Tag Archives: nature

Being OK With Marvelous

My giveaway for a $25 credit to healthy-living discount shopping site HealthyChic ends tomorrow night at 11:59 PM EST. Make sure to enter and if you don’t win, you can still sign up and use a discount code on your first order!

This weekend was really out of my box Рlike last weekend in Boston. I pshawed sleep, homework, and my usual kill-me Sunday morning spin class in favor of all sorts of marvelous. And I enjoyed myself while doing so. And that SCARES me.

Let’s get the marvelous moving, thanks to Katie!

Some people who read this post may understand exactly where I’m coming from. On the other end of the spectrum, some may think I’m a spoiled brat who will always find something to complain about no matter how good my life gets. I can see both perspectives but what it all comes down to is what feels safe to me and realizing that the safe option is not always the option I WANT. And that does not make me an irresponsible, reckless person. It makes me a normal 24 year old!

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Beautiful Blogger Award

Woo hoo! I loved reading your comments on yesterday’s flashback WIAW about your childhood eating habits and hope to reply to them all today. A couple of you mentioned doing your own posts about that topic – PLEASE DO! I’d LOVE to see what you munched on as a munchkin ūüėČ

My HLS roomie Alex of Wholesome Living nominated me for the Beautiful Blogger Award! I really enjoy filling out these little surveys especially because lately I’ve just been enjoying writing more about moi and my musings, thoughts, what have you. In fact I’m going to cheat a bit and use this survey to share some more current words running through my mind, not just general “about me” stuff.

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Mohegan Sun Blogger Girls Weekend!

Remember that the giveaway for a pair of Sprigs Earbags ends tonight at 11:59PM EST! Make sure to enter before cooking time begins ūüėõ

If you follow me on Twitter and/or Instagram, you probably saw bits and pieces of my fabulous girls weekend at Mohegan Sun with other bloggers. My love for this Connecticut casino is well-known to readers of this blog. I’ve written about trips there many a time…

Thankfully, Mohegan is a fan of the blog! PR Manager Michelle Williams invited me and some other lovely ladies to spend time at the casino this past weekend, including overnight¬†accommodations¬†in the hotel – which I’ve always wanted to stay in!

I was in some excellent company! L to R: Me, Maria, Anne, Elizabeth, Theodora, Julie, Tina, Bianca, Beth.

Maria and I arrived Saturday morning in our puffy vests, ready to take on a hike at Mystic, CT’s Bluff Point State Park!

In vests that match our personalities! ūüėČ

Mohegan Sun offered each blogger her choice of activity – hiking, biking, shopping, or a visit to Mystic Aquarium. I’m not the most coordinated biker (gimme a stationary spin bike any day) and I’ve already shopped in Mystic and been to the aquarium, so I thought a hike would be a unique activity and a perfect way to enjoy the beautiful day. You know what else is a perfect way to enjoy a day? A limo ride.

My limo crew – Maria and I hiked, while Bianca and Beth visited the aquarium.

I certainly enjoyed riding to and from Mystic in style, though I felt a bit under-dressed for a limo!

Sadly the limo was devoid of champagne.

I spy a Daybreak coffee cup…and snacks!

Maria and I arrived at Bluff Point and were pleasantly surprised to find that we would have a guide! Kim, the Education Director of the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center, made the hike so amazing. Without her, Maria and I would have still been enjoying the sights; with her though, we could know WHAT we were looking at and enjoying, as well as some history of the area.

Look how clean and clear this water is!

Cheesy as it sounds, I felt completely inspired by the fact hidden gems like Bluff Point exist right in my own backyard. It makes me wonder what other beautiful sights are out there that I still haven’t seen!

Saltwater cord grass! (See, I never would have known that without Kim on the hike.)

New opportunities await…

This incredible quiet beach is just a mile from the park entrance – a completely manageable walk for someone who wants to avoid the typical beach crowds!

Upon reaching the top of Bluff Point, Maria and I just had to stop and take a moment to take in the beauty. I can tell Kim enjoyed seeing our reactions.

Me and the big world!

I obviously had to get silly.

Kim led us on a speedy walk back to the entrance to meet the limo (we were running a bit behind) and Maria and I departed with huge smiles on our faces! Thank you Kim!

Me and Kim!

Mohegan Sun was kind enough to provide us boxed lunches, but they were not too plant-heavy and Maria and I both had a hankering for salads. And seafood. To Summer Shack we go!

May or may not have also had a tequila craving.

I ordered a Crab Cobb Salad (no bacon). It was wonderful! I ate every last bite, along with some Summer Shack cornbread.

Look at all that crab!

After lunch (and some shopping…THANKS Maria for getting me into Lush) I was super-excited to check into our room. Why? Three letters. V-I-P!

Michelle arranged for all of us bloggers to check in at the casino’s Aquai VIP Lounge. This was my first time as a VIP and I was not very good at hiding it. For example, when asked if we wanted water or champagne, Maria and I stood dumbfounded. Finally Maria said, “Can we have water AND champagne?”

Balance, exemplified.

The answer, clearly, was OF COURSE!

People who are used to VIP treatment probably don’t ask for pictures of themselves being treated like VIPs.

On our way up to our room (32nd floor, baby!) Maria and I stopped by the indoor pool to scope it out. Um, hello?! How did I not know this beautiful thing existed?! I’ll be back! Look, there’s a bar!

Mohegan Sun totally hooked us up with a room with a view! Completely gorgeous.

The inside of the room was certainly not shabby either. I adored the purple accents throughout! Felt totally perfect for a girls weekend.

Isn’t the tile around the mirror beautiful? The bathroom floor had a matching design!

Makeup mirror and brocade purple shower curtain!

Our toilet came equipped with its own door so its user could have privacy while someone else used the bathroom sink/mirror. It also came equipped with…a phone!

As my grandpa used to say…I was having “a shitty conversation”.

Maria and I spent the rest of the afternoon pampering and getting ready for dinner. As I sat at my laptop uploading photos, letting my nails and hair dry, and sipping champagne, I could hardly believe…my life! I felt so very special and honored that Mohegan Sun was hosting me. You like me, you really like me!

And man oh man, the fun doesn’t stop there. Stay tuned for my recap of our fabulous dinner at Todd English’s Tuscanyto come after Thanksgiving. Which, by the way, is TOMORROW! Really?!

I hope you all have a beautiful Turkey Day and if you don’t celebrate, a fabulous Thursday.

When was the last time you went on a hike?

What’s the most glamorous hotel experience you’ve ever had?

Do you have any casinos in your area?

Disclaimer: Though I received my stay at Mohegan Sun free of charge, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

CT NOW Love Your Body 5K

Hello, Monday readers! I hope your weekends were wonderful. Mine was pretty good! I’m going to start this post off with a tummy update. I have been experiencing nausea, stomach cramping, and other GI stuff off-and-on for almost three weeks now. After my first two frustrating doctor’s visits (during which I was told it was a virus), I finally had a third appointment with my regular doctor. It’s been a lot of waiting for test results, but I’m happy to report that I’m that much closer to an answer to this whole mess. I was just hoping to test positive for SOMETHING and I got a call on Friday afternoon reporting to me that, low and behold, I had. My tests revealed the presence of a bacteria that can cause the on-and-off symptoms I’ve been experiencing and there is an antibiotic that can treat it. I immediately felt flooded with relief. I honestly was going to be panicky if my tests had shown nothing wrong. Images of being a Dr. House impossible-to-diagnose case have been flashing through my mind.

Of course, if this fine man was treating me, maybe I could keep a positive mindset. Source.

The antibiotics that can treat this bacteria tend to have side effects of even worse nausea though, so my doctor does not want to put me on them until they get the last of my test results back (hopefully on Monday). Once it’s confirmed that I have tested negative for everything else except this one bacteria, I will be treated for it. They don’t want me on these antibiotics unless I have to be, especially since it is so important for me to feel the best I possibly can so that I can get in the calories I need. I understand that for sure, but am also anxious to start the medication so that I can be sure that this bacteria really is what is causing my symptoms. I was so excited to test positive for something that I didn’t catch the name of the bacteria or meds when I was on the phone with my doc – oops. I will try to get them from her today and report back to you guys.

Superwomen!

Now onto the subject of this post! Awhile back I announced that I’d signed up for the CT Chapter of the National Organization for Women‘s Love Your Body 5K¬†¬†at the West Hartford Reservoir.¬†I’m thankful that my good blend Maria was game to sign up with me; together we formed Team #AmazingMe!¬†I could hardly believe race day was already here when I woke up Saturday morning. Unfortunately my stomach was not 100% upon first waking but I rested at home for a couple of hours, drank up an apple cider vinegar and water “cocktail”, and popped an Imodium before I hit the road.

I’m one amazing, Fitfluential lady!

Since the race took place so close to Halloween, Maria and I immediately wanted to plan matching costumes. I decided that pink superheroes would be perfect for us. We love our pink and it fit perfectly with our team theme! I got a couple of fairly nice tech tees from Wal-Mart, and we decorated them with Sharpies before the race started. I represented the team name and Fitfluential on my tee, while Maria represented the team and Sweat Pink, for which she is an ambassador.

I loooove running skirts – and hot pink sneakers! Also wore my beloved Sweaty Band from the Fitness Mag Meet & Tweet swag bag!

I couldn’t believe Maria was able to find pink superhero capes, but she did! Actually, I think they were supposed to be pink vampire capes, given the classy collars. They still fit our purpose and everyone understood that we were supposed to be superheroes – with the exception of one little girl cheering for me at the finish line saying, “GO ballerina, GO!” OK, ballerina works too!

Maria testing out the cape after first putting it on. How much do you love her socks?

The cape passed the test!

After getting “dolled up”, we made a porta-potty pit stop (bleh) and picked up our numbers. The cherries on top of our costumes were these awesome signs that were available to fill out before participants proceeded to the starting line.

Not ours but I sure liked these ideas!

It was so inspiring throughout the race to see each participant wearing a sign that displayed how proud they were of themselves. Some even used their signs to display affection for the important people in their lives – and really, aren’t they truly better than any “perfect” body part? I especially loved the sign on one man running in front of me at a point that said “I Love My Love (Lori).” ¬†Whether Lori is his wife, girlfriend, sister, best friend, it’s pretty clear that she lights up his life and he wanted to remember her while he ran. I myself am trying to get away from seeing my body parts individually. I am so used to honing in on one part of me (most often my stomach) and criticizing myself for imperfections, even when I rationally know that a perfect body is NOT the path to happiness and that many things “wrong” I see with myself aren’t even there. It has really been helpful to me to stop myself whenever I find myself concentrating on one body part, and focus on the entire amazing me. That’s why I filled out my sign as follows…

Maybe the vampire collar was going to my head.

Maria went a similar route!

Woooo bod pod!

We decided to start out running together, but if one of us picked up a faster pace, she was of course free to move forward. Immediately I started out feeling pretty good and surged a little bit ahead. I still carefully monitored my stomach – at the first feeling of nausea, I planned to scale it back.

Thanks for this great pic, Maria!

The race course was gorgeous. The West Hartford Reservoir is incredibly beautiful and I had only gone running there during the summertime. The sight pictured above truly took my breath away. As I ran by each lake-and-leaves scene I felt overwhelmed by the beauty before my eyes¬†and I truly felt a wave of “zen” wash over me. It’s amazing what nature can do!

Throughout the race course there were NOW CT volunteers spread out with encouraging signs. It was a fantastic addition to the 5K! My favorite sign said “Si Se Puede!”…anyone else remember that Disney Channel original movie? I also was a big fan of this guy with his “You Are Wonderful!” sign. I pointed at him and said, “No, YOU are!”

Our costumes were a huge hit! A lot of people I ran by smiled and cheered for me, saying, “Nice cape!’ I think I need to just wear this costume every day of my life because those smiles certainly made me feel great. The cape stayed on well despite the fact that it was only secured around my neck by one piece of velcro!

Unfortunately as I was going down one of the last big hills of the course, I got a REALLY bad stitch in my side. Maria came up behind me and stopped to check on me, advising me to massage the cramp. I did so while breathing out for as long as I could (I heard that this helps side cramps) but did have to stop and walk. For a second I felt disappointed in myself, especially as the folks I’d previously passed were passing me. However the feeling quickly passed. I mean, I have not been feeling my best and here I was running a 5K! My body needed walking and I gave it just that. As I neared where I knew the finish line was I felt confident that the cramp had passed and picked up the pace to a jog, and then a run. Once I was close to the finish line I saw that the clock read 29:40. In the back of my mind I’d had a goal to finish this 5K in under 30 minutes, so I broke into a sprint and crossed at the (unofficial) time of 29:54. Amazing Me indeed!

Maria and I post-race!

My friend and former co-worker Brian was working at the finish line and handed me a water bottle. He is the one who told me about this event and I am so grateful that he did! It gave me a chance to donate to a cause I believe in, feel inspired, and hang out with a good friend in a beautiful setting.

Thanks Brian! He loves his quads!

The post-race swag was quite impressive! The shirts actually fit well and I am wearing mine today at work. I love representing a race or event in the workplace – yay for a casual dress code in my office!

Oops, mirror image. #selfieproblems

However the very best part of the swag was, to me, the fact that they offered bananas of varying ripeness. I have never seen that before…there were both plain yellow and brown-spotted bananas. Most people are very particular about their banana ripeness and I don’t know if it’s just me but I was seriously blown away that there was a choice for runners!

Plain yellow…

…and brown-spotted too! This was my choice.

Maria and I also snagged some natural lip balm, White Chocolate Macadamia Luna bars, oranges, and Chewy bars (you’re welcome, little brother).

Me with my swag bag!

Something else caught my eye at the swag table…local CT wine?! Turns out the top three male and female finishers each got a bottle. I joked that if I had known, maybe I would’ve picked up the pace a bit ūüėõ and suggested they gift the only costumed runners with wine as well. I got a “maybe next year!” in response to that. Nice try, Caitlin.

Unfortunately after we got to our cars, Maria and I had to part ways. She had errands to run and a best friend’s birthday to prep for, and I had (still have…) a paper to write. But I left happy that I’d seen her, proud of myself for walking when I needed to, and pleased that I was still feeling good in the tummy!¬†Oh, and extremely grateful for such a WARM October day. Seriously, I don’t mind this part of global warming.

Thank you to the CT Chapter of the National Organization of Women for putting on a great event with an inspiring message!

Have you ever dressed up for an athletic event? What was your costume?

Have you ever participated in a love-your-body centered event? Did it inspire you?

What’s the best race swag/tee you’ve ever gotten?