Sunday, April 30, 2017

April Books

One of my goals for 2017 was to read 17 books. Well, had I known my reading speed (or the fact that the library would quickly become one of my new best friends) I probably would have adjusted that number slightly ;)

In case you missed the recent posts, I blogged about the books I read in January HERE, February HERE and March HERE. There were THIRTY-SEVEN of them in the first three months, so when I add April's four (yup, you read that right... a measly FOUR this past month) that brings the total to FORTY-ONE! In case you're interested in what I read or my take on them, feel free to check out my little write-ups (and how I'd rate them)!

  • Living with a SEAL by Jesse Itzler - I saw that a friend had read this book on her Instagram Stories and thought I'd check to see if our library carried it. Lucky for me, they did and I was able to pick it up. The premises is the writer has a Navy Seal move in with him and his family for a month to train. The book is sort of his journal of the experience. It's a super easy (and great) read. I loved seeing Jesse pushing his limits and going further than he ever thought possible. Seal was a no BS sort of guy and I think we could all use a little bit of that in our lives. I would give this one an 8 out of 10.

  • Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore - A friend recommended this book and I am so glad they did. This is a true story written by a "modern-day slave" and an "international art dealer". The two were brought together by an amazing woman of God and their lives will never be the same. The book had a little bit of everything (from history to healing and grieving to God), but the biggest thing that I took away is that one person CAN make a difference! You can impact a life, you can impact your community and you can impact the world! I would give this one a 9 out of 10.

  • Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson - I wasn't sure what to expect from this one, but any book with a super excited taxidermied raccoon on it should at least get the chance to be awesome, right?! Jenny not only shares a lot about her struggles with mental illness, but also about the craziness (and not in a mental ill kind of way) that is her life. I found myself thinking "this must be how the hubby's brain works" often (FYI - he isn't mentally ill, but he is super creative with his train of thought jumping all over the place that it is sometimes hard to follow or connect the dots). I really appreciate her openness and realness (as well as her humor). She reminds us that we are not alone and that we should let our freak flag fly... because all the best people do ;) I would give this one an 8 out of 10.

  • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - A few friends had recommended this book but I didn't really know what to expect when it became available at the library. Come to find out, it was much deeper than I was originally expecting - a novel with love, race, identity, culture and more all wrapped into one. The only thing that I struggled with was the length of the book (and that might just be because this past month life got busy and I had less time for reading, so 600 pages was a little intense of an undertaking for me), but the content was well worth the time! I would give this one an 8 out of 10.

And with that, April is complete. This month my reading almost slowed to a halt, but when you have a handful of race recaps and an assortment of other projects that "must" get done, the recreational reading tends to take a back seat. PS If you have any suggestions on books to grab, let me know! I'm always down to throw them in the queue!

What are you currently reading?

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Workout Recap - Week 17

Sunday, April 23rd – 10 mile run (Goal: 7 @ 8:20 pace, 3 @ 7:35 pace), Stretched & Foam Rolled

Monday, April 24th – Strength Training (abs, back, legs and arms), 3.14 mile run (Goal HR ~140), Stretched & Foam Rolled

Tuesday, April 25th – 5 mile run with the hubby (Goal was 9:45 pace), Stretched & Foam Rolled

Wednesday, April 26th – 7.1 mile run {10 minute warm-up, 6 x 800 (@ 4:20 pace and 2:00 rest between), 2 x 400 (@ 2:10 pace and 1:00 rest between), 10 minute cool-down}, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Thursday, April 27th – 60 minutes on the stationary bike, 3 mile run {30 minute run (Goal HR ~140)}, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Friday, April 28th –  7.07 mile run {10 minute warm-up, 6 x 800 (@ 3:25 pace and 2:00 rest between), 2 x 400 (@ 1:40 pace and 1:00 rest between), 10 minute cool-down}

Saturday, April 29th – Rest Day, Stretched & Foam Rolled

I'm gonna be honest... I did all of my workouts, and I did them with all of my might, but being unable to hit my paces has got me a little bummed. I realize that "workouts" mean WORK and they won't all be easy... but I am slightly nervous that my lack of speed during these workouts will translate to the inability to chase down a new half marathon PR in June... Thankfully we've still got time to put in more work!

How were your workouts this past week?

Friday, April 28, 2017

Friday Favorites

It's your favorite day of the week... the day I share a list of some of my favorite things... Or maybe you love today because Friday signifies the start of the WEEKEND! Oh well, whatever the case, I'm still gonna share some of the things I've been digging lately, so hopefully you enjoy it (and then you can go about your way to enjoy your weekend).

Trader Joe's Everything But The Bagel Sesame Seasoning

I had seen Robin talk about this on her IG stories a few weeks back so when the hubby and I were near Trader Joe's last I ran in and grabbed a bottle. Let's just say that this stuff is DA BOMB DIGGITY! It is delicious! When we were camping last week we threw it on avocado toast for breakfast and it was so good! I've also used it on pasta (I normally just use pepper, but this was a great option as well) and the hubby has put it on stir-fry. The seasoning contains Sesame Seeds, Sea Salt Flakes, Dried Minced Garlic, Dried Minced Onion, Black Sesame Seeds, and Poppy Seeds.

Imperfect Produce

I first heard about this company from Ivie. When I heard about it I immediately had to tell the hubby. You see, we are well aware that there are standards for grocery stores and food markets and their produce. Vegetables and fruit need to pass standards to make it to your shelves. BUT there is tons of still edible (and delicious) produce out there that is considered "ugly" or "imperfect" and hence gets TOSSED! Imperfect Produce's goal is to source that produce directly from the farmers and provide it to you and I at a discounted rate. You can select from "Organic Mixed", "Regular Mixes", "All Veggies" or "All Fruit" boxes (each in small, medium, large or XL options). The only bummer thing is that they are only available in LA and the Bay Area currently. My hope is that once people catch on, the brand can expand its reach and it will come to San Diego soon (the website says they are hoping to expand to our area by the summer!).


By now you probably know our love for Patagonia - for what they believe in, for what they fight for, for what they're passionate about. The hubby and I try our hardest to support them in any way we can. I saw on their local IG account a post about and knew I had to share it. The idea is simple: Buy, Wear, Trade-In, Repeat. The more products we keep in the 'wear' cycle, the less goes to landfills! Let's do our part to make this world a better place, k?!

What are you loving lately?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Anza-Borrego Camping

Hopefully you read Part I of our Anza-Borrego camping adventure a couple days ago. If you didn't, you should probably head over HERE and check out the random detour we took on the way to our camping trip last week. {FYI - Salvation Mountain is much cooler than Candy Mountain and you don't even have to lose your kidney in the process!}

Anywho, we finally pulled into the camping area around 6:30pm (a good six hours after we left the house... but, hey, the detours were ALL necessary when it comes to road-trippin'). The first order of business was FOOD! The hubby had requested "hobo tacos" for the first dinner, so we fired up the Coleman to cook our taco "meat" and got to smashing!

Easy recipe - smash up Doritos (we prefer the Cool Ranch flavor, but the Nacho Cheese works too), put in a scoop of taco "meat", some
shredded cheese, red onions, avocado, a couple spoon fulls of salsa and ENJOY! 

Seeing as I woke up that morning around 4:45am so I could get in my hard interval workout and work before we left, as soon as the sun went down I was BEAT! I threw on some PJs and told the hubby if he wanted to build a fire, that was totally fine, but I would just snuggle in the van. Shortly after that I rolled over and it was morning ;)

Morning time with the McDots 

We had picked up a new (to us) contraption to use for breakfast... a camp stove toaster. We were interested to try it out, especially for our avocado toast with Trader Joe's Everything But The Bagel seasoning that I was craving. I'm glad to report that the toaster seemed to work great for what it was and we will definitely be using it in the future.

Seeing as we were in the desert, we knew we had to get in our "activities" before it got too warm. We decided we'd go for a quick hike, then head to some boulders so the hubby could get his climb on. Technically much of the area is still in a drought, but since we got a ton of rain (in comparison to previous years) this winter there was quite a bit of green.

Some of the amazing nature we saw along the way

The boulders the hubby wanted to hit up were a short drive from where we were staying, so we had to pack up the site before making our way over to climb. One of the (many) nice things about the van is it is all inclusive, so really we only had to throw our camp chair and fire pit in before heading out.

Walt thinks that Ryan's crash pad is a bed we transport around for him... We normally only let him lay
on it while the hubby is resting so Walt never has the opportunity to get smashed.

Once the hubby was finished we made our way to a nearby turnout on the road so we could have some cell service to take care of a little business and then made our way back to camp. Since BLM camping is first come, first served, our spot from Thursday night was taken, but we were able to find another awesome area... especially since some of our friends were coming to join us for Friday night. So we set up the area and did a bit of maxin' and relaxin'. I did some reading, the hubby did some sketching and the puppy did some digging.

Our friends just purchased a "new to them" VW van and decided to join us (it happened to be their maiden voyage as well). It was a mellow time, which is just what the doctor ordered. We had a great time enjoying one another's company, tossing the football, laying in the hammocks, drinking some cocktails and eating all the vegetarian/ vegan foods.

All-in-all it was a great trip and we both think that the van will be the perfect #AdventureMobile for the near future!

Oh yeah, and one must ALWAYS stop for a picture with a Yeti when you find one...
You also MUST hold his pinky when taking said photo ;) 

Do you enjoy camping?

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

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, April 25, 2017

Anza-Borrego Camping {Detour to Salvation Mountain}

The hubby and I have wanted to go to Salvation Mountain for a while. It's sort of like Candy Mountain except not at all!


Salvation Mountain is located in the lower desert of Southern California in Imperial County just east of the Salton Sea and about a hour and a half from Palm Springs. Salvation Mountain is Leonard Knight's tribute to God and his gift to the world with its simple yet powerful message: "God Is Love." Leonard's passion lovingly created this brilliant "outsider art " masterpiece with not only biblical and religious scripture, but also flowers, trees, waterfalls, suns, bluebirds, and many other fascinating and colorful objects. Salvation Mountain is 50 feet heigh and 150 foot wide and made totally of local adobe clay and donated paint. From its Sea of Galilee at the bottom, to the big red heart in the middle, to the cross at the very top, the reoccurring theme of "Love" is everywhere at Salvation Mountain.

The hubby wanted to do another desert climbing trip before the heat got too bad so we thought we'd head out and take the #AdventureMobile on its maiden voyage. Since we'd be in the direction of Salvation Mountain (although, let's be honest, Salvation Mountain is in the middle of NOWHERE), we thought we'd go there first before heading to camp.

Thursday afternoon we packed up the van and took to the road. Salvation Mountain is about three and a half hours from our house (and about two hours past where we were camping) but we wanted the adventure. It was a warm afternoon (only in the 70s by the house, but once you start heading inland the temps rise quickly and it was still in the mid-nineties when we pulled into the "parking lot" around 4:30pm), but thankfully the van's A/C can still pump the cold, cold air!

The "welcome" sign when you arrive

No matter your religious affiliations, this place is something to be seen! It is a hill of paint and love in the middle of the desert. There was even a guy painting one of the back areas when we were there. Donations are accepted "only if it comes from the heart." They accept money, but actually ask for folks to donate paints to the piece - how cool?!

You are actually able to walk around... as long as you stay on the yellow path (aka "the yellow brick road")

One of the little coves

Always painting and adding to the piece

The mountain is sculpted out of adobe and then covered in paint. Much of it has at least 10 to 15 coats of paint on it.

Leonard, the man behind the mountain, passed away in 2014, but the labor of love lives on. If you're ever passing through and want an interesting pit-stop, I would highly recommend stopping by. Also, Slab City is another stop nearby that I'd suggest checking out (we didn't have time, but next time we are that way we definitely have it on the list).

Now this is QUITE the #AdventureMobile ;)

After exploring and snapping some pictures, it was time to jump back in the van and make our way to Anza-Borrego. There is some BLM camping in Culp Valley that the hubby and some of his friends have camped at before, so that was our next destination... That is until we remembered that there was a restaurant named "CARLEE'S" in Borrego Springs (which we just happened to be driving through to get to where we were going). Well, let's just say that after 32+ years of never having your name spelled "right", if you find somewhere that spells it the same way as you, YOU STOP!


And now we could truly be on our way...

What is the most random detour you've taken on a roadtrip? 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Cycling For A Cause (& GIVEAWAY)

I was contacted by Pure Indoor Cycling of San Diego a couple weeks back. They said that they were having a charity event for Earth Day and wanted to see if I would be interested in attending. I am all about raising money for a good cause so told them to save me some cycling shoes (is that what they're called?) and sign me up!


Pure Indoor Cycling teamed up with Athleta to raise money for the San Diego Coastkeeper, an organization that is on a mission to protect and restore swimmable, fishable and drinkable water in San Diego County. If you know me, you hopefully know at least two things about me - 1. I love being active (so although a spin class is definitely outside of my comfort zone I am at least willing to give it the old college try) and 2. I love the environment (especially when I am able to help in a local and tangible way). So pairing the two not only is it awesome for exercisers and the environment, but it was sort of like a giant neon sign pointing to the event saying "YOU MUST GO! THIS WAS MADE FOR YOU!"

Apparently no one told the other riders that it was Earth Day and they should get decked out in their
"green" apparel ;) (Or maybe some one should have told me that I would have stuck out like a sore thumb
if I wasn't wearing more black and less rainbows ;))

The class was AWESOME! Like I mentioned, spinning is pretty far outside of my comfort zone (as in, I've only ever been to one class and it was one that a friend was teaching). It was a little strange that we were in the middle of the mall so everyone (and I do mean EVERYONE) seemed to walk by a little slower so they could gawk at the crazies sweating across from Annie's Pretzels, but once you forgot about the onlookers and focused on the task at hand it was great.

Some of my pre-class shots
Left: Sandwich board outside of Athleta / Middle: Bikes set up for class / Right: Garmin shot (the closest activity... even if we were outside)

Kelsey kicked our booties and left us a sweaty puddle (although she definitely gave everyone the option to take it as easy or difficult as you wanted). The class was 45 minutes long and although the temps were dropping because it was closer to sunset, the humidity or breeze didn't give us much of a break. She was kind enough to go over the basics before we started (like how to clip your shoes in and where your hands should be in different positions) so although I felt like a fish out of water I think played the part of cyclist spinner 'newbie-taking-a-spinning-class' decently ;)

Things going on in this shot: Me trying not to fall off my bike, spectators at the end of the row interested in what the heck we are doing,
everyone else looking like they've done this a million times before

Left: Me and Kelsey (the teacher of our class) / Right: Me and Maria (the owner of the studio)

Not only did we walk away with soggy, sweaty clothes and the good feeling of knowing we were helping San Diego County's environment at the same time, but Athleta and Pure Indoor Cycling teamed up for an awesome goodie bag. I wanted to rip into the KIND bar on the drive home but knew a "good blogger" would at least snap a picture first ;)

I love that Pure Indoor Cycling offers "Pay It Forward" rides (which is what the event I attended was a part of, but they have others on a regular basis as well). A portion of each Pay it Forward ride is given to local charities in the San Diego area. Not only do you get to focus on improving yourself, but also your community... it's a WIN WIN!


And want to know what else is a win-win?! The fact that since you've read this blog post you now have a chance to win TEN FREE CLASSES at Pure Indoor Cycling (a $200 value). Yup, the super sweet folks gave me ten free classes at their studio to give away to one of YOU! [Please note - their studio is located in San Diego {401 W A St #140, San Diego, CA 92101}, so if you are not local you might not want to enter this giveaway... unless you're willing to travel ;)]

Truth be told, if I lived closer I would have totally swiped these classes for myself and this post would have been more of a review than a giveaway, but since the studio is about 40 miles away (and over an hour drive with ZERO traffic... which never happens in SoCal, #AmIRight?!), I thought I would share the wealth and give you the opportunity to win!

Entering is easy, all you need to do it use the Rafflecopter widget below and put your name in to win. This giveaway will last one week with a single winner being selected, winning the ten pack of rides. Easy peasy, so hurry and enter NOW!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
This giveaway runs through Sunday, April 30th at 11:59pm PST. The winner will be contacted via the email address associated with their Rafflecopter account and have 24 hours to claim their prize. All entries are verified, so be sure to complete them or a new, random winner will be selected (I don't want you missing out due to a technicality).

Good luck to everyone who enters and remember to enter early & often as some of the options are available daily!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Workout Recap - Week 16

Sunday, April 16th – 3 mile run with the hubby and a friend, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Monday, April 17th – Strength Training (abs, back, legs and arms), 3.05 mile run (Goal HR ~140), Stretched & Foam Rolled

Tuesday, April 18th – 6.97 mile run {10 minute warm-up, 6 x 800 (@ 4:20 pace and 2:00 rest between), 2 x 400 (@ 2:10 pace and 1:00 rest between), 10 minute cool-down}, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Wednesday, April 19th – 60 minutes on the stationary bike, 3.17 mile run with the hubby {30 minute run (Goal HR ~140)}, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Thursday, April 20th – 7.05 mile run {10 minute warm-up, 6 x 800 (@ 3:25 pace and 2:00 rest between), 2 x 400 (@ 1:40 pace and 1:00 rest between), 10 minute cool-down}, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Friday, April 21st –  Rest Day

Saturday, April 22nd – 5 mile run (Goal was 9:45 pace... ended up running them a little faster than that...), 45 minute spin class, Stretched & Foam Rolled

This is my first week working with a coach (check out my post HERE to see what goals I have on the horizon). I had to swap some of my workouts around because of our last minute camping trip, but other than that I feel like I pretty much followed everything to the T. I need to get better at making my easy runs easy, but I'm happy with how this week went!

How were your workouts this past week?