Archives for May 2013

“Beauty and the Blog”

Happy Friday!! Is it just me or was this “short” week super long?

I’m so ready for the weekend and all it is going to bring – the farmers’ market, wine, outdoor patios and spending time with Mr. Kyle before he heads back to Puerto Rico for 2 weeks.

This post is going to be short and sweet but I wanted to let you know that I was featured on Tidbits yesterday!

For those of you not familiar with Tidbits, it is

the essential tool for the gal about town. Tidbits covers what’s chic and local – from restaurants and bars to the newest fashion finds to beauty trends and awesome deals (remember my fun night at Gust-O?) – all in YOUR city!

Beauty and the Blog

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My feature is a Q&A where I talk about my favorite things to do in and around Minneapolis in the summer!

Check it out and then let me know what I’m missing in Minneapolis (I’d love to add some more fun things to my summer list!) and what your favorite things are to do in the summer in your city!

Subscribe to Minneapolis Tidbits for the inside scoop for the gal about town – The best part is that it is FREE!

Hate.

Today we’re going to talk about hate.

We’re all guilty – at one time or another – of saying things like “Ugh, I hate my hair! It never does what I want it to!” or “My thighs are so big – I hate them!!” or “My nose has this awful bump. I hate the way it makes me look!”

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This type of hate – “self-hate” – is negative and bad… It is self-destructing and no good for anyone. You need to love yourself regardless of the size of your jeans or the frizziness in your hair or how crooked your smile is. Your are perfect just the way you are. We are our own worst critics. Please promise me that you will remember this – okay?

So yes, self-hate is a type of hate but it isn’t the type we’re going to focus on today.

What about the kind of  hate toward things or objects? I know I can be most definitely be accused of saying things like “I hate my job. It’s not motivating. I need something more.” and “This traffic is horrendous! I hate meeting people in the ‘burbs right after work.” and “I hate where we live. If there is one more blizzard this winter, I’m outta here!”

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Although this type of hate toward things or objects – at least in my opinion – isn’t quite as detrimental as self-hate, it is still hate. It is a “hate” that you can change so that you can lead better, more fulfilling and happy life.

Do you really “hate” your job that much? Is your current location not where you want to be? If so, change it! Life is much too short to be spending your time in a career or in a city that does not bring out your best!

Think about it.

And, while object-hate (my official terminology…) is also a hate, we will not be discussing this type of hate either today.

So what type of hate are we going to talk about today?

Hate toward others.

The hate that we – as humans – have toward one another. The hate that we have toward others of our own species. Others that have our same feelings and our same hopes and our same dreams and our same fears. Our brothers and our sisters.

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During my short 28 years on this planet, I have observed one defining thing about hate. People hate each other for many things..

They worship a different God. They look different. Their government is different. They act different. They speak in a “weird-sounding” different language. They eat different types of foods. They celebrate different holidays. They love different people than we would love.

… but the one, single attribute that stands out among all of these types of hate is the fact that someone or some group is {gasp} different.

Different from you. Different from your family. Different from your community.

What’s so wrong about being different anyways? Isn’t that what’s great about this world? We humans are all so similar but our differences – our unique characteristics – make the world an interesting and inspiring place.

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On my flight to Utah earlier this month, the song by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, “Same Love,” was on my playlist (If you haven’t seen the video, BTW, I highly recommend it.) I had heard the song a few times before but never once had the following lyrics resignated with me like they did during that flight.

It’s the same hate that’s caused wars from religion
Gender to skin color, the complexion of your pigment
The same fight that led people to walk outs and sit ins
It’s human rights for everybody, there is no difference!

When I was at church they taught me something else
If you preach hate at the service those words aren’t anointed
That holy water that you soak in has been poisoned
When everyone else is more comfortable remaining voiceless
Rather than fighting for humans that have had their rights stolen
I might not be the same, but that’s not important
No freedom till we’re equal, damn right I support it

Of all things, right now – right now in our history – we are hating on love. LOVE.

Love is the one thing that is supposed to overcome hatred and instead hate is so often overcoming love.

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Let me clarify something for a moment, I’m not trying to change your beliefs with this post – everyone is entitled to their own opinion. If I denied you of your opinion, that would be hate, right?

What I am trying to do is to get rid of hate. Get rid of judgement. Get rid of discrimination. Get rid of preconceived stereotypes and negative connotations.

So what if your cousin or your coworker or your politician loves another man. He’s happy. He’s in love. Is it really hurting you or your beliefs or your relationship?

I can personally think of quite a few things that are much worse than one person loving another person regardless of their skin color or their religion or their ethnicity or their gender.

And what if your aunt or your best friend or your daughter tells you that she is in love with a woman? Are you all of a sudden going to turn your back on her because of who she loves? Because she is finally being honest with not only herself but with the people she loves the most in life?

That’s the funny thing about people. We like and we prefer what is similar to us. To our beliefs. To what we expect of others. When something or someone throws us for a loop we get confused. We judge and then we hate.

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Hate.

Hate is such a strong word. It is a word with so many meanings that is displayed with so much force and so much anger.

Hate is cruel. Hate is unnecessary. Hate is used all too frequently.

My challenge for you today and for you tomorrow and for you next month and for you next year is to overcome hate. Challenge yourself to not use the word in your everyday language. Think about what you mean when you feel the urge to say “hate.”

Are you scared?

Are you overwhelmed?

Are you afraid of change?

Are you facing something different?

Most importantly, I challenge you to love yourself. Love your life. Love your community. Love your fellow human beings.

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13: 34-35

We humans are far more similar than we are different and it is time for us to recognize and to celebrate each other for our amazing similarities as well as our self-defining differences.

Beginning Runner Tips

On Monday, I did a guest post for Sara over at the Fitcupcaker while she’s on vacation in Florida (lucky girl!)

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I had the opportunity to meet Sara while we were both in Utah for Blend – she is adorable, sweet and fun, especially with her Southern accent ;)

Anyways, my guest post is all about how to begin running (and also how to not quit!) as a newbie runner so head on over to Sara’s blog and check it out!

Ready to Run

Flourless Chocolate Cake

I have a secret confession that I need to share.

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Have you heard of “Better Than Sex” cake? Yes? Okay, good because my secret confession is that it’s not.

Whoever thought that boxed cake mix topped with overly-processed, preservative-filled Cool Whip was BTS must have been sharing a bed with a cardboard box or a frog or a lump of coal or maybe a combination of all three. Who knows.

What I do know is that the name of that cake needs to change – and needs to change fast – before it starts confusing the younger generation. We don’t want the human population to become morbidly obese and go extinct all because a bunch of teenagers started believing that eating boxed cake was better than er… uh… ah… procreating.

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Oh, what’s that you say? That’s not going to happen? Oh my friend, you greatly underestimate the power of chocolate and social media ;)

ANYWAYS… ahem… now that I’ve gone completely off topic and probably lost 89.2% of my readers, let’s get to the chocolate-at-hand for today!

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Today, I have a decadent cake for you and while it probably isn’t BTS, it still makes a great lover.

Rich, dark chocolate, dense, brownie-like cake, and drippy, creamy frosting.

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It’s my Flourless Chocolate Cake.

In addition to being a crowd-pleaser (Seriously, bring this to a party – it NEVER disappoints!), it is also gluten-free. Who doesn’t appreciate a lover that not only tastes good (too far, Becky, too far…) but also cares about your health and well-being? I know I do.

It’s decadent. It’s sinful. It’s all things you need to be enjoying right now.

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Flourless Chocolate Cake (Slightly adapted from Whole Foods Market)

Serves 12

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup plus 6 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp almond milk
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Raspberries, optional for topping

*Note: Make sure to use ingredients that are notated as gluten-free if you have a gluten allergy/intolerance!*

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray a 9-inch springform pan with non-stick spray. In a medium sauce pan, melt 8 ounces of the chocolate chips and 1 cup butter until completely melted and combined. Pour into large mixing bowl and add sugar, eggs (one at a time) and cocoa powder. Mix until just blended. Pour mixture into springform pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, until there is a thin crust on the top and the middle is just firm to the touch. You do NOT want to over-bake the cake! Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes. Once cooled, remove outer edge of pan and flip cake over onto a serving platter. (I find it easiest to hold both the bottom of the platter and the pan in each hand to have a smooth cake transfer.) While cake continues to cool, melt remaining butter and chocolate in saucepan. Once melted stir in milk, honey and vanilla and pour over cooled cake, allowing the glaze to drip down the sides of the cake. Place in refrigerator to cool completely, approximately one hour. Serve with raspberries or fruit of choice and enjoy!

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So, while this cake probably isn’t the best companion for your bed – who wants chocolate crumbs on their sheets?! – it will definitely satisfy your urge for chocolate and all things sinful.

Have you ever had/made Better Than Sex cake? What is your favorite decadent and sinful dessert?

Memorial Day – Weekly Eats

**Have you checked out Danielle’s no-slip, super chic headband sale yet? It is only going on a few more days so make sure you take advantage of her special offer before it is over!**

Happy Memorial Day!

Please take a moment out of this glorious day to remember the reason for today’s holiday from work and our daily freedoms that we so often take for granted.

The weather this weekend has been less than ideal, to say the least – cold, drizzly and windy. Thankfully, we were still able to make the most out of it since Kyle’s family was visiting from Chicago!

Friday started out with a date night – sushi and The Hangover 3 <– Not quite as good as the first two movies but it still gives a good laugh :)

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Saturday morning started bright and early with a visit to the farmer’s market followed by a walk with Mitchell. The farmer’s market is one of my favorite things about summers in Minneapolis! It is super close – less than 3 blocks, has tons of organic, local and sustainably-produced food and creates an awesome community in the middle of a downtown – what could be better??!

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There still isn’t a ton of produce available yet since we’ve had such a cold and dreary spring but I was able to snag some asparagus (YES!), mixed greens, eggs and flowers. And yes, I buy flowers for myself almost weekly. They make me happy and brighten up the condo :)

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The rest of Saturday involved baking, napping, family time and Psycho Suzi’s! Psycho Suzi’s is a tiki-themed bar and restaurant in Northeast Minneapolis specializing in unique pizzas, weekend comradery and fruity, tropical drinks.

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I promise that I have more than one outfit I wear on Saturdays… I just happened to be wearing the EXACT SAME THING I wore at Blend last Saturday. Sorry I’m not sorry – I love my Ellie leggings and my lace tank!

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The “kids” (Seth, Gabi, Kyle and I) enjoyed a fruity booze-filled concoction that came out on fire. Delicious, boozy tropical-ness ;)

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Sunday involved an early morning yoga sculpt class following by a 4-mile walk with Kyle’s parents and then a hike at Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis!

Minnehaha Falls

Minnehaha Falls is a gorgeous park just outside of Minneapolis that has multiple biking and hiking trails and an amazing waterfall. We thought it would be a good idea to get our annual holiday card photo at the falls yesterday – We apparently also thought it would be awesome to all be color-coordinated ;)

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The rest of the day involved healthy sibling rivalry via a PS3 golf tournament, lounging around the condo and Thai for dinner.

Sometimes, okay – let’s be honest here – all of the time, a laid-back weekend is just what I need to feel refreshed for the start of a new week!

Today is going to be filled with errands, running, yoga and relaxing. I think I am going to start petitioning for 3-day weekends every weekend. I would gladly work 10-hours days in order to only have a 4-day work week. Who’s with me??!

Okay, now onto my healthy eats and fitness for the week…

This week it is time to get back on the healthy bandwagon. I ate pretty healthy last week, mainly because I was so dang tired from Blend that I had no energy to eat, but I did not workout Sunday – Thursday. I know…

My muscles definitely felt weaker in yoga yesterday and I am determined to get back my strength with a steady fitness regime over the next few days!

Weekly Meal Plan

  • Sunday: Thai with the fam – SUPER unhealthy…
  • Monday: Black Bean Burgers via Katie
  • Tuesday: Taco Night
  • Wednesday: Falafel Pitas
  • Thursday: Out with Jen and Natalie!
  • Friday: Turkey-Zucchini Meatballs
  • Saturday: TBD/Leftovers

Weekly Fitness Plan

  • Sunday: Yoga Sculpt + Hike
  • Monday: Run + Yoga Sculpt
  • Tuesday: Run
  • Wednesday: Yoga Sculpt
  • Thursday: Run
  • Friday: Yoga Sculpt
  • Saturday: Run

What did you do this weekend? Do you have any big plans for the Memorial Day holiday today?

The Perfect Headband

Hello lovers! Happy Friday! – and the Friday of Memorial Day weekend at that!

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What are your plans for the long weekend? Are you doing anything fun? Please share so I can live vicariously through you!

I am planning on lying low – I am still beat from Blend, apparently I don’t recover from all-nighters as quickly as I use to – and doing a lot of healthy eating and running and yoga-ing.

I’ll be back with my final Blend post later this weekend – I can’t wait to thank all of the amazing Blend sponsors by showin’ off my swag and to tell you a little more about what I ate over the weekend – as a little preview, I had a lot of protein and wine and beer and vodka ;)

Okay, since this is Friday and my 2nd favorite day of the week, I have a little treat for you!

My friend Danielle, who blogs over at Truffles ‘n’ Treadmills (remember the guest post she did for me while I was off drinkin’ Mint Juleps at the Kentucky Derby??) has started making no-slip headbands!

I can never have enough headbands so when she announced her new business, I ordered one right away! I chose the Sunshine Yellow chevron design and I absolutely LOVE IT!!

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Sadly, I don’t have any photos of myself wearing it. I wore it on the way home from SLC last weekend but I looked like shiz never look my best when traveling so I decided to spare you the pain of my travel photos and just use Danielle’s.

Anyways, Danielle’s headbands seriously DO NOT SLIP. Mine stayed in place the entire time I was in the airport and on the plane AND lugging my 5 tons of swag home from the airport via train and a treacherous, rainy walk. Nothing short of a miracle I tell ya.

Plus, who doesn’t love headbands, especially if they’re as cute and fashionable and functional as Danielle’s?

She’s offering an awesome deal now through the end of May – $2 off a headband! – so head on over and check out her super cute headbands!

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Seriously now, what are you plans for the weekend??!

BLEND Recap – Part 3 – Sunday!

Sunday was sad. Us “blenders” were exhausted (at least those of us who stayed up past our normal bedtimes…) and we knew we had to go back home, to our real lives but none of us wanted to. Not at all.

If you haven’t caught up on my weekend at Blend in Park City, Utah yet, check out my recaps of Friday and Saturday first!

Sunday morning started with another 7am bootcamp led by GPP Fitness. Unfortunately, due to my exhaustion and extremely sore muscles from Saturday’s bootcamp (seriously y’all, they STILL hurt!), I skipped the workout. To be honest, I haven’t worked out since Blend. Oops ;) I’ll get back on track with a yoga class later today, I promise!

Although we didn’t make it downstairs to burn off the beer and vodka from Saturday night, Carly, Katie and I managed to pull ourselves together for breakfast. Priorities!

Upon getting out of bed, I saw some remnants of Saturday night which made me smile. Who wants some mountain air-chilled vino?

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Sunday’s breakfast was sponsored by Chobani and it definitely did not disappoint! Along with Chobani yogurt, there were also pancakes, oatmeal, smoothies and an omelet bar! Just what we needed after a late Saturday night.

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Carly, Katie, Brittney (The Laughing Cow representative!), Sara, Nicole and I enjoyed quite a few laughs over breakfast while recapping Saturday night. Morning after a night out conversations are always the best!

After breakfast, it was time to finish packing. Let me tell ya, fitting 500 pounds of protein bars and drinks and other swag into a duffel bag takes some muscles and creativity! Thankfully, I had a free checked bag through Delta and they didn’t charge me for going over the weight limit.

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We had one final “event” remaining for the Blend weekend – A closing ceremony and raffle ticket drawing for MORE prizes. Yes, there was even more swag to give away!!

I won a prize pack from Onnit Labs – Onnit specializes in hemp protein products (they sponsored our snack break on Saturday, remember?) and I was super pumped to win this package!

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Next came the saddest part of the weekend, saying goodbye to everyone. Who ever thought I would make such great bonds with some amazing women in a 2-day time frame?

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We all drug our super heavy luggage down to the lobby, enjoyed one last view from the gorgeous hotel and of the Hyatt Escala’s gorgeous staff (we couldn’t help ourselves… ;) ) and gave everyone hugs before loading up our rental car and heading to the airport to all go our separate ways.

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I cannot express how thankful I am to have had the opportunity to attend Blend and meet so many inspiring, smart and beautiful women who I know I will stay in touch with my entire life! I get a little teary-eyed reminiscing about the weekend but am excited to already be planning a reunion with Katie and Carly (and hopefully a few others!) in Napa Valley and San Francisco this July!! We’re already deep in planning mode – look out California, you aren’t going to know what hit ya ;)

And maybe, if Park City is lucky… Carly, Katie and I will be back for a ski trip this winter. Who wants to join?

Have you been to Napa Valley or San Francisco? What should be at the top of my list to visit while I’m there? Any wineries I simply can’t miss?

BLEND Recap – Part 2 – Saturday!

I apologize for the delay in this post – I typically like to have my posts up bright and early in the morning but Blend seriously took it out of me! Last night I came home from work, slept for 2 hours, woke up for dinner and then went straight back to bed. I was super fun last night ;)

Okay, so Saturday at Blend! I’m going to warn you in advance – this post is LONG. It is difficult to fit an amazing 24 hours into one recap. And yes, in case you’re wondering, I think I was awake for at least 24 hours on Saturday…

I never sleep well in a new place and Friday night was no different. I’m guessing I got about 4ish hours of sleep on Friday night – combined with my 6 hours on Thursday night, I was TIRED when I woke up bright and early Saturday morning!

I woke up about an hour before our boot camp was scheduled so I headed downstairs to grab some coffee and eat a banana to fuel my tired self. I had the chance to meet some of the other bloggers who are also early risers and we chatted and then headed to our boot camp workout at 7am!

GPP

Our workout was led by GPP Fitness – go check out their site, they’re amazing! – and it kicked my booty. I’m blamin’ the altitude… it is not easy to get your sweat on at 7,500+ feet above sea level if you’re not accustomed to the lack of oxygen!

Anyways, our workout began with 10m sprints but the key to the sprints was to start out as fast as you can and be completely stopped by the 10m line. Let’s just say that my quads are STILL burning and it is 5 days post workout. After the killer sprints, we did the Biggest Loser’s Deck of Cards workout. Burpees, push-ups, sit-ups and squats = a painfully phenomenal sweat session!

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After we were all thoroughly drenched in sweat, we headed to breakfast which consisted of an amazing spread sponsored by The Laughing Cow and Muesli Fusion. YUM, yum! More details on breakfast will be coming your way in my food recap post :)

Following breakfast, Carly and I swung by the front desk (with all of the attractive men working there we didn’t really need an excuse to make conversation…) to see if we could swing a room upgrade. Unfortunately, the suite next to us was booked BUT we may have been able to score a sweet {suite} deal – I’d share the details but the guy at the front desk (AKA: #scottietoohottie) told us we couldn’t tell anyone.

Apparently Carly and I are either brilliant negotiators or just plain awesome. I’m going with the latter ;)

Since it was rainy and chilly on Saturday, we had two options for our next activity of the day – a hike or a zumba class! I had never tried a zumba class before but NEVER get to go hiking (Minnesota isn’t known for its gorgeous mountains…) so I decided to join along with the hike sponsored by ProBar!

Photo Courtesy of De

The views from the hike were absolutely incredible. Park City was just beginning to turn green and it was amazing to look down from our hike and see spring everywhere!

I had great conversations (while trying not to fall off of the edge of the mountain…) with Carly, Katie, Kate, De, Ashley, Kim and many others wonderful bloggers over our 5 miles hike. Seriously, all of the girls that attended Blend are incredible! It was an honor to spend time with all of them :)

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Photo Courtesy of Carly

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Since it was rainy on Saturday, the hike was MUDDY! Thankfully I brought a second pair of old shoes that I threw away after our hike. There was no way those were going into my suitcase looking like that!

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Next on the agenda was getting cleaned up and scrubbing all of the mud off of our bods! Beautiful and mud-free, Katie, Carly and I headed down to snack break which was sponsored by Onnit! We had some delicious nut butters on rice cakes along with a chocolate hemp protein shake. It was much needed after our workout and hike!

We also had the chance to meet Miss USA – She’s adorable and edgy and awesome and we loved spending time with her!

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Photo Courtesy of Carly

After our snack break – and yes, we eat as much as preschoolers – a group of us decided to head to downtown Park City for some shopping before dinner and drinks!

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Photo Courtesy of Carly – Yep, I’m pretty much stealing all of her photos…

As you all know, I am not known to pass up a shopping opportunity and I bought this jacket at a cute little boutique!

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Notice Carly creepin’ in the background??! ;)

After our shopping spree, we checked out a bunch of different restaurant menus and settled on Wasatch Brew Pub. The food and drinks were amazing and our server was super efficient for dealing with a huge group of women!

The group shared guacamole and chips along with a Mediterranean plate for an appetizer and then Carly and I split a black bean burger with sweet potato fries for dinner. I also enjoyed a few beers, one of which the server felt the need to warn me about. Apparently I don’t look like I can handle a double IPA ;)

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Photo Courtesy of Carly

When our bellies were full, it was time to hit the town for a girls’ night out! We knew we wanted to end up at No Name Saloon at some point in the night but started out at O’Shucks. O’Shucks is an absolute dive bar but it was fun to hang out and have mega girl talk over tiny vodka gimlets (right, Sara??!) and Katie’s HUGE beer!

Photo Courtesy of De

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Photo Courtesy of Carly

I apparently decided to take no photos between dinner and arriving back at the hotel. #bloggerfail

I can assure you No Name was an awesome time as was our evening post-bars. Carly has an awesome recap – the girl seriously remember everything, even after 22 lemon drops! – and a lot more photos of our time at the bars so head on over to her post for more details!

We somehow managed to get a free ride back to the hotel thanks to #scottietoohottie.

Yep, it happened. Don’t be too jealous ;)

And, as Carly puts it we “managed to occupy ourselves for the rest of the night.”

This is the point where my Saturday night story ends… What happens in Park City, stays in Park City ;)

What bloggers do you recognize in this post? Have I convinced you to join me at BLEND next year??!

BLEND Recap – Part 1

BLEND 2013.

It was honestly one of the best, funnest, most fantastic, sleepless and inappropriate weekends of my entire life and I loved every single second of it!

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I have no idea of where or how to even begin recapping the weekend.

I have so many things to tell all of you! From our awesome sponsors including Chobani, The Laughing Cow, Silk and Vega (along with many, many more!) to our pain inducing bootcamps via GPP and hikes through the mountains (I’m STILL sore!) to the amazing Park City Hyatt Escala to Scotty Too Hottie (Let me tell you, Park City breeds some real attractive men ;) ) to downtown Park City to all of the amazing bloggers I FINALLY had the chance to meet to completely inappropriate Saturday evenings.

Oh sorry, that last one can’t be shared via ONW – Park City is kinda like Vegas. What happens there, stays there… at least when it comes to BLEND ;) Right, Carly and Katie??!

I guess the easiest place to start is at the beginning – Friday morning.

My flight out of Minneapolis was at 9am so I woke up crazy early to fit in a 4-mile run and to finish packing. I hate packing last minute and ended up forgetting my shoes that I had planned to wear on Friday night! Kyle dropped me off at the airport around 7am and I enjoyed a couple of mimosas before taking off for Salt Lake City.

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After a short and sweet – although somewhat turbulent – flight, I arrived in SLC around 11am and grabbed some lunch while waiting for Carly and Katie to arrive! Airports have such fantastic people watching that I in no way minded waiting around for them :) Once they got in from Sacramento, we hopped into our rental car and started the 30-minute drive to Park City.

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The scenery on our drive was absolutely stunning and when we arrived at the Hyatt Escala we were amazed by the gorgeous hotel and views of the mountains.

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We were quickly checked in by some of the most attractative men I have ever seen (besides Kyle, of course…) – I am pretty sure our jaws dropped after seeing the staff at Escala – and headed up to our room.

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Next on the list was to go pick up our SWAG!! We were told that there was going to be a lot of products from the retreat’s sponsors and they weren’t kidding. I think my “swag bag” had to weight at least 72.6 pounds, as much as Mitchell Man! As you can imagine, we looked pretty ridiculous attempting to drag our heavy swag back to our room. Luckily, the men at the resort are not only gorgeous they are also complete gentlemen and one of the guys (who Carly and I nicknamed “Scotty Too Hottie”) saw us, mentioned that we should not have to be carrying things so heavy and carried our bags to our room for us.

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Photo courtesy of Carly

We may have gotten a few photos of him on the way to our room… Man candy, I tell ya. He looks really upset to be in an elevator full of women ;)

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ANYWAYS, ahem… Where was I? Oh yes, BLEND…

Next on the agenda was a snack break sponsored by Justin’s Nut Butter and Attune Foods. Carly, Katie and I headed down to grab some delicious nut butters and to mix and mingle with some new blogger friends! After snacks, it was time to get ready for the evening’s cocktail hour and 5-course dinner.

Since I forgot my shoes for the dress I was planning to wear Friday night, I had to have a slight change in my wardrobe – Good thing I ignored my packing rules and over-packed for the weekend ;) As a side note, I always forget how much fun it is to get ready with girls. I love being able to get opinions on different outfits and makeup!

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Sara and I at cocktail hour!

Our cocktail hour was sponsored by Silk so each of the featured cocktails included a Silk product. At first I was hesitant – almond and soy milk in cocktails? – but after trying the Strawberry Mint Slush, I was convinced that Silk is the way to go for cocktails! My drink had Silk almond milk in the mix and it tasted just like a healthy strawberry mojito – delicious!

I had the chance to chat with a few sponsors (Muesli Fusion and The Laughing Cow) and TONS of bloggers during the cocktail hour. It was great to have a chance to relax, have some fun in the photo booth and meet some fun new gals after a long day of travel!

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With a glass of red in my hand, I headed to dinner with Sara, De, Kate, Ashley and the Chobani girls! We enjoyed wonderful conversations getting to know each other on a more personal level (we already “knew” each other through our blogs) as well as learning more about Chobani. The dinner consisted of a huge healthy buffet which I’ll tell you all about in a future post!

After dinner, we headed up to our room around 10 and had some girl talk time before crashing after a long day.

I obviously have a ridiculous amount of details that I left out of this post so I am planning on sharing the following BLEND recap posts over the next week:

  • Saturday Recap
  • Sunday Recap
  • SWAG Bag + Sponsors
  • Food ‘n’ Fitness

Is there anything specific – in terms of BLEND – you’d like to read about in my recaps? I am sure Carly and I could fill a few posts with photos of hot men if you’re interested ;)

Antioxidant Froyo Bars

Believe it or not, I have yet ANOTHER healthy recipe for you this lovely Monday morning.

Two weeks in a row? Something must be seriously wrong with me ;)

Now, don’t you start worrying about all of this healthy recipe stuff happening here on ONW. I’ll have some delicious peanut butter and chocolate-y goodness coming your way in no time!

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Now, about today’s recipe. Do you ever get in a breakfast funk? I have days where nothing sounds good for breakfast. Days where oatmeal, containers of yogurt and cereal don’t seem like they’d be enough. Waffles topped with strawberries and whipped cream always sound good but who has the time (or the metabolism) for that on a random Tuesday morning at 7:30? Not me.

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Well, my friends, I have found a mouth-watering solution for those indecisive, hunger-driven mornings.

Frozen yogurt. Froyo. Yep, you heard me – FROZEN YOGURT FOR BREAKFAST!!! Hallelujah!

“Is this Heaven? No, it’s breakfast-time.” (Sorry ’bout that joke. I’m from Iowa and this was the perfect opportunity to throw in this quote from the Iowa-based Field of Dreams…”) ;)

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Antioxidant Froyo Bars!

Thick vanilla Greek yogurt, sweet pomegranate seeds, crunchy pistachios and delectable dark chocolate pieces. Seriously, what’s not to love about this breakfast bar?

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These bars have the perfect combination of salty and sweet and have a punch of protein and antioxidants to start your morning off right!

Easy to make and easy to store – Keep these bars on hand for the days where you need a little extra energy to keep you running throughout the day!

Antioxidant Froyo Bars (Adapted from The Lean Green Bean)

Makes 8 Bars

Ingredients

  • 3 cups vanilla Greek yogurt (I used Chobani)
  • 1 cup oatmeal, uncooked
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1 cup strawberries, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pistachios
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate pieces (I chopped up my favorite dark chocolate bar!)

Directions

Line a 9×13 pan with tin foil and mix all ingredients together. Pour yogurt mixture into the lined pan, smooth the top to make even-looking bars, cover and place into freezer for 2-3 hours or until frozen. Once frozen cut into 8 pieces (or however many you like!) and store in an airtight container in freezer. Allow to sit at room temperature for 2 minutes before enjoying!

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Make these bars and the next time you’re on the brink of having a breakfast catastrophe, pull one out of the freezer, smile and relax. Your catastrophe has been avoided :)

What is your favorite breakfast food? Do you prefer salty or sweet breakfast options?

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