Tuesday, December 30, 2014

5 Events From 2014 That Will Inspire 2015 #dishthefit

I'm doing something a little different today: I'm joining up with The Fit Dish, which is a weekly Tuesday link-up party run by Jill Conyers and The Fit Switch. If you're not familiar with link-ups, they're essentially themed posts written on the same day by a number of different bloggers. The hosts collect and post the links on their sites, which makes it easier for blog readers to garner more information in one spot. This time around, there isn't a specific theme, but I'm still quite excited to read as many posts as I can. And to join up for the first time. If you've got time, I encourage you to check out all the links. That said...

I cannot believe we are staring down yet another new year. I won't even talk about slowing down time because it's impossible—we can't slow it down, speed it up, repeat it or get more of it. Time comes as it does, and all we can do is make the best of it.

Since I've been tied down for a week with what we've come to call the Christmas funk, I've had a lot of time to reflect on this past year and the year ahead of me. I have so much to be grateful for and so much to look forward to. I have learned, loved and lived, and will do all of that again (and again, over and over). So here's a list of five events from my 2014 that will inspire my 2015.

In no particular order...
And this list could be never-ending...

1) I ran a solo half marathon.

Never have I ever gone that far by myself. I didn't think I could do it, but I did, and I'll carry that adrenaline with me as I plan for and complete who-knows-how-many half marathons next year.

2) I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy.

I was knee-deep in all things girl because of my daughter that, truth be told, I totally didn't expect to have a boy. But I did, and he's the most awesome little man I've ever known. He's also challenging me in the sense that I'm constantly learning how to move through life with two kids—that's not a complaint, it's just my reality. And since my days are constantly changing, somewhat yet never predictable, it's teaching me to have more patience, to go with the flow and to just be. My carefully calculated life is not so much, and I'm a-OK with that (for the most part). So I'm looking forward to continuing to develop this life as a family of four. Whatever that means for us!

3) I taught my first PiYo Live class.
I was really, super nervous about teaching PiYo Live. I felt pretty confident in my knowledge after the certification course, but was seriously questioning my ability to actually deliver the class. So much memorization! But I got through it with a lot of self-pep-talking on my part. Lesson learned: You have to believe in yourself, otherwise you'll just never succeed. And I'm happy to report that our PiYo Live classes are some of the most popular classes on our group fitness schedule. Proof:

So this coming year, lesson learned. I'm not going to doubt myself.

4) I got people to take their first Spinning class (and they loved it).
There's this one Spinning student of mine, he comes every week with his wife...but she never takes my class. Well, she never did take my class up until about a month ago. She would always go walk on the treadmill. Long story short, she made the mistake of expressing an interest in getting on a bike, so I "bugged" her about it every time I saw her. I wasn't sure if she ever caved, but I did my best to make her feel as welcome as possible in the studio. And then one day she asked me to help her set up a bike. I tell you, the whole class cheered for her, and her husband was proud as ever.  She hasn't missed a class yet, and she's getting stronger and stronger (and her smile on the bike is getting bigger and bigger).

I also had a new client express an interest and SHE came to her first class last week...with her husband, also a newbie. And they both had fun. (And she's the first to admit that she doesn't think exercise is fun.) Small victories, right! And certainly not the only time I've introduced someone to the bike, but for some reason, these times felt different. Regardless, I've bottled up their enthusiasm and I'm going to remember it any time I'm faced with a newbie, no matter what they're newbies at, because all newbies deserve that rush.

(If you're a Spinning newbie, read this post: 8 Tips For Taking Your First Spinning Class)

5) I lost my grandfather.
He passed away just a few weeks before Evan was born. I couldn't be with my family the day it happened, and I couldn't attend his funeral...the trips would have been too risky for me since I was ready to pop. It was the hardest thing to miss out on because all I wanted to do was hug my family. And thankfully, I had my little family to hug. The whole thing taught me that love rules over everything near and far. That life is too short and happens too quickly (see quote above). That the memories we make really do last a lifetime...so we have to live each day intent on making memories, even out of the littlest moments. This all happened in June, then Evan was born, and that's when I started refocusing my priorities. My kids, my family (immediate and extended), my life is my priority. No matter what. And I've been trying to live accordingly. And will try to live like that next year, too. Because every day is a gift.

Question: What is one thing that 2014 taught you?

Saturday, December 27, 2014

#linklove: Good Reads from Around the Internet

I've had a lot of time to read lately. Translation: I surf the Internet while I breastfeed my son, thanks to my iPhone. And since I've been sick this past week, I've had even more time because of my significant lack of energy to do much else.

I do sometimes get interrupted (because, kids). So I've been using Pocket to store links for later consumption and/or sharing. Normally I just keep a thousand (not really, but sort of) pages open in my browser and close them when I get to them, but Pocket lets me keep all of the links in one handy app, which makes my browser much more manageable. I can access the links on my computer, too.

So, here you go. Links to some good reads (old and new) from around the Internet:

1) After I ran the Grand Rapids relay, I had some knee issues...but these issues weren't caused by running, per se. Because running doesn't damage your knees.

2) My little girl got a Barbie car for Christmas, complete with a new Barbie and some clothes. She's been playing with my old Barbies. I get why Barbie can be problematic for girls, but I don't think she can be blamed for all of the issues they face, which is why I'm not holding my daughter back from Barbie. I am, however, being sort of strategic with the Barbie clothes I'm buying her, and I do sort of like the idea of a new 'normal' Barbie doll.

3) Having two kids is hard. It's also wonderful. I can completely relate to this post.

4) As a fitness professional and exercise junkie, I'm always looking for inspiration. Because sometimes, I feel like I get stuck in a rut with the things I'm doing. Greatist rounded up some of the best free workout videos on You Tube.

6) I ran about a week ago, then I got sick. But thankfully, I was able to run outside because of some unseasonaly warm temps. Why this is good: I think the treadmill sucks. Except it doesn't have to.

7) I never knew there was a right way to eat a cupcake. I just thought eating cupcakes, any way, was the right way regardless of how much of a mess you made. Because any cupcake mess, in my humble opinion, is an excusable mess.

8) Speaking of food, this article hilariously reports on 20 food blog trends that need to die. Note: I don't agree with all of them, but there are definitely some trends on the list that kind of annoy me. Regardless, it's a great read. We have to be able to laugh at ourselves, right? I mean, I'm not a food blogger, would never claim to be, but I do take food pics and talk about healthy eating, so.

9) I pretty much epitomize the definiton of the word "hangry."

Because, don't stand in the way of me and some food when I desperately want it. Ask my husband. He knows. What he might not know yet, though, are the definitions for these 10 brand new health words we'll be hearing in 2015.

10) Do you like brussels sprouts? I love them, and have been craving them since Thanksgiving. My aunt sauteed them in a balsamic reduction with pancetta and...oh, man. I can't remember what else. Regardless, the reduction and the pancetta sound like enough. But get this: My grocery store has been out of them the past few times I've gone to purchase. Maybe next time I'll have some luck, because I'm dying to try out these brussels sprouts recipes.

Question: Do you like brussels sprouts? What's your favorite way to eat them?

Friday, December 26, 2014

Because strep throat isn't fun. (But chamomile tea helps.)

As I type this, I'm holed up in my little basement office typing away with a cup of chamomile and honey. The kids are asleep, the husband is making his way toward bedtime—we're all sick. Literally, all of us. It's hotmessville up in these parts.

It started last Friday when my son went to bed with a fever.

Over the course of the last week, my husband developed pinkeye which has since spread to both my kiddos. And it might be brewing in my left eye.

Let me be clear on one thing: Yes, I love pink. But not in this very situation.

Additionally, while the fever is gone, my little man has two ear infections. And my daughter has a steady temperature. I had a steady temperature from Tuesday through Thursday, and now I have strep throat. 

So here's to hoping she doesn't end up with strep throat. 

Did you follow all of that? 
I can barely keep up and/or manage all the medications on the kitchen counter.

Worth noting: I forgot how much strep throat sucks. 
It's literally been years since I've had it.

It hurts to talk and swallow, but the tea (and the amoxicillin) is helping.

Did you know that chamomile tea can be used to relieve the symptoms of pinkeye? 

Our doctor suggested this to my husband as an addition to the eye drops he's been using, and he swears it's working. So I brew myself a cup of tea, and then pass on the tea bag to him. Don't waste good tea, eh?

Bet you can decipher that our Christmas was sort of crazy. Luckily, the kids still had a blast with their presents. But we aren't able to celebrate with my family this weekend, which is a complete and total bummer times five million because we couldn't celebrate with them last year, either.

Because I was sick. 
Joy to being sick on Christmas. 

Last year was different, though. I was pregnant, ended up in the emergency room for fluids, had the flu...anyway. This year is only slightly better. Translation: No trips to the ER.

I did try to make a trip to the walk-in clinic because my doctor's office was closed, which presented a 2.5-hour wait. I decided against it and instead accompanied my kids to their doctor. She didn't treat me, but made some suggestions as to what she thought I might have. I relayed her thoughts to my doctor via the off-hours phone number and...we've come full-circle: I have strep throat. Yay.

So, we're laying low hoping that the meds we picked up today will kick in overnight and put us on the uphill battle toward being healthy again. And since I'm not doing much in the exercise department right now—was supposed to teach a Studio Pump and PiYo Live class on Friday, but had to sub it out—you'll get your monthly dose of links to love at some point before the weekend is out. With lots of time to read, I'm finding some pretty great articles.

Question: Anyone else out there dealing with yucks right now? Any home remedies for soothing a sore throat? I'm down with trying anything. I've also gargled a salt water/baking soda combo at the suggestion of my doctor, which gave me some relief...

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Believing is seeing. #merrychristmas

A few days ago, I was walking out of the grocery store with my two kiddos in a cart, when a friendly man stopped us for a chat. He directed his conversation to the kiddos, asking my daughter about her "coffee" from Starbucks and then asking me what aisle I had found "this little guy" in because he hadn't seen the display of handsome baby boys. I had never seen him at the store before, and have only seen him once since then. There's always that thought about strangers, and sometimes I get a little nervous when they approach my kiddos, but this guy...an older gentleman...was nice and genuine. And he really made me stop and think about Christmas, because he said to me (I'll paraphrase it for you):

"This is such a great time of year for you. Christmas with kids is wonderful. It really puts the magic and wonder back into this time of year. You can see it through their eyes and remember how you once saw it. Santa, the elves...we all need to keep believing."

I can't even make that up. 

He's totally right. As adults, we go through this time of year in a complete hustle... Holiday shopping at busy stores that test our patience, wondering if the presents we're buying will actually be liked. Stressing over party schedules and perfect Christmas trees, time off and actually relaxing for just a minute. I mean, you know.

So this year, as you wake up and go about your Christmas traditions, I encourage you to see the day through the eyes of a child, whether or not you have children of your own. Embrace the wonder, awe and magic of it all. Believe in Santa and all that he stands for: Love, joy, giving, sharing. Because even though you might never see "the big fat man with the long white beard" coming down your chimney, you can see the essence of him everywhere. 

And there's nothing unreal about that.
Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Pin / Source

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Make yogurt at home! (It's so easy.)

I've been reveling in the glory of a Pinterest success story for a few months now, and it's about time I share the pin with you. Here's the thing: I've been making my own yogurt. It's so easy, and saves me so much money—because seriously, we eat yogurt all the time. Like, ALL THE TIME. And yogurt (the good stuff) isn't cheap.

So here's how it all started:

A few months ago, one of my friends from the gym brought be that little jar of homemade yogurt. She has a yogurt maker, and we somehow got to talking about yogurt one day, which then led to her bringing some in for me—and I'm so glad she did because, literally, she changed my life. My yogurt experiences have never been the same.

Of course, I immediately got online to find the yogurt machine she told me about. Essentially, it heats up little jars of milk, which got me thinking about my crockpot. Because obviously I can heat milk in my crockpot, right? So I did what any curious person does these days.

I got on Pinterest.

And that's where I found Michelle's recipe for crockpot yogurt.

It's essentially the most amazing thing I've ever pinned.

Now, instead of spending a fortune on yogurt from week to week, I buy a half gallon of whole milk and a single container of plain Greek yogurt. And then I multiply it.

Seriously, that's all you need to make your own yogurt. No sugar, no anything. Just milk and a single thing of yogurt (for the bacteria cultures). With a little patience, it turns into a shoebox-size Glad container full of yogurt.

I mean, you don't make the container (obviously).

You make the yogurt, which you then top with your favorites.

Take a look at Michelle's recipe for all the directions. It does take some planning because there are a few steps involved, but the steps are not complicated and take maybe two seconds of your time. I have it down to a science. My yogurt day looks something like this:

2:30PM Put milk in crockpot.
5:00PM Turn off crockpot.
8:00PM Add yogurt.

And then the following morning, I have fresh yogurt, which I usually put into the container and then into the fridge to chill (and then I eat it at lunch).

It's so good.
So much better than the store stuff.

It's not at all sour like Greek yogurt, which actually doesn't bother me.

But you could eat this plain without a problem. Even my daughter does, although we usually add a touch of honey and some cinnamon before adding fruit or whatever.

Literally, it costs me like $4.00 to make enough yogurt for almost two weeks, depending.

One thing I haven't tried: Using the yogurt I make to make the next batch of yogurt. So far, I've always just purchased that single carton of plain yogurt. Confession: Mostly because I don't have the discipline to leave a cup of yogurt aside to make the next batch.

When I want yogurt, I want yogurt. Know what I'm sayin'?

Question: Do you make anything at home so that you don't have to spend money (or as much money) on it at the store? I need more make-at-home ideas!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

5 Things You Should Do Every Day (#pinspirationthursday)

I wake up every day and go about my business. Most days are pretty predictable, at least during the week, with the exception of jumbled afternoon naps and the occasional cancellation at the gym. But truly, despite those things, I can pretty much anticipate how my day will go. Weekends are different because there isn't a work schedule to abide by, so we tend to really, truly go about our business as we see fit. The to-do list is there, but it's not a deal breaker like it seems to be throughout the week.

But, there are a few things I try to do each and every day at least once because they make my day feel that much better. I'm not talking about "30 minutes of cardio" or "three square meals"...while they're important, they feel like rules to me and rules aren't always fun. These things I'm about to share, they're more like pieces of glitter peppered throughout.

1) Smile.
It doesn't matter what brings it out of you, but you shouldn't let a day go by without putting at least one genuine smile on your face. Because only the genuine smiles are backed by joy, and we all need more joy in our lives. There's just too much out there that brings about the frown.

Pin / Source
2) Learn.
Your brain needs to be challenged. Not just by daily tasks placed upon you by your employer or by your school curriculum. But seriously, it needs to be challenged by YOU. So if you click on a link to read an interesting article. Read it with all of your focus! Don't just skim it, don't just blow through a magazine. Or half-listen to a podcast. Stop and let yourself absorb it because even if it's about something trivial, challenging your brain to think about a new topic (or maybe even an old one), can be fun and exciting. Stop learning, and you really stop living. Amiright?

3) Move.
I could spew out a bunch of statistics about how frequently you need to exercise each week, but that's not really what this point is all about. Figure out those stats, but also keep it simple: Don't just sit there, get up and move. Do something that uses the body you've been given. If that turns out to be exercise, so be it. If you take a quick walk to the beach and back just to smell the fresh air, or throw down an impromptu dance party with your kids (she says admittedly), then so be it. Just move, y'all. We are a far too stationary bunch.

4) Eat.
Obvious, yes. But let's stop and think about how we eat: Rushed? Without thought? Or maybe without enjoying what you're actually stuffing into your face? Stop that, you. Tune into your food and actually enjoy it. Because food is wonderful. Even the healthiest of healthy eats. It's wonderful, all of it, and it's meant to be enjoyed. So stop worrying about it and start enjoying your meals. And start eating them a bit slower...which is what I struggle with, truth be told. I scarf big time. But I try not to, and if I want that chocolate truffle, or that extra bite of whatever, I take it and enjoy it. Otherwise, I'll worry about it for whatever reason..."oh, me...I shouldn't eat this because it's not good for me and I'm stuffed," but whatever. Life's too short.

5) Hug.
Human contact is incredible. Obviously it needs to always be appropriate, but when it is, it goes a long way. Case and point: A solid hug from a spouse, friend, parent, whomever. But I get that not everyone is a hugger, so I'm not saying you need to hug at least one person every day. I'm just saying human contact is incredible. Seal the deal with a solid handshake. High-five after a good sweat session with your buddy. Hug your kid at bedtime, then snuggle with your spouse. Whatever contact you get, take it. And if you give it, make sure you're being respectful. Always.

And here's a bonus thing. 
Listed as such because it might not be for everyone.

6) Pray.
I'm not sure what you believe in with regards to prayer. I grew up Catholic, so I've always believed in the power of talking to God. But if God isn't your thing, I think praying can take on a different meaning: Talk to whomever or whatever you believe in. Or, just talk to no one. Think. Ponder. Meditate. Get lost in your thoughts. Now, this happens to me way more than once a day. Don't call me crazy, but I've had some pretty good conversations with myself. Some based on prayer, others based on deep thinking. If we can't talk to ourselves, can we really talk to anyone? If you think about it, I bet you're actually a pretty good conversationalist. Which is awesome because then, what's boredom? I'd be cool with a coffee date with me, myself and I. And maybe God, too.

Question: Do you incorporate any of the above into your daily routine? Tell me how!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Winter #Running (...and why it drives me bonkers)

I'm in a Winter running funk right now. This happens every year to me. It's always a struggle because I just...ugh, the treadmill. I can't. And it's not so much that I hate running in the cold because as long as it's not icy, it really doesn't bother me. It's the fact that it gets dark so early, and the fact that I can't get out when it's light because of the kiddos and/or my work schedule. Unless it's the weekend, but running once a week just doesn't cut it for me. So right now, I'm in a funk. And I'm struggling to get in three runs a week (which is what I'm used to).

I did, however, get out for a 5K yesterday.

I turned on Songza, and the first tune that played was "Push It" by Salt-n-Pepa. So I did:

I wanted to run, and I wanted to run fast—which got me a new PR.

Today was another scheduled running day, but it didn't happen because I went on a quick shopping trip to make use of an Old Navy gift card that was burning a hole in my pocket. And when I say "quick shopping trip," what I really mean is "drive 45 minutes away to the nearest Old Navy." Ugh.

So I'm looking at Thursday as my next opportunity to run because:

Tuesday: Spinning + Core
Wednesday: Barre Fit

And that's why Winter running drives me bonkers.
Because when I teach, I don't have time for personal workouts, too.
I'd run at night, but...too dark to go out once the kids go down (and no treadmill at home).

In the summer, I was running later at night and it was working out perfectly.

But that ain't happenin' now. Mostly because I'm afraid of running in the dark.

So what am I doing to keep myself motivated?

1) Signing up for virtual races when there aren't any live races close by. See above, Jost Running is awesome. (I just signed up for the See How Far I've Come 10K!)

2) Listening to awesome running podcasts on the treadmill, and then hopping off the treadmill to make use of the track (to break up the monotony of running indoors).

3) Thinking about upcoming races. Like a local Frozen 5K in February, and maybe a return to the Chicago Women's Half Marathon in the summer. Or perhaps my first Zooma race. So many options, all totally motivating. (

4) Reading Runner's World and absorbing all the tips and motivation therein.

5) Meeting up with a local running group as often as I can (although lately, I haven't been able to make many of the runs for whatever reason).

6) ...

Question: How do you stay motivated when you find yourself in a running funk and/or during your off season?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Should you try a #PiYoLive workout?

I have a new obsession: PiYo Live. This choreographed group fitness class is rocking my socks off right now—literally! You're not surprised because I've been talking about it on and off since I got certified. If you want to become a PiYo Live instructor, check out my list of tips for before, during and after the PiYo Live certification course. Lots to know from someone that's been there.

Today's post, however, is for those of you that are wondering if you should try a PiYo Live class.

What the heck is PiYo Live?
Let's discuss.

PiYo Live is a choreographed group fitness class that combines elements of Pilates and Yoga with traditional bodyweight exercises to create a low-impact class that registers high on the intensity chart.

Wait, choreographed? Yes. But it's not like a dance class. This means that you'll know what class will be like from week to week. The instructor will take you through the moves so there's no memorization on your part, and you'll quickly pick up what's going on—no need to feel awkward. Your head might spin a little during your first class, but every class after gets a little easier. And by easier, I mean "easier to follow" because PiYo Live is not easy. And when it gets easy, that's when YOU need to dig a little deeper into each move.

Speaking of moves, a PiYo Live class is divided up by songs that combine to create 60-minutes of work. Including a warm up and cool down as well. New class choreography is given to instructors every other month, which means you might see a completely new class every other month. Or, if your instructor works it like I do, you might see a new section every week or two. Which means you'll exercise with new material a bit more frequently.

Do you wear shoes during class? You can, but it's really a barefoot type of class. I wear Nike Studio Wraps because they're cute and they give me good grip.

And yes, you'll need a yoga mat.

Other equipment? Negative! Your body is all that you need (and maybe a towel, definitely a water bottle). Your instructor can and should offer a variety of modifications to the moves that might require them, but always check in with them before or after class if there's something that isn't working for you.

Speaking of class, you're probably wondering if a PiYo Live class is for you.

You might like PiYo Live if:
1) You love Yoga and/or Pilates.
2) You love certain aspects of Yoga, but generally wish it moved a little quicker.
3) You dislike traditional workouts, like strength training with weights.
4) You want to know what you're getting into every time you show up to a class.
5) You want to sweat, grow stronger and increase flexibility.
6) You dig working out to popular music.

You might dislike PiYo Live if:
1) You prefer a slower flowing type of Yoga.
2) You generally dislike everything about Yoga and or Pilates.
3) Moving quickly isn't your thing.
4) You hate doing the same thing from week to week.
5) You have medical issues that prevent you from moving freely.
6) You are pregnant and in your second or third trimester.

So wait, aren't there videos?

Yes! PiYo Live has been around for quite some time. A home version was recently released, generating a resurgence of interest in the program. Are the DVDs the same thing? Same concept, yes. But with shorter workouts divided up into a specific program that you can follow, complete with diet recommendations. If you have the DVDs and love them, I highly suggest you try out a PiYo Live class. Trust me, you'll love it.

But isn't this a Beachbody thing? Do I have to drink Shakeology? Other than my PiYo Live certification, I am not otherwise affiliated with Beachbody in any way. I don't know a single thing about Shakeology, so long story short: PiYo Live does not depend on Shakeology.

You can definitely get results with PiYo Live.
Seriously, it's such a good workout.

Have I convinced you to try it out yet? Any questions about the class that I haven't covered?

Question: Have you experienced a PiYo Live class? What were your thoughts on the format? What did you like/dislike about it?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

That "4 Things" Blog Survey: My Answers

Every so often, a survey takes the blog world by storm—A series of questions is posted, answers are written, and other bloggers are tagged to replicate. Or not. Sometimes the whole tagging thing isn't required and we all just jump on the bandwagon because it's fun, which is the case (in my case) with this "4 things" survey you might be reading. Katy recently posted her answers, and I thought I'd follow suit because, well...fun! So here goes:

1) Names People Call You
— Blanch (a shortened version of my maiden name)
— T (a shortened version of my first name)
— Boss (because I am one)
— Mommy (because I am one)

2) Jobs You Had
— Waitress at a group home for priests
— Sales associate at Abercrombie & Fitch
— Administrative assistant at a television station
— Senior copywriter at an advertising agency

3) Movies You've Seen More Than Once

And then I'll just leave this last one right here because #bestever:

4) Books You Would Recommend
Run Like a Mother by Dimity McDowel and Sarah Bowen Shea
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be by Paul Arden
Press Here by Herve Tullet

5) Places You Have Lived
— A dorm room at an all-girls college
— My childhood bedroom (as an adult)
— An apartment overlooking (train tracks and) the beach
— A small house on a quiet street with my husband and two kids

6) Places You Have Visited

Cozumel, Mexico

Carrie Bradshaw's Front Door, New York City
The Eiffel Tower, Paris
Maui, Hawaii
7) Places You'd Rather Be Right Now
— Snuggling with my kid in her bed
— Maui, Hawaii
— On the couch reading a book
— St. Barth's (because I've been there, too, and it's amazing)

8) Favorite Foods
— Chocolate (duh)
— Yogurt
— Guacamole
— Peanut Butter

9) TV Shows You Watch
— The Ellen DeGeneres Show
— New Girl
— Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood (not by choice)

10) Things You're Looking Forward To
— Mexico in the Spring
— IDEA World and BlogFest in July
— All of the little milestones my son will soon be hitting
— Christmas with my kids

11) Things You're Always Saying
— "Do you need to go potty?"
— "1...2...3...4...5...6...7...8...9...10...11...12...13...14...15."
— "Grande iced coffee, two-pump caramel with room."
— "He's probably hungry."

Question: Well, not really a question: Pick one of the above and comment with your answers!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Do you know @themotherrunner? #motherrunner

The virtual world is overflowing with inspiration. If you let it, I'm sure the Internet would weigh you down with all there is to read, know and love. I certainly can't keep up, can you? I follow so many people on various social platforms, and I'd be lying if I said I knew what each of them was up to day in and day out. So that's why I pay attention to recommendations. That's why I, myself, make recommendations. Because if I'm missing out, you'll tell me. And vice versa.

Today's recommendation: Another Mother Runner.


A few months ago, I reached out to see if they'd be interested in providing copies of their books to review on Daily Dose—and I'm so grateful they said yes. I had seen talk of the books on Instagram, decided I should look into them, which then lead to me following Another Mother Runner on all of their social platforms. And I try to really, truly pay attention to each of their posts because they really are a great source of information and inspiration.

Mother runners, you'll love them.
Not a mother? Totally fine. You'll love them, too.

Dimity and Sarah are so real, it's crazy. When I listen to their podcast or read their blog posts, I feel like I'm having a conversation with one of my friends. Their approach to running is very, well...approachable. And realistic. For example, from Run Like a Mother (their first book):

And then, in a chapter on clothing they talk about good sports bras. Or on their Facebook page, they seek advice about managing bodily functions during races.

It's stuff we all wanna know about, but rarely think to ask or discuss because, well...boobs and poop, right? And that's why these ladies are so great. They put it all out there for us to consume because they're awesome. And extremely entertaining. I laugh out loud when I listen to their podcasts, and I certainly laughed out loud a number of times while reading their book.

I still have to read Train Like a Mother.
I blame the delay on life and the huge stack of magazines on my bedside cabinet.

Speaking of reading, their writing is super manageable. A lot of running books are heavy...the science of the process weighs them down. I don't have time for that, but I want the information. Another reason to love these ladies: They give it to you straight, in a way that reads quickly and efficiently with max effect.

So, let's break it down.
Here's why you need to follow Another Mother Runner:

1) Because you're a mother and you run.
2) Because you're a woman and you run.
3) Because you're a newbie and you need inspiration.
4) Because you've been running forever, but you need inspiration.
5) Because you enjoy good conversations with your best friend(s).

These ladies. I'm telling you.
Follow them: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram.

Oh, AND: This summer they profiled yours truly on their site in a "Follow This Mother!" post.

Question: What is your favorite running book?

Sunday, December 7, 2014

20 Things to Remember About #Fitness

I'm making a solid effort to stay on track with my running this Winter. I hate running on the treadmill, so this time of year is awful for me. Thankfully, I can still sneak outside because our streets are not yet covered in snow and ice. It's cold, though, so I'm forced to wear some head gear:

At least, in this one case, it's head gear that I actually like. Because honestly, I hate hats. Unless they're perfect. And they so very rarely are, in my opinion.


The wind blows some pretty fierce temps off the lake.
I'll give it some credit for today's time:

And then I came inside and took a warm shower.

Changing subjects...

I recently finished reading the September issue of Marie Claire. Yeah, I'm that behind. It was the 20th anniversary issue and peppered throughout the magazine were lists of 20. For example:

Once I got to the end of the issue, and once I finally stopped drooling over all the Fall fashion must-haves, I started to think about that number.


Could I come up with such a list for fitness?
You betcha, friend.

In no particular order, I give you 20 things to remember about fitness:

1) Fitness isn't a trend—it's a way of life.
2) Fitness is everywhere, and you don't always have to pay for it.
3) Yes, you should try that group fitness class if it interests you.
4) No one at the gym is staring at you—unless you've got cool fitness gear on.
5) Cool fitness gear doesn't have to be expensive. (Ahem, Kohl's. #myfavorite)

6) There IS such a thing as too much exercise.
7) You really DO have to stretch. For real.
8) Fitness can and should be fun. Even when it isn't.
9) Not all personal trainers are the same. Experiment if necessary.
10) If you run any distance whatsoever on a regular basis, you are a runner.

11) There's no such thing as the "guy" or "girl" section at the gym.
12) Gyms really aren't that intimidating once you get to know them.
13) Fitness jobs are fun, but they take work—and it's worth it.
14) There are a lot of certifications out there. Bottom line, choose one that inspires you.
15) Fitness is only part of the equation. Because, diet.

16) Fitness is not always defined by what you look like.
17) Fitness can be very social...
18) ...and yet, it's also quite personal. Because you gotta do what works for YOU.
19) Fitness is empowering on so many levels.
20) Finding your definition of fit and healthy can take some time. But it's worth the wait.

Did you enter my giveaway yet? If you need a 2015 calendar, you'll want to check it out. I'm giving away my favorite page-a-day and there's still time for you to enter.

Question: What would you add to this list?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Stop being unhappy with yourself. (#pinspirationthursday)

My son still wakes up in the middle of the night, just once, but he wakes up hungry. If I don't play with my phone while I feed him, I will typically fall asleep which is definitely not a good thing. So I play with my phone. Otherwise known as "surf Pinterest" because what else is there to do when you need to kill time? I mean, you know.

My son (typically) wakes up in the middle of the night. Just once, but he's always hungry. Since I'm breastfeeding, that means I'm up, too—barely. If I don't play with my phone while I'm feeding him, I will fall asleep, which is definitely not a good thing. So I play with my phone, otherwise known as search Pinterest.

I'll just leave this gem of a find right here:
Pin / Original Source Unknown
It's true, you know.
You are amazing.

Speaking of amazing: Did you enter my giveaway yet?
I'm giving away a pretty sweet 2015 calendar. Go check it.


Question: What kind of workouts would you like to see on Daily Dose? I'm always looking for new ideas for Workout Wednesday. I intended to post another barre workout this week, but...you know...kids. So stay tuned for that one next week.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide: What to buy your best gym friend. (Plus, a #giveaway.)

Did you partake in Black Friday or Cyber Monday? If you're done with all of your Christmas shopping already, I don't even wanna hear it (she says with a smile). Kudos to you, for real. I'm knee deep in it. And here today with some ideas, because what did you buy your best gym friend? Do you exchange gifts with the people you sweat with regularly? This circle of support you've created? If you do, and if you're stumped as to what they might like, check out this list.

Note: I was not compensated by any of the following brands to write this post. I am including them because I truly like them and I think your best gym friends might, too. I did, however, receive the 2015 page-a-day free of charge. They were gracious enough to send one my way. (More on that later.)

Let's get to it.

This year's list features a selection of awesome, meaningful gifts that cost $35 or less. Because it doesn't really matter how much you spend on someone, it's more about what you choose to gift them. And because we're all on a budget. Right?

1) Delicious Snack Bars
Be honest, you carry snacks around with you. And I bet your gym buddy does, too. So pick a few different bars that they, perhaps, have never had. Or if you know what their favorite is, go with a ton of that one. Some of my favorites include:

2) Fitness, Health or Happiness Books
A few days ago, I linked to a roundup of the year's best fitness, health and happiness books. True, books can be expensive, but most of them top out around $25 give or take. And who doesn't love a good book? (And then, you know, maybe you can borrow it when they're done! #bonus)

3) A Virtual Race 
I partnered with Jost Running a few months ago to help them promote virtual racing—and I'm hooked. Race when you can, get some bling and support a great cause. That's all there is to it. At just $25 for a 5K or 10K, it's an entry fee that can't be beat. (The half and full marathons cost $35, which is also unbeatable.) Register your friend, register with them. Everyone wins! Did I mention the bling?

This is one thing I don't have yet, but I do have a nice large hook in my closet. I suggest checking out Etsy for some affordable options. Go that route and you might get to personalize it.

5) A Running Belt or Water Bottle
Sometimes you don't realize how much you need something until you have it. Such was the case for me with a good running belt and hand-held water bottle, which are both now on my "favorite running gear" list.

6) Jewelry
Alright, I know you're thinking that jewelry can't possibly be affordable unless it's cheap, but such is not the case with Momentum athletic and inspired jewelry. The stuff is awesome, and priced just right. And totally wearable while you're working out, I might add. I have a wrap bracelet ($20) and a foot note ($10), and I truly love both.

7) Gift Card to the App Store
Because, woah. All the fitness apps! You can find a lot of them for free, but the upgrades often give access to the best the app has to offer. But, you know, who really wants to spend money on apps? Enter the gift, because that's what it's for!

8) Fitness Class Passes
When you join a gym, you typically get a vast selection of free fitness classes every week.  But sometimes, the gym has to charge a small fee for whatever reason. This can often deter people from trying the class even though they really want to participate, which then makes the class a great gift idea! Or maybe you and your best workout buddy don't exercise at a gym, but have been contemplating a specific class somewhere. Great gift idea!

9) A Fancy Notebook
OK, what? Hear me out: If you don't already do this, keeping track of your health and fitness can really make a distance. And believe it or not, a cute notebook makes all the difference. I found these three at Target:

10) A Motivating 2015 Calendar
If you've been following me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, you know I have a sweet spot for visually pleasing quotes—seriously, I have the best calendar ever, which is where I am getting a lot of them from. It's the Today is Going To Be a Great Day! 2014 Page-A-Day Calendar.

I love this calendar so much that I contacted the company to see if they'd be willing to send over another one because #mainevent — I wanted it to be the anchor of my gift guide. So if you walk away from this list with anything on YOUR shopping list, make it the Today is Going To Be a Great Day! 2015 Page-A-Day Calendar

I bet my blog that your best gym friend would love it.

Motivation is key when it comes to achieving good fitness, health and happiness. This calendar certainly delivers it day after day. In fact, the pages are so pretty that I've kept them all. I don't know what I'm going to do with them yet, but I couldn't throw them out. It comes in a poster and mini wall size, too. Both of which offer up one awesome visual per month.

Best part? Super affordable, but super meaningful.

The other best part? I've got one to give away. Use the widget below to enter. If you win, you'll get one calendar in the format of your choice. Contest is open to those in the US only (sorry), and will stay open until next Tuesday, December 9, at Midnight EST.

No really, you gotta enter. This calendar is beautiful.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 1, 2014

November Recap / Hello, December!

One more month, guys. That's all we've got left in 2014. Just one month, filled with plenty of days you can use to end the year on the best note ever. Because it's the Holidays, and no matter how you celebrate, there's surely some peace, joy and happiness to find in them.

But before we talk about that, I'm going to hold myself accountable for all those November goals I set at the beginning of the month.

1) Meal plan every week and make a detailed grocery list.
I've been really good about this. I force myself to sit down for five minutes the day I go grocery shopping—I make a list, check it twice, grab my shopping bags and go. I still manage to somehow pick up a few items that aren't on the list, but we've been eating well these last few weeks. Not a whole lot of "there's nothing to eat" moments, which is what I've been trying to avoid.

2) Perfect the art of pour-over iced coffee.
I don't know if "perfect" is the right word—because can anything ever be perfect? But my new pour-over brewer is making it easy for me to get darn close. I had two cups today, I'll admit.

3). Find a new Winter coat. (And some warm clothes, too.)
Done, and done. And still doing. I've got an Old Navy gift card burning a hole in my wallet, and I just picked up this shirt from Kohl's. Herein lies the problem: Everything I want is some version of black and white. I think I'm turning into Olivia Pope. #scandal

4) Contemplate some Spring races.
Full disclosure: I've been slacking off on the running. I had some IT band issues when I ran the Grand Rapids Marathon relay, and again at the Hot Chocolate 15K, so it hasn't exactly been a bad thing that I've been running lightly. The knee is feeling good (I think), and I'm ready to get back into a solid running routine, which is motivating me to make a wish list for next year. I've got some ideas, but nothing solidly in the works.

I did run today:

Follow me on Instagram!
Winter running sucks for me. I get so bored running inside. We have a short track at the gym, and obviously treadmills...I'm hoping my new Garmin will help me stay on track, since I can now toggle between the two without losing count of my milage. Fingers crossed, at least.

This, of course brings me to some December goals.

Since this time of year is crazy full of celebration, shopping and everything else that comes with the season, I'm going easy on the goals.

In fact, I'm only making two goals for this month. Get back into a regular running routine, and this:

Pin / Original Source Unknown
Should be doable, eh?

Tomorrow, I've got a gift guide for you. And a giveaway. If you're looking for something inexpensive for your favorite gym buddy, you'll want to tune in.

Question: How will you make it a December to remember?


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