ceramic travel mug (giveaway!)

This giveaway is now closed.

Recently Kiss Me Organics asked if I’d like one of their steep & strain ceramic tea mugs.  In the winter Dave and I both drink a lot of hot beverages – coffee and tea – so I was excited to try this.  The mug comes in a lot of really cute patterns (I love the multi-colored flowers and the all green mug!).  I chose the simple circles since Dave might use it, too, and I didn’t think he’d be as excited about carrying around a flower mug.

enjoying a hot drink on a morning where I got pelted in the eyeballs by icy snow during my dark, cold, windy run

The mug is really great quality – it has a great weight to it in your hands (the feel of a drink cup is very important to the experience!).  It’s thick and sturdy, but still allows the warmth of the drink to come through without being too hot.  I love that.  And the green silicone drink lid is surprisingly easy to get on and stays put really well.  It’s a great travel mug but an equally great around-the-house mug!

I really love my mug and I think you will, too!  If you have an avid tea drinker on your Christmas list, this would be a great affordable and thoughtful gift for them.  It’s super easy to use and clean, keeps drinks hot, and the ceramic is a healthier alternative to plastic to-go cups.  Plus, it’s pretty!

Interested in winning your own ceramic mug? I’ll be giving one away and all you have to do to is follow these 3 simple steps:

  1. Click here http://amzn.to/2y4NhpA

  2. Add Kiss Me Organics Ceramic Mug to your Amazon Wishlist

  3. Leave a comment in the comments section!

I’ll announce a winner next week, on Wednesday, December 13!

running · Uncategorized

hitting my stride

I’m deep in my training for the Another Dam 50K with Kimberly.  Last weekend I ran 24 miles early on a Friday morning – I got up at 3:15am and was out the door at 4 with my pepper spray and my headlamp.  At 5 I met up with some friends, ran with them til 7, then finished out my run solo.  I got in the door at 7:59am, with a 9:38 pace that would have put me on track for a PR in the marathon.  This morning was supposed to be a rest day but my legs were itching to run.  I flew through 5 miles, averaging 8:56 pace for the whole run, and it felt fun.  I wanted to do more.  This is the part of training I love, when I’m getting strong and the miles are happy instead of just work.  When my stride feels long and tall and quick.  When I come back euphoric instead of just tired.  When getting out the door is easy because I want to be out there, not “have to.”  When the sweat feels like a reward instead of a wringing out of energy.  This is why I run.


this is 33

This week I turn 33 years old.  Age is not a big deal to me, but I’m noticing some things shifting for me as I move through the years.  Here are a few.

This is 33 means…

  • My best friends and I, whom I’ve known since elementary, middle, and high school, had an email exchange last week about anti-aging products and how none of us use them but pretty much all of us have started wondering if we should.  (Feel free to comment with suggestions for us, if you have them.)
  • My hands look more and more like my mom’s, which I love.  Her hands have always struck me as so strong and capable.  They look like they’ve put in the work – they’re dry and they crack in the winter and her veins run in ridges across the top.  Mine are starting to look like this, too, and it honestly makes me a little emotional to look down and see my mom’s hands on me.  It makes me proud.
  • My go-to birthday dinner has long been macaroni and cheese, but this year I’m switching over to a brie asparagus tart and a kale caesar salad with polenta croutons.  Also chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting.
  • My coworker had a birthday this week, too.  He turned 22.  Seriously.  22 is old enough to hold a full-time job and be a college graduate.  What?!  I’m seriously having a hard time believe this and feeling very old.

Probably the biggest thing, lately, is that my resting (stubborn) weight is about 5 pounds over what I’d like to be at, and I’m finding I just don’t care that much.  I have less space in my brain and emotions for worrying about my size or my weight.  I’m moving my body and trying to eat moderately well and maybe that’s enough in itself instead of continually chasing a specific number.  It feels like time to let that go, which maybe sounds like a compromise but I think is a sign of health.  It feels both a little scary and really good to acknowledge this is my body and it’s strong and it’s running and if it’s not as lean as I’d like it’s maybe just not that big of a deal and not worth chasing down.  I’d rather chase my kids and running goals and experiences and let that worrying and striving part go.  This is 33.  It feels really good.


kohl’s trip

At the end of November, right after Thanksgiving, I received a message from Kohl’s inviting me to be part of a photo shoot for athletic and athleisure looks as part of a social media campaign.  Um, YES PLEASE.  Six weeks later, in mid January, I was flying to Milwaukee!  I was so excited and nervous going in to the trip – nervous about what to expect, how to “model”, being on video, etc.  It just felt like a very intimidating experience.  But I was also so excited for a getaway and a new opportunity!

Right after I arrived in Milwaukee I had dinner with some of the Kohl’s staff and met the two other women who would be part of the shoot.  It immediately helped put me at ease.  Everyone was friendly, funny, down to earth, and so kind.  I knew that even though the next day might feel a little weird, it would also be tons of fun.  And ohmygosh I didn’t even know how fun it would be!

The next morning we met in the lobby at 6:45am.  The film crew got us all set up with our mics – in addition to the photo shoot they’d be shooting the whole day to create short commercials – and we headed out to the studio!  The studio was unreal – just getting a glimpse at all the work that goes in to a one-day photo shoot.  They had a living room area set up for some of our chats, a changing room, another area where we’d look at the clothes with the stylist, another area for the photo shoot, hair and makeup, and a huge table full of delicious, homemade snacks (they changed regularly).  There were so. many. people.  Producers, directors, assistants, stylists, photographers, videographers, audio people… there were probably at least 35 people all moving around and taking care of small details and making everything perfect.  And yet everyone was also so incredibly sweet – chatting with us, offering us anything we needed, showing us pictures of their kids, telling us about themselves.  I could not get over how friendly everyone was.  It could have been such an intimidating and awkward experience and it quickly felt just FUN – like hanging out with friends.  I immediately knew I could trust everyone – that they only wanted to show me in the best possible way.  They wouldn’t try to make me look silly or dumb; they wanted me to be encouraged and to enjoy everything.  (Spoiler: they succeeded.  Big time.)

The whole day took about 11 hours – at the end they were in a big rush to try to get pictures before daylight disappeared.  Then everything was edited down and these two beauties were created!

I cannot say enough good things about the staff of Kohl’s and how generous and kind and sweet they were.  They are professional, creative, passionate, and smart.  I loved seeing the heart and authenticity of such a big brand.  I also can’t say enough good things about Rachael and Porsha!  They are funny, bright, motivated women.  I loved getting to hang out with them and we quickly became friends.  I was so excited to see them in their clothes and to cheer them on during their pictures.  I loved seeing them get pampered and knew how deserving they were of this experience.  I loved getting to talk and laugh with them in between things.  It’s been so great to keep in touch with them afterwards – I know we’ll stay friends (and Rachael will also continue to impress the heck out of me with her insane moves of the day – girl is strong).  

At the end of our shoot we got to take home two complete outfits and I am loving what I chose!  It’s been an awesome revamp to my wardrobe.  And Maggie’s suggestions to us really helped me to look at my closet from a new perspective, which has also been super helpful!

So that was my once in a lifetime experience.  It was amazing.  Thank you, Kohl’s!


maple holistics

Recently Maple Holistics asked if they could send me something to try.  I chose the Hand Cream for Dry Skin because my hands are awful in the winter – they crack and bleed and generally feel like sandpaper. I’ve had a really hard time finding a lotion that makes any difference, especially one that’s made with quality ingredients.  I’ve tried straight shea butter and bag balm, which haven’t helped and are really greasy.


I really like this hand cream.  A lot.  It smells awesome (seriously so good – I think it’s the geranium and lavender) and it’s really thick and moisturizing without being greasy.  It soaks in fast (or at least my dry hands suck it up) and feels great.  It definitely has helped my skin – my skin looks more even and less rough and dry – but I’ve still had some cracking and bleeding on my fingertips.  However, I feel like they’ve cracked and bled less, so that’s something still!  The one drawback is the price – at $45 it’s a pretty expensive tube of lotion, at least for me.  And I’ve used it a lot, which means that it’s disappeared fast, too.

If you’re interested in a trying a free sample product from Maple Holistics, click here!

Do you have problems with dry skin?  What’s your best recommendation?  

Disclaimer: I was provided with a free product in return for my honest review.  All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own and not influenced by the developing company and/or its affiliates in any way.


politics and podcasts

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been greatly discouraged and unsettled by recent current events in the political arena.  It’s not often that I’ll speak of politics here and I really only want to talk about it on a public forum when I feel like it’s useful and contributing in a positive way to the crushing mass of voices out there.  I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty of all my thoughts or all the many ways I disagree with President Trump but I will say this: I recently found two podcasts that have provided positive and informative (and entertaining) perspective, which I very much appreciate.  I haven’t listened to all these have to offer, but I’m excited to dig into them.

Pantsuit Politics: Two women – one conservative, one liberal – discuss various issues and current events in the political landscape.  I love that I’m hearing both sides of an issue, but in a non-aggressive way.  They’re not angry, they’re not one-upping, they’re not fear-mongering or attacking.  It’s facts and dialogue and information and it’s modeling a productive way for us to talk and listen to each other.  It’s also helping me to hear about issues outside the scope of media coverage.  I love it.

Presidential: Journalist Lillian Cunningham dedicates one episode to each of our 45 presidents.  I’ve only listened to one of these so far – Donald Trump – but it was so well done.  She speaks with researchers, threads how the past informs the present, and overall affirmed that America is really resilient and has survived tumultuous and controversial presidents in the past.  I’m really excited to go back through and listen to each one of these!  It’s not just a history lesson on each president, but also looking at their character traits, their personal lives, etc.

I’m feeling more than ever that it’s important for me to be an informed and passionate citizen, and I’m grateful for how these podcasts might serve to educate and provide perspective.  Check them out!


monday things

A few random things to share this Monday:

  • I’ve been loving this workout when I need a running break but still want to move.  The instructor isn’t annoying at all which is a huge perk.
  • Two soups we’ve liked recently:vegan sweet potato chowder and roasted brussel sprouts and cauliflower soup.  Both were so delicious and immediately got moved to my “eat again” pinboard.
  • I ran 9 miles on Saturday which I think is the most I’ve run since the marathon in November.  February 13 kicks off ultra training, so I’m gearing myself up for even earlier mornings and longer miles.  I’m both ready to get into it and glad I still have a few more weeks.
  • A couple weeks ago I said I needed to fix something and Molly walked over, opened the kitchen drawer, got out a screwdriver, and handed it to me.  At 18 months old.  She’s crazy aware of what’s going on and also prone to tantrums right now.  But in between just wants eye contact, hugs, and to be wrestled.
  • Dave and I have decided what animal each of our kids remind us of: Leo is a dog – he likes to play but also to relax and be alone.  He’s social but needs time to just chill.  Katie is a cat – she likes affection on her terms, she sleeps hard and long, she can be moody but also so charming.  Molly is a puppy – social and just wants to play and be around people and get into things.  Do any of your kids remind you of animals?