Changing Seasons

And just like that, August has come and gone. I definitely didn’t blog as much as I had hoped to this month – I did a bit of traveling and just decided to focus on spending time with family. But as the month is wrapping up and summer is winding down, I realize that I didn’t focus on my goals for this month. So I’m thankful for the fresh new start September will bring. As much as I hate to admit it, I think I am ready for summer to lay down to rest and for autumn to come out to play. 

I have been craving chilly air, dreary days, fall festivals, cozy sweaters, hot cups of coffee, pumpkin sweets, scary movies and Edgar Allan Poe short stories. You may think that sounds “so basic” of me, but I don’t care! haha I’ve loved autumn and Halloween since I was about 13 years-old. Growing up in an old farmhouse only added to the thrilling mood that autumn brings – my siblings and I were always coming up with scary ghost stories and playing “haunted house”. My imagination seems to come back to life as the leaves begin to change – writing seems to come more easily for me and I want to devour any literature I can get my hands on. 

Autumn daydreams aside, I’m looking forward to sitting down this evening with a cup of coffee and thinking about the goals I want to set for myself during the month of September. I will be another year older in September and I just really feel the need to get serious about the person I want to be and what changes I need to make in my life. It’s still sinking in that I’ve graduated college and I’m now a married woman. And it’s both exciting and scary to think that Brendan and I might be parents within the next few years. It’s hitting me that I’m now responsible for so much more than just myself, and I want to make sure that I am following the path that God has laid out before me so that I can be the best daughter, wife and (hopefully someday) mother that I can be. 

I’ve been lazy with writing more serious blog posts and I really want to change that. For the past couple months I’ve been working on a post about my journey to a healthier lifestyle and it hasn’t been easy. While writing, I’ve had some of the pain and emotions that I experienced during my teenage years resurface. But I keep writing. I really want to share my story and I know it’s an important part of who I am. So I hope to be sharing that with you guys soon. As for the month of September, I’ve got some fun blog post ideas that will help my readers get to know me better (which I think is fitting since my birthday is in September)! 

As I finish the last drops of my ginger tea, I’m really looking forward to branching out, getting healthier and living a richer life this coming month. Here’s to September and all of the cozy autumn days that lie ahead! 

 

Advertisements

Exploring the Star City and Other Things

Happy August! I have been so excited and eager to get the computer to write my weekly blog post! Brendan and I had a great weekend spent with his family who were in Virginia for a visit and I am still on a weekend high haha! Since we were hanging out with Brendan’s family on Monday, yesterday felt like the start of the week to me. I made sure I sat down yesterday to write a list of goals and healthy habits that I want to incorporate into my life this month. I’ve got a couple blog posts that are in the making and I hope to have them posted soon in addition to my weekly recaps. And speaking of recaps, let me sum up what I’ve been up to this past week. 

Wednesday July 27 – Last Wednesday I opted out of going to the gym because I had some things to get done around the apartment. I decided that an in-home workout would have to do, so I did hula hooping for cardio (yes, hooping is a thing. Look it up!) and did various leg workouts on my yoga mat. It was actually a nice change of pace to workout at home instead of at the gym. I cranked up the music and hooped my heart out 🙂 I was also able to do some meal prepping for the week and I made my homemade Cajun-spiced sweet potato veggie burgers. 

13901929_1145726025466745_2002320670_o

Thursday July 28 and Friday July 29 – Besides going to the gym on Thursday and Friday, I really don’t remember what else I did on those days haha. Sometimes I feel like my days revolve around going to the gym and working out. I really worked hard this week at the gym because I knew Brendan’s family was planning on coming for a visit and I knew we would be eating out. So after I finished my workout on Friday I felt so beat and warn out. And I don’t usually get like that. I’m starting to see results though, so the exhaustion I felt this past week was worth it!

13898310_1145726015466746_1912144376_o

Saturday July 30 – On Saturday morning, Brendan and I woke up early to go on a budget meeting breakfast date! Since August was right around the corner, Brendan thought it would be a good idea if we sat down together and discussed our spending this past month and look ahead and figure out what we should be spending the coming month. Brendan is great with money and budgeting (he is an accountant after all) and has really helped me understand how to handle money better. We are using the free app Every Dollar to help us keep track of our spending and to know exactly where every penny is going. Brendan is really into listening to the Dave Ramsey show and has now got me reading his book Total Money Makeover! While money can be stressful at times, Brendan and I seem to agree with how we want to spend and give our money, which is a total blessing considering money seems to be one of the biggest things couples argue about. Maybe in the future I’ll do some blog posts on how to do healthy grocery shopping on a budget. 🙂 

13918481_1145726022133412_1718909536_o

Brendan had a coupon for a free Chickfila breakfast and I had a reward for a free coffee from Panera, so we decided to use our rewards and enjoy them during our meeting. I think I could get used to this being a once a month thing. 🙂 

Since I woke up earlier than normal, I was able to get a few things done around the apartment before heading to the gym. I’ve been really into children’s books and teen novels recently! Don’t ask me why, because I’m still trying to figure that out haha. Here I am, a married woman, reading the Gossip Girl series and Coraline. Maybe that’s just my way of reminiscing about my years as a teenager now that I’m an adult. Anyway, I finished reading Coraline before lunch time. I ordered the book from Amazon last October so I could read it around Halloween time. But alas, school and work got in the way and I never finished it. My brother and I loved the movie Coraline before we knew it was a book, so once I discovered there was a book I just had to read it. Overall, I’d say it was a good, creepy book with all the October vibes. 🙂 

After my workout I was completely exhausted but I still had a lot on my to-do list. So I fixed myself a nourishing dinner and rested for a bit while watching some TV before pushing forward. I ended up baking some Vegan Chocolate Banana Bread and cleaning the apartment until late that night. After all of my chores were done I was so ready for bed, but I felt satisfied and accomplished. 

Sunday July 31 – I was still tired Sunday morning when Brendan and I went to church, but I managed to make it through the morning with just one cup of coffee haha! Brendan’s mom and brother were supposed to be arriving in Roanoke around dinner time, so I thought it would be a good idea to squeeze in a quick ab workout and some cardio after lunch. 

We picked up some pizzas for dinner and then brought it back to the apartment. This was Brendan’s family’s first time visiting us since we moved to Roanoke, so it was fun getting to show them our home. 🙂 

Monday August 1 – What a great way to start the month of August! We spent all day Monday hanging out with Brendan’s mom (Ms. Judy) and his brother Kevin and exploring Downtown Roanoke. We started our day at the Virginia Museum of Transportation. Brendan has always been really into trains and was so excited when he found out we would be living near the museum. Transportation isn’t really something I’m interested in, but I do like history and seeing Brendan get excited about all of the trains was worth it to me. 🙂 I love all of the history there is in Virginia and there is still so many historical land marks and museums I haven’t visited yet! 

It was about lunch time after we finished up at the museum, so we headed to a little local burger joint called the Texas Tavern. It’s one of those little hole in the wall restaurants (when I say little, I mean it seats 10 people) that looks kind of dirty and sketchy but everybody loves. It’s like an old fashioned diner where you sit on bar stools at the counter and get to watch the cooks fix your food. This place was definitely not for me. As soon as I walked in I got slapped in the face with the stench of grease and burgers, which just turned my stomach.

When we sat down at the counter and the cook took our order, he got to me and asked what I wanted and I politely told him that I wasn’t getting anything. When he asked why, Brendan told him that I was a vegetarian. The cook said that he could fix me an egg if I didn’t eat meat (he also offered me Raisin Bran and oyster crackers), but I told him that I really didn’t eat eggs and that I was trying to incorporate more vegan foods into my diet and avoid eggs and dairy when I can. The cook stopped and stared at me and then said he felt sorry for me and told me that I should “come back” to meat eating. Really? I find it funny that people “feel sorry” for vegans and vegetarians, like I’m missing out on life or something. Um, quite the opposite. I feel bad for people that don’t know how to take care of their bodies (or don’t care to) by eating healthy. I am the healthiest I have ever been and I feel great! I actually love it when people ask me about being vegetarian and why I choose to eat the way I do though, because those questions open up the opportunity to teach others about how they can take care of their bodies.

Sorry for babbling on and on about this. Perhaps I should write a whole post on this subject! Anyway, after a little while, the cook went into the kitchen and came back out and handed me a huge white peach! I thought that was really nice of him. 🙂 Even though I didn’t like the restaurant the people were nice and Brendan and his family said the food was good.

After lunch we headed up to the Butterfly Deck which is located on top of Center in the Square in Downtown Roanoke. Brendan and I had been up there a couple weeks ago, but we wanted to show his family. The view of Roanoke from the deck is gorgeous, and there are also some cute rooftop gardens and even a small fish pond up there as well. 

We then decided to stroll the streets and visit some of the little local shops. Brendan and I have been living in Roanoke for two months now and we still haven’t really visited any of the downtown shops or local restaurants, so having his family in town was a good excuse for all of us to be tourists for the day. We visited several shops, but to be honest I really wasn’t impressed with any of them. There was one shop called Chocolatepaper that we all enjoyed. They have the neatest assortment of stationary, chocolates and little gifts for all occasions. I think I know where I’ll be doing some of my Christmas shopping this year! 

Once 4 p.m. rolled around, my feet were tired from walking around and I was in the need for a caffeine fix, so we headed to Starbucks to get a pick me up. I had been saving a Gold Card reward for a free drink, so I treated myself to a free venti iced coconut milk mocha macchiato and it was perfection. We hung out at Ms. Judy and Kevin’s hotel room while we decided on where we should eat dinner. Since it was still a bit early for dinner, Brendan suggested that we walk the Rail-Walk and also take a look at the Hotel Roanoke before going to dinner. It really was the perfect evening for a walk.

We decided to have dinner at Alejandro’s Mexican Grill in Downtown Roanoke. I got the taco salad without any meat and it was just okay. While I thought their salsa bar was pretty cool, it just didn’t compare with La Carreta in Lynchburg. After dinner we drove up to the Roanoke Star to show Ms. Judy and Kevin the beautiful view of the Star City and the surrounding mountains. 

To wrap up our day, we all went back to Brendan and my apartment to play card games. We really had a wonderful time having Brendan’s family over and showing them around our city. There are still a lot of things we want to do with Brendan’s family in the area, so we are talking about doing this again in the fall, which is actually just around the corner! 

13932087_1145726165466731_443743824_o

Tuesday August 2 – Tuesday was catch up day for me! Brendan and I did some grocery shopping before he went to work. I felt like we were almost out of everything! I stocked up on some more fruits, veggies and of course Clif Bars (which are on sale at Kroger, by the way). 🙂 Brendan also surprised me by taking me to Barnes and Noble to buy the new Harry Potter and the Cursed Child book! I was just a little excited 😀 Brendan definitely got some brownie points for that. 

And after my two days absence from the gym, it was time to get back into my normal workout routine. I guess I was still a little tired from all of the excitement over the weekend, because I didn’t feel as productive as I usually do at the gym. But hey, at least I got my workout in! 

I spent the rest of the evening watching the Olympic trials and reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. 

Wednesday August 3 – Today I decided to stay home from the gym and workout at home. It’s been such a cozy, rainy day and I’ve absolutely enjoyed it. ❤  I fixed myself an egg, toast, avocado and coffee for dinner because there’s just something about rainy evenings that make me crave breakfast food! Since I had the time, I also made a pot of vegan corn chowder for tomorrow and the rest of the week. 

And to wrap up this cozy rainy night, I’m going to watch the new episode of My Big Fat Fabulous Life, read some more of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and maybe do a bit of journaling. Have a lovely night everyone!