Lara Bars

 

LaraBar

I’ve tried a lot of the protein and granola bars that are out there and Lara Bars are definitely one of my favorites.  Here’s why I love them so much:

  • They’re pure & simple. Larabars are made from whole food and each bar has less than 10 ingredients.
  • They’re gluten-free.
  • They are all natural.
  • Most bars have no added sugars or sweeteners – which the exception of my favorite bar due to the chocolate chips.  (Go figure.)
  • They’re unprocessed and use foods as close to their natural state as possible; they aren’t baked or cooked.
  • Each bar is at least 1/4 cup of fruit.

My favorite 2 flavors are chocolate chip cookie dough and bananas foster.  The chocolate chip cookie dough Lara Bar seriously tastes like cookie dough.  I don’t know how they do it!  Munch on one of these when you’re craving something sweet.

 

 

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Apples Boost Your Metabolism

Did you know that apples boost your metabolism?

After my run this morning I had an apple with 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt & 1/4 cup maple pecan granola. I’m not a fan of plan greek yogurt by itself; adding fruit and granola is a great way to make a delicious meal without the added artificial sweeteners. Yum!

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Push Yourself

This morning I ran with a great group from Back On My Feet. One of the reasons I love running in a group is that it gives you a reason to go harder than you would running on your own.

Find a group to run with and push yourself! You’ll be amazed at how much faster you get.

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Get up & Go!

Running in the morning jump starts your metabolism at the most important part of your day: the beginning!

I have a busy day today and I knew that the only time I’d be able to fit a workout in was this morning. So glad I got it over with!

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green machine smoothie

This is one of my favorite green smoothie recipes. With only 3 ingredients, it’s super easy to make, too! Don’t let looks deceive you; it’s delicious!

Ingredients
1 banana
Handful of strawberries
Bunch of kale

Directions
Blend with water and ice. Enjoy!
Note: if you are making a large batch to keep in the fridge and drink later (which I often do), no need to add ice.

Let me know what you think! Xo

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Tuesday Morning Run

When my alarm went off at 5:00 this morning, I really, really, wanted to go back to bed. As always, I’m so glad that I didn’t.

I got in a 5 mile run and I actually felt amazing. The weather was perfect this morning. Later tonight I’m going to a Xfit class at the gym. I’m trying to focus more on my arm strength and not just the running.

Hope you’re having a lovely Tuesday!

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chopped salad for dinner

Tonight’s chopped salad was simple. Paired it with chicken and mashed sweet potatoes.

Red peppers
Tomato
Cucumber
Red onion
Dressing: home-made red wine vinaigrette

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Allure Nails

I live in Philadelphia. Sometimes it feels like there’s a nail salon every 3 blocks. Probably because there is. Let’s just say I’ve been to quite a few of them. One of my favorite ways to treat myself after a long week of work, a race or just a bad day in general is to head to the salon, kick back in a massage chair and indulge in a mani/pedi. I used to refuse to pay more than $25 for a manicure and pedicure. However, I often left the salons regretting the money I just spent when I took a look at my nails up close and there was either leftover polish in the corners or obvious mistakes that I wouldn’t even make myself.

Then there’s Allure Nails on 7th and Chestnut. Hands down, the best nail salon in Philadelphia.

Here’s why.

1. They take their time. If you’re in a rush and you just want to be in-and-out, don’t stop at Allure. (Although, they’re so accommodating that if you did stop in and tell them you were in a rush, I’m sure they’d get you out of there in time). I’ve never felt like they were rushing to get to the next client or hurrying up so that they could close.

2. They do an amazing job. I’ve never once had a bad manicure or pedicure. Every nail is perfect.

3. It’s clean. Very clean. They line the pedicure tubs with plastic so that no foot germs (yuck!) are transferred. They even open a new file and buffer sealed in plastic for every client; you get to take it with you when you leave. Let’s just say I won’t be running to CVS for a nail file anytime soon. They’re laying all over my house and you can probably find one in every drawer of my desk at work. : )

4. They do a free paraffin wrap every time you get a manicure.

5. They have ‘summer specials’ and most of their prices (if not all) are discounted. Sometimes during the summer they will have a sign out front that says, “Free 10 minute massage with every pedicure.” Can’t beat it.

6. When your nails are drying, the owner of the salon will approach you and ask, “Free massage?” Say yes!!! He gives the best massages and will completely relax you before you head out the door.

7. They’re beyond accommodating. If your jacket is hanging up and you try to take it off the hanger yourself, they won’t let you. They’ll cover your nails with a sealant before you leave. They even unroll your pant legs for you, for God’s sake! It’s pretty amazing.

8. If you mess up a nail (which I unfortunately tend to do way too often) they will fix it for you. I once got a pedicure on my lunch break at work and headed back to the office. I put my heels on way too soon and completely ruined my pedicure. I was so upset and right after work I headed back to Allure. They not only repainted my toes (free of charge) but 3 of the girls who work there spent about 15 minutes testing out colors with me as we tried to find the same OPI color that I had gotten on my finger nails.

 

Check Allure Nails out. You won’t regret it.

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Overnight Oats

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Lately I’m loving overnight oats for breakfast. Here’s how you make my favorite kind (super easy!):

Ingredients:
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup coconut almond milk (can also use soy milk)
Raspberries (the more, the better)

Let sit in fridge overnight and eat cold. It’s seriously delish!

Enjoy! : )

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Running a Marathon Changed My Life

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Running a marathon changed my life.  When I graduated from college and left the world of team sports for good, I found myself searching for the ‘missing piece’ that had filled my life for so long.  I always had my teammates as best friends and a common goal to work towards – whether it was qualifying for districts in the hurdles or placing in my next regatta.  As relieved as I was when I no longer had to attend the practices that consumed most of my life, I missed it.  I missed working towards a goal and having something to strive for.  Most importantly, I missed that adrenaline rush and the natural high (that lasts for weeks… months, even!) after accomplishing something amazing.

That’s when I started running.

First on my list was the Broad Street Run.  A ten miler.  Now, it sounds like a piece of cake but at the time I was terrified.  I’d never run 10 miles before the day of the race and I wasn’t even sure if I could.  As painful as it was,  I finished the race and I didn’t stop once.  After that, I was hooked.  I immediately signed up for my first half marathon and from there my love for racing blossomed.

I remember one day at my office someone asked me if I was running in the Philadelphia Marathon.  To which I replied, “Nope, I’m not.”  As I walked away, I thought to myself, Seriously though… why aren’t you?!  I sat down at my desk and signed up immediately.  And that was that.  My training began the next day.

The next 5 months of training were tough, I’m not gonna lie.  There were times that I would breakdown and cry.  How was I ever going to run 26.2 miles when the half marathon that I ran in September was so painful?  I couldn’t imagine turning around and running the course over again.  Luckily, I had (and have) a great support system.  My family, boyfriend and friends were always right behind me, encouraging me during the training process.  I would call up my dad some days (who is also a runner) and say, “Dad, I just don’t know if I’m going to be able to do this!”  He always told me that I could and that I would.

When I was training for the marathon, my first 20-miler attempt was a complete fail.  My body literally shut down and I could barely walk.  Looking back, I’m glad that happened.  It made me realize that every training run isn’t going to be easy.  I also got to know my body a lot better.  I learned that I absolutely needed to properly hydrate.  I needed to carry a water bottle with me whenever I was running 10+ miles.  I needed to eat;  food is fuel.  By the time the race day came around, I knew my body better than I ever had before.

After months of blood, sweat and tears (literally), race day arrived and I was ecstatic and terrified at the same time.  My goal was to (1) finish the race, (2) not stop and (3) run under 5 hours.  I accomplished all three goals.  As I crossed the finish line at 4:26, I looked to the left and saw my entire family, my boyfriend and my best friend cheering me on.  My eyes welled up with tears and I knew from that moment forward, I could do anything that I put my mind to.  I was forever changed.

If you want to run a marathon but are skeptical, I say, “do it.”  You won’t regret it.  It will change the way you think about the world, the way you think about yourself, and the way you conquer goals and challenges.

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