29 September 2014

it started with hello

This post is sponsored by Lindt HELLO

At this point, BC and I have been dating for 5 1/2 months and whenever anyone asks how we met, there is usually a small pause before either of us answers because there's actually two parts to that story.

See, BC and I went to high-school together. Not only did we go to high-school, we actually also briefly worked together at the public library in our hometown and eventually both went on to become librarians (cue collective awwww). Of course, while we went to high-school together and worked together and had mutual friends, we ourselves weren't really friends back then. I mean, I knew who he was but mostly 'cause his friend A was dating my friend A, and we were in marching band together (although different instruments) and, of course, every once in awhile we worked the same shift at the library after school.

So it really wasn't until maybe two years ago through the magic of social media that we reconnected but even then it still took time for us to get to the lovely place where we are now as a #librarianpowercouple. You know, the kind that spends a Saturday night hanging out reading.

(Well, okay, I was reading, he was half-reading/half-watching the OSU game. Suffice it to say, I finished my book first. NOT THAT IT'S A COMPETITION OR ANYTHING LOLOL)

I tell you this not only because it's a charming story but because it shows the importance of the connections that can be brought on by a simple "hello," whether it's saying hi to a kid you pass by in the hallway at school every day or saying howdy to a Facebook friend request from someone you haven't seen or spoken to in, like, ten years.

Lindt HELLO, the hip, trendy brand in premium chocolate, is a new collection from Lindt of sinfully delicious premium chocolate. Aiming to create connections and conversations wherever it goes, Lindt HELLO is inspired by classic American treats like Strawberry Cheesecake, Cookies & Cream, Caramel Brownie, and a white chocolate pineapple coconut that tastes like a fancy pina colada. Not only does the new Lindt HELLO come in such amazing flavors, you can also enjoy them in three different forms: Bars, Sticks, and Mini Stick Bags. My favorite are the mini-sticks because they are just the right size for when you want just a little bit of chocolate without going crazy. But the regular sized sticks and bars are also perfect for sharing (I plan on taking mine to work to share with co-workers).

As part of the launch, Lindt Chocolate is partnering with Ashley Tisdale to co-produce It Started with HELLO -- a fun, new romantic comedy digital series capturing couples as they make their first connections -- premiering on September 12th on the It Started with HELLO YouTube page. Lindt is also hosting a Sweet Connections Sweepstakes, allowing you to win a sweet experience from Lindt.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

23 September 2014

nutri ninja review

One of the perks of going to FitBloggin back in June was getting to connect and network with some really awesome companies. One of these companies was Ninja Kitchen who make phenomenal kitchen products. I won one of their blenders at a work Christmas party a few years ago and love it so when I saw they were sampling the Nutri Ninja at FitBloggin, I appreciated an opportunity to speak with them and sample some of the smoothies they offered us during break times.

Not only that, a few weeks later they sent me my very own Nutri Ninja to use and review. So full disclosure on that part, but as always, being the opinionated gal that I am, this review is all my own thoughts on the product.

It's taken me this long to post this review because I wanted an opportunity to try the Nutri Ninja out in a variety of ways, just to see all that it can do. And, seriously, this thing can do a lot. When I made my honey roasted chipotle almond crusted tilapia a few weeks ago, I used the Nutri Ninja to grind the almonds. With a different flavor and a few more pulses, I was also able to make honey roasted vanilla almond butter. The other day I made a pumpkie smoothie and notice the ice in the picture above? Yeah, the Nutri Ninja can totally handle ice like it was, uh, y'know, water. Or something like that.

Over the weekend I decided to make the peanut butter hummus recipe that Budget Bytes posted and it was so ridiculous easy making it in the Nutri Ninja, like I can't even.

The product comes with two cups, an 18 oz and a 24 oz, and sip cup style lids which make them super easy to transport (which is good, because the pumpkin smoothie I made ended up making a lot so I was able to drink it in the car on the way to work). Everything, including the blade, is dishwasher safe so clean-up is easy and they even included a little recipe book with some recipes to try. There are no buttons to push or different speeds to choose from. You just put the cup in and push down on the top to spin the blades. When you're done, take the cup out and either scoop the hummus or peanut butter or whatever into a different container or if it's a smoothie of some sort, just switch the blades for a sip cup lid.

With most standard blenders, the lid is the removable part and it's always a serious pain to blend something and try and dig it out from around the blade without slicing your own fingers. Not so with the Nutri Ninja, because the blade is the removable part so then you can just use a spoon or spatula to scrape out the insides without hitting the blades.

That being said, there are ridges on the inside of the cup that make it a little tricky. Like, normally I would just stick a spatula in there and do a kind of circle motion to cleanly scrape the interior in one movement. With the Nutri Ninja the side of the spatula keeps getting hit and stopped by the ridges so it's not as fluid as I'd like but after using it several times over the past couple months that really is my only complaint.

Thanks again to Ninja Kitchen for giving me an opportunity to try the Nutri Ninja out!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

17 September 2014

Feel Mighty and Motivated with Mighty Petunia!

A couple of weeks ago I was given an opportunity to try out some Mighty Petunia workout tanks, courtesy of Mighty Petunia owner Cathy (and my friend Tricia who first put me in contact with Cathy!). Being someone who loves having a wide variety of workout clothes to choose from, I jumped at the opportunity.

Mighty Petunia offers a wide selection of both tanks tees, and sweatshirts, and each offers a great motivational message to keep you inspired while working out. I'm kind of picky about what I wear when doing any sort of fitness activity and prefer tanks and it honestly took me forever to decide which two I wanted because they were all so awesome. In the end, I went for the You Only Live Once and the Stop Wishing in coral.

I've worn both while working out and I love how uber comfortable they are. There is nothing worse than working out in something that's heavy and itchy but these are both made with super lightweight soft fabrics. I also have to say the You Only Live Once, Might As Well Be A Badass is by far my most favorite workout top ever. No matter what kind of mood I'm in when I wake up, as soon as I put that tank on I honestly do start to feel like a badass.

The items also go up to a 2XL which is amazing because there's nothing worse than being a plus size gal and not being able to find cute workout clothes. Cathy was a great help in assisting me in deciding on which size would be best, and I got them both in an XL.

One thing I love about Mighty Petunia is that Cathy runs the whole thing all by herself. She built the website, took all the photos, manages the various social media accounts including Facebook and Twitter, I love being able to support women entrepreneurs and so can you, because now through the 19th, use coupon code Mighty for 15% off! And, as a bonus, Mighty Petunia always offers free shipping.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

15 September 2014

white girl likes her pumpkin spice

Over the weekend the weather here in Northeast Ohio dropped significantly, causing this gal to go all OHMYGOD IS IT FALL YET?!

Autumn is, without a doubt, my most favorite season ever and, naturally, one of my favorite things about fall is pumpkin flavored, well, pretty much everything. This is no Jilly Come Lately pumpkin thing either -- when I was a kid, my mom took me to the local pie shop in town and I was allowed to pick out any pie I wanted and I picked out pumpkin. I was, like, five years old.

As such, while grocery shopping over the past few days my items started to take on a particular theme.

Let's see, we have Pumpkin Ice Cream and Pecan Pumpkin Instant Oatmeal (I first tried this about a year ago when I was visiting Sissy and my BIL and they had it. As soon as I saw it at Trader Joe's yesterday I snapped up not one but two boxes), Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer, Pumpkin Pie yogurt, and Pumpkin Spice English Muffins.

I will also confess to spending much of the weekend attempting to track down the new limited edition Pumpkin Spice Oreos. One store (yes, I checked multiple shops. I MAKE NO APOLOGIES FOR THIS) had the spot on the shelf reserved for said cookies but didn't actually have them in stock yet.

I may need a Pumpkin Spice Intervention.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

09 September 2014

cuyahoga river running

Even though all of the RnRCLE events were cancelled, I've still decided to continue with my 10K training because there are some upcoming fall and winter races I plan on running. I'm already registered for the Running of the Bridges on October 19th and since I'll be getting a refund from the cancelled race, I went ahead and registered for the Bernie Shuffle, which is November 1st (the refund won't come until after a price increase, so that's why I didn't wait).

So, yesterday morning I got myself up and out of bed and went out for a quick run before work. Since the training plan I'm using has short runs I decided to change things up and stay closer to home than I usually do. That meant running along Cleveland's Cuyahoga River.

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There are seriously not enough words in the English language or any other to adequately explain to you how much I lurve this city. I feel like Woody Allen in Annie Hall: "Love is too weak a word for what I feel."


One day I'll convince FitBloggin's fearless leader Roni that Cleveland would make the most perfect location for one of our conferences. (BECAUSE IT SERIOUSLY WOULD MAKE THE MOST PERFECT LOCATION)

Then again, it's entirely possible that I'm just really biased on the subject. LOL.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

05 September 2014

how rock 'n' roll marathon series managed to piss off the home of rock 'n' roll

I don't know about you guys but over in my corner of the world yesterday was a weird, weird, weird day. First, I was up at 4 am and by "up" I mean wide wide awake. On the upside I used it as a chance to do some stuff around the house that had been on my To Do list for awhile. I managed to fall back asleep around 5:30 or so and slept till about 7:15 which is late for me during the weekday but I still managed to squeeze a run in before work.

Second, I then learned about information related to a particular professional thing through Facebook which, to be perfectly honest, is the worst way to find out about that kind of information. Then I'm at work and get this email.

Well then.

If I was still training for the half-marathon I'd be relieved, to be perfectly honest. But since I decided to switch to the 10K I'm super bummed. Especially since I've had some great short runs this past week that have started to give me my mojo back. Last year, this event was my very first half-marathon and I loved the course and organization, so it's disappointing that I couldn't be involved again.

According to some of the comments on the RNRCLE FB page, less than 4K runners were registered and that number was down something like 36% from last year. (I would try and do the math to figure out how many people ran last year except, y'know, that would involve math.)

I am trying to see the silver lining here. Like my fabulous friend Kelly said, this might be an opportunity to try a new fitness route. I'll also get a refund and there are some shorter races I've been eyeing but been hesitant to sign up for because of cost (like The Bernie Shuffle which is ridiculously overpriced for a 5K but I got my eye on that racing bling, especially since now I won't have any RnRCLE swag) so having already budgeted that money from the half out, I may put it towards a race or two. I know they offer a transfer but I wouldn't even know where to begin in deciding which race to run, especially since I'm not in a half zen right now so putting that moola to smaller, local races makes way more sense to me.

Some of the runners registered to run seem to have taken the attitude of swearing off Rock 'n' Roll Marathons forever. I don't know if I'd go that far. The series and races seem to do well in other cities, I think it's just a matter of bad timing with other long-established local half-marathons around that same weekend. Getting a Heavy Medal is on my racing bucket list and I can't do that if I boycott all of their events. But, at the same time, I can appreciate why others feel differently and see this as a bit of a slap in the face.

Any other RnRCLE runners out there? What have you decided to do about the cancellation?

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

01 September 2014

yogi's choice

So. It's September. And I have no idea how that happened. This year has been flying by and before you know it October will be here. (Which is okay, because October means Halloween which means MY MOST FAVORITEST HOLIDAY EVER.)

That being said, I do love the first day of a new month. There's just such an overwhelming sense of fresh starts, especially since when that first day falls on a Monday (and a holiday, here in the States!). This month in particular allows for lots of new beginnings: I started my 10K training this morning and wrote up a new Goal Digger sheet (a free printable courtesy of my friend Brooke). It's a great way to set daily, weekly, and monthly goals with a reward to keep you motivated (mine is this fabulous running tank).

One goal I'm really, really working hard on is drinking enough water. I mean, I know the importance of staying hydrated but sometimes getting enough water is hard. I'm a big fan of reusable water bottles and such and I've found that the less refills I have to make, the easier it is mentally to get enough water. So when I saw this 32 oz fake mason jar thing at Tarjay I, of course, had to have it.

Drink two of these and I'm already at 64 ounces! On either Wednesday or Thursday of last week I managed over 100 without even really trying or thinking about it. Good buy, Jill. Good buy.

Despite today being a holiday and not having to work (aka, being allowed to sleep in), I woke up bright and early to get my butt over to Vision Yoga for the 6:30 am Open Flow class. Being that today is a holiday I was super grateful they were still having class but even with people being off I was still very surprised when I ended up being the only person in class. At first I was really nervous about that but it ended up being great because the instructor Geoff was really focused on helping me with alignment and poses. It also allowed him to make the practice a little more personalized: we hold poses for a long time in the class, in particular Shoulder Stand for, like, five minutes. I wish I was kidding. It's intense and I can't hold it for that long but today he only made me hold it for two minutes and it was a challenge but I pushed through. I'm also pretty sure he saw the 13.1 tattoo I got at FitBloggin and was all OH LET'S STRETCH OUT HER HAMSTRINGS LOLOLOL

I have a good feeling about September and forsee lots of fun and new adventures happening, both this month and over the course of the last remaining months of 2014. Who is ready to rock it out with me?!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus
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