Bargain shopping adventures

I love bargain shopping, always have. I was raised learning how to shop the clearance aisles, looking through the store ads, learning when seasonal items typically were marked down, and clipping coupons. To this day, paying full price for items at most stores seems like a silly thing to do. I know the item I want will eventually go on sale, or was not meant for me to own.

Today, the list of items I wanted to look for included new candles, a dish for my bundled sage, and a folding tray stand. I had been going through my closet last week to find items I no longer wore, to bring them to Goodwill, so that was the first stop on our shopping adventure.

Shopping adventures are a more fun way to shop. If you have items you want, but don't desperately need right now, having a list for items to look for creates an adventure. A scavenger hunt, if you want to think of it that way.

After 15 or so minutes inside Goodwill, after dropping of my donation items (and getting the receipt with an awesome 20% off one item coupon attached), I had come across treasures! The folding tray stand (not shown, I need to clean it up. Project for another day.) was my first discovery, it was exactly had I pictured it when I created my shopping adventure list this morning. The clear glass tray and skinny shooter were in the dish aisle, the tea lights (brand new, completely full box!) and the votive holders (both brand new, with Target stickers still attached) were in the household decor aisle.

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The votive holders still had Target clearance stickers on them, showing their original full-price of $14.99 each. I had been eyeing them at Target for a long time, and then one day they were gone. Guess what: Goodwill had them priced at $2.97 each. Seriously, what a bargain! The PartyLite tealights are $11 for the box of dozen, the fragrance is HoneyDew (yum!); I paid $3.99, and they're all unused! So, for those 3 items, retail price is $44; with my 20% off 1 item coupon, I paid $18.95 for all 6 of my items. I donated $0.05 to Goodwill to round up my receipt, which is a great program more stores should offer. I know WholeFoods has been doing that for a while, and I absolutely love it when companies partner with organizations to showcase contribution and giving back to the communities.

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The tall glass shooter is exactly what I pictured this morning when I created my shopping adventure list, and look how perfect that glass dish is for my bundled sage! The tea lights glow gorgeously in the votive holders, and I am very excited to share the tray stand in another post.

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Bonus:

I signed up for the 'frequent shopper' rewards program, and earned $0.90 towards a future purchase. I wish I had known about this program when I first started shopping at this Goodwill, I've spent enough to know I would be able to redeem some of that by now!

Just keep in mind, when you're out on your shopping adventures, nothing on your list is required to be purchased unless you find an item that perfectly fits what you've pictured at an amazing deal. I have carried items to future shopping adventure lists for years, before finding exactly what I had envisioned. Shoes, TV stands, that perfect wallet, servings dishes, everything is fair game for a shopping adventure if you're willing to look for the perfect item to match your vision.

I want to hear from you!

What are some shopping tips/notes you always shop with?
Share some of your favorite bargain finds!

TopTenTuesday - Concerts

I wasn’t able to come up with a Top Ten list of concerts, even though I have been to plenty. I love music, but I’m only listing bands/concerts that I would go to again.

Indoors

Five Finger Death Punch - They’re a ‘local’ band, as lead vocalist Ivan Moody spent several summers of his youth in Somerset, WI, with his grandparents. His grandmother introduced him to singing, by enrolling him in a choir, and it stuck with him. They’re an amazing band, more than just rock, and I will go to every concert of theirs I can get into.

Disturbed - I am down with the sickness. They rarely have a show in the midwest, so when they came to Rochester, MN, I bought 2 tickets knowing I'd find a friend to come with! 

Outdoors - My preferred venue

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Five Finger Death Punch at RockFest - I only went to day 3 of the 3 day Fest, and it was a lot of fun. Make sure you go with someone that you KNOW you’ll have a fun time with, I was fortunate to not be stuck with someone that wasn’t fun. 5FDP was the only band that I WANTED to see, they were scheduled for 10pm, but I showed up at the venue to see the rest of the bands scheduled that day since it was a gorgeous weather day!

Paul McCartney - He played for several hours with just a short break! It was amazing, for his concert at Target Field (outdoor baseball stadium in Minnesota), I was given lawn (aka floor) seats as a birthday present and I danced and sang the whole concert!

Local radio station 93X used to have XFests. I went to a weekend long one in Somerset, WI as well as the 1-day only Memorial Day fest here in The Cities. Both were a lot of fun, I went with a great group of people to the weekend long fest, we camped the whole time, and I met a great group of people at the 1-day event that I went to by myself. They no longer have these, they instead just promote RockFest which is in Cadott, WI.

Which concerts/bands would you go to again, no matter the price of admission? Are there any fun venues you'd love to return to because of the atmosphere that's created there?

TopTenTuesday - TV Shows

TV is a big thing in my family, we all have our favorite shows and get together biweekly to talk about what we thought and discuss them. Other than sports, mainly football for me, here's a list of my obsessions in the Network TV part of your TVGuide. I couldn't narrow it down to JUST ten, so I listed up to ten in each category, these are in no particular order as far as favorites, only "New, returning, cancelled." tv-networksNew this fall:Bull - I'm a big fan of Michael Weatherly, thanks to his role on NCIS, and really wanted to like this show. After the first episode, I'm very excited to see where this show goes!!!

I don't currently remember any other new show, so that's how good it was to me if I saw it.

Returning this fall: Big Bang Theory - This is the new FRIENDS, in my opinion.

NCIS - I like the L.A. and New Orleans ones, but it'll be interesting to see where they go this season after such big season premiers.

Limitless - It took me a few episodes to get hooked, but after my show Numb3rs was cancelled, I felt this filled that hole rather well. I like the character mix, even though the stories generally are all the same plot.

Elementary - Season premier is October 2nd, I'm hoping it'll be as a great of story as CBS has had for the other shows this fall, but after the final episode last season I'm not sure where they'll go this season. Kind of the point, though, right?!

Hawaii 5-0 - Who wouldn't want to watch a show based in Hawaii?! It's just fun looking at the scenery. ;)

Life in Pieces - Fricking HILARIOUS. It took me a few episodes to understand how they layout the shows, but it's GREAT now that I've figured it out.

Bones - I do like a mystery!!!!!

Madam Secretary - When I saw Téa Leoni as the lead, I was ALL IN! 108160_d1600bShe's one of my favorite female actresses, and I feel they filled the characters with phenomenal actors.

Rosewood - I accidentally became hooked with this show, I usually watch Grey's Anatomy at this time on Thursdays, but I feel this is fresher than Grey's and I just can't handle watching all of the Grey's cast die off.

Criminal Minds - Have I mentioned I like a good mystery? While this show is a darker mystery/drama, the cast is a great combination. They have freshness, fun, all while doing the seriousness.

Lucifer - Fox filled the hole in my TV heart where Hannibal used to be, thankfully there is a lot of story they can write so it's around for quite a few years!

Home Free - Has not been confirmed for a 3rd season, yet, so it lies in limbo between categories. I only watched the 2nd season, with Tim Tebow, and his personality may have been why I liked the show. We'll see if Mike has another co-star next year (if it's around).

Series Cancelled/Ended: The Good Wife - I've heard rumor there will be a spin off, which is based on character Diane Lockhart, for streaming only. I'd watch it if it does happen, and I can find it and stream it.

Numb3rs - I love shows that make you think!!!

Person of Interest - So many good seasons, but it [SPOILER ALERT] appear that a spin-off could happen.

Hannibal - Silence of the Lambs into a TV format was something that my little black heart needed, unfortunately my girlfriend and I may have been the only ones that watched. :(

 

What are you watching?? Do you also watch any of these shows?

TonTenTuesday - Motivational Quotes

I LOVE motivational quotes. I'm always on the hunt for a good one, I share them on my social media profiles, in my private Facebook group to motivate the members, and save them for myself. Here are 10 of my favorite quotes, along with images for you to save for yourself. "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit." -Aristotle tumblr_ma8f59hv0j1qg34jzo1_500

“Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music.” -Friedrich Nietzsche (a long debate about who the originator is here) 7169e9e08a9bd9cbbd252fa768f0b757

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." -Douglas Adam large

"If you look deep enough you will see music; the heart of nature being everywhere music." -Thomas Carlyle if-you-look-deep-enough-you-will-see-music-the-heart-of-nature-being-everywhere-403x403-nk5o21

"Hell is empty, And all the devils are here." -William Shakespeare, The Tempest 1:2 beautiful-unemployment-quote-hell-is-empty-all-the-devils-are-here

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.” -Norman Vincent Peale quotivee_1440x900_0003_group-17

"Among the notable things about fire is that it also requires oxygen to burn - exactly like its enemy, life. Thereby are life and flames so often compared." -Otto Weininger otto-weininger-philosopher-quote-among-the-notable-things-about-fire

“I think there should be laughs in everything. Sometimes, it’s a slammed door, a pie in the face or just a recognition of our frailties.” -Alan Rickman 680ea0e72e612699883ea92547d21ca1

“Has it ever struck you that life is all memory, except for the one present moment that goes by you so quickly you hardly catch it going.” -Tennessee Williams has-it-ever-struck-you-that-life-is-all-memory-except-for-the-one-present-moment-that-goes-by-you-quote-1

"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude." -Maya Angelou d7920df15a883a96290609f317379c31

 

**What motivation quotes do you love?**

Hawai'i - O'ahu's record rain

The Plan, Getting Here, Days 1-6, & 7-14 are the first parts in this series. Day 14 - Landing in Honolulu was a bit dramatic, I was not prepared for the sharp hairpin turn on approach, Pearl Harborbut it was really cool seeing part of the military base of Pearl Harbor as we came in. We grabbed our bags, I contacted the ride I had setup (I do not recommend contacting the transportation company attached to your hotel, just get an Uber), and we waited for our ride. We were staying at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki, so we had a bit of a ride from the airport. Our driver said the traffic was perfect, it was the ‘off peak’ time of day so we were really cruising along. We drove by Pearl Harbor, the shopping mall, and made it to our hotel.

The iconic Rainbow tower greets you on the right as you pull into the check-in area. SO PRETTY. We made our way to our room, quickly unpacked, and headed to tour the property. The forecast did show rain during our short stay here, so I wanted to get outside as much as possible while it was dry.

That lasted only a few hours.

Day 15 - It started to rain about an hour after I woke up, pretty heavily, and was supposed to be on and off all day. It’s Sunday, so I needed to find an outdoor TV I could comfortably watch at least the Vikings versus Packers game on. We decided to grab lunch at the bar in our tower, it was just in time for the game to start. We watched 2/3 of the game before I was bored with our surroundings, and mostly terrible bar service (since I wasn’t drinking alcohol, I can only assume), so we ventured to find a new place to watch the game. We took a quick tour of the shopping area on site, and made our way to the pool bar with a few TVs. Since it was raining, that lasted only a couple minutes before I decided to just be happy with sitting on the couch in our hotel room for the rest of the day. Smoking is illegal in public areas, hotel lanais are considered public areas, so when we caught someone in a room near ours smoking the front desk offered to give us a free folding wheel chair for the rest of our stay since we weren’t interested in moving to a room directly above the pool.

Day 16 - Forecasted for another rainy day, so we came up with a few off-property things to do that were indoors.

Rainy Waikiki

We started with the Aquarium, it was fun seeing fish you don’t normally see, because we really enjoy aquariums (the same reason we love to snorkel: nature's aquarium). We then decided to go check out a movie, we saw the last of the Hunger Games series, at the mall. We had a lovely Uber driver which dropped us off RIGHT at the nearest door to the movie theater, since I was accompanied by my lovely wheel chair. The movie was AMAZING! I love that series. We then grabbed a bite for lunch at a diner in the mall, where I learned flame broiled is the only way burgers in Hawai’i are cooked. Being without my traditional Medium-Rare grilled burger for 2.5 weeks was really weird.

Day 17 - This is the sunrise I saw when I woke up. What a great way to start saying goodbye to this beautiful state. Sunrise WaikikiIt was forecast to be an amazing day, so we hung out at the pool for a few hours before we had to leave. Sunny Waikiki DayThey held our bags while we toured in-wheel chair the lagoon they created in front of the timeshare tower on site, it was the first real chance to see the whole property when it wasn't raining.Rainbow towerand they provided complimentary refresh rooms for those on later-in-the-day flights.

Our flight from Honolulu to San Fransisco was just before midnight, Honolulu Airport at nightwe did try to get on an earlier flight but they were all booked from San Fran to Minneapolis so we just decided to stick with our scheduled layover of 2.5 hours and enjoy the heat in Honolulu. Every time I went through the metal detectors in Hawai’i, TSA needed to pat me down, even though I had zero metal objects in my clothing. I figured out just last week that the bunches of material from the swim suits I was wearing during TSA screening was the reason they had to pat me down. A lesson learned just in time for more travel.

Flight to SanFranThe flight to San Fransisco would have been a great time to sleep, but the seat belt sign went on and off a lot (along with the overhead commentary that accompanied it from the flight crew) so I slept maybe an hour that entire 5 hour flight. When we arrived for our layover, we made our way to the connecting gate and boyfriend took a nap. It didn’t matter if I slept, since I wouldn’t be driving when we made it back home. I just needed to know where my personal items were, and to eat and drink plenty to keep my energy up.

Flight to MinneapolisOur flight to Minneapolis was on this cute plane, we didn’t realize the foot area was going to be so small when we selected these seats. Good thing I have short legs, he needed all the room in front of me. He slept most of the way, I watched a movie on my laptop that I’ve seen a few times. It was an uneventful flight, the best kind. The weather in Minneapolis had been warmer than average while we were gone, thankfully, which meant we had less hassle than usual after landing in the Winter months.

I was sad to be leaving Hawaii, but happy to be back home to see my family on Thanksgiving, and sleep in my own bed.

I'm obsessed: Protein Mocha

Chocolate Coffee. mmm

Chocolate Coffee. mmm

Chocolate. Coffee. Vegan Protein. Need I say more?!

I've been toying around with variations in protein recipes, due to the need to up my protein intake with the amount of running I've been going through and will be going through since we are in marathon training.

I know that mixing hot liquids into [quality] protein powders will kill the enzymes and be less digestible, but my love of mochas needed to be satisfied at home (especially on those early morning runs in which coffee is needed after).

I received a sample of the Sun Warrior's Warrior Blend Chocolate protein powder after falling in love with their vanilla flavor, and KNEW this is what my gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free belly has been NEEDING! Holy YUM!

So here's what I do:

Make Cold Press Coffee Concentrate (original recipe) I pinned that here, I recommend doing the same.

  • 1 cup coffee beans, coarsely ground

  • 4 cups water

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Add the grounds and the water to a 40-ounce or larger jar or pitcher with airtight lid. Stir. Put the lid on and put the jar/pitcher somewhere out of the way on your kitchen counter, out of direct sunlight.

  2. Let it sit for at least 6 hours, up to 12.

  3. Pour it into a French press and gently push down the plunger. Pour out the iced coffee concentrate.

Everyone needs one of these.

Everyone needs one of these.

Add 1/2 cup of water to each 1/2 cup of the concentrate. When you want the mocha, though, add 1/2-1 cup of ice to a blender, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup of coffee concentrate, and 1 scoop chocolate protein powder. Blend until desired consistency.

Mix it up!

Mix it up!

Chocolate Protein AND COFFEE!!!

Chocolate Protein AND COFFEE!!!

Cold coffee on a hot day

Cold coffee on a hot day

All the goodness in a cup.

All the goodness in a cup.

When I know I'm going to gone for the day, I'll bring a scoop of the protein powder with me in a shaker cup and add an iced Americano to it.

SOO GOOOOOOD.

Let me know if you try this, or have a similar recipe you think I should try!

I went Road Cycling for 51 miles to fight MS

On Saturday May 9th, I went for a 3 hour bicycle ride. My half-marathon training schedule said I was supposed to run 11 miles, this sounded like it would work instead. This was my second time on a road bike, ever, the first time was just a few days prior and I rode 9 miles. Good thing I take half-marathon training more seriously. I borrowed a friends bike, since she was 9 months pregnant and wouldn't be riding it. They made sure the normal pedals were on, since I would be wearing running shoes.

The event registration opened at 8:30, it was a brisk 45 degrees and the sun was shining. While the riders huddled in the rat maze registration line, I took in what I was about to do. 51 miles on a bike, something I swore I would never do because I didn't like to bike. Little did I know riding a mountain bike and riding a road bike were two COMPLETELY different things!!

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After registration, we got a group photo, and then headed out. There were 5 of us riding in our team, all saying we were going to do the long route, compared to the 15 or 25 mile routes, but that we would see once we reached the "no going back" point in the course. Only one person was really sure, that was my friend's husband (we'll call him Tom) all decked out in his bike gear. Once we started pedaling, we warmed up, that cool breeze kept the temperatures of the hot sun off the skin. I wore a breathable long sleeve running shirt with thumbholes, and running shorts, because I'm a runner. I remembered to wear sunscreen on my bare legs and face.

I broke away from the group at about mile 8, there were hills involved and I couldn't handle going slower up them. Tom kept up with me, and we were a duo passing and being passed.

The first pit-stop was at mile 12, at beautiful Fort Snelling.

History was made here.

This was the decision maker, we had to either get going and make it the "no going back point" in one hour otherwise they weren't going to let us take that route. Tom filled his water bottle, I ate a snack, we briefly saw the other three and decided to get going without them. We were on a mission to get those 51 miles DONE!

There were a lot more hills than I had anticipated, but since going down was a lot more fun than going up it seemed to even out. The views were spectacular, and without that scenery I probably would still hate riding a bike. We stopped at each designated pit stop along the route to eat, grab more water, and sometimes use the port-o-potties. We sat at only one, for a brief 2 or so minutes.

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We went through neighborhoods I had never visited before, and some neighborhoods I grew up as a kid. We rode right by the public swimming pool I visited in the summers, rode along the path we went along as a family some days in the summer, and rode passed the hospital my grandma spent most of her nursing career. We had the paths to ourselves most of a the way, and when we shared the path it was with a lot of people enjoying their Saturday afternoon along the lake shores.

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It was the longest physical effort of my life, to date, and now I want to own my very own rode bike and do that adventure again next year.

I was this happy 90% of the entire ride!

It is for a great cause, after all: Multiple Sclerosis

Have you ever taken on a challenge you never thought you'd do? Did you end up completely changing your feelings about it, and ended up loving it?

The Birdtown 8k - There will be hills

Last year was The Birdtown's inaugural event, I ran the 8k last year and felt it was a good race for the weekend before my half-marathon on 5/23/15. When I registered for this year's: I forgot about the hills. I forgot how too-fast I ran. I remembered feeling good afterwards.

I wasn't mentally prepared for this race, my sleep was lacking because one of our cats decided a lot lately that he wants everyone to walk up at 5am, and since I rarely have a reason to be up that early, I do not go to bed earlier enough to get a lot of sleep. We left about 15 minutes later than I really wanted to, but I was the reason for that because I didn't have my bag packed the night before like I usually do.

I forgot that the main road to get to the parking area would be blocked for the half-marathon and 4k that started before the 8k, and that the typical road to take as an alternate was completely shut-down for all of the distances. We had to park 5 blocks further away than I would have liked, so we had to walk that much further to get to the start. We arrived at the start line 1 minute before the gun went off.  One Minute.

The weather was okay, the temperature was in the 60s, there was some wind, but the humidity was higher than it should be in May in Minnesota. I was deciding the final 2 miles if I should run without a shirt, as I usually would run with only a sports bra for a top in that kind of weather, but since that required exertion I decided to just think about it instead of act upon it.

Thankfully, I did run this event last year, so I remembered how many potholes and uneven the pavement would be for a majority of the course. I also remembered how little vehicle traffic there would be so I could run on the road for portions that the sidewalk was not comfortable, and run on the sidewalk when the roads wear really uncomfortable. This was MAJORLY beneficial.

Since we arrived one minute before the gun went off, I didn't get to use the port-o-potty before the race like my body is accustomed to, so I had to pee immediately. I didn't see a single port-o-potty until mile 3, which was mentally tough fighting my bladder on all of the hills before getting to 'go.' But once I was relieved, my mood lightened, until I remembered the final hill.

My chip time was 2 seconds slower than last year, even though I did take walking breaks, I also stopped to use the port-o-potty this year, so I did run it faster. What was I thinking? I probably wasn't, but I still felt good mentally. Until 4 hours later when I sat through my brother's college commencement for 2.5 straight hours, my shins started feeling very tight.

Birdtown Results

My shins hurt a lot last night when I finally returned home, and was getting more difficult to walk up the stairs. I slept with my Zensah Calf-Sleeves on for compression, and turned on heated mattress cover to keep the muscles warm. I woke up and they felt healed! I spent an hour in heated yoga this morning, and my brain and body are all sorts of happy now!

Side note: I realized I ran 85.5 miles in April, my highest mileage month to date. WOO HOO!

Next week is the half-marathon, I'm hoping to keep this peacefulness my brain is currently in through the next 7 days. :)

Happy Sunday!

We love to travel

Spending time together is amazing, and since we both love to travel and experience what this life has to offer, we truly have a magical time together. My work schedule drastically changed in October 2014, and his changed only one month later.  I started working for myself 100%, I do not have a brick-and-mortor business which means I work whenever and wherever I want, and his job finally gave him a reasonable work/life schedule.

My boyfriend actually travels for his job, we like to call the down time on the road interviews for potential vacations.  Over the course of MANY years, and even more airports, there was always one place at the top of his list when we were able to take longer vacations than previous years: Providenciales.

We spent a day in the cold Minnesota winter talking about where we wanted to go on vacation in 2015, how much time to spend there, looked up when the best time to travel to all of those places would be, and matched them all up against his work schedule.  We spent 9 hours dedicated to this.  The end result: booked 45 nights of hotels rooms, 1 week in a family condo, 3 nights in an airbnb apartment, 10 roundtrip airline tickets, 4 inter-island airline tickets, and 1 rental car for a week.

The confirmed list for 2015: Palm Springs, CA San Diego, CA Las Vegas, NV Hawaii Provodenciales, Turks & Caicos Colorado (road trip to see family, with family. Will be a cheap trip, tons of fun!)

No, we're not rich.  Almost the opposite, really.  I budget, we utilize credit cards that offer travel rewards, he racks up frequent flier miles, bank the hotel rewards points, and then we decide what to spend cash on versus blow points on.  The freedom of working for myself is really what allows us to travel this much, and the fact that I like to travel CHEAP.

Part of the budgeting process is food, I need groceries where ever I go because: 1. food allergies, 2. I would rather spend time in the kitchen than money on a restaurant, and 3. I eat whenever I'm hungry & usually can't/won't wait for the kitchen to open.

I can not recommend a more important tip for traveling than getting at least a mini-fridge (tell the front desk you have medical needs, they should give it to you for free) and buying your food from the store, it will save you A LOT of money!

If you want to live this kind of life, I am more than happy to show you how.  I'll post more travel related topics, as I remember to write them down, and if you want to help people on your own terms like I do, please comment below or email me.  I'm more than happy to help you live the life you want!

Stirrup pants are back in my wardrobe!

When I was little, I LIVED in stirrup pants. I cried when I wasn't allowed to wear them any more (out grew them, and they stopped making them)!! I remember how warm they kept my ankles, such an important detail about pants. Warm Ankles! Well, I've brought them back into my life! While they're not exactly back in fashion, I'm going to ROCK them!

Here they are, my beautiful stirrup pants!!

"Emily, why would you buy SEE THROUGH stirrup pants?"

Well, because these aren't just ANY stirrup pants. They're compression tights!! They're the Nike Recovery Tight, to be exact. A few weeks ago I started to seriously research recovery pants/tights for marathon training, and wanted to get them in time to really test them out to see if they would incorporate into my training. I had a few brands and styles in mind, but hand to get my hands on them, and my legs in them, before really deciding.

I had some time to kill before picking up boyfriend from the airport, and decided to pop into the Nike Store at the near by mall. I had actually never heard of these, but saw them on a mannequin and thought they were for yoga. I thought they would be phenomenal for yoga by how they looked, and asked an associate where they were in the store to buy. He informed me they were definitely not for yoga, but were practically medical grade compression tights. MY WHOLE BODY WAS ECSTATIC!!! He showed me where they were, and told me a bit about them.

They come in this case:

It's a hard case! Would be great for iPad or Kindle safe keeping.

I took them out of the case, looked at them for a few minutes, saw the price tag ($140!), and told him I'd need to think about it due to the price. I did some further research online about compression tight pricing, and happened to go across the Nike.com page showing these tights happened to be on sale (at the time of this writing, they're no longer on sale)! I went to an outlet store to see if they happened to be selling them, they weren't but I was informed Nike purchases online or in-store have a 30-day return policy so if you try it out and it doesn't work (and you don't trash the product) you can return it!

I jumped onto the website, and hit purchase! The first day I tested them out, I wore them under sweat pants. Since they're dry fit, they didn't add much warmth at all and did wick sweat.

The second day I wore them out of the house it was a bit warmer out and I was going to a Fun event, so I wore this:

Dress! Cover-Shawl/Sweater

I had on a pair of low socks to be comfortable in the boots, and I was SET! It was fun, and they worked great! These will also be fantastic for long travel days, we're going on a road trip (14+hours) as well as a few LONG flights (10+ hours) and I'm excited these will be helping me out!

I highly recommend doing your research into big purchases, even if your definition of BIG is more than mine ($50). You never know what kind of deals you'll get on something you already want!

Do you have compression pants/tights? What fun ways do you dress with them?

Cleansing while eating chocolates. #winning

I'm cleansing today, right now, and wanted to share something pretty amazing.I'M EATING CHOCOLATE.

MMMM Chocolate

That's right, I'm eating chocolate, on a cleanse day.  I'm not doing a super long (2-days) cleanse like I previously wrote about (here), I'm only doing a 34-hour cleanse due to my training schedule for the half-marathon.  This time I started last night, and will finish tomorrow morning.  It's safe for me to go in public on cleanse days, as long as I have a glass of water nearby, or green tea, and don't sit in the car longer than my bladder can handle!  I simply drink fluids, eat some spree size candy-ish wafers, eat some chocolate squares, and take my vitamins.  I find that doing a cleanse day in my training schedule helps with the lactic build up in the muscles, and helps clean out the toxins my body soaks up while running outside.

I started this nutritional lifestyle May 2014.  My results have been: more energy, glowing skin (even my bf commented on it), zero sugar or caffeine cravings (I used to drink caffeine 3 times a day!), have released 10 pounds of fat, gained 5 pounds of lean muscle, feel less anxious and irritable, and I have experienced a huge mental clarity (like a thick layer of fog has been lifted from my head). This has been without any diuretics or laxatives!

I've never really written about it before, and thought how much of a disservice that is to you!

The basic program is comprised of Shake Days and Cleanse Days.  On Shake Days, you substitute two meals of your choice with a delicious shake, a nutrient-dense meal that is natural (artificial free), soy-free, and gluten-free. There is also a dairy free shake, which is what I use.  I know, I know, 'it's just a shake, I would get more if I ate food.'

There are 90 nutrients that the body needs (essentials) that it cannot create on it's own: amino acids, vitamins, fatty acids, and minerals.  Sixty of these are missing from our food due to our current food sources and soil depletion over the last 50 years.  In one of these shakes, you get all 90 essentials!  It's also the proper balance of carbs & protein to keep you feeling FULL, it is 250 calories so you won't be hungry until it's time for a snack in 2-3 hours!

The third meal of the day is a 400-600 calorie healthy, balanced, “knife & fork” meal of your choice. You must get in two healthy snacks (100-200 calories) throughout the day, as you should eat every 2-3 hours to keep your metabolism going and prevent yourself from getting too hungry.  Increased thermogenesis can only be sustained while on a metabolism-enhancing diet (the body burns up to 10% of the calories with thermogenesis just after eating).

On Cleanse Days you drink a berry-flavored synergistic blend of gentle herbs and nutrients that support your body’s natural ability to remove toxins and impurities.

To support you on Cleanse Days you have wafers (in chocolate, vanilla, or berry) which help curb your appetite and support healthy blood sugar levels naturally with a balance of nutrients.

You also get CHOCOLATE, yes that’s right, CHOCOLATE on Cleanse Days. When your brain is low of “feel-good” chemicals, it seeks out sugar, junk food, and caffeine to artificially boost your energy and mood levels. These yummy chocolates are specially formulated with green tea extract, amino acids, antioxidants, B vitamins and minerals to help ease those cravings. They come in milk or dark chocolate, and are ESSENTIAL on Cleanse Days.

Good for you chocolate!!!

So here's the truth: I eat treats, desserts, chips, fries, syrup, etc, and that's because my goal for this lifestyle isn't to only drop fat.  I'm 5'3" and weigh 135 pounds, and an athlete.  I'm not looking to go to the Olympics, I'd cut out the junk food if that were the case.  My lifestyle isn't about restricting anything, I enjoy food that I like in moderation = portion sizes!  Unless it's a bag of jalepeno kettle chips, then I'm eating that entire thing in one sitting.  They're good, I'm proud of it.  I know that if I were to restrict food I'd see the fat MELT right off, but I can't maintain a restricted lifestyle and knowing my boundaries is important.  However, these shakes, bars, chips, and cleanse drinks allow me to RESET my body to the way I am comfortable.

I LOVE these products and how they make me feel so much that I am confident that I will be buying these groceries, and vitamins, for a very long time.  I take it everywhere, I have a snack box in my car with chocolate and a meal bar in it, and I take shakes, bars, cleanse, and chocolates with me when I travel.  TSA doesn't care, it's not liquid!

I also coach others on this life-changing program, which is an added bonus because I LOVE helping others achieve their goals, it is something I am very passionate about. This is not just for people who want to lose weight, there are professional athletes using this food in their own ways.  Athletes need to eat more, so they ADD meals and snacks to their day!  The professional athlete's are not paid-spokespeople either, they have to BUY this food just like I do.  It's the best out there!

Everything comes with a 30-day money back guarantee, so you have nothing to lose except maybe a few extra pounds.

Are you ready to hit the button?

If you are interested in taking back control of your health once and for all and would like to join me on this exciting journey, please send me a message and let’s get started!  Email: emilyrunfree@gmail.com

56 Hour #Fast - WHY?

Monday morning I decided I needed to Fast, and I decided on a 56 hour Fast.  For me, that means not consuming a meal until Wednesday (today).  Purposefully not having a meal for an entire 56 hours, but if you really think about it I fasted for 64 hours because I slept 8 hours before waking up on Monday.  So I will now call it a 64 hour fast, but not retitle the blog post. :) The reason I chose to Fast is because I am getting ready to do some MAJOR training, I have thrown my name into the lottery for the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon which is June 20th.  I have also registered for the Medtronic Marathon (here and here).  Going through a Fast gets my head into the game, makes me really plan what I need to achieve nutritionally, and to clean my body and mind of any nasty cravings.  I'll be doing a 64 hour Fast once, every other week.  The amount of inflammation alone that is removed through urination is AWESOME!  Professional athletes complete a 24 hour Fast on their "rest" days, so I may switch to those once my actual 12 week training program begins.

I successfully completed my 64 hour fast when I woke up this morning, and had an amazing breakfast to replenish the natural nutrients I need.  I had a vegan protein shake, and a Protein Ice Cream Shake.  The Ice Cream shake counts as my snack for the morning, too.  I did a little research into the history of fasts, because some people question why do them, and it's the Christian Faith that really populated my search feed.  I encourage you to do a search of your own, in case you're on the fence.  I don't nutritionally deplete my body, I follow a system that includes herbal remedies (that taste good, to me) infusing the body with healthy nutrients.

During my short research into Fasts, I also found this little picture, and noticed the Fast side is basically how I already function.  I have nutritional meal replacements (~250 calories each) for breakfast and lunch/dinner, have a few small snacks in between, and then a sit down lunch/dinner (~400-600 calories).  I'll need to be conscience about the meat, but I believe I can handle it.  Now I consider what to 'give up' for Lent.

This is already how I eat, except the meat part.

Are you able to follow this type of Fast pictured? Would you follow the fast I just completed? Are you abstaining from anything for Lent?

#IceCreamforBreakfast because #kidsgetcancertoo

My FAVORITE ice cream is chocolate almond fudge, but I haven't found this flavor profile in the non-dairy section.  Since today is International Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast, a grassroots campaign bringing awareness of the Give Kids the Village Campaign (read more here and here), which is a vacation cost-free for kids with life-threatening illness, and their families. What a better reason to make my own version of chocolate almond fudge ice cream!  I had some thoughts, and decided to go with protein powder, chocolate almond milk, ice, regular almond milk, and some Horchata.  It needs some work on the consistency, but it is GOOD!

Chocolate Almond Protein Ice Cream 1 serving Vanilla Protein powder of choice 8 ounces Dark Chocolate Almond Milk (they come in these sizes in a 4-pack!) 2 ounces Regular Unsweetened Almond Milk 1 ounce Horchata 2 handfuls ice

Blend.  Enjoy!

How did you celebrate this day?

Palm Springs, California - Day 3

In case you missed Adventure Day 1, or Adventure  Day 2, you don't need to read these in any particular order.Adventure Day Three started with a jog to the Palm Springs Art Museum, and a short hike up the Mountain (we only climbed 300 feet) to watch the sunrise.  It was BEAUTIFUL!!!

MIND BLOWING BLISS

We walked/jogged back to our hotel, enjoyed a quick protein shake breakfast, changed into pool attire, and worked by the pool for the next 4 hours.  An amazing afternoon.

We then decided to drive out to Joshua Tree National Park, and check out Mother Nature in her desert bounty.  It was an hour drive, on some roads that felt like roller coasters (I'm not a fan), but the scenery was great.

When we arrived, our first trail to walk was 9 miles down the road from the entrance, and I wanted to stop at EVERY sight-seeing opportunity, I had to remember to take pictures to capture the beauty of what I was seeing an experiencing.  I managed to restrain myself from making us stop at every opportunity, knowing the sun would be setting soon and I wanted to be able to SEE as much as possible.  We were in the middle of the desert, in a crater of Mountains, with zero equipment for night-time nature walks.  PITCH DARK was a mere 1.5 hours away.

When we got to our first trail, I had a hard time walking slow enough to take pictures, and fast enough to see EVERYTHING!! I wanted to wonder off the trail (which is 100% acceptable) all of the time, but again that time was ticking.

It was a glorious day surrounded by Nature's Beauty!  When we go back, we're spending the ENTIRE day in Joshua Tree National Park!!

Have you ever been to a National Park?  Which one?  What do you recommend to see??

I'm running a Marathon - WHOA

On February 5, 2015, I made a life-changing decision.  It effects more than just my life, which makes it slightly more exciting/anxious.  I decided, and registered, to run my first marathon.  Twenty-two point six miles.  Consecutively.  In one morning. I made the decision at a Charity information session, this will be the first year Childrensmn.org will have a fundraising running team, and I am very excited to be one of their Superstars. "About Children's Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota is one of the largest pediatric health systems in the United States and the only health system in Minnesota to provide care exclusively to children, from before birth through young adulthood. An independent and not-for-profit system since 1924, Children's serves kids throughout the Upper Midwest at two free-standing hospitals, 12 primary and specialty-care clinics and six rehabilitation sites. Children's maintains its longstanding commitment to the community to improve children's health by providing high-quality, family-centered pediatric services and advancing those efforts through research and education. An award-winning health system, Children's is regularly ranked by U.S. News & World Report as a top children's hospital and by The Leapfrog Group for quality and efficiency."

What a fantastic organization to partner up with on this LIFE CHANGING journey!!  My fundraising page: https://secure.qgiv.com/event/account/72706/.

October 4, 2015 is the day!!  The Twin Cities Medtronic Marathon is the event.  It has been rated in the Top 10 popular races for multiple years, and there are many reasons why.  I ran the 10 mile event last year, it shares part of the marathon course, and it has an amazing volunteer support team, extensive crowd support along the majority of the course, and the scenery along the route is spectacular!!  The fall leaves, the fall air, the river, the old brick homes, and the rolling bluffs (read: this is NOT a FLAT course) are beautiful!!!

Please, share your tips, stories of first races, and if you've ran, or will be running, this event!!!