Thursday, June 30, 2016

[Whole30] 4th Of July Recipe Roundup

Hi everyone! Who's excited for the long holiday weekend?  Does anyone have any fun plans?  Next week I'll talk more about what I'm up to, but I've been looking forward to it for a while!

Today I'll be sharing some amazing recipes for the 4th of July.  You won't believe it by looking at the mouthwatering pictures or trying them out for yourself- but these are all Whole30 compliant!  Since I'm still on my Whole30 (more like a relaxed Mostly-Whole 70), I wanted to show you all that you don't have to sacrifice taste or picnic fun to stay compliant.

Check out this post to see that you don't have to sacrifice taste or picnic fun to stay Whole30 compliant!

I'll be sharing some recipes from my blogging buddies, but let's start off with some drinks that I'll be making!  You might have to miss out on wine coolers or beers during the Whole30, but these drinks are refreshing, delicious, and won't leave you feeling bloated when you want to change into a bikini and jump into the pool!

Patriotic Mocktail

Whole30 Fourth of July Smoothie

Ingredients (for one mocktail)
2 oz Cherry Juice
4 oz Lemon sparkling water
2 T Lime Juice (or juice of one lime)
Handful of Blueberries

Mix first three ingredients, pour over ice.
Garnish with blueberries and strawberries, and enjoy!

Red, White and Blueberry Smoothie

Whole30 Fourth of July Mocktails

Ingredients (for two smoothies)
1 total cup frozen strawberries and raspberries
1/2 cup orange juice
1 frozen banana
1 cup unsweetened almond or coconut  milk (divided)
1 cup frozen blueberries

In a blender, blend together strawberries, raspberries and orange juice.  Pour evenly into two glasses or one giant glass, and set in freezer.
Clean out blender, then blend together banana and 1/2 cup of milk.  Pour over top of red layer, and set it back in freezer.
Clean out blender, then blend together blueberries and remaining 1/2 cup of milk.  Pour into glasses over top of red and white layer.
[Or- blend all ingredients together at once if you don't feel like layering]

Sweet Potato Salad

recipe by Paleo Running Momma

Mango Cucumber Salsa

recipe by Eat the Gains

Minty Strawberry Salad

recipe by Athletic Avocado

Avocado and Dijon Turkey Burgers

recipe by My Healthyish Life 

Pineapple BBQ Chicken Skewers

recipe by Little Bits Of

If you need more inspiration, check out these posts!

What are your plans for the 4th?
To my international readers- what do you usually have at picnics/cookouts?

linking up with Amanda

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

30 x 30 Update

Hi everyone!  Today I'm dropping by to share my annual update on my 30x30 list.  I shared this last year when I turned 25, and now one year later I'll let you know my progress.  This has been such an amazing year, and I can't wait to see what 26 has in store for me!

Buy a house 4/1/16

Break 2 hours in the half marathon 10/11/15 and 3/19/16

Break 4 hours in the full marathon

Complete a triathlon (sprint counts!)

Get Married 5/6/16

Visit Mexico

Splurge on a once-in-a-lifetime meal

Bungee Jump or Sky Dive 10/17/15

Visit Falling Water

Go to all the east-coast MLB stadiums (Remaining stadiums: Marlins Park, Tropicana Field, Turner Field, Yankee Stadium)

Cook a fancy 5-course meal

Plant a garden

Learn how to ski

Stay at a BnB in Vermont

Learn how to belay 11/6/15

Have a spa day

See a Broadway musical

Ride a jet-ski 7/4/15

Stay at a really fancy house on AirBnB

Attend a professional tennis match

Run a race for each birthday
  1. 2015: Achilles Hope and Possibility 5 miler (43:17)
  2. 2016: Butler Road Race 5 Miler (44:03) 

Get PMP-certified (No longer work in project management, so taking this off the list!)

See the Northern Lights

Attend a TED conference

Read 25 books off the Time All-Time Novel list
  1. 1984
  2. Atonement
  3. Animal Farm
  4. The Great Gatsby
  5. To Kill A Mockingbird

Try Stand-Up Paddleboard Yoga

Hike part of the Appalachian Trail

Learn how to sew and make something

Be in a member of a studio audience for an event or show

For the first year of doing this list, I think crossing off 8 items and making progress on 3 other items is a good start!

Who else has a bucket list?
What's one major thing you've accomplished in the last year?
What item should I check off next?!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Seawheeze Half Marathon Training Week 3

Hi everyone!  I can't believe it but I just finished week three of half marathon training.  This race will seriously be here before I know it!

This was my hardest week of training by far. I'm excited to take a step back this upcoming week with lower mileage, a mini vacation, and no races!  For now, let's take a look back at my week of workouts.


4 miles (treadmill)


4 miles
I'm so excited to be able to run downtown again!  Now that I have a gym membership near my work, I can run outside, get a shower at the gym, and head over to work.  This morning it was really humid out, but it was still a little cool so I was happy to get my run out of the way early.  I ran on the river trails for four miles and headed back to the gym.  Great way to start my day!


Lunchtime Yoga
This was a nice and relaxing class.  There were a lot of great stretches and breathing exercises.  I loved doing this at lunch time!

5 mile bike ride / 30:10 / 9.9 MPH
I headed over to North Park after work to meet up with my friend Jon for a bike ride.  I was pretty nervous about riding in the park for the first time, because there are a lot of really serious riders and I'm still learning!  It was a lot of fun though and an absolutely perfect day.  I think I did a pretty good job, even if a runner passed me at one point...


 4.5 miles / 42:10 / 9:22 pace
First speed workout of my training cycle! I think I love speed workouts more than anything else in training. Today's workout consisted of : 1 mile warmup, 8 x 90 seconds fast, 90 seconds slow, 1 mile cool down.
For "fast", I started at 7.0 mph and my last rep was at 8.0 mph (7:30 pace). The pace felt good but hard, and it just blows my mind that Suzy ran a marathon last week at a faster pace.  That woman is amazing!


Rest day!



5 miles / 44:03 / 8:48 pace
1 mile warm up and cool down
I ran the Butler Road Race 5 miler for my third racing weekend in a row!  It was a really tough course on a hot day, so I'm alright with my finish.  I was hoping for a faster pace, but my body was just not having it that day.  


8 miles
I took off really early in the morning to beat the heat, and it wasn't too bad out!  I went without a watch so I could take it really nice and easy.  I was feeling a little sick after my race on Saturday and still feeling it all day on Sunday, so this turned into a really easy run.  This was definitely a tough week of training, so I'm fine with this run being slow!  

linking up with Weekly Wrap and Tuesdays on the Run

Friday, June 24, 2016

Top Five Friday #59

Happy Friday everyone!  Did you all have a good week?  Mine was great, but I'm ready for the weekend!  I want to start off this post by thanking you all for your amazing comments and encouragement in yesterday's post.  I can't even tell you how happy I am that Dan wants to make healthier choices in his life, and with all of your support I know that he'll be successful.  So, thank you all so much!

Linking up with MarCynthia and Court 
as well as Heather and Momfessionals

Today I have a really random collection of favorites..maybe my most random yet!  I hope you all enjoy, and I'll see you back here on Monday!  Have a great weekend!

#Life Pro Tip

If you're anything like me, you love listening to podcasts.  I subscribe to so many, and it's hard to actually listen to them all!  A few weeks ago, I was listening to one and accidentally hit a button in the corner of the screen which sped up the podcast.  This has been (not to be too dramatic)  life changing!  Most podcasters speak slowly, so I don't even notice a difference when I speed up the episodes to 1.5 speed, and I get to finish episodes a lot quicker.  If you have a long list of episodes to listen to, I would recommend speeding it up next time!  All you have to do is click the number to the left of the rewind button, and you can speed it up 1.5 or 2 times, or slow it down!

Also- another favorite is the podcast pictured above- Chris Loves Julia podcast.  I love their blog, and their podcast is just as entertaining.  If you haven't checked them out, take a look at this Pittsburgh kitchen that they just renovated!


My newest food obsession are Kumatoes!  They're also known as brown tomatoes, and have a really sweet, juicy taste.  I like them a lot more than regular tomatoes, and I've been adding them to everything from salads to smoked salmon bowls, or just enjoying them plain.  If you see these at the store pick some up, because they're amazing!

Bo Burnham

Dan introduced me to Bo Burnham (his comedy, not the actual person..but that would be so cool), who made his start in comedy on YouTube and eventually got his own specials on Netflix.  If you haven't heard of him, I would highly recommend checking him out!  His comedy is really funny, but also thought-provoking and different.  His specials are only 60 minutes long, so it's the perfect length for me!

Beer Caddy

I was recently contacted by to pick out a beer or wine item from their site.  Right away, I knew exactly what I wanted- a beer caddy!  I've been seeing these everywhere and thought it would be so cool to have.  Just throw in some beer, and bring it outside for easy entertaining.  I love it!  I also got to personalize this one and I think it looks amazing.  If you're interested in picking one out too, you can find it here!


I usually only share work outfits on here, so today I wanted to switch things up a bit and show you what I wore on the weekend!  I wore this to a Father's Day lunch at Penn Brewery with my family.  It was a hot day, so I loved the maxi skirt, paired with a crop top and vest.

crop top: Madewell
skirt: Kohls

This is another way that I like to wear my denim vest (which is one of my favorite summer pieces)- paired with a romper.  I'm all about rompers and wear them constantly in the summer.  This is just a basic black one from HM that is so comfortable!

romper: HM
necklace: Madewell

Thanks for stopping by!  I'm also posting today on my home blog, Gretch @ Home.  Come check it out!

post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for your support!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Dan's Journey to Health: An Introduction


I am Dan, Gretchen's husband, and I am your stereotypical couch potato.  I am an engineer by day and a _________ enthusiast by night.  I leave that qualifier blank for now because it depends on the week.  One week it'll be binge watching Friends on Netflix, the next it'll be researching ancient Eastern religions, the next it'll be learning as much as I can about wines.  All of these are fun fleeting hobbies, but require me to be in front of a computer screen for most of my afternoons and evenings.  Add onto that my 8 hours of sitting at a desk at work and 1 hour of driving each day, and I'm pretty much on my bum every moment that I am awake.  

I will sit... pretty much anywhere!

You wouldn't know I'm a couch potato by looking at me though.  I'm relatively skinny and frequently wear athletic shorts (because they're comfy!), but before you tell me to go to hell for being skinny while not having to work at it, you should know that I'm not healthy at all.  Gretchen says that I'm "skinny-fat", meaning that I'm dimensionally small but very unhealthy.  I am constantly mentally and physically fatigued, I have chronic lower back pain, and I'm pretty sure my arteries have turned into actual twizzlers.  Gretchen's biceps are bigger than mine and the last time I had a 6-pack was last weekend (unless you don't count craft brew mix-a-6's, then the last time I had a 6-pack was never).  

For some reason growing up, I've always only done enough just to get by.  My grandmother is probably commenting right now about how hard I worked in school and deserved those  A's, but subjects like Math and Science just came easy to me.  For things that don't come easy to me, like Spanish, writing good, socializing, and working out, I'm content with being just mildly proficient and moving on to something new.   If I wasn't naturally good at something, it wasn't worth my time to pursue getting better.  When it comes to my health and being active, that worked fine for awhile when I was young enough to  afford to be lazy.  But now that I'm in what's supposed to be the prime of my life, I can feel my apathy towards working out taking a toll.  My mom and dad both had major health problems by their mid-40s, and most of my middle-aged coworkers don't look ready for American Ninja Warrior, if you know what I'm getting at.  I don't want this to be my fate. 

I wish I could tell little Danny that health is important.

I have a problem... a health problem.  I believe I've just taken the first step to recovery.  Now I want to act.  I want to get healthy and stay healthy.  I am too lazy to do it alone, I'm too antisocial to join a group, and too stubborn to listen to my wife.  That's why I am here right now, confessing to strangers who I've never met.  I do not know most of you, but I know that you are members of a community that help and encourage each other in all things active- and health-related.  If you will let me, I'd like to use Gretchen's blog as a platform for me to share my upcoming journey with you, so that I feel a sense of accountability and push myself to a state of health that I've never been able to achieve on my own.  Somewhere along the way, assuming I'm successful, I hope that I can inspire you, your spouse, or a loved one to commit to a similar journey.  

A bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point.  Selma wants to play but I'm being a couch potato!

This is just an introduction for now.  I'll share more of my specific goals with you next time and maybe a little bit more about myself.  I will post no more than once a week and no less than once a month.  I'll throw in some stories and dry humor every now and then.  I encourage any comments you all may have... let me know what you like or don't like about my plan and strategy, what's worked for you in the past, etc.  I'm here to learn from all of you and to share my journey!  Step 1 to getting healthy is now complete.  See you next time! 

Gretchen here- I hope you all enjoyed hearing about Dan!  I didn't ask him to do this- he came up with this idea completely on his own and asked if he could post about it on my blog.  Of course, I was absolutely thrilled that he wanted to change his lifestyle and become healthier.  I hope you will all be as encouraging to him as you've always been to me, and I cant wait to see where this journey takes him!

Does anyone have advice for Dan starting on his health journey?
Have you or anyone you know ever gone through a big lifestyle change?
What topics do you want Dan to cover next time?

linking up with Amanda!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Peace, Love, Run 5k Recap

On Sunday morning, I ran my second 5k race of the month!  This was a small, local race held at North Park called the Peace, Love, Run 5k.  There was also a half marathon that started at 7:00, and the 5k started right on time at 7:45.  I was happy to not be running the half, because it ended up being a hot and humid morning!

My goal for this race was to run by feel again.  My goal was to get close to goal half marathon pace, and treat this as a tempo workout.  I parked a few miles away from the start, and jogged up to the Boat House, ran the race and jogged home.  It ended up being a great race!  Here's my mile by mile breakdown:

 Mile One : 8:05

I've done quite a few races at North Park, and most of them follow the same course.  We start at the Boat House, run down the tennis courts road, and turn left onto Lake Shore Drive.  This section of the park has some rolling hills, but isn't too challenging.  

I started out about halfway back in the crowd, and spent the first half mile settling into a pace and getting out of the pack.  My legs felt loose and warmed up thanks to my two mile warm-up! 

Mile Two : 8:03

The course continues down Lake Shore Drive and has a turn-around at 1.5 miles.  At this point, there were a lot of half marathoners finishing up their first lap of the park.  There were also a lot of non-racers out walking and running, so it was hard to figure out who was in my race.  I just picked out a person in front of me and tried to pass them.  This helped to keep my mind focused and keep up my pace!

At the turn around, there was a water station, so I stopped to grab some water and dump it on myself.  I was really starting to feel warm, so this helped a lot!

Mile Three : 8:04

The race finishes up on the tennis court road, with the finish line being right in front of the Boat House.  When I passed the second mile marker, I noticed a female in front of me, and tried to chase her down.  At this point, I was getting pretty tired and hot, so trying to catch her really helped.  As we rounded the corner to the tennis courts, I caught up with her and slowly took the lead.  I put in everything I could to pass her!  

As I rounded the final corner, the announcer said that I was the second female, and the woman I passed was third.  I was so excited to finish in the top three overall, and thanked the woman for pushing me the final mile.  After I got some water and a banana, I checked out the results and found out I actually got third place overall and the other woman got fourth.  I felt a little guilty for passing her at the end and kicking her off the podium!

I finished up my workout by running back to my car with some heavy legs.  I wasn't able to stay for the awards ceremony (I think they might do the half marathon and 5k awards together, so it would have been a while), so I'm not sure if I got a trophy or prize.  Just knowing I got third place was good enough for me!

Official Time : 25:17

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Seawheeze Half Marathon Training Week 2

It's time for another weekly training recap!  Even though summer doesn't officially start until Tuesday, it definitely felt like summertime temperatures this week.  I might have to start running before work, because it is toasty in the evenings!

This week I had another race, and joined a gym.  Overall it was a great week, and I'm one step closer to race day!


4 miles 
For this run, I just wanted to explore my neighborhood a bit.  I went down some new roads and didn't have a course in mind.  Once I hit two miles, I just turned around and came back.  I didn't run with a watch but I took the run nice and easy.


Rest day!


5 miles
This was a really hot and humid run!  I could feel that it was going to start pouring at any minute (luckily it held off for my run though) so it was a bit of a struggle to get in five miles.  In the middle of the run, I did some strides to get some speed into my legs.



3 miles 

Another easy run.  I'm going to start incorporating a speed workout during the week starting next week (week 3 of training!). I'm getting a little bored with my same route every day, so I need to change it up and start getting some harder miles in!


Yoga (45 minutes) 
I finally joined a new gym!  This one is near my work, so I'm going to start going in the morning.  On Fridays, there's a yoga class that fits my schedule and I tried it out for the first time this week.  It was a really small class (there were only three of us!) but it was such a great workout.  I'll definitely be back!


6 miles / 56:36 / 9:26 pace
 I woke up early on Saturday morning to meet up with Jennifer and a local running group to do a trail run.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find the group so I ended up doing five solo miles.  It was such a beautiful day out and I couldn't stop staring at the lake!  I kind of wanted to jump in since it was so sunny and humid out.  Maybe next time!


3.1 miles / 25:00 / 8:03 pace
2 mile warm up, 1 mile cool down

Peace, Love, Run 5k!  Recap on Wednesday

How was your week of training?
Is it getting HOT where you are?
What races have you done recently?

inking up with Weekly Wrap and Tuesdays on the Run 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Top Five Friday #58

Happy Friday everyone!  It's seriously feeling like summer over here lately.  This week was a pretty warm one, so I've been enjoying spending lots of time outside with Selma and Dan, drinking a nice cool drink and soaking up the sun.

Linking up with MarCynthia and Court 
as well as Heather and Momfessionals

This was a great week for me, and I have lots of fun products and other stuff to talk about today.

Stanley Cup Champions!

In case you didn't hear, the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup this year!  This was the fourth time that the Pens won, and our city's first championship since the 2008/2009 season when the Steelers and Penguins both won their respective championships.  That was a good year :)


On Wednesday, the city held a championship parade.  Luckily, I work downtown so I got to go (along with 400,000 other fans).  It was so cool to see all of the players and see the Cup in person.  There was so much excitement, and now I'm pumped for baseball and football season- maybe we can get the trifecta this year?!

Herbal Essences Body Envy Mousse

I have really flat, fine hair, and I'm always looking for products to give me a bit of volume.  I usually stay away from mousse because they tend to make my hair feel crunchy.  But, I saw a few really good reviews for this one, and I usually love Herbal Essences products, so I gave it a try.  The reviews were all completely accurate because I love this mousse!  Not only does it give my hair lots of natural volume, but it also prevents humidity frizz and smells so good.  If you're looking for a new product, give this one a try!  I just picked it up at Target and it was on sale :)

Summer Fashion

I love when it warms up, because that means I can bust out my dresses and rompers.  This week at work, I wore one of my favorite summer dresses.  I got it last year from HM and it's super comfortable, and I love the bright flowers on it.

dress : Old from HM (similar
cardigan : Old from JCrew Factory (current version)
shoes : Target

TV Lately

I'm slowly catching up on all of my favorite shows this summer!  Here are a few that I'm currently watching:

The Bachelorette: I think we can all agree that Chad is crazy, but he at least provided a bit of excitement and drama on the show.  The rest of the guys seem alright, but are a little boring.  So far I'm loving Luke, and I'm happy they featured Pittsburgh in the last episode!

UnReal: This show is so great!  I love the premise of the second season already and can't wait to see how the drama will unfold.

America's Got Talent: It's fun to watch auditions, but there are so many great acts already that I love that it's hard to discuss it!  Some standouts for me so far are Malevo, The Clairvoyants, and Linkin Bridge.  I'm excited for the next few rounds when they start cutting people so I can really tell who my favorites are!

Orange is the New Black: I'm WAY behind on this show, but since the new season comes out today I need to get caught up!  Is anyone else out there a fan of the show?  What did you think of the third season?

Sephora Sun Safety Kit

Just a head's up- the annual Sephora Favorites kit, packed full of high-end sun screens and other fun products, is now available online at!  I ordered this last year, and it was such an amazing value for what you get.  I loved trying out all kinds of different products, and didn't have to buy any sunscreen or skin products all summer long.  It's a $127 value for only $32.  If you're interested in picking one up, I would recommend getting it soon because these always sell out really quickly!

I hope you all have a great weekend!  I'll see you on Monday :)

post contains affiliate links. thank you for your support!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Riverview Park 5k

Last Friday, I ran in one of my favorite local races- the Riverview 5k.  This race is part of the Pittsburgh Citiparks Race Series, and has been held for years.  The course runs around the park where I started running, so it always holds a special spot in my running heart.  It's also a really challenging course, which I absolutely love!

Heading into this race, I wasn't expecting very much.  I had just started my half marathon training that week, and also started a second round of Whole30, so I was feeling more tired than usual.  It was also a really warm day.  Put all that together, and my goal was just to break 30:00.  It wouldn't be a PR, but I figured it would be a good tempo run!  I ended up shocking myself and doing a lot better than I expected, so keep reading for my recap!

Mile 1 - 7:40

The first mile starts off flat, then goes straight uphill around the Allegheny Observatory.  The road used to be in pretty bad shape with lots of potholes and an uneven surface, but luckily the entire park was repaved since last year.

For the first hill, it's important to not start off too quickly.  It's a short hill but pretty steep, so I try to stay relaxed and push myself once I reach the peak.  I always pass a lot of people in this section, because most people take the first hill too quickly and tire out before they reach the top.  Always make sure to check the course beforehand so you know where to pick up the pace and where to conserve your energy!

At this point, I was feeling pretty good!  I had my watch with me, but turned off the pace screen so I ran by feel instead of time.  My goal was to push myself and see how that ended, so I was shocked when the first mile beeped and I saw a 7 on the screen!

Mile 2 - 7:28

The second mile is definitely the best- it's all downhill!  I passed a few more people in this section, and tried to keep myself from going all out.  I knew that the hardest part of the race was still coming up, so I kept my form relaxed and tried to use the momentum from going downhill instead of using a ton of energy.

I also grabbed some water at this point because it was pretty hot out!  This was really my first "hot" day of running.  I didn't really plan well for this, and should have brought along my favorite salt tabs for the race. 

Mile 3 - 9:25

The third mile is all uphill.  Luckily, the steepest part of the hill is at the bottom, and it gradually levels off at the top.  I grew up running in this park, so I know every twist and turn.  I was really tired and hot at this point, but focused on staying near the guys in front of me and not letting anyone pass me.  I also didn't want to start walking, because I knew once I walked once I would want to walk all the way in!

This part of the park is also the most shady, which helped a lot.  It cooled me off somewhat, so I just pushed myself to the finish line.  This mile was a lot slower than the other two, but I was happy that I kept my place from the bottom of the hill, and even managed to pass a few people.

After crossing the finish line, I headed over to get some water and a banana.  There were also chips and Gatorade available.  We stayed around for the awards, and I was surprised to find out that I won my age group!  I was also excited because I won a raffle for a gift certificate to the Penn Brewery.  I love that place, so I was super happy to win!

Overall Time : 25:10 (8:11 pace)

Do you have a favorite local race?
Have you ever won a raffle?  
What is the hardest course that you've run?
linking up with Amanda!