Friday, May 29, 2015

Friday Favorites

Woo hoo! We made it guys! I love 4 day work weeks--I could totally get use to this. Next week I'm heading out on Friday to Richmond/Charlottesville for a girls weekend so it will be another short one. YESSSSSSIR!

Linking up with Clare from Fitting it All In, Heather from Life in Leggings, and the Virginia Bloggers today.

Here are a few of my favorite things this week--

1. I made Peter what I like to call "S'moreo Balls" for his golf outing this weekend..... and they were delicious. I guess I should have taken a picture but that's probably why I'm not a food blogger. ha. Basically I beat the living day light out of a package of the new S'more's Oreos, added in some marshmallow fluff, fat free cream cheese, crushed graham crackers, rolled them into a ball, put in the fridge for half an hour and then dipped them in white chocolate. I also sprinkled them when some more crushed graham crackers for good measure. They were not healthy by any means but they were AWESOME.

2. Confession: I (MAJORLY) broke a cardinal running rule. I got my Saucony's in January and have since ran a solid 1,000+ miles in them since then. Bad. Bad. Bad. They've held up pretty well until recently but yeah, I guess I finally "ran" out of them. Whoops.

SO.. I figured with marathon training on the (very soon) horizon, it was about time I purchased some new ones. I was pretty convinced for a long time that I was going to go back to my Asics but after running in an old pair a few weeks ago, I realized just how much HEAVIER they were than my Saucony's. Crazy. So, I bought these babies. Same shoe, different style.

I can't wait to take these guys out for a spin!

3. I got to hang out with my favorite (and only) niece on Wednesday! Seriously, I'm definitely not ready for kids yet but hanging out with this girl is one of my favorite things in the entire world. Doesn't matter how tired I am, when she asks to go play at the park, we go to the park.

A photo posted by Sarah Smith Carlson (@sarahc33) on

4. This article from Greatist. I'm so guilty of the "go hard or go home" mentality when it comes to fitness and it's something that I have to consciously work on. Sometimes less is more and let's be honest--I have a marathon coming up! I want my body to be as strong and ready as possible.

5. Favorite pins from this week! Surprise, surprise. Most are food. ha. :)

Golden Oreo Cake Batter Ice Cream Pie. I would absolutely destroy this in a matter of seconds. ha. 
Fluffernutter bars. Yes please.
Looks like a fun workout. Will try it soon! SOURCE

There you have it. I hope you all had an absolutely fantastic week and a fun weekend ahead. My plans include a wedding tomorrow and hanging out by the pool and with family. Not bad, right?

See you on Monday!


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Natural Protein Bars

I'm switching it up today for Thinking Out Loud and talking about protein bars. More specifically, about my slightly obsessive addiction to them. ha.

Like really ya'll.

Some people have cookie jars. I have a jar literally OVER FLOWING with different types of bars--protein, meal replacement, fruit/nut, granola.... you name it, I have it. One can never be over prepared, right? And please tell me I'm not the only one?!

I rely on protein/nutrition bars to keep me going during the day. As a fitness professional with sometimes multiple workouts a day, I need a quick fix in between so that I'm not crashing before my next session... because let's be honest, Insanity is hard and if I'm not feeling it, no one is feeling it.

Even when I'm on the run, I like to know that what I'm eating is good for me and not filled with lots of processed "junk"--added sugars, syrups, and things I can't even begin to pronounce. So when Natural Balance Foods reached out to me to try their line of Nakd Crunch Bars, let's be real--I was totally game.

And I love the company's mission--
"Natural Balance Foods is a young British company devoted to increasing world happiness with delicious and healthy snacks, humor and helpfulness."

Awesome, right?

When the box came in the mail, I was like a kid in a candy store... or protein bar store? ha. Seriously. My initial reaction was utter joy over the amount of FLAVORS that I was sent. Cashew cookie? Cocoa delight? Banana Crunch? PECAN PIE?! Before even trying them, I knew they had to be good.

And then I looked at the list of ingredients and was IMMEDIATELY impressed. Each bar consists of fruits & nuts.... period (the crunch bars have an extra kick of protein as well!). After doing some research on the website, I came to find out that it takes 45 minutes to make a bar--compare that to the 3 hours and 45 minutes it takes to make others!

Another thing I can dig? The bars are wheat, dairy and gluten free. Not only that but there's an expiration date printed on every single bar. The bars are never even baked, only cold pressed. How neat is that?


But let's be honest here, none of that matters if they taste like cardboard, right? Well, I'm here to tell you that they don't. At all. They're delicious in fact. I was actually surprised at just how good they really were. Even the flavors I didn't think I would like as much, were crazy good. My favorites were pecan pie (yum!), cocoa orange, berry delight (I'm usually not a huge berry fan!), and of course, cocoa crunch because we all know I'm a chocoholic.

As someone who considers themselves a "bar" expert, I will continue adding these into my rotation. No crazy ingredients + great variety + killer flavor = my kind of snack.

If you are on the look out for a Natural Protein bar that delivers key nutrients and satisfies your cravings, I highly recommend Eat Nakd bars! You can purchase them on their website  or Amazon!

What do you look for in a snack? What are you favorite bars? Or better yet, do you hoard them like I do?! ha. :)


Disclosure: Natural Balance Foods provided me with an assortment of their products at no cost. I received no monetary or other compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Odds & Ends

After a 30,000 step day yesterday (yikes!) and a quick 4 mile run this morning, I'm totally dragging right now, mentally and physically. Anyone else?!

That being said, I figured it would be the perfect time to post some questions! Erin from Love, Fun & Football posted this so I decided, what better way to get my brain awake and flowing than with some fun "get to know me" questions. Right? Riiiiiiiiight. :)

1. What's one thing we will always find in your purse, besides the basics?
I don't really carry a purse. Is that weird?! I carry a Coach wristlet that I've had for at LEAST 6 years now. BUT when I travel and do carry a "purse", I always have a good magazine (usually Runner's World or Women's Running), lots of snacks (duh!), multiple packs of gum, and at least 6 pens... because you can never be prepared enough, right? ha.

2. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Oh boy. Who knows! Ideally, I'd still be working in the fitness industry--perhaps at a bigger college or in corporate wellness. Peter & I will have settled down and bought a house... somewhere. Maybe not necessarily in the same place we are now. I will have my master's degree and maybe, MAYBE start working on a doctorate. I'd also like to have a kid....which is completely scary to say! But something that I'm looking forward to. :) Oh and if I'm REALLY dreaming here, I'll have ran the Boston Marathon.

3. Which show on TV should we all go binge watch immediately? Who's your favorite character on said show?
Big Bang Theory. Seriously, Peter & I watch it EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. It doesn't matter how many times I've seen the episode, I still watch it like it's the first time. And Sheldon is hands down my favorite character. LOVE him.

4. Chicago Deep Dish or the New York Slice? (getting real deep here)
Never had either.. but I feel like I could really dig on some deep dish Chicago style pizza. I've told Peter on several occasions that we are visiting Chicago solely for the pizza. I mean, I'm sure it's an awesome town but.. I'm just there for the pie. ;)

5. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and what would you do?
Probably Italy. Although I wouldn't mind going back to Ireland either. If I went to Italy, I'd a) eat amazing Italian food and gain 20 pounds and b) head straight for the Amalfi Coast. I remember watching Samantha Brown on the Travel Channel (side note: what happened to her?!) during college and every time she'd go there, I was in awe.


6. What's your favorite blog post you've ever written?
I'm still pretty new to this whole blogging thing but I think my favorite so far is my Kentucky Derby half recap. Not because it was overly great or had a lot of views but because I was so proud of what I accomplished that day. I worked my BUTT off for that PR and to know it all paid off was HUGE. When I think about how far I've come since I started running, I can't help but smile. I ran my first half marathon in 2:28. Over the course of 3 years, I've cut almost an entire HOUR off of that time. So, that's why that post is so special to me.

Have a great Wednesday everyone!


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

TOTR: Compression Time!

Back to work this week! Anyone else having a hard time getting going?!

Quick link-up today for Tuesday's on the Run... my favorite day of the week!

Today's topic: Compression gear--yay or nay?

For me? It's a total yay. It's so funny to look back when I first started running--I ran in old nikes, no watch, no fancy gear, nothing. And there's nothing wrong with that. But man, I'm so glad for all of the knowledge I've accumulated over the years.

I've never had shin splints or any of the like but once I started getting into longer distance running, I decided it was high time I started taking preventative measures. I bought my first pair of Zensah compression sleeves a couple of years ago and haven't looked back since.

Scientifically do I know all of the benefits? No. But from experience, compression gear a) increases the blood circulation in my legs and my legs feel less fatigued after a long run; b) help my legs recover faster (always a plus) and c) when it's really cold, compression gear keeps my legs warm. ha. (always an added bonus, right?!)

I recently switched over to full compression socks and love them even MORE than my sleeves. I lost my Zensah's and needed a new pair before the Kentucky Derby half I ran recently and after talking with the sales guy, he totally sold me on the socks. Again, this could all be in my head but after the Kentucky Derby half, my legs felt AWESOME. Typically after a half, I get really stiff but after the run, I felt great. Granted, my fitness has greatly improved but I still think it was partly due to the increased compression.

I definitely recommend looking into compression gear, especially if you're starting to get into longer distance running. If nothing else, for the added recovery factor alone.

What about you? Do you wear compression gear? If so, what are your must haves?


Monday, May 25, 2015

(Lazy) Weekend Recap

Happy Memorial Day! I'm writing from the comforts of my couch this morning while watching the Today Show and drinking my protein shake. No complaints!

Linking up with Healthy Diva Eats for Marvelous Monday... although considering my weekend was pretty uneventful, it shouldn't take too long to recap. ;)


Friday was a pretty low key day at work. With awesome weather and high temps, exercising indoors isn't exactly high on people's priority lists. I certainly can't blame them. My own workout on Friday was pretty low key for that very reason. Just some walking and some ab/arm action to end out the week. I generally take it pretty easy on Friday's and try and head out a few minutes early.

Peter happened to be off on Friday so we FINALLY went and saw Pitch Perfect 2! Being the old people that we are, we went to the 5:00 showing (ha!) and it was totally worth it. No crowds, matinee prices, and we were out in time for dinner. Totally the way to go from here on out. The movie itself was really good! We both agreed that it started a little slow but other than that, we loved it and it ended on a high note (no pun intended, ha).

We were planning on going home and eating dinner but stopped in to my parent's house and ended up eating dinner with them. Or well, stealing dinner from them. ha. They had pizza and my mom put together a killer salad and we were STARVING so... we dug right in. Hopefully they didn't mind. ;)


I had tentatively made plans to run a 5k on Saturday morning but woke up and just wasn't feeling it. I was actually really proud of myself for deciding not to do it. Sometimes I have a hard time listening to my body but Saturday it was definitely telling me no. Instead, I enjoyed a quiet morning at home and then headed to the gym to take a TurboKick class and do my own thing. TurboKick was great--It's always fun to GO to a class instead of take one! Any other group exercise instructors feel that way?!

After class, I walked until I got my 10,000 steps and some change and then headed home. Peter worked Saturday & Sunday so I was all by myself... and took advantage by cleaning! I've been putting of some big projects out of pure laziness lately so I decided it was about time I got in the kitchen and bathroom and did some DEEP cleaning. It was a very productive afternoon.

The rest of the night? Picture me posted on the couch watching TV and thoroughly enjoying doing absolutely nothing.


Sunday was much like Saturday, except I did go for a run. And a good one at that. 10.3 miles in the books and my legs felt incredible. They were a little sluggish at first but once I found my groove, it was easy. I love runs like that!

I ended up making a GNC/grocery run after my workout and then got some more work around the house the remainder of the afternoon. I also took some time to read a few magazines that I've neglected for the last month or so. Needless to say, it was  relaxing afternoon. And even better? Because I have today off, I actually got to watch some of my favorite shows in REAL TIME. It's the little things people.

As for today? I think I've convinced myself to go to the gym here in a few and tackle Murph in honor of Memorial Day.
1 mile run + 100 pull-ups + 200 pushups + 300 squats + 1 mile run

And then I'm promptly heading to my mom & dad's house to enjoy life by the pool. :)

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday. I'm so grateful to all of those folks who gave us their all so that we could enjoy this day and every other day of the year. <3



Friday, May 22, 2015

Friday Favorites!

It's Friday. I have a long weekend ahead of me. The sun is shining. Birds are chirping. It's my rest day.

Seriously--it doesn't get any better than that, does it?!?!

Linking up with Fitting it All In, Life in Leggings, and the Virginia Bloggers for my Friday Favorites!

1. I had some GREAT workouts this week. All of my runs were quality, my HIIT workouts intense, I had some good lifting sessions, and overall, I just feel really good about what I accomplished. My favorite run of the week was Monday--upon returning home from the weekend, I met up with a couple of guys for a 6 mile (HILLY!) run. My legs felt a little sluggish to start and it definitely wasn't a fast run by any means but it was one of those runs that just felt good for the soul, you know?!

 2. Speaking of workouts, I was perusing Pinterest for some good ones and came across this guy--Millionaire Hoy. Maybe I'm late to the game and he's actually quite famous but his workouts are TOUGH! They remind me a lot of Insanity (which I obviously LOVE) and man, let me tell you--the 20 minute burpee workout he does looks KILLER. I may have to try it next week. And if you're looking for some quick, 20-30 minute HIIT workouts that will make you sweat, he's your guy.

3. I came across a really awesome post yesterday in regards to exercise comparison and guilt and it was so good. It's absolutely KILLING me that I can't remember who wrote it but seriously--it was great. I'm totally guilty of seeing other people's workouts on Instagram or Facebook and wondering if maybe I should do more? Or worrying about posting a picture of my run on social media and fearing that people would judge me on my pace because it wasn't "fast enough". Crazy, right? You just gotta do you, you know?! It goes back to something I tell people when they ask me for advice in regards to running because they hate it--it's simple, DON'T RUN! :) Find another activity you enjoy doing and rock it! Zumba, pilates, yoga... you have to find your passion and not worry about what others are doing. And NEVER feel bad about doing something you love. It's taken me a long time to steer away from the comparison trap but I'm slowly getting there.
*rant over!*

4. These pins.

Drooling at my keyboard as we speak... SOURCE
ha--this was me last weekend. 

5. LONG WEEKEND!!!!! We have Monday off here at work (yes!) and the only plans I have are to potentially run a 5k tomorrow morning. And did I mention the weather is going to be AMAZING? I plan on spending as much time outside as possible.

I hope you all have a long weekend ahead like I do and get to do something FUN! :) See you on Monday!


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Thinking Out Loud

Not a bad thing by any means but man, this week has FLOWN by. Maybe it's because I had Monday off? ha. And even better news? I have this upcoming Monday off as well for Memorial Day. I can totally handle these 3 day weekends. Keep 'em coming! 

Time for some Thinking Out Loud! Linking up with Amanda from Running with Spoons! :) 

1. I've been thinking a lot about this blog and how much fun I've had with it lately. I think it's time I step my game up and find a host/design/etc. I've been doing my best to read up on everything but man, it's so confusing! Any tips?! Any recommendations?! This is all totally new to me, especially since I didn't even think I'd still be writing on here still. ha. 

2. Confession: I use the medal rack in my office for a clothes hanger. I come in before work most days of the week to get a run in and by the time it's over, I'm dripping in sweat. So... in an attempt to somewhat dry off my clothes, I hang them up and well, that's really the only place I have to do it. ha. 

3. I was looking through my time hop app (my fav!) this morning and it hit me how much I kind of really miss cross fit. I quit last fall when everything got hectic with the gym opening, my wedding, traveling, etc and to be honest, it was hard to justify paying for another gym membership when I have a state of the art gym at my finger tips. But man, there were some good workouts. I wasn't a HUGE fan of the heavy lifting and being timed doing it but I do miss the competition/camaraderie and being pushed to my limits. That part was awesome. 

During "Murph" last year!
4. I was looking at my upcoming calendar and realized that my next girls weekend is only 3 weeks away! This time we're heading to Richmond, Va to stay with Anna and then we will be heading to Charlottesville on Saturday to do some wine tasting, among other things of course. :) I'm so excited! I love my girls and I LOVE C-Ville--what more could I ask for?! I'm definitely counting down the days. 

5. Does anyone else dread 5k's more than longer distance races? It totally hit me on Saturday that I'd much rather run a 10k or half than a 5k. I think it's because by the time I hit my groove in a 5k, the race is almost over. That and hardcore sprinting for 3.10 miles kind of blows. Doesn't mean I won't continue to do them because let's be honest, I love racing.. but man. Mentally they're tough for me some days. And of course I say this as I'm getting ready to sign up for another one this weekend... go figure.

Have a wonderful Thursday--one day closer to the pay dirt! 


Tuesday, May 19, 2015


Totally a dreary Tuesday here but it makes for good "back to work" weather. I hate missing Monday's (anyone else?!) but it was worth it. 

Anyway, time for another edition of Tuesday's on the Run!

Today's topic: Favorite Running Books & Movies

I was thinking about today's topic and I can pretty much trace my obsession with running back to one movie that changed absolutely everything for me.

Spirit of the Marathon. 

Up until watching SoM, I was a pretty casual runner with no serious dreams of running a marathon. Although I'd ran a couple of half's prior to watching, I all but swore off doing a full marathon. It seemed like an impossible dream and something that I had no interest in pursuing. The thought of running 26.2 miles seemed daunting.

And then I watched the movie.

If you're a runner and have never seen Spirit of the Marathon, I highly recommend you do. It may not inspire you to run marathon but it will certainly inspire you to go out for a good workout.

This movie made running a marathon seem doable to me. It took it from being placed on this impossible pedestal in my brain to something that MAYBE I could do. And even though I still haven't ran it yet (hello November!), the marathon is no longer scary because it's 26.2 miles, it's scary because I've set goals that I'd like to reach during those 26.2. 

I won't go into super long detail with this movie but basically, it follows the story of several runners training for the Chicago Marathon. It follows them from start to finish and it's so inspiring and will be worth your time, I promise--runner or not.

A few other notable mentions on my inspiring list?

1) Desert Runners. I have no desire to run an ultra marathon, let alone 7 but this movie was still a great watch. And can we talk about how crazy we runners are? This one proves it to me. We willingly put ourselves in pain for glory. That's pretty badass.

2.) Prefontaine. I have to put this movie on my list because up until watching this a few weeks ago, I didn't know much about Steve Prefontaine. It was pretty interesting and although not my favorite, it did make me want to go out and run so there's that.

What are you favorite sports related movies/books? 


Monday, May 18, 2015

Monday, Monday...

Happy Monday... From my version of Sunday. 😏 

Linking up with Erin at Her Heartland Soul for Weekend Snapshots!

My 3-day weekend has been MUCH needed and I'm certainly taking advantage of one more day off. Peter and I are currently in the Great Smoky Mountains of eastern Tennessee enjoying the perks of my parents cabin.

I always say there are only two places I TRULY feel like I can relax--the beach and this place right here. I don't feel rushed, I don't mind not doing ANYTHING. Case in point, the last two nights Peter and I have rented from Redbox and enjoyed a few early/laid back nights in. 😊

Before getting here and being lazy bums on Saturday, I got up and ran my first 5k of the year that morning. It didn't start until 11am and at first, I was kind of annoyed at that because I have my entire routine down and it threw a slight wrench in that but it ended up working out really well--mainly because it was pretty awesome not being in a rush. That being said, it just gave me more time to be nervous. I typically don't get nervous for bigger races but man, 5k's? I'm a wreck. Ha. Anyone else?!?!

I spent my morning slowly getting ready and then headed over to the race around 10:15 or so in order to have plenty of time to get registered and get all of my things together. It's funny--with running, the only "real" piece of equipment you need are shoes but you'd never know that by watching a race. Ha. 

After I peed for the billionth time, stretched, and got in the "zone", it was go time. This was the second year I've ran this race and and when I say I've ran this course at LEAST 50 times, I mean it. I'm very familiar with it and could run it in my sleep. The first mile is pretty flat, second mile consists of LOTS of rolling hills, and third mile is made for racing--mostly flat and downhill. 

Like I said, this was my first 5k of the year (oddly enough) and so as far as expectations, I didn't really have any to be honest. My "A" goal was to get in under 22 minutes but with as much distance running as I've been doing lately, I wasn't sure if that was even a possibility. I've focused a lot on speed work in the last 2 1/2 months and have made a point to strengthen my core but still, you never really know until you get out there. 

When I was the first female to cross the line in 21:49, needless to say, I was pretty happy. It was 4 seconds off my PR and almost 10 seconds faster than my time from last year so I felt pretty great about it!

I was definitely GASSED when I finished but I definitely put it all out there on Saturday. I think if I was running on fresher legs, I MAYBE could have PR'd but I'm still pretty stoked with turning in a sub-22... Especially coming from someone who used to run a 5k in the 28-29 minute range! If I can do it, ANYONE can! 😊

It was a very well organized race and I thoroughly enjoyed getting a chance to catch up with all of my local running friends. 😊

Once the race was over, it was time for Peter and I to head out for our weekend getaway! We ended up getting to the cabin around 5, relaxed for an hour or so, and then headed to Mellow Mushroom for dinner. Believe it or not, this was my first time having pizza in 2015! What the heck have I been doing?!?! Needless to say, this very quickly turned into a "cheat" weekend and I have no regrets. Ha. 

After our pizza coma, we came back to the cabin and watched "The a Wedding Ringer" and then I hit the hay pretty early. 

Sunday I was up at the crack of dawn, of course but no complaints from me. That's my favorite time of day! It was a little rainy but I managed to get in a fun circuit workout over the course of the morning/my favorite Food Network shows. 😉 Lots of push-ups, dips, and squats plus some walking during rain breaks and a little jogging in place. 

Once Peter got up, we got ready and headed into town to explore. We ended up doing a "few" moonshine tastings and I totally felt it. Ha. We ended up sampling one moonshine with one of the guys from the show "Moonshiners" without even really knowing it, funnily enough. 

I tried sneaking a picture but wasn't too successful and I don't know his name anyway. Ha. 

After a recovery lunch, we did a little damage at the outlet malls and after briefly debating on where to get dinner, we decided to just grab something from the grocery and take it back to the cabin for another night in. And it was perfect. We rented "Wild" (awesome movie!) and enjoyed doing absolutely nothing. 

It was a much needed and well deserved weekend. I feel relaxed, rejuvenated, and ready to tackle the world head on. We will be heading home here in a bit and although I wish we were staying a TAD bit longer, we've already made plans to come back again in June/July. 😊

Time to start packing and get on the road! We've got a mountain coaster to ride and an Amish grocery store to explore before we leave! 😉 

Have a wonderful Monday! 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! I'm officially about 8 hours away from the weekend and I couldn't be more excited if I tried. ha. :) It's been a long week and I'm ready to relax and kick back for a few days. Anyone else with me on that?!

Linking up today with Fitting It All In, Life in Leggings, and the Virginia Bloggers today! :)

Friday Favorites:

1. PITCH PERFECT 2!!!! Please tell me I'm not the only one who will be waiting in line tonight to see this movie? I'm not a huge movie person but the original Pitch Perfect is probably one of the only movies I can see a billion times and not get tired of... okay, that and Bridesmaids. Peter loves the movie too so it wasn't even hard to convince him that we need to see it tonight. ha. I'm really hoping it doesn't disappoint.

2. I'm so excited to be heading out of town this weekend! I mentioned it yesterday but man oh man. Mine and Peter's schedules have been so wacky lately that I can't even remember the last weekend we actually had off together! Maybe in March?! Either way, it's been entirely too long so as soon as I saw we would both be free this weekend, I jumped at a chance to stay at my parents cabin in the Smokey Mountains. There's about a billion and one things to do in Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg but I think our days will consist of a little bit of hiking and a WHOLE lot of relaxing. 

3. Add these to the list of things I want to make and stuff my face with. 

Via Running with Spoons

Via The Novice Chef Blog

Someone please bake/make these for me?!

4. I alluded to some big news yesterday and here is one part of it--I'm officially a certified personal trainer/group ex instructor! It's been a long time coming and I'm so excited. It will be a while before I feel comfortable training clients (and still have a few things I'd like to learn) but I'm super proud of myself for finally taking the step to do it! And as far as the group-ex part goes, I can't wait to start teaching! I'm already a certified Insanity instructor but I'm so stoked to be able to start creating some new and different workouts. 

5. And finally... the biggest news. I've decided to switch directions in regards to my schooling. It's become increasingly apparent that my passion is clearly health & wellness. For a long time, I never thought I could make it as a full time fitness professional and although I do have a passion for food and proper nutrition, my heart never really felt "right" on the dietitian career path. So, a couple of months ago, I applied to an online masters program in Exercise Science with a concentration in Health & Wellness and got in! I waited quite a long time to fully make the decision to switch but as much as I thought it might just be a phase, no matter what I did, I couldn't get it off of my mind. I FINALLY feel like I've found my calling in life and although it took almost 6 years after graduating college, all of the struggle and questions and confusion was totally, completely worth it. 

Have a wonderful weekend! I'll be back on Tuesday with a full recap of all of this weekend's shenanigans... or lack there of. :)



Thursday, May 14, 2015

Thinking Out Loud

I feel like a broken record over here but I'm so glad it's THURSDAY! This is my first FULL week back to work in 2 weeks so it's been especially long.

Linking up again today with Running With Spoons for some Thinking Out Loud action.

1. I made the best cookie dough dip I've ever made last night. It was seriously fantastic. If you've not tried Chocolate Covered Katie's creation then you're seriously missing out. I sub PB2 in for the nut butter and added a scoop of chocolate protein powder + a tablespoon of honey and yep... you'd have no idea it's made out of chickpeas and fairly healthy. Always a win in my book.

2. Oddly enough, I'm running my first 5k of the year on Saturday. I feel like I typically have a few more under my belt by now but I've been focusing a LOT on distance lately so I guess that's why. I really don't have any time goals for this race but ideally I'd like to stay somewhere around the 22 minute mark. That's right around where I was hitting at the end of last year.

3. It's the first week of "summer" here at work and it's so QUIET! I always enjoy it for the first week or so and then I miss the chaos of the school year.

4. After my race on Saturday, Peter & I are headed out for a fun and quick weekend getaway. More details to come but I'm super excited. Our schedules have been BEYOND hectic as of late and it will be nice to go away for a couple of days and just relax. No plans, no to do list... just whatever we want to do. Although I'm secretly hoping I can talk him into a game of putt-putt or laser tag...... ;)

5. I have a few BIG pieces of news to share tomorrow that I'm super excited about! Which is why I'm cutting this version of Thinking Out Loud a weeeeee bit short. :)

I hope you all have a wonderful Thursday! It's almost the weekend--hang in there!


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

TOTR: Running Hacks

Time for another edition of Tuesday's on the Run! Today's topic is pretty interesting--top 5 running hacks.  I'm not sure that I have any true running hacks but I've had fun reading about others. ha.

1. Let's be honest--running is just as much of a mental sport as it is a physical one. I don't know if you'd count this as a true running "hack" but if you're struggling with the motivation to go out for a run, something that always works for me is doing an out and back run. Mentally, running out 2 miles and then back 2 sounds a lot more appealing than a 4 mile loop. Breaking it up mentally is the key.

2. Need a new pair of running shoes but don't want to shell out major $$? Get last seasons model. On one of my trips last month, I found an Asics outlet and they had last season's model of the shoe I normally get for $80... brand new it's $150! Let's be honest here--there typically aren't many significant changes in the newer models so this is definitely a win. (unfortunately in my case, my foot is HUGE so of course, they didn't have my size... ha)

3. Is it just me or does staring at the treadmill timer make the seconds go by EVEN slower than normal? If so, break up your run into intervals! One interval workout I'm REALLY digging right now is a 2 minute jog, 2 minute sprint then repeat and take a 2 minute walking break for a total of 10 minutes. I repeat this 4-5 times and boom, next thing I know, an hour has gone by. You can break up your run anyway you want to!

4. If you're doing a longer run on the treadmill, watch a movie. Doing a longer run outside? Find a podcast of interest. One of my favorite things to do is come in on Saturday or Sunday to the gym and watch Food Network all morning long. It takes my mind off of running and instead I focus on eating. ha. ;)

5. Going for a run in colder weather but not sure what to wear? My go-to rule is to always dress 20 degrees warmer than it really is. During my half marathon in November, it was 35 degrees when the race started and there were people who started off the run in heavy sweatshirts, jackets, and multiple layers and I just shook my head. I wore a long sleeve shirt and shorts + my calf compression sleeves and although it was a tad chilly before the race, about 3 minutes in I was nice and warm. Not to mention the fact that it warmed up to a balmy 60 degrees by the time I hit the finish line. And if you're worried about being cold at the start, go to Good Will and get a throwaway sweatshirt for less than $5. When you get warmed up, throw it off--most races collect clothing items and donate them to a local charity--a win, win situation.

What are your go-to running hacks? Always up for learning more!


Monday, May 11, 2015


Pretty low key weekend around here so I decided to steal a page from Running With Spoon's book and do a "currently" update. :)

Current Book: Does Runner's World Magazine count? I'm going to say it does. With marathon training coming up, I've REALLY been into reading this every month. 

Current Music: "Sugar" by Maroon 5. Does Adam Levine's voice get ANY hotter? Seriously. I swoon every time I hear this song. I also want to give a shoutout to "Til I Collapse" by Eminem just because it came on yesterday when I was hardcore struggling through my run and gave me the boost I needed. Funny how a song can do that.

Current Guilty Pleasure: Arctic Zero Ice Cream + Chocolate Vitatop + PB2 + Fat Free Whipped Topping + Calorie Free Chocolate syrup. And let's be totally honest here--I don't feel guilty in the least bit about eating this. Ha. So good!! And a great "clean" cheat. 

Current Drink: Still hardcore into my Advocare Chocolate Meal Replacement shakes. I have one every morning after my run/workout. A great mix of protein and carbs and uh, hello. It tastes like a milkshake so it's a win in my book.

Current Food: Still digging my standard lunch of tuna + salsa + guac + jalapenos. It's so good! 

Current Obsession: I'm so hard core into PB2 right now it's not even funny. Also really digging the Combat Crunch bars, especially cinnamon twist. My protein bar collection is pretty ridiculous.

Current Wish: Another CRUISE! I watch TV every morning during my run and lately, there have been a TON of cruise commercials. Can Peter & I just get on a boat already?!?!

Current Need: A new pair of Saucony Triumphs! Mileage wise, the one's I got in January are totally done. I was such a hardcore Asic's Nimbus girl for SO long but now I'm team Saucony all the way. I ran in an old pair of Asics yesterday and although I still love them, they were SO HEAVY. My Saucony's have the same cushioning and stability but are so much lighter.

Current Triumph: Learning to cut an onion. Ha. I always make Peter cut them for me but I finally broke down and did it myself recently. And no tears! I'd say that's a win. (Have I mentioned that I'm absolutely TERRIBLE in the kitchen?)

Current Bane of My Existence: A 5 page paper on social responsibility that's due tomorrow night for an online class.... that I haven't even started. 

Current Indulgence: Not really an "indulgence" but I made cookies on Saturday out of bananas, rolled oats, & PB2 and they are delicious. :) I've eaten like, 10 in the last 2 days. 

Current Blessing: This girl. I love being an aunt! We had so much fun yesterday--even if I was absolutely COVERED in bubbles when I got home. :)

Current Excitement: Potentially running my first 5k of the year on Saturday! Crazy, right? I've run several races already this year but no 5k's! Time to change that. 

Current Mood: Feeling pretty relaxed at the moment. The school year is officially over here so it's time to start the planning process for next year, reflect on our first full academic year with the wellness center, and finish up a few projects. 

Linking up with Her Heartland Soul for Weekend Snapshots

Have a great Monday!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! Even though I only worked 3 days this week, it seems like it's been a LIFETIME since the weekend. Anyone else feel me on that one?!

Linking up with Fitting It All In, Virginia is For Bloggers, and Life in Leggings today for my Friday Favorites.

1. My trip to Florida in general. It's been almost a week and I'm still beaming ear to ear from the conference. Sometimes you get in a workout/creative rut and need a pick me up--this was mine. I feel refreshed, motivated, and can't wait to bring some killer workouts to our gym. Not to mention that it gave me several ideas for my own workouts.

2. I mentioned in my recap post that we went to a cupcake shop while in Orlando. What I failed to mention however was that they were seriously the BEST CUPCAKES EVER. And how do I know that? They won the show Cupcake Wars THREE times. So yeah, they were totally worth the calories. And actually, they were so good I forgot to take a picture because I ate them too fast. But for the record, I got smores, cookie dough, and dark velvet.

3. The on-the-fly workout my boss and I did yesterday. We were planning on going over to the football stadium and doing a circuit but as soon as we got outside, it started POURING! We didn't want to miss out so we created an Insanity style circuit inside. Our warmup was the jog back to the building (ha) and then we did 5 different exercises (varied each round) for 30 seconds each and then ran the stairs in our building 3 times. I think we repeated this 8 times total? It was a good way to switch things up. Sometimes you just have to get a little creative. :)

4. These pins. I want to make it all!

Sweet tooth is in full force right now, clearly.

5. Staying in town this weekend! I feel like I've been gone an eternity! I'm excited to have a couple of days at home with no agenda. I thought about running a race tomorrow morning and may still do so but as of right now, I plan on straight RELAXING! Nothing wrong with that. :)

I hope you all have a fantastic Friday and even better weekend! The weather here is going to be AMAZING so part of my relaxing will definitely be spending some quality time with Mother Nature.