January 28, 2016

My 4 Favorite Portable Protein-Packed Snacks

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post with Mantioba Harvest through my association with Fit Approach. I received free Hemp Heart Bars and compensation in return for my fair review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Now that school has started up again my schedule is full, and I'm always running around to school, work, coaching, and social events. I get really hungry (and hangry) if I don't eat so I need to have protein-packed snacks on me to keep me satisfied.  Here are some of my stand-by favorite portable snacks that are packed with protein. 

My 4 Favorite Portable Protein-Packed Snacks

1. Anything with nut butter 
Seriously. It pretty much goes great with almost anything, and I'll take it anywhere. Some of my favorites are nut butter with an apple or banana (included as my favorite snack in this round-up), peanut butter and jelly on crackers, or ants on a log (peanut butter on celery topped with raisins). 

My 4 Favorite Portable Protein-Packed Snacks-nut-butter
Nut butter by the spoonful everyday (topped with chocolate chips sometimes!)
2. Hard-boiled eggs
I love eating eggs not just for breakfast, but anytime of day. They are cheap, available everywhere, and a great source of protein. Hard-boiled eggs can be made in a big batch or you can even buy them already cooked. I like keeping a bunch of hard-boiled eggs in the refrigerator already peeled so that I can eat them as a quick snack or throw in a plastic bag and take them to school or work with me.

My 4 Favorite Portable Protein-Packed Snacks-hard-boiled-egg

3. Trail Mix 
I love a great trail mix. I love buying the single-serve packets from Trader Joe's.  I especially love trail mixes that include almonds, dried fruit, and chocolate chips. I love that it's portable and can be a nice mix of salty and sweet flavors. Some of my favorite homemade trail mix recipes are Lean Clean Brie's Superfood Trail Mix, Hummusapien's Spicy Wasabi Trail Mix, and Eating Well's Gorp Trail Mix

4. Protein bars
While whole food is always a better option, I love a good protein bar to take with me since I'm always on the go. Right now I'm loving Quest Nutrition bars, KIND bars, SquareBars and other protein bars that are packed full of nutrients and fairly few ingredients. I can now add a new favorite protein bar to that list-Manitoba Harvest's new Hemp Heart Bars. I was sent a box with each of the flavors of bars thanks to my Manitoba Harvest and Fit Approach. 

My 4 Favorite Portable Protein-Packed Snacks-hemp-heart-bar

They are delicious and packed with 10 grams of plant-based protein and 10 grams of Omega 3 and 6 thanks to all that hemp seed goodness. The hemp seeds have a texture similar to chia seeds, but these bars aren't chewy at all and come in 3 tasty flavors-vanilla, chocolate, and apple cinnamon. My favorite flavor was the apple cinnamon which tasted like cinnamon apple sauce. 

If you want to try the new Hemp Heart Bars for yourself, you can save some moolah by using the discount code hhbarlaunch1015 for 15% off your purchase at Manitoba Harvest [code expires 3/31/2016]. 

Also you can totally enter Manitoba Harvest's photo contest by tagging your healthy living photos with @manitobaharvest and using the hashtag #fuelledbyhemp to be entered to win your favorite hemp food product  each month. Check out all the details here

My 4 Favorite Portable Protein-Packed Snacks-hemp-heart-bar

Today I linked up with my fave Friday Linkup ladies CourtneyMar, and Cynthia  as well as Nicole and Amanda .

What is one of your favorite portable protein-packed snacks?

January 26, 2016

5 Ways to Stay Healthy This Winter

Disclosure: Wedderspoon USA sent me Manuka honey products to try out. I received no other compensation. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

If the largest blizzard ever to hit Baltimore and dump just shy of 30 inches on the city this weekend wasn't enough of a hint, winter is really here. While I've been trying to avoid getting sick since before the Chicago Marathon through my Fall finals in December, we still have some months of cold and flu season ahead of us. It's never a good time to get sick, but especially at the start of the semester or if you are just gearing up your spring race training and don't want any setbacks.  Here are some of the ways I attempt to stay healthy and illness-free. Reminder, I'm not a medical professional these are just my tips, so always ask and listen to your doctors!

5 Ways to Stay Healthy This Winter

1. Drink water. 
This should be on every health tips list. Water is just awesome for your body. In the winter sometimes it's harder for me because I'm not as thirsty during the day, but it's important to keep yourself hydrated.  

2. Stay well-rested. 
Getting enough sleep is another thing that sometimes is hard for me, especially when I'm in school and working.  Sleep deprivation suppresses the immune system which means you're more likely to catch a cold.  If I start to feel like I'm catching a cold, I always try to get a good nights sleep and take it easy for a couple days. 

5 Ways to Stay Healthy This Winter-sleep-bed

3. Be like Pooh and eat some honey.  
In recent years I've become more interested in homeopathic and natural treatments. Honey in general has many health benefits including being an antimicrobial, but raw honey also contains many vitamins and minerals which help boost the immune system and can treat coughs and sore throats. Raw honey is cloudier, but I don't think it tastes much different.  Wedderspoon had sent me some of their raw Manuka honey products to try in the Fall after meeting them at Expo East. I was having a spoonful of their honey every morning and using their ginger honey lozenges weeks before the Chicago Marathon because I was determined not to be sick for the race this year.  I just ordered some more raw honey because I've been using it in my tea daily. 

5 Ways to Stay Healthy This Winter-manduka-honey

4. Load up on citrus. 
Even though there are conflicting studies regarding Vitamin C and immune system benefits, I still try to get as much as I can in the winter. I figure it at least can't hurt! I keep oranges and grapefruits around for snacks and also take Vitamin C supplements. I also make sure to drink juices with plenty of fruits and veggies in them like the Gundalow Juice Sailor Sunrise. If I feel something coming on I'll also start drinking Emergen-C daily which includes lots of Vitamin C.  

5. Wash your hands & disinfect. 
Don't touch your face either! Washing your hands sounds like a no-brainer, but it really is one of the best ways to stop the spread of illness.  From working in a hospital for a bit I know that officially you are supposed to use soap and water and wash long enough to hum the "Happy Birthday" song twice. Something else I do all year round is wipe down my phone with disinfectant wipes every other day or so. With touch smart phones now I feel like there is a ton of germs on our phones, which we are holding all the time too, so cleaning them is probably a good idea. 

5 Ways to Stay Healthy This Winter-phone

What do you do to stay healthy through the winter?

January 22, 2016

5 Friday Favorites: 5 Snowed-In Must-Haves (or Blizzard Essentials)

I'm back with some Friday Favorites today. The news all week in the mid-Atlantic area has been about the impending wrath of Storm Jonas and possibly/probably the Snowmaggedon of 2016. People in the area have been freaking out, as usual. I mean look what one inch of snow did to the DC area Wednesday night. I worked at a grocery store in high school so I know what the words "snow coming" does to regular people who have common sense-it makes them crazy. Apparently my mom said the Walmart in the town I grew up in ran completely out of eggs yesterday at noon. 

Honestly, we're not going to be holed up in our homes more than a couple days so there's no need to stock up massive quantities of food. I'm also a little more lax now because in the city, I already know of liquor stores and restaurants vowing to stay open through it all.  Here's my list of must-haves that are all ready for Storm Jonas (and whatever brothers he brings, so cheesy I know). 

5 Friday Favorites: 5 Snowed-In Must-Haves (or Blizzard Essentials)

5 Friday Favorites: Snowed-in/Blizzard Must-Haves

1. Hot Cocoa

I'm totally all for having some hot cocoa year-round. The past week I've really gotten into the routine of having a big mug of hot chocolate  as I watch Netflix before bed because the combination of sweetness, chocolate, and warmth can't be beat. Sometimes I make my own with cacao powder but honestly I'm sometimes lazy and resort to instant hot chocolate packets. When it snows, it seems everybody jumps aboard the hot chocolate/hot cocoa train buying up packages of mini marshmallows or grabbing extra bottles of Baileys or Peppermint Schnapps to make it more of a party hot cocoa. It's the perfect snow day beverage. 

5 Friday Favorites: 5 Must-Haves When Snowed in (or When Expecting a Blizzard)-hot-cocoa

2. A Shovel 

This may seem obvious, but shovels break and winter sneaks up on you and suddenly the weather forecast calls for snow and you find yourself calling every Home Depot and Walmart hoping they still have bags of salt and shovels left.  Eventually after some snow has fallen you'll join your neighbors outside for hours shoveling your sidewalks and digging your cars out of a massive snow bank. 

5 Friday Favorites: 5 Must-Haves When Snowed in (or When Expecting a Blizzard)
A shot earlier on from a big snowstorm last winter. It only gets deeper. 
3.  Booze of choice 
(or other favorite non-adult beverage of choice, if that's how you roll)
Obviously. If you are going to be off work and school (despite Storm Jonas rolling in on a weekend-what a waste) and snowed indoors, you might as well make it a party. Have mimosas, wine, spiked hot cocoa or cider, or heck just have a couple beers with friends and family because you can. Also to point out that while people were wiping shelves clean at the grocery stores, I didn't hear of anyone complaining that they couldn't get all the beer and wine they wanted for the storm. Less stress shopping for alcohol, for the win. 

 If adult-beverages aren't your thing, at least snag some of your favorite beverage to enjoy while you spend the day being productive or snuggled up in your pajamas finally watching some of those things that have sitting unwatched, in your Netflix queue forever.  A snow day is the definitely the day to treat yourself and take the time to make some yummy food and have your favorite drink. 

5 Friday Favorites: 5 Snowed-In Must-Haves (or Blizzard Essentials)-mimosas

4.  Flashlight 

A flashlight with batteries that actually works is ALWAYS a good thing to have because you never know when there will be an emergency or the power will go out, as in during a blizzard or something. Also I read to make sure all your electronics are already charged up the night before the storm so that they will last if your power does go out. 

5.  Boots and Running Shoes (with good traction) 

Okay so maybe you aren't planning to bundle up, strap on some Yaktrax or spikes and hit the road for some miles in the storm. I have gotten crazy enough the past couple of years to go for a few snow runs. It's actually a little nice because things haven't gotten to icy yet before everything is plowed, melted, and re-frozen. If you are going to run, make sure you have some winter accessories like Yaktrax (which are these if you are wondering what the heck I'm talking about) or a pair of trail shoes or regular running shoes with lots of good traction. I have my pair of lightly-used Brooks Ravennas ready to go. I also finally invested in a really fabulous pair of Sorel winter boots which have survived the past couple of winters and keep my feet warm and dry when I need to venture out for shoveling. 

5 Friday Favorites: 5 Snowed-In Must-Haves (or Blizzard Essentials)


Today I linked up with my fave Friday Linkup ladies Courtney, Mar, and Cynthia  as well as Nicole and Amanda .

What is your snow day essential item? If you live in a fabulously non-snowy place, what is your stuck-inside must-have item?

January 18, 2016

Things I'm Loving This Month

I'm still really been enjoying my break and either have been spending my days at work or sleeping in and running errands so life hasn't been too exciting, which is fine by me. Here's some of my favorite things from this past month so far. 

1. I still have one week before school starts again. It's been marvelous having so much less stress plus work to do while I've been on break. I'm still working some but am really not on as strict of a schedule as I will be which has been nice. I'll miss it for sure. 

2. I've been going to Corepower Yoga since I've had their two-week free trial and really like it. I can't really afford their month to month rate, especially because I just joined another gym, but I'd love to buy a class pack and do yoga at least once a week. I'm also a Momentum Jewelry ambassador again for 2016 and just got some sweet new goodies from them like this bracelet. 


3. My boyfriend finally sealed up the windows in your apartment with plastic so that it no longer feels like an icebox. I'm still always in a hoodie and wrapped in blankets, but it helps SO much. 

4. When it's a rainy Friday night and you decide to stay in to watch movies and order pizza (which you have been craving). I re-watched Wild and of course I want to go hiking and exploring the PCT as soon as possible just not by myself (because of snakes, bugs, and creepers). 
Fancier pizza with prosciutto,olives, and roasted red peppers on top. Salty goodness. 
5. I have been slowly adding more races to my spring race schedule including the Disney World Star Wars Half Marathon in April. I'm a bit of a Disney race hater because I feel like it so much more expensive than it has to be and part of me feels like the attention is really on the swag and less so the running. However I LOVE Star Wars and am also using it as an excuse to go visit my sister who will be working down there through the spring  I'll definitely be writing more about it afterwards and how I feel about the whole RunDisney experience so stay tuned!

6. I've also been getting ready to coach my first training group with Charm City Run. Last year I volunteered as an assistant coach in the spring for the Baltimore Women's Classic training group, but now I'm going to be head honcho. I'm so nervous and excited!

I'll be training a 5K group that runs from January to March and then the BWC group from May to June. The info session for my training group will be this Saturday, January 23rd at 9:30 AM at Charm City Run-Baltimore. 

If you are in the Baltimore area I'd love to see you or your friends who have a goal of running your first race or just want some support in training for a spring 5K.  Be sure to check out all of the awesome Charm City Run training groups at all of the store locations. 

Charm City Run Winter 5K Training

7. I bought my boyfriend a pasta maker for Christmas, and it's also turned out to be a gift for myself in disguise. While everyone is all Whole30 or New Year's dieting, I''m over here just eating lots of fresh pasta because #carbloadingforlife. The fact that it's homemade makes it better for me than boxed pasta, right? 

Things I'm Loving This Month-homemade pasta

This post was linked up with MIMM ,Weekend Snapshots, and Weekly Wrap #24 with HoHo Runs and MissSippiPiddlin.  
What are some of your favorite things this month? Any favorite workouts, meals, or plans for spring? 

January 13, 2016

Ragnar Relay Las Vegas 2015 Recap with Nuun Hydration

I FINALLY have my big ol' Ragnar Relay Las Vegas 2015 recap. I know you have been waiting with bated breath for this

Ragnar Relay Las Vegas 2015 Recap with Nuun Hydration

I was lucky to be able to run this race in November with Team Nuun athletes again, with half of them being my friends I ran Hood to Coast with in 2014 so it was a nice reNUUNion! I was really excited because it was my first Ragnar Relay as well as my first trip to Las Vegas! Yes, only I have my first visit to Vegas to run a race #crazyrunnerlady. 

Ragnar Relay is an overnight relay race with 12 runners on a team who total run 200-ish miles all while travelling in vans and meeting up at exchange points.

Ragnar Relay Las Vegas 2015 Recap

Our Nuun team Viva Los Electrolitos was made up of 12 runners, 2 vans with Nuun employees Brian and Eleanor driving and running with us.  I was in Van 2 the all-lady van because #girlpower. 
Ragnar Relay Team Nuun Las Vegas 2015 Recap
My day flying out was stressful because I had 2 classes and a quiz to take before booking it the airport to catch my afternoon flight across the country. I was so in awe of the view of Nevada from the plane as we got close. Nevada seriously looks like Mars. 

Ragnar Relay Las Vegas 2015 Recap Nevada View
Actual photo from the airplane window
It was awesome seeing the Vegas strip for the first time just as the sun set. Everything is so huge and flashy. I was totally ooh and ahhing the whole cab ride over to the hotel on the strip. 

las-vegas-The Hangover

I was definitely feeling hungry and a little groggy once I got to the Vegas after the long flight and time change. Once I got to the Flamingo Hotel on the strip the whole gang headed up to start decorating our vans.  

Ragnar Relay Las Vegas 2015 Recap

January 7, 2016

2016 Goals: The Year to Be Bold

Here we go, another post about someone's goals for the new year and vague feelings about getting better, faster, stronger. How original. 


Real talk and thinking out loud, I think setting goals is a useful reflection activity. It's a way to think about improvements you'd like to make in yourself and keep yourself accountable for positive changes in your life. Past January when life gets in the way, things can get hard to keep. I know it's really easy to set goals that are way too high or unrealistic. Sometimes goals are set and shit happens, and therefore the goal is unattainable. 

Anyhow this year I plan to set some goals not resolutions and am keeping them fairly broad. I don't really want to hold myself to running X miles a week or hitting a PR in everything, or losing weight, or having 10 things I want to do every week because I know it won't happen.  So here are my goals for 2016-let's hope that I can check most of these off as completed in a year!

2016 Goals

2016 Goals: The Year to Be Bold

1. Journal everyday in my One Line a Day journal.  
I started this journal last year and majorly slacked. All I'm asking for is at least one line of journaling a day so I'm trying to stick with it this year because I think having a record of some private thoughts and a space for reflection is important. 

2. Stay in strong running shape year-round. 
 I always say this and then winter hits like it did this week and instead of running I just want to put on a million layers and cuddle under a blanket on the couch with Netflix. Here's to keeping my running fairly consistent throughout the year! 

3. Get back to lifting regularly
At first I had written at least 2x a week added to this goal, but specific goals seem really restrictive. Ugh I've been saying this but honestly since I stopped Crossfit because of money and haven't belonged to a gym it just doesn't happen. I'm not a lift at home kinda gal. I plan on joining a gym and actually making this happen because I miss my baby muscles and feeling strong.   

4. Work on being confident. 
Always a work in progress and as most everyone probably feels, how I feel about myself fluctuates day to day. Here's to taking chances, speaking up, loving my body, and believing in myself. My word or mantra for 2016 is "Be bold." Bold is a little different from confident in that it means not hesitating based on fear and being brave. I think I need to have confidence but also be bold in putting myself out there and taking chances without fear or doubt. 

5. Fuel my body. Eating pizza, french fries, and dessert is delicious and is something I will not give up because life is too short for steamed broccoli and boneless skinless chicken breast everyday.  However trying to get some more veggies in never hurt anyone. I need to work on having solid, satisfying meals, especially once school starts up again this semester and all I want and am surrounded by is junk. Fueling my body isn't just healthy, it leads to me feeling better and better workouts! 

6. Budget better. 
 I realize that as much as I don't want to be, I am actually a full blown adult. While I have most things under control, I really need to budget better. I need to actually have a solid savings account and not spend money on frivolous and unnecessary things (I'm looking at you Target and Whole Foods). That means buying things online and especially food shopping, thoughtfully. It also means looking at monthly spending and using my credit card less. It's easy to buy things, but I know I want to spend the little money I have after all of my bills (don't even talk to me about student loan debt I'm piling onto my undergraduate debt) on travelling and things that are actually important to me. 

7. Travel to at least two new places.
Because of my wanderlust, I probably don't really need to have this as a goal however I think having it in writing is a nice thing to hold myself to. I'd love to go out west again and explore a little more of the North by going to Vermont or Maine. 

8. Set a running PR.  
My goal for qualifying for the Boston Marathon happened last year, but my time is just under the qualifying time so I know I won't get accepted this year. Getting a faster qualifying time is a goal, but I really don't want to put pressure on myself this year, especially because full-time school AND work really impacts my free-time and training. I am still figuring out racing plans and what I want to accomplish in 2016, but let's just say I'm shooting for a PR. Whether that's a half marathon, 5K, 10 miler, or marathon PR-I'm cool.

Here's to a 2016 filled with more adventure, love, and happiness!

Do you set a goal or resolutions? What is one of your goals? What would be your word of 2016? 

January 4, 2016

Year in Review 2015 Linkup

Quick plug: If you are looking for a fun virtual race to keep you motivated after January, check out the Nuun Year Dash through Fitfam-registration closes today!

I am a big fan of self-reflection and taking the time to process experiences and events. The end of a calendar year is always a great time to look back on accomplishments, fun, and challenges from the past 365 and also a time to make new goals.  I am linking up with Dani and Smitha for their Year in Review Linkup-go read some other peoples' reviews and get inspired to take on 2016!


2015 was a pretty good year of running. 
It included: 
4 5ks
7 Halfs
1 full
1 Boston Qualifying time
1 overnight relay

Overall 2015 was a pretty great year: 

-Was featured in Women's Running Magazine as the Blogger on the Run