Life Update: What Day Is It?

Hi Friends! It’s been a hot second since my last post. Life has been…. kind of a beautiful mess!

The truth is that I am exhausted. The last month has been a total whirlwind and most days I am not entirely sure which way is up. If I don’t write something down, I don’t remember it.

As an example, about two weeks ago (Maybe?) I had a meeting on a Monday and didn’t realize that I had completely forgotten about it and not shown up until Thursday. Oops. Luckily, I was able to reschedule.

I’ve been so busy that I didn’t post anything on Instagram for 3 WEEKS! If you know me, you know that I typically post about once a day!

Also, the blog turned 4 years old a couple of weeks ago! I had been thinking of doing a sappy throwback post with a lot of fanfare…and then I completely missed it… so thank you to everyone who keeps reading! Moving on…

In other news, Ben and I are adjusting to a new schedule as he started a new job a few weeks ago and I am still trying to figure out balancing schoolwork and adulting. Most days, I am usually up until about 2 am doing homework. Needless to say, this month has required a lot of prayer, patience and coffee (mostly on Farmer Ben’s part-#besthubsever).

 

But even with all of the hustle and bustle and adulting failure, life is good and Ben and I have so much to be thankful for.

Life is SO good!

Ben and I took a quick trip down to see the family for Thanksgiving. (We drove down Wednesday after work and drove back on Thursday night). Yes, it was a lot of driving but Farmer Ben is probably the best car dancer road trip partner on the planet so we had a blast.

I spent a large portion of the trip scanning radio stations (I know, I’m incredibly behind the times) so I could belt out Adele’s “Hello” while speeding down the highway, eating Trader Joe’s chocolate almonds and drinking coffee like a champ!

The highlight of our trip was going to Wegmans on Thanksgiving day and completely blowing our grocery budget on beer and cheese buying some awesome foodie things that we may not be able to get at home.

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Just kidding! While this beer and Wegmans brie are both wonderful treats, it was even better to spend time with the family….especially because I finally got to meet my beautiful niece! Her name is Olivia and she is perfect!

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She already looks so much like my sister! (Side note: Can we talk about how good my sister looks after delivering a human baby three weeks ago?!) It’s crazy….strong genes! It was awesome to see the rest of the family as well… I always hate to leave!

Since being home, I’ve been going pretty much nonstop but I am thankful that I am able to do what I do.

Phew… this was an incredibly random post! I had something much deeper planned when I first started typing and…well, clearly that didn’t happen. Next time friends!

Let’s catch up! How was Thanksgiving? Favorite road trip snack? What’s your favorite foodie item/beer? 

 

Also, linking up with Amanda at Running With Spoons for today’s Thinking Out Loud Post….check out some of the other posts! Thanks for hosting the link-up!

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What’s Been On My Plate? #HempHearts Review & Giveaway

Hi Friends!

Happy Weekend! Any big plans? Farmer Ben and I are spending our weekend at our district’s ministry retreat.

Today I want to talk about Hemp Hearts!

Have you had these tasty little seeds before? Farmer Ben and I love them! Confession: We put them in everything. And I mean EVERYTHING!

Hemp Hearts are actually the center of the hemp seed (basically, it’s what remains after the seed is de-shelled). They are also super good for you. In one 30 gram serving, Hemp Hearts contain 10 grams of plant-based protein and 10 grams of Omegas. They also have more protein and omegas and less carbs than the same serving of chia or flax (AND don’t get stuck in your teeth!). Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts are also Non-GMO Project verified. This is something super important to Ben and me.

I love them because they have a nutty flavor that goes with anything. Seriously, Ben and I use them as a topping for yogurt and salads, a stir-in for smoothies or eggs, filling in meatballs (yes, I’m serious) and muffins. Sweet or savory, these will work! Click the link or the picture below for the muffin recipe. I made these a while back and actually just use all hemp seeds now.

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One of my favorite ways we’ve used the hemp hearts is in a veggie packed pasta sauce. We started with Farmer Ben’s homemade marinara sauce, added a splash of wine, threw in some vegan sausage, swiss chard, spinach and mushrooms and let those cook down, then right before we served it, we stirred in some hemp hearts for a little added crunch and flavor (then, to certify our hippie status, we topped it with nutritional yeast and served with whole wheat pasta)

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Another way that we love to eat hemp hearts is with plain yogurt and some fresh berries. As you probably know, siggi’s is my go to!

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So, long story short, we are huge fans. These little seeds are a staple in our house.

AND! Good News, Manitoba Harvest is generously offering one of you lucky readers the chance to win a package of Manitoba Hemp Hearts to try.

To enter pick any or all options below and leave a comment letting me know that you did it! (1 entry for each)

  • Follow @ManitobaHarvest on Twitter
  • Follow @ManitobaHarvest on Instagram
  • Tweet about the giveaway using @ManitobaHarvest #hemphearts @FitApproach #sweatpink
  • Follow @NoellesNotebook on Twitter
  • Follow @NoellesNotebook on Instagram
  • Leave a comment telling me your favorite way to enjoy Hemp Hearts

The Fine Print: 

  • Open to US and Canada residents
  • One prize per person. If you win this giveaway, and have already won another prize from Manitoba Harvest through another blog, please disclose that you have already won so we can choose another winner. 

****Giveaway ends Wednesday, November 11.

Ever had Hemp Hearts? What’s your favorite way to eat them? 

*Full disclosure: As a Sweat Pink ambassador,  I was provided a free sample of Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own. *  Thank you Manitoba Harvest! 


Real Talk: Grokker Review & *GIVEAWAY*

Hi Friends!

So I know that I am behind on my #GBN (Gross But Necessary) posts, but I am super excited to share this fun website with you!

Have you heard of Grokker? I know it has a funny name, but it is awesome!

Grokker is a total wellness website. 

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This site is not your typical streaming website. You can find workouts, yoga and cooking videos…I even watched a few videos on food and wine pairings! How cool is that?  It’s comforting to know that if I ever really want to impress Farmer Ben, I can bring a professional chef into my kitchen for a quick lesson without having to clean up/shower!

Also… Upstate NY in Late Fall/Winter… It’s COLD! And dark! Now, I love running, but winter running can be tough and, if I don’t make it out during the day, dangerous! Knowing that I can use Grokker as an alternative to an outside run AND as an option for cross-training is huge! On top of that, I don’t even have to leave my house, which means that if I am up crazy late doing homework and the mood strikes, I can totally do a dance workout in my pjs. Winning!

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Speaking of dance workouts… one of my favorite videos on Grokker is this one… this is super kind of embarrassing (because I can’t dance to save my life!) but I LOVE to dance, especially anything with a latin flavor… so this mambo dance workout was right up my alley!

In addition to their videos, Grokker allows you to track the videos that you’ve done and the amount of time spent being active. They also allow you to save videos for later, create collections based on your preferences and schedule workouts for a later date and time! In addition to that, you also have the ability to ask questions to a huge team of experts!

Have a I mentioned that I love this site?

Grokker currently has two plans.  Basic (the freebie!) and Premium (it’s unlimited videos!). Typically I’d say go for the free plan, but honestly, the Premium plan has a lot of perks (and a lot more videos) and is well worth the $10/ month if you pay for a year.

Basic
  • 2 Free Grokker Premium Videos/week
  • Full Access to Non-Premium videos
  • Always free
Premium
  • UNLIMITED Grokker Premium videos
  • Full access to non-premium videos
  • Enjoy Group Classes online
  • Watch on mobile, tablet, web, and TV
  • Ask Grokker Experts questions
  • $9.99/month for an annual plan, $14.99/month of a monthly plan

And now…for the fun part! The Giveaway! 

Grokker is allowing me to give one of you a 3-month premium membership ($60 value)!

Rules:

*Must be 18 years of age or older
*Enter below through Rafflecopter.
*Giveaway begins today, 10/29/15 and ends 11/6/15.
*I will email the winner randomly chosen through Rafflecopter.  The winner will have 24 hours to respond or another winner will be selected.

Click here to enter.

But wait! In case you don’t win the giveaway, Grokker is giving all Noelle’s Notebook Readers a sweet deal! Enter 99CENTS for 99 cents for first month of premium membership on Grokker! You can’t beat that!

Thanks to Fit Approach and Grokker for this awesome opportunity! 

*Full disclosure: As a Sweat Pink ambassador,  I was provided a three month premium membership to Grokker in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own. * 


Confessions: On Turning 28

Today is my 28th birthday. Ever since I turned 25, I have begrudgingly gotten older, panic setting in as I realize that I am hurdling toward my thirties and there is no turning back. As an example, I vividly remember a conversation with an old friend last year. They wished me a happy birthday and asked how my day was. My response? “Thanks. I’m okay… I just thought that I’d have my sh*t together by now.”

But this year is different. I am totally okay with 28. I feel that I have fully used my 27th year and am ready for the next adventures that God has for me. I want to celebrate this life that I was given!

As I reflect back on the last year of my life, I smile at that conversation. I had no idea of the wild ride that God had in store for me.

I am so incredibly grateful. Not that it was an easy year, by any means, but I (eventually) chose to be joyful. And I am so grateful for the blessings that came with all of the hard things.

Year 27 was a year filled with loss. Ben and I left the restaurant; we lost a great mentor and friend and closed the book on jobs, projects and relationships that meant a lot to us. I struggled with not feeling my best and not doing things that I enjoyed doing. Not gonna lie, the first few months of 27 were spent very angry, upset and feeling as though I could snap like a rubber band.

But then something changed. I surrendered. And I let go of the fear and the bitterness that I was holding onto. Life didn’t get any easier; I simply chose to be grateful for whatever good I could find. I sought contentment and it changed my life.

Because of that choice, year 27 was filled with blessings, renewal, strength and so much love! Looking back, I realize that these things never would have happened if I had not decided to find joy and to submit to God’s plan.

I am absolutely amazed and humbled by how much God has done in my life as a result. He has blessed my marriage, my career and my friendships. Everything! I’m not saying that I have it all figured out, and there are definitely hard days where I would rather choose a pity party than gratitude, but I am actively seeking Thanksgiving and Joy.

I took a chance to start a book club, and have seen so much growth, friendship and wisdom come out of this.

By clearing out our schedules, Ben and I were able to spend more time with another couple. As a result, Ben and Ashley are some of our closest friends and we can’t imagine doing life without them! We’ve been through a lot with these two and are so grateful for their friendship.

We were also able to spend more time together. This year, we were able to have dinner together almost every day. Before my 27th birthday, I don’t think we ever did that more than 1 night a week. We’ve been able to take walks, to try new things together, to read and just be together in comfortable silence. I know that it won’t necessarily be like this forever but I am so grateful for this season of life.

I also took risks. I left my comfortable, secure job and am trying something new. Every day is filled with new challenges but this is exactly where I am supposed to be. I am doing something that I’ve always wanted to do, but it is not anything like I imagined it would be.

So, this year, instead of groaning at the thought of turning a year older, I am smiling. And I’m looking forward to what year 28 will bring. Because God has a plan.

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Confessions; Life, Lately (Mostly Food).

Happy Saturday Friends!

Any exciting weekend plans? Farmer Ben and I are having some friends over for an evening of good food and games. I’m really looking forward to it!

Other than that, my back-to-school game is in full swing! Not gonna lie, I’ll be happy once my orientation class is over so I don’t have to log in every day. I probably still will… but I won’t be obligated to. That makes all the difference!

In other news, have you guys heard of EBATES? It’s stupidly easy. You sign up, download their button, and when you are on a site that gives cash back, it turns red. Once activated, you get money back! If you don’t want to download the button, you can go to the EBATES’ site and find what you’re looking for that way. I’ve gotten money back on a book for school, protein powder and a baby shower gift.

(Full Disclosure, if you sign up via the link above and make a purchase, I get $5. Thank you in advance!). 

I signed up about a month ago and I’ve already gotten $8.05 back from online purchases. My sister, on the other hand, got $26 back (I think she does more online shopping than I do). It doesn’t seem like it’s that much, but those few dollars here and there add up! You’ll either receive a check in the mail or you can have it go to your PayPal account.

Confession time… (Mostly Food)

  • Farmer Ben and I had pizza for dinner three times this week (Unless you count Sunday as last week, then it’s technically only 2 times). One of said pizzas was a “nacho pizza.” Yes, it was ridiculously good and I think I gained approximately 5 pounds.

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  • I am officially over summer squash and zucchini…we’ve been eating it SO MUCH and people keep giving us more! I’ve gotten creative, making a zucchini “lasagna,” and just eating it raw, dipped in hummus or dressing…and a few other ways… but there are only so many things you can do to squash. Sometime next week, we’ll have zucchini fritters and the elusive zucchini pizza crust (because clearly, we never get sick of pizza). Gulp…wish us luck!
  • I made these cupcakes with a few modifications, to use more zucchini up (and then my mom gave us 3 more). They were good but only required a cup… I may need to quadruple the recipe and freeze them!  Any suggestions for what else we should make?
  • I am really into snack plates (Always with radishes and cucumbers)… I think it’s becoming a problem…this was a recent work meeting.

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  • Farmer Ben and I have a problem with making everything boozey. The cupcakes I talked about earlier? I put Kahlua in them… And Farmer Ben? He made this…

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I can’t even.

  • I’ve been alternating between three pairs of running capris. I have other bottoms to wear, but they just aren’t as comfortable! I’ve been doing a lot of laundry the last few weeks.
  • Speaking of running… I’ve been eyeing different GPS Watches/Heart Rate Monitors… I’ve even gone as far as putting some in my online shopping cart… but I can’t convince myself to spend the money on them. Any suggestions on brand? I’m bouncing back and forth between Garmin and TomTom. Are they worth all the hype?
  • And sports bras. It’s time to cough up some cash for some new sports bras. Why is having boobs so darn expensive?!
  • Looking back over my last month of posts, I realize that I haven’t blogged about so many things…look for some major photo/catching up posts in the next week or two!

That’s all for today, Friends! Any confessions on your end? Let me know in the comments! 


Gross But Necessary: Two Weeks

Hello Friends!

You may have noticed that I didn’t post anything for GBN last week, so we are making up for it with two weeks of workouts today!  I started my online orientation class and I’ve had a ridiculous amount of meetings the last couple of weeks, AND Farmer Ben’s schedule has changed, which makes the morning run a bit trickier now… so there were many missed runs. Even though I am a bit frustrated by this, I realize that I just have to prioritize my time better. And, today is a new day!

Right?

Right.

Farmer Ben joined me on a couple of runs over these two weeks and I was absolutely ecstatic. There is something about running with the hubs that just makes it so much better…even if he is way faster than me!

That being said, my runs were … just okay last week. I don’t know if I was overtired or just bored, but pretty much every run was a struggle. Also, apparently last week was the week of meetings. Holy moly! I literally had some kind of meeting every day!

This week… I was sore. Like, I had a hard time bending over and putting pants on kind of sore…So, there’s that.

Anyway, here we go!

Gross But Necessary: August 23-September 5.

Sunday: So… I’ve decided to just go ahead and call Sundays a rest day.

Monday: No run. Instead of my usual forcing myself to run in the morning, I came into work early with the intention of running to a friend’s house after work for our usual dinner and small group. As I was about to literally run out the door, I got a phone call from someone who needed help. I was annoyed that I missed my run, but it was perfect timing and I was able to pray for this person AND practically help them…And honestly, that’s more important to me.

Tuesday: Short Night Run. I ended up going out in the evening with Farmer Ben for a little over 2 miles. This was after a taco dinner and a beer. Needless to say, this was extremely poor planning on my part and I didn’t feel too hot and it wasn’t pretty.

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Wednesday: I woke up at 5:00 am and got ready for a work conference just north of Albany (I was thrilled. Heh). We got back to town around 4:30 and I was incredibly car sick from the trip. After lounging around on the couch, Farmer Ben forced me to go out (God bless that man!). We did 3 miles and a cool down.

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Thursday: 4 Mile Morning (!) Run and a 1.5 Mile cool down. Knowing that I had a meeting on Thursday night, I set out to do five miles in the wee morning hours. And I tried. I got to 4 miles and decided to finish the loop as a cool down, so I alternated walking and running. This was a “meh” workout.

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Friday: I slept in that morning, went to work, had another meeting and marathon cleaned my house that evening, prepared for my monthly book club, cooked and baked until about 1:30 in the morning.  Does anyone else do this? I always pick really inconvenient times to decide to do the really OCD cleaning. Am I alone on this?

Saturday: I finished tidying up, did dog duty for friends who were out of town,w drove to a work luncheon, sped back to my house, frosted cupcakes for book club, hosted book club, second dog duty, had dinner with the hubby and took some chicken broth, soup and medicine to my mother who caught the black plague.

Sunday: See note above. Work, lunch with friends, work, delicious pizza with Farmer Ben celebrating the end of the week of meetings. Phew!

Monday: I can’t even lie, big fail; I didn’t drag my butt out of bed early enough…Then, instead of running in the evening, I started classes.

Tuesday: This workout from Erica House. I loved this workout…and I hated it. I love doing pushups and squats. I HATE lunges. Especially being as out of shape as I am…I’m still sore. Yesterday, I had trouble putting pants on! I know this means that I should probably do more lunges.

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Two notes: We actually did a 1/2 mile warmup and 1/4 mile cool down… We also did about .32 miles instead of 400 meters. Also, did you know that running on a soccer field is more challenging when it needs to be mowed (we did this at a field near our house)? True story.

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Wednesday: Um…I hurt all day. I had a lunch meeting and then ended up doing school work til late.

Thursday: Still in pain. I probably should have gone out and done something, but after work and homework, I really just wanted to spend some quality time with Farmer Ben…so that’s what I did.

Friday: Evening run. 3 miles, slow and easy.

Saturday: 5 miles with lots of hills.

Takeaways from the last two weeks?

I was very happy to get at least one good workout in this week after such a rough time the week before… I probably overdid it (or else I am just a major wuss) but I’m thinking that it was better for me to just start doing stuff like this, instead of waiting to “get back in shape.” If I wait for that, it’ll never happen. So, in spite of being sore, I am really glad that Farmer Ben and I did it and we will keep it in the rotation…it can only get easier, right?

Looking at my calendar, I really need to just go ahead and block out time for working out, otherwise, it won’t happen. Especially with schoolwork and all these meetings!

I’m also thinking that I need to sign up for a race… I unfortunately won’t be able to do the Ragnar Relay like I’d hoped, which means I haven’t done any races this year and have none coming up! That’s kind of depressing. Any race suggestions? They have to be Saturday races.

Happy Weekend, Friends!

Tell me, how are your workouts this week? Any Saturday race suggestions? 


What Am I Snacking On?

Hi Friends!

Today, we are going to talk about one of my favorite things…Food! Specifically, what food I’m snacking on after a workout! If you’re anything like me, you may be kind of nosey… and you may be really curious about what other people are eating….If you were to peruse my Instagram feed, you’d probably find a lot of foodie accounts and food photos. It’s something I get excited about, what can I say?!

I was recently asked what I’m eating after all of my GBN workouts. This changes often because I go through food phases, but there are a few staples that stay in the rotation. I typically like to eat snacks with lots of protein, fiber and healthy fats.

Just a note, this is what works for me. I’ve discovered this mostly through trial and error, and what I do may or may not work for someone else. So, do you, Friend! 

I was recently introduced to a great site for all of my snacking needs! Nuts.com has a great variety of healthy snacks for every type of person–whether you’re a parent, career person, or a crazy runner, vegan or paleo, Nuts.com has something for you. And, if you’re not sure about something, you can buy a sample size!

They have everything from nuts, spices, gluten free and regular flours to chocolate, coffee and other cooking/baking ingredients. One stop shopping for dry goods, friends! I personally love that you can buy tons of ingredients in bulk…because, let’s be real, that saves money! And saving money=extra cash to buy more snacks! #winning

Anyway, let’s get started…here is what I’m snacking on lately! 

Nut Butters. I really love peanut butter. And cashew butter. And almond butter. But, they can get pricey… Luckily, my family got us a Ninja for Christmas last year, so I’ve been able to whip up all sorts of nutty creations.

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It’s stupidly easy…just dump whatever nuts and flavors you want in the food processor and you’re on your way to delicious nut butters! I love that I can control the ingredients and am able to make small batches. Don’t want salt? Done! Don’t want sugar? That’s okay too! Pro-Tip: Buy your nuts in bulk. This saves money! 

My favorite varieties are chocolate peanut butter (peanuts and chocolate chips OR cocoa powder and some maple syrup)  and maple cashew butter (cashews and maple syrup with a pinch of smoked salt).

Just a note, for harder nuts like cashews and almonds, I’d recommend roasting first. If you’re into raw nut butters, soak nuts for a few hours to soften so you don’t break the food processor. 

I typically eat nut butter with a banana or apple, or throw it in a smoothie, slather on crackers or make a sandwich. But sometimes, I just eat it by the spoonful! Easy to grab and go!

Smoothies. If you’ve been following along, you know that I struggle with waking up and getting out the door in the morning. As of late, I’ve also been trying to run in the morning, which means I don’t have any a ton of time for breakfast. The easiest thing for me to suck down after my morning run and shower is a smoothie.

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My favorite concoction is usually protein powder, nut butter (duh), banana, any other fruit we have in the freezer/on the counter, coconut milk, cold coffee and some cacao and maca powders. If I’m looking for an extra protein boost, I throw in some siggi’s yogurt (coconut).

So to review, we have some protein, healthy fats, carbs and caffeine. This will usually satisfy me until lunch time. *coconut milk, coffee, nut butters or dry nuts and cacao and maca powders available on nuts.com*

Yogurt with seeds and/or fruit. This is another super easy to make snack, packed with protein, fiber and healthy fats so it keeps me full.

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I’m not a big fan of flavored yogurt because of the added sugar, but I have a soft spot for siggi’s coconut (simple ingredients, not a lot of sugar). If I don’t have that on hand, I use a full fat, plain yogurt. I top with berries if I have them, then I add chia seeds, hemp seeds and flax seed meal. *seeds available on nuts.com 

Random Snack Plates. Confession time; Farmer Ben and I are eating a lot of plates that look like this for lunch and dinner. If I run after work, a lot of times I am too hot and sweaty tired to cook. Farmer Ben is often so busy at work, that he doesn’t have time to eat meals that require a fork… can you relate?

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We are super lucky to have an amazing landlord and mom who frequently give us veggies from the garden. We typically just chop up a cucumber, tomato, radishes, peppers and add a piece of chicken sausage or lunch meat and some hummus (another thing we make at home to save some dinero and control the ingredients) and nuts/a few crackers and call it dinner/snack/lunch. Plates like this are easy to make, fill us up without being too heavy and make us feel good because we are eating so many colors!

So there you have it, this is what Farmer Ben and I are snacking on lately…again, this is what works for us! Do you!

*All nuts, seeds and powders are available on nuts.com…along with many other products! 

What are you snacking on lately? 

Thanks to Nuts.com for starting this conversation! I was not compensated for my time and all opinions are my own.