Friday, February 22, 2019

Friday Favorites

Another week, another list of what I'm loving lately. I hope you find them somewhat helpful or informative... but even if you don't, I still like reflecting on new-to-me products or services I've come across ;) So, here we go, let's get after it!

Momentum Ambassadorship

I've been a Momentum Ambassador from the get-go. In fact, I was actually the first official ambassador. I love this brand (and everyone behind it) to my core! They'll be opening applications for the 2019 program soon and I wanted to give you the heads up so you can mark your calendar. The window to apply is short - like two days - so if you're interested, make an alert on your phone, set an alarm, whatever you need to do to remind yourself! You can put your name in the hat on Friday, March 1st through 11:59pm CST Saturday, March 2nd. Do you love to inspire and motivate others? Momentum Ambassadors are eager to share a message of strength and positivity - they work hard every day to change the world by encouraging others to live more active, healthy, and inspired lives. If this is you, don't forget to apply next week!


FedEx Delivery Manager

I mentioned almost a year ago in a Friday Favorites about the USPS Informed Delivery program - where you receive email updates with images of your scanned mail/ packages in the United States Postal Service system. Well, I had no idea you could sign up for something similar with FedEx... A fellow Brooks Ambassador told me about it earlier in the week when we were chatting about an upcoming shipment and you better believe I signed up right away. Signing up (along with most of the features) is free, so what do you have to lose?! I love that even if I'm not sent tracking information from a company I'll still receive updates on when a package addressed to me has shipped and when it'll be delivered!


AWESOME Giveaways

Who wouldn't want to win this AMAZING giveaway?! NATHAN + Charity Miles is proud to present the Riviera Maya FITlanthropy GIVEAWAY! A luxurious 3-night stay at the 5-Star Gourmet (All) Inclusive Spa Resort, El Dorado Royal, by Karisma in Riviera Maya, Mexico + Garmin, Aftershokz Headphones, Pair of Brooks Running Shoes and Nathan VaporAir Hydration Vest. Winners Announced 3/1/19. Enter here:


Treat yourself this winter. Enter to win a simple winter giveaway for your very own cozy Getaway, with great bonuses valued at over $3,150. Enter to win the following: Two night Getaway at their New York, Boston, or DC Outpost ($400 value) // $500 transportation credit // $200 gift card to Parks Project // $500 gift card to Snowe // $500 credit towards a 12-month furniture subscription with Feather // A pair of Forsake high tops + low tops for the winner and a travel companion ($550 value) // $500 gift card to Sleepy Jones. The sweepstakes ends 3/11/19. Enter here:


Fundraising for #Ragnar4Rett

I know I mentioned the #Ragnar4Rett #TeamSparkle Virtual 5K last week, but this week I am STOKED to share I am personally fundraising for the cause. If you haven't already, make sure to check out my fundraising page - and if you could spare $5 (the cost of a cup of coffee), consider donating! All the proceeds go to Girl Power 2 Cure to fight Rett Syndrome.


What are you loving lately?

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

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, February 19, 2019

Unplug and Recharge

Maybe it's just me, but I truly believe we all need time to unplug and recharge. We live in a day and age where we are constantly connected (although research is showing that even with being more "virtually connected" more and more of us are feeling less connected and more alone and isolated than ever) and sometimes we just need to PULL THE PLUG!


This past weekend I spent volunteering for our church's 11th and 12th grade ministry, cooking meals for 200+ students at a camp in Bakersfield. There were 8 of us on the "kitchen crew" and we worked from before sun-up until well after sunset every day. I have worked weddings, bar mitzvahs, large parties, etc before and this was like putting on a special event three times a day. To say we were all tuckered out and spent by the end of it would be quite the understatement. 


With that said, we had all of about 43 seconds a day to be on our phones or social media. Normally, as I'm sure you've noticed, social media is my jam. I love checking in on what everyone is doing, offering encouragement, supporting my friends, not to mention sharing about what's going on in my corner of the world. Starting Thursday afternoon till yesterday afternoon I was almost completely unplugged from that realm (#RealTalk - it wasn't a spiritual reason, the lack of time along with not having wireless access {and a limited data plan} were the main factors contributing to the disconnect). 


And, you know what?! I didn't feel stressed out about it or feel like I was missing out on anything at all. I'm sorry if that sounds like I don't really care about what you are doing - that is totally not it - but being the hands and feet of Jesus was my only priority this weekend. Sure, folks could say we were "only" making meals, but they very well may have played a role in some students' salvation and eternity! I mean, maybe because they were well fed (food cooked with smiles and love) they were able to hear the message more clearly and accept Jesus into their hearts. We will never know on this side of heaven, but I pray the impact of our service will be felt for longer than just a few minutes after each meal. 

Three best friends and five student volunteers! #TheBestKitchenCrew

Hopefully I haven't lost all of you, thinking this is either some drive-by guilting or just a bunch of "Jesus junk". I wanted to say that even though we were working like dogs, I felt refreshed and energized at the end of it and I truly believe it was because I had time away from my phone, away from the rat race of trying to show a "perfect world" in a square little picture and because I felt as though I was working for a bigger purpose. Don't get me wrong, the work was rough (and I have already told my friend I am not planning on helping in the future ;)), but it helped point out that even though I absolutely love being plugged into the social media world, sometimes you need to unplug and recharge. 


And even though I've been back for about 24 hours, I have yet to open the majority of my apps. I don't know how long that'll last (ha, truthfully, after I hit PUBLISH on this post I'll probably open up my Instagram to share the link, so the break may only last a few more minutes), but maybe this will be the nudge I need to put down my phone and truly engage. 


Now, I'm not normally one who is "doing it for the 'gram" {the hubby and I truly already try to live our lives so we do things that make us forget to pick up our phones}, but I want to live more intentionally. I want to remove the pressure of trying to stay up-to-date on every single social media platform, I want to do things that are genuinely fulfilling, I want to keep my phone put away when I'm with friends (even if that means we don't have the ability to Google an answer to something immediately), I want to take photos for the purpose of preserving the memory and not just sharing it with the world, I want to unplug and recharge on a regular basis (not only when I'm forced into it because of lack of time/ connectivity).


This past weekend may have started out with me disconnecting because I didn't really have another option, but I hope that moving forward it serves as an example of what my heart and soul truly craves, desires and literally NEEDS - more relationship, less mindless scrolling, more intentionality, less superficiality, more impact, less wasting time, more hugs and smiles, less double taps and retweets. We are in this life together so we need to actually be IN THIS LIFE together!


When was the last time you intentionally unplugged from social media?

Monday, February 18, 2019

Workout Recap - Week 7

Sunday, February 10th – 10 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

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

Tuesday, February 12th – 8 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Wednesday, February 13th – 24 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Thursday, February 14th – 10 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Friday, February 15th  Rest Day

Saturday, February 16th – 45 minute run

I had to swap my runs around a bit this week because I was going to be out of town Thursday afternoon through Monday afternoon (volunteering at a church camp, serving meals to 200+ 11th and 12th grade students in Bakersfield) - the stormy weather also put a wrinkle in my workouts and I tried to work around it whenever it was possible. Seeing as I was "working" from about 6am until about 9pm every night I was out of town, the only time to get in a run was early (and running around and around inside of a gym), but hey, I got all of my runs done and THAT is what matters, right?!

How were your workouts this past week?

Friday, February 15, 2019

#TeamSparkle Virtual 5K

It's the most RUNderful time of the year: #Ragnar4Rett! If you've been around my corner of the InterWebs for a while you're probably well versed in #Ragnar4Rett, but just in case you are new to these parts (in that case, WELCOME!), let me bring you up to speed. I am honored to be joining #TeamSparkle for a FIFTH year in a row for their #Ragnar4Rett adventure (last year we adjusted it slightly because the majority of the team qualified for the Boston Marathon and the two races were only days apart so #Ragnar4Rett morphed into #Boston4Rett, but the sentiment was the same).

Let's just say they don't ask me back year after year because of my jumping skills... 

Six ladies (including myself) will be running 185 miles (from Huntington Beach to San Diego) for 185 kids, hoping to raise as much awareness and funds for Rett Syndrome along the way. We will be doing this while participating in the Ragnar SoCal Relay Race as an ultra team (meaning there will only be 6 of us on a team as opposed to the standard 12 runners).


Sparkle Athletic just opened registration for the #TeamSparkle Virtual 5K earlier this week and I hope you will consider signing up. Virtual races are fun because you can do them virtually ANYWHERE! Of course it'd be great to get a ton of friends and family to participate together, but as long as you have some running shoes you can claim the finisher medal!

PS I'm WELL AWARE that this is NOT a runDisney virtual race, but I thought the explanation was helpful in case you aren't familiar with the idea:

Just because you aren’t running Ragnar SoCal with us doesn’t mean you can’t participate (wouldn't it be awesome if everyone could pile in the van for the journey?!). This year we invite YOU to join #TeamSparkle and participate in our #Ragnar4Rett journey by signing up for the #TeamSparkle Virtual 5K (all profits will be donated to Girl Power 2 Cure).


Participating is easy!

1. Sign up for the #TeamSparkle Virtual 5K. Registration is open NOW till it sells out (so don't lolly gag or you'll miss out).


2. Run/walk/roll at least 3.1 miles (5K) anytime between now and Saturday, April 13th, 2019. However, we’d suggest you complete the 5K the weekend we are running Ragnar So Cal (April 12th-13th). YOU will be receiving a real, actual race bib AND a beautiful, sparkly, die cast, 2019-edition #TeamSparkle medal. Medals will ship the week of March 25th.


3. Share your photos with the rest of the world on social media using the hashtags #Ragnar4Rett and #TeamSparkle. Spread the word, share your experience and help us raise more awareness (and funds) to help #ReverseRett!


If you are interested, there are also different commemorative shirts (either along with the registration or on their own) and all of their profits also going to Girl Power 2 Cure. You can find all of the registration and clothing options HERE.

These shirts are available for pre-order only! Orders must be received by March 8th. Shirts will ship the week of March 25th.

Have you ever participated in a "virtual race" before?

Thursday, February 14, 2019

How To Find The Perfect Running Shoes

I thought this was a perfect Valentine's Day post... You know, since I love running (and running shoes) so much and the play on words with "a perfect pair" {like a perfect couple or the perfect set of shoes}... but this post is more than a joke ;)

And isn't this "conversational Valentine's Day heart" perfect for today too?!

At Brooks, they believe there's no single "right way" to run - instead they think you should run however your body moves naturally. Makes sense, right?! Seems easier to go with the flow than try to fight your body every step of the way.


So they make shoes that match your stride, your style and give you the experience you are looking for - whether that's a ton of cushioning, extra energy or pure speed. They believe they have the perfect fit for whatever you may need.


And now you can use their Shoe Finder to match yourself with your perfect pair of running shoes! No need to wait for Prince Charming to knock on your door, it's as easy as a few clicks. You may even end up asking who adopted whom.


Now I'd always recommend visiting your local running store (let's be real, I'm all about scoring a good deal, but supporting your local running community is something I feel strongly about) to try on the shoe - but if you don't have a local retailer near you or you'd prefer to order them online, that's absolutely an option (and one you can feel comfortable with because they offer a 90-day trial run and on the off chance the product doesn't work, you can take advantage of their free returns).


I went through and used the Shoe Finder (it only takes a minute or two) and was paired with the two models I'm already running in - the Ghost 11 and Levitate 2 - depending on my answer to one of the last questions about the shoe impact.

Seems like the Shoe Finder works just about perfectly in my case... have you given it a try yet?! If not, I'd totally suggest you do and see what shoe the magical mind readers running gurus at Brooks pick for you ;) Then give them a try!

The two perfect pairs for me - the Levitate 2 LE and the Ghost 11

How do you normally find your running shoes?

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

REVIEW: Vegetarian / Vegan Wellness Testing

If you've been around my corner of the InterWebs for an extended period of time, you may know I'm a vegetarian - and have been for many moons. We can get into the reasons at another time, but suffice it to say my last "meat meal" was on New Year's Eve 2004 (FYI: it was shrimp scampi at Red Lobster) and I expect to live plant-based for the rest of my life.

Anywho, I'm sure I'm not the only one who gets inundated with spam - but seeing as I have my email address listed on my blog for the world to see, I tend to get a lot more junk emails than I used to. I try to respond to them all, even if it's just to say "thanks but no thanks" (you never know what may come of it down the road). Well, a couple weeks back I received an email with the title "🌿 Lettuce Test Your Wellness With Our Vegan Test! 🌿". I'm all about puns, so this one caught my eye. I was sure it was just a bot sending out bulk messages, but was stoked to see it came from a real person - the digital marketer for And although she may say this to everyone, she mentioned she had checked out my blog and thought working together could be "a grape 🍇 fit" (the deal was almost sealed solely based on food puns alone ;)).


You see, they recently rolled out some Vegetarian and Vegan tests and wanted some help spreading the word about them. (I've been thinking of going the vegan route but have had a hard time giving up the idea of "real" cheese.) They're the only company offering these types of tests and think they could be a great resource - and I've got to agree.

They offer two types of vegan tests:

Since I am already a vegetarian, the nutrient deficiency test was the route I went. Let's be real, if you're not making sure you're getting the right nutrients, it's easy to become deficient in them. The Vegan Nutritional Maintenance Panel tests for common nutrient deficiencies that plant-based people may encounter. Some of the nutrients it tests for are: B-12, Calcium, Complete Blood Count (CBC), D-25 Hydroxy (Vitamin D-3), Ferritin, Folic Acid, Homocysteine, Iron and Zinc.


I had some issues with the initial set up (the original email was "lost" so my contact had to do some searching on the back-end which took a few extra days to get everything squared away), but once everything was ironed out it was smooth sailing. I was able to log into my HealthLabs account, print off the lab order confirmation and head in for my bloodwork. 

I just printed off the lab order and took it with me to the test center down the street (literally like 2 miles away)

The bloodwork itself took all of 10 minutes. It was super convenient, especially because there are a ton of labs you can choose from (you can even search based on ones open on Saturdays). PS You don't have to worry about payment or working with an insurance company at the test center because it's taken care of when you place your order.

I was going to share a picture of the 7 vials of blood, but wasn't sure if anyone would
get squeamish from it so decided that this was the safer route ;) 

Results are normally posted 1-3 days after taking the test and I was notified via email a day later that my preliminary results were in. I did have to wait (and actually follow up with my contact after a week when the complete results still weren't posted) for my final results, but was told the issues I ran into with the different delays were very atypical.


There are numerous health advantages to a plant-based diet, but there can still be some vulnerabilities when it comes to receiving certain nutrients. The test I took should reveal any deficiencies I may have, that way I can address them and continue living a healthy lifestyle. If you take this test and find that you’re not suffering from any of the most common deficiencies, you can continue your plant-based lifestyle with peace of mind and renewed zeal to stick to your goals. If the panel shows you're indeed nutrient-deficient, you can adapt your goals, make different dietary decisions and choose more nutrient-specific foods to ensure your body is receiving adequate levels of nourishment. (PS They recommend modifying your diet for at least 8 weeks, then re-testing to ensure your levels for the deficient nutrients have become sufficient.)


Before I get into what my test showed, let me mention a few quick things. The hubby and I try to eat a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruits and veggies. Even still, I realize there are some nutrients I may be skimping on (not just because I'm a vegetarian, but because in this day and age of processed food being king it can often be hard to always get your hands on "real" food). With that said, I do take some supplements - but more as a safety net (I would always prefer to get the nutrients direct from the source, but sometimes that isn't always a reality). Prior to my blood work I did not change my diet or increase any of the vitamins I was taking as to avoid skewing the results.

PS In case you are curious, the supplements I take on a daily basis are: Cranberry (TMI but I get UTIs very easily), Biotin (for healthy hair
and nails), Magnesium (because my father-in-law swears by it), Iron (I found out I was anemic a while back and have been taking it ever
since), Fiber (because taking Iron supplements can cause constipation so this helps to keep me "regular") , B-12 (this is mostly found in
animal products, so often times vegans and vegetarians have a hard time getting enough in their diet) and a Women's All-in-One vitamin.

I am happy to report that my results show everything is within a healthy range - BOOYA GRANDMA! My mom joked and asked if I was getting tested to make sure I didn't have any meat in my system ;) But, all jokes aside, I am stoked that everything showed I am getting the nutrients and vitamins I need to continue living my best plant-based life!

FYI: I was not surprised in my results, but one can never pass up a good Tommy Boy gif

The point of taking this test is to identify your deficiencies, address them and live a healthier life. If you are a vegetarian or vegan and would like to take the nutrient deficiencies test or are considering going plant-based and would like to take the tests for meat, poultry and dairy allergies, you can use the code CARLEE to receive 25% off all vegan tests. Remember, there are 4,500+ US located labs, so hopefully there is one just a hop, skip and a jump from where you live!

Have you ever considered going plant-based?