relax, recuperate, rejuvenate

A little later than intended, I’m back.

These past two days off of work have been wonderful, and as much as I kept telling myself, “Jenny, you should blog! You should write! Don’t neglect it!” I just couldn’t bring myself to do any “shoulds.” I just needed to focus on self-care.

So what have I been up to? Here’s a bit of what’s been going during my time off:


Yesterday, I walked to pilates class. The studio is a little over a mile from my house, and it was a gorgeous day to be outside. I felt little twinges, now and again, of guilt for giving up my shift… and then I saw this:

divine intervention

Signs from the Universe don’t get much more obvious than that! Silly as it may be, seeing this license plate helped me relax and know that I had done the right thing.

Pilates was kind of a bust, to be honest. It was a beginner’s class, but I didn’t find it very challenging. Either way, I was proud of myself for trying something outside of my normal workout tendencies, and, I told myself… at least I walked there! 🙂

I had a couple of errands while I was in the area, and the one I was most excited about was going to get a library card. I have NO idea why I haven’t done this any sooner. I’ve been swooning over some books online, reminding myself that I don’t need to spend a ton of money on books and suddenly the obvious hit me: get a library card, silly! So I did. 🙂

And I brought this baby home with me:

I’m a David Mitchell fangirl.

Number9Dream by David Mitchell has been on my to-read list for a while. My absolute, all time, nothing better, mind blowing, life changing favorite book is his novel A Cloud Atlas. I’ve been itching to read more of his work for a while now. I’m almost 100 pages in (oh man, I love days off), and so far I’m really loving it. It’s different than A Cloud Atlas, but not in a bad way. If it’s anything as life changing, rest assured, I’ll be writing about here. 🙂

#BudgetVegan food

Today was the last day of week 2 on my grocery budget. This week was much better than week 1. I found that by the end of the week I a) was not running out of as much food (I didn’t need a replenishment trip at all!) and b) was not bored by too many leftovers. I was able to add more variety in my diet this past week, and I even found room to stray a bit from my planned menu.

cheezy lentils stuffed pepper

This was one of my unexpected meals. I had bought this red pepper intending to make a tofu scramble, but somehow that never happened. In the spirit of wasting less, I decided to stuff it! The insides are just green lentils in a cheezy sauce. I’m still tweaking the sauce recipe, and then I”ll post the recipe for this baby. This was super yummy and I can’t wait to refine it. Even Markus was impressed with my fancy looking dinner!

warm peanut butter cup protein oats

I have really been enjoying my protein oats with cooked oats this week. This particular version includes cocoa powder and is topped with PB2, watered down to a saucy consistency. I’m not sure if it’s because the oats are cooked , or what’s going on, but this week I have not needed a snack between breakfast and lunch. This is such a satisfying meal that today I had to force myself to eat lunch 4 hours after breakfast. If you know me, you know that is a looooooong time for me to go without eating. I usually eat every 2-2.5 hours.

homemade hummus on quinoa flax bread

Lunch today was the first time I realized I was running low on things. Not too shabby, considering it took to the last day of the week to get there! I only had a small bit of veggies left, and those were reserved for dinner, so I made one of my favorite, most simple lunches. As I said, I wasn’t super hungry yet, so I went with something smaller. Markus bought some quinoa and flax bread from Whole Foods, and so I, um, borrowed (thanks, honeybuns) two small slices, toasted them and topped them with homemade hummus and avocado. On the side I had half of a grapefruit.

Then it was grocery time! Today was an exciting day: I got a discount at Whole Foods. I have a friend who works there and graciously allowed me to use his discount.

20%, y’all.

However, I didn’t want to use this as an opportunity to cheat. If I spent my whole budget ($55 this week) after the discount, I would have considered it a fail. So I still weighed all my veggies and fruit, only bought what I needed for the week, and chose brands that were on sale, etc. Before my discount I ended up at $60. I don’t know how that happened, except for maybe the part where I bought $9 (aka 3 pounds) worth of brussels sprouts. Oops.

Actually, I did buy a few extra veggies that aren’t normally on my weekly list, like chard and some mushrooms. Either way, going over by $5 is no big deal, and again, I won’t need to go to the grocery again until next Tuesday.

But lest we forget the discount. What I actually paid was $48.

Damn, that felt good.

I got a LOT of food for $60.

Moving forward, I will definitely be reconsidering my purchases to try and get closer to my budget goals. I figure a margin of $5 is not a terribly large margin, anyway. But maybe there was room for some rearranging and rethinking. Who knows! It’s still a process of learning and either way, I’m still saving between $60 and $70 a week by menu planning and paying strict attention to what I’m putting in my cart. I can’t fault myself for the extra $5!

So, Swagsters… What have you been up to the past few days?



falling off the face of the earth

Swagsters, I hope you know I haven’t left you or forgotten you!

Life has been crazy. I just ended an 11 day streak of work. The first half it was just dandy but by the last few days, I had no energy except to work, come home, eat dinner and go to bed. I was feeling so overstimulated by the noise, people and sights around me. All I wanted after work was dead silence, not to move or even open my eyes. Yesterday I didn’t even have energy for a positive attitude, and worse yet… I didn’t want to even try to be positive. It was that bad.

Today was supposed to be day 12 of work, but I gave my shift up. Yesterday showed me that body, mind and spirit… I needed a break.

So I slept in this morning and soon I’ll be headed to Pilates class. It’s going to be a total ME day. I’ve got I restore my swag levels, ya heard?

I hope you can all forgive my absence, but know that I’ll be back tomorrow with a brand new post for you!

Lots of love and a thumbs up to greet the day!


living simply

In another lifetime, (at least it feels like another lifetime) I lived in a tiny studio apartment in historic Henderson, KY. It was a little green house, and my friend and I lived in the upstairs unit.

our little green house

We lived on a quiet little street that lead you directly to the river and the downtown area. We had 2 kitties, Lily and Harry. We shopped at the world’s tiniest farmer’s market, where we were able to only buy cucumbers, various forms of squash, tomatoes and the occasional red pepper. Strangers smiled, waved and inquired after your well-being. We biked or walked all over our little town. We had a very small shared living space that consisted of a kitchen table, 2 big fluffy chairs, a radio and just enough space to lay down our yoga mats. Our apartment was so small, our clothes closets were actually in the shared living space. We didn’t even have a TV. Most days, if there was sound coming from our wide open apartment windows, it was NPR over the radio. It was so quiet. So peaceful. So simple.

Why am I taking you on a tour of an apartment I lived in 3 years ago?

Admittedly, I am feeling incredibly nostalgic lately. I’m realizing that there is a big part of me that misses my Old Kentucky Home (if you’re from KY, you’ll get that reference). I miss the southern hospitality. But above all, I miss the simplicity of the way my roommate and I lived. It’s not that life was simple, it’s just that whenever we returned to our apartment, it welcomed us with simplicity. It was as though the apartment itself was saying, “Shhhh. You’re home now. Relax. Everything is okay.”

Before I get in over my head, let’s all agree that I’m having an existential crisis right now. Many days in a row I have been asking myself “Who am I, really?” Am I Kentucky Jenny? Am I Connecticut Jenny? Is there a Constant Jenny that links the two together? How does a person know when they are being their Authentic Self compared to when they are being the Adapted Self?

I know right?! I overwhelm myself sometimes.

After much meditation, lots of yoga, lots of looking inward, and a tear or three or four, I feel like I might finally be getting somewhere. I’m getting to a little green house in Henderson, KY. I’m getting to a place that welcomes me Home and says, “Be simple. Live simply.”

I can’t actually go back to Henderson. I can’t go back to that apartment. I can’t go back to the life I had there. But I can let simple be the essence of Constant Jenny.

This is probably an anticlimactic post because I don’t have a game plan. I can’t say to you, “These are the changes I am implementing.” I could say, “I haven’t watched TV in 3 days.” But that’s not the point. This is the kind of thing that happens organically and isn’t exactly tangible. What I can say is that this morning, for the first time since I moved to Connecticut, I feel like Me, capital M-me. It’s a feeling that words can’t do justice.

It feels simple. It feels good. It feels like home beyond geographical restraints.

Do you do anything that helps you remember who you really are? Meditate, pray, journal, etc?
Have you ever asked yourself these questions?  
What are your thoughts on living authentically?

I realize I’m not asking simple questions today, swagsters. But I invite you to explore this with me. We look outside of ourselves for answers more often than not, when sometimes, the answer is within us all along, if we’re just willing to go inside and listen.

treat yo self

Hey Swagsters! Happy Thursday!

I’ve been in a total daze all day today, but I wanted to make sure I shared with you how my self-care day turned out yesterday.

I had a pedicure scheduled at 12:30. When I arrived and checked in on Foursquare (like the good social media addict that I am), I was pleased to see this:

Treat Yo Self!

It was almost like Foursquare was out to encourage me to take care of myself! Ha! Sometimes it’s the little things that can make a girl’s day.

So the gift card I was given was for Noella Spa & Nails. They have salons in Avon and Farmington, CT. My appointment was at the Farmington, CT location and man, was it snazzy!

so relaxing.

Look how nice this place was! It was so peaceful inside. It was very tranquil and they were playing opera music softly over the speaker system. I was swooning. The pedicurists and manicurists were all very nice and did excellent work!


When I was sitting under the fan, letting my toes dry, someone even came around and offered me a massage! I was so surprised by the luxury that I actually TURNED HIM DOWN.

What is wrong with me?!

If I wouldn’t have simultaneously embarrassed myself and ruined my nail polish, I would have chased him down to say I’d decided to accept his offer. But alas, the moment was gone and so was my massage. #jennyfail

happy feet!

My little feetsies were so happy! Massage or no massage, I was definitely feeling relaxed and refreshed.

And hungry.

When I got home I needed something quick and delicious, and then this happened:

portobello pizza with diaya mozz

I made a mini pizza with a portobello mushroom cap and had some roasted brussels on the side. So yummy!

Yesterday evening I met up with Cait to go to the Glastonbury Riverfront Concert Series. We met at Whole Foods, where Cait grabbed a delicious salad bar dinner (I had packed a salad and brought it with me), and then we set off to meet Cait’s mom, lounge on the lawn with glasses of wine and listen to a pretty awesome Beatles cover band. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures because I was STARVING and could only think of digging into my salad. But Cait has some, and I’m sure she’ll have those up on her site before long. 🙂

It was a very relaxing night, and I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend the day!

July just keeps getting better and better. When I woke up today I realized this:

My best friend Holly, who I met in college and haven’t seen in something like 3 or 4 years, will be coming to town on July 21st, and July 21st is now in the 10-day forecast, which means omgitsgettingsocloseicannotwaitforhertogethere. The 10-day makes everything official.

And then for lunch I ate this:

I’m addicted to Daiya.

Vegan grilled cheese with avocado and 1/4 block of thinly sliced tempeh. To. Die. For. I’m not super big into sandwiches but today there was nothing that I wanted more and darnit if this wasn’t beyond satisfying!

Well Swagsters, I’m off for the night. Markus has given me homework while he is at work: Watch Weeds, season 7 so we can watch the final season together. I’ve seen every season of Weeds except number 7. I watched the first episode and have to admit that I thought it had officially turned to crap. But I’ve come this far, and I am interested in watching the final season, so I might as well get myself caught up.

Have a great night and see you tomorrow!

making room for me

Happy Wednesday, Swagsters!

My goal after starting this blog was to do it every day for 21 days… and then I missed Monday and Tuesday. Oops.

Oh well. It wasn’t for laziness, it was for life, and that’s why I’m not getting down on myself for it. This is what I was doing Monday instead of blogging:

I went to my friend’s lake house in the Berkshires and had an amazingly relaxing day. So sorry I’m not sorry about missing a day of blogging. 😉

Yesterday I was just plain busy! I had to catch up on some obligations and work in the evening.

But I’m back and ready to get this site back on track!

Today I woke up feeling pretty refreshed. I got my morning moving with ZWOW #20 followed by some abs. It definitely left me feeling wide awake and ready to get the day underway!

Hey, Swagsters…

Let’s build some swag!

The one thing I missed on Monday was setting our goals for the week! I hope you set some for yourself, anyway, and if you haven’t… today is the day!

Last week, I listed the goals I’d chosen for myself in the wellness-challenge that my employer is sponsoring for the company. This week the goals I chose for that challenge are a little different… My team is really stepping it up to keep our position as #1 for our store. What I’m saying is, my goals there are strategic ones to earn a lot of points 🙂 soooo… Instead, this week I’m going to list a separate set of more personal goals. First off…

The Results
Last week I very nearly met all my goals. I got 8 hours of sleep every night and I did yoga 3 times last week. My third goal was to avoid alcohol 6 days out of 7. Not to make excuses, but here are my excuses:

  1. A double on the 4th of July
  2. Date night with Markus

Things happen. I could scold myself for not being “perfect” or I could say I tried my best and move on. I’m moving on. 🙂

A New Week

In line with not being hard on myself for not meeting every goal I set last week, this week my goals are all about self-care and self-love.

1. Be nice to me. 
Yesterday my dear friend Cait and I had a great phone conversation. We talked about how negative and mean we can be toward ourselves, yet how we would never dream of treating anyone else that way. My first goal this week is to practice mindfulness and awareness. To notice when my negative voice is chiming in and then to actively use my positive voice to turn those thoughts around. Cait actually wrote a spectacular post yesterday in line with this thought. She is probably one of the most skilled people I know when it comes to turning negative to positive. It’s so admirable and something I’d like to work harder at this week!

2. Make time for self-care
I’m notorious for putting myself last (plight of the woman?). I always have ideas of doing things for myself, but then I look around and I think that the apartment could be cleaner, or I could be doing something for Markus, or I should be picking up a shift at work etc. Outside of my morning “me” time, which usually ends promptly at 10 am, I don’t really make a lot of room for me throughout the rest of the day. This week, I’m going to try and do something extra, at least 5 times this week, for myself. For instance, going the the lake on Monday was all about me (and being with my friends!). It was so relaxing and was literally the first time I’d done anything summery so far this season! Today I’m going enjoy a pedicure. (Squeee!) A new salon opened down the street from my job and the owner gave our GM a massive amount of gift certificates to hand out to us employees. So not only is it me time but it’s free-me-time. Even better. As the week progresses, I plan to continue adding in a few things that are about me loving me. I’ve got to teach myself I deserve it, because I do!

In my opinion, these two goals are the foundation of swag building. If I’m not being nice to myself and I’m not loving myself, then I absolutely cannot have swag!

So, Swagsters, what are your goals this week? Are you going to work on self-care and love? What will you do for you this week?

Share with me in the comments or on twitter and next Monday, we’ll give props!

Let’s end on a humorous note. Markus and I had date night last Sunday (it’s actually a thing we’ve started doing for US, and it’s really helping out our relationship a lot!). Afterwards, we were hanging out at home and I decided to snap a pic of us on the couch:

So I’m dating an ax-murderer?

Markus isn’t the biggest fan of being in pictures, so this was so hilarious to us. His lack of enthusiasm ended up looking a little ax-murderish. We decided to call this picture “Jenny’s Last Smile” and I’d like to make sure it’s submitted to Dateline if I ever disappear and they do a special about me. 🙂 He’s such a cute guy.

Til tomorrow, Swagsters!