Elise Blaha Cripe does this on her blog, and it looks like a cute and simple idea on a quiet morning

craving detox food: a large kale salad and cold-pressed juice

feeling the next-morning affects of a super awesome work party

wearing my new maxi skirt everywhere

enjoying making fresh summer salads at home 

obsessing over house hunting, even though I'm not moving again any time soon

preparing for a huge digital marketing strategy presentation for class 

wishing for a CSA membership for my birthday

drinking cold brewed coffee & almond milk…every morning

planning goals for summer vacation

reading a new book for an upcoming guest review on another blog (so excited!!)

listening to podcasts on my morning drive

watching so much soccer (except today…boo)

recipe: baked dijon salmon and kale/quinoa salad

If you like vinegar, this meal is for you!

Johnny loves mustard, so I'm always looking for ways to incorporate our mustard collection into meals. This has been a go-to for us thanks to Target's Simply Balanced keta salmon filets that are always on sale. I love pairing a big kale salad with a fatty fish so all of that fat-soluble vitamin A is absorbed better. My skin always looks better the next morning when I do this.

Baked Dijon Salmon with Kale and Quinoa Salad (serves 2)



For the kale/quinoa salad (adapted from Elise Blaha Cripe's post)

  • 4-5 cups kale, stem removed and chopped into pieces
  • 1/2 cup dried quinoa
  • feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 3 leaves fresh basil, torn into tiny pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the salmon:

  • 2 salmon filets (I use skin on, but you can use skinless as well)
  • 1/4 cup dijon mustard, or other mustard of choice (right now we're using Publix Greenwise tangy dijon)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup panko crumbs

Chop up your kale. Use the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, sugar, basil, salt, and pepper to make the salad dressing. Drizzle dressing onto the kale and toss. This will allow the kale to get more tender. Cook quinoa according to directions. Mix quinoa with the kale and toss. Add feta cheese. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt the butter in the microwave. Combine melted butter with the dijon and spread onto salmon filets and top with panko crumbs. Cook for 12-15 minutes, until salmon flakes easily with a fork. Plate salmon with half of the kale/quinoa salad.

There you go…an easy, healthy, and delicious weekday meal that takes less than 30 minutes to put together and is easily customizable.

Enjoy! Let me know if you try other mustards!




around here: saturday morning

I've been quiet this week because I've been dealing with a bad sinus infection. I haven't been able to exercise at all, and my "cooking" has consisted of making boxed macaroni and cheese in a nyquil haze. Note to self: have some content ready to go for weeks like this.

I felt amazing when I woke up this morning. The sun was shining, I had just slept through the last 11 hours, and I could breathe through both of my nostrils. Today was a great morning.

Morning Iced coffee

Almond milk and cold pressed coffee has been a favorite lately.


Painting 2 Wall art project

I've been working on new pieces to decorate with. I finished lyrices from my favorite song to go in the bedroom.

Plants Pepper bloomingI got my cucumber plant (right) into a bigger container to give it room to grow, and my pepper plant (left) is finally growing a pepper! Discovering that was like Christmas morning for me.

Ikea Ikea kitchen prints DeskI love that I live so close to Ikea. I wanted to get some inspiration for new projects and I walked out with some frames and prints (the ones in the picture are here) and a jade succulant plant for my desk. I need more green in my bedroom.

This morning was a great morning.


the challenge of staying fit during a florida summer

Here in Tampa, it feels like the summer season starts in April and lasts until November. Summers are the one thing I do not like about where I live. It's hot, it's humid, and it's guaranteed to rain almost every afternoon…right when you're leaving work. 

I'm not going to lie, I've been having a rough time adjusting my workouts to summer. I developed a good workout schedule back in December that mostly involved outdoor running and indoor Pure Barre classes. I love being outside of a gym; it's just so much more mentally stimulating than staring at a wall indoors. I love feeling the air as I run, and I love the camraderie that happens when I venture inside for Pure Barre.

may 2014 run

My last run was mid-May, during a freak cold front that left one Saturday morning in the 60s and with no humidity. I remember waking up just as the sun was rising to take advantage of this miracle. Almost every day since then it has been hot, humid, and rainy.

CMR before and after

Johnny and I did a Color Me Rad run during Memorial Day weekend. It was a lot of fun, but it also just reinforced why I can't exercise outside during summer here. My hands and feet swelled up like crazy as a reaction to the heat!

Pure barre

I also moved (kind of) far away from my Pure Barre studio in May. It now takes me an hour to get there, both from work and home. I'm still hoping to squeeze in a visit once in a while, but it doesn't work as a usual class anymore. Pure Barre is how I got through this exercise rut last summer.

I always struggle with the exercise part of getting fit. I start my days super early at work, but by the time I get home it's raining too much to get to the gym. By the time it stops raining it's dark and I'm ready to get to bed…or I have a school project to work on…or I'm finishing up something for work. The list can go on and on.

Afternoon storm severe

This past week I've discovered that if I treat a gym trip like a work appointment I'm less likely to skip it. Yeah, I'll choose to stay inside when the sky looks like pure death outside (see above), but overall I'm more likely to keep my word to myself. I mean, it looks pretty pathetic when someone blogging about getting fit refuses to go to the gym because its ________ (rainy, boring, insert your own excuse here).

Fall/winter/spring (yes, one season here) will be here before I know it, but in the meantime I need to step outside of my comfort level to take care of myself.

handling stress in grad school

In August, I will have been in grad school for four full years (!!!). I've been full-time, part-time, working, you name it. I've been in two different schools and three different programs. I'll finally be done come December, but 9 semesters of graduate school is enough to make anyone lose their marbles at least once.

I'm a mess

I've been working full-time and going to grad school (both full-time and part-time…depends on the semester) for the majority of my time there. I think I've finally nailed down the magic combination for dealing with the stresses that come from being a student in the working world: a lot of wine and coffee. Jay-kay guys….although there is a grain of truth to that combination.

Back to being serious now.

  1. If you work, don't be afraid to ask your boss for a more flexible schedule. During the summer, the building I'm in closes the cafe down at 2pm and I'm unsufferable in class without dinner. After multiple summers of leaving work at 5:30 for a 6pm class and only having time to grab pretzels from a vending machine, I finally asked to work a 7:30-4:30 shift on the days I have class. By leaving an hour earlier, I have time to grab a more substantial dinner and shift my mind from work to school. It's made a huge difference.
  2. Learn when to separate school and work. What I mean here is learn when to stop answering emails and focus on school. I have a strict no-work-email rule when I'm physically in class, and people at work respect that. I need to focus on class when I'm physically there. Other people I've met choose other times to do this. However, it really helps to have a dedicated school time set out.
  3. Know your limits. Last summer, I took three class (which put me at full-time status) and was regularly putting in 50 hours a week at work. Somehow I pulled off a 4.0 that semester, but I was constantly exhausted. My life at work suffered as a consequence. I thought I was pulling it all off, but I really wasn't. Never doing that again…
  4. Don't be afraid to take time for yourself. Johnny is also an MBA student who works full-time, and it's really interesting to see the differences between us. I always try to take time for myself during the week. He doesn't, and he is constantly short on sleep and stressed. Don't be afraid to skip a class if you need a night off. Find an exercise class to participate in. Veg out to netflix for a short time period. Finding something to treat yourself with when you're at that breaking point really helps you refocus your energy back on school.
  5. Remember, it will be done eventually. This isn't a child that you will have for at least 18 years. It's just school. At USF, we have a 5-year time limit at the master's level. No matter what, I would have to be done in five years. Enjoy the learning process again and take advantage of everything you can in grad school. In the end, it's worth it.

You really don't even know

Are you in grad school right now? Are you considering it? How do you handle the school-work-life balance issues that come up? I love hearing from other grad students about their experiences.

Until later,