My First Foodie Pen Pal Reveal!

Happy Monday folks! I’m finally feeling like summer is in full swing and I’m loving it. For some reason, however, time just seems to go so much faster these days! I’d like time to slow down just a littttle bit so that I can enjoy these beautiful carefree days. And now my Foodie Pen Pal Reveal!!

The Lean Green Bean

This month, I participated in my first Foodie Pen Pal exchange hosted by Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean. What a fun experience! I got to try some tasty favorites of a fellow foodie named Kristen P. from Minneapolis, MN. I’ve never been to the midwest, so it’s neat to have a taste of what foodie finds are out there!! Drumroll please….




Such fun goodies! From left to right:

  1. Ames Farm Purple Loosestrife Single Source Honey: I’ve never had single-source honey before, and I was anticipating it to just be like regular honey. The particular variety that Kristen sent me had a unique, spice-like finish to it, which made it especially perfect in my soothing caramel bedtime tea! Also, as per her suggestion, had it on a slice of toast with some ghee. Tea and toast – a perfect, light, afternoon snack!
  2. Uncooked Wheat Berries: I LOVE wheat berry!! I’ve only had it pre-cooked & frozen. She gave me some recipes to use wheatberries in – including wheat berry tabouli salad, lemony wheat berries with roasted brussel sprouts, and zesty wheat berry black bean chili. I haven’t gotten a chance to use them yet, but now that I am off of work for a week I will certainly be using them! image-4
  3. Trachealth drink mix: Kristen included two different flavors – coconut water + chia and blackberry hibiscus green tea + chia. I am a HUGE fan of chia seeds and coconut water, and green tea! I loved the coconut water flavor, and have yet to try the green tea. Perhaps that’ll be a nice accompaniment to tonight’s ballet class!
  4. image-11                                          Peach White Balsamic Vinegar: This may possibly be my favorite part of my foodie pen pal package, closely tied with the next item I’ll describe. This vinegar has a thicker consistency than normal vinegar, and it’s sweeter from the peach yet still tangy. I used it in iced tea, on salad, on grilled chicken, roasted brussel sprouts, and even in my zucchini pasta. The possibilities are endless with craft vinegars! I want more!!
  5. B.T. McElrath Chocolate – The Salty Dog: The word chocolate alone should be reason enough to explain why this item is tied with the last one for my favorite. The Salty Dog is dark chocolate with toffee pieces in it, and sea salt on the bottom side of the bar only.  B.T. McElrath is unique in the way it presents this particular flavor. On the back, it give you two ‘options’ to enjoy the sweet and salty flavors. You can eat it salty-side-down to feel the immediate bite of the salt, followed by the smoothness of the chocolate, or eat it salty-side-up and allow the salty notes to subtly ease their way into your eating experience. Pardon me while I get a paper towel – I believe I may have drooled on my keyboard a bit. :pimage-9
  6. Linden Hills “Spice It Up”: a zesty blend of herbs and spices, it includes flavors such as paprika, lemon peel, garlic, and onion. I’m not a fan of flavors that are overpowered by citrus, but the lemon peel is very light, yet still noticeable enough for me to enjoy it. I used this as a rub with some olive oil on grilled chicken, and also used it with the peach white balsamic vinaigrette on grilled chicken. I’ve still got some left – perhaps I will use it on my sirloin steak this evening!

A big thank you to Kristen P. for sending such wonderful treats in my foodie pen pal package!! And a BIG thank you to Lindsay for hosting foodie pen pals every month! :)

IMPORTANT Questions for you!!

What would you like to see more of on Run 2 Your Own Beat?

Feel free to email me at with suggestions, questions, and comments!! :)

Heartrate Monitor Users: You might be ignoring one HUGE component of exercise…

Howdy and happy Thursday friends! I hope you’re all having a good week. We’ve had some great weather this week here in Eastern PA (except for today – it’s rainy!)


Um, so I decided I’m actually going to start on July 5th ….I was persuaded to indulge in July 4th festivities! Regardless, I promise that I won’t change my start date this time!

I’m still working my way through the book and will probably start working on meal planning this coming week and the following week. Stay tuned for updates!



I want to talk about running in particular. I ran a 10k in November and literally have not gotten my distance past that point yet. I sort of feel like I’m starting over in a way, so I decided to set smaller goals for myself to avoid getting discouraged by failure.

Yesterday, I set a goal to run 3 miles non-stop at a 9:30 pace on the treadmill. Once I had gotten to the gym, I realized that I forgot my heart rate monitor! Slightly frustrated, I went through with my workout anyway. I not only met my goal, but I felt great!! This was odd for me because typically I get very bored on the treadmill. I think I just needed to prove to myself that I could in fact run that distance without stopping. I did an upper body circuit after and left the gym feeling refreshed.

I decided to go sans heart rate monitor again today! I did a leg workout with some supersets of deadlifts, squats, and some leg press, etc. along with some cardio. I attempted to do 30 minutes of 30 seconds on/30 seconds off at 7.5 mph/6.0 mph. It was kind of a bust – I ended up only doing 20 minutes and my 30s off ended up just being a straight up rest at some points – and I even threw in some tabatas at 9.0 mph. The point is – I did what my body felt like doing because that is what gives me a feeling of satisfaction.

These two days have been quite eye opening. I realized just how much I was checking my HR monitor during my workout and how it basically dictated how hard I was going to push myself in that next moment. I’m no athlete. I am, however, very grateful for the body I was given and that I have the ability to move it as I please

The Problem: Not listening to your body enough.

If you frequently use a HR monitor, it’s easy to forget how much it distracts you from focusing on how you feel as opposed to what your heart rate is. While HR monitors are great – particularly for those just learning how to exercise or with a large amount of weight to lose – it can become sort of a crutch when exercising. When it comes to running, however, you really just have to go with how you feel.

The Solution: Set daily fitness goals that are feeling-based.

These goals should not be calorie-based. They should be be feeling-based. That means to run until feel reach a sense of accomplishment, lift until your muscles are reasonably spent, and wake up the next day and do it all over again.

Exercise, while it can be science-y times, is usually an emotional experience for many. I don’t mean that folks are sobbing while on the treadmill or giggling everytime they do a bicep curl. We all know that exercise serves as a great de-stressor and offers people an opportunity to clear their minds.

I conclude with this: heart rate monitor users, every so often, allow yourself the opportunity to remind yourself why you fell in love with exercise in the first place, before you ever got a heart rate monitor. Allow yourself to focus on the physical and emotional feelings that accompany exercise. 

That’s all I’ve got for today folks! Some questions for you:

How did exercise change for you after you got a heart rate monitor?

If you choose to go a day without it, post your thoughts/reflections/feelings in the comments on this post – I’d love to hear what you all have to say!!!

Late Weekend Recap!

Happy Hump Day! I know it’s well into the evening now – I’ve been working and what for a good portion of the beginning of the week. This past weekend was a fun (and busy) one!

On Friday, I spent most of my day making a LOT of glittery signs to keep our dance/gymnastics classes organized on Sunday at the Spring Show. I. LOVE. GLITTER. In the evening, Kayla and I went to a local wine bar for a drink or two and some appetizers – we called it a night early because we are SUCH party animals. :p

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Saturday, we both worked until about 2ish and then went to the Kutztown Food & Wine Festival where $35 got you a glass and all the wine-tastings you could wish for on a sunny, warm, beautiful saturday afternoon.

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A vendor selling handmade granola

Sunday was the Spring Show for the business we work for. It was a long, interesting, and stressful day but it was great to see how happy all the kids and parents were with their routines. We had our coaches routine at the end too – I was so nervous! I hadn’t performed in three years. Good news is, I did not fall on my butt :p At the end of the show right before the awards ceremony, our boss gave us staff superlative awards in glittery frames and a rose – how sweet! I got most passionate. Afterwards, we were invited to our friend’s house for a dinner already cooked for us! I’m not complaining ;)

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Roses from my special someone :)

After work on Monday, I went on a run with my special someone and decided that I need to start some kind of training plan or SOMETHING to keep me motivated and working towards a goal. After the run, we saw The Fault In Our Stars. I LEFT SOBBING. Oh gosh, I hadn’t cried so much for a movie since I Am Sam with Sean Penn and Michelle Pfeiffer. I highly recommend it.

Yesterday, I decided that perhaps the reason I am so terrible at going to sleep on time is because I have my laptop in my bed with me. I’m making a sincere attempt at keeping it ONLY at my desk, and keeping the iPad in bed so that I can read instead of watching John Stewart or Steven Colbert :p

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One more thing - I decided that on July 1st I’m going to do the Whole30 program. I’m kinda nervous and afraid that I’m not going to be able to give up dairy and grains and legumes….and a few other things :p More on that to come!