Well, hello?


Damn, you guys… Where have you been?!!?

Ok.. I know.. you’ve been here all along! But then, where have I been?

Well, the usual! It’s my busy time at work right now, slowing down soon. So that leaves little time for posting. I also find that the less I obsess over my weight… the less I have to post about. I realize that is both sad and awesome.  I am, of course, quite unhappy over the state of my body currently. Though that fact hasn’t changed… it has been altered slightly. Yes I am wanting to lose weight. But I don’t feel quite as fanatically desperate over it anymore.  I feel inspired to change and motivated to reach my goals. But I don’t feel like I am so unbearably pathetic for not being at the “end goal” yet.  I think its a mix of things contributing to this newly found peace.

For one, becoming Vegan. It feels like home to me. It feels like this is what I was supposed to be doing all along. I no longer feel like I need to try so hard and search so deeply for the one diet that will be good for me, for life.  I do feel like I found it.

Secondly, I’m getting older. I don’t think one ever truly grows out of needing social acceptance… but I do think its importance wanes over time. Especially when you’ve already accrued a lovely small mass of people that love you regardless.

Lastly, my ailments. I’m finally coming to terms with the fact that I have disabilities. I used to think that my physical problems were just something to add emphasis to my story… you know? Like, “Oh, look at how far Shannon has come. She’s lost all this weight and gotten so strong, despite her disabilities!”

But ugh, whatever.  I don’t need to “overcome” anything to appear strong and awesome. Its not proving anything to anybody if I push myself beyond what is comfortable. All I am doing is hurting myself. So realizing that—yes, I do have issues—has allowed me to slow down and not expect progress that is beyond safe for myself.

So… yeah. I am here!  I am feeling like everyone else this time of the year… ready to start anew, ready to lose some more weight and feel healthier.  But I’m not doing anything dramatic. No new intense work out routine, no new fasting or extreme diet. Just… making healthier choices and sweating per usual!

Per usual… if anyone has any ideas for posts (or videos!) they’d like to see, hit me up.  I’d love some good inspirations for posting here.

Love you all…. and Happy New Year!





No Frankenfoods Challenge

I survived a week of no processed foods!

It was easy, but hard at the same time!  Easy in that – I like simple, whole foods. It’s not difficult for me to eat them.  The hard part was definitely the convenience factor. We had some plumbing issues at home during the same week… so there was a day and a half where I had no clean water at home, making it hard to wash and cook my veggies.

I ended up eating out at restaurants – which of course, makes it more difficult to get just freshy fresh foods.
I ate 3 things “off-plan”.  I had sushi, which meant I had some pickled ginger, and some soy sauce. Both containing more than 1 ingredient.  I also had a few pieces of gum… totally didn’t even think of it!

The real question is… did I learn anything?

I think I did. I certainly thought that I already ate about 90% whole and unprocessed foods.  But doing this challenge showed me that is not true at all!  I went to reach for breads, wraps, pastas, dressings, and sauces more than I expected. Proving that my diet is not quite as clean as I’d thought.

I’m really pleased with the challenge, and I’m happy to have shown myself how I really don’t *need* processed foods in my diet. I do think these things have a place, but eliminating them felt pretty nice.

Though I won’t be continuing with a strict no processed foods rule, I feel confident in that I am able to greatly reduce them in my daily eats!

Here’s some things I ate this week –


Salad, of course! With homemade avocado dressing (see below)

Assorted veggies with avocado dressing/dip. The dressing is –

1.5 avocados
fresh cilantro
fresh green onionjuice of whole lemon
salt & pepper
blended up with some water to thin it out


popcorn popcorn popcorn

roasted butternut squash prepared my favorite way – tossed in lime juice and fresh rosemary and then roasted til crisp on the outside.  Eaten with a baked sweet potato and some roasted baby bella mushrooms.

Boiled potatoes and carrots, sauteed spinach and butter beans tossed with lemon juice, salt & pepper.

Everything I ate was flavorful and delicious. Eating things in their simple state, or just adding a hint of citrus or herbs really allows you to taste it. Sure, I like gravy all up on my potatoes… but you know what? potatoes taste good by themselves! (believe it! strange, but true!)

I will definitely reflect back on this when I plan my meals going forward. KISS method all the way!


I’ve recently been trying to pay attention to the processed foods I consume. And I don’t mean just twinkies and doritos… which is probably what we all think of when someone mentions “processed foods”. I’m thinking about real convenience foods like breads, wraps, condiments, cans of soups and sauces.

I’m not saying everything pre-made is inherently bad, but I do think it’s important to step back and recognize just how much you are consuming of those things.

I decided to start a one week challenge.


For one week, only whole foods.  Now, it takes some real discretion to decide what exactly you consider “processed”.

I mean, technically, if you cut or cook an item – it’s been processed. So, a plain baked potato is a processed food!  But, I don’t want to get so nitty gritty.

My rules…er… RULE, is simple –

A processed food is a single food that has more than 1 ingredient (water NOT included)

Easy, right?

I like to think I don’t consume too many processed foods… but when I really thought about it, I reach for the tortillas, hummus, tofu, mustard! all the time.  Again, those foods aren’t totally unhealthy… but I feel like its good to be aware of it.  Why not make my own hummus? Why make a veggie wrap, when I can just eat the veggies?

Taking it back to basics is good sometimes. I feel like it really resets my creativity in cooking, and helps to eliminate all those added sugars, salt, and fats that are lurking around in those products.

Anyway! Feel free to join me, even just for one day! Give yourself a clear look at how much convenience food you go for.

I’ll post some of my meals at the end of the week!



Survey Update!

I swear, I’m working on content ideas. I’m just so… boring right now, I’ve been accidentally neglecting this.

Anyway, I saw a survey, and what better way to force an update – than with prompts! Here it goes, then!

Plans for even more birthday celebrations. Somehow my being born entitles me to numerous amazing, generous birthday celebrations. I ain’t complaining!

Cooking: Been having lots of soups, and quesadillas/sandwiches to go with.


Drinking: I’ve been terrible with my water later. But trying to get it in. This morning, however, my wonderful brother got me a caramel & coconut iced latté. heaven.

Wanting: Well, Joel got me a GoPro camera for my birthday, which I had been wanting! So I ordered a stick mount for it, and its on it’s way to me. I’m wanting it to arrive so I can play with it!

Looking: Adorable. It’s Halloween. And I’m a Red Panda.


Playing: The new Boys II Men album, the new Perfume Genius album, and The Killers – on loop.

Wishing: for an easy and anxiety-free commute to Bumble’s wedding tomorrow evening. I’m really stressing about it.

Enjoying: My new hair color!


Waiting: We’re getting new insulation put in our house. It’s a long process. It’s only just started, and I am anxiously waiting for it to be done.

Liking: (more like LOVING) how my skin has never been clearer.  Still not even close to perfect or blemish-free (never will be, thats OK!)  But it’s so much improved for some reason, just over the past couple weeks. Another post to come on that, I’m planning.

Wondering: still, what I can do to lose some weight!

Loving: eating the last of the tasty fresh fruit before winter descends and kills my spirit and all the fruit with it.

Hoping: I think of some more blog posts for y’all! I miss this.

Marveling: at how good Bry’s costume came out. I mean, Auntie is good. I know that. But dang, Dr. Strange – you’re awesome!


(yes, I did sloppy-ass photoshop him. It just felt right!)

Needing: more cardio.

Smelling: An old mug of cinnamon tea I left crusting over on my desk. Still smells good, though.

Wearing: Still this.

Following: Lots of YouTubers. Totally got sucked into that world.

Noticing: How great my family and friends are to me. My birthday this year has been humbling with the amount of love I got.

Knowing: that tomorrow will work out fine (and be amazing) But weddings are scary enough as it is. Having to get ready at, and then leave from work and drive over an hour on halloween night is freaking me out. But logically I know… I know I’ll make it there, be fine, and be so, SO excited to see one of my BFFs get married.

Thinking: I have a lot to do tonight.

Feeling: Slightly overwhelmed, now that you made me think about all the stuff I have to do tonight.

Opening: my jumbo tumbler of water. I haven’t had anything since my iced coffee this morning, and that’s a sad dehydrated red panda right there. (thanks Jess, for bringing me my water)

Giggling: at everyone in their awesome halloween costumes. We got some good ones this year.

Ok, thats it!  Nice chat guys! I promise, I’ll be back soon with something to say!

Florida Highlights

This was my fourth annual Naples trip!  So we’re finally winding down from the OMG MUST DO ALL THINGS kind of vacation to the Hey Now, Let’s Just Chill kind of vacation.

There was one HUGE bonus to this year’s vacation, and also one big let down.

The bonus –



Joel and I got to spend the day with my sister and her husband in Sarasota! We arrived at Ft. Myers airport and drove about 2 hours to Sarasota. We stayed over there for the night and met up with Caryn & Bobby in the morning. They live about an hour north of Sarasota. So we tried to meet in the middle. We had such a great day together. I really miss them both, and I just felt so lucky to have been able to make this work!

Here’s me gently mocking Mr. Michelangelo at St. Armand’s Circle.

After a fantastic day, we sadly went our separate ways and Joel and I set out for Naples.

Naples Pier –

We saw beautiful fish, birds, and dolphin swimming around.

The downside, this year was that our walkway and beach were closed for renovations. Our favorite part every year is walking the trail to the beach. Enjoying the incredible wildlife and weather before ending up the most pristine beach. This year, we had to drive to a different beach. So we didn’t walk as much, and we didn’t get to see many gators like usual. Anyway! We did see this one!

See her? On the lawn?
She had about 6-8 babies too, but I only got to see them briefly.

We went to the movies twice. We saw Hector & The Search for Happiness (two thumbs up) and Maze Runner (ehhh)
We meant to see Box Trolls as well, but the times just ended up not working. On the plane, though, I watched Captain America Winter Soldier, Fed Up, Frank, and Only Lovers Left Alive.

All in all, another wonderful vacation. It was hot and sunny, but I stayed excessively slathered up in sunscreen. So I survived without getting burn or sun poisoned. That alone is a true victory for me!
Glad to be back to my pooches. But not happy to be back to the cold and the office! :-)


The Food of Florida

I’m back from my week in Naples, Florida! I’ll do a couple posts about it… but this one will just be about the FOOD!

I ate some pretty fabulous things over the week. I forgot to photograph some of it, but here’s some highlights.

My snack on the plane.

Dinner at Columbia Restaurant in St. Armand’s Circle – Sarasota. This was a vegetarian platter. Black bean cakes, chickpeas with spinach and garlic, stuffed mushrooms, and queso fundido. I gave Joel my cheese and sour cream. The rest I really, really enjoyed!

Lunch at LeAhn’s Vietnamese Kitchen. This is faux chicken and pineapple stir fry.

Also from LeAhn’s was this freaky drink. It’s called Pickled Lemon Drink. It’s made by placing lemons in a tub of salt, sealed and placed in the sun. The moisture from the lemons dissolves the salt, and the salt then turns to a brine and pickles the lemons. The drink is the pickled lemons, mixed with sugar and water. It was as salty as sea water, but lemony and sweet at the same time.

Breakfast at our favorite place – Skillets. I got this dish twice. It is hashed potatoes topped with onions, sundried tomatoes, pico de gallo, and avocado. With a homemade scone and fruit. The second time, I added jalapenos!

Joel loves Blue Bell ice cream, which they don’t sell here. So when we’re down in FL he gets a giant tub for the house.
I picked up these for myself. They were really, really surprisingly good.

This I drink LOTS of. Like… a LOT.

Cider Press Café is an all raw vegan restaurant! New to Naples, and right up my alley! We had a pineapple kimchi dumpling appetizer. Came with mango habanero sauce. I neglected to take a photo of those. But Whoa. I could eat them all day, every day!
I had the enchiladas served with slaw. And Joel had a half Avocado “BLT” (smoked eggplant for bacon) and a wedge salad.
I also got some key lime pie to go. This meal was quite expensive, especially for the quantity. However the quality was off the charts. This food was so inventive, fresh, and vibrant. I wish we had a place like this nearby home!

Claypot dish from The Loving Hut. One of the best things I have eaten, ever. This was rice, rice noodles, 4 types of mushrooms, scallions, tofu, sliced ginger, cilantro, and a light gingery soy sauce – baked in a clay pot. It was just one of those things that really comes together into magic.

Also from the Loving Hut – dessert! This was an almond flan and a pandan cake. (Loving Hut is 100% vegan, so both desserts were dairy free!)
I’d never had pandan cake before. Pandan is a fragrant plant made into cakes, drinks, and dishes. It’s almost like a light pistachio flavor sort of. Absolutely a new favorite.

Lunch at Joel’s favorite – Tommy Bahama’s Restaurant. This is the Grilled Steak salad – minus the steak. It’s got grilled shiitake mushrooms, grilled potatoes, and a gloriously fresh bed of greens and veggies. It had a tamarind lime dressing.

Downtown Historic Naples – a coffee shop called Bad Ass Coffee. This is a Snickerlicious iced coffee with soy milk.
It was HEAVEN. I took this bad boy on a hot hot walk down the Naples pier. And it really hit the spot.

A little hole-in-the-wall Mexican place named Taco Ardiente. This is the guac appetizer. It was huge, and stuffed into a fried cripy tortilla bowl. And I got my fave soda – Jarritos Lime. Mmm. As my meal I got soft tacos with beans.

On our last night, we went to another of Joel’s very favorites – U.S.S. Nemo’s Restaurant. Cheesy name, I know. But it’s a very popular classy joint! It’s a seafood place. And they ended up having only one solitary vegan option – a tofu stir fry. I admit, I get sick of the obligatory veggie stir fry option, so I was a little annoyed. Until it came… and I tasted it. Best stir fry – ever. The veggies were unbelievable. the tofu – perfection. The rice and sauce were… mmm! I’m telling you – perfect.

Unpictured was – Banana w/PB at the Continental Breakfast at the hotel, Grilled Artichokes & french fries from Bricktops. Peanut butter french toast from Goldie’s Diner. Salad from Whole Food’s salad bar. A bagel with hummus from Publix. Dairy-free Lemon Sorbet from the Sandbar (on the beach). Hush puppies, corn on the cob, and steamed veggies from Philippi Creek restaurant.

So thats it! All my food for a week in Florida.

And somehow – I didn’t gain a pound!

Vegan Resources

First, a notice  – I am not putting any graphic images in this post. However, some of the videos and sites I am linking to will most likely contain graphic material. You’ve been warned! 


So, I’ve had some friends (and strangers!) express curiosity about Veganism. Some, have even gone so far as to ask me for more information and some good starting points on learning why people go Vegan and how to start themselves.  I have a few things that come to mind that helped me and I thought I would compile them here, so that when people ask me, I can just plop them down at this post and let them wander from there!

First, some lectures. I found these lectures to be such a perfect starting point. Not overly graphic or sentimental…  Just great facts and reasoning by well-spoken people.

Now, if you want a serious jumpstart into veganism… the following documentaries will do it. However, I feel like these are the videos you should watch regardless of your diet. I think if you choose to eat meat, you should at least know where it comes from. What slaughterhouse practices look like, and what affect meat has on your health. I believe that knowing these things can help you to either avoid eating these things if that is your intention – OR to help you appreciate these things as you decide to eat them.  It’s just knowledge… and its good to have – for both sides.

I have personally seen and enjoyed appreciated the following documentaries –

Earthlings : EARTHLINGS is an award-winning documentary film about the suffering of animals for food, fashion, pets, entertainment and medical research. Considered the most persuasive documentary ever made, EARTHLINGS is nicknamed “the Vegan maker” for its sensitive footage shot at animal shelters, pet stores, puppy mills, factory farms, slaughterhouses, the leather and fur trades, sporting events, circuses and research labs. (synopsis via the website)

Vegucated : Part sociological experiment and part adventure comedy, Vegucated follows three meat- and cheese-loving New Yorkers who agree to adopt a vegan diet for six weeks. Lured by tales of weight lost and health regained, they begin to uncover the hidden sides of animal agriculture that make them wonder whether solutions offered in films like Food, Inc. go far enough. This entertaining documentary showcases the rapid and at times comedic evolution of three people who discover they can change the world one bite at a time. (synopsis via the website)

Forks Over Knives : The feature film Forks Over Knives examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting animal-based and processed foods. (synopsis via the website)

If you’ve got a short attention span (ahem, ME), then YouTube channels are the BEST place to go. There are hundreds of Vegan channels. From daily vloggers to activists, food & cooking shows to comedy and musical channels. I mean, everything you could want.  Just type “vegan” into the search and BOOM. Occupied for weeks.

If you’re short on time but full on sass : BiteSizeVeganIf you’re wanting to get your gourmet on in the kitchen : Jason Wrobel
If you’re wanting to get your gourmet on in the kitchen, but the zombie apocalypse is happening : Vegan Zombie
If you’re really into learning about plant-based nutrition/facts : NutritionFacts.org

I mean, I could seriously go on for hours typing up a list. If you’re ever looking for more YouTube recommendations – ask me!

There’s also some fantastic websites with FAQ’s, recipes, lifestyle tips, etc.
Here’s a list of the top 50 Vegan Blogs!

So there you have it… a little something to get you started.
I apologize for getting all Vegan on you there, but… this was requested and you know I give the people what the people want! ;-)


You know what?  I love camping.

Man, I really do love camping.

I love the views, the sounds, the eats!, and oh.. the smells!  Clean dewy mountain air is an incredible smell.  The water there tastes like liquid heaven – and I hate water!

I love hiking, and I love the prospect of seeing wild animals.

I love the incredible amount of work it takes to camp. Cooking a meal and cleaning up after is quite an ordeal. And before you can even do that you must get your firewood and fetch your water. It’s exhausting work, and for some reason that makes it all the better.

There’s no internet up there. There’s no text messages or checking my work emails “for just a second”

There’s just friends, conversation, good food, a lot of dirt, and lots of work! The combination is perfect.

Anyway! I had a great time camping, so let me show you some pictures!

First, I did some prep work. We like to rough it in many aspects when camping – but food is not one of them!  Before leaving, I made a garlic spaghetti sauce, an asian sesame marinade, and some herb & garlic potato foil packets to just toss on the fire.


We bought all the rest of our meats & veggies fresh in the town center nearby the campground. This made it way easier to pack and travel, because we could fill the cooler with STUFF, instead of ice and food. So we got to the site, unloaded everything, then took the empty cooler down to the store and loaded up!

The boys (Drew & Adam) arrived just after us. So they set up their tent while we headed down to the store, and to get our firewood.

Our site was as beautiful as when we left it last year.

One small change was that someone found an old railroad tie in the woods and brought it up to the site to be used as a step up to the cabin. What a relief! My knees were pretty rough by the end of last year because that insanely high step. Though many toes were stubbed in the dark… it was still a great improvement.

We quickly got to work cooking and eating. Because, well, that’s what its all about!

Camping as a vegan is definitely NOT difficult. I ate like a king! Oh my goodness, the veggies cooked over an outdoor flame.. it’s just magical.
I ate a lot of asparagus, mushrooms, onions, zucchini, potatoes, summer squash…

The mushrooms though. I can’t even talk about them without tearing up. They were soooo effin good.

I had bought these Hobo Pie makers – essentially clamshell cast iron pans on a stick… You fill them with whatever you want, sweet or savory – you close up the pans and stick them over the fire (like roasting a marshmallow!)
We used them for desserts, mostly. My genius idea was to buy cinnamon bun dough and fill it with pie filling. Yup.

For me, I found some crescent roll dough that was vegan. I filled it with low-sugar apple pie filling that I found at Whole Foods.

Yup. It was indeed as good as it looks!

We did a few trips and hikes.

Mount Greylock. Which boasts just the most unbelievable views from the mountain top.


We may have also vogued a little bit.

Tannery Falls.

The Natural Bridge.

(keep off the damn what?)

And we ate some more.

Best breakfast EVER. We made breakfast burritos. Mine was scrambled tofu, veggie sausage, roasted potatoes and onions.

I also, in between foods and hikes,  had to weigh in for my DietBet competitions!
Which, I ACED, by the way! More on that in a later post!

On our last night, it went from this :

To this :

It rained like a mo fo. It took us an insanely long time to pack up, because the downpour was serious!
Driving down from the mountain, we were inside one very dense cloud.

But the lower we got the clearer it was. The rain, of course, ruined nothing for us. I always expect it to rain and we got lucky that it was only on the last day.
The days were cool but sunny and the nights were COLD. But again, there’s something weird about camping… that makes the uncomfortable parts part of the fun.

I was about to apologize for not taking more photos. We had such good food every day. We had a pineapple massacre (damn you, Raccoon!). We saw so many shooting stars (you can also see the milky way from there!). We had many chipmunk and squirrel friends (outside AND inside the cabin!). We saw beautiful scenery and had wonderful adventures. Some things you just can’t capture on a camera.

Dear FFF

Dear Funny Fat Friend,

You’re the self-deprecating, joke-cracking one. You’re the “Funny Fat Friend”, that’s how you fit in. That’s your schtick and you think it works. I want to tell you the truth here. . . it doesn’t work.
No one thinks its funny when you put yourself down. No one thinks its funny when you call yourself insulting names. Sure, people laugh with you, but would you truly like to know why? It’s because they are uncomfortable. They laugh because they want you to feel good about the horrible thing you just said. They want to believe that you don’t mean it. Like it’s just a joke.
But you did. And it’s not.

The truth is that people love you in spite of your self directed insults, not because of them.

I can’t sit here and preach to you about how you ought to love yourself. That would be hypocritical of me. I don’t love being fat either. But you do have to at least treat yourself as well as you would a stranger. You would never meet someone on the street and call them those names that you call yourself. So I suggest you don’t do that to yourself. There’s a beautiful song lyric that goes – “I’m sorry to myself for treating me worse than I would anybody else.” Which means, next time you go to say something terrible about yourself… look at those lovely people around you and ask yourself – would I say that about that person? would they think that was funny?

There are funnier jokes than fat ones. And there are jokes that don’t involve insult in the punchline. And imagine this… there are even times when there needs to be no joke at all. You’re even great when you’re not funny at all.

That’s the beauty of this whole thing.

No group of friends needs a token Funny Fat Friend. What they need is a you.

Be kinder to yourself,



Weekend : The Motivation Murderer

You’re on point all week, right? Got your food all planned and prepped. You’re drinking your water at your desk. You’ve got your workouts scheduled. Smooth sailing!

Then, hey now… it’s FRIDAY! Whatcha got planned? Whatcha got prepped?

Oh, nothing?

That’s right… nothing.

I wanna wing it, I tell myself. I want the freedom to enjoy my weekend. Go out to lunch if I wanna. Make a special meal at home if I wanna. Have a junky frozen pizza if I wanna.
As it turns out.. I WANNA.


But why? Why do I want to?? I don’t feel so restricted during the week that I go wild come Friday. I don’t have a “cheat day” or anything like that.  So I’m not sure why I feel the desire to slip during the weekends. But I’ll tell you something… they really set me back.

I joined a DietBet, 2 of them, actually! And the goal is 10lbs in 28 days.

My initial weigh in for the DietBet, I look so suspicious!

I’m now 8 days in.  On Saturday morning, I was already down 7lbs!!! But, the weekend arrived. And with it came some vegan mac’n’cheese, some french fries from a restaurant, and the discovery of limeade oreos!
Mind you, I stayed in my calorie target while eating these things. But I didn’t need to eat them.
Last week I kept my fats very low and I lost weight and felt really good.  I ate these fatty foods and I felt gassy and crappy, and this morning I’m right back up 3 of those 7lbs.

If it doesn’t feel nice… why do I do it?
I guess that’s the age old question, isn’t it?

I think, in my head, I imagine that 2 days of relaxing/splurging could never undo 5 days of being awesome. But the sad truth is – it can.  It really can. Maybe not in terms of actual fat gain, or losing health… but mentally… it’s a slippery slope for sure. My disappointment this morning at seeing those few pounds that I’d lost just go away… I don’t want to feel that. If I knew that I ate clean and felt great, I wouldn’t even blink at being up a few pounds. I’d say, ah well, I know I was good so it’ll come back down!
But instead I knew that I slipped this weekend. The gain was justified, and therefore – so is my regret.

Finding a balance between letting myself feel “free” and keeping my weight loss on track is imperative.
I want to enjoy my food and my weekend… but I also want to lose some freakin’ weight.

Do you struggle with the weekends? Why are they so seductive?!