Start Living Your Legacy. Win a $100 Gift Card to Help

Thanks to Medtronic for sponsoring today’s conversation.


Live On. Give On.

Imagine facing a life threatening illness. We are faced with many challenges in this world, and overcoming a serious disease can take all the energy, determination, and courage that most of us have. I’d like to introduce you to a group of 10 people who, after overcoming their own illness then in turn used that life saving determination and courage to help others.

Live On Infographic

These 10 people are the 2014 Bakken Invitation honorees. People who not only saved their own lives, but used their “extra life” to help others. People like David Watkins, who after finally being diagnosed with a bicuspid aortic valve, asked himself as he was being wheeled into surgery, “what is my legacy?” After undergoing multiple surgeries, a complicated recovery which included a stroke, David finally recovered and decided that he needed to use his second chance at life to create that legacy. To that end, he started the Ironheart Foundation, and began connecting with recovering heart patients who were getting active through sport.


As one of the Bakken Invitation honorees, David will direct a $20,000 grant to the Ironheart Foundation. David’s words of inspiration, which speak to me personally, are “Start living your legacy.”

David Watkins

While I could only hope to have the courage and determination that David and the other Bakken Invitation honorees have shown, I, along with my husband Alan, try to do our own part with the animals in our community. Most of my readers know about the dogs that we rescue, but I don’t write as frequently about the feral cats that we care for. Not only do we feed and take care of their medical needs, we also spay and neuter as many as we can, plus try to tame the inevitable kittens so that we can find them homes. It is expensive, sometimes heartbreaking, and always rewarding, as we work to take care of the feral cats while trying to reduce their numbers, frequently dealing with city and county officials, negotiating with veterinarians, and working to keep the neighbors happy.


Medtronic would like to help you “Start living your legacy” by giving you a $100 Visa gift card to do good in your own community. To win, simply visit the Bakken Invitation website and tell me which of the honorees most inspires you. Then let me know how you could use a $100 to help your community.

The Visa gift card winner will be randomly selected on December 30 from among the commenters who followed the above instructions. The winner must be 18 or older and be a resident of the US. While the winner can use the gift card in any way that they like, they should use it to benefit their community.

Getting Outside with LÄRABAR (plus a Giveaway)

Today’s post is sponsored by LÄRABAR but my love of their bars is all my own.

Get Outside

I love to exercise outdoors. I am a runner first and foremost, and as I have, ahem, gotten a little older, I appreciate more and more the joy of trail running. Some days, though, it’s great to slow things down, lace up my hiking boots (or retired running shoes in my case), and hit the trails for a hike.


I am so fortunate that I live less than a half mile away from some of the best hiking trails in the world. While not your typical woodsy trails with lovely streams running through them, the desert has its own subtle beauty, and your hike or run can be as easy or challenging as you want to make it.


Do you want to put some effort into it, find hidden desert treasures, and spend several hours exploring the trails? Try the Bear Creek Oasis Trail. Would you rather have a more moderate, flat, sightseeing hike? Try the Bear Creek Canyon Trail or simply circle the Oasis. There is even a trail that will lead you about 14 miles up the Santa Rosa Mountains, ending up at 4,000 feet elevation! There truly is something for everybody.


I kept it simple on my hike this week. I was alone for one thing, so I felt more comfortable with the Oasis loop, plus I just got over my cold, so I really didn’t need any challenges. That makes the packing simple too. I just loaded up my backpack with water, a handful of LÄRABARs, and a couple packs of RENOLA. Easy breezy!


Eat Clean

I have been a huge fan of LÄRABAR for years. I’m always looking for plant based snacks, and most LÄRABARs are not only vegan and soy-free, they are all gluten free, non-GMO, and made with simple whole ingredients. For example, my favorite, Pecan Pie, has only dates, pecans, and almonds. You can’t get more real than that.

Larabar8I was first introduced to RENOLA at IDEAWorld Expo, where I picked up a couple packages at the LÄRABAR booth. RENOLA is a blend of fruit, nuts, and seeds, like a combination of trail mix and granola. It is gluten and grain free, and super easy to stash in your purse or bag for a quick snack on the go.


I received a LÄRAbag full of goodies from LÄRABAR so that I could fuel my hike and let you know about the pure clean goodness of their products and also to make sure that you knew about National Take a Hike Day, which is on November 17. It’s a great day, and a great way, to #GetOutside and #EatClean.

larabar12The story behind LÄRABAR is very simple too. Founder Lara Merriken was hiking in the Colorado Rockies one day, and began to wonder why there wasn’t a convenient, wholesome alternative to trail mix that was easy to carry and eat. In that instant, in May 2000, LÄRABAR was born.

Win a LÄRABAR Prize Pack of your own!

Here is your chance to win a LÄRABAR prize pack with 16 assorted LÄRABARs and packs of RENOLA! All you have to do is visit the LÄRABAR site and tell me in the comments what flavor of LÄRABAR and what flavor of RENOLA that you are excited to try. There are over 20 flavors including some seasonal ones that will make your mouth water. The contest ends at midnight on November 7.

Save with this Coupon on your next LÄRABAR purchase!

Can’t wait? Live from La Quinta readers can get this coupon for .50 off any LÄRABAR! Click here for your coupon.

National Take a Hike Day

Don’t forget that National Take a Hike Day is on November 17! You can join LÄRABAR and me, and get outside to enjoy a hike on trails near you. You can share your stories and photos, and read about others’ adventures by using the hashtag #getoutside and #eatclean. I can’t wait to hear your stories!

Contest Rules: Must be 18 years old and a resident of the US to enter. To enter visit the LÄRABAR website and tell me in the comments the flavors of  LÄRABAR and RENOLA you would like to try. The winner will be randomly chosen from all entrants who answered the question in the comments. The contest ends at midnight November 7 and a winner will be selected and notified within 24 hours. The winner must respond within 48 hours or another winner will be selected.

What flavors of LÄRABAR and RENOLA would you like to try? Do you have a #getoutside story to tell?

In Order to Form a More Active Nation: Lorna Jane Active Nation Day

There’s a holiday coming up on Sunday that you might not know about. It’s Lorna Jane Active Nation Day! While you may not get a paid day off from work, there are still many reasons to be excited about the day.

Active Nation Logo_1What is Active Nation Day?

Active Nation Day is an event formed by Lorna Jane in 2012 to help inspire women everywhere to live an active and authentic life.

It’s really easy to participate. First of all, just move! Do something fun and active, and you will be celebrating Active Nation Day in style! I’m planning a long run on Sunday (long for me right now is about eight six miles). I might even make it to a yoga class!

Rock and Roll

Rocking my favorite Lorna Jane top at the Rock and Roll Marathon last June.

To make it even more fun, Lorna Jane will be hosting events all over the world where an amazing sisterhood of women can learn and take part in a choreographed fitness routine. Since the closest location to me is in Santa Monica, over two hours away, I’m making plans to celebrate right here in the desert. You can check here to see if there is an event close to you.

Don’t despair if you’re not near one of the event cities, though. You can also download the Lorna Jane app!

LJ App

This awesome app is designed to help keep you inspired to follow Lorna Jane’s mantras of Move, Nourish, and Believe. To Move, you can choose from a long list of fitness choices, and the app will help you track your activity.  Nourishing yourself is easy, find information, encouragement and delicious recipes on the Nourish tab, and if you need more inspiration, updating the Believe page will offer up a variety of motivational quotes. There are badges to unlock, so make sure to use the app on September 28 so you can unlock the Active Nation Day badge! The Lorna Jane app is available for both iPhone and android phones.

Learn the LJ Move

Now, if you really want to get involved and have some fun on Active Nation Day, your next step is to learn the LJ Move, share it on social media, and maybe. just maybe, you might win a $1,000 Lorna Jane Gift Card. I’m still working on my LJ move, but to give you a little help, check out this video.

To enter to win a $1,000 gift card to Lorna Jane Active remember to take a photo or video of you (and your friends if you want), doing the LJ Move. Post it to Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and be sure to use the hashtags #ActiveNationDay and #LJMove. Then tag your friends and invite them to try out the LJ Move themselves!  Here are the #LJMove Contest Terms and Conditions.

If you need still more inspiration, check out this video that will be sure to help motivate you to get moving and Be that Girl.

What are your plans for Active Nation Day, September 28, 2014? What is your favorite way to Move?


I was given the opportunity to help Lorna Jane spread the word about her Active Nation Day campaign thru my affiliation with FitApproach and as a Sweat Pink ambassador.  My #MNBbracelet is on the way as my thank you for participating.

Get Your Seasonal Flu Shot and Give a Shot


This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser.
All opinions are mine alone. #GetAShot #Collective Bias


Even though the weather in the desert is still (very) warm, fall is approaching quickly. Before we know it, the weather will be cooler, more time will be spent indoors, and the season will be here. Flu season that is. It’s already time to start thinking about your seasonal flu immunization.

Get a Shot_22

As a person with asthma, I know that flu shots are an important part of staying healthy over the next few months. Did you know that, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), while people with asthma aren’t any more likely to get the flu, influenza can be much more serious for people with asthma, even if their symptoms are well controlled with medication. So, while I seldom have problems with my exercise induced asthma, I always make sure to get my seasonal flu shot.

Other groups that should get an immunization against the flu include children under five years old, adults 65 and older, and pregnant women.  Other people at high risk include those with chronic lung disease such as COPD, heart disease, endocrine disorders such as diabetes, liver or kidney disease. or immune disorders. For a complete list, check the CDC website.

Get a Shot

For the last few years I have gotten my seasonal flu shot from my neighborhood Walgreens. Not only is it close to home, and doesn’t need an appointment, they also accept most insurance plans. To make it even better, this year Walgreens has introduced their Get a Shot, Give a Shot program.


What is Get a Shot, Give a Shot? Very simple. For every flu shot or other immunization that you get at Walgreens now through October 13, you will help to provide a life saving vaccine to a child in a developing country through the United Nation Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign.

In many parts of the world, children fall victim to diseases that are completely preventable. Immunization has successfully saved so many lives, yet 1 in 5 children in developing countries still lack access to these life-saving vaccinations. Coordinated worldwide vaccination efforts have made progress, particularly in reducing the cases of polio and measles.

Get a Shot_4

That made it easy. Not only did I get my seasonal flu shot at Walgreens, I’ve been telling everyone about the #GetAShot program (even random strangers who saw my bandage). As a bonus, my local Walgreens’ pharmacist is also a friend, whose mom lives right up the street from us. He even let me take a picture of him after I told him about this post supporting the program. Good sport!

Get a Shot_3

Walgreens has also donated $10 million worth of flu shots to American’s without health insurance coverage to help drive immunization rates among underserved populations throughout the country.

Getting a flu shot only takes a few seconds, and you could help save someone’s life. That’s worth it, isn’t it? Have you had your flu shot yet?

The 5 Fs of Independence Day: Family, Friends, 5k, Food, Fireworks

After a really rough beginning of the week I was ready for some fun and frivolity for the 4th of July. I felt like I’d earned it!

Celebrating Independence Day in Huntington Beach has become a tradition for us. Alan announced the Surf City 5k for about five years, until 2009. Then, in 2010, when he discovered that he had a son (and grandsons) that lived there, we would go for fun, sometimes run the race, watch the parade, and hang out with our new-found family. In 2011, we experienced the miracle of the lost phone after the fireworks on the beach. No matter what year though, we had a great time, and we definitely appreciated the cooler weather.

Family and Friends

This year it originally looked like our family wasn’t going to be in town. We still planned to go (it being a tradition and all), and this year we had some friends that would be joining us. They are also Alan’s clients: Mom Liz, and her three kids, Nick, Nicole, and Garrett (who runs cross country for us). They were planning to run the Surf City 5k as a family, and most exciting, this would be Liz’s first 5k! A huge deal for someone who has lost over 100 pounds!

IMG952286Since the family wasn’t planning to be in town we made reservations at the Hotel Huntington Beach, a nice hotel which is nowhere near the beach (and therefore is reasonably priced). As it turned out, the family did stay in town, but we kept our plans anyway and stayed at the hotel. When they are in town my stepson, John, and daughter in law, Lisa, host a 4th of July party each year. This year they tried not to have it, but that didn’t work out. We’d laugh at Lisa when someone would say, “see you on the 4th!” because obviously they didn’t know that there wasn’t going to be a party. So of course, she threw a party. We thought it best not to get underfoot.

In retrospect though, we will never do that again. The reason: Parking. There is none. Or that’s what it feels like. Streets closed, a 5k, a parade, and thousands of people make for a traffic nightmare, and parking spaces are few and far between. When we stay with the family, we basically park the car and don’t have to move it for the weekend.

We arrived on Thursday afternoon and headed over to the family’s house. Alan was planning on taking the boys to their Junior Lifeguard practice, then we’d check in, pick up our race stuff, etc. They rode their bikes to practice, so Alan jumped on a cruiser bike and rode along with them. I stayed at the house, not yet trusting my stomach to try anything active. Then we headed off to sign up for the race, took a random drive through Fountain Valley and Westminster (cities that surround Huntington Beach) because I tried to avoid the traffic caused by a broken stoplight. It probably took us twice as long, but we eventually arrived at our hotel and checked in.

We stopped for lunch when we arrived back at the beach, at a little Mediterranean restaurant that we love and makes great falafel pitas. Then it was time for Alan to pick up the boys. The Independence Day party starts early in Huntington Beach. By the time we got home, Lisa was busily cooking up a storm, knowing that people would be dropping by all evening. We know quite a few of their friends, so it was a social evening and we didn’t get back to the hotel until almost 10, a little late for us, especially the night before a race.

Surf City Run 5k


Of course, this was not just a race. In addition to Liz running her first, we also planned to run the race with our grandsons! They love to run, and it is something special that we do together when we visit. Cash in particular is a talented runner, coming in first at the two mile runs that they do at Junior Lifeguard practice. So we were really excited about the race, but not in the same way we would be if we were going to run hard. Still, it’s nice to get enough sleep the night before.


Fortunately, running an 8:00 5k is not the same as announcing one. We’d arranged to meet our friends at 7:15 and our family at 7:30, so the only thing we needed to worry about was parking. I followed a hunch and came in the back way (instead of trying to work my way along the parade route). After wandering the streets for a few blocks, we spotted a school that was just a few blocks from the race, so we quickly moved in and parked. Score!


This is the winning man and woman from the local’s race. I love the picture on the right..she’s flying!

Our friend Liz was not so lucky. After searching for a long time for parking, she dropped her kids off then went in search of the closest space. She ended up almost a mile away from the start line and had to walk, arriving with minutes to spare. At least she got a good warm up for her first race!


Meanwhile, Alan’s son John arrived with the kids around 7:45. We talked him into running halfway with us, which would bring him within a couple blocks of home. Being an athlete (though not really a runner), he agreed. That meant we really had the whole family on the start line.


We were happy to see that the race announcer was Rudy Novotny, who we know pretty well, and who took over for Alan after he stopped announcing the race. Alan had a little surprise for Liz. As we stood ready to start, Rudy announced her name and that it was her first 5k. Pretty cool.


Yeah, I look a little crazed and half covered the picture with my finger, but the other shot was even worse!

The boys, Garrett and Nick, moved to the front, planning to race hard. We started as a family, while Liz and Nicole started at their own pace. After about a quarter mile, Cash, one of the twins, asked if he could go ahead. Alan said sure, and he was off like a flash, weaving in and out of the runners ahead of us. Alan and I just stayed together, going back from time to time to check on Dane, the other twin, and John.


It is an out and back course, so we kept an eye out for Cash heading back, but didn’t see him. When we reached the halfway point, we said so long to John, and to Dane who decided to go with his dad. John did say that he’d seen Cash heading back in the other direction. We also saw Liz and Nicole as we headed back toward the finish.

We finally caught up to Cash at mile two. He was doing great, and we all stayed together at a moderate pace, with only one walking break for the rest of the race. It was so exciting to cross the finish line as a threesome! I can’t wait to see our finishing photo!


We met up with Garrett and Nick, who had already finished, then Nicole finished shortly afterward. We were on the lookout for Liz, who finished, looking strong in 46:53. What an awesome time for a first time 5k!


After we all finished, we met up at the little expo, picked up some food and water, and checked out the local businesses. And took more pictures of course!


I knew that Tiffany, my blogging friend and fellow IDEA Inspired Advisor who I  met and experienced IDEA World with last year was running the race, but even though I kept my eye out, I didn’t see her. I was afraid that the same thing as last year would happen, we wouldn’t get a chance to meet up. But, finally, in spite of missed calls and texts that went to my iPad instead of my phone, we hooked up.


I can’t wait to see her again at Blogfest in August!

After all the socializing, we needed to figure out how to get back over to our family’s house, both to return Cash, and to see the parade. After some discussion we decided to leave the cars where they were and to walk the mile or so to the house. Of course, we weren’t entirely sure of how to get there, but between Cash’s directions and numbered streets we finally made our way to the house. The party was in full swing, even though it was just after 10 in the morning. We got a bite to eat, socialized a little, Alan and the kids saw a little bit of the parade, then we decided it was time to head back.

ID13The “non-party” at Lisa’s still involved breakfast, beer, and a lot of company. We left, so I’m not sure if it continued on into the evening, which is common for Huntington Beach 4th of July parties.

ID14The best mode of travel during the holiday is bike. As you can see.

Luckily, even though we didn’t have Cash to lead the way, we found our car without problems. We piled everyone in because Liz’s car was another mile away. We still had to deal with a few detours since the parade was still going on, but finally found a convenient and close place to drop them off.

Alan and I then went back to the hotel, showered, packed and checked out, then headed home. We always like to be home if possible on Independence Day. Even though the desert is pretty slow for the holiday, there are still some random fireworks, enough to scare our dogs, so we like to be there.


Our little illegal quiet celebration did not bother our dogs. There were a few louder booms, but the dogs were amazingly calm. Which is good.

All in all, one of my favorite 4th of July celebrations ever! Good friends, family, and running, what else can you ask for? Great food too, which you can check out here. A great turnaround to a week that started out badly.

How did you spend your holiday?


Women’s Health Week: It’s Time to Take Care of Yourself


Women’s Health Week is May 11-17, and I’ve been asked by a couple organizations to share some important information that affects our health. While we’re focusing on women’s health this week, men are at risk as well, so here is some important information for everyone.


I have to admit I was shocked by this infographic sent to me by the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. I had no idea that asbestos was still legal to use in the US. I also learned that women, due to second hand exposure, are becoming the “new profile” for mesothelioma cancer. This cancer is completely preventable because it is cause solely by asbestos exposure. Knowing a little more about this disease and its risk factors can help you protect yourself and your family.

Did You Know Facts


In addition to being Women’s Health Week, it is also Osteoporosis Awareness Month, so that is a double reason to learn a little more about osteoporosis and its risk factors. Here is another frightening infographic:


Unchangeable risks for osteoporosis include:

  • Gender – Women are much more likely to develop osteoporosis than are men.
  • Age – The older you get, the greater the risk.
  • Race – Caucasians and people of Asian descent have a higher risk.
  • Family History – If someone in your family has had osteoporosis, that increases your risk.
  • Frame size – People with slight frames are more likely to develop osteoporosis

Dietary and lifestyle factors that increase osteoporosis risk:

  • Low Calcium Intake
  • Eating Disorders
  • Gastrointestinal Surgery
  • Sedentary Lifestyle
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Tobacco use

In addition to the above risk factors, hormone levels and certain prescription medications can increase the likelihood of developing osteoporosis.

Tina Muir wrote a great post about the risk of osteoporosis, not only in women over 50, but also for elite athletes like herself, and other women whose training is more extreme than average.

 National Women’s Check Up Day

National Women’s Check Up Day was May 12, 2014. Did you miss it? That’s okay, because the purpose of the event is to remind and encourage women to schedule an Annual Well-Woman check-up to discuss their health habits and family history, get or schedule necessary screenings or exams, and set health goals. It is not too late to do that, so let this serve as your reminder.

Have you scheduled your Well-Woman Check Up? Why not?