12 Races, 12 States, 12 Months

You know Monday is never that bad when you’re on a break.  I have the next seven days (counting the weekend) gloriously free of any work responsibilities, and that is the nicest feeling.  Today I have a date with my massage therapist, a stack of books to read, and I may even break with tradition and start putting up my Christmas decorations.  Normally, I am very firm on not putting them up until Thanksgiving is over, but, since we won’t be having Thanksgiving at our house, it doesn’t really count right?  That’s story I’m sticking with!

John and I spent the weekend hanging out with my dad who came to visit for a few days.  Saturday was rainy and dreary, but we were able to get out Sunday morning for a five mile run.

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We stuck to the track since dad has been experiencing some foot pain recently.  I don’t normally run on the track, but I actually enjoyed it.  I played a little game with myself that involved counting laps, and it was nice little distraction from the burning in my legs.  I’m really trying to push my pace, and my legs are feeling it!

Dad and I have concoted a fun plan for 2015 which we talked a lot about while he was in town.  2015 is going to be the year of the runcation!  Dad and I plan on doing 12 races, 12 states, 12 months.  That’s 12 different races in 12 different states over the course of the next year.  We’re only a little bit crazy!

We’ve mapped out the races for the first four or five months, and we’re eyeing a few more for the end of the year.  Here’s the list of the ones we’ve decided on so far:

The Louisiana Half Marathon-Baton Rouge, January 18th

The Cowtown Half Marathon-Ft. Worth, Texas March 1st (We’re counting this as our February half.  The Cowtown is always the last weekend in February, but March 1st just happens to fall on Sunday this year.)

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River Valley Endurance Run-Ft. Smith, AR March 14th (There’s a possibility that we’ll be switching this one.  Stay tuned!)

Garmin Half Marathon-Olathe, KS April 18th

Possibilities for the rest of the year

Joplin Memorial Half

Hatfield-McCoy Half Marathon

Route 66 Half Marathon

St. Jude Half Marathon

So it should be an interesting and challenging year.  I’m really excited to run in some new places, and see some sights along the way.  Any of you have any suggestions for races we should add to our list?  Let me know!

Ok, I’m off to enjoy my time off.  Have a wonderful Monday!

Liebster Round Two!

It’s Wednesday!  Only two more days, and I’m free as a bird for an entire week.  There are definite perks to being a teacher!

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The awesome Brooke of Wrecking Routine tagged me for a Liebster Award this week, and I was more than happy to play along.  Brooke came up with some interesting questions for this Liebster round, and maybe you’ll discover a few things you didn’t know about me.  Here’s we go!

  1. What are you most looking forward to in the coming year? (2015)

I’m really excited to build our new house.  I’m not necessarily looking forward to the process, but moving into a brand new place that is exactly the way we want it is going to be wonderful!

Our land!  I can't get over the view!

Our land! I can’t get over the view!

2.  Share one thing on your fitness bucket list.

The first thing that springs to mind is hiking either the entire Pacific Crest Trail or Continental Divide Trail.  However, even though that definitely requires fitness, doing one of those trails is more of life bucket list item so I’ll say running a Disney World Half.  I absolutely love Disney World, and I hear nothing but great things about their races.  I think it would provide more than enough to keep my brain, eyes, and ears occupied with during the run!

3.  If you could transport _____ to _____, what would it be and where? 

Hands down I would transport John and I to the mountains to live full-time.  Heck, as long as we’re wishing for things, I’ll go ahead and say I’d take all of our family with us!

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4.  What is one thing “all” stereotypical bloggers do that you don’t do, or haven’t yet done?

I’ve done it a little in the past, but, by and large, I don’t photograph my food.  It’s time consuming, and most of the time I find other bloggers’ food pictures boring anyway!

5.  What was your favorite childhood book? I’m talking like 0-10 years old, no tween stuff.

I was insanely obsessed with both the Babysitter’s Club and the Sweet Valley Twins.  I started reading the BSC books when I was eight, and I’ve read every single one multiple times.  I haven’t picked one up in years, but I’m thinking maybe I should.  I’m feeling nostalgic!

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6.  What is the one part of your current job that you absolutely adore doing?

The fact that I get a ton of time off?  In all seriousness, of course I love that aspect, but I truly love my seniors this year.  They’re a real joy to be around, and I’m going to miss them very much next year!

7.  If you could travel anywhere, where would it be and why?

I’m not going to give you my standard “mountains” answer.  I desperately want to see England.  I’ve shared with you guys before that I’m a huge Anglophile, and I want to see the historical castles and towns that I’ve read about for years.

8.  What is your favorite Christmas/Holiday movie?

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Christmas Vacation, of course!

9.  What is your go-to vessel to have a cocktail in? (I’m on a mug kick right now.)

I actually don’t drink cocktails too terribly often, but I am enjoying drinking anything and everything out of a mason jar right now.

10.  Describe a memory that always makes you smile.

The summer after I graduated from high school, my friends and I were seriously high on life and the idea that we had a little more freedom than we were used to.  One evening, two of my friends and I drove around for hours in the middle of the night before ending up at a lake.  We laid on the boat ramp staring up at the stars and talking about the future.  It was one of those moments that you don’t realize is special until you look back on it.

11.  When you run into the grocery store for “one thing”, what is that “one thing” most often?

Usually, I’m running in for apples or salad ingredients.  Both are huge staples in my diet, and I go through a lot of each in a week!

Now I’m suppose to nominate a few people here, but most of my blogging friends have been tagged already.  So I nominate all my readers!  Answer a few of Brooke’s questions in the comment section so I can get to know you all a little better.

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Before I go, I have to wish a happy, happy birthday to my sister-in-law, Jenna.  May your last year in your twenties be the best one yet!

My Final Thoughts On The Advocare Challenge

Monday, Monday.  If I’m being totally honest, the only thing that got me out of bed this morning is the thought that we are one week away from Thanksgiving Break.  It is needed!  This has been a crazy semester thus far.  Plus, I think there is something about this snowy, cold weather that makes me want to do nothing but lie in bed underneath the covers all day!

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So it’s been about three weeks since John and I ended our 24 Day Advocare Challenge, and I’m definitely overdue in providing you all a recap of the last phase.  You can check out my thoughts on the Cleanse Phase here.

The schedule for the Max Phase of the program is as follows:

Upon waking:  Drink your Spark along and pop the 1st color packet of MNS supplements.

Wait 30 minutes:  Eat breakfast and take the two white packets of MNS supplements

30 minutes before lunch:  Take the second color packet MNS supplements

My initial thoughts on the Max Phase?  Wow, that’s a lot of pills!  Seriously, you have to take four packets of pills everyday, and each of those packets has four to five pills in it.  I don’t have a problem with taking pills, and even I thought it was a lot.

I also want to mention that, if you choose to do the challenge, make sure you eat exactly thirty minutes after you take the supplements.  There were two different days that I took my lunch packet, and then something prevented me from eating lunch when I planned.  By the time I could get food in me, I was so nauseous it was very nearly unbearable.  I did not enjoy that feeling AT ALL, and I didn’t make the mistake again.

So let’s get to the part you guys are wondering about-the results.  Overall, I lost 6.5 pounds and 5.5 inches.  I have to admit that I was a little disappointed at first.  It seemed like the pounds were melting away during the Cleanse Phase, and then it all but stalled during the Max Phase.  However, 6.5 pounds and 5.5 inches is nothing to look down on.  Results are results!

Overall, I’d say the challenge was successful.  Obviously, I saw results, and I’m convinced that some of the supplements along with the fiber drink helped to get my digestion back on track during the Cleanse Phase.

However, I do have a few hesitations about the program.  Along with the supplements, Advocare puts a major emphasis on clean eating during the 24 days.  No salt, no sugar, no processed foods or chemicals.  I can totally get on board with that, and appreciate the focus on whole, real foods.  Here’s my problem.  It seems a little disingenuous to me to emphasize clean eating, and, yet, require you drink Spark, a product which contains sucralose.  That particular irregularity didn’t sit well with me.

Additionally, I am absolutely convinced that the supplements taken in the Cleanse Phase definitely aided in weight loss and regulated digestion.  However, I’m not convinced the Max Phase supplements did much (at least for me!).  I’m inclined to think that simple clean eating would have achieved the same thing.  Here’s an example:  John followed the clean eating regulations during the entire 24 days without taking the supplements, and he lost a total of 14 pounds and 8.5 inches!

Despite a few misgivings, I’m really glad that I gave this a try if for no other reason than it taught me a lot about my eating habits.  I just thought that I ate clean before!  When I really had to pay strict attention, I was astounded by how many staples in my life had excess chemicals and sugar and just processed junk!

Going forward, I plan on tweaking some of those habits to cut out as much of that junk as possible 80% of the time.  Let’s be real-I need ice cream in my life!  Also, I think I’m going to order more of the Fiber Drink (all natural flavors), and incorporate that into my routine two or three mornings a week.

Would I recommend this program?  Yes, with disclaimers.  I think it can teach you a lot, and be a positive jump-start towards a healthier lifestyle.  However, I would encourage everyone to do some research on your own before making any type of supplement (Advocare or not) a part of your daily routine.

I would be remiss if I didn’t give a special shout-out to Katie to thank her for all her help.  When I was first intrigued by Advocare, I reached out to her and she very graciously offered to send me the Cleanse Phase box.  During the entire challenge, she was on hand to answer any of my questions, and I so appreciated her help!

Now, since this post is completely devoid of pictures, enjoy this one of my beautiful baby sister.

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Today is her birthday!  Here’s one more just to embarrass her.

IMG_0383Ok, everyone, have a marvelous Monday!

Do you take regular supplements?  Any you would recommend?

Fifty Shades of Happy: A Weekend On The Trail

“Oh, the weather outside is frightful…………”

Well, not actually, but it’s cold, getting colder, and the almighty meteorologists are saying there’s a small chance we could see snow this weekend.  Snow in November?  ”Heaven.  I’m in heaven…”.  Okay, I’ll stop quoting random songs, but this time of years makes me fifty shades of happy.

Although winter time has found us this week, this past weekend was quintessentially fall, and so the Ford family headed out to the trails to enjoy a little of our favorite pastime.

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A friend of ours from college, Brent, has been telling John for years that he’d like to give backpacking a shot, and we finally made it happen.  The three of us plus Gus headed out to our favorite Arkansas trail on Saturday.

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We planned on only doing a short section because we didn’t want to overwhelm the newbie, and it was really nice to take our time and not feel the pressure of getting miles in the short amount of daylight we had.  After only a few hours of hiking, we rolled into camp around 3, set up the tents,  and then headed a little further down the trail for a little exploring sans backpacks.

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Now I’m not sure I’ve mentioned this before, but our little Gus is a jumper.  Little man seriously loves to jump.  Sometimes, while he’s running around the back yard, he throw in a jump just for the heck of it.  That’s why I shouldn’t have been surprised by the stunt he pulled.  We were making our way down from a slight incline.  John had already gone down while Gus, Brent, and I were still on top of a little 8 foot ledge.  Little man did not care for John being so far ahead of him so he hauls off and goes airborne off the ledge.  Luckily, I had the presence of mind to immediately drop his lease or he would have taken me with him!  Thankfully, he landed just fine, and looked back up at me as if to say “what are you waiting for?”.  It’s a funny story now, but my heart froze in my chest for a few seconds!

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We headed back to camp to settle in by the fire, cook dinner, and pass the rest of the evening with good conversation.  After a chilly but comfortable night in the tents, we hiked out the next morning and, as always, I was sad to leave the trail behind.

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Now that we’ve had a successful first outing with Gus, I’m hoping we can get back out there in the near future with Max and Gus.  Max is a champ on the trail, but we knew we needed to see how Gus would do before we tried to wrangle both of them!

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We’re heading into the busiest time of the year in which just about every weekend is spoken for, but, hopefully, we’ll be heading back out to the trail before too long.  I even have a few students that are begging me to take them hiking so there may be a really big adventure in the near future!

Nine Loves

It’s Friday!  I’m definitely not sad to put this week behind me, and I thought today would be a great day to do the next installment of the 10 Day You Challenge.  Today I’m listing nine loves, and, although most of them won’t surprise you, there may be one or two you didn’t know about me!

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1.  John 

Yes, yes, I know this one is obvious, but, you guys, I totally won the husband lottery.  I could wax poetic about all the reasons why he’s the greatest guy I know, but, since I’m uncomfortable with the mushy, gushy stuff, let’s just say he’s my favorite and I think I’ll keep him!

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2.  The nutty people genetically linked to me.

This one may appear obvious, but it’s not a given that you love or even like the family you were born into.  Some people just don’t get that lucky.  I, however, absolutely did.  Not only was I blessed with wonderful parents and grandparents, but I also have two extraordinary step-parents and an aunt that is so much more than just an aunt.  I always tell people I have five parents which takes some explaining, but that’s exactly how I feel about it.  And then, of course, there’s my sister.  We don’t get to see each other near as often as I would like, but every time we get together, life is good.  She is absolutely one of my very favorite people, and life is better when she’s around.

3.  Max & Gus AKA “the boys” AKA the only children I’ll ever have.

It’s really ridiculous how attached I am to these two.

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4.  Backpacking

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No surprise here, right?

5.  The Mountains

Again, I feel like you guys knew this one was coming.  It’s hard to put my love for the mountains into words, and I think it may be a feeling you have to experience to get.  John Muir, of course, sums it up.

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6.  Reading

I have been a voracious reader since I was 8 years old and discovered The Babysitters’ Club.  It remains one of my favorite things to do even though it’s harder to carve out time for it these days.

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I know I’ve shared this picture before, but it epitomizes happiness for me.  Snuggled in a hammock looking at the mountains over the top of my book is exactly what I want heaven to be like.

7.  Traveling

Every once in awhile John and I actually travel somewhere other than the mountains, and I really enjoy it.  I love seeing other parts of the world, and just taking the time to explore what life is like in a radically different place than our own.

8.  Cold, snowy weather

I think I’m very much in the minority on this one, but I love cold weather and I am super happy if it’s snowing.  There’s just something magical about snow to me, and who doesn’t love a snow day?  That’s right-teachers love them just as much if not more as their students!

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9.  Playing Piano

I know I just started taking lessons, but I am enjoying myself so much!  Some of it actually coming back from when I took them as a child, and it’s so rewarding to conquer a piece of music no matter how basic.  I can’t wait to learn more!

Alright, that’s all for me today.  John and I have an old friend coming to town this weekend, and we’re taking him on his first backpacking adventure!  I’m more than ready to be back out on the trail, and I’ll tell you guys all about it next week!

Are you a cold weather or hot weather fan?  Dog person or cat person?

November Love

And, just like that, it’s November.

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Is it just me, or does November not get too much love?  It’s sandwiched between October, a month that everyone is crazy over (myself included), and December.  Let’s just face it-it’s really hard to compete with the month that has Christmas!  Poor little November is little outcast.

John and I have had quite an interesting and unexpected start to our November this year.  We’ve been going back and forth over the issue of building a new house pretty much since we first got married, and lately we’ve gotten more serious about taking the plunge.  However, it’s not that easy to find a piece of property that meets all criteria.  We’re planning on building a pretty small house, and most empty lots in nice neighborhoods require you to build 2,000+ sq. ft. homes.  That’s definitely not something we’re interested in!  As a result, we’ve gotten overly familiar with the ALL THE STREETS in our little town hoping that perfect lot would materialize.

Well, Saturday morning, through sheer dumb luck, it did.  We weren’t even on a land finding mission when we happened to notice a sign.  Between looking for property in Colorado and here at home, we’re conditioned to follow For Sale signs so we checked it out.  A cursory survey of the property peaked our interests so we called the number on the sign, and the owner was able to meet us right away.

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We walked the property with him, negotiated a price, and asked him to give us the weekend to think about it.  It took us less than an hour to call him back and tell him we were in.  That’s right, folks-in 2015, the Ford family will be embarking on a brand new house building adventure!

John and I are very excited, and the last few days we’ve spent A LOT of time on Pinterest.  We should be ready to start this little project in the spring so life is about to get all kinds of interesting!

You would think that would be enough excitement for one weekend, but that’s just not how we roll.  Sunday afternoon, while we were in the middle of a Pinterest scavenger hunt, my mother-in-law called with a pretty exciting offer.

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President Clinton was making a campaign stop in a town not too far from us, and we had the opportunity to hear him speak.  I don’t talk about it much on the blog, but I’m a total politic junkie and I was completely giddy at the experience.

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We ended up about 20 yards from the podium, and it was so incredible to see such a huge part of American history in the flesh.

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So, as you can see, it’s already been quite a month.  November definitely deserves a little more love!

Have you ever been a part of the home building process?  Ever seen any celebrities in person?

Ten Reasons To Love Gilmore Girls

Happy Halloween!  Anyone have any spooky plans this weekend?  We don’t have much on the agenda other than getting together with our little group around a campfire tomorrow evening.  Since that’s one of our very favorite things to do, it should be a blast and I’m looking forward to it.  Other than that, Mr. All About Halloween will definitely be manning the front door tonight, passing out treats to all the little ghosts and goblins.  I hope we always live in an area where he can pass out candy because he really gets into it!

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Now you guys know that my number one passion in life is backpacking, and I want that to be the main focus of this blog.  However, I definitely have a lot of other interests, and, obviously, those creep in here often too.  So, since A) One of those interests is TV (not ashamed!), B) Gilmore Girls just hit Netflix and everyone is going nuts about it, and C) It’s Friday and that just begs for silliness, may I present you with……………….

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1.  Stars Hollow

I’ve never met a fan of the show who hasn’t declared their desire to live in the tiny (fictional) Connecticut hamlet.  Between the picturesque town square and the festivals for every month of the year, Stars Hollow is the quintessential small town.

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2.  Carole King sings the intro song.

It’s no secret that I have serious love for ’70s folk singers, and Carole King is only third behind James Taylor and John Denver.  I love that she and her daughter sing one of Carole’s songs as the intro, and millions of fans her familiar with at least some of her work because of it.

3.  Carole King makes a few guest appearances in the show!

Yes, I’m counting it as two!  She’s great as Sophie, the prickly music store owner who Lane idolizes.  She does the gruff and sarcastic thing so well, and I especially enjoy her interactions with Zac.

4.  The many Gilmore men.

Luke, Logan, Jess, Christopher.  I’ll even include Dean who I was never a fan of but who is nice to look at.  The men of the Gilmore world provide some

5.  Paris

Does this need any explanation?  What would Gilmore Girls be without Paris?  There is nothing about this character I don’t love, and I truly believe she’s a major reason why the show was so successful.

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6.  The witty banter!

Now you may experience whiplash during one of Lorelai and Rory’s conversation, but it makes for very engaging television.  Not everyone appreciates shows with this kind of format (Um, Joel!), but this hallmark is always something I enjoy.

7.  The inhabitants of Stars Hollow

Come on, who wouldn’t want to be Babette’s neighbor or have Gypsy fix your car or get ice cream from Taylor’s shop?  There’s just something about Kirk doing Tai Chi in the town square that makes life seem complete.

8.  It never gets old.

I average about one episode a day.  Every. Single Day.  It’s what I put on to watch if I’m running on the treadmill or cleaning the kitchen and need some back ground noise.  It is ALWAYS want I put on if I’m bored at home, and I love it just as much as the first time.

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9.  Luke & Lorelai

You knew it was coming.  It is so fun to watch the evolution of this relationship over the course of seven seasons.  One of my very favorite episodes is the one at Liz’s wedding when we see the sparks really start to fly for the first time.  In fact, all of my favorite episodes involve the sweet moments of their relationship, and I only wish we could have seen more of it.

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10.   The greatest love story ever told.

I’m as guilty as the next person in getting caught up in the “love” story of any TV show.  The very fact that Logan and Rory don’t end up together still cuts me to the core.  But if you think Lorelai, Rory, and their various suitors over the years is the love story of this show, then you’ve missed the point.  The true love story is the one between Lorelai and Rory themselves who show us a beautiful example of a mother/daughter relationship.

So I guess it’s pretty clear that I’m a very big fan!  Of course, there are a few things about it that are completely resolved for me so I’m continually keeping my fingers crossed that a reunion movie will materialize someday.  Until then, let’s just hope my old box set never wears out!  Have a great weekend and a happy and safe Halloween!

Do you love the Gilmores?  What show never gets old for you?

Currently: October

(note:  I had this all set up to publish yesterday, and, unbeknownst to me until now, it didn’t!  Better late than never, right?  Enjoy!)

Happy Hump Day!  This week has been crazy busy for me, and the end doesn’t seem to be in sight.  I didn’t want to go all week without chatting with you all, however, so here’s some of what’s going on Currently!

Currently: October

Current books:  Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult.  I’m a Jodi super-fan, and I always pre-order her books.  This little beauty came in the mail last week, and it does not disappoint.

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Current music:   No music, but I’ve been listening to Wild on audiobook.  It’s easily one of my favorite books, and I wanted the opportunity to read it again before the movie comes out.  I’m a little disappointed that the audio version isn’t read by Cheryl Strayed herself (LOVED listening to her read Tiny, Beautiful Things), but the book is just as awe-inspiring as I remember.

Current guilty pleasure:   I’ve been making pilgrimages to Sonic several times a week for a Route 44 unsweet tea.  Apparently, since being on this challenge, I’ve replaced my Diet Dr. Pepper habit with a tea one!

Current nail color:  I have no idea what it’s called, but I’ve got the prettiest blue/turquoise/mint color on toenails!  In fact, I’m digging it so much that I’m considering going back for a manicure in the same color.  That’s a big deal because, while I indulge in pedicures fairly often, I NEVER get my fingernails done.

Current drink:  Tea and water.  Tea and water.  Tea and water.  I’m so ready to break up the monotony a little bit.

Current food:   John and I have had to get creative this month, and we’ve both (re) discovered how wonderful apples and peanut butter are together.  This week I’ve even chopped one up, and doused it with peanut butter, honey, and cinnamon.  I’m not missing my afternoon yogurt bowls at all!

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Current shows:   I don’t even want to talk about it.  Every year I fall in love some of the new fall shows, and every year at least one of them gets taken away from me.  I’m currently mourning the loss of Manhattan Love Story.  I actually really liked it!

 

Current needs:   I.NEED.SOMETHING.SWEET.  Trust me-this is not a want after 22 days.

Current triumphs:   I am doing pretty well at piano lessons.  To be honest, I’ve only had two which means we are going over very basic stuff, but I’m surprised that some of it actually feels familiar to me from taking lessons as a kid.

Current bane of my existence:   80+ degree weather in October.  I’m over it.

Current celebrity crush:   Hey there, hot stuff.

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Current indulgence:  No indulgences happening here, but Thursday is the last day of the 24 Day Challenge so you better believe I’m having some Halloween candy on Friday!

Current blessing:   Someone to go along with my crazy ideas.

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John has rocked the last month, and I’m super proud of him.

Current outfit:   Boots, leggings, and sweaters……………Oh wait, that’s just what I wish I was wearing.  Hopefully, the weather will cooperate soon.

Current excitement:   The holidays are coming!  It’s my absolute favorite time of the year, and I can’t promise I won’t start playing my Christmas Pandora station next week.

Current mood:   Hungry.

Current link:   This article by Modern Hiker regarding the vandalism in our National Parks last week.

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Glacier National Park.  Just one of the many beautiful ones that everyone should work to protect!

What are your thoughts regarding the vandalism scandal?

In Defense Of Car Camping

I mentioned last week that I am fairly new to the world of backpacking. It was only four short years ago that I donned my hiking boots and pack for the first time, and set out on adventure that would truly change my life (as grandiose as that may sound, it really has).  Before that period in my life, my relationship with the outdoors was tenuous at best, and spending a weekend sleeping in a tent would not have made the list of desirable activities in my book.

Now home is where my tent is!

Now home is where my tent is!

Obviously, quite a bit has changed since that point, but you may be surprised to learn that I am still evolving as an outdoor person.  For example, it has only been recently that I’ve come around to car camping.

Even after picking up backpacking, I was reluctant to just camp for any period of time.  If we weren’t strapping a pack on and hiking in several miles, I had no interest in it.  Sitting in the woods with nothing to do or focus on for days at a time?  No, thank you.  Recently, however, I’ve had a change of heart, and I’m happy to pitch my tent just about any time.

I think there’s a lot of backpackers that feel the same way.  I’ve heard more than a few argue that unless they’re seriously roughing it deep in the backcountry, they might as well be warm in their own beds.  Here’s a few reasons why I think those people are missing out!

1.  Relaxing is underrated.

Part of the reason why I’ve always avoided car camping is I get bored easily.  I need something occupying my time, and, while I love to read, sitting in the same spot with that has my only option for multiple days has been hard for me to wrap my head around in the past.  Perhaps it’s because I’m getting old, but I’m starting to get the appeal of a hammock, a book, and nowhere to be.  In fact, John and I are getting so into that picture, we’ve decided future backpacking trips will have an off day built-in.

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2.  Packing is not stressful.

There is something that is enormously appealing to me about living off of only what you can carry on your back, but sometimes it’s difficult to whittle your life down to the essentials.  A car, on the other hand, is a lot more space to work with!

3.  The food is way better!

I actually don’t mind backpacking food, and happily sustain myself on it for days on end.  Hey, anything tastes good after a full day of hiking!  It can’t take the place, however, of burgers on the grill or hot dogs cooked over an open fire.  I’ve even had the pleasure of pancakes, bacon, eggs, and biscuits all cooked on a camp stove before.  That would be a little hard to achieve in the backcountry!

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4.  You can get comfortable.

This goes hand in hand with the packing advantage.  Weather calling for a chilly evening?  No problem-throw in an extra sleeping bag.  Dropping below freezing?  Forget the extra bag-sleep in the car!  And let’s no forget bringing along your pillow.  Pillows=happiness.

5.  Um…..bathrooms.

I’m pretty over the using the bathroom in the backcountry issue.  In fact, on more than one occasion I would have rather done my business in the great outdoors rather than use some of the public restrooms I’ve been in.  However, some people aren’t quite as open about nature calling, and definitely appreciate the use of some facilities no matter how primitive!

Just because he's adorable

Just because he’s adorable

Don’t get me wrong-I think I’ll always be a backcountry girl at heart, but there are some compelling reasons to give car camping a try.  John and I have plans to do just that this weekend, and I’m going to enjoy every minute swaying in my hammock!

Advocare 10 Day Cleanse Phase Recap

Hello, friends!  How’s your week going?  Mine is off to a good, but sluggish start.  After enjoying my four day Fall Break weekend complete with a visit from my grandparents it was hard to hear that alarm go off yesterday morning.

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We had our annual Balloon Festival, and, despite my slight annoyance that it supersedes our anniversary every year, watching all the balloons in the sky is very cool!

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This week we’re back to our regular routine with the exception of a night 5K run on Thursday.  That is if I manage to remember it which is not a given since I’ve forgotten about it everyday for the last week.  Maybe you guys should tweet me on Thursday afternoon just in case ;)

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Now, you guys know I’ve been doing the Advocare 24 Day Challenge, and I promised a recap after the first 10 Day Cleanse Phase.  Here’s the schedule for those 10 Days:

Days 1-3:

  • Upon Waking:  Spark mixed in water+ 2 Catalyst wait 20 minutes
  • Fiber Drink mixed with 8 oz water followed immediately by 2 glasses of water, wait 30 minutes
  • Breakfast
  • Before Bed: Herbal Cleanse tablets

Days 4-7:

  • Upon Waking: Spark mixed in water + Probiotic Restore + 2 Catalyst, wait 30 minutes
  • Breakfast
  • Before Bed: Herbal Cleanse tablets

Days 8-10:

  • Upon Waking: Fiber Drink mixed with water followed by 2 glasses of water, wait 30 minutes
  • Spark mixed in 20 oz water + Probiotic Restore+ 2 Catalyst, wait 30 minutes
  • Breakfast

My thoughts so far?

1.  Weekends are tough.

I knew going in that weekdays were not going to be that difficult.  I tend to eat pretty clean during the week on a regular basis.  Weekends are a different story.  By the time I’ve gotten to Sunday evening both weeks, all I wanted was to eat ALL THE BAD THINGS!

2.  The fiber drink is not as bad as advertised.

In almost every single Advocare Challenge post that I read beforehand, someone would mention the awful fiber drink.  Katie said that the Peaches and Cream flavor is much more palatable than the Citrus, and it must be because I honestly didn’t mind it at all.  In fact, I’d take it over the gobs of pills I’m having to take currently in the Max Phase.

3.  It is entirely possible that I have a dairy intolerance.

The Cleanse Phase requires you to cut out dairy, and I have done so faithfully.  I have suspected for a while that I may have a slight intolerance, and this makes me lean even more in that direction.  My digestion has been so much better, and I’m interested to see what will happen when I add it back in post-challenge while I’m not on the supplements.

4.  Something is working

At the end of the Cleanse Phase last week, I had lost 5lbs.  I’ve since lost another 1.5lbs.  I’m not sure if it’s the supplements or if it is simply the extreme clean up of my diet, but you can’t argue with results.  I’m not sure how many inches I’ve lost.  Since John was so busy at the Balloon Fest all weekend, I didn’t have a chance to have him measure me.  However, I’m definitely noticing a difference in the way my clothes fit so that’s something!  FYI:  John did the Cleanse Phase with me, and he’s lost ten pounds!

There’s about a week and a half left, and it has honestly gone by faster than I thought.  I’ll definitely have a lot to say at the end, and I may even get brave and share my before/after (no promises).  In the mean time, I’ll just dream about all the Halloween candy coming my way soon.  And, now, since there haven’t been many pictures in this post, here’s another one of a balloon!

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Have a great day!

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