10 awesome things about 2016 ?

2016. You’re drunk. Go Home.

The 16th year of the millennium caught a lot of heat for all the not-so-great things that went down this year. Even though my worries increased, my mind also expanded and I gained hope in our generation to conquer da issues. I’ve always been grateful, but this year I noticed that I’ve felt much more #blessed for all my #blessings. My friend John reminded me that grateful people are often the happiest people. I noticed the more grateful I am, the happier I am. So here's to being even more grateful in 2017 ???

2016 had a lot of ups and downs for the world and for me, but overall it was a year for the books. Here are my top ten amazing things about 2016 that happened to EmiG:

The 4 Best Things in the March Issue of Shape Magazine

For Christmas, I gifted my well-read American Literature-master/playwright-queen cousin "Tequila Mockingbird", a funny cocktail book with drink recipes based on classic literature. I could relate to the drinking thing but hate to say I'm not much of a [quality] reader... I at least got the puns of every 5 cocktails or so but I could be better... 

BUT I do subscribe to Women's Health and Shape (formerly Fitness Magazine) and used to read them front to back, religiously. In the past year I sometimes had a hard time keeping up with all the reading, but recently committed to always skimming them and even if I don't have time to read them in entirety like I used to. Now I at least dig in to what interests me most and learn from what these publications offer. I just finished the March issue of Shape. The following four pieces spoke to me the most: 

1. Props for rock climbing:

(page 80) This article discusses the increasing popularity of climbing, its toning benefits and the mental challenge and reward of solving "problems." Definitely need to get back to a climbing gym again soon. Sometimes climbing is daunting but nothing beats the feeling of completing a climb you really didn't think you could do. And it's a killa arm/forearm/fingers/leg/butt/brain workout. Women should climb I think they often make better climbers than men!!! 

2. A killa 17-minute TRX Workout

(page 72) Can't wait to try this. Some of my classes have incorporated TRX briefly in circuit workouts, and it's always so challenging. In the article, they quote the journal Human Movement Science: "abs were activated 184% more during a suspended push-up than during a standard one. You can literally feel your body get tighter and more toned as you do the moves. I was always interested in kickboxing workouts after working out at a boxing gym for a few months a while back (gets you ripppped) but have been interested in trying new specialties. This should be fun..

3. Practicing mindful eating ("smarter eating style")

(page 100) This article was refreshing. I have been re-evaluating my food choices from an ecological and health standpoint lately (maybe vegan or partially vegan...or just "sustainable" and pescatarian...?? there's so many options and benefits of each). That combined with getting back from a wildly fun traveling experience, I was getting a bit caught up in a label or decision on what to eat. I was forgetting that a HUGE factor is how you eat. These tactics are all things I naturally practice when I'm eating my best. It was a nice reminder and I'm happy to return to that mindfulness and gratefulness for every bite. Maybe I'll write more on mindful eating one day, but can't commit right now. :D 

4. Random/cool reminder: Make some warm weather goals 

(can't find the page now/sleepy. I'll leave it as a surprise) I thought this one page was random but nice. I actually just set some new fitness/health goals after such a crazy time traveling and then getting back into my Chi-city life. But this was a refreshing random page to see in the middle of the magazine (no big article or study follows this). I just thought it was cool. 

Also learned: Pastel lip colors are in for spring, which is great because I always wear a pastel pink because I'm afraid to try bright red; You can't technically be allergic to smells ("smellergic"); On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being famished and 10 being stuffed, you should aim for a 6. And there's some tasty looking recipes that use avocado which makes me really wish I liked avocado ughggh

Spinach = Michael Jordan

I've always been a bigger fan of Spinach than Kale, and as I was writing Twitter content for a food brand for National Kale Day, I came across this Eat This Not That article: "10 SUPERFOODS HEALTHIER THAN KALE"

My fave line: "Spinach is to kale what Michael Jordan is to LeBron James"

A good read. Apparently beets, chard, Chinese cabbage and watercress are even better than spinach! But whatever at least I'm eating spinach. 


InstaFood - Inspiration

I currently manage the social media accounts for a Fortune 500 food brand, so I'm always on the lookout for great content marketing ideas in the food arena. An old colleague of mine showed me Tillamook's Instagram, and their photos scream "fun with food." I think they are worth following even if you aren't a content marketer. 

Instagram Post for National Grilled Cheese Day. Killed it. 
Instagram Post for National Grilled Cheese Day. Killed it. 
This visually represents data after posing the question
This visually represents data after posing the question "What's your ideal ice cream topping?" 

They also do a ton of creative GIFs which is totally where marketing is going. They're all over it. I didn't feel like figuring out how to put GIFs on my blog post (sorry) so you'll have to check out their Insta to see! But they are so creative! 

(PS-The company's mission is also awesome. They're a "farmer-owned dairy co-op" from Tillamook, Oregon. And their website is also very interactive and cool.)

Even as I write this post, I'm learning more and more about the company and checking out its creative design. Into itttttt 

BFD: Coconut Flour Pancakes

If you know me, you know I love breakfast food. Smoothies in the morning, smoothies at night. Eggs for dinner. Pancakes whenever. Yogurt and granola for lunch. Breakfast pizza drunk. Why not eat breakfast foods whenever? Most of them are protein- and nutrient-rich, and are meant to power you through the day. Well...food is meant to provide energy and power you through your life, so why does society limit eggs+granola+yogurt+smoothies to just the morning? At least breakfast pizza slid it's way into evening activities. 

But I digress. Back to pancakes. I'm not usually a big fan of pancakes in the morning unless it's 11am on a Sunday (as opposed to 5:30am on the weekdays). But for dinner sometimes a nice pancake hits the spot (hence BFD- breakfast for dinner. Also big f'in deal because these pancakes rule). Pancakes get a bad rap because the standard pancakes we're used to are filled with fake ingredients, are nutrient-poor, and then we cover them with syrup/chocolate/whipped cream/PROCESSED SUGAR to add flavor to the blandness. 

I bought coconut flour for a banana bread recipe (which rocks, it's from Bakerita). Then I had a ton left over so one day I googled "coconut flour pancakes" and Google did me right. The first recipe that shows up, from Nourishing Days, is perfect. They turned out great. As you see I ended up eating them like cookies because you don't need anything else! Only thing is they seem a little black while you cook them but don't worry. All tastes goooood in da hood. I recommend! 

Adding in some sliced bananas was a great call.
Adding in some sliced bananas was a great call.
Might look like it's burning but cook on a low heat so it cooks all the way through but minimize burning the outside. This tasted perfect :) 
Might look like it's burning but cook on a low heat so it cooks all the way through but minimize burning the outside. This tasted perfect :) 


My latest go-to/annoying thing to rave about: energy balls. I usually work out before work and hit the train at around 6am, so I'm awake and need a little bit of energy (/motivation to get out of bed) to get to the gym and through my workout, but I'm not ready for a full-on breaky quite yet. 

My friend MaryClaire had me try one of these at work recently, and since I've been hooked. Packed with super nutritious ingredients, and includes chocolate and peanut butter so obviously they tasty. Each ball comes in at around 140-160 cals, depending on what you put in and how big you make them. (my friend Anthony adopted this recipe but he makes each ball about the size of a softball, so the cals may vary..)

Recipe is from this runner chick's 'Pink Cookies with Sprinkles' Blog here

Here it what I usually end up doing (omitted some ingredients from the orig because I'm cheap sometimes, but each batch has turned out different each time. Fun to experiment!)

1 cup rolled oats (old fashioned, NOT quick <--although I used quick on accident once and lived to tell the tale)
1/2 cup peanut butter (which amounts to about 8 spoonfuls. I have gone overboard on this before and they became a little too melty/mooshy, so be careful PB lovers)
1/3 cup RAW honey (I'm cheap and do reg sometimes. But raw is betta)
1/2 cup ground flax seeds (loveeee the flax)
1/2 dark chocolate chunks
1-2 tbsp chia seeds 
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla (realizing as I write this now I've forgotten the salt and vanilla the past couple batches, whoops. I recommend using these ingredients!)

I usually omit these two because I'm cheap but they are great additions: 
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut
1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds (unsalted)

Here's what you do:
Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate 45 minutes to an hour
Roll into small balls and keep refrigerated. I usually 'frost' with a little peanut butter on top because peanut butter. 

Enjoy!! They are great first thing in the morning or as a snack, or a quick and filling treat!