Tips for Mindful Eating

With work, academic responsibilities, and additional commitments it can be exceptionally hard to really think about what we are putting into our bodies. An early morning class, full day of work, or extensive list of assignments and subjects to study can result in grabbing or making quick, unhealthy choices. Buying a bagel and cream cheese on a rushed trip to the library or dinner at a food establishment on campus often fails to provide us with the energy we need to feel and perform our best. Below are a few tips to help you eat mindfully and fuel yourself with wholesome, healthy foods in order to live each day to its full capacity.

1. Meal Plan
One of the most important ways to ensure success in eating healthy meals and snacks throughout the day is to plan what exactly you want to eat for the next week or two. After writing down your plan in a notebook, jot down the ingredients you don't have on hand and head to the grocery store. Not only does this eliminate excess stress (especially if you're a busy college student juggling multiple classes, orgs, and a job like me), but it also makes it easy to avoid the hungry snacking that sometimes occurs when trying to decide what to make for lunch or dinner.

If deciding what to eat (even in the meal planning process) is a problem for you, take the time to browse Pinterest or healthy eating blogs for some fresh ideas.

Some of my favorite meals include:
Breakfast: Gluten free oatmeal with almond butter and fruit (pictured above), a smoothie/smoothie bowl, or peanut butter overnight oats (see this recipe from the Minimalist Baker)
Lunch: Salad with strawberries and orange slices or Heather's Eat Well Veggie Burger and potato wedges
Dinner: Kale and lemon pasta (recipe here, although I eat mine without cheese) or a vegan buddha bowl (recipe here)

2. Pack Meals and Snacks for the Day
If you're going to be out and about during the day (at school away from your apartment or dorm, at work, running errands, etc...), be sure to pack your lunch (dinner as well if you'll be gone for that long) and snacks the morning of. This way it's easy to eat healthy on the go and avoid wasting time or losing that perfect study spot.

3. Listen to Your Body
Stop eating when you begin to feel full and pay attention to what foods make you feel energized as well as what foods make you feel lethargic. You may find that some foods or ingredients make you feel sick or tired and if that is the case, it's important to either cut out or eat less of those items. I, personally, have chosen to cut out dairy, processed foods, and foods that include a lot of sugar (besides the natural sugar found in fruit, etc...) in order to feel my best.


4. Put Your Phone Away While You Eat
In all honesty, this is one of the hardest things for me to do as I often find myself wanting to scroll through my Instagram feed while enjoying my morning bowl of oatmeal. However, undistracted eating is the best way to pay attention to how your body feels and also provides time for thoughtful reflection.

Mindful eating is a great way to improve your well-being and taking the time to follow these steps can create a much more fulfilling relationship with food.

The Perfect Summer Skirt

As I surveyed my wardrobe at the beginning of this summer, I quickly realized that my options for the warm weather were slim. I only had a few pairs of shorts and a simple black skirt to pair with my tops. After a brief panic, I set out on an extensive search for a few more pieces that would work to accentuate my style and keep me cool enough during the warmer months. At last, after quite a bit of frustrating online searching that made me realize how much of a perfectionist I really am, I came across this adorable vegan leather skirt from Free People. Paired with the right top, such as this one from Anthropologie, it makes the perfect stand out piece and I love its ability to be either dressed up or down.

What I'm Wearing: Top: Anthropologie, Skirt: Free People

Lyon Street Café: A Grand Rapids Favorite

There is something very calming about being back in Grand Rapids. In a way, returning to all of my old favorite spots makes me feel as though I never left. Almost instantly after unpacking all of the bags and boxes that traveled home with me from Ann Arbor, I made a visit to Lyon Street Café for a cup of coffee and some conversation with my best friend, Emily. 

Lyon Street is relatively new to the Grand Rapids coffee sphere (opening just last year), but has earned its place as one of my absolute favorites. Not only is the coffee delicious and the baristas exceptionally friendly, but the café hosts a very appealing variety of dessert options (many of which are gluten free and vegan). As someone who is currently vegan and considering the possibility of making the permanent lifestyle shift, I find these offerings to be very refreshing. 

Next time you're looking for a place to catch up with a friend or get some work done, be sure to settle in at Lyon Street with a mocha and a cupcake. You definitely won't be disappointed.

A Minimal Approach to Michigan Spring

Michigan weather has a tendency to be quite unpredictable. In the past, I can remember running Sparta High School Varsity Soccer's daily two miles on the cross country track during a 90 degree March day and walking from the bus to my residence hall during a blizzard-like April evening. The spontaneous nature of this great state can often make for hard fashion choices that may or may not align with the designated season. I may be ready to transition to shorts, tank tops, and sandals; however, Michigan has slightly different plans. Today, after glancing at the weather app on my phone, I opted for tan sandals, black jeans, a white button down, and a jean jacket. Thankfully, after the morning chill wore off I was able to lose the jacket. 

I really love this look and its minimalistic appearance. It's simple, yet put together, and perfect for a day spent getting coffee and learning a little bit more about the beautiful city I call home. 

What I'm Wearing: Shirt: Urban Outfitters (similar here), Jean Jacket: Levi's, Jeans: Urban Outfitters (similar here)

Photos: Emily Maltman

Summer Reads

With finals behind me and internship decisions in the hands of several different local companies, I've had a desirable amount of free time to spend reading for pleasure. Below are my top three publications perfect for lounging around wherever your summer travels may take you.

Most people that know me are familiar with my tendency to read classic literature over modern novels. However, summer is one of the times in which I branch out as I find that books like Pride and Prejudice don't exactly fit into the category of "perfect beach read." A few years ago, when Grand Rapids born indie-rock project Radiator Hospital made Rolling Stone's "25 Top Songs of 2013," I found myself researching the editor responsible for the piece, Rob Sheffield. It only took a simple press of the "enter" key after typing his name into Google to find that he had written several memoirs. Attracted to the cover and summary of Love is a Mix Tape, I drove to the nearest bookstore to buy it. Sheffield writes in a very beautiful, very raw manner that is not only heartbreaking, but also quite humorous. The topic (the beauty of a strong love and the tragedy of the loss of that love) is a bit heavy, but the reading itself is light making it the perfect beach novel. It is important to note that I have read this book several times, something that I only do when I find myself captivated by the narrative.

There are few publications that inspire me as much as Kinfolk does and I admire every aspect of the endeavor - from the unique layout to the creative features within. Although it isn't the latest edition, The Entrepreneur Issue includes a variety of highlights on small business owners: dreamers and doers  who are sure to inspire you whether your summer includes an internship at a accomplished company or days spent traveling and visiting the beach. This issue also includes a very decadent recipe for chocolate-covered espresso bean brownies. If your summer includes any free time, there is no better way to spend it. 

In addition to locking myself up in the many libraries on the University of Michigan campus to complete the seemingly never-ending piles of homework I had over the year, I have spent a lot of time contributing to SHEI Magazine as a member of the Features Team.  SHEI is U of M's fashion, culture, and lifestyle magazine produced by a variety of business and editorial teams dedicated to the pursuit of professional creativity. A lot of work went into this issue that includes 5 photo shoots and 10 feature articles ranging in topic matter from the history of fashion and accessories to the rise and impact of lingerie. Even as a member of the organization, I still find myself amazed by what we can accomplish. 

I'm very excited for the next four months and the opportunities I will have for even more reading. Here's to hoping your summer includes the same!

Adventures in NYC

New York City has been a part of my dreams for years and, thankfully, I had the opportunity to explore it this Spring Break with a few wonderful friends. Our stay was short as we arrived Saturday morning and left Monday afternoon, but everything we did and saw made it very worthwhile. Below are some of the highlights of such a stimulating trip (disclaimer: it's mostly food and coffee).

Toby's Estate Coffee

I have a lot of favorite coffee places, but Toby's Estate's Flatiron Espresso Bar on Fifth Avenue earned a spot in my top five almost immediately after I stepped foot inside. The baristas were all extremely friendly, the black and white color scheme inviting, and the coffee delicious. Not only that, but the espresso bar was also connected to a Strand bookstore, flower shop, and Club Monaco. Unfortunately, I already had to haul back a duffel packed too full multiple blocks back to the ferry (having a love for fashion can be painful) and didn't have the room or arm strength to accommodate the many books, flowers, and shirts I really wanted to buy. For anyone planning to try it out, I highly recommend the Maple Sage Latte.

(I noticed later that I had pinned a picture of this shop to my "future travels" Pinterest board, which is even more exciting considering I wasn't aware I was checking off a destination. You can follow my inspirations here)


Brunch is a must on any form of trip or vacation, at least from my perspective. On Sunday night, we  all gathered around Ryan's Macbook and began the search for a place that would meet all of our expectations. Penelope on Lexington Avenue was the choice and it was delicious.

I had the Punkin' Waffles on the bottom left and the Sweet Potato Fries in the middle. 

Doughnut Plant 

We walked by Doughnut Plant on our way to visit the Chelsea Hotel and immediately knew it was something we had to try. We were right and ended up making two trips. During the first trip, I had the Brooklyn Blackout Cake Donut which was, in complete honesty, the best donut I have ever had. On the second trip, directly before our return back to the ferry and the beginning of a long drive back to Michigan, I had the Pistachio Cake Donut which is pictured below. It was also pretty delicious, but not quite as good as the Brooklyn Blackout.

Other notable stops include: 

Stumptown Coffee in Ace Hotel - Which had a very cute grab-and-go atmosphere 

MoMA - Where I saw Van Gogh's "Starry Night" live and in person and took a cheesy photo in front of Warhol's "Campbell's Soup Cans"

Shake Shack - Where I tried a mushroom burger due to lack of vegetarian options and was surprisingly impressed

L'Amico - A cute Italian restaurant on Avenue of Americas

NYC is a very inspiring environment and I can't wait to return!

Motion: A Spring Break Playlist

Anyone who knows me knows that music plays a key role in my experiences. Below are a few songs that have followed me on my Spring Break adventures so far, replaying in my head on my walks through the streets of NYC.

Final Reflections: 2015

2015 was a very intense year for me. I made a lot of monumental decisions, thrust myself into a completely new world by choosing to attend the University of Michigan, and endured many challenges both within and outside of the personal sphere. Although I love the fresh opportunity that the shift of a calendar year brings, I am a strong believer that each and every day is a chance to work on becoming the person that you want to be. As humans, not a single one of us can automatically start living the way we want to and accomplishing every one of our goals on a daily basis simply because we moved from one year to the next. We make mistakes, we procrastinate, and we fall back into the routine of simply existing rather than chasing a meaningful life. Each day (and any time within each day) we have the capability to restart and work to make the changes that we want, to follow our dreams and act on our passions. However, I see the significance in reflection (often, but specifically at the end of a year) and setting goals that we want to implement in the next. 

A lot of things happened in my life within 2015 and the following are some of the highlights (in no particular order, technically...):

Went to a Gary Synder reading at White Lotus Farms and met the man himself (this is probably first because I have yet to recover from my excitement - I also had the best slice of pizza ever at this reading which I think is worth mentioning)

Committed to the University of Michigan

Graduated high school and gave my Salutatorian speech without fainting

Successfully completed my first semester of college

Survived Statistics 250 (and now it is probably safe to say that I am done with "complicated" math forever - or at least for a long while) 

Saw several of my favorite bands live 
-Dr. Dog at the House of Blues in Chicago
-The Growlers at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor
-The Avett Brothers at Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor
-Mac DeMarco and Alex Calder at The Crofoot Ballroom in Pontiac 

Started this blog 

Submitted one of my poems to a literary magazine for the first time 

There are also a lot of things that I learned this year (of which I could and might talk about in detail in the future, but will just briefly life the top three for now):

It is extremely important to take care of yourself. A wise teacher from my high school reminded us many times that: "You are the only person who is going to be with you 100% of the time." Taking that seriously is vital and it is completely okay to walk away from people and situations that are unhealthy.

Happiness is a pursuit. The world wants us to believe (through media representations, specifically movies) that if we just buy one more thing or accomplish a cherished goal we will reach ultimate happiness and our worries will just dissolve or at the very least greatly simplify. However, no matter how many things we buy or goals we accomplish, happiness is something we keep striving for. Challenges are a part of life that will always be there and it is important to recognize that and use those challenges as fuel for growth. 

You don't need to change who you are for anyone. This is something I have learned many times before and am constantly reminded of. People may try to change you, especially if you stand out in some way, but it is important to hold on to who you are in those circumstances. 

Looking forward, I have high hopes for 2016 and do have goals that I plan to focus on within it. 
They are:

Be more intentional with social media. As an individual who wants to go into media and publishing, I want to successfully use these outlets (specifically Instagram) as a way to grow rather than as a way to waste time. This is something I have been trying to do, but want to focus on more. 

Blog more. Simple as that. 

Spend more time writing creatively. I want to explore the realm of poetry more than I have in the past. 

Continue to fight my battle with procrastination. 

I hope everyone takes some time to reflect on the past year and has a wonderful 2016!