An Attitude of Gratitude

Thank you to LARABAR for sponsoring this post! 


I love when I’m able to practice yoga on a regular basis. While I know yoga is wonderful for my body, it’s actually the mental aspect of yoga that I find to be so addictive.

Every time I step on the mat, I find it incredibly powerful when the teacher instructs us to leave our worries and stresses of life at the door. For that one hour, we’re asked to be completely present; and without fail, every instructor finds their words during Savasana to remind the class that we have the power to feel that kind of relaxation at any point during the day.

Yeah right. Is what I thought when I first started my yoga journey three years ago. But over time, I’ve learned that those yoga instructors might just be on to something…

Even if I’m not able to physically practice yoga every day, I genuinely attempt to practice the mental aspect of yoga daily. And if we’re being completely honest, it’s not easy to find my zen in the circus that is my new life as a stay/work-at-home-mom. But when my day is at the peak of Crazy Town and I’m feeling like a hot mess, I take a minute amongst the chaos and flip the inner dialogue to one of gratitude.

I’m grateful to have a healthy baby who keeps me on my toes. Despite feeling overwhelmed and unsure that I’m doing anything right, I prayed for these exact moments.


Even though there are times when I feel like she adds more unnecessary stress than anything, and I find myself wondering why we elect to own a massive animal that depends on me, I remind myself that Penny is what I’ve always wanted. She’s a big fat baby (who loves LARABARs) and I love her.


And when there are times when I feel like not one thing in life belongs solely to me anymore (body, time, money, etc.) I flip to gratitude and remind myself that I’m beyond fortunate to have a life that’s shared with people who I love and who love me.


And on the days when I feel like my life starts at zero dark thirty every morning and I spend most of my time in the car running all over the great state of Virginia (okay, just Richmond) and I’m annoyed that I’m eating on the run, rather than sitting down at a table, I remind myself to be grateful for the fact that a) I’m healthy and alive b) own a car and c) have good food to eat.


I know some of you might think this sounds a bit Pollyanna, but over the years, I’ve found that having the ability to switch the inner dialogue and self-talk makes all the difference to this Super Snark. I dare you to give it a try.

At LARABAR®, we believe that the foundation of a sound mind, body and spirit is derived from what you eat – and what you eat is most delicious and satisfying when it’s in a whole, natural state.

Being OKAY with Holiday Weight Gain

Recently, on a website that shall remain nameless, I saw a post about how to avoid holiday weight gain.

I reacted to it the same way I do when I see Facebook statuses about people playing Christmas music before they’ve consumed Thanksgiving dinner.


While it’s obscenely early, I’ve decided to give myself an early Christmas gift. I’m allowing myself to accept the holiday weight gain and not give a fuck if I’m three pounds heavier come New Years Eve.

I’m a happy eater, and for a long time, I wasn’t true to myself! I love the holidays. I love cookie swaps and hot chocolate and pies and festive cocktails.

I’m not trying to be Pro Fatty, but life is too short. The holidays are a special time and it’s because they’re filled with sugar, and carbs, and family members that make you want to drink.

Also, it’s cold out, so your body needs a little bit more fat than normal, right? 😉

Am I totally off base, or does anyone else agree?

Weekend Wrap Up: Celebration Style!

This weekend started off on the right foot: happy hour out on our deck. It’s weird how simply sipping a glass of wine and talking with my husband makes me feel like such an adult. I guess because a few years ago that sentence would have been: “throwing back shots with my boyfriend and yelling at a crowded party.”  Gone are the days… 😉

Saturday, our most favorite couple friends, Bobby and Whitney, came into town to visit. Oh, AND TO CELEBRATE THEIR ENGAGEMENT!!

We are just so beyond thrilled for them. They are absolutely perfect for one another and we’re so glad to celebrate with them during this exciting time.

Whitney and I spent the majority of Saturday morning/afternoon chatting about the wedding. It was so fun to hear about her plans, but it also made me reminisce about when I was planning my wedding.

So much so, that this may or may not have happened…

I was dared to wear my gown out to dinner, and as much as I wanted to, I changed back into my real clothes. We walked around downtown and stopped for cupcakes and drinks before heading out to dinner.

When you’re celebrating things like an engagement, dessert can come before dinner.

Dinner at Portico was delicious. I fell asleep on the ride home, Whitney and I watched Dance Moms while the boys played “yard golf” (?) and we were in bed by 10pm. Yep, it was perfect :)

Getting Back on Track

I know some people (my former self included) classify this blog as a “healthy living blog,” but I’m starting to shy away from that label and instead, referring to this as a “lifestyle blog.” Even though I do make an attempt to be healthy, I’m certainly not a pro.


I’ll put it out there and say that recently, I’ve gain a few LBs. Nothing drastic – my clothes technically still fit, but the scale doesn’t lie and I notice that I’m slightly more…soft?

I know what you’re thinking: Wahh, wahhh. Poor Colleen. She’s not fat but she thinks she is. 


FALSE! I know I’m nowhere near being overweight! I just don’t feel that awesome. I know most women will be able to identify with this, but some troll is bound to send me an email telling me how awful and vain I am (post for another day!)

Simply put: I know I’m capable of feeling better – i.e. stronger and full of more energy. It’s time to get back on track.

Here’s what I know: 

– I drink too much (and I’m not willing to give it up entirely)

– I have a raging sweet tooth

– I don’t eat foods with enough substance (i.e. PB&J all day err’day)

– I don’t drink enough water

– I’m not as energetic as I could be

– I SUCK SUCK SUCK at meal planning.

– I’ve been skipping many AM workouts because I’m lazy as hell. It literally pains me to get up at 5:20.

Here’s what I need:

– An individualized plan. Once something is written out and it’s a set goal, I have no problem sticking to it. I just can’t seem to do this for myself!

– A little help. I’ll be honest, reading all about “good foods” and “bad foods” completely overwhelms me. Everything seems to cause The Cancer, AMIRIGHT? I love Splenda, but apparently it’s killing me slowly.

– Stop comparing myself to girls and bloggers void of “soft parts.”

– Also, I have Crohn’s, so that always tends to fuck my shit up (see what I did there?) no matter what I seem to do. It’s terribly frustrating.

There’s really no point to this post (sorry) other than to just share where I’m at. Normally I wait to write about a topic once I’ve “figured it out for myself,” but not today, you lucky ducks! If you’re in the same boat, or have any tips and tricks, please share in the comment section! 

I’m Getting Paid for This?

Hey, friends! Happy Friday! Man, this week has totally flown by, hasn’t it? First of all – thank you so much for supporting my friend Shannon. I can’t wait to hear the results! I’ll be sure to keep you all in the loop :) The winner of the Love Grown Granola is:

Congrats and a huge thanks, Megan! Please email me your shipping address to lunchboxdiares[at]gmail[dot]com :)


Yesterday was such a blast of a work day. It was one of those times when I thought “I’m getting paid for today? Seriously?”

One cool (small) part of my job is going to health fairs. Normally, I talk to people about mental health, but yesterday was different because everyone involved brought a healthy snack to share with the employees, so I got to talk about food!

My colleague, Mike, made a fantastic Indian dish that was a huge hit. But we all know that homegirl isn’t allowed in skilled in the kitchen setting, but that doesn’t mean I’m a stranger to healthy snacks.

Enter: my two of my all time favorite companies!

Love Grown Foods


My table was stocked with the best of the best, and the NASA people were psyched about it! Like, so psyched, that not one thing was left by the end of the event. (Cory was actually a little upset that I came home empty handed! He’s been wanted to try the Chobani Flip, and he loves some Love Grown Hot Oats)

I loved spending a few hours talking about my favorite products and telling people how genuinely kind these companies are. People were quite impressed! Several people asked if I worked for Chobani and/or Love Grown – my answer was I WISH! 😉


Thoughts During The First Day of a Diet “Adjustment”

I’ve been stuck in a familiar rut lately. I’ve been eating and drinking whatever I want, whenever I want.

Long story short, Cory and I agreed we’d tighten the reigns at home, cut the crap, and hold each other accountable. At least until we started feeling good again* 😉

Yesterday I had eggs for breakfast, turkey roll ups, almonds, and celery with a laughing cow cheese for lunch, and a salad for dinner.

My thoughts throughout the day were as follows:

9:30 AM, two hours post-breakfast: I’m certain that my stomach is eating itself.

10:15 AM: I want French Fries.

10:17 AM: Just thinking about vegetables make me want to vomit. 

Noon: Maybe my jeans are just tight because I washed them two weeks ago. 

1:00, Lunchtime: I’d rather be fat and happy than skinny and miserable. 

1:22 PM: The “chew gum to curb cravings” trick is a crock of shit. 

1:30 – 4:30, Day dream of fried Oreos: I’ve never had a fried Oreo, but I think I’d like it.

4:30 – 5:30 PM: Body Flow/wonder if anyone in the room is as hungry as I am.

5:30 – 5:45 PM, on the ride home from the gym: Don’t forget to refill your prescription. Maybe I should stop at CVS. CVS has M&Ms. CANDY. 

5:47 PM: Cory, you love me no matter what I look like. Right?!

5:55 PM, when I realize I didn’t take the pork tenderloin out of the freezer, foiling dinner plans: What do I want for dinner? Panera’s broccoli cheddar soup in a bread bowl with a side of baguette. 

7:12 PM, After decision was made that we’d have salads for dinner: I hate grilled chicken with a undying passion.

8:25 PM:  Seriously, Target? Why in the fuck do you have bathing suits out right now?

9:10 PM: Chocolate. Caramel. Ice cream. Swedish Fish. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, SWEETS! 

9:12 PM: I’d rather walk over hot coals than watch this episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. 

9:13 PM: There are no carbs in fro-yo.

9:45 PM: Maybe if I got a spray tan I could stop all this foolishness…

10:00 PM: I’m so tired, but I’ll never be able to sleep on this EMPTY STOMACH.

~10:07: Passed out (probably due to severe hunger.)

*No, I don’t think I’m fat. Don’t get your panties in a knot. I just need to stop eating crap at every meal. And that’s a tough adjustment, mmkay?

Ringing in 2013!

Happy 2013, my friends!

Last night we hosted a “get together” and rung in the New Year with our closest friends.

It was a fun, low key night filled with Cards Against Humanity, tons of food, and drinking games I hadn’t played since college.

There was also a little peer pressure that happened, but I won’t point any fingers at Erin Grace, Amanda, and Whitney.

 So in a round about way, Cory and I put ourselves in prime position to start working on our 2013 goal: Slowing down. That’s right, I have been watching Saved by the Bell and Boy Meets World for five hours.

It’s been awesome.

Let’s chat – What’s “the” TV show(s) of your childhood? For me, it’s absolutely Saved by the Bell and Boy Meets World! 

Thanksgiving Came Early

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends! 

I got lucky and was able to celebrate Thanksgiving a day early 😉

For yet another year in a row, my mother-in-law, Joni, hosted a perfectly executed Thanksgiving dinner. Joni is the Queen of Hosting, and I’m always in awe of how she remains so cool, calm and collected. If I had to have a clean house, look presentable, and have seven different dishes ready at the same time, I’d need a Xanax.

I’m also always so impressed by her little touches that make everything so festive.

It was a wonderful night!

So today, as I sit around relaxed and without a plan to call my own, I find myself eternally grateful for the awesome life I have.

I’m crazy about my husband, I adore my amazing family, I have the best friends, and I have my health. Really, there is nothing more I could possibly ask for.

Enjoy your day, folks! I hope it’s filled with love and tons of good food 😉

Let’s chat – Tell me something/someone you’re thankful for today!

Have Fun, Eat Sweets

Lately, I’ve been seeing tons of articles and blog posts about staying healthy during the holiday season. I’ve heard of people challenging themselves to lose weight between Thanksgiving and Christmas (insane, IMO), and I’ve read of holiday recipes void of sugar, carbs, and butter.

To that I say: Stop it. Please stop it.

To me, the holidays are a time to loosen up a bit.

But before you crucify me, just know that this doesn’t mean I suggest eating a plate full of cookies every night between now and New Years Eve.

What I’m saying is, the holidays are supposed to be enjoyable and lighthearted. But lets be honest – awkward family get togethers, present shopping pressure, and being guilted into attending your neighbor’s holiday party are anything but enjoyable and light hearted. You know what I’m talking about.

And on top of all of that, many of us also decide to take on the seasonal position of Holiday Food Nazi.

A pumpkin pie slice of advice? Don’t. 

Honestly, if you practice any sort of moderation in your normal day-to-day life, don’t beat yourself up during the four weeks of the holiday season. It all comes out in the wash.

Personally, I continue with my normal fitness schedule and I eat my normal well-balanced meals during the week. But when I find myself at holiday parties on the weekend, I don’t worry about it.

And you know what? My pants still fit come January.

So, if you’re looking for a way to cut calories in your favorite dessert, this isn’t the place. I’m that odd duck “healthy living blogger” who is all for a little bit of indulgence for the next few weeks :) #sorrynotsorry

Have fun, eat sweets!

A Night at CineBistro

I’ll tell you the truth – I rarely go see a movie in the theatre.

The overwhelming smell of stale, buttery popcorn genuinely makes me nauseous, my feet stick to the floor, and I always end up with a pack of snotty pre-teens sitting right behind me.

My seat back is not your foot rest, Little Princess. 

Well, there is an exception to every rule, and for this story, the exception is CineBistro. Guys, CineBistro is the Target of movie theaters. Everything you could ever want (i.e. movies, big seats, huge arm rests, food, and booze) is there, and you’ll probably leave spending more money than originally intended.

I mean, how can you say no to a few cocktails prior to your viewing experience? (Or running into a pretty new blog friend!!)

Cory wasn’t drunk, it was so hard taking iPhone pics in a dark room!

Oh, did I mention that CineBistro is a 21 and up movie theatre? That’s right, my friends, you don’t ever have to worry about that pack of pre-teens kicking your seat and laughing during the best parts (the previews, duh.)


While corn dog nuggets dipped in cheese sauce washed down by blue slushy can make any viewing experience a pleasurable one, it really can’t beat salmon, a vodka cocktail, and chocolate cake.

Or rock shrimp mac ‘n cheese.

I’m telling you – if you want to make a night of seeing a movie, you might as well just find the CineBistro closest to you. I can honestly say, once you visit one, it’ll be mighty difficult to ever go back to a regular theatre.

Let’s chat – What’s the last movie you saw in theaters?