Less Talking, More Doing

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That’s my resolution for 2017. Simple and to the point.

Because hopes and aspirations are all well and good. But in the end, results — not desire — will get you to your destination.

First up: Finding myself in the midst of motherhood by getting back in touch with running.

It’s been a constant in my life for the past 20+ years, although pregnancy recently wreaked havoc on the relationship. What previously felt great was uncomfortable, and where I once was confident now filled me with self-doubt.

As a new-ish mom, taking time for yourself feels incredibly selfish. But after almost a year at this gig, I’m a believer that happy people make better moms, so it’s imperative not to lose touch with your passions. Even if a current one is scrolling through baby pictures after you put your little one to sleep at night.

So after stepping back from training and racing for the better part of a year, I’m making good on my intention above and am back at it. Knowing that I thrive on having goals, being on a schedule, pushing myself and checking off a to-do list made the decision a no-brainer.

Gut instinct told me that 26.2 is too much at the moment, so I’m focusing instead on the 13.1 distance. And now that training is officially underway, I can say that it feels good to prioritize self-care again…even if it’s just for a few minutes a day on the treadmill during naptime.

There’s also something different this time around: I hired a coach. Getting certified recently as a running coach myself makes me appreciate a more tailored approach to training, plus he came highly recommended from a college friend who successfully juggles family, career and racing.

His task? Helping me (safely and conservatively) get back in the game. I especially appreciate not having to overthink workouts; based on my feedback, he adjusts paces and mileage, so all I need to do is just trust the process.

Which leaves me more time and energy for paying it forward via Portland Women’s Run Club where I’m helping other women find themselves through running, as well. We fill the void for ladies who want to step up to a challenge, whether it’s getting out of a comfort zone, achieving a personal best or making an impact on their community.

That’s my challenge to you, as well, with whatever your intention is for the year: Don’t talk, but act. Don’t say, but show. And don’t just promise, prove.

So far so good, 2017.

A new addition for 2017…

pwrc_launch_pageNo, this isn’t a pregnancy announcement (sorry, grandmas) but if you’ve been wondering why things have been a bit quiet around here lately it’s because I do have a new “baby” in the works…

I’m thrilled to announce that 2017 will be the inaugural year for Portland Women’s Run Club!

Sadly, LUNA is winding down their local teams’ program. So even though Team LUNA Chix Portland Run will technically be no more, the company will still remain as a sponsor and support us as we transition into a team with a local focus.

What does this mean? Well, a few things (all of which are really exciting):

  • A brand new name, logo and website, along with social media accounts (give us a follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!)
  • Team-based, run-specific workouts led by a certified running coach (yep, I’ve been making the most of the off-season)
  • Partnership with a Portland-based charity (to be announced soon!), allowing us to make more of a local impact, as well as donate our time along with money raised
  • Dedicated walk captains, so we can truly offer something for every ability and level at each workout
  • Team races, which we will be working toward throughout the season, plus training plans for non-PWRC practice days
  • Awesome branded club gear, so you can show your team pride both during workouts and when racing!
  • All the usual seasonal swag for our regular participants – including attendance rewards and other fun surprises
  • Special discounts and perks at local businesses with whom we’re partnering for the upcoming season
  • Additional workouts for people interested in co-ed sweat sessions, group long runs, trail running, as well as rotating locations
  • Social events, clinics, charitable opportunities and much, much more!

And last, but certainly not least, our workouts will remain FREE for everyone. Adulting is tough enough; we want you to just show up, get after those goals, make some new friends and be able to give back to a good cause without having to dig into your wallets.

So if you’ve been wanting to nab that new PR, attempt a new distance or simply start from square one and see where it takes you, now’s your chance to be a part of Portland’s fastest-growing running team.

Don’t miss out – sign up here to get our latest updates as we prepare for our 2017 season!

We’ve got big things in store for 2017, and we’re looking forward to get faster, stronger, better – together.

StitchFix Shipment No. 12 Review

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After keeping all five pieces from StitchFix no. 11 (read about it here), I knew the bar would be set pretty high for my next installment.

Although I haven’t been on a scale in a month or so, I was maybe six pounds up from my pre-pregnancy weight at the last check-in. So since I’m feeling almost back to my old self, I gave my stylist the go-ahead to experiment with trendier pieces (a la last Fix’s jumpsuit) as long as they were easy-wear and easy-care.

And even though I complained about getting more jeans last round, I actually requested a pair this time. My hope was to find a straight or legging-type fit to wear with tall boots, but when I opened the box there was no denim to be found. Go figure!

New to StitchFix? Read all about how it works here

So let’s take a peek at what did come in this month’s box…

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First up was the Coffeeshop Arion Cargo Jacket. I had also requested a cargo-type jacket, so this was exciting to unwrap.

The coat was super cozy with the shearling hood, but I wasn’t thrilled about the patches, particularly the California one. Sure, we’re proud to be one-time residents there, but it seemed a little loud for a jacket that’s supposed to be understated.

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Next was the Market & Spruce Brookline Mix Material Sweater. I could swear I was sent this top before (or something similar), although the deep plum color is perfect for fall and winter.

The back zipper detailing is nice, too; you can zip it open for a peek-a-boo of sheer fabric or zip it closed for a more fitted look. Either way, it’s a good wardrobe basic, plus I like the fact that it slopes down a bit in the back for extra coverage in the rear.

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Third was the Rails Ellson One Pocket Top. This one was love at first sight…until I saw the price tag.

I’m a sucker for a soft, fuzzy flannel, but I was able to get a similar Buffalo plaid shirt from the same brand from Saks Off 5th last year for around $50. It’s hard to justify playing $100 more for another red and black flannel, so I’d have to restrain myself with this one. Sigh.

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After that was the RD Style Lada Cowl Neck Sweater. I have a love/hate relationship with cowl necks: I love how they look on other people, but it seems like I can rarely pull them off myself.

I did like the chunky knit of this sweater, however, and the neck was large and comfy. Plus, the length would be perfect for pairing with boots and leggings.

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And last but not least was the Treme Knit Jacket from Evolution by Cyrus. With a straight cut and large print, it was out of my usual wheelhouse, but worth trying on to see how it looked.

The material is a super-soft knit and pretty dense, making this jacket ideal for those crisp days where you don’t need a heavy parka. I couldn’t help but want a little more shape to this, though, so I’d have to think about it…

So what did I end up keeping?

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Well, after consulting with my sister and husband — they both liked the plaid shirt…until I told them how much it cost — I ended up keeping only the cowl neck sweater.

It’s not the piece that first jumped out at me, but it’s just so snuggly and different from what’s already in my closet that it’s worth the gamble. Besides, my intention with this service is to go out on a limb with new looks, and this is about as risky as I feel like getting at the moment as a new mom, LOL.

My next fix is scheduled for late winter. I haven’t decided what to request, although I’m leaning toward asking for a bright palette to lighten things up after the next few dreary Portland months!

Want to try StitchFix? Use my referral link to fill out your style profile and get started.

Disclosure: This is *not* a sponsored post. I simply love the service and think it’s fun to share my experience. I pay for Stitch Fix on my own. If you sign up using my referral link, I’ll get a credit…so thanks in advance for fueling my next fix! 

Recipe: DIY Chipotle Burrito Bowl

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When people talk about weird cravings during pregnancy, I often forget to mention what Ben likes to call the “Chipotle trimester.” Burritos were my jam, and I was a regular staple in the lunch line for several months…well, pre-E. coli-outbreak, that is.

Fast forward to having said baby and moving to the ‘burbs, though, and it’s a lot tougher to make regular pit stops into ‘potle these days. Plus there’s that whole wanting-to-eat-healthier thing and the there’s-barely-enough-time-to-eat-lunch-let-alone-make-it thing, which means meal planning and prep have become necessities for us.

Enter the following DIY recipe, which tastes almost as good as the real deal. Toss with greens for extra nutrients, fold into burrito form or scoop straight out of the bowl with chips!

DIY Chipotle Burrito Bowl

(adapted from What’s Gaby Cooking)

Ingredients:

For the Chicken

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts)

For the Rice

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro
  • kosher salt to taste

For the toppings

  • 1 cup pinto beans (warmed)
  • 1 cup black beans (warmed)
  • 1 cup fresh corn, cut from the cob
  • 1 cup guacamole
  • 1 cup pico de gallo
  • 1 cup finely shredded monterey jack cheese

Directions:

For the Chicken

  1. Combine the vegetable oil, chopped chipotle peppers in adobo, garlic powder, cumin, dried oregano, and black pepper in a small bowl and stir to combine.
  2. Place the chicken in a large zip top plastic bag and add the marinade. Zip the bag and mix the chicken into the marinade. Place it into the fridge and let it marinate for at least an hour.
  3. Heat an outdoor grill to about 400 degrees F (medium high heat). Place the chicken onto the grill and grill 5 to 6 minutes per side, until the chicken is cooked. Remove the chicken from the grill and let rest for 10 minutes. Chop the chicken into small bite-sized pieces.

For the Rice

  1. In a heavy saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the brown rice and lime juice and sauté for 60 seconds to toast the rice.
  2. Add the water and bring the rice to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to low and cook until the rice is tender and all the water is absorbed.
  3. Add in the cilantro and fluff rice with a fork.

To assemble

  1. Arrange equal parts of the brown rice and chopped grilled chicken in 4 bowls.
  2. Top with equal parts of the pinto beans, black beans, corn, guacamole, pico and cheese.
  3. Season with salt and pepper as needed and serve immediately.
To Chipotle or not to Chipotle…that is today’s question. Have you been back since the E. coli scare?

October Goal Check-In

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The end of October is always a little bittersweet, isn’t it? As exciting as it is to really settle into fall and celebrate Halloween, now we’re suddenly barreling towards the holiday season and a brand new year is just around the corner.

And has anyone else seen all the holiday commercials already?! I’m the first to admit I’ll be cranking up the Christmas tunes before too long…but October 26 was just too soon to start seeing ads about Santa and stuffing stockings.

All that aside, I’m still focused on sticking loosely to my 2016 goals before setting new intentions for 2017. So here’s an update:

1. Health & Fitness: In terms of a typical week, I’m now trying to move at least four or five out of the seven days. With a baby’s schedule and Portland’s rainy season to factor in, this means taking whatever I can get whenever I can get it: Namely stroller jogs, treadmill runs, cross-training on the Nordic Track (yes, you read that correctly; it was left behind by the previous owners of our house), plus a smattering of free weights.

And as much as I miss the accountability of a training schedule, it’s been refreshing to exercise for general fitness for a change. If there’s a day where a workout just doesn’t work out, it’s a relief at the moment to be able to take it in stride versus fretting about getting behind schedule.

2. Training: Speaking of schedules…just last month I mentioned there wasn’t a race on the horizon, but that may soon change because I’m mulling over a potential spring marathon. It’d be a change of pace from my usual summer training cycles focusing on fall races, and this time I’m also considering working under the general guidance of a coach to train smart and stay healthy while ramping up mileage.

3. Community: Our 2016 Team LUNA Chix Portland Run season has officially ended, and we celebrated with our annual party at Title Nine Portland on October 24. In addition to a fantastic group of community members joining us this year, I’m proud to say that we also managed to raise nearly $3,000 for Breast Cancer Fund.

As for next year, we’ll be changing things up a bit, so stay tuned for details! We’re opening applications for team leaders for the 2017 season in early December, so if you’re interested in getting involved with a dynamic group of women who are making a difference in the Portland area, along with getting in some great workouts and making new friends, like our Facebook page for updates.

4. Career: This has been an area where I’ve been feeling reenergized as of late. First, Fit4Mom Cedar Mill hosted a very cool “Mindful Mamas” event this month where we worked out together and then sat down with a life coach to talk about time management and priorities. Lesson learned: Make sure what you’re spending your time on is truly aligned with your goals.

Second, I signed a new boutique fitness client in the Portland area, and we’ve been hard at work on messaging, positioning and PR planning. I love working with business owners who understand the importance of connecting — not only with clients to help them get fitter and feel healthier, but also with the community to give back. So inspiring!

5. Life: Finally, I need to do a whole in-depth post on the glory that is ‘sleep training.’ But for now, I’ll just say this: If you’re having any trouble getting your little one to sleep — whether it’s through at night or just for regular naps, it’s a total game-changer. I’d go as far as to say it’s the best baby-related investment we’ve made because it provides the confidence to do what you need to do to help everyone get some more zzz’s.

The woman we worked with was simply amazing (parents, ping me if you want an intro), particularly because she specializes in minimizing the amount of crying during the process. I had heard horror stories of people having to camp outside of baby’s door enduring hours of screaming, but our experience was quite different. We had a total of 12 minutes of crying in protest the first night before Wyatt slept 12 HOURS.

There’s a lot that goes into it — both in terms of preparation and consistency in order to develop new habits, plus (duh) you’ll still have the usual hiccups now and then — but, overall, it’s been nothing short of life-changing. Chronic sleep deprivation (seven months, in our case) can leave you in a pretty dark place, so it’s pure joy to finally come into the light at the end of the tunnel.

Ready or not, here we come: Are you excited for the final stretch of 2016?

What’s in Your Body Wash?

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When was the last time you checked the ingredients on the back of your favorite body wash or hand soap? If it wasn’t recently, you may want to take another look.

Just last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned some over-the-counter antibacterial hand and body wash products, saying they’re no more effective than soap and water and could actually cause long-term harm. This affects around 2,100 products or roughly 40 percent of the over-the-counter antibacterial soap market that contains any one of the 19 ingredients that are part of the ban.

As an avid antibacterial user, I’ve been cleaning out my cupboards and replacing these products with natural and organic items. After all, what I put in, on or around my body isn’t just affecting me anymore; I want our son to grow up happy and healthy, too.

So after scouting out options for washing up safely, I’ve got a few new favorites I wanted to share:

Lavido Intoxicating Body Wash ($24 via Lavido.com)

True to its name, this body wash has a deep, musky scent that is mysteriously addictive and will add a luxurious feel to your regular shower routine. Maybe it’s the distilled Patchouli and Vanilla Oil extracts, or it could be the purified mineral-rich waters from the Sea of Galilee, which have been used since Roman times for their healing and recuperative powers. Either way, I can’t get enough of this body wash.

Scientific Organics Citrus Kombucha Body Wash ($44 via emerginC.com)

Kombucha is the latest yogi health-drink craze, so why not see if it does as much good on the body as it does in it? Said to help improve skin tone, moisture and radiance, this body wash is formulated with fermented tea, grape stem cells, aloe and spirulina — a veritable “super-food” cocktail for skin in need of some TLC. Science aside, I love its energizing scent and the fact that it’s 100 percent natural.

Art Naturals Anti-Fungal Body & Foot Wash ($18 via ArtNaturals.com)

Natural Oils have been used for centuries due to their antiseptic, antimicrobial, and anti-fungal properties. This body wash just so happens to be the best of both worlds: Not only does it contain a powerful, yet gentle blend of Tea Tree, Jojoba, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, and Rosemary Oil to help aid common skin conditions, but it also effectively removes dirt, excess oils, fungus and bacteria. Put simply, it’s a morning shower must-have.

Have you made the move to all-natural skincare products — why or why not? 

Recipe: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I’m not ashamed to admit I’m a sucker for anything pumpkin, regardless of the season. The same goes for chocolate, so it was love at first bite with these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

With just a few small tweaks, I made them a bit healthier (less sugar, some wheat flour) and even tastier — there’s nothing like a little salt in sweets.

They’re not your typical crispy-chewy cookie; the consistency is much softer and more moist. But they’re delicious and (somewhat) nutritious, thanks to the oats and pumpkin.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

(adapted from Taste of Home)

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teastpoon salt
  • 1 15-oz can of pumpkin
  • 1-1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Directions: 

  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla.
  2. Combine the flours, oats, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl; stir into creamed mixture alternately with pumpkin.
  3. Gently fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 12-13 minutes or until lightly browned.
  5. Remove to wire racks to cool. Yield: 4 dozen.
What do you think about pumpkin — worth the hype, or overrated?