Summer is Here!

The first official day of Summer for the Northern Hemisphere of Earth was this past Wednesday, June 21st. It is the longest day of the year for us North of the Equator. This is the start of my favorite half of the year. I live for the Summer and Fall seasons. The produce, weather, activities, etc. are my favorite! Here are some thing I am looking forward to this Summer:

Seasonal Produce

I can not wait for all the produce that Summer brings. I love berries (especially raspberries) and tomatoes which are now coming into season! Other vegetables and fruits in my region to look forward to are Cherries, Raspberries, Blackberries, Blueberries, Melons, Stone fruits, Cucumbers, Squash, Corn, Eggplant, Peppers, Tomatoes, Apples and Pears! Most of my meals during the summer are fresh and lack grains, which makes me feel more comfortable in the warmer weather. I feel like I crave more grains and fats in cold weather, while the Summer makes me want to eat lighter fare.



With my life changes in motion this Summer, I have been reassessing my goals both personally and professionally. To recap… at the end of July, I am moving in with my partner in his city about 90 min away and will mostly telecommute for my last month of work.

First, I have much I need to accomplish before I finish up my position. I want to complete my role in these grants the best way possible. Leadership is a feather I really want to work on in these last two months. However, starting September 1st, I am planning to take a full month off from working. Our human resources manager highly recommends you do this between jobs. Although I may have more than a month off from a full time job, I want to make sure I take appropriate time off to plan out my next steps in life.

Plus, I could really use some time to just be a human and take part in passions I may not have felt I had time for the past few years. Perhaps take some classes for fun (yoga, Spanish, pastry, etc.) or explore the Great Lakes regain more before we may move we or travel to see friends and family. I mainly want this time for myself because leaving this position feels overwhelming and emotions like sadness and bewilderment have been coming up. I want to respect those feelings.

Fitness Changes

Recently, I have not been feeling great during or after my runs. It could be that I just need new running shoes, which I am looking for now. However, I am concerned I may be pushing myself too hard to do something that does not serve me at this moment in time. I had bumped up my running milage, but I am taking a step back for now. This change, however, actually means addressing my mindset as a runner.

Before I started running, I thought folks were crazy to run in the rain/snow/heat or to run very long distances. After… I questioned whether I had an addiction to the runner’s high. I think it is more that runners that can develop this mindset, which can happen with other people demoted to an activity and wanting to push themselves. This mindset though, is best described as “if I cut back I will lose my progress and have to start over.”

I have seen with so many folks on YouTube, Instagram, and even my friends ‘in real life’, that change is good. Doing the same thing all the time can get boring. Your progress can become stagnant. Not taking breaks can cause injury. Pushing yourself too hard when you are not enjoying it can cause stress. I still love running. I do not want to get to a point of hating it. So I am going to focus on other forms of fitness for the time being (i.e. yoga, strength training and maybe cycling) that I am appreciating.

What are you looking forward to this summer? Share in the comments below!

Life Changes

Honestly, I am not in the best place right now. These emotions always rise when I experience major changes in my life: family rifts, moving away to college, transitioning to graduate school, or living alone for the first time. It seems to have a connection with feeling as though I have no control over my situation.

I am going to get straight to what is going on. My position is losing funding at the end of August. This is not uncommon with grant funded non-profit work. I have known this for a while, but was hopeful that new funding would come up or I might be able to change positions at my institution. Unfortunately, I will be moving on.

My partner will be finishing his PhD likely at the end of this year or early 2018. It may not be the perfect line up for a transition, but it should work. Part of me knows this will be good for us. Overall, I will be happy to have one home, but sad to be leaving my institution and the work I have been doing.

All these emotions have influenced me to make poor health choices, which in turn makes me feel like I need to push myself harder than I should. I have been bloated and uncomfortable a lot lately. Emotional eating borderline binging has taken place. I have been hard on myself. I am not making life easy on myself.

I am working on these behaviors though. I do not like feeling poorly. I want to be happy. I know things will work out. When my partner begins interviewing I will have locations to look for a job in. I can find a part time or online position until then. Most importantly, I should use this time wisely!

I want to set goals, perfect my resume, minimize our belongings, do some recipe testing, enjoy life, travel, hang out with family and move a lot in the sunlight! My current office has no windows, so I am really looking forward to all the vitamin D.

Do you have any recommendations? How have you dealt with these kind of changes?



Natural Product Review – Keeping Your Home Smelling Fresh

I like many folks like to keep my home smelling fresh, ESPECIALLY because I workout at home and do not want it to smell like a gym. Also, with the long, intense winters around the Great Lakes region you do not get a lot of chances to air out your place for months. I have been trying to do this more naturally a few different ways using candles and essential oils. Although, keeping your home smelling fresh naturally could be as easy as picking up a pre-made room spray from a natural store like Whole Foods.

I chose to creating my own thing since a lot of the pre-made, natural room sprays I found were too similar to my perfume choices. I prefer to not blend in with the scent of my home.

Essential oils

I use essential oils in several ways:

  • If I need an invigorating shower I apply a few drops of eucalyptus oil to the floor before I start my shower. This is fantastic if you are sick, since eucalyptus is the scent of Vicks.
  • In the winter, I add it to the water in the humidifier. By morning, our bed room smells like rosemary. You could also get a diffuser.
  • I create my own room spray using water (8 oz.), rubbing alcohol (1.5 oz.) and essential oil of choice (15 drops). I really like the more herbal scents around the house, though I throw lemon or cedar in there to help with keeping bugs away.

I have found all of these options to be great! Yes, it takes more work to assemble the spray, but small bottles of essential oils take up much less space AND both Target and Meijer started having them on their shelves for very reasonable prices! The ones I have been buying are Natures Truth and they seem to run about $6.99 per bottle which lasts me quite a while since one drop goes a long way. Often find them on sale too. The same essential oils in other brands can run you anywhere from $8.99 to $24.99… ouch.

Scented candles

This are quite simple, select a scent, place it the middle of the room and light the candle. However, I have found some brands to be better than others.

  • My absolute favorite ones come from this woman at the farmer’s market who has a lavender farm. She makes her own essential oil, teas, beauty products, candles and more with the lavender she grows. She uses soy to make her candles because its plentiful in this region of the country.
  • We recently picked up a Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day lavender candle to go with our multi-purpose cleaner I mentioned in a previous home product post. They are also made with soy. It goes quite well with the cleaner and so far does not seem to burn too quickly.
  • Lastly, I love the Aromatherapy brand candles at Target! We have bought most of the scents, but Love and Peaceful are the ones we enjoy the most have have bought more than once. The candles last forever and are a mix of soy and paraffin waxes. I know getting paraffin wax treatments is considered questionably healthy, but I am not sure about burning it. These candles though have scents I have been trying to replicate in my room spray with essential oils.

How do you naturally improve the scent of your home?

Eating Seasonally

The farmer’s market is alive with fresh produce and I enjoy exploring all of it! My farmer’s market is open year round, but during the winter months (December – March) the options dwindle to apples, potatoes, kale and squash. While those are delicious items, having the sudden increase in variety allows you to create dishes you have been without for months. It also naturally leads me to a bit of weight loss.

When I had a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) a couple of years ago it helped me get into better eating habits. That was the same year I dropped 30lbs! I had never eaten that much fresh food before, which is just plain WRONG! Though I did not know any better yet. Since then I have made it my goal to move away from a grain and fat focused diet to something that is much more colorful.

For instance, watermelon season has started and I have been blessed to have enjoyed 2 satisfyingly sweet watermelons already this season! Plus, the 4 lbs of strawberries I bought helped make the best unsweetened strawberry rhubarb chia jam, which I heaped on top of some cinnamon scones this past week. 😉 I was also fortunate to pick up a lot asparagus for extremely reasonable prices at the farmer’s market, 3 lbs for $5. I used them as the side to our Bet It All On Black Garlic burger.


Eating more seasonally is more sustainable and healthy for our environment, communities and economy. Having every type of produce fresh year-round does not make sense. Each item has its season. When produce tastes better, I want to eat more of it and that is why it is included in my Spring Goals!


Since every produce is available year-round, so check out this Seasonal Food Guide! What is your favorite produce right now? What seasonal recipes are you cooking up right now?