Blueberry Muffin Smoothie

Do you ever have those mornings when all you want is something to satisfy your sweet tooth? You consider running to the donut shop or the local coffee joint for that sugary pastry or drink, but you tell yourself you shouldn’t. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, after all, and it should be a healthy one, right? While I am a fan of the occasional morning confection, I’m all for finding healthy ways to satisfy the sweet cravings. And I have found a smoothie that does just that: my blueberry muffin smoothie.

Full of fruits, protein, healthy fats, and with the potential to add vegetables, this recipe is not only nutrient dense, but incredibly delicious, too! It only takes about five minutes to throw together and it’s a great on-the-go breakfast, something I am incredibly fond of as I don’t always have time to sit down and eat. Also, coming into the hot summer months here in Colorado, I often don’t feel like cooking, so a smoothie is a great way to beat the heat, but still get in a satisfying breakfast.

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So what does it take to make this smoothie taste like a blueberry muffin? Here’s the recipe:

  • 3/4 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 frozen banana (preferably very ripe)
  • 2 tbsp Wild Friends sugar cookie peanut butter (it’s only sold here in the winter, but you can find it here when not in season)
  • 1/4-1/3 scoop of MRM Veggie Protein- Vanilla (find it here)
  • 1/2 tsp honey (I use local for the allergy benefits)
  • 1 handful baby spinach (or whatever leafy green you like!)
  • 3/4 cup Califia Farms unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or milk of choice)

Throw it all in the blender, and blend! I highly recommend putting it in the blender in the order I have listed for easier blending, but each blender is different, so do what works for you!IMG_1220

This recipe is for a single serving. I personally use my Nutri Ninja Blender with Auto-IQ boost (find it here). The blender came with the single-serving size, the full blender, and the Nutri Bowl option. It’s literally the best blender I’ve ever owned, perfect for those of us who can’t quite justify spending the money for the coveted Vitamix blenders. Plus, seeing as I usually make smoothies just for myself, it’s easy to just make single-servings. However, you can adjust this recipe to feed as may people as you’d like.

One of my favorite things about this recipe, beyond the fact that it legitimately tastes like a blueberry muffin, is the fact that it’s relatively versatile. You can use any honey, any milk-base, any vanilla protein powder, and whatever vegetables you’d like, as long as you stick with the blueberry, banana, and sugar cookie peanut butter base. I’ve personally tried it with dairy milk and coconut milk as well, and used kale instead of spinach, and it all tasted very similar. My one main suggestion would be to stick with the Wild Friends sugar cookie peanut butter, as the flavor is incredible and the ingredients are super clean. img_1223.jpg

I hope you all enjoy this healthy version of a breakfast favorite! I would love to hear if you try it and what you think, as well as any modifications you have made!

 

Going Home

I’ve always been a bit of a homebody. When I was young, I had a hard time with sleepovers because all I wanted was to go home and sleep in my own bed. As I got older, those feelings didn’t change much, but I learned how to handle it better (most of the time). When high school rolled around, however, all I wanted to do was get out of my house, get out of town, and get away. I was a typical teenager; all I wanted a new town, new people, and a fresh start. So when I moved to Colorado for college, that’s what I got. Little did I know at the time, moving away would eventually be the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

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Move-in Weekend, Freshman year (2012)

At almost exactly 1200 miles and 18 hours away from Santa Maria, California, Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, was the perfect change of scenery for me. It had everything an incoming college freshman could want: a great downtown area, a diverse student population, and all the outdoor adventures a girl could want. To say I was excited would be an understatement. On top of that, I’d been visiting Fort Collins my whole life on family vacations to see my extended family. So it was a great place to make a new start, but still have a bit of a safety net.

About three months into my first semester at CSU, I began to feel homesick. Things I’d hated about the Central Coast of California, I suddenly craved; the fog, the lack of seasons, the familiarity of it all. I missed it more than I ever thought possible. Luckily, soon after this feeling started, I was able to go home for the holidays and get my fix. This pattern continued throughout my time as an undergraduate- I’d be in school for a few months, miss the heck out of California, go home for a break, and be ready to return to Colorado.

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Home for the holidays with Mom, Remmi, and my first dog Alli

During my last semester of my senior year, I was ready to leave Fort Collins for good. I’d had a great four years, but I was ready for something different, even if different meant moving home to figure out my life. About three weeks before I graduated, however, I received an email about a new master’s program the university had just started. A few faculty members proceeded to encourage me to apply, and while I did, I wasn’t particularly sold on the idea of graduate school. Even though I had been accepted to the program and offered full tuition coverage, I wasn’t sure I actually wanted to continue my education. I was ready to move home, to be back in California, and to start my life. I was tired of Fort Collins and burnt out on school. I was ready to move on. But opportunities like the one I had been offered don’t come around very often, so I chose to return to CSU to begin the second leg of my journey there.

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Post-graduation bareback ride in the Poudre Canyon

At first, I was extremely happy to go back. It was like I was getting a new start but in the same place with my old friends. It seemed ideal. Unfortunately, however, the excitement soon wore off and I found myself falling into my old cycle again, but much quicker this time. Within a couple months, I was missing home. Every little thing that reminded me of the Central Coast nearly brought tears to my eyes. When I finally got the chance to visit home at Christmas, it wasn’t quite the fix I was jonesing for. I left the coast still wanting more and went back to Fort Collins to finish my second semester of grad school.

Emotionally, it was probably the roughest semester of my life and I quickly found myself dreaming of home. During that semester, however, I found out that home was changing. My mom and step-dad had decided to buy a house in a new town and fix it up. They told the family that they planned on moving by the end of the year. That hit me hard. While I didn’t think I’d necessarily miss Santa Maria, that house had been my home for fifteen years. I went through so much in that house and I had a hard time thinking that it wouldn’t be home anymore.

A couple weeks ago, I was able to take a trip home. In the eight days I was in California, I took full advantage of what it had to offer. I visited family in the Sonoma Valley (one of my absolute favorite places) before heading down to the Central Coast. I took advantage of the delicious Mexican food, the beaches, and being close to family. In addition to that, I took the time to say goodbye to the town and the house that have been home for the last fifteen years. I walked around my neighborhood, thinking about how much the houses had changed over the years. I walked past my old elementary school, internally reminiscing about my childhood years spent there. I spent time wandering around my house, moving from room to room, remembering all the milestones met on those hardwood floors. I lounged in the backyard, appreciating the blooming rosebushes and thinking about my very first dog buried beneath them. I did all of these things as a way of saying goodbye to my long-time home. It was the best way to get closer with the fact that I may never get to truly go home again.

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Home for the last 15 years

Throughout the last few years, and particularly in the last few weeks, I have been learning to appreciate the past for what it was and to look forward to the future as it comes. Most importantly, however, I’ve been learning that the best way to do both of those things is to live in the moment and be mindful of the experiences you’re having every single day. They say you can’t go home again, and while I might be losing the house I’ve called home for the last fifteen years, I will never lose my home. I truly believe that we make new homes as we go throughout life and each one of those new homes is made up if pieces of your old homes. And in that way, each of us can always go home again.

Why I Don’t Run

Ok, nothing against all the runners out there, but it just isn’t my thing. I don’t enjoy it. And that’s it, that’s the reason I don’t run.

gympicBut in all honesty, I’ve tried running many, many times. I was a student athlete in high school, so sprints, short runs, and running stairs were a regular occurrence for me. I know it’s a wonderful cardio and full-body workout, but running just isn’t for me. In addition to not enjoying running, it physically hurts me. I don’t just mean my knees or my tired leg muscles, but it tends to cause flare ups of my Interstitial Cystitis. And let’s face it, no one wants pelvic pain and the constant urge to pee when they’re working out. Or ever, really ever, really.

 

Have you ever stopped and thought about why you work out? Or about if you enjoy your workouts? Do you often find yourself dreading exercise? Have you ever thought about why you’re dreading your workouts? We often feel as though we HAVE to work out. We HAVE to run to get skinny or lose weight. It’s just what people do, right? Well, who says you have to?

First, being “skinny” doesn’t have to be your goal. While burning fat can be a great side PoudreHikeeffect of healthy diet and exercise, it isn’t my main focus. What I do focus on is being healthy, happy, confident, and balanced. The rest will come. I make a point to workout in some way, shape, or form at least four times a week, but I never run. If I want a good, quick cardio workout, I tend to stick to the elliptical or the bike. While it may seem like they are “easier” workouts but for me, they are wonderful ways to get my heart rate up and sweat, with less impact on my joints and sensitive bladder. Another great full-body workout that effectively increases your heart rate is the rowing machine. Honestly, rowing is one of my favorite workouts because you get cardio and strength training benefits all in one smooth motion. If I have more time, and it’s a nice day, hiking is probably my favorite form of exercise. Not only do you get a killer leg and cardio workout (especially if you’re climbing), but there is no better therapy than enjoying beautiful scenery with your dog (or friends, or on your own).

What I’m trying to say with all of this is to find a workout that works for you. It’s not all about burning calories and fat. It’s about listening to your body and appreciating what it can do. If running makes you feel miserable and you dread it every time, maybe find another cardio workout. If it brings you happiness and your body loves it, by all means, run your heart out. It’s okay for you to pick the workouts you WANT to do, not just what other people make you believe you should do. Always remember, workouts are a celebration of what our bodies are capable of, not a punishment for what we eat or didn’t do.

Little by Little: My Wellness Journey So Far

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High School Volleyball, Fall 2010

My fitness journey has been, and honestly still is, a crazy rollercoaster ride. As an athlete in high school, going to the gym wasn’t a necessity.I was so active and my metabolism was much faster (oh, how I miss my teenage metabolism) that I didn’t have to worry about getting in extra exercise or eating right. I wasn’t by any means a stick, but I was fit.

During my first two years of undergrad, I somehow managed to avoid the “freshman 15”.I had minor weight fluctuations but I was relatively active, and tried to eat okay, so it was never really a big deal. Junior year, after turning 21, I started gaining weight. It’s common knowledge that alcohol doesn’t exactly shrink the waistline, but being newly 21, I didn’t care.I just wanted to have fun! But I got to a point where I wasn’t nearly as active as I had been and I certainly wasn’t eating in a way that positively influenced my health or my body image.

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Hiking with Mom, Fall 2015

Spring semester of senior year, my friends and I planned a trip to Cancun for spring break. It was the perfect motivation to get back to the gym and start eating right. And those habits stuck with me well after the trip and throughout the summer after graduation. I was eating well, exercising, and felt amazing.

Fast forward to graduate school. For the first couple weeks, I was able to keep my health and wellness as a priority. However, as classes and research became more involved, my priorities changed. I began eating more junk and spending more time at my desk. My diet consisted of take out or mac-n-cheese, anything that was quick, easy, and tasty. The gym fell out of my daily rotation and I felt I had no time to be active. After a while, my body started showing these changes and I felt terrible. At the end of my first semester of graduate school, I decided I didn’t like who I was becoming and how it was making me feel. I never had any energy or motivation, I was depressed and struggling with anxiety. I was a mess and I needed cleaning up.

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Hiking with Brittany, December 2016

So I made the decision to start reincorporating healthy habits back into my life. When I went home for winter break, I worked with my mother on preparing healthy meals and being more active. I started going to the gym and hiking with friends. I just made changes that made me happy.

I’m now about a month into my second semester of graduate school and I’ve been able to stick with these habits. I’ve been working out consistently, eating (mostly) clean meals, and, most importantly, listening to what my body needs.

My main motivation is simple: I want to be the best version of myself that I can be. These new habits are not only helping me physically, but mentally as well. I eat what my body craves, and it’s craving real food. I workout not because it’s a chore, but because it makes me happy (yay endorphins!) and I want to. I am doing this for my overall wellness. I’m doing this for me.

So my challenge to you is quite simple: if you are dissatisfied with something in your life, take the steps to change it! It might not be easy. In fact, it’s probably incredibly difficult. But it’s the small steps that will lead you to where you want to be.

Bare-Faced

It has been way too long since I have posted anything on The Lazy and Beautiful. Life gets in the way and I felt like I lost my voice for a while. Between graduating with my Bachelors degrees to, rather unexpectedly, starting graduate school, I’ve been a little lost lately. I lost track of my personal goals in pursuit of my career goals. And while your career is important, loving yourself is essential, and I’m finally back on the right path.

With the stress of graduate school always looming over my head, I stopped caring about what I was eating, what I looked like, and, most importantly, how I was feeling. When classes ended in December, and my first of three graduate-school-174319287semesters was over, I was able to step away from the madness that is graduate school and
figure out what needed to change. First and foremost, I needed to feel like my best self again. With that as my ultimate goal, the changes have been a lot easier. I’ve been focusing on eating healthy, real food (although sometimes a girl just needs some Pad Thai), exercising and riding my horse regularly, and practicing self-care. And for a while, I thought self-care meant always looking your best, looking like you feel good, and looking happy. But that’s not what it’s about. Those are just side effects of actually feeling good. In the process of finding that good feeling, I discovered face masks and candles, body scrubs and chocolates, soft sheets and sweet dreams. Most importantly, I discovered what makes me happy. barefaceno

Even with this improved mental state, I still had some insecurities hiding in the shadows. Along with my academic and career problems were my physical insecurities. I’ve gained wait and stopped taking care of my skin. I was wearing makeup every day as I normally did, but not feeling beautiful as a result. And what is the point of makeup if to not feel beautiful? (Although I pray you all feel beautiful just the way you are.)

This week, however, I got very sick. A sinus infection knocked me on my butt on Sunday and now, on Friday, I am just starting to recover. During this illness, I have been completely exhausted, and didn’t care much about my appearance. And it turned out to be the best thing for me. It has now been six days since I have worn makeup, and I swear my skin has never looked better. I believe it is a combination between a great skin care regimen, eating better, and giving my face a break from being covered by goop and powder all day, every day.bareface

Had I not been sick, I don’t think I would have ever discovered this. I have heavily relied on makeup to make me “pretty” for years. At first, even though I was too sick to really care, I was self-conscious about what my skin looked like, how I looked with blonde eyelashes, and if my eyebrows looked to thin. I was nervous about what people thought. But I went without makeup just the same. By the fourth day, I felt downright great without any cosmetics, just clean, natural skin. Now, I’ve fully embraced my bare face, realizing I’m not only beautiful without makeup, but I am me.

Now, I’m not saying I will never wear makeup again. I love it too much. However, I now realize it is not a necessity. I am no more or less of a person with a full face. I am me regardless of what’s on my face, and that is more than enough.

The Holy Grail of Facial Care

Okay guys. I found it. A perfect facial cleanser.

I have struggled with combination skin and acne since I was about twelve, and it seemed like absolutely nothing helped. I tried ProActive, Neutrogena, and a variety of off-the-wall products. While they all had their benefits, none of them were perfect. If one helped with my acne, it dried out my skin. If my skin remained soft and supple, I had to deal with redness and bumps. Sometimes, the products did nothing, which was the most frustrating thing of all.

Anyway, I was getting ready to go to Mexico for Spring Break a few weeks ago and I was looking for a face wash I could take in my carry-on, that wouldn’t spill. As I walked up and down the face wash aisle, trying to make this crucial decision, something different caught my eye. It was the Bioré Pore Penetrating Charcoal Bar. I had never thought to use a bar as a facial cleanser before, but after hearing about the benefits of charcoal for your skin (as well as a teeth whitener), I figured it was worth a shot.

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The first time I tried it, my skin was dull, sweaty, and dirty from four hours of plane rides, a night in the airport, and an afternoon of margaritas on the beach. However, after lathering the bar up in warm water and scrubbing my face with it, my skin felt completely renewed. The bar has exfoliating properties, with natural peppermint oils that give your skin an incredible cooling sensation, which felt amazing on my tired, slightly sunburnt skin.

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After rinsing it off, my face felt softer and smoother than ever before. While it was initially a little shinier than I would prefer, it left my skin with a nice subtle glow the rest of the day.

It’s true that this is the best facial cleansing product I’ve ever used, but I don’t recommend exfoliating your face every single day. I would suggest alternating use of the bar with a liquid or cream cleanser. In addition, I make sure to moisturize my face with oil-free moisturizer after each exfoliation.

Give the Bioré Pore Penetrating Charcoal Bar a try, and let me know what you think!

You can buy it at your local grocery store or here at Ulta.com

 

So You Had A Bad Day…

Or you woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Or you’re just particularly cranky. Well, I have a few tips to help you out. I’m by no means “Little Miss Sunshine”, but I’ve had my share of challenging days, too many of which I made no effort to improve. Lately, however, that has changed. Whether I’m not feeling well, school and work are absolutely insane, or any number of other things bare making my day difficult, I now know, there is always a way to fix, at least, your mood.

  • IMG_2021-1Eat good food. Whether it’s good for you, fulfills a craving, tastes amazing, or any combination of the three, eat something that will make you happy and makes you feel good. I always like to start my days with some form of a healthy breakfast. My favorite, due to its the limited amount of required effort and limitless possibilities, is overnight oats. To the right is my new favorite. Here’s the recipe:
    Oats: 1/2cup Rolled Oats, 2 Tbsp. Chia Seeds, 1/2-3/4 cup Almond/Coconut Milk, dash of vanilla. Toppings: handful of blueberries, 1 sliced banana, handful of gluten-free granola. Directions: combine all “oats” ingredients in a mason jar and mix. Put in refrigerator overnight. Top with blueberries, banana, and granola when served.
  • IMG_2102Look good, feel good. Even if looking good to you is a messy bun, leggings, and your favorite sweater, wear something you feel your absolute best in. It’s amazing what your favorite outfit will do for your morale. In addition, if you’re anything like me, having fun with makeup helps too. If you’re happier without makeup, than go bare-faced! However, if you’re not, rock that smokey eye or winged eyeliner, that bold lipstick or those contoured cheeks. Have a little fun with your appearance! It could make all the difference.

 

 

  • IMG_2096Do something for yourself. Even if it’s just an hour of Netflix, a short hike, a little retail therapy, or some time at your favorite gym (workouts are my new go-to), do something that allows you to forget the negativity for a bit. Have a little you-time to clear your mind and just be happy. Be careful not to use this time to dwell on your frustrations, as can sometimes happen. Instead, try not to think of anything aside from what you are doing in that time. It’s a great way to reset and start over, even if it’s late in the day.

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  • Crank the tunes. I know how lame that sounds, but honestly, the power of a good song is incredible. If you’re feeling down on yourself, throw on some pop or hip-hop music that empowers you. Feeling angry? Hard rock or even metal can sometimes do the trick. Whatever makes you feel good, listen to that.

Even though it’s just four little things, throwing them into the mix on a less-than-ideal day can have a major impact. A little positive action and thinking can improve your whole day. While sometimes, the challenges of the day seem insurmountable, there is still good in every day, even if you have to make it yourself. Always remember, happy people are the prettiest, inside and out.

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And if all else fails, dogs are pros at brightening days!