Balanced and Bold: Meet Sam!

Yay!!! I am SO excited to share the very FIRST blogger as a part of my blogger series, Balanced and Bold! As I’m typing this I’m actually squealing. #sorrynotsorry You may recognize this little blogging beauty from a few of my other posts. So fortunate to have the best blogger BFF living nice and close! Okay, so let’s get right into it! Meet Sam from the Pursuit of Healthy Happiness.

Balanced and Bold Sam

So Sam! Let’s get serious…kind of…okay, not at all, but lets just get on with it! 😉 So, tell us about yourself.

Ohhh! I just got a little nervous! Am I the only one that struggles with this question? Let’s see, I grew up in Buffalo, NY and later transplanted to Cleveland, OH for my undergrad and grad degrees. Now, living in Philly, I have no idea how to respond to the question, “So, where are you from?” because each city feels like home. As a professional, I work in the public health field: nutrition education, research, health outreach-that sort of thing. At heart, I’m a goofball and a nerd. I’m an explorer and a bit of a travel bug. Getting lost in a city is one of my favorite things to do. At home, I spend my time being active (hiking, yoga, HIIT workouts), Pinteresting (yes, I just made it a verb), and of course, blogging. Other than that, I’m constantly planning big dreams with my boyfriend of the better half of a decade, Zak, and cuddling with our pup, Paxton.

Oh man, girl! You’re a busy bee!! Glad you have time to blog because I LOVE to read it! Can tell us about your spot on the internet, aka your blog?

Pursuit of Healthy Happiness is a healthy lifestyle blog focused on finding the balance in life. I believe that healthy people are happy people, and vice versa. It’s a place to find inspiration, workouts, healthy recipes, motivation, health tips and so much more.

Why were you inspired to start your the Pursuit of Healthy Happiness?

I had read blogs for a while before the idea for my one came to light. I was always drawn to health and fitness blogs. Soon I found myself having these ideas, like “Oh, I wish she would write a post about yoga” or “A post about eating healthy while on a budget would make a great post”. Soon enough, I was outlining my brain child that became the Pursuit of Healthy Happiness. It was in the works for months before I got enough courage to actually launch it.

Thats so true!! Gosh, it can be so scary to put out something so personal, but look how amazing its become. So in reading your blog, I can see that you’re all about balance (Speaking my language!). What does a balanced life mean to you?

I’ve lived the life of counting every calorie and working out to achieve that perfect caloric expenditure balance. In the past, I’ve done the crazy things like fad diets and eliminating entire food groups. It took a while for me to realize that for me, that lifestyle wasn’t making me happy. And through that journey, it clicked that for me living a balanced life was my key to happiness. For me that means eating mostly clean, veggie heavy, homemade meals but also allowing myself to enjoy the occasional cheeseburger and fries. It means living actively, incorporating fitness into your everyday, and trying new and fun workouts. The way I see it, life should be fun! The best way for me to achieve that is to fuel my body with mostly real food, stay active, and eat some Brie and enjoy a cocktail on the weekend.

 Yum, I’ll sign up for that wine and cheese break! When you do cook at home, what’s your quick go-to healthy dinner?

I love Mexican food, especially if it has avocados on it. My go-to meal is my own take on Chipotle bowls. I use instant brown rice, mix it with some lime and cilantro and a sprinkle of salt. From there, I build the bowl with whatever I have in the fridge; peppers, onions, kale, tomatoes. If I have chicken on hand, I’ll cook that up with my homemade taco seasoning. If not, I usually keep a can of unsalted black beans in my cupboard. My only must for the bowl is guac. Avocados are one of those items I usually buy weekly. I’ll mix up a quick guac, mashing the avocados with lime, garlic, red onion, and a pinch of salt. All together, I can get this meal on the plate in about 20 minutes, it’s super healthy, plus hello-it has guac so it’s uber delicious.

YUM! We are all about mexican food! (Its amazing how many ways one can make tacos :)) So, when you aren’t cooking at home, what’s your favorite Philly spot for a meal? Can be naughty or nice 😉

Oh man, this is a tough one. I’m a huge foodie; there’s really not a food I don’t like. My favorite coffee spot is a place on Main Street in Manayunk called Volo. It’s super cute inside, the coffee is outstanding, and you can chill there all day. I love the burger from The Goat’s Beard, also on Main-they’re all about fresh and local food. In the city, I’m obsessed with Marathon, I love their mission (They get the food from their very own farm!) and their food is always exceptional. Even though I’ve been in Philly for nearly two years now, I feel like I have so many more places to try. Anyone wanna hit up the town with me? Pretty please :)

Me me me!! I’ll join you! What about hitting up the gym? Whats your favorite type of (or class) workout?

Right now, I’m loving vinyasa yoga at Hot Box Yoga. I’ve been going for over a year now. The instructors are friendly and super knowledgable. This past weekend at the Be Well Phillly Bootcamp, I tried the Lithe method. It’s a ‘cardio-cheer-sculpting’ workout. Many people probably don’t know this about me, but I cheered competitively for many, many years and throughout college. Lithe method is everything I missed about cheer (minus the stunts). I got to use my old skills and totally had on my cheer smile the entire time. No shame! It was so much fun and upbeat. I’ll definitely be hitting them up for some classes in their studio.

I have been trying to fit a class into my schedule to try it out, but haven’t gotten there yet!! How do you balance your time to be able to get your heart pumping?

Lately, even though I don’t really consider myself a morning person, I’ve been waking just a bit earlier to get my sweat on. My job is mostly sitting at a desk, so I use any excuse to get my steps in each day. I park my car in the furthest spot, I take the stairs instead of the elevator, every little bit helps. One of my keys to making the time for exercise is by being prepared. I keep my gym bag packed and in my car along with my yoga mat. I always sign up for the very first class of the afternoon and head straight there from my job. That way I have no excuse for not going.

Thats a great thought!! So whats your weekly workout schedule typically like?

Really, this changes for me quite often. I don’t follow any specific regimen and I like trying new things. My goal is to just be moving for most days of the week. Right now, I currently do a 15 minute HIIT morning workout in 5 days a week. I try to get to yoga class at least 3 days a week. Other than that, each day I take Paxton on a walk in the morning and afternoon. On weekends, we’ll usually go for a couple mile hike in the Wissahickon or for a nice long walk on the Tow Path.

Gosh, thats a good variety…and busy! I bet you’re exhausted at the end of the week! What about the more important part…how to you relax?

Relaxing is so important! Especially to living a balanced life. Being go-go-go all the time will wear you down so fast. Each day, I like to take time for myself, whether that means I’m at yoga, or browsing Pinterest, or just being a bum and watching Netflix. I also love crafting, painting, rehabbing furniture, sewing pillows. Most recently I made a backgammon board. Oh, did I mention I’m a huge nerd? Yea, I love playing backgammon :)

So good! Girl, you do you 😉 How do you know when you need rest?

Over the years I’ve learned to listen to my body. I’m the type of person, a bit-okay yes a full-blown, perfectionist. I’ll keep pushing myself to the point that I’ll actually end up giving myself headaches and stomach aches. So it’s really important for me to take time to just do nothing sometimes. It’s nothing that a Sex and the City marathon can’t cure.

I can’t lie. I’m so bad at relaxing at times. I love to cook and lately I’ve been all about BBQs and planning summery picnics. What are your 5 MUST haves for an ideal picnic?

Ohhhhh, I like this question! How do I choose? Ok, bloody mary’s are a must! And a good cheese. I hope you like stinky cheeses cause those are my fav. A giant water bottle cause I always have at least one water bottle or tumbler on me. My fitbit, cause we’ll probably walk/hike to an amazing location, and I need to count my steps. My iPhone so that we can Instagram the entire event and so we have some tunes to jam out to.

SERIOUS essentials! All about it! Thank you so much for being a part of this series!

Thanks for the interview! I had so much fun!

Thank you so much to Sam for being a part of this series! Be sure to check out her blog, Pursuit of Healthy Happiness! Sam posts awesome workouts that are so doable, even on your busiest days you’ll be so pumped you’ll have to get that blood pumping! I mean, if that picture of Paxton doesn’t tempt you…then I don’t know if we can keep being friends… 😉 Be sure to check back soon for the next blogger in the hot seat!



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Colleen O'Connor - Keep It Real Clean

About Me

Hey! I'm Colleen and I'm a healthy lifestyle blogger living in Philadelphia, PA. Join me on this adventure to lead a healthier lifestyle including clean eating and fitness, all while enjoying the real world!

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