Run 2 Your Own Beat

Run 2 Your Own Beat

A Health & Happiness Blog

Caution: Work Zone Ahead! [Weekend Recap]

Happy Monday everybody!! Hope you all are having a great, relaxing holiday weekend. I don’t have anything particularly interesting to say today, except that I finally made the leap of hosting my site with BlueHost. In doing that, I have to re-do my entire page, etc. so I may end up giving R2YOB a complete makeover!! Needless to say, much of my weekend was spent learning about HTML and CSS and WP and all these weird terms for things that I still don’t understand! Gahhhhh.

I did, however, have a lovely Sunday dinner with my neighbors! They were about to get red of three perfectly ripe and mushy bananas, so I said no way!! I took them home and made Paleo Banana Coffee Cake from PaleOMG. It was DELISH! :) I had my coffee cake with berries and a homemade chocolate macaroon.

photo 1-1 photo 2-1


I’m super sorry for not having anything interesting to share with you folks! I promise I will get things up and running ASAP! Have a great labor day!!

Get Fit Friday: Partner Bootcamp [#MoveNourishBelieve]

Howdy folks! Grab a partner, swing ‘em round and round!! Just kidding – don’t do that. But please do grab a partner! ;)

I’m going to start posting more workouts at least once a week now. Since I’m coming up with new ones weekly as it is for the bootcamps I lead, I may as well post some of them! In addition to that, I want to use the Lorna Jane philosophy more in my daily life. I love the idea of Move, Nourish, and Believe. In essence, those are three things that encompass almost all aspects of wellness – physical, nutritional, spiritual, emotional, etc.

In case you haven’t heard the name Lorna Jane’s an Australian-based Active Living clothing company. The founder, Lorna Jane Clarkson, spoke during the opening ceremonies at IDEA World Fitness Blogfest and she was so inspiring and so genuine! I highly encourage you to check out their website at and read more about her!

It can be difficult to know where to start if you’re looking to be healthier. Even if you’re already well on your journey, it’s always great to learn about new resources to improve your clean, healthy, active lifestyle. is a website with tons of great content about clean eating, exercising, inspiration, e-books, and more! I highly encourage you to check it out. Being healthy and active does NOT have to be a one-man journey. “It takes a village”. Okay – I know that’s referring to raising children (I think, right?), but the motivation and support of your friends and family is just as integral to your overall health and wellness! It’s even better when they decide to go along for the ride with you! Lucky for you, I’ve concocted this awesome partner bootcamp!

Exercising isn’t always fun, and it shouldn’t always be easy. For you lone rangers out there, hopefully you know how it can be some days when you are totally unmotivated to work out. Having a friend to work out with is great because they can hold you accountable and help to keep you motivated if you start to slack. (Don’t worry, we all need a little push now and again!)

For this week’s workout, you’ll need:

  • A partner
  • 1 set of moderate weight dumbbells
  • An agility ladder -OR- a pavement surface and sidewalk chalk
  • Yoga/exercise mat (optional)
  • Water (not optional) ;)

See below image for additional tips and information




  • 15 jumping jacks
  • 13 squat-to-press
  • 1 drill up the ladder
  • 11 push ups
  • 9 leg raises
  • 1 drill back down the ladder

The Agility Drill:

The goal of agility training is to improve balance, coordination, and overall athletic performance. The drill to be done today is an in & out drill. 

  • Quickly step both feet in one square
  • Quickly step both feet outside of that same square
  • Do those same two steps in the next square, and the next one, and the next one…


1. Try to stay on your toes as you move through the drill – literally! It’ll help you move faster.

2. Get low. Slightly bend the knees and keep your arms close to your sides.

The Squat-to-Press:

Squatting is a great, functional exercise using large muscles that require a higher cardiac output than other muscles in the body such as the biceps or triceps. This particular exercise is not only working the legs, but it is also working the deltoids (shoulder muscles) as well.

  • Stand with your feet just over hips width apart, parallel or very slightly turned out. Hold the dumbbells in front of your shoulders.
  • Squat down as if you were to sit on a chair, being sure to “throw” your hips back.
  • Rise up from the squat, and lift the dumbbells into an overhead press. Repeat.


Sporting my Reebok One Cushion running shoes


1. Be sure to keep your chest up when squatting

2. Make sure that your knees don’t go past your toes when you go down, and be careful that they don’t go inward during the squat.

3. During the overhead press, make sure not to arch your back too much. You can prevent this by engaging your core/abdominal muscles.

The Push Up

  • Start with the hands beneath the shoulders and the toes or knees on the ground, body fully extended.
  • Lower your body to the ground, but before you’re all the way down, push back up. Repeat.


1. Check your alignment: Ears in line with shoulders in line with hips in line with knees in line with ankles.

2. Push ups use muscles throughout the entire body – pectorals, abdominals, quads, and more. Utilize all of these muscles, and help avoid letting your back arch, putting too much pressure on your spine.

The Leg Raise:

  • Start with the legs slightly elevated off the ground. 
  • Raise them to a 90 degree angle, and lower back down. Be careful not to let your feet hit the ground between reps!


Don’t put your hands under your butt!!!


I hope that you guys try the workout and enjoy it! If you do, tag me on instagram or twitter – @run2yourownbeat ! Use the hashtag #MoveNourishBelieve and #R2YOB




Please feel free to post feedback or email me with suggestions, comments, or questions at :)


How will you #MoveNourishBelieve this weekend?


Healthy Hump Day: Homemade Cheeseburger Pasta [GF & Vegan-friendly] + WIAW


Howdy Friends! It’s hump DAAAAAYYYY! Did ya’ll read my last post on showing yourself a little TLC?? If so, how’s that coming? Have you felt happier or more mindful of making sure you’re taken care of before you take care of others? One of the ones I need to work on is waking up early enough to have a relaxing breakfast! :P

I come to you bearing a new recipe! Before I started eating right for my body, I used to looove Hamburger Helper. Or anything with carbs and cheese in it, really.

So at the IDEA World Fitness Convention, I got these noodles from a brand called Explore Asian. I don’t usually eat pasta (even though I miss it dearly!), I’ll usually sub it out for spaghetti squash or zoodles. HOWEVER, these Explore Asian bean pastas are changing the game. They are around/under 200 calories per serving, contain 10g > net carbs, high in fiber, and have 20-25 grams of protein. WHAT?! I just blew your mind. Go clean it up. I’ll wait.

Now that you’ve cleaned up your mess, you must be thinking “But Elyse! Pasta is carbs is pasta is carbs and whaaaaat????” Well, dear friends, as you hopefully know, grains are not the only source of carbohydrates, and meat is not the only source of protein. The noodles in question, my curious kids, are made from either mung bean, black bean, or adzuki bean and water. That’s it. Two ingredients. Seriously.

You’re probably questioning that if it’s not even real pasta, and it’s made from weird beans you don’t even know about, it probably tastes funny, right? Wrong, mostly. The mung bean fetuccini’s texture is slightly different than regular pasta..probably closer to that of whole wheat pasta. Other than that, it cooks fast and tastes great! My favorite is probably the adzuki bean spaghetti. I made it last night in a stir fry with chicken, butternut squash, peppers, onions, and Go Veggie! smoked provolone ‘cheese’. (Side note: I sauteed some Japanese Aomori Fermented Black Garlic in the pan prior to cooking. Yay for new and exciting flavor combos!) Sorry I didn’t provide a picture – I was too hungry to make it look pretty!

This past weekend, had a hankering for something cheesy, so I whipped up this recipe and now I’m going to share it with all of you lovelies!

Healthy Cheeseburger Pasta:


List of Ingredients


  • 1 lb ground beef or beef-style crumbles
  • 1 package of Explore Asia pasta (mung, adzuki, or black bean), zoodles, spaghetti squash, or your choice of pasta.
  • 1 t. onion powder
  • 1/2 t. garlic powder
  • 1/2 t. worcesterschire sauce (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Paleo ‘Cheese-Sauce’

  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. + 1 c. extra light tasting olive oil, separated
  • 1/2 t. mustard powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • Lemon or lime juice to taste
  • 2 T nutritional yeast

Or instead of ‘cheese-sauce’…



How to Cook

For the Cheese-Sauce:

  1. Combine egg, 1/4 c. olive oil, salt, and mustard powder in a bowl and blend using an electric handheld mixer or immersion blender until ingredients are completely blended.
  2. Continue to blend as you SLOWLY drizzle in the remaining cup of olive oil. The mixture should thicken and look more white in color.
  3. Blend in lemon or lime juice and nutritional yeast. Set mixture aside.

For the meat/pasta:

  1. Cook pasta according to your product’s directions. (If using spaghetti squash, bake at 425 degrees for 25-30 minutes) I usually add a little salt and olive oil to the pot of boiling water to add flavor and help the noodles not stick together.
  2. Brown 1 lb of ground beef in large skillet with onion powder, garlic powder, and worcesterschire sauce. Drain in a collander when finished.
  3. Add pasta, ground beef or beef crumbles, and cheese-sauce or cheese slices to skillet and stir until combined. Serve with fresh steamed veggies! :)

Hope you all enjoy that as much as I did! There’s nothing better than comfort food after a long day :)

What I Ate Wednesday

I haven’t done one of these in a LONG time! Here are just a few of the things I’ve been eating.


I’ve really been digging these Go Veggie! cheese slices ever since I tried them at the IDEA World Expo!



Grilled low-carb flatbread with Applegate Farms organic turkey, tomatoes, avocado, honey mustard, and smoked provolone Go Veggie! slices with rainbow carrots and a side salad with peppers, spinach, blueberries, and snap peas.



Hari Tea – jasmine & ginger green tea from a mason jar. LOVE mason jars ;)

That’s all for now folks! Feel free to email me at run2yourownbeat@gmail with any questions, suggestions for posts, or just to say Hi! 

Happy Healthy Hump Day!

8 Daily Habits to Foster Your Most Important Relationship


Happy Marvelous Monday, everybody!! Hope you all had a fabulous weekend. Unfortunately, the weather here in PA was dreary on Saturday, but Sunday was bright and sunny! Kayla and I started our day with a 90-minute spin class with our favorite instructor, Karen. It’s the BEST way to start my week!! Of course, I used my Armour39. 900 calories burned..WOAH!


Check out that #WillPower score!

Hopefully we can all agree that nobody likes a selfish person. With that in mind, we usually try our best not to be a selfish person. Sometimes, that leaves us stressed, overworked, and not caring for ourselves the way we should. It’s alright to be a little bit selfish sometimes. If you don’t take care of and love yourself, then who else will!?


One of the (many) benefits of going to the Idea World Fitness BlogFest and talking to so may amazing bloggers is that I also get to hear their point of view based on the spiritual journey that accompanies living a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

Here are 8 daily habits to foster the most important relationship you’ll ever have –  your relationship with yourself!! I had a little help from some of my blogger friends ;)

1. Every morning, look in the mirror and say 5 “I AM” statements. “Every morning, I say them and I really believe them!”

- Lyndsey from The Balanced Brunette

2. Treat yourself to a massage – doesn’t have to cost a penny! “I give myself a scalp massage everytime I shampoo. Feels delicious!”

-Elizabeth B.

3. Exercise and honor your body with movement! “I make working out a priority because it’s what I want for myself. I used to feel guilty doing it if something else needed to be done – cleaning, working, shopping, etc. I decided that my health is important too and I deserve it! :)” 

-Runnin’ Rocker at

4. While ‘me’ time is necessary, take time to cherish your loved ones! “I try to get my husband to watch the kids while I take a nice (hopefully long) shower and then I hop in bed with the kids to watch Angelina Ballerina together before putting them to bed.” 

-Kristin from Exploring Domesticity

5. Take a second (or a few) and just breathe. “I work in a ridiculously stressful environment. I stop once or twice a day and breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth, and tell myself “I am awesome.” Only way to get through my day sometimes!”

-Libby from Bruises in the Frosting

6. Disconnect (from your electronics!) “I turn my phone off at a certain time so I can pray and get enough sleep.” 

-Tasha from The Hip Healthy Chick

(Side note: I deeply admire and respect Tasha’s commitment to her religion. Often times it is one of the few things that keep people sane. Whether your ‘disconnect’ time is spent praying or just deeply thinking, it’s important to allow the spiritual side of yourself to breathe.)

7. High-intensity exercise is a great release – but low-intensity exercise can be just as effective on your stress levels. “Work out each day for sure, but I make time to practice yoga each day because it always makes me feel great and destressed.”

-Marlene from Fit Delight

8. Sun’s up, fuel up! Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – seriously! “Eat a healthy breakfast! Loving yourself means giving your body the proper nutrition so you can be your best at anything you do!”

-Michelle from Shell Loves Fitness

8b. Don’t just eat breakfast – enjoy breakfast! “I always wake up early enough to give myself a nice, relaxing morning. I make my coffee, make my oatmeal and take my time eating breakfast while relaxing, sometimes out on the patio if it’s a nice morning! It sets the tone for my day rather than rushing around getting ready as the start of my day. Sometimes I’ll watch the news, or read other blogs or do work on my own blog in this time. It’s my “me” time.”

-Kayla from Blondes Have More Run

Special thanks to all the lovely ladies who contributed to this post!

Occasionally when I feel inclined to write, it’s usually because it relates to something I am experiencing in my own life. I’ve been dating someone for the past few months, and it’s awesome! Sometimes, however, it’s so great that it’s easy to forget that I need to take care of myself as well – as opposed to depending on someone else to do it for me. Being in a relationship with someone you connect with is a great feeling, but it’s important not to become too dependent on love from them and only them. Before they ever came along, it was love from and for yourself that you had to rely on.

I hope you all enjoyed this post – please, comment and respond!! I also encourage you to check out these girls’ blogs and follow all their awesome posts! :)

What is something you do each day to show yourself love??

BlogFest Recap: Day 2


Happy Fit Friday everyone! Hope your week has been good to you. It is time to share the escapades of my second day at Idea World Fitness BlogFest with Sweat Pink!!

I was by far even MORE excited for this day for one reason in particular…. JILLIAN. MICHAELS

But before that, we had an awesome bootcamp led by Caroline (The Trendy Trainer) and Moe Faherty (Fitness MoeJo). They’re East Coast girls just like me! Caroline and Moe were super motivating early in the morning and I loved how they incorporated partners into the bootcamp circuit. Afterwards, I re-fueled with a mini GoMacro bar that I got from the expo the day before, and Kiwi-strawberry Propel.


Bottom left: my workout partner and I. She’s from Turkey!

We had a bit of time between bootcamp and our next session, so naturally we went to go get an iced coffee from Starbucks (duh!)

The first presenter of Day 2 is Cassey Ho (aka Blogilates!! AH!) The session was about turning your blog into a business/brand. I couldn’t think of anyone more perfect to give a speech on that topic. Cassey has workout videos, meal plans, and a new line of workout clothing called BodyPop. She is one of the reasons I’ve been so inspired by this convention to ‘re-invent’ my blog, or at least the way I run it.


I mean..Jillian Michaels. NBD.


Jillian Michaels – Badass b*tch 100% of the time.

She was simply amazing. I asked her a question about when to push your clients and when not to push them and she responded with a great answer.

The biggest takeaway for me and many others as well was the quote, Why not me?” I can think of at least 10 ways this can apply to many different areas of my life.

The following Tweet Break was from Merrithew Health & Fitness – we received a Fitness Circle Lite to go with the DVD we got in our ‘Welcome’ bags!




Following our tweet break, we had a presentation on the Business of Blogging from Ashley Long (an attorney), Jessica Mishra (an accountant – These sessions were important to me as a blogger because should I decide to turn my blog into a business, I’ve got all the info necesary to keep me out of legal or financial trouble!

Following that session, Kayla and I headed back to the hotel to shower, and returned to the convention center for our next session – a panel entitled Bloggers Tell All. We got lots of great tips and insight into life as a professional blogger from Julie at PB Fingers, Monica at Run Eat Repeat, and Gina at The Fitnessista.

Then, another Tweet Break! I loved these breaks because not only did they get us up and moving a little bit, the brands that presented to us gave us great insight on their company. This Tweet Break was presented by Under Armour. We learned a little bit more about the UA Women’s campaign “I Will What I Want.”  (More on that in a later post!)

After lots of different workouts in the past 48 hours, it was great to have a relaxing yoga session led by Tara Stiles, founder of Strala NYC.


Yoga selfie – naturally

The lightning round of Blogfest was one of my favorite presentations. (let’s be real – they were all amazing!!). The bloggers who presented had a unique challenge – they had 20 slides, 15 seconds per slide, and the presentation auto-advances. They had to make sure they said what they wanted to say when they wanted to say it before the time was up. Tricky huh?! These women were amazing in what they had to say – so much so that I definitely need to write a separate post about that.

Following the lightning round, we had a BlogFest networking party, and afterwards, Kayla and I went out to dinner at a place called Fire & Ice with about 10 other bloggers.




Spices & sauces


Meat, poultry & fish


Can you see the circular griddle surface behind the food? I want one of those!

I’d never seen a place where you could basically build your dish to your liking – down to the spices and everything! It was an amazing feeling to connect with other like-minded individuals.

Photo Credit: Christiana at Spilling Coffee 'n' Dropping Things!

Photo Credit: Christiana at Spilling Coffee ‘n’ Dropping Things!

After that, we pretty much passed out back at the hotel room!

Questions for you:

  • What’s one quote that’s really inspiring you this week? 

BlogFest Recap: Day 1


Happy Thursday, everybody! It feels like a great day. Doesn’t it feel like a great day? I think it’s going to be a great day!!! There’s something in the air…’s got to be all the new information I learned at Sweat Pink Blogfest/Idea World Fitness Convention the past several days! I just feel like there is so much to talk about that I learned and experienced. I don’t want to overwhelm you with pictures and information, etc. so let’s just take it one (or two) days at a time!

Our flight was at the butt crack of dawn (possibly even earlier..more like the lumbar spine of dawn!!) I wish I could say I slept much of the plane ride, but it’s just so uncomfortable and loud that all I did was wriggle and writhe around in my seat for 5 hours!

After arriving at LAX, we soon learned that our rental car was at an off-location facility - not in the actual airport. Exhausted and sort of sweaty, we flagged down our shuttle to take us to get our car. After sitting on the shuttle with no A/C for 45 minutes, we got our rental car and booked it to our priority destination - Whole Foods. ;)


I’ve never been more excited to grocery shop in my life.’s what our ‘mobile pantry’ looked like! Healthy people problems….


Gotta have our oatmeal!!!

We finally made it to the hotel, Paradise Pier (a disney hotel). I’ve never been to Disney before, so I got a first timer’s button! I may or may not have been a little too excited about it.


Our room was adorable – beach themed! And we had a great view of California Adventureland to boot!

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We checked into the conference at the convention center – only a short 20 minute walk away from our hotel – where we saw the biggest ficus EVER. Kayla and I call it our ‘love tree’!


We’re heeeeere!!! Several minutes were spent getting the PERFECT selfie. Naturally.

We put on real clothes (by real clothes I mean clothes that are clean, and not workout/lounge clothes) and went out to dinner in Downtown Disney at the House of Blues.


I’m pretty sure that after a long day of travel, this was my first real meal that day.

We passed out like babies at 8:30 pm Pacific Time and slept through the night. We’d been awake since 3 am EST!! AHH!
Thursday, August 14th:

6:00 am – Kayla and I met our fellow blogger friends for an early morning group run organized by Tiffany over at She is awesome, hilarious, supportive, and genuine. I really enjoyed chatting with her throughout the weekend!


I finally met Becky, Alyse, and Jamie from Fit Approach, LLC (Sweat Pink) and put names to faces. Usually when I’m doing a run with other people, I get worried that their pace will be faster than mine, then I’ll fall behind, then I’ll get discouraged because I’m behind, and I’ll totally lose my mojo. With this group, There wasn’t any time where I was running by myself behind everybody.


Have you guys ever heard of an app called RunGo? It’s a GPS running app in which you can find pre-programmed routes that will give you directions as you run. As a special thank you for using the app and meeting for a run, we all got portable phone chargers – a complete LIFESAVER this weekend. I don’t think I’ve tweeted or instagrammed that much in a long time!



It ended up being a beautiful run and I felt good about my pace and energy levels.

6:40 am – Kayla and I headed back to the hotel room to freshen up just a bit for the day.

8:00 am – First session sponsored by Lorna Jane Active. They suprised us all and had all different tank tops waiting for us at our seats. Naturally, I’ve got my Starbucks in hand :) Luckily there was one right in the convention center!


Lorna Jane Clarkson, the brand’s founder, is so down to earth and so genuine. She speaks with a thick, Australian accent which makes her that much more fun to listen to! Usually when you see somebody advertising a specific brand through social media, they are often paid to do it. What I love about this company is that they don’t pay people to wear their product – If you see someone endorsing it with rave reviews, it’s because they genuinely love the product. When Lorna sees people wearing/enjoying her designs, it inspires her.

10:20 am – 12 pm – IDEA World Opening Ceremonies. An a capella group called Filharmonic opened the presentation, and we had some amazing speeches from accomplished, inspiring individuals such as….

Elaine Lalanne (Jack Lalanne’s wife) – possibly the most fit 88 year old I’ve ever seen. (She can still do push ups! WHAT??!)

Lynn & Augie Nieto (Augie’s Quest; ALS fundraising) image-13

and Diana Nyad (swam from Cuba to Florida after four failed attempts in 35 years).


In between the opening ceremonies and our next session, we had roughly two hours to explore the expo center. There was just so much to see – we certainly couldn’t do it all in one day.

So basically…you get the gist. Lots of informative presentations, discussion panels, sponsored tweet breaks, and networking. Some of the sessions we had on the first day included one such as meal prepping and food blogging, approaching brands, and blog design tips on a budget.

Naturally, we had a workout later in the evening. We did PiYo, led by its founder Chalene Johnson. Now, I love to lift heavy and I love feeling strong – but this workout challenged me in a way that I am not used to. I hardly ever take classes such as this because in the area I live, there aren’t a whole lot of options for challenging, unique classes such as this. I enjoyed it so much that I’m considering becoming PiYo certified!!


Mid-PiYo session. Don’t let my face fool you – I loved it!!

Throughout the course of the day, we had 20 minute long ‘Tweet Breaks’ sponsored by different brands, including Reebok, Dannon Oikos, and others. Here’s some of the awesome sponsored ‘swag’ I received on my first day at BlogFest:



And…Drumroll please… new Reebok Cusion One Running Shoes!!!! BIG thank you to Reebok for this awesome gift!!!



At the end of the day after two workouts, Kayla and I were exhausted. We went out to eat at the restaurant in our hotel, went upstairs and passed out shortly after. Despite not being out late and partying, this was still one of the best trips I’ve ever taken thus far. The feeling of being immersed in like-minded individuals is a liberating experience.

Hope everybody has a wonderful Thursday – I will be updating with more about the convention tomorrow!

Questions for you:

Think about your day. Do you think you could’ve done it just a fingernail better???

Blogfest: The Prequel


Hi all! I wrote this post while on the plane to Anaheim, CA from Newark, NJ. It is the first of several in a series of posts about this wonderful experience!

Hello dear friends! I write to you from the sky – probably somewhere over the midwest. (But by the time you read this I’ll be in California!! Kayla and I are headed to Anaheim for the Idea World Fitness BlogFest. To say that we are excited would be an understatement. 

Currently watching: Transcendence. Has anyone seen that movie? Isn’t it one of those sci-fi movies? Usually not my thing – but ohsie wellsie!!

I seem to be at a standstill in my life at the moment – career and college – wise. I’m hoping that being at BlogFest will re-inspire me and remind me why I love being active! It is difficult sometimes when very few of your friends share the same passion. It’s easy to get discouraged or gravitate away from that lifestyle because it feels ‘easier’. 

I’m going to get to participate in tons of blog workshops and lectures, including a keynote from Jillian Michaels. Ahem, let me say that again – JILLIAN MICHAELS!! I am beyond excited. 

I’m going to try to be a good blogger and update on a day-to-day basis. I’ve fallen out of the habit of blogging regularly and I’m not too pleased about it! But who else do I have to blame other than myself? Gotta stay accountable!

Hope everyone is having a great day!!


Kayla and I on the airplane!!


  • What’s your favorite part about flying? 

July Foodie Pen Pal Reveal!

photo 3

Hello friends! I feel like I’ve been pretty elusive lately, save for these foodie pen pal reveals and a few other updates here and there. The weather is often so nice that in my free time, I don’t want to sit on my computer – I’d rather be outside enjoying the sunshine!

Earlier this week I got together with Kayla so her and I could work on our bio posters for our jobs teaching dance and gymnastics. Her and I pretty much had a field day in Hobby Lobby. I love scrapbooking and arts & crafty-type stuff. Here’s how mine came out!

photo 1


The Lean Green Bean

This foodie package is Whole30 approved, since I was on Whole30 when we were to send our dietary requirements to our counterparts. I received three awesome things from my pen pal Kathleen P.:

1. Gryffon Ridge Harissa Seasoning:

photo 5

I’m quite positive that I have never encountered a spice blend as unique as this. I’ve used it twice so far on sauteed vegetables and I just used it today with some grilled turkey cutlets. I didn’t use too much with the vegetables at first because I was afraid it would be spicy (I’ve got a sensitive palate!) but I used more with the turkey. I mixed it with fresh crushed tomatoes, onions, and olive oil. Once cooked, the aroma of the turkey has notes of both cumin, cinnamon, and something citrus-y. I can’t wait to try many more creations with it!

2. Sea Change of Maine Sea Salt:

photo 4

I’ve basically been using this anytime I cook now. This salt, harvested from the coast of Maine, has no bleaching agents, anti-caking agents, or any other additives. In my opinion, I think it has a much more pure, pungeant taste and brings out the flavors of anything I put it in.

3. Hari Tea Jasmin Green Tea & Ginger:

photo 2

Although hesitant at first, I really really like this tea! I’m usually not a fan of ginger, but the ginger flavor in this tea is very subtle. I made it as an iced tea – It was so tasty and refreshing! :)


Alrighty – that’s all for this Foodie Pen Pal reveal! Thanks to Lindsey at The Lean Green Bean for hosting and thanks to Kathleen P. for all your wonderful artisanal spices and tea from Maine! :)

Also, here’s a picture of wine at sunset. Because I like wine. And sunsets. But mostly wine.

photo 3

Confession: I successfully failed at Whole30 – Part 1


I feel like I haven’t been blogging enough lately – and I want to! I feel like I’m in a weird place in life right now, in the sense that I feel like I’m embarking on a more intellectual and emotional journey as opposed to a the physical (and kind of emotional) journey that I have been on for the past year and a half or so. I’m finding myself less focused on how I physically feel, and more focused on how I emotionally/mentally feel. (That’s doesn’t mean that I’m ‘letting myself go’ though!)

On July 5th, I began a Whole30 experience with EVERY intention of sticking with it, and I knew that it was physically possible for me because much of my diet is already quite similar to the plan’s format. I wholeheartedly stand behind the philosophy of the program.

Of his own will, my boyfriend decided to do it with me as well. The first five days were fine for me – I struggled a little bit missing my after-dinner chocolate, but I could deal with it. Steve said he felt so run-down and devoid of energy the whole time he was on the plan. Quite honestly, I thought he’d be the one to crack first! You might think that it was the sugar cravings or the need for bread or legumes or cheese that broke me. Actually, it was alcohol.

Before you jump to conclusions, no –  I’m not an alcoholic and I do not/have never had a drinking problem. I turned 21 this past March, and am still enjoying the social aspect that comes with the privilege to go out with friends and have a drink or two. Not only did I feel the pressure with friends, but with family as well! They didn’t force me into it – but they would offer me a glass of wine, and when they’re all having it, it’s difficult to say no!

The first time I went off-plan was after the Spartan Sprint at Blue Mountain Ski Resort. It was just about five miles all uphill and then all downhill. Times ranged from 1 1/2 hours all the way to 10 hours – I finished in about 4 hours. (That also includes time waiting at obstacles, burpees, etc. Nobody was running this race.) By the end, I said to my boyfriend, “GIVE ME THE FREE BEER”. It wasn’t that I needed it physically, but..okay. Maybe I needed it. Not really. I shouldn’t make excuses. I wanted the beer after, and then I wanted to have a meal filled with protein and vegetables – which I did.


The following day, I was leaving to go to Georgia for a week to visit with family. I met my parents and brother down there, all of whom had just flown in from Denver after my brother’s lacrosse tournament. I was still determined to maintain this plan. I packed all my leftovers in my carryon bag, I went grocery shopping once I got there, I even brought a little arsenal of spices, coconut oil, nuts and fruit, and other Whole30 foods to make traveling on Whole30 a little easier.

I made it until Thursday – where it all went downhill from there. Not even two weeks, and I had been broken. I did, however, learn some things from this short, less-than-successful attempt at Whole30. Stay tuned for Part 2 to find out just what I learned!

In the mean time…

Have you ever failed at something you thought you could do?

What are your ‘eating philosophies’?