How Being YOU Can Reduce Stress

I always joke with my coworkers that they have to watch what they say around me because I believe everything that I hear.  And, although I think it is important to draw on other people’s experiences to shape your own success, at the end of the day you are the only person who knows what is best for you.  As a follow up to last week’s stress-free blog, I’d like to leave you with four more tips focused on how being YOU can lead to a productive and carefree school year. Continue reading


As promised in my last blog, I will be blogging today about embracing your inner DIY.  Today, we will explore the wonderful world of leftovers!

Have you ever been out to eat and you’ve eaten more than half of your meal to the point where neither finishing your meal nor taking it home with you make any sense?  When I’m in that situation, I just can’t waste the food, so I normally end up eating the rest and feeling post-Thanksgiving dinner-esque.  But here’s a better idea:  take home the leftovers and integrate them into a whole new food creation.

The other day, a friend and I went to a great Mexican restaurant for lunch and I got a chicken fajita salad.  Leftover salads are pretty pointless for me because I despise soggy lettuce, but I took it home anyway.  The next morning, I got to have a late breakfast, and I put the leftovers to good use.  First, I separated the good stuff (chicken, peppers, onions, etc.) from the soggy lettuce.  Then, I reheated it in a small skillet while I cracked a few eggs into a bowl and whisked them together with some milk.  A few minutes later, I topped my chicken fajita omelet with some homemade salsa.  What a delicious breakfast!

If I had wanted to make more of a lunch themed leftover creation, I would have ditched the soggy lettuce and remade the salad with some fresh additions.  If you find yourself in this same situation, put a cup of chopped romaine lettuce into a large salad bowl.  Mix together a can of corn and a can of black beans (drained and rinsed) and put a half cup of the mixture on top of the lettuce.  At this point, I would also throw some banana pepper rings in before I added the reheated leftovers to the top.  You can dress the salad with some salsa or some ranch dressing.  I normally use a little of both.

Had the leftovers made it to dinner that night, there are a few ways I could have completed the meal.  I probably would have started with putting the leftover fajita stuffing onto a tortilla, topping with some cheese, and heating in either the microwave or toaster oven.  For the sides, I would have mixed the corn and black beans together (from my lunch suggestion above) and served it with some brown rice.

The possibilities are really endless.  What’s the most creative way you have used your leftovers the next day?

Helping Ourselves

I just took down my Christmas tree last Thursday.  It was February 16th.  It only took 1 hour and 10 minutes.  I have been stressing out since I got back from break because despite the amount of free time I have on my hands, I could not bring myself to take down that tree.  I got the box set of Sex and the City for Christmas and just finished the first DVD of Season 5 – I certainly had a free 70 minutes at least 30 times over in the past month and a half.  So, if it was stressing me out and if I had the time, then why couldn’t I buckle down and do it?

I wish I knew the answer to this question but it seems as I go through life, questions of this variety pop up much more often than the answers. Continue reading

With A Little Help From My Friends

“If your friends won’t workout with you, then you can’t be friends with them anymore.”

Thanks to a certain popular workout video persona, the CWS staff has been throwing this phrase around a lot lately. For about a month the CWS staff has been working out together six days a week, and while no friendships have actually been broken (despite playful threats), I think we’ve been successful thus far because of two concepts we hear about all of the time but few of us actually subscribe to:  social support and scheduling. Continue reading

Happy Halloween!

In Park Elementary School, Halloween was the best.  Mrs. DiGiovani was a pioneering music teacher and encouraged physical activity all the time in music class.  Mrs. D, as we called her since DiGiovani was a little too much to tackle in 1st grade, would have us act out Danse Macabre every Halloween.  We would start lying on the floor, rise up at the appropriate moment and dance like skeletons for 6 and a half minutes (did time go faster as a kid?), and then go back to “sleep” when the sun came back up.

Continue reading

Life Lessons Learned through Half Marathon Training

Here are the life lessons I have learned by training for a half marathon.  (*Disclaimer: You do NOT have to be a runner to benefit from reading this post!)

You have to run the 13 before you run the .1 – I am a very impatient person.  Part of me would love to tell you that I found a short cut on how to run mile 12 without running miles 1 through 11, but unfortunately, I haven’t found the secret yet.  So, instead, I have started to become comfortable with having to run each mile, in succession, every time.  It reminds me of how most of the time in life, I am ignoring all of the amazing things around me or getting frustrated with not being “far enough” along.  Training reminds me to be present in each moment. Continue reading

How To Have a Stress-Free School Year

I know what you’re thinking:  “I don’t need advice on a stress-free school year.  I have all my notebooks, matching pens and pencil case, post its and baby stapler with little baby staples all ready for my first week of class.  It’s all smooth sailing from here.”  But I would be willing to bet that I will see you the night before your first exam in 3 weeks in the library frantically scribbling important topics on your post it notes with empty coffee cups and baby staples strewn about.  In fact, I guarantee it.

So, please read this stress-free blog.  If nothing else, you’ll know where to come back and post a comment to prove me wrong. Continue reading

When Life Hands You Rotten Bananas…

In general, I eat 3 fruits on most days of the week.  Normally, for ease of carrying to class and a little longer shelf life, I eat a lot of apples and bananas.  As my third fruit each day, I normally choose fresh berries, pineapple, or melon to add some variety.  Since I only like to go grocery shopping once a week, I buy the greenest bananas I can find.  That way, I have better odds of eating them before they go bad.  But I have to admit that part of me gets really excited when exactly 3 bananas go bad before I am able to eat them, because my banana bread recipe requires exactly 3 almost rotten bananas!

Both this week and last week, I ended up with 3 brown spotted bananas on my kitchen counter. (Why my summer internship is interfering with my fruit intake might need to be explored in a future blog…)  I actually decided to make them in to muffins this time instead of bread so I could eat one either as part of a quick grab-and-go breakfast or for a yummy mid-morning snack.  The chocolate chips I had laying around also proved a fun little addition.

Next time you find yourself in the same situation, just do an internet search to find a recipe that suits your taste and combines some baking staples you might already have in your cupboard!  Enjoy!!

58 Seconds to Better Health

The point of writing in a journal is to get your thoughts out on paper instead of keeping them in your head.  Sometimes, it helps you to make sense of them.  Sometimes, it just frees up space for other thoughts.  I’ve noticed that blogging does the same thing for me.  Through the few blogs I have written this year, I have started to notice some patterns about myself and my priorities.  If you read my blog about Food & Finances, you already know that being lazy has been costing me.  In addition to calories and cash, I fear that I am also paying for my laziness with my health and sanity. Continue reading

Bike It!

When I got to Chapel Hill, here’s what I knew about commuting:  if you wanted to get somewhere, you went outside, got in your own car by yourself, and drove to where you needed to be.  At one job, we could walk to lunch places in the Strip District in Pittsburgh but it was pretty impossible to walk 10 miles to work, uphill both ways, in a town that only sees the sun 3 months of the year.  I had not taken a public bus since middle school when we would take the 55M from school to the mall.  Thankfully, my friend Dave taught me how to ride the bus during our first week of work last summer.  Although I learned how to ride a bike when I was younger, I could count the number of times on one hand that I had been on one in the past 10 years and had most certainly never used a bike for transportation instead of recreation. Continue reading