Category Archives: blogging

Blogging Nonsense & A New Ice Cream Discovery

The other day, I opened Pinterest to my home page, and this is what was staring back at me:

blog picture

THE BUSINESS OF BLOGGING 

Over the past year, I’ve looked for a couple of blogging tips so I can make my sidebar look nicer and improve a few other aesthetics. Now Pinterest has overloaded my home page with blogging tips…how to make money blogging, how to attract more twitter followers, how to use the endless number of plugins available, how to write for your audience, how to get more instagram followers…blah blah blah blah blah.

When I began blogging just under a year ago, I simply wanted a space to write down my thoughts about food, fitness, body image, and other things I felt like jibber-jabbering about. (I actually really enjoy writing, no matter what the topic may be.)

Since then, I’ve learned there’s a massive, ever-evolving blogging world (actually, multiple worlds). You can make money from ads, sponsored posts, affiliate links, sponsored tweets & pins, or selling some of your own products.  There are several major blog conferences throughout the year (that costs hundreds of dollars!) to teach you how to keep readers and make money.

blog picture 2

For a brief moment, I thought this blogging business trend might be a nice way to go. Then I quickly learned that those who actually profit from blogging have a significant amount of time on their hands! Post after post is written about having a set time each day for writing, social networking, reaching out to sponsors, editing, reading other’s blog posts, and revamping old portions of your site. Who has time for that? I’m currently in grad school and have a full time teaching job, so the writing and social networking blocks of time simply don’t exist.

At first, I was upset that I wasn’t as good as other bloggers. My posts aren’t as consistent and my pictures aren’t as nice. I thought about maybe abandoning the blog and going back to just being a teacher and not having the additional time commitment of blogging. But then I remembered…

I LOVE writing. I enjoy working out. I enjoy making delicious food. Why not write about what I love? Twitter, instagram, and sponsors are entirely secondary. I really appreciate my readers (you are a small, but appreciated, population!), and I enjoy the blogging basics. So, I’ll pick up on a few tips here and there, but for the most part I’m just going to keep blogging in the way it works for me :)

HALO TOP ICE CREAM

On an entirely different note, I found a wonderful new ice cream at Whole Foods! Halo Top, a new brand I discovered in a Whole Foods in Atlanta, makes diet ice creams. Generally, I don’t think diet dessert is a healthy choice. It’s usually full of sugar and strange ingredients I can’t pronounce or even pretend to know what they really are. This brand, however, has a pretty short list of organic, recognizable ingredients. And while it doesn’t quite fall under the Paleo/Primal umbrella, I believe it’s the perfect solution when you’re looking for a natural sweet treat.

Today, I tried the lemon cake flavor. I figured that lemon was hard to mess up, and there couldn’t be anything too weird about it. (I was worried about this diet ice cream brand because I’ve had NO luck with that funky Arctic Zero diet brand. That stuff has a weird and off-putting consistency.) The verdict?

100% delicious! It tasted like a lemon cake. It wasn’t too sweet, it had a good consistency, and even my Ben & Jerry’s loving husband said he enjoyed it :) I can’t wait to try their other flavors! Here are a few quick facts on this flavor:

Yep…240 calories per pint! Of course, that’s no excuse to finish off a pint of ice cream. But it does mean that a typical bowl of ice cream won’t set you back like it usually would. Enjoy every bite of it!

Questions:

  • Fellow bloggers, what do you wish you had more time for?
  • Are there any other Whole Foods gems I’m currently missing out on???

Happy Moments from the Weekend

Good morning! While it will no longer be morning by the time this post is published, the draft began at 5:30 this morning after a cancelled boot camp class. I woke up at 4:30 and it was raining just a little bit. We’ve had class with a slight rain before, so I got dressed and sipped coffee while I waited for the “Class cancelled” text. It never came, so I left for the park. I waited until 5:05, and when no one else showed up, I assumed everyone hit snooze this morning.

Normally, this wouldn’t mean I’d head back to the apartment. If I’m up, I might as well use my time wisely. Last time rain prevented us from having class, I went to the gym and used the stationary bike before completing a short circuit workout. But this morning, the thought of a bike or treadmill or elliptical made me miserable. I’m not going to hop on a machine because I feel like I have to…so here we are, blogging at 5:30 and sipping coffee!

Happy Moments from the Weekend

Two Mile Fun Run with My Students

This semester, another teacher and I implemented Friday Run Club. Our students worked to earn the privilege to run off campus on Friday afternoons, and this past Saturday they met at a nearby park to run a two mile loop together.

Friday Run Club Flyer 2

While we do want them to learn how to pace themselves and improve week after week, we also encourage them to run as a group and cheer each other on. The Friday run club route has designated meeting points where students wait for each other to catch up. On the last leg of the route, they all encourage each other to finish strong. Each run always ends with high fives and clapping and words of encouragement!

This particular group of students used to struggle with creating and maintaining genuine relationships, so to see them work together in a sport like running makes my heart happy :)

Out of Town Friends

Moving to Houston meant moving farther away from all of my friends, but fortunately my friend Holly has family here and visits me when she’s in town :) This weekend we ate with her family at Molina’s Cantina, a Tex-Mex chain in Houston.

I ordered Sopa de Poblano and salad. Holly ordered the puffy tacos…are puffy tacos a “thing” anywhere else? I’ve had tacos that are in fact puffy, but never have they been titled “Puffy Tacos.” Several restaurants here have them on the menu. Is this just a Texas thing???

Poblano Soup – I plan on creating a Paleo version soon!

Summer Innanen’s Rock Your Body Program

I love discovering new gems on the internet. Summer Innanen is a nutritionist who’s suffered through her fair share of diet and body image disasters. From overexercising to adrenal fatigue to depression, she’s conquered her many challenges and came out on top. She now writes a blog, SummerInnanen.com, hosts a podcast, Fearless Rebelle Radio, and has many body image reboot programs for her readers. I’ve been listening to her podcast, watching her YouTube videos, and I’m eating up every word she says!

summer innanen

For the past decade, I’ve struggled with being “healthy” and accepting the way I look. A task as simple as eating lunch never passed without anxiety. While I’ve been putting in the work to heal myself in the last five years, it’s nice to find such a wonderful source and let her do some of the work for me :) I’m slowly learning how to have a normal relationship with food and exercise, and this year I feel like I’ve made great strides.

Yesterday I felt the need to workout, but it was 45 degrees and pouring down rain. I could have run in the rain, but that would be a miserable option. I could have gotten on a cardio machine in the gym…I even put on my workout clothes, grabbed a towel, and prepared to head downstairs.

And then I stopped.

I really didn’t want to get on a stationary bike or a treadmill. The idea made my skin crawl. Instead of forcing myself to go, I did a quick little workout (one I actually enjoyed) in my apartment and called it a day. That’s a big deal. In college I would have forced myself to go to the gym for an hour and a half and then beat myself up over a too-large bowl of oatmeal. I’m glad I’m putting those days behind me, and Summer Innanen’s resources are super helpful :)

Dinner (Meals are always happy moments!)

Last night, I made my Pesto Chicken Casserole with Zucchini and Spaghetti Squash recipe. It’s one of my favorites! The zucchini was a new addition. I hardly noticed it, so it’s a perfect way to sneak in more veggies! Check it out!

pesto chicken casserole with zucchini and spaghetti squash

It Is A Keeper Blog

Thursday afternoon, I applied to join a group of bloggers to contribute monthly recipes to It Is A Keeper. I assumed that my blog would be a little too “green” and undeveloped, but I decided to apply anyway. Much to my surprise, I received an email Friday morning welcoming me to the group!

it is a keeper logo

It Is A Keeper is a blog on an entirely different level (several levels, honestly) from mine, so I am super excited to have the opportunity to contribute and get my name out there to more readers! I am so grateful to Christina, the blog’s creator, for this opportunity!

What great moments did you have this weekend?

Looking Back at Autumn Resolutions

In September, I made a post about “Autumn Resolutions” because Fall seems to motivate people more than New Years…or at least that’s true for me! I wanted to check in with those resolutions and see how I’ve been doing :)

Here goes nothing.

1. Smile everyday at work.
Done and done. My students have many issues related to trust and adult consistency, and in order to help them move beyond those things I try to be as consistent as possible. This week has been especially difficult as extreme behaviors are being presented, but I try to keep smiling. I may not be perfect, but I’ve greatly improved in this area from last year!

2. Remain consistent with my workouts.
Ugh. What a week to ask myself that question. Last week we went out of town for Thanksgiving, and I had a cold the week before. So I have not been super consistent. I did, however, get in a handful of workouts over those two weeks, and I’m back at it this week.
My routine has also changed a lot since I wrote that post. I joined a morning boot camp class, which gives me a default of two workouts a week. It’s up to me to include at least two more a week. I certainly am not able to get in 5-6 tough workouts, but that isn’t necessary anyway. I can say I get in 3 challenging workouts and 1 or 2 additional easy paced exercises like walking or a short jog…on a good week :)

3. Eat more vegetables at breakfast.
So I know avocados are technically fruit, but that’s all I got! Okay, that’s not entirely true. I have been making an effort to use leftover veggies in my eggs. Yesterday, I used leftover broccoli and red onions in a frittata! I can say most days I eat veggies with breakfast, if we’re counting those vegetables-that-are-really-fruits like avocados and pumpkin!

Frittata w/ leftover chicken, broccoli, and red onion.

4. Stretch more often.

Fail. I’m going to go stretch now.
5. Get into a blogging schedule. 
I haven’t entirely failed at this one, but I can’t say I’ve nailed anything down. My “somewhat of a schedule” usually includes two recipes a week, maybe one workout a week, and Paleo Food Friday every week. I generally write four posts a week, and this is the first week in a while I’ve been able to write five. The goal was to write one on each week day and take the weekend off to gather ideas and step away from the computer. There are countless topics, but sometimes I can’t decide what angle to write from or I just don’t feel as passionate about a topic as other Paleo bloggers. So it’s not perfect, but that’s okay. I do have a full time job and grad school classes to worry about, too :)
6. Get outside and enjoy the season as much as possible. 
I think I managed this one quite well! For a while, Ryan and I went trail running every weekend. (We took a break when he hurt his ankle and I caught a cold.) I go outside once or twice with my students each day, once for “Fitness” and again for recess. One thing I haven’t kept up with are my long walks along Buffalo Bayou. I just haven’t been able to find the time after work.
Other than my goal to stretch more often, I think I managed to maintain the goals quite well!
Future adjustments:
  • Try harder to fit in stretching!
  • Find time to go on long walks along Buffalo Bayou.
  • Get more organized with blog post ideas.
  • Remain consistent with all other goals!
Question: What are some of your goals this late Fall/early winter season?

Good night!

Blueberries or Space Rocks?

When I switched blogging venues, I used this header at the top of my blog:

  Ryan was reading it one day and asked me what those big blue things were at the top of my blog.
Me: What do you mean?
Ryan: I mean what are they?
Me: They’re blueberries.
Ryan: They look like space rocks.
Me:….nope. Just blueberries.
  Five minutes later, I couldn’t see anything but space rocks. Or planets. Or unidentifiable blue orbs. I was going for a freshly washed handful of delicious blueberries, and now I can only see space rocks. Wet space rocks. Okay you get the point. I also figured it was a little too dark, so I decided to brighten things up a little!  
   It may not be my final design, but it’s brighter and happier! And raspberries can’t be confused for rocks. I also made another change. I now have my own domain name :) No more absurdly long thealwayshappyeater.blogspot.com. Now you can find me at www.happy-eater.com. Much better!
Today’s Workout: Did you know you can complete a solid workout in 4 minutes? Tabata workouts are 4 minutes long (and should be placed between a warm up and cool down) and if you give it your all, they’re going to vastly improve your fitness levels.
You can use the Tabata model for lifting or sprinting or both! (You can sprint while swimming, biking, and running!)  Today I completed a (running) Tabata sprint workout. Here’s the breakdown:
Repeat 8x:
Sprint 20 seconds
Rest 10 seconds
Total Time: 4 minutes
Watch some beginners give it a try!

They worked out for 4 minutes and could hardly move when they were done.
Why/How does it work? Dr. Tabata completed research in this study that showed high intensity intermittent training improves both aerobic and anaerobic body systems, which is a significant improvement from your basic aerobic only (cardio) exercises. You’re improving muscle performance and aerobic capacity at the same time in a shorter amount of time! 
Now, if you complete this workout to the best of your ability, you’re not “done” once your last sprint comes to an end. I completed a 5 minute warm up jog and a 12 minute cool down jog…because it took 12 minutes for my heartbeat to come back down to an acceptable level. 
Here are some links of other tabata workouts:
Happy sprinting!