Archives for November 2015

Morning Commute Made Easier + Giveaway

Tracking Pixel

This post was sponsored by Contigo®, however there is a GIVEAWAY at the end, and I truly think this product is really cool and something many of my readers can relate to/find helpful in your daily lives, so read on!

My morning “commute” looks different than it may for some people, but I rush around getting everyone ready and in the car just those people that are heading to the office, except first I am usually headed to the gym, and then back home to my home office.

contigo

I am a believer in the power of coffee, and am not coherent or of any help to anyone until I have had at least a few sips. A lot of mornings I don’t have time to finish my coffee before it’s time to go, so I have to drink it on the run. This is always a problem, because I cannot stand cold coffee, and with my other travel mugs, cold coffee is what you get.

contigo travel mug

Not only cold coffee, but coffee that sloshes all over you and your pants as you try to get your bags and your child’s bag into the car. I started using the Contigo® Meta travel mug, and things have gotten way less stressful around my house when it comes to my morning commute.

meta travel mug

The first thing that drew me to this mug is the length of time it will keep your drinks hot or cold. This bad boy has double-wall vacuum insulated Thermalock™ technology, so drinks stay hot for up to five hours, and chilled for up to TWELVE hours!

My other favorite feature is the fact that it is pretty much impossible to spill my drink on myself while juggling bags plus the baby. The  AUTOSEAL® patented technology seals up the drinking spout in between sips when you press one button, so no spilling!

For those of you who commute daily on public transportation, the Meta travel mug would be perfect because you can seal your drink in between sips to keep debris, dust, people’s sneezes, and the like with the commuter-inspired CleanGuard™ spout cover that rotates to close off the drinking area when not being used.

In addition to Contigo’s AUTOSEAL® Metra Travel Mug, I was also sent the AUTOSEAL® West Loop Travel Mug. to try out, and I love it, too!

Contigo

The awesome folks at Contigo® have offered to host a GIVEAWAY so you can win one of these amazing travel mugs for yourself! Simply follow the Rafflecoptor directions below. Good luck! (Please note, the giveaway will be open from November 30th to December 8th and is sponsored by Sway Group. One winner will be selected to receive a Contigo® AUTOSEAL® Metra Travel Mug. Sway Group will select a winner on December 10th which will be highlighted in the Rafflecopter.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Oh, another fun side note: There will be a Twitter Party on Tuesday, December 1 at 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM PST / 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EST. I hope you will join me (@heatherslg) for the chat!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Contigo®.

5 Things I am Thankful For

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and I hope you all have the opportunity to spend some time with the people that you love. I am hosting again this year and my parents and sister are coming into town. I won’t be posting tomorrow or Friday, because I want to spend time with my family (and so should you! Go talk to someone’s face tomorrow.)

In the spirit of the holiday, I thought it would be appropriate to get all sappy and tell you all what I am thankful for this year. I have a LOT to be thankful for, but just narrowed it down to 5 big ones for the purpose of this post.

1. My family: My family is awesome, and have been there through thick and then. They have taught me so much, helped me when I needed it, stood up for me, given me advice, and so many countless other things. I am so glad I get to see several family members tomorrow, and I hope to teach Emma Kate the importance of family.

DSC_0673

2. My health: I truly do not take this one for granted. I am so thankful that I can get out of bed every morning, pick up my daughter, go for a run, lift weights, work, and take care of the people I love. This is such a huge blessing that many would love to have but don’t, so I try very hard to appreciate it.

castle

3. Laughter: Laughter truly is the best medicine! I got to laugh with my family this past weekend and it was so good for my soul. I love hearing Emma Kate laugh, and always want my house to be filled with laughter.

090

4. My friends: My friends are spread out all over the country (and even the world!) but they are all special to me, even the ones I don’t get to see near often enough. From having a big group of online friends I get to virtually hang out with, to having a small group girls Bible study to talk about the heavy stuff, it’s all important and I am blessed.

DSC_0910

5. My relationship with God: This one trumps all. As we move into the Christmas season and see that a small baby changed everything, it is so vital to remember God in the big and small daily things. Everything good I have comes from Him, and I am SO thankful He has blessed me with this life I live.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

QOTD: What are you thankful for?

My “Big Girl” Camera

Several years ago, I bought a “big girl camera”, so that I could take better vacation photos and blog photos. Sadly, with the new technology of camera phones and the use of filters, it hasn’t been as important to use an amazing camera as it used to be (or so I thought.) That and well, I was just being lazy. It’s so much easier to just upload photos form my phone straight to my blog than to shoot, edit, and work with “real” pictures.

12190089_858811977529599_6651112489704784971_n

Exhibit A: iPhone panoramic photo plus filter = good enough, right?

I recently realized I really needed to “up my game” in the photo department, and wanted to find time (haha) to learn to use my camera in manual mode. I had tried many times before but got bogged down in lingo and details that seemed to skip over the VERY basic steps that I needed.

I still need a LOT of work, but I am beginning to see good results on better quality photos that I will be using in m blog posts (not all of them, sorry. A lot of my daily life is snapped quickly on my phone, especially with the baby!) I found a great website that really helped it click for me in my head, and I thought I would pass it along to you and maybe you will find it as helpful as I did.

unnamed (50)

What? You have to have SKILLS to take a picture of your feet with an iPhone. I am a master at this one.

Does anyone have any great beginner photography tips or websites for me? I would love to learn more and keep on practicing my skills (or lack of skills. I’m under no illusions that I actually know what I am doing.)  I currently have a Nikon D5000 to work with. I have the lens that came with it as well as a huge “stalker” lens where I can super-zoom in on people, but that’s it. What else do I need?

QOTD: Photographers HELP! What lens to I need? Any helpful tools/website/blogs I need to follow? I have zero artistic eye!

Pre-Thanksgiving Weekend

Baby it’s cold outside! We had our first freeze last night, and it dipped into the 20’s (for you northern folk that’s a big deal for Mississippi, yall!) Anyway, we had a good weekend but now it’s time to get ready for turkey day! We will be hosting at my house, and judging by the current state of my house, it is NOT ready for company!

12fc9d2a-cb1e-4867-801a-b74bec2ec9f0

(Speaking of turkey, how adorable is EK’s art project?!?)

But first, the weekend. We drove to Louisiana to visit my parents. I had kind of an overwhelming week and really needed some quality time with family plus some help with the wee one. We haven’t taken her to my parents since before we bought Orange Leaf back in August, so we were well overdo for a visit!

Friday I hung out with Emma Kate and packed up for the trip while Bobby went to work.

935c95ef-dcd8-4a69-a229-d4039e9b539a

It was a chilly morning but we went for a walk and played in the driveway.

cc1d7f96-d265-46b2-8995-3edb1cdfce80

Friday afternoon we drove down to the parental units’ house, and Emma Kate was excited to explore their big house now that she can walk. She also enjoyed her new little table at their house.

9907ef96-0128-4b08-b83f-5ae0fa2706ea

Saturday morning I went for a 3.1 mile run, and it went really well, which I was totally not expecting! Aren’t those the best?

a90cc6b8-bb52-479c-9798-c6929cc6c169

We just hung out around the house Saturday which I REALLY needed. Mom, dad and I ventured out to Wal-Mart to get Emma Kate some Christmas toys (I know, on a Saturday, are we nuts?!?) but otherwise we stayed at the house.

a91a3a2c-7ab0-41a1-9dad-2b39292da907

Fun fact: my mom has been playing the piano most of her life.

My dad grilled, and we ended up watching Jurassic World that evening. Thoughts on that movie? It had some good parts, but the cheesy parts were a bit more than I could handle. I mean, of course everyone knows you light a flare and walk up to a T-Rex then let it chase you in heels, right?

Sunday morning was more hanging out, and more grilling. it turned cold, but that didn’t stop us of course!

be0f38be-9400-47af-b07f-a4149e4689e3

Emma Kate loved running through the house pulling things out of cabinets and shutting herself in rooms (her new favorite thing…until she gets mad because she can’t open the door.) The Saints had a bye this week so when it was the little one’s nap time we loaded up and hit the road back home. It’s good to be back, but always sad when a fun weekend has to come to an end. Luckily, I get to see family in just a few days!

QOTD: Thoughts on Jurassic World? What did you do this weekend? Anyone play the piano? I took lessons for a year and hated it. Sad times.

Five Things Friday VIII

1.) This may have happened this week. My parents are coming into town next week so this week was the only time we could find to get it together enough to get the tree up…sooo…yay!

IMG_9433 (2)

2.) I may have had frozen yogurt for dinner last night. I had to go get a filling replaced because it cracked (ugh) and my mouth was still so numb by dinnertime. It’s times like this owning a frozen yogurt shop comes in handy. Hopefully “times like this” don’t happen too often.

d7b220ec-1f45-4d68-ac06-9cd9bdaecd04

3.) Only a few days left to get your Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes to a collection center! Here is mine, it is being dropped off tomorrow!

84e179df-6bdd-44b8-86f5-4afb739383ae

4.) My Christmas tree has a baby gate around it. I did some research as the best way to approach this. (Note to all of you: do NOT go on Pinterest. You will find super cute crafty moms who wrapped up large heavy boxes in adorable wrapping paper with huge bows to “block” the tree from the kids. Aint nobody got time for that.) So we found the most economical 6-panel baby gate we could find and wa-la! So far so good. No needles have been eaten and no ornaments smashed…yet.

IMG_9434 (2)

5.) I ordered our Christmas cards with a Groupon and I think they came out really cute. I will show you all what ours looks like on Christmas. Smile Does anyone else think sending cards is a lost art? I’m not sure if it’s a southern/traditional thing or I am just old fashioned, but I LOVE sending and receiving Christmas cards. Best mail ever! Thoughts? Comments?

QOTD: Do you send out Christmas cards? Thoughts on the whole thing?

Christmas Gift Guide for the Fitness Lover

It’s the most wonderful time of the year again! I am trying to be ahead of the game with my shopping this year, so thought I would go ahead and get my gift guide up to nudge you along as well. Enjoy and happy shopping!

gift guide fitness

1.) ASICS Gel Quantum 360 running shoe: This show came out this past summer, and it rocks! I wasn’t sure what all the hype was about until I tried it for myself, and it’s like running on a cloud! If you love a comfy shoe, give this one a try. It comes in really awesome colors, too. (Ocean not included Smile)

DSC_0159 (2)

2.) RunnerBox: Runnerbox is a subscription service that sends you bi-monthly boxes of goodies used by runners (and discounts, too!) and they also have a tri box and cycle box. Running stuff can get expensive, so having sample sizes to try out to see if you like are a great idea! I have gotten two boxes and liked both of them a lot, and amazed at how many products they can fit into such a tiny box. I loved the shampoo/conditioner and protein powder in this box. Good stuff!

IMG_8428

3.) Foam roller: Anyone into fitness gets sore muscles, and can benefit from this bad boy! A lot of people swear by their expensive ones, but I have a cheap one form Wal-Mart and it works fine for me. Just make sure you wrap it up in a box as to not give away the gift. Smile

2011-05-06082120_thumb

4.) EOS lip balm: In the winter when I run outside my lips get super chapped, and I am constantly using this stuff, and it stays on for a long time and is easy to carry around. I keep one in my purse, car, and gym bag. So many great flavors, too. Grab some to stick in your loved ones stockings.

shopping

5.) Fitbit or other fitness tracker: These babies are all the rage lately, and now there are so many different brands to choose from. I personally have a Fitbit, but have heard great things about other brands as well. It is a great motivator on days when I am at my desk for a long time. It just helps me to be more aware of how much I am moving (or NOT moving!) throughout the day. I like mine well enough but think I would rather one that you wear on your arm. I have lost one because it popped off my pants before.

IMG_2551-2_thumb

6.) Running Skirts.com skirt: I have loved this brand for years, and they just keep coming out with the cutest patterns (check out the Kona print!) These skirts are comfy, have pockets, and you can get them with briefs underneath or shorts underneath. Lots to choose from!

rs-kona_1

7.) Hidrate spark water bottle: I learned about this bottle via a press release a few months ago and forgot about it, then heard about it again recently on the radio while it was still in the Kickstarter phase. This bottle lights up when it’s time to drink, and connects to your phone so you know exactly how much water you have consumed through the day. So cool, and comes in cute colors. I don’t have one of these yet so I can’t say for certain I love it seems so, so cool.

Crystal_Pink_for_website_copy_be6f1d13-80b8-41e1-901f-d7223c419f7a_large

8.) Yurbuds: I have been a Yurbuds lover for many years after buying my first pair at a race expo some time ago. They are one of the only brands I have found that actually stay in my ear, and hold up to daily wear and tear. They have several different models ranging in price, but I have always gotten the cheaper pair and they hold up just fine! I am only on my second pair in five years! (and I use them a lot).

inspire-200-for-women

9.) Love Grown Foods: Love Grown was one of the sponsors of the Refresh Summit, and I really enjoyed their hot oats for breakfast. If you like to give food as a gift, this is a great one!

unnamed (56)

10.) Fabletics Salar Capris: These are my FAVORITE tights from Fabletics. They are stretchy and fit great, and they come in adorable patterns, with new ones online every month. So far my favorites are these northern lights ones.

image

However, you can get a whole outfit for $25 if you become a VIP member (feel free to email me for more info on this, or click the photo below {affiliate link}).
Fabletics.com

 

QOTD: What is on your Christmas wish list?

Full Body 20 Workout

Happy Wednesday friends! We have made it to the middle of the week, it’s all downhill from here, right? In the past 2.5 weeks I have been doing a lot less running and a lot more full body work, and I feel GREAT. Do I plan to keep running? Absolutely, but I just needed to change things up a big and wanted to get stronger more than I wanted to get faster…plus I knew getting stronger would help me get faster anyway, so it seemed like a win-win.

FullSizeRender (34)

I have been going to boot camp at my gym, but the time I go is not offered on Fridays and I don’t go on the weekend, so I have been coming up with things I can do at home instead and wanted to share one of them with you today. All of the below workouts can be done with just your own body weight so NO EQUIPMENT IS REQUIRED. If you aren’t sure on a move, be sure to Google it so that you are using proper form. I hope you work up a good sweat like I did!

full body 20

Also, thank you for all the congrats on six years of blogging yesterday in the comments and on social media. I appreciate you all so much. I know blogging can have ebbs and flows so I am thankful that I have such awesome readers that stick around. Stay tuned for things coming up in the next couple of weeks like a Christmas gift guide for fitness lovers, a giveaway, and more. Have a great day everyone!

QOTD: Which of these exercises is the most difficult for you? For me, it’s burpees!

6 Year Blogiversary

Oh friends. I did it again. Every year it seems that this sneaks up on me. As of Sunday, I have been blogging for SIX year! Every year I go back and read that first post. I want to edit it SO badly but I leave it alone on purpose just to show how far I have come.

If you have been reading for awhile, you know that originally this blog started as an accountability journal as I prepared for my very first half marathon. Back then I knew nothing about the blogging world, particularly because there just weren’t that many health and fitness blogs back then to go off of. Things have changed a lot in that department for sure!

DSC_0585

As I think back on my blogging journey, I am reminded of all the wonderful opportunities I have had, the amazing people I have met, and friends I have made. (Yes I say that every year I think, but it’s so true!) Blogging has had a lot to do with how I have been shaped as a person over the past few years. I have learned about about the world, about myself, and about being true to myself.

IMG_3034

I have changed names, changed headers, changed focus. There have been ebbs and flows, highs and lows, and lessons learned. Putting yourself out there on a daily basis can be tough at times, but it has also been very rewarding. Other than sharing my heart with whoever is willing to listen, my other goal has always been to encourage and inspire others. I hope over the years I have encouraged you all in one way or another, because that is truly what makes me happy. There are SO many more things that I want to do and accomplish, and I am sure my blog will continue to evolve and change as I do the same. It’s a scary but exciting prospect, and I hope you will stick with me and follow along!

IMG_3544

As always, a huge thanks to my wonderful readers. You guys make it all worth it! You emails, comments, shares, questions, advice, and inspiration keep me going. I love the conversations we have had, and laughs we have shared (mostly at my expense!) Thank you for giving me grace, and remembering that I make mistakes and am always learning, too. God has blessed me with some amazing encouraging folks through this blog, and I am so grateful.

IMG_0029

I hope to have the opportunity to meet more of you this year, laugh with you, learn with you, and grow with you. THANK YOU for making THLG a great place, and for hanging out with me over the years, you rock. Let’s keep going, I have so much left I want to do!

IMG_9584

<3 Heather

Dealing with Negative People Online (and taking my own advice)

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of speaking at Refresh Summit South on dealing with negativity on social media/blogging, whether it be someone being negative towards you, or falling into the comparison trap and having negative feelings about yourself. I have been meaning to blog about the two main points I discussed with the ladies in attendance, but I just wasn’t sure exactly how to go about turning a talk into words, and due to an unpleasant exchange with a neighbor on Friday, I decided to use it as an example for a blog post on one of my two main points.

negative people

Being real here. One thing that I struggle with is holding my tongue. It’s a constant battle, and it’s one of the reasons why I enjoy blogging (I can go back and edit before hitting send.) Even with that filter of sorts in place, I still get myself in trouble from time to time for things that I say, that I really should just keep to myself. I can get angry in a hurry, and instead of giving myself time to think and cool down, I often spout off and it ends up leading to more damage. The Bible is clear on this, and says we should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry (James 1:19), but boy is this one tough for me!

quick to listen

You can make fun of me for a lot of things and I will let it roll off my back, but to state something about my husband or my child as a fact that is NOT true, is something I have a hard time biting my tongue about. Without going into too much unnecessary detail, here is my own learning moment:

Our neighborhood has it’s own private Facebook group, which in theory is awesome, but sometimes not so awesome because as of late it has turned into a huge gripe fest. People complaining about folks speeding, running stop signs, dogs pooping in their yard etc. All of these things are valid complaints, but really, blasting your neighbors online for speeding it’s well, very neighborly, and we have had some issues with some not so friendly folk posting negative things. Anyway, somehow, on Friday there was an assumption made about my husband that was NOT true, and it turned into a nasty argument between me and a lady in my neighborhood I don’t really know. Come to find out from other neighbors letting me know, this is not the first time this particular neighbor has been less than neighborly. Part of me felt good about it, knowing that other people were “on my side” in letting me know how difficult this person is in general, but then I realized that honestly, I probably just should have kept my mouth shut to begin with and not even engaged with her, and it could have avoided a long morning of frustration.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that this is exactly the kind of situation I spoke about at Refresh Summit (how to get through/avoid/act kindly in) and here I was doing THE EXACT OPPOSITE. It all happened so fast I didn’t put two and two together and then realized I had messed up. If I had followed my own advice, maybe it would have had a different outcome, and hopefully I have learned from this and will be quick to listen and slow to speak next time. Instead of what I did, the following are things I should have done (things I shared at Refresh Summit for dealing with bullies/negative people online).

unnamed (15)

1.) Realize you aren’t going to change them: I an usually spot someone pretty set in their ways from the beginning of a conversation, but my desire to defend myself can get in the way of realizing that no matter what I say or try to “prove”, people like this are just not going to change. It doesn’t matter if the facts are right in front of you, they will argue with you until the cows come home, so it’s wise to just save your breathe and realize nothing you say is going to change them.

2.) Don’t feed the animals: With a desire to be right and people please, this one can be tough. Not engaging or “feeding the animals” is a good tactic for keeping the peace. Sometimes it’s just best not to get involved. There have been so many times in my “blog life” where I have wanted to set the record straight or stand up for myself, but I knew that in doing so it would just add fuel to the fire, and I am glad I chose to ignore in the end. When I engage, I usually end up saying something I will regret later.

3.) Get some perspective: Perspective is a funny thing. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in being the victim we forget that a lot of people lash out because they themselves are or were at one time, victims. Hurt people hurt people. If you can take a step back and remember that simple statement, that those hurting themselves in turn hurt others, and instead of getting angry, feel sorry for the person, it will start to soften your heart towards them and help diffuse frustration.

4.) Forgive: There have been times in my blogging and social media life where people have really hurt my feelings. I still remember a very specific time where I was on a run replaying something someone had said to me online over and over in my head, trying to figure out why people are so mean to those they don’t really know, when I suddenly felt like I was supposed to forgive them. Through gritted teeth (because yall, I really didn’t WANT to forgive them) I said out loud “I forgive you, and Lord HELPE to really mean it”. I had such an overwhelming freeing feeling come after that prayer. it was SO hard to say and it took awhile to work up to, but once I let go of it, the anger and frustration had no power over me anymore. After all, the Bible calls us to forgive others, just as God forgave us (Mark 11:25).

5.) Move on: This one usually takes me a little bit of time, but moving on helps diffuse the anger that comes with seeing and hearing negative things about us. Remember that not everyone is going to think just like you, or be your BFF, and that’s ok. We are all so different, and some people just are going to flat out not get along with you. Move on, and as queen Elsa would say, LET IT GO! I know I know, so much easier said than done, but your heart will thank you if you can move past it and not dwell on it or let your thoughts constantly go back to a wrong done to you.

I hope someone finds these tips helpful, and please know that if you ever need to talk to anyone about any of these issues, I would be more than happy to oblige. Email me any time at [email protected] Have a great Monday!

QOTD: Which of these 5 things do you struggle with most? Have you ever been the victim of online negativity?

Five Things Friday VII

TGIF! It’s been a long week around here, I had to pull some shifts at the yogurt shop + my other jobs + taking care of little bit, so I’m worn slap out. Anyone have fun weekend plans? I shall live vicariously through you from the comfort of my couch.

1.) Bootcamp is kicking my butt. I went 5 days last week and 4 days this week, and I have muscles that hurt that I didn’t even know I had. I have learned that 1.) My triceps are SUPER weak and 2.) I really hate burpees.

25669843-7b36-44a9-8970-b31d0af57beb

2.) ASICS launched a NEW shoe yesterday. 4 features to love about #MetaRun. 5 new ASICS technologies and 4 patents give you 4 features to love: superior fit, cushioning, stability and ultralight weight. Check out the website here!

asics

3.) Don’t judge, but I think we will put up our Christmas tree this weekend. I want it up for Thanksgiving when my parents come in town, and the weekend prior to Thanksgiving is looking kind of hectic, so it may be this weekend. Get excited.

IMG_1107 (2)

Look how tiny the wee one was!!!

4.) Operation Christmas Child shoebox collection week is next week. This is something near and dear to my heart and I have been doing it since the third grade. I plan to do a periscope showing what to pack and how to pack it for those interested. It may be today if I have time, I will tweet about it ahead of time.

5.) Today is the LAST DAY to register for the Holiday Shred hosted by my good friend Bobbi. If you need accountability to get you to and through the holidays without gaining weight then join in the fun! I will be participating!

holidayshred15_logo_525

6.) sshh I snuck in a 6th thing. Good luck to everyone running the runDisney Avengers races this weekend! Check out this post I wrote last year for Fitfluential for tips! Did you know 28,000 people are signed up for the races? So fun! Good luck everyone!

QOTD: When do you put your tree up?