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Happy Healthy Home

My two years of shared-bedrooms are over and gone. (Sharing isn’t natural for us only-children!) Over the summer, I took to Pinterest to plan out my own room in my new apartment. I hopped on the Chevron bandwagon and got some sunflowers & picture frames to brighten up the place. I wasn’t expecting so much space and white walls to fill though! My 4″x6″ pictures take up barely any space on the walls! So I plan on replacing them with some 8″x10″ pictures and adding these little frames to my nightstands. :) happy room! (stronglikemycoffee.com)

At the beginning of the week, I didn’t look forward to returning to my apartment. It was empty and quiet, it didn’t feel like mine, and I missed my home. Living by myself is not something that appeals to me, so even just a temporary few days was hard. Slowly over the week I got more comfortable, especially knowing that my roommates were coming soon and my parents would be back with the rest of my stuff.

Your living situation can affect your mood. If you come home to a place with bare walls, a dirty floor, dark lighting or no reminders of home then you can become sad and detached. Oppositely, a room that fills you with energy, reflects your personality and has a homey-quality with the addition of some personal accents can brighten your mood and make you feel more comfortable.

My room is reflective of the mood I want to be in: bright and happy. After a day of classes, cross country workouts and studying I want to be able to relax and feel comfortable. This apartment is an anti-stress zone: Sunflowers are gorgeous and candles smell amazing. Music is relaxing. We’ve got plenty of fruit, fresh air, good views of the pine trees, friends right next door. And Ellie, my stuffed elephant since 1993. :)

Yellow room (stronglikemycoffee.com)Third time around, we are professional at the whole moving-in process, and my room was set up pretty smoothly. Thanks to rubber-maid bins, 3M tape and command hooks :) Yesterday the student-athletes of our school worked 4-hour shifts at the freshman residence halls to unload cars and help any first-timer parents figure out how on-campus living works. Adding to the chaos was some on-and-off rain. Thanks Mama Nature!

After the madness of Freshman Move In Day  my teammates and I got together to cook dinner and check out the Welcome Back concert on one of the grassy lawns on campus.

Concert night (stronglikemycoffee.com)

I really only cared about seeing The Maine. I’ve seen them three times now…once in 2009 when they opened for Cobra Starship and Boys Like Girls. Then again last summer at a show they headlined in SoCal. Fun fact! The singer John’s little brother moved into our school yesterday!

The Maine (2012)

The Maine Concert, 2012

It’s currently raining, has been since I woke up. I love it. We run rain or shine, so at 7am I threw on my white running hat and embraced the weather for our team long run. We headed out on some trails for a 12-miler, jumping over plenty of puddles until our shoes were so drenched we just ran through them.

Fortunately my new “happy healthy” home had a coffee pot waiting for me post-run. ;)

Back To School Round-up

Back to School Fever has struck! If you’re like me, the fast-approaching school year has you anxiously making lists, weeding out the closet and spending way too much time in the accessories section at Target.

Back to school fever: the unavoidable desire to buy all new clothes, shoes and school supplies to go with the start of a new school year. Symptoms include drastic hair change, makeover, newly-bronzed skin and compulsory purchases of way too many post-its and puppy folders.

This Back to School Round-up includes past (and perhaps forgotten) blog posts of recipes, workouts and college tips that you might find useful as you prep for school!

1.) Homemade Granola Bars:

Make these for you and your roommates….instant friends :) Or send this recipe to your Mom for a future *hint hint* care-package idea.

Butterscotch Pumpkin Granola Bars:

Butterscotch Pumpkin Granola Bars from stronglikemycoffee.com

If you’re a fan of Nature Valley granola bars, you’ll adore these homemade version that take the processed out of the breakfast or snack. Pumpkin + Butterscotch = magic. We made them for a hiking trip to The Bridge to Nowhere but agreed they are best with a hot cup of coffee for breakfast or dessert :)

2.) Healthy Alternatives to Favorite Snacks:

When you’re stocking your fridge, look out for healthy swaps around the grocery store. Lots of your favorites like trail mix, peanut butter and chips can be replaced with something just as yummy but with at least half the sodium/trans-fat/sugar/calories.

Healthy Grocery Swaps: Healthy Grocery Swaps - mac n cheese vs string cheese (stronglikemycoffee.com)

No rule says that just because you’re in college you must sacrifice good food for Top Ramen ;) And if you’re going to be shopping for food & snacks to keep in your dorm/apartment, you might want to check out the College Girls’ Grocery Guides:

College Girl Grocery Guide (the original)

College Girl Grocery Guide 2.0 – Apartment Edition

College Girls Grocery Guide 2.0 (stronglikemycoffee.com) you'll be thankful you pinned this 2 weeks in to campus dining!

3. Stress Busters

When classes start you might feel a little stressed out. Not sure what to expect if it’s your first year on campus; not ready to go back if it’s your third or fourth. Stress is the ultimate compromiser of your health; it has all kinds of icky side effects. I let stress get to me more often then I should, and have to remind myself to RELAX!

De-stressing tips:

Calming Care package

4. Study Snacks

And as any good student, you should be doing lots of STUDYING! I love when studying turns social and groups of friends organize a study group either in the library, the union, or their dorm. Sometimes our schedules are so busy that we don’t get to hang out every day, so combining studying & friends = best of both worlds (as long as you can stay out of Pinterest and Snap Chat!). But with social studying there are usually two things: Coffee & Snacks.

Here’s the Healthy Study Snack List!

Healthy Study Snack List from stronglikemycoffee.com

A new school year, a new start – you want to look your best & feel your best. I personally am stoked for this school year! So many great things to look forward to. :)

Butterscotch Pudding Parfaits

I have a perpetual sweet tooth. Sometimes I squash my nighttime chocolate-cravings with a decaf coffee or a warm bowl of oatmeal. Sometimes I give in. But it’s week one of No Gain November, I have no chocolate in my room and vending machines are off-limits. I concocted this fun dessert for my roommate and I to go with our late night of studying! (Don’t worry, I finished it before 8pm per No Gain November rules ;) )

They are so much more fun to eat out of a mason jar! These jars are definitely two servings each, and I have half of mine left to enjoy tomorrow :) Really there are so many different ways to make a pudding parfait but start with a Sugar-Free Fat-Free pudding mix.

Totally have the salty & sweet concoction going on here! I layered pudding, banana slices, and fat-free Cool Whip, topping it off with cashews and pretzels. The cashews were a little TOO salty and my tongue felt weird afterwards. I think almond slivers would be great next time.

The best part is I made this all in my dorm room, it was so simple. No “cooking” required.  Time to brainstorm other semi-healthy parfait toppings…. Obviously berries would be great. Maybe shredded coconut? (I’m visualizing the baking aisles of the grocery store right now :D ) Pecans or walnuts. DARK CHOCOLATE. Mmmm. What else am I forgetting?

Sometimes it’s nice to take the time to make something fun and pretty! The golden and yellow colors from the butterscotch, bananas and cashew were very autumn-y. I think Fernanda the Roommate, approved! :)

Last night I came off 0f a huge running high after completing my first “speed” workout of the season with my cross country team. We did mile repeats on a beautiful trail through the mountain forests. The whole workout was top notch, from a breezy 2 mile warm up to some faster-than-expected mile intervals, some 100 meter sprints thrown in at the end and a lovely 2 mile cool down back to our team vans. Thankful to be able to run again!

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