one of these areas and going to a few tasting rooms. The Phoenix area also has quite a few places to enjoy Arizona wine, but it’s even cooler if you get to enjoy a glass right where the grapes are grown!

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…but always come back to my tried-and-true whites (except Chardonnay, which I hate).

Favorite Song: “The Runner” by Foals

Of course I’d pick a song with “running” in the title! But the lyrics really speak to me, in particular: “If I fall down, fall down // Then I know to keep on running” because it’s basically saying when you run into obstacles in life that knock you down, you gotta get back up again and keep running (whether your a klutz like me who literally falls down while running frequently, or dealing with other challenges in life).

 

Favorite Article: Six Pack Abs Are the Greatest Scam of Our Generation

As a person who’s into fitness and living an active lifestyle, I’ve been exposed to the idea that having six pack abs is one of the best signs of being fit. And as someone who’s never had chiseled abs, I’ve always felt like I don’t measure up.

Well, this article is here to debunk the six pack ab holy grail. First of all, not everyone should be pursuing this goal. It’s not healthy for many bodies to get to a body fat percentage low enough (according to the article, roughly 16-19 percent, or even lower) to achieve a visible six pack. Women are generally encouraged to keep body fat between 20-25% for health reasons, so abs may not be in the cards for most of us ladies.

Of course, there’s the point that we all have abs, they’re just not always visible. When I flex, I can see a line running down the middle of my stomach, which I guess are my abs popping out, but I’ve never had the classic six-pack look, and I may never have that. My stomach isn’t flat all day long — duh, eating makes it expand — and that’s perfectly normal.

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This is about as flat as my stomach gets, and this is first thing in the AM. After I eat, forget it!

TLDR: visible six pack abs aren’t the be all end all of fitness #endrant

Favorite Beauty Product: MILK MAKEUP Blur Stick

I actually haven’t bought any new beauty products in probably about two months, simply because I haven’t run out of anything and I’ve been trying to be better about sticking to a budget (P.S. I’m terrible at it when it comes to clothes, but makeup/skincare is doable) and I made it my goal not to buy any beauty products until the Sephora Beauty Insider sale, which I think is set to start any day now.

So I’ve actually had the blur stick for quite awhile, but up until recently, it went mostly unused. That’s because I really didn’t know how to use it. Then I discovered it works SO well to hide the fallout from eyeshadow that I inevitably get no matter how carefully I apply it. I roll the stick on my under-eyes and the area is instantly smoother looking without any trace of eyeshadow.

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This goes with me everywhere! (source)

It also works pretty well to cover up blemishes later in the day when my foundation has started to rub off a bit. I don’t bring my foundation with me to work, but I always stash this in my makeup bag for a quick touch-up on-the-go.

The blur stick costs $36, which seems steep, but for such a versatile product that lasts forever, you can’t beat it. And like all my other makeup, it’s vegan & cruelty-free, plus free of parabens, sulfates and phthalates, which should NOT be on your skin!

Favorite Outfit: Modcloth Bat Sweater, Faux Leather Skirt, H&M Combat Boots

I haven’t dressed up for Halloween in two years (I went as Blossom from the Powerpuff Girls to a party at a co-worker’s house) & I’ve never really worn a costume to work (other than when I went as Jess from New Girl, but that was barely a costume, I basically wore an outfit I’d wear on the reg and added glasses).

This year, I still wanted to get in the Halloween spirit without wearing a costume, so I decided to wear my bat sweater I bought earlier in October from Modcloth (I wore it once before), along with a black faux leather skirt I’ve had for at least 4 years (can’t remember where I got it from), and my new H&M faux patent leather combat boots that I’m obsessed with and have worn at least twice per week since buying them a month ago.

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How I do Halloween — a festive & cute sweater!

It was the perfect low-key festive look and I am NOT planning on hanging up the sweater just because Halloween is over! I think I may even wear it on Thanksgiving this year…

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Obsessed with this sweater (& this Instagram filter).

So yeah, obviously my clothing budget isn’t going so well (those two items were only a fraction of what I bought last month, oops) but at least what I’ve bought recently is getting a lot of wear! I’ll try to do better this month, but with Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals coming up in a few weeks, it’ll be tough.

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My favvvvv boots, as seen with a different outfit!

What are some of your favorites from October? Do you set budgets and do you stick to them? 

 

 

Wellness, Simplified

Life

Wellness seems to be the catchphrase of 2019. I follow many “influencers” in the wellness space, and I enjoy reading articles on sites such as Well+Good which are alllll about those wellness trends, like gua sha and gut health.

I like to consider myself a connoisseur of digesting wellness information, but sometimes it can get to be too much, ya know? Wellness can seem like an out-of-reach goal only achievable for those with enough money and social cache. And some of it certainly is (*cough cough looking at you, 18K gold dumbbells from Goop*).

But wellness doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. At its core, I believe wellness is about finding what helps you live your most optimally well life. And a lot of it is simple and can be free (or inexpensive). Lemme share what wellness means to me in my daily life as a 20-something on a budget!

Sleep

Sleep is so important. Like so so SO important. Yet, so many American adults don’t get enough of it. The CDC recommends at least seven hours of sleep each night, and most of us struggle to get that much.

Everyone is different, but for me personally, I need at least eight hours of sleep to perform at my best each day. When I can, I try to aim for nine hours of sleep. That may sound like a lot, and you may be rolling your eyes at my seemingly high-maintenance sleep needs, but I always make sleep a priority. On weekdays, I’m in bed by 9:30 pm and asleep by 10 pm, to wake up around 6 or 6:15 am. Of course, there will be nights where I can’t fall asleep right away, but fortunately those are few and far between and I generally get at least 8 hours of sleep each weeknight. On weekends, bedtime varies but I try to get to sleep by midnight at the latest, and I generally sleep in until 8 or 9, giving me roughly 9 hours of sleep on weekends.

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Bonus points if you get to sleep next to an adorable doggo!

I freaking love sleep, and it’s a very simple way for me to practice wellness. If you only need seven hours of sleep to feel your best, more power to you, but I do NOT skimp on sleep because it’s the foundation for a good day.

Exercise

I crave movement every day, and tend to feel very antsy if I can’t get in some exercise. Some of this may be tied to my eating disorder, but I believe our bodies need to move each day. Some days maybe not as much as other days, depending on if we’re ill or injured or just super busy, but I make exercise a priority just as much as sleep.

Running is the main way I stay active. I love it because it’s basically free (other than buying clothes to run in, and I buy new shoes twice a year when they get worn out, but that’s about it, and I don’t even race so no paying race fees!) and is super convenient — I just head outside and start to run. I typically run 4-5 days per week. I’m currently dealing with pain in my right ankle, so I’m not running quite as many miles as I was this summer, but I never regret a run, even when it’s painful.

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Running keeps me in balance, even when I trip (hence these super cool knee braces that protect my knees from further damage). #klutzstatus

I also am a big fan of walking (again, free and very easy to do), hiking when the weather is cool enough to do so in Arizona (the only cost is paying for trail access, and some hiking areas are free) and playing tennis with my dad (we haven’t played in more than a year, but I want to get back into it now that it’s cooler). I also have an elliptical at home that I use occasionally.

I make exercise a priority even when traveling. Sometimes that’s by exploring the area on foot, or taking advantage of a gym where I’m staying. When I lived in an apartment, it was super convenient to have a (free) fitness center on the grounds, and I did that most days.

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Running (&walking & hiking) allow me to get close to scenery like this!

Exercise, for me, is very much my me time (except if I’m going for a hike or playing tennis, then I enjoy the company) so I usually do it solo, but if you love working out in a group environment, then take fitness classes! They’re not all expensive, and you can find deals through ClassPass or Groupon. I truly believe there’s a form of exercise for everyone out there, whether you love cardio or strength training or just going for walks!

Nutrition

Nutrition is also key to wellness, but one size certainly doesn’t fit all. I’ve been vegan for 7+ years, and much of my reason for going vegan is for the health aspect. Since deciding to eat plant-based, I’ve literally centered my diet around plants — fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds and tofu/beans are the main things I eat.

I also strive to eat mostly gluten free (I feel better when I avoid gluten, but I’m not intolerant to it) and I also do intermittent fasting (I eat my meals in a window of 6-8 hours, and fast the other 16-18 hours) because it works for my schedule and hunger cues.

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What my typical homemade meals look like: lots of veggies (spinach & spaghetti squash), protein (vegan shrimp) & healthy fats (pumpkin seeds).

But wellness to me also means not being restrictive (outside of avoiding things that aren’t vegan, of course). I drink alcohol in moderation, because I like the social aspect of it and trying new cocktails & wine. I enjoy vegan treats, like dairy-free ice cream and chocolate and cupcakes. I dine out about once a week, and sometimes I order sweet potato fries cuz that’s what I’m craving. Because most of my meals are nutrient-dense, I don’t worry about occasionally eating something that’s not totally “healthy”.

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I enjoy a couple drinks every weekend and that’s what wellness means to me. 

Mindfulness

I started meditating about a year ago, using the Headspace app. I finally ponied up and subscribed to the full version so I can have access to more meditations and mindfulness exercises. I meditate at least once a day, usually right before bed, and I credit it with helping me fall asleep more easily, as well as having a more positive mindset throughout the day.

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Headspace is my favorite way to end the day!

I also do devotionals with the Bible app each morning when I wake up, and before going to bed. My faith is an important aspect of my wellness journey, and I don’t skimp on it!

***

So that’s basically what wellness means to me. Like everything else, it’s a very individual thing, and what works for me may not be feasible for you. But I just wanted to show you that wellness doesn’t have to be some bougie, woo-woo, super expensive thing. It’s all about living your best life.

What does wellness mean to you? 

#ThrowbackThursday: Childhood Favorites

Beauty, Food, Life

Who doesn’t love a good #TBT? I’m a big fan of throwback photos on Instagram but then I thought, why not do a whole blog post sharing some of my favorite things from my childhood?

I’m a total 90s baby, 00s kid. I was born in 1992, so I do remember a few things from the 1990s but the early 2000s were my time! And there are so many amazing products from this time period — maybe you’ll remember some of them, too, if you’re a fellow millenial 🙋‍♀️

Neopets

Ah, Neopets. Before Facebook and Instagram and Twitter were a thing, I spent hours on this website, creating virtual pets and playing games like Maths Nightmare (I never understood why “Maths” was plural, must be a British thing) to earn Neopoints that I spent buying food and clothes for my Neopets and their PetPets. It was a great way to unwind from a long day of middle school!

I not only had an online account, my sister and I also collected Neopets toys — the ones they had in McDonald’s Happy Meals (that and Beanie Babies were the only reasons we went to McD’s) as well as the bigger battery-operated toys sold at Toys ‘R Us (RIP) and Target. We had the best time making up imaginary scenarios with our toys.

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This looks v similar to the Neopets collection my sister and I had! (source)

We also had the Neopets Islandberry Crunch cereal a few times and I also had the card game, though I never actually played it, I just liked looking at the cards. Safe to say I was Neopets obsessed for a few years!

Bath & Body Works Art Stuff

Bath & Body Works’ Art Stuff line of the 90s and early 00s was my introduction to the world of self-care. I remember going into the store at the mall and ogling over the glitter roll-on sticks and fruity-scented lotions. I still remember some of the scents very well, and look back on them fondly.

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Allllllll the nostalgia! (source)

This was before I wore makeup or cared about how I looked, but Art Stuff made me feel like a grown-up, and that was really cool to 9-year-old me.

Jell-O Pudding Bites

Every Buzzfeed listicle highlighting the best snacks of my childhood inevitably skips right over this one. I haven’t found anyone, other than my sister, who even remembers these. But damn, were these a whole snack MOOD.

They were basically pudding cups in gummy form. They came in packs of chocolate & vanilla, or strawberry & vanilla (from what I recall) and were just fun and easy to snack on. They were definitely less messy than the OG Jell-O and more portable, too.

Apparently they had a commercial, which I don’t remember seeing, but you can watch below!

 

Bubble Shirts

Well, color me surprised that these still exist and are for sale, because they totally scream 2000s fashion!

Bubble shirts (or popcorn shirts) were those tops that appeared teeny tiny on the rack, but magically expanded to fit perfectly once you put them on. And of course, they had that weird, bubble-like appearance and feel.

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I had a blue ombre version of this basically and was obsessed. (source)

I had one of these shirts (from Limited Too, I’m pretty sure) and I thought I was the shit.

Sprite Remix

Growing up, soda was a special occasion drink. My sister and I would get to enjoy its sweet, bubbly goodness when we went out to eat, during movie nights at home with popcorn and at sleepovers.

While I had a few sodas I liked (namely Fanta Pineapple and Coca-Cola Cherry Vanilla), the best by far was Sprite Remix. Specifically the tropical flavor. There’s just something about it that was so refreshing. Plus, it didn’t matter if it spilled, because it was clear — except for, well, the stickiness. But it was still the bomb.

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The BEST soda, don’t @ me. (source)

Poo-Chi

There were many toys I never had growing up (*cough cough Power Wheels*) but this was one that I was lucky enough to receive as a Christmas present one year.

If you don’t remember, Poo-Chi was a robotic dog that was very short-lived (it debuted in 2000 and was discontinued in 2002). I very much wanted the special edition Christmas version, but I got the (still very cool) gold and black one.

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8-year-old me wanted this so badly! (source)

As a kid who never had a dog growing up (still bitter about that), having a Poo-Chi allowed me to pretend I did. Of course, the barking sounds it made weren’t very realistic, but it could sing songs and interact with other Poo-Chis and the company’s spin-offs (I also had the Petal-Chi, a robotic flower). My sis and I also had several of the Happy Meals Poo-Chi (and Chirpy-Chi and Petal-Chi) toys. Forget Furbies (I never had one, and honestly thought they were creepy AF) —  Poo-Chis were a classic.

Altoids Sours

Altoids aren’t typically thought of as a kid-friendly candy. I mean, most kids don’t really like mint-flavored things (I did, though). But the sour version was even better!

They came in really pretty, colorful tins in flavors like tangerine and apple (my personal fav) and were mouth-puckeringly sour. I felt cool dispensing the candy out of the tin, like I was an adult or something.

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I would love to taste these again, just once. (source)

Apparently, they weren’t popular enough to continue making, but it seems like the Internet is clamoring for a comeback. I wouldn’t be mad about that.

What were some of your favorite products from the 90s/00s?

 

Favorite Finds of the Month: September

Beauty, Food, Life

Can you believe there are less than 3 months left in 2019? I feel like the first part of the year went by slowly, but the last few months have flown by!

So part of me is sad summer is over (except not really in Arizona, since it’s still in the 90s every day) but part of me is looking forward to the holidays coming up. I’m not the hugest Halloween fan, but it’s still fun, and obviously Thanksgiving and Christmas are great. But for now, let’s look back on September and check out my favorites from last month!

Favorite Food: Kashi Gluten Free Golden Goodness Frozen Toaster Waffles

Back in the early days of my eating disorder recovery, I was really into Kashi products. Cereal, bars, crackers, frozen entrees, you name it, I probably tried it.

Since going vegan, I kind of strayed from Kashi since some of their products have animal products in them but I always had a soft spot for the brand since I loved them for so long. So when I saw they had new toaster waffles, I knew I had to give them a try. I used to love their OG blueberry waffles, but TBH, I haven’t had packaged waffles in years because I try to avoid gluten when I can and many brands didn’t fit the new “clean ingredients” rule I’ve placed on my eating list. But I wanted to challenge those orthorexic thoughts, and when I spotted these new waffles in the freezer section at Target, I knew I had to get them.

These waffles are basically fall on a plate. They have absolutely no pumpkin in them, but their blend of hearty GF grains, sweet potato and warm spices (like ginger, turmeric cinnamon and black pepper) make them perfect for autumn. And sure, the ingredients list is fairly simple, making these not too big of a challenge, but still enough of a “F U” to ED.

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Obsessed with these waffles!

I may try the berry bliss flavor next, though those may be more of a challenge only due to the fact that beets are an ingredient, of which I am not a fan.

I love topping these waffles with a bit of Miyoko’s butter (the BEST vegan butter, IMO), Trader Joe’s pumpkin butter and if I have some on hand, a sprinkle of Wildway espresso grain-free granola.

Favorite Drink: Homemade Aperol Spritz

ICYMI amidst the hype over White Claw hard seltzers, the Aperol spritz was also widely considered the drink of summer 2019. And for good reason — they’re damn refreshing, perfect for a sweltering summer day, sipped poolside.

I had had an Aperol spritz a handful of times before this summer, but I had never made one myself. I really love pretending to be a mixologist and making my own cocktails, since it’s more cost-effective and I know exactly what’s going into my drink.

The spritz is stupid easy to make, but there are so many variations to really make it your own. I’d love to try this fall version next!

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So refreshing!

If you’re into herbal, citrus-forward drinks that are a bit bitter and a touch sweet, the Aperol spritz is for you!

Favorite Article: Are You Still A Runner If You Don’t Race?

Since I started running in 2014, I have felt a bit self-conscious about calling myself a runner when I have never toed the start line at a race of any distance. It seems that the vast majority of runners have participated in at least a handful of races, and take great pride in their times and training regimens.

For me, running isn’t about competing with others. If I’m being completely honest, I think it would ruin any shred of confidence I have in my running abilities if I were to race, as I know I’m not that fast. But running isn’t about winning, for me at least.

I run primarily for my mental and physical health. I run to clear my mind, to take out my frustration, to ease my anxiety, to boost my cardiovascular endurance. Since my first run, I have made what I believe to be incredible strides, in both my speed and the distance I can run. Even though I’m dealing with injury right now, and running less than 20 miles a week (which feels minimal, compared to the 30+ mile weeks I was logging all summer), I’m still a runner because I get out there and RUN.

I’m not officially training for any race, but that doesn’t mean my runs aren’t training. I’ve trained my body to be able to run longer distances and I can finally run 9 minute miles, which is much faster than when I first started, simply by maintaining a regular running schedule.

I may or may not ever run a race, but I’m still a runner!

Favorite Song: “Father of All…” by Green Day

If you haven’t heard…Green Day is BACK! Their new album isn’t coming out until next year, but this song is out now, and it is a banger. It doesn’t quite sound like OG Green Day, but I still love it, and will keep blasting it in my car on the way to/from work!

Favorite Beauty Product: Tarte Cosmetics Llama Lashes

I’m a sucker for a good pair of (vegan) lashes! I bought my first set (Tarte’s tarteist PRO cruelty-free lashes in little black dress) three years ago, and I’ve been loyal to Tarte’s lashes ever since. I love that they make my eyes pop, but not in an over-the-top, fake way (well, depending on the style of lashes). My real lashes are pretty short and sparse, so these are much-needed!

I love the Llama Lashes because they are bold, but not ridiculous. I love having super long, voluminous lashes and I don’t need to wear a ton of eye makeup when I have these on.

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So full & fluttery!

One set is $12, but they always last me awhile (at least a month or two, if I take care of them) so they’re worth it! And like everything Tarte makes, they’re vegan & cruelty-free.

Favorite Outfit: Xhilaration Floral Jumpsuit (Target)

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know I have a thing for jumpsuits & rompers. I may love them even more than dresses! But as a petite woman (I’m only 5’1), it can be tough to find jumpsuits that don’t drown me.

So I was surprised when I bought this floral jumpsuit off the rack at Target without even trying it on, and it actually fit! It’s not dragging on the ground, and it doesn’t overwhelm my frame.

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Just loving my new jumpsuit!

I know floral patterns aren’t typically thought of as fall appropriate, but the mustard color makes it perfect for autumn.

I bought it for $30, but you’re in luck because it’s now on sale for $20!

Do you like rompers/jumpsuits? What is your favorite song right now? 

 

 

The Long Weekend Alone-ish

Life

Since I moved in with my parents at the beginning of 2018, I’ve only spent a handful of days alone. This is unusual for someone who lived alone for most of the time between 2011 (my sophomore year of college, when I moved into a single dorm room) and 2018. I’m totally used to and comfortable with being by myself, but it is strange to experience it again when I live with roommates (lol) most of the time.

Nevertheless, it was a good weekend — even though it wasn’t entirely spent alone. I had Honey around, obviously, and I also hung out with some friends and spent time in public running & running errands. So here’s what a (long), mostly solo weekend in the life looks like for someone who used to live alone!

Friday

My parents spent the weekend in Denver with my sister, and flew out on Thursday night, so I chose to work from home Friday so Honey wouldn’t have to be alone for 10 hours. She’s used to my mom being around most of the day, and I know she’s fine being left alone for hours, but I wanted to spend some time with my girl, since I usually don’t get to much during the week.

I started the day with a neighborhood walk, then got on my computer and started working. I love working from home because I don’t feel tied down to my desk, so I can get up and move around during the day. I also multi-tasked by doing some laundry!

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A sleepy work-from-home day. 

I got done around 4:30, so I got ready to go out and take Honey to the dog park. We didn’t spend a lot of time there, since she wasn’t really interested in playing, but I wanted to make sure she got some energy out. Then we headed home so I could feed her dinner, and I could meet my friend in downtown Phoenix for First Friday — a monthly art/music festival in the Roosevelt Row district.

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Lens flare at the dog park. 

The drive there was alright, until I got a few miles from my exit, when traffic slowed to a crawl. But the worst part of the drive was trying to find parking! I didn’t realize there wouldn’t be any spaces within several blocks of the festival area, so I ended up parking in a garage a few blocks away, which was fine, except it cost $20 (which I didn’t know about until I left the garage) for just a few hours!

I made my way through the festival area, which was packed with so many different types of artists/entertainers/pseudo-scientists (seriously, there was a whole display set up claiming the Earth really is flat 🙄), and found my friend at an outdoor wine bar. I met her when I was working in Tucson (we were both producers at the TV station, and we worked together a lot the first year I was there), and then she moved to San Francisco in 2017, and recently moved to Phoenix, so I’ve met up with her a few times since then. She introduced me to her two friends, who had also recently moved from SF to Scottsdale.

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I’m very worried for people who believe this…

We ventured through the crowd again and decided to stop at PAZ Cantina for drinks. I had the smallest jalapeno margarita ever (it was basically in a shot glass) and another tequila based drink, and we spent an hour or so chatting while listening to the band playing very loud ska-esque music.

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Really tasty, but too tiny. 

We all got hungry, so we walked several blocks to Welcome Diner. I’d been to the Tucson location three times, but never checked out the PHX one, even though it was pretty close to where I used to work. It’s the perfect place for late night food adventures, since it’s open til 2 am. We weren’t there that late (it was around 10:30 pm) but it was nice to go to a place that has vegan options open after 9. TBH, I prefer the Tucson location since they have a lot more vegan dishes, but I can’t complain about the BBQ jackfruit fries I ordered! After not eating since 4 pm, they hit the spot, along with the drink I had — it was called the Prancing Pony, and it was made with prickly pear, aperol and tarragon-infused rum 😍

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I took down almost this entire plate #noshame

I split a Lyft with my friend just to get back to the parking garage (I didn’t really feel safe walking the several blocks back, since the streets are so dark), and then drove home and finally fell asleep around 1 am. That’s the latest I’ve stayed up in awhile!

Saturday

I got out of bed around 10 am and had a slow start to the morning, thanks to a slight headache that hung around the whole day. I took Honey for a walk and then went out for my run.

I hadn’t run outside in the middle of the day in quite awhile, and it’s still pretty warm in AZ (it was in the mid to upper 90s all weekend), so going for a run at 1 pm in the heat of the day wasn’t my smartest idea, but it ended up being completely worth it. I drove to the Riparian Preserve, this huge nature park about 15 minutes away from me, that I’ve run at a few times.

The first mile of the run was a struggle. I hadn’t run with my Camelbak in a couple months, and it felt so awkward sloshing around, but I was so thankful for the water I brought with me, because it was so hot.

I honestly wasn’t sure if I’d make it the 4 miles I had planned, but I kept putting one foot in front of the other and…ended up running 6 miles! I would have run even further, but I didn’t want to stress out my Achilles too much, since it’s been hurting on every run. I was super happy with my run, though, especially with my pace, which was about 9:10 min/mile, and that was with the headache, the heat, the Achilles pain and the blisters I acquired from walking around in uncomfortable shoes on Friday night!

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Run views! 

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Captured these cacti on the way back to my car.

When I got back home, I was absolutely wiped, so I relaxed on the couch with Honey for awhile, before finally getting ready to go to Whole Foods! I don’t shop there much anymore since it’s a 25 minute drive, but sometimes it’s worth the trek. I seriously stocked up (and spent $100, whoops) and had the best time browsing the aisles at my own pace.

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I was smart for once and actually got a cart, instead of trying to carry the world’s heaviest basket. 

On my way home, I picked up dinner and dessert. I have wanted to try poke for months, but most places don’t offer vegan options. Then I saw that Ahipoki had a new topping called ahimi, which is a tomato-based tuna alternative, and I knew I had to get it. I loaded up my bowl with brown rice, salad mix, edamame, green onions, garlic dressing, chili flakes and the ahimi. It was a tad too salty, but soooooo good!

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Ready to go back for more!

I also stopped by Nekter Juice Bar to get the charcoal vanilla Skoop, which is their vegan ice cream! I’m sad I only got to try a couple of their summer flavors, but the charcoal vanilla is still my fav and I’m glad it’s back. I enjoyed it topped with a spoonful of pumpkin butter and chocolate chips while watching the new episode of Saturday Night Live. I’m glad SNL is on live now, because it started at 8:30 (instead of 10:30), so I could get in bed before 11, which was much-needed 😴

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The perfect spooky szn treat. 

Sunday

Another slow morning after 9+ hours of sleep. I took Honey to the dog park again, where she had the best time wrestling with a husky much bigger than her! Then I headed out for run #2 of the weekend. I knew I wanted to run trails again, but I wanted to try somewhere new. I found a place called Zanjero Park, which is even closer than the Riparian Preserve, and headed there for my miles.

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Honey made friends with a husky!

This park is apparently home to burrowing owls, of which I saw exactly zero, but maybe it was too hot for them and they were burrowing? 🦉 I’m sad about that, but I’m not mad about my run! Again, it was hot AF, and the park is even less shaded, but I got in 4 strong miles, at about the same pace as Saturday. I ran 20 miles last week, which is less than the 30+ mile weeks I ran all summer, but pretty good, considering my injury.

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This weekend of solid runs gave me hope, despite my injury. 

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I saw no burrowing owls, and only one person (biking) on my run.

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A very desert-y park, which I LOVE!

I went home, showered and got dressed/did my makeup and then headed out to run more errands. First stop was Trader Joe’s for a couple things I couldn’t get at Whole Foods.

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Mini mini TJs haul, with a mini pumpkin! 🎃

Then it was on to the outdoor mall. I rarely buy clothes in actual stores now (I 💖 online shopping!) but I wanted to see what they had for fall apparel. I tried on a few things at Nordstrom Rack (as I shared on my Instagram Stories, I only bought the floral button-up top, since the jacket and sweater were simply too oversized, but I’m kinda wanting to go back and buy the jacket anyway) and also bought a caramel-colored chunky knit sweater and burgundy faux patent leather combat boots at H&M.

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Can’t wait to wear this open over a dress this fall!

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Why do the arms have to be so big? Not sure if I should go back & buy it anyway, cuz I did like it a lot. 

….and then I went to Target and did more damage to my wallet. Only kinda kidding. I only had a few things to get, but as per usual at Target, I left with more. Namely, a zebra-print sweater. I am soooo excited to wear my sweaters, even though it’s hot out now, but fortunately my office is freezing, so I don’t have to wait til winter to break them out.

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Some staples…and some fun purchases. 

And Target didn’t have the vegan pumpkin pie Halo Top 😭 so I begrudgingly went to Fry’s to see if they had it. They didn’t, but I got a pint of the So Delicious frozen mousse and a container of PB2.

I finally got home, put everything away, chilled on the couch for a bit and then got started on dinner. I wanted to make something quick & easy, using some of the food I bought this weekend. I sauteed frozen cauliflower rice with frozen spinach, the cilantro pesto tofu from the Whole Foods prepared foods section and TJ’s Everything But the Bagel seasoning, topped with TJ’s Italian bamba pepper sauce and the plant-based creamy cilantro dip I got at Target. I had a small russet potato on the side with Miyoko’s butter and Kelly’s Croutons lemon pepper parm. So. Good.

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I love simple dinners that taste like they took forever to make. 

I finished off the night by applying the pumpkin spice face mask from Trader Joe’s while sipping a homemade pumpkin Moscow Mule, and for dessert, a Kashi Golden Goodness waffle topped with raspberries, Miyoko’s butter and maple butter.

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Love this Snapchat filter.

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Sharing more about this waffle in an upcoming post… 

Monday

This week is fall break for the school district I work for, and while everyone in my department has to work, we all took off part of the week. I have off just Monday, to make a 3 day weekend. My parents fly back home tonight, so I wanted to spend another day with Honey.

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Soaking up the ☀️

It’s just been a chill day, taking Honey for a walk, working on this post and cleaning my room. I also plan on doing some meal prep for the week, going to the dog park and taking a sunset walk. Hope y’all had a great weekend!

What was one fun thing you did this weekend? Do you like spending your weekends mostly alone, or with others? 

San Diego Recap: Part 2

Food, Life

Sorry to leave y’all hanging for more than a month on the second part of my San Diego trip recap! These travel posts are a lot more time-consuming to write than my other posts, and I wanted to make sure I included everything. Keeping a travel journal really came in clutch as I’m able to look back two months after vacation and remember what I did.

Day 3: Sunday, July 28

After a great birthday, I was ready for another beach day. But first, another gym workout. I’m still sad I didn’t get in a beach run, but next time for sure!

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Always like to get my body moving in the morning!

We drove back across the bridge to Coronado Island, and found a new beach near the Hotel del Coronado where we set up our stuff. It was an overcast day, but were hoping it would still be an enjoyable experience…and it was!

I found a TON of shells while walking along the beach, and many of them were in pristine condition, so I brought them back home with me as a free souvenir. I even found an intact sand dollar!

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Brought home this baby!

After spending some time in the ocean and laying out on the sand (complete with beach snacks, naturally), we decided to leave our stuff and wander over to the del Coronado to check it out. It’s a really famous hotel, and absolutely gorgeous inside and out. There are several restaurants and stores inside that aren’t just for hotel guests!

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Would love to stay here one day!

We set our sights on the beach shack just outside the hotel that was serving up tacos and cocktails. My parents each got a taco (they didn’t have any veggie ones, sadly) and the three of us each picked a different drink to try. Being that it was on the beach, they were a little pricey (like $18!) but worth it for the experience of drinking by the ocean! My drink was something with watermelon in it, and it was perfectly refreshing.

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Which way to the tacos?

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These were as tasty as they looked!

After scoping out some professionally-designed sandcastles (seriously!), we walked back over to where we had left our stuff, and packed it up to head back to our hotel to get ready for the night.

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In awe of this sand art!

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Beach selfies with mom ❤

Once there, my dad and I walked several blocks to a Rite Aid so he could buy a bottle of wine to bring back to the hotel — that was the closest thing to a liquor store in the area we were staying at. Then we went down to the pool for a quick dip, and soon realized it was v cold, and didn’t spend much time in it.

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Ready for night #3.

After showering and getting ready, we drove to Ranchos Cocina in the North Park neighborhood. This was the only restaurant from our last San Diego trip that we revisited, because my dad remembered loving it so much. This time around, we agreed we still liked it, but it wasn’t our favorite restaurant pick of the weekend.

We all split a pitcher of sangria, which was more like a slushie with tons of frozen mango and peaches in it, so that was disappointing. I loved my food (I got a burrito bowl with tons of veggies and tofu and potatoes), and I appreciate that they have such an extensive menu with TONS of vegan options. It was also freezing in the restaurant, and I was not a fan of that.

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Love veggies & potatoes & tofu & beans!

Once we drove back to the hotel, we decided to go get some ice cream. I had done research ahead of time and saw there was a Salt & Straw in Little Italy, within walking distance of our hotel. I had heard amazing things about it, plus they offer a few vegan flavors that sounded interesting. So we walked over there, and found a pretty long line wrapped around the building. My mom was worried we’d be waiting for a long time, but it was only about 15 minutes, and once inside, we got our ice cream right away.

I ordered the chocolate hazelnut cookies ‘n cream flavor and it was super rich and satisfying. I love cookies ‘n cream ice cream, but this was on another level! My mom got a different (non-vegan) chocolate flavor, and my dad ordered a goat cheese ice cream, which he said he loved.

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Need to go back to SD just for this!

Day 4: Monday, July 29

Our last full day in San Diego 😢 It started out just like the others, with a hotel gym workout before driving to Coronado Island.

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Another day, another gym selfie.

It started off overcast again, so we decided to explore some stores before going to the beach. Fortunately, it warmed up quick so we found a parking spot and grabbed our gear.

We returned to the same beach as Sunday because we liked it so much. I spent more time in the water, and did a lot more boogie boarding, which was a ton of fun! I’m already itching to go back just for that!

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These condos would be fun to stay in too!

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The gulls were enjoying the beautiful beach day!

Later in the day, we walked back over to the del Coronado for day two of drinks by the beach. This time, I got a cocktail with berries and mint in it, and I liked it even more than the first one.

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I would SO ride the “Cool Bus”!

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When life could be worse 😉

We packed up our beach stuff and headed back to San Diego, where we made a stop at a store in Little Italy called Bottlecraft. My parents wanted to bring home some California beers, so they stocked up on those, while I was stoked to find Juneshine hard kombucha in the store’s refrigerator! I had read about them on someone’s Instagram page and had wanted to check out their tasting room, but we didn’t have time, so bringing home some cans was the next best thing. Can’t wait til they start selling them in Arizona!

We went back to the hotel to get ready for our last night in San Diego, and then drove back over the bridge to Coronado to have dinner at Bistro ‘d Asia. We parked a few blocks away to take in the scenery (there are the cutest houses on the island!), and we also got to see an amazing sunset.

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Palm tree sunsets >>>

Once inside, I ordered a lemon drop martini and Szechuan tofu & veggies, which was so flavorful and a bit spicy.

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I hope I never get sick of tofu+veggies.

Later, we drove to the other side of the island because my parents wanted to go to Coronado Brewing. They had beers, I had a glass of white Zinfandel and then we walked a couple blocks to take pictures of the San Diego skyline. It was absolutely breathtaking to see the city at night from across the bay.

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Hello from the other side…

Back at the hotel, we ate some snacks and watched the local news before calling it a night.

Day 4 1/2: Tuesday, July 30

After one last quick hotel gym workout, we loaded all our stuff into the car and headed home. We stopped for lunch again at the Dog Haus, because it’s one of the few places in Yuma with vegan options, but otherwise it was a pretty uneventful drive home.

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Goodbye, San Diego!

What’s your favorite beach you’ve ever been to? Have you ever had Salt & Straw ice cream? 

Never Have I Ever: Running Edition

Life

Did you ever play the game “Never Have I Ever” growing up? I’m sure I’ve done it at least once or twice as an icebreaker (side note: absolutely LOATHE icebreakers, I think they’re usually so dumb) when I was a kid, and it was interesting to see what experiences I have in common with others.

After seeing something similar on a running blog recently, I decided to do my own take on Never Have I Ever, and share some of my running “haves” and “have nots”!

Never have I ever…lost a toenail from running. 

Just once, and I don’t even think it was the whole toenail. TMI warning — it happened about a year ago when I noticed that one of my toenails (a small one, not the big toe) was starting to hang off. I think it fell off by itself, and fortunately I didn’t experience a lot of pain, but it was still kinda freaky to be missing part of my toenail. 😱

Never have I ever…ran away from a dog.

This one has happened a couple of times, but luckily they weren’t too scary. One time, I was running in my neighborhood and these small dogs came charging out the front door of their house and I got startled because they were barking like crazy, but fortunately their owner came and grabbed them, after I sidestepped out of the way.

Another time, this little boy yelled at me while I was running past him to help him catch his dog, which had gotten off leash and was taking off down the street. He got the dog back, and it wasn’t really chasing me, but both experiences have made me more wary of running near dogs. I haven’t had big dogs chase me (yet) and I hope that never happens! I love dogs, but they can be unpredictable when off leash.

Never have I ever…tripped when running & was seen.

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I had to have an ice pack on my face AND my knee because of this fall. 

I have tripped more times than I care to admit (including last November when I literally fell on my face and had to take a week off running because my knee hurt so much from the tumble), but I can’t remember having been seen falling. Maybe once, when I was living in Tulsa and ate it on some gravel that was covering the path. In fact, that’s the only time I remember falling while running in Tulsa, whereas I’ve fallen SO many times since moving to Phoenix for some reason. I guess since I’m running more mileage now, it’s more likely to happen. I’ve also tripped while just walking, so I’m basically a certified klutz. 🤷‍♀️

Never have I ever…run every day in a week.

My current typical running schedule has me running 5 days a week, Monday through Friday (if I’m traveling or whatever, I’ll run 3 or 4 days sometimes instead of 5), but I have run 7 days a week a few times.

I did a run streak (my first!) to kick off 2019, and I ran the first 11 days of the year (plus a run on New Years Eve, so 12 days in a row), which is the most days I’ve ever run in a row. I tried to keep the mileage conservative, and ended up with 50 miles in those 12 days, which averages out to just over 4 miles a day. If I did a run streak again, I would probably do something similar mixing in 4 mile runs with longer 7 or 8 mile runs.

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Feeling strong during my first running streak!

Never have I ever…stopped running and walked home.

Runners are a stubborn bunch — we don’t like to quit a run for any reason. However, I know I stopped running and walked home once — it was when I fell on my face last year (see above) and I was bleeding all over and I had to do the walk of shame back home to get cleaned up. Fortunately, I was less than a mile away and no one saw me (thank God, or they probably would have thought something really terrible happened to me).

With my recent ankle pain, I’ve been super stubborn and have finished all my runs, even though I maybe shouldn’t be pushing through the pain. I know I should go see a doctor and figure out what’s causing it, but I’m honestly scared to find out if it’s a stress fracture or another serious injury that will make me take significant time off from running 😩

Never have I ever…run with a dog.

I’ve tried several times to run with Honey, only occasionally successfully (but it doesn’t last long). She loves to run, but she wants to go at turbo speed and then will suddenly stop dead in her tracks to sniff something, or pull backwards if she gets scared. Not exactly conducive to a good run! If I ever have the opportunity to run in an enclosed area with grass or dirt and I can let her off leash, maybe I can try getting her to run with me.

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I would love to run with this cutie, but she only has two speeds: turbo and reverse.

Never have I ever…ran circles to meet time/distance goal.

All.The.Time! I try to mostly run on the dirt paths in my neighborhood to put less stress on my legs, but they’re not as extensive as I would like, so I usually run the same parts of the path over and over, just going back and forth between certain points to mix it up a bit. If I’m close to my distance goal for a particular run, I’ll run in circles just to get it done!

Never have I ever…run after 10 pm or before 5 am.

I think it would be cool to do a night run  (I have run in the dark before, but it was closer to 7 pm and it was on a well-lit path in Tulsa) but again, klutz status. Also, I am not a morning person, so getting up before 5 am to run is a no go. It’s already hard enough waking up at 6:15 on the weekdays to hit the pavement before work, and now that the days are getting shorter, the sun has barely risen at that time.

Never have I ever…literally run errands.

Nope, but it would be cool to try this someday! I live within two miles of a grocery store (not my typical Sprouts or Trader Joe’s, which are about five miles away, making them a bit too far to run to) so I could totally run there, grab a few groceries and run back. But logistically, I wonder where I’d stash the groceries when I’m running home, and if I would be too gross and sweaty when I got to the store. 🙈

 

Runners — share with me your “never have I evers”!  

Ode to Summer 2019

Life

“I see it in your face, I’m relief / I’m your summer girl” (“Summer Girl” by HAIM)

Once September rolls around, basically everyone is like “yay, it’s fall!” Even though the first day of fall isn’t technically until Sept. 23 this year. So, yeah, don’t rush the fall thing.

Let’s get things straight — no, I’m not the typical basic white girl whose favorite season is fall. Fall is maybe my second favorite season, so I do enjoy some parts of it, but I don’t get why everyone wants to rush into fall. I’m not the hugest Halloween fan, and I absolutely hate the shorter days (no daylight savings time here in Arizona, but the sun still sets too early for my liking). I do like some pumpkin-flavored things and fall fashion (that I can’t really wear comfortably until late November, because Arizona is still HOT until then) but summer will always and forever have my heart. It is the season of my birth, after all #leogirls.

That said, I wanted to share my thoughts on Summer 2019. Like most summers, it went by way too quickly but it was also really great and now I have a lot of fond memories.

May

I kicked off the unofficial start of summer (aka Memorial Day weekend) with a trip to Denver. This marked the first of five vacations I would have this summer, which I think is the most ever for me! During the few days I had in the Mile High City, I went out to eat a lot (and tried a new-to-me vegan place), watched a Rockies game (TBH, I can’t remember now if they won or not, but it was still fun), enjoyed some rooftop happy hours and saw the movie Booksmart in theatres (one of the best movies I’ve seen in  awhile).

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The best rooftop restaurant in the Mile High City.

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Go Rocks (unless they’re playing the Dbacks) 🐍

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Sissies who brunch!

June

The beginning of June was filled with sooooo many job interviews. I remember being really stressed out for a decent portion of this month, with all the driving I did to interview locations, mentally gearing up for said interviews and dealing with the rejection or lack of responses.

But June also brought some good times — namely, two vacations! The first, a mini trip up to Sedona, just me and my dad. We stayed overnight in nearby Rimrock and drove into Sedona to take a Pink Jeep tour, which was the scariest thing I’ve ever done but also SO FUN! We also ate at my favorite vegan restaurant there, and I also ventured into Local Juicery — another vegan-friendly spot I will be hitting up next time for an actual meal (their waffles sound INSANE). We ended the weekend with a hike and Whole Foods salad bar lunch at a winery.

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Sedona is my favorite place in Arizona, hands down! Just look at these views! 🏜️

Later in June, I flew solo to Salt Lake City to visit my best friend from college and her husband, dog and cat for a 4-day weekend. The weather was absolutely gorgeous when I was there and we got in some nice walks with her dog, watched movies (Bohemian Rhapsody for the second time, and Secret Life of Pets 2 in theatres), cooked & ate vegan food (they aren’t vegan, but are super accommodating), went to a beer festival (my friend and I don’t like beer, but we hung out with some of her friends anyway), got in some pool time and played bocce ball.

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My friend’s sweet doggie, Missy! My friend is the one who inspired me to rescue Honey 🍯 after she adopted her dog in college.

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Edible vegan cookie dough? Yes plz!

July

My favorite month of the year (cuz it’s my birthday month)! My sister came from Denver to spend the long 4th of July weekend which I recapped here but we basically spent a ton of time by the pool, watched fireworks, saw Late Night at the movie theatre, went out to eat for dinner & brunch (including one of my fav vegan places in the Valley) and went to an adult ball pit/art exhibit.

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Ball pit fun with my sis.

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Still thinking about this cauliflower dish from Verdura 🤤

I had more job interviews early in the month (and more rejections) and was getting ready to give up looking when out of the blue, my boss said the district was letting me work full-time, so I said yes! I have really enjoyed my job for the most part, and I was really only looking to leave because I was part-time for the first seven months I worked there, so it all worked out better than I could have imagined. I started working full-time at the end of July, right after our Summer Fridays (we worked four 10 hour days — I worked four 5 hours because part time — and had Fridays off) ended.

Then at the verrrrry end of July, I went to San Diego for my 27th birthday! I already recapped the first two days of my trip (the second recap post coming soon-ish) but suffice it to say, I had fun. I first visited America’s Finest City for my birthday 2 years ago and loved it, but this year’s experience was just a little bit better (I only wish my sis could have come with us this time). I already can’t wait to go back, hopefully next year!

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Fancy drinks at the beach >>>>

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My mom & I soaking up those beach days!

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Missing the ocean 🌊

August

I really got into the work grind, as the school year kicked off. Now that I’m full-time, I’ve actually been able to go to some of the schools which has been great to feel more connected to the district.

I’ve been struggling for probably about a month and a half now with ankle pain while running, and it only got worse in August. But despite the pain and my new work schedule, I was still able to run 132 miles last month, one of my higher mileage months this year. But I’m worried I’m going to be paying for it soon, as the pain still hasn’t subsided, even with a new pair of shoes (my old pair had way more than the recommended 300-500 miles of wear, so I thought that was the problem but it’s not) and I’m not sure I’m going to be able to keep running as many miles, which is stressing me out. But now that I have actual health insurance, I should probably be a responsible adult and have my ankle checked out. Fingers crossed it’s not a serious injury!

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Love my new shoes but they aren’t helping my ankle heal 😭

I wrapped up August with another trip to Denver. This visit was bittersweet, only because it marks the end of the summer travel season for me, and I actually don’t have any travel plans on deck for the rest of the year, except for a long weekend trip to southern Arizona for a wine festival. I was glad I took 2 extra days off to make LDW a 5 day weekend! I got to meet my sister’s dog, Mika (she just got her about 3 weeks ago and she’s precious!), dined at a vegan fast food place I’ve been dying to try since it opened last year, had a mimosa by the pool, walked around the lake at my sister’s apartment, got in some killer gym workouts (even though I took all 5 days off from running due to pain), enjoyed some bomb vegan ice cream and checked out the Taste of Colorado festival. It was a great way to cap off an incredible summer!

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Pretty cool that my sister’s apartment complex has its own lake (complete with boats you can rent!)

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My first vegan milkshake! Meta Burger did NOT disappoint on the vegan fast food, and this cookies n cream shake was perfect 👌

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My sis is now a rescue dog mom too! This is her little girl, Mika 😍

September 

Now we’ve come to the summer-fall transition month, which makes me a little sad. I know it’ll still feel like summer for awhile here, but the fun, carefree attitude of summer seems to have disappeared and all anyone wants to talk about is pumpkin spice lattes. I’m gonna do my best to hold onto that summer magic until the holidays roll around. You can catch me eating TJ’s pumpkin butter on everything while soaking up the last of the 100 degree days 😎

What’s your favorite season? Tell me about something fun you did this summer!

Favorite Finds of the Month: August

Beauty, Food, Life

I’m trying out something new for this month’s “Favorite Finds of the Month” post! Instead of just choosing a few random things I liked, I will pick a favorite from specific categories to share with you. I think this will make it easier for me to remember the new things I experienced each month, and it will be more diverse than just food/drink/beauty products!

Favorite Food: Trader Joe’s Italian Bomba Pepper Sauce

I had a lot of new items to choose from for my favorite August food find, but I think the fact that I’ve bought a jar of this every week since discovering it makes it the winner.

If you don’t like spicy things — stay far away. But if you’re a spice-aholic like me — stock up! 😝 The sauce is basically fermented Calabrian chili paste, and Calabrian peppers are actually only ranked in the middle of the Scoville heat scale (25,000-45,000 units) but this little jar packs quite the punch! I’ve used it as a dip (in small amounts) and to top my dinners as an added kick.

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I’m obsessed with this sauce on top of edamame mixed with Kelly’s Croutons seasoning!

A 6.7 oz jar costs $2.99, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to buy this again and again!

Favorite Drink: Juneshine Hard Kombucha in Midnight Painkiller

I’m no stranger to kombucha, or even its more adult cousin — hard kombucha. Technically all booch has trace amounts of alcohol, but the hard variety kicks it up a notch with typically 4.5-6% ABV (about as much as beer).

This hard kombucha was a San Diego find that I specifically sought out after finding out about the brand through Instagram. I really wanted to go to the tasting room, but we didn’t have time, so I settled for picking up a few cans at a liquor store in Little Italy and bringing them back home.

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I love how this flavor has charcoal and you have to flip the can to activate it!

As of now, the only flavor I’ve tried (I’m trying to ration them lol) is Midnight Painkiller, which is styled after the classic Painkiller cocktail (made with rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, coconut cream and nutmeg). It definitely has tropical notes, which I’m always down for. I did feel a bit of a buzz after drinking it, and you might too, if you’re not accustomed to hard kombuchas or you’re just a lightweight like me.

Supposedly Juneshine is going to be selling their booch in more stores nationwide, not just Southern California, so keep an eye out — they have several other flavors which I’m excited to try!

Favorite Song: “Champion” by Bishop Briggs

I shared this song on my Instagram Stories for “Music Monday” a couple weeks ago, but it’s been on repeat for me all month long. As someone who really connects with music, this song speaks to my soul. I’ve struggled with a lot, especially in the past couple years, but the lyrics are a reminder than “you’ve gotta fall down before you fight back” and it really inspires me to keep battling those demons in my life.

I linked the music video above so you can check it out for yourself, whether or not you’ve heard the song before. I love Bishop Briggs because she’s such a badass and a fearless female in the competitive world of alt rock music, which is dominated by men. 🤘

Favorite Beauty Product: Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Retinol Eye Sleeping Mask

I am alllll about the face masks, and I love doing them when I have some downtime to just chill and relax. But I had never heard of (or tried) an eye mask before buying the Glow Recipe avocado sleep mask.

As someone who’s closer to my 30th birthday than my 20th (that’s scary to think about!), I’m starting to be more conscious about skin aging. Like probably most people in their late 20s, I’m noticing some small wrinkles around my eyes, and I’m not exactly okay with that, especially since people still seem to mistake me for a high school student 🙄

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The cutest lil bottle that does a whole lotta good for my eyes!

Enter — this eye mask. The clean ingredients, including retinol, avocado and coffeeberry, are formulated to hydrate, depuff and fight wrinkles in the delicate eye area. I’ve been using it nightly for a few weeks, and I love that it makes my undereye area soft and smooth without irritating my eyes. 🥑

Like a lot of skincare products, this ain’t cheap — $42 for a teeny tiny 0.5 oz jar. The jar is super cute though, and a little goes a very long way, so I bet this will last me a couple months!

Favorite Article: Our Bodies, Our Responsibility, And the Media by Amelia Boone

As a woman who’s struggled with an eating disorder for a large portion of my life, as well as a runner for the past 5+ years, this article fascinated me. I first read a post by Amelia Boone on Outside Magazine online, and her story really resonated with me. Amelia is an elite obstacle racer who has an eating disordered history and has recently opened up about it.

This article focused on how people see her body as “#fitspo” and how that’s felt conflicting to her as an athlete. She talked about her experience being on the cover of magazines and wondering about her responsibility to disclose her ED so readers wouldn’t think that her body was just a byproduct of being a disciplined runner. She also mentions the idea of thin privilege.

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I struggle as a runner with an ED history to be honest about body image & running & my struggles. 

Now of course, I don’t have nearly as much influence as she does, but as someone who shares my struggles on a public platform (my blog and my Instagram), it makes me think about my responsibility to be open about my body and not just pretend everything’s good behind the scenes. I also acknowledge that I have thin privilege, but that doesn’t mean my struggles aren’t valid — it does mean that society may treat me better than those in a larger body, though, and I have to be aware of that.

 

Share some of your favorite finds from August!