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The Craziest Week of Vet School

My goodness, what a week. After Thanksgiving I really took the ground running. Hard. I think I studied more last week than I ever have in my life, and I learned more in 3 days than I ever thought was possible. This weekend was a quick gasp for air before the 2 week sprint to the end of the block, and to winter break! It is really rewarding though to work really hard and then actually know things.

I didn’t really cook much this week. When I was home for Thanksgiving, we had vegetarian chili, and I brought back the vat of it to have for dinners every night.

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This was really the first week of vet school where I felt like I didn’t have time to cook. Luckily, I have a ton of easy/frozen meals for the next couple of weeks when it picks up again!

On that note, I have a few snippets for the week.

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New spin shoes! Finally. My old ones were 4.5 years old and while they held up really well, they were a little gross.

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Her new favorite toy. We got it in Napa for her, and she falls asleep on it.

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I am so, so, SO glad we decorated. A lot of time was spent on this couch or in this room last week with my notes. It made studying feel cozy and (somewhat) fun. Plus my study buddy, who honestly is in it more for the blanket than for me. But look how cute she is!

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Thursday, test day, was one heck of a long day. I got up at 5am to get a little exercise and then last minute studying in before the last, and then the day ended up not going according to plan due to some technical difficulties. When I finished my test, it called for one of the chocolate milk stouts I’ve been hoarding since February from St. Louis.

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I watched a movie on the couch, drank this, and baked pumpkin bread.

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I made healthy flourless pumpkin bread (with oat flour). At first I didn’t love it and felt like it was kind of bland, but it’s grown on me. I actually like it better NOT hot out of the oven. I used a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice and a teaspoon of cinnamon, and I thought it could have used a bit more spice! It tastes and feels really healthy though, so I’m happy eating it at all times of the day! (And with my schedule…I basically have.)

This weekend for me has really been about relaxing and recovering and doing my best to prepare for the next couple of weeks. I got to break out my favorite Christmas sweater on Friday (and failed to take any pictures).

Saturday and Sunday were a mix of lazy and productive.

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I got a mint tea latte as study rule, plus a lavender cookie.

And then spent the evening watching Elf with my roommate and her friends.

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Sunday, I went into Sacramento to take a spin class. It was at a boutique studio downtown, and it was a lot of fun! The staff was also SUPER nice and welcoming. I had originally planned to do that and then go to the gluten free bakery for their Sunday only donuts, but they weren’t making them this week for some reason. I found this out AFTER I signed up for spin, but I decided it would be good for me to get out a little bit anyways. After class, I got a little pastry that was sort of like the inside of a cinnamon roll, plus an egg sandwich. Both were delicious!
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I spent a couple of hours afterwards at a Starbucks doing school work. I never really thought about this until this year, but it’s REALLY nice to get out of a college town to study. All the coffeeshops here are always SUPER full of students, and it’s nice to go to a quieter, emptier spot!

In terms of workouts, this week was a little bit different. It was all about time efficiency, and doing what I needed. My Crossfit actually had a little mini competition that I failed to sign up for and regretted, but I was tired at the time and such is life!

Monday:

20 minutes of HIIT spinning in the morning because I had Thanksgiving weekend sugar running through my veins, and Crossfit in the evening.

Tuesday: Crossfit

Wednesday: Kickboxing at lunchtime. The Health and Wellness club here brought in a kickboxing instructor to teach us vet students a little lunchtime class, and it was perfect timing because I legitimately did not have time to workout that day! It was fun but kickboxing is clearly not my forte. My coordination is not quite there!

Thursday: Weightlifting on my own. I did a super quick workout (despite having to wait for a barbell…seriously, before 6am??) of 5×5 back squats at 165#, single leg RDLs/calf raises, and a few minutes of abs. Those squats left me SORE.

Friday: Crossfit

Saturday: Gym workout by myself. After my test, I was having a hard time getting my body and mind to relax, which is a really important thing for sustainability in terms of my physical health and my ability to keep working hard. I could also tell that maybe I wasn’t getting quite enough exercise (plus lots of sitting) and while my diet was honestly fine, a few extra sweets here and there can affect me a little bit. Anyways, the point was I wanted to hit it fairly hard at the gym but didn’t want to spend a lot of time waiting around for a barbell, so I made use of dumbbells. Here’s what I did:

5×12 lunges with 30# dumbells

7 minute AMRAP:

Push press/RDLs with 30# dumbells

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(This was a variation of one of the competition workouts.)

4×10 single arm dumbbell snatches (35#)

4×10 box jumps (24″)

A Blogilates ab video. This is the first full length one I’ve bothered to finish lately!

Sunday: Spin

I mentioned it last week, but I want to reiterate how important it is to know yourself. My body was feeling physically stressed and I had to recognize that and how to combat it. In some ways vet school is like some type of endurance training. You work hard, and you recover hard. That’s honestly how I felt about this weekend. Rest and get ready to hit it again!

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When You Feel Like a Potato

This morning I woke up and was having one of those days. I felt sluggish, lazy, sort of sad, and overall like a blob. The best way to describe it? I felt like a potato. My diet has strayed more on the side of sweets lately and I felt kind of off as a result. Lack of sleep from the election. And after spending the previous night talking politics to my mom and ranting on the blog, I woke up feeling dirty. I didn’t want to do anything. I wanted to just stay in bed with a massive bowl of cereal and hide from the world, and slide into more potato-ness.

But then I decided that that just wouldn’t do. I needed to figure out how to turn myself around, because I had scary visions of my entire rest of my gap year in potato-land. As I mindfully made this decision, I wanted to do a post on it, because we all have potato days. Here are some things I did to bring myself out, or that made me smile.

-I started referring to myself as a potato which I definitely found amusing. It lightened the situation.

-I decided to make a blog post about coming out of bad days, therefore forcing me to focus on the small positives throughout my day.

-I started my morning with a workout. Exercise first thing ALWAYS helps. We did 4 sets of 10 back squats today (yuck) at a relatively light weight. Then the WOD was 5 rounds of 150m run, 15 box jumps, and 10 hand stand push ups (which I did off a box). At the start of the WOD, I just didn’t feel like moving. But one round in, I felt much better.

-I made myself presentable. Looking good on the outside always makes me feel better on the inside. I didn’t have the option to wear cozy clothes (zoo uniform), but I considered not wearing any makeup, and decided I would feel better if I actually put the extra 2 minutes in.

-I hugged a Yoyo on the way out the door. A selfie occurred. He was not amused, and both kitties were a little suspicious about why I was chasing around trying to hug them, but it lifted my spirits! Especially because then they got riled up and started wrestling and it was kind of adorable.

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-I took a second to appreciate the pretty leaves outside on my way to the car. I love fall.

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-I played my current jam on the way to work.

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-I got an awesome parking spot at work (also I love my Spanish music. Enrique <3)

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-The zoo is starting to put out holiday decorations and I love it!

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-Polar bear eating lettuce. Enough said.

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-Watching and listening to little kids can be endlessly amusing. They all LOVE our polar bear Kali. This comment this morning that a kid was repeating over and over cracked me up: “He’s a beautiful specimen with a giant butt!” True.

-Vegetables. The best way to feel better and to start eating better again. Nothing crazy, just veggies. I had a salad with champagne vinaigrette, humus, goat cheese, and an egg for lunch.

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-Productivity. Sometimes I feel guilty about not getting things done and it can be a little bit paralyzing. I took some time on my lunch break to get ahead on Microbiology reading.

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-Timehop. I love it. I wish it would somehow be able to look at pictures on my computer since I’ve deleted most from my phone, but I saw this gem. I was a minute early on 11/11/11 at 11:11 I guess!

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-The Sun Bears were pretty active today, which made them fun to watch!

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-My zoo buddy hung out with my for the very end of my observation while I was a little bit overwhelmed, and it was helpful to have an extra set of eyes! Plus she brought me a cookie <3

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-I made plans with myself to do something more interesting for dinner than eggs and lettuce, so I stopped at Whole Foods so I could get dinner and spend some time afterwards studying.

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The food wasn’t that great since I was early and it was probably still from lunch. But I was enough out of my potato-ness that this didn’t bother me.

-Kombucha. Always helps.

-A delicious and healthy dessert to eat while curled up on the couch. I had half a piece of healthy pumpkin bread with semisweet chocolate chips, vanilla Halo Top, and whipped cream.

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-Spending the rest of the night snuggled up with Scooby, watching a Rom-Com set at Christmastime, while eating said bowl of deliciousness.

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And now I don’t feel like a potato.

WIAW: Election Day

Happy Post-Election Day! I voted absentee so my ballot was in the mail days ago. As I type this up, the results are just starting to trickle in. I think everyone will be happy for this to be over for a while though.  Let’s go on to some Election Day eats, shall we? WIAW style.

*edited to add: I know I never get political on here but I am truly sad and scared to be a woman in America right now.

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As per usual, today was my day off work.

Thanks to daylight savings time, I was up a little before 6am so I got an early start to the day! For some reason I always have a flapjacked muffin for breakfast on Tuesdays, so I had it with some raspberries.

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It was a rainy yucky day, absolutely perfect for oversized sweaters, scarves, and huddling up in a coffeeshop. The heater hasn’t been on in my house yet, so fuzzy socks under my foots were necessary.

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I returned to Comet Coffee, one of my top-ranked in St. Louis. I have plans for this weekend to close out the my list! I went with a decaf cappuccino.

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I spent a few hours watching microbiology lectures before heading to WF for lunch and some grocery staples.

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I had roasted sweet potato, roasted veggies, corn that I wasn’t a fan of so I didn’t really touch, a piece of chicken tikka masala, and some type of lentil Indian dish. The Indian food was some of the best I’ve had in a while!

For an afternoon snack, I had a Vega chocolate mint bar.

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I was up a little late the previous night because I was cuddled up on the couch with 2 kitties and didn’t want to leave them, so I took an afternoon nap before heading out to Crossfit.

We worked on double unders and narrow grip bench press before doing a bit of a lung/quad burner WOD: 21-15-9 deadlifts (135 lbs), wall balls, and burpees. I finished in a little over 10 minutes.

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I made a basic dinner of a fried egg, cheesy polenta with parmesan, and a salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette, dried cranberries, and goat cheese.

Dessert was more exciting.

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I picked up this ice cream at Whole Foods. It’s allergy free! Most non-dairy ice creams are nut or coconut based, which I’m allergic too. This one is banana based! It has some other ingredients too, and to be honest the nutrition facts are pretty terrible (slightly better than Ben and Jerry’s), but I had to give it a shot!

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It’s very banana-y, and the chunks of cookie dough are delicious! I just wanted to try this though. The main dessert event was the last bit of my vanilla Halo Top with crumbled up pumpkin bread.

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Such a good combo.

I may close my night up with some aloe water or a little more pumpkin bread, we shall see! Meanwhile, I’m hoping this election goes well and I don’t have to flee the country.

Also, in more fun news, I’m going to be doing Blogmas! Every day in December leading up to Christmas, I’ll have a new post up, with some fresh things. Sort of in the direction of my 12 Days of Christmas in years past. Look out for interesting nutrition topics, workouts, and healthy recipes! (Word on the street is there might also be an Italian Cooking demonstration.) This will encompass my 4th Blogiversary! Plus, this is the first (and probably only) year I won’t have finals during this time, so I’m excited to devote a little more effort to this old blog. Stay tuned!

What is your favorite packed ice cream?

I really like the Stoneyfield frozen yogurt, especiallyteh caramel swirl!

Fall Weekend: Caturday and Pumpkin Bread

I’m starting this post on Saturday afternoon while watching college football, with Yoyo snuggled in at my side. It seems like the 80+ degree weather finally broke, and it was a chilly 43 this morning!

This has been a really low key weekend, which was needed after a few crazy ones. I was traveling the last 2 weekends, and had an action packed weekend the week before that with my parents visiting.

Friday morning began with a great Crossfit workout—front squats and deadlifts! I love anything with power movements. We did 10×2 front squats, and I used 125 lbs. The WOD was

15 deadlifts (135 lbs)

15 box jups

15 deadlifts

15 box jumps

rest 3 minutes. repeat.

For breakfast I had something a little bit different. I’m trying to make my way through the freezer, so I made a protein smoothie with a frozen banana, milk, cocoa powder, and Quest salted caramel protein.

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I haven’t been feeling meat as much lately for some reason, so my lunch salad was meatless. Pears, dried cranberries, and lots of goat cheese in champagne vinaigrette, with crackers on the side.

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And a pice of chocolate.

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I can’t believe I only have 2 weeks left of zoo life!

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My wild Friday night included plan at a coffeeshop to work on my online Microbiology class. With all the travel lately, it’s kind of been put on the back burner.

I started out by ordering a sandwich. I ordered it on GF bread but I don’t think they actually gave me GF bread because I’ve gotten sandwiches there before that don’t look like that! Despite the results of my gluten experiment, I decided I didn’t want to lose mental capacity so I just ate around the bread. The sandwich was turkey, swiss, and herb cream cheese with a side salad.

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After enjoying that, I ordered a baked pumpkin maple latte (decaf!) to sip on while completing an assignment.

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I’m not normally a sweet coffee person, but this was no Starbucks. It was really delicious and actually tasted like coffee!

I was planning on watching Game 7 of the 2014 World Series (I have it on DVD) afterwards, but I was craving a book so I stopped by Target to pick one up. This was my night:

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I like this book! There’s definitely a lot to it, and it’s fairly dark.

Saturday morning I was supposed to teach spin, but no one came to the class. Instead, I headed out to a 9am Crossfit for some clean and jerk work and a partner WOD. In groups of 3, we split 75-60-45-30-15 push press (65), calories on the rower, and kettle bell swings.

Afterwards, it was time to hit up a St. Louis must-do.

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Rumor was they have GF donuts Friday and Saturday mornings, and I picked up a GF pumpkin spice cake donut!

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Of course I had to try a bite in the parking lot (but managed to save the rest for when I got home because it needed milk).

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It was good, but to be honest, I think I would have liked it more baked. I don’t really like the fried flavor. But my first donut in a very long time was well enjoyed.

I also really like this milk, so I wanted to mention it. It’s filtered to have lower lactose and high protein than normal milk, but mostly I like it because I actually have a pretty strong fear of sour milk, and I feel like if it’s super filtered that’s less likely to be an issue!

My entire day basically consisted of reading my book on the coach with kitties. Mostly Yoyo, but Scooby joined us for a little bit. He sat on my lap but kind of spilled onto Yoyo and was directly on top of him, so I LITERALLY had cats on cats.

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Saturday night I went to a Crossfit night out.

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My local Crossfit here organized a night out at a local bar. It was a really fun night; it was nice to actually talk to people outside of working out (though of course the topic of Crossfit was brought up once or twice 😉 ). It was really interesting learning more about people’s lives outside of them gym, and of course I had to try some local craft beer! It just makes me all the more sad to leave these people in 2 weeks!

One really nice thing was that it was within walking distance of my house, and while the temperatures have dropped quite a bit these past few days, it was a really nice, crisp night to walk.

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Sunday morning at 6am, Yoyo busted open my door and before I knew it I had 2 kitties snuggled up on my bed.

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Despite their antics, I managed to sleep a little bit longer!

My main event for Sunday morning was going to Crossfit run group. It’s basically just people meeting at the gym to go run together. There was a short and a long option. The short was 1.5, and the long was 5…1.5 seemed a lot shorter than what I was hoping for, so I decided I might as well go for 5 and turn back if necessary. I hadn’t run this far since my stress fracture; I had only run 4 miles 2x, and 3 is my normal distance.

My foot performed fantastically! I was able to cover 5 miles pain-free, which is pretty huge. My legs were feeling it by the end though! A group of 3 of us did the 5 mile option, and apparently our average pace was 9:36, which is not too shabby! It felt good to run longer again, and I’m sure I’ll be feeling it tomorrow. My plantar fasciitis is flaring a little bit from the increased effort though. Running on my foot is pretty variable. I think the fact that I spent the entire previous day on the couch is part of why I was able to cover those miles pain free. I walk and stand a ton at work, which limits my mileage.

I was HUNGRY when I got home and had a few gulps of chocolate milk while preparing lunch.

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I messed up flipping my egg, but somehow it turned out perfectly bread shaped! I’ll take it! I made an open-faced egg sandwich with American cheese. On the side was a salad with goat cheese and dried cranberries.

After lunch, I facetimed a friend back home, while mixing up pumpkin bread (and dividing the recipe in half!) Somehow, despite multitasking, I think I managed to not screw anything up.

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I asked my mom to dig up my favorite pumpkin bread recipe which I haven’t made in a little while. The recipe is from so long ago, it’s 1. pre-blog and 2. on paper!

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I tried to find the link to the recipe, but I can’t find it!

I cut the recipe in half, used GF flour, and used a bit under 1/3c brown sugar and 1/3c maple syrup in place of the full cup of sugar. I also sprinkled a few chocolate chips on top of one side!

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Delicious!

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Chilly temperatures+pumpkin bread?

NOW it’s fall.

I spent the afternoon studying. I went to Rise for a cozy decaf cappuccino.

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Dinner tonight was another warm fall favorite: soup! I heated up some mushroom lentil soup and topped it with fat free cheddar (kind of rubbery but trying to use it up!). On the side I had some buttered toast.

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For dessert, I sautéed up some apples with butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. I don’t think I added nearly enough butter, and the edges got sort of caramelized. I served that with some vanilla Halo Top.

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It was a great, relaxing, low key cozy fall weekend!

What do you like to do when the temperature drops?

Are HLBs Becoming Obsolete?

Today’s topic is going to be a bit on the touchy side. Plus, we’ll do some food catch up because I like to actually call this a food and fitness blog, right? I’ll intersperse the food to keep us all entertained!

It’s no secret that I haven’t been blogging as much lately. Partly it’s time. My work schedule has been pretty crazy this summer, and when I get home I have no energy to crack open my computer. (Sidenote-these past couple of days of blogging, I’m reminded of how much I enjoy putting words on the screen and creating something, when I have the time and energy to put in).

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(Blueberry banana bread remains one of my favorite healthy pre-workout snacks.)

But at the same time, I feel like I’m running out of things to contribute to the world. Maybe my own healthy habits are waning (definitely true), maybe I’ve moved on to other topics of interest, but lately I’ve felt that I’ve already put everything out there that I have in me to contribute. I’ve been blogging for two and a half years now. My life is so different now than it was then, and I’ve had all kinds of life experiences in between. My blog viewership has also changed quite a bit, not specifically in terms of numbers, but I feel like I have a different set of readers now than I had 2 years ago.

I also used to be better about commenting on other blogs. I still read other bloggers’ posts, but I never seem to take the effort to leave a comment anymore. Maybe the quantity of blogs I read now is higher, that my quality as a reader decreases.

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(Panini on a gluten free ciabatta with basil, mozzarella, tomatoes, mushroom tapenade, and a sprinkle of truffle salt. Side salad: balsamic vinaigrette, crumbled feta, dried cherries).

At the same time though, I feel like there are so many blogs out there that have grown stale. Not to be putting anyone down at all, but I’m just not enjoying reading the posts of some of the big bloggers who started it all anymore. I guess after reading hundreds of posts over several years, things kind of blur together to be and the posts seem repetitive. There are so many blogs these days, that how much information is left to gain or be given out?

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(I made my pumpkin banana bread and sprinkled cinnamon cream cheese on half. It’s never too soon for pumpkin.)

Maybe I’ve just become so set in my workout routine that there’s no time to try new things or workouts I find online. Maybe I don’t cook as much as I used to, and don’t get the same inspiration. Maybe I don’t have that “healthy living” spark anymore. Maybe my passion is faltering, and maybe I haven’t put enough effort into my health lately to have the energy for these things to excite me.

The healthy living blog world exploded as a result of some key bloggers, but does anyone else feel like it’s dying a bit? Other social media platforms are starting to take over, partly as our population’s attention span decreases. Instagram, vlogs, twitter. Is this the future of the healthy living world? Quick inspiration? Or has everything that there is to say on the topic already been said?

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(Still obsessed with this lunch. Side of Vans Gluten Free everything crackers.)

What can I say or write about to inspire myself and others? What can I contribute to an internet that is already so crowded with the thoughts and ideas of others?

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(Chicken noodle soup and a cheese pupusa. Pupusas are my latest obsession-cornmeal exterior, stuffed with anything from cheese and spinach to kale and pinto beans.)

I hope to post more soon. I think my blog posts tend to be better when they are a more regular thing. I also want to talk about some vet stuff and let you guys know what is going on in my life now and in the future.

Tell me-are HLBs obsolete?