Crushing My August Goal

Recently, my friend Katie and I loosely planned an outdoor adventure on Minnesota’s North Shore with the option of a visit to Canada because the call of the wild loudly beckoned both of us! Incidentally, this fit quite nicely within my August fitness goal to embrace summer before it’s gone!

My temperamental knee behaved well during training sessions in the weeks leading up to our adventure. I set an intention to experience everything I could, but to listen well to my body…a simple mindset.

I was nearly giddy with anticipation on my drive to Minnespolis. Katie was kind enough to put me up for the night so we could get an early start the next morning. This was to be a whirlwind of a weekend trip…non-stop from beginning to end. And, we were off! As we caught up with each other, the miles flew by…

Our energy was through the roof and we were ready to conquer the world! With no concrete plan, we were free to explore at will. So we hopped out at Jay Cooke State Park so Katie could get a taste of what I love about that place!

Yeah…I think she liked it!

We took advantage of this magnificent backdrop to enjoy a quick hiker’s lunch on the banks of the Saint Louis River. And then is was back in the car to put down some more miles.

Next stop, the SHT office…(careful spelling that one) the Superior Hiking Trail office in Two Harbors.

The woman there was a wealth of wisdom as we considered our options for the weekend. I’m not sure if this stop solidified our plans or overwhelmed us with countless more ideas, but we left with expert info. Back in the car! Next it was Katie’s turn to introduce me to a thoughful spot.

 

Yeah, I might have enjoyed Palisade Head just a little haha! What a perfect place to stretch our legs before jumping back on the road. Katie’s so full of surprises because she knew what was just ahead, and I’m so glad she did…

Seriously! What an extraordinary peek through a bridge!!! And then back on the road because we were headed to one of our best kept secrets…the Hungry Hippie Hostel just outside of Grand Marais.

This place had everything we needed and more. I’d never roomed in a hostel before but after this experience, I’d do it all again!

 

The ambiance was so “summer camp” reminiscent. We were very comfortable there and enjoyed the exquisite view of Lake Superior and the sunset.

 

And that was my sign to head to bed!

Because we had some pretty extraordinary plans early the next morning…

Plans that involved a sunrise and some sun salutations on the tranquil shore of Lake Superior…ahhhhh.

It was a quick savasana though because we had some international plans…how namaste?!?

We quickly traveled up to Ontario where we stopped to savor one of Katie’s family “up north” traditions…a smoked fish. It’s what’s for breakfast lol!

 

Yum! Well fueled, we headed into Thunder Bay to explore a bit of the Canadian lifestyle. Then stopped at a Gouda cheese farm; it was gooood-a (see what I did there?)! And then we were off for the real reason we crossed the border. We were on an elusive waterfall hunt and Pigeon River was home to this!

We weathered quite a rainstorm to behold this beaut, but so glad we did! I am in love with waterfalls, the roar of the water, the kiss of the mist, the energy you feel from your head to feet. SWOON!

My how the time was flying! We headed back to the states and Grand Marais, enjoyed some local fare despite the hustle and bustle of Fisherman’s Picnic Weekend; time to rest up for our last action-packed day!

This one started bright and early because there was still much to see! We had the amazing Judge C R Magney State Park to ourselves and beheld the mysterious Devil’s Kettle…

The gorgeous morning seemed to cheer us on in our endeavors as we took off for our next destination. Dear God, the stairs…these views did not come without a price and my knee was beginning to pay.

But the effort was well worth it! Cascade River State Park did not disappoint!

The climbs and decents were worth it every time! Check out the view on our next hike at Temperance River State Park!

There was beauty around every turn! This state of ours is such a playground, and such soul food too. But heavy-duty hikers can’t subsist on that alone, so refueling was necessary, but so welcome in a dining room like this…

Our legs were pretty fried at that point and we were feeling pretty weathered too, but there was one more waterfall we refused to miss, so we decended and climbed some insane terrain to take in our final award for our efforts…

  

Wow, Tettagouche State Park. Just Wow!

Sadly, our North Shore trek came to a close as quickly as it had arrived. Friends, we left everything we had on those trails but would do it all over again.

Because what this wildnerness sojourn took from us physically replenished so much more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FIT BFFs Goes to Vegas

Friends, I’ve been traveling quite often the past couple years in search of adventure, fitness and fun; I THRIVE on it!

I recently spent some time in Las Vegas attending IDEA World Convention, a four-day cutting-edge experience in fitness education, networking and motivation. I specifically attended to participate in BlogFest, in hopes of energizing my blog and reigniting that spark for my continued weight loss endeavors. I’m ecstatic to say I got that and SO MUCH MORE!

I was introduced to some fantastic motivators/fitness experts/authors Todd Durkin and Jorge Cruise. They were so generous with their inspiring messages and gift of their books!

 

I was starstruck coming face-to-face with Kathy Smith in my hotel lobby and later so excited to hear her message. Was amazing to see her in person after those step workouts we did together in the comfort of my living room all those years!

We were contantly on the go, even before BlogFest officially began, we met up for an early morning warm-up…seriously a hot mess sweatfest! July in Vegas, you know!

And that was just the beginning of the workouts because we were hopping all weekend!

 

I really enjoyed this Inner Idea Experience, four separate yoga threads woven together to produce a beautiful tapestry of profound namaste. I welcomed the delightful pause it provided.

 

The calm was very helpful because it was right back to high energy-activities like the mindblowing EXPO!

My most memorable experience was at the Reebok booth where I was fortunate to spend some time with Biggest Loser trainer, Jen Widerstrom. She gave me some much needed boxing tips and a gratitude rich experience I’ll cherish forever.

I LOVE a good expo because it brings me face-to-face with new experiences I’m dying to try…

A few minutes on that thing and my core had no idea what hit it! I will be begging and pleading with my gym to add these to their group fitness schedule!

It was fun to visit with the reps of some of my favorite products. LOVE the array of colors Bosu offers!

I had to do a double take when I spotted Tim, co-owner of my beloved Rollga. I couldn’t believe he was there, as he’s just up the road from me in St. Cloud, MN. But of course he was there, his invention deserves to be in every gym around the world and I’m so happy to witness it happening!

I’m thankful to have spent some time with the fine folks at Great Lakes Gelatin because in a week’s time of using, I’ve noticed a significant reduction in pain and increased mobility in my angry knee. WIN!!!

Throughout this wonderful conference I allowed myself a little me time. I got my recharged self to the gym…and I’m so glad I did. I built a little extra me time into the tail end of my trip too; I knew I would need to decompress and let my mind digest all it had taken in.

 

So I moved off the convention site for my last few days, but I didn’t sit still for long…

Because when in Vegas, there are far more things to digest than thoughts…

 

And I was even lucky enough to spend some time with my Cousin Bonnie as we attended a funny little show that reminds me it’s definitely time to keep moving!

 

Just ask its star, Cindy Williams (you know, Shirley from Luverne and Shirley!!!), we barely caught up with her after the show on our way out haha!

No, Friends, I will never stop moving…partially because I’m still wearing off that pot pie from Hash House a Go Go, but because I know there are so many more things I want to see and do!

What a fantastic treat BlogFest in Vegas was for me, and the experience just kept giving, like the first class upgrade I was awarded on the way home…aw, thanks, Delta!

And thank goodness, because the lightening in Minneapolis lengthened my time on that plane. Which made me miss my connecting flight home, but no worries…an overnight in Bloomington and right back to the airport for my plan B workout!

Because it’s all about putting our Best Foot Forward!

 

New Month, New Goal

I know I’m a day late, but this just illustrates how quickly summer is slipping through our fingers! How did it get to be August already?

At the beginning of each month, I set new goals; some are stricter than others, but all aim toward a healthier, happier me! Yesterday I really looked inward. What improvements did I hope to accomplish? Did I want measurable results? How could I make the most of my time? What outcomes would increase my health while feeding my heart and soul? These thoughts circled my mind as I pedaled to the gym.

I continued to consider what I hoped to achieve this month during my workout. As I biked nearly halfway back home, clarity…

I can’t possibly slow summer down, but I can spend more time enjoying it while it’s here. Why not take my workouts outdoors to soak in that sun, breathe deep the fresh air and embrace all that’s left of this season?

Folks, it couldn’t have been any clearer than the crystal blue water before me. I’ve decided to turn my focus from diligent calorie counting and the vigorous routines that have become habit for me at the gym toward embracing the outdoors in my pursuit of fitness. This doesn’t mean I won’t continue to watch what I eat and get my workouts in, it simply means mindfully spending more of my energy in an environment I can’t seem to ever get enough of.

I’ve already made some exciting plans to get myself outside more. Instead of mourning summer’s end with regret, I plan to look back with fond memories of epic adventure and wellbeing. While my results may not necessarily be measurable, I intend for them to be unforgettable!

Friends, you’ve got an entire month left of summer, how will you plan to make the most of it?

Win-It Wednesday Siggi’s Winner

Happy Win-It Wednesday, Friends! I want to take the opportunity to thank the generous folks at siggi’s dairy for providing the fantastic giveaway this week, a month’s worth of thanks, really!

I’m happy to announce the winner of a month’s supply of siggi’s yogurt…

Congratulations to Pamela M!

I’ll email you for shipping info, Pamela.

Many thanks to all who entered. If you didn’t win, you are still very lucky because you can find amazing siggi’s yogurts at a store near you!

If you haven’t tasted siggi’s before, give them a try. Their tasty yogurts are a nutritious, delicious way we can all put our Best Foot Forward!

 

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!