Reaching 2015 Goals with Help from Walmart Family Mobile

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

As I promised in my 2015 Running and Fitness Goals, this is a week of running. And writing about running. From how to stay healthy and uninjured, how to train, and now, how to stay motivated during marathon training.

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Marathon training is pretty hard, especially when you’re, ahem, 57 and trying to set a high standard for your race. Day after day of running, increasing mileage, adding speed training, and of course, those beloved long runs of 18-22 miles. I better stop thinking about it before I really begin questioning myself!

Even though my husband is going to run the SLO Marathon with me, much of my training is on my own. When I’m out on the road I need a few things: safety, motivation, distraction, and diversion. Fortunately, Walmart Family Mobile and my new LG L90 Smartphone have me covered.

I recently headed to Walmart in Indio to sign up for Walmart Family Mobile and purchase my LG L90 Smartphone (I was looking specifically for that phone, so I had to go a little farther from home). I was happy that I did, as the Walmart in Indio is brand new, huge, and wasn’t very crowded. A perfect combination!

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I was really happy to learn about the Walmart Family Mobile plan. For only $34.88 a month ($29.88 for additional lines) you get unlimited talk, text, and web, and 5GB of 3G data. With the skyrocketing cost of mobile phone plans, it is nice to know that here is a family-friendly, budget-friendly option available.

I purchased the LG L90 Smartphone. It has everything I can need in a smartphone, with an Android based system (running 4.4 KitKat for you techies out there). Since this phone is designated as my “Run Phone,” I immediately downloaded all the apps that I could think of that would help me reach my goals. This included music and audiobook apps, GPS tracking apps, running logs, and of course, Instagram and Twitter (still gotta share those milestones, right?).

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Of course, since I love my social media, photos are important, and the LG L90 has a good camera.

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I think the most important thing is that I have a good phone, with a strong 3G connection, that is convenient to carry with me while I’m running. You just never know when you will need to call for help and it really gives me a feeling of security to know I’m carrying this phone while I run. It fits easily in my Flipbelt or an armband, and is so light weight I barely notice that I’m carrying it.

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I have it pulled out to show off the phone, but the LG L90 fits easily in the media pocket of my top.

We all need a little help with our goals from time to time. I love the motivation I get from this phone. It will help get me out the door, keep me safe and engaged while I’m out there, and record and track my training (and share it too!).

What motivates you to reach for your goals?

Living a Plant Based Life

This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

I recently received a message from a parent of one of my cross country runners, “Hey Debbie, Question for you, do you have a vegan diet with a day by day list of what to eat? I have to get on an exact eating plan.

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I am not a nutritionist or a dietician, so I couldn’t give her exactly what she wanted, but I could give her a little advice, “I always planned my meals similar to non-vegan ones. Breakfast can be cereal with non-dairy milk, a smoothie, a tofu scramble. Lunch a salad, sandwich. Dinner the same. Choose healthy vegan protein sources like tofu, tempeh, beans, or seitan. Nothing wrong with using meat substitutes, especially at first. Read labels because there are a lot of hidden animal products in many foods.

Because it’s really not difficult to live a plant based life.

When I first adopted my vegan diet I simply substituted plant based alternatives. For dinner, many of my favorite recipes were easily prepared using a faux meat. Over the years I have also learned to make seitan, cook tempeh and tofu so that they taste delicious, and discovered the joy of jackfruit, but the idea remains the same. My meals today look and taste much the same, but no longer contain any animal ingredients.

A vegan lunch was even easier because in the past it usually consisted of a sandwich, a salad, or leftovers. I pile my sandwiches high with fresh, crispy veggies. And avocado. Always avocado. I’ll toss beans, nuts, seeds, or quinoa in my salad for the punch of protein. I do tend to make my own salad dressing more frequently now, but there are plenty of plant based options.  Just as I told my friend, it’s a matter of reading labels. I do not make my own bread (yet), but with careful reading it’s possible to find it without milk, honey, or eggs.

Breakfast, surprisingly, was more difficult.

I am always in a hurry in the morning. Always; especially on work days. So taking the time to create a vegan scramble (unless it’s leftovers from the night before) just isn’t in the cards. Even a smoothie seems to take more time than I have.

My previous beloved granola with yogurt was not available to me anymore. I made the switch to cereal, hot or cold, with soy or almond milk (plus toast, always toast), but I always felt like I was missing something. Well, I was. I was missing the satisfaction and protein burst that I’d had before.

Until now.

SilkSilk, a champion of vegan dairy alternatives from soy, almond, and coconut milk, to truly non-dairy coffee creamer, not to mention (since we’re just past the holidays), the best Holiday Nog, now has a Dairy Free Yogurt Alternative.

Made from completely plant-based ingredients, Silk Dairy-Free Yogurt Alternative contains six grams of protein per serving, is made with real fruit, live and active cultures, and is completely free of dairy, cholesterol, and artificial flavors and colors. It’s also gluten- and carrageenan-free, and a good source of calcium and Vitamin D.

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And, as I found when I tasted the samples I was sent, it is absolutely delicious. It has a smooth and creamy texture that blended well with the granola and fruit that I added-in. It also added a luscious creaminess to the smoothie I made (okay, sometimes I can find the time). It comes in six yummy flavors, so there are a lot of options: Black Cherry, Strawberry, Blueberry, Vanilla, Peach & Mango, and Tropical Pineapple.

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I can’t wait to make a non-dairy parfait, which is on the menu for my next breakfast. Keep an eye on the Silk Pinterest Board. I’ll post the picture (and the smoothie recipe) there. You can also join the Silk Community by signing up for their newsletter.

What is your favorite breakfast food? Are you always in a hurry like me, or do you save yourself time to make breakfast?

This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

On Running: Mizuno Wave Rider 18 Review

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Mizuno.

The above is called a disclosure and it’s required to let you know about sponsored relationships. Now let me give you another, personal disclosure: I made the switch to the Mizuno Wave Rider several years ago (circa version 15) and I’ve never looked back. I am a true fan. I even recommend them to my cross country runners and clients. So when I had the opportunity to review the new Wave Rider 18 running shoes, I eagerly stepped up to the plate.

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Yes, I keep all my retired favorite running shoes. Don’t you?

My running has been a little lackluster lately. It may be autumn for the rest of the country, but here it the desert the highs remain in the 90s and I’m just tired of the heat. The mornings have cooled off a little, but I still feel sluggish and tired. I finally decided that, instead of feeling sorry for myself I need to find a new running goal. I haven’t raced since the Rock and Roll marathon in June, so it’s time to lace up my running shoes and get training again.

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That made the timing of the release of the new Mizuno Wave Rider 18 all the more perfect. New race, new goals, new shoes to start training in. I’m not sure what race I will choose, but it will probably be something close to home. The Palm Springs Half Marathon comes to mind. It’s in mid February, and even though that sounds like a long way off, it’s only a little over four months, perfect for someone who has been more busy coaching than doing her own running lately.

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Mizuno Wave Rider 18 Review

So with that in mind I was excited when I laced up the Wave Riders for their first run. So excited that without thinking I managed to dress to match my shoes! I took them on a short run and I wasn’t disappointed. That same lightweight ride, with just a little bit of support that I appreciate from previous models, the comfortable fit with plenty of room in the toe box, and, let’s face it, the good looks, all contribute to my overall opinion of these shoes.

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The new Wave Rider 18 incorporates several key Mizuno technologies:

  • U4ic Midsole delivers optimal shock attenuation, resilience, responsiveness, and superior ride that is 30% lighter than AP+
  • Dynamotion Fit relieves the stress that the foot naturally places on footwear eliminating distortion.
  • Mizuno Wave Technology provides runners with a stable ride from landing to toe-off. Features a Double Fan Wave with articled forefoot Wave Plate for the optimal blend of shock attenuation guidance and lightweight flexibility.

It weighs 7.8 ounces (9.2 ounces for men) and has a 12mm drop. The MSRP is $119.

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Mizuno incorporated the inspirational influence of the Japanese concept of “Hado,” the intrinsic vibrational life force energy that promotes powerful transformations. Hado is executed in the Wave Rider’s sleek dynamic design relaying the power and kinetic energy of running, harnessing the transformative possibilities of every run.

To me Hado means that sense that you have when you know without asking or speaking, what is going on around you. You feel the energy of other people, nature, animals, even your home or office.  Hado circulates around us, allowing us to pick up the mood of others, sense impending trouble or relief, even that prickly feeling of possible danger. The Hado of running means becoming one with your body, the ground that you run on, the air around you, and using that energy to transform your running experience.

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Picking up on the happy, energetic Hado of my dogs (especially Lily).

Now that I have a purpose to go along with my new shoes, I can already feel a difference in my running. It feels more…joyful is a good word. This morning I ran along the local trails just enjoying the lightness of my feet and my soul. I listened to the sound of my breathing and the crunch of my feet on the trail. I’m not very fast anymore, but I felt fast and sleek. Ready to get back to training. Ready to run.

The Wave Rider 18 is a great everyday, all purpose shoe, that can go from the road, to light trail running, to racing.  Which makes them perfect for me, because that is my running life. I plan to use them for my half marathon training (and probably treat myself to a new pair for the race).

If you are looking for a great neutral shoe, that is lightweight, with just a touch of support, the Mizuno Wave Rider 18 may just be perfect for you too. It has my stamp approval!

Have you tried the Wave Rider? What do you look for in a running shoe? Light weight? Support? Minimalist? Good looks?

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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?

Motivated to Beat Breast Cancer

This post is sponsored by Skechers to call attention to their campaign with the American Cancer Society in the fight against breast cancer. I was compensated for this post. All opinions though, are my own, and I am proud to be a part of this campaign.

My younger sister Susan would have been 54 on Thursday. She was only 43 when she finally succumbed to her long battle with cancer.

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Happier times. My sister was healthy and enjoying time with her daughter.

Susie didn’t die of breast cancer. Instead it was one of those unpronounceable cancers that can strike and seem to randomly pick an organ to destroy.  She fought valiantly, survived radiation and chemotherapy, and even enjoyed a few years of peace as her cancer went into remission. During that time we, my sisters Susan and Lisa, and Sue’s daughter Brynne, participated in the first Race for the Cure in Temecula. Susan wasn’t strong enough to do the whole 5k, so we all walked together for the one mile walk.

Now, over 10 years after her death, I participate in several events that raise money to fight breast cancer. I do it in honor of my sister, because, even when she was so sick with her own cancer, it was important to her.

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I always send up a balloon in honor of my sister at the Women Running Wild 5k, which raises money to fight breast cancer.

When I was asked to participate in this campaign by Skechers to spread the word about their Performance Division Awareness shoes and apparel, and their work with the American Cancer Society to fight breast cancer, I jumped at the opportunity. Sure, I was excited about a new pair of running shoes (who wouldn’t be?), but more than that I wanted to share this information.

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The Cause

The Skechers Performance Division is supporting the American Cancer Society in the fight against breast cancer in several ways. They are offering a donation to the American Cancer Society and the Awareness line of breast cancer shoes and apparel features the ACS logo, the pink ribbon, and messaging.

In addition to that, Skechers is hosting the American Cancer Society’s San Francisco Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk and will be donating a portion of the sales of Skechers shoes on-site that day.

Other programs include the opportunity for consumers to “round up” their purchase to the nearest dollar when they shop at Skechers retail stores throughout the month of October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness month.  Skechers will also offer a 20% discount on the next purchase to consumers who donate $5 or more. Finally, customers will receive a gift with purchase of any of the line of Awareness breast cancer shoes.

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It feels good to know that you can do some good when you purchase a product. But what about the shoes?

The Shoes

I have had a chance to try out the Skechers GOrun 3 Awareness. I felt, when I first put it on, that it was the most comfortable shoe that I own. Since the first day, I’ve worn them to cross country practice, our cross country meet, and just about anywhere I needed to wear shoes. Oh, and I ran in them too.

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I really was floating on air here!

They were just as comfortable to run in as to wear casually. I’d say that they fit like a glove, but they don’t feel tight or squeeze my toes, just cozy. It is a minimal-type shoe, so it is very light, but unlike some minimal shoes I didn’t feel like my feet were slamming down on the ground. The opposite in fact. I felt like I was floating.

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I also wore them to work, though I did take them off while I did my Pilates workout.

I really love the feel of this shoe. Still, I usually use a more supportive shoe, so I will be cautious, and probably save them for shorter runs and racing. And while I always recommend that runners save their running shoes for running, I really want to wear these shoes everywhere.

There are some specs on the Skechers breast cancer running shoe:

Designed for speed with innovative performance technologies to promote a midfoot strike, it fosters a barefoot running experience while offering cushioning and impact protection.
• Improved breathability and flexibility
• Roomy forefoot. 3 layer Power-prene mesh on front panel allows for support while offering ample room for toe splay
• GOimpulse sensors offer flexibility and feedback for a responsive running experience
• M-Strike Technology™ promotes a midfoot strike
• Custom Fit insole is removable for an even more minimal feel
• 4mm Heel Drop to bring you closer to a natural barefoot experience
• Resalyte™ Midsole – Proprietary lightweight injection-molded compound with memory retention helps absorb impact
• Nearly seamless flexible mesh upper with lace up front

Skechers4All I know is they made me feel fast! I was even inspired to make a video (which I’m kind of proud of so I hope you’ll take a look)!

So, if you want to get a really great pair of shoes and make a difference in the fight against breast cancer, check out the entire line of Skechers Performance Awareness shoes and apparel.

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I am proud to wear these shoes in honor of my sister. Who will you wear your shoes for?  If you head over, come back and tell me what item you’d like to have!

My Life on Instagram and Other Updates

I have been very prolific on Instagram this week. Between cross country, Whole Foods, dog running, and Huntington Beach (and a new job…yay!), I’ve been uploading a lot of photographs. I thought it would be fun to update my life from Instagram from this week. (Do you follow me?)

Let’s start off with the best. I was in Huntington Beach this week with the cross country team (more on that below). After our meet, we headed to the beach, where the waves were, as Alan would say, pretty gnarly. In fact, I was so nervous watching the kids with no lifeguard on duty that I didn’t take my eyes off the water and was relieved when most of them chose to go grab some food after about a half hour.

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Some pretty gnarly waves, as my husband would say. At Huntington Beach yesterday.

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Whole Foods

The week started off with a visit to Whole Foods. After attending the pre-opening party last week I had some coupons that were set to expire, so I went there to stock up on some vegan essentials. Note: You know you’re in line behind a blogger when she does this to her grocery items on the belt:
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There were a few things I didn’t buy while I was at Whole Foods, including vegan doughnuts, vegan sushi, and vegan chick’n salad (sense a theme here?).

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I don’t even know if these are vegan, but they reminded me of my friends Alexandra and Kymberly, the Boom Chicka Boomers.

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Truth be told, I’ve already been to Whole Foods three times, twice since the grand opening. The third time was just to pick up some lunch. Unbelievably, it didn’t make it to Instagram.

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New Job

The reason I stopped at Whole Foods for lunch was because I started a new job!! As I mentioned in my jobless update post, I will be working as a personal trainer at a country club in Palm Desert. Even though I won’t really start until November, I had orientation on Wednesday

, plus met with my first client! I’m really excited. I already know some of my co-workers (and my boss), the fitness center is beautiful, and I’ll get a chance to really work with clients again. To prepare for my first day I did this:

Instagram 2Because a mani and pedi is just what I needed to feel confident and ready to go. Also to prep for my new job (and to make sure I get paid for my cross country coaching) I renewed my CPR/AED certification. I’ve done it for so many years (I actually used to teach CPR for the Red Cross), but I love that things are always changing because of research into what works the best. My class was held at the Weil Institute of Critical Care, whose founder, Dr. Max Weil was instrumental in the research and development of Automated External Defibrillator (AED) devices.

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Team Eleven by Venus

As you know, I am an Ambassador for Eleven by Venus. Always known for her fashion flair on the courts, Venus Williams now makes her unique style available to all of us. EleVen by Venus goes beyond clothing and encompasses a healthy, fit, and confident lifestyle. This week our Ambassador pages went up! Here’s mine (check out all the other amazing Ambassadors):

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 Dogs and Sunglasses

You know I like to post pictures of my dogs on Instagram. I can’t help it, they’re just so cute! Even if they are just sleeping to recharge their batteries so that they Johnny can destroy another pair of sunglasses (this week alone, besides the sunglasses, two of Alan’s Giant’s hats, my only pair of “interview” shoes, my favorite running skirt (he ate the crotch out! So embarassing!)). This in spite of our trying to put things out of reach and behind closed doors when we leave. Good thing we love him.

Instagram 8Sunday is run day with all the dogs, but Lily and Olivia were the only ones that got their pictures taken.

Lily OliviaHow can you not love that face? He seems to be blind in his left eye, which makes him all the more endearing.

JohnnyFortunately, the $16 sunglasses are easy to replace at Target.

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This skirt!

 

RnR18Speaking of Running

Did you participate in Lorna Jane Active Nation Day? It has come and gone (can’t wait until next year!), but the one thing that was missing arrived this week. I just love the Lorna Jane bracelet, with the little active living heart.

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I was sent these Airia Running shoes to try out and review. They are specifically designed to make you run faster. The jury is still out (I’ve just had a couple runs in them and it’s been so hot, it’s hard to be fast no matter what shoes you’re wearing), but they look cool and the concept is very original.

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Just another day out on the beautiful trails near my home in La Quinta!

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Cross Country

This week our invitational meet was in Huntington Beach. My girls did great, finishing fourth in our division. It was very hot, about 90 degrees at race time, and a lot more humid than we’re used to in the desert. Still, they ran well even though we were missing our number five runner, who was sick. Here they do some positive visualization before their race.

Cross CountryThis was the boys junior varsity race.

Cross Country 2Seen at the park. I just don’t get it. As my cousin said on Facebook, people should know the difference between their dogs and their dolls.

Instagram 13Even though it was late when we finished, we let the kids have a little time at the beach. As I said above, the waves were pretty huge for So. Cal., but they still had a good time.

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HB 2We left just as the sun was setting, meaning we didn’t get home until after 9:00. A long day, but fun and satisfying.

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Food of Instagram

Of course I shared a few photos of my food of the week, starting off with dinner at Chipotle. I love their vegan Sofritas, but please, please, please Chipotle, can’t you separate your onion and green pepper veggie mixture? I love onions, hate green peppers. Fortunately, our server was really efficient at giving us mostly onions!

InstagramYum, shawarma!

Instagram 3After my shopping trip to Whole Foods I enjoyed trying out some of my bounty. Field Roast Smoked Apple Sage sausage, Earth Balance mac and cheese, and, topping my salad, Follow Your Heart blue cheese dressing. All vegan of course. And delicious!

Instagram 10And for desert…So Delicious Almond Milk Minis, mocha almond fudge. They were, well, so delicious.

Instagram 6How was your week? Any fun events, competitions, or new jobs? If you posted a favorite Instagram picture, go ahead and share it in the comments. And follow me!