Chunky Monkey DeLites

Yesterday morning I dropped my mom off at the airport at 5:20am. She always picks the earliest flight so I was prepared for the dark drive. Since the airport is so close to my work and I don’t have strict hours, I decided to just start my workday at 6:00am. I had a thermos full of coffee and actually opted for no music instead of my usual morning country. The office was practically empty and so quiet, it was kind of nice. I did hit a wall around 1pm and fueled up with some apple slices and peanut butter. I had a gym workout that night that I wanted to be energized for! It’s always a little more difficult for me to run in the evening than first thing in the morning. That’s why this morning I planned a 5:00am treadmill session, logging 5.85 miles during the morning news before the sun came up.

 On my lunch hour, I drove one block to the mall to walk a lap and stop at GNC for my favorite Quest bars. (Always nice to give the eyeballs a break from the computer and move the legs!) This little guy (I just assume it’s a boy) was sitting so patiently in the truck next to me, I wanted to hug him! So I just took a picture instead. So serious :)

Gorgeous austrailian shepherd | Stronglikemycoffee.com

 Dinner was a quick salad that we threw together with leftovers, made fancy with avocado and feta and blueberries.

 Colorful Healthy Summer Salad | Stronglikemycoffee.com

But I’m really here to share dessert!

Chunky Monkey Ben & Jerry’s is tempting but I had more than my fair share of ice cream in the last couple of weeks of school. The compromise: frozen banana slices with PB Fit and mini chocolate chips.

 Chunky Monkey Delites --> Frozen banana poppers with pb fit & mini chocolate sprinkles | Stronglikemycoffee.com

PB Fit and other similar powdered peanut butters dehydrate the peanut by squeezing out the oils, thus removing about 90% of the fat content. Yes, fats from nuts are healthy and I enjoy regular nut butters regularly! But sometimes when using peanut butter for dessert or extra treat, it is helpful to reduce the calorie and fat content. Plus I genuinely like the flavor and the texture of the powdered pb. I used one large ripe banana, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter powder mixed with 1.5 tablespoon of water, and 2 tablespoons of mini chocolate chips; this dessert is 2 servings at approximately 160 calories each.

 Healthy Frozen Dessert  Chunky Monkey DeLites  Stronglikemycoffee.com

I sliced the bananas and laid them out on a plate, mixed together the peanut butter powder and water and measured out the chocolate chips. I put a little dab of peanut butter on each banana slice and sprinkled a couple of chips on each. Then I popped the plate in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes until the bananas were slightly frozen. *Best enjoyed with an episode of Grey’s Anatomy while I try to play catch up with my Hulu account. (When I logged in for the first time in a while last week, I had over 70 episodes in my queue! Someone missed the entire season of the Voice #sadday)

Since I had to walk to the store after dinner to buy the bananas, the 2 mile trek nearly cancelled out the calories from the treat. Victory! I’m a little tired from the past couple of 4:20am wake up calls and I have another one coming tomorrow so I’m turning in early tonight. Goodnight!

Style Upgrade: DIY Decorations

Now that life has slowed down a bit since graduation weekend, I’m finally feeling “at home.” I guess I underestimated the mental exhaustion that comes with moving, starting a new full-time job, and getting back into full on workouts (which means 5:00am gym sessions!) I also squeezed in a Mother’s Day celebration, a baseball game with my dad, and a much-needed trip to the salon. By Thursday, my brain was in a fog and I felt totally off. About twelve hours of sleep the next night seemed to hit the “reset” button and by Saturday I felt rested again :)

Just 9 months ago, I was blogging about my bright and newly-decorated apartment in Flagstaff. I will miss that room….paying a little bit extra for the master bedroom, private bath and walk-in closet was one of the best decisions of senior year. Hah! I’ve moved out and moved on, and decided that my “style” should mature with my personality. Out with the clothespin collage and $8 Target mirror! Ellie, my 22-year old stuffed elephant, is here to stay though.

Style Upgrade  my grown up room  Stronglikemycoffee.comSo far, post-grad life is pretty sweet :) I started my full-time job on Tuesday, and I am so lucky and grateful to be working for a company that has been flexible with my schedule. If you are a long-time reader, you know I have been traveling to New York several times each year for treatments on my venous malformation. I am able to take time off of work for my New York trips as well as a couple other summer vacations I have planned, but I’m also able to work remotely from my company laptop if I choose.

Since the stress of finals week is over, that means I’ve also pumped the exercise back up. Man it feels good to run! I love running for the fun of it and especially when the weather is as gloomy as it has been. I’m savoring the overcast days since I know I’ll be craving them in the next couple of months! In addition to regular running/gym sessions, my mom and I downloaded the Alexa Jean Fitness Sore to the Core guide. It’s a 30-day guide with ab exercises in a HIIT format. This morning’s workout killed (burpees, planks, jackknives, flutters, whew!) and we’re only on Day 8….excited to see some improvement!

All of this was a long round-about way to share my new room decor with you. As promised, this blog has expanded to include more “domesticated” content. My mom surprised me with some beautiful decorations for my room, which are pretty dang Pinterest-worthy if you ask me!  I absolutely love the pieces she added, from the handmade Scrabble letter coasters to the glitter-dipped vases.

Simple Country Bedroom decor | Stronglikemycoffee.comThat watering can! For the gold glitter-dipped vases, she wrapped painters tape around middle of the glass. Next, use a paint brush to brush on Modge Podge. Roll or dip the vase in fine glitter, then paint Modge Podge over the glitter again. Remove the painters tape, fill with sand, and stick in your flowers.

Scrabble Letter Coasters and Candle  Stronglikemycoffee.comThe coasters require sacrificing a Scrabble game. We happened to have three so no real loss there.

Buy pre-formed square cork pads and plan out 4 four-letter words for each coaster. First, glue the sides of the letters together with super glue. Then glue the backs of the letters on to the cork padding. Lastly, cover the letters with Modge Podge

Inside an antique-looking birdcage, she staged three candles with little platforms so the heights vary. It looks very “country” and feminine which fits my style. The matching picture frame is filled with an Etsy design of a quote I love: “She turned her can’ts into cans and her dreams into plans.”

Birdcage decoration candle centerpiece | Stronglikemycoffee.com

Candle and picture frame with quote | Stronglikemycoffee.comAs you can tell, I’m addicted to candles. My two roommates in the Flagstaff apartment loved to fry up sausage, bacon and eggs every day. Needless to say, my window was permanently open and candles were constantly burning. My favorite flavors are the subtle nature ones like pine, lemon, and jasmine. My next project is to spruce up my book cases. I just boxed up about 75 books to donate to clear up space for more…..but the picture below is after I “cleared space” so it looks like I better work a little more on that ;)

Bookshelf and room decor | Stronglikemycoffee.comAnd now time for another favorite summer treat….reading new novels!

XOXO Kenz

Flipping the Tassle

On Friday afternoon, in between freak hail storms, I graduated from Northern Arizona University.

The ceremony was perfect, as was the celebration with my family afterwards. It still hasn’t hit me yet that I’m not a “student” and I won’t be going back to school. So much chaos in the last four days has kept me quite distracted :)

Within 48 hours, I took my last final exam, welcomed my parents to Flagstaff, walked in the graduation ceremony, celebrated with my family, packed and cleaned my apartment and moved out of state.

Graduation Cap Decoration  Stronglikemycoffee.comMy graduation cap reads “Smarter, Stronger, Older, Blonder” (than I was 4 years ago.) Most of the girls in my graduating class had decorated their caps and I was so impressed with the creativity! Unlike high school ceremonies, we get to sit next to our friends during the ceremony so I met up with my marketing buddies before we walked. Thanks to social media, we were encouraged to add #NAUgrad to any pictures we posted which would be displayed on the jumbotron. My selfie with the parents made its 5 seconds of fame! ;)

Graduate and my mom  Stronglikemycoffee.comI am indescribably grateful to my parents for their support. Not only have they blessed me with being able to graduate debt-free, but they have been my constant cheerleaders, best friends and source of encouragement. My mom and dad pushed me to train for a marathon and apply for opportunities I considered out of my league. They welcomed me home when I needed a weekend of love. They traveled to my track races in Flagstaff, Phoenix, and California. They listened to me vent, and they were the first people I called with any exciting news.

There is no way to fully express my appreciation for the sacrifices they have made for my college education. But I know how fortunate I am to have been raised by such generous, compassionate, supportive people. I love you so much, Mom & Daddy! (They are my biggest blog fans, too ;) )

Graduation celebration  Stronglikemycoffee.comImmediately after exiting the dome, Flagstaff decided to welcome the Class of 2015 with a dramatic hail storm. What can you do but laugh?! It can rain on my parade but it couldn’t stop me from smiling! Graduating in the hail | Stronglikemycoffee.comPost-graduation activities included brewing a fresh pot of coffee, putting on slippers, and beginning to fill cardboard boxes until our stomachs were growling. My mom, dad and I had a long delicious dinner, starting with a Pomegranate Mojito. We shared a smoked salmon appetizer and I picked a shrimp and scallop pasta dish (something far from my norm!) We were definitely too full for dessert, a very rare situation for us ;)

Honestly I was just trying to absorb the feeling of pride from completing my four years of college. I just wanted to soak the moment in before getting too carried away with “what comes next.” 24 hours after the ceremony, I was 200 miles down the road.

Congratulations to the Class of 2015!

XOXO Kenz

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