Real Talk: Manitoba Harvest Hemp Heart Bars

Helloooo! Happy Tuesday y’all!

Can we talk about snacks today?! I am stopping in today with a quick review for Manitoba Harvest. They recently came out with a new product, their hemp heart bars, and I was lucky enough to get to sample two of the flavors!

*Full Disclosure-Manitoba Harvest provided me with product for review purposes through my relationship with Fit Approach as a Sweat Pink Ambassador. Per usual, all opinions are my own.*

I was excited to test these out as I am a big fan of hemp seeds as a plant-based protein and am always game for trying new snacks.

There are many days when I get caught up at work and do not have time to sit down and eat a real lunch, so I try to keep relatively healthy and filling snacks around. These definitely fit the bill!

I was sent the apple cinnamon and the chocolate to try. While both were good, the chocolate was definitely the winner in my book. I will be on the lookout for the vanilla so I can try all three!

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Side note: I know this probably doesn’t matter to most people, but I really like the packaging for these… it’s nice and simple, just like the ingredients.  

Speaking of the ingredients, I can pronounce all of them, which if you know me, is very important! You can also see pretty much everything listed!

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A quick run down of the bars from the Manitoba Harvest Website:

“Manitoba Harvest Hemp Heart bars are crafted with the goodness of hemp and other tasty ingredients too. We’ve whipped up three different delicious flavours to choose from: vanilla, chocolate and apple cinnamon. Each 45 gram bar contains 10 grams of plant-based protein and 10 grams of omegas, so whether you grab one for a pre-workout snack or nutrition on the go, these convenient bars are sure to get you through even your busiest day!”

10 grams of protein! I was super thankful to have one of these in my purse the other day… Once again, I hadn’t had time for a real lunch and I needed a quick snack before heading out to meet a friend for a run! It didn’t bother my stomach and kept me satiated through my workout and up until dinner! Winning!

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Overall, I would absolutely buy these again. However, I would definitely recommend the chocolate over the apple cinnamon. It’s just…I personally would rather eat an actual apple…but that’s just me…don’t let that rain on your apple cinnamon loving parade!

In other exciting news, Manitoba Harvest is running a wicked cool photo contest! You can find the full details here.

Here are some quick details if you’d like to play along: 

  • Tag @manitobaharvest #hempheartbar #fuelledbyhemp #sweatpink @fitapproach for a chance to win a box of your favorite flavor of Hemp Heart Bars!
  • A winner will be chosen each month!
  • Eligibility: open to US and Canada residents.

AND if you’d like to order your own hemp heart bars, Manitoba Harvest is generously offering 15% off your purchase. You can buy them here.

  • The discount code hhbarlaunch1015 will get you 15% off! Expires 3/31/2016 

A big thank you to Manitoba Harvest and Fit Approach for allowing me to sample out another awesome product!

Lets’ chat: Hemp Hearts-yes or no? Favorite pre-run (or other workout) snack? Chocolate or Apple Cinnamon? 

 

 

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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. * 


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? 


Real Talk: Every Body Matters Book Review

If you’ve seen my last few posts, you already know that I’ve been working through this Gary Thomas book. I finished it a couple of weeks ago.

I typically read very fast–I am totally guilty of rushing through a book to finish it and not taking enough time to think critically and reflect on it. I couldn’t do that with this book. It’s not incredibly long, but it is FULL. I have about 2/3 of the pages dog-eared with information/quotes that I want to go back and read.

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The basic premise of this book (at least from my point of view) comes from 2 Timothy 2:20-21:

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. 21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

As Christians we are called to be:

  • Instruments for special purposes
  • Made holy
  • Useful to the Master
  • Prepared to do any good work. 

That’s a lot of responsibility.

As Gary puts it:

 “Desiring a silver soul means that we stop treating our bodies like ornaments-with all the misguided motivations often displayed by those who build their bodies out of pride and ambition-and start treating our bodies like instruments, vessels set apart to serve the God who fashioned them. Whether we have strong or weak bodies, healthy or sick, overnourished or undernourished, how do we begin moving from where we are now to more purposefully building bodies that function like instruments?” 

Um… treating our bodies as ornaments? Guilty. This means that we must put our vanity aside. That we stop beating ourselves up or worshiping our looks and start treating our bodies as something that God has given us…and use them accordingly!

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This is heavy stuff. And that was only the first chapter!

I mentioned before that this really hit home. I’ve been a bit lax about taking care of my physical health the last few months. Not that I’ve taken up binge drinking, smoking and eating bacon cheeseburgers for dinner every night (How fun would that be?)… I just haven’t made a concerted effort to get out and move. And I was starting to feel it.

With my new-ish job, being healthy and physically fit is important. I have to be on the move at any given time…I never really know what I’m going to end up doing during the week (Seriously).

And then there is the other aspect of my job; As much as I don’t like to admit or think about it, people are watching what I do and say. Especially younger people. And their parents.  What I do directly impacts my accountability. How is that for scary responsibility/reality? Wow.

There is a chapter called The Three-Hundred Pound Pastor that hit the nail on the head in this regard. Let’s just say that my Gross But Necessary posts came back right around the time I read that chapter.

To quote the book:

“Let’s be honest: There were times when I was discredited because of the way I looked. When I talked to the kids about self-control in other areas, they could look at me and understandably ask why I wasn’t addressing my issues with food…” 

The chapter goes on to talk about how the church can actually enable people who struggle with food/physical fitness. Farmer Ben and I have definitely noticed this before-someone always brings cake/cookies to a group function, there are donuts and coffee on Sunday mornings, and so on.

As the books states;

“Please don’t misunderstand. Making delicious meals is a wonderful way to serve and love others. There’s nothing wrong with communal meals and tasty snacks. There is something wrong, however, about enabling someone who is trapped in an unhealthy pattern of living…

…Let’s create room in our churches for conversations rooted in love as we show concern not just for a person’s emotional well-being but for the physical well-being of that person too. Let’s be more concerned about someone walking in right relationship with God than with whether that person thinks we are loving accepting, and tolerant.” 

Now, I realize that I may have a slightly different view because of my employment and my personal areas of struggle…but I think this is definitely something that needs to be talked about.

And the author is not saying to go around and criticize someone’s eating choices/physical appearance. Not at all. But he is saying, that maybe we shouldn’t be so accepting, so nice about letting someone continue an unhealthy lifestyle. There’s a balance.

Moving on, the book has many stories of people who were spiritually strengthened as a result of becoming physically stronger and as I mentioned before, there were many inspiring quotes.

There was also some tough reading.

Gary Thomas doesn’t mince words. He’s very honest about what he feels is the role of the church and its members And he doesn’t excuse a total focus on spiritual health:

“All this talk about fitness, facing the pain of getting in shape, actively combating indulgence and laziness, is in many ways an appeal for the church to get tougher. We are soft. We often cave in at the slightest challenge. Men are lost to superficial sins; women are lost to superficial cares, and the work of the kingdom is neglected. If we don’t get tougher, the work will never get done.”

He has a point. Being a Christian isn’t easy. Heck, being human isn’t easy! If we can’t suffer through an hour of strength training, how will we suffer through persecution?  A crisis of faith? Or worse?

It’s pretty clear that I loved this book.There is so much more that I could go write about but we’d be here for another week! That being said, it was not an easy read. Did I take everything in this book as an absolute? Of course not. But it gave me a lot to think about.

There were many pages that made me say, “Amen! Yes…Absolutely!,” There were slightly more that gave me pause… that caused me to ask if I am really living up to the standard to which God calls us.

It’s definitely a process.

Because I loved this book so much, I’m going to give one away!*** Update: Giveaway closed! 

To enter, simply comment on this post and tell me what gets you motivated to improve your physical health!

(US or Canada Only)***

For additional entries (1 entry for each item): 

  • Tweet about the giveaway and leave a comment telling me you did so.
  • Follow me on twitter and comment telling me that you did. (@noellesnotebook)
  • Follow my blog and tell me how you follow (email, WordPress, BlogLovin, etc.).
  • Follow me on Instagram and let me know in the comments! (@noellesnotebook)

I’ll pick a winner on Saturday, August 29! Good luck!

*I purchased this book (and the giveaway copy) with my own money. No affiliation, I just really loved this book and want to share with y’all!  


#elf4health & #holidaysweat Week 4 Recap

Hi Friends! Happy Monday! And happy-almost-Christmas!

Yesterday was the last week of the #elf4health challenge and another week of #holidaysweat. Overall, I did pretty well! Let’s take a look!

Big thanks to Elle & Lindsay for organizing the #elf4health challenge again.

#elf4health:

Monday-Read, Write or Meditate: My small group is going through The Purpose Driven Life and with the chapter-a-day approach, this was the perfect book to read today. It’s very timely for Farmer Ben and I and so far I’m enjoying it (even though only reading a small chunk at a time is a challenge in and of itself).  

Tuesday-Push-Up Challenge: I really meant to do this, but I failed.

Wednesday-Share your expertise: I didn’t do this but I did share a few recipes last week… let’s call it even!

Thursday-Veggies with breakfast: I had a smoothie with Skoop and spinach, paired with a carrot pear muffin.

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Friday-What You Love About You: I didn’t do this, but I did share some life updates and discussed some recent acceptance of life happening. Again, let’s call it even.

Saturday-New Fitness Goal: I shared my 2015 fitness goals in my last post. Check it out here.

Sunday-Make a donation: Hmm… On Saturday, I volunteered to help with our youth Christmas party at church… this included making a RIDICULOUS amount of mac and cheese and hanging out with the some teenagers. Boom. Done!

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#holidaysweat:

You know how last week I said I was starting to feel better? Well, I lied. I’m still sick. Therefore it was more walking, some stretching and not much else.

BUT, I’m still on my freggie and H20 a-game, so that’s something!

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Let’s chat: How is your December eating/fitness? Favorite kind of Christmas cookie?


Confessions: On Running (Or Not Running)

Can we talk about how 2014 was not anything I imagined it would be? To say the year did not go as planned would be a giant understatement.

Yesterday, we talked about how Farmer Ben and I had a lot of change…and a lot of stress…and then even more change. Some of this was for the good, and some was not. My faith, among other things, was definitely tested this year, but as a result, it is stronger than ever.

A quick recap:
Ben left a secure job and went in as a partner to open a restaurant. And then, we left it. At the time, it was a really tough decision, but it turns out that it was for the best.

Today, let’s talk about fitness in 2014. Or…how there was a lack of it.
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On the Fitness Side of Things:

· I was excited to run marathon number 2. But, with restaurant responsibilities (on top of my regular job), I was working too much. As a result, I could not make time for training. I had to prioritize-running or relationships—and sleep.
· I was planning to hit some elusive health and fitness goals this year, including14 races and losing those last 10-15 pounds… Instead, I ended up working a ridiculous amount of hours, being overly stressed and only doing 9 races (which I am still pretty happy with)…and I gained 10 pounds (that literally hurt to type).
· I finally ran a half marathon-in a pink tutu (Thanks to my dear friend Kristy for running with me!).

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Plattsburgh Half with Kristy

· I wanted to run faster. This didn’t happen.
· I ran 2 more half marathons this year, both of which I did not train for (I don’t recommend this).

In all honestly, I can’t say that I really trained for any of my races this year, at least not with any sort of consistency. Yes, I was still running but without intention. As a result, I wound up with a pain in my foot that caused me to run even less (it’s mostly healed now).

Instead of hitting these fitness goals, I was barely able to get out and run a couple of days of week… or do anything else outside of work! On top of that, I was constantly feeling guilty for not “doing it all.” Social media did not help my guilt.

But, in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t the end of the world. 

I guess my point is this: Even though it kind of feels like 2014 was a major bust, I was able to re-evaluate, find rest, and regroup. Like I said yesterday, Farmer Ben and I tried something and it didn’t work. But we learned from it.

The same thing goes for my running goals; I had to decide if my fitness goals were more important than my relationships. And in the end, they are not.

NOTE: I’m NOT saying that fitness is not important, because it is. However, when it stresses you out and consumes you, then it is a problem

This year, I could NOT find a balance between the two. In all honesty, work took over my life for much of the year. As a result, I had to let some things go. For a time, it was my running goals, and in the end, I let working (more than one job) go.

I really, truly love to run. That hasn’t changed. But this year, it stressed me out more than it helped me…there were days when I was close to tears because I had to choose between going out for a run or spending a few precious moments with my husband (I realize this seems dramatic, but totally true). My insane schedule—that I had created—would not allow for both. If (and when) I missed a run, I would panic…and then, I would over-do it on the next run.

So I stepped away from it…The biggest (and most difficult) choice I made was switching from the full to the half marathon at Wineglass. This sucked… Still, it was the best decision for my sanity well-being. When I took the pressure off, I was able to go out and enjoy the run and it went back to being a stress reliever, instead of a stress inducer.

Yes, I continued running but I wasn’t attempting and failing at training. Yes, I still ran that third half marathon–but I didn’t put any pressure on myself to race it. To my surprise, I actually had a respectable time (for me) and I enjoyed this race the most out of the nine I completed this year…probably because my family was waiting for me on the course and at the finish line. Balance.

In the end, by letting my running goals go (for a short time), I was able to rediscover my love of the run and find peace balance.

Now, it’s time for a new year and new goals!

Let’s chat, what surprises did 2014 hold for you? 


#Elf4health and #HolidaySweat weeks 2 & 3

Hi friends!

My apologies for being a bit behind on these updates… let’s catch up! Full disclosure: my participation has only been so-so.

#elf4health

I’ll come right out and say that Weeks 2 & 3 were kind of a bust. I’ve been pre-occupied with work and had an awful cold that has kicked my butt for the last two weeks… but here we go:  

Monday-12/1-Handwritten note: I still need to do this and try to make a point to do this on a somewhat regular basis.

Tuesday-Eat the rainbow: Yes, Done. I’ve been really good about eating my veggies lately.

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Wednesday-Go Makeup Free: this is most days, so it wasn’t really a challenge for me.

Thursday-Buddy Workout: Fail. Nothing more than walks lately.

Friday-Operation Beautiful Note: Nope. I did send some encouraging emails/texts though!

Saturday-= Pantry Purge: This is an on-going process in our house. Farmer Ben and I have a lot of food in our house, but we’ve been making a conscious effort to clean out our cabinets. Some things have been tossed, some given away and we’ve been baking/cooking up a storm to give ourselves some cabinet space.

Sunday-20 things gratitude list: Okay, I didn’t physically write out a list, but I did get to share so much that I am thankful for at my book club last weekend, so I’m counting this as complete.

Monday 12/8-Fastest Mile Challenge: To be totally honest, I haven’t done much running as of late, so this is on the to-do list.

Tuesday-Pay it Forward: I took care of something for a friend of mine. I can’t say what because I don’t want to be found out.

Wednesday-Pack a Healthy Snack: I typically bring some kind of healthy snack every day. I don’t remember what it was on this day…probably energybits or something with my homemade nut butter.

Thursday-Take Some You Time: I had an unexpected snow day (seriously, this NEVER happens at my place of employment) so I ended up having breakfast with Farmer Ben, going for a walk and grabbing lunch with two friends. Then I went home and spent the evening with Farmer Ben. Win all around.

Friday-Circuit Workout: Fail. I barely made it to work on time and then I spent the rest of the day prepping for my book club meeting. After a hot toddy, I fell into bed.

Saturday-3 food groups per meal: Yes, I did this. My book club meal was (hand-grated!) mac and cheese with whole wheat pasta, veal chorizo, mushrooms, onions and red peppers, a big salad and roasted pumpkin with a maple chipotle & fig balsamic vinaigrette. This was on repeat for dinner.

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Sunday-12/14-Clean Out Your Closet: As Farmer Ben and I only have one closet in our new place, this has already been done a few times over… I also did some frantic cleaning before my book club on Saturday.

#HolidaySweat:

As I mentioned above, running hasn’t happened much lately as I have been under the weather (and, okay, I admit, lazy). I’ve done some walking, which is something, but I know it’s NOT enough.  This week is my week to get back on track…I’m finally starting to feel better and can almost breathe normally again.  
However, I have hit my freggie (fruit and veggie) and water goals almost every day.

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Pumpkin Smoothies

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Let’s Chat: How’s your fitness/health this season? Doing any challenges?