Blend Retreat 2015

Ah Blend. By far my favorite blogger event I’ve been to, both this year and last. To be honest, I was nervous going in this year. Partially because I felt like I should have sold my ticket since money is tight and this seemed like such a luxury, and partially because most of my close blogger friends weren’t coming and I was nervous about not having that group with me again! But silly me – turns out this weekend was exactly what I needed. Not only did I make some new, amazing friends, but I also got the sunshine, fresh air and laughter that I didn’t even realize I was missing.

Blend is a blogger (or non-blogger!) retreat with mostly food & fitness bloggers. Blend means Blogger + Friend. There were 100 girls, plus our three amazing leaders who put the whole event together: Lindsay, Janetha & Lauren. This year Blend was held at Chautauqua Park, which is just outside of Boulder. I thought it was just a park, but they have a little neighborhood here with tons of lodges, a general store, a restaurant and soooo much more. And of course amazing hiking trails!

If I try to re-cap the entire thing I think we’ll all be here for hours, so instead I’m going to do a bit of a photo dump of my amazing weekend with blends:







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(some photos stolen from Lindsay & Lauren’s Instagram!)

A HUGE THANK YOU to all the sponsors of Blend this year. This amazing weekend would not have been possible without them, and it was so great to meet some of their reps at Blend!


Have you ever been to Colorado? 

Have you ever been on a “retreat” of any sort? 

Over Your Oats #27



What To Do While Waiting For Mr Right

My Experience of Overcoming Hypthalamic Amenorrhea

The Garden Series: What Went Wrong with a Right World

The Weighty Matter of Weight Based Compliments

Three Words That Might Change Everything For You

Beauty Advice for My Daughter

Health & Fitness

Give Yourself A Flipping Break

The Hidden Reason Your Performance is Suffering

Balance and Strength Workout

Bikini Arms Workout

30 Workouts to Stay In Shape While Traveling


Sweet and Spicy Roasted Almonds

A Week of Paleo Meals


Favorite Plug-Ins and Ones We No Longer Use

Snack Healthy While Traveling

healthy travel snacks

Eating healthy is SO much easier when we always eat food we’ve made at home and aren’t tempted by food in restaurants, gas stations or airport kiosks. And you know what else? It’s a lot more budget friendly too! Since I’m off to Blend Retreat today, I thought I’d share some good ideas for healthy snacks that you can bring on a plane (aka TSA friendly).

One thing that I pack for work and would also work well for flying are small containers of chopped fruits and nuts, or just whole fruit that will hold up well if tossed in your bag (be weary of the banana!):

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There are also some great go-to bars like Kind Bars, Lara Bars, Go Macro, Cliff Bars, etc. Choose your favorite healthy options and toss a few in your bag for when you’re hungry! You can also pack packets of almond butter or peanut butter, which helped me a TON when I was sight seeing in Paris. I’d be SO HUNGRY but not want to spend insane amounts of money on a snack, so I’d just eat a packet of almond butter to hold me over.


You can bring delicious snacks that someone else made from home, like Lindsay Cotter’s Healthy Bite’s (p.s. she has tons of recipes on her blog!).


Or you can even make your own snacks (very cost-effective!) and bring them in baggies. This can range from homemade trail mix to your own protein muffins!

pumpkin protein muffins


Another great option that Blue Diamond has really just set up for me are their packets of almonds. Each had five servings of almonds and were perfect for throwing in my bag and just reaching in and grabbing a few when I needed a snack. I loved that they had dark chocolate flavored almonds as well because these helped with any sugar cravings. You KNOW you want to buy ALL THE CANDY when you’re in the airport, don’t you?? This is a much healthier way to get in some chocolate!



What are your favorite healthy snacks to bring with you when traveling? 

Where is the last place you traveled to? 

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. All opinions are my own.

Thursday Thoughts

1. Back to the airport tomorrow because I’m headed to BLEND!! Blend = Blogger + Friend. The Blend Retreat is just that – a retreat, for blogger friends. This year it’s in Boulder and although some of my good friends won’t be returning, I’m looking forward to meeting a lot of new and amazing women!


2. I had a late work event on Tuesday and the views from the office building where it was held were stunning – a full look over Grant Park and Lake Michigan. This photo does it ZERO justice… should have done a panoramic! 

3. This past weekend I got to go HOME TO KANSAS CITY! I couldn’t mention it on the blog since my mom reads this, but my grandparents called me last Tuesday saying they’d love me to come home and surprise my Mom for Mother’s Day (and they wanted to see me too since it had been a LONG time). So I flew home Saturday morning, surprised my mom (she was SHOCKED and cried… love you Mom), and then headed back to Chicago Sunday evening. It was a quick trip but I’m so glad I had the opportunity to spend some time with my parents and my little brother.

4. My parents actually just moved (for the first time in 31 years) and while showing me the finished product (I’d been to the new house before but with zero furniture), my dad showed me how much stuff I have left stored at their house… Thanks Dad! 😉

5. While home I also went to Yogurtini with a friend. I haven’t had froyo in… months and months and months! It was SO GOOD!

6. This week I’ve been taking a bit of an exercise break. A few slow workouts here and there but really I’ve been a lazy bum and I NEEDED it! I jumped straight from 8 weeks of Insanity Max 30 into a free week of Barre Code classes and my body was DONE! Perfect timing too since I know Blend will be an active weekend and then I start a new program Monday!

7. I have been an epic failure at book reviews, I know, I know! I’ve read several books since my last review so I’ll have to get those up ASAP!

8. Have a great Thursday!

22 Quotes About True Wisdom	 22 Quotes About True Wisdom

Have you ever surprised someone? 

Do you have any real life friends you met through the internet? 

Things I’m Loving Lately

With spring finally here in Chicago the world around me has woken up from our winter slumber and I’m getting excited about the summer! With that come a lot of great new experiences, Chicago really comes alive when the weather warms up. Here are some things I’m loving lately:


1. Flowers! Finally the flowers are blooming (or being planted…) in Chicago and it’s really looking like spring around here!

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2. ALL THE COLORS!!! If you follow me on instagram, you know I wear black all winter. I swear I don’t do it on purpose! Anyway, now that it’s spring I love wearing bright clothing!

spring clothing

3. ICED COFFEE! I love iced coffee soooooo much and it’s finally (okay occasionally) warm enough to order it!

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4. Lunchtime walks with Julie! My friend Julie works a block away from me and last summer we’d go on walks during our lunch breaks. Although I don’t have my designated hour anymore, I can still head out for a walk if things aren’t too crazy. Last week we walked past Pret A Manger where they were handing out free cups and ice coffee! #doublewin

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5. I know, I know I won’t stop talking about Beachbody, but I’ve been using OnDemand for workouts and it’s SO COOL. Netflix for workouts – seriously. And only $40/3 months (less if you’re a coach!). I can’t wait to try hip hop abs… haha

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6. POSITIVITY. I’ve always loved encouraging other people but with coaching and just my team in general I know I’m on the right path. I LOVE sharing positive or encouraging quotes and I seriously just can’t get enough right now!


7. Prayer. My small group is reading a book about Prayer by Timothy Keller and I never, ever would have picked this up on my own. I love my fiction novels, but getting through other books can be tough for me so it’s nice to have a goal of 2 chapters a week and then being able to talk about them with my group. Although I take his suggestions with a grain of salt (as you should with anyone else’s interpretation of your faith!), it’s really opened my eyes up to the importance of prayer and sharing what’s on my heart with God. Yes, He knows what you’re thinking about, but it’s taking the time to sit down and tell Him that is both reverent to God and good for you so you can express your thoughts – even to yourself!

8. My readers! I know, I know – corny! BUT my readership dropped significantly over this past year as I began to talk less about running and more about my life and my faith. What I’ve realized is that those of you that still check in are the people that support ME and my voice and aren’t just “keeping up with the Joneses,” haha not that I consider myself that special. So thank you! And comment! I love to hear from you!


What are you loving lately?