Wednesday, January 31, 2018

January Books

If you've been around my neck of the InterWebs for any part of the last year, hopefully you noticed that I picked up a new hobby... READING! Truth be told, I was never much of a reader when I was younger (Cliffs Notes were my best friend when it came to books), but recently I fell in love. In fact, last year I had a goal to read 17 books (for 2017) and I ended up capping off the year reading EIGHTY-EIGHT! Although I may not be reading them at the same speed as I did last year, I still wanted to make sure I kept the hobby going (and what better form of accountability than to post a list of the books I finished at the end of the month?!). So, without further ado, let's jump into everything I read in January!

  • First Ladies of Running by Amby Burfoot - I had seen this on a few "must read running books" lists so added it to my Christmas wish list (since it wasn't available at our local library). Ambry writes about 22 women who helped change the world of female running forever. The book is broken down into profiles on each of the rebels/ rule breakers/ visionaries/ pioneers (each about 10-15 pages long). I think this is an AWESOME read for women runners (and for runners in general). It gives a brief history of the women's lives, as well as their accomplishments and the roles they played in the sport. It was pretty eye opening, especially for someone who is fairly new into the running world (meaning I didn't grow up in it, but found it haphazardly in my mid-twenties). The stories are inspiring and remind us to appreciate all of the freedoms and opportunities we are able to take advantage of today! I would give it an 8 out of 10.

  • Lassoing the Sun by Mark Woods - A friend of mine recommended this book so when I saw it on Amazon for a couple bucks I grabbed it. The only thing I knew about this one was it was supposed to be about the author's adventure of spending a year in America's National Parks. Let me start off by saying it was a great read, but I went in with some expectations it didn't quite live up to. I figured that the book would be more about the parks (what he recommends you should see, what to avoid, etc), but in actuality it is a story about him coming to terms with his mom's passing. Again, it was a good read, but because I went in thinking that it would be more about the parks themselves I was left wanting more. I love the idea of visiting a National Park every month and hopefully the hubby and I will be able to cross off some more in the coming months, especially since we recently bought an annual pass. I would give it a 7 out of 10 (but had I known a little more fully about what the book was about and I had adjusted my expectations I'm thinking I probably would have rated it a bit higher).

  • Make It Till You Make It by Brendan Leonard - The hubby asked for this book for Christmas (#DearSanta) but hasn't had the time to pick it up to give it a read yet. He loves Brendan and his SemiRad blog, and is always talking about him so I thought I'd read it while waiting for my next library book to become available. It is a super short book and although I am not much of a "creative" (the hubby is a graphic designer by trade) I still really enjoyed it. The book has 40 myths/ truths about creating and I think I was shaking my head yes to almost all of them. The book reminds you to get out of your own way and create for the sake of creating (and because the world needs to see your passion). I would give it an 8 out of 10.

  • Van Life by Foster Huntington - The hubby and I have three Amazon wish lists: one for him, one for me and one for our AdventureMobile. This book was on our AdventureMobile list and we got it for Christmas. If you are new around here you may not know that I'd LOVE to move out of our condo (rent it out for a little extra income) and live out of our van. It may not be a reality today, but hopefully someday in the future it will be. With that said, this was a quick read. I would say the majority of the book is a collection of pictures of different adventure-rigs, but there are some awesome interviews with folks who have made the jump to van life (one of Ryan's friends is actually interviewed in the book too - pretty sweet!). Although I would have loved to read more about van life as a lifestyle I knew when we got this book that this wasn't the book for that. But let's just say all the pictures got my wheels turning on how we could build out a new van! I would give it an 8 out of 10.

With that January comes to a close. My reading may have slowed, but I definitely hope it never completely stops. If you have any suggestions on books, please send them my way! I'm always willing to add them to my queue at the library!

What are you currently reading?

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Movies of the Month {January}

The hubby and I recently signed up for MoviePass. If you haven't heard of it before, it's a somewhat new subscription service that allows you to see unlimited (*one per day) movies in the theater for $9.95 per month! Normally I'm not a movie person (maybe it's my frugal side or maybe it's the fact that I feel like I could be doing a hundred other things during the two plus hours I have to sit still to watch the film), but the hubby LOVES them so I surprised him with the membership.

My thought is, as long as we use it at least once a month it pays for itself (movie tickets start at $12 per ticket around here). And, similar to me reviewing the books I read, I thought it might be fun to do a quick critique of the movies we see. 

We had heard great things about this film so although it may not normally be one we would have spent money on to see in the theater, we went because of our MoviePass. Let me start off by saying that the hubby and I tend to avoid things like the circus, zoo, etc due to the captivity and cruelty the animals have to endure, but because of the rave reviews we decided to give it a go. I would say that the treatment of the animals was all but overlooked in the movie, but the feelings surrounding the disabled and downtrodden were definitely apparent. Don't get me wrong, the film was catchy and dazzling, but I'd say the realities were greatly glossed over. There was a part in the film where Barnum went to Charlie's home to "recruit" him and mentioned that "people are already laughing at you, you might as well make money while they do it". OUCH! It was like a punch in the gut for me, where the director was trying to give the audience a glimpse into what was actually happening, yet I'd assume the majority of folks missed it. Obviously they were trying to make the movie upbeat and enjoyable, and had they gone into all of the realities it probably wouldn't have held audiences as captivated as it did, but I would say that Barnum was NOT a champion for the disabled. I'm not saying they tried to portray him as this major hero (I don't know about everyone, but I at least walked away feeling as though he was a majorly flawed man), but the truth about him and how he treated people and animals was not as beautiful as the movie made it out to be. As an entertaining musical, I would say it was awesome. As a realistic view of history, I would say it missed the mark.


The Shape of Water

I'll be honest, I cannot do scary movies. Even if there is a trailer for a scary film on the commercials or during the previews at the theater I have to close my eyes and try to hum over the audio. At first I was a little nervous that this would turn out to be some sort of scary movie (mostly because I hadn't heard much about it), but thankfully it wasn't. It was definitely interesting. I felt like it was a mix between a movie like Amelie and a sci-fi film like Creature from the Black Lagoon. Without giving away too many spoilers, I sort of love how the director/ writer flipped the switch on everything; that the "beast" turns out to be a bit of the romantic protagonist, the leading man turns out to be a douche bag, how the minorities and disabled are the heroes and how "great America" is where the true beasts lie. The hubby and I both walked away thinking it was entertaining, not really what we were expecting, but enjoying it nonetheless.



I'm not one for westerns, but the hubby was excited about this movie so I took one for the team and went with him. I thought it was a good movie and the hubby REALLY liked it. I would say that it's your typical western film (not too much crazy gore or guts, but definitely has its fair share of violence). I think what stood out most to me was the conversation we had afterward. Films like this make me shake my head and throw up my hands, confused as to how we can talk 17 or 18 year old kids into thinking that killing for their country is "noble". And how insane it is to me that we can justify our actions (doing something that otherwise would be seen as 'wrong' because it's "our job" or because of retaliation and our perverse sense of justice). The hubby has a heart for Native Americans, so films like this just reinforce how terrible America can be at times. Thankfully there was some redemption in the movie so it wasn't totally depressing (although when you think of how America has treated those whose land we STOLE it can definitely be a little too much to bear at times).


Since we didn't receive our MoviePass cards in the mail until the 25th, we had a "short" month, but I'd say we definitely still took advantage of the membership. The hubby and I each saw 3 movies, meaning we saw each film for $3.32.

What was the last movie you saw in the theater?

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Workout Recap - Week 4

Sunday, January 21st – 18 mile run with the hubby, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Monday, January 22nd – 8.35 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Tuesday, January 23rd – 60 minutes on the stationary bike & 5 mile run with the hubby

Wednesday, January 24th – 9 mile run with the hubby, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Thursday, January 25th – 9.65 mile run

Friday, January 26th – 5 mile run with the hubby, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Saturday, January 27th – Rest Day, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Another 50+ mile week - YIPPEE! Hopefully by now you've read about some of our upcoming adventures and noticed that rather than "quality" workouts, a lot of what we need to build is "quantity". We'll start getting some trail/ dirt mileage and hill workouts in our training over the next few weeks, but for now I'm pleased with where both of us are at fitness-wise.

How were your workouts this past week?

Friday, January 26, 2018

Friday Favorites

WHOOO HOOOO! Another week DONE! Last week the hubby and I missed our normal chips and salsa date (there are very few things that come in the way of that... seeing as I look forward to it starting Saturday morning... but when your best friends want pizza, you get pizza), but tonight we are getting back on that tradition! And we might as well keep the Friday Favorites train chugging right along, so without further ado, here are a few things I am digging lately!

SOLAR x USB: Luci Pro

I received an email from MPOWERD last week with info about their new Luci Pro lights available for pre-order and they're AWESOME! With mobile phone charging capabilities plus two times the battery capacity and brightness, the new Luci Pro Series will take you further than ever before. And if you grab yours during the pre-order special, with every Pro Series pre-order a Luci EMRG will be donated on your behalf through the Give Luci Program. The USB port allows for two-way charging so you can charge Luci anywhere. The light becomes an emergency mobile charging - giving you up to 50% emergency charge. The new lights come in two finishes - clear and frosted. Orders will ship as of February 1st. 



I've heard about this "subscription" for a while now and we finally took the plunge. The hubby LOVES movies (me - not so much... I have a hard time sitting still for an extended period of time). Ryan would go to the theater or watch a movie at home multiple times a day if he could. But, let's just say the HIGH ticket prices at the theater hold me back unless it is something I REALLY want to see. Well, MoviePass changes the game! You can catch the latest movies in theaters for $9.95 per month. UNLIMITED MOVIES (well, there's a restriction that you can only see one per day, but that's still like unlimited, especially for someone who usually only goes once every few months). With MoviePass there are no blackout dates and you can see a new 2D movie every day, even on opening night! I thought this would be an awesome option so we could add in a few date nights and I don't feel forced to like the movie ;) Shoot, Ryan might even head over to the theater after I go to bed at night and catch a late-night show! We haven't technically tried out the service yet (you have to wait until you receive the card in the mail which most folks say takes a full 2 weeks), but we are stoked to give it a try!


Seize the Awkward Campaign

Mental health has been a taboo topic for FAR too long! We need to be able to talk about it! Along with partners The Jed Foundation (JED) and the Ad Council, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the nation’s largest suicide prevention organization, launched a national groundbreaking ad campaign, “Seize The Awkward.” This campaign will work to empower teens and young adults to reach out and help a friend who may be struggling with their mental health.

MudLOVE Valentine's Day Gift Sets

I posted about the custom sale that MudLOVE currently has going on (it is only through the end of the month, so do NOT miss out), but then they went and released these extra AWESOME new goodies so I had to spread the word about them as well! The hubby and I normally don't exchange Valentine's Day gifts (or really gifts at all), but I might have to make an exception to that precedent... I mean, I'm pretty sure I NEED the heart mug and he FO SHO MUST HAVE the anchor one!

Wands for Wildlife

A friend of mine shared this campaign on her Instagram stories earlier this week and I HAD TO pass it along! RECYCLE & SAVE WILD LIVES! Old mascara wands are used to remove fly eggs and larva from the fur of wild animals. They work great because the bristles are close together. So it's a WIN-WIN when you send them to the Appalachian Wildlife Refuge. Before mailing, wash wands in soapy water to remove residual mascara. Please do not purchase new wands (this is just a way to recycle and help out). If you want to do more, you can buy food or supplies from their Wishlist or make a donation.


What are you loving lately?

Wednesday, January 24, 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, January 23, 2018

Upcoming Races / Adventures

Within the last week or two, we have added some pretty AWESOME events to our upcoming calendar. Some are races, some are meet-ups, some are adventures. I have had a hard enough time trying to keep them all a secret for this long, so I'm finally spilling the beans! I hope you'll be just as pumped as I am (and maybe will join along with us for some of them!)!


The Mesa-PHX Marathon

Hopefully you all know that the hubby is training for his FIRST FULL MARATHON! He picked the Mesa-PHX Marathon to be his first after he ran the half last year with Dave (of the infamous @fitfam6 notoriety). He has been training his tail off and I am so stinkin' proud of all the hard work and dedication he has put in thus far! No matter what the time says when he crosses the finish line on February 24th, he will be a MARATHONER! I don't think that anything will top that, but last week we did announce the #WeRunSocial meet-up. If you will be in the area (no matter if you will be running any of the races or not), you are welcome to come by, say "HI", snap some selfies, possibly win some amazing goodies, etc.

The Los Angeles Marathon

If you have been around my corner of the InterWebs for a while, you will probably remember that I was an ambassador for Conqur Endurance Group (who puts on the Los Angeles Marathon, Pasadena Half Marathon, Santa Monica Classic, etc). Although I am not on the kick-butt ambassador crew this year (I wanted to give others the opportunity to be a part of the amazing group), I will be running the Los Angeles Marathon for a third year in a row. Not only that... but SO WILL THE HUBBY! Yep, you read that right, the hubby has registered for his SECOND FULL MARATHON! HECK TO THE YES!

I don't know if you think this is as cool as I do, but if you Google "Los Angeles Marathon" MY PICTURE IS FEATURED FOR THE WORLD TO SEE! HOW AMAZING IS THAT?! I am still stoked (and a bit shocked because I don't know how it happened) and I found out about it a couple weeks ago!

The Boston Marathon

I mean, what more is there to say other than BOSTON?! I will definitely have more posts about this in the coming weeks, but now that we are starting to get an itinerary together of things that my parents, my hubby and I want to do and see while in Bean Town it's all feeling a bit more real (especially seeing as I ran my qualifying race back in October of 2016)!


Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim

So, you may be asking yourself, "WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD YOUR HUBBY ADD A SECOND MARATHON BEFORE FINISHING HIS FIRST AND WHY WOULD YOU PICK ONE ONLY THREE WEEKS AFTER HIS FIRST?!" Well, because we have a pretty AWESOME adventure we just added to the calendar... We're planning to run "Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim" at the Grand Canyon. This means we will start at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, run to the North Rim, then run back to the South Rim. In total it will be approximately 40-45 miles (depending on the trail(s) you take). With that said, we need to get in more training mileage and the ultra plan I was looking at had a 31 miler on the day of the Los Angeles Marathon so it made perfect sense! We don't have all of the details worked out yet (we were planning on doing all of it this past weekend but unfortunately the government shutdown has blocked that from happening...), but our goal is to do it the week after Boston. We are planning on camping and exploring while we're there, but don't have many specifics yet. We will definitely have a few more posts coming about this adventure, but I'm so stinkin' excited that I couldn't keep it to myself any longer!


The OC Marathon

I was contacted last week about running (and promoting) the OC Marathon. Although I wouldn't say it's necessarily "local" (it takes over an hour to drive there {with no traffic}), I'm STOKED to be a part of the event. I have a ton of SoCal friends who hopefully will be there, so I know it'll be a MAJOR PAR-TAY. With all of the other races/ adventures on the calendar, I think I'll stick with the half marathon distance, but whatever I do I know it'll be AWESOMESAUCE! PS I'll have a giveaway coming soon but if you want to register before then - use CARLEESAVES5 and join me in Orange County on May 6th!


Now, I'm sure there will be other races or mini adventures thrown in between now and May, but I think these are the BIGGIES (not to mention, I'm pretty sure this all will keep us SUPER busy). It's a tough life, but somebody's gotta live it ;)


What is something on your calendar that you are super excited about?

Monday, January 22, 2018

The Testament Running Co. GIVEAWAY

Let's start at the beginning, okee dokee?! I was contacted a few weeks ago by Jaclyn from The Testament Running Co.. She asked me if I'd want to collaborate on a tee design for her company. I took a look at her site (because I obviously wanted to make sure I liked the products and brand before agreeing to work together) and was stoked with what I saw.

The Testament Running Co. is a Christian running coalition here to make you feel EMPOWERED. I loved the idea behind the brand, as well as tons of the tees. I told Jaclyn that I'd be pumped to work with her and we got to brainstorming.


She asked me if there was a mantra or saying that I really loved and wanted to put on a shirt. Seeing as the brand's roots are in Christianity, I figured why not go with "Do Justice, Love Kindness, Walk Humbly" (from Micah 6:8). I have another tee with something similar on it (that I bought a few years back from a Las Vegas church that was raising money so they could purchase bicycles for monks) and since I love the script-y font Jaclyn uses I thought it would be great!


I love how it came out and couldn't wait to get my hands on one of them! Let's be real, bright colors are my jam, but I have to confess that approximately 50% of the t-shirts in my closet are some form of grey. With that said, I was thrilled when we decided to use a charcoal tri-blend as the base for the tee. (There's also an AWESOME aqua option I need NOW!)


While we were in the designing process, Jaclyn mentioned she would like to give me a portion of the proceeds since I was helping with the collab. I told her that would NOT be necessary, but if she wanted, she could donate the portion she was originally planning on giving me to an organization that was doing justice and spreading kindness.


If you've been around my corner of the InterWebs for a while, you've probably heard me mention Outside The Bowl. It's the organization I went to Haiti with after the massive earthquake in 2010. It is very near and dear to us {the hubby helps with design work and we support them financially on a monthly basis}. The Testament Running Co. will be donating a portion of the profits from each of the collaboration tees purchased to Outside The Bowl to help feed the hungry.


Not only would it be AMAZING if each and every one of you went and ordered a tee (or three), but Jaclyn is letting me do a giveaway for one lucky reader! Entering this giveaway is easy-peasy! Simply use the Rafflecopter widget listed below and cross your fingers. Some entries are available daily so I would HIGHLY recommend entering early and often.

The shirts are so soft and comfy! PS This is an XS (fits like unisex sizing).

a Rafflecopter giveaway
This giveaway will run through Friday, January 26th at 11:59pm PST. The winner will be contacted via the email address on their Rafflecopter account and has 24 hours to claim their prize (make sure your information is up-to-date and you check your email regularly). US Residents only. All entries are verified, so make sure to do whatever the required action for the entry is or it will be disqualified. I would hate for you to miss out on winning due to a technicality, so if you are going to click the option, make sure you do whatever it asks or a new, random winner will be selected in your place.

For anyone who doesn't win, use code CARLEE to save 10% on your order because EVERYONE is a winner in my book!

Do you have a favorite scripture? If so, what is it? If not, what about a meaningful quote or mantra that you love? 

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Workout Recap - Week 3

Sunday, January 14th – Rock 'N' Roll Arizona Half Marathon

Monday, January 15th – 8 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Tuesday, January 16th – 4 mile run with the hubby, 90 minutes on the stationary bike, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Wednesday, January 17th – 9 mile run with the hubby, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Thursday, January 18th – 11 mile run (4.5 miles with a friend, and 6.5 solo miles), Stretched & Foam Rolled

Friday, January 19th – 7.5 mile run (2.5 solo miles and then 5 miles with the hubby), Stretched & Foam Rolled

Saturday, January 20th – 2.25 mile hike with the hubby and puppy, Stretched & Foam Rolled

By the end of the week my legs were SPENT! Saturday is normally my rest day, but we tend to get in some type of "active" recovery (stubby wiener dog legs can only go so far and so fast, so it is normally a good way to force us to slow down and enjoy our surroundings). Even though my legs are feeling heavy and a bit fatigued, they definitely don't feel painful, which is great (especially since I've been running 50ish miles consistently for the past few weeks). So far, so good! Stoked at how well I'm feeling about 5 weeks out from the first of three full marathons (in the matter of 8 weeks).

How were your workouts this past week?

Friday, January 19, 2018

Friday Favorites

It's FRIYAY! Some weeks tend to drag while others tend to fly... This week was actually the latter... It was probably because last weekend I took a quick road trip to Phoenix with friends, ran the Rock 'N' Roll Arizona Half and then had a ton to catch up on during the shortened week (with MLK Day on Monday) so the days flew by. Thankfully I still had the time to get together a list of some of the things I have been loving lately... Hopefully you may love some of them too!

Parks Project + Mokuyobi Collaboration

I'll be honest, I don't think I ever rocked a fanny pack before, but when I received an email from Parks Project late last week with the collaboration they were doing with Mokuyobi and included a picture of their new fanny pack I told the hubby I "needed" it. The pattern of this new line is UBER CUTE! Apparently the hubby has known about Mokuyobi for a while now, but I am just finding out about their AWESOMENESS now... Better late than never I guess!


lululemon 40|80 Challenge

This was the second year I participated in the lululemon 40|80 Challenge hosted on Strava. For those of you out of the loop, it was a virtual running challenge where runners attempt to hit 40 or 80km (approximately 25 or 50 miles) within a two week time frame. This challenge was actually what got me to sign up and start using Strava last year!

I saw this the morning that I ran the #RnRArizona Half

The info mentions folks who complete the challenge will receive "badges" on their Strava account for the different milestones, but last year lululemon also hooked us up with FREE GEAR (a tee for those who completed the 40km or a tee AND shorts for those who completed the 80km). Since I'm in the middle of marathon "training" (I've got the Phoenix Marathon in February, the Los Angeles Marathon in March and the Boston Marathon in April), I was easily able to hit the 80km {I actually got it done in the first 6 days}. The hubby even signed up for Strava and hit the 80km mark!

1,863 out of the 116,000 participants?! I'll take it! 

So Will I (100 Billion X) by Hillsong UNITED

We've been singing this song at church for a while now, but I heard it for the first time on the radio last week and remembered how much I loved it. I know that I may not push my faith down your throat (or at least I hope that's not how I come across), but hopefully I live it out enough that it is noticeable and encouraging to you. One of my favorite lines in the song is - "if you gave your life to love them so will I" - and it reminds me that ALL people are God's creation and if God was willing to send His son to die for them (and me included), the least I can do is love others in His name.

Brooks Running Canopy Jacket

I ordered this jacket a couple weeks ago when I saw it went on sale (wait, what.... you don't stalk your favorite brands' website?! weird-o!). I thought it would be a great lightweight jacket and boy oh boy was I right. I wore it on a sunrise run last week and it was perfect! (It was about 48* and foggy, which means soggy, and the only thing that got sweaty {in case you were worried about overheating} were my elbow-pits... but those tend to be the first thing that sweat on me and it happens no matter the weather or what I wear.) The reflectiveness of this jacket is AMAZEBALLS, but there are other awesome features if you prefer one of the other colors as well. It's breathable, packable, water and wind resistant, has hidden thumb holes and a headphone anchor in the zipper pull. No detail was too small to be overlooked in this jacket!

LA Landmark Ride

This is the official bike ride at the Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon. Cyclists will ride 26 miles on the marathon course, hours before the runners start. Ride through LA's historic neighborhoods, past countless iconic landmarks, with zero cars. It's the ride of a lifetime, a chance to experience a famously auto-centric city cleared of traffic. I think this is such an awesome idea, seeing as the course is already set up. Maybe I've been living under a rock, but I haven't heard of something like this before, but think it is an AMAZING alternative to running the course (if you may be injured, not fully trained or if running just isn't your jam)! And you'll be raising money for life saving cancer research at the same time because each rider must raise a minimum of $300 for City of Hope (one of only 47 comprehensive cancer centers in the US {which is the highest recognition bestowed by the National Cancer Institute}). If you're interested, check it out sooner rather than later because space is limited and who knows when you'll be able to bike this so safely again.


What are you loving lately?