Category Archives: blog

The best of 2014

The big recap post.

Top posts, favorite posts and memorable posts.

Let’s do this.

Food
Marshmallow peanut butter cereal bars {make these asap. no, seriously, do it!}

IMG_9432

Salsa Chicken {crockpot + AdvoCare!}

IMG_9870

Loaded Blondie Bars {O.M.G.}

IMG_1360

Salted Caramel Blondies {be still my beating heart}

IMG_8793

Banana walnut muffins {clean eating goodness}

IMG_0197

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Stir Fry {the perfect quick healthy weeknight meal}

IMG_1317

Buffalo Chicken Quinoa {clean eating + deliciousness}

IMG_1708

Cinnamon Walnut Oat Muffins {the AdvoCare perfect breakfast}

IMG_9979

The perfect party dip {Grandpa’s Dip}

021

Egg Cups {Breakfast for dinner anyone??}

IMG_0216

Apple Cheesecake Bars {drooool}

IMG_2731

Puppy Chow {the classic}

068_1

Chocolate Chip Larabar Balls {copycat recipe}

IMG_1376

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies {family recipe!}

IMG_2507

No bake chocolate protein balls {the perfect snack}

IMG_3159

Running

How I started running {the full story}

IMG_6690

Why working out makes me a better Mom

IMG_1276

Transitioning to summer running {a how-to guide}

IMG_2438

Spectating the Mankato Marathon

IMG_3056

AdvoCare love

My 24 day challenge tips

IMG_1408

My 1st AdvoCare 24 day challenge {recap + results}

24DC_before_after1

AdvoCare Success School {recap}

IMG_2100

BODYPUMP

How to get stronger in bodypump

IMG_1545

How I learn BP choreography {my tips and tricks}

IMG_2405

Life

The MN State Fair

IMG_2297

Country Fest!

IMG_1410

My Doctor Tips {how to get the most out of your appointment with your doctor}

IMG_2629

6 years {celebrating our 6th wedding anniversary}

IMG_1199

Luke’s 2nd birthday party {construction theme}

IMG_0551

Being a Jamberry Consultant {my thoughts}

IMG_1960

Moving {our new house!}

109 Sienna Circle

Blogging {my pet peeves}

IMG_3247

Maui

IMG_9181

Juicing {my first experience}

IMG_0398

Valentine’s Day Craft {cute and easy!}

IMG_8448IMG_8450

Looking for more? Check out my recap from 2013!

14 Comments

Filed under blog, body pump, crafts, Recap, Recipes, Running

Blogging pet peeves

So, whenever I read a new blog, I look for a few key things that encourages me to stick around. And I always wonder what makes people continue to read my blog or to click away. . . so I thought that I would share my key blogging pet peeves, in hopes, that you would share yours too. . . and maybe we can all learn a bit more about what different people look for when reading blogs.

When I first click on a new blog, I look for 3 things:

#1. An about me section with a picture. I like to read a brief summary of what their blog is about and I love to see a picture of the person writing – it helps me feel engaged by the blogger.

ScreenHunter_153 Feb. 18 12.58

#2. Easy links to social media. If I find a new blog that I love, I want to follow that blogger on social media. And I want it to be super easy to do that!

ScreenHunter_154 Feb. 18 12.58

#3. Easy to read text. No crazy font. The type is centered and doesn’t go across the whole screen – I think that is super hard to read – IMHO.

And then when I start reading their posts, I look for 3 more things:

#4. Easy to comment. You know those blogs that have the code you have to type in to comment, those things are the worst! And they will often deter me from commenting.

#5. Comment reply – remember that comment reply notification plugin? I think that is super important to have and I hate when I comment and the blogger comments back, but I don’t know it because they don’t have the plugin installed.

#6. The ability to pin their post.

ScreenHunter_152 Feb. 17 14.58

Some bloggers, don’t have the Pinterest plugin –> that plugin that gives you the option of clicking the Pinterest button to easily pin their post. So frustrating when I love their post but I can’t pin it!

And one more thing.  .. 

#7. Apologizing for being gone. This is one of my personal pet peeves. The “I’m sorry I disappeared on you guys” or “I’m sorry that I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had a chance to post.” I actually LOVE that you are too busy to post! Just fill me in on all the exciting stuff you were up to while you were gone. Never apologize for having a life and living that life! Ok, I’ll step down from my soap box now. . . Winking smile

So, what are your must-haves when you read a blog? Or pet-peeves?

44 Comments

Filed under blog

Blog Love {R4C 3rd Blog-versary!}

When I started blogging 3 years ago today, I had no idea where it would take me. I thought that it would be an online journal that a few people might read – mostly friends and family. Little did I know how much Running4Cupcakes would grow as a blog, but how I would grow along with it.

DSC03872

Through Running4Cupcakes, I have connected with so many different people, both online and in real life. I have had the opportunity to try new products, that if it wasn’t for blogging, I probably wouldn’t even know they exist (like SKORA running shoes!). . . as well as products that I already love (hello – Chobani!).

And I have found out that I am a serious social media junkie. . . My husband had to take the phone away from me last night as I was scrolling through Twitter and Instagram. Winking smile And don’t even get me started on Tweet Chats. Love those.

ScreenHunter_146 Jan. 03 09.44

ScreenHunter_148 Jan. 03 09.45

I love the ability through my blog to look back at what we were up to 1 year ago today. . . or scroll through old blog posts (here’s my first post) and marvel at how much life has changed since Luke has come along, or how crazy and cute Abby still is!

dog_sleeping

The blog gives me the ability to connect with other bloggers, but also let my friends and family know more about our life and what we are up to thanks to the blog. It keeps us connected.

030 (3)

As a blogger, I am always trying to come up with new ideas for blog posts and it really keeps me on the lookout for all those little things in life and makes me appreciate and take notice of them, where as otherwise, I think they would just pass me by.. .

027

And who would have thought that I would be doing an occasional posts about How-To for your blog and the fact that I have some basic {– very basic!} knowledge of HTML code. And that my blogging would progress to get-togethers with other bloggers,

IMG_4466

my first blogging conference – complete with my first time speaking at a blogging conference!!

ScreenHunter_96 Jul. 26 11.56

I can’t help but think back to getting my start in blogging. I started reading Peanut Butter Fingers after clicking though to her blog through an article that she had written on Spark People. I immediately loved reading her blog, hearing what she was up to, trying new workouts or recipes. . . and through her blog, I discovered the blogging world. .. and a few months later, lying in bed one night, thinking what if I started my own blog? And at that exact moment, Scott asking “What are you thinking about?” and I told him. And he said, that would be awesome – go for it. And then helped me come up with my blog name. . . something with running and food. Smile –> Running4Cupcakes.

IMG_3230

And what a journey it has been. Thank you to my first readers – my family and friends, and thank you to all my blogging friends, near and far. Thanks for reading and sharing and commenting. Lots of love to you all.

32 Comments

Filed under blog

Goals–2013 and 2014

In January I posted about goals that I had for myself in 2013. And I did an update post in July. And here is a final update for 2013 goals. . .

1. Run 2 half marathons (at least!) –> Done. St. Paul Winter Carnival and done. Des Moines Half Marathon

047IMG_6686

2. Run more miles than I did in 2012 (657 miles) –> and I set a new goal of over 100o miles in July.  –> Total miles = 1031.3!!!!

IMG_5623

4. Continue to be active in the blog community – commenting on other people’s blogs, maybe attend a conference??? –> Yes and Yes!! I attended the Healthy Living Summit and even participated on a blog panel. And I made some sweet business cards.

IMG_5908IMG_5947

5. Find a family church locally – whenever we go to church, it is usually with families up in the cities. We have done some looking around the area but just haven’t found one that we ‘click’ with yet. –> Continues to be a work in progress.

6. Body pump instructor certification –> Done!!

IMG_4548

7. Attend group exercise fitness certification –> Fail. BUT I did get trained in for SPIN!!

8. Monthly date night with my husband –> Fail. We have gone on some dates – for my birthday and anniversary but haven’t made it a monthly priority.

IMG_0832

9. Continue to be the best Mom to Luke. –> Done. Easiest one ever.

IMG_6748

Ok, now onto some aspirations for 2014!

1. Run 2 half marathons in 2014 – with 1 race that I have never done before.

2. Attend a blog conference

3. BLEND get-together –> I miss these ladies too much and need to have a weekend of fun together. Smile

IMG_5961

4. Go to Hawaii –> on the calendar to go in February!! Maui baby.

5. Run more miles. Simple. classic. running.

6. Monthly date night – this time stepping it up. We each take turns planning the date night and coming up with something fun to do. I’m first in January and I have an awesome idea!! <—don’t worry, I’ll totally blog about it. Winking smile Oh BTW, I haven’t told Scott about this goal yet. . . what do you think Scott, are you game?

7. Continue to be the best Mom I can be to Luke each and every day. This will probably involve lots of fro yo dates. Winking smile

IMG_7210

What about you? What goals did you achieve in 2013? And what do you hope to accomplish in 2014??

24 Comments

Filed under baby, blog, body pump, husband, Recap, Running

2013: year in review

Wow – how is it 2014?

Craziness, I tell you!!

I thought it would be fun to do a 2013 recap (like I did for 2012 – check it out here). . . 

January

I ran the winter carnival half marathon

047

I took the BODYPUMP instructor training

IMG_3122

Taco pasta bake

IMG_0006

February

We went to Marco Island

Marco Island_2013_day4 004

Valentine’s Day Baby Craft

006

I celebrated my 2nd blog anniversary

Turtle ice cream cake!!

087_1

March

I completed the crockpot challenge 

Crockpot Pot Roast

Easter bunny craft

009 (2)069

I shared my running favorites

IMG_5153

Road trip to Wyoming

IMG_3756

Luke’s 1st Easter

Easter_2013 021

April

Fruit quinoa salad

fruit_quinoa_salad

BODYPUMP update

IMG_6738

Luke turned 1!!

067

May

Quesadilla casserole

014_1

I shared my making baby food tips

IMG_1671

My sisters and I went to The Melting Pot

IMG_4251

I celebrated my 31st birthday in Chicago

IMG_4316

One of my all time favorite posts –> Things my Dad has taught me about running

IMG_5607

June

Scott and I celebrated our 5th anniversary –> and I shared our “love” story

IMG_6497

I professed my love for the treadmill

IMG_7878

I made my chia peanut butter power bars

035

Laura and  I went to Country Fest

IMG_4833

July

BODYPUMP perks

IMG_7771

We made a DIY Toddler Toy

031

Luke turned 15 months old

056

August

Finished my 3 month Grocery Challenge 

Special K Bars

008009010011 

MN State Fair

IMG_5444

September

I  made Fro Yo Breakfast Bars

106

I made fruit pizza 

fruit_pizza

I went to HLS 

IMG_5981

Laura and I went to Las Vegas

IMG_6219

October

I made this awesome fall craft

IMG_6313

Pumpkin bars

IMG_6403

Abby turned 9 years old

IMG_5824

Scott and I ran the Des Moines Half Marathon

IMG_6705

November

I professed my love for Jamberry nails 

IMG_6866

I reviewed some great perks from my grocery challenge

IMG_4882

I wrote an “it’s ok” blogger post

December

We went to Cocoa Beach, Florida

IMG_7644

I made RPSs

IMG_2073_1

I made these cute Holiday gifts for Luke’s daycare

IMG_7764

Cinnamon Roll French Toast

IMG_7847

And we celebrated Christmas

Christmas_2013 016

Oh man, what an awesome year! I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings!!

Happy New Year!!

What was your 2013 highlight?

12 Comments

Filed under Abby, baby, blend, blog, body pump, crafts, dessert, husband, Recap, Recipes, review, Running

it’s ok. . .

Just a friendly reminder to all my fellow bloggers out there. . . a little bit of a follow up to my comparison trap post.. .

It’s ok.. .

To unsubscribe from a blog, twitter follower, etc. Your time is important. Don’t feel like you have to read a blog that you aren’t getting anything out of or don’t enjoy. Same thing with Twitter, life is too short to follow someone who only posts negative, annoying things –> un-follow and don’t give it another thought!

To not post sometimes and don’t apologize for it. If I am reading your blog, I hope that sometimes life gets too busy and too fun to have time to take pictures and post. I would love to hear about it when you get back!

To be too busy with life to take pictures, be on social media, etc. <—same thing here, sometimes you need to put the camera, social media down and just be present and living life.

To have a super long to-do list that just keeps getting longer. I have such a long list of blog posts that I want to write and some weeks it just gets longer instead of shorter. And that’s ok. When I have time to write, it is nice to have a list of ideas to work on. . .

To not have professional head shots done or to not have a professionally designed header. It seems like all the bigger bloggers have super fancy self pics or headers. . and this is just a few examples of things that other bloggers might have.. . don’t make it something you have to do, now if you want to do it, then go for it, but never feel like you have to do anything!

To not be participating in the latest # craze, fitness trend, blog survey –> again, we are all busy, and if you try to do everything in the blog world, you could go crazy trying to keep up. Just do the ones that interest or sound fun to you. And let the other ones go. . .

What else should be added to my list? What should bloggers not feel bad about or worry about in the blogging world?

42 Comments

Filed under blog

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.

IMG_5947

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

IMG_5908

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.

IMG_5910

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:

IMG_5913

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.

IMG_5914

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. . .

IMG_5962

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
ScreenHunter_120 Sep. 20 11.43
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.

ScreenHunter_122 Sep. 20 11.50
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. . .
ScreenHunter_121 Sep. 20 11.49

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
ScreenHunter_119 Sep. 20 11.43

Thanks ladies for a great panel presentation/discussion. And a special thanks to Melanie for introducing us and getting HLS started!! Smile 

IMG_6022

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

18 Comments

Filed under blog, Recap

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.

IMG_5977

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. .. 

IMG_6023

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

hls swag 2

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

hls swag 3

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.

 IMG_6031

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

IMG_5933

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 

IMG_6020

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

IMG_5999

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.

IMG_5932IMG_5931

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.

IMG_5916IMG_6089

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.

IMG_5945IMG_5946

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

19 Comments

Filed under blog, products, 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!!

IMG_5975_thumb

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!

IMG_5966_thumb

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

IMG_5967

IMG_5978

IMG_5979

Followed by a trip to Caribou Coffee. . .

IMG_5971_thumbIMG_5972_thumb

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!

IMG_5983

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 .. . .

IMG_5989_thumbIMG_5991_thumbIMG_6013IMG_6014

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

IMG_5997

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

IMG_5995

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

IMG_6002

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

IMG_6003IMG_6012

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!!

30 Comments

Filed under blog, Recap

HLS13–Day 2

Becky and I were up bright and early to get in a long run before the conference. She was an excellent route guide and running partner.

IMG_5892_thumb1IMG_5893_thumb1

7.5 miles done!

IMG_5900_thumb1

After some Caribou and breakfast. . .

IMG_5902

it was time for my panel: Blogs in Transition. . . with Alicia and Marissa, and Melanie, who did our introduction!!

photo

It went really well!! I am working on the full recap so if you were there and missed something, or you weren’t able to be there –> you can still get all the details. Smile 

Afterwards, I attended a few more sessions. Got to meet Lauren –> who works for KIND bar!!

IMG_5917

Meanwhile, Luke was having a fabulous time at the lake with the grandparents and Aunt Laura and Aunt Jenny. . .

IMG_5954_thumbIMG_5955_thumb

After an awesome lunch (the food was fabulous!), I spent some time hanging out with Kim –> so sweet in person,  just like her blog!!

IMG_5929

And totally random, but you know you are in a nice hotel when they have salt scrubs in the bathroom!! Fancy!

IMG_5930_thumb

Then, we went on a long walk around the city. . .

IMG_5939_thumbIMG_5942_thumbIMG_5961_thumbIMG_5943_thumb

And afterwards, it was getting towards the end of the day and the vendors were cleaning up. . . and Driscoll’s had so much fruit leftover! Since Melanie and I are both local, we offered to help them out. And OMG, we got so much! Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. Thank you so much Driscoll’s and Laura!!

IMG_5945_thumbIMG_5946_thumb

After the end of the conference, we just hung out. . . and then decided that we were having so much fun just hanging out that we would just stay in for the night. So we walked around the block and picked up some drinks, Chipotle and had a girls night in. . .

IMG_5949_thumbIMG_5952_thumb

I finished off my evening with one of Becky’s homemade peanut butter cups. So. good. drooling over this picture right now. . . thank goodness Becky makes them super easy to make.

IMG_5959_thumb2

Day 3 recap coming tomorrow!! Smile

34 Comments

Filed under blog, Recap