Charge On

Life has been crazy lately. Between a half-marathon, changing jobs, traveling, co-hosting radio shows and more, it’s been busy. For that reason, this blog is far overdue but actually fitting because the last month has really given me a chance to try (and I mean really try) the product I’m about to share with you.

Let me introduce you to the Charge On protein bar. The awesome folks at Complete Nutrition had heard I was on the hunt for a good protein bar and reached out with the Charge On bar. Here’s a little more from them directly:

The Charge On™ Protein Bar is designed for people who want real nutrition from real food! This naturally sweetened healthy protein snack includes ingredients such as almond butter, coconut oil, cherries, and cashews. With 20g of protein, only 5g of sugar, and real, delicious whole food ingredients, this protein bar is stacked.

First and foremost, I’ve tried both the Dark Chocolate Cherry and the Salted Caramel Cashew and they are good. I mean it. Some protein bars are tolerable and you convince yourself that you don’t mind them (but in reality, you hate them). That’s not the Charge On bars at all. They don’t taste like protein bars, which means I’ve been using them quite a bit on the go.

Co-hosting a radio show? Charge on. Running errands over lunch? Charge on. Need a boost before a run? Charge on.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. Why? Because I’m giving YOU the opportunity to win a box of the Dark Chocolate Cherry Charge On bars (8 bars, $20 value). All you have to do is head over to my Instagram, find the photo of the Charge On bars, like the photo and tag a friend. I’ll randomly draw a winner on Friday, June 9.

With that, I’m off. Charge on, y’all.

Erin

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Disclosure: I received these products complimentary from Complete Nutrition for testing purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Thirteen Point One

On May 1, 2016, I stood at the finish line of the Lincoln Marathon. I was a volunteer, trying desperately to move the crowds of finishers along as they got to the tunnel within Memorial Stadium. I had volunteered a few hours the day before at packet pickup, but I wasn’t as prepared for marathon day as I had hoped. It was cold, my body ached and I had to leave about an hour early as my left side cried for some relief.

What a difference a year makes.

The 2017 Lincoln Half-Marathon was my fifth half-marathon. It should have been my sixth, maybe seventh, but things changed as we know now. It wasn’t always an easy journey to get where I am, but I got here.

That journey is a big reason I cried at the starting line and again when I finished. To think I had stood not far from where I was handed my medal, desperate to just keep standing only one year before, was something I couldn’t get over. All of the emotions that poured out of me, especially at the finish line, were in response to everything that had happened over the previous year and a half. It was joy, sadness, excitement and everything in between.

I’ll never forget Jim, who stopped me at the finish line, right as I grabbed my medal. We know each other thanks to Twitter, and he formally introduced himself. He was volunteering this year, anxious to get back in the race next year. I cried as he hugged me, and it was a genuine moment I’ll never forget.

That’s the thing about this community – my community. It has never failed. It never feels deserved, but I am thankful for it.

To Kyle for battling back from the same journey as I did and crossing that finish line even stronger. To my mom for her constant support and sign-making. To Jenny, Brett, Harper and Hadley for the smiles on Sheridan. To Nancy, Laura, Kyra and Camden for the hugs on 48th (although Camden technically just stared at me like I was crazy). To Libby for the extra cheers when she spotted me on the course. To the little girl who yelled “Girl Power!” as I gave her a high-five on South. To Erin and her boys for the high fives and cheers on the trail. To the pacer who encouraged me forward on 10th street. To Jim for the hugs and taking my photo as I stood at the finish line. To every person that tweeted and messaged me support and encouragement. There are no words to truly thank you.

It wasn’t my fastest race – I ended around 2:45 – but I finished. And considering one year ago I stood in the same spot unable to even finish my volunteer shift, finishing is all that matters.

On to the next.

Erin

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Hello, Hello Ruby!

Y’all. I am so excited. Tomorrow is the official GRAND OPENING of Hello Ruby! For those unfamiliar with Hello Ruby (and its lovely owner Jill), here’s a little about Omaha’s new mobile boutique (from Hello Ruby directly):

hello ruby offers a unique and innovative approach to shopping, with the most stylish yet affordable women’s clothing & accessories…brought to you on wheels. Come onto the truck – we stop and you shop. hello ruby promises you a shopping experience you won’t forget!

The grand opening is tomorrow (Saturday, April 1) at Ted and Wally’s on 11th and Jackson in Omaha from 11am-4pm. You can get more details here.

(Can’t make it to the grand opening? Don’t worry! Find the truck right here.)

So, what can you expect from Jill and Hello Ruby? Having gotten an early look at the ribbon cutting, I can say you’re going to LOVE it. Jill has stocked Hello Ruby with so many unique and fun tops, dresses, rompers, pants, jewelry… You name it! She’s even partnered with other local entrepreneurs (like Ripley and Rue) to provide even more awesome products for you, your dog, your life, etc. etc.

And just to highlight a small sample of what she’ll have to offer, here’s one of my most FAVORITE bomber jackets this spring:

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I made sure to stand in front of a baseball diamond in need of some love to show how sporty and trendy I am. Did it work? Anyway, this bomber is only one of many amazing items on the truck and I need you to go buy lots of stuff so I don’t spend my entire paycheck at Hello Ruby myself (but who am I kidding…. I still will).

Anyway, I wanted to introduce you to Jill and her awesome new adventure. So if you’re in Omaha tomorrow (or any day), get out and support Hello Ruby (and all local businesses)! You won’t regret it, I promise.

Erin

P.S. Congratulations, Jill!

Motivation Monday: Week 6

Oh, hey! We’ve officially hit the halfway mark on the half-marathon training. This week was a light week to rest up before some high mileage and I’ll be honest… I really took advantage of that. In fact, I missed a day of running and sort of shrugged it off. Whoops?

Anyway, here’s how the week shaped up:

  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: 3.31 miles
  • Wednesday: Rest
  • Thursday: 3.12 miles
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: Rest
  • Sunday: 3.15 miles

Look at all that rest! Eh, whatever though. I had one of my best runs on Sunday (which was a 5K race) and kept a 10’38” pace. Can’t complain about that.

I am to the point in training though where I’m starting to worry about my shins (I get bad shin splints) and my knees are sore, but I’m trucking on. If you have any tips/suggestions for either, I’ll take ’em.

Cheers to another week,

Erin

Hello Fresh: A Review

You know what’s better than food? Free food. And thanks to my friend Jamie, I was able to try Hello Fresh free for a week. It was delightful.

I’ve never subscribed to a food delivery service so I was intrigued. I’d helped cook a Blue Apron meal once before, but I’ve never actually tried one of the services for myself. I figured I’d give it a go, learn a few new recipes and see what all the fuss was about.

The box arrived on Wednesday, March 15. I immediately liked how everything was separated, so I knew exactly what items went with what meal. It also made storing everything super simple in my fridge. The one note I’d make for the future is to take a quick inventory of everything. I didn’t think to go through each box and I ultimately ended up missing out on an item (more on that later).

So, what did I think about the meals? Without further adieu:

Meatballs on Top of Cavatappi with Broccoli and Pesto Cream Sauce

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This had the most calories per serving of the three meals I received (950kcal) but it tasted really fresh. It had pesto, cheese and fresh-squeezed lemon, so the flavors were really nice. I didn’t do an amazing job with the meatballs so they turned out a little less round and more random looking, but still very good. Overall, I’d eat this again.

Grade: B+

Dukkah-Crusted Cod with Cranberry Couscous and Roasted Veggies

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This had to be the favorite of the three meals. Despite missing the cranberries (which honestly wasn’t a huge deal), this dish came together really well. The fish was flaky, the vegetables roasted perfectly and the couscous cooked really well. It was also the simplest to make, oddly enough. I’d recreate this again, no question.

Grade: A

Chicken Under a Zucchini Blanket with Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans

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So, my mashed potatoes were more chunky than I think intended and I blame myself for that. I should have cooked them longer (but I’m always impatient with boiling potatoes). I also probably piled too much zucchini on the chicken, but that’s not a bad thing I suppose. Overall, this one was good. It wasn’t my favorite, but it would be easy to make again and I liked the idea of a vegetable bake on top of chicken vs. bread crumbs.

Grade: B-

Overall, I thought Hello Fresh was great. I loved the way their product is packaged and their customer service is great. When I let them know I was missing an ingredient, they responded within minutes and credited me for a future order. Their response time was seriously impressive.

I don’t think I’d order something like Hello Fresh every single week, but if there’s a week I’m feeling uninspired with my own cooking? I’d definitely let Hello Fresh do the work.

Now I’m hungry.

Erin

Continue reading “Hello Fresh: A Review”

Monday Motivation: Week 5 Recap

 

Five weeks down and seven to go… Not feeling a big ol’ intro this week, so let’s just get to the recap. Cool? Cool.

  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: Rest
  • Wednesday: 3.28 miles
  • Thursday: 2.12 miles
  • Friday: 3.59 miles
  • Saturday: Rest
  • Sunday: 6 miles

A couple of quick thoughts:

  • I rested too much this week.
  • Six miles made my knees hurt, so I can’t wait to do 13.1!
  • No Jacks again this week, but I suspect he’ll make his big return in Week 6.

The good news? Week 6 is a lighter week. It’s the halfway marker for training and the “long run” is a 5K race, which is a welcomed break.

Cheers to the week, you guys.

Erin

P.S. It was warm enough this last week to wear shorts to run outside! It was exciting. Here’s photo evidence:

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Back When We Were Kids

I am powered by music.

I live for ‘New Music Fridays.’ I’m constantly looking for new artists and revisiting the ones I love. Music has always been a part of my life to the point that very specific songs mark certain chapters in my life. The second I hear them, I go back.

I know that’s not unique. Plenty of people tie memories to music. It’s a powerful thing, that music. But throughout my life, I’ve bookmarked moments in my life with songs and albums. There are even songs I can’t listen to anymore because they take my back to moments I don’t care to relive. Some of those are really great songs too.

Andrew McMahon returned to Omaha last night, this time with his band ‘Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness.’ He played one Something Corporate song – ‘I Woke Up in a Car’ – and it took my back. I remember being a freshman in high school listening to that song on my discman (and eventually my very first iPod).

Anyway, as I was listening, I remembered that I have this playlist on Spotify where I store all of these songs that have some meaning to me. It’s simply titled, ‘Songs I Love.’ It’s private, but I revisit it from time-to-time when I need a good ol’ trip down memory lane. I don’t plan on making that playlist public any time soon, but I thought I’d share a few of the songs here and the memories that correlate with them.

Shall we?

  • The Adventure – Angels & Airwaves: I listened to this song a lot my freshman and sophomore years of college. If you saw me walking to my class, I guarantee I had headphones in and I can promise you this song was playing.
  • Me and the Moon – Something Corporate: I used this song as my AIM away message (yeah… YEAH) as a freshman in college every time I went to bed. “It’s me and the moon she said.” Every. Single. Night.
  • Mexico – Jump Little Children: I became familiar with this band after a friend of mine tipped me off to them. She was a year older, on the dance team at KU and basically my idol. This song ultimately became the song of every college visit I made, because it’s all I played on my way.
  • Brat Pack – The Rocket Summer: This. Freaking. Song. I remember specifically listening to it in my friend’s Jeep on I-80 on the way to something for show choir. We belted it out at the top of our lungs. She now lives in California and I may not have seen her in quite some time but when I hear this song, I think of her and how fun that moment in time was.
  • The Remedy (I Won’t Worry) – Jason Mraz: I can’t hear this song and not think of the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of high school. I was in driver’s ed at Westside and this song was always on the radio when we were in the car.
  • Bitter Sweet Symphony – The Verve: Another driver’s ed song. I got hooked on this one somehow (maybe Cruel Intentions?) and then listened to it non-stop for months (and now years).
  • Everywhere – Michelle Branch: The cool thing to do in 8th grade was go to the high school football games and hang out. Despite the fact that the high schoolers did not want us there, we showed up in our army pants and flip flops. When I got ready? This song had heavy rotation on the boombox on the floor of my bathroom.
  • Forever – Chris Brown: I am not a fan of Chris Brown now, but he was a big deal when ‘Forever’ came out. This song will forever remind me of my junior year of college and driving to the Fremont Walmart for macaroni and cheese. Don’t ask.
  • Brighter Than Sunshine – Aqualung: My MySpace song. Let that sink in.

There’s more in that playlist, but that’s probably enough memories for today. Well, one more actually:

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That’s me and Andrew McMahon just over 10 years ago, February 2007. Hard to believe I’ve now been a fan of his for over 15 years, but much of his music has defined very important moments in my life.

The power of music.

Erin

(And a la Allison Pane, I titled this blog after a song: Kids – OneRepublic. Something tells me this is going to be one of those songs that ends up in my playlist. I just have a hunch.)