A journey to health and happiness.

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Chobani and Craziness

Hello Sweet Potatoes!

I admit, I have a bit of a problem when it comes to a scheduled routine for posting. I have been so busy lately and posting has been the last thing on my mind. Oh well, my blog, my rules. Whatever. Let me give a brief rundown of some things that have been taking over my life lately.

1) Classes. I start back to class for my Masters in Counseling Psychology today (ugh!) I can’t believe this summer is already over. I had a lot of stress during the last semester and at times felt as if I wasn’t going to make it through. It was very much a blessing in disguise last semester when I found out I wasn’t going to be able to take my Practicum course during the summer (scheduling conflict). It was a much needed break and I already feel as if it hasn’t been long enough. This is my schedule for this semester:

Not to mention the Ad. Psychopathology is in a different town almost 45 min away one direction. (I may or may not have just spent almost an hour trying to figure out how to get the above schedule cut and pasted onto this post.)

2) Work Projects. As I type this, I’m also working on a project for work. I have the amazing opportunity of being part of our CST (Crisis Support Team) at work. This team is basically an organized, trained support system in place to assist bureau of prison employees and their families in times of crisis. I am fairly new to the team and already I  am in charge of hosting a training (yikes!) I decided to do something fun and different. Right now I am simultaneously watching the movie Reign Over Me on my laptop. I am also typing up some discussion points about the video and how it can relate to our CST training.

A man who lost his family in the September 11 attack on New York City runs into his old college roommate. Rekindling the friendship is the one thing that appears able to help the man recover from his grief.

3) Chobani Craziness

Well, I guess I can’t leave you completely empty handed in the food department. Lately, I have been OBSESSED with Chobani creations. A few weeks ago Chobani sent me an awesome variety of Chobani flavors to try and I have been practically living off of the stuff.

I have discovered it is absolutely impossible for me to eat Chobani without puffed rice cereal. If you have never tried puffed rice cereal, go RIGHT NOW to the store and get some. It is like $1 for a huge bag and an entire cup has only 70 calories!

There have been lots of creations. Like this one with Pineapple yogurt and fresh mango.


And this one, Black Cherry Chobani with fresh cherries, chocolate syrup, and chocolate chips.

Apple and Cinnamon with Mama’s O’s and PB2.

Raspberry Chobani with puffed rice On-the-Go. Also enjoyed with coffee in my favorite UK mug (Go Cats!) FYI: I do not condone driving while attempting to eat out of this huge container that doesn’t even fit in the cup holder. #fail

The Vanilla flavor was also enjoyed with sliced banana, the Strawberry with strawberries (duh) and the Bloodorange was enjoyed with some mandarin oranges (not pictured). All of which were also GREAT combos!

There are a couple of flavors I have yet to try, including the peach and the pomegranite. Of all the flavors I have tried, I definitely think my favorite is the Raspberry. A close second is the strawberry and who could ever go wrong with vanilla?

Thank you so much Chobani for giving me the opportunity to try all of these wonderful flavors! I am definitely a Chobani convert!

Disclaimer: I was not reimbursed for this post in any way, other than Chobani provided me with the products to try and review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Q’s for the day:

What’s your favorite way to enjoy Chobani?


Recharge – Restructure

Hello everyone!

I have tried to steer clear of spreading negativity on this blog, thus far. As addictive as it is to read everyone’s negative comments on Facebook, it really is a pet peeve of mine. Especially when those comments end up being very personal and way TMI! For example, I have one friend who repetitively announces when her “aunt flo” is visiting! First of all, yuck. Second of all, why would anyone else on your feed care about or need to know that?


That being said… this blog also serves a purpose of self discovery. Lately, I have been doing a lot of self discovery, and I have discovered that I have definitely been in a funk. I have been depressed, lazy, unmotivated, and foggy. The reason for this funk is not a mystery and I am certain I know exactly where it has came from. There have been a combination of changes in my life over the last several months. There have definitely been a lot of ups and downs.

One big change I have not yet mentioned on the blog, as I still have felt very apprehensive about whether or not I want to disclose this information. But here goes… I got a new promotion at work about a month ago! I am now a Drug Treatment Specialist for the Bureau of Prisons! Yes, it is very good news and something I have been working towards for a while. I am very proud of myself. However, with a new job comes lots of new responsibilities and the addition of work related stress. I have not had the pleasure of dealing with work related stress in quite a while. Yes, my previous position had a certain amount of stress, but not to the degree my new position has.

With the addition of this stress, I have felt very tired and sluggish in the afternoons. My willpower has been running on empty and I have succumbed to many overindulgences in food. I have also experienced a significant lack of interest in working out and keeping up with any sort of normal routine. Of course, these things have also taken a hit to my self-esteem.


Well, no more. This past weekend I took the time to really sit down and reevaluate my circumstances and goals, and why I keep having setbacks. I realized a lot of my setbacks have simply involved giving up too easy. I consistently fall into the negative self-talk, telling myself, “Well, I’ve already eaten over my calories for the day, I guess eating 5 MORE BROWNIES won’t matter.” I confess, that really DID happen one day recently. I know it’s ridiculous. For heaven’s sake, I’m an addictions counselor now! “I know how this self-talk has affected me and the goals I’m hoping to achieve!” I say this while looking in the mirror and in my best and most professional counseling voice I can muster.


Yesterday I sat down with a plain notebook and outlined a meal plan for myself this week. I counted calories for each item and ensured that every meal was full of nutritious, clean foods. (As I type this at lunchtime, I’m having a spinach salad with broccoli, snap peas, and tuna. Paired with baby carrots and one thin cinnamon raison bagel. I will finish the meal with a hot, steamy cup of Sugar Cookie tea.) I already know by the end of the week I will be craving a break from the structure, therefore I planned ahead of time for a “cheat meal” on Sunday. Sunday works best for me because this is the day I usually go out to dinner with my Mom and we almost always split a dessert afterwards. I know many are completely against counting calories, and in no way am I suggesting this is the only way to stay balanced successfully. However, this is what I have found works best for me. Hard, cold, factual numbers keep me honest with myself.

In addition to a meal plan, I also outlined an exercise routine. Because I have basically been down to 0 exercise in the last few weeks, I thought starting out small would be best. For now, I have included 3 days of exercise per week and a “bonus” day if I decide to do a fun activity, such as going for a walk. As of right now, I am planning on getting my exercise through running, elliptical workouts, gym classes, and strength training circuits.


I am more than excited to start on this plan. My body and mind have felt completely out of control lately. I am happy to be able to get back to some sort of routine. I crave the structure and depend on my feelings of accomplisment to keep me motivated.

P.S. So sorry for the explosion of motivational quotes and lack of real life pictures. These are some of my favorites that have kept me motivated, and I wanted to share.

Q’s for the day:

What motivates you to continue through your routine?

What type of stress can completely unravel you from your routine?

Friday Five

Hello Everyone!

Have you missed me yet? I had so many intentions this week to write a few other posts before this one. However, I have been without my own computer for some time now. Mine went kaput during the last school semester. Please forgive this pictureless post. It is an absolute pain to try and upload pics without my computer. I have a new one picked out and ready to order, but I have had difficulty placing the order online. Please bear with me on my post absense for the next couple of weeks until I get consistent computer access again.

Anyway, onto the Friday celebration, or what I like to call Friday Facts! Friday Facts is an origination of Chelsey, so please show her some blog love! Chelsey has a generous list of facts every Friday to tell you about, but I think I will keep mine a bit more limited.

 ~And so, it came to pass, the Friday Five was born!~

Friday Five

1. Yesterday, I was running at my favorite location at a nearby high school and there was another older couple also there. The man was running (he seriously lapped me like 3 times!) while the woman was walking. When the man finished running he picked flowers and placed the bouquet in the door handle on the passenger side of his vehicle for the woman to find when she finished. So sweet!

2. This week has been very wonderful for me. There has been a lot of life changing things transpiring for me lately. Something I have been working towards and waiting on for a very long time finally happened! I know this is vague right now. But all will be revealed in due time!

3. I made banana and peanut butter stuffed french toast this week. I got the idea from one my my favorite foodies, Heather. It was scrumptious!

4. Yesterday, a woman in Kentucky was murdered while she was running. This saddened me so much to hear this on the news last night. Definitely a runner’s worst fear and the fact that it happened so close to home was even more terrifying. Mr. SP was also a little frazzled by this story and has insisted I start carrying a tazer with me when I run, of which I did not argue.

5. Father’s Day is this weekend and we are having my Dad a Father’s Day Dinner this afternoon. I STILL have not bought his gift yet and have no idea what I’m going to get him. Such a slacker…

Todays Q’s:

Are you a gift slacker like me? What great Father’s Day presents did you buy? (i.e. I’m desparate! Ideas please!!)

When you get good news, do you tend to hold it in and relish in the moment quietly or do you get so excited you’re bursting at the seams and can’t wait to tell everyone you know?

Hello Sweet Potatoes!

Welcome to my blog and my very first blog post. Let me just say, I am SO excited to be here!

Say Hi to Granny Howard in the back!

Just a quick introduction…I live in Southeastern, Kentucky and presently finishing up a Master’s in Counseling Psychology degree (Class 2013! Can I get a What? What?). I have worked in many public service fields in the past including a brief stint as an In-Home Family Preservationist Counselor and a Social Worker. After what seems like a long journey, but has thankfully only been a few years, I am now working at my dream job as a Psychology Tech at a Federal Prison (yes, like with criminals). That’s the business, now for the pleasure.

In my free time, I am a complete and utter nerd. I adore reading informational articles about my field of study, OODLES of blogs, as well as brushing up on my book list. I also squeel with excitement at the little things like a new mom-and-pop restaraunt, freebie coupons, and pretty patterned coffee mugs. Running is a passion of mine (BTW Happy National Running Day) and yes, I am one of those people.


– Beef Sliders in Pita Pockets served with Fresh Cumcumber and Red Pepper Hummus. (Recipe coming soon!)

You know who I’m talking about. We like to broadcast our latest eats all over Facebook and the web for everyone to drool (or question) over. Especially some of our bizarre healthy concoctions. I love whipping up healthy (sometimes questionable) meals and posting them to taunt people! Albeit, after cruising other health foodie blogs, I think I am still in the Minor Leagues. I am hoping this blog will not only inspire me, but inspire all of you out there, as well. Anyway, let’s get started!

I thought for the first post I would just recap a few things that have taken place over the last week or so in my neck of the woods (yes, here in Southeastern, KY we still say that.) The first picture above is of me at our most recent family gathering for Memorial Day. Also, let me introduce the one and only Mr. Sweet Potato.

Easy now, ladies. He has been happily spoken for almost 4 years now!

Every year, my husband’s family gathers at their family cemetary for a short ceremony remembering family members and loved ones who have passed on. It  is a tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation and every year I feel so blessed to be a part of it and share the moment with Mr. SP and his family.

After the ceremony, we gathered at Mr. SP’s grandparents’ house for some good food and lawnmower fun.


And this (Ugh!) was a project we started later in the afternoon…

But THAT is another post.


Toodles for now!


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