Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thankful Thursday - We have winners!

Last week I posted a little contest on my blog and I'm happy to report we have a winner!  (Several winners, actually!) But before I let you know who won the cereal swag from Attune Foods and the yummy Click, I'd like to give thanks.

I am thankful...
  • For all of you who visit my blog, whether you say "hi" with a comment or you are just passing through, I'm thankful you are here.
  • I'm thankful for the glorious weather we have had the past few days and the ability to run with friends.
  • I'm blessed and thankful Kirsten and her girls have been able to visit this week.  I honestly don't know what I would do without her love and support.  Plus, her girls are freaking ADORABLE.  The infusion of little people energy in the house has been great. 
Now, without further ado...

Sweat Pea picks our winner!
The winner of the cereal samples from Attune Foods and the Click bag, shaker and samples is....BROOKE (@frugltrophywife)!

Kirsten's other girls, Smarty Pants and Sass, also got in on the fun and got to pick the winners of the Click samples.  Here are all of our winners:

Congrats to Dawn, Beki (@bekkib73), Nancy (@bacrdimama), Michelle K (@RunningJewess) and Ashley (@Ashes41)!!!! You all win some samples of yummy Click.  Also, Attune Foods will be sending you some coupons for cereal!

Alright ladies, you have until 5:00 tomorrow night (Friday) to contact me with your email so I can get with you and send your goodies to you.  Thank you so much for all of your comment love to me here at LiveLaughRunBreathe.  I'm truly thankful for each and every one of you.  MWAH!

Edit: I never heard from Dawn :( so I drew another name.  Congrats to Erin from @untilyoutri !  You win some samples of Click and coupons for cereal!  Email me your contact info and I'll send you your samples :)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Bursting Into Summer Check-In

I'm a bit brain fried from sitting on the beach for 4 hours today with Kirsten so I'm blogging from the comfort of my couch & phone. It's check-in day for this going-it-alone, not worrying about my weight sister. What is there to say?

• I've been eating a healthy breakfast every day.
• I've gotten in at least 64 oz of water each day.
• I've bootcamped a couple times.
• I will be attempting to get in my fruits & veggies this week.

Overall, it's been a great week. Marathon training is underway & Kirsten is here visiting with her girls. We even got to run together yesterday & have another run planned tomorrow. Yeah!

So, what successes can you share from the past week?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

True Confessions: the #insaneroadtrip edition

This week my girl Kirsten is here because I'm lucky to be a stop on her #insaneroadtrip!  So, my confession just encompasses the past 24 hours :)

  • lots of chips and salsa
  • lots of Sweet Tea Vodka and lemonade
  • no exercise (although we plan to do Shrinking Jeans bootcamp later today)
  • lots of Harry Potter watching (her girls and my boy are so cute debating the finer points of the movies)
  • staying up late and chatting
  • lots of water today :)
No regrets. 

PS-There's still time to enter my giveaway!  Contest ends Wednesday night at 8:00 EST.

Monday, June 27, 2011

LLRB 365: 2011 Week 25

It was another busy week of summer vacation.  Lots of homework got done, some crappy and then epic runs happened, and I officially kicked off 2011 Grand Rapids Marathon training.  Whew!

Monday
6-20-11
I finally used a bunch of those coupons from FitBloggin'11


Tuesday
6-21-11
I got to meet up with Amanda for lunch as she passed through!
(I also posted my first blog giveaway - there is still time to enter!)


Wednesday
6-22-11
Took quite the 9 mile bike ride - downed trees, a deer (she ran off before I could snap a shot) and then raced a storm home.


Thursday
6-23-11
Kick-Ass speed work session at the Gym


Friday
6-24-11
Today was a frustrating day - I wanted to "Run Away" a la Monty Python


Saturday
6-25-11
Quiet, beautiful trail and an awesome 8 mile run to kick off my training for the 2011 Grand Rapids Marathon - Yep, I'm going all 26.2 miles of crazy!


Sunday
6-26-11
Shipped K off for a church youth trip (service & worship) along with a bunch of other kids (& their bikes).

What I'm most looking forward to happens later today - my girl Kirsten is making an #insaneroadtrip stop at my place!  I SO cannot wait to see this girl again!
Me and Kirsten in Chicago - June 2010
What are you looking forward to this week?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thankful Thursday - My First Giveaway!

This Thursday, I'd like to share some of my blessings with you.  Back in May, I was able to attend FitBloggin'11 in Baltimore, thanks to a ticket I won from the Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans.  I was able to finally meet so many of you - women and men I've considered friends for so long - in real life.  I met more bloggers than I could have imagined and my Google Reader is overflowing every day.  I even learned a bit about blogging.  You can read my recap here!  This trip was win-win for me, to be sure!  Now, when I tweet or read blogs, I "see" and "hear" my friends in their posts.  It's wonderful!  FitBloggin'11was definitely a highlight of my year so far.

love the cute bowl!
One of my new friends is Annelies from Attune Foods.  Even before FitBloggin' happened, we had connected on twitter.  Annelies asked if I would like to do a review and giveaway of Attune's Uncle Sam cereal - uh YES! She sent me 2 boxes of Uncle Sam cereal and they arrived just prior to FitBloggin'.  We chatted and decided I would wait until after the conference to do my review.  At the conference, she even gave me this super-cute bowl! This week, I finally tried their cereal, and I can honestly say "Yum!"  I'm not much of a cold cereal fan (due to my tendency to not like milk), so I wasn't sure what to expect.  I was pleasantly surprised.

Before I get into the review, a little background on Attune Foods.  These two statements are found on their website and pretty much sum up their philosophy:
  • What Matters Most is What's Inside
  • Simple, pure ingredients that help you feel your best everyday
If you are a label reader, these features are probably important to you. I love that Attune's products are made with REAL food and ingredients that you can actually pronounce!  Nothing artificial.  If you follow a gluten-free diet, they have other foods made just for you.

Annelies included Uncle Sam Multi-Grain Cereal and Honey Almond Cereal for sampling.  Since Attune was one of the fabulous FitBloggin' sponsors, we were treated to their cereals for breakfast one morning.  I tried the Honey Almond and topped my bowl with fresh strawberries, raspberries and blueberries.  It was A.Maz.Ing.  Since I didn't think I could top the bowl of Honey Almond I had in Baltimore (since I had no fresh fruit in the house - fail, I know), I decided to give the Multi-Grain a whirl.

Now, like I said before, I'm not much of a cold-cereal girl.  Mainly it's because I don't like the taste of milk, but I decided to take one for the team in the name of product research. You're welcome :)
Multi-Grain Cereal in skim milk
I have to say, I loved this cereal.  The Multi-Grain kept it's crunch in the milk and I loved the different textures.  There are 3 different grains in here: toasted whole wheat berry flakes, flaxseed, and oat flakes.  It had a nice sweetness to it, but it wasn't overly sweet.  The serving size seemed a little small (230 calories for 3/4 cup) but with 6 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein, it kept me full all morning.  I can definitely recommend this cereal.  Since I thought the Honey Almond might be feeling a little left out, I had that for breakfast the next day.  Instead of a traditional bowl of cereal, however, I mixed it with a container of Black Cherry Chobani Greek Yogurt.  Holy moly was that tasty!  The cherry and almond together was like a dessert.  For realz.  You must try this.

could have passed for dessert
gotta love Click
Because this is a FitBloggin' giveaway, I checked with my friends over at the Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans about adding some Click Espresso Protein Drink to the prize pack.  You see, Christy and Melissa were sponsored by Click and had TONS of samples to give away at the conference.  Somehow, I ended up with a whole bag full of samples.  Now, as much as I triple puffy heart LOVE Click (I have it for breakfast almost every day), the girls and I thought it would be great to share the wealth with some of you.  So, this giveaway is actually TWO giveaways in ONE!

Here's what is up for grabs:

One winner (likely chosen by pulling names out of a bowl) will receive 2 boxes of Uncle Sam cereal from Attune Foods, as well as the Click bag, drink shaker, and some samples of Click from me and ShrinkingJeans.

Then, 5 random commenters will each receive coupons for cereal from Attune Foods as well as packets of Click from me. (I was going to go with the first 5 comments, but didn't want to leave out my West Coast friends.)

Here are the rules (you didn't think there wouldn't be rules did you?)
  1. The contest is open to US residents only.  I will also need some way to contact you if you are a winner, so make sure your comment is linked to email or twitter.
  2. For 1 entry, leave a comment for me telling me your favorite healthy breakfast. This requirement is Mandatory.
  3. For an extra entry, tweet about this giveaway.  Make sure to mention @barif0815 and @attunefoods in your tweet.  Comment back here to let me know you did this.
  4. For a 3rd entry, follow @attunefoods and @drinkclick on twitter.  Again, comment here to let me know.
This contest will run from today until Wednesday, June 29 at 8:00 pm EST.  My girl, Kirsten, will be here visiting, so maybe we'll have to do something fun to draw the winners!  Winners will be announced on Thursday, June 30th!

So, there you go!  A chance to win a few of my favorite take-aways from FitBloggin'11.  I feel blessed to have made the connections I have here and at FitBloggin' and now I feel doubly blessed to pass on some of the rewards to you.

Attune Foods provided the cereal for review and the Click samples were provided by Click via ShrinkingJeans.  All opinions about these awesome products are my own.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Burst Into Summer Check in 1

Here we are a week into the Burst Into Summer challenge over at The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans.  Some folks are working through this challenge as members of a team, whereas others are going it solo.  I'm in the latter group :)  although I'm never really alone because I have the support of all of you out on the interwebs!

Since I'm not working to lose weight, I don't need to discuss that, right?  Well, maybe a little?  I'm continuing to maintain within my goal range (at the low end, too) but the scale wasn't very nice to me this morning.  My food choices since this weekend have not been ideal, so I'm back on track.  I had a ginormous salad for lunch today and I'm making stir-fry for dinner tonight.

The past week's mini-challenge was to work on hydration, which typically for me is not a problem.  Again, this week has not been ideal, so I'm filling up again now.  You should do the same.  I'll wait....

Ok, got that water bottle next to you?  Good.  Now we can talk about how I did the Shrinking Jeans Bootcamp Monday and then couldn't run on Tuesday.  Yep.  It was that tough.  I will not be doing bootcamp 3x a week with the rest of you.  It just won't fit into my training schedule without causing potential injury.  However, I will incorporate many of the exercises into my strength days. (Hello side plank dips!)

Next week's mini challenge simply ROCKS.  Are you ready for this? It's BREAKFAST!  I eat breakfast everyday, we all should, and tomorrow I'm having my first blog give-away where breakfast plays a role!  How freaking cool is that totally random happenstance? So, make sure tomorrow morning to hop back over to this blog and check out the give-away, while you are eating a nice, healthy breakfast for the Shrinking Jeans challenge :)

So, did you try bootcamp this week?  Which of the exercises was your favorite, or the one you loved to hate the most?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

True Confession Tuesday

I'm writing this confession post coming off of what I consider to be one of my worst runs ever, so forgive me for being negative and short.  If you are friends with me on Daily Mile, you can read about it here.  If you aren't friends with me there, why not? And before you go all, "oh my gawd that was a good run what are you beating yourself up for" on my ass, know that my expectations for myself might be are a bit messed up.

I ate crap this weekend and last night.

I probably didn't drink enough.

I've bailed on my pushups for the time being.  My shoulder is hurting again but I can still use it and would like to keep it that way.  Stupid shoulder.

I did do bootcamp yesterday, so there's one good thing.

I don't know what else to say today. 

FYI-I'll be doing my first giveaway later this week (probably Thursday), so make sure you come back and visit.  M'kay?

Monday, June 20, 2011

LLRB 365: 2011 Week 24

Another week down - we were blessed with some decent weather, but I spent lots of time inside studying this week.  Luckily, I managed to carve out some time outdoors to enjoy the weather, too.

Monday
6-13-11
Dusted off the bike for a 10 mile ride.

Tuesday
6-14-11
Happy Flag Day - plus a 5 mile run!


Wednesday
6-15-11
Finished one of my classes and celebrated with an Oberon


Thursday
6-16-11
Have I mentioned how Mickey makes me smile?


Friday
6-17-11
Homework on a Friday night.  It's how I roll.


Saturday
6-18-11
Got up at the crack of dawn and met my buddy Pete for a run. First time we've run together and it was great! Company makes those long runs WAY easier.


Sunday
6-19-11
Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there, especially my dad!
He made some pretty cute daughters if I do say so myself :)


I hope everyone else had a great week.  Did you do anything to celebrate a special Dad, Grandpa, or Uncle in your life this weekend?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to one of my biggest supporters,

my inspiration,

my hero,

my dad.



I Love You, Dad!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thankful Thursday - My Wish For You

I'm hoping this "Thankful Thursday" post will continue to make appearances each week, sometimes I might list 1 thing and other weeks many more.  I know I need to remind myself that, even when it doesn't seem like it, I'm quite blessed.  
  • I'm thankful for a career in which I get to recharge over the summer.  I'm able to change up my routine, sleep in on occasion, and enjoy summer in Michigan (although today is really cold!).
  • I'm thankful for the health insurance that allows me to have an inhaler and allergy meds, even when I forget to bring the inhaler to the gym.
  • I'm thankful for vacation memories.  Today I'm wearing my Mickey shirt because thoughts of WDW make me smile, and I'm struggling today to find that smile.  I've posted this video before, but wanted to post it again.  WDW is truly my happy place.  (If you listen closely at the end, you can hear my girl wish me a happy birthday.)

Some days it's easy to give thanks and other days you struggle to come up with one thing.  My wish for you today is that the former is true and you can easily think of many ways in which you are blessed.  

Now, it's your turn.  Tell me one blessing in your life today.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Burst Into Summer Kickoff

Burst Into Summer Challenge

Whoo-hoo!!! It's time for the newest challenge from the Sisterhood of the Shrinkingjeans :)  Most of the participants are on teams, but for this challenge I'm choosing to go solo.  Between my running schedule, kids' schedules, and the general craziness of summer, I was concerned about not getting all the challenges in.  Plus, since I'm not on a team, I get to cheer everyone else on!

Speaking of challenges, one of the greatest aspects of this go-round is going to be Bootcamp!  I've always wanted to try bootcamp, but the sessions held at my gym are never at a time I can participate.  Hopefully with the Shrinkingjeans bootcamp, I'll at least get a few of them in :)  I really need to work on strength training (as evidenced by my total arm fail at the gym today), so this comes at a great time.

As part of this challenge, minichallenges will also be issued.  This week is hydration.  Not usually a problem for me, so I'm good.  (ps-go fill up your water bottle, I'll wait.)

So, if you haven't signed up for the challenge yet, click on that link above and get shrinking!

Have you ever tried a bootcamp class?  What was the most challenging aspect?

Monday, June 13, 2011

LLRB 365: 2011 Week 23

Here's a peek at my week!

Monday
6-6-11
K finally made it back to gymnastics - she's a little sore. (Shout out of thanks to FitBloggin swag for the ArcticEase wraps - K loved it.)

Tuesday
6-7-11
My grad class materials came in the mail - time to crank out the credits!


Wednesday
6-8-11
What I Wore Wednesday
(aka - the race where I beat my husband!)


Thursday
6-9-11
Used a gift cards from one of my students for a yummy treat.


Friday
6-10-11
School's Out!
(and these two are now HIGH SCHOOLERS!)


Saturday
6-11-11
I got to spend some time with Mel :)
We hit up the Local First street party for some local beer and wine.


Sunday
6-12-11
K and D were confirmed at church today :)


So, you saw what one of my favorite summertime treats happens to be (hello yummy mocha coconut frappucchino - nonfat of course!)  What is your favorite summertime treat?

Friday, June 10, 2011

How Did This Happen?

How did I go from having adorable kindergartners ...
... to crazy teenagers who are now officially high schoolers?
It just doesn't seem possible.
Congratulations K and D on graduating from 8th grade.  Mom and Dad are so incredibly proud of you!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thankful Thursday

This isn't a post I normally write, but I feel it's something I need to do more often.  I'm extremely blessed in my life and I don't always take the time to appreciate what I have or say "thank you".  I don't know if this type of post will enter the regular rotation or not, but it's here for today anyway.
  1. I'm thankful for friends who support me, whether that be in my crazy running/fitness pursuits or when I'm having a sad or stressful day.  Even though they may be thousands of miles away, they are cheering me on and encouraging me.  I throw an idea or concern or whatever out on Twitter and within minutes I have friends all around me telling me I'm not crazy, it will all be ok, and that I can do anything I put my mind to.  I appreciate that more than they (and I hope they know who they are) will ever understand.
  2. I'm thankful for children who are not afraid to share their faith with others and who are comfortable talking to God as if He were a friend.  I wish I had that same level of faith.  
  3. I'm thankful for having a job that I love and for working with a staff that are simply amazing in their love for their students.  Today was the 6th grade farewell and watching teachers tear up as they gave out awards and praised their students was especially moving. 
I'm blessed.  For that I say, "thank you".

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wednesday Check In

Wednesdays are traditionally my day to report to you all how I've been doing on the fitness (and to a lesser degree lately) weight loss fronts.  I'm happy to report that I am healthy, happy and at my lowest weight EVER.  So close to a new decade that it has me wondering whether I should try and get there, or just stick with the status quo and see what happens.  I don't really care if I get any smaller from a number on the scale standpoint, but also know that a couple more pounds gone would probably look pretty good on me.  IDK.  I'm conflicted.

Fitness-wise I'm also conflicted.  For the first time in over a year, I am not training for a race.  I have a couple on the distant horizon, but nothing I've actually registered for.  I'm thinking about a local 10k for 2 weekends from now, but made the mistake of looking at last year's results and my competitive nature got the best of me.  I didn't sign up.  I know my pace shouldn't matter and everyone tells me it's a great race, but to me, with as hard as I've been training, knowing that I'm really not getting much faster is very frustrating.  Granted, I also know I can't compare a 10k with a 10 miler or 15 miler.  Still.  Frustrated and conflicted.

I did just sign up for The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans' newest challenge.  Go here to check it out.  Because my school schedule (I'm taking 2 grad classes this month) this summer is going to be insane, I won't be participating from a team standpoint but will definitely be getting in as many boot camp workouts as I can and will cheer you all on from here.

There you have it - a Wednesday check-in in a nutshell.  Do you have any fun races coming up?  What is your favorite race distance?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

True Confessions: The Quickie Edition

Tuesdays are True Confession days over at the Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans.  My day has been one for the books, so I apologize for the bullet points.

This week:
  • I have not run in 10 days.  I'm a little afraid to start again, but I plan to bite the bullet and run either this weekend or on Monday.  Pray that nothing hurts.
  • I have done a few days of push-ups and a few NTC workouts.  I also did yoga one day. Still, not nearly enough to counteract the lack of running.
  • I'm stressed about getting everything wrapped up for the end of the school year.
  • Because I'm stressed, I'm not making the best food choices.
  • I've been very emotional this week and I don't like it, but friends are telling me it's ok to feel, so that's what I'm choosing to do.
  • I just received my coursework for my 2 grad classes and looked at the dates and realized I've bitten off WAY more than I can choose.  I have about a month to complete both classes and get everything submitted for my job.  I'm hoping I haven't completely screwed myself.
  • I want to make good heath and food choices, but I'm afraid I'm failing at that right now.  I will do better.  It's a requirement.
Hopefully this isn't the first time you've come across my blog.  If it is, I promise it usually looks better than this, but this is also me keeping it real.  Some days I literally only have 5 minutes to write.  Not every post is going to be life changing.  Heck, the majority of them won't be, but hopefully you will stick with me on the journey.

How was your week?  Give me one brag - something you did for YOU this week.

Monday, June 6, 2011

LLRB 365: 2011 Week 22

How is it even possible that we are into the month of June already?  I love June - school gets out, summer finally arrives, the weather is beautiful (usually).  Hopefully you all had a great 22nd week of 2011. Here's a look back at my week 22.

Monday
5-30-11
Happy Memorial Day
Thank you to all those who have served and are serving now.
Tuesday
5-31-11
Mini tour of my landscaping


Wednesday
6-1-11
D and K got to perform the National Anthem at tonight's West Michigan Whitecaps baseball game.  They did a great job!


Thursday
6-2-11
Worked on a new memory board - finding my happy place.


Friday
6-3-11
It was a margarita/chips & salsa night.


Saturday
6-4-11
Festival of the Arts - Grand Rapids, MI
Calder Plaza & Grand Rapids Symphonic Band


Sunday
6-5-11
After 2 years of hard work, D & K (along with their 9 classmates) completed confirmation classes with their Profession of Faith.  Each student's cake had a verse selected by Pastor.
K: Philippians 3:14
D: Hebrews 13:20-21
 They will be confirmed during the church service next Sunday.


This week marks the final week of school for this school year.  What does this coming week bring for you?


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

May Your Way: Final Check-In & National Running Day!

It is so hard to believe that we are at the end of our 31 day May Your Way challenge over at the Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans.  This was an amazing challenge because it allowed us to set our own goals.  My goals for this challenge were simple.  In fact, I really had only one goal: "Get through "Marathon May" without any injuries."  I am happy to report that I did just that!  I had three races in three weeks this month.  Something I've never attempted before.  Two of those races were long ones too!  You can read the recaps here, here and here.  My last race (this past Saturday) was also awesome because I crossed the finish line before my husband :)  Even if he beats me in every other race we run together, I've still managed to beat him at least once and for that I get bragging rights.  There might even be a t-shirt purchased to rub it in a little bit.

I wasn't in this challenge for weight loss, but I did end up 2 pounds less than when I started.  I'm down into the 132's, which freaking blows my mind.  The last weight loss challenge I did had me finishing around 138, so I'm thrilled to see 132 on the scale.  I honestly don't remember ever being this small and didn't see myself ever going below 135.  I'm not sure if this means I'll try to break into the 120's or just leave well enough alone, but I'm certainly not going to complain about this little nudge in the downward direction.

Now, as the title of this post says, today is also National Running Day.  Since I am taking a hiatus from running (my doc recommended at least 2 weeks and I'm already going crazy at 4 days, so we'll see how long I last), I won't be running with you today, but I can encourage you to run.  Even if you run just a couple of blocks, I want you to try it.  Read my "about me" page and you'll see how far I've come.  I'm the girl who said I would NEVER run more than 3 miles and this month I raced a total of 28.6 miles, including a races of 15+ and 10 miles.  Never say never.