December 28, 2015

Why Being Home for the Holidays is Marvelous

Don't forget there is still a couple days to enter my lindsay.withlove Instagram giveaway

I finished my last final for the semester on last Tuesday and then it seemed I spent every night for the rest of the week going out for drinks or dinner. I'm not complaining-I had a lot of catching up to do from the semester when I had no free time. In a blink of an eye after surviving the semester with good grades (WOOHOO) it seemed I was catching an early morning train to Philadelphia to head home. Being home for the holidays with no work and no schoolwork and no obligations was really weird after being all GoGoGo for 4 months . However doing absolutely nothing and spending lots of time with my family was oh so marvelous

-getting my first present on Christmas Eve which was these amazing fleece Princess Leia onesie pajamas my mom snagged from Target. Once it gets cold, this will be my hanging out the apartment uniform. 


-It has become a holiday tradition for my sister and I to decorate a gingerbread house every year. It came out pretty great this year!


-My family went out of town for a night so I was in charge of Elf on the Shelf for my mom and sister. I had a whole rainy day with nothing to do so I worked hard on these, haha.

First was Hotline Bling Elf  with Noelle 


December 23, 2015

lindsay.withlove Handmade Jewelry Instagram Giveaway

Disclosure: I received a $10 discount from lindsay.withlove to purchase my necklace. lindsay.withlove offered to sponsor a giveaway on my Instagram.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

On this blog and in photos you mostly see me in running and workout gear. However I am actually the type of girl that loves to get dressed up, but hasn't had a chance to much lately.  I'm a fan of jewelry besides Momentum bracelets including statement necklaces, stacks of bracelets (especially puravida lately, which I stocked up on during Black Friday), costume jewelry rings, and earrings.  I am always on the lookout for funky statement pieces or interesting items.  

Once I saw the jewelry that fellow Fitfluential ambassador Lindsay of The Toasted Pinenut was creating, I was in love! 


I had actually being eyeing up a few crystal necklace pieces I saw on Etsy already so being able to support a fellow ambassador sold me on treating myself to a necklace this holiday season. 


I was really drawn to the color of the purple druzy pendant necklace and decided to go with that one. Lindsay gave me a little holiday discount to on the necklace. All of her handmade necklaces normally all retail for $45 on her Etsy shop or Instagram

I was really surprised how nice the necklace actually looked in person. The crystal is a sparkly, vibrant purple stone, and it came on a delicate gold chain.  It's really pretty in person, and I can't wait to wear it during the holidays.  My sister and mom already complimented the necklace so it's definitely something I'm keeping in mind for future gifts since I already finished all of my holiday shopping. 


December 21, 2015

Celtic Solstice 5 Miler 2015 Race Recap

I'm FINALLY done with my first semester of grad school! I survived ::does little dance:: This week included lots of eating out and beers and whiskey and even a a few good runs. I'm really excited to celebrate the holidays, and then finally get back to a really solid running and training schedule. Things have pretty much been off the rails since after the Chicago Marathon with lots of missed runs, late nights, and many cups of coffee. I know this little winter break will fly by so I'm trying to enjoy every second!

This weekend was the Celtic Solstice 5 Miler, a fabulous race put on by Falls Road Running which was mentioned in Runner's World a few years back and is famous for still being held in 2009 when there was a freaking blizzardIt always has a fantastic premium. with this year it being a really nice and cozy Brooks Running half zip which I picked up earlier in the week. For packet pick-up you grab your bib (and if you ordered it, the premium) and then get your timing chip at the race start.   


It's a race I love and hate all at the same time. I mostly "hate" it because I sign up months in advance tempted by the premium or peer-pressured by friends and because it's around the 2nd week of December it's always freezing cold or snowy or both.  In the end I always have fun, mostly because of the awesome post-race party. 


Despite being in the 50s and 60s last week and now this week, the weekend was a little taste of winter with the temperatures around the low 40s. 

Now, Friday night was my work holiday party with lead to stopping at a few bars afterwards with co-workers and in short, I didn't get to bed until 2:30 AM. Yikes. So I woke up the next day, surprisngly feeling okay, and chugged a big glass of Nuun Energy lemon-lime  and ate a Yummari bite before bundling up.  

The weather said it was 32 degrees outside. I wore Under Armour cold gear tights, festive holiday socks, Feetures! socks, an Under Armour short sleeve shirt under a turtleneck, ear warmers, NP buff, gloves and a Bondiband plus my Mizuno Wave Inspire 12 shoes.

They have a big tent at the start at Druid Hill Park with pre-race coffee so I tried to stay warm for a while before heading out to the start line. This start line is always crowded so I tried to get as far up as I could. The race starts with a procession of bagpipers in kilts, which I love.  

I manged to find some November Project friends right before the start of the life. As is usually the case, my feet were so cold I really couldn't feel my feet for the first two miles.  I had my iPod and used a friend as my rabbit for the first couple of miles. I was surprisingly feeling pretty well and holding my pace just faster than 7:30 min/mi according to my Garmin. There were a few little hills along with a larger one around 2.5 miles, but after mile 2 I definitely felt like I had fallen into a nice rhythm.  

I haven't been running as much or as fast as I'd like lately and had a rough half marathon a couple weeks ago due to a tight hamstring so having a good run was an awesome surprise. Since the weather has been so mild, it also took me some time to get used to breathing in the cold air while running. 

December 18, 2015

BGB Secret Santa Gift Exchange Reveal

One of my favorite things about blogging is the people I meet through various networks associated with my corner of the Internet. A newer community I've been a part of is the "Bloggers Gonna Blog" or BGB community. It's a group of food and healthy living bloggers who support and share with each other lead by Georgie and Christina that initially started as a Facebook group. It's grown to Instagram (#BGBcommunity) and while I haven't participated in discussions as much as I want (#gradschoolproblems) I love all the support and positivity of the group so definitely join their group on Facebook if you're a blogger or follow the hashtag (#BGBcommunity)! 

BGB had previously held foodie swaps so they decided to do a blogger Secret Santa gift exchange that 40 bloggers ended up participating in.   I LOVE Secret Santa gift exchanges because it's always a fun way to find something new about someone you know or don't know.  


What I Sent

I was paired up with one of the BGB co-founders, Christina of A Blissful Balance, actually and you can go over to her blog post to read all the details. Christina is a twenty-something healthy living blogger like me, except her blog is way bigger than mine, and she creates amazing recipes. You should also check out her gorgeous Instagram with all of its drool worthy food photos.  

I had followed her Instagram but hadn't read much of her blog so it was cool to go through and read about her and some of her posts. Once I found out she was also a runner it made gift-buying easy! I sent Christina LOTS of LesserEvil popcorn (which doubled as bubble wrap!) along with a running shirt from Reebok, adorable Vera Bradley hair ties, Nuun singles, and a lip gloss. 

What I Received

Kellen of A Cup of Kellen was paired up with me. I had recently started following her on Instagram so it was great to receive a gift from her. She sent a lovely long note which included how when she started reading my blog for ideas she realized we have SO much in common but just happen to live on opposite coasts of the country! She also loves craft beer runs, is a Nuun ambassador, and ran the Chicago Marathon this past year with the same Garmin I have. So we were pretty much twinning at Chicago and didn't know it. We're totally destined to be friends, haha

Kellen sent me an adorable festive beer open (because she couldn't ship me an actual pint of beer!). Although I will hold her to a beer rain check for the next time I make it out to San Diego.  

December 17, 2015

CorePower Yoga is Coming to Baltimore

I'm always saying I need to go to yoga more and never really make the time to fit it in. Apparently I can fit in some yoga to stretch  on the beach in the Bahamas a couple weeks ago (my prize for being Women's Health Top Action Hero of 2015!!!) .  Bridge pose is my favorite for stretching out my back. 

Yep, I was the most basic girl doing yoga on the beach.  


Unfortunately, most days I am not chilling at the beach (but a girl can dream!). I really want to try to go to more classes or even do some shorter at-home yoga videos a few times a week. I was really happy to be able to take a free yoga class at a new studio in town. 

Recently I found out that CorePower Yoga is coming to Baltimore with a location in Federal Hill on Key Highway (across from the Royal Farms).  

CorePower Yoga has a high-intensity style with a wide range of class styles. CorePower Yoga 1 is an unheated foundational vinyasa flow class while CorePower 1.5 is heated at 88-91 degrees and is slightly more challenging. Both heated at 95-98 degrees CorePower 2 is for more experienced yogis and it's taken up another notch in CorePower 3.  

Also offered is a Hot Yoga class (at 102-104 degrees & humidity) and a Hot Power Fusion class (at 100-103 degrees & humidity) which combines power and hot yoga.  

There is a heated YogaSculpt class which mixes free weights and strengthening moves with yoga. CoreCardio circuit is an unheated HIIT style class and CoreRestore is an unheated restorative yoga class. 

Their prices are comparable to other yoga studios I've seen, but they are running a bunch of great grand-opening deals before the new year. Normal pricing is $20 for a single class, $175 for 10 classes as well as other class packages such as monthly unlimited packages. You can also use CorePower Yoga class packages at any of their over 130 locations. 


They have been having free yoga classes partnered with various gyms and businesses for over the past month. I was lucky enough to be able to attend their Yoga on Tap free yoga class at World of Beer in McHenry Row last week. There was a small group including my friend who attended the class on the patio of World of Beer. 

December 11, 2015

Brooks Running Fall 2015 Apparel and Adrenaline GTS16 Review

Disclosure: I received a complimentary top and bottom from Brooks Running to review on my blog as well as a pair of the Adrenaline GTS 16 shoe before launch to wear test. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

I have always been a HUGE fan of Brooks Running. Their Ghost running shoes were my first ever pair of real deal running shoes I got fitted for. I love that their slogan is Run Happy. I ran my first marathon in their Ravenna shoes.  I even got to tour their new headquarters when I was out in Seattle for Hood to Coast.  I love that the brand is really supportive, innovative, and does awesome things like sponsor the Beer Mile world record holder. They also just started a really awesome running community called The Run where you can talk about-you guessed it, running! with other people via message boards. That's why I was really excited to work with Brooks Running after being invited to check out The Run community-I've been dying to work with them! 


Brooks Running offered to send me some apparel to review as I enter the new year and chase bigger and bad-asser goals. I was interested in trying the Brooks Running Drift Shell jacket (Retails for $135) and the Greenlight Tight (Retails for $90) because I wanted some cold weather gear that was also bright and high visibility for these dark fall and winter days. Just a note, I find that Brooks running tops run a bit small so I got the Drift Shell in a size medium and the tights in a small.  

The Drift Shell is breathable and lightweight while also providing great waterproof and windproof protection.  I love the pattern and the fact that it's lightweight, has multiple water-resistant pockets, and is a little stretchy. It also was semi-fitted so it was a nice layer on top when the weather was windy or wet and wasn't flapping around as I ran, even when I wore it during a really windy night leg of Ragnar Vegas last month! 

Post-3 AM Ragnar Vegas leg in my Brooks Running gear
I did find that I would sweat a lot when I wore this as a layer which was the only thing I didn't like about the jacket. 


I was mostly drawn to the neon green Greenlight Tight because of its appearance and cool pattern but was happy to find out they are super practical. They are reversible so if you wear them with the fuzzy side in like I have been you'll stay warm but if you where them reversed with the smoother pattern side in you'll stay cool!  I LOVE THESE TIGHTS


I wore them during Ragnar Vegas and they were awesome for staying bright during my night run.  Unfortunately the weather has been pretty mild in Baltimore so far so I haven't gotten to wear them as much as I'd like, but I wore them to the November Project workout yesterday and literally got 5 compliments/questions about what brand they were from various people, including a random guy on the bus who told me I'd never get hit by a bus in those, haha

Besides the fact that I love the print and color, the tights are super soft and wicking with a nice wide waistband that stays put so I'm not constantly pulling them out even after doing lots of burpees and squats at NP. They also have super cute ruching on the side hem at the ankles which is a nice touch. 

I spotted these tights at the
Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon expo!
After receiving the apparel, Brooks asked me if I wanted to wear-test the new Adrenaline GTS 16 running shoes. I have never worn their best-selling Adrenalines before but have enjoyed have a few pairs of more supportive shoes that I've gotten through reviews for runs when I need more cushioning, especially during recovery runs or when I need to do a lot of walking. Superficially, the shoes I received are in my favorite colors of a light teal and hot pink, which is obviously awesome. 


The Adrenaline GTS 16 are heavier than I would wear for everyday running, but they do have responsive cushioning and provide a lot of support all through my foot. I actually really like wearing them to things like November Project where I'm doing lots of jumping and plyometrics because of the support they provide. They fit nice and snug on my foot and I liked the upper, however if you have wider feet the toe box might feel a bit narrow so try them on before you buy! 

Crunching it out at November Project-Baltimore
According to the Brooks Running website " the BioMoGo DNA midsole responds to every step and the full-length segmented crash pad that gives you ultra-smooth heel-to-toe transitions". Overall, I think it's a great shoe to check out if you need some extra support when running.

Definitely check out Brooks Running and add some of their apparel or shoes to your Christmas wish list!   


Have you ever run in Brooks shoes or apparel? What's your current favorite piece of running gear? 

December 7, 2015

Fun Running Survey

I've always been a fan of silly quizzes in magazines and surveys. I find that sometimes questions can really get you thinking about yourself plus it's always fun to read other people's answers! I am swamped with finals week (#gradstudentlife) so blogging will be sparse until I have freedom. However I saw this running survey on Sue's blog and thought it looked fun and would be a great way for you to maybe get to know me a little better! 
1.  Would you rather run along a beach path or on a mountain trail?
I'm a beach bum at heart! Running in the sand is hard but there is something beautiful about being by the water. The beach is a calming, happy place for me. 
2.  If you could choose the flavor of Gatorade at your next race’s aid stations, what would it be?
Obviously, I’m a Nuun girl (go Team Nuun) -I love the watermelon and strawberry lemonade Nuun flavors, but sadly I don't see Nuun on course at enough races. If it has to be gatorade I'm actually a fan of lemon-lime which is usually on course anyways. I also love that light blue Glacier Frost Gatorade flavor! 
3.  If I gave you a $100 gift card to a running store, what would be the first thing that you would purchase with it?
Ooh this is a tough one! I'd possibly grab a new pair of shoes because I love shoes. I'd definitely grab a cute and warm pullover to survive winter running! 

December 2, 2015

Why VIP Packages for Rock 'n' Roll Races are Awesome {RNR Philly 2015}

Disclaimer: I received a free 3-pack Tourpass and one complimentary VIP package through my Rock ‘n’ Blog ambassadorship. As always, all thoughts & opinions are my own.

In case you missed my recap, I ran the Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon this year through my Rock 'n' Blog ambassadorship. I was also lucky enough to get a complimentary VIP pass for the race.  The RNR VIP packages all slightly vary race to race, so this is obviously based solely on my experience for the Philly half marathon event. 

Obviously I was excited to get to be a VIP for the race, but honestly I was a bit skeptical if it was going to actually seem like it was worth the $69 price tag. FYI, prices and specific VIP perks vary based on race/location! 

Spoiler alert, in the end I was really happy with the VIP race experience and all of the perks. Check out all of the reasons to look into this rockstar treatment for your next Rock 'n' Roll race! 


I picked up my wrist band quickly at the VIP booth during the expo. It came with information regarding all the perks and schedule of race events. The next morning after getting downtown and to the race area, I headed right to the VIP area with my wristband on.  


1. VIP gear check. 
The private outdoor VIP area was open from 6:30 AM to 12 PM and was located right by  the finish line in a great spot. I headed there right before the race to drop of my bag at the VIP gear check which was AWESOME because I could wait until the last minute to drop off my bag and head to my corral.


2. VIP Port-a-Pottys. Enough said. 
More importantly, it was awesome because it had private VIP RESTROOMS. The bane of any runner's post-race existence is waiting for a port-a-potty and hoping not to miss the start. Having a set of port-a-pottys just for VIP pre and post race was a huge perk. 
 I mean look how short that line was when I hopped in?!


3. Pre-race fuel station. 
Since I was in a bit of a hurry I grabbed a banana and half a bagel from the VIP lounge's pre-race continental breakfast which included coffee, tea, fruit, water, and breakfast breads and pastries.


4. VIP Lounge Area right next to the finish line. 
Immediately after I finished the race I walked to the VIP area which again was conveniently located right by the finish with a lovely view of the art museum. Not walking far after the race gets a big thumbs up.  


5. Free 10 minute massages post-race. 
There were only a few runners in the VIP lounge at the time so I quickly made a bee-line for the free 10-minute massages thanks to Westin and PhilaMassage. I signed the list and was immediately able to lay down on a bed due to the lack of line.  My calves were cramping up so getting a 10 minute massage felt like heaven. 

Big thumbs up to that. 
 6. An awesome post-race buffet brunch spread.  
For post-race eats, they had a catered buffet spread which was more impressive than I thought it would. I'm talking eggs, french toast, mini southwest egg wraps, sausage and bacon! 


7. Plus there is a post-race VIP beer so you can celebrate and get your drink on.  
Let's not forget the post-race VIP bar. I'm talking unlimited Michelob Ultras,sodas, Gatorade and my drink of choice-mimosas! 


8. Post-race shuttle back to Headquarter Hotel
Something else I took advantage of was the post-race shuttle back to the Loews Hotel Philadelphia which put me closer to the train station I needed to be at. I had just missed the shuttle and had to wait an extra 30 minutes (hello extra mimosa + 2 cups of coffee) but the staff person was really helpful and made sure I got on the next one! 


Overall, I think the VIP Package is really awesome. I thought the VIP area was well-organized and not crowded at all. It was really nice to be able to relax and hangout in the area with a massage, food, and drinks after the race. If you are on a budget like I am it might just be something you do once a year for a big race or celebration because of the price. It would be a great gift for a friend (hint, hint a great Christmas gift)!

Have you ever done a VIP package for a race? What is a perk you would like the most after in a race? 

This post was linked up with Wild Workout Wednesday

December 1, 2015

Things I Was Thankful for this Weekend

I can't believe that Thanksgiving came and went and now it's already Christmas. I have finals and then it's a sprint towards the holidays. It was really nice doing not much of anything but eating and lounging around.  I already posted about my Thanksgiving gratitude. but here is more gratitude from me. 

This weekend I was thankful for: 

My health and the fact that I'm injury-free. It's always something to be thankful for!

That there are so many online sales that if you want to buy gifts (or gifts for yourself) I can literally do it in my pajamas whenever I like.  

A holiday that includes many many pies. I literally ate pie 3 days straight. 

Pre-holiday shipments from Nuun. I'm happy to be stocked up with some before the winter! 
(Save 30% + free shipping with code hydrationmonday through 12/2) 

I love getting new teas and snail mail thanks to the #HLBTea swap through the Healthy Living Blogs community. I've finally mostly made it through my large stockpile of tea so I'm glad to have  some new flavors to test out.  

Time spent with family for the holidays. Things were really low-key and fun, which was just what I needed.  

Running in shorts!!!! It was 65 degrees on Friday and Saturday in NJ. This is going to make winter so much harder for me. 

Plans in the work for some fun trips and races in the spring.  

Finally catching up on my laundry! The important things.  

This post was linked up with Weekend Snapshots and MIMM

How was your holiday weekend? What are you grateful for?

November 24, 2015

Thanksgiving Gratitude and We Finish Together Organization

A couple weeks ago I read this article on, and soon after it was quickly being shared by various members of November Project. Kim Stemple is a runner and member of November Project-DC. After reading the article for the first (and second) time I had tears in my eyes.  There had been an earlier article on Zelle  about Kim that I found through this article as well. 

She created the organization We Finish Together  in 2012 which donates finishers medals sent in by runners with handwritten personalized notes to people all across the country who need recognition such as sick children, veterans, and police officers. 

Kim is a competitive runner, special education teacher, and cross-country coach. In 2009 she got sick and doctors diagnosed her with a rare mitochondrial disease which causes progressive physical & mental deterioration. She was then diagnosed with more problems in the years following including lupus and lymphoma and has lived 2 years past expectancy for someone with her diagnosis. Despite currently being on weekly chemotherapy, 51 year old Kim has not stopped running or living her life. 

She founded We Finish Together in 2012 after a friend who ran a race that Kim was too sick to travel to gave her a medal. The positivity from the medal shared by herself and others inspired her to start this organization.  

She finished her 4th marathon in Boston 2014 and then moved to DC with her husband for further care. The article goes on to say "When Stemple told one of her doctors she was going to run the 2015 Marine Corps Marathon, he asked her what mile marker she wanted to die at. He believed her condition so fragile, she wouldn’t live through the race."{now as I try to type this blog post there goes the waterworks again!}

Kim ran the marathon in honor of her husband who is a former Marine and finished in 4:15 with a 2 minute PR.  {more tears}
She donated the medal to her husband and has continued living life and running. 

I unexpectedly met Kim after the Annapolis Running Classic this past weekend. A friend had said she had seen her running on the course, and we happened to bump into her and her husband in the post-race party tent. We went up to her and she pointed out all of our November Project grassroots gear and gave us all hugs after we took a bunch of photos together. 

After meeting her, the first line of the article "Kim Stemple didn't want this story to be about her" became apparently obvious. We all told her how inspiring she was and she shushed us and kept saying it wasn't about her. She said she wants to "create a spark".  It's all about her message and living life to the fullest.  She was so happy, funny, positive and full of life.  

Some of us NP-Baltimore ladies and Kim (blue singlet) after the Annapolis Running Classic 2015
Thanksgiving is always a time for gratitude. It's a time for reflection on family, health, love, and all the blessings in my life. In my day to day life I usually try my best to stay positive, be kind, and chase happiness. With all of the seriously effed up things going on in the world, when there is so much uncertainty and things can change in an instant, it is important to make each and every day count. It's cheesy, but it's true. 

At the post-race party Saturday, Kim said we are all going to die, it's a fact of life. I don't care what she says, but the way that she lives her life inspires me. I gathered a few medals to donate to We Finish Together (you can mail them in!) and have been taking the time to reflect on trying to make the most of my days and encourage you to do the same this Thanksgiving.

You can follow We Finish Together on Facebook,Instagram , or check out their website

I'm sure if she reads this she'll remind everyone that's it's not about her. I just want to spread her message and help create more sparks in people. Think about what positivity and love you can spread in this world. 


I'm so grateful for the opportunity to briefly meet Kim and be reminded that every one's days on this earth are numbered. Never lose sight of actually living in the here & now instead of taking things for granted and putting your life off. 

What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving? 

November 20, 2015

5 Friday Favorites featuring Pumpkin Cookie Butter, Aziz Ansari, and Milkshakes

Disclosure: I was sent the OGX Argan Oil shampoo in connection with my partnership with Women's Health as a Women's Health Action Hero. All other products were purchased on my own. No compensation was received for any mentions and as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

It's been too long since I've shared my Friday Favorites! Obviously school, racing, travel, and life has made me crazy busy, but I'm trying to get back into a more normal routine. Today is a rest day that started off with donuts and coffee for breakfast so I can't really complain! Today I am sharing some of my favorite things from the week with you.  

5 Friday Favorites

1. Favorite Treat: Christmas Cookie holiday milkshake from Shake Shack


Run don't walk to Shake Shack and try one of their new holiday milkshake flavors if you are looking for a treat. 

Or you can spin and then run over like I did last night. There was a special Shack Track and Field in partnership with Rev Cycle Studio last night that involved an awesome 45 minute spin class followed by a 2 mile run over to Shake Shack where I grabbed my free milkshake and purchased a burger for dinner because balance.  

Sarah and I both got this Christmas Cookie milkshake and OMG IT WAS DELICIOUS. It literally tasted like a sugar cookie and was covered in whipped cream and red and green sprinkles. Amazing and definitely the highlight of my day.

2. Favorite Haircare Product: Argan Oil Shampoo from OGX