Wednesday, May 29, 2013

5 Ways to Get Back Into Running

In a running slump

So you’ve fallen into a slump with running? Yeah, so have I.

I used to love running and I still really want to love running but my allergies this year have been horrendous.  The last time I ran outside, I felt like I was dying.  I’ve been trying to run on the treadmill, but it’s just not fun.  Now that my allergies are starting to subside, I think I can go out and run again but I need some re-motivation.  So here are my 5 ways to get back into running!

1. New tunes.  I love listening to music when I’m running, but I’m pretty sure I’ve been listening to the same playlist since I began running.  So why not download some new songs you would love to listen to and not let yourself hear them until you go running.  This way you are excited to get out there and listen to your tunes!

2. New Course. Every once in awhile, it’s nice to have a change of scenery.  If you’ve been running the same route for some time, head on over to mapmyrun.com and check out where other people in your neighborhood are running or make your own new route.

3. New Gear. Let’s face it, new running gear is exciting. However, I’m not saying you should go out and spend a ton of money in hopes that it will motivate you to run. You need to earn it.  Find something you really want, make a jar and pay yourself a dollar for every mile you run.  The more you run, the faster it will take!

4. New Reads. There are so many blogs out there about running, written by people who love running! Other people’s enthusiasm can be contagious.  Check out Running Bloggers and catch the running bug!

5. New Races.  It’s good to have goals. Find a race your really want to run and sign up. The thought of having to run with a bunch of runners should make you want to train!  Check out Running in the USA for a list of races in your area.

Now get out and run! Did any of these tips help you? Do you have any advice of your own?

Wine Tasting at Jones Winery - Seize the Summer in CT

CarpeAestatem

“It's gonna be cold, it's gonna be grey, and it's gonna last you for the rest of your life.”  - Phil Connors (Groundhog Day)

I thought winter was never going to end. It was a long one here in Connecticut and I am ready to embrace summer.  My sons last day of school was on Friday which is generally the kick-off.  So, we are just going to ignore the fact that mother nature isn’t on the same track. It’s been cold and rainy for the majority of these first days, but it’s not stopping us from having fun!

jones wineryThis weekend, in between a family dinner, a birthday party, a parade and a picnic, my sister and I snuck off to one of my favorite places in Connecticut.  Jones Family Farms in Shelton, among other things, has a beautiful winery and tasting room.  For just $7.50 you can sample 7 different wines and you can keep your glass as a souvenir.

Jones Winery was voted best winery in Connecticut and you will see why when you taste their wines.  You can choose to try a collection of their dry wines or their dry to lightly sweet wines.  I picked the dry to lightly sweet wines.  Each collection was diverse, offering traditional grape wines, specialty fruit wines that showcased Connecticut grown grapes and fruits, White Wines, Red Wines, Rosé Wine, Fruit Wines and Dessert Wines.  jones wine tasting

My sister and I wanted to purchase a bottle of pretty much everything we tried! We were surprised by how good their Rosé of Cabernet Franc was. Neither one of us are usually a fan of Rosé wines but this was different.  It was slightly darker than most Rosés and it was served ice cold.  It would be great for a summer night!

jones winesThe Beacon Light #8 is a new semi-sweet red wine that Jones is offering this year.  It was great on its own or would make an excellent base for sangria.  You could even pick your own strawberries and blueberries for sangria in their berry fields!

My favorites have always been their fruit wines.  First blush, made from Connecticut apples, pears and black courants – so refreshing! Strawberry Serenade, a sparkling wine made from Jones Family Farms’ strawberries – would be great for brunch! And the Raspberry Rhapsody dessert wine that they serve to ct wineyou with a piece of dark chocolate – divine!

They have a great gift shop inside the tasting room and a playroom for kids.  When the weather is nice, you can buy wine by the glass and sit outside and enjoy the beautiful view! Also, later in the summer, they have a great Farmer’s Market on Fridays right outside of the Tasting Room.  You can grab some local goodies, sit for a glass of wine or a tasting and they usually also have wood fired pizza, ice cream and live music! I look forward to it every year!

Jones Winery and Tasting Room are currently open Fri/Sat/Sun 11AM-5PM. As of June 1st, that expands to include Thursdays as well.

Jones Winery is just one stop out of 33 on the Connecticut Farm Wineries trail and I hope to visit a few more this summer! Do you have a favorite Connecticut winery?

jones farm map

Do you live in Connecticut and are you also ready to Seize the Summer in CT? Please feel free to link up any of your posts about summer fun in Connecticut! Also, feel free to use my graphic at the top of this post, but please link back if you do! Enjoy your summer!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Mamavation Monday

Happy Memorial Day!
I just wanted to do a quick post before the Memorial Day festivities begin.

This week my oldest son had his pre-school graduation.  I can’t believe he is going to be starting Kindergarten next year! His last day of school was on Friday and the start of summer vacation has been unseasonably cold and rainy.  Today looks like it’s going to be nice, so it will be great to head out to the parade and a picnic in the sunshine!

I actually kept up with my goal of doing pilates almost every day last week and I am hoping to continue that this week.  I am also going to try to get out for a few runs this week.  I have a 5K on Friday night and I haven’t been running as much as I would like to.

I hope everyone has a great Memorial Day and a great week!

This post is sponsored by LaDonna Gatlin and Mamavation – a community dedicated to obesity prevention & weight loss for women and I’m writing this to be entered into a giveaway.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Fitness Magazine’s #FitBlogNYC ‘13 Recap - Part 2

After all of the fabulous speakers at the Fitness Magazine Meet & Tweet, (you can read about it here.) We headed inside to check out booths from all of the event’s sponsors.

Athleta was there showcasing a ton of awesome styles from their summer collection.  They had a ton of great pieces and I might have to get myself a swimsuit… and about 12 other things!

Camelbak, as I mentioned in my first post, gave us all water bottles when we signed in and they also sponsored a “hydration station” to keep the H2O flowing all day!

Crystal Light has samples of their new Crystal Light liquid that you can squirt right into your water.  It’s great because you could control how much flavor you put into the water.

PUUCW9

Ford Fiesta had a really fun photo booth setup – I swear, I haven’t been drinking in these pictures!  Wendy and I were cracking up because we kept missing the camera!

At the Marmot booth I met Paige Claassen, a rock climber who is about to embark on a year-long worldwide rock climbing adventure.  She will be raising money for a different non-profit each month with the Lead Now tour, Marmot and Fitness magazine.

Reebok had a great display of all of their fun, colorful, sneakers! I was so excited to find a new pair of their Sublite sneakers in my gift bag!

Saucony had a mini shoe store set up and I was fit for a new pair of Kinvara 4 natural motion performance running shoes.

balancedbloggerThe Smart Balance booth was a bunch of fun! They had out these amazing peanut butter balls out to sample and they were handing out free jars of peanut butter to anyone who put on a super-awesome #balancedblogger headband and balanced on the bosu ball!

At the Tonalin booth, we learned all about Tonalin CLA a naturally-sourced supplement that helps increase lean muscle mass.

 

Vichy let us view a hilarious video from their new campaign, #celluliteconfessions.  I am now pretty much obsessed with their Cellu Destock lotion and their foaming sunscreen!

After visiting the booths, I sat down for lunch and recharged my poor, dying, phone.  I grabbed a beet hummus wrap and a raw “ceasar salad” with kale and a soaked cashew dressing.  It was soooo good!

After lunch, I relaxed for a bit and chatted with some of the other bloggers and then headed off to my first ever group fitness class. I was a little nervous Jennifer Turnerabout it, especially since I picked the dance party class and I am completely uncoordinated.  A bunch of the other girls (everyone was so nice, btw) told me not to worry about it and just have fun. So, I checked my anxiety at the door and headed into the “movement” room at the Mercedes Club.

The founder of Mad Cool Fitness, Jennifer Turner, was our instructor for the Mad Cool Dance Party and let me tell you, it was mad cool.  She cranked up the music and told us to have fun.  Although, I couldn’t do all the moves just like Jennifer, I still had a blast.  She mixed dance moves with good ol’ fashioned moves like squats and lunges.  Her energy was was contagious and by the end of the class I was feeling empowered as we cooled down to Alicia Keys “Girl On Fire.” It was a great workout and I was feeling it the next day!

After the class it was time to grab our gift bags and say our good-byes. The gift bag was epic but, I will save that for another post!

I carried all of this for 17 blocks!!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Fitness Magazine’s #FitBlogNYC ‘13 Recap - Part 1

fitnessmag1Last Thursday I was invited to Fitness Blogger Meet & Tweet hosted by Fitness Magazine at the fabulous Mercedes Club in New York City! It was such an awesome day and it was really well organized.  There was a ton of stuff going on, but I didn’t feel in the least bit overwhelmed… and I get overwhelmed easily!

My morning started off super early.  I wanted to give myself plenty of time to walk to the train station since I had never walked there before.  I made sure I was out of the house with plenty of time to spare… it took me exactly 16 minutes to make the walk.  I actually had to wait at the train station for an even earlier train than I had planned on! Which was great, once I got into Grand Central and walked up to the Mercedes Club, I was right on time. 

healthybreakfastI was greeted at the door and quickly checked in and given a name badge and a sweet, brand new, Camelbak water bottle to stay hydrated throughout the day.  Then I was (thankfully) pointed in the direction of a selection of breakfasts.  Someone may have forgotten to eat breakfast before all of the walking and traveling and they may have been feeling pretty shaky by the time they arrived, especially after taking an allergy pill on the train.  I don’t want to name any names though…. okay… it was me.

I found my friend Wendy, a fellow Connecticut Blogger and sat down and chatted for a bit before the speakers started.  They had a great line-up of people discussing several different topics.  Everything they spoke about was relevant, interesting and entertaining.

sarah luceroFirst up was Insider Beauty Secrets to Get You Glowing with celebrity makeup artist and Executive Director of Global Artistry at Stila Cosmetics, Sarah Lucero.  She shared her top 3 beauty tips with us - get plenty of rest, use a good tinted moisturizer and use the same tone on your cheeks & lips. We also learned a hot trend for summer is a “power pout,” a bright, vibrant color on your lips.  My favorite advice from Sarah was her after-gym advice.  You know, if you are going to meet up with friends after the gym? She recommends a fun bun (or messy bun,) a headband, a little dry shampoo, blush and wither highlighting your eyes or lips (not both.)

Dr. Ashton

 

The next speaker was the lovely and down-to-earth Dr. Jennifer Ashton.  She is the ABC News Senior Medical Contributor, an ob-gyn, triathlete & author! She told us how important it is that your ob-gyn is like your bff and you should be able to talk about anything with them.  She also talked about women’s health and the 3 things you need everyday to stay healthy – movement, rest & nourishment. Easy enough, right?

 

bloggersUp next were the bloggers! Fitness Magazine brought in a diverse group of bloggers to talk to us about the business of blogging.  Dana Weiss from Possessionista, Deb Perlman from Smitten Kitchen, Jill Hanner from JillHanner.com and Erin Whitehead from Fit Bottomed Girls told us about how their blogs came to be and offered up some great tips. The two things that everyone could agree on? – Don’t blog for money, blog for yourself & don’t pay attention to what others are doing, just be yourself.

brett hoebelBrett Hoebel, a trainer from Biggest Loser Season 11, spoke about the Extreme Fitness trend.  He said that extreme forms of fitness create competition and that people want bragging rights.  I completely agree with him, if I have just finished an awesome race or have done some sort of extreme fitness, you better believe I am posting about it on facebook! I am proud of myself, I think bragging about it is good. Plus, you might even inspire someone else to go outside their comfort zone!

 

rocco dispiritoThe last speaker was Rocco Dispirito, the star of Now Eat This! He had recently traveled to Italy and learned about real Italian cooking for 26 different “Mama’s.” He talks about everything he learned and shares healthier versions of old-school Italian recipes that he created alongside the “Mama’s” in his new book, Now Eat This! Italian. I can’t wait to check it out!

All the seminars were moderated by the knowledgeable staff at Fitness magazine and it was great to listen to the back-and-forth conversation rather than a lecture. They also did a Q&A with each guest, another plus!

This was just the beginning of my day at #FitBlogNYC stay tuned for more posts about the sponsor’s booths, my first ever group fitness class and the fabulous gift bag!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Mamavation Monday–Busy, busy!

mondaysgraphicwbrown1

This post is sponsored by Simple Self Defense for Women and Mamavation – a community dedicated to obesity prevention & weight loss for women and I’m writing this to be entered into a giveaway.

Happy Monday! I’ve been super busy and I don’t think I even wrote a Mamavation Monday post last week, which is really unlike me.  I really enjoy writing my post each week to keep myself accountable.

Sooo, this will sort of be a re-cap of the past 2 weeks! My “baby” turned 2 on Mother’s Day and we celebrated with a party for him on the Saturday before and had a nice Mother’s Day/Birthday dinner on Sunday. 

I also started working a little bit with my mom, doing some gardening.  It’s been nice to get out in the fresh air and it’s slightly a lot more relaxing than what I had previously been doing – babysitting!

On Thursday I went into NYC for a blogger event at Fitness Magazine.  It was such an awesome day and I had a lot of first-time experiences.  It was my first time going into the city by myself, my first conference-like event and I also participated in my first group fitness class! Oh, and I also received my first ridiculously awesome swag bag! I will be writing all about this fabulous event later this week (probably in about 4 different posts!)

Friday night I went out with some friends for wine and fondue. 

Saturday night was spent watching my older son have a blast at a friends 5th birthday party at a gymnastics center.

And, Sunday we took the kids to the local children’s cabaret theatre for a showing of “The Wizard of Odds.” We all had a blast! (Thanks for the tickets, mom!) 

I’ve also been going to the gym, when I can, and running on the treadmill.  I’ve just been trying to run a mile as fast as I can.  My best time so far was 9:05. I’ll have to see how fast I can do it outside, but I am still waiting for the air to be less pollen-y.

This week I’m going to try to do my pilates DVD a few times and continue with the running, I have a 5K coming up on the 31st!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Whole Foods Market Danbury–Grand Opening 5/17

whole foodsOn Friday, May 17th Whole Foods Market will be opening it’s 350th store in Danbury, CT! They will be celebrating with a bread breaking ceremony at 8:30am with Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and the store will open at 9:00am.  They will be giving the first 350 customers a free pound of raw & peeled shrimp and a free pound of fresh boneless, skinless chicken breast. And there will be storewide tastings, vendor sampling, special sale items, giveaways and other events for all ages. 

Whole Foods has a deep commitment to its local communities and is donating 5% of the days sales to the Danbury Museum and Historical Society.  It is also paying homage to its locations former resident – Marcus Dairy by having a Burgers & Shakes bar.  I can’t tell you how much I love this. Marcus Dairy was such an icon in Danbury and I have so many great memories of antique car shows in their parking lot and milkshakes from the Dairy Bar Restaurant.  Their menu will feature topnotch burgers (grass-fed beef, turkey and veggie options available), push-cart style hot dogs and made-to-order milkshakes.

The new store, in line with the Whole Foods Market commitment to excellence, will offer high quality meat free of antibiotics and added hormones, including locally sourced meat and fresh-caught seafood from the Northeast.  The grocery department will have the Whole Foods Market 365 Everyday Value™ line of high-quality household staples and the Whole Body department will feature top-of-the-line, natural and organic ingredients for personal care and beauty items as well as nutritional supplements, herbal remedies and baby care items.

This new location will also offer made in-house fruit juicing, smoothie kits, a fill-your-own coconut water growler option, a stir-fry bar, in-house dried fruit and all-natural varieties of retro-inspired desserts in the Bakery Department.

You can check out a sneak peek of the store on Sweet Jenny’s blog.

Whole Foods Market – Danbury

The Shops at Marcus Dairy

5c Sugar Hollow Road

Danbury, CT 06810

Regular Store Hours: [Mon –Sun] 8 AM – 10 PM

Phone Number: (203) 730-0599

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/WholeFoodsDanbury

Twitter: @WFMDanbury 

Sweet Potato & Chickpea Breakfast Hash

sweetpotatohash

I love chickpeas. I had been tossing a handful in the frying pan after I cooked my eggs in the morning.  They were a little crispy on the outside and were a great side for my eggs.  I wanted to add some additional flavors (and colors) to my breakfast and this combination was perfect and satisfying! Plus, it’s super easy especially if you cook the sweet potatoes ahead of time and keep them in the fridge for the morning.

What you need:

  • 1 large sweet potato, diced and cooked. (I steamed mine, but they would probably be great roasted too!)
  • 1/2 cup of canned chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup of roasted red peppers, diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp oregano

What to do:sweetpotato3

Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute.  Add in all the remaining ingredients and cook, stirring frequently until the chickpeas start to darken.

Enjoy!

That was pretty easy, right?

 

sweetpotato2

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mother’s Day Gifts That Give Back–Maiden Nation

Disclosure: I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere provided me with product from Maiden Nation to review. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own. maidennation

Mother’s Day is approaching quickly and you may still be looking for that perfect gift for your mother or wife.  I personally am a huge fan of gifts that give back and empower others.  I recently received a “feed” bracelet from Maiden Nation and not only is it fashionable, the purchase helped buy 10 school lunches for children in Colombia.

The whole Maiden Nation marketplace is loaded with beautiful jewelry and accessories that are ethically sourced, and profits are reinvested into women’s entrepreneurship projects. Plus, it’s not only a place to shop:

“Maiden designers showcase their work, Maiden activists share their causes, and Maiden citizens connect over their ideas and goals. And soon, Maiden Nation will connect you to investors and empower you as a female entrepreneur.”

I personally love everything about Maiden Nation, from their great styles to their great causes and I will definitely be directing people there in the future when they are stuck for gift ideas or are just looking for great pieces for their own collections!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Mamavation Monday

Hey everyone, Happy Monday!mondaysgraphicwbrown1

I had a super productive week last week.  The weather has been so nice, I was able to get outside a lot.  I did yard work, started some seeds, took a nice long walk on a local bike path and took the kids to the park at the beach! We also got to have some adult fun time on Saturday night, taking a boat ride into the downtown area with a bunch of friends. 

I was happy to have my motivation back, I did pilates almost every day last week and on Saturday I ventured out for a run that didn’t go so well. Although the flowering trees in full bloom made for a pretty run, my allergies didn’t appreciate them as much.  I barely made it on a mile loop back to my house.  I was a huffing and puffing mess! Hopefully the pollen count will let up soon though, I just signed up for a race at the end of this month, but I think I will hit up the treadmill for training!

I’m hoping to keep up the momentum this week as I prepare for my sons 2nd birthday party this weekend.  I can’t believe my baby is almost 2!!

This post is sponsored by Dr. Ken and Mamavation – a community dedicated to obesity prevention & weight loss for women and I’m writing this to be entered into a giveaway.

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