The Greatest Girls Weekend

IMG_2615When I set out to attend Blend the first year in 2012, I went in knowing no one. I knew of some of the bloggers that would be there, but I didn’t actually no anyone. It was scary but I swallowed my nerves, stepped outside my comfort zone and had a great weekend. I met some amazing women that weekend, got in a couple great workouts and in general, just had so much fun.

 

There was no question when tickets for Blend 2013 went on sale that I needed to get one. I made sure to buy them within moments of tickets going on sale, afraid that they may sell out and I’d miss out on amazing weekend. I got my ticket and we all made our way to Utah for what would be another amazing weekend. It was a little different having already known a few ladies and then getting an opportunity to reconnect with them, while also making new friends.

2013-05-18-20.24.17Once again, when tickets for Blend 2014 went on sale, there was no reason to question why I wouldn’t want to attend again. It became the girl’s weekend I could look forward to attending; the opportunity to reconnect with friends that I may otherwise not get to see; and making more friends that will be located all around the country. I’m not sure if it gets much better. Yet somehow, each year, it does.

 

Some may call me a “bad blogger” this weekend as I didn’t rip out my phone every 2 seconds to take pictures of the food and snacks or to document every moment of our weekend and I didn’t hand my phone to someone when taking a group photo but rather decided I could just get the photo from friends later to share. Instead, I decided to just live and enjoy the moment. Sometimes that means putting your phone down or keeping it in your purse.

 

Since I was representing RxBar this weekend, I was sure to share the love. I handed out bars and talked to everyone about the deliciousness of RxBars, took pictures of how we were fueling ourselves with the bars and goofed around with my roomies doing an awkward photo shoot with the bars. But even in the process of remaining loyal to my commitment, I was able to put the phone away, put the social media away and enjoy it all.

BpnpNeACIAAqn_a-2I’m not going to leave you hanging though on our weekend. It was so fun and if I hung out with you this weekend, I want to see you next year (back in Boulder!) and if I didn’t hang out with you, I want you to join us for the fun next year and see what I’m talking about!

 

I started my weekend on Thursday, flying into Salt Lake City, and then meeting a few of the girls in downtown Salt Lake City for lunch. After lunch, I left the group to make my way to Park City where I met up with the Lindsay, Janetha & Lauren to help unpack the truck of stuff and get started on sorting, organizing, setting up and stuffing swag bags. We were done by 11, went to bed and woke up bright and early for a quick workout before making our way to breakfast to fuel for the long day ahead of registration & fun.

 

 

Friday night we had a super fun & yummy cocktail party followed by dinner. We got to see who all was there, reconnect with & meet new friends, and taking funny photos!

10376338_10100182206503709_7064274046154860486_nIt had been a long day and many of us were tired so we made our way upstairs and my suite mates and I hung out for awhile chatting before making our way to bed.

 

Saturday morning was bootcamp #1. I woke up hungry and fueled myself with half of an RxBar before getting my booty kicked with lots of burpees, squats, lunges and pushups. After our workout, we made our way to breakfast and shortly thereafter went on a gorgeous hike. We started the hike by riding on a gondola and let’s just say, that was not the highlight of my weekend. I’ve never been in one but I quickly learned it’s a bit too much of a “ride” for me and especially as we came to our final destination to get off the gondola, I was tearing up feeling like we were going to crash. The good thing? The other girls in my gondola were super sweet and kept me calm the whole ride up so I could just enjoy the view which was absolutely amazing!

10341616_10100181873800449_8658350505290798443_nThe hike up was fun and when we got to our destination, there was a gorgeous lake where we stopped for a few photo opps and to just take in the scenery. It was absolutely incredible.

 

Me and my Blend BFF, Amanda - 3 years of Blend roomies!

Me and my Blend BFF, Amanda – 3 years of Blend roomies!


The hike down was a bit scary as I chose to go with the group not taking the gondola and it often felt like we were going straight down. I was definitely nervous at a few different points and needless to say was happy to make it to the bottom safe and sound. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? ;)

 

After our hike, the rest of the day was ours for the making. I was feeling especially exhausted so after a snack with some of the girls, I decided to take some quiet time to myself and just relax. As much as I love hanging out with these ladies and want to enjoy every possible moment with them, at the end of the day I need some time to breathe. After my little rest, I met up with a few other ladies for a delicious dinner. We were all craving salads and veggies and that’s exactly what we all got. They were delicious and Lindsay got an incredible photo that just captures the beauty of our dinner. The company was perfect, the food was just what we needed and we all left happy girls.

 

We went back to the hotel for a little more social time and as it got late, made our way back to the suite for some initial packing and bed.

 

Sunday started with another bootcamp, this one led by GPP Fitness and it was AWESOME! We did a team workout that included running, burpees, squats, pushups, situps and dips. My team ended up “winning” but it was really just a fun way to get our sweat on! Followed up by breakfast, raffles, packing and the worst part of the weekend, lots of goodbyes.

 

It’s always bittersweet at the end of a weekend like this. There’s the part of you that’s ready to go home, eat your own food, sleep in your own bed and see the friends/family that you miss, but then there’s also the part of you that’s missing all of these wonderful friends already. You know there’s the possibility you may see some sooner rather than later, but you also know full well, most you may not see for another whole year and that’s never easy.

 

This may be a weekend full of healthy-living bloggers, food, sponsors and swag, but more so, it’s a weekend for friends – new and old. :)

 

**While it was a fun weekend, I know the girls put in a lot of time and hard work to make it happen and that it wouldn’t be possible without all of the sponsors that contributed to the weekend to make it happen. Thank you to all of the sponsors with a special shoutout to some of my favorites from the weekend Silk, Sizzlefish, GPP Fitness, and of course, RxBar!**

Does this dress make me look fat?

IMG_3568Don’t answer that.

 

I wasn’t going to post today, at least not more than the Motivation In March quote when THIS happened…

IGI’ve blurred out the name of the person who wrote the comment out of respect. A respect that they didn’t have when they opened their mouth.

 

I know this is something that women get asked everyday but yesterday was the first time it’s happened to me. And I’ll be honest, it feels like shit. Straight up SHIT. (Sorry Mom, no filter today!)

 

I was having a great Friday – got in a workout, spent some time working from Starbucks,  delicious lunch at home, and a free iced coffee I was enjoying while taking a work break to walk around my neighborhood. I took a quick glance at Instagram and had to do a double take. I couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing…

IMG_3584That was the outfit I wore to my cousin’s rehearsal dinner last weekend and it was an outfit that I felt GREAT in. And when I followed it up with this killer red dress for the wedding on Saturday, I was feeling gorgeous! …until this moment.

 

Now don’t get me wrong. I KNOW I don’t look pregnant, fat or anything of the sort BUT that doesn’t make those words hurt any less.

WHY is it that people think that’s an OK question to ask someone?

WHY is it that even as women we feel it’s OK to ask?

WHY is it that women feel it necessary to bring other women down?

I’m not going to say that was this girls motive because I don’t know what her motive was and I don’t know why she thought that was appropriate to ask me. I would love to sit here and say her comment didn’t get to me, but it did.

 

As I finished walking home I found myself fighting back the tears. I was texting with a few friends and reminding myself of how healthy, happy and beautiful I am. I was reminding myself not to let one person’s stupid comment affect me. But I will be honest, once I got home, put my coffee down and took off my sunglasses, I shed a few tears. My heart was hurting. But not just for me, for any woman who has ever been asked that question and felt like SHIT after.

 

With that, here’s a PSA friends…

There’s no more fitting quote for today…

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Have you ever been asked that question before?

How did you respond?

Quick Cardio

I’m sure I’m not the only one saying this today… ;)

TGIF

I feel like I’ve been going for weeks straight without a break (mostly because I have) and losing my Sunday to catch up was definitely hard this week. I’m looking forward to a low-key weekend so I can catch up and get back on my two best feet.

 

I’ve been trying to find a new workout motivation and despite an exhausting start to the week, I was able to get in some really good workouts. I’m hoping this is a start to a renewed sense of fitness.

 

Friday 2/21

2 mile run

Saturday 2/22

Rest

Sunday 2/23

Rest

Monday 2/24

20 mins Jillian Michael’s Shred Level 1

Tuesday 2/25

3 mile run

Wednesday 2/26

TIU Love Your Body 2

Quick Cardio – 3 rounds (see below)

Thursday 2/27

2 mile run

TIU Sleek & Slender Abs – 3 rounds

 

As mentioned, here’s the Quick Cardio workout mentioned above. I didn’t have time to get in any cardio while I was at the gym on Wednesday, so I did some when I had a few minutes at home before lunch. I completed 3 rounds but even just 1 round would make for a nice little mid-afternoon boost.

quick cardio

 

What are your plans for the weekend?

How do you get in a quick cardio?

My Top Tips for Staying Active While Traveling

Tomorrow I will hop on a plane and head to Kansas City for the week for work. I’ve got a few posts ready for the week but things might get a bit quieter; make sure to follow me on social media if you want to stay up to date, especially on any cool artists worth checking out. ;)

 

In gearing up for this trip, I thought I would share my top tips for staying active while traveling…

active travel

  1. Pack your stuff – Simple as that! If you don’t pack your workout clothes, how are you going to get in a workout?
  2. Plan ideas – Whether it’s workouts you can do in the hotel gym or hotel room, local gyms to try, or a route for your run, come up with a few ideas. It will make it that much easier. Remember it’s okay if your workouts aren’t as long or as intense, the goal is to just stay active and get a little movement in while you’re away.
  3. Pick a Hotel with a Gym – So many hotels have small gyms these days which make it that much easier to stay active. If you have a choice when picking your hotel, make sure you’re picking one that offers a fitness space, even if it’s just a treadmill – it’s something!
  4. Give Yourself Extra Time – Even if it’s just an extra 30 minutes to get in a short run. If you don’t give yourself the extra time, then it becomes just another excuse to not stay active.
  5. Stretch/Yoga – Sometimes the best movement you can get while traveling is some stretching or yoga. Whether stretching out after a long (or short) flight or as a way to wind down from a long day, it’s a great way to get in a little movement.

 

How do you stay active while traveling?

My Top Tips to Drink More Water

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been pretty good about drinking water. I know the importance of water in a healthy diet and active lifestyle, so I always make sure I’m not neglecting that aspect of my health. As a quick recap, here’s a few benefits of staying hydrated (take from MindBodyGreen’s 10 Reasons Why You Should Drink More Water):

  • Increases Energy & Relieves Fatigue
  • Promotes Weight Loss
  • Flushes Out Toxins
  • Improves Skin Complexion
  • Boosts Immune System
I know for some people drinking water isn’t second nature, it isn’t something that comes easy and as hard as it is for me to believe, some people just don’t like water. So I figured today, I’d provide my top 3 tips for staying hydrated!

more water graphic

1 – Always have a full glass/bottle next you.

It’s so much easier to drink water if you don’t have to make an effort to get up and get it! When I have it next to me, I’m just constantly drinking it, but when I don’t, I have to make a conscious effort to drink water and then it just doesn’t happen as easily.

2 – Track it.

Whether it’s through an app on your phone, a piece of paper or some other way, what gets measured gets improved. I saw a neat trick where someone put rubber bands on their bottle of water for the number of bottles they needed to drink in a day. When they finished it, they’d remove a rubber band. What a fun way to track it!

3 – Add fruit.

If you’re one of those people who doesn’t like plain water, try adding fruit to it. You can add lemon, lime, cucumbers, or berries. It’s a great way to add natural flavor and sweetness to your water.

 

How do you make sure you get enough water in the day?

Breaking Out of My Food Rut

I must admit, I’ve been in a food rut lately. It happens from time to time as I find some of my favorite foods and just can’t get enough of them…well, at least until I’ve had enough. ;) And while I LOVE salads, I wasn’t giving myself enough variety and started to burn out. It was time to start changing things up and while I’ve been really good at meal planning, it was time to start planning better with some variety. It was almost like Nasoya knew that when they reached out to me to try their new Tofu Plus.

organic-firm-tofu

Sadly there’s no Tofu Plus in a 50 mile radius of me (how sad!) but there is tofu, have no fear! When I got the coupons from Nasoya in the mail, I started brainstorming what I’d like to make. I have a few favorite tofu recipes from over the years but I wanted to try something new – hello, trying to get out of my rut! I scoured the internet and found this recipe for Peanutty Quinoa Bowls with Baked Tofu from Oh My Veggies. It was exactly what I was looking for!

1655930_10100119293451969_1066859090_nAnd it lived up to the deliciousness I anticipated! I doubled the recipe so I could get a few more dinners out of it. It was so easy, so delicious and I kept wishing for more than 2 pieces of the baked tofu each night (darn, portion control…)! ;)

 

Thank you to Nasoya for the coupons, not just for me but for YOU too! After loving my dinner so much, Nasoya offered to host a giveaway so you could enjoy a delicious tofu dinner too! (US only, sorry international friends!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Whether you win the giveaway or not, I highly recommend checking out the recipe linked above, one of the other drool-worthy tofu recipes I have on my Food [Tofu] Pinterest Board or from the Nasoya website. It’s time to change up your meals, friends and break out of that rut!

 

Are you a tofu fan?

What’s your favorite tofu recipe?

 

[Disclaimer: Nasoya sent me coupons free of charge for the tofu in exchange for a review + giveaway. As always, all opinions are my own.]

Fitness Talk on the L

A couple weeks ago I brought my friend Kristen with me to a show in the city. We decided to save ourselves the hassle of driving for this one and picked up the L at a stop not far from her house; on the L ride home we were talking about the gym and fitness. It’s important to note at NO point were we talking about our weight or a NEED to go to the gym to lose weight. Contrary, we were actually talking about how much we ENJOY going to the gym, doing yoga, etc.

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The L was pretty empty with only a few people on it and while we were talking, we weren’t talking that loud. Shortly before one of the stops, a girl sitting near us got up so she could get off at the next stop. She looked at us and said “may I ask you how old you are?” I replied with my age and she said “You know you don’t need to lose weight, right? You’re way to young to be worrying about such things.” At this point I was extremely confused. I looked at Kristen who looked just as confused and I looked back to the girl and said “I’m well aware that I don’t need to lose weight” and she said “it’s only what you’ve been talking about for the last half hour…” and she got off the train.

 

Kristen and I looked at each other again in confusion. Aside from the fact that we hadn’t even been on the train for fifteen, maybe twenty minutes, we didn’t talk about the gym the whole time and like I said, never ONCE mentioned our weight in the conversation. But the whole interaction got me thinking – does going to the gym or talking about going to the gym mean we’re always looking to lose weight? Am I so wrapped up in my enjoyment of fitness and surrounding myself with people who feel the same way that I forget others don’t? Have I forgotten that there are people out there who don’t go to the gym, who don’t ENJOY exercise the way I do, and who strictly see it as a place that people go solely to lose weight? Are we forgetting the ever so important factor of maintenance? Was this girl just out of her mind?

9c2e64b0d362e7f59705b1b7883519d1

I may never know the answers to these questions but it was definitely an interesting interaction that I felt worth sharing.  With that said, I’ve been busy this week, so let’s take a look at that fitness I love so much… ;)

 

Friday 1/31

40 mins elliptical

10 mins walk

 

Saturday 2/1

Rest

 

Sunday 2/2

4 mile run

 

Monday 2/3

Strength – chest/triceps/shoulders/abs

 

Tuesday 2/4

3 mile run

 

Wednesday 2/5

Strength – legs

15 mins yoga – TIU yoga

 

Thursday 2/6

2 mile run

Strength – back/biceps/abs

 

Did anyone else notice what happened Wednesday? I DID YOGA! It was only a 15 minute practice but it was a good stepping stone to get back into the habit of practicing and to work towards my goal.

 

How were your workouts this week?

Are you someone who enjoys going to the gym?

How to Deal With the Winter Blues

how to Winter Blues

I’ve said this numerous times, but when living in LA, I really missed the seasons. Yes, I understand that I can drive to the mountains if I want snow, but I need the season changes – fall, winter, spring and summer. I swear that by not having them, I lost track of time and honestly, I feel like I went through a different kind of seasonal affective disorder, the one that comes by not having them.

 

When I moved back to Illinois in 2012, I embraced every bitter cold, snowy and cloudy day. I was just so grateful to have winter back in my life. I knew the rainy spring days would soon be here, followed by the hot summer sun and then my ever-so-favorite gorgeous fall. The snow and cold weather didn’t get to me.

 

I’ve done my best to maintain that mentality this week but I realized on Thursday as I was in a major funk that I couldn’t quite figure out, I’m facing a bit of the winter blues. We’re in a record breaking winter. Snow storms keep coming before we’ve had a chance for the last to melt away and even when we’re not considered in a Polar Vortex, temps have hardly reached 20 degrees. It’s no wonder that we’re all facing a bit of the winter blues, myself included. With that, I thought it’d be good to check-in with some tips for how to deal with the winter woes.

Winter Blues1. Exercise – While it becomes a lot harder to get in that run around the neighborhood, get to the gym to run on the treadmill or get in some exercise at home. That endorphin rush will do wonders.

2. Good Nutrition/Sleep – This is important all the time, but if you’re eating crap and not getting a good nights sleep, you’re going to feel like crap. The cold and cloudy weather will do nothing but make this worse, so eat well and sleep at night.

3. Bundle Up! – This might sound obvious, but dress warm! Whether you’re hanging out at home or getting ready to go outside. If you’re always cold, you’re not going to be happy, so wear extra layers, a scarf & hat, and sit under a blanket at home.

4. Go for a walk – Getting outside will do wonders! If the weather is super cold, you really need to limit the time you’re outside, but if you can get out for even a few minutes, this will have huge rewards. Don’t forget to bundle up (#3)!

5. Sun Exposure/Vitamin D – It’s not uncommon for cloudy days to come with the winter weather, but enjoy the sunlight that does come. If that means getting out for your walk or sitting by the window while you work or read a book, enjoy the sunlight that does come out. Also consider taking a Vitamin D supplement (or increasing your intake) on those days when the sun is hiding. (Please note I am not a doctor so consult with your physician for a recommended dose of Vitamin D.)

6. Embrace the Season – I understand this can be hard sometimes, but having a positive attitude is HUGE!

7. Plan a Trip – I know this isn’t feasible for everyone (hello, not feasible for me!) but if you can, do it! If that means getting away somewhere warm now or planning a trip for a few months down the road that you can look forward to, then do it.

8. Hang Out with Friends / Get Out of the House – It’s so easy to hibernate inside our houses and go without seeing our friends, but get out of the house and spend some social time with friends/family. I promise you’ll get a little boost and be happy you did.

9. Wear bright colors / bring bright colors into your home – Whether this be flowers, throw pillows, or the colors you’re wearing, surround yourself with bright colors that remind you that spring IS coming!

 

How do you deal with the winter time blues?

More Than A Number

I’m going to start by saying this is NOT a sponsored post – there was no exchange of money or product or even an email – this is an INSPIRED post, one of those things I was just motivated to write and share, because I want to!

 

It was a few weeks ago when I was watching TV and ad came up that caught my attention. In fact, it was this ad:

 

 

I almost couldn’t believe what I was watching – that it was actually happening and someone was actually trying to inspire women to break away from the feeling that we’re simply defined by the size of our jeans or shirt we throw on each morning, and that we’re more than the number on the scale.

 

It was for Special K – maybe the best campaign to come from what will you gain when you lose.

 

And it didn’t stop there:

 

 

I used to love eating Special K. It was one of those cereals that was so simply delicious that I’d buy it because I enjoyed it, not because I was trying to lose anything. If it were in line with the foods I eat now, maybe I still would buy it but since it’s not, I don’t. I couldn’t even tell you the last time I ate Special K. But this campaign needs attentionthis message needs attentionSTOP THE FAT TALK!

 

 

This is a movement. Or at least the start of one.

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 7.15.17 PMI know we all have our moments. We have our days when we can’t help but want to stay in bed, in our pjs and not let a single person see us. We have the days we don’t feel beautiful or sexy. We have the days when our jeans are fitting too tight and we can’t help but call ourselves ugly, bloated, or fat.

 

We all have those days but that doesn’t mean it’s true!

IMG_2804

We wouldn’t look at our friends and call them those names, we wouldn’t be that hard and mean to those we love, so why are we saying these things to ourselves? Why aren’t we taking the opportunity to love, nurture and care for ourselves even more in those moments?

 

Because we’re all beautiful. You’re beautiful. I’m beautiful.

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And we’re all more than a number!