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tea

It’s so true what my morning “cup of tea” says… Life should be enjoyed at every possible moment but how many of you are struggling to find time to do even the simplest things such as sitting down and enjoying a meal with your family? No time to cook and tons of work and /or personal deadlines to meet? Luckily for me, I was able to team up with Diet-to-Go this year and take back my needed time to do the things that are important to me. If you haven’t heard of Diet-to-Go before you are really missing out on a cost effective way to save time, eat healthy and join a supportive community through many forms of social media with like minded folks. Still feeling unsure… read my review and check them out. :-) As one of Diet-to-Go’s Brand Ambassadors I was asked to be a part of their exciting summer campaign. What a whirlwind this past month has been for myself including travel for work and with family, forget about being tied down in the kitchen! Diet-to-Go also coordinated so many cool things like the twitter party (Don’t forget to follow them @Diettogo) and the Dietbet. I really hope all of you entered their June contest to win free meals on their Facebook page earlier this month. I have a feeling they are going to be hosting more of these events so stay tuned!

And here’s something yummy to get you thinking with that stomach of yours…
waffles
I got to start my morning off with WAFFLES! I added the fruit since it was hanging out on my counter but what a treat! No mess cleaning up a waffle iron at 6:30am.

In addition to all of these fun events, Diet-to-Go also joined the Google + Community: “Common-Sense Healthy Living” and many Brand Ambassadors including myself have been posting healthy ideas to get your Summer Skinny on with heaps of Common Sense. There are lots of great tips, articles, recipes and information to help keep you motivated to slim down in a healthy way. I mean really… what’s the point of crash dieting for the eight weeks of summer so you can fall apart like a hot mess in September… until you start stressing for all those work and holiday parties from November to January? Why not make your daily eating habits a lifestyle change and love what you eat as much as you love that hot bikini and adorable summer espadrilles? Don’t let all your cute clothes cry out lonely in your closet!

DTG makes healthy portions of food that I sometimes couldn’t finish and saved as a leftover snack later…
mexican
I love, love, LOVE Mexican style food!

That’s exactly why I feel like Diet-to-Go really makes such a helpful impact for those of us struggling to cook a healthy meal at 10pm after a week of traveling for work and finally getting everything accomplished and settled down for the night, only to have to wake up early and start all over again. While I personally love to cook I also just don’t logically have the time I used to have to cook those beautiful, healthy meals, hence a great meal plan from Diet-to-Go.

Are you feeling as hungry as I am seeing all these easily prepared meals??
veggielunch
This pasta salad with asparagus veggies is a complete win for me and the fresh taste made me wish I had more after I finished this meal. I should mention I’d never eaten asparagus before this and now I want more of those skinny looking trees in my diet!

I ended up choosing the Vegetarian meal plan again this time because I loved the previous plan so much. Diet-to-Go offers three plans, Vegetarian, Traditional and Low-Carb. You can also choose from plans that include breakfast, lunch and dinner or just lunch and dinner and also pick either the 5 or 7 day plan. Your meal plan will also be either equal to 1200 or 1600 calories daily to support your specific goals you might have in mind. My meals came packed in a large Styrofoam cooler with dry ice. So cool! (hehe!) The meals were all individually wrapped with cooking instructions and ingredients/calories on the bottom. I was usually in a hurry so I generally grabbed whatever I pawed first and ran out the door to work, as my busy schedule permitted.

Some days I just couldn’t decide which to eat first…
choices
Lots of yummy choices such as the Veggie Cassarole or a Hummus sammie with fruit salad!

Did you know that Diet-to-Go has been ranked by Epicurious as #1 for taste? They weren’t kidding!! I really enjoyed the meals with the exception of maybe one or two but only because I generally wouldn’t have eaten those items anyway but moving forward in the future I know I can contact them and do meal substitutions. All my meals were packed with sides and condiments as needed so really I had nothing to purchase or worry about for the week overall. There was no supplemental grocery shopping unless you count shampoo, kitty litter and toilet paper!! Easy Peasy! The breakfast muffins had a nice taste/texture and many of the meals were things I have not even tried cooking before so it was a nice treat to also try new meals such as a bean soup with a pesto grilled sandwich or the curried cous cous that had toast almonds and apricots in it.

One rainy day called for soup and a sammie…
soupsandwichlunch
Can I call this my sexy soup? It was delicious and the week of meals had me dropping two pounds!

So if you needed more reasons why I think Diet-to-Go does a phenomenal job of providing easy delicious meals, here are my thoughts on the Pros and Cons overall of using Diet-to-Go:

Pros:
1. It was so easy to do. I just grabbed a meal and went about my business.
2. Often times the meals were very filling and I wasn’t able to eat everything off my plate. I even lost 2 lbs! Many people have used this service to compliment a weight loss regiment.
3. If you find you don’t like certain meals you can do substitutions through their online customer tools prior to ordering.
4. Did I mention no cooking for the week? It’s like I had a personal chef hanging out in my freezer.
5. CHOICES – the variety kept me from getting bored, which for me would usually lead to unadulterated snacking.
6. You can also partake in the fresh pick up if you live by their locations or have it shipped to you frozen as I did.
7. The cost is competitive to others out there in the market and if you’re going to buy something for lunch or dinner, you’re going to likely spend less with Diet-to-Go and get food of healthier and better quality.

Cons:
1. I could see how something like this “could” be a little expensive especially if you are feeding a family but I would like to argue that over time by eating better foods you are probably saving on healthcare down the road so maybe this is also a Pro but I’ll leave that up to you to decide.
2. A few of the items had a high calorie count. If I was keeping to about 400-500 calories per meal, eating a 700 calorie lunch probably isn’t the best but I managed and it was only one of meals out of the week and I was full so I didn’t even snack before dinner.
3. I wasn’t particularly crazy about all the plastic packaging, I’m kind of green like that so I made sure to recycle everything possible, but I also understand I was doing this for convenience so I had to compromise somewhere.

Overall if you are looking for an easy plan and have some weight loss goals in mind I would recommend giving Diet-to-Go a try. It was easy working with their customer service and the broad selection of meals is pretty impressive for having something delivered to your home And while we’re at it, Diet-to-Go is letting us as Ambassadors share some of the savings with you our readers. For a limited time only we can share a “gift card” with you which is good for $50 off a week of meals. What better way to give them a try and save some cash for things like a cute new swim suit or summer shoes??

Ambassador_Giftcard

Here’s to more ways to eat healthy! My bikini and I thank you!

XOXO

These thoughts and opinions are my own. I was compensated by Diet-to-Go for this campaign, who provided me a week of meals to enjoy.

If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I’ve talked about Diet-to-Go’s easy meal program in the past. As a part of their Ambassador Program they asked me to try out their meals again and share my thoughts with you on them. I selected the Vegetarian meal plan because I’m not a real big meat eater unless it’s the occasional steak or shrimp kind of deal. I love my veggies and my crazy schedule loves Diet-to-Go and how easy it makes my life at meal planning and preparation.

DTG1

See?!?! Who doesn’t love common sense healthy meals with no fuss?

Before I get into the meals (which will be a longer review later this weekend) I wanted to again remind you to join their June Sweepstakes promotion. Head on over to their Facebook page and check it out. Don’t forget to “Like” their page also.

You have an awesome chance to win some prizes. Five lucky folks could win one week of free meals and the grand prize winner could win a whole month of free meals!! Can you imagine?!?! An entire month of no cooking, no grocery shopping or meal planning and prep!?!? It’s like a vacation the idea is so thrilling to me since my kitchen became a fun killer with my new work schedule. So please check out the sweepstakes and enter.

Diet-to-Go is also hosting a Summer DietBet game. The game will launch on June 28th and run for 28 days. You weigh in and submit a photo to be verified at the start and end of the game. For anyone who is shy or worried, don’t be! You can keep your weight and the photos confidential so only you see them. The cost to join is $25 and if you “win” your “diet bet” by losing 4% of your weight you spilt the total pot of money with the winners. It’s really simple and fun. Winners could also win a $50 gift card from Diet-to-Go.

Another way to interact with this great company is through Google + Community: “Common-Sense Healthy Living” Now admittedly, I am pretty new at the whole Google + Community, lots of sharing and circles which could make a newbie tech person like me a little dizzy, but I suggest you check it out. There are lots of great tips, articles and information to help keep you motivated to slim down in a healthy way.

And while we’re at it, Diet-to-Go is letting us as Ambassadors share some of the savings with you our readers. For a limited time only we can share a “gift card” with you which is good for $50 off a week of meals. What better way to give them a try and save some cash for things like a cute new swim suit or summer shoes??

Ambassador_Giftcard

So what are you waiting for?? Diet-to-Go saved me hours of kitchen time the first time I reviewed their delicious meals (I am totally not kidding about that statement!) and that time savings continues again. I can’t wait to share with you the new meals I’ve gotten to try this time.

I received a week of meals to review as my compensation and all thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.

I decided I needed to do some speedwork this week.

I was really pressed for time and needed to hustle to get my workout in. Originally, I was hoping to run 5 solo, pick up the monkey in the jogging stroller and run another 4 miles or so pushing my paycheck eater most wonderful child on the planet.

What ended up happening was running a 10k PR. I had laid off pushing myself since returning from Michigan so my legs could rest and I could assess to make sure my foot and hip pain was not anything significant to worry about. I’m the person who will lay awake at night fretting over how a twinge of pain might impact my next race. I used to not really care and would push through runs and races, but having a child to chase after and really busy work days means I have to be 100% functional even injured. Anyway, I was pain free but limited on time. I ended up running my hilly loop from the house which is a good 10k distance. I didn’t have my watch charged so I had to rely on my phone to track my time. No watch meant no pace per mile or random calorie killing checks. I had to “go old school.” I checked the time on my phone and head out the door. Up and over some hills and decents just pushing myself with ease. I focused on my breathing and how my form felt. Halfway through I looked at my phone and saw I was only 22 minutes in at my informal 5k mark. HOLY CRAP! Seriously, I was just planning to push my self “just enough” and get these hills under my feet. I decided I might as well keep the current pace and see how I was feeling. By the end after stopping for traffic to cross the road I made it home in 44:50. Sub 45 minutes for a 10k. My previous PR was a 47 and change. This was freaking awesome!

I did however have some casualties and got a huge hankering blister under my big toe and cut it underneath the foot. Ouch! Probably some rock sliver that came home from Michigan in my sneaker bag. I figured the evening called for a celebration so I went out and bought new kicks. Some pretty Asics Gel Noosa Tri 8. Look at these bad girls! I think the color palate is: “Throw Uppingly Delicious!” Now I’ll have to run faster so I don’t look foolish in the bright hot mess.

GelNoosa

Hope ya’ll are treating your feet to some new kicks or flip flops even. Today, June 21st is National Flip Flop day. Look it up, it’s true! XOXO

The marathon weekend… or as my family enjoys saying, “Oh look mom’s running away from our insanity again!” Started out a little rocky. Between coordinating airport rides and getting on our flight, I think everyone was running (no-punning! lol) a bit late. Of course that would mean in crappy weather our flight is somehow still on time and we had to mad dash it to get through TSA. I swear those TSA agents dislike me. I never see anyone else get stopped for having extra sneakers/shoes in their carry on bag! And I ALWAYS get the longer of the two lines… So after the hustle we finally make it to Detroit. I was kind of hoping I’d see something on the drive to Ann Arbor that looked like what I pictured of Detroit (i.e. dangerous city) but that never happened.

Dear Detroit,
That’s a lot of hype you’ve got going on and I never saw one bad thing about your city.
Sincerely,
Me

Oh wait, we hadn’t even ran the marathon or flown home at this point.

The Ann Arbor marathon is still small in size, this being only it’s second year in the running. Overall there were 406 finishers in the full marathon distance. They also had a half, a 5k and a 1.2 fun run. I hadn’t bothered to check the elevation map since I was planning to run this as a long training run and I’m kind of glad I didn’t. I think I would have just sat this one out. Seriously. I knew it was going to be a challenge to finish since my longest 20M run had been a month prior and I was fighting off some foot and hip aches and pains. Even the race FAQ’s talk about how there are hills everywhere in Ann Arbor. Duh.

Alright, so let’s chat about the course. The start and finish happen at The University of Michigan. What you should note is that the campus is GINOURMOUS. Something like 25,000 students attend this school. So when you finish at the “little” stadium, you are not near the “big house” stadium (that’s right! more than one football field for these kids!) which is almost two miles?? (ok maybe 1.5 miles) away from your parked car. That’s also a big walk UP a HILL. Postrace. #fail

The first few miles 0-2.5 take you through the University campus through downtown Ann Arbor and out towards a residential area of rolling hills. By miles 3-4 you continue in Geddes on quiet streets in the early morning heading towards more hills what almost feels like a “country run.” You end up in Gallup park and run along the river miles 5-8. The park is pretty and few spectators are out cheering you on. Every two miles or so there is an aid station and one or two port-a-potties. Which I may have stopped at least six of them during the race. Mile 8 is a big one though. The first pass for the marathoners find it relatively quiet at maybe an hour plus into the race. There is a band though playing good music and many signs with clever sayings to keep you going. My favorite was, “Chuck Norris never ran a marathon!” Up a *slight* hill runners find themselves having to do two out and back loops including miles 10-11 (Plymouth) and then miles 12-13 (Haywood). Back down the hill you cross the half way point and onto mile 14 which ends up being the mile 8 aid station area. At this point I was ready for this race to finish. I knew I had enough in me to get to mile 16 where everything was primed to “go to hell in a handbasket,” as they say. The half marathoners who began the race an hour after us joined us for a stint and it felt like there was atleast some fresh faces to keep us going. More hills reared their ugly faces and as I knew it mile 16 was the F-bomb. My body was pretty much finished at this point and I just kept telling myself “Ok I made it this far, what’s another 10 mile struggle?” Don’t answer that question because it’s a stupid one and two hours of struggling never feels good or rewarding at the end!! Anyway, the course has a small reprieve and miles 16 thru 18 having us running backs towards the University and through this really pretty garden/trail/hilly/woods called the “Arboretum.” Look it up. I swear it’s cool. At the top of the hill is mile 18 and some nice ladies with ice pops and kids cheering like crazy just rolling out of bed from last night’s frat party. I was taking anything I could get my hands on at this point. I was still running ahead of the four-hour-pacer but quickly falling apart. The next several miles towards the finish are pretty much hell and a disaster. Two miles of rolling hills back into the city and out to the Briarwood Mall loop, where the expo was held the day before. Miles 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 I wanted a bus to come run me over. No luck there except putting one sad foot in front of the other. At mile 23 the four-hour-pacer past me and that was it. Mile 24 is over the stadium sidewalk and uphill to mile 25. Another out and back (small one) to the finish in the “small” stadium…

The finish was kind of anti-climatic. I guess there had been a course change because we were suppose to finish at the “big house” instead of two miles away from the car and parking lot. Ah well, it’s another race under my feet and a medal for the wall. I finished in 4:04:53, 151st over all, 40th female and 12th in my age group (ouch lol).

racephotosD

I consider every race a learning experience and here is what I learned:

* The TSA hires only mean, grumpy people intent on making you miss your flight. I already knew this, however, it’s nice to have my assumptions reaffirmed often and completely.

* Mustard can help cramps. Long story but, look it up. I used it at mile 21 and felt pretty good. I also purchased a pre-race pretzle as a diversion technique so my friends could “get more” packets than was perhaps needed for one pretzle. Big Daddy has said he will not bail me out of jail for running shennanigans so my guilt complex cost me $3.75 and garnered two dozen mustard packets.

mustard

* Cats away from home are cute but not always a good sleeping companion. *Simba Rocks* This little devil made our stay very interesting popping air matresses and knocking lamps over at 3am …

simba

* Avocado on pizza tastes delicious. There are soooooo many good places to eat in Ann Arbor. So if you’re going to run there, remember to eat well.

pizza

* Detroit = worst airport ever I can’t say this strongly enough. Let’s just say the evening did not end well. The flight was cancelled after a huge ruckus and mechanical problems and we had to stay the night. (What kind of an airport has to call a maintenence guy, not a “crew” just ONE guy to drive four hours away in Chicago to come and fix the plane?????) The only bonus was the nice room we got for free and the “real” Starbucks coffee I was willing to commit unspeakable acts for.

PID

I never though I would be so happy to see Newark, NJ in my life but there you have it. Home Sweet Home!

I can tell its Monday…

I’ve already stubbed my toe on our ugly driftwood table in the living room landing me a lovely shank sized splinter. (I swear someday that table will be FIREWOOD!) I’m sure it will heal by my marathon next Sunday. I’m just that full of optimism and that’s the first thing that happened. Secondly, my wonderful child chose to play hide and stink AGAIN right after I painted my nails this morning. So that epic fail is really all my fault. I should have painted them last night at 11:30pm before falling asleep instead of this morning when I had a free moment and everything I thought was under control… Arrg. I found the stinking child and luckily by the time I wrangled her upstairs the nails were tacky enough I don’t think they smudged much. That I can I see anyway… Honestly, I really do appreciate these crazy moments. It’s all a part of the journey making each step forward toward my goals all the more worth it.

So for now, I’ll just sit here working away and listen to Rapunzel the movie play that song in the background “When will my life begin,” for the thousandth time.  Oh the irony.

Over the weekend me and mini-me went down to the shore (because that is what you call it in NJ!!). I had won a free entry to the “Run While you Can 5k” event which was in Toms River, NJ. That’s technically exit 82A for all you GSP nerds. LOL The race was entirely in Winding River Park, which I had never previously been too but it’s certainly a lovely little NJ gem worth taking the kids and family too. The course was a winding bike path under the cover of lush trees in the shade. Considering NJ was having its third day of a heat wave of over 90 degree weather it was nice to have the shade.

The race director let me bring mini-me and run with the baby jogger so we could participate. I tried starting in the back of the pack figuring we’d go easy and slow but ending up passing many of the runners ahead of us. Heat, luck, whatever it was we ended up placing 3rd in Mommy’s age group and ran/pushed the 5k in a time of 26:38. I ended up placing 18th out of 70 finishers and fifth female overall. A really pleasing performance as it’s so hard to find 5ks or races in general that will let you use a baby jogger. It was a great race that raises money for Parkinson’s disease research with the Light of Day Foundation, something very close and personal to the race director’s heart. (The credit for the photo below goes to the photographer from the race – sorry I don’t know his name)

rwyc5k2

Then we were off to the beach, sure to get sand everywhere for days and days after. Mini-me loved it! And by love, I mean she kept running back to the water as fast as her little legs would get her there until her adorable teeth were chattering like those chicklet gum candies. We checked out the boardwalk, beach and Seaside Heights. I used to go there as a kid every summer for as long as I can remember. It’s tough to see the homes and sections still devastated, slowly coming back from Hurricane Sandy. Seeing this kind of stuff puts life into a better perspective, especially with those awful tornadoes in Oklahoma right now. We left once the sun sleepiness started to set in and headed home.

beach6113

I ended the weekend by coming up with a tasty new smoothie recipe to enjoy. Using whatever produce I had leftover in the house. I call it: Apple – Carrot – Lemonade.

AppleCarrotLemonade

I peeled the following and cut them up for the Vitamix:
2 large Gala Apples, 1 Bartlet Pear, a handful or more of baby carrots (already peeled).
The juice of 1 lemon, but feel free to add more for the lemonade taste.
Finally, about a cup of chilled coconut water.

Blend until smoothie texture and then enjoy! I hope your weekend was as much fun as mine.

XOXO

Lots of things have been happening here as per the “Sneakers, Bananas and Spears” life model. Lots of run-racing, clean eating – making sure I get my monies worth out of my Vitamix and writing in between jobs and mom-responsibilities. So on our vacation over Memorial Day I had plenty of time to ponder my next steps between rest stops and eating handfuls of Teddy grahams, which incidentally are the best snack ever. I’m finally looking forward to the daunting task of editing and formatting my book (yes I wrote a book, where have you been?). Mostly she’s been sitting in a word document saying snarky teenage crap and I’ve decided that this “baby” of mine needs to start paying rent. So I’m kicking her out of the nest. Soon. If I don’t revert and bite all my nails off nervously in the process. See I wrote this book with the full intention of it being a hip, awesome “Tom Clancy” -esque thriller… but as luck would have it, my characters decided they wanted a little action together *gasp* and so now they are waaaaayyyy more romantically involved than I planned for them to be. *sigh* Jerks just can’t keep thier clothes on and honestly, parts of it embarrass me!

Anyway some fun highlights from our Vacation in the Fingerlakes, specifically Seneca Lake…
cat in bike shop
Because you always need an awesome, badass looking cat in a bike shop. I think I need to name this cat and add him to one of my stories. He’s so beautiful and intense looking. His personality just screams, “Come in my bike shop and I will scratch you up.”
cheese
Some of our friends hate cheese, but in our house we love it. So tell me, where do you find Cheese? Apparently, here. No. I mean, over there. To the RIGHT!!!! LOL
bananas
GO BANANAS! My daughter loved watching these kids more than she did me, although I did hear her cheering me on at one sweet point. There were four of them originally, but two finished much later. I couldn’t help myself and needed my picture with these banana kids. This was taken at the Corning, NY Glassfest 8k. Check out my super cool glass “medal.” I don’t run many 8k distances and at first I could have sworn it was closer to 4 miles than 5, but hey, what’s another mile?? I PR’d at 36:52 and kept my pace around 7:24. I thought I was going to hurl my breakfast post run in the freezing cold but I managed to hold on and keep it classy. :-)
glenfalls
On our way home, we took a boat ride on Seneca Lake and then finished it by going to Watkins Glen Falls. Pretty little town we hope to come back too as it has so much to do and see in the surrounding areas, especially if you love wine as much as I do. It was fun up until my lovely child decided that on a slippery stone staircase it was a fabulous time for a muddy temper tantrum… I swear people get crazy nosey when your kid freaks out and all I wanted to do was leave, but we were stuck traversing the path with a screaming child flailing her arms and legs. *pfft* From this moment forward I have vowed to torture her by forcing her attendance at running events and museums until she is 18. In fact, I think we need to go back to Corning and walk through the Glass Museum since they only let me browse the gift shop. Enjoy those apples kid.

In other news, I have a winner for my Malya Rosa headband contest. Yay for Theresa S.! She gets to pick out her favorite design to enjoy and wear. More news will be forth coming as an Ambassador for Diet-to-Go’s June campaign as it gets underway. (Contests, twitter parties and such!) Hopefully a book teaser will appear here over the weekend. Who knows? *snicker*

So in honor of reaching 200 Twitter followers (yay!) I’m doing a giveaway because really, who doesn’t love a giveaway? It’s also a great opportunity for me to help promote a great new company that believes in supporting women and giving back.

Malya Rosa

This company was started by a new friend, Stephanie whom I met running the NJ Reach the Beach Relay in 2012 just a few weeks prior to the devestation of Hurricane Sandy. She contacted me about trying one of her headbands for her new company. The idea behind Malya Rosa is to donate 5% of the sales to two really wonderful organizations; Dress for Success and The Girl Effect. Soon Malya Rosa will be branching out into technical tops and cycling jerseys for women. Pretty Awesome! I am excited to see what other items this company will have in the future. One person will have the opportunity to win one headband of their choice.

headband

Here I am wearing the peacock print ribbon. These headbands are super cute, comfortable and absolutely lovely for working out, going out or just bopping around town. :-) I have worn mine on a few twenty mile runs and to yoga. It stays in place and is very comfortable. I didn’t get the “headband headache” which we know is important in getting your sweat on!

headband2

Even the packaging is cute!

ribbons

The ribbons have adorable patterns that match so many outfits, it was hard to choose which one I wanted. I think I will have to purchase the red little birds next, they look fun and I’m sure I have a few outfits they will match!

Checkout this link to enter the Rafflecopter for the giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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