Loading...

Spoiler, ladies: It's actually not the little things

Today was a day like many others, where all the girls (many of them single, to be perfectly honest) of Facebook posted about what relationships should be like, what guys should say to their women, and how it's the little things that matter. The importance of "the little things meaning the most" is certainly not a new concept, but it is one that people use to justify staying in bad relationships or tearing apart good ones.

I don't really feel all that jealous when I hear about a guy who raced his girlfriend home to make her a hot fresh dinner, and I'm really not sad that I don't come home to fresh flowers every day. Sure, those things are nice, and it's always important to show that you appreciate someone, but little gestures are not always the best way to do it. I don't mean to sound like I'm advocating grand gestures as a signal of appreciation, either, because I'm not.

What I mean is that we should be more focused on the way that we are treated every day, all the time.  I obviously wouldn't be mad if there was a gift waiting for me in my car after a crappy day or if there were flowers sent to me at work, but I would rather have someone who is loving, kind, and supportive no matter what. I don't think my boyfriend has ever once brushed the snow off my car for me so I could sleep in, and he's never said or implied that I'm his "whole world." He does, however, support me in anything that I decide. If I told him I was quitting my job to go to modeling school or something that probably wouldn't bring in a ton of cash, he would be on board. I can be as weird as I want and dance around the house with a shower cap on if I want to. He never tells me I'm bad at anything, but will give advice on things he knows better than I do. We all have our strong points.

And you know what else he does? Change me. Before you freak out - this is a good thing.  We need to embrace it. Stubbornly saying that we want (no, deserve) to be with someone who won't change us is ridiculous and quite frankly a waste of a relationship. Spending so much time with someone who is open minded and so incredibly non judgmental has changed me. A lot. For the much, much better. Whether you are religious or not, finding someone who can help you grow into a stronger and better person should be a goal.

I've dated a guy before who would have bought me the world. He'd hide flowers for me and get me candy when I was sad. He spent far more money than anyone else ever has on Christmas presents and showered me with random gifts that would arrive to me at work. But he was a jerk. He called me out on my quirks, was never there to talk when I needed support, and wasn't accepting of the choices I had made for my future.

I'm not trying to say that a girl shouldn't get flowers from time to time. Basically, though, don't date someone just because they give them to you. Make sure there is still room for love underneath all the "little things."

Top 10 freezer must-haves

I think the freezer may have been one of the best inventions of all time. For two people, a lot of the products that we buy would definitely be thrown out after a couple of days if I couldn't store them in the freezer. It also makes for an easy way to pre-make meals and eat them later. Here are some of the essentials in my freezer:

1. Premade smoothies. I bought a bunch of frozen/fresh fruits and veggies at costco and divided them into individual baggies. Now, all I need to do when I want a smoothie is throw a bag full of fruit in a blender - totally mess free.



2. Frozen vegetables. I know, it's not as good as fresh, but considering that it's almost always winter in Michigan and that I'd never eat this much brocolli in time, it's totally worth having a bunch on hand. I like to have fresh vegetables, too, but when I run out and it's not grocery day, it's so easy to grab some out of the freezer and steam them in the microwave.

3. Turkey-quinoa meat. I use this stuff for everything that calls for ground beef. It's good, I promise.


4. Crock pot-ready meals. This is the cajun shrimp and rice recipe from Fitness Magazine. I just add rice and chicken broth to this mixture in a crock pot and leave for work. I come home to a tasty meal. It's seriously like magic.

5. Snacks. Healthy and unhealthy. Leftover gyoza is one of my favorites, but there's also always a pizza or two for when friends stop by.


6. Leftover soup! I love soup year round, and I also love to make it. It's just something about a steaming pot of soup boiling in the kitchen all day that feels so cozy. I always have too much leftover and have to freeze some.


 7. Dairy free ice cream. I love So Delicious coconut milk varieties. It's not great for you, but it's also not terrible. It's much lower in calories than regular ice cream, and more importantly, when I feel like splurging I don't have to deal with the painful effects of dairy.

                                      

8. Veggie "meats." Costco has big packs of veggie burgers that are really tasty. I also like to sometimes have some veggie sausage on hand - it's just quick, easy, and healthier than it's real meat relative.

9. Bulk chicken breast. Fresh chicken is about a million times better, but I like to have a bag of frozen for things like casseroles and stews. It keeps for a long time and it's much cheaper than buying fresh chicken every few days.

10. Frozen fruit for pies. Fresh apples + frozen berries = pie heaven.


Ready-to-make freezer meals: Ground Turkey and Quinoa

Step aside, hamburger helper. Super-fast ground turkey dinners are in the house.

This non-bland tasting mixture of ground turkey and quinoa is a protein-packed option for quick dinners on busy nights.

You'll need:

1lb turkey
2 cups of cooked quinoa
2 packets of onion soup mix
1 egg
OPTIONAL - garlic powder or chopped fresh garlic to taste

Mix all of the ingredients together and divide the mixture into freezer bags. You're done!

Defrost and use as an alternative to beef in your favorite quicky meals. The egg helps it all stick together so that you can use it for anything from meatloaf to cottage pie.

My favorite ways to use this mixture include:

Taco meat (just add seasoning packet)
Meatloaf
Burgers
Meatballs
Casseroles



To shave or not to shave: adventures with my sidecut



Ah, sidecuts. Or undercuts, as some call them. I don't really feel like I have an undercut - that's what I call it when someone shaves the bottom half of their head or all the way around. Sometimes, they serve a functional purpose, like when you have really thick hair and you live in a really hot place and are tired of sweating to death. However - I'm not one of those people. I just like how they look. That's right - I like it. That's why I did it. Was it worth it, though? Am I tired of it? Do people hate me now?

I had been thinking about shaving a sidecut for about a year before I finally committed to the idea. I looked at as many pictures on Tumblr as I could find, and pinned part of my hair back on an almost daily basis to get comfortable with the shape of my head. The day it happened was right after I had a bad hair dye experience (so I wasn't particularly attached to my current style), and my friend posted a picture of a "fake" sidecut saying that she wanted one. I told her that I did, too, so I invited her over and off went our hair. I'm glad, though, that I thought about it for a long time before jumping in. I have had impulsive haircuts/colors many times in my life and have had to suffer (I know - soo tragic) months of regret. But this? This is a relatively big commitment. I realize that growing it out is going to be a long, horrible, awkward process. I'm probably going to have to get a short asymmetrical haircut just to deal with it. These are the kinds of things that you have to come to terms with before you can be ready to shave.



I made sure to shave mine on the side where my bangs are parted the OPPOSITE of how they naturally fall. I work in an office, and while I doubt anyone would say anything, I sometimes like to look professional and fear that some people won't take me seriously if I would do something so absurd as to shave my head. When I wear my hair naturally, you can't even tell its there. I can still wear my hair in low buns or ponytails while covering it up, but I have to be more careful and pin pieces in place or wear a head band to hide it completely. I am kind of careless about this sometimes and now probably everyone has noticed it. I'm not sure. :p


When I do want to show it off, though, I can style it in pretty much any way that I would have before. Some people don't like how their sidecuts look in ponytails - but I actually quite like it in high ponytails and top knots. French braids down the back are one of my favorite sidecut styles. Whether I want to look edgy or elegant, there is always a way I can style it.

Different people (of course) react differently when they see it for the first time. I get a few "what were you thinking?!" comments, but honestly, most people seem to like it or at least appreciate that I wasn't afraid to do what I wanted. I get many compliments from friends, family, and strangers, and a lot of people telling me that they wish they were so brave (to which I reply - "then be!").

Maintaining it has been very easy. I was glad to have help with the initial shave so that we could make sure the shape was right, but now I trim it myself once every week or so. If it gets too short by accident, that's okay. It gets shaggy very quickly. People often ask what I set the clippers to - but I use a beard trimmer, so I'm not sure what it would be for a hair attachment. I don't think I could get it as short as I like without going for the beard attachment, though. 



Overall, in the 6 months that I've had it, I've been mostly very happy. There have been times where I wanted to wear a sock bun to work or braid my bangs like I used to do in the summer, but the positives absolutely outweigh those concerns. I'm not at all tired of it and am always eager to rock it in public. Getting comments from people saying that I'm brave make me feel like I really am. I pretty much feel like a total badass. I mean... because I am, obviously.

To anyone considering shaving any kind of "cut," I'd say that it's worth it if its something that you have seriously considered and are comfortable enough with your head shape to commit to it, as well as accepted how long it is truly going to take to grow back.

Sweet and spicy green beans


Bored with plain veggies? Spice it up! Literally. HA.

Use seasonings as strong as you like. No rules!

Frozen or fresh green beans will work. Add a tiny bit of water to fresh beans,

Coat the bottom of a frying pan with 1 part sesame chili oil and 1 part olive oil.

Heat it for a few seconds, then add beans.

Season generously with garlic powder and ground ginger.

Throw on flax or sesame seeds.

Fry beans and seeds until cooked to your liking.

With heat still on, drizzle with honey and stir. Remove from heat and enjoy!

Health-hacked cupcakes (dairy free!)


I know these aren't ENTIRELY healthy, but when it comes to cupcakes, it could get a lot worse.

More importantly, these are like, THE best cupcakes I've ever had.

I started with the Weight Watchers pumpkin spice muffin recipe. I love the pumpkin flavor in those, but when I tried a chocolate version, I wasn't a fan of the pumpkin flavor. I began a quest for a richer, chocolatier cupcake. And this is the result. No pumpkin flavor, but still all the moist deliciousness that it provides!

With frosting: 200 calories
Without frosting: 115 calories

Cupcakes

1 box of dairy free chocolate cake mix
1 box of chocolate sugar free, fat free pudding
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 15 oz can pure pumpkin
1 egg
2 tablespoons oil

Mix all ingredients in large bowl, put in paper muffin cups, bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.

Frosting

1 cup confectioners sugar
1 cup almond butter
2 tablespoons oil
Splash of almond milk
2 cups of coconut flakes

Top cupcakes with frosting and crushed nuts. Yield 18 cupcakes.



First Spin class? What to expect..

Yesterday, I finally worked up the guts to try my first Spin class. What took me so long? Honestly? I was kind of scared. I didn't know what to expect.

The worst part was when I tried to do some online research to figure out what I should expect, and all the articles told me I would get saddle sores (or worse, ladies), or that I had to go commando in spandex shorts.

On top of all of those scary thoughts, it seems like Spin class junkies are pretty hardcore. How hard was it going to be? Would I even make it through 45 minutes? My knees should be at what angle, again?

I started researching this in the first place so that I could get comfortable with the idea, but everything I read just made me more afraid.

I'm here to tell you - don't listen to your fear.

I got to the gym a good half hour before class started. I put on my plain old yoga capris, signed up for class to reserve my bike, filled my water bottle, and went in.

Several others had already arrived. Very few people looked like real elitists - pretty much everyone looked just like me with their normal running shoes and plain old yoga pants.

I awkwardly fiddled with the settings on my bike until the instructor got there. The first thing he did, though, was ask if anyone was new and needed help with their bike. Don't be shy, here. They know what they are doing.

He showed me how to adjust my bike, pointed out the resistance knob, and taught me first, second, and third position. Sound confusing? It's not.

Once we got started, the instructor was very clear on what to do. Spin class is all about you - if you get too tired climbing that imaginary hill, you can lower your resistance a little to make it through. Only you know how hard you're working. If you can't stand up any longer without falling off your bike - sit down. No one is looking.

You can also focus on strength or cardio with your fancy resistance knob. Seriously, you can do pretty much whatever you want.

When the 45 minutes was up (it flew, by the way), I was worried that I didn't have my resistance high enough on the parts that were supposed to be difficult. Until I stood up. My legs felt like they were made out of jelly - I could barely walk around. Don't panic, though. A bit of light stretching works wonders.

Today I woke up sore in all the right places. My legs are still feeling it, but I'm not having any trouble walking, and my butt feels just fine (though I'll admit, it was hurting towards the end of class). I feel totally normal - just like I had a good workout.

I'd definitely recommend Spin for anyone at any fitness level. You can do it!