running minnesota: a good week of running

Hello, friends!  I know I've been missing for a week but with Memorial Day weekend and my trip to Minnesota, I have been enjoying life and have put the blog away for almost a week.  This week has been great for running.  Whether it is raining or sunshining, I have been motivated to run, even if the runs do not go as planned because in the end I have decided to celebrate each run as a victory, because regardless of my pace or timing, a finished run is a finished run.   

I am still in Minnesota and it is amazing how motivated I have been to run here.   The photo above was in Kansas (notice the sucky time) and the one a little further down is my average runs here in Minnesota (better times make me happy).  Not sure if it is the wide open roads of the quiet mornings but there are two things I more aware of his week.  First, I am actually enjoying running in the morning here and second, I do better time wise here (probably because it is not as hilly as in Kansas). 

One thing I noticed when I spent my holidays here was that Minnesota has some crazy gorgeous sunsets.  But running in the mornings have made me see that it also has some amazingly beautiful sunrises.  How can you not get motivated and inspired with a sunrise like this?  I was so inspired that I did not turn on my GPS until  was half a mile into the run (this was a 4-mile run instead of 3.5 miles). 

But what I have loved the most is getting to see the small little town that will be my future home while everyone is asleep and without me getting the "who is that girl?" stares :-)  I have encountered a few early bird though and they were very friendly.  I have decided that running is the best way to get to know a town.  You really see it in a whole different way. 

In all the running training has been going really good although strength training basically did not occur this past week.  But that is ok.  To be able to actually concentrate just on running was really good and really beneficial especially because it allowed me to gauge a little bit better how I feel on my runs when I am not tired from the strength training workouts.  Definitely a good week of running with the majority of my runs in and feeling good.  No foot pain whatsoever.  And that alone is a good thing. 
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island girl favorites: stylish tote bags

Last year when I was packing for my move from the Sandhills of North Carolina to Kansas, I was susprised at the amount of bag I have.  Actually I need to correct that-- not bags but totes.  Not sure if it is because I have a dog and a gazillion of things to carry or what.  All I know is that I love them with a passion.  I only have 3 dressy handbags and the rest are totes, enough that I had to use a large box when I packed them.  

The term tote "to carry" has been around for centuries but the tote bag love in the U.S. started thanks to one of my favorite companies, L.L. Bean with it's Boat Bag in 1944.  Today we love them not only for their functionality but also because they have become quite stylish.  The are perfect all year-around but there is something about them that just says summer to me.  With a myriad of styles and prices the choices are endless.  Here some of my favorite choices for this season. 


Is there anything more classic than navy blue and white when it comes to a tote bag?  Probably not.  This selection combines the classic colors with with little twists making them perfect for a relaxing day at the beach or for a casual lunch with friends.    From top left to bottom right:

Mar y Sol "Caracas" Bag //  An eco-friendly tote woven from responsibly sourced agave leaves offers a creative, handmade take on the classic beach bag. The sale of Mar y Sol products enables families to gain economic independence, preserves traditional craft and promotes environmental conservation.

 Downing Tote from JCrew //  Roomy and easy in soft stripe leather. You're going to want to carry it everywhere.

Sea Bags for JCrew Large Tote //  Crafted in Portland, Maine, from reclaimed sails, each bag is made entirely by hand (so no two will ever be exactly alike). 

Ralph Lauren Utility Tool Tote //  A tool bag never looked so good.  Designed with multiple utility pockets, this high-density cotton canvas tote features a nautical-inspired screen-print making it really stylish.  

Stylish Utilitarian

I am a goner for a khaki tote bag especially if it has that utilitarian feel to it that makes it perfect to make it your go-to-tote bag.  And these bags have me swooning.  From top left to bottom right:

Maine Guide Tote Bag //  Part of the L.L. Bean Maine Guide Collection, this versatile tote is as handsome as it is durable. Crafted from rugged, weather-resistant waxed-cotton canvas with leather trim and antiqued-brass hardware.  Can you say a new twist in relaxed chic?

Riley Tote from Banana Republic //  This nylon beauty is perfect to carry all your personal belonging when you are going to work or to the beach.  While this has that relaxed feel, it is a bit more polished than your typical utilitarian option so definitely one to have around in the summer when the dress code for work is a bit more relaxed yet you want to look put together.

Field Canvas Tote Bag //  The design of this rugged bag was inspired by L.L. Bean's Original Field Coat, a customer favorite since 1924 for its timeless styling and durable, heavy-duty materials. The casual style is ideal for everyday use, but its comfortable straps and smart organizational features make it great for travel as well.

Chanel Cambon Tote Bag // Named after the famed Rue Cambon where the headquarters of Chanel is located, this is your choice if money is not an issue for you.  It has everything we love about Chanel signature details but in a more relaxed package,  making it perfect for every day for travel, casual or professional use. 

Bold Colors


Sometimes we are in an awesome mood and we want to shout it to the world by wearing bold and fun colors, and you know what?  We have just the totes to go with that mood!   From top left to bottom right:

Bamboula Ltd. Beach Bag by JCrew // In patterns and colors exclusive to JCrew, Bamboula—meaning "to dance, to celebrate"—has been importing beautifully handcrafted products from Africa using fair-trade practices that directly benefit the artisans.  I LOVE these colorfully woven sisal beach totes.

Sea Bags for JCrew // See above for a description.  I personally love the pop of orange with the navy blue and white.  Orange just makes me happy.

Cork Signature Tote by C Wonder //  How cool is this cork material tote?  Crafted of navy flecked corkthis go-everywhere bag is finished with details that make life easier, like an interior key clip, a boxy yet relaxed structure and soft, flat handles that lighten a burdensome load.  And I personally love the color combination of navy blue and Irish green.  This is how you do stylish preppy, my friends. 

Victoria's Secret Beach Tote // Doubling as a shoulder bag and tote, this ultimate carryall is the perfect bag for going to the beach or when you just want to be cool and relaxed while giving that surfer beach babe vibe.  This is a roomy bag that also makes for a great gym bag!

So, whether you are looking for a casual tote bag or a more stylish one, you have many choices to choose from.  Again, the key is finding the one you love.  This must have item will make your life so much easier once the summer gets here in full mode and will allow you to go from work to fun in no time!  Because really, the last thing we need to worry is whether our bag clashes or not.

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my week random favorites

Today instead of sharing a specific workout for Workout Wednesday, I am sharing my favorite things this week, from fitness to girlie stuff.  My likes are all over the place!

RW Article


The June issue of Runner's World has an awesome article with my name written all over it.  The article "Don't Even Start" is about runners that do not like racing nor feel the need to.  And this is definitely me.  I do not like racing nor the crowds at the races.  I run because it is my happy place and where I find myself.  Good read.  Check it out! 

Good music


I am a music lover with a very ecclectic taste judging by my iPhone content.  But for the past week I have been loving the music from Blackbird Blackbird.  This band combined elements of electronica with folsky music creating one interesting combination.  It is relaxed but energizing, and it has been my go-to music this week when I go running.  I can't help feeling like I am running on a beach when I am listening to it.

Bad*** Machine


Not sure how the cycle goes: are my legs feeling stronger when I run because of the leg workouts I have been doing, or am I able to kill my leg workouts because of my running.  The important thing is that I am getting stronger.  And right now I am loving legs but especially glutes, which are so important for running.  And the leg press machine is my favorite machine this week.  I have increased the weight I can press and I get an awesome workout.  Plus I feel very bad***.  Now, if only it wasn't so scary to get into it!

Running Tradition


It is surprising to my fellow Army colleagues that in 16 years I have never ran the Army Ten Miler-- probably because of the top item on this post.  But this year is the 30th anniversary of the race and I decided to register for it.  This will also coincide with the last long run I have to do before the half marathon the following weekend in Pennsylvania.  I'm totally excited about experiencing this great Army running tradition.

Now can we talk about the registration process?  Registration should never be more painful than actually running a race.  In the first 10 minutes 14K people registered and the race sold out in two hours.  Here is the thing: the website crashed the first 10 minutes and people had to wait between 45 to an hour to register.  I was pretty lucky because my Type A personality pulled up the site to have it at the ready 15 minutes earlier than the registration time and the registration button was live!  So I jumped all over that and had no problems registering. :-)

Minnesota Trip

This weekend I am heading up to Minnesota to spend the week with my handsome fiance and his family.  This trip was not supposed to happen until later in the summer but my future father-in-law is having aortic aneurysm surgery and I am heading up to help anyway I can since it is planting season plus I love my future mother-in-law and I know she'll be on pins and needles during this time.  So please keep my future FIL in your prayers.  And I know that it is odd to include this trip as a favorite but anytime I get to spend with this awesome bunch of Norwegians, it is a favorite of mine.

What about you guys?  What are some of your favorite things this week?

following a passion: running for blue

It is no secret to most of you that running is one of my passions with the military coming a close second.  And as I have mentioned before, when I combine them both it is a good day.   For a few months now I have been working on something that finally came to fruition on Saturday-- and the experience was amazing and moving.

You have heard me talk about wear blue: run to remember and what they do to honor the fallen military and their families.  This group has meetups across the USA and abroad, and for the past few months I have been working with them to start a meetup here at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.  After months of planning and coordination we held our first meetup and myself along with my two co-pilots could not be more pleased with the turnout.

The morning started a bit chilly and foggy (almost felt like fall) but turned out to be a gorgeous morning!

We expected about 12-15 people to show up.  Instead we had approximately 35-40 people show up and that is without counting their kids.  The three of us were moved and overwhelmed (in a good way) by the support the community showed and we had an awesome time honoring our fallen through running.  And can we talk about the kids?  They were awesome and so motivated, and many of them have been through meetups at other Army installations-- so they were very solemn during the circle. 

At a meetup we do a circle and we call out the names of the fallen Soldiers (or military members) who have died making the ultimate sacrifice and then we have a moment of silence.  It is one of the most humbling and moving experience I have ever had.  But being "in charge" of the circle was unlike anything else.  I kept telling myself "keep it together. keep it together". 

And I have to mention the photo below (top right).  So this girlie came up to me and said: "Hey, I'm Cristin!  Your blogging friend!".  Yes, I have been following Cristin's blog, Our RedLeg Family, for a few months after we met through a running Facebook page for Fort Leavenworth.  Yet I had never met her in person!  How crazy is that!  So it was great to meet her in persona finally!  Proof that there are good things to social media and blogging. 

As you can probably tell, this was a success and I cannot wait for the next meetup.  It it so great to be part of a community that honors those who made the ultimate sacrifice in such a way.  I think running is something that brings people together and allows for introspection and healing especially when dealing with grief.  Honored and humble do not even begin to describe how I feel about been given the opportunity to combine my two passions for a common goal.  We run. For the fallen.  For the fighting.  For the families.  

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canines: jack in black & white


My handsome bot had a rough week this week.  We had a weird bout of cold and rainy weather that did not make for a good situation for his neck, thus he pulled his heck muscle... again. When he woke up walking slowly and pacing, and only moving his neck to one side, I just knew.  Probably the weird positions he sleeps in are part of the culprit but there is nothing I can do: its a breed thing.

we call this the "i'm melting" sleeping position

Thankfully a med cocktail plus neck acupuncture put this boy to sleep.  My boss was awesome and let me work from home and I was able to keep an eye on my Jack.  Hours later when he woke up with his crazy "bead face" he  looks adorable, if I say so myself.

My boy loves sleeping behind pillows.  No pillow is safe around him!

The rest of the night he kept giving me the drugged up look and then would go back to sleep.  Luckily next day he was feeling better and with more mobility in his neck.  And momma was able to breath a sight of relief. 

island flavors: quinoa spaghetti limone parmiggiano

Celebrity cookbooks; some hate them and some love them.  Me?  I love some of them.  But one of my favorites is Gwyneth Paltrow's My Father's Daughter.  Now, I know the world is heavily divided when it comes to Gwynie (yes, we are close like!) but I love her.  I think she is a good actress, a great mom and a good cookbook author.  Of all my cookbooks this is the one I use the most.  It is user friendly and the recipes are fairly easy to make.  

One of my favorites recipes is perfect for the sudden burst of hot weather we are having: pasta limone parmiggiano.  This recipe combines everything that reminds me of island flavors: brightness, deliciousness and lightness!  My twist on this is simple: use quinoa pasta instead of the normal type to make it less caloric.   For me this also works better because ever since I cleaned up my diet whenever I eat pasta I feel like I am dragging and it just sits in my stomach like a rock.  Quinoa pasta on the other hand, does not give me that feeling. 

Also, yes-- this has parmiggiano and while dairy may not be considered "clean" for many, this is my slight indulgence.  Nobody MESS WITH MY CHEESE!  And it's not like we are using a whole wedge here.  It is about moderation.


The recipe is super easy and very delicious!    Truly is like summer in a fork.  The citrusy bright notes of the lemon keep this dish from being too heavy due to the parmesan and the olive oil.  But what brings everything together is the basil.  It beautifully complements all the flavors and to me this is the binding ingredient in this dish.  Truly a must do for summer or when you want something that is easy but packs a lot of flavor.

** If you are feeling wild and want to have some wine with this, I recommend a Pinot Grigio or a Sauvignon Blanc.  Simply Delectable!  Happy Weekend!

Tuned-In Tuesday.  Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural Blog HopFitness Friday. The Fitness Friday LinkupStrange But GoodRecipe Friday. Foodie Friday.  Food-tastic Friday.  Friday FavoritesFoodie FridayWeekend PotluckAloha Friday Blog HopFull Plate ThursdayFantastic Friday

island girl favorites: coastal style in the prairie

Come spring and summer, this island girl is all about shedding the layers of clothing from winter and wearing clothing that cool and relaxed.  Coastal style is my calling card but now that I am living in the prairies of Kansas, it is just a matter of slightly adjusting my style while still maintaining that summery coastal style.  For me, the key is selecting pieces in a neutral palette that are casual, with clean lines and in natural fibers.  Here are some pieces that fit that bill and that I am loving: 

From top to bottom:

As you can tell, I love linen-- it is the island girl in me.  And with the hot weather that we get here in Kansas, linen is the perfect fabric to go to.  I also carry the neutral palette to accessories.  I am not a jewelry girl (the horror!) but I do like a good simple statement necklace, as well as watches and love, love, love sunglasses.  The same principle applies to scents: clean scents with notes that remind me of the beach, wind and island living.

So as you see, from linen pieces of clothing to accessories with a relaxed vibe, and scents that evoke the sea and island living-- coastal style in the prairie is all about being stylish and classic to ensure you do not look out of place.  These pieces really are basic staples of any hot weather wardrobe and will be classics for years to come.   

What is your spring/summer style?
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fartleck: a love/hate relationship made in track heaven

For someone who started her running passion with track & field, you would think that track time is my favorite training... ummm, no.  You would be wrong.  Aside from a track meet, running in circles is akin to running on the treadmill.  Yet it is a necessary evil in many ways.  There are many track workouts as there are techniques, and if I had to pick a "favorite" I have one word: FARTLEK. 

Yes, it has a funny name that its even more fun to say.  But this workout, if done right, is a buttkicker of a workout that leaves you feeling accomplished... and tired.  Fartlek is a Swedish word that means "speed play.”  You can expect a good fatlek to last about 45 minutes.  This workout truly can be done anywhere, not necessarily the track, but the track allows me to focus on the running and not worried about traffic or other distractions. 

Technically this is considered an interval training, with the main difference being that interval training is a time routine of recurring high-intensity rounds followed by cool down periods. In contrast, a fartlek routine puts the cycles of high and low intensity work at your discretion. You can vary the intensity and speed at which you run, plus how often. However, you will need to achieve 60%-80% of your optimal pulse, which you can ascertain by simply subtracting your age - 220. (Competitor).

Warm Up

Warm up is a MUST.  Do not jump into a fartlek run without warming because you risk the chance of injury since your muscle tissue is not ready for the intensity of the sprinting.  A 5-10 min. warm up works well, allowing your body to be ready and prepared for the sprinting ahead.  I personally like grass drills before a fartlek.  It allows me to warm and stretch while doing it.  Two of the main warm ups I do are: heels to glutes and leg swings, perfect to get the blood flowing.

How To Do It

There are basically two main techniques to fartlek: one by perceived exertion and the other by goal.   If you are new to this type of interval workout you could determine what intensity you want to at.  For example these are two favorites of mine:
  •  at the track you sprint on the straights and jog (or walk) on the curves. 
  • a great beginner workout is to run for thirty seconds to 1 minute, jog for five minutes-- repeating until you get to 10 sprints. 
  • If you are running on the street, you may pick a point to sprint to like a stop sign and another to jog to. 

Why I ♥ It

Simple: it is an awesome routine to incorporate into your running training plan.  While I am not at the pace I want, since January I have improved my time by 2:00 minutes and I attribute the fartlek runs to that progress.  Yes, it kind of sucks while you are doing it because you are making your body switch intensity constantly BUT it improves your stamina and speed.  If you want to get more technical, and biologically speaking, your blood cell's will offer oxygen more quickly into your muscle tissues plus your ability to tolerate lactic acid buildup will improve. (Competitor)  If you ask me, sounds like a win-win situation.  Happy fartlek! :D

Is fartlek part of your running routine?  Do you like it?

wedding inspiration: a girl & her milkglass

I am not a collector of many things but there is one I do collect: milkglass.  I love everything about this beautiful depression glass.  The milky color, the styles and the vintage rustic feel of it.  I have numerous pieces and want to try to incorporate them into the wedding.  But there is a more important and sentimental reason why I want to use some pieces at my wedding.

The Story

When David and I started dating {even though I didn't know we were even though he} he gave me the exact same punch bowl set below as gift.

photo via google

While antiquing in Lacrosse, WI we came across this piece of milkglass and a few days later while I was back in NC, David called me to tell me that he had gone to the antique store and gotten this for me.  Now be aware this was two months after we started dating.  This is how the conversation with my mom and best friend went:

Me: Wow, you won't believe what David did.  He got me these beautiful pieces of milkglass.  I don't know why he is doing this because we just met.  

Mom & Heidi: crickets, crickets... giving me an incredulous look.

Me: what?

Mom: Ah, hone-- first of all no man goes antiquing with a girl just for the hell of of it unless its for manly stuff.  Second, this boy likes you MORE than friends.  Only a man in love would remember these details, go back to the antique store and get this for you just because he knows you like it and makes you happy.  This man is in love with you! 

Me: Gosh, am I that dense? And then they started laughing at me. :-)


So as you see, I do have a sentimental bone in me and its a very special thing to be able to share this with those who will take part in the celebration.  I have been looking around and found some other beautiful examples of how to incorporate milkglass in the wedding. 


 From cups and compote cups to cake stands (aren't these two above beauties?) people get pretty creative with milkglass.  I especially love them as flower containers.  They look romantic but with a clean look and not fussy at all because Maria does not do fussy.



I  love how creative bakers use milkglass especially the hobnail pattern as wedding cake decoration.  These two are lovely. 


Desserts Display

And really, is there anything cuter than desserts displayed on milkglass cake stands and compote bowls and cups?  And of course, if you want to hold various items, make it pretty with milkglass.  I especially like the fruit bowl



One of my favorite uses for milkglass is as votive holders.  When lit, the candles make the glass shine with this beautiful light iridescent glow, and it is at those times when you see the quality of the glass and why we collectors love it. 

all photos via Pinterest

There are many ways of incorporating my precious collection into the wedding, I am just not sure how... yet.   I have been scouting the local antique stores and eBay looking for affordable pieces, and have found two beauties that I have my eye on.  I think this has been one of the best ideas for this wedding thus far.  What do you think?

Do you collect milkglass?  
How do you like the idea of incorporating this into a wedding?

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a good week of training: lost, found and revenge

Wow!  Yes, I started this post with wow because for the first time since my foot surgery in October I had a really consistent week of running WITH NO FOOT PAIN.  I am beyond ecstatic.  Yes, I am still looking at getting faster but I am glad I listened to my podiatrist who is also a runner.  His advise to me: focus until June in getting comfortable on that foot and maintaining endurance instead of speed.  You know, to build a good base.  This week everything felt good and I am looking forward to this week of training.  This is how last week went:


Monday: T25 Cardio {I am the only one who feels clumsy and uncoordinated when doing T25?}
Tuesday: 3Mile Run {37:04}
Wednesday: T25 Total Body (Yeap still feeling clumsy}
Thursday: 3 Mile {37:54}
Friday: 2 Mile Run {23:20}
Saturday: 2 Mile Run {Mile 1- 11:25 / Mile 2- 11:21}
Sunday: Rest

** I am really happy to be getting off the 12:00 mins per mile pace and hanging more in the 11's.  This is so big for me because my goal is to be able to get back to the 8:00 to 9:00 min. x mile.  Here is hoping I get stronger and eventually faster.

The run Saturday was a great way to cap off my week.  Remember last weekend when I went to the farmer's market in Kansas City?  Well, for some reason my GPS took me to a farmer's market alright... a different one about 20 minutes away, in the little town of Parkville, MO.  And while I was in the wrong place, I was so pleasantly surprised to find the English Landing Park, a 68-acre of sprawling land along the Missouri River with a lot of amenities to enjoy the outdoors.  It truly has a British air about it.  Kind of reminds me of Hyde Park in London.

It was gorgeous but most importantly for me: flat.  Oh yes, whoever said that Kansas is flat was lying because since I got here a year ago all I have encountered are hills, hills and more hills.  So it was really good for the body to just go on autopilot on a flat surface.  The trail is mostly compact crushed pea gravel which I am not crazy about, so I ran some there and some in the grassy area.  I still cannot believe my fortune on finding this place, even if I have to drive 20 to reach it. 

One of the great surprises was when I was stretching and I happened to look up across the grassy area where I was.  There looking at me were the beautiful steeples of a building that reminded of a German castle.  I was totally surprised I had not seen it before while I was running or when I drove by it.  The building is part of the Parkville University and it is simply beautiful.  I love exploring little towns and I cannot wait to come back (when I am not sweaty and tired) and check out some of the restaurants and shops.  It's going to be fun!

OMG, revenge!

Ok, I have to digress for a moment here because tonight was the season finale of Revenge, only my favorite show on tv since day 1.  And OMG, what a finale! SPOILER ALERT AHEAD!!! After all this time, I think the Revenge writers wrote the BEST episode to date leaving plenty of open ended stories for next season.  If you have not seen the show, it is about Emily Thorne (truly Amanda Clarke) out to avenge her father who was framed for terrorism and then killed while in jail.  For three seasons we have been waiting for Emily to get her revenge and tonight's episode did not disappoint.  So what happened?

  • Victoria killed Aiden (I am still crying over this one)
  • Emily whacked Victoria in the head with a shovel and Victoria ended up in a sanatorium (I'm still giddy about this!).
  • Charlotte called the cops on Jack for her kidnapping
  • Daniel has been framed for next season.
  • Conrad escaped from prison only to be stabbed to death... by David Clarke!  Yes he is alive!!!
Now I am really confused and really excited for next season.  And now the biggest question remains: why didn't David Clarke let Emily know he was alive, especially after everything she went through to avenge her dead daddy who is now back from the dead.  So much for fatherly love; should be interesting.  This was just an awesome way to end the night. 

I tell you what, this has been one of the best weeks I've had since I got to Kansas.  Here is looking to a week of good training, good food and peace of mind. 

How was your weekend?

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blog love + blog award = happy girl

A few days ago I received this award from Fitness Mom Wine Country and I want to thank her for it!  I love it when fellow bloggers recognize each other and one of the ways I have seen this done is via the Liebster Award. 

 Here is an interesting fact I did not know:  Liebster is a German word that translates to “dearest”, “favorite”, and “beloved”.  By giving this award, one blogger says to another, “This is a favorite and beloved blog.”  How awesome is this?  I have to admit that I have gotten this award twice before and one of the times I did not follow through because life was just too crazy at the time.  But this time I will be better.  Here is how this works: 

1.) You must link back to the person who nominated you
2.) You must answer the 10 Liebster questions given to you by the nominee before you. So, are we ready? Because here are the answers to my questions:  

1.  Breakfast eater or breakfast skipper?  I used to be a breakfast skipper A L L  T H E  W A Y! But I have gotten so much better thanks to the advise of a friend.  It is amazing how much it has improved my fitness and energy throughout the day.

2.  What are you favorite summer sports activities to do with the family?  Well, I am a single girl so the majority of the sports in the summer are running, swimming and beach volleyball.  Now ask me this question next year when I will be the proud stepmom to the most awesome kids ever and I will have a different answer. :-)

3.  Did you play sports in school? Yes, I did and loved every single moment of it.  In kindergarten I fell in love with track and field.  It was one of those moments that I still remember.  I played competitive track & field in through high school and college and enjoyed every single minute.  I also played beach volleyball and basketball in high school.  I mean, I had to take advantage of my height (6'1" since age 14).  #TeamAmazon.  

4.  Do you prefer to run outdoors or on a treadmill? Outdoors.  There is something about the treadmill that around mile 2 my brain shutdowns and its game over.

5.  Are you training for anything at the moment? I am training for the Runner's World Half Marathon in October.  This will be my first marathon and I am pretty excited about it. 

6.  How often do you clean out your fridge? Every month.  I am like Monk in that I like everything lined up and organized in my refrigerator.  Plus I have to clean it because most months I end up wasting produce I do not use, so I want to make sure everything is clean and disinfected.

7.  Morning person or night person? Night person.  I am a crankopotamous in the morning. 

8.  Do you have any fitness goals for this year {2o14}, what are they?  Just continue to be healthy and injury free as I train for this half marathon.  I also want to lose weight for my wedding next summer.  Have to fit in that dress!

9.  Favorite blog post you have written this year.  Uh, good question.  I have to actually mention two: the one where I announced my engagement {for obvious reasons} and my 100th Post because it was deeply personal and reflective. 

10.  Who inspires you? There are many people in my life who inspire me everyday to be better and stronger.  From family members to friends, and people I do not even know, I am always looking for inspiration.  But I have to make a special mention, and that is my fiance David.  He loves me just the way I am but his character, integrity and support inspire me daily to be a better version of myself.  That is not easy to find and I consider myself truly blessed.  There is a reason I am marrying him, y'all! :)

I am also including some of the questions from the previous Liebster I did not answer:

What’s your take on pets in the house?  Have you read my blog?  I am all about pets in the house.  Sure they spend a lot of time outdoors but I personally do not agree with pets sleeping outside especially during extreme conditions. 

What’s your opinion on dogs licking your face?  My dog has done usually by surprising me.  But normally no, because I know where that mouth has been! :-D

Favorite place to visit? Charleston, South Carolina or the Outer Banks in North Carolina.

Do you have a mantra or bible verse or other spiritual saying that gets you through tough times?  I love many Scriptures but one of my favorites for tough times is Phillipians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."  Something about it just makes me feel strong and like I am not alone during the tough times.

And there you have it folks.   A little piece of me.  Now, the peeps I need to think about who to give them to because the blogs I follow have a have a high following.  Give me a few days and I will notify them! :D  I hope y'all have a great weekend!

a new favorite short run running shoe: ua charge rc2

It is not a secret that I have a small obsession with running shoes and the brighter the better.  This is where I let the bolder side of my personality show and it just makes me too darn happy to wear a loud-color running shoe.  But truthfully, looks is not the main factor when I buy a running shoe (ok, maybe once I made that mistake).  Instead I focus on three things: fit/comfort, cushioning and stability.  As a 6'1" runner (what some consider Clydesdale category... really, who the hell came up with that name?) these are a must for me.


A few months ago when we had the polar vortex I was looking for a waterproof running shoe and Under Armour came on my radar.  Now, let's be honest UA is NOT known for good performance shoes, so I was a bit skeptical.  I'm an Asics girls but after reading some reviews I got the UA RC Storm, which worked pretty good.  But another shoe also caught my attention: the UA Charge RC2 probably because it is an awesome shade of neon orange, but mostly because it is ridiculously light (only 8 oz!).  I did a little bit of reviews research and went back to get them.  The majority of the reviews were really good with an average rating of 4.2 of 5 stars.

Above are the average pros and cons from the reviews I read.  But what do I think about this shoe?  I really like it.  
  • It is a low-slung yet very lightweight and very comfortable.  The shoe feel comfortable and cushiony without being soft.
  •  The upper is made of a very stretchy material which makes the toe box really comfortable and snug without being constricting.  It also flexes to mimic and enhance natural foot movement.
  • Stability wise, I found this shoe to be very responsive while being stable.  This surprised me because normally shoes with this stability are heavier and bulkier.
  •  The only negative comment I have is that the tongue/heel box construction is odd.  The tongue is attached directly to the insole.  Now, if I wear the shoes sock less like I normally like to, the seam where they connect bites into my instep, but if I use socks, I have no problem.  Also, the collar around the Achilles tendon is so high that if I wear sock less it rubs the skin... not a good thing.  So wear socks with this.
In all I am very pleased with this running shoe.  I do have to say that I think this is a good running shoe for shorter faster runs instead of long distances where  think I would need more cushioning.  But again, I am very pleased with this shoe and cannot wait for the next iteration of the shoe and hopefully the kinks of the RC2 will be corrected.   

why i ♥ being an accidental "zen" runner


Y'all know I love running.  What many do not know is that I am what I consider an accidental "zen runner".  What is a zen runner, you ask?  There is a Buddhist term called zazen, which means a meditative discipline performed to calm the body and the mind, and be able to concentrate enough to experience insight into the nature of existence and thereby gain enlightenment.  This is a long way of saying that for me running is about two things: reflection and contemplation.  This is what I seek and achieve with my running.  But this was not always the case.  I used to run competitively and then it transformed into this thing I did to relaxed and get away from everything.  This is when a friend told me "You are an accidental zen runner".

I will be the first to tell you that for the most part I do not run for PRs or time.  Do not get me wrong, I understand times and PRs as ways of gauging improvement and progress in your running.  While a Garmin is part of my training gardget repertoire, it is used for specific training runs; but for the most part it stays at home.  I find the Garmin a distraction plus I can usually tell if my pace is on point by how I am feeling.  But above all, I find that checking my time and pace constantly totally takes away from the introspection I find through running.  And instead of achieving zazen, I achieve what Buddhists call "monkey mind" or the ping poing of the mind with random thoughts. 

yeah, super slow run the other day but a good run nonetheless.
How do I use running to achieve reflection and contemplation?  Running is my me time, but most importantly-- my quiet time.  This is when I think about life and what matters to me.  This is when I allow my mind to think and be thankful about the blessings in my life.  It brings me to a happy place.  But it is not just about "fine tuning" the mind on accident.  It has transformed into something I do intentionally keeping a few things in mind: 
  • Concentrating in controlling my breathing.
  • Being in the moment by allowing myself to be aware of the sensations I am feeling while running. 
  • If running with music, I do so listening to soft yoga music.  It really helps me center myself.  But for the most part I run without music.
  •  Love the run regardless of the outcome.  I focus on being appreciative of the the good things that come from running like getting stronger as I take care of this physical temple God gave me.

I realize zen running is not for everyone and truthfully in a world where everything moves at a thousand miles per hour and with so many distractions, it can be quite challenging at first but so worth it.  Distance, time and pace are irrelevant when I am zen running.  Just remember what you are trying to achieve: a clear mind when you run to put you in touch with yourself. 

I know I may sound a little crunchy but truly you can never underestimate the power of connecting with the inner you and achieving peace of mind while doing something you love.  It leaves me feeling refreshed, re-energized and with a better outlook about life and the world.

spring training update: all hail the new season!

I know it seems like I have not been posting much about running or fitness and you right.  One of the reasons I changed the name of the blog last fall was because there is more to my life than running and fitness, and I wanted to share it all with you.  It is not that I have not been running-- it is just that for the first time in a few years my life seems truly happy and I am basking on that feeling.   But running has been happening because Operation Buff Bride is still a go!

The half marathon training is going beautifully especially now that I am able to run outside.  The temperatures have been gorgeous although dear ol' winter made an act of appearance last week that had me bringing my outdoor plants inside. But all is good now.  So fitness has been good and not sure why but ever since watching the Boston Marathon I have been inspired to run and continue to get healthy {thanks, Meb!}.  I started the training way in advanced to really ease into it and avoid any injuries.  This of course, has worked beautifully.  


On Monday I had 24 hours of duty (it happens once in a while) and around 11:00 PM sleepiness started to set it, so I did what any good Army girl would do: workout in my office!  Talk about a good way to get the energy flowing.  And thank goodness for apps that allow you to video stuff and then transform into photos. 
not gonna lie, I need to work on my pushups.
I did pushups and plank pike-ups using an office chair instead of a stability ball, which gave me the same effect because I had to keep my core tightened to keep the chair behind me.   I did this combo a few time through the night to keep me awake, and by 7:00 AM next morning I was ready to hit the sack.

I can tell that I am getting stronger and a little bit faster which is more important to me than weight loss at this point.  The only downside is that I have been struggling with energy and I had an idea why.  I went back and looked at my nutrition plan and I realized I needed more complex carbs to sustain all this running and especially the strength training.  Now the nutrition plan is better rounded and I have a bit more energy.  

I also reintroduced oldie but goodie workouts thanks to the Nike NTC app.  I used this app in the past and it was like getting reacquainted with an old friend; one who makes you sweat.  I lenjoy that amazing feeling of accomplishment I get every time I do a workout and also love the surprises I get as I rack up minutes. It's all about gratification, people.

This has been my training the past two weeks and also this week, and the body is pretty pleased of where it is going and how its handling the workouts.  Here is hoping to a good training week and even better eats.  Keep running, myfriends!

the weekend in photos: markets, morels & misty eyes

 Hello!  I hope y'all had a great weekend.  Mine was so great!  As I mentioned in the previous post, this weekend was the official open of the Leavenworth Farmer's Market BUT there were not many vendors so instead I kept on driving and went to the Kansas City Riverside City Market and LOVED IT!  Talk about a foodie heaven!  It was everything I expected and more.  From morels to fragrant spices and more, this is a place I will be coming back to.

It really was foodie heaven and I was in sensory overload.  I cannot wait until we are fully into summer because I just know the selection of produce and meats will be even better.  But I tell you, I was very surprised to see so many morels.  This is the first time that I have seen them in bulk.  And if you love mushrooms like I do this is very impressive.  I bought a little container and prepared them at home in the best way to showcase their favor: an omelette.  Yes, my friends, morels cooked in butter with green onions and drizzled over the fluffiest omelette (which I made from Araucana eggs) is the best way to savour and acquire the taste of morels.  Yes, I know they may look odd but they are quite delectable.


At the market I bought some fresh lilacs, and they are making my home smell beautifully.  Who needs scented candles when mother nature can create its own, right?


On Sunday I attended the wedding expo and it was so much fun!  I even got all girlied up and wore a dress which is so rare for me!  When I walked in I actually got all misty eye surrounded by all the bridal booths.  It finally hit me: Ahhhh, I'm getting married!!  So, details coming on a separate post.


And finally, no weekend would be complete without spending time with my snugglebug at the doggie park.  He is such a handsome boy!

And there you have it.  A weekend in photos! 
How was your weekend?