How Has My Blog Changed?

I’ve been forced to do a lot of reflecting lately on who I am, what my passions are, and what I value. Naturally, my thoughts kept drifting back to this little blog of mine. Things have changed since the start of my blog almost 4 years ago (!!!). My views on health and nutrition and fitness have changed. I also think my internal audience has changed. By that, I mean I feel like I’m writing less to the general population, spreading health knowledge (that sounds vague, I know) and more like I’m writing to people like me: those who are trying to be healthy but struggle to do so.


Who am I trying to reach with these posts? I think ideally both populations. I understand that there are so many blogs these days with similar knowledge (so many more than when I started) which is why I try to give specifics examples and infuse some personality by talking about these things through my own personal life and experiences.

I think that during my senior year of college, by blog was standing on rickety legs. Now, however, things are a little bit different. First of all, I of course have more time (9-5s rock). But in addition, I think I can say something that I haven’t been truly able to say throughout the lifetime of my blog: I’m healthy. Physically. Mentally. (Again I owe you guys a GP update. I’m not 100% but close enough for the purposes of this post.)


This blog covered everything under the sun that I tried to do to get healthy. Trials. Errors. Failures. Successes. More failures. Failures are part of life, aren’t they? My health and life posts have spanned from desperate and crazy to calm, collected, and reflective. What’s so interesting about this blog is it really shows displays my transformation and growth into an adult. I started this blog when I was 18. I was a kid. (I didn’t think I was, but I was.) While I’m not going to pretend to be old, wise, and all-knowing at 22, I type up this post from my new life in a new city with a job.


So where am I going with this? I’m trying to say that I want this blog to truly be a platform and resource to those trying to find health. Originally, I wanted to go into a field where I would help fight the obesity epidemic and improve the health of the general public. Now, teaching cycling and this blog are my window into that world. I think when I started considering myself truly healthy and stopped trying so hard to find health, I stopped posting tips and tricks because it became something that didn’t quite take so much thought or effort.

Please don’t take this as me bragging about being the healthiest person ever and having the most knowledge ever. I simply mean it as a way to say I stopped struggling, and I would love to share my trials and errors with others. I want to make health a little bit easier for other people.


*I also feel the need to say I don’t have nutritional qualifications other than a Bachelor’s in Biology and numerous college nutrition and physiology classes. I am a certified fitness professional. I want this blog to be a place where you can take what you need of the information, and feel free to leave the rest. I also want to urge those seeking more intense nutritional or fitness help to consult professionals. My blog is a resource for some tips and tricks, not a guide to complete health! I also urge you not to be sucked in to buying nutritional or fitness plans from your favorite social media personality who has no qualifications to be coaching. Given my qualifications (or lack thereof), I would never sell coaching plans to people. It may be controversial for me to say this, but I strongly disagree with those who do. For nutritional help, look to a real RD. For fitness help, look for a certified personal trainer. Take everyone else with a grain of salt.*

Saint Louis Things: Pancakes+Grant’s Farm

So. Parents visiting. Weekend. Part 1 here.

I had a lazy morning before meeting up with my parents for brunch. I really wanted to go to the Original Pancake House, so we braved the hour+ wait. We took the opportunity to run over to my favorite coffeeshop, Blueprint. I had only been there once before, at the very beginning of my search for the best coffee in St. Louis. This reaffirmed that belief.


Since it was all in the same area, we got to drive by the spin studio as well.

Finally, we were seated with amazing pancakes in front of us.

My parents shared the incredible apple pancake. I ate some of the apples off the top which were crazy good. This thing was insane.


But I was more than thrilled with my GF pumpkin pancakes (plus an egg). These were incredible. They were light and fluffy, and tasted like perfectly spiced pumpkin bread. YUM. I’m already trying to figure out how to go back at an off time to get these again.


We all left stuffed, but it was so, so worth it.

Next on the agenda? Grant’s Farm! Grant’s Farm is home to the Budweiser Clydesdales, so of course we had to visit them. It’s hard to appreciate how big they are.


One sign claimed they were 2000-3000 pounds!

img_9658 img_9661 img_9665 img_0004

Then, we took a tram into the main part of Grant’s Farm. They gave us a really great an informative tour of the estate as part of the ride. What’s incredible is that entrance to Grant’s Farm is totally free!

img_9668 img_9669 img_9673

The highlight of my entire weekend was bottle feeding baby goats.

img_9676 img_9677 img_9678 img_9683


img_9690 img_9699


img_9714 img_9727

Other highlight of Grant’s Farm? I got to ride a camel. How cool is that??

img_9748 img_9744

After those shenanigans, we headed into the village area.


We looked at some of the horses. Check out these amazing blue eyes!


We also took advantage of the free beer samples (while we only got one each, you could get up to 2 each FREE. What??). My dad and I tried Budweiser’s signature brew, since we were at Anheuser-Busch central. Budweiser isn’t my favorite but it was nice on a hot day!


Then, we finished up by looking at some of the other animals.

img_9764 img_9769

After Grant’s Farm I had to do some necessary and difficult career shopping. FINALLY we made it to dinner around 7. We struck out AGAIN. The place I wanted to go isn’t open for dinner on Sundays apparently so we went to Grapeseed instead. It ended up being good! We got an appetizer of turkey leg nachos which were delicious. The turkey was smokey and slightly sweet, and the nachos were made with fresh sweet potato chips. Very unique!


I had a salad for my main course which was quite flavorful.


Finally, we capped off the trip with a necessary trip to Ted Drewes frozen custard. We all got the plain custard with hot fudge, but since we’re weirdos we got it on the side. Otherwise, the custard melts so fast! I had that issue the last time I went.


What a great weekend! Thanks for visiting me!

Saint Louis Things: Brewery Tour

Hi friends! I’m coming at you with a weekend recap a little bit late, but here we are! Last weekend was lots of fun. My parents came to Saint Louis to visit, so I had a blast showing them around and hitting all the must-dos.

Friday evening we had plans to go to dinner at the sister restaurant to my spin studio, but unfortunately their flight was delayed 4 hours and they got in pretty late. Instead, we ended up doing dessert and or drinks. We went to Strange Donuts, which I’ve been meaning to try. It turns out they only have GF in the morning, but my parents got some delicious donuts! We ended up heading across the street (in Maplewood) for a drink. My dad and I both got the Schlafly Pumpkin Ale, and it was probably my favorite pumpkin ale. (Schlafly is the big local Saint Louis brewery.)

We ended up also ordering some guacamole.


Saturday morning, I had to teach my spin class. This worked out well because my parents were on a different time zone, so they could sleep in a little! Afterwards, we met up to go to the zoo.


^I feel like this is a good picture of Yoyo.

I took them to all the animals I observe, and gave them the grand tour!

img_0065 img_0040 img_9618 img_9623 img_9630 img_9634 img_9636

We also stopped for Dole Whips, which were quite necessary as lunchtime was rapidly approaching. I also rode the train that goes around the zoo for the first time!


Finally, around 2:30, we headed to lunch. In the continuing trend for the weekend, we struck out on lunch. I wanted to go to a GF cafe downtown, but it had gone out of business literally 5 days earlier. We instead headed across the street to a Mediterranean place, where I went with salad and a side of hummus.


Then, we explored downtown a little bit. We drove by the Arch, and stopped by Busch stadium and Ballpark Village.


Then, we went on a brewery tour. This is my birthday present to my dad. I signed us up for a tour that stopped at 4 different local craft breweries: Heavy Riff, Urban Chestnut, Alpha, and 4 Hands. It was a fun atmosphere, and we got to know the people on our bus a little. While some of the breweries gave us free samples, I liked how almost all offered sample sizes you could buy of any of their beers. My parents and I shared the samples, so we got to try quite a few different things.

Heavy Riff:


Highlight: Nine Tonight (Belgium style). They are also famous for their vanilla coffee, which I tried and thought was good.

Urban Chestnut:

img_9644 img_9645

Highlight: they gave us samples while talking about the history, the brewing, and details on the beers we were tasting.

Their most famous is the Zwickel. I actually had this at the concert I went to.

My parents and I also shared some kind of Oktoberfest beer.




Highlight: Belgian Blonde. Also—I loved that you could get a flight with whatever you wanted. They specialized in sour beers, which my parents wanted to try. I’ve tried one before and knew it wasn’t my thing, but I confirmed that. Other highlight: they had a popup BBQ and towards the end of our time there, they started passing out free BBQ popcorn. Delicious.

4 Hands:


Highlight: Chocolate Milk Stout. Enough said. I like darker beers with deep flavors, and this wasn’t quite as deep as my favorites but still amazing. Again, chocolate milk stout? Speaks for itself. We also got some BBQ nachos here to tide us over for a later dinner.

Overall, my experience with Brewery Tours of St. Louis was fantastic. We got to try a ton of different craft beers. We spent about 30-45 minutes at each place, and the tour lasted a little over 3 hours. The bus driver was excellent as well.

Finally, it was dinner time! We went to Pi Pizza because I know they have GF crust.

We started with fire roasted veggies.


For our main meal, my mom and I split half BBQ chicken and half cheese+veggie.


After a long day, it was bedtime!

Because this post got crazy long, Part 2 is coming at you tomorrow!




Day in the Life: Fall 2016

It’s that time again! Day in the life!

5:45am: FREAKING YOYO. We were both feeling sad the night before (post-baseball blues. As heartbreaking as it was, I honestly think the Cubs were the better team and deserved to win, that’s just not how you want to go down…) so I let him sleep with me. Around 5:45 he got sweet and especially restless and wouldn’t stop walking across my face and chest.

6:15: Alarm goes off.


6:45: Leave for 3 mile run. It’s dark in the mornings! Also chilly! Upper 40s.

img_9575 img_9576

The run actually felt better than expected! I basically always do the same 3 mile route. I live in a good neighborhood but there isn’t a ton of space to go in different directions. I also am pretty much limited to 3 miles right now. I spent so much time on my feet and walking at work that my stress fracture spot sometimes gets a little sore if I pass 3. And I’m ok with that for now. Decent speed though! Good negative splits—I’ll take it!

img_9578 img_9579

7:20ish: Make and eat breakfast. I’m in the mood for a flapjacked muffin, so I eat a S’mores one with mango.

img_9580 img_9581

The key to these is to slightly undercook them so they stay gooey and don’t get tough!

7:45: Pack lunch for the day.


7:50am: Shower and get ready; pack up my bag.

8:25: Run out the door and drive to work.

8:45: Arrive at the zoo!


I was at a colder part of the zoo this morning, and was determined not to be cold. I packed layers on layers. Fleece lined long sleeves, sweatshirt, fleece north face, gloves.

9:00: My day officially begins! I walk to my first observation, and see one of the cheetahs! They weren’t out much earlier this fall so it still feels like a treat to see them!


Then it’s time for my first observation.


Somali Wild Asses.

10:30: Our next observation is cancelled due to construction so we head back by way of the warm bird house.


And then it’s back to the lab to work.

12:00: Lunchtime! I haven’t managed to fully warm up so I’m grateful for my soup! I made it Tuesday night, another wing it recipe, but the same as before.

Chicken, ginger, garlic, mushrooms, soy sauce, asparagus. Essentially. I added a little coriander too for some warmth, because why not?


I also had a few sweet potato tortilla chips and some Vans Say Cheese GF crackers.

1:00: Lunch is over, back to work!

2:00: Next observation starts.




4:00: Snack!


5:00: Off for the day! After some debating, I decided to go to Crossfit. Like I said before, I’ve been suffering a little bit with post-baseball blues and wanted something fun to do after work. I ripped my finger doing toes to bar and snatches the previous day. (I also hit 110# for 1 RM thrusters…I was happy with that!)


This is the time of year when I start to look like a weather confused CA girl. Shorts. 2 jackets. It’s cool.

5:15: Arrive at Crossfit, and sit in my car for a few minutes before heading in.

5:30-6:30: Crossfit!

For strength, we did 1 rep max weighted ring dips. Which for me was find the lightest band, because ring dips are not my strong point.


Anytime I see pull ups in a WOD, I try to make it. It’s one of my newer skills, so I have fun with them! This workout was 50 pull ups, 75 push jerks, and 100 front squats. You work every other minute and rest every other minute. I was a little worried about my torn finger, but as I learned in the middle of my workout the previous day, I found the best possible place to tear a finger. I made it through! I used 55#.


6:45: Make dinner! You know I have to snack while I cook.


7:00: Dinner on the table. Nothing crazy here. Avocado toast, scrambled eggs (1 whole+1 white+milk) with Irish cheddar, and spinach with nutritional yeast, coriander, and garlic.


I ate while watching Netflix. I’m watching the United States of Tara, which is about a woman with DID. The way the show is done reminds me a little bit of OITNB.

Dessert: a few GF cookies. These new ginger cookies from Trader Joe’s +WOW chocolate chip.


7:30: Start to watch the Dodger-Nationals game. I stream it while cleaning up my room a little bit. It’s SO good to watch baseball again, and while I do care about the outcome of this game, it’s not the same type of crazy stress as with the Giants. (My superstitions were getting a little ridiculous for our games. Knock on wood by knocking on my head, then Yoyo’s head, then hand on Yoyo for the pitch. #noshame)

8:00: Start this post while watching the game+snacktime.


I have some of these+snap pea crisps+pumpkin spiced pumpkin seeds.

9:30: Start Saturday’s spin class while watching baseball, and continue this post.

Somewhere 10-11: Bedtime!


Chicago: #dontstopbeliEVEN

Wow guys, what a trip. I’m so, so glad I was able to make it happen, even though the games didn’t turn out like I might have hoped.

I headed out first thing Friday morning after a quick run. While leaving, I felt like this was a journey I was destined to take!


Also note that if you don’t follow baseball, this whole post may seem crazy. I dropped everything and drove 5 hours to a strange city by myself for a couple of games?

Yes. Yes I did.

I don’t know if you guys have seen How I Met Your Mother. I recently rewatched the series. (It’s interesting now that I feel like I’m more in that stage of my life…) Anyways, there’s an episode where Ted and Marshall drive to Chicago for pizza and the only song they can listen to is that “I would walk 500 miles” song on repeat, because the tape is stuck. I thought I would try that. I made a road trip playlist, and loaded the front of the playlist with 30 minutes straight of that song on repeat (8x). I thought I would see how long I lasted. I am happy to report I made it all 30 minutes. And yes, it did get better over time. In the middle there, I got a little bored with it, but by the end I came back around. It was a little jarring when a different song came on my playlist though!

I stopped for lunch about halfway, apparently in a town called Normal, IL. I found a Panera, and had the Fuji apple chicken salad.


The drive was fine until I got to Chicago. I spent about an hour less than a mile from my hotel, sitting in traffic. The Chicago Marathon was this weekend, so that just made things worse. I have never been so happy to hand my keys to a valet.

I wanted some downtime before the game so I relaxed in my room and had a flapjacked smores muffin in the room for dinner.


…which I came to regret later because I was STARVING at the game and couldn’t find anything I could eat, until I found a salad and it was the most exciting thing ever. But we’ll get to that. Let’s do some pictures.

img_9461 img_9462

The train was PACKED!

First view of Wrigley:


This is Wrigleyville. There are places (bars) that have stadium seats on the roof where you can watch the game without a ticket!


And the inside. I was at the top of the centerfield bleachers, right below the old scoreboard.

img_9465 img_9466 img_9467 img_9469 img_9470 img_9472 img_9473

I was surrounded my plenty of nice Cubs fans, who grew rowdier as the beer flowed. I definitely got messed with a little bit, but it was all in good fun. Anytime anyone found out I had come by myself, they said “you’re brave.” It was a good game, but a frustrating ending. That being said, I also now really understand how much home field advantage matters. The momentum is everything.

Saturday morning I went for a run along Lake Michigan. To be perfectly honest, the lake made me strangely claustrophobic. It’s so strange to be to have something that looks like an ocean, but to know there’s land on the other side. I felt very landlocked. California problems, I suppose. It was a beautiful morning for an exploratory run though!

img_9478 img_9486 img_9484 img_9482 img_9479



img_9488 img_9489

On my run, I actually had an extremely awkward encounter with one of the Giants’ broadcasters. I said hi…and she looked confused and then I realized I didn’t actually have anything to say…awkward all around. Oh well.

Next on the agenda was brunch! I went to Wheat’s End, a totally gluten free cafe and bakery. There was a bit of a wait, so I put my name on the list and walked around a little bit.


I started with a decaf cappuccino, and then got a side salad and popover with honey butter.

img_9498 img_9500

I also got a pumpkin cinnamon roll for later but had half of it then because it was warm! Yum!


Next stop?


The bean!

Obligatory bean photos:

img_9505 img_9511 img_9512 img_9514 img_9518

I hung out at the bean for a little while. It was an interesting place to sit back and watch the city.

The other “must do” thing for Chicago was a visit to the Field Museum. It was about 2 miles away, so I meandered my way over, stopping to finish my cinnamon roll along the way.


Look what I found! Lots of streets were blocked off for the marathon.

img_9522 img_9523

I really enjoyed looking at the animal exhibits, especially now that I work at a zoo. It was interesting to read about and compare the animals to what we have at the Saint Louis Zoo.


Look—Somali Wild Asses! I watch these guys 🙂


Terra Cotta soldiers.

Next on the agenda was a super quick coffee date with a Stanford friend who just moved to Chicago. It took me FOREVER to get there thanks to traffic, and unfortunately we didn’t have a ton of time together, but it was great to catch up!


I headed to the hotel to get ready. I felt so puffy every night: long sleeves+sweatshirt+giants shirt+fleece. I was cold in the bleachers thanks to wind, but my seats the next night were much more covered (and better!)

To be honest, I wasn’t feeling too great most of the day, and the soup place right by the train stop was a godsend. Exactly what I needed. It was called Soupbox, and I got carrot ginger bisque which was fantastic on a chilly day!


(It came with a free topping, so I went with artichoke hearts.)

My seats for Saturday’s game were awesome. I was on the first base side in the lower level. It was also a lot less rowdy. A lot of older couples with season tickets. I apparently got the woman next to me’s son’s ticket!

img_9533 img_9534 img_9536


See that old scoreboard? I was right under that the previous night. Near the second to left column at the top.


Sadly, we lost again. It was rough. To be honest, it was really hard being a Giants fan in a different city. It was sort of demoralizing/soul crushing. I’m so glad I had the awesome experience of going to Wrigley to see a playoff game, but I left feeling sort of emotionally crushed. I think my boys need to go home to the home crowd. We still have a chance, and we need to get it done!

Luckily, I had a blueberry muffin from the cafe early to ease my pain.


The next morning, I walked around a little and stopped at Starbucks for some herbal tea and a banana, which I paired with a Luna for breakfast.


I loved walking around the chilly city in the morning. I really liked Chicago. It reminded me a lot of San Francisco, and it makes me want to take more advantage of SF when I get home.

Then, it was time to make the trek back. It was actually not bad at all, although I was expecting it to be rough. I blasted some music (my Knoxville playlist) and enjoyed the open country. I’m at the point in my life where there is just SO much to think about. Driving through the midwest countryside is also super easy, compared to driving through CA (like from SF to LA).

I stopped halfway through for lunch+gas. I didn’t leave with a full tank because there wasn’t much in Chicago, so I got pretty nervous when it was time to get gas and I was in the middle of NOWHERE. Seeing gas+Subway was beautiful.


I got a chopped salad with carved turkey (WAY more delicious than the normal turkey breast—it’s thicker cut), provolone, olives, tomatoes, oil and vinegar, and salt and pepper. I think Subway is the most underrated “healthy fast food.” There are a lot of great options, and you can literally find one anywhere, which is great if you’re in the middle of nowhere or in an unknown place.

The rest of the drive was uneventful, but it was nice to see the arch as I drove in. St. Louis is much more familiar! Also, coming home to cats? The best.

It’s honestly so great to be at a point in my life where I can just drive to a new city alone, and have a great weekend. It also gives me more confidence that no matter where I end up, I’ll be just find. I think the people you’re with are ultimately more important to the place, and it’s so exciting to go to different parts of the country, even driving through farmland.

It was quite the trip. I’m glad the drive went well, because I have an even longer solo drive coming up soon!

In summary: Chicago is a fantastic city, I had a great time, and GO GIANTS! Don’t stop beliEVEN!