Carla’s Favorite Things…Gonesh

I know, I know, it’s getting down to the wire for holiday shopping, Friends! I wanted to share with you some products that showed up in my mailbox a short while ago in case they might be that perfect something you are looking for!

I would’ve told you about these sooner, but as with any products I show-and-tell, I take the opportunity to get to know them well first. I recently began using some Gonesh products thanks to their company generously providing me with a couple of essential oils, a multitude of incense, and an incense holder. I LOVE using incense and essential oils as part of my mindfulness/meditation/wellness practice, so imagine my excitement level when I opened the box to find these…

I didn’t know which one to begin with because I was intrigued by ALL of it! I was instantly struck with how large the packages were, the actual sticks are much longer than standard ones I’ve used in the past and there were 20 to a pack unlike most brands with 10. I was also impressed reading how Genieco’s incense has the highest charcoal content of any brand currently on the market to deliver the purest, cleanest burn and clear fragrances.

I had a busy day of crafting for my etsy shop ahead. The hustle and bustle of the season were keeping me very occupied. I needed my workspace to remain positive so I decided to venture into the Inner Source line of incense first. This line of sticks was created to help turn negative energy into postive synergy…who doesn’t need that? I lit up a PEACE stick, quickly blew out the flame and placed it into the beautiful Hamsa hand holder they provided. I LOVE that holder, as it reminds me I’m always protected.

The scent of the stick instantly transformed my room into a peaceful sanctuary for my crafting and packaging. The stick lasted a really long time as it slowly burned down. The entirety of the ash was neatly collected by the hand, and when the stick went out, the beautiful scent remained for hours! I knew right then, this collection is going to last me a very long time…I’m so excited!

I’ve continued to work my way through the various scents of the Inner Source collection. Each scent has its own rich and vibrant personality and seems to deliver the mood each promises…Beauty, Harmony, Love, Sharing, Spirit and Peace. I love them all! And I especially appreciate that a portion of the Inner Source purchase proceeds will be donated to the Greater Chicago Food Depository. LOVE!

Gonesh also sent me several packs of their Extra Rich collection of aromatherapy incense including yummy Lavendar, Sandlewood, Jasmine and Nag Champa. They are all fabulous too, but I have to say the Nag Champa has a hold on me like no other; what a beautiful way to unwind and clear a space!

As if that weren’t a wonderful enough experience, I still had some essential oils to enjoy. I purposely requested the Patchouli and Frankincense since I’d been eyeing them recently at stores. I placed a drop of Patchouli on my wrist pressure point and rubbed it in with my other wrist and enjoyed the lingering fragrance for the whole day. I don’t have many oils that stick with me that long, but I’m so glad this one does!

As I began preparing my living room for the holidays, I placed a few drops of both oils in my diffuser and enjoyed the Patchouli/Frankincense treat all afternoon. What a soothing, sensory-pleasing way to work! One thing that really surprised me with Gonesh’s Via Nature essential oils is the generous size of the products. Most of my oils are a tiny .17 to .33 of an ounce. These oils are a huge full ounce each and the price is about the same (or even less in some cases) as the smaller bottles of other brands! That got me excited about where I will be purchasing replacements in the future!

Friends, my encounter with Gonesh products was a beautiful experience. I highly recommend them both for your own personal use and for your gift-giving needs. It’s not too late to get these in time for Christmas, but they are also available for any occasion. If you’ve been considering adding incense or essential oils to your meditation/mindfulness/wellness practice, stop by the Gonesh website for a great look around

 

Carla’s Favorite Things…Rollga

Friends, the chase is still on for that perfect gift! And I am still not Oprah, but I will continue my favorite things theme today with something I would not want to live without. Need a gift for your favorite athlete, or an idea for yourself? Look no further than Rollga!

Nearly 18 months ago, I was picking up my race packet and attending the Med City Marathon Expo when I met Tim. I was instantly drawn to him, as he was rolling around on an intriguing new item. Before I even knew what happened, I was rolling around on one too!

Friends, I’d been no stranger to a foam roller, but we were far from friends. In my opinion they were torturous devices designed to prolong this runner’s agony, OOPS, I mean a tool to massage sore, tight muscles and promote recovery. I used them frequently, but OUCH! Anyway, there I am rolling on a Rollga Roller and look at my face…I’m not grimacing in pain. Why? The secret lies within those grooves. It actually felt GOOD!

Good enough to go home with one! Wow, did I use that thing often throughout the next six months of races. We were kind of inseparable…

It got to the point where I’d leave the gym following my workout and stretches and foam roll at home. Why? Because my gym doesn’t have Rollgas yet…but I think that’s about to change!

I should mention I was especially impressed that this crafty fitness gadget was developed right here in Minnesota!

This past summer I was out in Vegas at the IDEA Health and Fitness Association World Convention’s enormous expo. And who did I run into but Tim! Rollga’s unique design and comfort had caught on around the world…how fun is that?!?

By that time my Rollga and I had become one!

Earlier this fall I was in the area and decided to drop by the Rollga Headquarters in Sartell, MN. Not only did the generous creators Tim and Taggart roll out the welcome mat, they treated me to a tour, the history of Rollga’s evolution and some amazing product…a special green one for me and others to share, wink, wink!

And if that’s not cool enough, they introduced me to their latest creation…the Rollga Activator 3in1 Helo Massage Ball. This little guy travels with me all. the. time.

 

Friends, if you have pain anywhere or know someone that does, this little gizmo would make the perfect stocking stuffer. Why? Well I can’t explain everything it does, heck, I can’t explain it at all haha! All I know is this little miracle ball allows you to…”restore movement while trigger point locators relax unwanted tension.” And I don’t know about you, but I have plenty of tension to relax! The Activator has become a tool I don’t even think about using. It’s pretty mesmerizing and somehow seems to seek out tight spots all on it’s own. In my mind it could become the addictive fidget spinner for adults!

What a great opportunity it was to meet Taggart and see the Rollga operation in action. I continued on my way and spent the week doing some soulful, restorative yoga and Rollga off the end of a dock.

I’m glad to say that new Rollga and I are best buds. It has gently allowed me to roll lots of knee inflammation away. I discovered another great use on that trip. I had a pretty rotten headache off and on for a few days and the Rollga helped me suppress it simply by lying the back of my head against the center ridges. No medication necessary!

Tim and Taggart informed me of a fantastic tool to help make Rollga a part of my everyday routine…

The Rollga app is a valuable guide, almost like having a trainer right there with you at all times, demonstrating the many possible uses for optimal relief. You can find this handy tool in the app store for your smart devices.

If you are still looking for that perfect present for those fitness enthusiast friends and relatives, or someone who suffers from frequent muscle aches/tension/pain…take a moment to check out Rollga’s website for some amazing gift ideas!

Rollga, one of my favorite things…it’s one more way to put our Best Foot Forward!

Carla’s Favorite Things…OOFOS!

Friends, it’s that time of year…the chase is on for the perfect gift! Although I’m not Oprah, I thought I’d take the opportunity to showcase some of my favorite things this week, in case you are at a loss for some great ideas.

I became acquainted with OOFOS recovery footwear in 2015, when I was actively preparing for my first half and full marathons. My feet were exhausted after those long training runs and when I slipped on my original OOlala Sandals, it felt as if I wasn’t even touching the ground…like I was walking on clouds!

I love sharing with people my testimonial about fininshing my first marathon (Honolulu-exactly 2 years ago today). Immediately after crossing that finish line I peeled the shoes and socks off my weary feet and slid into those sandals. My feet experienced prompt relief…so much so, I was able to comfortably walk another mile back to our beach condo. I quite literally felt the OO!

As the months passed, I completed many races, each time relieved to know my OOFOS were waiting for me at the finish line…

It’s just a relief you can’t fully experience until you replace pain with comfort…

 

Those were all races I completed in warmer climates throughout the winter/spring. So when things warmed up here in the midwest, I kept running!

 

Yeah, I ran until I couldn’t anymore…curse that knee injury! Very soon after that the dreaded runner’s knee settled in too. And ever since that, osteoarthritis has become my constant companion. What a pain!

But here’s the cool part, Friends. I realized each time I wore any of my OOFOS footwear, the pain was significantly diminished! This resulted in a decreased need for pain meds…how cool is that?!?

I’ve continued to experience pain off and on for over a year. I dread tasks that require me to be on my feet for hours on end, so imagine my excitement when OOFOS generously mailed me this care package…OOcloogs and OOmgs!

I put them to the test immediately! I’ve been repping Fitbit products at Best Buy this holiday season and a day of retail in “support” dress shoes nearly killed me! These arrived just in time…that first shift I switched to the OOmgs, I completely understood the name.

 

It was seriously an entire day of me thinking OMG, how did they do this! Not only did my feet, ankles, knees and legs not hurt at the end of that shift, but I was ready for more! Those OOmgs are a total game changer for the remainder of the holiday retail season and beyond…not. even. kidding!!!

As for the OOcloogs, I’ve had a snazzy pair of their Luxe clogs in the past. But OOFOS just keeps wowing me with new products…how fun are these new Geo OOcloogs?!?

 

I can’t thank OOFOS enough for continuing to meet my ever-changing needs! Their perfectly engineered, shock absorbing technology and attention to fashion will keep me coming back again and again, Friends! Whether you are looking for fitness recovery or relief from injury, arthritis, or plantar fasciitis, do your feet a favor and stop over at the OOFOS website!

One more way to pur our Best Foot Forward!

Simplified Christmas

Friends, it’s been a while…

I found myself at a point where life got so hectic, I needed a break to analyze and refocus. I examined my schedule and daily habits to clean house, so to speak. I was allowing old tendencies to creep back in; it became time to shut them down…to prioritize and let the rest fall by the wayside. I’m happy to report this helped me remember my why. And I’ve realigned myself in an effort to move forward.

So here’s the thing, the holidays used to kill me. I mean I used to work frantically from the moment my feet hit the floor until I collapsed into bed every. darn. midnight. of December to make Christmas everything I thought it was supposed to be for my husband and kids. It robbed me of my health and joy. I’ve worked the past several years to recreate my expectations…to get what I want out of the holidays instead of doing what I think others think I should. Boy, am I done with that!

I’ve posted this before, this little something I borrowed from Facebook. You’ve likely seen it…

I’ve learned that if I want to survive the holidays intact, I need to let stuff go. LOTS of stuff. Last year my family traveled to Florida for Christmas. I still yearned for a tree, so I took a simple approach. Not only did all the ornaments remain boxed in the crawlspace, I didn’t even shop for or wrap gifts. The trip was our gift to one another. And just for giggles, I decided to quick make the tree mine…

I stuffed several pairs of my running shoes in the prelit tree and hung my race medals from the year…took me 10 minutes tops! But it soon fell over from the heaviness of the medals so we enjoyed a bare naked tree. No one objected! I didn’t even send out my usual 100 Christmas cards, and do you know what? Not one single person mentioned that they missed it.

As December flew past, we suddenly found ourselves on Cocoa Beach Christmas morning…no guilt laden cookies and candy, no shredded gift wrap, piles of gifts we didn’t need…simply spending the day together this way was the best gift of all time!

Oh how I wish this was our new tradition, but it’s not realistic right now. No, we won’t be on the beach again, but I leaned some valuable lessons from last year. I’ve simplified my gifting, I’m being that one person who won’t be mailing cards. Heck, my tree is naked again and the jury is still out as to whether it will be loaded with ornaments or remain simplistic. I mean, I kind of like the natural look…

I did a simple “Advent calendar” with goodies for my teenager, but I promise you, I didn’t stress! Those days are OVER! I’m done with the even higher high blood pressure, stress-induced, mindless emotional eating, panic attack trip to the ER, sleep deprivation to sew matching jammies for everyone, chronic crabbiness, yada, yada, yada. None of it served me or my family.

So while the general population is spending December stressing themselves to a frenzy, forgetting what it’s all truly about…I will be working on the above bucket list. I’ll be enjoying my family. I’ll be at the gym continuing to work toward better health and simply breathing.

Santa could learn a thing or two. I spoke frankly with him this week. Since I won’t be baking, he may have to settle for a yogurt at my house on Christmas Eve. He doesn’t look too excited, does he? Ho Ho Ho? Well, Ha Ha Ha!!!

Getting Paid to Walk!

Friends, when you think about it, there are a multitude of ways to earn a living while walking. There are  postal workers, newspaper carriers, patient escorts, meter readers, valets, retail sales associates, packers/movers, roofers, lawn care professionals, tour guides, waiters/waitresses, construction carpenters, security officers, and the list goes on.

Although I’m not looking for a new career, I have recently found a few fun and simple ways to earn money while walking. I mean, I walk anyway, so why not throw in a little extra task here and there to make my free-time fitness profitable? Read on for a few examples…

I frequently walk throughout my neighborhood, and now I get paid for it…how cool is that?! Nearly a year ago I was looking around on Craigslist and spotted an ad that read, “Looking for a day-time dog-walker…” I had a little extra time on my hands, and the ad mentioned my neighborhood. I looked into it only to find Dexter just around the block…my furry new FIT BFF! We keep each other company and accountable when his family is working. I call this a win/win all around!

If dog-walking isn’t your jam but you’re still looking to earn some bank while walking, this might interest you. This one may actually help you pay for some Christmas gifts too! Here’s how…

I learned about and downloaded this free app back in April. Job Spotter by Indeed is a unique opportunity for you to search for HELP WANTED and NOW HIRING signs.

 

This app pays you anywhere between 4 cents to over a dollar for each job opportunity you spot and capture. It’s very simple, open the app, take a picture of the HELP WANTED sign, take a second picture of the store sign. Once you submit the pics, it takes a few moments to a few days for each submission to be approved. This becomes kind of a game for me as I mall walk, something similar to Pokemon Go only I’m getting paid. How?

When I accumulate a decent amount of money, I usually wait for it to total $10-$20, I simply hit the redeem button and am emailed a gift code to redeem on Amazon. I’ve earned nearly $200 since I started back in April. It’s been fun to use that money to reward my efforts on things I wouldn’t ordinarily splurge on. I just Job Spotted enough to buy the new Fitbit Flyer bluetooth headphones!

A recent walk inside the Mall of America earned me nearly $40 while racking up 18,000 steps…another win/win if you ask me! That was one heck of a workout!

And finally, Friends, here’s another little app that I’m excited about…

 I use the free Achievement app to accrue points toward earning $10 rewards deposited directly into my PayPal account. It does take some time to rack up these points, so we won’t be getting rich, but hey, one more little push to be active and accountable is a giagantic bonus. Because we all know, HEALTH = WEALTH!

If you decide to use the Achievement app and sign up between now and 11/24/2017 using the link below, you and I each earn 500 points…that’s a LOT of points! Check it out and begin earning today here: www.myachievement.com

Well, Friends, you will not get rich with these little side “jobs” that I’ve explained. But there’s nothing wrong with earning a little extra fun money while getting fit. It’s simply one more way we can put our Best Foot Forward!

 

 

Here I Go Again!

Hey Friends, I wanted to let you know that although I haven’t been writing frequently lately, I am not slacking! Those of you that read my previous post know that I spent the month of October and the first few weeks this month completing a step challenge. It was a very simple idea, work toward getting the recommended 10,000 steps in daily. It was a bit harder for me than it sounded because I tended to get my activity done in ways my Fitbit doesn’t track. No worries, though, I made a conscious effort and hit the target all 42 days. Since I last posted, I continued to walk or hike daily, oftentimes with friends…

  

Even after the challenge wrapped up, I continued to find myself hitting the 10,000 step target every day…great new habit! One that put a crazy idea into my head…more on that in a moment.

I made another great investment of time lately too. A couple weeks ago, I joined a new maintenance support type of group made up of folks just like me who were members of the weight loss program I completed. We have come together to help one another through the holidays and beyond, keeping focused on our health and wellness. Our first meeting two weeks ago featured a healthy potluck. Ordinarily, the thought of a potluck terrifies me because I already know my choices will be few and far between. But this time was very different…not only were all the offerings healthy, the salads and main dishes all included recipes and nutrition info. Here’s a glimpse at one of the two bountiful tables!

This was the first potluck I ever felt safe about, if you know what I mean. So this program is simple, come together twice monthly to discuss challenges and successes, share helpful tips and weigh-in. We were also offered a food journal and encouraged to use it.

I should mention I joined this group because I not only wanted to maintain what I have left of my weight loss from these past 5 years, I want to forge ahead and drop more pounds. So this is what my first two weeks looked like…

I pretty diligently recorded my eating. I wrote most everything down nearly every day. I didn’t really begin with a calorie target for each day, but tried to keep it under 2000 calories.

I refocused my fitness efforts too. Just a few weeks back, my gym began a major renovation, one I couldn’t help thinking kind of symbolized my renewed goals too. I looked closely at my workout habits and routine and gave it some fine tuning. Beyond continuing my 10,000 daily step goal, I scheduled my strength training workouts and classes into my planner. This has been instrumental in my consistency. Because before I wrote these into my week, they were much less likely to happen.

I’m excited to report I’ve had two tremendously successful weeks. The scale dropped 5 pounds, my active wear fits much less like touniquets and I’m seeing some fun definition changes already…

Although the gym changes are obvious, you may not notice any with me. But that’s okay, I FEEL them and I know they are there. Even better? I’m driven to continue through the holidays and beyond.

One thing I’m so excited to share is that I remembered my why. Not only that, I remembered how excited I am to work toward some short and long term goals. I set an INSANE milestone goal for 2022 when I turn 50. It’s so damn crazy, I’m not going to tell you quite yet what it is. Just know I haven’t done much of anything lately that scares me, and this thing is well outside my comfort zone. Way beyond this continent even!

Friends, when’s the last time you refocused, redefined and reset? If you are spinning your wheels, maybe the time is now. It is making all the difference for me and is another great way to put our Best Foot Forward!

Moving Toward a Greater Good

I know I’ve been really quiet lately, Friends; it’s that time of year for me, I guess. Readers who have been with me for a while know I’ve been struggling for the past six years coming to terms with my dad’s death. Each year as October rolls around, although another year has passed, I find myself feeling that same familiar sting.

 

Remember, I was very much Daddy’s little girl, his continuous shadow here on earth until his very last night.

I’ve been spinning my wheels…in a holding pattern unable to move forward for a while now. So, recently, I did some tough work with my health coach. It was sort of disguised as a weight loss sort of session, but this woman is so gifted at peeling away the layers, tearing clear down to the heart of the matter so effortlessly. I’ve been working with her for the past 5 1/2 years throughout my weight loss journey and beyond.

Much of my struggle keeps coming back to grief and loss. So we did some pretty intense work on it recently. I’m finally coming to terms with the belief that although I grieve for what I lost, I know that a greater good will follow.

Thankfully, my husband and I have been involved in a challenge Walktober through his employer’s wellness program. It is a simple step challenge from Oct 2-Nov 12. I’m grateful I had a goal for this time of year, something to calm my October inner storm. Here’s what happened with that…

I put out an all call for walking buddies and grabbed this bull of a challenge by the horns. Here’s a little proof of the consistency a goal/challenge can afford. I got the job done EVERY SINGLE DAY.

It really helped to have company, gave me someone to catch up with, someone else to think about. Because on the days I was alone, it felt a whole bunch more somber, like this…

So I continued turning over that notion of a greater good following this immense loss I’ve experienced. And I know that can mean a million different things. But something happened, something so unexpected, something far too coincidental to be random, which made that idea crystal clear in my mind.

On the anniversary of my dad’s death a few weeks back, one of my dearest friends lost her mom. And on the anniversary of my dad’s funeral, we came together in Omaha to celebrate her life. The morning of her funeral I took some time to continue work on my step challenge in a most profound way.  The reality of what happened began to sink in.

I was simply astonished. Leave it to God to do something so unique, so healing through someone else’s loss.

This friend has walked supportively beside me throughout my journey (even on this challenge!!!), and I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to do the same while observing those tough dates together from now on. Something I think I may have needed but didn’t realize. A greater good?!? Well, maybe that’s not exactly what my health coach meant, but I can’t ignore a sign of this magnitude.

Just as in years past, as October turns to November and the focus shifts, the lump in my throat loosens, the tenseness melts away and I can breathe deeply once again.

I’m so glad I had a challenge to keep me moving forward. I have four more days to go…who wants to walk?

I must admit, with all those miles behind me, I can hardly wait to do anything other than walking!

 

D’Moda Sportswear Review

True confession time, Friends…I’ve struggled with negative body image issues most of my adult life. Throughout my weight loss journey, I’ve worked hard to set aside the damaging self-criticism. In all honesty, it’s not easy releasing something that has been part of me for so long. Mindfulness has allowed me to listen to my thoughts, but not necessarily believe them.

Here’s a great example, early on in my journey I struggled to find workout wear I felt comfortable donning in public. The playful, energetic prints that fascinated me on the hanger took on completely different characteristics stretched across my abundantly proportioned body. I often left stores with nothing but frustrated, negative feels. And although I’ve lost considerable weight, those thoughts still linger, their echo deafening if I’m off guard. Does this make sense to anyone else?

On my recent Vegas adventure to IDEA World Convention‘s Expo of all things fitness, I learned a very important lesson. Diana Aguirre, entrepreneurial creator of D’Moda Sportswear had generously agreed prior to the expo to provide me with a pair of her leggings. When I arrived at her booth to see nothing but wildly fun prints, the anxiety of the past began to bubble up. I think Diana’s empathy was on full blast, as she seemed to sense what I was thinking. She didn’t miss a beat in pulling multiple options from the rack for me to try on. I’d love to tell you they all looked as incredible on as they did on the hangers, but those darn thoughts were running their loop in my head again. I chose a pair that fit my spirit far better than my perspective at the time.

Here’s where things get interesting.

I read D’Moda Sportswear’s guiding philosophy…Diana’s wish for women everywhere is to be able to love and accept themselves as they are. D’Moda Sportswear is designed and manufactured to give women the support and style they need to go out there and be active in life with confidence and express themselves freely and fiercely.

I’ve read these words over and over this month as I pulled on the leggings. I have no idea why I waited this long! Maybe it took me that long to begin to love and accept myself enough to do it? Regardless, I was instantly impressed with the weight and unique four-way stretchiness of the polyester/elastano fabric. I wore them around the house all day, enjoying the tucked-in feeling of compression they afforded my loose-skinned tummy, legs and behind. I should mention I’m not afforded that luxury in my ordinary leggings. I also must admit I paused often throughout the day to rub my hand down my leg, appreciating the sheer comfort and texture of these pants.

As D’Moda encourages, Express YOU Fiercely, I decided to do just that to demonstrate how well these new pants fit within my lifestyle. I hiked one of my favorite places to calm, clear and energize…

Unfortunately, I soon brushed up againsts several burr plants and spent a good portion of the trail removing the stubborn little pests from my pants. I was so afraid pulling them off would damage the fabric. But after plucking off nearly 60-75 of them, they left no trace of snags, runs or tears. I KNOW my other leggings would’ve succumbed.

I paused at my happy place to remind myself I am not my thoughts, merely the thinker of them.

This body of mine has done remarkable things. It has brought forth new life twice, it has survived immense loss, extensive trauma, injuries, carried me across multiple start and finish lines and still shows up. Every. Single. Day. If those aren’t reasons to love and accept myself, I don’t know what else would be.

Okay, yeah, that got kind of deep. But I would like to give D’Moda Sportswear leggings two thumbs (or legs) up! I wholeheartedly recommend these pants and this company if you are looking for comfortable, dependable leggings that put that FIERCE within each step. You can check out their vast array here.

Thank you, Diana, for helping me get to this place with a fantastic pair of pants and very compassionate support!

Namaste

Another Month, Another Challenge

Happy October, Friends! I’m not sure how it’s here already, but September is clearly gone. I spent last month returning to the basics to realign my focus, but I had some pretty heavy stuff to deal with following a family member’s health issues. Its time consuming nature really tempted to hijack my success. Although I’d love to tell you I made great strides of progress, I was lucky to escape September holding on by my fingernails. The good news is I didn’t backslide.

Many of you ask me how I stay focused, how I continue to pick myself up when I need to and start over. Friends, I look forward to the beginning of each new month because it gives me opportunity to look back, readjust and move full speed ahead. I also know I can turn the page every week if I need to…heck, each and every DAY is a fresh new chance to begin again!

So let’s hit RESTART together! Today is a whole new month! I’m still facing some obstacles that keep me from working as hard as I would like, but I won’t let that discourage me. Why? Because I’m grateful for what I can do. When I take time to examine what I’m still capable of, it inspires me to get out and JUST DO IT!

I’m always keeping my eyes open for new motivation, so when my husband’s employee wellness program announced their October and beyond challenge, I jumped aboard. I LOVE their pic and the name…Walktober!

I plan to spend the next 42 days enjoying the fall foilage as I walk to accumulate points. I downloaded the Walktober app and will use my Fitbit to track my steps. I’m excited because my husband is on board too.

And better yet? Here’s where you come in…I’m inviting any of you that live within a reasonable distance to message me on the FIT BFFs Facebook page to schedule a date you’d like to meet up and join me for a stroll through the crispy crunchy leaves…a walk on the trails, a hike in the park…whatever works, because the only thing more fun than working toward my goals? Not having to go it alone!!!

I’m serious, Friends! NOTHING would make me happier than having you reader friends as walking buddies each and every day of this challenge. My schedule is pretty flexible and you can pick the speed and distance, within reason haha!

So PLEASE hit me up to let me know when we can walk or hike…one more way to put our Best Foot Forward!

Seriously…let’s do this!

 

Bookworm Workout

Once Upon a Time…

like just this week, I was struggling to find my normal workout determination and motivation. I was looking for adventure, a unique and fit activity that would occupy both mind and body while enjoying the spectacular fall weather…so I did a little brainstorming.

And lately, Friends, I’ve noticed some super cute little book houses popping up all over town. So I decided to do a little research to learn more. I was intrigued to discover that some of these neighborhood libraries are part of a nonprofit organization initiative that fosters free neighborhood book exchanges around the WORLD! I found this information about Little Free Library here. And upon doing a search of my hometown of Rochester, MN, I found this…

But when I took a closer look at the map, I realized there were quite a few more around town I had seen that were not on this map. So I dug deeper and did a little search for Rochester neighborhood libraries and was sent to my local library’s website that provided me a map with even more options…

I enlarged the map enough to jot down multiple addresses in an area I wanted to explore and my adventure took shape. I made a mental map of the route I would take on my bike considering safety and distance. I filled my waterbottle, tossed a snack in my backpack, secured my bike helmet and was ready to ride! I rode for only a couple blocks before I came to the first one.

Now keep in mind, the selection is small, but changing daily. Also, the cost is free and there are no due dates or late fees…my kind of library! I was impressed with what I found within in terms of something for everyone. Friends, there were board books for babies, picture books for toddlers, early readers for preschooler-primary, chapter books for the more experienced, adult non-fiction and fiction…so many genres in one little place. I didn’t find a book that sparked my interest, but no worries…I had several more addresses to explore. So after a big drink of water, on I rolled!

This little library was color coordinated with the owner’s house…how cute is that? And again, a wide assortment of titles for all ages. Still nothing for me, but I was just getting started.

This one was painted to resemble some of the flowers in this owner’s beautiful garden. This was beginning to be somewhat of an art tour as well. I think how excited my boys would have been if these had been around when they were little. I imagined them popping out of the bike trailer to see what fun things awaited them at each stop! Just thinking about it made me smile.

What inviting little places to pause! This house offered a bench to enjoy the library’s contents right then and there in case you wanted to stop by for a quick little read. I took the opportunity to hydrate before moving on.

This library was perched on the edge of an enchanting garden with a welcoming bench lining the sidewalk and driveway…how nice is that?!? I’d put several miles down between these stops and was beginning to get hungry, so I sat down to enjoy my snack while perusing a Minnesota wildflowers book. I’d yet to find a book that called to me, but I wasn’t done yet, and I was getting one heck of a great workout! Time to hydrate!

Stop after stop, I was becoming more excited with each library I arrived at because this was like a fun little treasure hunt. I knew, eventually, I’d find a book or two that were meant for me!

And there it was…just the inspiration I was hoping to find! I popped that baby into my backpack, excited to find something that will light my motivational fire. I could hardly wait to get home and start reading, but I had a few more addresses to go. I marveled at how many miles I’d gone and how much fun I was having. Could this really count as a workout lol?!? Another drink break and I was back on the road.

The more I stopped, the more I found myself thinking about putting one of these babies in my front yard. I would LOVE to share the gift of reading with my neighbors! As I starting considering the possibilities of what ours might look like, I arrived at the final address on my list. I was grateful I had found a book, but figured it would be the only one I was returning home with until I spotted this…

I LOVE when the universe works in this way because as I spotted the title, I knew that book had my name written all over it; it was there just waiting for ME! Not only had I enjoyed an amazing outdoor workout, I found just the thing that will keep me motivated for many rides to come…a biking trail guide for Minnesota and Western Wisconsin! BOOM!

I rode home with renewed energy. This had turned out to be a great day…getting fit with lit hahaha!

Friends, if you are in need of renewed motivation and a creative workout, look up your community’s neighborhood and little free libraries, map them out and get moving. This bookworm workout is one more way to put our Best Foot Forward and…

Live Happily and Healthily Ever After!