Carrie Crista Health Life My Life

A Reflection on 2017 | New Year’s Series Part One

As the year comes to an end, I wanted to actively reflect on how the year has been, what I’ve done well, what I’ve done wrong, and how my goals for 2017 panned out. I also want to map out my goals for 2018, but I think that would be too long of a post for one day, so I’m separating this into two posts and making it a New Year’s Series, if you will. Today’s blog post is part one.

2017 was as much of a fresh start as any adult will get. We moved to a different state and I started a new job at the beginning of January. We didn’t know anyone, we didn’t know the area, and we had to create a new life and routine almost entirely. Now, Middle Tennessee is home and we love it. We’ve met people, we’ve gotten plugged in at our church, and, with the purchase of our home, we’ve planted true roots here. It hasn’t been easy and there have definitely been some hard times, but moving was good for our family.

My main goals in 2017 were to be positive, learn to love myself, and live a balanced and healthy lifestyle. If you follow me on Twitter, my pinned tweet is my first tweet of the year and it literally says that this year is a year of positivity and self love. It was my mantra this year. For the most part, I think I really made progress in those areas. Fitness-wise, I’ve lost almost 20 pounds and I’ve really made progress in finding balance. I’ve found what works for me mentally and physically as far as food and exercise goes and that feels really good! I have some bad days still and those are really tough, but, overall, I’ve made great strides in living a balanced and healthy life.

Self love is still a hard one for me in multiple aspects. There’s a fine line between self love and narcissism. The word narcissist is so harsh but I think people forget that self love really isn’t about selfishness. Yes, you deserve to be happy and you deserve to be safe but not at the cost of someone else’s happiness, particularly those who you are close to.  I follow a girl on instagram, her handle is @courtneyerinn if you want to check her out, but she posted this a while ago and it sums up my thoughts on self love.

“So many of us take self love to a ridiculous extreme, to the point of caring for ourself (sic) before others, putting our selfish desires before what’s noble and honorable, and before caring for another human being…be whoever you want to be in this life but the least we can do as human beings is not hurt anyone in the process.”

I have been guilty of this this year, if I’m being honest, and it truly hurts me to know that. That being said, being guilty of this extreme of self-love (which is really selfishness, if we’re honest) has taught me a lot and I am thankful for the people closest to me more than ever.

In 2017, I decided to jump on board with the “Word of the Year” trend. My word (along with many other people) in 2017 was flourish. I wanted to flourish in all aspects of my life. It seemed fitting with starting fresh in Tennessee so I stuck with it. I think I did flourish in 2017, but in different ways than I’d hoped. I have flourished at work and I love my job. We have flourished as a family in our new home. I didn’t flourish in a few areas I wanted to (my lettering side business and YouTube wasn’t as successful as I’d hoped since their algorithm changed) but I flourished in areas that I didn’t have on my radar. I feel like 2017 has really given me a solid ground to work from in 2018. I don’t feel as lost as I did at the beginning of this year and I finally feel like I can make goals that build off each other instead of creating new goals and starting over each year.

Overall, 2017 was a year of learning and I’m thankful for that. On to 2018!

 

Carrie Crista Food Health Recipes

Super Simple, Quick Turkey Chili

I don’t know about you, but chili is one of my favorite winter meals. Paired with some cornbread, it just hits the spot on a cold day. I usually make my chili in a crockpot but there are days where I either forget to take the ground turkey out of the freezer (we buy most meat in bulk and freeze it until we need it) or I don’t have enough time to chop veggies and put them in the crockpot before work. No good.

While chili is best cooked low and slow, I’ve figured out a way to make GOOD chili in under an hour. You can definitely let it simmer for longer, but you could honestly have this done and on the table in 30-45 minutes depending on how picky you are about your chili. Talk about awesome!

The key to this recipe is using what’s easy- frozen chopped bell peppers and onions. It would seem counterintuitive to put something frozen in something that needs to be ready quickly, but it actually speeds up the time it takes for the veggies to get tender. I found my bag of veggies in the freezer section of Kroger and I got the Kroger brand, but I’m sure there are other brands. You can also increase the amount of the frozen veggies if you can’t find a 12 ounce bag specifically. The water will evaporate in the cooking process, I promise.

Another note- make sure you don’t get one that is pre-seasoned! Asian style veggies don’t generally taste right in chili- not that I’m speaking from experience (I am).

All that being said, let’s get into it!

Fast and Easy Turkey Chili

Serves 4-6
Prep-10 minutes, Cook- 35 minutes
Total time- 45 minutes

Ingredients

1 pound lean ground turkey, thawed
Salt, garlic powder, and pepper to taste
1- 15 oz can chili beans (NOT drained)
2- 15oz cans kidney beans drained
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 small can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 packet chili seasoning
1- 12oz bag of frozen chopped bell pepper and onion.
Sour cream, shredded cheddar, and green onion for garnish (optional)

Directions:

  1. Set your stovetop to medium high and let an 8 quart pot get warm.
  2. Add your turkey, salt, pepper, and garlic powder to the pot and stir until the turkey is cooked through.
  3. Dump in everything else and stir it until it’s combined.
  4. Keep the heat on medium high and cover for 5 minutes
  5. Stir and lower the heat to medium.
  6. Keep the heat on medium for 15-20 minutes and cover, stirring every 5 minutes or so.
  7. Remove the lid and lower the heat to medium low. Let simmer for at least 10 minutes or until you are ready to serve, stirring occasionally.
  8. Top with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

 

The longer it sits, the thicker it gets, obviously, but this recipe is great when you want some hot chili in a pinch. I top mine with sour cream, sharp shredded cheddar, and fresh green onion. Life hack: buy the fresh green onion from the store and stick it in water when you’re done. It’ll grow back as long as the roots are in tact. I’ve been using this one for a couple of weeks now!

The best part about chili is that it just gets better with time and it makes enough servings for my family to have leftovers! Overall, this one is a win in our house.

Carrie Crista Life My Life

December Already?!

It has been a couple of months since my last post and, wow, what a busy couple of months it’s been! I’ve got a LOT to catch up on, but I’ll try to recap the highlights as quickly as possible.

October brought cooler weather, hockey season, and the end of soccer season. We spent the last weekend of October in Georgia for the last Atlanta United game and my former college roommate’s wedding. Maddie went trick or treating for the first time and she had a ton of fun!

November was a total blur. We spent a weekend in the North Georgia mountains celebrating my sister’s wedding. The whole weekend was so much fun! About a week and a half after the wedding, we drove back down to Georgia to celebrate Thanksgiving with my sister, her wife, and both of our families. We spent the weekend after Thanksgiving decorating for Christmas and, before we knew it, it was December!

This past weekend, we really started to make our house a home. Mike built some awesome shelves for the living room and we added some decor to the walls of the living room and Maddie’s playroom. I will do a whole post on that later, but, overall, it’s been a productive weekend.

We were home probably 3 weekends between the last time I posted and now. It truly has been one of the busiest seasons in our life this year, but, with all the chaos came a lot of fun and great memories. Maddie’s daycare held a parent’s night out so Mike and I were able to go out on a real date without having to spend extra on a babysitter or feel like we had to hurry back home. Maddie has grown so much in the past couple of months, it’s unreal. Overall, life is good.

I have significantly decreased my online presence over the past few weeks, though. I’ve felt so overwhelmed with how much time it takes to be influential on social media and I don’t know if I want to even be a part of it anymore. I still want to post videos on YouTube and I still want to write in this blog, but I’m so overwhelmed with how fabricated social media influencers are that I’m having a really hard time. I don’t want to believe that I have to fabricate parts of my life to be interesting but that’s the reality of social media now. It’s media. The social aspect is secondary. Instagram feeds are curated. YouTubers are spending tons of money on backdrops and lighting and cameras and fake boobs/teeth/lips/whatever because it’s what’s relevant and trendy and I don’t want to be a part of that. I don’t do YouTube full time and I don’t want to hold myself to a standard that, at the end of the day, doesn’t even exist because it’s all fake anyway.

I know that was basically one giant run on sentence, but that’s how I roll. I want to make sure I’m living an authentic life and part of doing that has been seriously evaluating my priorities and figuring out what I want to spend my time on.

Now that I’m done rambling…

I’m excited to see what December holds! It’s the end of the year, so I want to make it count.

Art + DIY Carrie Crista Life My Life

Cabinet Painting 101

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that we updated our cabinets literally the day we closed on our new house. The cabinets weren’t horrible since the house is brand new and everything is updated, but we didn’t like the color. We’ve always loved white cabinets because they open up a space and make it look fresh and clean. In fact, a big reason we bought our house in Savannah was because of the kitchen, which had white cabinets, granite, and a pretty back-splash.

The kitchen in our old house in Savannah, Georgia

We decided that cabinets would be a fairly easy task to take on so we got some paint chips before closing and figured out what color we wanted no less than 5 minutes after getting the keys.

I will be honest, I didn’t expect painting cabinets to suck as much as it did. I am certainly no Joanna Gaines, renovation is something I never want to do, and I am, quite honestly, a big scaredy cat when it comes to re-doing something because I feel like I will ruin it. After this process, I’m not as scared of ruining things, but I’m still no Joanna Gaines and I still don’t want to do renovations ever. Part of the reason it was hard for us was because we only had a few hours to devote to it each day. With Maddie being around, we couldn’t exactly paint things in peace, so we decided to maintain our usual routine as much as possible (we were in an empty house, aside from her pack n play, an air mattress, and a TV) and then work on the cabinets after she went to bed. We started the process Monday afternoon and were finished on Thursday night around 10:00 pm. After staring at cabinets for so long, I have some Cabinet Painting 101 tips for those of you who may want to embark on a cabinet painting journey but don’t know where to start.

Tip #1: Research

We (mainly Mike) watched a TON of YouTube videos on how to paint cabinets before we decided it was something we actually wanted to do. We researched the steps involved, the type of paint to get, and the tools we would need so we were totally prepared.

Tip #2: Take your time with prep

When you have any sort of top coat on cabinets, sanding is a must. Instead of sanding, we used a deglosser (liquid sander). We ended up purchasing two bottles of this and used one and a half throughout the process. The key to this is to really take your time so you can make sure you prep the doors and actual cabinet framing sufficiently. Without sufficient prep, the paint will NOT stick to your cabinets. There were a few places that weren’t deglossed enough and it took extra paint and extra care to make them look like the rest of the cabinets. Take your time! It is incredibly tedious, yes, but it will save you time and frustration in the end.

Tip #3: Have a plan of action

We were very intentional with the way we un-installed, laid out, painted, and re-installed everything. Every door and drawer was numbered. Hardware was put in a numbered baggie that corresponded with the door or drawer it belonged to. Doors were laid out in a way that made reinstalling them easy and efficient. All of this led to a fairly seamless process, despite the length of time it took. We were never confused as to what went where and how far along anything was in the process. Having a plan of action definitely streamlined the process, which was essential with our time constraints.

Tip #4: Have as much fun as you can!

I’ve said it before, but painting cabinets is tedious. Tedious things tend to get very old very quickly, so try to make it as fun as possible. Mike and I listened to Christmas music to keep our spirits up and when that got old, we watched Friends, King of Queens, stopped for McDonalds even though we didn’t need it, and did other things that we knew would keep us happy despite doing the same thing over and over again.

Once we finished painting and installing, we added outer hardware. Originally, there were no handles or knobs on the doors or drawers. I knew those would totally tie the kitchen together and make the cabinets look complete so, a couple of days after we finished painting, we installed the knobs and handles. It changed the look completely and we are SO happy with how the kitchen turned out!

Now, I’m sure you’re wondering what it looked like, so here you go!

Before (It may not look like a ton of cabinets, but that’s only about 2/3 of them).

After!

 

 

This project was so much work, but it was so worth it! Next up in our kitchen journey: back-splash!

Questions for you:

  • Have you ever taken on an updating/renovation project?

 

Carrie Crista Health Life My Life

September Recap + October Goals!

Can you believe it’s  OCTOBER?! The end of the year is here! The first official day of fall was about a week ago and we got a taste of the cool weather in mid-September, but the heat came right back. I am ready for it to go for good! September was just as crazy as August, minus all the travel. Let’s recap a little bit!

 

Sports, Sports, Sports!

With September came football and pre-season hockey! Mike is in a fantasy football league with my family so we have football on basically all Sunday, every Sunday. I used to play fantasy football, but it took up a ton of my time since I would stress and stress about my picks. I may play next year, I just didn’t know where to fit it into my life this year. Preseason hockey also started and we kicked off the pre-season by going to a Predators practice and a scrimmage! The practice was split up into two groups and took up a good part of a Saturday, but it was so fun to see all the players back in action. The entire way to the rink, Maddie would say “hockey, Pekka?” She was so excited to go! We got a stick signed by a bunch of the returners which was awesome. Maddie got a high five from Pekka Rinne, Ryan Johansen blew her a kiss, and pretty much everyone she waved to waved back to her.

 

The next day, we were able to go to the Blue and Gold scrimmage, which was really fun! I can’t wait to see our boys on the ice for the regular season!

 

New Workouts

If you’ve followed my social media for a while, you know that I did CrossFit often when we lived in Savannah. When we moved to Tennessee, I didn’t get back into it because of the cost. I missed it so much! At the beginning of the month, I was trying to do my own CrossFit style workouts, but it’s really different doing them in a regular gym. I went through a workout lull and then found a program that worked for me that I really enjoyed. I still really missed the functional fitness style workouts, though, so I finally fit the bullet and signed up to try to get into the crossfit style class that another location of my gym has. Let me tell you, these workouts are TOUGH. I’m not as out of shape as I thought I would be, but the programming is a little different and the workouts have been really hard. We did one EMOM (every minute on the minute) workout and I thought for sure it would be the first workout that I would have to quit. I DIDN’T quit because my coach was super motivating and very supportive, but it was tough! I am loving the different workouts though.

Better Nutrition

I really dialed in my nutrition this month and overall have just felt better. I’ve made sure to track my food, plan and prep my lunches, and plan dinners well so I never have to wonder what I’m going to eat and end up eating something that makes me feel bad (not guilty, but physically bad). I’m not sure how much weight I’ve lost as a result because I haven’t paid much attention to that, but my clothes continue to fit better/get looser, and I can tell some differences in my body composition so those are all good things! Of course, I had some delicious treat meals this month (hello, sushi!). This is probably the first month I’ve really felt I’ve gotten the hang of balance and meal prep/planning. I will admit, I had a couple of pretty rough days – that’s a post for another time- but, overall, September was great for balance.

HOME OWNERS

Remember how I talked about our home buying woes last month? Well, towards the end of the month we ended up going under contract on a new construction and we closed last week!! We are officially homeowners- again! We will be spending the next week or so moving in and getting settled but we are SO excited to be in a home that we own again! Mike has recently taken up woodworking so I will be showing you guys some of our projects as he/we complete them!

My goals for October are pretty simple.

  1. Continue to make wise food choices and fuel my body properly.
  2. Go to two or more functional fitness classes each week.
  3. Get totally moved in to the new house.

 

Questions for you

  • What exciting things did you do this month?
  • How did your September goals go?
  • What are some goals you have for October?
Carrie Crista Food Health My Life

Healthy Living Q+A with In With October!

Hey friends! I am SO excited about today’s post because it’s been in the works for about a month now! Today, I want you to meet my friend October. She runs the blog In with October which is a lifestyle blog that focuses on healthy living. I know October in real life and she is one of the the sweetest most adorable humans on the planet. When she launched her blog a few months ago, I was SO excited to be able to read her story and what she had to say. Our journeys our different, but she is so inspiring and I love checking her blog out for motivation and positivity.

We decided we wanted to collaborate and thought the best way to do that was to do a healthy living Q+A! We agreed on some common questions we both get and here are our answers!

Who are you?

Carrie: Hey friends! My name is Carrie! I’m 27 years old and I live right outside of Nashville with my husband, my almost-two-year-old daughter, and our two dogs. I work at a university full time and manage a blog/YouTube channel called Carrie Crista! Carrie Crista is a lifestyle blog that focuses on healthy living, art, and beauty. Fitness has been a huge part of my life for the past 6 years, but it hasn’t always been the smoothest ride. Despite everything I do on a daily basis, I still try to fuel my body properly and train 4-5x a week. It isn’t easy sometimes, but it’s totally worth it! Outside of all that, I love Christmas, the color black, and Bruce Willis.

 

October: Hey Ya’ll! Its October. I’m the driving force behind all things going on at “In With October.” I live in sweet Tennessee, pretty close to Nashville. I just turned 25 and I work for a university. I graduated with my Master’s degree in May so I am excited to not be a student for the first time in my life. Who knew life without homework existed? I travel a lot for work, so don’t be surprised if you see me pass you by in a rental car somewhere. My lifestyle change happened about 15 months ago, so it is relatively new for me and I am loving everything that comes along with it. When I’m not working or at the gym, you can find me spending time laughing with my best friends and cuddling with my dog.


What started your fitness journey?

Carrie: My history with health and fitness is a long and complicated one. All you really need to know before 2011 is that I struggled with an eating disorder that nearly killed me. This led to a very distorted view of the purpose of food and what foods were good and bad so I ended up gaining a significant amount of weight as a result of jumping from one end of the ED spectrum to another. I would eat EVERYTHING because I felt I had missed out on so much. ANYWAYS. In 2011, I got some test results back from my doctor that said I had to take cholesterol medicine and that I was pre-diabetic. I wanted to get healthier, but I hated our college gym. The facilities were absolutely incredible, but I always felt ashamed and uncomfortable since most of the people there seemed fit already.  My boyfriend (now husband) convinced me to try out a gym off campus with great rates for students and I was hooked. I started paying attention to my nutrition (I, personally, count calories and pay attention to macros) and I ended up losing a significant amount of weight.

 There are SO many more pieces to this story and how I ended up where I am now (spoiler- where I am now is SO different than where I was before, in a GOOD way!) but that’s how I got started!

October: Happiness is really what started my fitness journey. I knew that my body wasn’t where I wanted it to be, but I was not self-aware at all. One day I got an honest glimpse of what I looked like in the reflection of a pair of sunglasses (literally) and in that moment, I knew that something had to change. 70 pounds and a little over a year later and I cannot believe where I am now. As I look back I am able to see so many changes within myself not only physically, but mentally. I’m not slowly down anytime soon, but I have gotten myself to a place where I am proud of the progress and am able to see the hard work coming to fruition. Some days it is extremely hard and I wish I could just eat whatever I want from Taco Bell. And some days, Taco Bell wins. But, there are even more days where I win and am able to make decisions that are best for me and my body. I’m really thankful for that.


What’s your favorite healthy recipe?

Carrie: I make this dish we call Cauliflower Delight. The recipe is on my blog but, essentially, it’s riced cauliflower (uncooked), ground turkey (cooked, duh), and pasta sauce. Basically just stick it all in a pan, make sure everything is hot all the way through, add some mozzarella cheese (if you want, but, come on now, it’s cheese) and eat it! It sounds so weird and it truly looks like dog food but it is DELICIOUS. It’s kind of like the inside of lasagna, but way better for you!

October: Anyone who follows my blog knows that I am the pizza queen. If it will go in the oven and I can put it on top of a pizza, I’m making it. But, by now, you’re probably ready for something new. One of my favorite recipes is actually a salad. It’s a seasonal salad and is perfect for fall. Holla, because it’s officially fall and it’s still 80 degrees in Tennessee! I roast chicken, broccoli, red onion, carrots, and sweet potatoes in the oven topped with s&p, olive oil, cumin, and garlic on 375 for about 25 mins. (adjust cooking time as necessary based on oven) After that, I put them on top of a bed of greens and lightly top with italian dressing. It is SO good. And a perfect way to get in a few servings of veggies while still feeling fulfilled after you’re done. Because no one has time to feel hungry all day… am i right?


What’s your favorite treat?

Carrie: Bread. Specifically any savory/cheesy/garlic-y bread (I’m looking at you, Red Lobster…and you too, Little Caesars with that Italian Cheese Bread).

October: Chips, cheddar cheese, and a Dr. Pepper. Super specific, huh? And I want that combo all at the same time. Lay’s Original chips in the yellow bag (basic, I know..) with some cheddar cheese is simply unbeatable. There is just no healthy equivalent for chips, so I splurge on this every now and then.


What’s on your gym playlist?

Carrie: SO many things. My playlist is pretty random but it’s mostly rock. My go-to song is “This is the Time (Ballast) by Nothing More. I’ve had it on my playlist for 4 years and it still pumps me up. Other artists on my playlist include Palisades, Starset, Zedd, Martin Garrix, Justin Bieber (I know, I know), Drake, Future, Avenged Sevenfold, and tons more.

October: My gym playlist has two different phases. For cardio, I like to stick with upbeat pop-rap. It almost makes it hard for me to not start dancing so it keeps my mind off of what I’m doing. Some of my favorites are “Knuck if you Buck,” “Wipe Me Down Remix,” and “Salt Shaker.” Can you tell I was in my prime during the early 2000s? When I’m doing strength training, I usually listen to just plain rap. The beat helps with reps and it just makes me feel like a little baddie.


What is your favorite exercise?

Carrie: Oooooh, that is hard. I prefer weights over cardio ** , so I’d have to say squats or overhead press. I do thrusters a lot because it combines a front squat with a press and adds a little cardio to the mix, but I don’t generally enjoy thrusters- ha! **As a side note, I think this is as good of a time as any to reinforce that lifting weights will not make the average female look masculine. Don’t be scared of the weight floor!

October: I’m definitely the complete opposite of Carrie on this one. I am all about some cardio. My favorite is the stair stepper, crazy I know. But, it is a machine that challenges me every single time I go to the gym and I can continue making it more and more difficult each time. I usually do this for thirty minutes and each ten minute segment, I switch it up and do something different. If you are looking to switch up your cardio and would like my stair stepping routine, let me know!


What’s is one fitness goal you have?

Carrie: I want to be able to do a muscle up.  You know how those gymnasts go from hanging under the bar then they’re pushed up on top of it ? It’s kind of like that. It’s super common in CrossFit workouts and it’s one of the harder motions to master, so I want to be able to do one of them!

October: I’m training for a 5k right now. I know running 3.1 miles doesn’t seem like much, but for me it is. I have spent the last 25 years of my life running only if someone was chasing me. And luckily enough, no one has chased me yet. So my running experience has been slim to none. I want to run the whole thing without stopping and preferably around 30 mins. My race is in a little over a month, so keep your fingers crossed for me.

 

What’s your go to snack when you’re in a hurry but starving?

Carrie: A protein shake. It’s so plain and boring, but it gets the job done. If I’m out and all of a sudden need some sustenance, I generally will grab a Quest bar (or something similar- I prefer Quest because the carb/sugar is lower than other bars, but any protein bar generally does the job) or beef/turkey jerky. The key is to get something high in protein to fill you up!

October: Protein, protein, protein. It’s what is going to keep you full for longer. It’s easy to grab candy or chips when you’re in a time crunch, but they’re ultimately just going to make you hungrier. Some of my favorite protein-filled snacks are protein bars (I’m going to second the Quest bar rec from above) and beef jerky. Beef jerky feels like a cheat to me, so this is an extra fun snack that I like to grab from time to time.


What are the main body groups that need to be focused on during a weightlifting workout/regimen?

Carrie: This question really depends on the person and their goals/needs. I would say, however, that it’s super important for most people to focus on compound lifts. Compound lifts are ones that work more than just one muscle group at a time. Squats, for example, work your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and your core. Bench press works your chest, triceps, delts, and core. Does that mean you should only stick to barbell weights and heavy lifting? No way! Isolation exercises are great and they’re really beneficial. Compound exercises, however, will give you far more bang for your workout buck. So basically, focus on your whole body by incorporating compound lifts!

October:    I’m just going to second everything that Carrie said! Focus on the areas that you want to work on. Don’t be afraid of strength training exercises (working on learning this myself), they aren’t going to bulk you up if you are a woman. There are tons of resources available online for free that can give you great workouts that target specific body parts if you aren’t sure where to start. Ladies, don’t be intimidated by the weights, you got this!

What’s ONE piece of advice you would give someone who is just starting a healthy lifestyle?

Carrie: Be patient and consistent. I know, I know, those are two very hard things. I still struggle with them, but those are the two things that will translate into progress. Results are not instant, anyone or anything that claims otherwise is lying. Find a program that is healthy and realistic and stick to it. Over time, you will start to see progress.

October: Be forgiving with yourself. At the beginning of a journey, it is really easy to make a mistake or have a slip-up and you feel like you’ve ruined all of your progress. I hear from people time and time again that they accidentally ate something unhealthy so they just stopped going to the gym. It’s okay, you just have to hop back on the horse and get back to work. Don’t let one mistake (or a whole weekend of eating like crap) keep you from finding your happiest and healthiest life. You won’t regret it.

And there you have it! I loved talking with October over the past few weeks about this because it shows how, even though people may have different journeys, the overall goal of health is really universal and something that can be achieved by anyone in ways that are so personal. October has such a positive and incredible view on life and I love following her story!

Have a question you want answered in a future Q+A? Leave it in the comments below! 

Carrie Crista Currently Life

Currently | September

If you’re subscribed to my newsletter, you’ve already heard a little bit about “Currently.” If you aren’t subscribed to my newsletter, first- go subscribe (click here)! You’ll get bonus content and first access to new things on my website! Second, I’m starting a new(ish) series called Currently! I took part in this series on a former blog of mine and I wanted to bring it to Carrie Crista because I loved it! Every month, I’ll let you know about 2-3 things that are current for me. Every month, I’ll talk about different “currents” but I’ll let you know about things like what I’m currently eating, drinking, watching, reading, listening to, wearing, etc. At the end of each currently, I’ll ask you what your currents are so I can get to know you a little better and get some ideas as to things I should check out!

This month’s post is all about what I’m currently drinking, watching, and listening to!

This month has been all about Pumpkin Spice Lattes for most people. Me? I’m a Salted Caramel Mocha kind of girl. All day, every day. The Salted Caramel Mocha is probably the most underrated Starbucks drink and I, honestly, have no idea how people can like the Pumpkin Spice Latte more than the SCM! Don’t get me wrong, I love pumpkin. Pumpkin bread, muffins, pancakes…pretty much everything pumpkin I like. But a PSL? Hard pass. So yeah, Salted Caramel Mochas have been my life this month! (Pro tip: you can get an SCM year round, just ask for a toffee nut mocha- there’s no salted topping so it’s a little different, but the drink itself is basically the same thing).

I make Spotify playlists for every season. Winter is generally just my Christmas playlist, but the concept is still valid. This fall, I have a lot of throwback songs on my playlist. I’ve got some Incubus on there (Dig and Drive), Yellowcard (Only One), MeWithoutYou (Silencer), and then I have some more recent songs. One of my favorite songs right now is “Little One” by Highly Suspect. I tend to gravitate towards slower, more minor key, mostly rock or alternative type music in the fall. I don’t know why, but I’ve always been that way! I’d be lying if I said I didn’t put my Christmas playlist on every so often, but I just can’t help it! Christmas music puts me in the best mood.

I feel like I have watched everything on Netflix at this point. I’m waiting for more horror movies to come out for Halloween, but, until then, I’m rewatching Friends for the millionth time. It never gets old and I can have it on in the background while I get things done. I started watching the new season of American Horror Story, but I can’t get into it. I’ve seen every single season and, I know it’s only been two episodes, but there isn’t any sort of story line forming yet and I’m getting bored. I was really disappointed with Roanoke and I thought Cult had a TON of potential but so far, I’m underwhelmed. I still think Murder House and Asylum are my favorites! We are SO behind on Big Brother, it’s not even funny. They need to start next season mid/late May instead of late June because life gets busy towards the end of the season and this season won’t end until almost October!

 

So that’s it for my first “Currently” post! Let me know in the comments what kinds of things you want me to talk about on “Currently” and let me know what you are currently drinking, listening to, and watching!

Beauty + Style My Closet

My Fall Closet Staples

If you haven’t noticed from my Snapchat and Instagram stories (follow me if you don’t already- carriecrista is my username for both!) I LOVE cool weather. I firmly believe summer is the worst season and I embrace fall and winter in all their cold glory. Now that the weather is getting a little bit colder, my summer wardrobe is being neglected and I’m reaching for my fall clothes!

Fashion gets weird when you have a full time job with a dress code. My work dress code is business casual to casual, depending on the day. On the weekends, I like to dress casual but cute and comfortable. It’s almost like I have to have two different wardrobes, but 1) I don’t have the money for that and 2) no one really NEEDS two sets of clothing. Instead, I have a few staples in my closet that make transitioning from work to play much easier.

Boots

This is a basic fall staple but I LOVE using boots to dress up leggings or maintaining a business casual look with black skinny jeans. I have a pair of tall riding boots, flat booties, and heeled booties. They all serve different purposes, but they are all worn equally!

Leggings/Skinny Jeans

I wear black skinny jeans almost exclusively. I wear them with flats, boots, or booties, and then decided what I wear for a top based on what I have to do that day at work. When I want to be more casual, they’re perfect to wear under an over-sized sweater or a t-shirt! On the weekends, I’ll wear leggings or yoga pants if I want to be a more casual and comfortable, but the whole outfit tends to be very similar to my work outfits!

Long Sleeved Crew Necks

Most days, I’m in black pants, a long sleeved crew neck, and a scarf. I get mine from Target and they are so versatile. I have multiple colors and I just rotate them out! They are inexpensive as well, which is a plus! The reason I love the crew neck from Target is because they are very comfortable, but also a bit form fitting so they match well with skinny jeans or boot cut pants (or any other style that isn’t tight). Oversized tops tend to not pair well with pants that aren’t tight, but the long sleeved crew necks are perfect for either look.

Oversized Shirts/Sweaters

I don’t have a ton of these, maybe 3-4, but they are amazing for fall. I wear them with my skinny jeans and boots! They’re warm and comfortable and I’ve managed to find some solid ones that professional enough for work but casual enough for the weekend.

A Good Cardigan/Jacket

I have a comfortable black cardigan that I can throw over any outfit and I also have a black, cotton pea coat style jacket that is perfect for more dressy occasions. We all know black is my color, so I choose black jackets but pick whatever you like!

Scarves

Last but certainly not least, scarves! I have a decent amount of scarves because they are my go-to accessory for chilly weather! I can match or contrast them with the shirt I’m wearing and it instantly dresses up one of the solid crew necks I mentioned earlier.

When the weather turns even colder, I add more layers and I invested in a big heavy jacket to wear over my outfits when I’m outside. For the most part, though, winter and fall clothing stay pretty similar!  I  hope this was helpful for some of you who may be wanting to minimize your wardrobe but also want to be cute and comfortable!

 

Questions for you:

What do you love about fall fashion?

What are some of your staple items?

Carrie Crista Food Health Meal Plan

Meal Plan | Favorites from August!

Happy September, officially!

While summer is still technically around for the next couple of weeks (September 22 is the first day of fall, in case anyone cares to know), September really symbolizes the end of summer. Most people are back in school, Labor Day eliminates your summer wardrobe (my godfather is very much the type to box up his white linen and seersucker after Labor Day), and Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back in coffee shops. Sorry summer, you’ve been replaced.

A more subtle change is the change to what people cook! Less grilling, more chili and soup. The produce section changes and people look for more warm flavors over bright and fresh. I wanted to share a few recipes that we LOVED this summer and, bonus!, they’re great for fall, too!

Sticky Sriracha Meatballs

These were DELICIOUS. I served them in a lettuce wrap and topped mine with sliced carrots, green onion, and sesame seeds.

The original recipe can be found here, but I adapted mine just a bit and made it a little more basic.

First, I made meatballs the way I always do. You can use ground beef, turkey, chicken, meatless grounds, whatever type of protein you like. The recipe calls for egg and breadcrumbs, along with other things. I added Worcestershire and mustard. That’s it. Then I cooked them on the stove stop until they were cooked all the way through.

The sauce is just even parts of honey, sriracha, barbecue sauce (I used Sweet Baby Rays), and soy sauce.

It was super easy and REALLY good. You can definitely increase or decrease the amount of sriracha depending on your preferences, but even parts was perfect for us.

Sausage and Veggie Bake with Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

I’ve been making this sausage and veggie bake for a long time but adding Buffalo Cauliflower Bites was a game changer. The recipe for this one is super simple:

  • Pick out your favorite kind of link sausage. I really like chicken apple sausage and linguica or any spicy sausage is great for this meal as well.
  • Find your veggies. We use red pepper, onion, and cauliflower.
  • Cut the red pepper and cauliflower into pieces, toss them in olive oil and your favorite seasonings, and stick them in the over at 400 degrees. These will roast for about 25-30 minutes or until soft.
  • Chop the cauliflower into bite sized pieces, toss them in wing sauce (again, Sweet Baby Rays for this family), and then stick them in the oven with the other veggies. These will roast for about 20 minutes.
  • While the veggies roast, cut up your sausage into bite sized pieces and cook them on the stove top!
  • Once everything is done, you can throw it all together in a bowl and go to town!

We ended up keeping the cauliflower separate because we didn’t want to get the buffalo flavor on the rest of it, but I used to make this with potatoes and I would serve everything all in one dish.

Cauliflower Delight

This is, by far, the easiest meal you could ever make. Seriously. We make it on a weekly basis because it takes maybe 10 minutes, the macros are good, and it makes a TON of food which means we have lots of leftovers. I posted this on my Snapchat and Instagram story last week and got a lot of questions about the actual recipe, so I definitely wanted to include it here!

You’ll need:

  • 1 lb ground meat – turkey or beef works best.
  • 1 jar of pasta sauce (or you can make your own if you have a recipe)
  • 1 head of cauliflower, riced.

How to make it:

  • If you didn’t buy your cauliflower riced, cut your cauliflower into pieces and rice it in your food processor. You want it to have a texture similar to quinoa.
  • On the stovetop, cook your meat. Add salt, pepper, and italian seasoning.
  • Once the meat it cooked through, add your pasta sauce. (We sometimes use 1 1/2 jars, but it’s personal preference).
  • Once the pasta sauce is heated and mixed into the meat, add your riced cauliflower.
  • You are NOT cooking the cauliflower! Stir it in an let it simmer for a couple minutes, but the end result will be closer to a quinoa texture than a cooked cauliflower texture.
  • You can add mozzarella or parmesan at this point, if you want!

I will give you fair warning. This one has no pictures because it really can look like dog food. It does NOT, however, taste like dog food. It tastes like the filling of lasagna and it is SO good.

 

So those were some of our favorite recipes this summer! Now that fall is on its way, I’ll be doing more of these posts since we’ll be having a bigger variety of things! Summers tend to be the same things over and over because it gets too hot to cook. I thought we moved AWAY from horrible heat when we moved to Middle Tennessee, but I guess not! 🙂  Regardless, I’m super excited to start cooking more and I can’t wait to share what we’ve had for dinners in the next Meal Plan!

 

Questions for you:

Do you like summer or fall better?

What is your favorite fall recipe?

 

Carrie Crista Health Life My Life

August Recap + September Goals

It is the end of August and this month has been such a whirlwind! I recapped part of it in my vacation blog, but so much has happened and I wanted to cover the rest!

I’ve decided I want to do a monthly recap as a part of this blog. I love the idea of weekly recaps, but, to be honest, some weeks are duds around here. As I’ve mentioned before, I have a full time job at a university and spend a lot of my free time working out, making videos for YouTube, and wrangling my almost-two-year old. Some weeks, those things are the only things I do. Monthly recaps, on the other hand, would be much more interesting! I’ll also wrap my goals for the next month into these posts!

So, back to August.

July was a crazy month. Mike and I were in the same city for less than two weeks of the month due to business travels, so August was a nice cool off. We started the month off in Jamaica and Grand Cayman (click here for details on that!). It was a great vacation! When we got back, it was back to work.

Back to School

The beginning of August at a university is the last chance to really get things ready for the fall semester. Around mid-August, all of the back to school hullabaloo begins and it’s all hands on deck! Orientations, early move in, presentations, and new student activities take over campus until beginning of September and it gets really busy, so that’s how I spent the last couple of weeks.

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Or the sun. On the 21st, I was able to see a total solar eclipse! Nashville was in the path of totality and it was incredible! The whole hour before and after the eclipse was really bizarre, but the 15 minutes before and after totality was probably one of the weirdest times I’ve experienced in my life. It got dark, but not in the normal way it does when the sun sets. Instead, it was just like there was this darker haze that covered everything. It viewed almost as if you were wearing sunglasses or some sort of solar lens on your eyes, even though that wasn’t the case. Because my sight was dampened, I felt as thought I couldn’t hear well either- like my ears were stopped up by sinus pressure or something. I was sick at the time, but my friend said she felt the same way so I know it wasn’t just me. After the eclipse, my equilibrium felt off until I took a nap. I woke up feeling normal again. It was so bizarre! Now, about the eclipse itself- it was awesome! It was crazy to hear the crickets start chirping as soon as it got dark. My job had a big viewing party so we had an astronomy professional telling us when it was safe to remove our glasses and when to put them back on. Overall, it was an awesome experience!

Get Down with the Sickness

One not-so-great part about this month was my annual summer to fall sickness. Every year, I get a terrible, flu-like cold when the weather is about to change. Once it’s gone, the temperature starts to shift and it gets much cooler. It’s kind of weird, actually. Anyways, around the 20th I started feeling under the weather and by the next day I was full blown sick. I don’t like to take many types of cold medications because they don’t do much for me as far as symptoms go and they make me really bloated. I stuck to night time meds to help me sleep but, other than that, I stuck out the symptoms. I also made sure to load up on good, whole foods and lots of rest to help my body heal faster. I even took a day off work (which is basically unheard of for me, unless I’m going out of town).

Homeowners?

This month, we decided to go ahead and start looking at homes to buy. The market in Middle Tennessee is absolutely insane and it didn’t take long for us to find that out. We looked at a lot of houses, but had a hard time finding one that we really LOVED. We ended up finding one we were pretty sure we would have put an offer on only to find out that they put the house on the market, showed the house the same day it went on the market, then took offers and refused other showings. The house went under contract in less than 48 hours! We put an offer in on a house we loved and found out that we lost it to another family because they included a family picture with their offer. We put an offer on a second house that we found and we lost it as well. I’m telling you, this market is insane! It’s kind of discouraging, but we’re still looking and we’re confident that we’ll end up in a home that’s right for us. I don’t know when, but I’m sure it will happen.

Birthdays!

We also celebrated my husband’s birthday this month! He’s the big 2-9 and we celebrated on his birthday by going to his favorite barbecue place for lunch and a Nashville Sounds (minor league baseball) game that night.

The day after his birthday, we went to a pre-season Titans game!

I really only have two goals for September: stay consistent and stay positive. August was tough for me because my weight and general physique fluctuated after vacation. Top that off with the fact that I couldn’t work out for over a week due to being sick, August wasn’t the best month for me, fitness-wise. In September, I want to be consistent with my nutrition and my workouts. I also want to make it a point to stay in a positive mindset. I mentioned this in my How to Fall in Love with Fitness post, but it’s SO important to want to be healthy for the right reasons. It’s easy to fall into a trap of self-loathing so my goal is to NOT fall into that trap.

August was definitely eventful and I’m ready to start these last few months of the year! Fall is so close and Christmas is less than 4 months away (!!!!). September to December is my favorite time of the year, so I’m excited to see what these next few months bring us!

Questions for you:

  • How was August?!
  • Did you see the eclipse?
  • What do you like to do to celebrate your birthday?
  • What are your goals for September?