Deliciousness in Dallas

Have I mentioned that I loveee having visitors in town?!

I’ve been pretty lucky having almost all of my best friends come visit me in Austin in the past year. I love showing people my new city.

Right now, my parents are in town for an extended Labor Day vacation. They arrived last Friday and will be here until Sunday. They’ve been to Austin a few times now, so there’s no pressure to do “touristy” things. It’s been nice just hanging out!

parents visiting

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Feeling Better + Feeling So Austin

Next Monday will mark my one year anniversary of moving to Austin. I cannot even begin to explain how this year flew, yet crawled by at the same time.

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SO much has changed in the last year. In some ways, I feel like a different person. All in all, this year has been incredible and I’m thankful for everyone & everything who has helped me along the way.

Recently, I’ve been identifying with this city more than ever. I really feel like I’m starting to belong. To give you an idea of what that’s like, here are some recent moments where I’ve felt so Austin.

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Best Week Ever Part 2: Best Friends Reunited

Fresh off of my surprise trip home last week, I was excited to have a visitor in Austin. My best friend from college, Sophie, came down to visit for a long weekend.

We hadn’t seen each other in a little over a year, so it was so great to get together again. In just about 4 days, we did and saw SO much. I think she got a great representation of Austin! 🙂

Some highlights of the weekend:

  • Burgers @ Hopdoddy — we both opted for vegetarian burgers and raved about how good they were. I chose the ‘Janis Joplin’ special which included a hemp patty, avocado, sunflower sprouts and cheddar.

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  • Post-hike happy hour @ La Condesa

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  • BBQ @ Salt Lick — I love bringing out-of-towners here because of the great vibes. Pack a cooler, bring a deck of cards, and wait it out in the sunshine.

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  • Hanging out @ Jester King Brewery

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  • Nitrogenated Cold Brew @ Cuvee Coffee

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  • Walking around Zilker Park, McKinney Falls, South Congress, the Farmer’s Market, and the Capitol.

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  • Lunch on the Whole Foods Roof (… obligatory.)

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  • Staying in and just talking, sitting on the porch, watching movies, and listening to 70s music — it was kind of great to just relax & hang out. It’s been too long!

All in all, I’m just so thankful I was able to see my friends and family all within the span of a week.

Between going home and having Sophie come visit, it was an unbelievably amazing week. I’ll never forget how happy it made me!

Sweets and Beets

Your Turn-

  • Do you ever get visitors from out of town?
  • What city is next on your travel bucket list?

Marvelous Monday ~ Simple Pleasures

Coming off of a busy, sunny, reflective sort of weekend, I realized I’m in a strange period in my life.

Basically just starting out on my own, I make tons of mistakes (but I hope I learn from them). I second guess everything. I ask for advice. When it comes to mostly everything, I’m figuring it out as I go.

In some ways, I’m a different person than I was a year, two years, five years ago.

But one thing I hope I always carry with me is the ability to enjoy life’s simple pleasures. They are what makes life marvelous.

IMG_5622Marvelous is… dog sitting this little one. I was watching Stevie while my friend Casey was out of town. She was a riot! She followed me around everywhere, making herself more than comfortable in my bed, car, etc.

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Texas VegFest and My First Days Post-Vegan

If last weekend was productive and rejuvenating, this past weekend was absolutely the opposite. But hey – we all preach balance, right?! ; )

After finally rolling out of bed at 2 PM (!!!!!!!!) on Saturday, I was alive enough to see the light of day. I made my way downtown to check out an event I had been looking forward to — Texas VegFest.

Texas VegFest

VegFest is a celebration of all things vegetarian and vegan. All of the major veg food trucks, restaurants and grocers from Austin come together with speakers, brands, and advocacy groups from all over.

Curelty Free Cuisine The Vegan Yacht food truck - Austin TX

The Vegan Yacht food truck – Austin TX

It was a fun event — sort of a cross between a flea market and a festival. It seemed fitting for my last day as a “vegan!”

A little veganism never hurt anybody

Speaking of going veg, Easter Sunday was my first day eating meat again. I spent Easter with my cousins in Houston and some Pennsylvania cousins who had driven down. It was nice to spend the day with some familiar faces! 🙂

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Gluten Free Expo + Sweet Deals

This weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the Gluten Free Food Allergy Expo at the Austin Convention Center, representing Oatmega.

Austin Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest 2015

I personally am not gluten free, but it was interesting to chat with people about their gluten free lifestyles. I’ve known people who have eliminated gluten for various reasons. But I’m always so amazed when people tell me they need two sets of everything in the refrigerator, etc. (I thought of you, Emily!)

I enjoy working grocery store demos for Oatmega, but I really love going to events like this because I get to meet other vendors & like-minded consumers in the nutrition world. I could talk about it for hours — which is a good thing, because that’s what I have to do. : )

Oatmega bars are gluten freeAnother perk of working events like this is the freebies. I came home with 3 mini packs of Barney’s Cocoa Coconut Almond Butter (amaaaazing), Rhythm Foods kale chips, Enjoy Life sunflower butter granola bars, and a few other goodies.

This stuff was so good, I think a jar is calling my name.

Speaking of freebies & gluten free goodies, I received some exciting mail after returning home from the Expo on Saturday. Coupons!

Purely Elizabeth coupons

A few weeks ago, I filled out an online survey from Purely Elizabeth, and received these free product coupons in return. I’d say that my 15 minutes was well worth it!

I’ve already spent the coupons on my favorite granola (Cranberry Pecan <3) and the new-to-me Cranberry Pumpkin Seed Ancient Grains oatmeal. Can’t wait to try!

Another sweet deal I enjoyed yesterday was an amaaaazing acai bowl at Blenders and Bowls in Austin. They were doing a promotion for get a large bowl for the price of a small, and I couldn’t pass it up.

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I opted for the “Green Bowl” with acai, spinach, avocado, strawberry, banana, apple juice, cucumber, hemp granola and sliced almonds. So delicious – but just a treat. These babies are pricy!

Though it wasn’t exactly acai weather outside, it was a glorious Monday treat. It’s the little things!

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 Your Turn-

  • What’s your favorite Purely Elizabeth or Barney Butter product?
  • Have you ever had an acai bowl?

Healthy Treats That Do + Don’t Hit the Spot

Committing to a healthy lifestyle means making some sacrifices.

When my inner fat kid — it’s true — wants ice cream, tacos, baked goods & pizza, I depend on my willpower to moderate my intake. I was never the type of girl who could eat whatever she wanted, which I’m still pissed about. ; )

Now, of course you have to treat yourself from time to time … life would be no fun if you didn’t. But for times when you’re not able to go for the real thing — I look for healthy substitutes hit the spot.

I’ve gotten used to my treats coming in “healthier” form, and I can make a mug cake like a boss. But honestly, healthy treats don’t always do the trick.

Today I’m highlighting a few different treats I’ve had recently, and talking about how well they do or don’t curb my cravings.

Mug Cakes – 4/5 stars

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Yeeeeesssss, I love mug cakes. The one I made on Friday was on a whole ‘nother LEVEL. I had a busy/crazy week at work, and all I wanted was a giant chocolate/peanut butter cupcake from Central Market. But I held out, and it was so worth it.

This was a variation of @pbeechie’s 1-Minute Mug Cake, subbing 1 Tbsp cocoa powder for 1 Tbsp whole wheat flour. I topped it with a cocoa powder/Greek yogurt/almond milk frosting, natural peanut butter drizzle, dark chocolate chips, sliced almonds and unsweetened coconut. I want this all day, every day.


Arctic Zero – 2/5 stars

After every spoonful of Arctic Zero I put into my mouth, I think to myself, “Wow, you’re still not ice cream.” I rarely buy it because it doesn’t truly satisfy what I was craving. I’d rather have a little real ice cream than a lot of fake ice cream. That’s just me.

However, I’m a fan of the new packagaing and am curious to try their new flavors.


Whole Wheat/Vegan Blueberry Muffin – 4/5 stars

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I discovered a new place by me. It’s called Mr. Natural, and they sell the previous day’s vegan muffins/cookies/cupcakes for like 4 for $2. I’m screwed.

I stopped in on Saturday and grabbed a whole wheat vegan blueberry muffin. It was made with natural ingredients and no refined sugar, which I love. It didn’t taste as indulgent as a “real” muffin, but it hit the spot. I’ll definitely be back!


Homemade Smoothie Bowls – 3/5 stars

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I know I’m weird, but I’m just not a big smoothie girl. On Sunday before the Super Bowl, I tried making a mock acai bowl with frozen banana, spinach, almond milk, cocoa powder and blueberries. It tasted pretty meh, but was still a good pre-game snack.

Granted, my Magic Bullet isn’t the most sophisticated blender in the world, but I rarely make a smoothie I really really love. I need to get on my friend Georgie‘s level.


The Perfect Cookie – 4/5 stars

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A few weeks ago, I talked about Oatmega protein bars. They are also the maker of The Perfect Cookie, a gluten-free high protein (10g), lower sugar (9g) cookie, rich with Omega-3s from chia seeds. While it’s not exaaactly like a real cookie, The Perfect Cookie is my go-to when I want to be bad, but know I need to be good. : )


Kombucha BBQ Chicken from MyFitFoods – 1/5 stars

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I’ve mentioned my love for MyFitFoods before, and I was excited to stop in again on Saturday. Keeping with my theme of trying something I never would make for myself, I decided to pick up the Kombucha BBQ chicken. It wasn’t bad, but wasn’t great. I’ve been too spoiled with real Texas BBQ.


While healthy treats like this sometimes get the job done, they can’t really replace the real thing for me. But by making the decision to be healthy 85% of the time, I honestly enjoy the 15% of the time when I do treat myself.

I think that making healthy swaps can be a tough habit for people to get into. I’m lucky that I enjoy experimenting with healthier versions of things. It keeps it interesting! : )

Your Turn-

  • Which healthy treats curb your cravings? Which ones don’t?
  • Thoughts on Arctic Zero?

Drinking Socially + Staying in Shape

In college, I was never a big drinker. Okay, fall semester of freshman year I got it out of my system – sorry, Mom.

Halloween of freshman year. I was a "lumberjack"

Halloween of freshman year. I was a “lumberjack..” good one.

I’d have a few drinks here and there, but more often than not, I’d be willing to be the designated driver. And even more often than that, I’d be content to stay in with my girlfriends and watch movies. What? Ithaca’s cold!

After college, I was the same way – a marg or glass of wine occasionally. To be honest, I was stingy with my “calories.” Drinking’s not super important to me, so I’d rather indulge on a dessert. Plus, drinking was a logistical challenge – how was I going to get home?

my 21st birthday.. so many free drinks! :')

my 21st birthday.. so many free drinks! :’)

Since moving to Austin, drinking socially has become more frequent in my life. A Happy Hour with coworkers, drinks with new friends, and going (alllll) out on the weekends are all top ways to get to know people.

At school & home, I had a core friend group that wouldn’t mind laying low on the weekends. But here, I’m way more apt to be a “yes girl.” Going out on Friday? I’m there! Roommate bonding over giant margaritas? Obviously.

Now, I don’t want to make excuses. I know that I don’t even have to order a drink when I go out. But honestly? I spent a long time holding myself back.

Here in Austin, there are TONS of bars, and therefore, tons of opportunities to be social. I don’t condone drinking and I’m certainly not a fan of how I feel on a morning after too many drinks. But I moved down here to step out of my comfort zone, right? Is it weird that I kind of don’t regret that?

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So I guess this all circles back to the theme of balance. When I do decide to drink, I like to choose vodka & club soda — a “light” mixed drink, if you will. Plus I actually like the taste.

But I’m still figuring it all out …. can you be a social drinker without derailing your healthy lifestyle? If you drink every weekend, will you inevitably pack on the pounds? I’m not really sure, and I’m kind of afraid to find out.

I’d Love to Hear Your Thoughts-

  • Are/were you a social drinker in college? What about now?
  • Do you think you can be a social drinker and still stay in shape? (Tips are appreciated!)

WIAW – Post-Christmas Catch Up

Happy New Year! I can’t believe another year has come and passed. I’m back in Texas and getting excited to ring in 2015 tonight, then get back in the zone and make 2015 a great year! What are your plans for tonight? : )

It’s been foreverever since I’ve done a WIAW post, and I have some catching up to do, so this will be perfect. I’m stretching all the way back to Christmas Day – seems like forever ago!

WHAT-I-ATE-WEDNESDAY-NEW-BUTTON-PEAS-AND-CRAYONSI can honestly say this was the first year I enjoyed all types of holiday food, in moderation, guilt-free. I tried balancing out richer meals with healthier breakfasts and workouts… I did the best I could!

I’m so ready to get back in a routine for 2015, though. Preaching to the choir, right? ; )

It’s catch-up time!

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What Christmas Means to Me

Hey, dusty old blog… it’s been almost two weeks since I’ve seen ya. Was it because I got lazy? Busy? Just didn’t have anything to say?

Honestly, it was probably a combination of the three. As I like to say … life happens. Nothing bad, just life. Late nights & early mornings at work, prepping for the holidays, exploring new parts of town, and a 10-day visit from an old friend. All great things that I feel very lucky for.

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So, no, I haven’t had much to talk about. I have no recipes to share because I’ve been eating a whole lot of candy, tacos and cheese. I’ve participated in more “holiday cheer” than my kidneys would like to acknowledge. I’ve also done damage control with a whole lot of boring salads, fish and oatmeal – nothing very inventive to share.

I’ll be honest – I’m letting myself enjoy the holiday season as I said I would, and it’s amazing! I bet I’ll gain 5 lbs. I bet I’ll lose it by mid-February. I seriously don’t care.

So instead of staying quiet through my holly jolly holiday prep, I was inspired to share what the holiday season means to me.

What Christmas Means to Me

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