I’m Back From Blogfest, Nordstrom Sale + New Quest Bar Flavor

I am back from Blogfest! Idea World & Blogfest weekend is easily the highlight of the year for me. I will be recapping Blogfest very, very soon. After a long day at work, I have a few updates for you! 

I am headed to Nordstrom to check out the preview of the #NSale! The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is something I love to shop every year. This year, I am going to check out the Nike’s on sale and all the active wear. It is a great time of year to stock up on some sweaty essentials. Watch for post very soon with all about my fitness picks from the sale!

Lastly, the new Quest Bar flavor launched today – Oatmeal Chocolate Chip. It tastes just like the cookie y’all! Definitely a fun addition to the Quest flavor family. Rush out and grab a bar or a box and give one a try. You won’t be disappointed!  


Here are a few pics from Blogfest. Be sure to check back in tomorrow for more updates about last week and weekend. I can’t wait to share it with y’all! 

What’s New in Life, My Workouts + Upcoming Plans [Giveaway]

Hi everyone!!! How is your summer? So far mine has been a whirlwind! So many fun things have been happening! I’m teaching a new class, my workouts have changed a little bit and I have some fun opportunities coming up that I want to share with all of you! There is also a giveaway for some plant-based protein powder, so be sure to enter at bottom of post!

Life: 

— I have mentioned this before, but I have started training people in the gym in addition to the online training I offer. I wanted to see people again in person, because I missed the interaction & I like hanging out at the gym. Doing it again has also made me remember all the reasons I don’t like it – no shows, difficult scheduling & inconsistency. 

— I am teaching SUP classes! The first one was today on Lake Washington and we had an absolute blast! Such a fun workout and a great way to enjoy some time outside. There is a beginner class as well as a SUP FIT class. They are available for 5 more weeks this summer. Click here for info on how to sign up! S U P F I T

— I have online training spots available for August! I am accepting new clients into online training programs starting in August. If you are interested, set up a free consult with me and we can talk more. It is $50 a month and you get a new workout every week! 

— I’m getting a puppy!!!! (OMG!) My dream of having a dog is coming true! My little Great Dane will be coming home in 2 weeks and I am so excited I could pee my pants. Don’t worry, he will get his own blog post. Here is a little preview pic. 

Training:

My workouts have changed a little bit since I ran the marathon. Now I am ‘”running for fun”. For me that is 3-5 miles, twice a week with a longer run on the weekend usually.  I’m also getting back to lifting weights consistently & working on building muscle + strength. I am loving that because I really missed that during the end of my marathon training. It’s not that I couldn’t weight train and run, I just didn’t have the time for it. I’m happy to be building some muscle again! 

I have been lifting 3-4 times a week, doing a few runs and I feel great. With training at the gym again, I have been eating a lot on the go. Good nutrition is important, especially for maintaining weight and/or gaining muscle. Protein bars and smoothies are my GO TO because they are so portable. My favs are Quest bars and the Amazing Grass Superfood plant-based protein. This is not a substitute for my green smoothies, but on days I can’t get one or don’t have one, all the added superfoods are AWESOME! 

Upcoming: 

BLOGFEST! I am heading down to LA later this week and I cannot wait to see all my SweatPink sisters + blog friends. This is literally the event of the year for me. I get to see so many people that I talk to online all year, and we hang out, workout & blog. All my favorite things! 


Giveaway!

Amazing Grass was kind enough to giveaway a canister of their plant-based Superfood Protein powder to one of my readers! The stuff is delicious, trust me you want to win! I have the chocolate peanut butter and it’s soooo yummy!

How to enter:
1. follow me on Instagram (@sweetblondesfitlife)
2. once you have followed, comment on this post to let me know you followed
3. I will pick one lucky winner from the comments on Tuesday, 7/12 at 7pm. 

How to Make Delicious Summer Spritzers – Stay Hydrated!

Summer is finally heating up and there is nothing like a cold drink on a hot day!  Here in Seattle, the weather is still trying to make up it’s mind, but even with a cloud cover, the sun and warmer temps are here! It’s time to fire up the BBQ and enjoy summer! If you are like me, you don’t like to drink your calories. Since I avoid artificial sweeteners & diet sodas, the options can seem limited. That is where these delicious summer spritzers come in. They are tasty without any added sugar or calories! Best part: they are super easy to make & perfect to enjoy solo or take to a party.IMG_4469

One of my favorite parts of summer is all the fresh fruit which is featured in these spritzers. While these are perfect for summer, you can enjoy these any time of year. I’m sharing 4 different recipes, but the sky is the limit with the different combinations you could mix up. IMG_4468

Not only do they make drinking water tastier and easier, they also look beautiful! These spritzers are huge hits at family get togethers and BBQ with friends. They always gets lots of compliments. 🙂 Like I mentioned before, I also love that I can enjoy a  delicious and lightly flavored  drink without any added sugar or calories!IMG_4466Aren’t these glasses adorable?! Get them here. Only $10 for the set!

Summer Spritzers 

The base recipe for these is very simple:
Fill a large pitcher with water OR sparkling water. Then add fruit combination of your choice (listed below). Let is sit for a least one hour so the flavors infuse into the water. It is best to drink this within 24 hours as the fruit can start to get mushy. 
The amounts listed below are for a full pitcher. They can be adjusted according to your taste preference. While you can make these in individual servings, I prefer to make a lot at once. Trust me, you will drink it quicker than you think! 

Blackberry + Cucumber

15 blackberries, 1/2 cucumber, peeled and sliced. IMG_4472

Watermelon + Mint

1 cup watermelon, 10 mint leaves. IMG_4473

Pink Lemonade

2 pink lemons. 1 sliced, the other squeezed into water for extra flavor boost. If you cannot find a pink lemon, use regular or meyer lemons. IMG_4470

Strawberry Citrus 

1 lime, sliced. 12 strawberries, tops removed, sliced in half. 1 orange, peeled and sliced. IMG_4474

For a beautiful presentation, place a few pieces of fruit into each glass. You can also add a garnish on the side if you wish & serve in a  cute glass.IMG_4480

How to Pick the Best Running Shoe for You!

Since I started running more miles, something I get asked about all the time is running shoes. What do you run in? Which shoes do you suggest? How do I pick the right running shoe? Shoes can make or break your run. I learned this early on in my running career. Today, I’m going to explain how to pick the best running shoe for you! Fortunately it’s pretty easy, and by the end of this post you will be well on your way to getting that perfect shoe!

Do Running Shoes Matter?

The shoes you run in matter a lot more than you may think. There are differing & strong opinions on shoes. Some runners swear by one brand or model, and some runners by another. Here is what I can tell you: no person is alike. You have to find the best running shoe that works best for you, your body, your goals & your run style. Just because Suzy Runner loves the ‘model T’ doesn’t mean it will be right for you, and vice versa. Shoes are not something to take lightly whether you run recreationally or are training for a race. Because shoes are so specific to each person, it is important to get fit for your shoes, which leads me to my next point. best running shoe

How to Pick the Best Running Shoe

When I first started running, I just bought some running shoes that I thought were cute. They were comfortable for shorter distances, but longer distances they got uncomfortable. As I mentioned earlier, there are 4 major things that go into picking a shoe: your preferences, your body, your goals (i.e.: distance per week) & your run style. All of that needs to be taken into account when you pick a shoe, so the best thing to do is get fit for a running shoe. 

What’s a ‘Run Signature’?

When it comes to getting fit for a running shoe, getting your gait tested is often something you hear about. There are all different ways gait can be assessed; most common are visually observing your steps or a treadmill with cameras. Run Signature from Brooks takes this to the next level. 

Many times gait analysis involves just looking at your feet & your step. Run Signature, however, looks at how your entire stride functions from your knees all the way down to your ankles and feet. This is why I’m a huge  fan of Run Signature; it gets the entire picture, not just a snippet. 

Every body moves differently, which is why Brooks calls it your ‘Run Signature’. It’s specific to you and your body. It takes a lot of guess work out of finding the right shoe. For more scientific info on how it works, check this out

My ‘Run Signature’

A few weeks ago, Brooks Running invited me down to their beautiful headquarters here in Seattle to test out Run Signature. Not only was it a lot of fun to see where all the Brooks magic happens, I also learned some game changing info about what kind of shoes I need. 

The process is very easy and painless. You put two velcro bands on your leg, around your thigh above your knee and another on your calf. Then they place a sticky triangle on the back of your heel and you are ready to go. IMG_5068

Then you get on the treadmill and do a series of standing squats followed by a short run. IMG_5072

That’s it! Then you get some mind blowing results!!

My Results: I pronate slightly and need a ‘support’ shoe. (I’m giving you the short version, the results are much more in-depth than that)IMG_5077

Why are these so mind blowing?  First, when you visually observe me walk, you don’t see a pronation. It happens when I run and was not something I even knew I was doing. Second, I currently run in Brooks and was running in a neutral shoe. This would explain some of the issues I was having with my knee during marathon training. 

Another thing: your stride can change over time. So, when it is time to get a new pair of running shoes, also get your gait tested. The results can change and you may get surprised like I did! IMG_5074

Based on my Run Signature results, I’ve decided my next running shoe is going to be the Adrenaline GTS (cushion shoe). I would also love to try the Ravenna (energize) or the PureCadence (connect). I have plenty more miles to cover this year, so I probably have more than one pair of shoes on my horizon. IMG_5083

Find Your ‘Run Signature’

Want to find out what YOUR Run Signature is? Here are a few different ways you can do that.

  1. Local to the Seattle area? Visit the Brooks Trailhead store in Seattle and you can experience the Run Signature technology in person!
  2. Running a Rock N Roll race? The Run Signature technology & testing will be available at the “Brooks Run Happy Island” at all the Rock N Roll expos. 
  3. Neither of those possible for you?  Try this in-depth Shoe Finder quiz on the Brooks website! 

Once you find out what your Run Signature and whether you need a ‘support’ or ‘neutral’ shoe, Brooks takes it one step further by letting you choose what experience you want. 

  • Cushion: Soft and protective to cushion your every step.
  • Energize: Responsive and springy to add extra lift to your stride.
  • Connect: Lightweight and flexible to naturally feel your run
  • Speed: Fast and streamlined to propel you through your run.shoe types_brooks

No matter what kind of run you’re looking for, Brooks has got you covered! 


A huge thank you to Brooks Running for having me out to their headquarters and allowing me this amazing experience! 

How to Make a Healthy Version of Starbucks Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew

It’s no secret that I love coffee. It is very rare that a morning goes by without me enjoying a cup or two. I also live in the coffee capital, the birthplace of Starbucks. They are on almost every corner & as you probably know, they are constantly launching new seasonal drinks. The lastest one that caught my eye was the vanilla sweet cream cold brew coffee.

my Starbucks version of the Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew
my Starbucks version of the Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew

I usually order very ‘boring’ drinks. I get a black americano, iced coffee or cold brew. Last week I was in Starbucks between personal training clients at the gym and wanted something more than black coffee.  I decided to give the vanilla sweet cream cold brew a try. I asked for very light vanilla sweet cream. I just wanted a splash. Even with the light sweet cream, it was too sweet for me. As I sat there sipping on coffee, I realized that this drink could easily be ‘re-made’ in a healthier version to save on calories & sugar!

My healthy version!
My healthy version!

This healthy makeover also saves you some money & makes it a diary-free drink. I actually liked this healthy version much better than the Starbucks drink. Best part – it’s really easy!!How to make a healthy version of

Healthy Version Starbucks Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew

Ingredients

  • cold brew coffee concentrate
    • my favorites: Chameleon Cold Brew (available at Costco or Target) OR Trader Joe’s Cold Brew (my favorite is the new French Roast – blue label)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
    • my favorite:  Silk unsweetened Cashew Milk
  • vanilla flavored liquid stevia – try this one 
    • OR substitute 1 packet stevia + 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup ice (add more or less according to your preference)

Directions

  • Mix up cold brew according to directions. Usually they have to be slightly diluted with a little water.
  • Add in 1/4 cup of unsweetened cashew milk & a few drops of vanilla stevia OR 1 tsp vanilla extract & stevia to taste
  • Add ice 
  • ENJOY!!!

This makes a 16oz beverage. Increase amounts to 1/2 cup cashew milk,  1.5 tsp of vanilla extract and 3/4 cup of ice for a 20-24oz beverage. You can also play with amounts according to your taste preferences. IMG_5240

In the graphic below, compare the nutrition facts for my healthy version to Starbucks. No sugar in my version and only 12 calories! 

Starbucks Version

With this recipe you can enjoy a delicious coffee that doesn’t pack a ton of calories. Perfect for summer or to change up your daily coffee routine! 

Amphipod Hydraform: The First Handheld Bottle I Like!

Disclaimer: I received a Amphipod Handheld to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

If you have been reading my blog for sometime, you know that somehow I managed to survive half marathon training last summer without a good hydration strategy. I tried a hydration belt & didn’t like the bounce. I desperately wanted to use a handheld water bottle, but I didn’t like the feel for long distances. This winter, I found hydration packs, which I love; however sometimes you don’t need a pack, but you still want to bring water on your runs. Enter Amphipod Hydraform – the first handheld that I love! IMG_4868

Amphipod Hydraform

The Amphipod hydraform is the first handheld water bottle that I like to use. The other handheld water bottles that I tried were awkward and uncomfortable to carry and didn’t have any storage. The Amphipod bottles are ergonomically shaped, which makes it very comfortable to carry for short to long distances. The design allows it to fit better in your hand and the thumb/hand strap is very comfortable. You won’t get a hand cramp carrying this bottle! IMG_4903
 
The water bottle cover has a huge pocket that holds my iPhone 6 with enough room for keys, a snack & some tissue. I tried putting a iPhone 6 Plus in the pocket and it fit too! I love all the storage the bottle has. You can take this on your run and not have to bring anything else with you. I love that I can take this water bottle with me & leave my running belt at home. I stay hydrated & can carry all my running essentials. 

How I use it

I have taken this water bottle with me on short 3 mile runs, middle distance 5 to 7 mile runs, and I even ran a half marathon with it!

crossing finish at half marathon!
crossing finish at half marathon!
 
It was so pleasant to use during the half. I carried fuel, my phone, keys & Ultima (electrolyte powder) along with my ID and some cash. So convenient and easy! I was glad I had the handheld with me that race as there were not as many aid stations as I would have liked. IMG_4984

Why I’m in love! 

  •  Extremely comfortable to hold & run with
  • Insulated sleeve, keeps water colder longer
  • Huge, expandable pocket to hold phone and other running necessities 
  • Squeeze & squirt cap makes for easy drinking while running! No need to open or close the bottle to get a drink. 
  • Very easy to carry despite size & storage. Holds 20oz of H20!
  • BPA free bottle (no chemicals leaching into water)
  • Dishwasher safe for easy cleaning
  • Wide opening on bottle for easy filling + adding ice
  • Lots of storage!
  • BONUS: they are made in Seattle!!!

Hands down, this is the best handheld water bottle I have ever used. There is enough room for storage & plenty of water. IMG_5086

Where to Buy

Amphipod makes several different sizes of handheld water bottles. The one that I have is the Hydraform Ergo-Lite Ultra. It holds 20oz of water and has the extra large pocket. They also make a 16oz bottle – the pocket is still supposed to be able to hold a iPhone 6. 

IMG_4940
super easy and comfy grip!

They have plenty of other water bottle options available on their website as well. Check them out HERE or use the store locator to find them at a running store near you!

Friday Feels: Nerves + Playlist for My First Marathon

My first marathon is tomorrow. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t freaking out a little bit.  Today I am sharing with you my playlist I use while running! Music can make or break a run. Before, I could not fathom running without music. Now I can run without it, but I rarely do as it definitely adds some extra mojo and fun to the runs.marathon playlist

As you will see from this playlist, I love to run to mostly upbeat music. There is a mix of top 40 hits as well as a few old school jams in the mix. Music makes any workout, including a run, more fun! You can run to the beat, zone out and enjoy the song, or head bang and lip sync while you run. (yes I have done that!!) 

We all have experienced how music can instantly improve our mood or take a workout to the next level. In my playlist, I like to have a good mix of ‘fast songs’ that inspire me to run faster as well as some good tunes to make the run fun. 12c3e22b57bf46e7139d1c9ade584c2b

This playlist is what I will be listening to during the marathon tomorrow. You may notice this is not a 4 hour playlist haha. I plan to just cycling thru these songs. On long training runs or in half marathons, I normally listen to a Pandora station. However, tomorrow I feel that there are so many unknowns that I want to be able to count on my music. 

I'm coming for your Seattle!
I’m coming for your Seattle!

Marathon Playlist

Click the song to view on iTunes. Or use the search below to find your favorites! 

Or search iTunes for your fav song(s)!

 

What songs would you add to this list? 

This afternoon I’m heading to Seattle to the Rock N Roll Expo to get my bib, have some expo fun & see all my running friends at the We Run Social Meet Up. I cannot wait!  FullSizeRender

I feel both nervous and excited for tomorrow. I am really familiar with 13.1 miles, I kinda know what to expect for 20 miles, but the last 6.2 miles is unknown territory. I know I will finish, I just am not 100% sure how I am going to get there. b6a61c52def53b113b7830901a446254

Follow along for all the marathon & race day fun on Instagram (@sweetblondesfitlife) and Snapchat (@sweetblondefit)!!