Taking time out of your day to acknowledge those who have spotlighted your blog and recognized it’s value in the blogging world is important I think. Because, after all, we are here to be seen and enjoyed and when someone specifically calls you out on that, it’s special and to be held close to the heart!!💓
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Sarah from the amazing Lifestyle With Sarah, for nominating me for this award! I’m excited, this is fun and allows you to introduce other’s blogs! Thanks so much Sarah 😘
Please visit her blog Lifestyle With Sarah for some wonderful lifestyle/beauty, reviews and inspiring ideas!
The Versatile Blogger Award is given by bloggers to other bloggers to recognize their work and high-quality writing, creativity, unique content and love for their passion. It encourages bloggers to continue doing what they love.
Rules for The Versatile Blogger Award
Thank the person who nominated you for this award and provides a link to their blog.
Nominate at least 5 other bloggers.
Link the nominees and inform them about their nomination.
Share 7 facts about yourself.
Seven Facts about Me.
My husband and I met online (he lived in Florida & I was in Ohio), and we were married a year later. We will be celebrating 9 years together this year!
I find sauerkraut revolting
I color adult coloring books (not x rated, silly) as a meditation tool.
I’m back from my Thanksgiving getaway to my In-Laws in New Jersey! I hear so many people talking about their bad relationships with their husbands family and I have to tell ya, I’m blessed in that department. My husband’s family makes my heart smile. You know that warm fuzzy hot cocoa, soft blanket & great book kind of warm and fuzzy. They feel like home 💗
They came in to town and our plans had us leaving the next day for New Jersey. Yep, 369 miles to get me, and that was just one way. We went to dinner at Cheeseburger In Paradise, one of my favorite places. And it’s all because of pickles! They have the best fried pickle chips ever and they are served with a delicious sauce! They put a new drink on the menu, Spiced Berry Sangria and I’m not much of a drinker, but this was seasonal and very very tasty. Nice for a family toast! I highly recommend this restaurant. It’s a beachy themed sports bar/restaurant atmosphere. The food is reasonably priced and service is always great.
This wasn’t a touristy trip at all. It was filled with family, great food, a fun event and a fabulous movie! We spend a lot of time in the car. My brother-in-law and sis-in-law and their kids live about a half hour to 45 minutes away from my In-Laws house and we went out that way twice. But the drives were nice. The weather was chilled but sunny for the most part and autumn was full bloom. Took some pictures from the car…
I love New Jersey. It’s rich in culture and heritage. Diner’s are still all the rage in Jersey and that is most excellent. The diner is to Jersey what a coffee shop is to Seattle. It’s where you go to eat a meal, have coffee or two, or three and just have conversation. Diners have regulars, so if you are one, you likely know many of the faces you see when you come in. It gives a community feel to the neighborhood. In a world where many neighbors don’t know your face, in Jersey diner patrons see each other and greet each other. Add to that, all the trees, the hilly terrain, brick houses and of course the hues of autumn were gorgeous with the blue sky and sunshine as the backdrop.
We went to see a movie that I feel like I’ve been waiting forever to see!! I’m a big Potterhead and was so excited that we were going to see Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them!! I’d been reading the reviews and some were mixed. I think it came down to people expecting it to be the same as the first in the series. But how could it be. It was a different time, different cast, different mood. The book itself is a different mood departure from the what the films were based on. This is by far my favorite of the series. And as my husband said, Newt Scamander is my spirit animal. If I went to Hogwarts, I am very Luna Lovegood. But closer even than that to my personality is Newt Scamander. He is the animal rights activist of the wizarding world. And Eddie Redmayne was brilliant in the role. The supporting cast was pretty darn awesome too. I love love loved this movie!!! After the movie we went out to dinner at Houlihan’s . Good dinner, wanted cappuccino’s but they were out, settled for coffee then some much needed sleeps, the next two days are a lot of driving and busy busy busy….
Thanksgiving Day began like usual. It was a tradition in my family and in Keith’s to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. There’s something wonderful to be said for traditions in families. Traditions make life just a little warmer and memories that much more special. So in my fuzzy slippers and with a cup of coffee I sat and watched the parade surrounded by all the memories of days gone by in that cozy home where my hubby grew up. And although my hubby couldn’t be there because of work blah blah blah, this was the next best thing.
Then it was off to dinner!! It’s a tradition that my sis-in-law & bro-in-law do Thanksgiving. And I wouldn’t want it any other way. They have a feast of deliciousness. And Tori’s family joins us and so good food and good company is the blessing of the day! But, I have to admit I spent most of the day with our nephew and niece 💗 They kept stealing me away to play, which was by far the BEST part of the whole trip! They are at the age that the distance and time between us doesn’t make them forget bonds that were formed. Keith and I have lived away from all our nieces and nephews and it can be hard to form good bonds. It’s something we’ve learned that is a really important thing to focus on. If quantity of time is unrealistic, then quality of time must be foremost.
So we all at well and enjoyed the day. I was missing my hubby and missing Ippo (our dog that passed away in September) and of course our kitties. But being around family makes the missing pieces feel not as distant.
The next day we headed back out that way again for Hugs For Brady Holiday Light Show at DeVry University. It was their first year and it was for a good cause! They had a lot of activities that kept the kids happy and having fun. It felt like a carnival without the rides. But they had a bounce house/slide and face painting along with other activities that kept them amused and us entertained watching them have fun. The lights were beautiful once the sun set. And at the end there was a light show we sat down for. That, they have some kinks to work out. It was a great way to spend my last evening in town though. Surrounded by family and enjoying an event that helps kids.
I’m sad my hubby had to work but it was nice having his family all to myself for once. Living too far away for frequent long trips back to our hometowns and families we have to take advantage of all the moments we can. And usually I let my hubby monopolize his families time because he doesn’t get to see them as often as he’d like, but this time they were all mine. And to them….
I found this fantastic travel blog, G Adventures and a really cool write up about how to, and not to take travel photo’s. I’m just learning how to take better photo’s mysself. And am signing up for classes very very soon. Photo’s hold your most precious memories. Not only for yourself but for everyone you share your adventures with now and in the future. Learning how to better capture those moments is a subject I’m delving into more and more. So check out the blog and learn how to take better vacation pics!
How Not to Take a Travel Photo
Do you suffer from boring travel photo syndrome? Don’t worry! Travel photographer Peter West Carey’s got your cure!
Power naps – 10 to 15 minutes will do. It will recharge your batteries and give you a boost. Don’t make the naps too long or it may have the reverse effect. You really have to tweek this to suit you. So start with 5 to 10 minutes. Some times if I shut my eyes when I am really feeling fatigued, within 5 minutes I wake up feeling refreshed.
First thing in the morning where does everyone usually go straight to? The bathroom! Decorate in yellows and or reds in your bath area. These vibrant colors stimulate your mind and wake your senses. You can use this trick at the office or before a run or any time you need a mental boost, just focus on something red or yellow.
Not only will yoga & stretching lengthen and strengthen muscles but will also give your energy levels a boost while helping to increase your metabolism. You can even find simple stretches to do at work.
Focus on your posture. Better posture, sitting up straight, burns more calories, boosts metabolism and keeps energy flowing through your body. Ever notice mid-day you start to slouch? Focus on that posture!
Go outside and breathe in some fresh air. Take a brisk walk, a couple times a day even. This will give you some amazing benefits and get you in the habit of motivating to get out from behind the desk, or off that couch! I love walking the beaches. The sand acts as resistance on your muscles giving you not only a relaxed view, but a great workout.
Eat magnesium rich foods. Like almonds. They will give you a boost and fill your tummy with a healthy snack all at the same time
Change up your exercise routine. Muscle conditioning can get even your muscles bored. switching things up gives muscles confusion and they have to work a bit harder.
Speaking of exercise. Don’t just run or walk. Throw in some strength training. Adding lean muscle helps you burn metabolism harder.
If you sit at work, do portions of your day standing. Whatever tasks can easily be done from a standing position, do it. The benefits far outreach just a metabolism boost or upping your energy levels
This isn’t my recipe. But it is a recipe I’ve used a few times and is a staple in my kitchen now. We don’t use energy bars often in our house. But hubby likes them when he does long runs and they are awesome for when we hike. This is my very favorite bar recipe!
Raw Superfood Energy Bars
Cherries and goji berries are soulmates in the dried-fruit world—I often make trail mixes that pair these two red beauties. Here, they’re friends again in these wholesome, cacao-nib-accented raw bars. Packed with all kinds of antioxidants, these bars appear to be “only” sweet treats, while undercover they are anti-aging workhorses.
Author: Julie Morris
Serves: 8 bars
¾ cup raw almonds
½ cups raw walnuts
½ cup dried goji berries
¼ cup Medjool dates, pitted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup dried cherries
2 tablespoons cacao nibs
In a food processor, combine the almonds and walnuts, and process the nuts into the size of small gravel. Add the goji berries, dates, vanilla extract, and cinnamon powder, and process until the mixture forms clumps and begins to stick together. Add the cherries and cacao nibs and process briefly to incorporate the ingredients, but leave some small chunks for texture.
Place the dough on a large sheet of plastic wrap on a cutting board. Press the dough into a compact rectangle, then wrap it tightly in the plastic, compacting it even more. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a ½ -inch-thick layer.
Unwrap the dough and cut it into 8 bars or smaller bites, as desired. These superfood energy bars will last several weeks unrefrigerated and covered, or keep them in the freezer for long-term storage.
Ok, well, to some a mile may not be boom! worthy, but for me it was. It broke a cycle and set me back where I need to be focused at. I could have gone farther, but I didn’t push it today. I just enjoyed the cool weather, even if it was gloomy and overcast. I know I will likely have some aches and pains in this arm that I hurt for a while and may need some therapy with it at some point to shake out the aches. But all and all it felt good to be out there.
Now I plan on a some easy elliptical work and then a warm cozy cup of tea and a gingerbread cookie 🍪 Tomorrow is a cross-training kind day and I’m going to be doing some weight training with Les Mills Online, then down to the fitness center for some work on the machines.
I’m goin easy and taking my time listening to my body. Then I push it just a wee bit past the point the body says stop, then I stop. Getting those gorgeous Purple Lust Capris from INKnBURN today in the mail was like a treat already, maybe I should skip that cookie hmmm….
For those interested this is my training plan (mostly). I’ve modified it a bit (I walk a whole lot more than I run) and for a longer training period and I don’t stay strict to the time ratios. Once again I listen to my body tell me when to push. Galloway Girl Forever!
1. Start Small
Maybe you’ve never run a day in your life. Or maybe you’ve taken a big hiatus from the pavement for whatever reason. Or injury has kept you sidelined. Regardless, you need to start or start back small. The most exuberant first time mountain climber isn’t gonna go out and tackle Mt. Everest his first climb. It would be foolish but also self deflating. You need to set yourself up for success, strength gaining and endurance building.
Heck you don’t even have to “run”. If you don’t feel a run, then walk. Or if your conditioning won’t yet allow running, then walk. Walk as slow as you need to. The point is letting your feet touch the pavement, the trail or the treadmill ( I highly suggest one or both of the first two. Treadmills are great for intervals or really bad weather conditions but being in the open air is just in general better for your health).
Commit to a 15 to 20-minute short walks or runs, or intervals (run/walk/run), three times for one week. Sure, you may want to do more, but just stick to short sessions. After three or four weeks of regular training, aim to increase your workload and running mileage.
2. One Goal
Goals help you to focus. That eye on the prize mentality. Something that would make you feel inspired or accomplished in your training. Sit down and come up with the ONE goal you want to achieve. Do you want to run a 5K, a 5K in under 30 minutes, or are you trying to get back into marathon running? Choose a race allowing yourself enough time to reach that goal. Be very very realistic. Check and see what the time limit is for the race and then set your training accordingly, but make sure it’s doable!!
3. Find Inspiration
That can be from other people who are runners or race walkers. Join a club, or some bigger races even have training groups. Many small running stores have group runs. I’m part of the RWB who gets together not only for races, but training runs, strength training , hill work, yoga and cross-fit.
Follow blogs that inspire you and your training. Find an inspirational quote every day that you focus on. Make it your mantra for the day and focus on that when you train.
4. Commit Your intentions out loud to someone or to many
You can blog it, tell members of that new group what your training plan encompasses, or tell your family members around the dinner table. There are many forums you can find about running, or Facebook groups. Even Reddit has running threads you can follow and share with.
You will also need to hold yourself accountable—long term—for your actions. Don’t just commit once and it’s over, but hold yourself accountable for the long term by providing everyone on your accountability list with regular progress updates every week or so.
So far I’ve told my blog readers my intention and also how I’ve been slacking. My hubby knows, as well as knowing details on my training schedule so he can kick me in the butt when needed.
5. Change up your training routine
Especially when you feel you’re getting bored or losing excitement in your walk or run. This can especially happen when training for longer and longer distances. So small changes help immensely. It can be changing up your play list, or your running route (which you should do for safety anyway), as well as time of day. If you are a road (pavement) runner, find some smooth trails that aren’t to challenging (where you would need to buy trail shoes for), or accept the challenge. Hey that means you can shop for some new shoes ladies 👠
This is the good time to throw in some treadmill intervals where you can change up the speed and incline. If you google treadmill intervals you will find all kinds of routines to do. Or head outside for the hills, I said hills, not mountains, for some hill work. This will help strengthen your legs.
6. Befriend Runners
As I said above, find some fellow runners or walkers. Check what you are doing minute per mile and then go seek like minded (ability) people. I also belong to group on Facebook called the Running Turtles. They are local in my area but they have everyone from 20 min mile walkers to 6 min mile runners. It could even be your spouse or a friend who has similar goals. But if you do that, just make sure you are positive for one another. You don’t want someone who can easily talk you out of walking or running for the day to go to the donuts shop instead!
Also just befriending runners in online groups even if it’s a national group like the RunJunkEes® Run Club is for me. We do have a small local group that meets. But many in RunJunkEes® are online just for the support, tips and motivation they get.
Also small local running stores often hold runs and running workshops. Some are often directed at showing off a new shoes style. But that’s a benefit because sometimes you get to try the shoes too! And besides, you need to get fitted properly if you’re just starting out anyway. Too often people buy running shoes in the size they normally wear in non running shoes, and guess what, most of the time that’s not the right running shoes size you need. Plus there are shoes depending on your pronation (heel goes to the left or right when you come down on it) and you can get shoes to help because that is a discomfort when running.
7. Celebrate your Successes
And try not to do it too much with food if you don’t have a healthy relationship with food. Much better choices are ways to pamper or gear yourself.
Massages are a welcome relief
Manicure and Pedicure will make you feel awesome and usually you get a bit of a foot and calf massage added into it!
A new haircut or color is a great way to celebrate you getting healthier and stronger
New shoes (any new shoes 👟)
New running clothes! I adore INKnBURN as I guess you know by now and for me the fact that these are special limited edition runs makes my self esteem stronger when I run in them. They are special for my training and they help me to not give up!!
8. Starting for the first time
Depending on your skill level and athletic ability there are good training plans out there that are all just a little different and that makes it easier for you to find the right fit.
Couch to 5K training plan you can find on the internet and apps for your phone
Get fitted for the proper running shoes
Start with run/walks
Let your body be the boss. Your brain may think “but I’ve only gone 10 minutes, I have to push further”, but if your body is hurting badly, your limping along, or you are fatigued, pushing to hard will damage you for your next outing.
HYDRATION – yes capital letters. You may not feel thirsty at all, but your muscles need that hydration, or they will quit on you. HYDRATE well before your run (give enough time to head to the bathroom before your run).
Plan a safe route. A route you know, where the neighborhood is safe, time of day is safest and where you know the actual layout of the pavement or trail. Yes, walk it out first and know where there is and isn’t sidewalk. And where there is cracked up sidewalk. Where there are badly managed trail areas. It’s great if you can find a school that allows you to use their track, but check with them first so you don’t get arrested for trespassing. This is another area knowing local runners or running stores can help you out.
Take breaks when you need to, you are training your body. Training translates to, your body doesn’t know how to do this yet.
Make sure you’ve eaten a small but healthy meal about an hour before your run. Your body needs fuel. Especially when you are asking it to do more. There are many books on runners nutrition out there, just google.
Be patient with yourself and if you don’t succeed with your planned time or planned miles, don’t stress it. Just lace back up the next training day and go out and get it!
I’m not listing shoes because every foot is different. I have used three different brands since I started. But I was fitted for the brands.
There are other phone apps out there such as Zombie 5K, Map My Walk, Map My Run, Get Running, Runkeeper, Couch to 5K, C25K, Runtastic, and Edumondo. I have used all of these and they all, like most apps have high points and low points. You just have to give them a test run and see what fits your needs best.
Getting out of our way is sometimes the biggest challenge we will face in life. But to move forward you’ve gotta face the obstacles you, yourself are placing in front of you. Often, they are the biggest mountain you have to climb. Even more so than anything else that becomes and obstacle from other sources. We can be our own worst enemy or our greatest hero. We can be the thing that drags us down or the momentum that makes us rise. But it’s all a choice, a choice to face fear and a choice to admit areas where we may be frail, or not as strong for the task in front of us. But it’s usually not the frailty or lack of strength or knowledge that kicks our butts. It’s pride, it’s fear and it’s self doubt that binds us. The words “I can’t do that” and “It’s too hard” just be stricken from our minds eye. We are capable of so much more than we know.
This is for the dreamers who fear to go out and make that dream a reality because they don’t have the right tools. And the ones who want to climb that mountain but fear their days of glory are far behind them. This blog is for those who’ve been kicked down by life and are having a tough time standing back up. And for those who let the little voice inside who says “You can’t do that” and “That’s to hard for me” win.
I am with you.
I am one of you.
Self doubt is something I’ve fought my entire life. And getting back up when life kicks me down is something I’ve always stumbled through. The last few months things have happened that separately, I likely would have dealt with much differently. They likely would have made me a tiger who through tears and troubles would have persevered through. But sometimes life gives you just the right (or very very wrong) one two (or three) punch in the gut that knocks you down and keeps you down for the count.
So what happened?
My husband had to be gone for a while, off to another country for work. I injured my arm and side very badly. My dog passed away and I was suffering from some pretty bad insomnia because of all this. This combination knocked me right out of the ballpark as far as any race training went. Or any running, run walk run, or heck even walking went. I started becoming a couch potato and emotional eating again. Between trying to heal from the injury, sadness over my dog and overall sleep deprivation and my hubby being so far away , I felt like a mouse on a wheel going nowhere and it would stay that way forever. Well that’s how it felt.
In reality, three really long months. And getting back into training seemed like Mt Everest to climb. That huge wall was in front of me and I knew I eventually had to start kicking it down and the longer I waited, the bigger that obstacle was growing.
March 19th my first Half Marathon is happening. And it’s happening if I’m ready or not. And I think that realization is just thing I’ve needed to kick my butt back into shape emotionally, mentally and physically. I am going to treat my run training with small steps of forward momentum.
Not really starting at square one, because I do have some training and experience. But yet again I really think that’s what I plan to do. I need to start again, fall in love with it all, all over again. Remember how my body responds to the challenges I set and how I overcome them. Accomplishments can be a strong driving force. And challenging yourself is what I’ve found to be the best way to gain self esteem.
That’s what is so amazing about running and the running community. The only one you are really racing is yourself. Sure you can get into all the head games of who is faster than you. But really, who cares? What are you truly afraid of? That is the question I have to ask myself and I want you to ask yourself when you face the doubt. Because really you just have to get of your own way!! And I’m doing it with small forward steps.
So this week I begin again. I have an early training start to my Half Marathon. Monday’s are a designated rest day which I will usually just do some gentle yoga for. So Tuesday is my official day back on the pavement. But stretching is awesome for runners and just generally is fabulous for your mind and body. And I am hoping to post a recap of the day, every day to hold myself accountable!! Call me out on it if you don’t see a post after a couple days 😏
It won’t be morning because I am allergic to mornings. Even working I prefer night shifts. Mornings are for late breakfasts, but… Tomorrow I will share a bit more inspiration I found as I struggled through the last few months not training. I knew I would eventually pull myself out of my own self created funk, but a little inspiration and motivation along the way has really helped!
And for all the Supernatural Gifs I used in the making of this blog post and those who love the Winchester’s and the rest of the Supernatural cast….