Staycation Fun

This week I took a vacation from work.  Although I find my work fulfilling and rewarding, everyone needs a vacation and I’m no exception.  I thought about going somewhere during my time off, but sometimes I find traveling more stressful than it is relaxing so I decided to make this vacation a “stay-cation”.

This past week I’ve been going to the beach and spending a lot of time meditating, which is something that I need to consistently do in order to reap the benefits.

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Went to one of my favorite cafes and enjoyed a delicious smoothie and a good read

I also took a few day trips to my favorite towns on Long Island and ate at my favorite vegan restaurants (I might write a separate blog post on that!).  This past week I also explored some nature preserves, attended a powwow, and visited a farm that I used to work at many summers ago.

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This preserve (Norman J. Levy Preserve) was built on what used to be a garbage dump. The high point where I took the photo from used to be a giant pile of garbage and now is home to native species of grass, small trees, insects, animals and birds.

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A picture of the farm I used to work at! I actually worked with the animals but I would love to get my hands dirty working with some fresh produce!

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A photo of one of the highlights from the powwow.  Group dancing to drums and hymns of Native American tribes made this a magical experience.

While I was relaxing on the beach this week, I decided that I was going to stop drinking coffee for the remainder of my vacation (and hopefully keep this up when I go back to work).  I made this decision because I notice sometimes when I drink too much coffee (which can be as little as 1-2 cups per day), I feel really anxious in my stomach– like an annoying, uncertain gut feeling related to nothing in particular which lasts about an hour or two after I’ve overdone it with the coffee.  I’ve written about my history of insomnia and sleep disturbances and I know that having any caffeine affects my sleep cycle greatly. I’m hoping that I can keep my cravings for coffee at bay. Tonight my plans include going to a coffee house, so this should be interesting. I’ll give an update soon along with some more info on my favorite vegan restaurants. For more personal updates and (almost) daily food pictures, you can follow me on instagram @vitaminvalentine 🙂

-Jess

Some Updates and Happy Fourth of July!

I’m writing this post a little early because I know tomorrow I’ll be celebrating with family and friends.  It’s been over a month since I last posted and I completely forgot to post my June blog entry because June was a busy month for me.  June is a special month for Vitamin Valentine, because my first blog entry was in June of 2013.  When I first started writing VV, I mainly shared things that I was learning in my classes.  This summer is the first summer that I’m not taking any classes so I’ll be writing more personal things and continue to share my amazingly delicious and nutritious recipes.

So what else have I been doing instead of posting my usual entries?  Lately I’ve been going to the gym more often (yay!), but also not doing as much daily yoga as I would have liked (not so yay).  I probably only did yoga 2 times/week every week in June which may sound decent, but daily yoga and meditation really helps keep me grounded.  My goal for July is to get back to doing yoga on a daily basis.  To help me stay motivated, I bought a really funky planner that I’m loving right now. It’s called the Happy Planner.  It’s filled with inspirational quotes, places to track goals and to-do lists, and it’s super colorful which is always fun.

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My planner and one of my favorite breakfasts (a whole grain bagel, almond butter, and banana)

For the fourth of july, I’ll be spending the day outdoors and hopefully I can do some yoga on the beach.  I hope you have a great fourth of july 🙂

-Jess

My First Award!

Liebster Award

Greetings readers! I’m thrilled to announce that Vitamin Valentine has been nominated by Alice at A Healthy Nut (a great nutrition blog!) for a Liebster Award! Thank you so much Alice! The Liebster Award is given to blogs so that fellow bloggers can connect and showcase a little bit about themselves, as well as to highlight their blogs. Here are the rules of the award:

1. You must link back to the person who nominated you.
2. You must answer the 10 questions given to you by the person who nominated you.
3. You must pick 10 bloggers to be nominated for the award.
4. You must create 10 questions for your nominees.
5. You must go to their blogs and notify the nominees.

Here are Alice’s questions for me (and my answers):

1. What made you start up your own blog ?

I started my blog last June (wow, it’s been a year!) when I enrolled in a dual B.S./M.S. program in nutrition. I have always been interested in nutrition and wanted to share some of my favorite recipes on this blog. As I started learning new things in my classes, I decided to make my blog a combination of things I’m learning, healthy recipes, and personal tidbits from my life.
2. What’s your best piece of healthy advice to others ?

My best piece of healthy advice to others is to be the healthiest version of you, instead of striving to compete with others. Being healthy shouldn’t be stressful. Instead, focus on what you’re capable of and appreciate where you are in this moment.

 

3. What’s your must have, cannot live without, piece of food ? Peanut butter anyone ?

My must-have food are honey crisp apples. They’re so delicious and I love going apple picking in the fall specifically for this variety. Honey crisp apples also go exceptionally well with the aforementioned peanut butter!

 

4. What is your one must have piece of fitness equipment ?

My must have piece of fitness equipment is a treadmill, because sometimes you just want to go for a run but the weather or time of day doesn’t permit that (night runs=my happy time, but it’s safer inside). I also tend to wear headphones and doing that outside isn’t the safest option. Safety first!
5. Smoothie or juice and what’s your favorite ?

Tough question. Can I pick both? I like smoothies because they still contain all of the fiber in the fruits and veggies you’re using, but I also like juice because it’s refreshing. My favorite smoothie is probably kale or spinach + 1 banana, some frozen berries, and coconut water.
6. Favorite foodie recipe ?

Angela Liddon’s Italian Bean Balls & Spaghetti Squash Noodles. Found here: http://ohsheglows.com/2013/10/30/italian-bean-balls-spaghetti-squash-noodles/
7. Favorite work out song ?

Currently, it’s “Julian” by Say Lou Lou, but this changes just about every week! I love music and I love discovering new songs/artists, especially because treadmill running can get boring and music is a great motivator/distraction.
8. How do you work out ?

I try to do yoga every day, even if it’s just a few poses and a meditation. I aim for 5 days of some form of cardio, whether it’s running (outside or on the treadmill), using an elliptical, or going for a hike.
9. If you could live any where in the world, where would you live and why ?

I would like to live anywhere where trees outnumber cars, or somewhere in the Pacific Northwest US, Australia, New Zealand, or South America. I currently live in New York, and although there are things I love about it, I’m not a fan of harsh winters and heavy traffic.
10. One thing that other’s don’t know about you ?

When I don’t know the lyrics to a song, instead of humming, I “meow” the lyrics. (I may or may not be classified as a “crazy cat lady” 😉 )

 

My nominees for the Liebster award are:

1. FeedMeColor (http://feedmecolor.wordpress.com)

2. VeggieChica http://veggiechica.com

3. The Personal Blogs http://thepersonalblogs.wordpress.com

4. Stuff My Brain Thinks http://stuffmybrainthinks.com

5. Size Zero Kitchen http://www.sizezerokitchen.com

6. Second Act Kitchen http://secondactkitchen.com

7. Craving Something Healthy http://cravingsomethinghealthy.com

8. Lucy’s Friendly Foods http://lucysfriendlyfoods.wordpress.com

9. Freedom Food Journal http://freedomfoodjournal.wordpress.com

10. Eat Lift Run Sleep http://eatliftrunsleep.wordpress.com

 

And here are my questions for my nominees:

1. What has been the most rewarding part of blogging (so far)?

2. How did you get interested in nutrition, cooking, fitness, or wellness?

3. What’s your go-to breakfast for a busy workday?

4. What is your most memorable eating experience?

5. What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not blogging?

6. What’s your favorite vacation destination?

7. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given (it can be health/nutrition related, or not)?

8. What’s your favorite dessert and have you made a healthy version?

9. What’s your favorite way to workout?

10. Share something that may surprise a reader!

 

I hope everyone participates, I had fun answering the questions! Thanks Alice, and have fun with this!

-Jess