June 30, 2016

Baltimore Wedding Gift Guide {featuring Uncommon Goods}

This post is sponsored by Uncommon Goods. As always all thoughts and opinions are my own.
I seriously can’t believe June is coming to a close! The past year was pretty light on weddings, but I’ve already got a few on the books in the upcoming months.  While I always purchase something the couple wants off of their gift registry for their wedding gift, I also really like including a little gift that’s more personal, particularly if I already purchased a registry gift for the shower.  I love getting what a couple wants but also don’t like how impersonal a mixing bowl or dish towels are, particularly for good friends and family. My go-to more personal little gift is usually personalized mugs or glasses with their married names or “Mr. & Mrs.”.   

Luckily there are plenty of really neat shops and artisans in Baltimore that carry some great gifts.  Sometimes with my busy schedule, I’m short on time for browsing, so luckily I found some really awesome products on Uncommon Goods.

Their site sells unique and handcrafted items and gifts with a focus on sustainability. Not only does their site support artists and artisans, but half of their items are crafted by hand.  They also allow you to select a non-profit organization to receive a $1 donation from Uncommon Goods when you check out. I browsed their anniversary gift guide here and found lots of great wedding presents. 

So if you too have a calendar of wedding on the horizon, check out my summer wedding gift guide featuring Uncommon Goods and my favorite local Baltimore gifts.  

baltimore-wedding-gift-guide-uncommon-goods
Let’s take a look at my gift picks:
1.    Baltimore longitude and latitude pillowThis pillow from Trohv is perfect for a local Baltimore couple and is neutral enough to match most color schemes. I’d actually say Trohv on the avenue in Hampden is my favorite Baltimore spot carrying unique and beautiful gifts for any occasion.
2.    Baltamour print –This lovely, graphic print from Baltimore Print Studios is the perfect gift for a couple who loves Baltimore. It ships for free domestically or can be picked up locally. 
3.    We Found Each Other Custom Puzzle – This custom puzzle on Uncommon Goods is so cute! You can order a 300 jigsaw wooden puzzle shows an aerial view of a unique meeting spot of one square mile. If you order this of your friend’s engagement spot or first date spot, I can’t guarantee there won’t be tears when the couple opens it.
4.    The original Baltimore Box – Baltimore in a Box gift boxes are perfect for a couple who used to live in the area, has a Baltimore connection, or just would appreciate a taste of Baltimore!   You can select 5, 7, or 10 classic Baltimore items for the gift box including Old Bay, Berger Cookies, and Maryland Flag apparel. You can have your order shipped or pick it up yourself if you are local which is super convenient. 
5.    Have & Hold Stemless wine glasses – This beautiful pair of wine glasses here from Uncommon Goods made in the USA feature gold script “to have and to hold” vows and an infinity design is a beautiful reminder for a couple of their special day. 
You can also use any of these ideas for other types of occasions and even check out Uncommon Goods’ collection of birthday gifts for her here and for men here

What is your go-to wedding gift? If you are married, what was your favorite gift you received?

June 28, 2016

Baltimore Women's Classic 5K Race Recap 2016

I've run the Baltimore Women's Classic 5K the past 3 years including being a volunteer training coach last year.  It's the largest mid-Atlantic all-women's 5K which has become an annual race for me because of how much of a fun ladies event it is as well as the fact that it benefits Cancerve which provides support to female cancer patients in Maryland.  It is also a beautiful event right in Baltimore's Inner Harbor which makes it great for post-race fun. 

Baltimore Women's Classic 5K Race Recap 2016

Pre-race: 

Unfortunately Friday afternoon I was struck with a head cold so I wasn't feeling well and woke up with just enough time to get down to Rash Field Saturday morning June 26,2016  and make it in the Charm City Run BWC training group photo.  It was fabulous seeing Rash Field filled with women and their families.This year CCR had all of the vendors under tents on the middle of the field, which I liked a lot better.

baltimore-womens-classic-5K-2016-Rash-Field

I saw some of my training group ladies at the training tent and dropped off my bag before heading to the start.  It was a warm, sunny morning. All of us Patterson Park training group ladies had yellow ribbons on which was a really fun touch! I lined up right in the front at the start on Key Highway in front of Federal Hill  because there wasn't many people sub-8 min miles. Thanks to the head cold and really feeling knocked out Friday night I wasn't sure how the race would go and was going to try to stick around 7 min/miles but definitely feel it out. 

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Me in the chevron skirt!(Photo courtesy of Charm City Run)

Race: 

Mile 1 of a 5K always flies by for me, and this one was no different. Some ladies running for Falls Road Running were flying so I tried to just stay strong and consistent on my pace. I told myself to settle in through Mile 2 and then pick it up for the last mile if I felt good. It was great seeing some November Project friends at a water stop as well as having some fellow coaches and friends cheer for me as I passed by Federal Hill for the 2nd time. I ended up finishing really strong-I love the finish that comes along the promenade. It's pretty plus it's a stretch I run all the time.   5Ks go by so fast that there isn't much to report. For me it's always about trying to pace myself plus mentally get through the pain that comes with pushing myself to run fast. 

I ended up coming 3rd in my age group, 10th overall in 21:00, which is a minute faster than last year! 

bwc-5k-2016-finish-inner-harbor

After getting my medal, cold towel, and red rose at the finish, I quickly ran up towards Key Highway so I could cheer on my training group ladies. I was glad to be able to see a bunch of them and cheer them on as they entered the final stretch of the race.  


I missed out on the watermelon but grabbed a banana and some water after seeing the last of my ladies go by.  I hopped over to the training tent to chat with some of my training group runners after wards and grabbed a little mini bagel. The training tent had food and freeze-pops (GREAT idea!), but it was hard to keep out non-training group people from coming in!  

Really this race for me was all about supporting and celebrating with my training group. It was awesome to hear how great everyone did in the race and hear the thanks the ladies had for the group and coaches. It fills my heart with so much gratitude to see ladies I've helped train and seen grow stronger in 8 weeks, crossing the finish line and reaching their goals.  Yup, I could gush about coaching longer, but I'll put a cork in it. 

Shout-out to Charm City Run for doing a great job with the training groups and the race! 

Overall: 

As I've said previously, I think that the BWC 5K is a great, well-organized 
 event that all Baltimore female runners should support. The race keeps all of the details with ladies in mind and always has a nice medal and finish area.

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New Balance race tech tee and 2016 medal
What is one of your favorite hometown races? Do you like running 5Ks?

June 24, 2016

{5 Friday Favorites} Beer, Beyonce, and Beast Mode

It's Friday and I'm here with some favorites from the past few weeks. It's been a hectic and humid week for me so I'm looking forward to a fun and sunny weekend.  

{5 Friday Favorites} Beer, Beyonce, and Beast Mode

1. Beyonce Formation World Tour

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A.K.A my second time seeing the QUEEN. 

I'm a HUGEEEE Beyonce fan so if you don't like her just skip this paragraph. Yes, I'm the girl blasting Lemonade in her car and singing along.  I could go on and on about this concert I went to a few weeks ago in Philly, but I'll just say it's literally a magical experience and in a completely different way from her last tour with Jay-Z. She puts on an amazing show-even people who aren't huge fans or don't know a ton of her non-radio hits have said so to me! Bey  was sure to keep the message about self-love and how the most important relationship is the one with yourself and how you can do anything #PREACH.  I mean that's a message all ladies can get behind. 

I also want a wind machine following me and an acceptable place to wear a sparkly leotard and high heels, kthanks.

2. Beer Flights

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I got to enjoy a nice little beer flight at Flying Fish Brewing Co. with my family last weekend. Anytime I go to a new brewery I also get a beer flight. Sometimes when I can't decide what I want I get one too. I also love it because some beers are interesting for a little taste, but I don't want a full pint of it. Sometimes you just want a little bit of everything. Or if you are me, you always do. What's wrong with wanting it? 

3. Summer long runs

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Okay so I don't like the humidity or being completely drenched after runs (#sweatyAF), but now that I'm in my first week of marathon training I do enjoy some of the routine of a long run and the peace that comes afterwards. Plus feeling like a badass for crushing many miles.  Another pro is that I spend at least 4 miles of the run thinking about what I want to treat myself to for breakfast afterwards. Long run days go wake up, run, eat, shower, eat, nap, then restoftheday.  Tons of sweaty laundry and trying to remove a soaking wet sports bra are definite summer long run cons. 

4. KIND Snacks variety pack

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A.k.a. the motherload of KIND bars. I was nice enough to have been sent this complimentary 30-pack of KIND Snacks bars which includes some new flavors such as Dark Chocolate Almond Coconut & Raspberry Cashew Chia (YUM!) and all my old favorites including Dark Chocolate Almond Sea Salt. I've always been a fan of variety packs becaus I like choices and a little bit of everything (see: beer flights) . 

Let's just say between my boyfriend and I, this pack did not last long in our apartment.  

4. Awesomeness alert- American Runs for Homelessness with Back on My Feet

america-runs-homelessness-back-on-my-feet

Back on my Feet is an awesome organization  that restores hope and independence through running in over 11 cities (including a chapter in Baltimore!) and has helped more than 4000 individuals find employment and housing. With half a million homeless people in the US, that's awesome. Go here and sign their American Runs pledge to help end homelessness. For each pledge BoMF receives $1, and you are entered to win a free year of Dunkin Donuts. You know I love me some DD coffee so that's a sweet bonus for helping out a great cause! 


This post was linked up with my fave Friday Linkup ladies CourtneyMar, and Cynthia  as well as Nicole, and Jill

What is one of your favorite workouts, snacks, charities lately? 

June 14, 2016

Pre-Marathon Training Feelings in Gifs

Whew, I can't believe it's already halfway through June. I also realized a couple weeks ago when reading the latest issue of Runner's World, that yikes! I need to start marathon training next week to be ready for first the Chicago Marathon in October.   Registering for the marathons months ago was the easy part.  Now it's time to run through my feelings about impending marathon training the past couple of weeks, in gifs! 


Pre-Marathon Training Feelings in Gifs

1. I'm running a marathon (or 2) this Fall-it's going to be great, no big deal

paul-rudd-eh

2. When I realize I need to start training next week. WHAT?!

theoffice-jim-what

3. I think about waking up really early to beat the heat and get my runs done early in the morning for the next 16 weeks. All by choice!

modern-family-crying

4. I begin to try to figure out a marathon training plan and schedule my runs for the next 4 months. I can't believe I am doing this for fun. 

khloe-kardashian-no-time

5.  When I take a moment to breathe and realize I'm a boss who's run 3 marathons before, and I've got this.  #SLAY

beyonce-strut

Anybody else starting a new training plan or gearing up to tackle fall goals? 

June 10, 2016

ZOOMA Annapolis 2016 Half Marathon Race Recap

Disclosure: I am a 2016 ZOOMA Women's Race Series ambassador and received complimentary registration for this event.  As always, all thoughts & opinions are my own. 


In my 2015 ZOOMA Annapolis race recap I described my race experience as hot, humid, and hilly. Those rang true again this year!  Although I said I would not be running the half marathon again and would do the 10K, I found myself running the half marathon again, whoops. Despite the conditions this time of year, ZOOMA always puts on a nice race weekend for women in Annapolis. This year in addition to a half marathon and 10K, a 5K race was added.  


zooma-annapolis-half-marathon-race-2016-medal

Pre-Race

Friday evening after sitting in terrible traffic from Baltimore to Annapolis after work, I finally made it down to the ZOOMA Annapolis race expo at the beautiful Loews Hotel in downtown Annapolis. The expo is really small, but there was some nice women's running vendors and packet pickup looked easy (I grabbed my bib the night before in Baltimore). 

zooma-annapolis-race-ambassadors-2016

I grabbed dinner and a drink with many of the ZOOMA ambassadors, most of whom I've met before or were ZOOMA ambassadors with me last year.  It was fun to see everyone and especially those people whom I've never met in person or those who I interact more with online through social media. Those running the 10K and 5K got to have a few more drinks and a little bit more fun, which also made me regret signing up for the half! 


zooma-annapolis-2016-race-map-expo

I finally had the chance to meet Cori (She's Going the Distance) who was nice enough to let me share her hotel room after realizing a couple weeks prior that I had not booked anything and didn't feel like driving down 2 days in a row or the morning of. I think we're similar so we vibe together pretty well, and I was happy to meet her after lots of social media interactions. 

June 3, 2016

{5 Friday Favorites} Free Summer Fitness Events in Baltimore 2016

Another Friday already is always a great thing! I've got a jam-packed weekend that is getting kicked off with pre-race ZOOMA Annapolis festivities. If you're running ZOOMA this weekend, say hi if you see me! This week hit us with that hot and humid weather. I love summer (minus the humidity) and LOVE running in shorts again. I just be sure to take my allergy mediciation, lather up the sunscreen, and I'm good to go! One of the great parts about being in the city is all of the free events always happening. Here are some of my favorite FREE summer fitness outdoor offerings you should check out. 


free-summer-fitness-baltimore


5 Friday Favorites-Free Summer Fitness in Baltimore

1. Waterfront Wellness classes

Waterfront Wellness through the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore offers free fitness classes taught by local professional instructors all summer around the Inner Harbor with a beautiful backdrop. I LOVE Waterfront Wellness in the summer although usually marathon training gets in the way of me going. They added some weeknight classes this week which is awesome! Classes are on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays from May 28 through September 18th and include barre, yoga, bootcamp, body sculpt, Dance2Fitness. There is also a fun incentive program with prizes sponsored by Medifast. Definitely check out a class and take this chance to try out something new!  

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You can get more information and the full schedule here

2. 4th Annual Outdoor Fit+ Festival 

On Saturday, June 25th, 2016 will be the 4th annual Fit+ Festival in Harbor East on Aliceanna Street from 9 AM- 1PM. There will be free fitness classes from Under Armour, Lululemon, and The MAC as well as healthy food offerings, music, a photo booth, and giveaways.  The fitness classes including a run, yoga, bootcamp, boxing, and more! 

The event is free and includes free parking, but you have to RSVP here on the website. 

3. Summer Solstice with Soul Body Barre at UAPC UA Headquarters

I love any chance I get to workout out on the water at the awesome Under Armour Headquarters in Baltimore overlooking the harbor.  You can celebrate the Summer Solstice with a free 1-hour Soul Body Barre class with the creators. If you've never tried barre, this is a great chance! The class is free and open to the public but there is only a maximum of 50 spots so sign up here. There are some more details here

Update: Yikes, someone just let me know the class is already full! All the classes at the UAPC including Soul Body Barre are only $8 drop ins as well if you want to take a class there! I also know that there is free summer solstice yoga at 8 AM on 6/19 at the American Visionary Art Museum for free-details here

4. November Project-Baltimore

I had to include it! It's free all summer. And completely free every other Wednesday and Friday during the year-never cancelled. Come out for some extra sweaty hugs and fun running & body weight workouts 6:30 AM on Wednesdays at Rash Field right in front of Federal Hill on the water and 6:30 AM on Fridays at Patterson Park (corner of Linwood & East Baltimore).If you have no idea what I'm talking about, read why I think this free fitness movement and the Baltimore tribe is awesome. 

5. Free Yoga EVERYWHERE.

free-baltimore-yoga

There is a TON of free yoga everywhere. Here are a just a few of the offerings around the city this summer.  In Mount Vernon at Mount Vernon Park-East Square you can do outdoor yoga every Saturday from 8:30-9:45 through September 24th. 

In Canton there will be Pop Up Yoga Baltimore all-levels yoga classes at the Canton Waterfront starting June 5th and continuing on every Saturday from 9:30-10:30 AM. More details here

Free Baltimore Yoga is all-year round including summer-I love it! You can check them out Tuesdays at 6 PM at Patterson Park and Thursdays at 6:30 PM at Parks & People. More information can be found on their website

BONUS: This isn't a free workout, but if you want to try paddle boarding you should totally take a FloYo class this summer. FloYo is a full body workout class done on the standup paddle board that incorporates lots of yoga sequences. I took one a couple summers ago, and it was also the first time I had ever been paddle boarding-it was a blast! I am definitely going to make it a point to get out for a class this summer, especially since there is a location right in Baltimore in Dundalk. Check out their schedule and more information here.

What is your favorite summer workout? Do you like outdoor fitness classes? 


This post was linked up with my fave Friday Linkup ladies CourtneyMar, and Cynthia  as well as NicoleJilland Amanda .

June 1, 2016

5 Ways to Celebrate Global Running Day 2016

Today, June 1st, 2016 is Global Running Day! I think it used to be National Running Day last year  and previous years.  There are tons of fake-ish holidays that someone makes up and markets, but I can totally support this one because I love running and seeing other people excited about running!  Here's some ways you can celebrate Global Running Day 2016 and get involved! 


5 Ways to Celebrate Global Running Day 2016

1. Run. 

Duh. This is probably the most obvious and easiest way to celebrate. I plan on getting a run in with my November Project tribe, but find a group of friends and make it fun! You can even go to the Global Running Day site and print out a cool bib  and join the Strava challenge or go to Brooks Running website and get another bib or find a run near you. 


november-project-run-sarah
Pretty much how this morning's workout looked with bud Sarah

2. Register for a race.

Sign up for a race and set some goals since the year is halfway over! I'm gearing up for a sweaty summer of training for fall races already.Now is the time to register and save some cash on registration fees. Rock 'n' Roll Race Series is having a HUGE sale today on race registrations. If you miss out, you can always use my code BREATHE16 to save $15 off any half or full marathon registration!  You can also register for any of the ZOOMA races anytime with my code LAUREN16 (Annapolis is this weekend!). 

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3. Buy running stuff. 

As if you need an excuse. You can still enter my Miles & Pace trucker hat giveaway which ends Monday! There are also tons of sales happening on fitness and running gear tomorrow. Here's a a great list of deals to check out and another great deals roundup from Kristen. 


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4. Support a cause and run for charity 

You can log your run with the app CharityMiles to support your favorite charity and give back through running which is awesome. 

5. Eat like a runner who is carbloading. 

Regardless if you are running tomorrow or don't run at all, you should definitely carb-load in the spirit of a runner because pizza and pasta and carbs are delicious. 


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#carbloadforlife

Are you celebrating Global Running Day 2016? Are you doing something besides running today? 

This post was linked up with Wild Workout Wednesday, Running Coaches' Corner
 
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