Monthly Archives: September 2013

How to survive a hard run–guest post on Beautifully Nutty

Hey all!

Happy Monday! At least I can pretend to me excited about it, right? Maybe one of my pumpkin muffins will help . . . Winking smile 

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Today, I am super excited to be guest posting for one of my best blends, Melanie! She is on an awesome vacay with her husband (and I am totally jealous!). . .

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I met Melanie through the blog world when Becky and I organized a meet up for local MN bloggers back in April. She was so friendly right away and we just clicked. She always has the biggest smile on her face and the most positive attitude of anyone that I have ever met!!

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On her blog, Beautifully Nutty, I am talking about how to survive a hard run.

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Yup, you know, those runs where you are wondering how you are going to make it to the next stop sign, let alone all the way back home! I put together a list of 10 tips and tricks that I like to use and hopefully might help you out too.

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So, head on over to Beautifully Nutty and check it out!!

And make sure to let me know if you have any tips or tricks to add!

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Filed under blend, Running

Weekend Update: 9/29/13

Whoa, what a weekend. . . for not having anything planned, we sure got a lot done!

On Friday, Luke and I did some of his favorite things: reading and playing with the vacuum. ..

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And we went for a very hot and windy run and shared a popsicle afterwards. . .

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Gotta love the popsicle stick jokes. Smile 

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Some errands. . . can you believe he ate a whole apple?!

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Followed by dinner at 5 Guys – they have the best burgers!! And the Cajun fries are spicy deliciousness.

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Sue was nice enough to drive down on Saturday for us to have a long run together. I got to meet the newest addition to her family, Ben – who has so much energy and did awesome on our 10 mile run!!

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And then Luke and I got to work on that can of pumpkin!

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Super quick and easy! Mix 1 can of pumpkin, 1 box of cake mix and about 1/2 cup of heath pieces. And bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes for some awesome mini muffins. There are only about 3 left and they haven’t even been around for 48 hours = good recipe. Smile 

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And we were busy for the rest of the weekend packing!!

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It was rainy and cloudy so it was perfect for grilled cheese and tomato soup.  (Amy’s has the BEST tomato soup!)

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More packing.

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Luke thought it was “find a bunch of new toys” day. . . that is a turkey baster he is holding. . .

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But over the course of 2 days, we were pretty successful. . . this is only a small part of the end result!

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But this is how we all feel. . .

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Luke is already in bed. I have balsamic chicken cooking away in the crockpot that is about ready to eat. And Amazing Race starts tonight!!

Hope you all had a very productive, happy and yummy weekend too!! Smile

20 Comments

Filed under Recap, Recipes, weekend update

Friday Favorites: The Trendy Trainer and BODYPUMP

Happy Friday!! I know I say this every week. . but gosh, I am glad
that it is Friday.

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We have nothing planned and I am so happy about that. Ok, well that’s not entirely true. I have 2 things planned. 1. I am going to do something with this can of pumpkin. It seems like everything pumpkin has exploded this week and I need to make something!!

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And my second thing planned is packing. . . I told you guys a while ago that we are building a new house. Which is so exciting! But also so stressful!

And we sold our current house. Again, super exciting, but also stressful, because we have to move out of our current house before our new house will be ready.

Which means. . . we have to pack and move TWICE! Whoa.

And our first move comes up at the end of October. So, on the one hand, it is a really good process to move, it gives you a chance to go through stuff and get rid
of things you don’t use or want anymore. But to have to go through
things and decide what can be packed away for the next 3-4 months. .
.tough work. And if it can be packed away for that long, do you really
need it? For most things, yes! I really need my Panini press,
immersion blender and over 20 bath towels. 😉 And don’t even get me
started on trying to pack up an 18 month old..  .

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Thankfully, we have found a good short term housing option in a town home
that is about 1.5 miles down the road. So, while most things will be
packed, other stuff can just be put in baskets and taken over to the
new place.

But, oh, did I mention that the weekend before our closing
on our house, Scott and I are going to be out of town at the Des
Moines half marathon. Ya, awesome timing for that one. . . so all of
our moving will have to be done during the week. . . Thankfully we
have awesome families who have all offered to come down and help at
one time or another, either moving boxes, lifting heavy things
(Adam!), or watching Luke. So, that is really making this whole
process seem like it might work out. Winking smile

So, to get back to my happiness that we have nothing planned this
weekend, means that we can get a good start on all the packing. Is it
super sad that I am excited about that?

Being an adult is so much fun. < sarcasm> At least I know there will be some sort of pumpkin treats to provide some distraction. Smile 

But anyway, for today’s Friday Favorites, I am combining 2 favorites:
first, my blend, Caroline, who I recently met at the Healthy Living
Summit (and was one of my roommates!).

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She is seriously the sweetest, fun, and most down to earth people. I am so happy that I can call her my friend.  She knows me too well because she brought me a jar of cookie butter at HLS. Seriously, how sweet?!

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And she asked me to guest post for her while she is out of town to a conference in Colorado. <super jealous>

And then combine that with my second favorite thing: body pump! I have been teaching the newest release –87 for the past two weeks and it is a great workout!Lunges are especially challenging.

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And that leads me to my guest post for Caroline!

A post all about body pump –>
1. What it is,
2. Why it’s awesome and
3. What to expect for your 1st time.

So, head on over to The Trendy Trainer and check it out!!

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And if you need even more BODYPUMP – check out my BODYPUMP page!!

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Any big plans for the weekend? Can I live vicariously through you
while I am packing? Any good pumpkin recipes to share??

27 Comments

Filed under blend, body pump, Friday

HLS13: Blogs in Transition Recap

While I was at HLS 13, I had the opportunity to participate in a panel presentation with Alicia from The Wannabe Foodie and Marissa from Where I Need To Be.

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We talked about Blogs in Transition: Embracing your blog. . .

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This was our panel description. . .

As we all go through our blogging journeys, we realize that blogging has its ups and downs. Though we are all in different seasons of our own blogging journeys, you’ve probably felt the difficult yet exciting challenges blog growth of any sort can add to your plate.  How do you deal with the changes you face as your blog changes without starting to resent your blog and throwing in the towel?  This panel will focus on finding (and keeping!) your blogger voice,  how to develop a consistent blog schedule, how to stay active and engaged with your blog readers, as well as review a few of the best apps and tools that will help you stay on top of your game.  The panel will also offer simple ways to give your blog and brand some TLC and re-engage your readers and followers.

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If you are interested this is the link to our Prezi presentation.

Also, Mindy from Just a One Girl Revolution did a great job live blogging during our panel. . . so you can check out her post as well!!

Alicia started us out by talking about how bloggers can find their unique voice:

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Write a blogging mission statement
The voice and personality you use is your brand
Be authentic, not perfect
Write the way you speak
Coin your own phrases
Think beyond your writing and make sure your design and everything on your blog is an accurate reflection of you and your brand

Then, Marissa took over and talked about staying consistent with blogging and posting without feeling overwhelmed.

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Be realistic
Spend time brainstorming each month/week
Create a calendar
If you have a busy week coming up, think ahead and plan for it.
Utilize guest posting

Then, my turn! I started out talking about approaching companies. . .

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Just ask!
Approach companies you want to work with
It’s ok if they say no
Don’t put out too many requests at one time
Don’t forget to say thank you!

And then I chatted about some simple tips for updating/re-designing your blog

Header from Pic Monkey –> super easy to design and do on your own. You can also pay a designer as well.
Social Media Buttons –> link to my how to make your own post!!
Add/update Pages – utilize your Top Posts to figure out what people are searching for and looking at  on your blog to make it more user friendly and easier to find things. 
Update your sidebar: add badges, plugins, etc.

And finally, I went through a list of some plugins that I use and love. . .

About Me 3000 –> about me widget on your sidebar
Akismet –> for spam
Alpine Photo Tile for Instagram
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Broken Link Checker
Comment Luv –> posts a link to the most recent post when a person comments on your post, a great way to spread the blog love.

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Comment Reply Notification –> a good reminder to check and make sure that your plugins are working!! Check out
my post for step by step details here.
Facebook
Google Analytics –> my post on how to set up this plugin and why you should have it!
Gravatar Widget –> displays your gravatar
nrelate Related Content –> displays other posts your readers might be interested related to that post. . .
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Tweetily –> Tweets old posts for you. A good way to be 1. active on twitter without having to actually be on Twitter and 2. promotes old posts that readers might have missed the first time around.
Twitter Follow me box
Ultimate Follow me plugin by Free Blog Factory
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Thanks ladies for a great panel presentation/discussion. And a special thanks to Melanie for introducing us and getting HLS started!! Smile 

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Check out my other HLS recap posts if you are interested–> HLS13 – the swag, Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3.

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Filed under blog, Recap

Luke lately–17 months

Luke is growing up so fast! I know that every mother in the world thinks the same thing. . . but thankfully, each stage and age seems to be more fun than the last. Lately he has  just been growing, changing and doing so many new things. I wanted to write a post about a few of my favorite things that he is doing lately..  . so I will *hopefully* never forget about my Lukie at 17 months old!

He loves to read books. He will bring you a book and turn around, sit on his butt, and back up into your lap so you can read to him. So. adorable. Melts my heart every time. . . and so very often you can find me sitting on the floor in the kitchen, bathroom, master closet, reading him a book because that’s where he found me and I just can’t say no.

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Whoa face. He has just started doing this recently, basically his whoa, what is that? or is this real life? or is this really happening? And he will look at you with his mouth in an “O” and big wide eyes.

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Obsessed with trucks and buses and lawn mowers and vacuums.

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We will be on a run, he is in the jogging stroller and he will say “lawn mower, lawn mower” and sure enough in that open garage down the street, you can just barely see a lawn mower. And the other day, I left him alone for literally 2 seconds and I came back and he was running down the street saying “lawn mower” towards a neighbor who was mowing her lawn. . .

Lion roar. He has started making animal sounds. And his lion roar is something that I hope I never, ever forget. He also does duck, cow, monkey, and sheep.

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Loves his toy vacuum and lawn mower. If we are inside, he is dragging around his vacuum (clothing optional),

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if we are outside, he is pushing around his lawn mower. literally obsessed.

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Watching your child grow up is so hard. On the one hand, it is so fun to watch them grow and change and learn new things, but on the other hand, each stage is so fun that you wish you could hold onto it for just a little bit longer. Smile

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HLS13–the swag

I have two more HLS posts for you: 1. the stuff and 2. my presentation recap <—coming later this week!! Smile 

Total blogger fail and I didn’t take a lot of pictures of the stuff. . .So a HUGE thanks to Hannah for some of these pictures. Winking smile

I was blown away. like, for. real. by the amount of swag that we got. I have never been so happy that I have lived close by otherwise there was no way that I was getting everything home.

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Upon checking in, we received a bag full of products, samples, coupons. I mean, that thing was stuffed. Here is Caroline’s pic of everything. .. 

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Most amazing was that there was a full size Nature Box –> which I have always wanted to check out. ..

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and a kona kase box. ..which was nice to see because I enjoyed my 1st one so much!!

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In addition to that bag, our sponsors, basically set up shop outside of our conference room, and were so happy and gracious to share their company and products with us.

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At first I was a little nervous to approach them, but they were all so nice and welcoming, I had nothing to be nervous about! I usually explained what R4C is about, made sure to give them a business card, and then chatted about their company, and then they would make sure that I got lots of products to check out.

The “gold sponsor” of the HLS13 was Wild Harvest

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They were ah-mazing! They were all super nice and down to earth, very easy to chat with. . .and most importantly (to my husband), sent me home with 2 bags of animal crackers. Smile 

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Sargento Cheese was there handing out cheese sticks and these super cute little cheese stick holders. ..

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Almonds from Blue Diamond –> so many good flavors. I had never had these single serve packs before. . . they are so so good!! I have only tried a couple so far – but the coconut is awesome.

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Ninja Kitchen was there and telling everyone about their newest blender – the Ultima Blender. Whoa. that blender is amazing. And yes, I am holding the blender because it was that cool. And they were handing out superfood snack bars. <—holy deliciousness.

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and Driscoll’s Berries. <—which you guys already know how awesome they are and how I am totally going to turn into a berry because of how many I have eaten. And total fail because I haven’t done anything with them except for eating them, because they are just so. darn. good.

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A huge thank you to ALL the sponsors of HLS13 –-> can’t wait to see you again at HLS14!!

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Filed under blog, products, Recap

Weekend Update: 9/22/13

Our last day in Vegas was a success. . .

Conference time..  .  followed by breakfast at Mon Ami Gabi –> also known as the place with the world’s best French toast. Scott and I ate here twice on our last trip because the French toast is that amazing!

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Perfectly thick bread, lots of blueberries, blueberry syrup and a mound of fresh whipped cream. . . I am drooling just thinking about it again!!

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Then, a walk down the strip to work off our breakfast. We walked through New York New York, MGM Grand – we wanted to see the lions, but did you know that they retired them a year ago!?! Laura was super bummed. I tried to make it up to her by taking her to M and M world. . .

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Back to the hotel for more pool time. .. while it was like 90 degrees out, it was so windy! So it was actually sorta chilly at the pool. We hung out in the chairs in the water for a while and eventually I got cold enough that I went into the hot tub! I know, 90 degrees and I am sitting in the hot tub. It felt so good! Smile 

A few pics from our hotel – The Cosmopolitan – so pretty and sparkly everywhere!

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Then, we headed over to the Bellagio – watch the fountains (probably my favorite thing in Vegas!)

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and then picked up tickets for “O” and headed to dinner at the Bellagio Buffet. And yes more pics of dessert. Smile We compared the Bellagio buffet to Cesar’s palace and because I know you are all on the edge of your seats, we agreed that Cesar’s was better, had more food options and was overall better quality, Bellagio had better desserts. Winking smile 

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Then, it was time for the show!

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“O” is a cirque de solei show that uses a water tank for part of the stage. It was about 90 minutes long. The stage was super cool how it moved and was sometimes water and sometimes not. There was a lot of acrobatics, diving, synchronized swimming and (per Laura) weird clowns. We have both seen LOVE before and really liked that one and thought that one was better, a more cohesive show with a story than “O” but we still were glad that we saw this one too.

And then some time just relaxing in bed, watching TV. One thing that I really love about hotels is all the pillows and watching TV from bed – 2 things that I don’t have at home!

And then it was light’s out for our early morning wake up call of 5:30am.

Only to get to the airport and have our flight delayed by an hour. Thankfully, I had Starbucks and Laura to keep me busy. Smile

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Finally we got on the plane and headed back to MN. We were totally bored, so we played a couple of games. . . 1. guess what famous person I am thinking of by asking yes or no questions (we had to guess Kate Middleton, Keith Urban, Jeff Probst, and Kate Spade) and 2. make up a story by each saying a word at a time –> we ended up with a story about a pig eating spaghetti and meatballs. Smile 

And I had her be my random number generator for the Chobani giveaway. . .

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#57 – Congrats Danica!!

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Please email me at running4cupcakes@gmail.com!!

After a quick lunch with Laura and Dad, I was headed back to Mankato.. .

It is nice to be home. Smile 

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Filed under Laura, Recap, vacation, weekend update

Day 2 in Vegas–MESA and BURGR

Hey! Happy Saturday! Hope you are having a great weekend. Smile Laura and I are still having a blast in Vegas. . . I thought I would just pop in and share some of our activities yesterday.

After my conference we headed to Bobby Flay’s restaurant – Mesa (in Cesar’s Palace). Started with a margarita.  . .

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and the best cheese dip ever. It was the goat cheese “queso fundido.” Laura and I have already vowed to recreate this at home. . .

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And we shared the 16 spice chicken salad, which was good, but after that dip, we really just wanted to eat 4 more of those. . . Winking smile 

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And then some shopping. . .

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And walking around. . .

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Gelato at the Venetian. . . I got the stracciatella, which is Italian cream and dark chocolate pieces.

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More pool time. . . with drinks!

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And I met some new friends. . .  Smile 

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And if lunch wasn’t awesome enough, we at at Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant BURGR for dinner.

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I got the Hell’s Kitchen burger. It was one of the best burgers I have ever had. And the sweet potato fries were life changing. . . they actually came with a powdered sugar shaker.

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Then, we headed downtown. Played roulette at the Golden Nugget. Laura broke even (and actually made up her $40 deficit from earlier in the day) and I won $33. . .not too shabby. So, we immediately headed to the Sugar Factory to spend our winnings. . .

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best. decision. ever. Smile 

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And then we went back to the hotel and I think I was asleep before my head hit the pillow!!

My conference is starting in just a few minutes, and then we are headed to Mon Ami Gabi for breakfast. . . If you remember from my last trip to Las Vegas, that French toast was the highlight! And then we have tickets to see “O” tonight!!

Hope you are having a great weekend. Smile

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Filed under Laura, Recap, vacation

Vegas!!

Hey there, happy Friday! Today is an especially happy Friday because Laura and I are in Vegas for the weekend. We got here yesterday morning and we are having a total blast so far. Smile 

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The view from our room at the Cosmopolitan. . .

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Our room. . .

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Lunch. . . super good!!

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Sisters. . . both with pink problems. . .

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Afternoon pool time. . .

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Followed by a quick workout. .. Laura had to check out the boxing ring. .. I mean, seriously have you ever stayed in a hotel with a boxing ring? Craziness in Vegas. . .

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And then some wandering. .. and if you go to Vegas – you must! check out this chocolate place – Vosges (in Cesar’s Palace). .. samples and deliciousness.

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Then, dinner!! When in Vegas – you have to go to at least 1 buffet. Laura had heard good things about the buffet at Cesar’s Palace –Bacchanal (literally means feast of the Gods!). And it was super good. My highlights –> the best tacos I have had since living in Mexico, the sweet potato tator tots and fries and the dessert.

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And yes, 3 out of the 4 pictures I took were of the desserts. Winking smile 

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A quick stop at the Bellagio fountains – one of my favs – and we were back home for a earlier night to rest up for our weekend. . .

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I am here for a medical conference (rheumatology and musculoskeletal medicine baby!), which is only from 8-1 every morning, and then Laura and I have the rest of the day to hang out. She is currently sleeping in and I am waiting for my conference to start. The only problem with Vegas is that it is 2 hours behind MN, so I was awake at 5am!!

I stayed in bed until 6am and then decided I might as well get up.  . . I hit up the fitness center for some treadmill time –> 6 miles and a beautiful sunrise over the Las Vegas strip with the mountains in the background. #gooddecision. Smile 

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Now, just have to get my latte fix and I will be good to go!

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We are planning on doing some walking around today, more laying by the pool, checking out Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant BURGR, and heading to downtown Las Vegas for some gambling and the light show.

What’s your favorite thing to do in Vegas?? Any recommendations for Laura and I?

And what are you up to this weekend???

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Filed under Friday, Laura, Recap

HLS–Day 3

The final day of HLS13 –> started with a 3 mile run/walk to the sculpture garden. I had the chance to catch up more with Elizabeth and Danica!!

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I also got a chance to catch up more with my blog alter ego –Stephanie at Running4Beer!

And hang out more with this sweet girl, Hannah!

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And we had to do some fun shots at “the spoon.”

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Followed by a trip to Caribou Coffee. . .

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Then, after breakfast and a few announcements (HLS14 is going to be in Madison, WI!!) and I won a fun prize pack from Energy Bits (full details on all the swag coming tomorrow. Winking smile). . .

It was time to get packed up. . . Thankfully, Melanie and I were able to fit all of our berries and luggage in one trip!

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Lots of hugs goodbye and I was headed back to Mankato. .. 

And when I unpacked Luke’s bag from the Lake and time with Aunt Laura, I was surprised with these .. . .

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Aren’t they the cutest cookies? We are headed to Vegas together for a long weekend on Thursday!!

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And if that wasn’t awesome enough, I had this package waiting for me from Blue Diamond and The Trendy Trainer. Smile

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Luke was super happy to be home with Mom and Dad. . .

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But since we all felt like this after a long weekend. . . we made it a early night!

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A super huge thanks to the wonderful ladies who organized and ran all of HLS13, Julie and Heather –> and the whole dream team! You all did a fabulous job. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of it! Smile Looking forward to HLS14!!

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Filed under blog, Recap