5 Things I Learned from Yoga

Before I hop into yoga talk, I must share a picture of my best friend for this past weekend.


Meet Frazier, the most adorable, yet slightly mischievous puppy I’ve ever met. My friends had to go to Chicago for the weekend and they knew just who to call for dog sitting! I definitely miss my dog from NY, and I cannot get a dog in Omaha until I’m fully settled. So, this was the perfect job for me!

Frazier and I spent the weekend exploring a different part of Omaha on long walks, cuddling by the fireplace and rolling in the leaves (well, he did). It was nice to have a pup back in my life! My friends may have thought I was doing them a favor, but I felt like they did me a favor…so last night, while Frazier napped, I baked them some brownies as a thank you.

Hopefully, the brownies will show them that I can watch Frazier whenever they want. Hint hint.

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Now, it’s yoga time.

Way back in 2009 when I was living in Chicago and freelancing for an online publication, I wrote a story called “Yoga for the Non-Yogi.” For about a month, I went around the city of Chicago trying every type of yoga in existence (vinyasa, bikram, power, hatha, hot, etc.) to see which class would be most suitable for an inflexible non-yogi like myself. In the end, I discovered that yoga wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought and that I was incorrect about some of my previous misconceptions. For instance, while there was the traditional “namaste” at the end of each class, the rest of each class was relatively normal and not packed with the yoga-babble, Zen chanting that I envisioned.


(Sweaty me after a hot yoga class…)

Yet, in the 5 years since then, until now, I had probably taken about 5 yoga classes – maybe 1 time a year. When I was living in NYC, my job kept me busy, leaving me a small amount of time for exercising. I preferred to de-stress via running and high-intensity cardio classes, so my yoga commitment went by the wayside.

But, with the start of the new year, a VERY new beginning and a little extra time on my hands, I decided to explore the whole yoga deal again…

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Warm Kale Salad + Tabata Time

We will talk salads in a minute, but first a picture from the Lady Antebellum concert I attended last night with Becca.

Since Becca is a working mommy, it’s rare that we have a night to ourselves to have enjoy some drinks and good food and take in some quality country music. We’re both huge country fans, so you can rest assured we were rockin’ out the entire night in our cowboy boots, just like back in the glory days of high school.

Lady A. was amazing, and the opening act, Kip Moore, well, he is part of the reason country music has started to appeal to the masses…masses of young women that is.


(Here he is belting out Landslide with Lady Antebellum and Kacey Musgraves. He is the one in the plaid cut-off…it takes a real country man to pull that off!

A nice ol’ country boy from Georgia with that slow Southern drawl, grit in his voice and a twinkle in his eye. The modern day cowboy crooning about “young love” and a pretty girl that he wants to take home ’cause his “momma’s gonna love” her. As the Dixie Chicks say “cowboy take me away!” Ah, yes, a girl can dream.

(For the record, he was kind enough to sign autographs after the show – the line was long. I snapped a pic from afar while we were walking out. I’m not invested enough to wait two hours for an autograph. I’ll stick with that whole clichéd “riding off into the sunset” cowboy fantasy instead.)


(Intensely staring into a pretty blonde’s eyes. Why do I feel like he has done this before?)

But, enough about cowboys. Let’s get down to the salads.

For someone who claims to love salads so much (every WIAW features a gigantic salad), it is shocking that I have never actually posted a salad recipe to this blog. Well, other than my kitchen sink salad from back in the NYC days. And those were the days when cooking to me meant throwing a bunch of processed stuff in a bowl and calling it dinner.

I’ve come a long way, my friends.

Anyway, recently, I’ve been on a warm salad kick. It’s still cold and gray here in the midwest, and I’m not ready to transition to summery fruit salads just yet. For those of you that find the idea of a warm salad puzzling, let me explain. Technically, a warm salad is a salad with any warm component, such as warm chicken, bacon, salad dressing etc.

For this particular salad, I sautéed the kale with a lemon shallot vinaigrette until the leaves were slightly wilted and then topped with some candied walnuts, cranberries and fresh parmesan cheese. Rule #1 of Sometimes Healthy Cooking: Everything is better with cheese (and chocolate).


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WIAW: Can I Have S’more Please?

When your day ends with ooey, gooey chocolate, cloaked in melted marshmallows and mixed with creamy peanut butter, is there really a point to recapping the entire day’s meals?


That, my Sometimes Healthy friends, is a picture of an Indoor S’mores skillet, and it was devoured, almost in its entirety, promptly after taking this picture. Thankfully, I had some help from my friend, Emily, a more-than- willing participant.

However, before I share the easy-breezy recipe, it’s time to recap yesterday’s eats for “What I Ate Wednesday,” WIAW. As always, hop on over to Jen’s blog to check out some more WIAW’s. It’s amazing what you learn from reading about what people eat. I mean, I never would have discovered Overnight Oats in a Jar (OOIAJ), if not for  WIAW…

Let’s start with breakfast. I was up early to get in a workout before a job interview. I forced myself to scarf down a little bit of breakfast before hitting the gym.

IMG_0856 Greek yogurt topped with mangoes, raspberries, honey, raisins and some puffins for crunch. An easy, simple and nutritious breakfast. Continue Reading →

If I Lived the Way I Run…

You know that feeling you have when you know the flu is about to hit you? Your throat is scratchy. Your nose is runny. Dull aches and pains are running up and down your body. You know it’s just a matter of time, but you fight it as hard as you can, pumping yourself full of Emergen-C, NyQuil and chicken noodle soup. You even lay off the booze, go to bed early and take a few rest days from the gym. But then, BOOM, a week later that freaking flu hits you and knocks you out. It was going to happen no matter what. You just delayed the inevitable.


I’ve felt like that lately, only instead of avoiding the flu, I was trying to avoid confronting the reality of my current situation. I’m still 100% sure that I made the right decision moving back to Omaha, but as the days go by and once promising job prospects disappear, I have felt a little bit of a “happiness flu” creeping up on me (does that even make sense?). So, I’ve fought it off by spending tons of quality time with the family and friends I’ve been missing for the past 12 years, focusing on improving my blog, hitting the gym and working on some freelance articles. I’ve even become a regular in a vinyasa yoga class (and I almost like it…almost.).


In all honesty, there’s a sort of constant anxiety hanging over my head. Yes, I’m finally in Omaha, but, to put it bluntly (let’s not beat around the bush), I’m 30, unemployed, single and living in my parents’ basement. Please laugh out loud right now. It will make me feel better.

Anyway, I certainly have a lot to be thankful for, but I don’t care who you are, this situation would probably put a damper on your mood every now and then. Somehow, I’ve avoided that inadequate feeling…until now. The other day, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I couldn’t fight the “happiness flu” anymore. I had to admit to myself that yes, I felt a little disheartened about my current situation. Then, I had a couple of glasses of wine with Emily, and suddenly the world was a better place. It was actually a relief to acknowledge that I wasn’t completely okay with where I’m at right now. Just like the 24 hour flu, I knew this uncomfortable feeling wasn’t permanent, but it felt somewhat healthy to sit and talk about it over some pinot grigio.


Anyway, this long-winded intro is actually to say that, like every other unsettling time in my life, running has become my outlet. Now that it’s finally warmer (probably temporarily – damn midwest weather), there is nothing that makes me happier than lacing up my shoes and running until I don’t feel like running anymore. I never have a plan, a route, even a pace. I just run, blast my cheesy country music (intermixed with random rap songs) and literally work through every problem in my head, whether it’s writer’s block  or personal issues. And when I’m running, everything I’m thinking about and hoping for seems entirely possible.

So, lately, I’ve been thinking, if only I could live the way I run… Continue Reading →

WIAW: Cotton Candy Made My Day

Hello all, and welcome to another edition of “What I Ate Wednesday” (WIAW) where you read about the all of the food I ate on Tuesday, and I try to prove to you that my eating habits are totally normal. Remember to stop by Jen’s blog to read more WIAW. You would be shocked to find out how many people participate in this “party.”

Anyway, I’m not feeling particularly witty or entertaining today, so let’s just jump into the food.

I was up with the moon yesterday morning and headed to the gym for an early workout. I can’t believe how dark it is at 6 AM here in the midwest. I tried to snap a picture, but I was also half asleep without my morning coffee…


On the way to the gym, I stopped at Dunkin Donuts for a giant coffee and a breakfast sandwich. I’m not always hungry for breakfast this early in the morning, but I also don’t like to work out on any empty stomach, so I also ordered an egg white flatbread sandwich.


It’s totally normal to bring your Girl Scout Cookie Thin Mint Creamer with you everywhere you go, right? Continue Reading →

A Letter to Someone Going Through a Breakup

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We’ve spent a couple weeks away from the breakup posts, but as promised, I’m going to sprinkle my regular posts with some brilliant and insightful breakup advice posts. I have truly loved receiving emails and comments on my posts, and to know that someone, somewhere is benefiting from this rambling, well that’s all the reassurance I need to keep on “putting it out there.”

In my first post, I talked about how I wrote a “ground-breaking, mind-blowing breakup post” the first time I broke up with Mr. X. The post went into the ol’ drafts section after I decided to give it another go. I remember thinking, “Wow, what a shame – I think that would have been a good post.” Perhaps the fact that I was disappointed about staying in my relationship because I wouldn’t have the opportunity to share a post on my blog should have been a sign that it was the wrong decision…

Here we are now four months later, and good news, the advice is still relevant. The post was supposed to be a witty “letter to a person going through a breakup.” It has, of course, been expanded since I had an additional month of embarrassing material from the last month of my relationship to draw wisdom from. 


I am by no means an expert in the art of handling a breakup with poise and dignity. Quite the opposite, in fact. But at the end of the day, like every other significant life experience, I learned a lot, and I might as well share those learnings with you lucky people that are in the middle of a breakup too…

Dear Poor, Poor Woman Going Through a Breakup – 

Before I launch into my incredibly wise and surely eye-opening advice, let me assure you of one thing: It’s not the end of the world. I don’t care how long you’ve been together, if you have a dog together, whether you’re married or not. The world will go on, and so will you. I think it’s pretty important that you come to terms with this realization right now, because you’ll probably hear the statement from your friends and family about 50 times during this entire process…but, let me also tell you the following things. Continue Reading →

Pistachio Lucky Charm Cupcakes + Skinny Shamrock Shakes + a Jumpin’ Leprechaun Workout

As you can see from the title of this post, we have a lot to cover today, so let’s just dive right in.

When it comes to holidays, I’ve never found one that I don’t enjoy. Halloween is a sweet-lovin’ bakers’ dream, Christmas is usually accompanied by the acceptance that it’s okay to gain 15 pounds of sweet treat weight and Valentine’s Day is synonymous with chocolate bingeing.

However, for the past 9 years, St. Patrick’s Day has always been high on my list of favorite holidays. I lived in two cities (NYC and Chicago) that celebrated St. Patty’s day in a big way. Surprisingly, Chicago’s festivities actually seemed bigger than NYC’s celebrations. Any town that dyes an entire river green for one holiday clearly takes it seriously…


It is entirely possible that St. Patrick’s day seemed liked a bigger deal when I lived in Chicago, because I was in my early 20’s, and nothing made me happier than drinking green beer at 9am, eating greasy foods and running around with my tipsy friends all day.


Oh yeah – look at that festive little girl dressed in green, sporting a green tongue and getting drunk off a spiked Big Gulp without a care in the world. Ahhh, the innocence of youth. When I lived in NYC, I still celebrated St. Patty’s day, but certainly not with the reckless abandonment of my Chicago days.

Alas, I digress. From my minimal research, it doesn’t appear that Omaha is quite as enthusiastic about this institutional holiday as my former cities. The good news is that I’m now older and more mature, so I don’t need to throw back a bunch of Guinness to celebrate St. Patrick’s day.

Nope, instead I’ll just bake up green pistachio cupcakes, smother them in homemade marshmallow frosting and top them off with Lucky Charms.

Because that is clearly a more grown-up thing to do.



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WIAW: Sweet, with a Touch of Veggies

Would you believe that I was so preoccupied with a project yesterday that I almost forgot to chronicle my eats for “What I Ate Wednesday” (WIAW)? Almost. Lucky for you, just as I was about to dig into breakfast, I remembered.


Anyway, welcome to a sweet edition of WIAW. It’s sweet because there is a holiday around the corner, so of course I’ve been baking! Remember to stop over to Peas and Crayons to read some more fascinating WIAW posts.

Let’s start with breakfast. I woke up craving something sweet and carby, and since eating Cupcake Goldfish for breakfast didn’t seem like the smartest choice, I went with french toast.

I feel all fancy when I tell you I whipped up french toast for breakfast, but it’s actually very easy. In fact, it’s probably faster than cooking up some stove top oatmeal.


Anyway, as you can see, I slathered the french toast in Reddi Whip, because every meal is better when it’s covered in whipped cream. Continue Reading →

A Sometimes Healthy Weekend in O-Town

I haven’t shared a post containing weekend highlights in a long time, because it’s not very easy to recap one’s life when that life is constantly in limbo.

However, I’m officially settled in Omaha, plus the weather has been gorgeous here in O-Town, so I though I’d share my top 5 moments from the weekend.

1. Cooking Dinner for Good Friends

It was a big weekend for basketball here in O-Town (more on that later), and since some of the boys were in Lincoln for the game, the ladies got together last night to enjoy some girl time and eat some good food.

I volunteered to cook dinner, and I was really excited to cook a healthy meal for my friends (and their kids). Nothing makes me happier thank making food for the people I love the most. The meal took about an hour to pull together and included a crowd favorite, Baked Buttermilk Faux Fried Chicken, sweet potato fries and a warm kale salad.


I probably could have done a better job of taking pictures, but sometimes taking pictures while cooking slows me down, and the little ones have a bedtime schedule!

I must say, cooking for 2-year-olds  is much easier thank cooking for adults. They just sort of smile, spout some gibberish, eat the food and look happy. 


I’m one of those people that always worries about whether or not everyone likes my food, so the kids make it easy because they’re too preoccupied to answer my typical repeated “Did you like it? Is the chicken too dry?” questioning. Continue Reading →

Cheesy Greek Spaghetti Squash Casserole + Cheesy Thoughts

You want to know the best part about having friends with kids?

There is always someone that is just as, if not more, excited to take a trip to the local fro yo joint!


This little guy and I have many things in common, including our love for mixing 5 different frozen yogurt flavors and adding gummy worms to the top. 

You know what else 4-year-olds are great for? Helping to add a little imagination to ordinary healthified brownies. But more on that later!

First thing is first: Speaking of adorable little children, a HUGE congratulations goes out to my brother and his wife, who welcomed their first child to the family on Wednesday night. I’m a first-time Auntie, my parents are first-time grandparents, and we are all madly in love with her. She is quite simply – perfect. I’ll be headed to NY to meet her next month, and I am counting the days!

Hope she is ready to hear the first reading of “Oh the Places You’ll Go!”


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