Impulse Buys: Breaking the Habit

Confession; I’m an impulse buyer. In my job I teach tactics to navigate the grocery store to save time and money. In real life I’ve been wasting time taking 2-3 trips to the grocery store per week sometimes buying foods I don’t need on impulse. This week my goal is to set this unhealthy habit straight, create a grocery list and ban myself from the store the rest of the week. Think I can do it?

intention

Yea, I’m not so sure about the banning part but I’m going to try. To help me out I’ve already started my list…

grocery list

I recently got motivation to tackle this issue in my life after reading a report from The Center for Science in the Public Interest entitled “Sugar Overload: The Retail Checkout Promotes Obesity”. The report suggests checkout lines encourage unhealthy decisions that contribute to our nation’s obesity problem. It is based on a study done in one city that examined the checkout aisles across a range of store types. While purchases are a personal choice this report shows the industry and our enviroment at large are not helping us out.  Two thirds of our population is overweight or obese, food availability plays a large role in our food choices, and the presence of unhealthy foods near the register increases our likelihood we will buy and consume unnecessary calories.

How many times you grabbed something in the checkout aisle? What if you learned 90% of those items are unhealthy? …Just something to think about! You can overcome an unhealthy manipulative enviroment by making lists, heading to the self checkout, and some serious mental pep talking!

In efforts to abstain from an unnecessary trip to the grocery store I created a new recipe that is genius. I call it: French Onion Kale.

French Onion Kale

french onion kale 1

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups kale, chopped and washed
  • 1 15 oz can of Campbell’s French Onion Soup

French onion kale

Directions:

1. Heat stove stop to medium

2. Pour soup into a medium fry pan and stir

3.. Add Kale and saute for 5 minutes!

Enjoy :)

(you could add mozzarella or fresh onions too :))

 

5 Ways to Show Up Every Morning

Sometimes just showing up is tough. We all have those days when we want to pull the covers over our head and beg our dream world to let us back in. I know I do, In fact, I had one of those mornings today. Sure, we’ve all heard the line “if you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life”, but even if you are lucky enough to love your job it doesn’t mean you’re enthusiastic and energetic every damn day of the week. My job is rewarding but some days I’d rather sleep in, drink lattes, and do yoga all day…just saying. But I can’t and neither can most of you so here’s some suggestions to remember when you need to bring your best to a day you’d rather fast forward through.

  1. Exercise in the Morning- Okay, this may sound crazy to some who are struggling to roll out of bed and make it to work but working-out in the morning will give you more energy for the day. It will also give you some time to yourself before you go and give your time to your job. Plus, you may even get to catch the sunrise. IMG_2038
  2. Eat Breakfast- If nothing else gets you out of bed in the morning then let some warm toast with creamy peanut butter and fresh bananas call your name. You will start to look forward to your mornings if you associate them with delicious foods.

IMG_2384

  1. Write down three motivational quotes- Call me lame but I find when I searchPinterest formotivation in the morning I walk out the door feeling more empowered for the day. Whatever you’re working on, confidence, work ethic, dreaming, overcoming loss, find quotes and write them down.
    1. “Optimism is the one quality more associated with success and happiness than any other.” – Brain Tracy
    2. The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. –Amelia Earhart
    3. Eighty percent of success is showing up. –Woody Allen
  1. Play music- Put your favorite artist on Pandora in the morning and see if it doesn’t change your mood. Music has the power to impact our emotions so let it in the morning when you need it the most.

  1. Put on your cutest outfit- You need your best outfit on the days you feel like strutting to work in sweat pants and hoodie. If you feel tired inside don’t show it. If you get up and dress up you’ll feel more confident and set yourself up for a better day.

show up

 

 

Skinny Pumpkin Pecan Bread

My less that ideal Half Marathon performance yesterday encouraged a new intensity in my marathon training. I woke up early this morning and swam laps for the first time in over 6 months. The last time I swam laps it was because injuries eliminated every other form of exercise I could do. I associated the swimming with injury and resented it. Today perfectly healthy, I swam to improve my oxygen carrying capacity and found a new joy in the sport. I  swam 750 yards with the intention to increase my distance with each swim.

laps

After I left the pool it was time to get my Sunday baking in! I haven’t made pumpkin bread all season and it’s about time I whipped some up. If you’re looking for a low-fat, flavorful, seasonal bread read on!

Skinny Pecan Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ¾ cup almond milk
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice

Directions: 

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  • Spray a bread pan with pam
  • mix all ingredients together in a bowl until smooth

Pumpkin Bread Batter

  • Bake for 50-55 minutes
  • Let cool for 25 minutes and enjoy!

DSC01102

IMG_3450

The Baltimore Running Festival Half Marathon Recap

IMG_3450

This morning I struggled through my slowest half marathon to date. I finished in 1:51, 20 minutes slower than my PR, 1:31. I would be lying if I said I was happy with my time but I’d also be lying if I told you I was mad at myself for it. The weather was perfect, I trained past 13 miles (in preparation for the Richmond Marathon Nov 16th), and I had no injuries to slow me down. It was just a bad race. They happen.  Note: When I say it was a bad race I’m talking about my performance, not the event or my overall experience. I have absolutely no complaints about those, thanks to the Bearnarth Sisters, Lauren (ran too) and Paige (our number one driver). The Baltimore Running Festival was well-organized, the expo was easy to navigate, and who doesn’t love Under Armor race shirts? Plus, I had a great time pre and post race running into friends and chatting it up with Lauren and Paige!

Amy and Lauren

(Lauren and I post race…she killed it!)

Paige and Laure

(Paige and Lauren post race…Paige and her boyfriend (not picture) get the fan award)

With that said, I’ve been deconstructing the events that lead up to the race so I don’t make any of the same mistake in Richmond on Nov 16th.

The Food: I tried not to change my eating habits the day before in preparation for the race. I eat a balanced diet and I wasn’t fretting about 13 miles. Next time I will fret.

Friday’s Breakfast: Wouldn’t change it had protein, carbs, and fiber.

breakfast 1

Lunch: Wouldn’t change a thing, a great combination of complex carbs, protein, and healthy fats!

Lunch

 

Dinner: Now this I would change! A huge salad topped with feta and two thin slices of tortilla makes a great dinner most nights of the week but I can do better pre-race. Looking back It was probably too much fiber, too much saturated fat, and too little carbohydrates for an ideal pre-race dinner.

Dinner

Saturday Morning Breakfast: If I could go back, I’d skip the almond butter. I’ve found that the fat slows me down a bit and is better for post race recovery.

satbreakfast1

The Sleep: I went to bed at 11:30pm and woke up at 5:00am, clearly not ideal. For Richmond I will be in bed by 10:00pm mark my words. I’m aiming for at least 6 hours!

Training the week before: If I could guess which one aspect of today affected my performance the most it would be the training. Last Sunday I ran a 16-mile training run and never really gave my body time to recover. I ran everyday this week. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, I ran 3-4 miles and did some yoga. On Thursday I ran 6 miles at an intense pace and did some leg work…big mistake. During the race my legs were heavy and fatigued. Learning my lesson, I’ve decided the week before Richmond I’m going to stick to yoga and swimming in the 5 days leading up to the event.

Conclusion: First and for most, I’m grateful to run injury free. Focusing on performance is a gift my health allows. I’m proud of my body for running 13.1 miles at a fast pace even if I have bigger goals.  Some people might get discouraged having a slow half marathon while training for a full one but not me. I’m fired up. I have work to do and I thrive on that. Stay posted for updates on my training for Richmond!

find a remedy

Pumpkin-Spice Protein Smoothie

Pumpkin-Spice Protein Smoothie

It took three cups of coffee and an obnoxious alarm to rip me out of bed at 4:40am yesterday. I needed time to wake up before my 6am personal training appointment. I both dreaded and anticipated the session but the trainer stood me up. Not the best way to start a rainy Tuesday morning. I had two choices, get angry and raise hell with the poor front desk girl or shrug it off and try for a decent workout on my own. I went with the latter. I mean I still made it to the gym at 6am right? Plus, the front desk girl was nice and works at 6am.

kindness

When I got home after a poor excuse for a an arm workout I decided to think happy thoughts like this Pumpkin-Spice Protein Smoothie…

Pumpkin-Spice Protein Smoothie

Ingreidents: 

  • 3 Tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 1 Tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 3-5 ice cubes
  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk

Directions: Blend, drink, smile. Oh and top with Pumpkin-Spice Granola 

How do you deal with a let down? Better question, How do you deal with a let down at 6am?

 

White Bean and Mushroom Soup

Roasted White Bean and Mushroom Soup

Happy Monday because those can happen…sometimes ;)

Last week I struggled to get out of bed to workout in the morning. Missing my am workout throws my whole day off. Even 20 minutes of a sluggish jog on the treadmill makes me feel better about myself. Fall is a funny time for working out. On one side the air is crisp, cool, and better for running. On the other side, it’s dark when I wake up and dark when I get home from work, a less open and more intimidating expanse to run through. I miss the sun waking me up in the morning and inviting me on a run after work. Determined to make this week better, I turned to quotes to get me moving.

Three quotes for workout motivation:

  1. Wake up with determination. Go to bed with satisfaction.
  2. Every morning you have two choices: Continue to sleep with your dreams or wake up and chase them.
  3. If you are persistent you will get it, if you are consistent you will keep it.

Don’t get me wrong. I am far from a Fall hater. I LOVE fall weekends. Yesterday, I hit a 16 mile training run for the Richmond Marathon and the weather was perfect, cool and sunny!

16 miles

Plus who could hate on a season that brings savory soups, warm oatmeal and pumpkins. I’ll survive. In fact last week I made a White Bean and Roasted Mushroom Soup that I’ve been dying to share. It’s creamy without any cream, savory and flavorful. Basically you should give it a try. You won’t be sorry.

White Bean & Roasted Mushroom Soup

White Bean and Mushroom Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ (15.5 oz) Cans of cannelloni or Navy Beans
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh rosemary
  • 8-10 stems + 1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme
  • 16 oz of fresh mushrooms, halved or quartered
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 24 oz of vegetable broth
  • 2 Table spoons of olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups fresh kale

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Toss mushrooms in olive oil and roast on a baking sheet for 10 minutes

DSC01068

  1. Toss chopped garlic, onion, rosemary leaves, stems of thyme in olive oil and roast on a baking sheet for 10 minutes, toss and roast for 15 more minutes

DSC01070

  1. While vegetables are roasting, add broth, beans, salt, pepper, kale,  thyme leaves, and a few more rosemary leaves to a large pot and simmer on medium heat.

DSC01069

  1. Remove vegetables from the oven and let cool.
  2. Add 1 cup of broth and 2 cups of beans from the pot to a blender with the roasted onions, garlic, and thyme stems. Blend until smooth.
  3. Add the blender contents and mushrooms back to the pot, stir and serve!

Close up soup

New Blog, New Distance, New Drink, New Things

Notice anything different around here?

Yup, Up Early With Amy got a big-girl makeover. Transferring my blog from wordpress.com to a self-hosted site with wordpress.org was on my To-Do list for a long time. I finally checked it off the list! My decision to switch platforms is another story for different day but in general a self-hosted site allows a blogger more freedom than wordpress.com. You may notice a few more tabs up top, I’ve shared my running story, writing resources, and inspirational blogs/websites.  My recipe page is jazzed up now too so check it out.

However, with freedom comes complication so things got a bit tricky. I didn’t have access to my site for three days and I freaked out just a little. When they say transferring a domain name can take 72 hours, they mean transferring a domain name can take 72 hours. Patience is not my best virtue. No fear, I’m back to catch you up on the part of my weekend that was not spent behind the screen.

When I wasn’t blogging it up at Starbucks I was running…

14 mile run

 

The Richmond Marathon is right around the corner (Nov. 16th) and long runs in my training plan are starting to take chunks out of my weekend. I ran Sunday morning at my favorite trail in the DC area.  It was 55 degrees, the air was crisp and cool, the perfect weather for a long run. The run started off a bit rocky but by the 5th mile I developed a rhythm and the rest of the 2 hour run flew by. I was exhausted and dehydrated when I finished. I lose a lot of salt when I run so refueling on electrolytes and simple carbs is critical. Coconut water and bananas are rich in potassium and peanut butter has plenty of sodium so I came home and formed my version of a this coconutwater-chocolate recovery drink.

Chocolate Coconut Recovery Smoothie

Chocolate Coconut Recovery

Ingredients:

  • 1 Frozen Banana
  • 1 cup light vanilla soy milk
  • 1 chocolate Zicos coconut water
  • 3-5 ice cubes
  • 1 Tbsp special dark coco powder
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter

Directions: Blend it all together and enjoy!

Exhausted, I downed my smoothie and spent much of my Sunday in bed reading until my parents came over to my apartment to hang the new wine rack my dad made me #spoiled.

wine rack polaroid

 

My weekend extended when my sister Katie hooked us up with Dream Seats to the Monday night Redskins game. My boys lost but we won’t go there. It was an awesome time considering that’s the closest I’ve ever been and probably will ever get to the Redskins field.

skins car

redskins dream

What’s your choice recovery fuel after a long run?

Molly is 21st Adventure in Savannah

Happy Friday! The excitement of the weekend has put a new pep in my step. It’s about time I attempt to do justice to Molly’s 21st Birthday weekend in Savannah, Georgia. Molly loves traveling adventures so she demanded a “destination 21st” birthday celebration #diva.

IMG_3358

Not that she had to do much begging. The orginal plan was New Orleans but she settled on somewhere she could drive to from her school in North Carolina. She picked Savannah, so we headed to the Southern City and the love story began. In Molly’s words “Savannah just does everything right”.

walking on river street

So let’s begin..

Katie and I arrived late Friday night around 12ish and met up with Molly and her two friends Ashley and Kate at a bar/club called 51 Degrees. It wasn’t quite our scene (if you’re into dancing and clubs it’s for you) and we ended up at country bar called Saddle Bags. We danced and did the types of things you do when you celebrate a 21st birthday in a bar.

Eventually we made it back to the hotel around 3-4 am…some of us on foot some not so much. Naturally we slept in and the started the day off with brunch at a place Molly found, B. Matthews. She picked the right place because Joe Manganiello and Sofia Vergara happened to wander in for brunch right after us. I don’t watch True Blood or Modern Family so I had a tough time getting excited. Not Molly, it pretty much made her and her friend Kate’s life.

Of course they got a photo…

Joe Mangnellip

After the star struck brunch ended we headed to explore the town. We walked along the famous River Street and some other streets. We came across a lot of neat shops.

IMG_3338

sisters

Funny Hats border

We found a peanut shop which was perfect because Molly is a peanut butter addict. The shop had all different flavored peanuts and we spent a while walking around trying them all.

Molly and peanuts

peanut shop

Then after we filled up on peanuts we headed to one of the biggest candy stores I’ve ever been in (no lie), Savannah’s Candy Kitchen on River Street.  There was a taffy machine, fresh cookies baking, huge candy apples and bins of all kinds of candy #sigh. It would give Willie Wonka a run for his money. Katie, Molly , and Kate got LARGE ice cream cones that none of them could finish.

IMG_3330

IMG_3324

IMG_3337

IMG_3331

IMG_3335

IMG_3333

Saturday night we took one of our cab driver’s suggestions and ate at a Resturant called the Old Pink House. We got all dolled up for this one.

Pink-House-Exterior-850x1400

IMG_3362

I ordered a Strawberry and a goat cheese salad with a side of fried green tomatoes because my waitor insisted I tried the fried green tomatoes. He was right they were aweome. However, I had major food envy when Molly ordered Sweet Potato Ravioli with Pecan Cream Sauce.

IMG_3354

IMG_3355

IMG_3353

We spent Sunday similar to Saturday, shopping, dining and exploring. Savannah has beautiful willow trees I couldn’t get enough of. I was also surprised by how artistic and creative the atmosphere was. The Savannah School of Art and Design is in the heart of the city and you can tell its been touched by the artists that have passed through.

Market Wine Glasses Chandelar

Savannah Williows

Sunday night we ate at a restaurant called The Shrimp factory. The food was just okay until dessert. The waitor with all his southern gentlemeness, asked Molly if he could make her dessert (I mean who does that?). Despite being full she accepted and he rolled out a stove top and prepared her a Banana Foster on the spot #swoon. It was AMAZING!

IMG_3373

By Monday morning I was craving an outdoor run and woke up early to explore the city in my favorite way. It was rainy but I ran down Bay Street, around to Broughten street and back on River street snapping pictures and enjoying my last moments in the city. Overall, it was an amazing weekend. If I had to pick some adjectives for Savannah I’d go with mystical, artistic, charming, and laid back. If it’s not on your travel bucketlist it should be!

IMG_3389 IMG_3390

IMG_3375IMG_3393City Hall

Wandering the Web

Wandering the Web

 

 

I planned to share a post about my my little sister, Molly’s , 21st birthday celebration in Savannah last weekend but I’ve been tired and in a bit of a funk so it will have to wait….

Funny Hats border

 

For now I just need an escape. To get high on something that drags me away from the present and causes me to think beyond my reality. Sorry Buddha, the present has always been elusive. Plus, it’s Thursday and who doesn’t need a few a words of wisdom to make it to Friday. Here’s where I’ve been lingering lately…

 

For the  Creative in you…

  1. Elizabeth Gilbert: Your Elusive Genius- Ted Talks
  2. Kirby Ferguson: Embrace the Remix – Ted Talks

Four the Soul…

  1. I will not be the Mother of a Mean Girl- Blogher

On finding passion…

  1. How to Survive Your 9-5 When its not Your Dream Job- Mind Body Green

For the Body…

  1. 10 Inspiring Quotes for Exercise Motivation this Fall- The Huffington Post
  2. 20-Minute Tabata Travel Workout – Nutrition Nut on the Run
  3. What Taking a Barre Class is Really Like – The Thought Catalogue

For your Tummy…

  1. Sweet Apple and Fig Cheese Sandwiches – Bean a Foodie
  2. Oatmeal Raisin Energy Bites- Fannetastic Foods
  3. Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Soup- Avocado Pesto

For your Entertainment…

  1. “Not That Kind of Girl” – Lendunham.com
  2. Eleven-year-old Taylor Hatala Learned this Dance in an Hour -Ellentv.com