Friday, June 22, 2018

Friday Favorites

Another week down and it's time to share some of the things I have been digging lately! I wish I could say I have been digging the sun, but unfortunately we are still dealing with June Gloom over in these parts... but with only a few days left in the month I'm hopeful Mr. Sunshine will start making a regular appearance! Anywho, on to the things I am loving!

Porch Update

Back in September we had to take everything off of our balcony because they were getting ready to paint the outside of our condo complex. After a few months, they were finally done - but then we had birds... Yup, while we were on our road trip (and then in Boston and the Grand Canyon) we ended up having multiple birds laying multiple nests out there. After the final baby left the nest we cleaned everything out, put up "bird blockers" and were able to get our porch back in working order. Oh yeah, but when we went to put up the screens on our porch (which we've had up for the last 8 years), we were told we had to submit an architectural application to our HOA to get them approved... Thankfully we heard back with a thumbs up and were able to get everything finished this past weekend - just in time to enjoy it for the summer!

Before and After!

Trip Down Memory Lane

My mom shared this post on her Facebook the other day and it made me chuckle. Apparently my "crazy" faces have been around for at least 33 years... And, wait, doesn't everyone have baby pictures with goldfish?! No, just me?! Weird!

Trail Jenny Handmade Soaps

I got an IG message from @trailjennyhandmadesoaps the other day, asking if I wanted to try some of her products. Well shoot doggy, you know I love me some trail running, some homemade goodies and all most things free, so I took Jenny up on her offer! She asked me to check out her Etsy shop and see if anything struck my fancy. I was pumped to give the Honey & Vanilla Soap and Natural Deodorant a try. She even threw in a Sore Muscle Bomb to keep me running strong! Can't wait to give all the goodies a go and report back my thoughts - but for now I can say they all smell super yummy!

Sparkle Athletic Shorts

You read that correctly... Sparkle Athletic just released three pairs of SHORTS and I am stoked to give them a try! Carrie has been working to perfect them for a while now and they are finally loving how they look, feel and fit so have released them to the world. Currently there are three designs - Cat's Meow, Red & White Polka Dots and Unicorns & Rainbows.


What are you loving lately?

Thursday, June 21, 2018

REVIEW: Quest Bars {Peanut Butter Brownie Smash}

Remember last week when I posted a review about the Quest Tortilla Chips that magically appeared at our door step?! Well, apparently the Quest gods have been smiling down on me because earlier this week I received ANOTHER package!

Two boxes of the BRAND NEW Peanut Butter Brownie Smash Protein Bars surprised me in the best way possible and I couldn't wait to dive in and give them a test! I had never seen this flavor and was stoked to chow down on one!

I was really digging the packaging and having one of the bars out!

One box for me and one for the hubby, right?!

If you’ve ever faced the tough choice of which Quest Bar to buy, this is the bar for you. This dual-layered bar combines one layer of chewy, nutty, peanut butter with a delectable chocolate brownie layer (they're an infamous "brookie" {brownie + cookie} in bar form!). Together, they’re the Peanut Butter Brownie Smash Bar and they’re ready to take you #OnAQuest.

Look at those layers!

Normally I'm not a huge brownie fan (if you've been around my neck of the InterWebs for a while you know if I reach for a sweet treat it'll likely be a fruity flavor over a chocolate one), so I was nervous this would be too chocolatey for me. Well, I'm happy to report the chocolate wasn't too overpowering (and the hubby, who has never found a sweet he didn't like, said it was just right for him too). As you know, I've gotta #KeepItReal, so I'll shoot straight and say this isn't my favorite flavor (I much prefer Chocolate Chip on its own or Cookies and Cream), but the hubby digs these and I didn't dislike them.

Came in handy after a run since I had a morning full of errands to accomplish before heading home for lunch!

The box says this flavor is sold exclusively in 7-Eleven stores, but I noticed it is currently available on the Quest website, so if you haven't seen them at a convenience store near you yet I'd suggest hitting up the site and stocking up!

Source: Quest Nutrition's Facebook Feed

What's your favorite flavor of Quest Protein Bars?

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Walt Wednesday

Some people do a "Wordless Wednesday" post, where they simply share a photo or image, but I thought I'd make a little series out of my Wednesdays. And since I love alliteration so much, why not go with Walt Wednesdays (obviously everyone can use a little break from the seriousness, scariness and sassiness of life - and what better way to help put a smile on your face than with a cute wiener dog picture, am I right?!)... So, without further ado...


When life gets overwhelming, how do you de-stress?

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Hiking Mt. Baldy

Friday the hubby and I hiked Mt. Baldy, the highest peak of the San Gabriel Mountains and the highest point in LA County.


The hubby had been to the summit twice before (he tackled the "Three Peaks Challenge" with two friends last summer where they hiked the highest three peaks in SoCal within a 24 hour period and also hiked it another time with a friend to train for their Mt. Whitney adventure), but this was the first time I had been to the area.

Making our way up the first incline!

The views definitely did not suck!

We were actually supposed to be hiking Mt. Whitney (which is the tallest mountain in California, as well as the highest summit in the contiguous United States) but there was still snow and ice covering large portions of the trail so we decided we needed to be safe rather than sorry and forfeited our permits in hopes to tackle the mountain later in the summer. 


Since our game plan changed last minute (we were originally planning on leaving around noon to drive to Mt. Whitney Portal, camping Friday to acclimate a bit to the higher altitude, then hiking by 4am Saturday morning before driving home), we didn't have a ton of the details worked out, but figured we'd make it work. We ended up taking Walt to our friends' place for the afternoon (we don't have a yard, so if he has to go to the bathroom we have to walk him, so it's nice our friends will watch him if we're planning to be gone for an extended period of time) and got on the road. We left Oceanside around 11:30am and got to the parking area near Manker Campground by 2:30pm (we had to drop off the pup, stop for gas and buy some sunscreen since we forgot to pack ours but still made decent time for a 100ish mile drive Friday).

The visitor center was closed when we came through, but I snapped a picture anyway.

The hike is approximately 11 miles round trip. We decided to hike up the Devil's Backbone Trail and hike down the Ski Hut Trail (but I think if we do it again I may want to do it the opposite direction - more on the reason why later). Although when we were driving through Riverside it was in the mid-to-upper 90s, since you're starting at over 6,000 feet above sea level the temps are much cooler (well, by much cooler I mean it was in the 70s when we started around 3pm). If you are planning to hike Mt. Baldy (or any mountains for that matter), make sure to keep the weather in mind! Storms, wind, etc can be disastrous and you do not want to be caught somewhere (especially on an exposed mountain) in the elements if there's any way to prevent it! PS We hiked in t-shirts and shorts but packed jackets for when we got closer to the summit.

Just a few days earlier we were driving on the 395 and looking at Mt. Baldy, now we were climbing it!

The hike up was not as bad as I was expecting (remember, although we did #Rim2Rim2Rim, I haven't done much hiking at elevation and wasn't sure how my body would handle it). We got to the summit (which is a little over 10,000 feet above sea level) in about 2 hours, with a quick stop at the ski lodge for a potty break. The hubby used trekking poles (which, along with his much longer stride, seemed to propel him up the mountain at a much higher clip) but I got by without any. 
Just because I didn't use them doesn't mean I couldn't pose with them ;)

I'll be honest, once we got closer to the summit, it got VERY windy (I think the weather page we looked at prior to hitting the road said there were 20ish mph winds with 30+ mph gusts). There were a few points I got a little nervous because there wasn't much on either side of us and felt like I could blow away (although I'm sure I was just being dramatic). I took a few quick breaks in the last mile before we hit the top so I could regain my composure and give my legs a brief rest.

New signs!

Just a tad over 10,000 feet above sea level!

When we got to the summit we made sure to take a few extra minutes to bask in our accomplishments. Not only did we take in the views and eat a snack (it was around 5pm when we hit the summit so I had a PROBAR BASE bar), but we walked around a bit to check out the area. (We actually had the summit completely to ourselves!) And while we were looking around we came across a big horn sheep and two babies! SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! It was AMAZEBALLS


Mama (or daddy) and one of the babies

Look at how close they came to us!

Apparently my phone thought the summit sign was the important part...
Obviously it doesn't know that SNACKS are always top priority! #FueledByPROBAR

After snapping a few pictures at a safe distance (didn't want to freak out the wildlife) we started to make our way down the mountain. Originally we were thinking that we would hike up and run down, but the Ski Hut Trail is a bit more vertical and rock filled which made running difficult. We jogged some of it, but for the most part we were just trying not to take a tumble on the loose sand or hidden boulders. If we were to do Mt. Baldy again I think I'd prefer coming down Devil's Backbone because more of that felt run-able to me (especially since the vertical climb was spread out over a few extra miles).

We did find a few areas to run.

But you had to keep your eyes glued to the trails so you didn't fall or misstep!

We even found a little stream (but the picture was unimpressive, so here's a selfie of me near it ;) )


By the time we got back to our car we had racked up just about 11 miles (I was a tad short because my Garmin didn't locate satellites right away so did an extra lap near the car to make it an even 11 on my watch) and finished in 3:35. 

Not too shabby for hiking the majority of it!

Before getting back in the car to drive home I made the hubby take one last picture.

All-in-all this is an AMAZING hike that makes you work for the views, but is worth every stinkin' step! I'd definitely recommend you go either during the week or VERY early to avoid the crowds (a friend of the hubby's went on Saturday, the day after we went, and said it was like Disneyland with the amount of people, whereas while we were there we maybe saw a total of 10 people). Even still, this is NOT an easy hike, so make sure you're prepared if you plan on tackling the beast! (We brought extra layers in case the weather changed, 6.5 liters of water between the two of us, snacks for the summit and fuel {PROBAR BOLT chews} for the climb and descent, and even headlamps in case something happened and we were out there longer than we were expecting. In my opinion, you can never be too careful, cautious or prepared!)

PS If you're looking for a good post blog with more "turn-by-turn" directions on the hike so you don't get lost or at least can familiarize yourself with the trails you should/shouldn't take prior to hiking, this post by HikingGuy is a great resource!

What's the highest mountain you've ever climbed?

Monday, June 18, 2018

Workout Recap - Week 24

Sunday, June 10th – 5 mile run with the hubby, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Monday, June 11th – 10 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Tuesday, June 12th – 10 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Wednesday, June 13th – 60 minutes on the stationary bike, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Thursday, June 14th – 5 mile #TeamSparkle trail run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Friday, June 15th  Hiked Mt. Baldy, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Saturday, June 16th – Rest Day, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Although this week had less "running", I still go in a decent amount of miles (30 miles of running, plus 11 miles of hiking a mountain). Earlier in the week I sat down and got together my next training plan for my "serious" fall marathon, so will be getting down to business in the coming days, but, for now, I am enjoying being able to run what I want, when I want.

How were your workouts this past week?

Friday, June 15, 2018

Friday Favorites

This week FLEW by, but it's probably because we were chocked to the gills with STDs (stuff to do). We're heading to the river again today for a weekend of camping (we have to squeeze in trips when we can because we have a ton going on this summer), but before we head out I wanted to make sure to get up a post of the things I'm loving lately. Here goes:

Faygo Candles

If you grew up in the Midwest then you are probably familiar with the pop Faygo. It's DA BOMB DOT COM! The hubby's favorite flavor is Rock & Rye, but I am definitely a Red Pop girl all the way! Anway, The Mitten State actually started making Faygo Candles a while ago but you had to buy them locally. Recently they added to the website for global shipping - HECK TO THE YES! I'm pretty sure I must have one (or seven) of each flavor! #DearSanta


Garmin Crew

So you all probably know that I've been working with Garmin for a few years now (I've been BEYOND BLESSED to have been an ambassador with this amazing brand for the past four-ish years). I've had a ton of folks ask how they can get involved, so here's your chance! They're opening up the gates and inviting Garmin fans to apply to be a part of the Garmin Crew. The application for the team is open now until July 9th, but we all know how life can get in the way sometimes, so I'd definitely recommend applying now before you forget! You can learn more about the crew HERE! #BeatYesterday


Sparkle Athletic Rainbow Dots Trucker Hat

You don't have to drive an 18-wheeler to rock a trucker hat (and I should know because I definitely have a soft spot in my heart {and in my closet} for trucker hats). Sparkle Athletic just released their newest hat and I am LOVIN' it - but, let's be honest, I have about seven or eight on my "NEED" list (and at least three of them are from Sparkle). #ComeToMama

New Disney Movies

As you know, the hubby and I have been seeing our fair share of movies thanks to our MoviePasses, which means we see a ton of previews for upcoming films (often the same ones over and over and over). I'm particularly interested in a couple Disney movies I recently saw trailers for - Dumbo and The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. Neither come out anytime soon (Nutcracker will be released in November and Dumbo will hit theaters in March of next year), but I'm still excited! I mean, Tim Burton is FANTASTIC, so I'm stoked to see what he does with an old school story like Dumbo.

What are you loving lately?

Thursday, June 14, 2018

REVIEW: Quest Protein Chips

When a HUGE box from Quest arrives at your doorstep you know you're in for a delicious treat! I hadn't ordered anything so wasn't sure what it was. I was STOKED when I opened the package and found their new tortilla style protein chips!

You see, they have had protein chips in their repertoire for a while now, but just recently added the new tortilla style chips to their bag of tricks. [They now have five flavors of chips to choose from - Ranch Tortilla Style, Nacho Cheese Tortilla Style, Cheddar & Sour Cream, Sour Cream & Onion, and BBQ.] I had seen a few posts on their Instagram feed about the new option, but they hadn't made it to our local grocery store yet so I hadn't been able to try them for myself.

Source: @questnutrition's Instagram feed

The magical delivery solved the problem before I had a chance to search out a solution for myself! Not only would I get the opportunity to try the new chip without having to go to the store, but Quest also sent a fun hat to rock while snacking!

Time for a taste test! The delivery actually came at the PERFECT time because the hubby and I were heading to go camping with some friends along the Kern River for the weekend and these would work great for our packed lunches.

The hubby and I both gave them two thumbs up! We liked the airy texture of the chips (they feel a little lighter than your average potato chip), the taste was yummy (I think Nacho Cheese was my favorite flavor but the hubby said he dug Ranch more) and you weren't left with any strange aftertaste (which can sometimes happen with some "health foods").

Now I know I don't necessarily need a billion and a half grams of protein in my diet, but if you have the hankering for chips it's nice to know they're filled with more than just your standard empty carbs. The Nacho Cheese flavor has 18 grams of protein and 4 net grams of carbs per bag, and the Ranch flavor has 19 grams of protein and 4 grams of net carbs per bag.

Which flavor would you want to try first?