What’s in My Bag

Hello again! I can’t believe I haven’t posted anything in so long. Actually I can, because I have a million drafts that I started and never finished. One is pretty decent, so I may post that in the near future. Or not… we’ll see.

I’ve decided that, in order to be more consistent because I really do like this space, I think I’m just going to work on posting once per week. Who knows what the content will be. Just whatever comes up that week! I’ll probably work on the post all week, since my mind tends to jump around (jump around! Jump up, jump up, and get down!). Ya see?

I’m traveling a lot right now, and I thought I’d share a little bit of my travel routines with you. This one is all about packing! Since I’ve only been traveling a few days each week, and flying, I’m only bringing a carryon. No checked bag for me when my travel is short. Since my liquids/gels are limited to that one quart size bag in my carryon, I thought it would be fun to share what makes the cut in my bag.

My 3-1-1

In case you don’t know what 3-1-1 means, you need to travel more. Ha! It’s repeated constantly in the security line – 3.4 ounces of liquid/gel, 1 quart size bag, and 1 bag per traveler. It’s up to you to figure out what you can all jam into that quart size bag. Here’s what makes the cut for me:


1. In travel containers (I recently bought these at Target, and they are amazing on cutting space!)

  • proactiv+ Pore Targeting Treatment
  • proactiv+ Complexion Perfecting Hydrator
  • Herbal Essences Bombshell Babe Blowout Crème (I love this stuff! I bought it when I ran out of detangler and couldn’t find anything else at Target. It must have been a weird day. Anyway, this takes out the tangles, makes my hair really soft, and fights the frizzies.

2. Febreeze (This always comes with me! I like having it in case anything smells musty or to spray down workout clothes that I might wear more than once – think walk in the evening and work out in the morning. I don’t want to smell bad.)

3. Toothpaste

4. ACQUA di GIOIA roller ball perfume (My husband gave me a perfume kit one year for Christmas that included this. I don’t know where I would be without it!)

5. Zit stuff (This may vary. It really rocks having super acne prone skin!)

6. Contact solution (Look at how much space I would save if I didn’t wear contacts!)

7. Face wash (The type may vary.)

8. Smashbox BB Cream (This is a newer purchase. My powder was running low, and a little too light for summer, so I wanted to try something new. Enter this fun BB cream. I’ve been mixing it with my proactiv+ hydrator and like the results. It helps with my super oily skin.)

I love seeing and hearing about what other people cram in their bags. What’s in yours?!


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Did You Know That It Was My Birthday?

Before I get into my post, I apologize for all of this jumping around. I’m working on getting everything settled over here.

Similar to Sunday’s post, did you know that it was my birthday on Saturday? Again, you must not be friends with me on Facebook and Instagram if you didn’t know this. Or you live under a rock. Or you’re my dad. Kind of kidding on that last part.


I turned the big 3-1 on Saturday. Ugh! I have a hard time with this whole aging thing. How has it been 13 years since I graduated high school and 9 since I graduated college?! That makes no sense to me! I’m supposed to be 22 forever! Or 27, as I told everyone this was my 27th birthday. I may lie.

To relieve myself of my serious aging anxieties, I thought I’d share a list (love lists!) of some things I’ve learned in my 31 years. Oh God, how am I this old?!

1. Always drink red wine before white wine when drinking at home, or at someone else’s house. That way, by the time you get a little sloshy with your glass, you won’t stain the carpet. I learned this one the hard way.

Annnnd, that’s it! Hahaha. I seriously had “2.” written and stared at it forever before I decided I really didn’t know much else. It’s nice to have just one quality piece of advice to give though, right?

All joking aside, I just happened to be running during the time the clock changed from the 14th to the 15th and my birthday. I also happened to lose my music about this time, so I had to think about something to relieve my anxiety about not having music. I decided to think about everything I am grateful for now that I’m 31.

1. First, and foremost, I’m so grateful for God in my life. He’s the one who has given me this incredible life, and the one I stop and thank every day for all that He’s done.StayinPeace_thumb.jpg

2. My husband and family mean the world to me, and I also pray every single night that God will keep them safe and with me for a long, long time to come.


3. My house, my career, and my lifestyle. These can be bunched into one. I’m so thankful that my husband and I have careers that pay us enough that we can own a home and live a comfortable lifestyle.

4. Nature. It would be weird not to be grateful for nature while running at night on a road next to the Mississippi River. I love nature. I love basking in the beauty that God has created. It’s just amazing and breathtaking.


5. Legs that can run! (And my health). Although I’ve had minor, weird health issues, these are just that – minor. I have overall good health, which allows me to run, walk, sit, stand, play, jump, etc. I’m going to expand more on this topic below, but I’ve realized I’m so grateful for my health and body and want to take the best care of it.

6. Ragnar, friends, and people I can connect with. I’ve been noticing a lot lately that I need more connection in my life. I really love the times I’m with my book club, Ragnar people, or just with a friend, since I feel so connected and fulfilled. I’m grateful for all of these moments, and these people, and want to add more of them.


I’m sure there’s more, but this was all I could remember right now.

I do want to expand more on number 5 above, as I said I was going to. I’ve slowly been having these crazy realizations lately about bodies and my body. Some of it happened at Ragnar. Don’t judge, but I had these negative thoughts going into Ragnar that I would be one of the biggest girls running. I obviously don’t have a typical runner’s body, and I’m carrying a lot of extra pounds on my frame. When I got to Ragnar, however, I realized there were girls of every body shape and size there. There were girls with bodies bigger than mine who looked so comfortable in their bodies and clothes. It sort of dawned on me that this is possible. It’s possible to love your body at any size. It’s just a body! I listened to this podcast from Chalene Johnson earlier this week, and it seemed to click more for me. I can love my body, be grateful for my body, and work to treat my body with love and respect with my diet and movement. I want this to keep clicking with me, and to keep moving forward with this. Fingers crossed!


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Did You Know That I Ran Ragnar?

Did you know that I ran the Ragnar Relay the last two days? If you had no clue this happened, then you are definitely not friends with me… on Facebook and Instagram that is. 😉


Since my thoughts are so hard to organize and put down in words, I’ve decided to make a nice list for you. #crazythoughts

Before I list about my Ragnar love, maybe I should clue you in on what exactly Ragnar is. I’m still completely surprised that people who know me don’t know about Ragnar. I have a little bit of love for this annual relay. Just a little. The Ragnar Relay is a 12 person, 2 day, 200 mile relay race. I have ran the Great River Ragnar Relay every year since 2010, so this was my sixth time running this awesome event! How it works is you split up your 12 people into 2 vans – runners 1-6 and runners 7-12 or van 1 and van 2. The first van starts, the first runner runs a specified course to a specified exchange where they slap off our nifty Ragnar slap bracelet to the second runner. The van leapfrogs in front of the runner to cheer and then meets them at the exchange so the second runner can get out and the first runner can get in. The van continues to do this until they are out of runners, where they slap off to runner 7 and van 2 does their thing. At this point, van 1 gets to take a break, rest their legs, get some sleep, eat some food, and get ready to do it all again when van 2 is done. This is repeated until everyone has run their specified 3 times. Then you meet up, run through a Ragnar inflatable symbol arch, get a medal and team picture, and eat pizza (and drink a beer if you want). The Great River Ragnar Relay goes from Winona, MN to Minneapolis, MN. Although it starts and ends in MN, it’s actually mostly in WI since the course crosses the river from Winona, and then doesn’t cross back into MN again until Stillwater. Hence the name Great River.

Okay, let’s list.

Things You May Discover By Running Ragnar (Even After 5 Years)

1. You can chafe anywhere and everywhere. This was a biggie for me! I chafed my undercarriage… like “down there”. I was too hot and sweaty to change out of my running clothes after my first run, which was a huge mistake. One I’ve made before, so I knew better. This lady is not wearing undies for a while. Let her breathe! Is this too much info for you to know? Too bad.

2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate – don’t go into this race dehydrated. I’ve learned in the past that just a butt ton (technical term) of water is needed when running this race. From my experiences, the best way I’ve learned to remember to hydrate during Ragnar is to always keep my water bottle with me. When I get out of the van to cheer on other teammates, I will always take my water with me. That reminds me to drink and refill while we’re stopped. My water is always next to me in the van as well. Dehydration is not something to laugh about, especially on a challenging course like Great River Ragnar. Which brings me to my next point –

3. Walking breaks are needed in the heat. I didn’t mention that on Friday, when we started the race, there was a heat index of 104. On Saturday it was in the 90s. HOT and humid. This was a very hot year and, as I mentioned above, Great River Ragnar is a challenging course. I don’t think there is a single leg of this relay that doesn’t have a pretty big hill. There are just a ton of monster hills since we run through the river valley. When the heat is so intense, your heart rate is gonna go up, and walking breaks will be needed. It’s just a fact. We encouraged everyone on our team to take them without shame. Unfortunately there were a lot of people who might not have followed this advice or the note above to hydrate religiously, and there were a ton of people taken away by ambulance. Even at the end of the race there were a few ambulances that came screaming in to assist with heat exhausted runners. It’s a serious and scary thing, and I’m glad most of my teammates took it seriously.

RagnarHeat4. The heat will really slow you down. I’ve seen this to be true for myself, but I didn’t realize how much it impacts everyone’s pace. As I just noted, walking breaks are needed and encouraged when it’s so hot outside. It was actually really interesting to see how much it affected pace times. A ton of teams (it was described to me as about a third by a teammate) actually didn’t run the race the traditional way, but had to have 2 people running at once and 2 vans running at once so runners weren’t actually handing off to each other in order to end the race before they tore it down. My teammate even told me he talked to a team who had placed in the top 3 last year were doing that this year. Just nuts! It’s also the latest I’ve ever gotten done with Ragnar – after 7pm.

5. When you are exhausted, you can fall asleep anywhere and at any time. This one was pretty funny for me. I literally fell asleep in the McDonald’s drive thru after we had placed our order but before getting our food. I was that tired and exhausted. It was also 5:15am, and I had been awake, running and in the heat, since the previous 6am. Where we finally took our sleeping break? On an un-air conditioned middle school gym floor. Too tired to care. I also only slept there for about 2.5 hours, but somehow woke up refreshed. That should be another bullet point.

RagnarResting6. There are people who do not fall in love with Ragnar and want to quit and/or don’t want to do it again. This one completely surprises me, although I’ve heard it before. We had a bunch of newbies on our team this year, and I heard from another teammate that a lot of them wanted to quit and go home and/or don’t want to do it again next year. I admit, if this Ragnar was your first, it would be a tough one to fall in love with because of the extreme heat. It was probably the hottest Ragnar I’ve ever experienced, although others have been pretty hot as well. Still! I love the camaraderie and hanging out with my van and teammates. I love the bonding. I love becoming so close to complete strangers that it’s hard to believe you were strangers to each other just 2 days ago. I love that, when you’re taking a walk break, you might have other runners or other vans stop and ask you if you need water or help. Everyone looks out for each other. I love the challenge and the feeling of pride and fulfillment by finishing a run and meeting that challenge. It makes me sad to hear that other people don’t see this or feel this and are turned off.

7. I’ve met so many amazing people by being teammates. This might be the plus side of people not wanting to run again. Let me explain how I got into Ragnar and how my team has changed over the years. The first year I ran Ragnar, my aunt had noticed that I was (newly) into running, and some of her friends were putting together a Ragnar team. I joined that team, knowing only my aunt, although we hadn’t ever hung out just the two of us before. From there, my love affair of this race began! We kept the core group of me, my aunt, and two friends for the first four years, adding and subtracting other new friends along the way. Last year my core group decided they weren’t going to run again, so I found myself without a main team. Luckily, we had found a new teammate and friend the year before who wanted to run again, so we went about building a new team. We only found 6 of us, so we joined up with another group of 6 who were looking for another half. This year, that friend and I plus three new teammates and friends from last year, made up a whole team of 12. My first year and last year I only knew one person on my team. Now I have all of these people I know! Plus some other crazy things – a lot of these random adds, like the friend that I built a new team with last year and this year, were from Facebook! Just posting that our team needs a runner or two has found us so many new teammates and friends! Another person that we had added to our team from Facebook a few years ago and ran with us for a few years but then stopped came back to us this year. The other 6 that we joined last year? That came from another MN blogger who I knew and saw my posts on Twitter or Facebook about needing runners – her husband was captaining the other 6. This race is just awesome for bringing people together and making new friends. From complete strangers to good friends in 2 days.


8. I don’t think I ever want to quit. I’ve thought in the past that this could be my last year of running Ragnar. Now I just don’t want to quit. I might be completely addicted. It’s so strange too. Last year, and leading up to this year, I had kind of gone lukewarm about Ragnar. Yeah, it’s great, but it’s such a challenge. I’m not really loving running these days. I think switching from pushing myself to only run without any walking to planning and setting my pace time off of run/walking made a huge difference in my attitude. There wasn’t that feeling of failure if I took a walk break. With the heat and seeing how it affected everyone else, I also didn’t get that feeling of failure or letting everyone down by not hitting my pace time. Taking that away made me love it again. Now I don’t ever want to stop.

I was thinking about going to 10, but this is so long already! I better stop. Most of you probably haven’t made it this far. If you have, thanks for listening to my love affair! Now I’m going back to my couch to read and relax before my massage later today. I’m just a tiny bit sore, and can’t wait for it to be massaged away. Main sore areas – calves and back. Don’t tell my husband that I’ve been exaggerating the rest. 😉


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Back From Vacation

I’m back from my week of vacation! I kind of feel like I could use another week off. Such is life.

We spent last Saturday through yesterday morning at a lake about an hour away from our house with a bunch of the hubs’ family. His immediate family (minus a few), two uncles + wives, and cousins + spouses and kids. It’s always fun, but always exhausting as well. Every year I eat and drink too much and don’t get enough sleep. I also get a tan and make silly memories. Good times.


I’m trying now to think back to the highlights of the week. I think they would be floating on tubes on the sandbar and everyone freaking out about a screech owl who visited the resort. I think those are definitely my top 2! I heart floating.

So before I left, I visited the doctor and got that CT scan to see if they could pinpoint my inflammation. The CT scan came back normal, which both frustrated and relieved me. I made that meal plan for vacation, and that was the last you’ve heard from me. Welllll, I didn’t stick to my meal plan AT ALL during vacation. My stomach actually felt better! Kind of. It hurt really bad on days where I really overate, but that’s to be expected.

So what gives? I think stress, overeating, a bad diet, etc. all caused the inflammation, gas, and pains. Basically my crappy habits plus a ton of stress. Fun fact – when you’re stressed, your body doesn’t digest food but holds onto it until you’re no longer stressed.

Where does that leave me now? I’m not going to go all crazy like I was thinking before this vacation. I’m still going to work at eating slower and with more intention, but I’m not cutting out all the fun foods like I had originally planned. I might have gone a bit crazy sauce when I decided that. :) I obviously need to deal with stress better as well. I’m going to start taking my AdvoCare Clear Mood daily, cut back on some stimulants (switching to AdvoCare Core instead of MNS 3), keep exercising on the daily, and start taking real lunch breaks away from my desk and any other distraction so that I can eat with intention and attention. Boom. Easy plan!

I totally just ate breakfast at noon. This day is already going too fast!!! I better go soak in the rest of my last day off.


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Digest This!

I’m back with a stomach update! Well, not so much. A slight update and more of a plan.

I just got a call from my doctor’s office that my CT from yesterday came back normal. If the problem persists, I should go back in. Lovely. While I’m relieved that there are no major problems, I’m also very frustrated. My stomach is bloated and gassy right now!

Maybe this is all in my head? I feel slightly crazy. Then again, my husband can attest to my bad gas, so I know there is something wrong. It could just be diet related though! That’s where my updated plan comes into play.

As I mentioned on Monday and again yesterday, I already had a plan of cutting out processed foods and dairy for a while to see if there is a relief to my inflammation. Today I decided to bite the bullet and remove gluten as well, and to concentrate on eating smaller portions and slowly (those last two are known to help aid digestion). I just might go insane. Haha. Totally kidding. This isn’t a big deal for me, except that I’m going on vacation tomorrow through next Saturday with my husband’s family. Since they don’t (and I don’t expect them to) eat clean, dairy-free, and gluten-free, that just means I have to make all of my own meals. In a random kitchen where I don’t have my own spices, dishes, will have to buy all of my ingredients, etc. Not ideal, and might be annoying for everyone else, but not the end of the world.

Since I’m a girl scout, I’m prepared! Here is my menu plan for the upcoming week:

  • Sweet potato burrito bowl
  • Spaghetti squash with meat sauce
  • Mushroom (as the bun) hamburger & sweet potato fries
  • PB chicken salad
  • Hummus chicken & zucchini
  • Tuna, avocado, & quinoa macaroni casserole (think tuna noodle casserole but avocado instead of mayo and quinoa pasta instead of regular)
  • Leftovers (I’m hoping there will still be some random leftovers)

For breakfast every morning I’ll have my usual – egg, avocado, & (now) gluten-free toast. For lunch I will have leftovers from dinner the night before. For snacks I will have almonds, fruit, and zucchini with hummus. See, totally doable. And I’m allowing myself wine. It wouldn’t be vacation without a few alcoholic drinks! Wine doesn’t hurt my stomach, so it’s all good.

Okay, I’m off to vacation myself. Peace!


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More Tummy Time

Hello hello! I keep getting the days of the week confused this week and thinking it’s later in the week than it actually is. It’s finally Thursday! I swear, I’ve thought it was Thursday twice already this week. Only one more day, and then I have a week off to spend at a lake!

Back to what I left off with on Monday. I went to the doctor Tuesday about my tummy troubles. I’ve been bloated and gassy nearly every day for the last month. Just gross. The doctor asked me a bunch of questions, including my family health history, then ordered a blood and urine test. The blood test came back high in C-reactive protein (at least that’s what I think she said… aided by Google), which indicates I have inflammation somewhere. She just told me to take ibuprofen and left it like that over the phone.

That didn’t sit well with me! I don’t like to be just told a fix to the problem, without fixing the underlying cause of the problem. With the help of this website and this article, I was able to determine what might cause inflammation and what I can do to heal it and prevent it. Here are things I’m removing from my diet to reduce inflammation:

  • Trans fats (hydrogenated oils)
  • Processed convenience foods
  • Foods with refined carbohydrates

That means, just like I indicated on Monday, I’m cleaning up my diet a lot. I’m pretty much following an AdvoCare advocated (haha) lifestyle of clean eating (no processed crap) and reducing my alcohol intake as well.

Okay, this was all determined Tuesday. Now fast forward to yesterday. I get a call from the doctor’s office indicating that the doctor had made a note to schedule a CT scan. Oh thank God! She does want to look into it further and not just stop at ibuprofen. I feel really comforted by that. I scheduled the CT scan for bright and early this morning.

Then I got to thinking… do I really need this scan, or would it just be frivolous with my Google earned education yesterday? You know who can easily answer that question? Nurse Mom! Nurse Mom says absolutely, I should definitely get the CT scan if the doctor recommended it. It would be good to know what’s going on inside my belly. Then she proceeded to tell me that I have a family history of Celiac and ulcerative colitis. I totally answered all of my doctor’s family health history questions wrong! Note to self: Have Nurse Mom fill out a family health history form so I can have all of this written down and know the right answers.

Isn’t it funny that I worry about going to the doctor or getting scans for frivolous reasons? I think that’s because I didn’t go in for much as a kid. I don’t want to waste anyone’s time. I have to remind myself that I am not feeling 100%, so if it means wasting a little time to feel better, then go for it! Besides, my insurance covers a good portion, if not all, of every visit. I’m really happy that I’m going to get to the bottom of this. I just want to feel awesome so that I can be awesome!

I had that CT scan this morning after feeling like absolute crap yesterday. It was kind of an interesting process. I had to get to the office at 7:30am to sign in and get this special drink, “the CT drink”. I had already heard from Nurse Mom that it cleans you out, so I kept calling it the poop drink. I’ve got class (and ass). :) I was then supposed to get the scan at 8:30am. Yeah, I didn’t get called in until 9! I was not a happy camper since I forgot my book and was really bored, but I made the best of it by playing on my phone. I did not sit and complain loudly the whole time like another lady in the waiting room. Wow, that lady was upset about everything! She had nothing positive to say about her life. Sad.

Anyway, after I got called back, they had me put on a gown and pants for the scan. Then I got an IV of dye that makes you feel warm all over and like you’re peeing your pants. Fun! And then it was over. I hope they call sometime yet today with some results. I’m also crossing my fingers that there are some results. My luck it will be nothing. Maybe it’s all in my head? (My husband says no, you stink.)

So that’s what’s up with me! I’m hoping to come back tomorrow to tell you (me?) about any results and how I’m planning to bring all of my own food for meals on vacation. Fun stuff… not. I’d rather eat what everyone else is making, but tummy says no. More tomorrow!


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My Stomach is Mean

Hey friends! Long time no chat! Since I haven’t been here for a while, I should clue you into what I’ve been up to:

  • I successfully survived my work conference – and even enjoyed some aspects!
  • Tons of time in the boat (LOVE!!)


  • Hiking in CO last week (I was there Monday through Thursday, and it unfortunately rained Monday and Tuesday evening. That only left Wednesday evening for hiking. Boo.)

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSPCujjoe54?feature=player_detailpage]

  • An awesome wedding weekend


Is anyone else so sad that it’s the last week of July already? Summer can slow down any time now. I’m trying not to get too sad and also to soak up every bit of sun, lake, and warmth that I can. This is my favorite time of year, and I don’t want to feel like I’ve missed out on any of it!

I do have some not so nice news about what I’ve been up to lately. Hurting. There’s something up with my stomach, and I’ve been bloated, gassy, and have had stomach/intestinal pains pretty much every day for the last month. It’s been painful, annoying, and quite embarrassing. Nobody wants to be the smelly friend! I’m finally throwing in the towel and heading to the doctor tomorrow morning. Please pray for some immediate relief! Gas-X unfortunately isn’t helping. :(

Another sad side effect of all this stomach pain? Weight gain. I’m such an emotional eater, that I turn to food when I’m not feeling well. Since I haven’t felt well for a month, I’ve eaten (and drunken) too much and gained weight. I’m back in my bigger pants (can I say fat pants without people yelling at me?). It sucks, but I’m dealing with it now by trying to clean up my act – more veggies, no dairy (for the tum), watching portion sizes, and easing up on the alcohol (okay, I’m starting this one NOW!). I’m also trying to walk as much as possible every day (besides my morning run/walk). That helps my digestion and my weight management – win win!

Side note: All of the tastiest recipes have cheese. I’m crying inside. If you know of any super delicious meals that don’t have any cheese or dairy, please send them my way! I know I’ve gone dairy free for the 24 day challenge, but it seems like every recipe I look at right now that I want to make has dairy in it. Darn it!

I’ll try to come back to let you know about my doctor’s appointment. I just want my stomach to man up and not hurt anymore without having to change any aspect of my life. What’s the likelihood of that happening?


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I Have the Worst Anxiety

Happy Monday friends! I hope you all had a fabulous weekend. Mine was great! Friday evening in the boat, Saturday 10k, a little shopping, some day drinking (it was rainy… what else to do?!), and game night with friends. Finally, a lazy Sunday. So needed. My legs were super sore from my run, and my abs were killing me from laughing so much Saturday night. That Cards Against Humanity game is a serious ab workout… so.much.laughing.

Although my weekend was lovely, I struggled with something I’ve been working against for over a year now… anxiety. I get the worst anxiety about work. There are days that I don’t want to get out of bed because I worry what might lay ahead for me during the day. There are mornings where I sweat while my Outlook is opening because there might be some awful news in my inbox. It is the absolute worst.

This week’s anxiety is absolutely silly. I have a work conference that starts this evening and goes until Wednesday. I don’t have to speak or train – I just have to listen and connect with my coworkers. You wouldn’t think this would give me anxiety. Wrong. Here is what I tried to calm down about this morning:

  • Travel. I have become the biggest home body and don’t want to be away from home. I’m traveling all week next week at a client, so adding the couple of days this week has me just dreading life.
  • Sharing a room. I have to share a hotel room with a stranger. What if I snore? What if I fart? What if she snores? What if I have to poop? These are real anxieties.
  • Seeing coworkers. I haven’t been having the warmest, fuzziest feelings about some coworkers lately. How will I react when I see them?
  • I think I’m skipping out on the dinner and networking this evening. I RSVP’ed that I’m going, but now I’m going to just drive down tomorrow morning. I feel that’s a good compromise to fight the travel anxiety, but then what if someone gets mad that I didn’t go to the dinner? This one is absolutely stupid, because there are a lot of people not going to the dinner (my boss included), so I shouldn’t worry. Oh but I do.

I have the dumbest anxieties. And now you all know how neurotic I am. Thank God for AdvoCare Clear Mood. I’m not kidding you, I took one of those puppies this morning when I felt my anxiety was through the roof, and it really helped me calm down. I am zen. :)

Before I head out, I want to remind you about the Red Gold Tomatoes Big Green Egg giveaway. Go back to this post for details on how to enter to win a Big Green Egg. That giveaway ends soon, so be sure to enter!


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The Summer of the Swimsuit

Hey party people! I’m finally back. If only you people could see how many draft blog posts I’ve written lately that have gone unposted. It’s the story of my life – start something and never finish. I’ve gotten really good at it over the years. The only things I’m good at finishing are food, books, and work (no choice there). Everything else will remain not quite done. :)

Did you have a wonderful 4th of July? Mine was absolutely fabulous! We hung out with friends in town Thursday evening, then headed to the lake we’ll be vacationing on next month on Friday. We hung around there all day, then headed to my parents’ lake place. We went out on that lake on Saturday, watched the boat parade, and watched the fireworks. On Sunday we hit up a lake that was on our way home from my parents’ place for more fun. I absolutely love having a boat!


I thought of something on Sunday that really made me say a prayer of gratitude. There was a time, not too long ago, where I was really praying for my husband to want to spend more time outside and for us to spend more time on the water. I have both of those things now! We’re spending entire weekends outside in our swimsuits. I am so thankful and so grateful! I’m also naming this either The Best Summer Ever or The Summer of the Swimsuit. I think I like the latter the best. I’ve spent so much time in my suit. As I said on Sunday via social media, “Swimsuits over underwear and swimming over showering”. This is my truth.


This all sounds so upbeat and happy, but can I tell you that I have been supremely crabby for the last 24 hours? It comes and goes. Yesterday I was just pooped on my 1.8 hour drive back from my client, and I couldn’t find anything I wanted to listen to. I had also told my husband I would help with yardwork (my nemesis) that evening, and I was really dreading it. I was just an absolute bear. This morning I wasn’t much better. On the way up to my client, I was feeling very uncomfortable in my clothes. Everything felt tight, and I felt so bloated! I know I put on a few pounds way back in May when we went to Vegas, and I haven’t been drinking enough water lately, but it really was bothering me this morning. My car started making loud noises yesterday on my way back too. I got about 40 minutes down the road and decided I couldn’t ignore my car or my crabby feelings. I turned around and came back home. It’s a good thing I did too! The noise in my car just got worse. I took it to the shop today and found out my wheel baring needed replaced “really bad”. Maybe it’s a good thing I felt crabby?

Let’s not end on a crabby note! I’m feeling so much better now. I’m done with work for the day, and have the whole evening free to do what I want. The times, they are good! Plus it’s super sunny (although chilly) outside without too much of the haze we’ve been experiencing for the last week or so from the Canadian wild fires. Everything is roses, my dear! I think I’ll get up, grab my shades (new ones came in the mail today!), and head outside for some book reading and sun bathing. Ta-ta!


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Summer Grilling Giveaway

Hello again! Happy Hump Day. I think Wednesdays could easily become one of my favorite days of the week… behind Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of course. There’s a fun name to it, and I usually feel myself calming down because I already made it through half of the week. Today is no exception. I traveled to a client 3 hours away from my house this morning, so I spent all morning in the car listening to an audiobook. Doesn’t that sound fabulous? It kind of was.

Today I have a recipe to share with you, and then some info on a fun giveaway from my friends at Red Gold Tomatoes. I feel like we should be BFFs and not just friends.

*Disclaimer – Red Gold Tomatoes sent me their products to sample, as well as the following recipe, but all opinions are always my own.

I’ve talked about this before on my last blog, but my husband and I are absolutely in love with Red Gold Tomatoes’ recipes. I swear, there isn’t a bad one. Yesterday’s recipe was straight from Red Gold Tomatoes’ summer grilling recipes – Grilled Cheesesteak Pizza.


This recipe just didn’t disappoint either! Especially when I loaded on the toppings onto one pizza crust and then noticed the recipe called for two pizza crusts. Nope, I liked it absolutely decked out on one pizza. Here’s the recipe straight from the Red Gold Tomatoes recipe page (with my notes in pink text):


1 tablespoon olive oil (I just used olive oil spray)
1 medium red bell pepper, roasted, or can use jarred
1/2 onion, sliced
1 (14.5 ounce) can Red Gold® Diced Tomatoes, drained and 2 tablespoons reserved (I didn’t reserve)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 ounces Laura’s Lean Beef Sirloin Steak, cooked and thinly sliced (My grocery store unfortunately doesn’t offer Laura’s Lean Beef, so I used 1/2 a pound of “Misc Stir Fry Beef”… classy, I know)
1 (10 ounce) package pizza dough, your favorite recipe or store bought (I used a Golden Home Ultra Thin Pizza Crust from my grocery store)
2 tablespoon Red Gold® Tomato Paste
2 ounce provolone cheese, shredded (My grocery store didn’t have pre-shredded provolone, so I used an Italian blend)
2 ounce cheddar cheese, shredded (low-fat suggested)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (I skipped this)


  • Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook red bell pepper, onions and tomatoes together until onions are soft. Sprinkle with oregano and set aside.
  • Grill or cook steak to a medium temperature.When finished cooking, slice the steak into thin pieces. (Since I’m super lazy, I cooked the steak in with the veggies)
  • Divide pizza dough in half and roll each half out into a circle, getting it as thin as possible.Heat grill to high.Make sure grill rack is clean and gently lay each crust onto the grill rack.Cook about 1 to 2 minutes per side depending on grill temperature.Use tongs to flip and cook each side of each crust.If bubbles appear, just prick the dough bubble and keep cooking. (I followed the grilling instructions on my pizza crust)
  • Spread 1 tablespoon of paste on each crust.Divide and top each pizza with the tomato mixture, beef and cheese.Carefully return pizza to grill, lower heat and close grill lid.Cook an additional 3 to 4 minutes until cheese is melted.Keep close watch on pizzas, moving them away from the hotspot on your grill if crust is getting to toasty.If you like a little bit of char on the bottom of the pizza – this is what gives it some authentic flavor.
  • Sprinkle with the ¼ cup tomatoes that were set aside along with the fresh parsley.Serve Immediately. (I didn’t do this step since I didn’t reserve any tomatoes or buy fresh parsley)


Other than burning my crust a little bit (got distracted), this was delicious!! I can’t wait to make it again without a burned crust!

Now for the giveaway info. Red Gold Tomatoes does these awesome giveaways based on the season. Since it’s summer, aka grilling season, they are teaming up with Laura’s Lean Beef, and their giveaway involves winning a Big Green Egg! Beginning TODAY (June 24th) and continuing through August 26th, Red Gold Tomatoes is giving away one Big Green Egg each week, plus 800 insulated tote bags. I got one of the tote bags in my kit, and they are awesome! Think of the tote bags you put groceries in but with insulation. Are you ready for the info on how to get in on this giveaway? Here you go!!

Click here to get more info about the giveaway plus more Red Gold Tomatoes recipes

Click here to enter the giveaway

Good luck and happy grilling!!


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