• Welcome to Beth’s Journey!


    Hey! I'm Beth - a 27 year old foodie living and working in the Washington, DC area who has lost almost 90 pounds through Weight Watchers. I love good food, wine and getting creative in the kitchen, and then balancing that out with running, The Shred, and yoga. Please feel free to browse around and hopefully you'll find some ideas, recipes and motivation!

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On A Mission

Whew what a weekend! After that super sweaty seven miles and cleaning spree on Saturday morning, I went shopping at Goodwill with some of my best girl friends and found some amazing stuff. The best find? This designer leather bag for $12 that I am absolutely obsessed with.

It even has the original genuine leather tag!

The top of the bag folds over and snaps shut like so:

And I just LOVE it. The color, the feel, the shape, the size… I have no idea why someone gave it up! The leather is also SO soft to the touch that I had a feeling I just found a hidden gem. And it shouldn’t surprise you at all that I came home and immediately googled Minelli bags to find out how much they retail for. Most of the bags, even used ones, are selling for close to $300. Score!

On A Mission

So you probably know that besides bargain shopping, another thing I am very fond of is grocery shopping. I know many people look at it as a chore, but I seriously love it. So much so, that my pantry, freezer, and refrigerator are literally packed with food pretty much all the time. Since I generally go shopping every week, there are tons of items in my pantry and freezer that I end up hiding behind my new purchases. It has to stop!

For the next few weeks, my mission is to make a dent in the things in my pantry and freezer. I’m limiting my grocery budget down to $35 per week and using that mostly/only for fresh produce. Truth be told, I was originally thinking $25, but then when I went to the store and spent $31.44 I realized that most of what I buy anyways is produce, so $25 is probably unreasonable for me.

For protein, I have tofu, tempeh (x2), eggs, beans, greek yogurt, TONS of cheese, peanut flour, and quinoa to work with. I also have so many grains, breads, beans, cereal, pasta, sauces, and other random things taking up space in my kitchen, and it’s time to start making a dent in it before adding anything else.

To kick off this process, yesterday I made a huge batch of brown rice and quinoa (separately), using up the last of each of these grains in my pantry.

Don’t worry, I still have millet (which I’ve never tried), wheat berries, couscous, israeli couscous, whole wheat pasta, soba noodles and others I’m sure.

Then, I went grocery shopping with my budget in mind to Whole Foods and managed to get a lot of good stuff.

For $31.44, I got:

  • Organic Bananas
  • Conventional Strawberries
  • Organic Sprouts
  • Baby Arugula + Mixed Greens
  • Blueberries (on sale for $3.99!)
  • Organic Plums
  • A cucumber
  • Organic Frozen Mixed Harvest Veggies
  • Shelled Edamame
  • Organic Peaches
  • Organic Zucchini
  • Chives
  • Ginger
  • A huge unpictured organic sweet potato. I couldn’t get in the oven fast enough, apparently. ;)

Not too shabby considering how much organic stuff I walked away with! Here’s what I have in mind for dinners this week:

  • Fried Brown Rice (my new favorite)
  • Tempeh Tacos
  • BBQ Tofu
  • Quinoa Veggie Pilaf
  • Flatbread Pizza

I’m actually pretty excited about this challenge. Right now, it’s easy, but I feel like it’ll get a little harder as time goes on and force me to be more creative with my budget and my supplies!

Do you tend to accumulate tons of stuff in your pantry, or are you pretty good about using up what you buy?

PS: Make sure you check out The Great Fundraising Act online auction, going on TODAY with amazing items up for bid. All proceeds will go directly to Susan of the Great Balancing Act, who was recently diagnosed with Lymphoma and needs help covering her medical costs during chemo and other treatment. Let’s show her how amazing our community can be!

Super Sweaty Seven

Happy Saturday! Just popping in to say that somehow I survived a 7.4 mile run this morning in the heat. I knew it was going to be a scorcher, so my friend Vera and I decided to meet up with a running group in my area and that turned out to be an awesome decision. But let’s rewind a bit…

The morning started with a 5am wake-up call… ouch. I actually woke up just before my alarm and started getting myself together pretty quickly. For pre-run fuel, I ate a banana with 2 tbsp of reduced fat chunky peanut butter.

I also drank an entire coconut water that I hadn’t gotten for free after a race a while ago.

The flavor was good, and even though I know a lot of people drink coconut water AFTER runs to rehydrate, I wanted to make sure I was going into the run super hydrated because it was so hot out. Plus, I saw it in the fridge and I wanted it. Smile

For fuel during the run, I brought two options with me:

Watermelon Sports Bean and a Gu. I’ve never tried that flavor of sports beans, but I love most of the other flavors of them, and the vanilla bean is hands down my favorite flavor of GU. It tastes like vanilla frosting to me. Yum!

And then, with a forced smile on my face, I headed out!

It was a little surreal to be in my car before 6am, not gonna lie.

But once I got to the site where we were all going to meet, it was refreshing to see so many other runners!

The group leader first led the runners through some warm up stretches, including running in place, butt kicks, high knees, and this move to stretch out the calves:

Then he walked us through the running route and where the water stops would be in case we got separated from the group.

And then, we were off! Vera and I left with the 10+ minute crowd, and it started out OK. Even at 6am when the run began, it was already 85 degrees, hot, and humid.

Physically I actually felt pretty good for most of the run, but mentally it was extremely challenging. It was just so hot and I was sweating profusely even before we began. I kept telling myself just to focus on the mile at hand, which always helps when I break the run down into segments. I ran for almost the entire time, but then walked up the last hill of the course which was a little evil. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Mile 1: 10:01
  • Mile 2: 10:11
  • Mile 3: 10:22
  • Mile 4: 10:38
  • Mile 5: 10:38 (ate the GU right after this)
  • Mile 6: 10:59
  • Mile 7: 10:48
  • Last .37: 12:03 pace (walking up the hill)

I seriously looked like I had jumped in a pool in my running clothes when we were done. I thought I would feel like I wanted to die when it was over, but I actually felt awesome and stretched a bit with the group afterwards before heading back to my car, where I promptly removed my soaked through shirt and drove home in my sports bra.

So even though waking up at 5am was not ideal, its only 9:30 and I’ve already run 7.37 miles, cleaned my whole apartment, and now blogged! It feels like it should be 3pm…

What are you doing to stay cool in the heat today?

The Big Reveal

So yesterday started out like any other day with getting my hair done first thing.

Ha I wish! It was so awesome to have someone else style my hair into something that would stand up against yesterday’s heat while I just sat there relaxing.

After hair was done, I hopped into a cab to head to the magazine’s headquarters to get my makeup done first, and then do the photo shoot. I got to wear three different outfits during the shoot, and here they are.

Outfit one:

Outfit Two:

Outfit Three:

CIMG1172

So what’s the backstory to all this!? I finally get to share!

Back in March, I saw something on Twitter about submitting yourself for a style makeover from the Washingtonian. I figured why not and sent in an email saying that I had lost a significant amount of weight, had very few clothes to work with, and had no idea how to dress to flatter my new figure besides in workout clothes (true, true, truer!). I didn’t hear anything back for months so figured the opportunity had been missed and kept on living…

Meanwhile, in May, as you probably know, I attended FitBloggin’ up in Baltimore. While I was there, I got to talk to one of the editors at Fitness Magazine, Karla Walsh, after she was part of a keynote panel. I spoke to her a bit about my story of losing weight and how I had really learned to cook during the time and had basically turned my life upside down and inside out. She said she loved the story and to follow up with her after I got back from the conference.

I felt hopeful, but didn’t want to be disappointed so tried to remain as neutral as possible. I followed up with her by email afterward and she sent me a questionnaire to fill out which I quickly did and sent back in to her. A couple weeks later, late one Friday evening, I got an email saying that the editors loved my story and I was going to be in Fitness Magazine!!

fitness-logo

I nearly burst into tears at the thought of being a success story in print! I could hardly believe it was happening and it still makes me teary eyed thinking about it… I can’t even imagine what it’s going to be like to see the story with my own eyes! I had a follow up phone interview with Karla where I basically poured my heart out about changing my life and talked about some of the most pivotal times during my journey, followed by several email exchanges with Karla, the photo editor, and the fashion department. I was sent a HUGE box of clothes of all different athletic clothing as well as cute fall clothing, and then this past Saturday I had my photo shoot for Fitness Magazine. Unfortunately, I had to send all the clothes back (boo) BUT it’s going to be in the October 2011 Issue as an “I Did It!” story. I cannot WAIT to see it in print!! As if that wasn’t enough…

Less than two weeks ago (very quick turnaround!!), I heard back from Washingtonian Magazine that though the story had been pushed back a bit, I was selected as one of the style makeover candidates!! I nearly freaked out with excitement before evening knowing any details, and it turned out to be way cooler and way more involved than I ever even thought!

I got paired up with a stylist, Kaarin of Closet Caucus, who is the most awesome, adorable, and wonderful stylist I could ever even dream up. If you are looking for a stylist, I honestly can’t recommend her enough.

She was actually the one who told me about that clothing swap that I went to last week! Outside of the clothing swap, she also came to my house to go through my closet to pick out the “gems” from my closet, and then we shopped for almost FOUR hours on Tuesday night, scoring some amazing deals. The Washingtonian gave me $250 to spend on new clothes to enhance my wardrobe, set me up with Kaarin, took care of my hair, makeup, and the photo shoot. The story SHOULD be going in the September issue of the magazine, and I’ll keep you guys posted as soon as that is finalized.

And we’re not done yet!! Kaarin, my stylist, and Sarah, the writer from Washingtonian, are coming over to my apartment on Monday night to do a full-out wardrobe edit. This means she’s basically going to look through all my clothes and help me get rid of things that I don’t need, help me make a bunch of different outfits out of what I do have (and take pictures!), and give me a list of basics that I need. I promise to talk a lot more about the styling advice I got next week, because a lot of the things I learned are applicable to everyone and I learned a LOT about both fashion and myself during this process.

So excuse me while I pinch myself to make sure this is really happening!! Two big magazines in two months!!! I feel so lucky and almost beside myself with excitement. I can’t believe this is really happening!!!

Guest Post: What’s In Season?

I’m off at a photo shoot all day today for magazine number two! I promise to reveal all the detail tomorrow and share pics, but in the mean time, I have a special treat for you from Stacy over at Every Little Thing! Enjoy!

Hello to all of Beth’s readers! I’m Stacy from Every Little Thing – A Beginner’s Guide to All Natural Living. I’m from St. Louis and experiment with a lot of unique and tasty recipes using as much local food as possible!

Speaking of local food, one of my favorite parts of the spring and summer are the plethora of farmer’s markets! There’s just something so fulfilling about buying produce straight from the person that grew it, and then turning it into a fabulous meal. One of the best parts of the market is the ever-rotating variety of produce you can experiment with! Want to try leeks? Radishes? Tarragon? Dried jalapenos? Buy a single serving from a farmer!

That said, I also like to meal plan (as does Beth!). Every weekend, I plan 3-4 major meals for the week using recipes I want to try. So, how can I plan meals if I’m not sure what’s going to be at the farmer’s market every week?

Well, we can gauge what we’ll likely see at the market by learning about seasonal produce. Certain fruits and vegetables only grow during certain times of year; this varies in different parts of the country. I’m in the Midwest, and Beth is in the East, and I’m sure many of you are spread around the country, so this is a general guide to help guide you through seasonal produce.

Fall (September – December): apples, arugula, beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, corn (early fall), cucumbers, eggplant (early fall), garlic, kale, lettuce, melons (early fall), mushrooms, onions, parsnips, pears (early fall), peppers, potatoes, rutabaga, spinach, winter squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, turnips

Winter (January – February): arugula, celery root, kale, lettuce, spinach, winter squash

Spring (March – May): arugula, asparagus (late spring), beets, kale, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, radishes, rhubarb (late spring), spinach, Swiss chard, turnips (late spring)

Summer (June – August): apricots, artichokes, arugula, asparagus, green beans, beets, blackberries, blueberries, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, celery (late summer), cherries, corn (late summer), cucumbers, eggplant, garlic (late summer), lettuce, melons (late summer), nectarines, onions, peaches, pears (late summer), peppers, plums, potatoes, radishes, raspberries, rhubarb (early summer), summer squash, strawberries, sweet potatoes, Swiss chard, tomatoes

Again, this is just a general guide. Produce can vary depending on state, weather, crop season, etc. Hopefully this gives you an idea as to what you’ll find at next week’s farmer’s market! You can find a great interactive chart that goes month-by-month and state-by-state here!

If you have any questions, please stop by my blog, Every Little Thing, or shoot me an email: everylittlethingblog (at) gmail (dot) com.

Do you tend to buy produce based on what’s in season?

On Maintenance: Part Two

You guys have given some good guesses from the hints I gave yesterday! I will tell you two things. First, I am NOT going to be a Weight Watchers success story, even if technically I am I suppose. The second is, I am going to be in TWO magazines – one in September and one in October!! I promise I’ll reveal all the details on Friday after the second shoot!

On Maintenance

So I wanted to talk about maintenance again since I haven’t really touched on it in a while. My first couple weeks on maintenance were actually really easy for me. I shifted to 35 PointsPlus a day and was enjoying being able to eat more food. Having my weight stay the same for those few weeks just reinforced how I really thought I had it down and everything was going super smoothly. One time I even had to put my greek yogurt on the scale with me so that I wouldn’t be below where I was supposed to be!

Then maintaining got a little harder with the craziness that was June and if I’m being honest, it hasn’t let up since.

I’d always heard things like “Maintenance is its own beast” and “Losing weight is the easy part” and I never really believed it. I thought by now I’d have healthy living down pat and my body would be used to my new weight and new lifestyle. But, I was wrong.

Instead of having my weight stay the same, it’s been in an up-down-up-down cycle for weeks. I’ve basically been going overboard on the weekends because of being away (or at least that’s my excuse) and then my weight goes up so I spend the whole week making up for it to get back into the healthy range by going back to the 29 Pts+ a day. Then the weekend comes around and I do the same thing again.

My goal weight is 164 pounds, so I HAVE to stay below 166 to stay current with Lifetime and since I now work for Weight Watchers. The highest I’ve seen it since hitting Lifetime has been 172, so it’s not that out of control, but it’s just really annoying me that I haven’t yet figured out the balance of just staying the same.

I guess I’m getting to the point where I realize that weight maintenance is never going to be easy for me. I’m realizing that I am always going to have to try hard to keep myself at a healthy weight and probably will have to count Points+ (or calories) forever. I know I’ve touched on this before, but I really did think I would come to a point where it would just click and I wouldn’t have to fight for this every day. But I’m telling you now – I still do.

But let’s end this on a positive note. Last night’s shopping trip ended with some killer outfits, including this one with size 8 jeans (!!) and a pair of blue pumps that I LOVE.

Tell me something good about your week!

Hints

Can I just say that starting my week off with 7am outdoor yoga yesterday was the most amazing way to start the week?

Looking out over the water fountain while breathing fresh air was just unreal. Don’t worry, more people showed up.

Monday mornings are always the hardest day for me to make myself get out of bed to workout, but after yesterday, yell at me if I don’t make the time to take advantage of the free yoga just a few steps from my front door, ok?

Hints

So remember how I said I had a photo shoot on Saturday? Well, on Thursday, I have another photo shoot for a completely different reason. I’ll confirm both but thought it would be fun to make you guys guess what’s going on. Fun for me at least! =)

Photo Shoot One Hint: There were TWO scenes for this one. One involved riding my bike, and one involved grilling veggies on an outdoor grill.

Photo Shoot Two Hint: With the help of a special someone, I found a lot of gems in my closet:

And made some new-to-me outfits last night:

And tonight, I’m going shopping for some new clothes any accessories to spruce up what I have.

Any guesses??

Highlights + Tackling Trader Joe’s

Monday already? Wahh.

Some major highlights from the weekend include:

First, a 2 hour photo shoot on Saturday morning at 6am. By 9:30am, I had already had 800 shots of me taken, run five miles, and showered, and then I proceeded to sleep for about 5 hours. I’m pretty sure five hours is no longer classified as a nap. Details on what the shoot was for to come later!

Second, a wonderful dinner out at Floriana with friends Saturday night.

Amadi, Anil, Me, Lianne, Parker.

Though I didn’t manage to take any pictures of the actual food, it was an amazing meal. We got bruschetta and calamari to share for starters, and were given bread with this amazing garlicky pesto spread that was almost too good. For the main course, I got a seafood pasta dish which had linguini loaded with mussels, clams, and calamari – so good but SO much food.

3.) After dinner was a fun (late) night out, which resulted in several hours spent lounging by the pool yesterday. At least I have an incredible pool… check it out.

Amazing, no? The best part is, it’s NEVER crowded, even on a day as perfect as yesterday.

After several hours napping by the pool came a fourth highlight…

Trader Joe’s!! I hadn’t been to one in AGES, and since I had left my car in the city on Saturday night, I went on the way home from picking it back up. It worked out well!

My favorite section in Trader Joe’s, by far, is the cheese.

It’s HUGE, and has so many different kinds from shredded, to sliced, to crumbled, to blocks. I also love how they have single serving cheeses!

Mini Brie Bites and Goat Cheese Medallions – both divided into single servings with 2 pts+ each.

I also picked up a new-to-me feta cheese:

Which also has 2 pts+ a serving. I’m excited to try it!

Another exciting find – quart sized greek yogurt!

I’d never seen this size before and was happy to realize that it’s a dollar cheaper than buying two of the pint sized containers. Score!

The last new-to-me find of this trip was these Pocketful of Fiber pita pockets:

They each have 3 pts+ and are a pretty good size – I’m looking forward to experimenting with these in different ways.

I ended up getting a LOT of stuff.

But even with the shampoo/conditioner, it still clocked in at only $72.88, so under my $75 weekly budget. Woohoo!

I didn’t realize how awful this picture was with the light in the middle of it until it was too late, so I apologize!

Non produce-items included:

  • Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Sesame
  • Pita Pockets
  • Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
  • Shredded Mozarella
  • Quart of Nonfat Greek Yogurt
  • Cheese Tortellini
  • Black Bean + Corn Enchilada (Frozen)
  • Cage Free Egg Whites
  • Goat Cheese Medallions
  • Mediterranean Feta
  • Salsa
  • Organic Soy Milk
  • English Muffins
  • Black Beans + Garbanzo Beans
  • Sardines
  • Tempeh (x2)

  • Bananas
  • Organic Fujis
  • Frozen Mixed Veggies
  • Organic Broccoli Slaw
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Shelled Edamame
  • Frozen Pineapple Tidbits
  • Frozen Blueberries
  • Baby Spinach
  • Broccoli Floretts
  • Mango
  • Frozen Strawberries (x2)

All that PLUS shampoo and conditioner for less than $75. And that is why I love Trader Joe’s.

And now, for the winners of the Larabar Giveaway! I used Random.Org to plug in the numbers 1 through 310… and #258 was selected!

Congratulations to Amanda, who said “I would like to see some vegetarian greek inspired recipes!” who gets a variety box of Larabars!

For the runner up, #174 – Tiffany, who said “I always love seeing recipes, as they give me motivation to try something new. I’m also training for my first half marathon in October. So, I nervous about fueling and not being hungry and snacking away my progress. So any tips or tricks you have about that would be fabulous!” She’ll get a four pack of Larabars to sample.

Congratulations you two!!!! Please email me at bethsjourneyblog at gmail dot com so Larabar can send you your loot! And don’t fret if you didn’t win – I’ll do another giveaway soon!

I know not everyone is as crazy about grocery shopping as me, but what is your favorite section of your normal grocery store?

If answering that question makes you cringe, tell me a highlight of your weekend!

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