Monthly Favorites: July 2016 (Writing Classes, GRE and Moving!)

If you read my monthly reflection for June, you may remember that July was a big month for me - and my main goal was to survive it! You also might have noticed that the blog, and my Instagram, has been a little quiet this last week. Why? Well, first off July didn't kill me (though it certainly felt that way sometimes). Instead, my family and I just arrived at our new home in Colorado Springs.

In fact, I'm writing this post from a charming cafe only a few blocks from our house (mainly due to lack of Internet, but the scenery, complete with deer walking right across the road, is still nice!) What exactly kept me as busy as a hamster stuck to his wheel this past July? And what did we see on our four-day drive from California to Colorado?

Casey the College Celiac
My dad driving the yellow truck with the matching Bronco!
That's what this post is all about!

What I'm Eating

Huge burgers at Stacked: Food Well Built. After surviving part one of an insane month, my parents and I decided that the best way to celebrate would be really good burgers. So, of course, we went to Stacked...and I ended up with this masterpiece: blackened chicken breast with tomato, avocado, sautéed mushrooms, lettuce, and mustard all on a gluten free bun. My mom and I also split the GF fries because...hello, celebration?

Pesto pork spaghetti squash (try saying that five times fast). Ever since I tried enchilada stuffed spaghetti squash almost a year ago, I've been addicted to this easy, veggie-packed dinner. Recently, though, I gave it a "P" twist by using homemade green pesto and pulled pork instead of my usual enchilada sauce and ground turkey. MIND (and taste buds) BLOWN! I cannot recommend the spaghetti squash/pesto combo enough...and juicy pulled pork makes a tasty trio.

casey the college celiac spaghetti squash
Top with avocado to make others green with envy!
Loads of the crazy delicious paleo, vegan, refined sugar and oil free granola that I found in Houston, Texas while visiting family! Since I knew that I wouldn't have access to an oven for around a week, I stocked up on several Wildway flavors. Considering the amount of granola I ate on the road (usually for breakfast with homemade pancakes and oatless oatmeal), I'm probably composed of about 1% Wildway's grain free granola.

What I'm Doing

Having a blast teaching my very first writing class. As I hinted in last month's favorites post, to finish off my summer internship with Entity Magazine, I was given the opportunity to teach a writing class (on Analogies, Metaphors and Turns of Phrase in case other literary nerds want to know) to other interns. For the first class, I traveled to LA, which was an adventure in itself. I ended up teaching the second class at the San Diego office (where I usually worked) on my last day...and two days before we drove out to San Diego. The classes actually taught me a lot and I'm definitely grateful for all that I learned in my nine weeks with Entity!

casey the college celiac
They wrote down their favorite metaphors/turns of phrase at the end!
Having less of a blast taking my GRE...but thrilled with my results! Three days after I visited LA, I drove to San Diego State University to take a grad school entrance exam. I was extremely nervous but, after arriving at the test center at 7 AM to take a brutal, four-hour exam, very ready to get it over with. It was definitely a challenge, but I (literally) jumped up and down when I found out my scores a few weeks later. It's always rewarding to see your hard work (AKA, months of studying) pay off...and I'm so excited to be one step closer to applying to (and hopefully attending) grad schools.

Smiling and (almost) crying at my dad's retirement ceremony. As I've mentioned in the past, my dad has proudly served as a Marine for 26 years. The day after I took the GRE, I attended his retirement ceremony - along with my mom, sister and several extended family members - and it definitely meant more to me than I anticipated. He's been a Marine since before we were born, so retirement is a new way of life for my sister and I as well as him. I'm so proud of his work as a Marine and I can't wait to see where this next step in life takes us!

casey the college celiac
Family photo afterward!
Driving to Colorado! Expect a full recap post of our iNsAnE adventure sometime soon, but here's a quick summary: we drove from Colorado to California in four days, experienced nearly every form of weather (from sand storms to hail) and plenty of challenges...but we're so excited to finally be at our new house! As crazy as it sounds, Colorado really does already feel like home. I just can't wait to eat at (I mean, explore) even more of it!

What I'm Planning

Earning my Colorado Explorer's badge...if such a cool badge ever existed in Girl Scouts (any other past Girl Scouts in the blogosphere?) I already made a list of some culinary hotspots that I want to be sure to check out, including Mountain Mama Natural Foods, The Kitchen and Ola Juice Bar. Of course, I also want to break in my hiking boots and visit some of the typical tourist go-to's. If you have any other suggestions, comment below or send me an email - I'd love to hear!

casey the college celiac
And we'll definitely be going back here (very often)!
Taste-testing like crazy! If you've been craving some more foodporn on the blog lately, August will be your month. Besides celebrating my reunion with a kitchen through plenty of new recipes for the blog, I'm also going to be working with several companies this coming month. The first product review to look out for? A few goodies from Can't Take the Wheat Gluten Free Bakery!

Relaxing and readying for school. I officially have less than one month before flying back to PLNU to finish my last semester of college (insert screaming emoji face here). Now that I've finished the GRE and the moving madness, I want to give my brain a little downtime before it gets hit by the usual wave of essays and reading assignments. I'm definitely not 100% ready to go back to college yet (for a variety of reasons), but the more weeks that pass, the more excited I feel.

casey the college celiac
Shots from our first day!
To be completely honest, though, I'm excited for so much of the future. I've survived one of the busiest months of 2016...and I'm ready to see what August, Colorado Springs, grad school and more have to offer!

*Also found at Wow Me Wednesday!*

What was your favorite eat in July? Favorite activity? Your plans for August? Comment below!


  1. I recently stumbled upon Casey's post from July 2016, and I must say, it was an enlightening read. Casey's insight into the world of celiac and how it intertwines with college life is both informative and relatable. The blend of personal experience, wit, and genuine care for the audience truly makes this a standout piece. On a somewhat related note, for those on the hunt for trustworthy trucking services, you might find this website quite beneficial. Just like how Casey has become a reliable resource in the celiac community, Real US has garnered a reputation in the world of trucking. Keep up the great work, Casey!


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