Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday Favorite: Brooks Ghost 6

Finding a great pair of running shoes is like finding the perfect wedding dress. How so? They both need to be comfortable, fit for your body, and be able to last during a long event.

If there is one name-brand that I always gravitate towards, it would be Nike. Not sure where my love for the swoosh came from, but most of my workout clothes have it - socks, shorts, shirts, and shoes. There came a point, though, where my Nike tennis shoes were causing me pain during my long runs, and with some research under my belt, I bought an *actual* pair of running shoes, the Mizuno Wave Riders. To make this story short, I'll sum up the Mizuno's with one word: meh. I developed knee and hip pain and found that my feet felt too constricted. So, back to the drawing board I went. 

I researched further than before, scouring the web for reviews and asking fellow runner friends what they recommended. It came down to Saucony and Brooks with the popular votes, and with all the Brooks ads I see in my Runners magazine, I went ahead with a pair of Brooks Ghost 6 and....

THEY ARE AMAZING...and comfortable, light, cushiony, breathable, and balanced. I have experienced no knee or hip pain so that's a win all by itself! 

To see what running shoes would be right for you, I suggest taking this quiz and seeing which shoes you match up.

Question & Comment: What shoes are you running in these days?  

Sunday, February 23, 2014

#WorkItOut100: Week 5 Recap

My birthday workout was by far my favorite this week. If walking up a flight of stairs that spans 1 mile and gains 2,000 feet of elevation isn't a challenge enough, throw in spots of ice and snow and that challenge was just put on crack. 

Going into week 6, my body is telling screaming at me to take it a little easier. I have the genes of my dad when it comes to listening to my body, which means that I probably won't, but that's just another challenge I will take on these next 7 days!

Comment & Question: What is your favorite active rest day workout?  

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Stringing the "Word" Together

We are reaching the end of February and I am still trying to think of my word for the year. My word to grasp onto when things are shaky; my word to remind myself of how I want to be; my word to change how I think and my word to settle and sink into my heart, body, and soul.

There are a couple blogs I follow that take part in #OneWord365 instead of choosing a resolution for the blank slate that is the New Year. It intrigued me and I wanted to join, yet here I am, still tossing around words in my head and not a one is popping out to me. Trust. Radiate. Positivity. Grateful. Peace. Opportunity.  I’ll take one of everything please.

But then it started coming apart only to come together.

Words were being exchanged that stung to the core, friends acted in a way that were out of line and out of character, I was hearing stories at work from small children who should never have to be put in the home situations they were revealing to me, GOOD people were being diagnosed with BAD illness, the nightly news seemed to be showing more hatred in a world that needed a big dose of love, and my own self-talk was becoming increasingly negative and unhealthy.
It is in my blood to make sure everyone and everything that surrounds me is ok and if they are not, I want to fix it. I want to be the band-aid that covers up the hurt and returns them to the playing field. I’m a woman that wants to make others complete so that I can feel complete. So I can fall asleep knowing I’ve done all I could do to make life easier, happier, more carefree for others.

Then the popping happened.

Today is February 22, 2014, and my THREE words for the year are…

 Let  It  Go

These three short words strung together kept replaying over in my head and I found myself replaying them back after I was faced with things that I couldn’t mend back together. It was amazing how they forced me to take a step back, take a deep breath in, and admit that I couldn’t make it all better. I couldn’t control the uncontrollable. The only thing, naturally, was to let it go and give it to God. 

What are you going to take a step back from and remind yourself to simply "let it go"?

Insecurity? Jealously? Comparing yourself to others? The need for control? Excuses? 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Friday Favorite: Breakfast

Breakfast is not only the most important meal of the day but it is also my favorite. I have become a morning person thanks to this meal and the routine that I have while enjoying it - watching the Today show and sipping on that magical potion we call coffee.

I have a couple staple breakfasts that I cycle through:

1. Oatmeal

I use to gag when eating this mush of a "cereal". That is, until I discovered it's a whole new ballgame when you add stuff to it. My favorite add-ins? Blueberries, Banana, Cinnamon, and the occasional scoop of protein powder.

2. Protein Shake

After a workout, sometimes a warm breakfast just doesn't fit the mold. That's where the ice cold protein shake comes in! Water, ice cubes, protein powder, and whatever else I feel like throwing in -blueberries, banana, strawberries, PB2, oatmeal, spinach, chia seeds - endless possibilities and combinations, people!

3. Egg Whites

Egg whites were that food that I had never tried but swore I hated. It wasn't until recently that I have fallen for a good egg white scramble topped with salsa. Another favorite is using them as a topping on toasted Udi's Gluten Free bread.

4. Fruit

When all else fails, also go "back to the basics". Cut up fruit thrown in a bowl and sprinkled with PB2 - hey sexy!

5. Rice Cakes

As a previously featured "Friday Favorite", rice cakes spread with PB2 and finished off with a sliced banana is surely a reoccurring hit among my taste buds.

Question & Comment: What is your favorite breakfast food? 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Quarter of a Century

I will never be mad that my birthday falls on Presidents Day and that 99% of my life I have not had to go to school or work on it. That's a present in and of itself! I feel like so many things happened this weekend that make me want to give life the biggest bear hug ever. From the friends that spoiled me with their time and love to the always fun Facebook posts, text messages, and phone calls, you sure made me feel like a million bucks!


The lady friends and myself went to Canvas and Cocktails for an afternoon of painting, sipping, dancing, singing, and laughing at our lack of skills of trying to do all 4 simultaneously! 

I put on my apron, looked down, and saw that it said "B-day girl"!

Action shot!

Any buyers?

After our paintbrushes were put away and our new artwork was ready to go, we continued the celebration at Second Home for some drinks and apps!

Apple and Pear Martini, I will curse you for days to come. Tasted so good = made my head hurt so bad. 

Lost a few girls and gained a few more! 

Monday - BIRTHDAY!

I woke up bright and early thanks to me forgetting to put my phone on silent the night before my birthday. After responding, FaceTiming, and chugging the water next to me (I told you those martinis were dangerous), I was feeling antsy. The sun was shining, the temp was going to reach 60+, and I was craving adventure in the outdoors. I asked Anna if she wanted to tackle the Manitou Incline with me, making it my third time and her first, and she agreed! She did a great job and finished under an hour - woo hoo!

Later that night we headed to Piatti's for one last birthday celebration. The food was delicious, the restaurant was simply adorable, and I couldn't have asked for better dates to join me!

I can't thank these two enough for making my birthday weekend special, memorable, and just plain FUN. Life has given us many "tests" in our friendship but at the end of the day, we have always been by each other's side. Hashtag TFU. Hashtag insidejoke. 

If the day couldn't have gone any better, we arrived back home to open presents and Anna gives me my cake in the form of Pumpkin Protein Bars! Liiiiiiiiiike....HOW PERFECT? 

"Birthdays are good for your health. Studies have shown that people who have more birthdays live the longest."

Monday, February 17, 2014

Hearing From an Organ Donor Herself

After sharing my blog post about Andrew on Facebook, Kim had left a comment that I knew I needed to share on here. Read her story about being an organ donor and who it was for:

My dearest Carrie, what a special young woman you are. So kind, so compassionate, you inspire me to be a better person. I have posted on FB the news article of Mr. Menard. To those who do not know me, I am a Kidney donor. I had a very dear friend in Tech School named Bonnie Oien. We actually went to the same High School but didn't get to know each other until we had both graduated and moved to East Grand Forks, MN to go to the Technical School there (AVTI back in the day). We graduated from Tech school, went on our merry way, I got married, she got married, life happens and we lost track of each other for all practical purposes except the Christmas card updates. Well, as you know, our God is an AWESOME God. In July of 2004 I saw Bonnie at an All School Reunion. We talked about life, my kids, she and her husband were not able to have children and suffered 8 (yes 8) miscarriages. Her miscarriages were a direct result of her Kidney Disease. She told me that she was on a transplant list for a Kidney. I was shocked, that kind of thing doesn't happen to people you know, it happens to someone else. She had been on the list for nearly 4 years and no Kidney. She and her husband lived their lives waiting every moment of every day for "That call". I left our conversation astonished, hurting for her and wondering what I could do. Miraculously, I was the only person she shared her Kidney Disease story with. Now there were hundreds and hundreds of people she talked to that week but she just wanted life to be normal, to forget that she was awaiting a Kidney transplant. I went home, I prayed about it, and then I wrote Bonnie asking how I could test for her. She humbly replied with a contact name and phone number of her transplant coordinator. I called, went to the clinic, had a little blood drawn and viola.... I was done with the test. A couple weeks later I got a call from the transplant coordinator stating that I was a match for Bonnie. So what did that really mean? I was a match. What do I do next I asked. Brian said, if you would like, we can call Bonnie and give her the good news. Crying, I said absolutely, can we call her now. The transplant coordinator and I did a 3 way call with Bonnie. She and I cried, then we laughed and said we should have known we would be a match with all the Boonesfarm Wine we drank together while at Tech School. We still kid around about that to this day. So it was out in the open, our next step would be more testing (bloodwork) and then one day, we would both be lying next to each other in an OR with Dr. Mistry would would do our transplant. I cannot tell you how it changed my life. I remember going home from the hospital thinking, I just want to live in this bubble for the rest of my life. I had such peace and I was so full of God's graces that it was like another world. Now that may sound corny, but it is true. I have never felt peace like that before, EVER! The kidney was working immediately and Bonnie too would have new life. I am active, healthy, lead a busy life, and can do anything you can do. Another one of God's graces is that there has never been a recorded case of a Kidney donor actually needing a Kidney in their lifetime. Now, sometime that will happen but just think of that of all the transplants. Bonnie leads a very normal life working full time in a large health organization in a highly regarded leadership role. God gave us 2 Kidney's so we could donate 1. So here is your challenge people, the reward is the same, whether you know the person or not. I would not have thought about donating until I learned about my friend needing a transplant. Now that I have donated life to someone, I can tell you I would do it all over again for a complete stranger. We are all children of God. I wish Kidney's could grow back so I could donate again, but they don't! There are so many that need your help. Won't you please, start with a prayer. Ask God how you can make a difference. If not a kidney, how about bone marrow? Did you know that you can donate part of your liver? What about end of life? Let your family know your wishes. Be an organ donor. Make a living will today. Tell your family, tell your doctors what you want. Speak out to those around you. For those of you who don't think that 1 person can make a difference? Well, tell that to Jesus! Look at the difference he made. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13. Peace be with you!

I ask you again...are you an organ donor? 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

#WorkItOut100: Week 4 Recap

My favorite workout from this week was yesterday. I "ran the rows" at Red Rocks, the same place where Amanda and I walked the rows last Saturday. I remember my first time visiting the park and seeing a handful of people not only running or walking the stairs, but doing yoga or push-ups or sit-ups on them and thinking, I'm doing that one day. So I did...and now my calves aren't letting me forget it. 

When I arrived at RR, it was cloudy and a little on the chilly side (40*). I began my run and quickly realized that it was going to test my patience. As the clouds disappeared and the sun came out, people started coming in flocks. Mainly tourists but a couple runner/walkers/yogis, I found myself having to wait for small children to go up a stair so I wouldn't bump into them and make them go down a stair. Going back and forth, back and forth for what felt like an eternity also got a little repetitive but that's what music and mountain views are for.

I ran a total of 7 miles and my pace was a minute slower than my usual outdoor runs. I'm typically not one for "time", but I do like to stick around my usual pace. When you take in all factors of yesterdays run - the altitude, taking time to slow down and switch rows, waiting for people to snap a picture so you aren't in next years Christmas photo - it makes sense. 

69 rows of running to go, 69 rows of running, you run one row, hop one down, 68 rows of running to go!

Reminds me of a KidPix picture I made on the computer 15 years ago!

Question & Comment: What was your favorite workout from this week? 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Are You an Organ Donor?

When I started working with Andrew, it didn’t take long for me to realize that I was working with a mastermind in the classroom. His way with his students is humorous, intriguing and one that draws not only them in, but me. I can’t tell you how many things I have learned by being with him on a daily basis. From classroom management to hockey facts and stats, I feel like a student myself. 

Halloween would be the only picture we have together!

It also didn’t take me long to learn that Andrew is living with Polycystickidney disease (PKD). PKD is genetic disorder characterized by the growth of numerous cysts in the kidneys.  Currently, Andrew’s kidneys are functioning at 15%, where as you can guess, ours are functioning at 100%. If Andrew doesn’t receive a kidney transplant as soon as possible, he will be put on dialysis and will no longer be able to be in the classroom. As the 2011 Denver Public Schools Teacher of the Year, that would be a huge loss to our young minds at Steck Elementary. 

How can you help? By becoming an organ donor TODAY.

When I spoke with Andrew about his condition, he made it very clear that maybe YOU can’t help HIM, but you can help SOMEBODY. That somebody is a living human being, a person whose life needs to be saved and can be saved by someone like you and me.

When Fox31 News came to school on Friday, it dawned on me just how powerful media can be in these situations. To help you better understand his situation and hear from his current and fellow students, click the link below.

For more information, please go to the National Kidney Foundations website at: 
If you still have questions, please email me at: