A Little Resting Now and Then…

brings peace to the wisest men. I’m taking a liberty with the Willy Wonka quote here, but you catch my drift. I’ve been feeling off the past four days: the worse kind of sick, where you’re just tired, achy, and gross enough to want to stay in bed all day…but not sick enough to actually do so. I think it might be a combination of a minor cold and exhaustion, so there really isn’t much medicine for that…besides rest. Not one of my strong suits.

take time to just rest ~ Day 44.01 Yesterday, I'm grateful that I was so restful I forgot to post in my gratitude journal. I must have needed the extra rest. :)

You know I’m feeling bad if I skip my runs, and I took four off days in a row. FOUR. That is almost unheard of. Every day, I told myself I’d get back out the door. But then I would climb the stairs to my room, feel absolutely exhausted, and remind myself that sometimes the most helpful option is to just let yourself take a break.  Note: I only came to this realization after frequent anxious texts to my wonderful mom, along the lines of, “But what if I lose my mile time?” Ridiculous, silly, and a good reminder that there are far more important things in life than working yourself so hard.

I had my first loop back in the running shoes today…and felt GREAT. I wasn’t miserable. I wasn’t achy.  I was just happy to be out running again.  It’s amazing: taking the couple of days off actually brought back the joy that attracted me to a running routine in the first place!

Gotta love life’s moments of realizations.

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Little Moments

I am discovering that I do not neccesarily do well when my due dates are not solid. Or, rather, the due dates themselves are solid, but the work I have to do to accomplish them? Not so much.

I don’t know exactly why I let that get to me.  I am a planner, a list maker, and a checker-offer of the to-do list extrordinaire.  But when it comes to big projects, I tend to get a little overwhelmed.  This is definitely something I need to work on, and I’ve been doing that by allowing myself time to NOT worry about it.

How’s that for a concept?

Instead of going crazy and scheduling out every instant of every day to get things done, I’ve been changing up my plans.  Last night, I took the time to make spaghetti squash and meatballs for my best friends and have them over for dinner.  While I need to spend tonight working on a poster, I just spontaneously agreed to go on a frozen yogurt adventure to try out the new fall flavors (snickerdoodle and oatmeal cookie, you guys. How could anyone possibly say no?)  

While these little diversions should technically make me more nervous, they have the opposite effect. I think it’s because they remind me that there is life outside of the world of school and theatre.  That’s hard to remember when you’re at such an incredibly intensive program.  Sometimes you have to take the time to be a college kid.  Weird that we have to remind ourselves of that, isn’t it? True BFA problems. 

Other things I’ve been making little moments for this week…

  • Bubble baths with shea butter
  • Moments sitting and sipping an extra cup of coffee (I try to only have two a day, but…) while burning an amazing scented candle
  • Reading a few articles in my Vogue september issue
  • Planning out some dessert recipes I want to tackle in the near future
  • Writing on this blog!
  • Checking in with my favorite bloggers on Bloglovin
  • Pinterest. I’m obsessed. But I’m going to let that be okay.
  • Taking a moment to really invest in my devotional/Bible reading in the morning
  • Going for walks
  • Sitting out on my patio for a few minutes to just enjoy the weather
  • Curling up and watching a little bit of a Food Network show or TLC (I thank my stars whenever The Pioneer Woman or Say Yes to the Dress is on)
  • Running a little bit farther than I meant to (sometimes, devoting a little extra time to a work out can be the difference between an obligation and true enjoyment of the thing!)
  • Chatting instead of doing homework in the campus cafe with my best friends

Hopefully you’re finding ways to get a little calm into your day during this busy start to the fall!

Friday Fancies

Here’s a short and sweet list of things I’m crushing on this Friday. I hope you are having a lovely day!

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1. Beyond the Pencil (Skirt) Interviews from the Levo League. I’m obsessed with seeing into the inspiring lives of working women who are absolutely passionate about what they do, in all kinds of creative fields.  Today’s interview with Samira DeAmdrade was particularly inspiring.

2. These apple cider muffins are happening. I’ve been craving fall flavors, even though the heat won’t seem to cooperate.

3. I’m so excited about attending the state fair! I don’t know why, but I have been determined to go since freshman year and haven’t made it yet. But this year will be different. This year, I will drag my friends if I have to.

4. Date night! The Boyfriend and I will be watching Hot Fuzz while sipping on some brews…not going to lie, it will probably be warm apple cider for me. Or I might go for the Arctic Zero ice cream I’ve been craving for awhile. And speaking of Arctic Zero and healthy options…

5. I’m heading to Whole Foods for my first real shopping adventure tonight! I can’t really afford to get all my food there on a college kid budget, but I have some specialty items to pick up that you just can’t get at the regular store (for the record: spaghetti squash, PB2, and Arctic Zero are on the list. I’m going to try very, very hard not to impulse buy but. We shall see how that goes.) I feel like Whole Foods is a shopping experience in and of itself. I love wandering around and looking at all the delicious healthy options that I could be eating! Someday, someway.

6. I’m living for this article on College Prepster about the Kate Spade Beau bag. Beau, indeed; I want one in every colour! It’s hard for me to imagine spending a lot of money on a purse, but this one might be worth the sacrfice. It’s gorgeous, luxuriant, comes in colors to suit every look, and it has a HUGE BOW. What more do you need? Be still, my little preppy heart.

7. I’m heading to Waffle Champion this weekend, after weeks of lusting after them.  This cute little eatery started out of a food truck, and grew to such heights of popularity that they’ve opened up a sit-down restaurant. Basically, you start with a delicious buttermilk waffle, and add whatever you like to make it the waffle sandwich of your dreams. They have savory options, but I think I’ll be heading more towards the sweet side. Lemon curd, fresh berries and whipped cream, anyone?

A Healthy Monday

Somehow, yesterday turned into the most fit day of my life.

That’s an exageration. But still. 

I began the day with a three and a half mile run. I don’t really like running in the morning; I feel like I’m zombie walking if I haven’t had my coffee and breakfast. But that’s almost the only option I have for outdoor running here in the city, because after nine o’clock, the temp increases to 10th circle of hell level and the sun could be used to fry eggs. Not a conducive running environment.

So I dragged my butt out of bed, and got a nice distance out of the way.  Definitely gave me a little burst of energy to start the day! I went to class and work, accomplished a lot, and had a fairly good time. But mostly, I was excited to get home and make dinner…because I was finally going to unlock the secrets of the Protein Pancake.

 

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How delicious do these look?

I’m not a huge pancake fan, but these are made up of oatmeal, banana, and topped with whatever you like…all for low calorie and high nutritional value. Honestly, what’s not to love? I’ve put off making them because the amount of recipes was a little overwhelming, but I finally decided on one from FitSugar to build off of.

Here’s the basic recipe and directions:

Healthy Oatmeal Pancakes for One:

1/4 cup instant oatmeal
1/4 cup egg substitute (or 2 egg whites) (I used the egg whites)
1/2 of a really really ripe banana, mashed
1/4 teaspoon baking powder (I used a tiny, tiny pinch of baking soda because I didn’t have the powder…nothing blew up!)
1 packet of sweetener (I don’t really like artificial sweetener in baked goods, so I used about a teaspoon of brown sugar)
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon water, milk, or juice (I used water, and couldn’t taste a difference!)

To make your pancake, simply combine all of the ingredients together in a bowl.  I mashed the bananas well before adding them, and then stirred the ingredients together with a fork to continue the mashing process.  You don’t want extra lumps in there if you can help it…the bananas are sort of the stick-together agent here.  You can add anything to these pancakes! Next time, I think I might add a little sin with some chocolate chips. Other suggestions: raisins or craisins, blueberries, strawberries, more chunks of banana with some peanut butter, Nutella…the options are endless, and these provide a nice hearty base for anything.

Pour the mix into the center of a hot pan. This is a crucial point: use SOMETHING to coat the pan. Pam, a little bit of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, or even a bit of the real deal.  I didn’t use enough, and my non-stick pan soon became a little bit of an ooey gooey burnt oatmeal mess. 

Cook on medium heat, for about three minutes per side.  Watch it carefully–these pancakes are VERY easy to burn, but they are also easily left super runny in the middle.  It’s a balancing act.  While it may seem too gooey to flip (I was very concerned), everything stuck together at just about the same consistency as a real pancake!  Cook till a nice golden brown.

Plate and top however you like! These would be great with syrup, but I’m not a huge syrup fan (sacrilege, I know.) I put a little bit of peanut butter that I’d nuked in the microwave for a few seconds to make it soft on top, and it was amaaazing–and added some protein in there.

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Mmmm oatmeal!

Here’s a pic of my pancake on the griddle…before it turned into a bit of a burned mess. I’d give it a 0 for looks, but a 9 for taste! Excited to play more with this recipe.

After dinner, I ran to my first hot yoga class in a month. And it was HARD. Especially after that morning run.  I was feeling all my muscles for sure. Even though it was a difficult class, I still love that vibe you get when you finish: yoga warrior, capable of all kinds of feats of flexibility! It was lovely, and I’m so excited to continue my practice.

On the way home, I stopped by the new protein smoothie place by our school that has been drawing rave reviews from all my sisters, in order to do an interview for the student paper.  I was very skeptical of the protein smoothie as a meal replacement racket, and I still harbor some reservations…but I have to say, after sampling that Reeses’ Herbalife shake? I might be a new customer. It definitely won’t replace fruits and veggies, but might be a welcome sweet indulgence!

 

 

 

 

The Worrier’s Guide to Relaxation

I came to a startling realization this summer: I have forgotten how to relax.  At some point in the last three years, I have gone from someone who could sit for hours enjoying a good book and a cup of coffee, to a girl who gets anxious if I sit down for more than half an hour.  I’m conflicted about this personality trait. On the one hand, worriers get stuff done.  Very rarely do I panic about something that’s due tomorrow, because I’ve been working like a crazy person to get it done, and done well, for the past week. But on the other hand, I tend to work myself to the bone for something, and after I’ve accomplished it, thought to myself: “now, why did I freak out about that? That wasn’t bad at all.” Nothing like awesome hindsight skills. This semester has begun in an interesting way, and I’m already feeling a little out of sorts.  My past two years at school, I feel like I’ve known where I’m going and what the next goal is. Now that I’m beginning to steer a little more towards the English minor side of my degree, I’m beginning to feel a little bit out-to-sea.  How important is getting cast/called back? How important is it to be writing at least an hour a day?  How important is it to remain calm, cool and collected during the craziness? And, possibly the most problematic of all, how do I keep myself from sinking under the weight of all these questions? So I am making a commitment to becoming a better relaxer (I think that sentence says a lot about my personality: I can’t just relax. I have to COMMIT to it. Oi vey, y’all).  I’ve been brainstorming some ways to get my mind and body into that comfort zone…but I would love some suggestions! This is going to be a bit of an uphill battle for my little worry-wart self…good thing I love a challenge.

ways to relax

On My Want List: Kate Spade Flats

ImageI am obsessed with the new Kate Spade New York styles that have been popping up on all my favorite fashion blogs.  The clothing and desk accessories are to die for, but what have been really catching my eye are the shoes.  My God, the shoes! I am the kind of girl who finds a style she loves and proceeds to wear it till the soles fall off, so non-committed applicants need not apply.  The Kate Spade flats are all gorgeous, but they also have a reputation of withstanding harsh New York city treatment by the young fashion trendsetters who wear them.  I’ve put some of those dreamy activities above, but for me, these flats would be perfect crossing-campus wear…now if only I can find the perfect pair to match my acting uniform of all black…

Note: I have a college student budget, so I will not be sporting any of these anytime soon.  Look forward to a more affordable flats post later! But hey, a girl can dream, right?

 

Thoughts on My 16th First Day of School

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Some beautiful sisters and I at Bid Day yesterday…you know it’s the start of semester when Rush week is over! Never started high school off with a bang like that.

I love the first day of school.  It calls up visions of 20 years of choosing the perfect outfit, waking up early so I can make sure that my hair looks just right, that I have time to perfect my “look”–which I probably picked out a week in advance.  It means planning what I’ll have for breakfast; something special, to get me off to the right start.  It means reunion with friends that I haven’t seen all summer. It means tragic school pictures.  It means hanging out by the lockers, gossiping about the hot new math tutor.

Basically, it signals a new start.

This summer has been beautiful in so many ways.  Instead of getting wrapped up in the craziness of the acting world, I took some time to really focus on myself as a person.  Falling in love with hot yoga, beginning marathon training, cooking delicious things, and writing up a storm…all of it was wonderful.  But I have to say that after a few months of working full time as an intern, I am so ready to get back into the swing of college.  

This morning, I took a little bit of time to sit quietly on the couch, coffee and peanut butter banana toast in hand (see? special first day breakfast plans), and thought about how many first days of school you get in your life.  It’s special.  It’s something that I’ll be sad to lose.  But it also helps you track the changes that you’ve gone through, all of the years that you have had, and the incredible memories you’ve made.  This year, I want to spend more time valuing some of the awesome things that college gives you…and not so much worrying about things that I cannot change.  Which covers  a lot of things in the acting world, let me tell you.  I’ve brainstormed some goals for this semester, and can’t wait to share them with you all. Well, I’m a little nervous–putting them out into the universe just gives me that much more need to work on them!

Happy back to school to all of you college kids! And for those of you in the real world, I hope this Monday is treating you well.

Running Through Soup

Running Humor: My mom told me I can be anything I want to if I put my mind to it....

I finally got my butt out of bed to go on my first run here a few days ago.  I took three days off to travel and move in, and by that morning I was finally to get myself out the door and back on the streets.  Or so I thought. Three miles, I thought, how hard can it be?

Ways in Which Running at College Are Different Than Running at Home: A List.

1. Location: At home, I ran through my neighborhood, which is a gorgeous subdivision of genteel single family homes that backs up into a nature preserve.  Safety plus gorgeous views? A win-win. At school, it’s a bit of a sketchy area, and the best view I can hope for is that of a building spire from the campus. Motivational? Not quite the same as a sunset.

2. Timing: My go-to workout time at home was right after work.  I had had  a full day of desk sitting to get me pumped for being outdoors.  Here, I’ve been waking up early and going so I can ensure that I actually get my workout in.  While I am a bit grumbly about running before breakfast, I think this might actually be a positive change: it’s so early that my mind barely processes that I’m running, and I also don’t have to worry if anything comes up later in the day: I’m done!

3. People: I didn’t really know anyone in the neighborhood at home, so I was free to huff and puff and look like a total goon without fear of being laughed at.  At least, to my face. I’m sure some of the kids I passed playing outside were doing some pretty harsh judgement behind my back (we can’t all play in the kiddi pool and eat popsicles, guys).  But on campus, I know pretty much everyone I pass. Which means some awkward eye contact as I try to ensure that I don’t get sweat in my eye. Needless to say, looking extremeluy attractive while running has never been a priority. Or, you know, a possibility.

4. Route: I got so used to running a similar route everyday, and didn’t realize how much comfort there is in that.  It’s so nice to just let your feet fall where they may and follow the route that you know.  I could shake it up and run farther or shorter, but I always knew my approximate distance.  Here, I’m constantly breaking cadence to check my Charity Miles.  Usually, I think, “What do you mean, it’s only been a mile? I’ve been jogging for hours!!”  I’ve added on all kinds of little loops to add onto my time, so plenty of people have gotten to watch me run down the street, only to come back on the other side a few seconds later.  Perplexing and entertaining, I am sure.

5. Weather: Ah, I saved the best for last. Y’all, it is HOT down here.  But I can deal with hot.  What is more difficult is the fact that humidity here makes the air into soup.  It is like running through liquid, so intense you can almost feel the water in the air. Another incentive to run in the mornings!

Do you have any tips for running in this kind of heat/humidity combo?

 

A Healthy Start: Kicking off the school year right

This is my third year of school, but the first time I’ve ever had to stock a kitchen for myself. I was SO excited for my grocery trip on move in day. Like, overly excited. I’m a dork. But it is something special to be able to finally decide for yourself EXACTLY what you want to be eating. No more trips to the caf and settling for broccoli and rice (again) because there are no healthy options! No more gazing with huge eyes in my home kitchen at the vast array of unhealthy snacks that I would love to chow down on.  My room is my space, and that decision making process is empowering.

And a little intimidating. We start school in a week, and while I love having my kitchen, I also realize it’s going to be a little bit of a struggle to find time to cook, workout, and maintain a healthy outlook. Here are some tips I’ve thought up to keep myself on the straight and narrow!

Tips for Kicking the Semester Off Right

1.  Fill your kitchen: if you have bad food in there, you will eat bad food. It’s as simple as that.  At the grocery, I focused mainly on fresh produce, a few healthy snacks (popcorn and pretzels are a favorite), and some protein options to keep my energy up. No chips. No candy. None of that oh-so-tempting fro yo.  I promise the amount of energy and happiness you feel will make up for those five seconds of joy as you plow through a pint of Ben and Jerry’s!

2. Declutter: After a long, stressful day of moving in, the last thing you want to do is unpack boxes.  And I definitely still have some work to do.  But in my opinion, it always feels better to clean up and just get the room done than it does to wallow in a half-unpacked hole for a few weeks.  You’ll feel more at home as soon as everything is in it’s place!

3. Make a morning ritual: this is a HUGE one for me.  I need some time to get centered in the morning and become my healthy happy self.  To get there, I need at least twenty minutes to sit with breakfast, a cup of coffee, and my devotional. Those twenty minutes change how I feel about my whole day.  Find something you really like that kicks you off on the right track. Meditating, jogging, journaling…there are so many ways to get there!

4. Get out there: if you’re looking to start a new healthier workout habit this year, it helps to start right away.  The first few days will definitely be difficult–I know the last thing I wanted to do this week was go for a three mile run.  But the hardest part of a new habit is starting it up, and there’s no better time than now, when you’re not totally bogged down by classes and homework.  Another good tip: don’t give up and don’t give in! There are days when I feel like I’m too busy to work out, but I know that even 20 minutes of activity will make me feel so much better about the day in general.

5. Organize your life: I am a planning queen, and I start early.  I recommend getting one planner for your life events, and one for class assignments, and keeping them current.  Knowing what you have on your plate makes it a lot easier to have time for fun! There is no bigger bummer than having to say no to plans because you have a last minute assignment you completely forgot about.

Don’t Be a Desk Potato! how to stay active at a desk job

Image courtesy of Levo League

Sitting at a desk for eight hours a day just does not do it for me.  During the school year, I spend so much time running to class, performing, working out, and rehearsing, that it feels like I barely sit down.  But for the past two summers I’ve held an amazing summer assistant job at a major company…which has meant desk work. A lot of it.  And in that time I’ve found that hours of restful sitting does not a happy Lauren make.

I was meditating on this issue the other day, while readin several great profiles of professional women from Levo League (by the way, if you haven’t checked this organization out, go do so right now! Probably the most excellent source of information for 20 something women I’ve come across).  One thing that all of them seem to have in common?  Insanely active lifestyles, and a passion for fitting fitness into the work day. I love that! I am so inspired by women who take on a full 40+ with gusto, and still remember that their bodies are incredibly important. 

Here are some of my tips for staying active at work, even at your desk!

1) Standing your ground

It might be tempting to sit in that office chair all day while you type away at the computer or file your heart out. But I say: do not give in!  My rule of thumb: if it can be done standing, do it. Example: one of my major jobs is scanning files into a database.  While I have to sit to enter info into the computer, I’ve discovered that organizing and assembling files is best done on my feet! Plus side: any afternoon drowsy spells are usually crushed.

2) Take a walk

If I do have to sit for a long period of time, I find myself itching to walk it off after about an hour.  I realize some companies are more restrictive, but even getting up and out of your seat for one minute is better than sitting all day!  Tip: when you need to get a drink or go to the bathroom, head to the station furthest from your desk. You’ll get a little extra walk in!

3) Don’t let the day beat you down

Sometimes after a long day, the last thing I want to do is workout.  I’m tired, grumpy, and would much rather go home and chill out with a good book and an iced coffee. But getting a little excercise in everyday is vital to my happiness.  I try to remember how good I’ll feel afterwards when I’m struggling to lace up my tennis shoes.  For me, the best time to work out is in the evenings after work.  But if you lose all motivation once 5 o’clock rolls around, try and fit a little workout in in the morning! It might seem difficult to wake up earlier, but you’ll be reaping the benefits all day long.

4) Get your fuel!

Whenever I feel like I’m lagging a little bit, I use these instant energy boosters:
-Water! I try and drink at least four glasses at work each day. Hydration keeps you focused
-Snack time: that tired might feeling might just be your body telling you it needs some TLC.  I try to always keep some snacks at work.  Favorites include watermelon, carrot sticks, or some low-fat and low-carb crackers or popcorn.
-Music: there’s nothing like a favorite jam coming on to give me some extra motivation. I love listening to Country Pop Pandora or Imagine Dragons!