Friday, January 31, 2014

Fitness Friday 1/31 - February's Plan


I, for one, am really happy it's Friday and also very tired of these super long weeks that drag on and on and on.

Enough negativity!

It's the last day of January, and if you read yesterday's post, you know I'm pretty happy with how January ended. I'm feeling good about my goals so far this year. Yay! January was a bit lackluster with the Fitness arena, so I'm definitely going to kick it up a notch in February.

I've got a half marathon and Ragnar Zion coming up in April, and I really want to train well for them. Ragnar Zion is the week immediately following my half, and since trail running is not my forte, I've decided to try and follow the Ragnar Intermediate Training Guide.

Training will start on Monday!!

The plan starts with just 3 runs/week and increases to 5/week. It also includes Active Rest days and Cross Training. For February, I plan on doing my Strong Stride DVD on the Active Rest days and doing yoga on the Cross Training days. I've also thrown in some arm days. Oh, and added more yoga to the weekends. Sundays are technically REST days, but there may be some yoga on some of those days as well.

I spent WAY too much time trying to put together a little calendar to share with you. I couldn't really get an image together that I love, so I'm just embedding a Google calendar for now. If you're reading this 1/31, just click the arrow to advance the calendar to February. :-)

I'm excited for this plan, and hope that I can stick to it!

Training plans are usually difficult for me, but I really want to be consistent with this training, so fingers crossed!!

What are your fitness plans for February?
Any big races on your horizon?

I'm linking up Jill for Fitness Fridays. Go check it out!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

PIN IT PARTY + January Recap

I'd like to say that this month flew by! It didn't. It seemed kind of long, actually. To me, NYE seems soooo long ago. There were a lot of crazy changes at work along with the new year busyness that made this month really drag on.

Of course, there was a lot of good, fun things to happen this month, too!

Today was simply going to be a recap on the blog, but then I found out that Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean was hosting one of her Pin It Parties, and I thought it would be the perfect way to share my recap.

If you're stopping by for the party, I'm not offended if you just pin my pictures and skip over the recap. :)

I'm feeling really good about 2014 so far. I've done a pretty decent job sticking to my 2014 goals. Yay!

Individual Goals
My biggest individual goal was to blog smarter. I even organized a blogging calendar, and did pretty well sticking to it! I didn't miss a Mon, Tue, Fri, or Sun!! I'm especially proud of my Tuesday's Tips posts. In case you missed them, here are they again. Perfect for the Pin It Party! You can click on the picture to go to the original post.

Grow Instagram Audience

Apps to Maximize Instagram

How to Drink More Water

Adding Borders Background to Blockquotes

And not a Tuesday's Tip nor really related to my blogging goal, I made a delicious potato soup in the slow cooker.

Creamy Rosemary Potato Soup

That's it for my contribution the Pin It Party! Feel free to read the rest of my January recap OR go head over to the Pin It Party and check out some other fun pins.

And back to the recap...

My individual fitness goals didn't go quite as well as the blogging goals. :( Other than attempting to stick with my Sun & Moon Salutations Challenge, I took it rather easy. This was somewhat intentional to let my body fully recover from December's marathon before I start training for a couple of April races. February, I'll be hitting fitness hard again.

If you're doing my yoga challenge too, don't forget to enter to win a yoga mat from Barefoot Yoga! You've got 2 more days. :)

Goals with Jeff
The only time sensitive goal we made was to do or try something new each month. In January, we went to the Stratosphere. You can read about that here.

New in 2014

You could say that we're still in the planning stages on the rest of our goals. We still need to choose a triathlon, start reading, and come up with some ideas for New Things the rest of the year as well as Enriching Activities - cultural activities, outdoor activities, volunteering, and new restaurants - which could be new or things we've done before. I'm 99% sure our new thing in May will be SCUBA diving in the kelp forest off Catalina Island. So exciting!!

In January, we also bought a lot of yoga related items, including a yoga trapeze, which is simply a LOT of fun and seriously hard at the same time.

Yoga Trapeze

All in all, I'd say it was a pretty good month - even if our Sallie girl went in for surgery. :( She's doing much, much better it was less than a week ago but the recovery has been so hard on us to see her in pain and not her normal peppy self.

How was your January?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Top of the World

Ok. Maybe not.

But the Stratosphere is the tallest building in the Vegas area and offers the best views of the city, so when I heard that locals could go to the observation deck for free in January, I simply knew that should be our first new in 2014 thing to do.

We've been to observation decks before, but never to the Stratosphere, so one Friday after work and dinner, we decided to be tourists in our own city and go check it out.

Stratosphere Las Vegas

To save gas, and since it was only 2+ miles away and a nice night, we decided to walk. We had so much fun just walking together! That would have been a great night on its own. Of course the socks and sneakers I was wearing didn't have the same plan. I may have even gotten a blister. :(

Getting closer!

Stratosphere Las Vegas

We got there just in time. The line was long, but really swelled just after we arrived. Yay for beating the 9:30pm rush. :)

We had to wait in line to get tickets. Then you go up stairs and wait in line to go through a security check. More stairs to get to another line to wait for an elevator to take you to the 108th floor. That's a lot of lines!

The waiting really wasn't so bad; it actually went pretty quickly.

The view made it all worth it.

Here you can see Paradise (where we live) on the left and The Strip on the right.

Stratosphere Las Vegas

Here I am being silly over downtown.

Stratosphere Las Vegas

The lights were crazy! There were SO many!! But it was super fun to see where they dead-ended at the mountains. Only at night, you couldn't really tell there were mountains there at all.

It was a very fun date night!

But it wasn't enough for me. I wanted to see it during the day. I couldn't convince Jeff to go twice in one weekend. He's thinks its more spectacular at night, plus he wants to do the extreme rides next time we go.

I really wanted to see it during the day when it was still free, so I incorporated a trip back to the top during my Sunday run.

Stratosphere Las Vegas

It was a bit more crowded - both the lines and the observation deck. I headed out much later in the afternoon than I'd intended, so I got there as the sun was just starting to set.  It was actually very pretty with the angle of the sun where it was.

Stratosphere Las Vegas

Was it more spectacular at night? I'm not convinced. I do love the night lights, but I also love the mountains and the wispy clouds.

Stratosphere Las Vegas

Here is Paradise and The Strip again, but during the day.

Stratosphere Las Vegas

What do you think? Would you rather visit during the day or at night?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tuesday's Tip #4

How to Customize Blockquotes in Blogger (pt 1)

I used to be so envious of the cool looking blockquotes on other blogs, so I decided to poke around to see if I could figure out how to add a little pizzazz to my blockquotes.

Most of the tutorials I found were either very technical or were geared to making the changes for all blockquotes. I wanted something that was easy to do in an individual post and that could change from post to post.

Since I was so impressed with myself for figuring out how to format these, I thought it would be fun to share my discoveries with you. Plus, it will be easier for me to reference in the future.

How to Add Borders and Backgrounds to Blockquotes in Blogger

In this post, let's go over how to add borders and background color to your blockquotes. I'll share the coding for you to simply enter right into your post. Be sure you're on the HTML tab and not Compose tab. Then I'll go over how to customize the coding.

Adding a border

The coding:
<blockquote style="border-bottom: 1px solid #000000; border-left: 1px solid #000000; border-radius: 15px; border-right: 1px solid #000000; border-top: 1px solid #000000; padding: 10px;">
Enter your blockquote text here.</blockquote>
This is what your blockquote will look like with a full border around it. You can customize the color and thickness of the border as well as the roundness of the corners. It's also easy to to remove borders, if you'd prefer only a left border or only top and/or bottom borders.
Change the color of the border by changing the 6-character color code. If you're not sure what the 6-character code is for your favorite color, here is a great resource for HTML Color Codes.

Ex. <blockquote style="border-bottom: 1px solid #EB1010;
Different colored border
Change the thickness of the border by changing the number of pixels.

Ex. <blockquote style="border-bottom: 5px solid #000000;
Thicker border
Change the solid border to a dashed by changing SOLID to DASHED.

Ex. <blockquote style="border-bottom: 1px dashed #000000;
Dashed border
NOTE: When making any of the above changes, be sure and make them to all sides of the border.

Additional customizations:
Change the roundness of the corners by changing the border-radius. Or make the corners pointed by deleting this attribute.
If you don't want a full box around your blockquote, simply delete out the borders you don't want.

Adding a background color

The coding:
<blockquote style="background-color: #f3cdb2; border-radius: 15px; padding: 10px;">Enter your blockquote text here.</blockquote>
This is what your blockquote will look like with a fancy new background color. Pretty neat, huh? You can customize the background color, the roundness of the corners, and the closeness of the border to the text.
background-color. Pretty obvious what this is. It's the color that will be behind your text. :) Enter the color code of your choice.

border-radius. This is what rounds the corners of the background. You can delete this attribute, if you want sharp corners or just adjust the pixels to make the corners more or less round.

padding. This determines how close your text is to the outside of the border.

Now, it's YOUR turn. Try it out the next time you want to use a blockquote in your post. Let me know you tried with a comment or a mention on Twitter or G+.

Tune in next week to learn how to add an image to your blockquote. It's a bit more complicated, so I'm giving it its own post.
Tweet: How to Add Borders & Backgrounds to Blockquotes in Blogger #bloggerformatting #blockquotes #html via @EnjoytheCourse

Monday, January 27, 2014

10 Names I Would Have Named Myself

Growing up, I was not a huge fan of my name.


It was long.
It was hard to spell and hard to pronounce. At least it seemed that way to my teachers.

I was a little bit envious of the Jennys and Amys and Sarahs. These names were so common. Everyone knew how to pronounce them. And you didn't stand out with a weird name.

So, I was a bit intrigued by this week's Monday Listicles theme (chosen by Coletta).

10 Names I Would Have Named Myself

1. Micala
2. Brooke
3. Alison
4. Rachel
5. Rebecca
6. Christy
7. Laura
8. Sarah
9. Amy
10. Ava

Of course, I love my name now that I'm older. I love how I was named after my great-grandmother (my mom's mom's mom). I love how it's unique and uncommon. To be honest, it's been years since I've even thought of having a different name, so this list is mostly names I would have named myself today, not necessarily names I'd dreamed of back in the day.

Do you like your name? Would you have named yourself anything different?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

What's for Dinner? Week of 1/26

menu planning

Our little Sallie pup had surgery on Friday. She's doing well, but her recovery has kind of thrown our weekend for a loop. She refuses to wear the medical cone, so we need to keep her under close supervision to keep her from scratching her sutures.

Sallie, border terrier

It's so hard for us, because she's been whimpering a lot, and we don't know what's wrong. It hasn't even been two days yet, but I think she's start to feel better. Not quite to her full peppiness but definitely on her way.

Since Jeff will be going to the store on his own today, so I can stay home with Sallie, I'm keeping the meal plan real simple. Time to clean out the freezer. :)

Sunday - Broccoli cheese roll-ups with some canned soup

Broccoli Cheese Roll-ups

Monday - Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Chili (from the freezer) over a baked potato
I made this a couple weeks ago and froze about half of it. Hopefully it thaws well.

Tuesday - Leftovers
Probably more of the taco chili, but over rice. :)

Wednesday - Chicken Parmesan Soup (from the freezer)
Jeff really LOVED this soup, and he was delighted when he found out that there was more in the freezer. Again, I'm kind of new to freezing leftovers, so fingers crossed this reheats well.

Thursday - Leftovers

Friday - Grilled Sandwiches

Saturday - TBD

I'm linking up with Laura over at Mommy Run Fast. Go check out what everyone else is cooking up this week.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Fitness Friday 1/24

Not too much to say this morning, so here's a little update on my #sunmoonchallenge.

With just a couple hiccups, I've been pretty good with the sun salutations, but the moons have been a lot more difficult to maintain. This past week has been the most difficult. My cold was a bit worse. Not terrible. Not enough to keep me home from work. Just enough to have that icky, mucus dripping down my throat, nastiness that makes you crazy!!

As for my weekly recap, I didn't do the best this week. :(

Friday, 1/17
  • #sunmoonchallenge - 7 suns, 0 moons
  • walked 4-5 miles to the Stratosphere and home again
Saturday, 1/18
Sunday, 1/19
  • #sunmoonchallenge - 19 suns, 0 moons
  • 6.2 mile run
Monday, 1/20
  • #sunmoonchallenge - 20 suns, 0 moons
Tuesday, 1/21

Wednesday, 1/22
  • #sunmoonchallenge - 22 suns, 0 moons
Thursday, 1/23
  • #sunmoonchallenge - 7 suns, 1 moon

I was a lot less mucusy when I woke up this morning, so I'm hoping that I'm on the mend.

So, the challenge hasn't been perfect, but I'm hoping to finish the month out strong. I've still got one week to go.

Random thoughts about the doing the salutations.

I'm loving the suns in the morning. I always start out real slow with them. Letting myself really sink into the poses. The first few are always so tight, and it feels amazing to stretch it out.

I can have ZERO distractions when doing the suns. Even if the thoughts in my head stray from my practice, I lose count (even with my clicker app) and forget which foot to move back or forward.

Moon salutations are easy to forget. I usually push my bedtime to the last minute, and then I crawl right into bed. Some nights I remember, and simply don't want to crawl back out of bed.

Moon salutations both get my heart pumping and relax me for sleep. The first couple of nights, I was really amazed at how I felt after doing a moon salutation or two. My heart would be really pumping, but I was surprised at how I simultaneously felt jazzed and ready for sleep.

Breathing. Sometimes I have a difficult time breathing. I've had doctors check it out in the past, and they ruled out asthma, but couldn't really offer a diagnosis. It comes and goes. Could be stress-related. Anyway, I was really hoping that a month of yoga would help with the breathing issues. Unfortunately, that hasn't happened. The past few days have been the worst. What are you gonna do? Just keep going, I guess.

Are you doing the January Challenge with me? What are your experiences with the challenge? Don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a Barefoot Eco Yoga Mat. If you haven't joined the challenge, why not start today?


Any exciting weekend plans? Jeff has really caught the yoga bug, so we're planning on having a yoga weekend. We recently got a few new yoga toys that we're excited to try. Like this yoga trapeze.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tuesday's Tip #3 - How to Drink More Water

Do you struggle with drinking enough water? Maybe you forget to have a glass or maybe you don't enjoy the taste (or lack of taste). Or maybe you just get busy. Or you drink too many other things and water takes a back seat.

Way too often, I get to the end of the day and think... Damn! I didn't drink enough water today. After several days, I can really feel it. My body feels heavier and lazier. Even my outlook tends to be more negative.

So, this post is possibly more for me than anyone, but hopefully you'll find it helpful, too!

How to Drink More Water

1. Always have a water bottle nearby. Not only is it a visual reminder, but it's also very convenient.

2. Drink a full glass multiple times a day. Sipping isn't usually enough for me. I find it difficult to get in enough by sipping alone.
Try setting an alarm to help remind you throughout the day.
The best times to drink a glass of water are first thing in the morning, 30 minutes before meals, and right before bed.
3. Alternate with your other beverage of choice. Jeff drinks a lot of soda and is trying to drink more water. Instead of grabbing another soda, he'll have a glass of water first. Or he'll have both a glass of water and a soda together and alternate taking drinks from each.

4. Buy expensive bottled water. The guilt of spending the money and not drinking it may be just the motivation you need to drink up. This is definitely not the greenest of options, so be sure and recycle.

5. Infuse your water with fruit, veggies, and/or herbs. Probably the most common is adding lemon or lime, but how about strawberries, grapes, or watermelon? Cucumbers? Lavender, rosemary, or mint? The possibilities are endless.
Like the idea of infusing your water, but don't like the idea of choking on the pulp or herbs or whatnot floating in your water?

Here are a few items on Amazon that can help: Zing Anything water bottles, Jokari Healthy Steps Water Infuser, or the Deco Infusion Pitcher.
Check out my Pinterest board for more fun ideas.

Follow Clarinda's board Drink Water on Pinterest.

What other tips do you have for drinking more water?
Do you have a favorite flavor combo to drink?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Monday Listicles - The Weekend

This week's Monday Listicles theme is things to do on the weekend. Our weekends are generally pretty mellow, so here's a list of some regular things we do and some things I wish we'd do more. So, in no particular order...

10 Things to Do during the Weekend

1. Stay up way too late
We don't do this every weekend, but this past weekend we were up until 3am Sat morning. Just talking about random things

2. Sleep in way too late
When Sallie is feeling generous. She likes her breakfast at a very early hour and isn't too keen on pushing that back. But sometimes I convince her to sleep a bit later.

3. Be a tourist in our own town
Of course we live in a pretty great town to do this. This weekend we went to the Stratosphere.

Stratosphere Las Vegas

4. Go for a run
I try to get out for a run at least once every weekend.

5. Make a fun breakfast
Pancakes, french toast, omelettes. Not all at the same time.

Omelettes Breakfast

6. Go for a bike ride or for a hike
We don't do this nearly as often as I'd like, but one of these weekends we'll do it!

Again, we have yet to do this since moving to Vegas, but sometime this year, I hope we take a few short road trips. LA, San Diego, Phoenix, Grand Canyon are a few of the places I'd love to go.

8. Relax and do nothing
This is how most of my weekends actually go. Or I get caught up on stuff around the house, like cleaning, organizing or doing laundry.

9. Marathon - movies or TV
Now, this is something that we'll frequently do - but we haven't for awhile.

10. NAP
Which includes lots of Sallie snuggle time. Some of my favorite moments are snuggling with her.

Sallie border terrier

Linking up with Stasha. Head on over there to see how everyone else spends their weekends and to see what next week's theme is.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

What's for Dinner? Week of 1/19

menu planning

Three weeks in a row. Whoooo..... :-)

After 2 weeks of meal planning, I've decided that only 2 nights of leftovers in a week is not enough. When I cook a dinner, it seems that we generally have enough to feed us for at least 2 full meals and maybe a lunch or two. Since there are only two of us, a regular recipe seems to go a long way.

So, I'm keeping it very simple this week.

Sunday - Leftovers

Monday - Enchiladas

Tuesday - Leftovers

Wednesday - Beef Kebabs

Thursday - Leftovers

Friday - Grilled Sandwiches

Saturday - TBD

I'm linking up with Laura over at Mommy Run Fast. Go check out what everyone else is cooking up this week.

Last week, I had potato soup on the menu, but no recipe to try, so I made up my own. You can check out the recipe here.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Fitness Friday 1/17

For today's Fitness Friday, I thought it would be fun to link up with Cori from Olive to Run for a little Would You Rather.

#1. Would you rather run in a thunderstorm or a snowstorm? This might come as a surprise, but I'd definitely prefer a snowstorm over a thunderstorm. There is something so calm and peaceful about running in the snow. Now, if the snow didn't have to come with cold...

#2. Would you rather breathe through your nose or breathe through your mouth? Nose. It just seems cleaner and healthier, though I do a lot of mouth breathing - especially when I run. Or have a cold.

#3. Would you rather do 100 squats or 100 crunches? [Now take a break and go do them. ;)] 100 squats. I don't know why. I think they seem easier. Gotta work my core more!

#4. Would you rather have a baked good for dessert or an extra serving of your favorite entree? Definitely a baked good. Or chocolate. Or anything sweet.

#5. Would you rather run on a treadmill for an hour or run around the same street block for an hour? Treadmill. At least there I could zone out instead of having to dodge pedestrians that aren't paying attention.

#6. Would you rather have a headache during a run or a side stitch? Hmm. I think I'd go with headache.

#7. Would you rather have a rest day on a work day or a day off? On a day off, so I can make it an active rest day and do something fun OR do absolutely NOTHING at all.

#8. Would you rather be a race director or a race volunteer? Definitely volunteer. It's so fun! Plus, you don't get all the negativity that RDs can sometimes get.

#9. Would you rather spend your money on running gadgets [HRM, GPS watch, Headphones] or running shoes? Running shoes. They don't seem to last as long as the gadgets, and really they're all you need. :)

#10. Would you rather run in a relay or do the run portion of a distance triathlon? I ♥ relays!! So, I guess I'd prefer them.

As for my weekly recap, I didn't do the best this week. :(

Friday, 1/10

  • #sunmoonchallenge
  • arms/abs
Saturday, 1/11
  • #sunmoonchallenge
  • 5 mile run
Sunday, 1/12
  • #sunmoonchallenge
Monday, 1/13
  • #sunmoonchallenge
  • arms/abs
  • 25 min run on the treadmill (2.59 miles)
Tuesday, 1/14
  • #sunmoonchallenge
Wednesday, 1/15
  • #sunmoonchallenge
Thursday, 1/16
  • #sunmoonchallenge

My cold really kicked in earlier this week, so my workouts really petered off, plus work has been very stressful this week. Lots of changes and uncertainty. A few people were let go for some restructuring. Luckily not me, but some great, long-time employees. It was sad to see them go. :(

Now, if I can just kick this cold and refocus on my workouts and drinking water and BEING HAPPY!!


Any exciting weekend plans? Jeff and I are hopefully going to the top of the Stratosphere this weekend. It's free for locals in January, so I'm really excited to go! Plus, we get to check off January's new thing from our 2014 goals.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tuesday's Tip #2 - Apps to Maximize Your Instagram

I ♥ Instagram. It's probably my favorite social media channel. Well, except my blog. Obviously. :)

Last week, for my inaugural Tuesday's Tip, I shared some ways to increase your Instagram following, and today I want to share a few of my favorite Instagram apps.

Tuesday's Tip #2 - Apps to Maximize Your Instagram

Apps to Maximize Instagram

There are a LOT of apps out there. I generally use the Instagram app itself most often, but recently I've discovered a few other apps that are pretty helpful.

All of these apps are available both from Google Play and the iTunes store. I've only used the free versions of the following apps. Most of them have full versions for purchase with more features, but here is what's available for free.

Apps to help with followers

InstaFollow (Google Play and iTunes)
This app allows you to keep track of who is following you, who recently unfollowed you, etc. It makes it really easy to follow people who you aren't following back I always try to follow back, unless it's clearly a spammy account OR to unfollow people who recently stopped following you.

Following/Unfollowing users is really quick and easy. Sometimes a little too easy. Instragram only also you to follow/unfollow 160 users/hour. This app makes it easy to get to that number and also prevents you from breaking any IG rules.
This isn't really an app per se, but it is a very helpful tool. Just go to and log in with your IG username/password. Pretty much any stat you want on your account, will deliver - not only about who your followers ARE but which posts they are engaging with. Really useful info here!

Apps for collages

Sometimes it's fun to post a few pictures at once. I have tried a LOT of these types of apps, but here are my two favorites.

This is probably my most used app. I use it to watermark my pictures or add any other text. It also has great stickers and backgrounds. You can use it with a single picture or up to 9 photos. Lots of great layout options for multiple photos. You can even add filters and crop images. It auto populates the images, but it's really easy to switch them around.

This is a new-to-me app since I got my Nexus 5, and I was hooked right away! Instead of a static collage, this app takes your photos and flips through them in a slideshow video. You can choose which photos to include, and you can even find music to play along with the video! It's very fun!

Apps for likes

The following apps are very new-to-me, and I haven't played around with them a lot yet, but they are full of potential!

I used to use an app called InstaTag, but it was a bit complicated and cumbersome. I recently discovered TagsforLikes and found it very easy to use. Basically, you just choose a category and then copy the hashtags to paste into your Instagram post. So easy!!

InstaWeather, InstaFood, InstaPlace
Again, these are very new to me, and I haven't played around with them too much, but they are great! They all come with multiple overlays for your photo, and they come with Cool Hashtags, which you can copy and paste into Instagram. Most of the skins are very easy to customize. Just double tap on they text you want to change. Double tapping on the temperature on InstaWeather will toggle between °F and °C. I think the default is for °C, but you can change that in the settings in the upper left.

NOTE: Instagram only allows 30 hashtags per post. TagsforLikes generates a list of 30 hashtags, so if you want to use any of your own, you'll need to delete some of the copied hashtags. The Insta apps don't generate as many hashtags, so you're free to add your own as well.

What are your favorite Instagram apps?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Monday Listicles - Random 10

This week we're free-styling it for Monday Listicles.


1. I don't understand people who do not like chocolate. I have a huge sweet tooth and chocolate is right at the top of the list. Pretty much any kind of chocolate is YUM!

2. Just because my car is small doesn't mean it's not safe. Yesterday, at Walmart some stopped and asked how I like my car. I said I loved it. She seemed surprised and asked if I wasn't scared driving it. Um. No. It's got like 11 air bags. I think I'm good.

Scion IQ

3. We got Bountiful Baskets this weekend! I'm so excited to have so many fruits/veggies in the house again. It's been WAY too long.

4. We got some big baking potatoes in the Bountiful Basket. I've been craving baked potatoes for awhile now, so I was pretty excited to see them in the basket Saturday morning.

5. We had this deliciousness for dinner Saturday night.
slow cooker chicken taco chili
I served it over rice last night, but one of the leftover nights this week it will be used as a potato topping. Yummy!

6. I haven't ridden my bike in months. :( So sad. I really need to start again, but I've gotten out of the habit and it's been so cold. Maybe I'll get in a commute or two this week.

7. I went out for drinks Friday night at the new Downtown Container Park Project to celebrate a co-workers birthday. It was really fun! I didn't get a great picture, but all the shops/restaurants are shipping containers! It's really neat. There's also a playground in the center for the kids and a stage at one end for bands. And I can't forget to mention the huge preying mantis.

8. Jeff and I need to do some brainstorming for our 2014 goals. The key to success is planning, right? Hopefully, if we brainstorm some ideas, we won't get to the end of the year disappointed.

9. I've been absolutely terrible about drinking water the past several weeks. I think it's really catching up with me now. Even my skin has gotten thirsty! I definitely need to start making water a priority again.

10. It's going to be a busy week! The way I've planned my workouts this month, I've got arms/abs + a run on MWF this week. That's not going to leave me much time in the mornings, so I'll have to be productive in the evenings. :)

Happy Monday! What randomness is going on with you?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

What's for Dinner? Week of 1/12

menu planning

I did pretty well with dinners last week! I had to move some nights around, but it's all good. It was pretty delicious, and I'm excited about what's for dinner this week!!

Sunday - Black Bean Soup
One straggler from last week...

Monday - Leftovers

Tuesday - Potato Soup
I haven't decided on a recipe for this yet, but I'm hoping to experiment a little with some recipes from Pinterest. 

Wednesday - Grilled Chicken with Rosemary Roasted Potatoes and Broccoli

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

Thursday - Leftovers

Friday - Chicken Parmesan Soup

Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Soup

Saturday - TBD

I'm linking up with Laura over at Mommy Run Fast. Go check out what everyone else is cooking up this week.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Fitness Friday 1/10

It's finally FRIDAY!! It's been one LOOOONG week, and I am definitely ready for the weekend.

We're now 10 days into the New Year! I hope your year is off to a fabulous start. :)

I've got some pretty exciting news to share with you!!

You know that #SunMoonChallenge I started on Jan 1st? Well, I've got a giveaway lined up now!

barefoot yoga
Barefoot Yoga offers all kinds of great yoga supplies, clothing, and mats, and they've generously offered to give one of YOU a Hybrid Eco Mat.

I love anything that's eco-friendly, so I'm really excited about this mat. It doesn't contain phthalates or heavy metals, plus the method of production is completely non-toxic and latex free.

How awesome is that? I never really thought about a yoga mat containing toxins before, but I love that there's a mat out there that's non-toxic. Healthier for me AND better for the environment. Win-Win!

barefoot yoga hybrid eco mat
The Hybrid Eco Mat that's up for grabs

Even if you haven't been able to join the challenge yet, you can start today for your chance to win this mat. :)

Originally, the challenge was to start with one sun salutation in the morning and one moon salutation before bed and then add one of each every day.

If you're unfamiliar with the Sun Salutation A or the Moon Salutation, you can read this post for more info and helpful tips on doing these salutations.

Since I created the challenge without ever having done a moon salutation, by day 7, I decided that adding a salutation every day was too much for me for the moons.

The intent behind the challenge was really to get us to the mat everyday, so I'm re-inviting all of you to join me! You can do just one sun and one moon every day OR you can do however many you want. Just be sure an do at least one sun and one moon each day from 1/10 through 1/31.

To enter the giveaway, use the Rafflecopter below to let me know when you've done your salutations.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
You may want to bookmark this Rafflecopter to easily enter every day. I'm also adding a tab to my Facebook page for your convenience. :)

NOTE: To be eligible to win, you need to be a US resident and enter at least 10x from 1/10-1/31. I've made the "Tweet about the Giveaway" a mandatory daily option, but if you're not on Twitter, just enter the number of salutations you did that day in the URL field. Ex. "Not on Twitter, but did 10 salutations."

Update: I've removed the at least 10x stipulation as a requirement to win.

And now for my weekly recap.

Saturday, 1/4
Sunday, 1/5
  • #sunmoonchallenge (5 each)
  • 3 mile run
Monday, 1/6
  • #sunmoonchallenge (6 each)
  • Arms and Abs
Tuesday, 1/7
  • #sunmoonchallenge (7 sun; 3 moon)
Wednesday, 1/8
  • #sunmoonchallenge (8 sun; 1 moon)
  • Arms and Abs
Thursday, 1/9
  • #sunmoonchallenge (9 sun; 3 moon)
  • 2.65 mile run

I'm really enjoying this yoga challenge. Even though I've changed my expectations for the moon salutations, I love the stretching I'm doing every day with these sequences. I'm trying to really focus on deepening my poses. A couple of days ago, I even made the switch from Cobra to Updog! :-D

My energy has been completely zapped in the evenings after work. I missed my run on Tuesday because I was so busy before work and then so tired after work. :( I more than made up for it with yesterday's treadmill run, though. It was a short distance, but I really pushed it - doing intervals in the 8.0+ and resting at 6.0. I'm not used to that kind of speed, but I figure that's one step to getting used to it again.

That's about it for this week's Fitness Friday. After you've finished your morning sun salutations, hop on over to Jill's to see what everyone else is talking about fitness today.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Tuesday's Tip #1 - Growing Your Instagram Audience

I meant to get this post written last night, but by 7:30, I was already exhausted! I was in bed by 8. :( Hope I'm not getting sick.

It's the first Tuesday of 2014, and one of my New Year's blogging goals is to share tips with you on Tuesdays, so here's...

Tuesday's Tip #1 - How to Grow Your Instagram Audience

Ok. So, maybe there's 4 tips included in today's post. :-)

If you follow me on Instagram, you might remember that on Thanksgiving, I had 726 followers. I was hoping to get to 1,000 followers by Jan 1.

That didn't happen, but I am at over 950 now, and I thought I'd share with you how I grew my audience.

Tip #1 Follow those who like your posts.

With every new picture I shared, came likes. I'd scroll through the likes and follow everyone who like my post, if I wasn't already. I'd then scan through the new accounts and like any of their pictures that struck me.

Tip #2 Use hashtags.

Hashtags help other people who aren't already following you, find you! Simple as that. There are a few apps that can help you, if you don't know which hashtags to use. Next week I'll be sharing my favorite IG Apps, so be sure and stop back by if you want to know which apps I use for hashtags.

Tip #3 Cross post on your other social networks.

If you're on Facebook or Twitter or have a blog, be sure and share your IG posts on those other channels as well. If your other followers don't know you're on IG, how will they know to follow you? :) It's pretty easy to cross post directly from the IG app, and if you're on the IG website, you can get an embed code for your blog. Easy-peasy.

Tip #4 Invite new followers from your other social networks to find you on Instagram.

One of the things that really helped me was to welcome new Twitter followers and immediately direct them to my IG account. Something like: Thanks for following! Please check me out on Instagram, too. Be sure and include the URL to your IG account, so they can easily find you.

Pretty simple, right?! There are probably lots more ways, and some might even result in faster growth, but this is what has worked for me.

There are also apps that can help you monitor your followers. I'll get into those next week when I talk about the apps I love.

What other tricks have you used to increase your Instagram followers?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Monday Listicles - 10 THINGS NEW

Happy New Year Monday Listiclers!

Oh, how I've missed you! I went away during marathon training when I started posting weekly training recaps on Mondays, but I'm back in 2014!!

Not sure what Monday Listicles is? Each week Stasha over at The good life hosts a blog hop where we all create a list based on a topic. Or off topic. Whatever.

To start off 2014, I'll be staying on topic.


We've gotten a LOT of new things recently, so this should be an easy one. :)

1. New bowls. I'm planning on lots of soup this week and maybe for the next couple months. Better have some cute bowls to go with it.

2. New robes. It's cold here in Vegas. Well, cold for walking back from the hot tub in just a bikini, so we got these heavy, hooded, warm robes.

Disregard Jeff's expression. It was early Christmas morning. :)
3. New clothes. I spruced up my closet with H&M. I'm not really big on buying clothes online, but these were such great deals. So excited that everything fit, too!! Woot woot!! I also got a great dress from The Gap and a few things from Walmart.

4. New kitchen toy. I'd been wanting a griddle since my parents came to visit. We got this fun little thing instead. You can only make about 4 pancakes at a time, but that's way better than the 1 at a time I was doing in the skillet before. :)

5. New workout bench. It acts as a roman chair and a triceps dip stations. Also good for sit-ups and push-ups.

6. New shower mirror. Real, true fogless mirror! You actually put water in the back to equalize the temperature of the glass, so it doesn't fog up. Jeff tried it out last night, and it worked great!

fogless shower mirror
Disregard the crookedness of the picture. #bloggerfail

7. New running hat. This was a Christmas gift from my boss. Isn't it cute?!

8. New massage wand. This thing is intense. Or not. I mean it's adjustable. Plus there is a heat option as well.

9. New shower head. Variable water pressure. Like you're in a heavy rain or a torrential rain.

shower head

And my favorite.

10. New phone. I'd been wanting to replace my Galaxy SII pretty much since Instagram came out with video, so in time for the New Year, I got the new Nexus 5. I'm in LOVE though I do miss the ringtones from the SII.

nexus 5

What's new with you?