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Food, Friday Faves, Life, Review, Vacation

Friday Faves #4

Hello Again! I’ve been loving this gorgeous spring weather, haven’t you? Everything’s in bloom and I couldn’t be happier.

The last few weeks have been busy with some traveling, making travel plans, birthdays and other exciting things and I’ve managed to fall behind, but I wanted to make sure I shared some of the things I’ve been loving lately starting with a couple food things!

Talenti Sicilian Pistachio Gelato

I have been obsessed with this Sicilian Pistachio Gelato and it’s bad because it’s one of the only ice creams I can sit down and eat the whole pint in one sitting. It’s bad and I try not to bring it home too often for this reason. I’m a bit of an ice cream snob and I’d often much rather spend my money on a small amount of amazing ice cream then get eh ice cream for less. This stuff is super creamy and flavorful and there’s enough pistachios to have some in every bite. I tried a cheaper brand of pistachio ice cream lately and I could barely eat it so… yeah this stuff is the best.

Forager Project Organic Cashewgurt in Lemon

I really loved this stuff. If I had been blind taste testing, I would have thought that this was the real stuff. The consistency was on point, the lemon adds the sourness that traditional yogurt has but that’s not to say that it’s sour because it definitely is not. I saw it at Whole Foods and decided it was something I needed to try because I’m trying to back away from dairy since it messes with my digestive system. It’s hard to find worthy vegan substitutes for some of my favorite things and I’ve wanted to try some cashew alternatives but haven’t gotten around to it until now. I’d definitely recommend checking this out!

Forager Project Lemon Cashewgurt

So Delicious Non-Dairy Cashew Creamy Chocolate “Ice Cream”

It’s funny to place two dairy free food items after some real ice cream but I want to share about the things I’m testing and loving! I guess I can’t say I fully love this ice cream alternative but it’s pretty good for a substitute. It’s a bit sweet for me so I think that’s the biggest thing holding me back. It’s definitely creamy and isn’t grainy like some non-dairy ice creams can be though it is a bit stiffer and more dense than regular ice cream. I don’t like the coconut alternatives at all so this was a great creamy alternative to the real stuff.

The Forest Feast Gatherings by Erin Gleeson

My sister happened upon this book as we were browsing through Anthro last month and it is seriously like the most beautiful cookbook you will ever see. I love the illustrations, the recipes, the layout, it’s all gorgeous! The book is organized into different food themed parties such as the “Iced Tea Party”, the “Fall Feast”, “Brunch”, and “Party Buffets”.  There are so many different party options that would even be great to mix and match as each section features a different drink, mix of entrees, and a dessert. I bought it off of Amazon since it was $15 cheaper and I’ve already tried one of the recipes which was the Orzo-Black Bean Salad which was delish. Some of the top recipes I want to try are the Heirloom Tomato Tart, the Zucchini Frittata Loaf, the Squash Lasagna, and the Sesame Farro Salad.

Target summer shoes and sandals

I’ve been wanting to get these sneakers for a while now but hadn’t done it because I was waiting for a good sale. I had these same shoes a few years back and I wore them until the sole wore though and my foot was literally touching the ground. I’d like to get them in another color because I do like them a lot. I also picked up these brown sandals which are extremely similar to the mint colored ones I got 2 years ago. I’m actually really tempted to get them in red and white as well. This Saturday (4/14) is the last day to get the BOGO 50% off deal on all shoes.

Target Lunea Sneakers in Navy

The Great British Baking Show

Brady and I started watching this a couple of weeks ago and it’s my current fave on Netflix. I’ve never been to England but based on most of what I’ve seen from TV (a reliable source), they seem like a much more polite group of people. Either way the show is a huge contrast from most American reality styled shows in my opinion. Watching this show has also really made me want to go to the British restaurant in Epcot when we’re there next month so we can try out some of the stuff! Have you ever been to the Rose and Crown? Is it any good?

Monopoly and Ticket to Ride for the iPad

My iPad died last summer and it’s been sad because I can’t get Monopoly for my phone and I feel like Ticket to Ride would be too small to play on my phone. Turns out, my iPad wasn’t dead, the cord was. It’s a pretty old iPad now so it’s pretty slow in processing between apps but the games still work great and I’m so happy to be able to play a couple of my favorite games again. I don’t like TTR as much as I used to because one of the updates rearranged things so it’s not as great, but I still love to play. It’s fun to play a game in 10 minutes instead of 40-60 with other people. And Monopoly is great because you don’t have to worry about ruining relationships! LOL!

Disney Planning

I thought I’d throw this in because it made me that much more excited for our vacation! Wednesday was the last day of waking up early to reserve Fastpass+ reservations for Disney World; however, the system was down and I had no idea when it was going to come back. Pretty rough when you have a short window to snap up the exact times you’re hoping for. For example, our first day at Disney, we’re going to Epcot in the evening and I was trying to get one of the last 3 time slots for Frozen Ever After. It was the first one I reserved and by 7:01 (one minute after the reservation window opens) they were completely gone. Well anyways, things ended up working out fine but through a little Twitter conversing I got a few personal responses including a Disney countdown! ūüôā

We’re so close to going and I’m so excited! Quick question while we’re on the subject, what are the best beaches/areas to visit in northeast Florida? I’m currently looking at St. Augustine and Daytona but if you have any recommendations, I’m all ears!

 

That’s all folks!

^ Comment below if you get the reference! ^

 

Best beaches in NE Fl?

Have any awesome vacations planned for this summer?

What have you been loving lately?

 

Linking with Amanda.

Back Pain, Biking, Goals, Iron Girl, Race, Recap, Review, Running, Triathlon

Iron Girl Columbia Triathlon 2016 Recap

Thank you Olympics for being so distracting while I tried to write this post. It’s hard to tear your eyes off of Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky and the #FinalFive when they’re just being so awesome!

How is it that a year has flown by and a second Iron Girl completed? Sunday‚Äôs race was a very different race for me than my race from 2015. More often than not, things aren‚Äôt quite as exciting the second time around but this is something I was anticipating. I went into the race weekend disappointed that the swim was cancelled and I talked about my feelings in Monday’s post, but even more disappointed as my body spent the weekend rebelling against me.

The thing that pushed me through the race and kept me going, was finishing my first race that I got to do with my sister! Things aligned perfectly because it was actually National Sisters Day on Sunday! I think she’s happy I pushed her to do it with me especially since she said she’d probably do it again next year! (WINNING!)

My back was really struggling after coming back from Michigan the weekend before. It was a struggle to get comfortable on Saturday night as I was lying in bed, unable to sleep from the pain. I was struggling mentally knowing that I had the endurance for the race but feeling unsure whether or not to do it because I was afraid of seriously hurting myself. I barely slept that night and I woke up feeling nauseated from the pain and struggled to eat any food. What I was able to get down was basically force fed because I knew I couldn’t race on an empty stomach.

We arrived at the park about 5:50 am on Sunday morning feeling excited, nauseous and a bit anxious. I got to my bike and ¬†immediately noticed there was an extra bike on the already overcrowded rack. I was supposed to be the last bike but I guess someone else had come along and racked in the wrong place. I talked to a ref and after an announcement was made, someone eventually came and moved to where it was supposed to be all along. Without a swim, I only had my helmet and sunglasses for the bike and my bib and visor for the run so transition was a quick set up. I did have a mini panic attack when I saw Hanna putting her chip on and I hadn’t seen mine yet. I ran back my stuff and quickly found it to put it on. Crisis averted.

We went to the start line for the beginning of the race and the waiting began. To replace the missing swim, they added a quarter mile run up the hill towards transition. We were supposed to go by 7:49 but didn’t go out until 8:01 and I think the first finisher crossed the line less than 15 minutes after we took off. I was still feeling really nauseous before starting but I forced down some electrolytes about 30 minutes before and a few gels 15 minute before going out so I didn’t crash too soon. We passed the time by being cute and taking photos.

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Biking, Exercise, Review, Triathlon, Weight loss, Women

Biking the BWI Trail Loop

Sunday was a beautiful spring day. Probably the most perfect day you could ask for when going out for a ride. The trees were a bright green from the budding new leaves, it was in the low-mid 60s, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.¬†I’ve been researching trails and parks within¬†the Baltimore-Washington corridor for going on Sunday rides and the BWI trail loop¬†stood out to me as one worth trying. It’s a good distance at 10.5-11 miles and I didn’t even know this trail existed until a few weeks ago.

Parking for the BWI trail

Getting there was slightly more complicated because I initially thought that 176 intersected with 195 but I¬†didn’t realize until a little too late so we ended up driving around almost the entire airport before finding the parking lot we were aiming for. We arrived around 12:30 pm and the parking lot was¬†crowded. All the spots were filled and there were at least a 1/2 dozen cars waiting for spots to open up. We 3-point turned out of there and went in search of another place to park.

Thomas A. Dixon Jr. Aircraft Observation Area Sign

We drove a less than half a mile down the road towards I-97¬†before noticing a dirt-patch parking area. This wasn’t a place listed on the websites I had read about but there were no signs prohibiting parking anywhere around the parking lot. It was obvious that at least 2-3 other cars had done the same thing because they had bike racks hanging off the back of the car. Another 1-2 cars were there from people parking to fish in the pond adjacent. So it turned out to be the most convenient¬†alternative parking for the BWI Trail Loop.

BWI trail loop alternative parking

Yellow arrow points to the recommended parking at Thomas A. Dixon Observation Area. Pink arrow points to the dirt lot where we parked.

Directions and Views of BWI

We started our ride following the trail in the clockwise direction. I was expecting the loop to be more attached and in view of the airport and I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t really at all. You have a few¬†great spots to observe airport goings-on but the rest of the trail is along other roads and through some wooded areas.

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Exercise, Race, Review, Running, Training, Weight loss

Spencerville Family 5k Run/Walk Recap

 

This past Sunday was Let’s Move Day at Spencerville Church and¬†I participated by doing¬†the 5k alongside¬†about 100 other church members.

My goal was to run the out and back course in less than 40 minutes at a goal pace of 12:54 min/mi or less for the run. A little depressing because that would have been a goal easily met last month before I messed up my back.

Spencerville SDA 5k 2015

Step-sis Stef finishing the 5k

The last time I did a 5k was my first year at college, 5 years ago, as a way to get extra credit in a fitness class I was taking. I hadn’t¬†trained or done anything to prepare beforehand I finished in a little over 49 minutes.

More people showed up on Sunday morning than I had expected and it was really cool to see entire families getting ready to run including a couple moms with their running strollers and a few dogs.

We started off with a quick prayer before being ushered across the road to the sidewalk. A sidewalk that I’ve apparently never noticed in my 14 years of attending this church! It wasn’t too long before Brady was running off and looked like a little dot in the distance.

Brady Running Spencerville 5k

Brady finishing in 4th (25:09)

Most of the kids also started off running pretty quick but I figured that most of them would get tired and start to drop back after half a mile or so. Some of them did, but I was surprised how many of them kept on running even though you could see they were tired. Kids can be pretty stubborn little things.

A¬†few minutes before reaching the halfway point, Brady and I passed each other¬†heading in¬†opposite directions. He was running in 3rd place at that point and looked like he was still holding up pretty¬†well. He’s a natural endurance athlete. No fair.

During the second half, I had some pain, a little added numbness in my right foot, and it sort of felt like I was running up stairs so 12036648_1218345171519148_6947613403724712807_nI did some more frequent run/walk intervals.

The last half mile was a mental game to keep my legs moving because I was starting to get close to the 40 minute mark and I just had to beat the goal I had set for myself.

I ended up finishing with a time of 39:12!

I’m pretty sure a kid 1/4 of my age did it at least 10 minutes faster than me, but overall this was a lot of fun for me because it’s the first time I’ve ever done any kind of race with any of my friends. I’m hoping that this will be an upward trend and I can convince them¬†to jump into these kinds of events¬†with me more often. ūüėČ

Spencerville SDA 5k 2015

Happy and healthy 3 amigos

 

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All photos taken by Merle Poirier and used with permission.

Exercise, Review, Running, Training

How I Got Under Armour Socks for Free

Well… Almost free. Does $1.05 count as really paying something?

Anyways, for the past few months, I have been tracking most of my exercises with the MapMyFitness apps. Specifically Map My Run and Map My Ride.

One of the things that you can do through this app is join public challenges. For example, one¬†of the ongoing challenges is¬†the¬†BMW X1 Ultimate Fitness Xperience Challenge,¬†in which you have to use the app to record 19 workouts in 6 weeks. If you complete the challenge within the time period, you will be entered to win a $500 gift card from Under Armour and a personal training package from Men’s Health.

I was recently entered into the 30/30 Challenge where you had 30 days to complete 30 miles by logging exercises of 20 minutes or longer. Because I had been training, I logged over 80 miles and was in the top 15% of 152,000 challenge participants.

30-30 challenge

Today I got an email claiming that I had “crushed” this challenge and I was¬†being given a promo code for 15 dollars off any purchase from the Under Armour online store. All I had to do was spend $15.01 or more to qualify. I set out to find something I could get for free and I found this¬†set of long socks that I thought would be great since¬†the weather is getting colder. It was¬†$15.99 for the pair.

UA socks

I used a 30-day free trial from ShopRunner to get 2-day free shipping and the grand total for my purchase came to $1.05.

I don’t know exactly why I got the $15 off and I don’t know if it will come around again or not. But I¬†do know that I got a¬†basically free pair of socks just because I worked out this past month… and that’s pretty cool.