How to Avoid Burnout

When I first started writing this post, I was thinking specifically about blogger burnout. But as I wrote it, I realized that many of these things can be applied outside of blogging. Whether it’s a goal, a hobby, or a job, sometimes it’s hard to know the line between hustle and burnout. So while I wrote this from the position of blogging, I hope it helps you in whatever you’re pursuing!

I started blogging in 2010. When I first started this hobby, I had literally no expectations. I was taking ugly pictures with a Droid cell phone (oh hey there, flash). I didn’t spend time thinking about the “SEO” of my post, and I basically wrote about whatever I wanted. It was a hobby and I fell in love with it.

Over the years, the blogging industry has changed a lot and so has this hobby. I spend more time thinking about keywords and analytics and photo editing. Posts are less “stream of consciousness” and more planned out. Overall, I’m happy about it. It’s taught me a lot of valuable skills that I’ve actually used in my day job. I like learning and I like pushing myself. But these things can also make a hobby feel a lot like… work. And when something feels like work, it’s easy to lose the joy. And isn’t that the whole reason we started?

Can't find your blogging mojo? Ready to give up on that marathon goal? Here are a few tips for avoid burn out in whatever passion you're pursuing!

So I thought I’d share some of my tips for avoiding burnout:

Know when to stop being a perfectionist.

Truthfully, I’m not a perfectionist. And while sometimes I wish I was (because let’s be honest, I wish my blog posts never contained a typo and I would love to have the patience to spend 30 minutes editing a photo) I think it’s a blessing that I’m not. I know far too many people who won’t even start blogging because they simply can’t accept the learning phase. You’re not going to have amazing pictures right away. You’re not going to understand keywords and analytics and Facebook reach after one post. Give yourself some time to learn. Even if you’ve been blogging for years, sometimes you have to let go and just enjoy the learning process.

Remind yourself why you started.

Whether it’s running a marathon or writing a book, think back to the passion that brought you here. Every once in awhile I just don’t feel like blogging. But rather than give up. I think about all the amazing people I’ve met thanks to this little site. I think about friends and family that have started eating more vegetables because of this blog. Focusing on those things get me energized to put the effort back into this site.

Find a supportive tribe.

This whole “tribe” concept is pretty trendy right now, and for good reason. Having a supportive group of friends that understand your specific situation is so powerful. I’ve met some amazing blogger friends through Virginia Bloggers and Bloggers Gonna Blog and it’s made all the difference. Hearing about their successes, seeing their accomplishments, and talking through our challenges is such a comfort and inspiration. I love these networks. If you’re into running, join a running club. If you’re starting a business, join a mentor program! Having someone with you in the trenches through the ups and downs makes the downs not quite so bad.

Teach someone your skills.

I love when people ask my questions about blogging because it makes me realize how much I’ve learned along the way! Sometimes we need the perspective of someone else to help us see our progress. If you’re a pastry chef, invite a friend over who wants to learn how to bake a simple cake. If you’re a computer programmer, help a friend install Google analytics on their blog. Sometimes helping someone with a simple task can make you realize how much you’ve learned in your specific niche. Trust me, it’s a confidence booster!

What’s your passion/hobby? Has it ever left you feeling burned out?

5 Favorites on Friday

Maybe I’m just in an extra good mood because it’s Friday, or maybe it’s because the HVAC renovation situation in our house is almost done or maybe it’s because my husband is finally back from India but whatever the reason is, there are just so many things I’m loving lately! Here are a few of the things making me extra happy:

We had a blogger meet up at Tupelo Honey Cafe in Virginia Beach last weekend and it was so fun!

Virginia Bloggers Meet UpFrom left, Kimberlee, Lani, Brandy, Alexa, Liz, Kim, and Jonna.

I love meeting other bloggers in person and the food certainly did not disappoint. I had a veggie burger and tomato soup but I also tried one of the biscuits, a bit of sweet potato pancake, and a few bites of the pecan pie and banana pudding. Yeah, we were pretty full by the end. Tupelo Honey Cafe has a handful of locations around the East Coast so if you have one near you, give it a try!

farmer's market

Photo via Alexa Marie Photography

We’ve had such a rainy month here in Richmond but the sun has finally started to peek out and I think we have more sunny weather ahead. I am getting so excited to hit up the farmer’s market and load up on fresh produce. If you’re in Richmond you must go to the South of the James farmer’s market. It’s the best! (My friends over at Let’s Share a Dish have the whole scoop on it!) Bring on the fresh, local vegetables!

2 ingredient pizza crust recipe cheese

Did you know you can make pizza crust with just 2 ingredients? I mentioned this on my Instagram a few days ago but it’s such an old recipe on my blog that most of you probably haven’t seen it! It’s true. TWO ingredients and you’ve got yourself a homemade pizza crust. I don’t make pizza very often but this was perfect when I was craving a little personal-sized pizza when Alex was out of town. Get the 2 ingredient pizza crust recipe here.
Evicted

I’ve really been enjoying reading lately because sometimes I need to get my eyes away from an electronic screen. I just finished Evicted, which I started on our New York trip and I’d definitely recommend it if you’re into non-fiction/social science type books. I’m not much of a fiction reader but I love all sorts of non-fiction. I’ve downloaded the Overdrive app on my ipad so I can get free books from the library. I love it!

salad in a jar

I know I’m super late to the salad jar party but I’m kicking myself for not trying this sooner. Truthfully the only reason I finally gave it a shot was because all of my Pyrex was in the dishwasher and a mason jar was the only thing I could find for lunch-packing. I put lemon juice, olive oil, & agave in the bottom, then topped it with quinoa, bell pepper, kale, and cilantro. I shook it up that morning so the kale would soften and by lunch time I had a perfect salad. Honestly, I couldn’t believe how easy it was. Now I know what all the Pinterest hype was about!

So that’s what’s making me happy!

What things are you loving right now?

Tone It Up Meals: Week 4

I can’t believe I’m already on week 4 of the Tone It Up Bikini Series! It’s been a fun challenge so far and I’m proud of myself for sticking to the workouts and mostly following the meal plan. Here’s what my meals have been looking like:

smoothie bowl

I’ve been on a huge smoothie bowl kick. The weather hasn’t even warmed up yet but these are just so refreshing. A little frozen fruit, ice, almond milk, & protein powder. Obviously, with lots of toppings because that’s the best part! These usually keep me pretty full. The Tone It Up nutrition plan recommends a morning snack but I’m typically pretty full from my smoothie bowls and I don’t always have time between meetings so lately I’ve been skipping this one.

kale salad with berries

I warned you that this White Balsamic & Strawberry Kale salad would be on repeat! I’ve been packing it for lunch almost every day. It’s such a simple recipe but I can’t get enough! Give it a try.  I’ll usually have this with a few crackers and hummus or a cup of soup depending on what the cafeteria is serving.

elli quark cherry yogurt

Elli Quark sent me some samples of their yogurt and I’ve been packing these with me for my afternoon snack. I love that it has the creaminess of Greek yogurt but it’s not as tart. The fruit flavors are delicious (without being overly sweet) and it’s packed with protein so it keeps me full. (FYI Richmonders, you can find these at Whole Foods or Ellwood Thompsons!)

lemon indian food

When Alexa was visiting, we had to get Indian food. I had Aloo Gobi, which is what I always get from Lemon. I had it with some rice and garlic naan. It’s not always easy to find healthy food when you’re getting takeout, but I love that Indian cuisine has so many veggie-based dishes. I usually try to stick to brown rice vs. white rice but this rice was worth it!

I’ve been trying to curb my late night snacks but when I need something to munch on, I’ve been trying to stick to healthier snacks like Halo Top or a bowl of popcorn.

popcorn

I can’t resist a salty, crunchy snack. Luckily, popcorn is a high-volume food so you can have a decent sized serving for not a lot of calories. I would much rather have a bowl of popcorn than a single cookie!

What have you been eating lately?

Linking up with Laura for What I Ate Wednesday!

Brownie Batter Protein Shake

This shop has been compensated by CollectiveBias, Inc. on behalf of its advertiser, EAS Sports Nutrition. #easbrand #PowerinProtein #collectivebias

For the past few weeks, I’ve been getting my workouts done in the morning rather than waiting until after work and I’ve been enjoying it more than I expected. While I’ve been a morning person for a while, I typically used my morning to enjoy coffee and get more blog related things done. Now I’m waking up a bit earlier and starting the day with a sweat session. It means I don’t have to worry about life getting busy or other things popping up and getting in the way of my daily workout.

working out
I’ve always been a breakfast person, but now I get to the breakfast table and I’m starving. I know my body needs a little extra protein in the morning after a hard workout so I’ve been adding protein into my workout recovery smoothies.

So here’s one of my favorite workout recovery shakes!

brownie batter shake

4.8 from 6 reviews
Brownie Batter Protein Shake
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1 scoop EAS Chocolate Whey protein
  • 1 tsp chocolate hazelnut butter
  • ½ banana or avocado
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • 4 large ice cubes
  • Stevia or sweetener to taste
  • Cacao nibs (optional)
Instructions
  1. Add everything except the cacao nibs to the blender and blend until smooth!
  2. Sprinkle with cacao nibs on top.
  3. Serve immediately.

Hello chocolate.

shake ingredients

All you need are a handful of ingredients. If you don’t have any chocolate hazelnut butter, you can just use a teaspoon of peanut butter or leave it out all together.

blending the shake

Put it all in your blender and blend on high until smooth. You’ll see little specs of the cacao nibs in there! I love the texture they add.

pouring the shake

Pour and serve immediately!

EAS Shake

The EAS protein powder has 30g of protein which is perfect after a workout! I tend to buy whey protein because I think it has the best flavor in my shakes. I picked mine up at Walmart and I like that EAS tells you exactly what’s in it (vs. a “proprietary blend” where they don’t disclose what exactly is in it.)  FYI- it’s in the Health & Beauty section, not the food section. (I walked around all the grocery isles until I finally spotted it in the health section!)

Eas Protein Powder

I like that there’s no added sugars or fillers, so I’m a fan of that! In fact, you might even see this protein powder on TV!  Check out the New NBC Show S.T.R.O.N.G where EAS® products will be featured on the June 2nd episode. (9pm EST 8pm CST)

Earn $1.00 when you purchase EAS® 100% Whey Protein or EAS® AdvantEdge Carb Control

brownie batter recovery shake

What’s your favorite recovery meal after a hard workout?

White Balsamic & Strawberry Kale Salad

Ok, I’m a little embarrassed. How did I not know that white balsamic vinegar was a thing? When I was home visiting my parents, my mom found a recipe for kale salad that included white balsamic vinegar. I searched and searched and could not find it. Finally, I realized that it was there with all the other balsamic vinegars, in a dark colored bottle (confusing!) and we grabbed a bottle to take home.

The kale salad she made was delicious so I couldn’t resist recreating something similar when I got home! I’m not sure of the exact recipe that she used but I think this one is pretty close!

kale salad with white balsamic vinegar

5.0 from 2 reviews
White Balsamic & Strawberry Kale Salad
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp agave (or honey)
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 6 large curly kale leaves
  • ½ cup strawberries
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, agave, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Wash and try the kale leaves, then tear into small pieces, removing the stems.
  3. In a large bowl, massage the kale leaves with the dressing.
  4. Once the kale has softened a little, slice the strawberries and add them on top.
  5. Sprinkle with pine nuts and serve.

I’ve already made this recipe twice in the past week! I need to re-stock my strawberries so I can continue this kale salad addiction. kale salad with berries

It has such an amazing flavor and the dressing is a healthier option than a lot of bottled salad dressings. Plus, it’s hard to beat fresh strawberries! If you don’t have any pine nuts, you could swap in almonds or walnuts. Pine nuts are pricey but they’re so delicious!

kale salad w berries

This is going to be my go-to summer salad! Make sure you pin it so you can make it later!

This white balsamic kale salad is the perfect vegan and gluten free summer recipe! It's a low calorie dinner packed with superfoods!

What’s your favorite kale salad topping?

Tone It Up Meals: Week 3

I can’t believe I’m already on week 3 of the Tone It Up challenge! My friend Alexa came to visit for a few days and I’m happy to report that we’ve kept things pretty lean, clean, and green over here! Here’s what we enjoyed on Thursday:

avocado toast

We woke up and made ourselves some avocado toast. The avocado was mashed with lime juice, salt, and pepper and I sprinkled some chia seeds and red pepper flakes on top. I don’t make this often because I rarely have extra avocados lying around. (I just love them so much that they’re usually already gone!) We each had a clementine with our toast for a little something sweet!

burger bach salad
We ran some errands and then stopped for lunch around noon. Our plan was to go to Carytown Burgers and Fries but the wait was so long that we decided to go to Burger Bach instead. Of course, we went to a burger place and each ordered salads. 😉 We also shared a small order of french fries. Their fries are too good to resist!

We spent the afternoon working on our blogs and taking lots of photos. You can see her blog here!

sangria recipe

We took a break to make dinner while we sipped on some homemade sangria. (It was sort of like this sparkling sangria recipe.) It was delicious and the perfect way to use up some extra fruit we had from an earlier photo shoot.

lettuce tacos

Since it was Cinco De Mayo we obviously had to make tacos. We tossed cauliflower with buffalo sauce, garlic powder, and chili powder and roasted it. Then we added the cauliflower into a lettuce “shell” and topped with salsa, cilantro, cabbage, and a drizzle of this avocado yogurt sauce. SO GOOD. Seriously, I’d eat this over and over again.

After dinner, we made a quick trip to the grocery store to get some Halo Top. Alexa had never tried it before and I’m obsessed, so I had to share my obsession!

Halo Top Low Calorie Ice Cream

I got chocolate (of course) and Alexa got the lemon cake flavor which was also super delicious! We each ate our ice cream while half watching TV-half working on more photo projects. All in all, it was a delicious and healthy day!

What have you been eating lately?

5 Healthy Salad Topping Ideas

I eat a lot of salads, but it’s not just because they’re “healthy”; I honestly really like them. It’s an easy way to get in a few servings of vegetables and as long as you switch up your toppings, the variety keeps it interesting. Carrots and tomatoes are great but I thought I’d share a few of my favorite outside-the-box toppings.

5 HealthySalad ToppingIdeas

1. Apples


I love crunchy apples on top of a hearty kale salad. They’re a healthy way to add some sweetness and texture. I love tossing some in this apple walnut kale salad and it has a great texture. Try it with a little blue cheese, parmesan, or pecans.

2. Roasted Potatoes

roasted potatoes

Roasted potatoes can take a salad from side dish territory to the main event. There’s something so satisfying about the different temperatures. I love some warm roasted potatoes on a cold kale salad. Slice a few roasted red potatoes, toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roasted them until they’re crispy. While they’re in the oven you can prepare your salad and then toss it all together.

3. Strawberries


I used to think strawberries were reserved for spinach and goat cheese salads but lately I’ve been enjoying them on kale or mixed greens. They’re delicious with salty pine nuts or almonds! They’re also delicious with a crumbly feta and a little balsamic. Blueberries and raspberries are a fun alternative, too.

4. Fresh cilantro

cilantro

I’ve been on a cilantro kick lately and I love chopping a bunch of it right into a salad! It adds such a nice flavor to fresh greens. Don’t rely on the dressing for spiciness, just add some fresh herbs right in! I’ll buy a big bunch and keep it in a jar of water in the fridge. It helps it stay fresh a little longer so I can grab a handful and sprinkle it right into my salad. Hello, flavor!

5. Hummus

hummus-veggies

I went through a phase where I didn’t use any salad dressing at all and just used hummus instead. It’s creamy, filling, and just as flavorful as salad dressing! It holds up well with crunchy toppings like red onions, olives, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Pesto hummus and roasted red pepper hummus are two of my favorite types!

My friend Alexa was visiting last week and we made quite a few salads. Some topped with salsa, some loaded with cilantro, and some with this avocado ranch dressing. Can you tell we love Mexican cuisine? In between all of our veggie-eating, she took some new headshots for the blog!

If you’re in the market for any sort of photos (headshots, weddings, engagements, baby, maternity, deployment…) and you’re in Virginia or Ohio, check out her site!

What are your favorite salad toppings?

Linking up with AmandaConfessions of a Mother RunnerFitFoodieMamaRunning on Happy.

Avocado Yogurt Dressing

My friend Alexa has been visiting for a few days which is the best. We don’t get to see each other all that often but since we lived together for 3 years in our college days, we just fall back into a routine. I usually end up making a huge mess in the kitchen and we eat on the couch while talking through a movie. It’s the best. Especially when we experiment with a new healthy recipe… and it turns out to be delicious.

yogurt dressing

Since yesterday was Cinco De Mayo, naturally we needed to have tacos. Ever since discovering that the jalapeño ranch dressing at my work cafeteria is basically just sour cream and jalapeños, I’ve been on a mission to make my own spicy version of the dressing, but with Greek yogurt. I’m pleased to tell you that I think this version might be even better. Not to mention that this avocado yogurt dressing is much healthier! But don’t worry, it’s still spicy, creamy, and delicious! It’s perfect as a salad dressing, taco sauce, or veggie dip!

avocado yogurt dressing

Did I mention this is so easy to make? If you want a smaller portion, just cut the recipe in half!

5.0 from 3 reviews
Avocado Yogurt Dressing
 
Prep time
Total time
 
This recipe makes enough for 8 servings, but you can make half for a smaller portion.
Author:
Recipe type: Salad Dressing
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 avocado
  • ⅔ cup 0% plain Greek Yogurt
  • 2 tsp jalapeno brine (from jarred jalapenos) or ½ jalapeno, diced
  • 1 lime
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, removed from stem
  • Pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Halve the avocado and remove the pit.
  2. In a food processor, add in the avocado, yogurt jalapeno brine (or jalapeno), juice from the lime, and the cilantro.
  3. Blend until smooth.
  4. Add salt to taste.
  5. Store in an air tight container.
  6. Note, if you want it to be more pour-able, just whisk in a little water or milk to thin it out. I personally like it thicker but feel free to thin it!

avocado jalapeno dressing

Blend it all up and try to resist eating it off a spoon! We had ours on some roasted cauliflower tacos served in lettuce leaves rather than taco shells. It was a healthy way to get our taco fix!

This healthy, creamy avocado dressing recipe is perfect on tacos, a salad, or with your favorite raw veggies! The jalapenos give it some spice and the Greek yogurt makes it thick and creamy!

I’m also pretty positive that this dressing would be amazing on these cauliflower tacos.

vegan cauliflower tacos

Did I mention how amazing roasted cauliflower is in a taco? If you haven’t tried it yet, give it a shot and let me know what you think!

What’s your favorite taco topping?

Tone It Up Meals: Week 2

I’m on week two of the Tone It Up Bikini Series challenge so I thought I’d share my meals from Monday with you. The goal of the challenge is “lean, clean, and green” meaning lots of protein, whole foods, and veggies!
Breakfast was a cup of Chobani with a few walnuts on top.
chobani

I’d never tried the cherry Chobani flavor before but this one was really yummy! The walnuts were a nice crunch.

morning snack

For my morning snack I had a couple of clementines and a handful of cashews. It was a nice sweet and salty combination that kept me full until lunch! I munched on these while calling into meetings and answering emails. I had a lot to do so the morning flew by!


I grabbed lunch at Panera and decided to switch things up and try the Medeterianian Quinoa Salad with a cup of vegetable soup. It was my first time having the quinoa salad but it was delicious! I’d definitely recommend this. I’m glad restaurants are starting to offer more healthy, vegetarian restaurants. (I’m so tired of ordering salads without the chicken!)

I had more meetings in the afternoon (work, work, work, work…) so I had another snack while I finished a few things.

honeycrisp

We picked up Honeycrisp apples at the store which are the best. I’m pretty sure they weigh as much as gold but they’re a nice treat!

My mom cooked dinner while I finished working so it was nice to wrap up and see dinner was already on the table! She knew I was trying to follow the Tone It Up nutrition plan so she made a really healthy and delicious dinner!

kale salad

This kale salad was amazing. I’ll have to share the recipe because it was so good. I’ll be making this at home!

pasta

We had it with this delicious pasta dish which was whole grain penne with tons of roasted vegetables in a “no-cream” primavera sauce. The seasoning was great and the vegetables were delicious. This would be a perfect dish to make if you’ve got lots of leftover vegetables in your fridge. We had ours with carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, and green beans.

After dinner, we relaxed around the house and I got my parents started on The Jinx. I’ve already seen it but it was so good that I needed them to watch it! It’s an addicting mini-series! We snacked on pistachios and fruit while we watched the first episode.


We snacked on pistachios and fruit while we watched the first episode.

What are your favorite movie snacks?

I’m linking up to What I Ate Wednesday on Sprint to the Table!

Healthy Road Trip Snacks

There are three things you need for a perfect road trip:

  1. A good co-pilot (who will chat along the way)
  2. A great playlist (with plenty of songs to sing along to)
  3. Plenty of snacks (that won’t make you feel sluggish and yucky)

My friend Alexa and I took a road trip to Ohio for the weekend and luckily I had all three of those things. We chatted most of the way, taking a break to sing along to Beyonce. We also packed quite a few snacks which we munched on along the way. Gas stations and fast food places don’t generally have a lot of healthy options (especially not for vegetarians!) so packing snacks is essential.

HealthyRoad TripSnacks

I have a few favorites that I love to bring along so I thought I’d share my picks and I’d love to hear what your favorite healthy road trip snacks are!

apple chips

I love apples but sometimes I want something more crunchy and chip-like. Hello apple chips. I actually have an easy apple chip recipe that you could make at home but a bag of these also makes an easy road trip snack. It’s also a little less messy than eating an apple, so it’s a convenient option.

curate bars

These taste like a candy bar but the ingredients are much cleaner and it contains a decent amount of protein and fiber, so it’ll keep you full, longer. You have to be a little careful because these could get melty but they’re delicious. It’s funny because I snagged a box of these in Ohio and noticed on the package that the company is actually based in Columbus! Luckily, I think you can find them at most Target stores. 

clementines

I love these clementines because they’re easy to peel and they don’t have a bunch of seeds. They’re perfect to toss into your purse and grab when you get hungry. They’re satisfying if you’re craving something sweet! I had a few of these throughout our trip and they hit the spot. 

justins

Ok ok, sometimes you want straight up candy. At least these dark chocolate peanut butter cups don’t contain a bunch of weird ingredients and flavorings. Plus, dark chocolate is so much yummier than milk chocolate! If you haven’t had Justin’s nut butter before, it’s incredible!

brussles bytes

If you love kale chips, try these Brussel Bytes. (If you don’t like kale chips then skip these because you probably won’t like them! My parents weren’t into it.) I love them because they’re crunchy and spicy and packed with flavor. There are 2 servings in a bag and even if you ate the whole bag (because uh, who doesn’t eat the whole bag?) it’s less than 300 calories. Plus you’d get 6g of fiber and 12g of protein, so that’s hard to beat. The ingredients list looks like the recipe of a salad so you don’t need to worry about any sort of fake flavors or powdered “cheese product” that you might find on some chips!

Alexa and I spent 8 hours in the car on Friday driving to Columbus but it was worth the trip! I got to celebrate my cousin at her bridal shower which was a great chance to catch up with friends and family. 


I can’t wait to see her tie the knot in June! 


I also got to catch up with old friends which is basically my favorite thing ever. As an extrovert, weekends like this just give me so much joy and energy. Hours in the car are worth it to be reunited with friends!

What are your favorite road trip snacks?