Win-It Wednesday A MONTH of Free Yogurt!

You read it right, folks, today’s Win-It Wednesday is your opportunity to enter to win a month’s supply of yogurt! This giveaway is in continued celebration of FIT BFFs 3rd Blogiversary.

I just returned from Vegas where I attended IDEA World Fitness Blogfest in conjuction with the IDEA World Convention exploring the latest and greatest in fitness and wellness products, services and ideas. I had an extraordinary time and can’t wait to share more in the days to come. One thing I was excited to sample was some pretty extraordinary yogurt by siggi’s.

Not only did siggi’s furnish their delicious yogurts to keep us bloggers nourished every day of our conference, they also very generously provided me with this opportunity for a lucky reader to win a 1-month supply of siggi’s in the form of 30 coupons…each coupon has a value of up to $2.29 which makes this entire giveaway worth $68.70!

If you’ve never heard of siggi’s, you will want to stop by their website to check out the wide array of delicious products they offer. Better yet, find them in a store near you and try them for yourself!

Want to win a month’s supply of siggi’s? All you need to do to enter is leave a comment below with your favorite yogurt flavor between now and Tuesday, August 1st by 11:59 pm central time.

Want extra entries? You can earn an additional entry each for:

Giveaway open to US residents only. One randomly selected winner will be announced on Win-It Wednesday, August 2nd.

Thanks for entering and good luck!

Win-It Wednesday-Local Prize Winners

Friends, I had such a great time hearing from many of you regarding the wonderful local prizes offered in this past week’s giveaway. They seemed to create quite a buzz!

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank each of the generous contributors; many thanks to:

Christy Olson of Your Inner Sanctum

Cody Cooper and Matt Ebeling of A New Beginning

The Rochester Athletic Club

 

Without further ado, let’s announce the lucky winners…

One-Hour Health Coaching Session: Ashley R.

45 Minute Reiki Session/Intuitive Reading: Dawn O.

60 Minute Massage: Marisa H.

RAC One-Day Guest Pass: Brenda S.

RAC One-Day Guest Pass: Branda A. 

RAC One-Day Guest Pass: Colleen S.

Congratulations, Winners! I will email each of you for contact information. Many thanks to all who entered.

If you didn’t win, make sure you stop back later today when I announce our next Win-It Wednesday giveaway in continued celebration of FIT BFFs 3rd Blogiversary!

Win-It Wednesday Rochester Friends Local Giveaway

Happy Win-It Wednesday, fellow FIT BFFs! I’m celebrating my 3rd Blogiversary all month with some amazing giveaways.

Today I’m excited to announce some generous prizes for my local reader friends in Rochester, MN. I’m delighted to have more great gifts this week, generously provided by a few of my favorite businesses in town.

1-Hour Session with Health Coach Christy Olson

Christy Olson, health coach at Your Inner Sanctum has walked beside me throughout my weight loss journey. Her wisdom opened my eyes to thoughts I’d never before considered as we navigated our way through the struggles and issues that contributed to my obesity. I think back to my first session with her five years ago and am still using strategies she encouraged me to employ to manage my time back then…they were just that good!

As stated on her website, Christy can help you develop a plan to deal with acute or chronic illness, weight loss, stress, or addiction issues. Health coaching can also help if you are feeling overwhelmed, having trouble making decisions or sticking to goals you’ve set, or are just looking for meaning and purpose in your life.

45-minute Reiki Session with Intuitive Reading by Cody

My Reiki healing sessions with Cody Cooper at A New Beginning have had a profound impact on my ability to see the whole picture, to focus on what’s truly important. I left sessions feeling more relaxed, more energized than I ever imagined, experiencing a glowing kind of radiance within.

I’ve made deep and significant connections in my spiritual life as a direct result of just a few sessions. I found balance I never expected, a new level of enthusiasm for life and others around me. Cody has many outstanding gifts as healer, teacher, psychic and divine channel to list a few. He has strong spiritual connections which allow him to intuitively heal with messages of light, love and energy from higher light beings. Friends, he is the real deal; some of the messages he shared with me have changed my life in ways that can’t be explained any other way but miraculous!

60-minute Massage by Matt

Following massages from Matt Ebeling at A New Beginning, I’ve experienced significant relief from chronic pain associated with injuries I sustained from a car accident. I’ve also utilized his sports specific massage to ease the effects of wear and tear following multiple marathons/half marathons. The reprieve and alleviation of discomfort was such a gift…it all drifted away leaving relaxation and ease in its place.

Matt always asks great questions before massage to determine any specific needs or issues. He is talented in multiple massage modalities such as Swedish, deep tissue, sports specific, myofascial release, and hot stone.

 

Cody and Matt were recently featured in Rochester Woman Magazine for their incredible work at A New Beginning and, incidentally, you might recognize that calm, peaceful gal on the table! Check out their website for the full array of their products and services.

3 One-Day Guest Passes to the RAC

The Rochester Athletic Club is literally my home away from home! I remember feeling so intimidated the day I walked in the door, but that quickly faded away, replaced by empowerment and newfound confidence. I’m grateful to have such a beautiful facility so close to home with an endless list of equipment, classes, ammenities and services…a person could literally walk through that door every day for a year and not do the same thing twice! That’s what keeps me coming back for more, I’m never bored or stuck because there’s always someone with words of encouragement or something new to inspire me. The staff treat you like family which makes a person want to return again and again. Check out the RAC’s website for all the great things they offer!

Many thanks to these generous folks & businesses for providing such great gifts, time and talent!

This giveaway is for local residents of Southeastern Minnesota. If you live close enough to make use of one of these prizes, you are eligible!

To enter, simply leave a comment below with a topic you’d like to read more about in FIT BFFs 4th year between now and midnight Tuesday evening, July 25th.

Want extra entries? You can earn an additional entry for:

Six randomly selected winners with be announced on Win-It Wednesday, July 26th. Thanks for entering and good luck!

Win-It Wednesday Aurorae Yoga Winner

Happy Win-It Wednesday, fellow Friends! I want to take this opportunity to thank the generous folks at Aurorae Yoga for providing the fantastic yoga prize package to help celebrate FIT BFFs’ 3rd Blogiversary…thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

I’m thrilled to announce the winner of the Aurorae yoga mat, Hawaiian Island Afternoon aromatherapy spritz, yoga flip flops and yoga Mat Sack…

Congratulations to Amy P!

I will email you for shipping details, Amy.

Many thanks to all who entered. If you did not win, but are still interested in these and many more amazing products, stop by Aurorae Yoga’s website to see what a wonderful assortment they offer.

Stop back later today when we will continue celebrating with another Win-It Wednesday giveaway!

Travel Hack #1

Friends, I’m in the midst of packing my bags for the IDEA World Blogfest/Fitness Convention in Vegas.

I feel as though lately all I’m doing is packing or unpacking, but I’m not complaining! I love to travel, but it sure can put a dent in the budget. I was thinking about that as I contemplated how difficult it could potentially be to find healthy, affordable food options throughout the busy conference. I put my Boy Scout Mom experience to work in solving my dilema! Check this out…

Here’s my solution for a quick hotel breakfast, a simple and healthy way to start each day. I prepackaged 1/4 cup raisins and 1/8 cup chopped walnuts to mix with a regular oatmeal packet every morning. Wonder how I plan to prepare it? This is my genius hack…heat the water in one of these…now days every room has one, right? With an extra cup here and there, my problem is solved!

I packed five breakfasts for less than the cost of one purchased at the hotel, and at 330 calories per serving, I will be starting my day off fully charged and satisfied! I threw them all into a quart-sized bag with plastic spoons and breakfast is ready!

As convenient as this will be, I also packed some snacks to keep my energy up throughout the day…almonds, cereal, fruit, a couple energy bars. It got me wishing I could pack some other meals to avoid the $16 convention sandwich and completely blowing my healthy eating. That’s where more of my Scout Mom ingenuity came into play! I plan to take a break between sessions for a little down time and lunch in my room. And yup, that little honey of a coffee maker will come in handy again!

Friends, I know there are even healthier ways to get the job done, but these genius little Mountain House dried meals I loved on a recent backpacking adventure will do just fine. All I need to do is add 3/4 cup boiling water and let them sit for a few minutes…the cooking is done for me! I paid close attention to the nutrition labels because some can get pretty high in calories and sodium. I picked up these convenience meals at Wal-mart for under $5 each. If you think about it, I am foregoing the $23 temptation lunch buffet, my portion is controlled and I am left feeling okay with dinner on the town.

If you’ve done similar hotel room cooking, I’d love to hear what you’ve made, please leave a comment below. It would be great to add more convenient, frugal healthy options to my packing list…one more way we can all put our Best Foot Forward!

 

Win-It Wednesday Aurorae Yoga

Yeah, I know it’s Thursday, I’m running a little late. I couldn’t let FIT BFFs 3rd Blogiversary pass without giving away some gifts.

So here’s the plan…let’s do some fun giveaways for the next few weeks! We’ll start with an incredible yoga gift package from the generous folks at Aurorae. I was so excited when they agreed to provide a prize pack for the occasion, but when they sent me one too, I couldn’t wait to put it to use. I’ve reviewed some of their amazing products before; you can check that out here.

Because I’ve had the pleasure of using Aurorae’s yoga gear in the past, I knew I was in for more of the same. Check out this gorgeous mat I took to a mindful location yesterday…

I enjoyed a peaceful meditation and some sun salutations on cushioned luxury. Aurorae also provided me with their delightful Hawaiian Island Afternoon Aromatherapy Spritz. The delectable scent had me wishing I could drink it…it smelled that delish! A few squirts of the spritz brought me back to the swaying palms and trade winds; the island was calling, Friends!

The experience was exquisite, and when I was finished, I slid into this divine pair of flip flops. These are designed by Aurorae, “… to make your walk as peaceful and mindful as your yoga practice.”

As promised, walking was as if I had never left my yoga mat…ahhh, the comfort!

Friends, here’s the great news, you can enter to win an Aurorae prize package including the yoga mat, aromatherapy spritz, yoga flip flops and one of these fantastic mat saks to make your practice conveniently mobile!

This giveaway is open to residents of the continental US. To enter, simply leave a comment below mentioning a topic you’d like me to discuss in an upcoming post. Want more entries? You can:

Entries will be accepted through Tuesday, July 18th at midnight Central Time. One winner will be randomly drawn and announced Wednesday, July 19th. Good luck, Friends, and NAMASTE!

 

Having My Cake and Eating it Too!

I nervously wrote my first blog post three years ago. I had no idea what people would think of my frequent doses of humor, sarcasm and (hopefully) useful information as I apprehensively hit publish. I wasn’t sure people would take me seriously in my pursuit to live and share my healthy lifestyle. I wasn’t a professional anything, simply a gal on a journey to improve her health and pass on what she learned along the way.

See, my goal in blogging was to inspire others who may have considered adopting a healthier lifestyle, to encourage them in knowing if I could do it, anyone could. I aimed to share thoughts and ideas I experienced so others might feel less alone. I realized many of my posts may have lacked relavance to many, yet I felt led to put them out there anyway,  hoping my honesty touched someone struggling with similar issues. This blogging gig has always been my desire and intention to help others.

But friends, I never expected what FITBFFs would do for me, no idea what an accountability tool blogging would become. Remember, the vast majority of people who lose a significant amount of weight soon gain it back and more. I’m beyond five years from the beginning of my weight loss and I’m determined to never write that apology post to you, Readers. EVER!

Nowhere in my wildest dreams would I predict what else would happen as I shared a few photos of my progress, some helpful products, a new favorite food or recipe, a few strategies to stay motivated, etc. I never imagined the incredible people I would be introduced to, the generous companies I would partner with, the ideas it would place before me, and the places it would take me. This blogging adventure has turned out to be a most amazing blessing, a fountain of opportunity that continues to wash over me with surprise after remarkable surprise.

Not a day goes by without a kind message from one of my readers, or being approached in public, an email from someone reaching out seeking help to begin their own transformation, a company wishing to share their great products or services with you! One word sums up what all this means to me. Gratitude.

One more thing I’m grateful for, Friends…I’ve learned how to have my cake and eat it too on this Blogiversary!

Thanks for reading, fellow FIT BFFs; let’s keep putting our Best Foot Forward!

 

My New Summer Love-Buddha Bowls

Friends, back in April I was introduced to the Buddha bowl in Hood River, OR, at the friendly little family owned and operated Remedy Juice-Cafe. It was a term I was not familiar with, but with the laundry list of amazing ingredients and the fact that I love to meditate…my order was a no-brainer!

Last month before a week’s vacation at the lake, I decided to do a little research to formulate my grocery list. In googling Buddha bowl, I was introduced to the idea of meatless, one-bowl meals. Unlike the bowl I devoured at Remedy, most Buddha bowls are vegan, containing only vegetables, plant proteins and whole grains.

I was intrigued by the origin of the idea as explained in several posts I read, but even more drawn to the idea for its colorful, appetite-satisfying concept. While checking out numerous pics, I jotted down my favorite ingredients for vacation. Once there, I spent some time creating some flavorful combinations…

I don’t think I preferred one over the next; they were all refreshingly cool and delightful!

Each had its own character and all kept me full for hours.

This week after returning from 4th of July festivities with family, it was time to get my eating back in check. I didn’t have much in the house, so I did a little Buddha bowl search to inspire my shopping list. A quick trip to the store this morning and I was back in creation mode. I love that I can throw these together without a recipe…a little winging it and, BOOM, a nourishing powerhouse is served!

Friends, I challenge you to give Buddha bowls a try. They might just become that next thing to motivate your progress and a great way we can all put our Best Foot Forward!

 

 

Forever Connected

I’ve had a tough time observing Father’s Day since my dad died 5 1/2 years ago. Grief subsides and the hurt fades, replaced with sweet memories. But every year it returns, fresher than ever. Today I thought I’d allow myself time to remember, process…take a moment to share what’s been happening.

I was unmistakably Daddy’s little girl. I followed him around like a shadow. He took me everywhere he went. And at the end of his workday, I’d meet him at his city bus stop where we’d walk home hand in hand. As years passed, he led me down the aisle and placed my hand in Eric’s. But he wasn’t ever far when I needed him.

If you never had the opportunity to meet Lotus Conrad, you should know he always had an arsenal of jokes at the ready, a trickster and gifted storyteller who loved to make others laugh. Sure, he experienced his share of obstacles and heartache in life, but he relied on his witty sense of humor to smooth out the rough edges. He employed this talent right up until his last night. And because we were two peas in a pod, where else would I be?

Friends, I never thought I’d be someone to experience what I’m about to share; and not for a second did I think I’d ever feel comfortable sharing it with others, because some folks may label me any number of things…but it doesn’t matter. See, it didn’t take long after his death for me to realize, he was far from gone.

In life, I followed him, but now he follows me. He’s the blue jay or cardinal that flies alongside me on a bike ride, the limitless contrails when I look up for guidance. We have this strong flight/plane connection as he was in the Air Force…see his pj’s in the photo above? I made those for him.

He’s the cookies that introduced themselves when my mom was having a rough flight to Hawaii, and now pop up on every flight I take.

He follows me in ways I can not explain, like my second trip to Hawaii. Multiple miracles occurred for me to be there to run my first marathon. I don’t even know how I got there, but am assured it was him pushing me across the finish line. As I walked in the door to our condo on Waikiki, it all made sense.

Together, we used to watch Lefty Gardner YouTube videos of P-38s. Now I catch the clock saying 7:27, 7:37, 7:47, etc…all planes. If you don’t believe me, ask my husband…I see those times everywhere, those numbers on license plates, road signs, the sides of semis, my breakfast total at the airport!

Speaking of airports, as my friends awaited their departure from a vacation we shared, they sent me a birthday greeting text with a photo. Little did they know, he was sending his wishes too…see the bald guy in the gray sweats and loose wristwatch, yeah, that’s him…don’t know how, but he photobombed!

Lately I’ve been in the sky A LOT and many of those trips have had his hame written all over them again and again.

How extraordinary to glance out the window to see our plane’s shadow encircled in what I choose to believe is my orb of protection!

I feel that protection everywhere I go. It has even saved my life in a nasty car accident. Always looking out for me, he’s the sticker on a trailhead post I spotted after hiking in Zion; I know he was there, keeping me from plummeting to my death on those narrow ledges!

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Friends, I’m not just imagining these little signs and messages…my imagination is simply not that creative!

I receive these spontaneous little gifts constantly and they leave me stunned, intrigued, sometimes breathless, but always loved. I’m thankful for each one and hope they never stop…we’re connected forever!

Grief is rough, especially today. Those of you missing your dads, I’m so sorry for you enormous loss. Hopefully you’ve experienced some similar events; if you haven’t, keep your eyes and ears open…they are right there by your side!

Happy Father’s Day!

 

 

 

 

 

We Still Do!

Twenty-three years ago today we said, “I do.” And we still do…

It’s official, I’ve now been married to this man longer than not. He has done far more than he vowed to me all those years ago…beyond the richer or poorer, the sickness and health…he’s literally seen me through thick and thin, weak and strong, grief and joy, broken and whole. He’s loved me completely through the rough spots and cheered on my finest moments, unconditionally. This guy, he makes my dreams come true!

I loved him then, love him still…always have always will.