A Family Favorite

After spending a year abroad in Italy in 2003, I came back bursting with Italian traditions to share with my family back home.

One being indulging in the ever popular Panettone bread during the Christmas holiday.

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You’ve probably seen this box of bread when strolling through Cost Plus or in any specialty market and wondered what the heck it was all about.

It can be best described as a sort of sweet muffin cake bread.

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For the first few years after my arrival back home from Italy we would buy this bread at Christmas time and eat slices with our coffee on Christmas morning.

But then my brother saw Giada turn this bread into a breakfast masterpiece.

Panettone French Toast!

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If you follow Giada’s recipe, you will be sure to fall in love with just as our family did. Though, it’s not healthy by any means.

Every year we now adapt some sort of panettone french toast into our Christmas morning breakfast. And it’s as glorious as it looks.

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It’s funny how traditions start, but I’m happy to carry this one through…because it’s really that good!

What are your family Christmas meal traditions? As I wrote about yesterday, we always do lasagna for Christmas Eve, and now panettone french toast for christmas morning!

Something to dream about…

A dream of a smoothie…more specifically, an orangesicle dream!

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Today’s post is guaranteed to have you whipping out your blender.

I kind of loved the wedding gift spotlight I did a few weeks back, so I thought I would show off the next newest addition to my family.

The Breville Blender which I have named Blendy-kins.

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This lovely beast of a blender, blends, chops, shaves ice, folds laundry and even has it’s very own smoothie button. It was love at first blend!

This gift was actually pooled together with Macy gift cards, and we ended up saving 20% off since it was on our gift registry. So what if it was a wedding gift to myself? I was in desperate need people!

Back to the Orange Dream Smoothie…

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I was actually digging through old boxes and found this to-die-for smoothie recipe that I received during the Nike Women’s Marathon Expo last October.

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It felt so appropriate to make it now, since I am coming up on my second marathon and almost the year anniversary to my first marathon.

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I made a few alterations to the ingredient list to fit what I had on hand.

The Orangesicle (Marathon) Dream Smoothie

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Ingredients: (makes 2 servings)

  • 6 oz Peach Chobani Greek Yogurt
  • 1 peeled tangelo or orange
  • 1/2 cup 100% Orange Juice Concentrate
  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango chunks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp agave syrup
  • 3 ice cubes

Throw all the ingredients into Blendy-kins and blend away!

The tangelo ended up being a great alternative to orange in this smoothie, and it reminded me of a delicious orange julius.

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Now once I had a glass of this yummy-ness I knew I wanted to save the excess for another day.

And since it’s Tipsy Thursday after all…I have another great tip on what to do with your leftover smoothie sludge.

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Why not poor it into an ice cube tray to use later as another smoothie?

I poured the excess smoothie into the ice cube tray and froze overnight.

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By the next morning I was already jonesing for another one.

So I plopped the smoothie cubes into the blender, added a 1/2 cup of almond milk and blended away.

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It tasted just as delicious as it had the day before. A super easy smoothie, and all I had to do was blend and add milk!

This smoothie was definitely something to dream about. But there is no need to dream, you can make one too!

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And now that I’m traveling on the road for work this week all I can do is dream about this delicious treat.

You know what I’ll be making for my post 20 miler recovery run tomorrow. ;) But I will probably add a scoop of protein powder for good measure!

Happy Tipsy Thursday Friends!

Happy Panda Christmas

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend full of good food and family fun. I know I sure did!

As I mentioned last week, the cooking commenced bright and early on Christmas Eve morning.

We had glasses of red to inspire us through the lasagna making process. Aka as “WINE AT NINE!”

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We were busy cooking and prepping for our Christmas Eve feast all day.

We snuck in a little Veg-Nog break around 3pm just before the guests started to arrive.

If you haven’t tried Angela’s Vegan Nog, you are surely missing out on a delicious and delightful treat.

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Veg-Nog is a cross between a smoothie and egg nog. As it has an egg-noggy texture but a rich smoothie taste. But there was not a trace of eggs. Crazy!

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Let’s just say that we went for the full bourbon addition and enjoyed every last drop of this drink.

Then we put out the spread and waited for the fam to arrive.

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It was hard not to over snack as the lasagna was coming up next.

Before:

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After:

MMMMMMMmmmmmMMMMM! :) Look at those layers!

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It was as tasty as it looks. Another Lasagna success!

After dinner we opened presents and enjoyed each other’s company. Here are a few gifts that I received.

I can definitely see a lot of use out of this gift. I seriously cannot wait to crack into it and whip up some hummus or something!

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Now onto my cork board. Not just any corkboard, but one made purely from wine corks.

And not only does this look pretty bad ass, but my Aunt actually made this herself. She placed and glued every cork.

100_4515 I was absolutely in love with this gift. It screams “The Linz” for sure!

One last gift to showcase, because I love J. Alabama and he loves me. He loves me enough to go to Build a Bear and make me a panda!

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If you didn’t know this about me, I LOVE pandas.

Like LOVE LOVE LOVE them. They are the funniest and cutest animals. When I’m having a saaddd pandaaa kind of day, I YOU TUBE baby panda videos and can’t help but laugh at how darn cute they are.

So J. Alabama bought me a panda and recorded his voice into it. So when I’m having a bad day I can click his paw and he will say..

I love Linzi! And I’m tasty and almost extinct”

Don’t worry, I don’t eat panda and never will. That part is supposed to be funny because J.Alabama and I are funny like that. He teases me that panda bears are tasty. I say no, no they are not.

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Okay, one more recipe to showcase and rave about.

I changed Christmas morning tradition and made Mama Pea’s Vegan Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls.

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To. Die. For.

I prepped them in between making lasagna and veg-nog and was so excited to just pop them into the oven on Christmas morning.

I will share with you later this week, our traditional Christmas breakfast, but I think the cinnamon rolls are a fun addition.

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Did you get to test any new recipes? How’d they turn out?

I was very impressed with the Vegan-Nog and Cinnamon Rolls and would definitely make them both again. When looking for fun Christmas recipes I went straight to the blog world in search of the perfect recipe. I think I done good! :)

Happy Monday Friends! Make the last few days of 2010 the best as a new year is almost here!

Last TEAM run

It’s hard for me to believe that this morning’s TEAM run will be the last official run together before we all become Marathoners!

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As you can tell in the picture above we began our run in the darkness. It was 7 am and still dark out!

I have become quite fond of running in the dark as it seems to make the time fly by faster!

Today’s running schedule had us at an easy 8 Miler.

Piece.of.cake!

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The cold crisp air made for perfect running weather! And the lovely fall surroundings provided a great backdrop.

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We trodded along the path, just chit chatting and in disbelief of where will be in a week. Good ole San Fran!

I think the excitement is really getting to me. San Francisco HERE I COME!!

Today’s run was a pretty steady run for me. I felt at times that my legs were dragging and it was hard, but then other times I felt like I could run forever.

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I finished up the Great 8 and was happy when I saw my mile splits. I kept a pretty consistent pace for the majority of the run and this is with an added walk break for every 6 minutes of running. Not bad at all!!

My Mile Splits:

  1. 11:19
  2. 11:44
  3. 11;13
  4. 11:12
  5. 10:29 <—- :) (that’s with a walking break!)
  6. 11:24
  7. 11:03
  8. 11:06

Total Miles Ran: 8.01   Total Time Ran:  1 hour 29 minutes

I’m consistently amazed at the progress I have made and how far I’ve come over the last 4 months. I think holding this pace is pretty darn good when you consider all the walk breaks that were in there! :)

After a good stretch with the TEAM, a bunch of us decided to head on over to a local coffee shop called The Flying M for a delectable cup of joe & some post run carb loading!

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Check out that latte art! In all the years that I was a barista I never learned this art.

Oh and the “OJ Bread” was delish! It was the same idea as a lemon cake but with orange flavoring instead!

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I think the most surprising part of my morning was that I finished up my run and post run breakfast and still have part of the morning left!

I guess I just didn’t realize how much time my “long” runs cut into my Saturdays!

I’m sad to see them go, but at the same time am super excited for some other things that are in store for me after this marathon.

And don’t you go and think I’m going to stop running after this marathon – oh no! I have only just begun friends! I have 3-4 tentative races on the mind for after the marathon.

I’m toying with these ones…

  • October 24: Tour of Boise (10K Scavenger Hunt)
  • November 7: Zeitgeist Half-Marathon
  • November 20: Gobble Wobble 5k (Denver, CO)
  • December 18: YMCA Christmas Run 10k

But outside of running I would like to get back into kickboxing and doing A LOT more yoga!

So who knows where post marathon life will take me. All I know is the journey thus far has been rocking! And I wouldn’t change a single thing.

What do you look forward to after a race? Another race, getting some down time, or trying new activities?

PB Problem?

 

I just heard the coolest news!

Okay, so cool news for those who like chocolate.

And those who like to indulge in chocolate while running.

I assume I am one of those people, though I have never even thought about eating chocolate during a long run.

Apparently I will have my chance to find out as mile 21 of the Nike Women’s Marathon has been deemed the “Chocolate Mile”.

It just so happens to be Ghirardelli chocolate and they will be sampling all different kinds throughout this mile on the race course.

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Mmm… now that’s a San Francisco treat!

What are you thoughts about sampling a treat or two while on the race course? I would typically think it safer to just say no, but I have a suspicion that by mile 21 that chocolate is going to taste so darn good!

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Now onto something else that tastes so darn good….

My first ever attempt at making Overnight Oats in a Jar.

I have to admit that I was not a huge fan of the White Chocolate Peanut Butter at first, but it definitely grew on me.

It tasted even more amazing as the oats and everything in the jar melded together.

 

My Oats in a Jar:

  • 1/2 cup raw oats
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • handful of almonds
  • 1 tbsp Chia Seeds
  • sprinkle of cinnamon
  • 1/2 a ripe banana

You throw it all in an almost empty peanut butter jar and let it chill overnight in the fridge.

So darn easy, not sure why I never tried this before.  As it also makes the perfect breakfast on the go.

But as my cupboards will show you, I am in no way in a peanut butter drought.

J. Alabama actually questioned me about my “peanut butter hoarding” problem the other day.

Truth be told,  I actually don’t eat peanut butter or almond butter all the often. It’s my go-to on toast before a long run and maybe an addition to a green monster here and there. But nothing to accuse me of having a “peanut butter problem”.

Oh well, the evidence is apparent in the picture. I have been hoarding the empty jars until the glorious day I would actually make oats in a jar. Now I have several empties just waiting for me!

I have to admit though that my first reaction to J. Alabama’s question was to be embarrassed of my collection of nut butters. But I showed him that half of the jars were empty and explained that I was saving them for Overnight Oats In A Jar.

His expression was priceless.

Oats in a Jar?

Well, I hope he reads this post so it will ALL make sense! :)

Happy Hump Day! My evening will include my final hill run with my team. YAY!   

 

Tini Time

 

Some days you just need to start with a ‘tini!

 Today’s ‘tini was inspired by another christmas classic.

Who doesn’t love those chocolate oranges? OMG!

Over the course of the last few weeks I have some how gotten out of my morning smoothie ritual. It made me sad to see my spinach getting wilty and my almond milk going bad. I knew today’s breakfast was going to be the ultimate treat!

I knew I was craving something chocolaty and something coconutty, but it needed something else.

I scoured my freezer for some fun fruit and came up empty-handed.

Then I looked to the fruit bowl and saw a lonely orange staring at me.

It’s funny because I don’t think I have ever thrown an orange into the smoothie mix before and immediately knew it had to be done!

The ChocOrange ‘tini Monster:

1/2 an orange (without peel)

1/3 cup of Almond Milk

1/3 cup of Coconut Milk

1/3 cup of plain greek yogurt

1/2 scoop of protein powder

2 handfuls of spinach

1 tablespoon of cocoa powder

1 unpictured banana

1 tablespoon of coconut flakes

And once you throw all that goodness into the blender you get this marvelous concoction…..

So chocolaty… so orangy… Mmmmmm! And as weird as the coconut combo sounds, it brings all the flavahs together! It seriously tastes like a chocolate orange.

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Okay, so enough about my awesome breakfast and on to the count down.

Yup the countdown clock on my igoogle page reminds me every morning how many days until I run the biggest race of my life.

53 days!

Can you even believe it?

53 days

I guess it’s a little more intense because we are less than two months away.

And what is even more exciting is that several other bloggers are also running marathon’s & half-marathons that same weekend or close to it.

So we probably all have eyes set on that countdown clock. Counting down the days, hours, minutes until we can cross that finish and say “WE DID IT!”

I’m so proud of each and every one of you!

Since I joined the Distance Dreamers I have felt a sense of community with other first timers which is pretty darn cool.

Go US!

Keep up the good work everyone.

I’m personally taking it a little easier this week. I’m not sure if I should go into complete taper mode after such a long run, but that 16 took it right out of me. Parts of my body are achy and need some TLC. I should probably jump back into a yoga class for a good stretch sesh!

 

Do you take it down a notch after a LONG run? Or do you keep the intensity throughout your training?

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel the need to take a few extra rest days considering the journey I put my body through on saturday.

Perfect start

 

It feels so good to run and tell!

Thankfully my good friend Brooke talked me into meeting her at 6:00 am for a run this morning. Otherwise I surely would be dragging my feet all day worrying about doing it tonight in the hot humidity.

What is even more awesome is that we were talking about our run last night, while sipping on a cold beer after the most EPIC river float adventure ever. It’s funny how everything always sounds like a good idea while indulging in a nice cold adult beverage.

So to be true to my word, I got up at 5:15 am to get it over with.

Running is not always fun and games over here at Destination 26.2, sometimes it’s just plain hard work.

But after two minutes of running with my bubbly Brookie I knew the time would fly by!

Fun Fact: She is also one of my teammates for the Dirty Dash race!

Anyways, we ran, we reminisced, we laughed. It was the most perfect start to my morning.

We clocked in 5 miles and still mustered up some energy to hug a tree and practice our bodybuilding poses. Because we are awesome and hardcore!

Yup, that what happens when delirium really kicks in. :)

But now my day can go more smoothly knowing my run is done and done!

And I am currently eating the most amazing breakfast ever. This recipe is courtesy of my marathon training buddy Maria. I’m calling it Oj-Oats.

OMIGAWD you have to try them!

Oj-Oats

Goes a little something like this…

  • 1/2 cup of oats
  • 1/2 cup of H20
  • 1/2 cup of oj
  • sprinkling of salt

Throw in the microwave for 3 minutes

Oh yeah, then top with a little brown sugar and TONS of blueberries.

Mmmm… the hint of orange juice is perfection.

I think I am hooked!

What a way to start the day, run and breakfast of champions. Hollar!!! :)

Happy Monday everyone!

On The Road

Happy Monday! I am excited to say that I am blogging to you while I’m out-of-town on a work trip.

Yup, me and pink pearl (my laptop) are loving the fact that we can blog from anywhere now. I feel like a real blogger now! :)

So I travel a few times a year for my job and always struggle with my food intake while on trips. I usually treat it like a mini-vacation. Well not this time around. I started the weekend with the mindset that I was going to do more than just try this time. I’m going to be healthy while out-of-town at this work conference.

Now to make my mornings a little more like at home I knew there were a few things that HAD to be packed no matter what.

Let’s play a little game… what do you spy with your little eye?


If you guessed Almond Milk you were correct. If you guessed a mini portable blender you are correct too!

Who packs milk and a blender seriously? Well I even considered packing spinach if I knew there was a good way to keep it cool until I reached my hotel, but decided that just seemed silly. Silly to carry around spinach in my suitcase. Because carrying around milk and blender is very much not silly.

Once we arrived at our hotel I made a quick pit stop at the grocery store. I grabbed a few essentials for the next few mornings and added them to hotel mini fridge.

The key to being healthy while traveling is making sure you have plenty of healthy snacks on hand. I stuffed apples in my carry-on for the plane ride, so I wouldn’t be tempted to buy something bad for me at the airport.

I am actually really excited about this healthy travel challenge. :)

Another important component for me while traveling is to keep on schedule with my daily work-out routine. If you are traveling, you can always call ahead and see what kind of fitness center your hotel offers. I knew the hotel fitness center would be my best option due the crazy amounts of rain and the fact that this hotel is located off of a freeway exit. It does not give me a lot of options for running in the surrounding areas.

So this morning at 5:45 am I jumped out of bed and went straight for the work out room. My Team In Training marathon plan called for a 30 minute run and I was ready to bust it out!

I found one lonely treadmill in the workout room. I hopped on and started amping up the speed. Apparently this thing is ancient and literally maxed out its speed at 4.5. :(  Seriously? I was a little upset that the thing would not go any faster. I did however, huff it out for 30 minutes.

I remembered that I am sort of taking it easy this week on the runs anyways, as I am running in my first relay race on Saturday! So I decided to enjoy the leisurely pace on the mill and give my legs a little break as they will be thankful after Sat. I am running roughly two five-mile legs of the race on Saturday with my team PBR (Proffessional Beer Run).

After my run I went straight up to the room to indulge in my traveling green monster.

Check out my “kitchen”.

I hope nobody is extremely grossed out by the fact that I made my green monster in the bathroom, but what’s a girl to do?

My green monster contained:

  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • 1 banana
  • a pinch of protein powder (it’s in the baggie and I didn’t have a spoon so I guessed)
  • half an almond butter packet
  • spinach

I forgot to mention the best part about Hamilton the portable blender, is that the blender turns into a to-go cup. I took my smoothie to my morning meeting and I was all set with my breakfast.

Now I’m off to help coordinate a golf tournament! I love my job! :)

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Before I go, I just wanted to say thanks again to EVERYONE who has donated to my Team In Training marathon. Every little bit helps me reach my goal of raising $3200 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the big goal of being able to run in the Nike Marathon in October.

I used the random number generator to pick a winner for the Coffee For A Cause Challenge and the big winner was BIZ from The Biggest Diabetic Loser! Please email me your address and I will send you your new PINK Iced coffee/smoothie cup!

I will be back tomorrow to report on my healthy happenings at a work conference. What are some ways you keep healthy while on the road?

Gettin’ my marathon on! ;)

 

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

When I think of Cinco de Mayo, I automatically think of chips and salsa! Don’t you?  I wanted to somehow come up with a tasty breakfast recipe that would help celebrate the holiday and include my craving of chips & salsa.

So, I came up with the most amazingly delicious breakfast I like to call Breakfast Nachos!

Preparation: Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees, and cut one tortilla into small triangles (like tortilla chips), put on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes (until it gets crusty)

While the tort bakes, scramble up an egg or two.

Once the tortilla chips are baked, top with scrambled eggs, a few spoonfuls of black beans, and a sprinkle of cheddar cheese. Throw back into the microwave for 1 minute, to get the cheese all melty and nacho-y. Top with a few spoonfuls of salsa and plain greek yogurt and you have yourself one festive, delicious, Cinco de Mayo inspired breakfast!

 

In Running News:

Last night I had my first official informational meeting with Team In Training!

As I have mentioned a time or two, my best friend and one-time marathon veteran Maria is going to run the  Nike Women’s Marathon  in San Francisco with me in October.

I am so excited to be able to share this moment with her! And SO glad to have a partner in crime when it comes to those days where long runs (10+ miles) are on the training schedule.

Yep, so we signed our names on the dotted line and I even paid my registration fee, which means I already have fundraised $50.00 only like $3250 to go.  :)

So it’s official, this girl starts marathon training on May 22nd. That marks the first day of Team In Training. I.CAN’T.WAIT.

Seriously, I know it’s only a few weeks away but I feel like it’s my Christmas! I think it’s because I have been talking about this since last September, and it’s finally here.

The Linz is on adventure to raise money for The Leukemia  & Lymphoma Society and to run my first ever marathon. YAYAYAYA!!!

TGIF!

 

TGIF!!! :)  – I love friday’s,  don’t you?!

Well I was really excited to start my morning off with something special. I have been waiting for the perfect day to try this out, and when I noticed I was out of spinach (which means no morning smoothie) I opted for the old empty peanut butter jar.

Yup, I’m no longer an Oats in the Jar virgin anymore!

 

Today’s Breakfast of champions:

Banana Oats in a Peanutbutter jar – oh yeah!

My Oats in a Jar Contained:

  • 1 sliced up banana
  • 1/2 cup cooked oats
  • sprinkling of crushed almonds

YUMMMMMO! :)

 

In Running News:

So as I mentioned in this post earlier this week, I am training for the Sawtooth Relay Race in June. But to look farther ahead at the bigger picture I am actually training for a half-marathon that I will run in July. :)

My goal last night was to make a training schedule that would basically train me for both. I spent several hours looking at Hal Higdon’s half-marathon schedule trying to adapt it into something that would work for my relay and in the long run train me for my very first half marathon.

All you half-marathon veterans – can you PLEASE take a look at my training schedule and give me feed back? I found it extremely hard to fit in everything that is going on in my life and of course I am not willing to give up my kickboxing class. Let me know what you think, all suggestions are welcome as I have never ran a half before and keep in mind I am also training for the Relay.

You can view my google doc HALF MARATHON PLAN HERE.

Manicures make me HAPPY! :)

As you can see I decided to give myself a little home manicure last night. Ahh.. the nails are looking so nice these days!

Awhile back I was talking about taking vitamins to help balance my emotions a bit more, and I mentioned I was going to take Evening Primrose Oil.

Well it has been about 5 weeks since I began taking this and what I have noticed is a dramatic increase in my nail growth. My fingernails are growing fast and strong! It’s pretty amazing actually. Over the past few years I noticed that they would break easily and were bendable (not strong at all). In 5 weeks of taking this I have seen a huge difference!

I have also noticed a huge decrease in my emotional outbursts since taking this, a multivitamin, and a B-Vitamin – all while switching to a different kind of birth control. I was on some crazy emotional rollercoaster (I would seriously burst out into tears for no reason) and have been in better spirits in the last month. One of the many things mentioned above, or the whole combo has me raving with joy! :)

 

Weekend shenanigans:

J. Alabama & I are celebrating our 1 year of dating this weekend! :)

I have planned some fun things for us in the evening Saturday Night and he is in charge of planning the activities during the day. I will report on monday (our actual anniversary) on the actual happenings. In case he is reading I don’t want to spill the beans!

Have a great weekend everyone! And don’t forget to take a look at my training plan and give me some pointers! Thanks!