I was the kind of kid who…

The Daily Tay
I love reading The Daily Tay’s posts. I’m always truly lol-ing and relating the things she says. Especially her latest one, I Was the Kind of Kid Who…I thought I’d take matters into my own hand and give you a little deeper dive into the weirdness of my childhood:

I was the kind of kid who thought that I was for sure going to be a famous dancer or that girl who choreographed all of Britney Spears’ music videos. I bossed my friends around and made up and videotaped SO MANY dance videos…if only YouTube was big back then.

I was the kid who had bangs. Actually, I’m now the adult who has bangs, but when I was a kid, they were bad. I remember my routine: I would let my awesome not curly but wavy/straightish hair air dry and then take a big round brush and blow dry my bangs. Not the side swept look  that I try to rock today, but truly, a big round puff of bangs that was be secured with cheap hairspray.

Just being a model rocking the bangs with my bro.

I was the kid who never looked good with braces. I always felt like my friends (one in particular) looked sooo cool with her braces, especially with the different colored bands. But my two front teeth have always been bigger than my head (I think I’ve grown into them) so braces was never a great look for me.

I was a bit of a cookie monster growing up and I would take 4-5 Oreo’s/Chips Ahoy and hide them in my pockets so my parents would see me sneak them away. I’m pretty sure I still do that to hide cookies from my husband.

I was the kind of kid who would bite off the end of Twizzlers and then drink Sprite through them like a straw. I don’t know why I thought this was the coolest thing ever, but it was entertaining to me.

Being a kid is weird. And awesome. What kind of kid were you?

Recipe Roundup – My Go-To’s

Eating food is one of my favorite things to do. It might be my MOST favorite thing to do. I wake up and go to bed thinking about food. I love to cook it, create new recipes, and find new options that both my husband and I will love. However, without fail, we always end up falling back into the same mixture of meals each week. We sometimes will add in something new, but typically, we stick with what we know works for us. Here’s a compilation of the foods that we typically eat each week.

Disclaimer: I love to cook and I think most of my meals turn out pretty well. With that said, I do not measure anything and I kind of just throw things together and keep throwing things in til it’s right. My directions and ingredients are not very detailed. This is why I’m horrible at baking.

Also, sorry for the lack of pictures. I have found I take HORRIBLE food pictures. I need some help in that department.

Breakfast:

Avocado toast with sriracha. This is my absolute favorite thing to eat. I’ll eat it at any time of the day, but I get especially excited when I’m going to have it for breakfast. I love anything with sriracha, and this is no exception. It’s the perfect balance of fat and carbs to make a complete breakfast. We’ll also add sea salt, ground pepper, garlic salt, or red pepper flakes to take up the flavor a little more. Oh and I always butter my toast because I also love butter.

Other breakfast staples include: peanut butter toast, scrambled eggs with kale, egg sandwich, smoothies, and Cheerios if we’re in a rush.

Lunch/Dinner:

I’m combining lunch and dinner because if I don’t go out for lunch, I usually am eating leftovers from the night before. If I do go out, lunches consist of: veggie bowls for Chipotle or Bibibop, soup/sandwich/salad combo from Panera, or a giant salad from the local grocery store.

When we are cooking, our meals consist of:

Peanut Butter Chickpea Kale 
Ingredients: kale, chickpeas, 1 big scoop pb, whatever veggies you want, veggie broth, spices, sriracha (optional)
Directions: In a big pan pour the veggie broth and scoop of pb and let it melt down. Add in the chickpeas. I like to cook my kale in a microwavable veggie cooker to get it wilted. You could throw in the kale with the chickpeas, veggie broth, and pb mixture though. While that cooks, chop up your veggies while occasionally stirring the pb/chickpeas. Add in veggies and let cook for 5-7 minutes. Add optional spices and sriracha.

Luna Burgers
These are the best. No directions needed. Find them, buy them, cook them, eat them. My fav is the bbq. Image+3

Tempeh Tacos
Ingredients: tempeh, taco shells, veggies, kale, spices, peanut butter sauce (optional)
Directions: Chop up the tempeh into little 1/2″ pieces. Put oil in pan and turn on medium heat. Once hot, add the tempeh and let cook for 5 minutes on each side. Tempeh tends to soak up the oil quickly so you’ll have to add more or continuously stir it around. Add in your veggies and spices, heat up shells. Boom. Dinner served.

Homemade Pizza
This is a fav. And it’s super quick and easy to make.
Ingredients: wheat flour, oil, water, toppings, marinara, cheese, baking powder
Directions: Turn oven on to 450. While that heats up, add 2 cups of flour to a large bowl. Add in 1 teaspoon baking power and a little salt to the mixture. Add 1/2 cup water and 1/4 cup oil to mixture. Start to roll the dough into a ball with your hands. You might need to add more water. Once the dough is ready, spread onto greased baking pan. Cook for 8 minutes. While cooking, chop up toppings. When dough is ready, top it with sauces, toppings, and cheese. Cook til cheese is melted (I like to broil mine for 2 minutes to get it brown).

As you can tell, most of my recipes involve my favorite veggies (onions, red peps, jalepenos, and kale) and my favorite spices (cumin, cayenne, sriracha). What I love about  cooking is that everything can be tailored to your own specific taste. Luckily, my husband and I both love spicy foods, so we tend to make our food that way. Whenever we have guests over, we always take the spice down and notch and keep the sriracha shelved until someone requests it (which usually always happens anyway!)

What are your favorite go to recipes?

Things I’m Loving Lately

I thought I’d jump on the “Things I’m Loving Lately” trend that all my favorite bloggers do since I really enjoy reading them each week. Here are my top things that I’ve really been loving lately:

This lotion from LUSH. Capture

Since I’ve been trying to cut out all products that test on animals, LUSH has been my go to company for skin care. This lotion is super pricey ($26), but it is AH-Mazing and you really don’t need a ton since it spreads so well. And, LUSH donates 100% the proceeds to a different charity. Extra bonus!!

Andy Grammer

I’ve really liked Andy Grammer’s music for awhile now, but his new song “Honey, I’m Good” is my new fav. All of his music is super catchy and I love his lyrics. I hope to catch him next time he’s in Columbus!

This floor cleaning concoction. 

In my challenge to rid my life of products tested on animals, that means I’m also getting rid of a lot of toxic and expensive cleaning products. Since our entire first floor has laminate wood, I knew I needed something to mop up those paw prints. After some searching, I found this super easy solution that I poured into a used Swiffer WetJet bottle. The vinegar smell is a little overwhelming, but I try to balance it by adding some lavender or tea tree oil to the mix. You could probably add lemon too.

The fact that summer is so close.

IMG_3073
One of the last weddings of the summer last year. We only have one wedding lined up so far this year!

The grass is starting to turn greener and the birds are chirping again. Sure, it’s still 20 degrees in the mornings, but I feel as though we are making progress and I’ll be able to open my windows soon! We have so many plans for our yard this summer and I’m anxious to start working on our projects! (sidenote: I started this draft this afternoon and now at 7 p.m., there is about 2 inches of snow on the ground. ugh.)

Our new house and neighborhood. 

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We’ve been in our new house for just over a month now. We had our housewarming party over the weekend and we were flooded with gifts and love from our closest friends and family. The above photo is our newest addition to the house–we repainted our buffet table and had a wine rack custom built for us. We live in Powell, but we are also within 10 minutes of Dublin and Worthington. I have always adored Powell and all the restaurants and shops that are there, so it’s awesome being so close to downtown Powell as well as Dublin and Worthington.

What are you loving this week?

Things that drive me crazy in a group fitness class

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I’m a group fitness junkie. I would much rather take a group class than spend 20 minutes in the gym by myself. I take a big variety of classes–yoga, strength, hip hop, spinning. I also teach spinning 1-2 times a week, so as an instructor, I know it’s impossible to please everyone. That said, there are a few things that both the instructor and the attendees do that drive me up the wall.

1. Starting a class late/students coming late to class. This is obvious, but man it is so annoying–and it happens all the time. I know I’m guilty of this in spinning sometimes…but it’s usually not my fault. Someone will walk in late and be a first-timer, so I have to spend the next 5 minutes getting their bikes set up and explaining the different hand positions. I’ve also been to yoga classes where 5-10 minutes in someone will walk in the room and make everyone shift their mats over in the already crowded class and just interrupt the entire flow that we just started.

2. Music being too loud/too quiet. There is nothing worse than being in an extremely crowded room, unable to see the instructor, and not be able to hear what they are saying either. On the flip side, I can’t get into the groove with super quiet music. I need some noise! This balance is sometimes hard to find, but it is so important.

3. Instructors that don’t do the work too. I get it…lots of classes require the instructor to walk around to encourage and correct form, but I also think it’s important for the instructor to participate in what she is teaching. How can someone tell you that you can do 15 more burpees when they haven’t done one? It’s good to have a model up front doing the moves correctly and with you so they can also feel your pain.

4. Students that half-ass the moves. Trust me, I’ve been there. There have been many times in yoga where I just say, “not today,” and sit in down dog for a few minutes. It’s okay and I always encourage people to listen to their bodies. But, when other students who are just plain lazy decide not to participate and then interfere with my space/energy, I want to yell at them. Why are you here if you aren’t going to move your body? Don’t half ass a class. You won’t get your money’s worth.

5. Instructors that don’t cool you down or stretch you out when class is over. I know instructors want to squeeze as much in to the class as possible, and I also know all the arguments about stretching…but I think this is so important. If you are doing a high-intensity workout and end class with your heart rate at 90%, chances are you’re going to be leaving that class in the next 3-5 minutes and that can be dangerous. You really need to let your body come back down to a normal level before you go on about your day. I personally also think stretching after a workout is just as important, and if the class time is already over, we all know you’re not going to stay any longer to stretch by yourself.

I do love my group classes..the ones I teach and the ones I attend. But, if you’re guilty of any of the above items, cut it out!

What bothers you in group fitness classes?

Week 2 Recap – 21 Day Challenge

Week two is in the books and I’ve got to say, this one was tough. Week one I had lots of excitement and purpose and then week two all of that started to fade. I started to look at this challenge as a negative instead of a positive and I started to focus more on what I couldn’t eat instead of what I could.

We used our drink night on Saturday night–and we definitely went over the recommended limit. I learned on Sunday that the challenge recommends only 4 drinks on drink night for a reason. It is very painful the next day. My brother, sister in law, and nephew were in town and we decided to take them out for dinner.

Blurry, dark, and I'm sure successful yoga being done here.
Blurry, dark, and I’m sure successful yoga being done here.

A few beers there, then a few glasses of wine at home, and then a few hot toddy’s later, I was toast. Not my smartest decision, but we did have a great time! I paid for it on Sunday and then swore off drinking altogether (or until next Saturday). The drinks did lead my brother and I to practicing yoga in the living room around midnight–so not all was lost.

Ryan and I would drink wine probably 4 nights a week. Just a glass or two, but we were pretty consistent about it. It was a habit we knew we needed to break not only because it started to get expensive, but also because it guaranteed us evenings on the couch watching TV instead of doing something more productive. Also, it wasn’t good on the waistline even though we all know wine is just grapes and nothing more.

Back to the food. Since Sunday was mostly spent on the couch because of above hangover, pizza obviously came into the picture. We used this as our treat meal for the week. The pizza was delicious and absolutely what I needed to start feeling normal again. No regrets on that meal.

Monday morning rolled around and I stepped on the scale only to be disappointed. The first week I had lost almost 5 pounds, and this week, I gained back 2 of them. As I mentioned, the first week I was excited and planned out each and every meal–I even wrote down everything I was eating. Week two, that all kind of died down and I got lazy. I still ate pretty good, but I snacked more and didn’t watch my portions as well. I also only got in 2 workouts.

So here we are in the last and final week. I know I’ve learned a lot through this challenge. I know how to better control my grain intake and my sugar cravings, and learned that not every meal needs to include a processed carb. I’m re-energized this week and hope to finish with a bang. Cheers!

Week 1 Recap – 21 Day Challenge

Week 1 of the Check Yourself 21 Day Challenge is in the books! This first week we eliminated all processed foods, sugar, alcohol, and only had 1 grain a day. I’m down 3 pounds from last Monday and I’m feel really good. As mentioned before, I’m not going this challenge to lose a mass amount of weight–I’m doing it to cut my cravings and clean up my diet again. However, weight loss is going to go hand in hand with healthier eating and I’m okay with that.

The first 3 days were definitely the toughest for a number of reasons. I was really low on energy and my cravings were out of control–but I know that was because my body was clearing out all the bad stuff (there is a more scientific way of explaining but I’m not going to go into that). Typically, I’ll have 1-2 pieces of toast in the morning, rice with lunch, and either rice or more bread with dinner. I also always had a piece of chocolate after lunch and after dinner. I had to IMG_3844drastically change those habits and it took a few days to adjust, but by day 4 my cravings were gone.

Cutting the bread/grains was the hardest part. Since I’m a vegetarian, most of my meals include rice since it’s so easy to eat a lot of veggies that way. We had a lot of fun coming up with new concoctions that didn’t include grains. One of my favorite dinners included eggplant pizza. (please excuse the photo quality) This dinner was SUPER easy to make. Here’s the link to the recipe I used.

PS- Do you know how hard it is to remember to photograph your food? This was honestly the only food picture I got all week. I don’t know how bloggers do it before all their meals…I can’t wait to dig in once the plate is in front of me!

We had salads with almost every meal. Salad is always a safe choice and really pairs well with just about everything. Other dinners included: sweet potato chipotle bowls (no rice), veggie tacos, veggie burgers (no bun), and chickpea peanut butter kale (recipe soon!). Lunches revolved around a veggie chili that we made early in the week and soups and salads

Breakfasts have consisted of eggs, omelets, eggs with kale, and smoothies. I could have toast or oatmeal for breakfast but then that counts as my grain for the day and I don’t want to waste it so early! I’m getting tired of eggs so I’m sure I’ll switch it up this week.

Week two consists of a balance of one. We get one cheat meal and one night where we can drink alcohol. Ryan and I decided to use our cheat day on Sunday (day earlier than we were supposed to) because it was our FIRST anniversary! It was lovely to have a few beers and split a pizza with him. We knew we didn’t want to go out to fancy dinner so pizza and beer was perfect for us!

Other than using our cheat day a little early, we have really stuck with this challenge. I’m hoping to get in three workouts this week as well (last week I got in 4).

It’s getting easier to make the better choices and I notice I’m getting full faster than before and I’m not having the cravings I was before. I’ll be sure to check back in this time next week with another update!

Check Yourself 21 Day Food Challenge

I’m not very good at marathon training, cleanses, or 90-day workout regimens (I’m looking at you, P90x). When I start out, I have truly the best intentions. I make a calendar, I buy new workout clothes or food, and then after a few days, I fail.

I’ve found that what works best for me is consistency. I try to stick to a healthy eating pattern and get 4 workouts in a week. But, like everyone else, I get stuck in a rut and sometimes I feel like I need to hit the reset button. This is where the System of Strength Check Yourself Challenge comes in to play. System of Strength (SOS) is a gym in that has two locations in Columbus. I started going when the Dublin location opened up and I probably go every other weekend mainly because the weekday class times don’t work with my schedule–but also because I know every time I step into SOS I’m going to get my ass kicked.

Gretchen, one of the SOS owners, is heading up this 21 day challenge. Here’s the challenge in summary:

  • Week one we will give ourselves a “shock.” No alcohol, added sugar, or processed foods.
  • During week 2 & 3 we will allow 1 treat (anything non-healthy: donuts, pizza, French fries etc) and 1 drink night (doesn’t sound so bad, right?) otherwise, week 1 rules are still in effect.

Other things to note: We are only allowed 1 whole grain a day (brown rice, wheat pasta, wheat bread, oatmeal, quinoa, (I consider this a protein but for this challenge it’s a carb)). Only 2-3 fats a day (this includes cheese, avocado, olive oil, butter). And lastly, for meat eaters, only organic, grass fed, etc. I will be eating fish and it will only be wild instead of farmed (which I try to buy anyway whenever we do eat fish). Fruits and veggies portions are limitless–just gotta watch the sugar in the fruit.

Today is the first day of week 1. I had two eggs for breakfast, half an avocado, and salsa on top. The only thing that I missed was a piece of toast but I want to save my carb for dinner tonight. For lunch I have a salad with veggies and balsamic dressing and a black bean burger with cheese (sans bun) that I made over the weekend.

The best part about this challenge is that there are roughly 20 participants and we are all a part of a Group Me text message so we can help keep each other accountable. Ryan is also following along with the plan for the most part which helps immensely. I also paid to be a part of the challenge (includes 2 workouts at SOS, daily emails and text group messages, recipes, and accountability) so I really plan on sticking with it.

I know this first week will be the hardest. No wine. No chocolate. And very, very limited bread. Three of my favorite things. I know the end result will be worth it. I want to get rid of the afternoon chocolate craving and the feeling that I need bread with every meal. You can train your cravings, and that is what this plan will help do.

I’ll be giving updates along with recipes and pictures of what I’m eating for the next 21 days. And hopefully, after day 21, I’ll have solid results to share.

What cleanses/challenges/eating resets have you tried before?

Running is Hard

It’s been a battle for years for me. I want to love running. I see people running outside and they look so happy, careless, and make it look so easy. I always wonder if people think that about me when I’m trudging along outside. Instead of being happy or careless, I’m really thinking – Why am I doing this? How has it only been .5 miles? Maybe I can stop after 2 miles. Will that be enough training for the half marathon? My earbuds keep falling out. Oh, running near traffic, better pick it up! I think I’ll walk for .2, .4, maybe I’ll just walk the whole thing. It’s only been .7? Screw this, I need a beer. 

My mind doesn’t stop thinking ever, and running is no exception. My husband runs because it’s therapeutic for him. I will never be able to understand how that is possible. It’s the least therapeutic thing I can do. Also, it’s not like I needed another exercise to add to my routine. I do yoga and spinning on the reg, and throw in a few weightsIMG_3645 every week.

So, you’re probably saying, “Shut up, Kelly. Just stop running.” That would be the easy thing to do. But like I said before, I really want to love running and I keep telling myself that once I get better at it one day something will magically click and I’ll enjoy it. Part of me is starting to think that running is like that guy I once dated. He was super nice and sweet, but I just wasn’t into him. I kept going on dates thinking I’d change my mind, but it never happened.

I think I was drunk when I signed up for the Cap City Half Marathon. If I wasn’t drunk I definitely wasn’t thinking about all that entails. I’ve run a half marathon before. My time was 2:45. No, it wasn’t fast and no I didn’t train well for it. My longest run before the half was 6.5 miles. I hurt my knee during that race and I’ve been dealing with knee pain ever since.

I don’t know why I’m drawn to races. I know I love the energy that comes with a race–I think of them as concerts, except you don’t have to prep for concerts the same way. I love being able to say, “I just ran xx miles” and now I can eat, drink, and wear a medal all day. I love the feeling of accomplishment.

So with all that said, I’m signed up to run 13.1 miles on May 2. My longest run so far has been 4 miles. I’m shooting for 6 this weekend. Pray for me.

What are your tips for making running more enjoyable? Am I just doomed to forever hate it or will something magically happen during a run that makes me fall in love?

Finding My Voice in the Blog World

When I first created Corks and Kale I didn’t really have a goal or purpose in mind. I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and I thought that it was something I could do also. The problem has been that since I don’t have a goal or purpose, I don’t really know what to write about…therefore leaving a lot of blank days and weeks in between posts. So, I’ve decided to define what Corks and Kale really is and use it how I feel is best.

I work in marketing at a construction company. No, not my dream job, but it is a good job and I enjoy the work and my coworkers. But construction marketing definitely isn’t my passion–so I’ve thought a lot about what my passion really might be. To make things easier, I thought about my favorite things to talk about. That was really easy to identify: healthy living and savings animals–and all the science and research behind both. Those two topics really get me going and on a talking train that is hard to get me off of.

So, instead of random rants all the time (might get those some of the time still!) I’m going to focus more on what I really care about and that’s a healthy lifestyle along with some animal loving. And wine. Because well, wine is definitely a part of my healthy lifestyle.

I haven’t always had a healthy relationship with food or my body, though. Here’s a little history:

In college I was an athlete…but not like a basketball or volleyball player. I played golf in college, which meant I spent lots of time walking and some time working out, but really didn’t have a very active lifestyle outside of that. Not to mention BEER, pizza, grilled cheese, Chipotle, McDonalds…you name it, I probably put it in my body. I put on a solid 30 lbs in college. Freshman 15…HA! I blew past that goal!

I was aware of my weight for sure–but didn’t think it was really a big deal. I was in a relationship (looking back it was a very damaging and horrible relationship), I had great friends, I was on a great golf team, and I wasn’t an awful student. But then I had a really dark moment…the kind that just scars you for life. There was this really awful girl who I did not get along with, and one day in front of a huge group of mutual friends and my boyfriend she called me a “fat pig who would no one would ever love” because of how ugly and huge I was. Whoever said words can’t hurt is lying….words really hurt. And even today, those words still stick in my mind.

That moment didn’t make me want to lose weight though. I was hurt and humiliated sure, but  I still didn’t feel like I needed to make a huge life change.

After college graduation  I got a great job and started getting myself together. I moved in with one of my best friends and we started cooking and working out together. The weight slowly started to fall.

The following winter, my dad had to have triple bypass surgery. He had heart disease and blocked arteries. There was a chance he wouldn’t make it out of there alive. My dad is one of my favorite people in the world–I couldn’t imagine leaving there without speaking to him again. Dad made it through the surgery and while he had some complications afterwards, he was able to resume a presumably normal life.

I realized that if I didn’t do something about my lifestyle right then, that heart disease could be in my future also. After becoming more educated, I quickly changed to a healthier, real-food, and (one year later) vegetarian diet.

Healthy living is more than just looking good. It’s a matter of life and death to me. I have to remind myself about that daily because while I’m not that girl anymore who got made fun of in college by the mean girl, I also don’t look like a model. But I’m healthy. My body is healthy, and that truly is what matters.

So, in a nutshell, I’m going to continue to blog about my fitness/diet journey–and we’ll try to save a few homeless pups at the same time.

Goals for 2015

I didn’t want to be like all the other bloggers and post about NYE resolutions actually around Jan. 1–I figured I’d wait a few weeks and really build the suspense. I know most of you have been watching your blog roll looking for this exact post from me.

But really, life is busy. We are in contract on a house, our new baby niece entered this world, and well, life is just busy. But I’m rolling with it. It wasn’t too long ago that when I would be stressed or overwhelmed with even the littlest things that I would lose sleep, become irritable, and just not be that awesome to be around. As one of my resolutions and goals I set when I left my old job in September, I’ve decided that life is too short to just be stressed all the time.

With that said, I have some goals for 2015. Call them resolutions if you want, I’ll call them goals. Goals seem obtainable and I’m all about marking things off my list.

1. Travel more. This one is huge. We don’t have kids and we have a good amount of vacation time thanks to our jobs. We can make a million excuses not to travel (dog, money, time, etc.) but I know I’ll regret not using this time I have now. We are headed to Vegas in a few weeks and then have some smaller trips planned throughout the rest of the year. Nothing huge yet, but that’s okay.

2. Make yoga a habit. I love my yoga studio. It’s hot vinyasa yoga which means the room is close to 100 degrees and the movements are fast and hard. Definitely not your typical yoga class, but I know it is the best workout for my body. I mix it in with my other workouts and go once a week or every other week, but I really want to go try to go weekly or twice a week.

3. Do more DIY projects. We are buying a house that is missing a lot of things that I would love to have. Some are small (new coffee table), and some are huge (want to finish the basement). I don’t have a creative bone in my body and neither me or my husband are very handy. But, I really want us to try. I don’t want to always call someone, or buy something, I want to say, “hey, I made that/fixed that!”.

4. Shopping: quality over quanity. I’m getting way better at this but still have some work to do. I love shopping. My credit cards from the past (and present) will confirm that. Thankfully I’m past the Forever 21 days, but I still find myself buying just random pieces. I want to buy more high-quality clothes that will last longer and are yes, timeless.

5. Volunteer/give more to charity. I give regularly to PETA and the local dog shelter in town, but I know that’s not enough. I want to volunteer my time more. I don’t know where or how, but I do know that I can do a way better job of finding volunteer opps (besides pouring beer are festivals) that will help my community.

6. Stress less and enjoy more. This is the biggest one. I’m a control freak and I like things to go my way. When they don’t go my way I don’t exactly handle it the best. I’m learning to just let go. I can’t control everything and everyone so why even try?

Of course there are many other goals/resolutions that I have for this year, but these 6 are the big ones. 2014 was a big year and also a great year. I expect nothing less from 2015.

What goals/resolutions do you have for the new year?