Finding Healthy Balance in the Midst of Stress {guest post from Imperfectly Perfect}

Today’s guest post is from my sweet friend, Kim of Imperfectly Perfect. It doesn’t get any more honest than this girl! Enjoy, and I’ll see you next week! XOXO

Hi There, Hungry Healthy Happy Readers!

My name is Kim and I blog over at Imperfectly Perfect…and learning to love italthough, I’ve been MIA lately.


I was SO excited when Melissa asked me to guest post for her this week.  She’s such a lovely gal and I (selfishly) wish we lived near each other to hang out and drink some of that good ol’ wine we know she loves.



I’m pretty sure we’re friends because she knows I work for a Wine & Spirits importing company.  Haha.  Just kidding, Melissa!  ;)

Back in February I began preparation for a fitness competition.  I didn’t have an exact show date yet, but wanted to get my body into competition shape.  To put things shortly, as much as competing had always been a dream of mine, the stress of being “perfect” (eating, training, etc.) in addition to mounting stress at work brought about an old bad habit, my eating disorder (we’ll call it ED).  ED tends to pay a visit when things aren’t going well in my life, usually meaning I’m under a lot of stress.  I’ve been dealing with him since college, so I know the typical cycle.  Over the years, this occurrence has lessened and I’m able to kick the habit much quicker.

After a major breakdown and a heart-to-heart with my mom, I had new confidence in myself and began to question things like:

When did just living a healthy life become not good enough, in my eyes?

Why go to extremes that are unmanageable and only cause unnecessary stress?

I don’t know why, when or how I got to the point that I did.  I now realize that competing just isn’t the best thing for me to strive for because it brings about some unhealthy behaviors.  It’s taken me a long time, my friends (can I call you friends yet?), but I see that balance, not perfection, is where it is at.  If you strive to eat healthy most of the time, get a few good sweat sessions in to get the ol’ ticker working, and lift some iron you’ll be able to fully enjoy the treats you allow yourself some of the time.

I mean, I would never be able to enjoy my Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins being on the competition plan.  What fun would that be?


Heck, I wasn’t even allowed to have a bite of a banana on my plan, never mind a banana muffin!  For around 200 calories, I think these are worth it!

Nor would I be able to have my Healthier Chicken Cordon Bleu, because of the cheese.


From now on, I’m all about health and balance, instead of reaching a certain bodyfat percent.  I think that my boyfriend will enjoy me MUCH more in this state of mind instead of the Debbie Downer I’ve been for weeks!

Melissa – Thanks for letting me rant and rave on your blog!  Love ya!



So You Wanna Be a Runner . . . {guest post from Journey to the Center of Manhattan}

While I’m running around DC doing fabulous–or not so fabulous–things, I’ve got another guest post for you today! It comes from Emily of Journey to the Center of Manhattan, and it’s all about how to start running. Emily ran with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program, so if you’re thinking of trying it out, this is definitely a post for you! Plus, she’s got great advice for you newbies; but even for the seasoned folks among us, these are great ideas and reminders. Take it away, Emily!

I’m Emily, and I started blogging at last year when I signed up for the New York City Marathon.
I’ve always wanted to be able to run. I can’t count how many times I’ve tried to start running, whether it was to get in shape, lose weight, or justify buying cute workout clothes.
Finally, last spring, I realized how sedentary and out of shape I had gotten, and knew I had to do something about it. I just didn’t know how to make it stick!
I always thought that, to be able to run, you just had to go out and run every day or as long and as hard as you could. While this works for some people, it didn’t work for me, and might not work for you either. Every previous attempt at developing some sort of running fitness base started out with me doing something like this:
1. Go out and run as long as I could until I was red in the face and people were asking me if I needed a doctor (no joke – this happened. A lot!)
2. Become too sore to move for the next five days.
3. Try to run again and feel miserable.
4. Develop shin splints.
5. Eat lots of ice cream.
6. Accept that I wasn’t cut out for running.
I don’t know what combination of things came together last spring to make this time different, but there are a few things that stand out in my mind that helped me through the inevitable hurdles I encountered on my journey to fitness.
I joined the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training to run the NYC Marathon. Yeah, signing up for a marathon my first time out of the gate was a little extreme. But I figured if I could stick with the training long enough to do the marathon, I could get myself in reasonably good shape. Having a team made the greatest difference between this attempt and any/all of my previous, short-lived attempts.
Joining a team was probably the single biggest factor that contributed to my ability to keep running almost a year later. I can’t stress this one enough and cannot say enough great things about my experience. Having a coached team gives you all sorts of resources, a training program, and teammates that will help you get through rough patches in your training. Having experienced coaches was also a huge factor in my successful running development. If something hurt, or I was nervous or intimidated, the coaches were there and were able to give me knowledgeable information and assurances that what I was experiencing was normal. Additionally, they gave me all sorts of tips and corrections on my form which made my workouts significantly more comfortable.
Secondly, find an attainable goal for yourself and commit to your training. People will tell you that if you want something badly enough, you will go after it regardless of the cost or obstacles. This is the key with developing a fitness base. You cannot cut corners and expect positive results. Additionally, when you know you have given 100% to something, you will feel proud and successful no matter what the ultimate outcome. I may have been the slowest person out there – and may days I was (there’s a reason I’m not writing about running FAST) – but I committed to every practice and worked my tail off to increase my fitness and make my training a permanent part of my life. Consistency is the key to developing any sort of habit, and running is no exception.
On the other hand, pushing every single workout to the point where you feel like you’re going to die is not productive. This is another area where having coaches really helped me. I enjoy pushing and challenging myself, but I had no idea how to train smartly to build a fitness base. I would have a tendency to skip rest days and push each workout until I hated it and felt too fatigued to move the next day. Looking back on it, it’s a wonder my coaches put up with me as much as they did. But I digress. If the day calls for 2-3 miles at a slow, comfortable pace, make that pace comfortable, even if it means staying at the back of the pack. (I’ll join you back there).
Which brings me to my next suggestion: start off with walk breaks. I trained for the marathon using a set of run/walk intervals. I would run for 3-4 minutes, then take a minute walk break. This was crucial to getting in mileage when I was not physically ready to run continuously. In addition, the walk breaks help prevent injuries. A common misconception with walk breaks is that they are easy and for recovery. While they do let your running muscles recover a little bit, in order to be productive, the walking has to be done at a fairly hard effort level. On the plus side, evidence is emerging that when done effectively, run/walk intervals can be effective in fat burning.
And finally, find something you enjoy about the workout. I can’t stress this enough, because there will be days when your workout sucks, or you just want to stay in bed an extra hour. Find friends to support you, fund a cause to believe in, get a chance to listen to music, write down how great you feel after a good workout, or find a small reward that motivates you. No matter how hard you work, it’s not going to stick if you can’t identify a reason to do it regularly. I kept a notebook where I wrote down every health benefit I was getting from regular exercise and every time I worked out, I would re-read all of the great things I was doing for myself, and reminded myself that I was worth it. Cheesy? Maybe (okay, extremely cheesy) but it really helps me remember why I am waking up in the morning to go for a run.
I hope these tips work for you as well as they have for me. Good luck, and if things get tough, remember the words of Confucius: “It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.”
Have you ever trained with a team?
Seasoned runners, what’s your best advice for newbies?


Colorful Vegetable Crescent Pizza {guest post from Learning Patience}

I feel especially lucky to have my good friend, Corey, guest posting for me today! She is the sweetest, nicest, most positive girl I know. Enjoy this yummy (and easy!) recipe, and definitely check out her blog to drool over her amazing life in Trinidad!

Hello Hungry Healthy Happy Readers!

I’m silly, a tad bit ridiculous but a ton of FUN!

I’m super excited to be guest posting for ­­­­­­­Melissa today.  
Melissa & I met thru blogging months ago and soon realized we were both originally from Michigan.  

i stole this from her…
 I started Learning Patience last June, when my life changed drastically.
My husband and I moved from Houston, TX to the beautiful island of Trinidad! 
Becoming an expat has been fun and exciting BUT it is definitely filled with plenty of “learning patience” moments. My blog is filled with a ton of recipes, tips on staying in shape and running, and lots of fun day-to-day stuff.
We became blog friends fast, so when she asked me, while on vacation in Steamboat, to guest post…all I could say was YES!  I jumped on the chance to help this lady out!  I mean, I would never have run my half marathon, if not for her.  
Melissa inspired me to train and complete my 1st half. It was scary, intimidating & seemed out of my reach, but somehow, she knew I could do it.  This story is a bitter sweet because I was supposed to come to Michigan next week (for the birth of my future niece/nephew) and while I was there…I was going to run my 1st 1/2 with herthen she got injured.  I prayed and hoped & pouted that she would be OK to run.  
As time went on, we both knew it wasn’t happening.  
So, 2 weeks ago, at 4:45 am in Trinidad, I woke up and ran.  
I ran because I could…and frankly…she couldn’t.  
I finished under 2 hoursmy goal.
My 1st Half Marathon – Done!
I would love to say that I would have become this amazing runner person by myself.  The truth is, I wouldn’t have.  I never would have thought that by starting my lil’ blog and meeting people from all over the world, they could and would inspire me to do things I never thought possible.  Next week, we finally get to meet in person – so fun! 

Let’s eat now, shall we?!?!
Here is one of my go-to party recipes – it’s easy and delicious and oh so colorful!

Colorful Vegetable Crescent Pizza
2 (8 ounce) packages refrigerated reduced fat crescent rolls 
1 cup low fat sour cream 
1 (8 ounce) fat free cream cheese, softened 
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt 
1 (1 ounce) package ranch dressing mix 
1 bunch green onion, 
1/2 red & yellow pepper, diced 
1/2 cups fresh broccoli, chopped 

Ready to Cook!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
Pat crescent roll dough into pan.
Let stand 5 minutes. Pierce with fork.
Bake for 10 minutes, let cool.
In a medium bowl, combine sour cream, cream cheese, garlic salt and ranch dip mix. 
Carefully spread this mixture on top of the cooled crust.
Arrange the onion, carrot, broccoli, bell pepper and broccoli on top of the creamed mixture. 
Cover and let chill. 
Once chilled, cut it into squares and serve.
Watch Disappear & Enjoy!

If I seem interesting…or you’re just hungry…
Hop on over and check it out….Learning Patience.
Thanks for having me!

Lacings {guest post from Fiterature}

Hi kids! I’m off big timing it (or not) in Washington, D.C. this week, so the lovely Megan of Fiterature has a fantastically fun guest post for you! If you haven’t read Megan’s blog yet, you’re going to want to check it out! She’s incredibly entertaining, and she’s pretty much BFF’s with Jillian Michaels since she used to work on The Biggest Loser. ;) Enjoy her post–I’m definitely trying these ideas when I finally start running again!
Hey Friends! A big thanks to Melissa for allowing me to guest post while she is out of town.  Melissa’s blog is one of the first I came across, and the first that I instantly connected with!  Melissa has such a positive outlook on life, is refreshingly honest, loves to lace ‘em up and hit the road (like muah!) and shares uh-mazing recipes.  What’s not to love, right?
You are probably wondering, “Who is this imposter on Melissa’s blog?”  Allow me to introduce myself!  I’m Megan! I am a writer, editor, designer and actor. I am a veggie, triathlete, wife, and lover of antiques, chapstick and jeggings. I’ve been annoying my friends and family with how to eat well and stay fit for years, and finally someone said “You should blog about this.” Which means: “Leave me alone and go bother someone else”. For once I listened, thus Fiterature was born. Fiterature is my place in the world to share what I’ve learned and give back to those who have made a difference in my journey.  I love to laugh, so my one promise is that Fiterature will never takes itself too seriously.  And I hope you don’t, either. (Not gonna lie – this description is pulled straight from the bloggy blog. Not feeling too creative today!)
80 s photo
A few months ago, I signed up for my first marathon – Chicago.  I’ve been putting in more mileage than I have in awhile, and have been uber conscious about staying healthy.  I have a long way to go until the race in October, and I’d like to make it in one piece.  So, I am paying attention to my nutrition, hydration, giving myself days off and trying out different lacings.
Lacings?  Whatcha mean?  Is that a new energy drink that’s laced with performance enhancing drugs?  No – I am way too unfamous for fancy drugs like that.  Lacing is simply that – how you lace your shoes.  New shoes, and even old faithfuls, can rub, chafe and cause pain in the wrong places. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to switch shoes.  You might just need to relace, enhancing the fit to your foot.
The three techniques below are the ones I use the most, because these problems seem to arise for me.  There are many more ways to tie your shoes – I found one website that boasts 37 different ways!  Um yea, you aren’t getting’ 37 outta me – sorry folks.
  1. My heel slides up and down, and I’m getting a blister: Tighten the fit around the ankle, not the entire shoe. Lace shoes like you normally would, leaving one eyelet empty at the top on each side. Instead of crossing the lace to the opposite eyelet, bring through the last eyelet on the same side . Repeat on other side. Cross each lace over the tongue, thread it through the opposite loop, tighten and tie. The loops help to cinch in the material around your ankle to prevent your heel from slipping without making the rest of your shoe any tighter.Technique 1ABC
  2. My shoes rub and bruise the top of my foot: Reduce the pressure on that part of your foot by “skipping” over it. Put your bare foot in the shoe.  Push gently on the top of your foot until you feel the trouble spot.  Wherever your finger is, the eyelets below it are the ones you are going to “skip”. Lace shoe until you reach the eyelet before the spot. Take the lace back under and pull it up through the next eyelet on the same side. Take the lace across and continue to lace as normal. Repeat this on the other side. You’ll have an empty spot on the tongue where no laces cross it, which should eliminate your pressure point.Technique 2ABC
  3. My toenails are turning black (yes, this happens!): Thread one end of the lace diagonally, lifting the toe box up an away from the nail. Thread one end of the lace through the eyelet next to your big toe. Pull the end of that lace up to the last eyelet on the opposite side, bringing the lace through to the outside. Leave just enough lace at the top to tie a bow. Take the remaining portion of the lace straight across the toes and through the eyelet opposite where you began. Zigzag all the way up the shoe, until all eyelets are laced.  When you pull on the outside lace, it will lift the material above your big toe up and off your nail.

Technique 3ABC

So don’t get discouraged if your brand new Brooke Pureflows (what what?!) are rubbin’ you the wrong way worse than the new coworker who keeps calling everyone babe and shooting finger guns.  Simply try out a few of these lace techniques, and those wheels will be ready for flip flop season in no time.
Double finger guns
Thanks again to Melissa for letting me hijack her page.  I hope you all learned something today and if NOT – when I was in junior high, my forehead was in serious danger of a unibrow. No joke.  Betcha didn’t know that, did you?! …..Anywho, stop on by my blog when the mood strikes for more fitness, food and fun!  Or just to say wazzzup.  People still say that, right?


Peanut Butter Banana Muffins {with Coconut}–and a comeback!

Big news!!!

I ran over the weekend! :D

On Saturday morning, I really wanted to do a “long run” on the elliptical because I’ve been worried about losing my endurance. I did 15 miles and sort of hated it–mostly because I’d rather be running, but I’ll spare you the woe is me rant about that. Anyway, after the 15, I decided I’d try running on the treadmill just to see how my back was feeling. I figured I’d set it at a slow, easy pace and just try for half a mile. After the half mile, I still felt decent, so I decided I could do a full mile. And after that, I still felt great, so I upped the pace a tiny bit (I know), and did another mile. Since I’m not a total lunatic (only a partial one), I knew I should stop after 2 miles, so I did. But the good news: no pain! And after: no pain! And because I’m a sap, I even got a little teary while I was running. Yes, I’m that girl on the treadmill at the gym crying tears of joy because I’m so happy to be running!!!

Totally normal behavior.

Anyway, I’m not back to 100% by any means, but I did another 2 miles this morning and felt ok. I’m going to keep my miles low and my pace slow–and there certainly won’t be running everyday right now, but I think I’m getting there.



Since I got my peanut flour, I’ve been chomping at the bit to put it to use. That happened the other day when I created some pretty stellar and decently healthy peanut butter banana muffins–with coconut. Oh, and chocolate chips. You know, just for good measure.

Peanut Butter Banana Muffins {with coconut}

Makes 6 muffins

2 ripe bananas, mashed

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 T. coconut milk (or any milk)

1/2 tsp. vanilla

3/4 cup peanut flour

1/4 cup coconut flour (or all purpose flour)

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cinnamon


1/4 cup chocolate chips

1/4 cup shredded coconut

Mix the bananas, applesauce, coconut milk, and vanilla in a small bowl until combined. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients (except chocolate chips and coconut) with a whisk, making sure to get all the clumps out of your flour. You could sift, but let’s be real. I don’t sift anything.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir just to combine, being careful not to over mix. Fold in the chocolate chips and coconut. Batter will be THICK.

Use 1/4 cup measure to transfer batter to a sprayed muffin tin. Bake muffins for 20-22 minutes at 400* or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


The peanut flour makes these muffins incredibly dense and moist. They taste totally decadent, but have fewer than 220 calories a piece and are packed with protein. If you left out your coconut and chocolate chips, they’d be even better for you.


I’m not going to lie: I’m pretty proud of these. Spectacular effort on my part! ;) Even Roo approves!


Check out the gooey-ness!


Yeah, you’re going to want to make these. A lot of stores are carrying gluten-free flours now, so you should be able to find peanut flour without too much trouble. Or, you can always order some from and use this code (AWO351) to get yourself a little discount!

I mean, don’t you want these in your life?


The answer is yes. Yes, you do.

I’m off to DC for the week, but I’ve got some fun guest posts lined up for you! I hope you enjoy them, have a wonderful week, and give my guest posters a little love!

Festoons & Flourishes

Last night, I got to have my first dinner on the deck of the year with Mom and Dad.

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Barbecued chicken,

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brussels sprouts with bacon, soy sauce, and red onion (!!!)

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and roasted potatoes.

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Oh, and wine. Always wine.

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Early spring makes this girl very happy. :)

I don’t have anything terribly exciting to report today. I’m working at home, tackling the mountain of laundry I’ve let pile up over the last 2 weeks (oops), and trying to decide when to see The Hunger Games this weekend. I feel like a super nerd for being this excited about a movie–especially one based on a young adult book series. But whatever. Apparently, I’m a 14 year old girl at heart. :)

If you have a moment or two today, take a look at my gorgeous and talented friend Ashley’s new Etsy site–Festoons & Flourishes.

Rose globe

Especially if you have a wedding coming up, you’re going to want to take a look! I’ve seen all of these pieces in person, and they are stunning! I love the bow bouquets, too! What a sweet keepsake of your wedding!

Bow bouquet

Much more attractive than the bows in the paper plate, dontcha think??? :D Plus, Ash is completely awesome to work with and would make you pretty much anything you could imagine! Check her out!

Have a great weekend!!!


Thursday Things

1. As I was ellipticalling (ellipting? ellipticizing?) this morning, I started thinking about how much I hate not running. I know what you’re thinking–bitter! Party of one!

Saving cry for help ecard someecards

So what. Not running? Totally and completely blows. I really am trying to stay positive, but I need injury season to be over. Even though I’ve had to give up my April marathon, I’ve got my eye on one in June. I’m starting to get a little concerned that if this situation doesn’t resolve itself soon, a June marathon won’t be in the cards, either. Which is unacceptable.

From you, I need this: whatever you believe in or don’t believe in, will you say a prayer or if you don’t do that send out some freakishly positive thoughts into the universe on my behalf? I need this injury to heal. I need run. I need to regain my sanity.

Thank you. :)

2. Early spring continues here in Michigan, which means I post annoying things on Facebook about the weather.

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It also means I get to have a beer and a snack out on my deck while my puppy plays in the yard.


Life doesn’t get much better than that.


(Oh, and you need to try the cauliflower chicken nuggets. For reals.)

3. The Clairisonic is life-changing.

Clarisonic mia pastels

Here’s where I sound like an infomercial: My pores are noticeably smaller, my skin noticeably smoother, my fine lines noticeably diminished. If you’ve been considering getting a Clairisonic but weren’t sure if it’s worth the money, I’m here to tell you: it is. Don’t walk–run to the store and pick one up. I’ve been using mine for 2 months, and it’s like I have a different face. Wait, that sounds weird. But you get what I mean, right?

4. Even better than the Healthy PB Banana Cookie is STUFT Mama’s No Bake Protein Cookie.


You’ll have to tolerate a slightly blurry photo, as I was too busy cramming this sucker in my mouth to bother with things like proper lighting. This is off the hook! (And I don’t say things like off the hook, so you know I mean it.)

5. I ordered a bunch of stuff from (where I got the amazinginess that is PB2).


Now I have to figure out what to do with it all. I find my choices somewhat odd, too. Well, really only the nutritional yeast.


I’ve had this exactly one time in my life. I was in 4th grade and went to my friend Alana’s house, where her hippy-ish parents were already on the vegan bandwagon way back in the late 80s. Nutritional yeast on our popcorn? Oh sure, I’ll try that! Aaaaand I hated it. Why would you ruin popcorn like that??? my 9 year old self wondered. So it makes perfect sense that I would mail order it in my adult life, right?

I also got a free sample of ginger tea, which was quite tasty!


And this thing:


It appears to be some kind of miniature shammy. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do with it. Polish my PB2 jars??? If anyone knows this item’s proper usage, feel free to share it with me.

(Oh, and if you’re ordering anyway, treat yourself to a discount for $10 off your iHerb order $40 order with my code! AWO351)

Stick a fork in me.

Whatcha got?