Last Colorado Things

We are back to the mother ship!

But first, one more picture from Blend thanks to mom, who showed up as the guest photographer.

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After traveling from Boston to New York, New York to Colorado, Colorado to New York, I am done wandering for a while. (My mom and bro are still trekking along to Florida for my brother’s internship!)

Blend swag made travel snacking so easy.

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Madre loves these Quest protein chips. Look at that protein!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset almond butter Perfect Bar spread on a sandwich thin

Colorado was an epic vacation with my mom and brother, but I’m also happy to be home with my dad. Poor guy was eating leftovers from the fridge all week while we were eating fresh new foods in Colorado (and then posting them on social media where he could see). I’m also excited to be all domestic again this summer— mostly for the cooking, not as much for the cleaning and errands… Such is life.

Domesticity started early this morning with dropping off Pop at the train station, going grocery shopping (at 6AM when I can pace the aisles freely without judgement), and breakfast.

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Arman’s cake batter oatmeal is life-changing // sprinkles just because it’s “cake batter”

We left Colorado with a bang by going to Flagstaff House for a super splurge dinner on Sunday night. My mom insisted on taking me out to an early birthday dinner, since she and Ben would be away for my real birthday. I definitely didn’t need a fancy dinner, but I think my mom really wanted dinner with a view to treat me to something special. It’s not like it was difficult to accept either. 😉

The meal was rich (food-wise and moolah-wise), but we savored every bite, as well as the unbeatable mountain view.

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The service was excellent, and the food was outstanding. They even served complimentary amuse bouche  and palate cleansers throughout the meal.

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bottom left is our appetizer order: yellowfin tuna tartare and steak tartare with brioche toasts

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my entree: New Zealand salmon (cooked medium rare, OMG) with lump crab meat // Ben’s: pork tenderloin // Mom’s: natural Colorado chicken breast

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desserts: chocolate lava cake with vanilla bean ice cream // trio of vanilla bean, vegan vanilla bean, and salted caramel house-spun ice cream // tiny complimentary French toast with vanilla creme anglaise and candied pecans

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early birthday complimentary dessert platter

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complimentary mini blueberry poppyseed loaves to take home!

Incredible all around. The value is awesome when you account for the view, service, quality and taste of food, and amount of complimentary food!

I got some moves in at the hotel before we headed to the airport yesterday, and it was probably the last intense workout I’ll be doing in a while. (I’ll talk more about all that another day.) It was a good one though!

  • dynamic warmup
  • circuit workout // 3 rounds of each
    • 15 weighted step-ups each leg // 20 squat jumps
    • 5 reps of 5 bent over row+ 5 frog plank jumps // 15 leg lift crunches
    • 20 hamstring ball curls // 10 burpee tuck jumps
    • 12 sit-ups to shoulder press // 20 spiderman planks
  • tabata // 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest x8
    • burpees
    • high knees

I’m not a workout selfie person, but I thought my last gym workout for a while warranted one.

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Hashtag grind, hashtag muscles, hashtag gym. Did I nail it?

I followed it up with more Blend swag food: half a Quest bar + a sweet potato with a chocolate Nuttzo sample packet and a power fuel Nuttzo sample packet.

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And then an Asian chicken salad later in the afternoon.

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I went to bed late and woke up early this morning, so I’m about to take a nap before my eye doc appointment and then my first day at physical therapy internship!

Hope you all have a wonderful day! Take weird selfies today.

So tell me:

Have you gone to a splurge restaurant that was totally worth it?

What do you like to eat on airplanes?

Do you like gym selfies (seeing them or taking them)? I don’t mind seeing others’ gym selfies every once in a while, but I don’t really like taking them myself.

What are you doing today?

What I Loved and Learned at Blend Retreat

Guys, I have enough snacks to last me the rest of summer.

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Just kidding, more like the rest of this month. Nevertheless, it is clear that Blend brings swag game to an elite level. This isn’t even all of it.

First of all, there are several people/places to thank for this year’s successful Blend Retreat:

  1. Janetha, Lindsay, and Lauren for being the most hardworking, badass, and helpful hosts! You ladies are awesome.
  2. The bloggers/blog readers/Instagrammers who attended. You’re inspiring, and you made the retreat a fun time!

    Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetMy roommates (all Instagram stars)! Meredith @MeresNuttyKitchen, Amy @Clap4Fit, Aly @RunningHealthy13, Colby @EatClean_LiveStrong

    Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presethiking with Laura from 50 by 25 (she’s run over 100 marathons, it’s guatever)

  3. The sponsors for their work and for providing an insane amount of goodies for us.Processed with MoldivProcessed with Moldiv
  4. Chautaqua Park and Boulder, CO for providing cozy cabins and beautiful grounds for our retreat.Processed with Moldiv
  5. My family for letting me come and then coming with me to Colorado 🙂
  6. YOU, because you’re reading this.

Blend was an amazing experience. There were plenty of aspects that I loved:

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  • Being able to talk about health and wellness as much as I wanted

  • Doing active things

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  • The laid-back, no-judgement, supportive atmosphere and community

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Morning hike before yoga! #Blend2015

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  • Learning about health and wellness brands

Clark from the Quest team (his arms are almost as big as my legs, it’s fine)

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  • Being in the presence of the Colorado mountains

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  • The perpetual stream of swag

And there were plenty of things I learned:

  • Mental and physical investment in health and wellness varies significantly among bloggers in the healthy living blog sphere. Not everyone is equally “into” it as one another, and that’s all good.
  • I am so not in tune with the whole working-with-brands thing.
  • I’m not one to eat too many protein bars, but a lot of them are tasty!

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  • I sometimes forget that not everyone who is a healthy living blogger is recovering from an eating disorder. It made me slightly anxious when people were talking and thinking about healthy food/nutrition facts all the time, but I was inspired by my roommates who know how to eat well and trust their bodies.
  • I don’t really want to talk about health and wellness all the time.
  • You won’t get to talk to or hang out with everyone at Blend, which is kind of a bummer, but it’s still fun to at least say hi to most people!
  • The altitude still gets me, even after being here for a week.

All in all, I am happy I attended Blend this year. It was a fantastic opportunity to be with fantastic people. And now it’s time to go to sleep and head back to reality on the east coast today. I’ll miss you lots, Colorado! xoxo

So tell me:

If you went to Blend, what is one thing you loved and one thing you learned?

Do you like protein bars? Which is your favorite?

Do you want to go to Blend next year? I’m not sure if I would go again, but I definitely recommend going at least once if you’re even a little interested!

Meeting Bloggers In Person

Today is the day!

The day I get to meet so many amazing bloggers in the flesh at Blend. That sounds so creepy, but seriously, I’m stoked! But the blogger meetups actually started yesterday when I had lunch with Emily from Beauty in Christ. It was so wonderful!

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We had a great time talking about our life stories, spilling our joy in Christ, and eating delicious food (of course 😉 ). Emily chose Vert Kitchen for lunch, and it was fan.tas.tic. It was one of those cute, organic, green restaurants with plenty of healthy options, but still plenty of flavor.

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I ordered the turkey sandwich (which included goat cheese, balsamic figs, tomato, and mixed greens) with a side of quinoa salad. Polished that baby OFF.

Somewhere in our conversation, Emily and I talked about how weird we feel before meeting a blogger. We all “know” each other through the internet (I mean, y’all probably know more about me than some of my “real life” friends), but how can you know what a blogger will be like in person?

To be honest, I feel nervous and slightly anxious meeting or talking to bloggers on a more personal level for the first time. Whether it’s texting, FaceTiming, or meeting in person, I always wonder:

a) What will he/she think of me as a person off the blog? In action– in real life.

b) Will he/she be outgoing like he/she is on the blog? 

c) Should I act extra healthy-living-blogger-esque around them?

Answers:

a) What goes on my blog is 100% reflective of my brain, my words, and my daily activities. The only thing I can do is act like myself when I meet a blogger. The worst that could happen is that he or she doesn’t like me in real life and we don’t become real life friends. Not meant to be. Life will float on.

b) Maybe people blog because they don’t like to be outgoing in real life, so they may very well be more contained or shy in person. I completely get that and appreciate that. Some of my shyest friends have the funniest things to say when they write or do decide to speak out in big groups. Blogging is an outlet for thoughts that do not have to be said audibly. That’s the beauty of blogging!

c) As a “healthy living blogger”, I also have a minor (and irrational) anxiety that other bloggers will be extra observant of my fitness, what I eat, or how much I eat. But then I remind myself that the healthy living blogging community is a supportive and nonjudgmental one. You guys see that I don’t always eat healthily or “get after it” in my workouts, so why should I try to tune those things up when meeting bloggers in person? I certainly don’t do that around my real life friends. WE’RE ALL HUMANS.

I had to rant about that, thanks. I’ll finish my rant by saying that meeting with Emily (and Kath + Clare last year) totally canceled out my anxieties. It’s so much fun meeting new friends!

In other news, we went to an all you can eat Italian buffet called Cinzetti’s last night.

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Such a thing does exist in Kansas (where we first discovered this phenomenon) and Colorado, evidently. It’s immense and not healthy at all. But it’s yummy comfort food to the max.

I’ll be back sometime soon to tell you all about Blend! I’m sure social media will be stormed by our photos and cute hashtags. If you’re going, I CANNOT WAIT TO MEET YOU!

So tell me:

How do you feel when meeting bloggers in person? Or how would you feel? Do you share similar anxieties at first?

Would you eat at an all you can eat Italian buffet?

That Time I Fell Into a Canyon

Thinking-Out-Loud

with Amanda today!

1) Guess what! I wasn’t sore yesterday! After the hardest hike of my life, I was fully expecting to wake up not being able to move my body, but I felt fresh and fine. I was confused. The hike felt so hard and painful, but I guess it was mostly the altitude? Or maybe I recovered so quickly because I ate very well after the hike? Whatever it was, I’m just happy I was not completely debilitated.

2) We saw more beautiful rocks yesterday! Our family friends drove us to Colorado Springs, where we first visited the “Garden of the Gods”.

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please smile, dude

3) After walking around the pedestrian-friendly path for a while, we ate an incredible lunch at The Sahara Cafe— a Middle Eastern restaurant with the most amazing falafel ever.

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owned this chicken gyro

4) I was stuffed for the next 6 hours after that meal, because what you don’t see are the sweet potato fries, babaganoush, and baklava that I also ate with the falafel and gyro.

5) All that pita bread must have energized some of us, because our next stop was Cave of the Winds, where four of us decided to do the “Terror-Dactyl” ride. Basically, you fall into a canyon, just strapped in by a few seatbelts and hung by a cord. Juuuuust rocks under us.

Supervisor: The ground comes at ya pretty fast, so it’s over quickly whatever happens!

Oh….

I apologize for my blood-curdling scream

I prayed beforehand. The worst part was actually the beginning when they tilted us forward so that we were parallel with the ground and all our weight was resting on their somewhat questionable seatbelts. There’s a GoPro video of Ben’s and my face during the whole thing, which I’ll be sure to share when I get it!

6) It was totally amazing and worth it (the fear and the $50…).

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the daredevils’ “before” shot

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head first into this beauty

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walking the plank

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after the drop, taking in the scenery and thanking God we’re alive

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Even my mom and aunt did a ride! They took the less extreme, but still thrilling zipline.

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my mom and aunt on the zipline!

7) After that excitement, we slowed it down with a fun cave tour! All those stalactites, stalagmites, and slightly claustrophobia-inducing rock tunnels.

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It was so neat! Our tour guide was awesome, and the history was fascinating. If you’re ever in Colorado Springs, I 100% recommend Cave of the Winds. Let me know if you try the Terror-Dactyl 😉

8) “Eat, hike, repeat” is our theme of the week, so after our afternoon activities, we ate a late dinner at Thai Diamond Cafe. I was still kinda full from lunch, so I shared bites of everyone’s food and ate a salad that I had originally packed for lunch. I left the restaurant very full again 🙂

9) I’m going to meet Emily from Beauty in Christ today!!! I am so super excited. I can relate to every single one of her blog posts. It’s so wonderful to have a blogger friend who is about my age, who has gone through similar experiences with an eating disorder, and who loves Christ with a passion.

10) Speaking of blogger friends, Blend is tomorrow!!! So many exclamation points and so many things to be grateful for. I am blessed to just be alive, but God’s generosity is overflowing every darn day.

So tell me:

Would you do Terror-Dactyl? Have you done anything like it?

Have you ever gone on a cave tour?

What did you eat yesterday?

Hiking in Colorado

If you want to get fit, come to Colorado.

My brother told me that Colorado has the fittest people in the nation, and I believe that wholeheartedly. The atmosphere and culture just scream: “Outdoors! Stay active! Wear sneakers!”

I mean, with this kind of land, how could the culture not be that way?

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When in Colorado, do as Colorado people do. So we’ve been getting outdoors and climbing ALL the rocks!

(Warning: A ridiculous amount of photos ahead!}

Monday: Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater

We started with a delicious breakfast a la hotel.

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scrambled eggs, hard boiled egg, Canadian bacon + oatmeal with honey, banana, and pb

other half of banana with more peanut butter

Mom: “Alison’s cooking.” ➔ aka cutting up a banana and spooning peanut butter onto my oatmeal.

Then we were off to Red Rocks! As soon as I started walking up the hill and stairs, my heart started beating what felt like twice as fast as usual. Hello, high altitude!

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But the beauty of the red rocks distracted me from my lack of lung capacity.

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The good people of Colorado were doing their thing, working out at the amphitheater by running the bleachers and climbing the stairs. Ben and I were inspired!

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 had to throw some burpee bench jumps in there

Ben and I decided to walk on the quick and leisurely 1.4 mile trail around the red rocks. Man, was it fantastic.

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Our time at Red Rocks ended up being a great workout between all the stairs and walking, so we were definitely ready for lunch afterwards.

DSC_0960 some Enlightened crisps to snack on

Ben found a Nepalese/Indian restaurant with great reviews on Yelp called Sherpa House. It was an all you can eat buffet for $9.99! NAAN, PLEASE AND THANKS.

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After a mighty satisfying lunch, Ben and I explored the town we were in— Golden, CO. My motive for exploration was finding ice cream, to be honest. But the quaint, western town was beautiful and charming! (We found awesome ice cream though. Caramel Oreo + Bing Cherry, oh my goodness.)

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The rest of our day was spent in our hotel room resting/blogging until we went out to dinner at California Pizza Kitchen with some family friends. I had the roasted vegetable salad with grilled chicken, which I totally devoured. Plus lots of bread and olive oil.

Tuesday: Bear Peak

This hike was probably the hardest workout I’ve ever done. At least, it’s up there. If you see a little Asian waddling with a look of pain on her face in Colorado today and tomorrow, it’s probably me.

I woke up at 7:30, and my body felt pretty tired— not quite sore, but just lead-like. I knew that Ben and I had a long hike planned at Bear Peak, but I secretly wasn’t opposed to just chillaxin’ instead. But we got up, ate breakfast, and tackled the darn hike. We are in Colorado!

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scrambled eggs + pineapple + oatmeal with honey and pb (I didn’t end up eating the yogurt)

but I did have a quarter of my mom’s waffle with the rest of the honey and banana

Let me just commentate our hike for you. We heard great things about this trail, the weather was perfect, and we were excited (Ben a little more so than I). The hike was almost 8 miles and took us just over 5 hours.

I knew it was going to be a tough hike, and I consider myself to be fairly fit, but WOWZA this hike was a whole ‘nother level for me.

At the start:

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In my head: Oh that’s cute. The start of the trail is going downhill. Bringing you down to go up. 

Me: It’s so not cool to be hiking up a mountain when you just ate a large breakfast.

Ben: Some people run up this mountain. In the winter.

Me: If we see a mountain lion or bear, the plan is that I get up on your shoulders and we make ourselves look huge. I’ll try not to scream and you just back away. And you film the whole thing.

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The hike up to the summit was about 3 miles, with 1.1 miles being straight up. Those 1.1 miles were the death of me. Ben had to stop several times for me to catch my breath. If I want to make excuses, I’d say we were climbing from 6,000 ft to 8,000 ft elevation, which is way up there for this city girl. I’m also a high maintenance packer who brought two water bottles, lots of snacks, and my jacket in my honker of a backpack.

Me: I feel like I’m using the stair master, running, doing burpees, and squatting all at the same time.

Ben: We have about 1,000 ft of elevation left. ➔ I give him a silent death stare.

Me: I definitely should have eaten pizza last night. Need carbs.

Me: My glycogen stores are depleting. I need a snack.

 peanut butter and banana on whole wheat sandwich thin

 A girl about our age was climbing up behind us, and I let her pass us because she was a beast and powered through those rocks much faster than I. Poor Ben had to keep stopping for me, but he said that made it easy for him. Ha.

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After a sweaty and butt-killing 2.5 hours, we carefully climbed up the rocks at the summit and just soaked. it. in.

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In my head: Worth it. Also, don’t fall off the mountain.

We ate a power lunch/snack at the summit before heading back down the longer but less steep 4 mile trail down the mountain.

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sweet potato, eaten just like that

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The hike down was so much less strenuous than the hike up (thanks, gravity), but it was still interesting. There was a creek that was rushing pretty hard due to melting snow, and we had to cross it back and forth at least ten times. Our feet got completely wet, but it was still a fun challenge to figure out how to cross each time.

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Ben: I lied about this being the drier side of the mountain.

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we climbed up that whole left side of the mountain

In my head: If anything will kill me on this hike, it would be a fly buzzing past my ear, causing me to spazz out and fall off the cliff.

Our last obstacle of the hike was passing by a rattlesnake, which made my heart beat just as fast as when we were ascending the mountain.

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7.8+ miles and 5+ hours later, we made it back to where we started. It was an incredible experience and I absolutely loved this hike, despite the pain my legs are in right now.

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I ate two more of those peanut butter banana sandwiches upon finishing. 🙂

Showers and relaxation were much needed afterwards. Then dinner! Mom took us to a Vietnamese restaurant, where I ate a rice vermicelli bowl with grilled pork and tons of veggies, herbs, and ground peanuts. We also shared egg rolls as an appetizer. Hit the spot so good.

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As you can see, I housed that bowl. Hiking hunger is as real as “runger.” I even had room for frozen yogurt.

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peanut butter and cookies ‘n’ cream with graham cracker crumbs, hemp granola, and mochi

Now it’s time to sleep. Does anyone who is attending Blend wanna bring a foam roller?

Hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday! Your lesson of the day: eat the dang pizza.

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Linking up this hiking and eating extravaganza with WIAW!

So tell me:

What is the hardest workout you’ve ever done?

Do you like hiking?

What sweet treats have you eaten lately?