Fourth of July

fourth of july

The Fourth of July is almost here.

fourth of july

I am a little sad that I won’t be in Wisconsin this year and running the Firecracker Four Mile. I’ve run it the last two years with my dad. And Phoenix will never have such a thing because it is just too damn hot. So, what am I doing instead? Most likely sitting around my house in the patriotic tank top I bought to mark the occasion.

J will be working so unless my BFF can hang out, it will be me and the dogs. I will celebrate with a workout, followed by some Justified or Twin Peaks binging (Yes, I just started watching the original Twin Peaks. I am a bit behind). I want to make something on the grill for dinner and a fancy cocktail. I am really into fancy cocktails and want to try my hand at making different ones. So I am thinking watermelon mimosas for breakfast and slushies to keep cool during the day. Oh, and I found these. Yes, please!

What are your plans for the Fourth of July?

I spent the weekend at the gluten free expo in Glendale.

I love having a place to go where I don’t have to think about what I’m eating. Everything was gluten free. I was talking with a few other bloggers before the expo and we all agreed it was great to be amongst people that have the same issues and able to eat EVERYTHING. And I discovered I’m not the only one that hates when the gluten free menu is a salad or vegan dish.

The expo was sponsored by Glutino and Udi’s so of course, they were there. I won a $1 off coupon from them. Last year they had more full-sized products they gave away. I liked that better. LOL Enjoy Life had a huge set up as well. They had a little trail you followed and collected samples at.

Aleia’s Gluten Free Food was a small sponsor who was not there last year. They gave us bloggers a ton of full-sized samples. Their cookies have grat flavor but they are more crunchy cookies. I prefer my cookies to be soft and chewy. Now, their macaroons? To die for. They were so moist and chewy I was all, are these really gluten free?? They gave us a shake n bake type product so I can’t wait to try that. They also asked what we want in products. We all said croissants. I laughed because I had just told someone a few days earlier that I had yet to find a gluten-free croissant.

ProYo was back with their ice cream this time. I sampled the mint chocolate chip and it was amazing! I had previously bought the chocolate so I really wanted to try a new flavor. I have a thing for ProYo.

There were a lot of booths I skipped. I don’t go for home improvements, essential oils, or dairy free cheese. Last year I went to every booth and then got a lot of paper, emails, and phone calls I really didn’t want. I made myself promise to only go to booths I wanted to and was interested in this year.

On the way out they said the expo would be the same time next year. I am not 100% sure if I will attend. I love the expo but it was more enjoyable in November than June. I had to venture out in the heat, good thing I can start my car from an app! I bet when it gets closer to time to apply I will do it again because I know me. I can’t resist free food and new products.

If you aren’t following me on Instagram, you missed out on all the fun stuff at the expo! I posted tons of stuff on my stories. Don’t miss out and go follow me now!

What are your plans for Fourth of July?

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International Yoga Day

June 21st is international yoga day and I’m taking that as a sign.

What happens when I try to do yoga

I need to get back on the horse. I used to do yoga after *most* of my runs and all my long runs. I stopped running and therefore I’ve stopped doing it.

I probably need more yoga than most people because I am literally the least flexible person on earth. I’ve never been flexible, even when I was dancing five days a week. This is probably why I never became a professional dancer. I do much better and actually get a little flexible when I actually stretch daily and do yoga at least once a week.

And now with my increased emphasis on strength training, I need to do more stretching.

I am the least flexible and I am pretty sure I have the world’s rightest hips. My squats are nowhere near ass to the grass. I’m lucky if I can get parallel. I use a lit of hip openers to work on gaining flexibility in my hips to help improve my lifting.

Like most people, I sit at a desk for 8-9 hours a day. I try to get up and do posture checks but I know I need help here too. Even at home I have horrible posture. What helps posture? Yoga.

I also benefit from the mental aspect as well. I feel less stressed when I take the time for yoga. I need to learn to shut my brain down and certain poses help with that. I always feel better after a good session.

Lastly, I’d like to work on my balance. You’d think after 20ish years of dance I’d be a pro at balance. Nope. I’m only graceful and balanced while dancing. Yoga, and many of the individual poses, are great for balance work, which is helpful in real life.

I pledge to start doing yoga once a week and stretching daily. I really want to feel strong and healthy, both mentally and physically.

What do you pledge to do to be healthier? 

Follow along on Instagram to see my workouts!

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Reading in the Book Corner

I have a problem. I keep buying books.

readingThis is nothing new. I have loved books and reading since I was little. I have fond memories of reading Nancy Drew with my dad at bedtime. I spent hours at the public library during the summers. I can still spend hours wandering, exploring, and searching Barnes and Noble.

I can’t read reviews because it makes me want to read every book. But still, when someone recommends a book I run to Amazon, read the description, the reviews and add it to one of my wishlists. Yes, you read that right, I have multiple wishlists. I have so many books I had to organize several lists.

So, yes, I have a problem.

I currently own 262 books I haven’t read. They are a mix of Kindle books and physical books. I will buy whichever version is cheaper for most books. There are a few I like to have physical copies of. I am currently reading four books, a self-help book, a photography book, a fiction book, and a history book. I’ve only been able to finish 16 books so far in 2017. My goal is 45. I am three books behind schedule, only 36% completed. I hope to catch up on a few trips we have this summer/fall and I usually take some time over Christmas and spend a little time reading.

I wish I had more time to read.

I try to read at least 15-20 minutes a day. Sometimes I luck out and can get more, other days I don’t even have time or energy to crack a book I sneak reading in when I can. Usually on my bus commute, at lunch, and before bed.

What do I read? Basically everything.

I read a lot of photography and business books because I am trying to learn all I can and keep on top of my craft. I read some self-help books, nothing to woo. I love books about interesting people, especially musicians. I love true crime, mystery and thriller books. I love what some people call chick lit. I will read classics. I will pretty much give any book a chance. I read the awful Twilight books but I refuse to read 50 Shades of Gray. That seems to be my limit. I’ve read passages from 50 Shades and it was just awful. The writing was unreadable.

What are you reading this summer?

Follow me on Instagram to keep up with my daily adventures in fitness, food, and fun!

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June Dairy Month

dairyI have a problem. I am addicted to dairy products.

I am not worried about this addiction. I love dairy, especially cheese. And Greek yogurt. In my neverending quest for more protein, I tend to reach for those products quite a bit. I have Greek yogurt for breakfast and string cheese for lunch. I drink chocolate milk after runs. My chocolate milk comes in a glass bottle from a local farm. I love buying local and the fact that the glass can be reused in my home or taken back to the farm for them to reuse. Helping the environment one milk at a time.

I am obsessed.

I grew up in Wisconsin, the dairy state. The town I grew up in had June Dairy Days. I vividly remember the parades. The park and downtown became a carnival. Rides, games, friends and fun. These are memories I will cherish. Life revolves around food, memories and bonds are formed over dinners.

If I didn’t grow up surrounded by cheese, would I still love it?

I think so. A girl and her cheese: a love story.

I truly believe that cheese makes almost everything taste better. Cheese improves even the most boring, bland foods.

Lately, I find myself eating more dairy in order to get more protein. I can only eat so much meat and I am not a fan of protein shakes so I depend on a lot of dairy products. Muscles to build. Most days I can fit all the cheese into my fat goals. I try not to go over fat too much, it’s a balancing act.

I am always on the lookout for new products and new ways to get protein. My favorite yogurt? Noosa. I wish the sugar was lower but it’s gluten free and the lemon flavor is fantastic, especially if you add raspberries to it. I also love Siggi’s, which is an Icelandic-style yogurt. Want to know more about what I eat and how I strive to reach my protein goals? Follow me on Instagram! I post images of food… a lot.

How do you make sure you hit your protein goals? Tell me in the comments. I need some suggestions!

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Struggle and May Wrap Up

Struggle is my word this month.

May has been a rough month.

I got aboard the struggle bus and keep trying to get off. I don’t know why I am having such a difficult time. Or why I can’t seem to get myself to workout, despite wanting to workout and wanting to change. I started bikini body on May 1st and should be starting week five but I am only in the middle of week three.

WTF is wrong with me?

I did the first week pretty easily but the second week started off badly and went downhill from there. Monday of week two started with three buses not showing up so I stood outside for 30 minutes then, of course, the bus was packed and I had to stand for another 30 minutes. By the time I got home, I was exhausted and my feet/legs were killing me. Tuesday I actually did my workout (Yay me!) but Wednesday was a Dbacks game and Thursday we had to run to Costco. Friday was another bus fiasco. I really don’t know why I keep taking the bus. The afternoon ones are always late or non-existent. I am always good on the weekends though!

StruggleThen I took pretty much a week off.

I don’t even know or remember why. Bad week at work. Feeling sorry for myself. Frustrated at my perceived lack of progress. All of the above and then some probably. I did finally decide to workout again on Sunday. I started where I had left off, plyo + HIIT day. I did three of the four rounds of plyo and was done. I couldn’t do anymore. I was exhausted, about to get dizzy, and had zero energy. But I did what I could and that is what is important.

So then I decided to try getting up at 4 am to see if I could do better before work. It lasted two days. I went back to after work and have done pretty well.

I started a personal photography project to track my health, fitness, and progress. I hope it will help keep me more accountable to myself. It seems to be working and also helps improve my photography skills. The project is making me think more creatively about what health, fitness, and progress represent and how I can show these in different ways.

Follow me on Instagram to see posts of my progress, food, and puppies. Ok, they are full grown dogs but they are still puppies to me!

The struggle. It’s real. What have you been struggling with lately?

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Celiac Awareness & Expo

May is Celiac Awareness Month.

I have been sharing information on my facebook page but have yet to write anything and decided it was time. And stick around because I have some fun stuff regarding the upcoming gluten free expo in Glendale, AZ.

Things I want people to realize about celiac disease:

  1. It’s a disease, not an allergy. Specifically, an autoimmune disease.
  2. I have to eat gluten free. It’s not a choice. It’s not fun and it doesn’t “cure” me. I will always have celiac disease.
  3. There are all kinds of symptoms but you will never see them. All of my symptoms are invisible and not necessarily digestive related. Migraines. Brain fog. Depression.

Things I want restaurants to realize:

  1. I like having choices.
  2. I don’t want a salad. Or a vegan dish.
  3. Labeling something gluten free and then frying it in the same oil/fryer does not make it gluten free. Please do not list it as such.
  4. I like having a menu. Please make a section, separate menu, or even just a symbol is helpful. I don’t feel comfortable when I have to rely on waitstaff to go, “uh, um… well we can make anything gluten free”. No, I want specifics. I want something to look at.
  5. Ice cream is not a go out to eat desert. Creme brulee gets old. Please try for some new desert ideas.

We aren’t being picky. Our health & well-being is on the line.

People with celiac disease just want to be able to go out to eat or on vacation and have choices. We want to order off a menu. We want people to understand this isn’t a choice. I am sure I am missing some points but these are the most common I encounter. What do you want people or restaurants to know? Let me know in the comments!

celiac awarenessThe gluten free expo is coming back to Glendale, Arizona June 24th, and 25th!

And I again have the honor to be an event blogger. I attended last year as a blogger and it was such a great experience. I had not been able to attend a gluten-free expo before and it did not disappoint. I loved being able to sample everything, and boy did I sample it all. I even went back to a few places twice.

If you haven’t been to an expo, I highly suggest going to one. I came home with coupons galore and plenty of food products. I left with an apple and coconut water from Sprouts. I had a loaf of bread, a bag of pretzels, and a box of cookies from Udi’s/Glutino, the main sponsors. Those were just the full-size products. I ended up with a lot more sample/single-serve size goodies.

I discovered new brands. I had eaten at Spinato’s previously but had not tried their grocery story products. I now buy their frozen pizzas at my local Fry’s store. I just wish they had more than three varieties because it is sooooo good! I also discovered the fun brand, ProYo. I pretty much stalked their booth. Their frozen yogurt is tasty and protein, which I always need more of!

If you have not been to an expo, I strongly encourage you to go! And I have several ways for you to go!

First off, I have five free tickets to giveaway! If you want a chance at a free ticket, leave me a comment of why you want to go! Please be local to the Phoenix area or willing to get to the Renaissance in Westgate if you are outside of Phoenix. The free ticket is good for one day of the event. I will select and contact winners with further details at the end of May. 

If you don’t win tickets, you can still get 20-30% off tickets with my affiliate link and code. Please note I do make a small kickback from my affiliate link. Click here to purchase tickets. To receive 30% off purchase between now and May 23rd and use code EARLYBIRD. To receive 20% off purchase between 5/24 and 6/23 and use code ADVANCE.

I look forward to seeing you at the expo. Be sure to say hi if you see me stuffing my face. If you aren’t local or can’t make it to the expo, follow along on social media. The official hashtag is #GFAFExpo. Be sure to like and follow the official expo Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.

I will be live posting to my Instagram and Twitter so be sure to follow those accounts!

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Where have I been?

I have been MIA for the last few months.

I fell behind on everything! I did finish my 12-week weight lifting challenge, although it was not perfect or pretty! I struggled toward the end and missed a few workouts but overall did pretty well. I also stopped tracking my food for a few weeks, which is never a good idea. I gained a little weight and started feeling fluffy towards the end.

I have always had trouble gaining strength in my upper body. I struggle to even lift heavy when it comes to arm work. It’s just very hard for me and I often want to give up. But I pushed on and did all the arm workouts. I even tried to keep increasing weights; it’s just so hard when you feel you can’t do it. I worked hard the last 12+ weeks and it is starting to show in my arms and back.

weight trainingI am pretty damn proud of those gains! You can see little bumps and definition in a few spots.

I have decided to continue on with weight training but with a slightly different program. I liked the Home Edition I started in January but I want to try something new. I started Bikini Body from Jessie Hilgenberg Monday. It started with biceps & abs and my arms were like spaghetti by the time it was over. I struggled with 8 and 10-pound dumbbells on a few things but a few others I need to push harder next time.

I also did negative chin-ups which were more like drops than negative. HA

Tuesday was booty and is always my favorite day! I love me some squats. Although I hate lunges. Make the lunges stop!!!!!

So for the next 12+ weeks, follow along with my Bikini Body training on Instagram. I post something from *most* workouts.

As far as running, I tried again in April and still had the vertigo-like feelings. It happens about 20-minutes in. I will have to make an appointment and see if there is anything that can be done. It has to be something with my inner ears from when I was sick in January. Hopefully, it is something that can be fixed because I really miss running and feel that I still have a lot to accomplish there.

We just got back from the Big Island of Hawaii, so look for some photos on Instagram and check back here for a blog post in the near future.

So smooth move of the last few months? I decided I wanted to start wearing heels again at work. I love heels and feel they add to your outfit (plus it makes your calves look killer). I had them on for about an hour and went to pour myself some coffee. I was standing by the coffee maker, reaching for the pot and I rolled my ankle. Luckily, I had flats with me and I switched out. I get to work before everyone else so no one noticed my switcheroo!

Tell me in the comments what you have been up to recently?

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Marathon Troubles

The Marathon: is it the ultimate runner’s goal?

I pose this question because for several years it has been my goal. After I ran my first half I thought, I could do a full. I didn’t set it as a goal at the time but it was in the back of my head as something I wanted to do. I ran three more half marathons and then set my sights on a marathon.

Bundle up to run long in Wisconsin

I started planning to run a marathon in January 2015. I had run my best half, shaved nearly 10 minutes off my last PR, and felt really confident in my running. In the fall I began training but struggled to get runs in, weekdays and long runs and eventually dropped down to the half in November. When I went to the expo in January 2016 I signed up for the marathon again for 2017.

I started getting into the swing of marathon training during the summer. I wanted to get into a routine and make sure I was prepared. My “official” plan started on August 31st. I worked my butt off during the summer/fall when Phoenix was having highs off 115+. I dragged my butt out of bed at 4 am to beat the heat.

I ran through the “winter” here and even put in my longest run on Christmas eve in Wisconsin. I had to wear my trail shoes because of ice and snow. I was bundled up in many layers. I put in my time. I put in the effort, for six plus months. I was determined. I was going to finish this marathon, even if it took me forever.

Then I got sick.

I came home from Christmas in Wisconsin with a cold, which turned into a sinus infection. I had hopes of still running the marathon, though. I had about 15 days to recover and get better. By the time the marathon date came, I was feeling better. The nose was feeling good, the cough was better, and I could sleep through the night.

So I went out for a test run.

And I got dizzy. At around the two-mile mark, the world started to look like I was in a funhouse mirror situation. Trees were getting bigger and smaller. The ground was going up and down. I stopped running and tried to walk but I was all over the sidewalk. People driving by probably thought I was drunk. I couldn’t walk in a straight line so I stopped. I sat. I waited until I felt better and walked home. I wasn’t pushing myself. I wasn’t trying too hard. I was actually going slow to test my breathing and cough.

I think, so this isn’t a usual issue, that it has to do with my cold and sinus infection. I have always had a lot of inner ear problems so I am guessing it is something like this. Because it feels like vertigo when it’s happening. I also made sure I’ve been well hydrated and fed before heading out (trying to eat pretty nutritious foods). My heart rate wasn’t super high, in my normal run range. I don’t feel any strain in my heart or lungs. It all seems to be in m head, literally and figuratively?

I waited a few days and tried again. The exact same thing happened. This was just days before the marathon.

I didn’t run my marathon.

And I am depressed. I put in so much work towards a goal and couldn’t complete the goal. I don’t know what to do with myself. I don’t know if I will ever reach my goal of running a marathon. I haven’t run in about two weeks. I am afraid I won’t ever be able to run again. I haven’t been able to bring myself to run again. I am afraid it will keep happening. I have been able to do other cardio and strength training without issue.

Next week. I will try again next week.

Tell me about a goal you feel you might never reach and what you are doing (did) about it.

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Proyo and Getting Strong with a 12 week Challenge

12 weeks to buff and I’m doing it with ProYo.


I wasn’t able to complete my marathon this month (I’ll post a separate post about this later) and decided to participate in a strength training challenge instead. I purchased Jessie’s Girls Home Edition before Christmas and had started it as cross training for my marathon. Jessie’s training is basically 6 days a week and I was doing it 2-3 days a week, so I hadn’t gotten very far into the plan by the holidays.

When the 3k challenge was announced I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to do it since it started the day after my marathon. I knew I wouldn’t be able to commit to six days a week right after a marathon. The Jessie’s Girls facebook group (which you get access to when you purchase a program) encouraged me, and others, to sign up even if you couldn’t commit to the exact program. I signed up.

And now I am doing the program as it is written because I did not run 26.2 miles. I just started week two and am feeling pretty good. I am trying to push myself in the workouts and really increase my upper body strength. But how do you keep muscle soreness to a minimum and increase those muscles?

Protein. Lots and lots of protein.

I love meat but there’s only so much meat one can eat before wanting to get protein from a different source. I try protein shakes but they make me incredibly thirsty and therefore I try to avoid them. So how do I get a big hit of protein without meat or protein shakes? I have a ProYo.

WTF is ProYo you ask?

ProYo is a sweet (pun intended) way to get a good dose of protein. ProYo is protein packed frozen yogurt and it is DELICIOUS. ProYo comes in several flavors: banana, chocolate, vanilla, and blueberry pomegranate. My favorites are the banana and vanilla. Each tube has 20g of protein. That’s quite substantial. Trust me. I’ve been trying to get creative in how to up my protein intake.

ProYo was busy every time I went by at the Gluten Free Expo but I stopped by three times. It was my favorite booth! Not kidding when I say I stalked them

I will be the first to admit I am not very creative in the kitchen. I make pretty basic meals. I follow recipes because I can’t create them on my own. So I eat my ProYo as is. Frozen yogurt. Yup, I am boring. But… so many people get creative with their ProYo. ProYo has an entire collection on their website of fun ways to use their products. I may have to try a few out someday.

My favorite time to enjoy a ProYo? After my long runs when it’s warm out (which is almost always in Phoenix).


So while I am over here doing my 3k challenge, trying to get all swole, eating my ProYo, you can enter below to win some of your own! Use the rafflecopter below to enter to win a mixed case of ProYo – four full boxes of ProYo, one of each flavor! I am a little jealous, I’d love to win this sweet prize!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Full disclosure: I did stalk the ProYo booth at the Gluten Free Expo and they reached out after to ask me to work with them on this giveaway. I received product from them but all opinions are my own. I loved ProYo when I tried it, hence me stalking the booth for additional samples. I may have tried all the flavors but chocolate at the Expo alone. I truly believe in this product and hope you will love it as well!

Be sure to comment with what flavor you’d love to try! And use the buttons below to share with others!

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Cleaning out my closet

Recently I made a rash decision and started cleaning out my closet

cleaning-out-my-closetI was struggling to get dressed quickly in the mornings for work. I was tired of not having clothes that went together. I was annoyed at clothes that were too small taking up space. I wanted a cohesive closet that would make getting dressed much easier. My style was too eclectic and nothing ever seemed to look right.

So clothes got tossed.

I didn’t even bother folding them neatly. I pulled them off the hanger and tossed them on the bedroom floor. I needed to do this. I wanted it done sooner rather than later.

What were my guidelines when deciding what stays and what goes? I had a few very simple ways to decide:

  • For the current season, if I haven’t worn it in three months.
  • For next season, if I didn’t wear it during last winter.
  • Anything that was too big, small, long or short.
  • Anything that was no longer my style.
  • Anything that was too sheer.
  • And anything that doesn’t go with my other clothes.

I made the conscious decision to move my style in one direction. I am drawn to rock n roll and boho styles. My wardrobe was becoming a mess of random pieces from genre. I decided I love the rock n roll style more and am paring down my wardrobe to those pieces. I saved a few boho pieces that fit in with a more rock n roll style but the rest were tossed. Now when I shop, I have a single style in mind and I know if I stick to my color palette and patterns that everything will go with each other.

I decided to get rid of anything that doesn’t fit right now. I am trying to lose weight but there is no guarantee I will (or how long it will take). It gets depressing looking at clothes that are too small just hanging in my closet. Also, items that are too big don’t do anything to make me look good so they had to go as well.  I want to look good in my clothes. I want to be confident when I walk down the street.

I want to be my bad ass self.

What will I do with all my old clothes? I will have Goodwill come and pick them up. Just because I no longer get joy from these pieces doesn’t mean someone else won’t.

I find that less clutter makes me happier and stress less. It is so much less stressful to be able to get dressed quickly and easily for work, which leaves a few more minutes to sleep or workout or just relax.

And being happier with my wardrobe makes me more confident.

Have you cleaned out your closet lately? If so, how do you decide what stays or goes?

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