Friday, October 30, 2015

Top Moments of October

Happy Friday!  It's the end of October, and what a crazy month it was!  This was definitely the busiest month I've had all year, so it completely flew by.  Today's post is going to be all over the place and a bit cray (goes along with the "theme of the month", eh?) - I'll be sharing some of my favorite moments of the month, some recent news that caught my eye, fashion favorites, and what I'm listening to.  Let's go!


Wedding in Tennessee

A huge highlight of the month was our trip down to Tennessee, and celebrating my future father-in-law's wedding!  I enjoyed getting to meet some people on Michele's side of the family, as well as spend time with Dan's family.  It was such an amazing weekend and the weather could not have been any better!  

Race x 3

I had three races this month, and they all ended up being amazing!  First up was Run Shadyside 5k, which I ran with Dan.  He ended up getting a huge PR in that race which made me so happy!  Next was the Towpath Half Marathon, where I finally broke 2 hours.  I was thrilled with that race and super proud for getting over that hurdle I've been struggling with for years!  Finally, I ran the Pittsburgh 10 Miler and took a few minutes off my time from last year!  What a great month!


REI Closing on Black Friday

This article made me so, so happy.  I used to be a huge Black Friday lover- my mom, sister and I would head out early in the morning after Thanksgiving to get breakfast and find deals at the mall.  Even if we didn't end up buying anything we always had a great time!  It's been really sad to see how this "holiday" has changed in the past few years- most places staying open on Thanksgiving day and so many injuries and deaths that I have no desire to support it anymore!  Seeing a company (especially one based in Pittsburgh) do their part to stop this makes me really happy and want to support them when they are open.  Hopefully other companies will follow suit!

Gilmore Girls Revival

Have you heard that Gilmore Girls is returning for a "final season"?  There are going to be four 90-minute episodes, with each set in a different season.  One of my favorite parts of the show was seeing the changing seasons: Lorelei dragging Luke outside to see the first snow flakes of the season, pumpkins and hay decorating Stars Hollow for fall...it makes me so happy!  I'm sad to hear that Melissa McCarthy won't be returning, and of course the show won't be the same without Edward Herrmann.  I'm still excited, and hope for a Rory/Jess reunion!


Fashion

top x jeans x boots
I love these wedge booties!  I wanted to show what they look like on the side, hence the awkward pose!

sweater x pants x boots
This is one of my favorite sweaters- it has faux leather details on the shoulders and is the perfect length!

cardigan x tank x skirt x tights x boots
This skirt is so comfortable and cute, but it wrinkles horribly!

Songs

Hora Zero  Rodrigo y Gabriela

Alexa and Mark danced to this song on Dancing With the Stars this week, and I immediately downloaded it.  I love any song with Spanish-style guitar, and this one is so interesting!  It has a slightly spooky sound to it-perfect for the Halloween episode!

Hello  Adele 

Everyone went crazy for this song as soon as it was released (hello...100 million views in less than a week!?), and I'm joining in the crazy!  Adele has such a unique, haunting, beautiful voice that's so full of emotion.  She's basically the female equivilent of Sam Smith!  Could you imagine if they did a song together!?

Break Your Heart Right Back  Ariana Grande 

I love Ariana Grande's voice, and this is a really fun song.  I love how it sounds so playful and light hearted..until you listen to the lyrics.

If I Ain't Got You  Viktor Kiraly

Viktor is one of my favorite competitors on the Voice right now, and I thought his Knockout round song was amazing!  Alicia Keys is one of my favorite singers and songwriters, and I've always loved this song.  I couldn't believe that Adam didn't pick him, but wasn't entirely shocked since he was paired with the incredible Jordan.  Thank goodness Gwen stole him!

All Night Long  Demi Lovato, Missy Elliott, Timbaland

How did I never know that Demi Lovato did a song with Missy and Timbaland?!  I mean, does it get any better than those three?  This song is so fun and I'm in love!



What's your opinion on Black Friday?
What are your plans for Halloween?
Was there one month that was crazier than usual for you? 


Linking up with MarCynthia and Court 
as well as Heather!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

A Spooky Post

Do you believe in ghosts?


I've always been intrigued by the idea of ghosts, and have heard plenty of stories of supernatural activity to make me at least open to the possibility.  With Halloween just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to share some spooky stories, favorite scary podcasts, and other Halloween fun.

The stories I'm going to be sharing are all 100% true stories that happened to myself, Dan, and my mom.  There could be a perfectly reasonable explanation to everything, but that wouldn't be much fun!  I hope you enjoy, and I'd love to hear your scary stories!

Scary Stories



My Story:

A few years ago, Dan and I took a trip to Boiling Springs to visit his family.  This was my first time staying at his dad's house, and I was to sleep in Dan's childhood bedroom.  While I was chatting with  Dan and his dad, he casually mentioned a ghost in the house.  He likes to tease and joke around a lot, so I didn't think anything of it and figured it was one of his pranks.

I went to bed without any thoughts of a ghost, but woke up in the middle of the night for no reason.  The room was pitch dark, but I could clearly see the outline of a woman in Dan's opened closet, which was at the foot of the bed.  I could see that she was pointing, so I looked that way, which was to the right of the bed.  I didn't see anything there at first, then all of a sudden I saw a flash of light!  When I checked the closet again, the mystery woman was gone, and I never saw her again.




Dan's Story: 


(Note- this happened in the same house as the story above)

One October evening, I was sleeping alone and woke up in the middle of the night to something touching my legs near the foot of the bed.  In the pitch-black room, I look out of the corner of my eye to see a small green orb dancing around the foot of the bed.  It was about jelly-bean size and shaped, and was fluorescent green, almost like the color of a glow-stick.  It had a foggy halo around it, extending in all directions.  It was moving around erratically, back and forth, up and down.  I went to get up to see what this light was, but quickly realized that I couldn't move.  I felt an incredible weight on my chest holding me down to the bed.  I couldn't move my arms or legs either.  I couldn't speak and I could barely breathe from the weight on my chest.  All I could do was listen to my faint heart beat get louder and faster.  The green orb slowly dimmed to black as I was seemingly forced to go back to sleep by whatever this object was that was fixated on me that one October evening.     
Ghost Dan!
The next morning, I could still clearly remember everything that had happened.  I immediately ruled out a dream, because this felt much too real.  I asked my dad if he was messing with me with a green light, since he often likes to play pranks on me.  He denied being the source of this fluorescent visitor.  I cast this aside in my mind and went about my week, including going to a dentist appointment, where they took routine x-rays of my teeth.  The dentist looked at the photographs and asked me if I have ever been shot in the face with a BB gun.  "No??" I replied after realizing that he was quite serious.  He continued to show me the x-ray and there, embedded in my jaw, right next to my back molar was a bright white sphere, the size of a small bead.  The bright white suggests that it is dense, like a metal ball.  This is the first time X-rays of my teeth have showed this abnormality.  Did my fluorescent visitor implant something inside of me that one October evening?  What exactly did I wake up to?  Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), I may never know...



Mom's Story:

We moved in to Riverview Tower when my mom became the personal nurse to the elderly lady, named Louise.   The mansion was built by her grandfather as a wedding gift for her father.  There were two unusual deaths that had happened there in the early 1900's:  Louise's brother died in his sleep as a young adult, and a cause of death was never found.  The second death was her sister-in-law, who fell down the back steps and broke her neck.
Riverview Tower- the quintessential "haunted mansion"
After Louise died, the house was sold. A few years later, my mom's hairdresser had a story to share. Her boyfriend was an electrician, and was hired by people who had bought a "mansion" to install new electrical wires throughout the entire house. When they started the work, they had to break down the walls in the bedroom. On an interior beam, the names "Jim, Dot, Monika, and Erika" were carved. My mom shocked the stylist when she told her those were the names of her family. It turned out the mansion she was talking about was Riverview Tower. The new owner and his girlfriend reported hearing frequent, unexplained noises. The girlfriend moved out, and the owner began sleeping with a shotgun.

Spooky Podcasts

Limetown : Ten years ago, over three hundred men, women and children disappeared from a small town in Tennessee, never to be heard from again.  In this seven-part podcast, American Public Radio host Lia Haddock asks the question once more, "What happened to the people of Limetown?"

The Black Tapes Podcast : a serialized docudrama about one journalist's search for truth, her enigmatic subject's mysterious past, and the literal and figurative ghosts that haunt them both. How do you feel about paranormal activity or supernatural? Ghosts? Spirits? Demons? Do you believe?

Welcome to Night Vale : twice-monthly podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff's Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events. Turn on your radio and hide. 


Lore : bi-weekly podcast about the history behind scary stories.  The people, places, and things of our darkest nightmares all have real facts at their core.  Each episode of Lore looks into a uniquely scary tale and uncovers the truth of what's behind it.  Sometimes the truth is more frightening than fiction.


Halloween Pins

Cutest Costume : Spaghetti and Parmesan Cheese via The Surznick Common Room
How adorable is this couple's costume?  

Best Halloween Treats : Pumpkin Pie Bites via Bakerella
I actually made these last year for a work party, and they were extremely easy to make and turned out adorable!  They also taste just like a pumpkin pie- yum!

Most Adorable Drink : Candy Corn Jello Shot via Brit + Co
Even though these are time consuming, they seem easy enough to make and look really cute.  They would be perfect for a Halloween party! Plus, sweetened condensed milk in a shot?  YES PLEASE!

Clever Decorations : Monster Doors via Good To Know
How adorable are these doors!?  They look really easy to recreate, and it's sure to make a huge impact on anyone passing by!


Have you ever had a supernatural experience?
What's your favorite Halloween treat?
What are you dressing up as for Halloween?

linking up with Amanda and Secret Blogger Club!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

WIAW : Monday Day in the Life

It's been quite a while since I participated in the What I Ate Wednesday (#WIAW) linkup, and I wanted to share what my Monday looked like this week!  I love reading "day in the life" posts from other bloggers, and I hope you enjoy another look into my day.  Monday was quite a busy day, so I hope you like the pictures and seeing what my life is like during the week.

Check out the linkup to see what others are eating, or check out my previous WIAW posts here!

Day in the Life : October 26, 2015


6:30 - Wake up and attempt to get Selma awake.  She hates to wake up, so she always hides under the blankets when I turn on the lights.  Definitely not a morning dog, so I have to give her lots of hugs and cuddles before she'll go on her morning walk.  It was a chilly morning, but I got to see Venus/Mars/Jupiter in the sky.  Really cool!

6:45 - Feed Selma, get a quick shower and do other morning getting-ready things.  Thank goodness I packed lunch last night, so I can just grab it on my way out the door!

7:15 - Catch my bus and listen to an episode of "Happier with Gretchen Rubin".  Love listening to podcasts in the morning!

7:30 - Get to work (first one there) and see the beautiful sunrise and fog over the city.  I love working on a high floor because I get gorgeous views of Pittsburgh and the Allegheny River!

7:40 - Log in, make some coffee (McCafe Pumpkin Spice with Spiced Latte creamer) and eat a banana and granola bar.  First time trying one from the "sweet and spicy" line from Nature Valley and I love it!  I open up a blank page to start this post.  For those of you asking when I set aside time to blog- I don't!  I just write when I have a spare 5 minutes in my day, and then edit/finish posts when I get home.

8:00 - Work, work, work!  Nothing too exciting.  I listened to Pentatonix's new CD which kept things a bit more interesting!

11:30 - So hungry, so I grab my lunch.  I have avocado toast with a White Cheddar Laughing Cow cheese and hard boiled egg with a side of lentils and mushrooms.  I also made chamomile tea to sip during lunch!


12:00 - Take a walk down to the river.  It's a beautiful day - 50's and sunny - so I'm trying to enjoy the warm weather and take lunch walks while I can.  I get so tired of staring at a computer screen for hours on end, so I like taking a break to walk around.  Plus, I'm in a Workweek Hustle challenge on FitBit, so I have to get steps!

12:30 - Back to work.  I think this is the first day in a few months that I had no meetings scheduled the entire day.  I got a lot of work done and finally cleaned up my emails.  I had a bag of pretzels at my desk, so I snacked on those throughout the afternoon along with some more tea (peach this time)

3:45 - Change my clothes and head down to the Humane Society to walk dogs.  We got so many cuties in, including this little guy who's 9 months old and the biggest cuddler ever!  Just check out that overbite:

5:00 - Hurry to catch my bus and head home.  I listened to This American Life on the bus, and it made the time pass by really quickly!  Unfortunately there was a ton of traffic so it took longer than usual to get home.

6:00 - Home!! Take Selma out for a walk.  It's still beautiful out, so I take her on a longer walk.  Tons of people are out and want to pet her, and I discovered that she's afraid of fake spider webs.

6:20 - Cook dinner and feed Selma.  I made a bunch of random stuff to eat- roasted Japanese potatoes and broccoli, left over German Potato Salad and half of a salmon burger (so photogenic, right?).  I also had a glass of Chardonnay and caught up on some blog reading and finished Tuesday's post.

7:30 - Clean up and get changed for the gym!  I felt great after the race on Sunday, so I wanted to have an easy workout.  I decided to swim for a bit and run/walk on the treadmill to watch Dancing With the Stars (perks of gym membership- cable!)  One thing I don't miss about cable is how many commercials there are- but I got to flip between DWTS, The Voice and Monday Night Football.

8:45 - Home from the gym!  I was super thirsty, so I drank tons of water and some watermelon Nuun.  I think Grape is still my favorite flavor, but watermelon is a very close second.  I'm feeling pretty gross, so I take a shower.

9:30 - Take Selma for her last walk of the night, then settle in to watch the rest of the Ravens/Cardinals game while I finish with this post.  It ended up being an exciting game, so I stayed up until it was over - way past my bedtime!

What's your daily routine like?
Any other tea drinkers out there?  Favorite varieties?
What music do you listen to at work?

linking up with Momfessionals!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

EQT Pittsburgh 10 Miler Recap

Today for Tuesdays on the Run I'm going to be recapping the race that I did this weekend- the Pittsburgh 10 Miler!  This has quickly become one of my favorite races of the year, and I've run it every year since it started in 2013.  The course follows most of the Pittsburgh Marathon- but in reverse.  It's a pretty flat course (at least by Pittsburgh standards) and crosses four bridges.

Let's take a look at how the race went for me, broken into two parts.  I always find it easier to divide longer races into smaller chunks to focus on, so I thought of this race as two five-mile runs.  Here we go!

First Half:

The race starts in Station Square, and runs down Carson Street to the West End. I started out with the 9:00 pace group, and wanted to see how I felt for the first 5 miles, then decide if I wanted to stick with them or go ahead at that point.  We encountered our first hill in the West End right after mile 1, which is short and steep, then crossed the West End Bridge for another small hill followed by a long downhill.
(Mile 1- 8:51 . Mile 2-9:07)

After crossing the bridge, we ran up a small hill on the North Side to get up to Western Ave and the Humane Society.  Unfortunately, there were no dogs outside, but I love running through CCAC's campus and seeing the historic buildings on Ridge Ave.  I was still feeling great at this point and had no problems staying with the 9:00 pacers.
(Mile 3- 8:59 . Mile 4- 8:54)



Right after mile 4 was a water stop, where I decided to take a salt stick tab.  I was feeling really warm and overdressed, so I drank a bit of water and kept moving.  I think I was still feeling the effects of being sick last week, but luckily I felt great otherwise.  Note to self- next time a race starts at 55 degrees wear short sleeves.  The relay exchange was also right around this point, and I saw Steffany right after she finished!  Her team (along with Kristy) ended up getting 4th place in the relay, beating all the male teams.  Go girls!!
(Mile 5- 8:44)

Second Half:

I was still feeling really good at this point!  The pacers were running slightly faster than 9:00 miles, so I stayed with them.  I also finished listening to Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me and switched over to music.  Dan (who took the picture above) and my parents were waiting on the Andy Warhol Bridge, which provided another short uphill and downhill.  After crossing that bridge, we turned to go right back over the Allegheny River on the Rachel Carson Bridge.  Around this point, I ditched the pacers and spotted Jennifer with the adorable Django and crossed the fourth and final bridge.  Luckily, the 16th Street Bridge is relatively flat and has a nice downhill into the Strip District.
(Mile 6- 8:32 . Mile 7- 8:47)


Running in the Strip District is one of my favorite and least favorite things.  On the positive side- it's a great street with lots of spectators and fun buildings to look at.  On the negative- there are so many different foods being cooked that would normally smell amazing, but make me feel nauseous when I'm running!  I still felt relatively good at this point, so my plan was to take it easy until I got to mile 8, then pick it up until the finish.  I also tried to take another salt tab since I still felt warm and was sweating more than usual, but it would not go down at all.  I decided to throw it out and just have a sip of water, which luckily didn't come back to hurt me!
(Mile 8- 8:50 . Mile 9- 8:41)


The final mile was extremely tough for me!  You are running down Liberty Avenue, which is a very long, straight road.  I could see the buildings downtown and knew which one was the finish line- but they never seemed to get any closer!  Once we were out of the Strip District and entering the downtown area, we turned a corner and I could see the finish line ahead.  At the same time, it felt like I ran into a wall of wind - it was so intense!  I tried to pump my arms harder to help out, but it felt like it took forever to get there.
(Mile 10- 8:25)

Final Time : 1:28:01


The shirt, medal and bib all had the same fall theme.  I loved it!  The shirt from last year is my favorite, and I love this one just as much.  I like having race shirts in basic colors, so this black one with a discrete logo is right up my alley!  


Overall, I was thrilled with the race!  I didn't have any goals or expectations coming in, so I was really happy to get a PR and feel strong the entire time.  I do regret starting with the 9:00 group, and felt that I could have stuck with 8:30 with no problem.  I love doing the 10 Miler every year and hope to keep running it in the future.

What's your favorite local race?
Do you usually run with pace groups?
Have you ever dressed up for a race?  Tons of people were dressed up, including the Doctor Who team in the picture above!

linking up with Jill for Fitness Friday

Monday, October 26, 2015

MIMM: Just Another Race Weekend

Hello and welcome to a new week!  I hope you all had a great weekend- mine was relaxing, productive and lots of fun.  Typically when I have a race, I take it easy the rest of the weekend.  I did that once again since I was running the Pittsburgh 10 Miler, so hopefully this Monday recap isn't too boring.  Let's take a look at some highlights!


I stopped by Ulta to pick up some products and use my 20% off coupon!  Here's what I got along with some thoughts on the products so far:

I've never used an eyeliner like this before.  There is a cushion that is soaked in ink, so you press a brush into the cushion and apply.  The color is really gorgeous but I'm still getting used to the application.  I love how the color is very subtle if applied thinly, but can also be applied thicker for a more dramatic look.

This is a long-time favorite of mine, so I had to stock up while I had a coupon (plus L'Oreal was buy one get one 50% off).  This is actually my third bottle of this spray, and I love how it sets your makeup for hours and removes any powdery areas on your face.  I've tried higher-end versions of seeting sprays, but I always come back to this!

My other L'Oreal product was this liner, which I am in love with.  This line has the smoothest, softest, longest lasting pencil liners I've found.  I love how this color is really deep and rich, but not black.  I think this will look great applied in the waterline to brighten up the eyes, or applied as a regular liner to give a different look!


I've been wanting to try a brush from the IT Cosmetics line for a while.  Everytime I go into Ulta, I go in that aisle and love how soft the bristles are.  I finally decided to pick up a brush from their Airbrush Collection.  I love how this applies foundation, and it's SO soft!  The bristles are firm but blend really well.  It's also a perfect size- not too large or small.  I think this became my new favorite brush, and now I want to try more brushes from the line (particularly the Velvet Luxe Collection...)


On Saturday night, Dan and I went to Steffany's for dinner.  Thank goodness they have cable so I could watch the intense Penn State game!  What a nail biter- and now we're bowl eligible!  We had pasta, German Potato Salad, bread, and lots of dessert.  Steff had the most adorable cupcakes, and I'm kicking myself for not getting a picture.  Just image adorable Halloween-themed cupcakes.  Cute, right? After dinner, we played Exploding Kittens and Cards Against Humanity for a while, then headed home to rest!



Sunday I ran the EQT Pittsburgh 10 Miler!  I'll have a recap up tomorrow, but the race went really well.  My game plan was to take it easy and enjoy the race- which I did.  I also ended up with a PR which was a nice bonus!

Dan took a ton of pictures (I'll share more tomorrow) but here is a panoramic he took of the Rachel Carson Bridge with gloomy clouds behind.  He's such an amazing photographer!

Tell me about your weekend!
Did anyone else race this weekend?
Who else used their 20% off coupon?  What did you get?


Linking up with HoHoRuns and MissSippiPiddlin for the Weekly Wrap
Erin and Katie for Weekend Updates!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Top Five Friday #31

Hi everyone and TGIF!  Unfortunately, I'm a bit under the weather today, so all I want to do is stay in bed and finish watching season 1 of The Good Wife. I hope you don't mind a quick post today!  I hope you all have a great weekend!



Fashion

It's now officially "sweater weather" and I'm so excited to break them out!  Here are my favorite looks from the week:

 Target sweater x Forever 21 jeans x Target flats x Madewell belt
 JCrew Factory sweater x American Eagle jeans x Limited scarf
Gap Outlet sweater x Treasure and Bond jeans x Reebok sneakers

Shows

Scandal

The only good thing about being sick this week was being able to catch up on Scandal.  I haven't been following along this season, so I caught up and have been a little underwhelmed.  It feels like the same story line is playing over and over again so far- Olivia and Fitz are together, now they're not, now they are...when will it stop!?  Does anyone else think she would have been better off with Jake?  I think he's a lot better looking and sweeter too!

Modern Family

I used to be obsessed with this show, and haven't watched in a while.  I forgot how funny it is, and I'm happy to see that it's still just as clever as the first season!  My favorite part of the show is seeing all of the kids growing up as the seasons progress.  How cute is Gloria and Jay's son!?

Dancing With the Stars

I don't have the stats in front of me, but I think this may have been the highest scoring week ever!  So many 10's were given out, and I agree that it was a really great night of dance!  I thought that Alexa's dance was a lot better than the judges scores showed, and I wasn't too impressed with Bindi's dance this week.  "The lift" was really shaky and made me really nervous!!  

Quantico

Still loving this show, even though even more questions are being added each episode!  It's still pretty unclear who we can trust, and who is really trying to help Alex.  I'm still not 100% sure if we can trust Alex either, or maybe this is all another simulation/final exam for Quantico?  

How to Get Away With Murder

Last week's episode was crazy!!  All I have to say is that high school girls did not act like that when I was in school...thank goodness.  I love the format that the show uses with flashbacks and flash forwards, and now I can't wait to find out what's going on with Caleb and Michaela!

Songs

Na Na Na - Pentatonix

If you need a catchy, up tempo song

Night - Ludovico Eiunaudi

If you need a beautiful song to listen to while getting work done

Better When I'm Dancin' - Meghan Trainor

If you need a pick-me-up

Renegade Runway - Carrie Underwood

If you need a powerful, angry song

Like I'm Gonna Lose You - Jasmine Thompson

If you need a sappy love song covered by a gorgeous singer


Linking up with MarCynthia and Court 
as well as Heather!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Story Behind the Pic #1

Happy Thursday! Today I'll be joining in a linkup with one of my new favorite blogs- Elle Sees!  I've been loving Elle's blog and all of her amazing beauty reviews, so be sure to check her out.  The linkup is "Story Behind the Pic" - so I'll be sharing a few random pictures and giving you the story behind them.  To learn more about the linkup click here!

I've been to Prague twice so far.  My first time was right after I graduated from college, and I was there during my 22nd birthday.  I found this little spot right outside of the castle (Prazsky Hrad) and loved the view of the city!  When I went back in November a few years later with Dan, I had to find the same spot and get the same picture.  Who knows- maybe I'll be there years later and have a third picture to add!  Prague definitely tops my list of favorite cities in Europe.

In case you don't know, Dan and I are attempting to visit every MLB stadium in the United States.  For my birthday this year, he surprised me with a trip to Philadelphia and New York to cross off two stadiums.  (I swear, these trips just happen to coincide with my birthday!).  I saw this big Phillies Mickey Mouse and had to get a picture, because my mom is a huge fan of Mickey and Minnie Mouse and grew up on the wrong side of the state...the Philly side. (original post)

This picture was taken on my trip to Europe earlier this year.  Dan and I spent a few days in Malmo, Sweden and stopped in the cutest little coffee shop one day.  It was a house converted into a coffee shop, with tons of rooms to explore and old furniture everywhere.  I can't even tell you how many failed attempts there were for this picture, but in the end I really like how it turned out!  I was channeling my inner European coffee chic look! (original post)

In 2013, Dan and I took a spontaneous trip with two of my best friends to Cincinnati to see the final Pirates game of the season.  At this point, we were still fighting for a playoff spot, so it was a really exciting and nerve-wrecking trip! (We ended up winning of course).  The night before the game, we went over the Kentucky border to eat at Hofbrauhaus.  Across the restaurant, Dan spots this trophy and says "I bet that's the Calder Cup" (for those of you, like me, who don't know what is- it's the Stanley Cup for the American Hockey League).  I forced Dan to go up to the people and say something, and they were so excited that someone knew what it was that they had us drink beer out of it.  The thing was huge and I ended up spilling most of it on myself, but the experience was so random and I love sharing that story!   

Your turn- look back at the 12th most recent picture in your phone and tell me what it is!

linking up with Amanda
The Blonder Side of Life

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Wednesday Reviews : The Food Dare

Hi everyone!  Happy Wednesday, and in case you're unaware, today is a very special day.  It's October 21, 2015!  I hope some of you know the significance of the day, and if not, hopefully this meme will jog your memory:
Dan and I watched the original Back to the Future last night, and today we will of course be watching the second.  You can all thank him (or blame him) for this intro...if it weren't for him I never would have event watched the movie once!

For today's post, I'm going to be talking about a book I recently finished called the Food Dare.  I mentioned this in my monthly goals, and want to give a quick review of the book as well as results!


Before I start, I want to give some background.  I contacted Lindsey Banks, the author of The Food Dare and fellow Fitfluential Ambassador, to review her new book.  She offered me the opportunity to join her affiliate program, so if you're interested in buying the book or joining a Food Dare Team, I would appreciate if you used my link here (I will get a percentage of sales generated from that link, but otherwise I am not receiving any money or other compensation for this review)!

I want to quickly go over the food dare phases (I don't want to give too much away!) and let you know what results I saw.  Enjoy!

Phase 1 : Water

source
The first phase of the dare is something that is extremely important- drinking water!  I have had this as a monthly goal many times, and it's something that I still struggle with.  Each day the challenge got increasingly more difficult and forced you to drink more and more water.  I used my fitbit app to track how much water I was drinking to make sure I always hit the goal each day, and I have to admit I loved this phase!  I always feel better when I drink more water instead of juice, alcohol or pop.

Results - My skin completely cleared up, I felt more energetic as the day went on, and I saved a lot of money that I usually spend on junk food or drinks at work!  


Phase 2 : Color

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This phase of the dare challenges you to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your meals.  This is not a problem for me, because I eat a mostly plant-based diet already.  I've always been a huge fan of fresh vegetables and fruit was always my "candy" growing up.  This was definitely the easiest phase for me to complete, and I passed each daily dare with no problem!

Results - No big change since I already incorporate colors into my daily diet.  I did like the fact that I had to be intentional with the amount of fruits and vegetables I ate, and was pleasantly surprised to find that I hit the daily amount with no problems!


Phase 3 : Clean

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The next phase was to eat completely clean- as in no packaged foods or frozen dinners, and making healthy substitutions like wheat bread for white.  Although I do eat relatively healthy, I do sometimes have packaged food when I'm in a rush, so I knew to complete this phase I would have to do some planning! This was definitely the most time-consuming and hardest phase for me.  I think it's really important to eat cleanly and take some time to plan.  That way, you don't have to rely on prepared or frozen food. 

Results - It took a lot more planning and time to complete this phase, but it made me realize how many snacks I have throughout the day.  At work I usually have something like pretzels or a piece of candy every few hours, so substituting that with a piece of fruit made a huge difference in how I felt later in the day.  


Overall, this book really helped me realize what areas in my life need some improvement, and where I'm already doing a good job.  I know that I need to keep up with my water intake and not revert back to my habits of drinking coffee and pop while I'm at work.  I need to keep up my good habits of eating lots of colorful, fresh food, and concentrate on meal planning each week so I don't have to rely on unhealthy, quick meals.  I also love how Lindsey backed up all of her information with tons of research and made the book really simple and easy to read.  Each day's dare was clear, and had space for you to make comments.  It was more like a journal than a book, and I loved that aspect!


If you're interested in taking the food dare yourself, you can join one of Lindsey's Food Dare teams here and use the code "idareyou" to save 20% off the Essential or Premium team (expires Nov 30)! That link will have a lot more information about what is included in the teams, as well as more information from Lindsey about the program.  If you're interested in connecting with Lindsey, here are her social media accounts:

Would you be interested in taking a food dare?
Have you ever challenged yourself to eat cleanly for a month?
What are some of your biggest struggles with being healthy?

linking up with Jess and Ivanna!