Weekly Cookup: Old Favorites… A Tried & True Fitness Program & A Trusty TJ Shopping List

Phew! It’s been a few weeks without a legit meal plan in place over here. We’ve had a ton going on (refer to my latest instagram post… more on that later), so we’ve been flying by the seat of our pantalones as far as meal prep goes around these parts.

This week, I’ve got something else up my sleeve. Aside from a few occasional flare-ups, my neck issues are mostly in check (aided by dietary turmeric and topical magnesium supplementation, nutrient-dense whole foods, and an otherwise anti-inflammatory diet, and complemented by consistent Pilates rehab therapy), so I’m feeling strong and ready for a challenge. We’ve got a month left on our gym membership before we make the big move back to the land of CLE, and I’m feeling inspired to make the most of it by once again revisiting my favorite workout of all time, Jamie Eason’s Live Fit Trainer. I cannot say enough great things about this workout program, as I’ve followed it before and saw just how capable and strong my body could be. It was a fantastic feeling. That being said, ANYONE can do this program. Any age, any gender, any shape or size. It’s easily modified to your fitness level, aka, completely easy to start where you are.

With this fitness program plan in place, and with all that we’ve got going on in the next month, I want to have some easy, grab+go meals in the fridge. Lucky for me, a while back I purchased these meal prep containers on Amazon, so I’m all set to make this as simple as possible.

This week’s shopping trip is going to stray from my beloved Whole Foods (gasp! I know!), and over to my OTHER BFF Trader Joe! Why, you ask? Simple! I was going through some old blog posts and found a complete 21-Day Sugar Detox compliant shopping list for Trader Joes, so I thought… why make more work for myself? This weekend is going to involve a (cheaper than Whole Foods) shopping trip to TJ, and a mass meal-prep party to stock my fridge with healthy meals that I can grab and go all week. Who’s with me??!

Curious about that blog post? Read it here, all my favorites from Trader Joes… then stock up and get preppin’!





Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric Tea

Hey friends… wanted to share something with you all today that was outside the normal weekly meal plan and a bit more on the side of medicinal, healing nutrition. By now we’ve likely all heard of the powerful healing properties of turmeric and curcumin, and if you haven’t, just google “benefits of turmeric” and you’ll come across a slew of evidence-based articles touting positive side effects such as aiding in digestion, slowing the progression of multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease, purifying the blood, improving skin conditions, reducing the side effects of chemotherapy, aiding in weight management, speeding wound healing, reducing symptoms of arthritis, among a million other things just shy of miracles! It’s pretty powerful stuff. SO! I thought I’d share my new favorite way to consume it, in a twice-daily cup of creamy turmeric tea.

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Those of you who know me personally know that I’ve been suffering with some inflammation issues for the better part of a year now. After L was born, I experienced what I thought was simply a pinched nerve in my neck, that resulted in numbness, tingling, and weakness in my left arm, hand and fingers, stiffness in my neck, and extreme pain in my upper back and shoulders. I later found out through a series of doctor’s visits and tests that the issues I was experiencing were a result of herniated and bulging discs in my neck that were pressing on my spinal cord. Um, ouch! No wonder! Though I did see a surgeon about the issue, which was causing basically affecting my whole life (no working out, no yoga, no lifting, trouble sleeping, stiffness, and pain pain pain… etc.), he agreed that surgery didn’t have to be the only option, and that with time and rest and proper care, my herniated discs would heal on their on. GREAT news for me, considering I am in the camp of natural healing (um, DUH, did you not know this about me by now?), and did NOT want to go under the knife, or even consider taking any prescription (or OTC) drugs for pain or anything else they would have me take post-op. So I felt super fortunate I had the option to say NO to all of that.

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I actually slept better with the soft collar the surgeon sent me home with, and applying peppermint and wintergreen oils along with other anti-inflammatory therapeutic grade essential oils to my neck seemed to help soothe the pain I was experiencing. I have to admit, though, I was still waking up stiff and sore until I added this turmeric tea to my daily regimen. I know it might sound extreme or hard to believe, but I swear I noticed a difference the very next morning after I had made myself a cup of this the night before. I didn’t wake up feeling like a crippled old lady (did I mention I’m 33?)!! It was pretty amazing. I’m still progressing in my healing, but the changes I’ve felt in just a few weeks of adding more turmeric to my diet have been so profound, I felt the need to share with everyone I know who could benefit from it, and figured writing a post here with a recipe would be a good idea, too!

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I searched the Google and Pinterest for recipes and what I make now is a combination of a few, and one I find not only works to ease the inflammation in my neck (and all my joints, my whole body!), but also tastes pretty delish. I typically have a cup of this mid-morning and in the evening while we’re enjoying some down time after L has gone to bed.

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Oh, AND! Bonus! I played around with adding some of my essential oils to the recipe… cinnamon bark and lemon are my two favorite, but there are sooooo many that would not only taste good, but also add a little extra healing plant power to your cup. Clove, nutmeg, ginger, orange, black pepper… the options are endless! Just make sure not to use them all in one cup or you might gag. Yikes.

Here’s my recipe:

Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric Tea

1/2 – 1 tsp turmeric paste (recipe below)

1 cup hot water

1 tsp raw organic honey (or more to taste)

1/2 – 1 tsp coconut oil or ghee

pinch ground cinnamon*

pinch ground ginger*

1-2 tbsp Aroy-D coconut milk (or other full fat coconut milk with no additives), or more to taste

*may substitute therapeutic-grade essential oils for ground spices

Add the turmeric paste, honey, ghee or coconut oil, and spices to the hot water in your favorite mug and stir well to combine, and until honey is dissolved and ghee is melted. Add coconut milk to your desired creaminess. Take it a step further and give it a little whir in your NutriBullet for a bit of extra froth. Sip and enjoy!

Turmeric Paste

1 tbsp turmeric

1/8 tsp black pepper

2 tbsp water

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl until a thick paste forms, adding more or less water to get the right consistency. Store covered in a glass dish in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Hope y’all enjoy! Happy weekend!



Easiest-Ever Crunchy Raw Veggie Salad

Veggie salad

Stop. Just stop. Whatever you’re doing right now, whatever excuse you have for not eating more veggies, all of that – just stop it right now. Get yourself to a Whole Foods or the nearest farmer’s market and fill your reusable shopping bag with all the crunchy and delicious veggies you can get your hands on and get to choppin’. You can thank me later. ;)

This salad is SO AWESOME – I added it to my weekly cookup and made a big batch this past Sunday so we would have it in the fridge for the week. I had really been feeling like I needed more veggies in my life, especially throughout the day when I was pressed for time and didn’t have something ‘ready-to-eat’ already in the fridge and instead was downing a bag of plantain chips or grabbing something equally not-as-healthy-as-vegetables (ahem – chocolate) to satisfy my snacking urges. The raw veggies in this salad really soak up the dressing and become tender and flavorful… and because it’s so easy to throw together (and makes it easy to get in more veggies at every meal), it will probably become a staple in your fridge! SO GO MAKE IT RIGHT NOW!

Crunchy Raw Veggie Salad

What you’ll need:

  • Any/All of the following veggies, chopped to uniform bite-size
    • Broccoli
    • Cauliflower
    • Carrots (love those jumbo rainbow ones!)
    • Crimini/mini portobello or white button mushrooms
    • Bell pepper (any color, but I love red)
  • Kalamata olives
  • Feta or parmesan cheese – if you tolerate dairy
  • Tessemae’s Lemon Garlic dressing (or your own favorite squeaky clean vinaigrette – Tessemae’s Lemon Garlic is my #1. Use as much as you feel is appropriate)

What to do:

Toss your chopped veggies into a giant mixing bowl along with the olives and feta cheese. Dress your veggies with the Tessemae’s Lemon Garlic dressing and don’t be shy! Really coat them up good – be generous with your dressing. Toss everything to coat well. Refrigerate and enjoy!

This salad is best after the veggies have had a chance to marinate, a few hours or so.




You Have a Choice.

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Okay, you guys. Do me a favor and while reading this post, try to forget that I am a registered yoga teacher, and instead just pretend that I’m a beginner. Because, guess what? In a way, I am. Without getting too woo-woo on you, we all are, even the most advanced yogi. Every time you step on your yoga mat, you are new, the practice is new, your body is new, it’s all new. Some parts may seem familiar but for the most part, you have a fresh clean slate and you’ve never been where you’re going. And that is honestly one of the many things about yoga that I love! Anyway…

This morning I went to an actual class for the first time in… a while. I mean, I have a million excuses… injury, exhaustion, that whole kid thing, time, etc, etc, etc. Whatever. I was literally in the parking lot trying to talk myself out of going, I had other things with which I could easily fill up 90 minutes, I hadn’t practiced in months (um, total ego working, that’s exactly why I SHOULD go in to class), I was restless and impatient and feeling like I had fallen behind in my practice and would be stiff and sore and too wrapped up in my own self-deprecating thoughts to get anything out of the practice… wow, clearly I really needed this class. So, once I realized what was happening in my head and how much I actually needed to get my butt in there, I went for it. And boy, oh boy, was it my lucky day, because the teacher’s message was just for me.

We have a choice. In every moment, we have a choice. We can choose to take the yoga class, or choose to drive away and sit at Starbucks and get sucked into the internet instead. We can choose to plan ahead and prepare healthy meals to support our body and our best health, or we can choose get take-out for the third time in a week. We can choose to yell at our kids in a moment of frustration, or choose to stop what we’re doing, take a deep breath and take a moment to get on their level. We can choose to argue and disagree with our significant other, or choose to slow down and try to understand their point of view. We can choose to dwell on regrets we have over the past, or choose to live fully in the present and appreciate all the gifts we have in our life right now. We can choose to let anxiety and worry and stress take away our peace of mind, or we can recognize what a waste of time that would be, and instead choose happiness, gratitude, and love for the present moment. We can choose to judge ourselves (or others) harshly, to let our own negative judgments keep us from experiencing all that this life has for us, or we can choose to be OPEN, to slow down, recognize the recurring patterns of our thoughts and subsequent behavior, and then again, choose to change.

There is no need to push negative feelings down, to ignore them, or to try to replace them. The need lies in recognizing and allowing yourself to feel these things, but then also in understanding that you are not your feelings. It’s so easy to identify with our feelings, to believe we are that which we feel. But we are so much more! We are strong, powerful, beautiful – we are filled with light! We are meant to connect with each other, we are meant to give and to receive… we are meant for soooooo much more than what 99% of the population believes is true for themselves.

My request for you today is to simply slow down, recognize that you have a choice. You don’t have to be sad, you don’t have to feel rushed, you don’t have to feel sick and tired, you don’t have to be angry, you don’t have to be anything but the light and the love that you truly are.

Namaste, y’all.



Grain-Free Blueberry Mini-Muffins

You ask, I deliver.

Yesterday, I posted a photo of some delicious and adorable little blueberry mini muffins on Facebook and Instagram, and turns out, some people wanted to know how I did it. Grain-free? Gluten-free? Nut-free? Delicious? Toddler-approved and not totally laden with sugar and chemicals? BUT HOW?

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Here’s how, kids. Knock yourselves out.

Grain-Free Blueberry Mini-Muffins 

3 organic eggs

3 Tbsp coconut oil (or butter… or Nutiva shortening, which is what I used)

2 Tbsp honey (or other natural sweetener like organic grade B maple syrup)

1/8 tsp almond extract (OR your favorite essential oils! I’ve made these with Lemon and they are amazing! Orange would also be bomb.)

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/8 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup coconut flour

Approximately 1/3 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 400. Lightly grease a mini muffin tin with butter or Trader Joe’s (or other) coconut oil cooking spray. OR you can use liners, up to you. If you’re using big organic blueberries, place a single berry in the bottom of each muffin cup (wild blueberries are smaller so use a few).

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Melt the coconut oil/butter/shortening and mix in the honey, almond extract, and sea salt. Add the eggs, coconut flour, and baking soda and blend in a small blender or with a hand mixer until very smooth. Work quickly because the oil will start to firm up again once it hits the cold eggs (which is fine, don’t panic! Just don’t let it sit there forever). Spoon batter evenly between the muffin cups (over the berries) and top each with a few more berries*.

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Bake for 8-10 minutes or until muffins are set and enjoy warm with a big pat of butter!!

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*If you’re using wild blueberries, they tend to be much smaller so you can get away with sprinkling them on top to your heart’s content. In the batch pictured, I used organic berries which were ginormous, and made the mistake of topping my muffins off with three as opposed to two… what can I say, I got excited?! Anyway, I had to keep increasing my bake-time because the berries kept the centers of my muffins from cooking through. Not a big deal, I just had to watch them a little more closely, and the edges got a little brown. Lucky for me, I’m not a muffin-snob (at least not when it comes to these babies!). 

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These little cuties are not too sweet, but just sweet enough, and are perfect alongside your morning coffee. Be careful around the kiddos, though… I honestly have to make sure Lennon is not in the same room when I eat one, otherwise she whines and begs until I share. The good news is, I don’t have to feel bad about dropping everything to have a kitchen floor picnic with her because these muffins are squeaky clean. Phew!




A Word on Perfection.

Jeez, it’s been a while.

My thoughts are racing. I have so much I want to write, so much I’ve wanted to write for a while… months (obviously, my last post was in June!). Every day, multiple times a day, for months, the thought has crossed my mind, “I could write about this” or “I should write about this” or “Dang, this would be a great post”… and then an inner monologue ensues for the next several minutes, writing the post in my head, and I decide that one day I will invent a brain chip or some kind of device that will record this stream-of-consciousness-style dictation and set it all up, nice and pretty, in a blog post, ready for editing and publishing at the press of a button. Has someone invented that yet? Where can I get one?

I digress.

What’s been holding me back? Hm. Well, ladies and gentlemen… that would be perfectionism, plain and simple. Perfectionism has been holding me back. And it’s been holding me back for a long time. It’s what held me back from that dance recital and piano recital when I was little (seriously, I remember these things vividly), and it’s what still holds me back today. Sometimes I hide behind the notion of perfection, that I DO have all my ducks in line and all my shit together, when really, I’m kind of a hot mess with a million things on my plate, none of which are truly quenching my appetite for creativity because I’m not devoting enough time to any single one of them. And perhaps if I were just honest and fully out there and vulnerable about where I stand, perhaps then I could breathe more deeply, chill the F out, and realize that I’m human and it’s not the end of the world if people see my wounds or my imperfections and that whole “being perfect” thing would magically no longer be necessary. And maybe that honestly and vulnerability would strike a chord with other imperfect humans. (Duh.)

As I sat down to write this post, I first took a second to look at the blog, scan the headers and buttons, and almost fell down the rabbit hole of reorganizing, deleting, “making pretty”… but is that what I came here to do? No. I want to write, and I need to get into the habit of actually writing, versus waiting for the perfect time, the perfect idea for a post, the perfect language to come to me, or worrying that the blog site itself isn’t perfect, that I don’t have the right camera or the right links or the right web design or hosting or stats… gah! It’s overwhelming, and it’s no wonder why I haven’t been back for a while. Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect? What is “perfect” even? Who decides?

I was reading an article the other day which mentioned how the employment model is changing, how people can’t stand to be employees any longer and how more and more people are becoming entrepreneurs. But then, once they become entrepreneurs, they fall into the bad habit of creating a start-up by following the same ol’ money-seeking model, much like the company they left to become an entrepreneur, simply because it’s what they know. And the cycle continues. What does this have to do with my blog?

The Heyday Diaries is small. I would love for it to be bigger, to have a following. I would love for it to be pretty, like other mom blogs, fashion blogs, lifestyle blogs, food blogs… pick one. It’s just not right now, and maybe it won’t ever be. But maybe that’s not a bad thing. Maybe I don’t have to follow the models set before me. Maybe I write about what real life is for me. Maybe I take pictures with my phone. Maybe I misspell things (the horror!) or have misplaced modifiers or dangling prepositions or run-on sentences in my writing. Maybe I share things that I like because I think other humans might like them, too. Maybe I just do it because I want to do it, and see what happens. Maybe I’m not perfect, and maybe I’m totally okay with that.

What do you think? Do I stand a chance?

I said I had a million things to say… and I will. Stay tuned.





Every Morning

My dad loved my husband. So much so that I like to think he would be pissed at me if I spent this upcoming Father’s Day mourning the loss of my own father instead of celebrating the fact that it will be his son-in-law’s first Father’s Day as the father of his granddaughter. That being said, I’ll share this today. It’s something I’ve been wanting to write for a while but couldn’t find the words… until this morning.

Sometimes the thought that people may have forgotten about him makes my heart ache.

In my life, I’ve been to a number of funeral homes for calling hours, churches for funerals, cemeteries for burials. The next day, or in the days that follow, life returned to normal. I’d gone about my business, gone back to work or school and generally just moved on with my life. Flowers were sent, sympathy cards written, tears shed, respects paid. As selfish or as cold as it may sound, I know you know what I’m talking about. No matter your relationship with the deceased or the family of the deceased, death is distant… until it’s not.

Never in my worst nightmares did I imagine that I would be 32 years old, sitting in my sunny living room in South Carolina, seven months pregnant and opening a package from my parents filled with baby gifts, and that I would get a phone call at that moment from Dad telling me that he had received a surprise diagnosis of stage 4 lung cancer. Or that a quick three months later, after surgery and rehab and radiation, a million pills and finger pricks and trips to and from the hospital, and just after meeting his new granddaughter, that he would be gone. Just like that.

Yet here I am. Over seven months have passed since the day he died. Soon it will be a year. And yet there are still days where it doesn’t seem real. In fact, I feel like vivid memories of him come more frequently now, at random times of day when I’m least expecting them, like an unexpected punch to the gut, just enough to make my heart burn and my eyes water.

When I give Lennon a bath, I remember how Dad used to run the edge of the washcloth between our toes when we were little and send us into fits of giggles. I smooth lotion on her soft little body and I’m reminded of how Dad relished a good foot rub and how one of the only ways I knew to comfort him in the hospital was by massaging his hands and feet. On an early morning jog, I’m stopped in my tracks by a great blue heron standing solemnly in my path, and I think of the times Dad would drive us down to the valley to see where the herons had built their nests high in the bare trees. When B.B. King passed away on May 14, I thought of the time Dad drove down to O.U. while I was a student there and we saw B.B. King live at one of the auditoriums on campus. Every now and then, I get a craving for Bombay Darbar, the best little Indian restaurant within walking distance of our tiny loft apartment in Coconut Grove, and I think of the time Dad visited us in Miami and we took him there, how he was a little reluctant to try it at first, but then raved about the food for weeks – months – afterwards. Whenever I get dressed up or put on a certain lipstick or pair of earrings, I can’t help but smile and think of how, when I lived at home, I used to come down the hall all dressed up for a date or an event or something, and Dad would be there on the couch and would look up from his newspaper and say, “You look so pretty!” Tim comes up behind me at the kitchen counter for a kiss and I smile and think of how Dad would do the same to Mom – my heart surges to think that we get to be an example of a sweet and loving relationship for Lennon, just the way my parents were for me. Every day when stare down at my handful of supplements, I think of the dozens of pills Dad had to take several times a day, and how he laughed so hard the first time I served them up in a Jack Daniels shot glass. When Lennon grabs at my lips or my nostrils or my nose ring, I think of how she would’ve grabbed at Dad’s moustache, and how, without a doubt, he would’ve made her laugh by pretending to chomp her little fingers. The exterminator we called to take care of an ant problem last week showed up (straight out of 1979) with a smile and, upon hearing Lennon’s name, proceeded to talk our ears off about the Beatles and Woodstock and what other legendary rock concerts he’d been to in his life. Neil Young or CSNY plays in every grocery, department, home improvement, and specialty store. I sing The Baby Tree (Jefferson Starship) to Lennon every single day (since she was born!) because it’s a song Dad used to play on his guitar and sing to my sister and I when we were kids, and it cracks me up that, every time, her whole face lights up when she hears me start with “There’s an island way out in the seeeea…” – Dad would LOVE that. I’ve woken up with Eric Clapton’s Tears in Heaven or Stevie Nicks’ Landslide, or Neil Young’s Cinnamon Girl in my head… and I know it’s because Dad put it there while I slept. Memorial Day radio broadcasts wouldn’t have been complete without playing Taps… and though it’s a song I’ve heard a million times before, it now lives as a soundtrack to the memory of sitting in the back of a black limousine, nursing a three-week old Lennon while everyone else stood outside in the frigid Ohio winter and saluted my father’s life and death. When I nurse and cuddle Lennon in the middle of the night, sometimes my heart feels heavy because it’s in these silent moments in the dark that I remember saying goodbye, how quick it was and the ache I feel for not hugging him a little tighter or longer, the regret I will forever feel for not bringing my week-old baby into the hospital for him to hold because the pediatrician advised against it, and the ocean of tears Tim and I shed in the hallway outside his hospital room, knowing, but not really knowing, that… that was it.

Fuck. I just ran out of Kleenex.

I woke up this morning at 2am with the name Keb Mo in my head. It was just strange enough because, though I know he was a Blues artist my dad was fond of, or had at least mentioned a few times, I’m not familiar with his music at all, definitely not enough to wake up in the middle of the night with his name in my head. It prompted me to search and listen to a handful of his songs on Spotify and when I came across Every Morning, I knew – knew! – it was the one Dad wanted me to find and to listen to. The only thing that’s missing is the history lesson about Keb Mo that Dad undoubtedly knew and would’ve felt obligated to share… guess I’ll have to do my own research to fill the gap.

Mom, Rachel, if you’re reading this… this is for us, from Dad.


Dad… In my wildest imagination, I could never imagine you lovin’ me as much as I do you. Happy Father’s Day.