Dine & Dash Diaries

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I’m moving!

This free blog was a (very) temporary starting point for me, so if you’d like to read more, head on over to my brand-new site!


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Tai Chi Greetings

It’s Thursday! I can tell my college mindset hasn’t completely faded as I still think of Thursday as “mug night,” AKA when my friends and I went to Cafe Beaudelaire (or Cafe B, as everyone calls it) for $5 long islands, followed up by a big mug of whatever was cheap at Sips. It hasn’t even been two months since I moved and I already miss it! My friends are still in school, though, so I’m sure I’ll make it back up for a good mug night when school starts.

All this talk of alcohol before 9 a.m. is making me feel weird. Let’s talk about normal morning things, like breakfast and running.

When I got out of bed this morning, I had no workout in mind. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get into the gym (damn key!), so instead I scrolled through some workouts on the Workout Trainer app I recently downloaded on my phone.


I liked the interface—very easy to use, with time, intensity, and “number of likes” listed next to each workout. I also liked the voice feature: a trainer of your choice talks you through each exercise and tells you how much time you have left.


I chose the “Upper Body Pusher” workout since I did abs and legs (sort of…those Frog Jumps killed me!) yesterday. I liked some of the exercises, including tricep dips and plank walks, but I felt like I worked my abs just as much—if not more—than my “upper body.” Since my abs are sore from yesterday’s workout, I wasn’t too into the idea of another core workout (read: doing a right plank, regular plank, left plank, regular plank, then an elbow plank to end the workout!), but I’m willing to give the program another try since it’s backed by several CPTs and health media outlets.
The workout was only 12 minutes, so I headed out for a brief run afterwards. I took a more residential route today (still finding the best one!) and happened to pass an interesting sight: an older Asian gentleman doing Tai Chi in his driveway, about 3 feet from the sidewalk. I was confused on what to do when I approached. Should I say hi? He looks so peaceful. But I don’t want to be rude. I have to say hi. Or nod. Yeah. I’ll nod.

I got closer and made eye contact. “MORNING!” I yelled. It came out louder than I intended. He nodded, smiled, and continued his fluid motions.

Damn it. Why am I so loud? Should have nodded.

I continued on, turning at the end of the block so I could watch him as I ran. Is that creepy? Yeah, it’s totally creepy. Anyway, I ended up being directionally challenged enough to run into a circle drive I already knew existed, so I looped back around only to see Tai Chi Man in my path on the sidewalk, getting his groove on in backwards slow-motion. I moved to the street so as not to disturb him…and nodded as I ran by.

He nodded back and waved slowly over his head, like it was all part of his routine.

I think we’re friends now.

Surprisingly, I wasn’t that hungry when I got home. I also wasn’t in the mood to put much work into any sort of crazy meal…so I had dinner for breakfast. Yep. Some people think it belongs the other way around, but when you have a pan of enchiladas in the fridge and an egg waiting to be scrambled, you don’t mess with fate.

Breakfast enchiladas with grape tomatoes that were about to go bad.

Plus a side of kiwi and banana.

I had a little Starbucks Lime Refresher left from my work session at the coffee shop last night. I just tried one the other day—it’s made with real juice, green coffee and lime, so it’s although it’s a bit sugary, it’s a nice caffeinated alternative to coffee. But this morning, all the ice had melted and it wasn’t nearly as tasty anymore.

So I did what any normal person who thinks eating dinner for breakfast is normal would do. I added some orange juice. Voila! Breakfast, right?

Check This Out: Are Your Birth Control Rights Endangered?, pulled from the September 2012 issue of Women’s Health. I just started reading it on the way to work, so I haven’t finished it yet, but the intro page is pretty striking:

I don’t plan to talk politics on the blog (because let’s be honest, I don’t know much about it), but I do know access to birth control, Planned Parenthood and sex education are an integral part of family planning. I have pretty strong feelings on the topic, but we’ll see what the story says—maybe I’ll gain some insight into the opinions of those on the other side.
And now, a question unrelated to the above topic because I don’t want to start a war: What’s the strangest thing that’s happened to you on a run/walk?

I can’t think of anything much stranger than today, although I once feared for my life when a man in camo quietly emerged from the woods when I was trail running. I now (smartly) refuse to wear headphones when I’m not running in a public place.

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Shin Sweat

Morning! Happy Wednesday (note: I had to edit this because I had “Happy Tuesday” typed out, then I talked about how I couldn’t believe it was only Tuesday, then went to work and spent all day thinking it was Tuesday. This is my life.)

I got up today around 5 a.m. to find it was raining out. It was pitch black outside, so I did that awkward “I’m-blindly-jogging-so-I-don’t-get-my-phone-wet” hustle to the gym. Usually I like having the place to myself, but when I got to the door, my key wouldn’t swipe me in…again. I was relieved to see a girl pedaling away on the stationary bike inside, but I feel bad making people stop their workout to come let me in. It’s frustrating. Especially at 5:15 a.m. when I haven’t had breakfast (I’d say coffee, but let’s be honest, I love food way more than coffee) yet. Better ask for a new one tonight.

Bonus: the girl left a few minutes after I arrived, so I had the gym to myself anyway. Just me, USA TV (I don’t have cable yet so I have no idea what show I was watching. Something about lawyers and baseball?) and the dark outdoors.

I did a quick warmup with 5 minutes on the treadmill and 10 on the ski machine (I’ve never used one before I moved here—I prefer the elliptical, but they don’t have one at my apartment complex), then did a Manic Monday Abs Circuit. I was SO sweaty. The gym isn’t that well air-conditioned, but I won’t complain because I was drenched by the time I finished. I even had some sweet shin sweat going on—a sign of a workout well done. 🙂


Sam and I had egg sandwiches for breakfast. We’ve been really into them lately, and I’m mastering the craft of the fried egg pretty well, if I do say so myself. Plus raspberry jelly. Try it if you haven’t.


Kiwi + OJ on the side.Image

Did you know you can just scoop the fruit straight out of the kiwi with a spoon? I used to peel and slice it up, but then I learned this trick (can you call it a trick?) from Kristin. So much easier!

Off to work. I’m taking the night off to work on administrative bloggy things—someone has to make this thing look prettier than it does right now. I’ll post tomorrow about an event I attended last night—Idea Mensch Des Moines (#IM48). Super inspiring. Hopefully I can link to some of the videos to show you guys.




See you tomorrow!

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A Jar Half Full

This morning started in the best sort of way—with an empty peanut butter jar and these ingredients.


Perfect for oats in a jar!

What’s the purpose of eating oatmeal out of a peanut butter jar? To use up the last of the nut butter, of course!


To make OIAJ, cook oatmeal in a pot or bowl as you would on the stovetop or in the microwave. Let cool for a bit, then pour into the nut butter jar, stir and top as you would a regular bowl of oatmeal.

I topped mine with Kashi Go Lean, raisins, honey, and as a last minute choice, I switched the peach out for some raspberries.


There’s something about oatmeal in a peanut butter jar that makes it that much more delicious. Probably because there’s a little more PB in there than I’d usually use… 🙂

Last night, Sam and I had the hardest time deciding what to eat for dinner. Our “staple” dinners are usually pretty limited considering our opposite lifestyles—I’m a vegetarian and he’s a meat ‘n’ potatoes guy—so we were considering pizza (half meat and half veggie), pasta or Mexican. But by the time we got home, though, we were starving and decided to go the grilling route. I had a MorningStar Farms veggie dog, some Alexia sweet potato tots and a side salad.


Yes, that’s Sam’s Old Milwaukee back there. 😉

I’m hoping to try more Alexia brand frozen foods after I work my way through this bag. I’ve had all their sweet potato varieties (tots, fries, chipotle fries) and they are delicious. Crunch outside, sweet and creamy inside.



After dinner, Sam and I considered going out for frozen yogurt, which we’d get every day if we could. Instead, we settled on some quick chocolate chip cookies (I use a basic recipe, but maybe I’ll post it later). I thought I overbaked them, but Sam said they were just right. Score.

Check this out: The New York Times created a super-cool infographic/video showing how Olympic athletes fared in the 100-meter dash compared to Usain Bolt (who is the fastest to date). It’s crazy to see how even the “slowest” runners from a century ago are still sooo ridiculously fast. I suppose that’s why they’re in the Olympics, eh?

If you could compete in any Olympic event, what would it be?
I would probably compete in gymnastics or water polo, just because I’d kill to be able to tread water like those polo players can.

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Manic Monday: Six-Pack Abs Circuit

Sometimes I wake up on Mondays and think, “WHY IS IT MORNING TIME NOW?!?!”

Oh—and by sometimes, I mean always. You with me?

In light of this devastating weekly occurrence, I decided to create some quick but effective workouts to post on the blog every Monday to boost motivation. Granted, those of you who work out early in the morning won’t be able to use them, but just bear with me—”Manic Tuesday” doesn’t have the same ring to it. Save the moves for next week’s Monday morning blues.

So without further adieu, the inaugural Manic Monday: a quick ‘n’ not-so-easy ab circuit. I love ab circuits because you can fit a lot of exhausting work into a short amount of time. Following is a workout that includes one strength move followed by a minute of cardio. Why add cardio to an abs workout? Doing cardio between both isolated and compound strength moves keeps your heart rate elevated and maintains that tight tummy feeling, which equals better, faster results. It’s tough, but as Jillian Michaels would say, “Unless you puke, faint or die, keep going!”

(OK, that’s a little extreme, but I do have to remember it whenever I see the word “burpee” on my workout.)


To download the workout, simply right-click on the image and save.

A few notes on the exercises:

The jump rope can be done with out an actual rope (confession: I haven’t owned one since age eight). It’s better to use a rope if you have one for coordination purposes (confession #2: I have no coordination, so there’s probably a reason I hesitate to buy my own jump rope), but you can just mime it without.

Don’t know what some of the above exercises are? Here’s a quick breakdown of each move, several courtesy of Bodybuilding.com:



Russian Twists

Mountain Climbers

Double Leg Lifts (the best!)

Lemon Squeezers

Bicycle Crunches

Frog Jumps

When I’m finished with an ab workout, I do a couple bridges. It’s the one and only leftover talent I have left from gymnastics class in grade school, so don’t feel bad if you can’t contort your body into the move. Instead, you can lay on a bed/couch and hang off the edge backwards. Really. It’s a good stretch. Just warn those around you that you’re not as crazy as you look. 🙂

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Pollen, Pears and My First DNDD Post

Hey guys! Thanks for taking the time to stop by DNDD. I’ve wanted to start a blog for a long time, and today I’m finally getting to it. I’m planning to post twice a day to talk about food, fitness and daily life. This first week may be a bit spotty as I’m simultaneously brainstorming, blogging, designing and figuring out how to set up my own domain. Anyway, let’s get to it:

This morning started with a quick 2.5 mile run around my neighborhood. My boyfriend Sam and I just moved to Des Moines a couple weeks ago, so it’s been fun running new routes around our apartment. If you’re anything like me, you tend to get stuck in a running rut when you live in the same place (for me, it was Iowa State/Ames) for a long time. I’m enjoying the “where should I go next?” internal debate because 1) it encourages me to run farther to see where I end up and 2) I’m not bored with the scenery yet.

Sam was just getting back from the gym when I was heading out and said it was a little chilly out. I got excited because I have exercise-induced asthma—more on that in another post—and often have trouble running in extreme temperatures (JULY, WHY DO YOU EXIST?!). But then he mentioned he saw on the news that the pollen was high and my excitement faded. I’m allergic to pollen, grass, weeds…basically everything in nature, so it’s pretty rare for conditions to be perfectly suited to my ridiculous breathing needs. But when they are, I feel so awesome.

I popped an allergy pill (sure, they take a while to kick in, but whatever) and hit the trail. The breeze felt nice, and today was the first day I didn’t have to purposely run through the sprinklers to cool off, but I could definitely feel the allergies kicking in. I refuse to bring my inhaler on short, non-race runs because I’m stubborn and like to pretend I don’t actually have asthma, so it’s a mystery how I would have fared without it. Mostly I was just happy to not be melting in the sun before 7 a.m.

Breakfast this morning was a new twist on my old staple: oatmeal. I usually have my oatmeal with some sort of fruit, plus granola, brown sugar, cinnamon and chia seeds. Today I added pears, raisins and instead of granola, a new-to-me cereal: Kashi Go Lean Original. Image

I’ve had the Go Lean Crunch and several other Kashi foods before, but I’ve never sprung for the plain ol’ original. I’m usually pretty enticed by “health food,” but I’ll admit was skeptical when I read the packaging. I can dig honey-toasted seven grains. Soy protein grahams? I mean, I like graham crackers. But “fiber twigs” that look like dog food? Not so much.


But I was wrong. To my surprise (and to the delight of my wallet), the cereal provided a nice crunchy contrast to the oatmeal/pear mix. I haven’t tried it alone yet, but I bet it’d be nice with some berries and almond milk.

Check this out: The Women’s Health #Run10Feed10 race: run 10 kilometers, feed 10 hungry people in your neighborhood. Official races take place in metro areas this fall, but anyone anywhere can participate. The race encourages each participant to raise $100 toward their cause.

Have you taken part in a philanthropic race or athletic event before?

I participated in few Relay for Life teams in middle school and high school. RFL is an event in which participants raise a certain amount of money for each lap they walk or run, then the proceeds go to cancer research. My hometown has seen more than its fair share of cancer and was once the top RFL fundraiser in the country. It’s a big event and a special way to both remember those who lost their lives and celebrate the survivors.

I’m off to work. Have a good morning!

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Hi there!

Welcome to Dine & Dash Diaries! I’m happy you’re here.

Allow me to introduce myself with a quick few tidbits:

I’m Chelsea. I’m 22. I live in Des Moines, Iowa.

I work for Better Homes and Gardens, but don’t let that fool you. I can’t actually decorate as well as I can write about decorating.

I’m a former cross-country runner. I miss it and am dying to run a Ragnar Relay.

I’m a vegetarian. Lucky for me, I really do like vegetables. But I can also make a mean black bean burger.

And a fun, unrelated-to-healthy-living fact: I’m terrified of domesticated rabbits (they just get this look in their eyes…). Not wild ones, though. That’d be ridiculous.

I can’t wait to share more with you—starting tomorrow!