4 Years Strong

Four years.

The length of time we are in high school. The interval between the Olympic Games. The duration of a presidency in the United States. It’s a significant amount of time. Strong Like My Coffee and I have been at this blogging game for four incredible years today.

Girls Weekend Coffee Shop stronglikemycoffee.com

Imagine how much you grew and changed from your first day of freshman year to the day you graduated. The transformation through the four years of college is even greater. That’s how I feel about my four years of growing Strong Like My Coffee. What started out as a side project while I recovered from surgery has grown into a significant part of my daily life. I started with a cheap little point-and-shoot digital camera, and began learning to use the DSLR Canon (along with some iPhone photos when necessary). I still cringe when I read through my first recipes but I won’t delete or edit them. We never start off perfect!

Idaho Photography Stronglikemycoffee.com

I’ve never quite answered the question I pose every year: is it a blog birthday or a blog anniversary? Our annual celebration is called for regardless.But what kind?! I typically create a coffee-inspired recipe to share on July 27th. In this 100+ degree heat wave, I hardly felt like committing to a baking experiment. And we’ve been spending every free moment out and about, adventuring in our new state. A comfortable girl’s night in with my old stand-by healthy habits sounded pretty perfect for me. So that’s what we did. Boring isn’t how I can describe my life very often, so sometimes “boring” is very very appealing.

Sunset Walk Along Eagle Green Belt Stronglikemycoffee.com

My celebratory day included a typical trip to Target with my mom. We bought healthy snacks and makeup and some furniture for my next apartment. We listened to country music, drank green tea from a wine glass, and cooked a fresh and colorful clean meal.

Green Tea in a Wine Glass Stronglikemycoffee.com

Sweet Potato and Turkey Hash to be exact. It’s similar to my Bachelorette Stir Fry with a little extra veggies and lean ground turkey. Dicing up the vegetables and picking out the spices is relaxing. And I swear it’s much more fun to drink tea from a wine glass.

Healthy Sweet Potato Hash Recipe Girls Night In Blog Post Stronglikemycoffee.com

We watched episodes of Gilmore Girls and brewed decaf coffee and ate new limited edition chocolate chip cookie Oreos. To be honest I was not thrilled with a lot of their funky new flavors they rolled out this year. I actually had to throw away the Strawberry Shortcake and Cinnamon Roll Oreos. But these were a game changer and I consider the fact that I limited myself to just 3 cookies a very proud victory.

Choco chip Oreos Girls Night In Blog Post Stronglikemycoffee.com

I went to bed by 10 and even though nothing earth-shattering or Instagram-worthy occurred, it was a happy happy day.

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Judging by the amount of change and surprises that I have encountered over the past few years, who knows where I will be four years from now! I’ve lived in 3 different states in the past 4 years. I’ve had 4 different jobs. I’ve had…..well, I’m not going to say how many boyfriends ;) I’ve traveled to 7 new states. I’ve written nearly 400 blog posts. My plans for the future don’t really extend past October (and that’s only because I have a vague idea of what I want my Halloween costume to be…), but I think it’s safe to say that the blogging thing isn’t going anywhere for a while.

One of my running teammates has her eyes set on the 2020 Olympic Trials for the marathon. I’m definitely not publicly committing to the same goal…..but since we are training together, I won’t completely eliminate it from the realm of possibilities either. I’m open to whatever is in store! The past four years have strengthened me quite a bit. Obviously I’m hopeful that I won’t need to test my strength quite so much moving forward. But I think over all Strong Like My Coffee has given me a lot more than a public platform to preach my granola bar recipes through.

Eli Young Band Guinevere Song Quote | Stronglikemycoffee.com

Thank you for reading, thank you for following along, and CHEERS, FRIENDS! xoxo.

Surprise In the Middle of Nowhere

Yesterday was my 2 month anniversary of moving to Idaho. Some days it feels like I’ve been here forever and other days it feels like I just moved yesterday. I think you can tell that I’ve been making the most of my time here….Idaho has made quite the weekend warriors out of my family. Yesterday we celebrated with a breathtaking day trip to Shoshone Falls (with a new friend)!

Shoshone Falls Waterfall Selfie Stronglikemycoffee.com

Who knew that two hours through farmland and fields in the middle of absolutely nowhere would suddenly drop down to this – a massive canyon hiding these gorgeous waterfalls. You’d never expect it!

100 miles outside of Boise, after a loooooong stretch of open land, is the Snake River. It runs through a deep dark canyon with dozens of little waterfalls spilling out the sides. The Perine Bridge  crosses the canyon. It’s a popular base jumping spot, but the winds were too strong yesterday for jumping. Oh darn ;) 

Shoshone Falls Perine Bridge Idaho Stronglikemycoffee.com

On Sunday morning, my parents picked me up to drive out to Twin Falls for our day trip. I invited Shelby, a friend I met here in Idaho through an elite running team, She is equally as obsessed with long distance running, coffee, country music, and taking pictures as I am. We’ve run probably a total of 100 miles together already so we became fast friends!

Shoshone Falls Idaho Family Trip Stronglikemycoffee.com

The day before, Shelby and I headed out for our long run along the Boise River Greenbelt. Since my longest run of the year hovered around 10 miles, I didn’t intend to finish all 14 miles with her. I planned to drop off after 11-12 and stretch while she covered another couple of miles. But she talked me into running a little farther and my body felt good so I went for it. We ran 14 miles at a 7:35 average mile pace and were on a runner’s high for the rest of the afternoon!

Needless to say, Sunday was a welcomed rest day and the most exercise we got was a leisure walk around the rim of the canyon. With many stops for photos!

Shoshone Falls Snake River Lookout Stronglikemycoffee.com

There is a paved pathway along the rim, and we loved looking down on the paddle boarders and kayakers in the river. Next time, I would love to kayak in there. You would feel so tiny in that tall canyon. One chain link fence had started the “love locks” that have become so popular in touristy cities like Paris and New York. It’s got a little catching up to do ;)

Shoshone Falls Snake River Love Locks Stronglikemycoffee.com

The Shoshone Falls is about a 6 mile drive from the Perine Bridge and visitor center, so we decided to stop in town for iced coffees first. We ended up at the super cute place called Java and sat inside for a while.

Shoshone Falls Idaho Trip Coffee Stop at Java Stronglikemycoffee.com

In true vacation mode, we were too tempted by the homemade bakery counter and ordered a massive Morning Muffin that was so full of seeds, nuts, millet and citrus zest. The four of us split it and hope we can find a recipe to remake at home.

Shoshone Falls Idaho Trip Java Coffee Stronglikemycoffee.com

We headed off to the main event after our little sugar and caffeine boost, driving another six miles through rural farm land. We were wondering “how the heck is there going to be a massive waterfall out here?”

And then BOOM.

Shoshone Falls Idaho Vacation Stronglikemycoffee.com

Shoshone Falls is one of the largest natural waterfalls in the United States. It drops 212 feet into the Snake River, nicknamed the “Niagara of the West.” This is pretty late in the year, and apparently it is most powerful around May and June. But the view was stunning and we enjoyed the picnic lunch we packed with this view.

Shoshone Falls Snake River Idaho View Stronglikemycoffee.com

Summer fruit is THE BEST. I packed us a cooler with fresh pineapple, grapes and apples, some veggie & hummus sandwiches, and rice crisps. We laid out some beach towels on the grass and totally relaxed for an hour. That’s an easy thing to do in Idaho because it’s so quiet and peaceful.

(Until a ten-year old with a sling shot comes up trying to shoot a squirrel behind you…..)

Shoshone Falls Snake River Idaho Day Trip Stronglikemycoffee.com

Before we headed back to town, we stopped at Dierkes Lake. It was pretty crowded for how in-the-middle-of-nowhere it was. We were a little too full from lunch and nervous about “river monsters” to jump in yesterday. Shelby relocated to Idaho from California too with her husband and daughters, and we were saying the only thing we miss about the golden state is the beach. But I honestly like this lake and river life better. So we are perfectly happy here :)

Shoshone Falls Dierkes Lake Idaho Trip Stronglikemycoffee.com

Happy 2 months Idahoversary!

Shoshone Falls Idaho Waterfall View Stronglikemycoffee.com

Healthy College Girl’s Back-to-School Guide

College Girls Groceries - healthy convenient list for your next shopping trip so YOU can eat healthy on campus! (stronglikemycoffee.com)

My Packing for Dorm Life post has been, by far, my most popular on this blog. After four years, it still drives the most traffic to my site – 37% of you found Strong Like My Coffee by searching this topic or finding it’s link on Pinterest! After nearly half a million views, I quickly realized that my “Healthy College Girl” theme was resonating with a lot of my readers. Every single summer for the past four years, my blog’s page views sky rocket….the back-to-school preparation begins and my fellow healthy college girls seem to be researching healthy grocery guides, meal ideas, and tips for finding balance in college before heading off to school soon!

Study spot // my happy place (stronglikemycoffee.com)

I did the same thing. Pinterest was just getting popular right before my freshman year at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. I looked up dorm decorating ideas, ways to increase storage in tiny living spaces, tips on living with a roommate for the first time, and study tips. But what really interested me were the posts on avoiding the notorious Freshman 15, ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle and a social life as a freshman, and advice on fitness and nutrition as a busy college student.

Humphreys Friends

After a couple years as a student-athlete, a lot of what I learned was through trial and error and experience. I navigated my way through campus dining and the all-you-can-eat buffets. Sometimes I made my own healthy salad and other times I gave into Temptation Station…AKA the dessert cart, which was stocked up on every type of cookie, pastry, and donut along with a soft-serve ice cream bar.

Healthy Study Snack List from stronglikemycoffee.com

Some of the most important points I learned about prioritizing health in college:

  • Getting enough quality sleep affects your academic performance, your athletic performance, and the nutrition choices you make throughout the day. Oftentimes when we are tired, we crave instant sugary snacks to boost our energy. Quality sleep keeps your brain sharp, your muscles repaired, and your energy levels more stable.
  • Lose the “get my money’s worth” mentality in the dining halls. Quality over quantity.
  • Pre-plan your “treat” days. Completely restricting certain foods (like that ice cream bar) will most likely lead to a total binge when you’re having an off day. Planned indulgences will keep you from feeling deprived without totally going overboard.
  • It’s not just about diet and exercise; reducing stress is a major component of a healthy lifestyle. There are many stressors in college – roommates, finals, frat boys – which can have an impact on our motivation to workout and the foods we crave. Every finals week, I craved allll the sushi, macaroni and cheese, and frozen yogurt. :) Finding healthy ways to cope with stress is one of the biggest pieces of advice I can offer – one that I am still working on myself, one year post-graduation!
  • Alcohol and abs don’t mix. Not to sound like a buzz kill, but alcohol consumption has a drastic impact on our bodies. Beverages contain empty calories of carbs and sugars, but alcohol also has an inflammatory effect on the body. Moderation is key! I definitely enjoyed my 21st birthday and a few fun nights downtown, but I also happily volunteered to be designated driver and substituted fruity water. Balance!FullSizeRender(84)

 

I continued to post content relevant to this theme for the past four years. As I noticed my page views beginning to climb again last week, I thought I would put together a “Round Up” of my favorite Healthy College Girl themed posts in one spot. They are in order of my personal favorite! Each link will open in a new tab :)

College Girls Grocery Guide for eating healthfully on campus from stronglikemycoffee.com

Hopefully you found something helpful here! It’s been a year since I graduated. Now that I’m living 1,000 miles from “home” with a brand new marketing job and real life responsibilities, I feel like I have to “re-learn” my own healthy habits. Post-grad life is mostly just figuring it out through trial and error. Figuring out how to balance the normal adult chores and errands, work, enough sleep, healthy meals, workouts, play time, and whatever surprises come up. Having a supportive family with similar goals certainly helps. Surrounding yourself with positive people is probably one of the most important components of your health.

Disney girls (stronglikemycoffee.com)

Let me know what other kinds of content you’d like to see, or any healthy tips of your own! Tomorrow marks my two-month anniversary of moving to Idaho and we have an epic day adventure planned. Full recap on Monday! :)

XOXO Kenz.

 

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