So I’m pretty obsessed with coffee. There’s kind of no other way to say it. I love the caffeine, I love the taste, I love the ritual, I love slow mornings on my couch with a mug & a magazine, and I love exploring coffeeshops in my own town and while traveling. I just love it. So when I say that my coffee station setup in my house is both highly intentional and intensely important to me, I’m not at all exaggerating.
The cool part about you guys is that we’re into the same stuff so I think/hope that you’ll find this little tour/shopping list of my coffee essentials interesting and helpful. If this isn’t your thing, I’m sorry and here are some cute pics of puppies.
Let’s get into all of the coffee-related things.
Nespresso Pixie Espresso Machine: I bought this about two years ago when I moved into a small one bedroom apartment with limited kitchen counter space and I haven’t looked back since. I love its narrow profile and find that the espresso tastes so much better than the Keurig coffee I was drinking before. I make an Americano of sorts every morning and feel quite #fancy when I can have people over and offer them a shot of espresso.
Organic espresso pods: Not only are these cheaper than Nespresso pods, they’re also organic and available from Amazon, like everything else I spend my money on.
Electric tea kettle: Using this electric kettle is so much quicker/easier/better than heating water on the stove and burning your hand as you pour it over matcha… Been there. I love the long neck, which allows for precise pouring and is just inexplicably enjoyable overall. I also love that its minimal appearance doesn’t create an eyesore on my kitchen counter.
Dandy Blend: As you might’ve noticed by the fact that this blog post exists, I have a serious thing for coffee. Left to my own devices, I’d have over 5 cups a day, if only for the ritual. Dandy Blend is a blend of roasted extracts of barley, rye, dandelion, chicory and beet roots that give you a coffee-like drink that’s totally caffeine free. (They use the water extracts of barley & rye, not the proteins, so the product is gluten free.) You simply blend with hot water, similar to instant coffee.
Vanilla Bean Grass-Fed Ghee: Every once in a while, I use coffee as part of my intermittent fasting routine or just get a hankering for a butter coffee/mocha. This vanilla bean blend makes it even better. My go-to recipe is 6-8oz coffee + 1 teaspoon ghee + 1 teaspoon MCT oil + 2 teaspoons cacao + 1 scoop collagen, all blended with a hand frother.
Ceremonial grade matcha: Not much to say here. I use my matcha to make matcha. I froth together 2 teaspoons matcha with 3oz hot water & 3oz almond milk for a drink that’s creamy but not too heavy.
Golde: I make golden milk at home by blending this mix of coconut, turmeric, and other organic botanicals with hot almond milk. It’s also a staple in all my morning smoothies.
Sun Potion Ashwagandha: This adaptogen is an Ayurvedic staple is often used for stress relief. I add 1/2 teaspoon to my coffee and/or smoothies (are you sensing a theme?) and think of it as my armor for the day.
Bulletproof MCT Oil: Like I said, when I’m dabbling with IF, I like starting my morning with a butter/Bulletproof coffee to help me get through the last few hours of my fast.
Wander Life Coconut Creamer: I love this creamer because it’s dairy free, paleo-friendly, delicious, and portable. I double triple extra love it because it was created by Kat, an Austin-area girlboss. Yes, girl!
Marble pastry board: This was a housewarming gift from a dear co-worker and I just couldn’t stand the idea of using it as a serving tray, therefore storing it in a drawer most of the time. Pro tip: use trays to define spaces on your countertop and other areas of your home to keep things from feeling cluttered.
Glass jars: Mine are from The Container Store but I can’t find them online so here are some similar ones!
Vital Proteins grass-fed collagen peptides: I keep a tub of this in my pantry and have a serving every. single. day. It’s my go-to protein source for my balanced smoothies and I love how frothy & rich it makes my coffee. Within a couple of weeks of using it daily, I started noticing how much stronger my nails were becoming, increased “bounce” in my skin, and my hair grew faster, and thicker. I can’t say enough good things about this stuff, for real.
Hand-held milk frother: My right hand, my go to. This thing never goes back in the drawer ’cause I use it daily to blend almond milk & collagen into my daily cup(s) of coffee.
Coffee grinder: I keep whole beans in my freezer and then grind ’em to use in my French press.
Stainless steel French press : This French press rocks. First of all it’s huge, second of all it keeps the coffee hot. Great for slow mornings, or big groups. Also great for making French press cold brew overnight.
Pitcher: For when you need to put that overnight French press cold brew in something.
I was jotting down notes for my upcoming Working On It: Body Positivity post when I realized that I should probably offer some more background. Yes, I can post salads and turmeric tonics on Instagram and follow it up with a helpful blog article about being #bodyposi, but that’s not even close to the full picture. This is my body story.
It took me a long time to get where I am today. In fact, I often wonder if my chubby, low self esteem middle school self would ever believe I’d be in this place… Working as a registered dietitian, studying to become a yoga teacher, and writing a blog post about finally loving my body. (Probably not since I’m not sure blogs were even a thing back then, but you get what I mean.)
So here’s my story. I hope where I’ve been helps offer more context to where I am now, and I hope you find something for yourself in that transformation.
Growing up, I was overweight. Or chubby. Or fat. I’m not sure what the right word would be, but basically, I was bigger than the other kids. And while I wasn’t the coolest kid, I was generally well liked. Being smart and funny worked in my favor. But that didn’t make me immune to ridicule based on the extra flesh I carried.
I remember taking the bus home from school in 6th grade and there was an 8th grader sitting up front with the rest of us younger kids. Normally 8th graders sat in the back, but the driver would save the two front seats for the poorly behaved. So, needless to say, this kid was a troublemaker. Anyway, I don’t remember all the details, but I do remember him calling me a piggy and pointing out my double chin. It’s been fifteen years and I still remember my shame and how much it stung. There were other incidents just like this, almost always perpetrated by petulant boys.
In early high school, I grew into my body a bit so I started looking more average, but I wasn’t necessarily healthy. I ate as much fast food as my parents would allow, drank Diet Coke daily, and hated physical activity. Hate honestly isn’t even a strong enough word for my disdain. Those state-mandated physical activity tests were my personal hell. We had our body fat and weight taken publicly, and then we had to do a measured number of exercises like push ups, crunches, etc. We also had to run a mile in under 12 minutes, a task that I barely survived, wheezing all the while. Writing this now, I have this faint, phantom feeling of anxiety leftover from those dreaded days.
I dieted on and off throughout my middle & high school years. I’d started and quit Weight Watchers a handful of times before I graduated. Nothing ever worked, and I always felt like a failure for having tried. I felt stuck in a body I wasn’t happy with and and it was one that I didn’t think anyone else would ever like either.
In college, things started to change a bit. I added nutrition as my second major in my sophomore year. Because of my history of dieting, I always understood the link between what you eat and how you look and feel, plus I have always genuinely loved food. Some things never change. I started studying nutrition and my lifestyle became healthier, at least as I perceived it at the time. Looking back, it was still kind of a mess. I calorie counted my way to a personal low weight at the beginning of my junior year, and then gained 10-12 pounds back in the spring semester studying abroad in Barcelona. I came back, started The Slender Student (heeeey to everyone that’s been reading my stuff since then), calorie counted my way back down to a happier weight, and then never. stopped. counting.
I counted every calorie and macro gram I ate during my senior and fifth year of college. My food scale lived on my kitchen counter so I could measure and meal prep nearly every meal I ate. I felt like I couldn’t even trust myself around food. It all had to be measured. I started doing cardio and strength training about 5 times a week. And I was so frustrated why I wasn’t continuing to lose weight doing all that while on a 1200 calorie diet. I decided to get my metabolic rate tested on campus and found that instead of burning the 1400 calories a day that my frame should burn, my RMR was only about 1100. I’d stifled my own metabolism and annoyed most of my friends with my obsessive behavior.
Now that I’m an independent woman (thank you very much), I’m able to see how toxic some parts of my college experience really were. Living with all of my closest friends was incredibly fun, but the diet/drink/binge cycles that are commonplace for so many undergraduate women absolutely took a toll on me physically. And, beyond that, it is really hard to grow or maintain body confidence when you’re surrounded by other (amazingly intelligent, incredibly beautiful) young women who insist that they’re fat, ugly, and/or dumb. I am still friends with so many of these ladies, and it brings me so much joy to see how much we’ve all grown since then.
My world really changed in my first two years out of school. Something about becoming independent really fueled a new fire in me. I moved back to Houston and started working for Snap Kitchen. My confidence grew as I received positive feedback at work (“words of affirmation” is my love language, hello), which encouraged me to live boldly in other areas of my life.
I started dating, I intentionally befriended women who were confident and inspiring, and I started the Houston Food Blogger Collective. All of these little things amounted to a big boost in my overall perception of myself, which made me think a lot less about the way I looked. This was a far cry from my old “look in the mirror, hate yourself, weigh yourself, hate yourself more” routine. And then, after some time, it all came full circle and in the moments that I did think about my appearance, I actually started liking it! Hurrah!
My nutrition philosophy also began to change around this time, which I believe also played a role in my new found self-acceptance. Through working at Snap, I really started to appreciate what we call the transformative power of real food. And then when I did my first Whole30, the deal was sealed. Instead of needing a certain number of calories to tell me whether I’d had enough for the day, I retaught myself to eat intuitively by focusing on nourishing myself with real food, not all the processed, artificial diet food I’d defaulted to in the past.
So that’s the long and short of it. I’m not saying that I have it all figured out, or that I never bemoan the existence of cellulite on my thighs, or that I love seeing every photo of me from the back or profile. There are still some moments that I put undue pressure on myself and my body, but those are fewer and farther between with every year that passes.
Today, I don’t diet. I eat mostly real food but make room for fun food experiences with friends, because life is too short to not eat cacio e pepe from Emmer & Rye. Today, I don’t punish myself with exercise. I don’t workout to change the way my body looks. I do yoga or lift weights because it makes me feel healthy and strong. And I don’t run because I hate it, and I’m just not doing stuff I hate to my body anymore!
Today, I am grateful for my body. It allows me to do incredible things like digest food, practice yoga, and present in meetings. Plus, I think my butt looks awesome in Good American jeans. And I’m saying that out loud on the internet because I want us all to feel amazing about the way our butts look.
It’s the first week of January. You’re back in your healthy routine, eating veggies, drinking water, and hitting the gym. Consider this New Year, New Sweat playlist my highly NSFW way of cheering you on.
Per usual, this workout playlist is hip hop heavy. Some favorites include Nicki Minaj’s verse on the Plain Jane remix and anything from the Huncho Jack album. And I included a Ja Rule track for obvious reasons. (If the reason is not so obvious to you, it’s basically just that I go super hard for Ja Rule. I am who I am, ok??)
I don’t know about y’all, but this string of songs is just what works to get me pumped & feeling confident when I’m in the gym. And at work. And in my car. *shrug* Anyway, here it is! Follow along on Spotify so you can bump this in your headphones whenever you’d like, even if it’s just while you’re answering emails on a Tuesday morning. Not that I’d know anything about that.
Guys, what are you getting into in 2018? I want to hear all about your healthy goals, new projects, and anything else you’ve got up your sleeves to make this your best year yet. For me, 2017 had some highs, but its lows were pretty rough, to be honest. I’m already feeling 2018 and have a lot I’m working on (wellbody atx, private yoga classes, Whole30 coaching, more Snap Kitchen goodness [duh]) to step my own (healthy) game up and share it with you guys.
It’s gonna be a good one, Petite Professionals. I already know.
A few days ago, I asked you guys to DM me on Instagram with your Whole30 questions. My intention was to answer the 5 or so questions I expected to receive via video on my IG story.
Over 50 questions later, and here we are! I’ve chosen a short list of questions to answer that I thought would be most helpful for y’all. If I didn’t answer your question, know that sooo many Whole30 questions are just a quick Google search away, especially if they’re about foods that are or aren’t compliant.
Alright, let’s get into it! Here are your Whole30 questions answered.
How do I handle my sugar cravings?
This is a big one for so many people. First of all, I think the Whole30 is an amazing opportunity to actually get to the bottom of where those cravings are coming from, whether it’s boredom, anxiety, or general emotional eating. But for those times that you’re genuinely hungry and want something sweet, some good options are: fruit (berries are best), dried fruit (just watch your portions), tea, nut butter, anything with cinnamon, LaCroix. If there’s nothing else around, you can also go for an RXBAR or Lara bar, but it’s best not to get too reliant on these.
How do you stick to the program with a crazy schedule and a household not on Whole30?
When it comes to having a crazy schedule, preparation is key. Take a few hours each week to look ahead, plan out your meals, grocery shop, and batch cook. The first couple of weeks will be the toughest, but you’ll get into a rhythm you can sustain. Bring your family into the process. Have them help you pick meals and either encourage them to enjoy a Whole30 meal now and then as a group, or prepare meals that are easy to modify for both Whole30 and non-Whole30 eaters. For example, you can have a gorgeous fajita salad while the rest of your family has tacos. Again, it’s all in the preparation.
What about pre- and post-workout nutrition?
If you feel like you need food to fuel your workout, you totally can. The “no snacks” aspect of the program is a recommendation, not a rule. What’s most appropriate for your pre- and post-workout nutrition will depend largely on what type of activity you’re doing and for how long, but for the most part, you’ll want a source of protein and a bit of carbs. Some things you can easily throw together are hardboiled eggs, grilled chicken, canned tuna, sweet potatoes, etc. Since your Whole30 meals are likely larger than your pre-Whole30 meals, you may find that you don’t need to be eating both pre- and post-workout.
What are fun social activities that don’t involve drinking?
I love this question! Food and booze is at the center of our social lives in so many cases, that I know this a big barrier for many. Instead of boozing it up, think about taking a new workout class with friends, going shopping, cooking together, going for a walk, checking out a museum, going to the movies, taking a crafting class, or just join in at the bar or restaurant and happily sip your sparkling water with lime, knowing that you’re doing this for you.
What do you recommend to have creamy and sweet coffee in the mornings?
I started to genuinely enjoy my coffee black during my first Whole30, so while you may find the same to be true, you still have options. A bit of coconut milk + cinnamon, Vital Proteins collagen or collagen creamer, or NutPods will give you that creamy, slightly sweet coffee you’re looking for.
Do you still have burning Whole30 questions? Leave them in the comments below!
I don’t know if it’s all the yoga I’ve been doing lately, but your girl is feeling a little extra woo woo these days. No, I’m not building crystal shrines or burning incense (yet), but I’ve definitely gained a greater appreciation for the power of self-talk. So today, the first day of the new year, I wanted to share some helpful mindset mantras to get you through your January Whole30.
This list of quips holds some of the things I’ve actually said to myself (though usually not out loud) to get me through the tougher moments of my past Whole30s. And now that I’m officially a Whole30 coach, I want to share more of my tips with you guys. I hope that some or all of these give you that little boost you need over the next month. You go.
Thirty days is not forever.
As you approach the first few days of your January Whole30, it probably feels like you can’t even see the light at the end of the tunnel. Pause for a moment to remind yourself that thirty days isn’t forever. It’s really not very long at all. Take it one day at a time, or even one meal at a time. Focus less on when it’s going to end or what you’re going to do when the month is over. Instead, enjoy the process and feel proud that you’re doing something really good for yourself.
I’ve done way harder stuff.
Ever gone through a break up? Disappointed your parents? Given birth? Gone through illness? Had someone close to you pass? Yeah, all of that is way harder than drinking black coffee or politely declining a cocktail at happy hour for the next month. You got this.
I’m stronger than food and stronger than my cravings.
You absolutely, one thousand percent are. You’re bigger, and better, and badass-er than the grocery store cupcakes your coworker brought in, or the pint of ice cream that used to call your name each night. Consider this month your opportunity to show yourself how strong you are, and maybe even take the time to focus on what’s really behind those cravings.
I deserve to feel awesome.
Yep. And that’s why you’re doing a Whole30. You deserve to feel awesome, and you will. You’re putting your oxygen mask before helping others. You’re taking the time to understand your current physical and emotional relationship with food so you can set yourself up for greater success in the future. Welcome to your new, elevated baseline of what it means to “feel good.”
I can have (insert non-compliant food here) tomorrow.
I read this in one of the Whole30 books and it really stuck with me. When you feel like caving, tell yourself to give it just one more day. Chances are, tomorrow will come and whatever low you were going through will have passed and you can continue on your merry Whole30ing way. Sometimes a little mental trickery can go a long way.
What are your mind over matter tricks for getting through a Whole30? Leave me a comment below!
P.S. There will be lots of W30 goodness on my Instagram over the course of the January Whole30, so be sure to follow along!
There’s a lot of perfection portrayed in the online health & wellness world. You scroll through social media and are immediately flooded with images of carefully styled grain bowls or women who remain cellulite-free, even as they contort into the most difficult of yoga poses.
And certainly I’m guilty of perpetuating that I’ve-got-it-all-together facade too, as evidenced by my cohesive Instagram feed, filled with gorgeous green salads & almond milk latte art. But, even as a dietitian & health blogger, there’s still a lot I’m still figuring out when it comes to living healthfully.
So welcome to the “Working On It” series, where I’m gonna keep it real with ya on the not so Instagram-worthy aspects of my life that I’m, well, working on. I hope we can both learn something from each other here. Up first? Sleep hygiene.
Sleep is something that’s always been a struggle for me. As a kid, I used to beg my parents to let me sleep on their floor. Something about being near them soothed my nighttime anxiety. When that didn’t work, I’d force my younger sister to sleep in my room with me. Once I realized how uncool and weird that was, I insisted that the 9” car TV that we used for road trips be kept in my room so I could fall asleep watching Mrs. Doubtfire. (note: While this is obviously not a healthy habit, I have benefitted by way of knowing every single word of that movie by heart.)
In college, I became heavily reliant on melatonin or other sleep meds to help me fall asleep. While I don’t feel highly anxious throughout the day, nighttime is a totally different story. As I often tell people, “all my crazies come out at night.” As soon as I snuggle under my sheets and close my eyes, a hurried dialogue starts running through my head. I worry about everything I have to do tomorrow, the stupid stuff I said that day, or things that could maybe potentially possibly happen next year or decade. It’s totally irrational and non-productive, and yet… Here we are.
So over the last few months, I’ve made a concerted effort to improve my sleep hygiene. (Btw, this doesn’t have anything to do with showering before bed [though I do]. It’s about the habits and behaviors you implement to promote better sleep.) Here are a few things I’m doing and tools I’m using to get high quality shut eye.
Natural Calm magnesium supplement
I started using Natural Calm a couple years ago. At the time, I was deep in my melatonin phase, but found that it made me feel super groggy in the morning and I just had this feeling that regular intake of an exogenous hormone wasn’t quite right. Magnesium is a mineral that many of us are deficient in. It works in conjunction with calcium to balance excitement or contraction with relaxation of muscles and cells. Magnesium is the chill pill in this balancing act, so to speak. I found that having a serving of magnesium in a small glass of water before bed was super helpful to encourage sleepiness. I prefer the unflavored version because it doesn’t have stevia.
Four Sigmatic reishi
Reishi is a medicinal mushroom with potent anti-anxiety, sleep-inducing effects, among others. I like frothing up a cup of warm almond milk with a packet of Four Sigmatic brand reishi for a cozy nighttime drink.
Headspace meditation app
In my adult years, I’ve swapped out Mrs. Doubtfire for episodes of Parks & Rec, Friends, or The Office. I find that having some background noise helps drown out the sound of “the crazies.” But I know that I feel much more rested on nights that I don’t fall asleep to Michael Scott and the glowing blue light that washes over my bedroom.
This is where the Headspace app comes in. The guided meditations totally help distract me (through sound) and calm me (through techniques like counting breath, body scans, etc.). I find that a 15-20 minute session is enough to knock me out most nights.
Purchasing window treatments for my first home was one of the most #adult things I’ve ever done. While I went with cost-effective white wooden blinds for the rest of my house, my bedroom is equipped with blackout cellular shades. This is a luxury that I haven’t regretted for a single moment, especially the moments I spend slipping into my comfy, cozy linen sheets in a cool, pitch black room.
No email, Slack, or social media in bed
Ok, so this is one that’s probably been the hardest to do and, therefore, also the one I’m least consistent with. But there are so many reasons to keep your phone out of your bed. First of all, its glowing blue light keeps your brain up and at it. (If I have to use it, I make sure it’s as dim as can be, and also use Night Shift mode for a more soothing yellow light.)
But regardless of if my iPhone glows blue or yellow, the barrage of messages and images from email, Slack, or social media do nothing but stress me out. When I’m tempted to check in past bedtime, I offer myself the reminder that the vast majority of things can wait until morning, when I’ll be well-rested and better equipped to deal with the day’s activity.
Ok, now your turn! How are you getting your most delicious sleep? And what else are you working on? I’d love to know!
We are undoubtedly living through a smoothie bowl revolution. They’re a quintessential Instagram health food, but a blended bowl with multiple servings of fruit, copious drizzles of almond butter, and scoops of sugary granola isn’t exactly the most wholesome way to start your average Tuesday. That’s why I came up with this healthy smoothie bowl recipe, or “formula,” for an option that’s less ice cream disguised as a health food, and more nourishing morning meal.
1 cup frozen fruit +
1 cup frozen green +
1 serving of healthy fat +
1 serving of protein +
1/2 cup unsweetened nut milk +
1-2 tbsp low sugar topping
Combining a low sugar fruit (blueberries are my go-to) with a satiating source of fat and protein means that not only will this bowl actually keep you full through lunch, but it also won’t cause a crazy spike in your blood sugar & insulin levels like an all fruit smoothie does. I prefer using an unsweetened nut milk versus water or juice (too high in sugar anyway) because it adds some creaminess, which is my M.O. when it comes to eating my smoothie with a spoon.
When it comes to toppings, be cognizant of what you’re adding and how much. I’ve see so many healthy smoothie bowl bases go awry with crazy fruit, nut, and granola mixtures. My go-to granola is Purely Elizabeth’s grain free line. I’ll sprinkle on about half a serving with a teaspoon unsweetened cacao nibs and a dusting of shredded coconut.
And in case you need some help translating that formula into a recipe you can actually use at home, here’s exactly what I make at least a few mornings every week.
Creamy Blueberry Smoothie Bowl
Created by Claire on November 22, 2017
A nourishing smoothie bowl that'll keep you satisfied all morning. This blend of low sugar berries, fiber & phytonutrient-rich spinach, and satiating avocado & grass-fed collagen make for a truly good-for-you start to your day. No more sugar bombs disguised as health food.
1 cup frozen blueberries, slightly thawed
1 cup frozen chopped spinach, slightly thawed
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 small avocado
10 grams grass-fed collagen (1 scoop of Vital Proteins)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
15 grams Purely Elizabeth grain-free granola (half serving)
1 teaspoon unsweetened cacao nibs
1 teaspoon unsweetened shredded coconut
Place frozen blueberries & spinach in your blender or blender cup. Pour over almond milk.
Add avocado, collagen, and cinnamon.
Blend until smooth, adding more liquid if necessary.
A few months back, I was having dinner in Houston with two of my favorite women, Abby and Niken, and we came up with the idea to spend 48 hours in Atlanta, eating our way through the city.
Abby is simultaneously the most fabulous and most humbled woman I know. She’s currently on sabbatical from the liquor industry, pursuing her entrepreneurial dreams. This woman looks as natural rocking a pair of fast fashion pointed toe boots and a designer handbag as she does busing a table at Aces of Taste. No joke, I wake up in the morning and try to motivate myself to hustle half as hard as Abby does. She’s fiercely loyal and always down to dance, which are basically prerequisites for being friends with me.
Niken is a core part of the Greenway Coffee family, which is a household name in Houston hospitality and beyond. She’s up at the crack of dawn most days (even while on vacation) making sure that things run smoothly at Greenway Coffee, Inversion, Morningstar, Blacksmith, and the team’s newest addition, Prelude. She seriously knows her stuff when it comes to good coffee and good service, and she’s loved by everyone in the biz. Her unabashed honesty and realness is so appreciated (and often LOL funny), but I most appreciate the level at which she is down to try everything on a menu. A woman after my own heart.
Anyway, as I was saying… A few months back, the three of us were having dinner at Nobie’s. We were talking shop, as we do, discussing our favorite spots in various cities. A little shipping container coffeeshop in Atlanta called Brash was brought up and, next thing you know, we were picking dates and booking flights.
No joke, this was one of the most deliciously awesome trips I’ve been on, made all the better by the good company. And while you may not be able to replicate the magic that is our unique friendship, I thought the least I could do was pass on our itinerary and can’t miss meals. (A big thank you to the Atlantans who sent their recommendations. I bragged throughout the entire trip about the epic, local-approved list I’d put together.)
lunch – Ponce City Market
After getting early flights out from Austin and Houston, the first order of business was obv food and coffee. We figured Ponce City Market was a perfect first stop that we could make without much thinking. We grabbed coffee at Spiller Park and then divided & conquered for lunch. I grabbed a salad and potatoes from Bottiwalla, an Indian fast casual spot. Abby got Hop’s Chicken, and Niken got fish & chips from W.H. Stiles Fish Camp. I don’t think any of us were overwhelmed by the food, but it was a solid first choice to get something in our bellies while we still had our bags in tow. We killed about an hour exploring the retail shops. Citizen Supply was a favorite. It’s like a mini market within a market, full of cute clothes, home goods, and local prints.
After strolling through PCM, it was time to check in to our Airbnb and drop our bags off. We were instantly in awe of our place, The Red House in Reynoldstown. This 1912 duplex has been refreshed, but maintains so much of the personality, including hardwood floors and wood paneled walls. It was minimally decorated, warm, and still somehow ultra chic. The best part is that it had 2 king beds and 1.5 bathrooms.
snacks – Krog Street Market
After catching up on work and chilling out for a bit, we decided to get back out and explore the neighborhood. Krog Street Market was a short walk away, so we headed that way. We started off by tasting more than our fair share of chocolates from XOCOATL, walking away with a frozen hot chocolate and hot hot chocolate. Neither were too sweet, and both were richly chocolatey. So freaking good. Then, because we hadn’t quite had enough decadence, we got ice cream at Jeni’s.
After getting supremely sugared up, we decided to take the long walk to Octane Coffee’s Grant Park location. We got iced coffee, a pour over, hot tea, and some espresso/Coke concoction and talked about all the life that had happened since our last trip (Mexico City). We then decided to Uber back to our place and rest up before dinner.
dinner – Gunshow
I made this reservation a few weeks before our trip after reading about the concept. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but knew it’d be a unique experience. I was not wrong. Gunshow kind of works like a dim sum restaurant. They have a handful of in-house chefs who each create their own dish(es) for the evening. Each chef will visit your table, presenting his or her dish and you can then choose if you want it or not. As you might expect, we basically got one of everything. Standouts were the hush puppy battered fish & “chips” that were more like a deep fried potato gratin and banana pudding for dessert.
After dinner, we bopped around town for a while looking for a place to dance. We were somewhat SOL on this front so I’ll spare you the details and keep going with the food.
brunch – Ladybird Grove and Mess Hall
We woke up hungry (shocker, right?) and quickly chose Ladybird for its drool-worthy Instagram and fun, campy vibes. We walked there, basking in the crisp weather and gorgeous morning sun. The place was packed but, once we were seated, we settled on The Woodsman’s Breakfast, the Nashville Hot Chicken Biscuit, and Sticky Buns. Did I mention we were hungry? The Woodsman’s Breakfast consisted of a host of breakfast items served on a wooden plank– maple bacon, biscuits, potatoes, eggs, grilled veggies. It was a fun sampler, and the hot chicken had good spice, but the stars of the show turned out to be the totally unassuming sticky buns. They were so simple but so. freaking good. The texture was totally addicting. Ugh, yum. I miss them.
coffee – Brash
Ah, the little coffeeshop that made this trip come to life. The building is actually a shipping container that’s been transformed into a quaint, clean, and somehow spacious shop. It felt bright and airy despite its small size. As is our style, we got one of everything and fueled up for a bit of shopping in the area.
dinner – Le Fat
There is no such thing as a perfect trip, and I’d say that Le Fat was the mar on our otherwise flawless vacation. The food (Soft Shell BLT Bánh Bao, Papaya Salad, Drunken Noodles [definitely the best], Rice Plate) was fine, but the service was unapologetically poor and the restaurant was low energy overall, despite its beautiful interior.
drinks – Little Trouble
This bar is apparently an homage to Blade Runner, but if you know me, you already know I don’t watch many movies, Blade Runner included. So while all of those references were lost on me, I did notice that the bar and its inhabitants were super cool.
brunch – The General Muir
Easily the hippest Jewish deli I’ve ever visited, with the crowd to prove it. The wait was about 45 minutes, so we trekked to the bakery next door for a little pastry breakfast appetizer. (Doesn’t everyone do this?) Once we were seated, we got coffee big time and ordered a secondary matzoh ball soup appetizer. (Soup for breakfast is also very normal, right?) Then we all shared the smoked salmon platter with extra bagels and a pastrami hash. Not quite New York bagels, but comforting nonetheless.
last coffee stop – Muchacho
This turned out to be such an unexpected gem. Muchacho is a relatively new, West Coast-inspired coffee & taco shop. It was gray, cold, and rainy outside, but the vibe of the shop’s interior instantly made us feel warm and happy. The staff was amazingly friendly, and even gave us a tour of the attached (and stunning) restaurant that wasn’t yet open for the day. If we had any room for more food, we would’ve had some tacos and grain bowls, but we settled for coffee and some pastries to go. I bought a mug to take home for the ~*memories.*~
While I’m by no means a travel blogger, our two days in ATL were too fun not to share. And, if this isn’t your bag, let me leave you with this: make friends with women who inspire you, travel with them whenever the opportunity arises, and if you’re going to have dessert(s), enjoy every damn bite. No guilt allowed. There’ll be a salad waiting for you when you get home.
If you follow me on Instagram or read my last post, then you’re already privy to my unlikely transformation to a ~*yogi*~ (said with irony to mask how truly into yoga I am these days). I’m going to be talking more about my experience with CorePower Yoga Teacher Training in subsequent posts, but today’s post is decidedly non-yogic. Today I’m sharing my Winter 2017 Workout Playlist.
YTT entails a lot of yoga, as you may imagine. And while it’s no doubt a good workout (mind & body; om), I feel best in my body when I’m incorporating strength training as well. Plus ragdoll and half pigeon actually feel better when your muscles are sore from other, more strenuous workouts. I could say that I’ve been struggling to find the time to get in the gym between yoga sessions, but in reality, I think it’s more a question of motivation.
This week marks the end of 4 straight weeks of travel, so now that I have more autonomy over my own schedule, I’m aiming to get 2 strength training sessions in at the gym, plus yoga on top. It’s not much, but it’s something I should actually be able to manage.
And nothing motivates me to get in the gym more than a new workout playlist. (Ok, actually I’m actually way more excited by a new pair of leggings, but this is a far cheaper alternative.) So, if you’re also in the need of an extra boost of energy, enjoy this hour of hip hop heavy, completely NSFW string of songs to sweat to. Subscribe on Spotify so you can take it with you to the gym!
Hey. So, uh, it’s been a minute. In the year that’s passed since my last blog post:
I lost my passion for blogging.
Beyoncé had twins.
I bought my first home.
I learned a lot about myself, my resilience, and the power of positivity.
Most of the Kardashians got pregnant.
A lot of really bad sh*t happened in the world.
A lot of really beautiful things did, too.
I went on a lot of Bumble dates. Some good, some bad. Lots of stories.
I started falling in love with my life in Austin.
I added a new element to my role– content marketing. We’ll call this a WIP, but it’s fun.
A reality TV star was elected to be the leader of the free world.
I stopped hating yoga.
I actually started loving yoga.
…so much so that I started a 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training.
I began to miss blogging.
What I’m saying is that a lot has happened in the last 300something days. I never really meant to stop blogging. It just kinda stopped being something I wanted to do, so I didn’t do it. And then I kept not doing it until eventually I was at peace with the idea of not doing it anymore. I told the people around me that my interest in and passion for blogging had faded. And that was totally fine.
The time away freed me up to explore different parts of life. To stay out way too late on Friday nights dancing with girlfriends, not worried about getting up to write, cook, or photograph a recipe the next day. To dedicate myself more to my job. To think about what my future looks like. To enjoy a meal with friends or family without caring if I got a good photo for Instagram or not. To focus more on being a real person, and less on being a blog persona.
And in all that living, I also did a frick ton of learning. I learned a lot about food and nutrition, opening myself up to new viewpoints as I more strongly developed my own. I learned a lot about my body, how powerful it is, and how thankful I am to have it. I learned a lot about life and its fragility.
I taught myself to stop caring so much about what really doesn’t matter, including but not limited to: what other people think, if I’ve gained 3 pounds, being the first one to arrive the office or the last one to leave as long as I’m producing good work and having fun while doing it, if I say/do something embarrassing (this happens frequently, and then I play it back in my head frequentlier… Working on it.), etc.
All of that learning helped me feel ready to have a platform again.
I’m not really sure how The Petite Professional will evolve, but I feel certain that it will. I’m not doing much formal cooking or recipe development these days, but I still eat (a lot, mostly healthy) and I want to share how I put 2 & 2 together to get delicious, nourishing food on the table. I’ve still got plenty of tricks up my sleeve on that front.
I also feel this strange but specific calling to share my (very unlikely) Yoga Teacher Training journey with you guys. I don’t often use the phrase “life changing moment,” but I feel like I’m on the precipice of a series of life changing moments, and it’s something that I want to document.
And maybe there’s room for other life-related stuff. Confidence/self-acceptance/body positivity (categories in which I’ve been doing a lot of work), style, nutrition trends, young professional things, incredible Spotify playlists (toot, toot), home decor, and more.