Project Food Blog Challenge #1

Hey friends!  I’m sure you’ve all heard about the Project Food Blog contest that Foodbuzz is hosting for all featured publishers.  After much deliberation, I decided to enter because even though ChiaSeedMe is still a humble little blog, I love a good contest and if I’m blessed enough to stay in the contest past the first cut, I’ll be pushed to tackle challenges that I never would get out of my comfort zone to do otherwise.  Plus, I love blogging about food, so why not?!

So, in lieu of my first entry, here’s a little bit about me and why I would love to be and believe I can be the next Food Blog Star:)  In true English teacher style I bring to you…

The Who

Hey, I’m Candice, a former high school English teacher passionate about food, crazy about my yorkie, Olive, and head over heels for my husband, Jon.  I left my teaching job to pursue writing and health, and am loving navigating this new and uncertain world of following my foodie dreams.  I love spending my time creating recipes, writing about and photographing everything from a simple green smoothie (which I partake in most mornings) to a perfect chocolaty vegan cookie (which I wish I could partake in most mornings:).  I also love teaching yoga, running, going for walks and laughing and talking about English with international students.

The What

ChiaSeedMe is a healthy living blog that I started last January. I previously blogged about my random daily life at a different blog and was super intimidated to start my own food blog; however, once I wrote my first post, I knew I had made the best decision ever, and since then ChiaSeedMe has become such a fun and fulfilling part of my life. I blog about everything from the simple, tasty meals I create to funny little anecdotes in my everyday life that usually involve mishaps in and out of the kitchen and the crazy antics of my husband and our little furball.  Toss in some posts about exercise, beauty products, vivid photographs and stories from our travels to Thailand and beyond and you’ve got a glimpse of every side of ChiaSeedMe.

The When

I usually blog once a day and inspiration usually strikes me sometime in the afternoon or evening.  Though I’m definitely known to still be typing and uploading photos at midnight more often than I’d like to admit.

The Where

I live in central Oklahoma in a small city where it’s a 50 mile drive to the nearest Target or Whole Foods.  While it sometimes drives me mad to not have access to great restaurants and beautiful running paths, I’m often forced to create my own inspiration or find it in the unlikeliest of places. I often use the most basic, everyday foods (Walmart kind of foods:) in my recipes, and on runs I seek out inspiration from cows and wheat fields rather than crashing waves.  I hope this enables readers to relate to me and to be encouraged to find their own inspiration in the simplest of places.  I believe that a healthy life is less about our circumstances and more about what we make of them.

The Why

I get kind of teary eyed thinking about the why of ChiaSeedMe.  For the first 25 years of my life, I struggled on a diet of fat-free and sugar-free foods, while feeling guilty every single morning that I didn’t burn enough calories on the treadmill.  Then I found healthy living blogs, and my perspective did a one-eighty.  I learned that there is truly nothing better for our bodies than real, whole foods and exercise that is done in pursuit of health and not a number on the scale.  I admit, I’m still learning so much about balancing life through food, and I have setbacks all the time (right, Jon?:), but I know that I’m leaps and bounds beyond where I was even two years ago, and I want to share that with anyone who will listen.  I want to shout it from the rooftops, and ChiaSeedMe is one way I get the opportunity to do that!  I truly love my little blog, and every single reader I hear from reinforces the reason why.  When I hear that someone was inspired to eat more real foods because of my daily eats or that someone made one of my recipes for their family and it was a huge hit, I get butterflies inside.

Sometimes I can’t believe that people actually read this blog of mine, and I dream of the day that I can reach more people and hopefully make a positive impact on some small corner of the world.

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takin’ me back

Today was another successful day of Operation: Get Clear Skin. Successful being used very loosely of course – meaning I pulled out all the stops by sticking to the list I posted yesterday…but my face is technically still not clear at all. I honestly do think I can see a glimmer of improvement, though, so my hopes are high.  Thank you for all the supportive comments and advice.  You guys rock!

Actually, the drama with my face brought back a memory of Thailand for me today.  It was Valentine’s Day of 2008, and Jonathan had planned a one night getaway for us at a hotel in Chiang Mai.  It was really only about 15 minutes away from our apartment, but had air conditioning, a bath tub and was gecko free as far as we could tell:)

this little guy welcomed us to our kitchen the day we moved in – little did we know his entire extended family + all his friends lived in our house as well.

flowers the husband bought me from the market

hotels like this are fairly inexpensive for Americans

I seriously stayed in this tub for hours on end.  It was like I was back in America.

The next morning he took me out to breakfast…

and then it was time for the big surprise.

He had booked me a massage and facial (also really cheap in Thailand – I could get a manicure for about three dollars)!

I remember laying on my back, feeling like I had died and gone to heaven as a sweet Thai woman massaged things into my face.

You see where this is going.

The next morning I woke up and throughout the day this rash began to show up on my face.  It was like my entire face was completely overtaken by blemishes…seriously beyond anything I’ve ever experienced in my 27 years.  I wanted to hide under a rock and never come out.  And I kept asking myself “what could have possibly made you think it was a good idea to let someone rub not only their hands, but also various other unknown concoctions all over your face?!”

Needless to say I haven’t had a facial since.

And that’s where memory lane ends.

Back to today.  I started off again with a delicious breakfast juice before doing an hour session of yoga in preparation for my class tonight.

The goods.  Parsley, escarole (leafy green I picked up at Whole Foods last week!), 1 plum, 1 organic carrot, 1 beet and 1 apple

aren’t beets so pretty?

a spry little sprig of parsley

and the finished product

After yoga and some light house keeping, I was ready for a snack.

apple and almond butter

I haven’t had an apple and almond/peanut butter together in a long time…but I think it is time to bring it back! holla.

I also sipped on a Pom spritzer (a few ounces of Pom juice mixed with seltzer water) on the side.  This little drink was so refreshing to me today.

A little while later lunch was a green monster just like yesterday’s, except with almond milk – yay for a stocked fridge!

After meeting with a new student whom I will be tutoring now as well as student I’ve been tutoring for awhile, I came home craving exactly what you see above: homemade salsa (recipe coming soon!), baby carrots, sugar snap peas, spelt pretzels and spicy garlic  hummus.  This snack plate was so filling and it took me forever to eat it, which is a plus in my book:)

Dinner was a little more carb heavy.  I somehow failed to get a picture, but the husband and I made Mexican Fiesta Pasta. It was hot, mexicany, spicy and it really hit the spot!

I must be off to bed now…I’m planning to make it up in the morning in time for a run, but I’m a little worried seeing as how tired I am right now and how late it is.  Must. Get. Sleep.


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let’s clear things up


This morning…I juiced.

But before that I went on a 3.5 mile run.  It was a decent run – not the best I’ve ever had, but certainly not bad.  I love those moments when I hit a high in the middle of my run, whether caused by my current tune, something to do with the scenery or just a good strong and steady stride, it’s just so sweet.  We didn’t make great time – I think we finished in about 38 minutes, but I’ve just been less worried about time lately.  I would honestly rather just enjoy running than be super worried about how fast I’m going.

Anyway, so I came home and showered and then got to juicing.  I know I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had switched cleansers to Burt’s Bees because I wanted to start using all natural skin care.  I’ll be doing a full review on it later as I want to give it a little more time before I form a final opinion.  One thing I don’t think I mentioned before is that I felt like it was a good time for me to make the switch because I was having some serious breakouts on my face.  I haven’t had a problem with breakouts since high school, and I’m not really sure what’s going on.  But I figured since my face was already broken out, it would be a good time to change my skin care system, since switching can often trigger a breakout. Might as well get it all over with at once.

Not sure that was the best idea.  I’ve been using Burt’s Bees for about 2 weeks now, and my face has progressively gotten worse.  I honestly don’t think that BB is specifically the problem.  I think there was already a problem, and so far BB just hasn’t miraculously cleared up my skin.  It has gotten so bad, though, that I finally called the other day and set up an appointment with the dermatologist.  I’m seriously feeling desperate!

Anyway, I woke up this morning and was washing my face when it occurred to me that I should really try every natural remedy I can think of before I end up with a prescription cream of some sort that is full of chemicals and most likely expensive on top of that.  After just a little bit of researching I came up with a few ideas that I’m going to begin implementing.

  • Drink a lot more water – I drink water with most meals, but often forget to drink it in between
  • Eat more raw foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds (read: lots of juices, green smoothies and salads)
  • Eliminate (with a few exceptions) refined sugar and coffee
  • More yoga – yes, I think this matters.  It helps relieve stress and tension, which has a positive effect on my skin
  • Not wearing makeup whenever possible - this is kind of a catch 22 because I want to avoid makeup so my skin can breathe and begin to clear up, but I also have more of a desire to wear it because my face is so broke out.  Not sure exactly how to handle this other than I won’t be wearing makeup anytime I’m at home
  • Continue to wash morning and night with Burt’s Bees
  • Use tea tree oil on blemishes
  • Stop touching my face! I have a bad habit of doing this.

I just felt so compelled today to do whatever I can to take care of this problem.

Breakfastleafy greens + 1 beet + 1 carrot + 3 celery stalks + 1 apple + small piece of garlic = one amazing juice

After my juice, I did an hour yoga session.  I’m learning to turn my planning for classes into awesome classes for myself. I pulled out all the stops, even using my lavender scented cloth:)  A couple of hours later I had a snack plate.

Newman’s Own spelt pretzels

natural almond butter

homemade salsa

carrots and celery sticks

And for lunch I opted for a green smoothie.  This contained 2 handfuls of spinach, 1 container of soy yogurt (we’re out of almond milk), 2 heaping tablespoons Vega Shake and Go Smoothie, half a banana, 1 tbsp chia seeds and ice.

For an afternoon snack I veered from raw and ate up a cinnamon raisin Ezekiel english muffin with 1 tbsp almond butter.

Plus I drank lots and lots of water all day long!  Many trips to the bathroom ensued.

For dinner Jon and I grabbed salads from Chipotle on our way to buy groceries.  Mine included lettuce, black beans, grilled veggies, 3 kinds of salsa and guacamole of course!

Overall I already feel much better today.  Even though I can’t tell a difference on my face yet, it feels good to know that I’m going everything I can.  I would love to be able to cancel that dermatologist appointment in a week.

Well, now that I’ve laid out all my problems for the world to see, I must be headed to bed;)

Question: have you ever had problems with your skin, whether acne or something else?  Any ideas for natural treatments?

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i’m back

It was a wonderful weekend, despite how busy and crazy it was.  I made new friends, learned proper technique on tons of yoga poses as well as a plethora of other yoga topics, and after my community service I’ll officially receive my certificate as a YogaFit yoga instructor.

Honestly, I didn’t take one picture all weekend.   I know, right?  I don’t even know what to do with myself right now.  No pictures?!  My days were so full on Saturday and Sunday I honestly didn’t have time to even think about the camera.

Friday night Jon and I arrived in Dallas around 11pm and knowing that I had to wake up at 6 the next morning, I hit the sack soon after.  Saturday morning I left around 7:20, drove to the gym where my training was being held, and didn’t get back home until 6:30pm.  Jon and I celebrated my first day of training by making a quick trek through Ikea and then hitting up some Mexican food for dinner.   I was just so exhausted by that point that my camera didn’t even make it into the restaurant, so no food pics:(

By the time we got back to my sister’s apartment, I was so exhausted I literally collapsed for the night.  Sunday was essentially the same story, except instead of hitting up Ikea and Mexican food, we hit the road for the 4 hour drive home, arriving home last night around 10pm.

Today has definitely been kind of tough getting back on schedule because I’ve just been so tired!  As soon as I woke up this morning I knew I needed to energize myself with the most energy filled breakfast I could think of.

one green apple, 1 small beet, 1/2 lime, 2 stalks celery, 1 organic carrot

plus a piece of ginger about the size of my thumb:)

Don’t worry, I didn’t just eat all this raw.  I juiced it of course!

However, I somehow forgot to take a picture of my juice…doh!  I told you my brain is still not quite functioning properly after the crazy weekend.  Take it from me, though, it was beautiful and tasty!

I also had an orange on the side for a little vitamin c and fiber:)

And a little later I snacked on my favorite Larabar of all time before heading out for tutoring.

I’m off to get some yoga in, but later I’ll be doing a recap of my YogaFit training weekend and sharing what I think about the company and their training seminar.

Hope you all had a great weekend! 

What was the best thing you did/the best thing that happened to you all weekend?  Big or small! Mine was honestly getting to reunite with the husband after an entire day apart on Saturday:)

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roadtrip time

The snacks are packed, Olive’s loaded up, and the husband and I are off for a fun and eventful weekend!  When I come back, I’ll officially be trained to teach yoga.  Hooray!!

Thanks for all the well wishes over my first class…you guys are way too sweet:)

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

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