Why I’m Ditching iPhone Running Apps

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Do you run with your iPhone?

I used to. But now, this beauty is mine. I recently purchased my first GPS running watch — the gorgeous, TomTom-powered Nike Sportswatch. And paired with an old iPod model, I’m detaching my iPhone from my runs; I wanted to share why.

I used to have a system. I would pump out my music on my iPhone through the music app or Spotify (which is so great) and then track my distance, time and pace through another running app; I’ve used Runkeeper, Runtastic and Nike Plus.

After starting up both apps, I would run with my iPhone in my left hand, since I’ve never been a fan of those armbands. However, it’s hard to run with a bulky iPhone and I would often switch hands since my arms would tire.

More importantly, though, I’ve been concerned with the accuracy of the calculations in these running apps I was using. I understand that they rely on a GPS signal to calculate distance, pace, time and calories burned. But I didn’t like the idea of these calculations being conditional. Sometimes Runkeeper would tell me my pace was 5:30/mile when I wasn’t even running. Of course, I knew this wasn’t right, but I wondered what else was off because of a lack of signal. If the pace is off, after all, so is the distance and other factors.

I looked into the Garmin Forerunner 10 before stumbling upon the Nike Sportswatch and ultimately chose the ladder because it connects to the Nike Running app that I already use. It’s great to log my runs, but now I am more confident that the GPS signal is more accurate than an iPhone. It’s also great because there are linking sensors in the Nike Sportswatch that seem to improve when you plug it into your computer before your run. Seems that it updates the signal before you even start!

Now, I just had one problem — how was I going to listen to my music? That was the downside; the iPhone rolls these features into one device, which is awesome.

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I ordered an iPod nano 6th generation on Amazon because of its size and touchscreen. It’s such a baby, I’m afraid I’ll lose it, but it seems to be what I’m looking for: an mp3 for working out. That’s all I needed!

I absolutely love the combination. I feel like I transitioned to a true runner with the watch, but not carrying my iPhone has been the icing on the cake. And now, I can enjoy running through DC with beautiful views like this.

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Do you run with your iPhone? Would you ever consider tossing it on your runs? 

The BEST No Bakes + Sweet Tooth Confessions

Oh hi again. So I improvised a no-bake recipe based on the ingredients in my house, and I came out with something pretty incredible. Had to share. I’m calling these Peanut Butter, Coconut and Nutella No Bakes. Yesssss please.

PB, Coconut & Nutella No Bakes

 Yields about 15 medium-sized no-bakes.

1/4 cup granola (or rolled oats)
2/3 cup ground flaxseed
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1.5 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (I used Trader Joe’s)
1/4 cup Nutella
2/3 cup ground coconut

Let chill in the fridge for at least one hour. Scoop or roll into balls, then place them on parchment paper.

I’m pretty familiar with the structure of no-bake recipes, so I can’t take all the credit. But I created from what I knew. The ratio of nut butters to coconut seriously knocked these out of the park. Or maybe it was the homemade granola that I used. I don’t know, but these were definitely the greatest no bakes I’ve ever eaten. Making again!

Speaking of sweets, I’ve had quite the sweet tooth lately. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been more conscious of my sugar intake, but I notice that I consume something sweet every day. It’s not a bad thing, though. But I did just have a few cavities filled sooo… ha. I usually consume sweets at breakfast or for dessert, though. Or you know, both.

But I digress. Here are a couple other sweet eats I’ve been enjoying lately. Finally had a chance to try out Peanut Butter Fingers’ Green Protein Pancakes!

Green Protein Pancakes

They were the bomb dot com. I added some vanilla protein powder to the recipe, too. Don’t let the hue fool you. These are amazing.

I’m addicted to overnight oats now, guys. And once again, late on the hype. But it’s OK. I can’t wait to make them for mornings before work! Great to prep the night before.

Overnight Oats

Overnight oats with flax seed, chia seeds, almond butter, pecans, banana and blueberry.

Green Smoothie and Almond Butter

This has been one of my go-to breakfasts lately. A green smoothie (with whatever I have in the house — usually spinach, banana, apple, celery and spirulina) paired with almond butter & banana toast. No complaints.

Angela and I went to this bar/restaurant yesterday called OTB Bicycle Club in Pittsburgh. They put local peanut butter on your burger, if you’re into that sort of thing. I totally was. You know how sometimes you discover something so great that you’re like… OK, everyone ever needs to know about this and enjoy it too. Well, this was one of those things. EVERYONE NEEDS TO TRY THIS.

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I’ll admit I was skeptical, but hot damn. That bacon on there doesn’t hurt, either.

 What’s in your favorite no-bakes?! When do you usually consume your sweets for the day?

Liebster Awards + Random Musings

Good afternoon! I don’t know about you, but northeastern weather has been awful this past week. Lots of cold and rain. I visited a suburb of Cleveland a few days ago and it stormed and flooded endlessly. Pittsburgh wasn’t much different. I thought it was spring? Hope you’re having better luck!

What else has been going on lately…That you should know:

1.) I made Pecan Butter from Scratch. It was FABULOUS. Probably doing this for every nut now. Pretty easy, too, just takes some patience. I used this C + K post for directions.

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2.) I’ve started my bib wall! Ok, so when I move it will be transferred. But I like the idea of it. These are the only races I’ve ever run: 3 5Ks and 2 half marathons. I need that 10K in there for balance!

3.) I’m newly addicted to Mad Men and just recently binge watched the entire series. OK, so it took me about 4 months to crank out all the episodes. But now I’m on Season 7 and can’t wait to see what 1969 holds for Don Draper. Ooooo I can’t wait.

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All right. Moving on to the super important stuff.

I’m finally getting to post my response from a Liebster Award for which I was nominated. Chrissy at Pink Polish and Running Shoes so generously chose me and is such a sweetheart. Please check out her baking, fitness and blogging adventures. Thanks girl!

For those of you who aren’t aware of this award for newbie bloggers, here’s some info:

The Liebster Award is an online award by bloggers for bloggers. It helps to generate attention for new and upcoming bloggers, generally those with 200 followers or less.

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The Liebster Award Rules

1.) You must link back to the person who nominated you

2.) You must answer the 10 Liebster questions given to you by the nominee before you

3.) You must pick 10 bloggers to be nominated for the award (with a small following)

4.) You must create 10 questions for your nominees

5.) You must go to their blogs and notify the nominees

Here are some questions I answered from Chrissy so ya’ll know a bit more about me. Interrviewww time.

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Me, pretending to be as cool as my fedora in NYC last summer.

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Mmm, you can’t go wrong with anything peanut butter and chocolate. Or coffee-flavored. I usually stick to one of those or a combo.

What would you consider your guilty pleasure?

Probably most of the EDM music I run and work out to. I wouldn’t normally jam to Tiesto, Hardwell or Dada Life when I’m hanging out designing… my music taste can be pretty calm (i.e. Daughter, Snow Patrol and the xx). I also hate the stigma that comes with liking electronic music. Like… I’m not a crazy clubber or anything, but I can still enjoy it during a run, right?

What is your biggest blogging challenge?

I found it hard to stay on top of the new trends, honestly. I always feel like I’m behind, I mean I just started cooking with coconut oil this year. And keeping up with other bloggers is tough. I’m not trying to be huge, I like blogging for me and document what’s happening at this point in my life. But I do find it time-consuming to constantly read, contemplate and comment on other bloggers’ posts. Not sure how I can do that with a full-time job!

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Definitely running 2 half marathons. The fact that I completed both of them in well under 2 hours was great, especially for a new long-distance runner!

Do you prefer cardio or strength training?

I prefer running and power yoga, but I also love a good strength sesh. It’s probably 70/30 for my routine.

What is your favorite go-to healthy snack?

A power-packed and sweet green smoothie makes me so happy. My go-to is kale, banana, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, chocolate protein powder, a dash of almond butter and spirulina!

Why did you start blogging?

I’ve been blogging for about 3 years now, but I’ve moved from blog to blog. Live Run Coffee is only about 3 months old!

What is your favorite TV show?

Right now, I’m on a Mad Men kick. Finally caught up to season 7! Can’t wait to see what’s in store for all the characters. I’m warming up to Sally as of late.

What is your dream job?

It’s always changing! Right now, all I’ll say is that I dream of working for a company with an established brand that I truly believe in. I also dream of working with people who are as ambitious and passionate about publishing as I am. That’s all I want.

What is your favorite quote and why?

“We do not see things as they are. We see things as we are.” This is only one of my favorites, but I love the idea of perception and distortion. Experiences shape us, and hearing other people talk about what they’ve seen and learned really interests me. I like getting to know new people and hear their stories!

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This is one particular story that I love to tell: I visited the Woodstock site last August and it was incredible. I pretended I was one in 400,000 in this shot. How amazing would it have been to be a part of that history?

My nominees:

1.) Megan @ A Slice of Avocado

2.) Soleful Runner

3.) Kenzie @ Strong Like My Coffee

4.) Ashley @ Musings and Oats

5.) Lish @ Jump Eat Run

Congratulations, ladies! If you’re not a small or new blog, I’m sorry about that. I’m still jumping into this community.

My 10 Questions:

You’re alone on a desert island for a year and can only drink 1 thing besides water. Go.

Car-a-mel or Carmal?

What is one fitness goal you’d like to complete within the next 6 months?

What are a few of your blogging strengths?

Do you consider yourself motivated?

Name your favorite dessert to bake.

What’s your favorite magazine or publication?

Name one fruit or vegetable that absolutely repulses you.

What city (domestic or internationally) would you like to visit next?

Do you think that the idea of healthy living makes some people panic?

Yay! Can’t wait to read the responses.

Do you watch Mad Men? Have you made anything interesting from scratch lately? What are you doing this coming week?

A Reflection: The End of The End

I graduated college last Saturday morning. Wait, did I really? It all felt like kind of a blur. I had put sleeping on the back-burner for the days leading up to graduation in the hopes of crossing off more places and experiences on my college bucket list (check and CHECK), and while I was zombie-like during commencement, the morning was surreal, it was worth it and it was amazing. My experience at OU was absolutely spectacular, confusing, stressful, bittersweet and incredible. I can truly say that I don’t have any regrets.

I’ve always thought that college was the time to answer those “big questions.” You know, the, “What kind of person am I?” “What do I want to do with my life?” “Who do I want to be?” “What is important to me?” It was definitely naive of me to believe I would come out of college and have the answers to all of these questions, as if I would obtain my degree and suddenly hold this knowledge. Like, aha! That’s it. To add to this, I grew up with the preconceived notion that I would meet that special significant other in college. After all, a lot of my parents’ generation did. I thought I would step out of the Convocation Center (where commencement was held on campus) and have that big fat epiphany — THIS is who I am. THIS is what I will do. THIS is why I need to do it.

But I didn’t. I didn’t reach it, and you know why? Because even if I felt I held the answers to those big questions, they wouldn’t be constant. The person I was when I graduated is not who I always will be, and that’s what’s amazing about being done with college. Everything that was pre-planned, those 17+ years of schooling that were not an option to forgo had ended, and as a result of my experiences at school, this is who I am right now.

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In college, I learned that I didn’t want to be a conventional print journalist. I learned that it’s really easy to get sick of Easy Mac for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I learned how to write a proper email to a professor, sans smiley faces. I discovered my love for Chipotle. I figured out that jumping into a serious relationship when you don’t have many friends yet is a terrible idea. I learned that I was serious about the Spanish language and culture. I learned that running through a thunderstorm in the pouring rain and sliding through mud makes for an amazing memory. I learned that if I kept certain toxic relationships in my life, my heart would never heal. I learned that folk music can help with that, though, as well as any episode of Friends. I learned that I’m passionate about living (mostly) healthy and keeping active. I’ve learned that if the weather is beautiful, you won’t study or do anything productive, period (and you shouldn’t). I learned that I could do anything if I really worked at it, including running a half marathon and interviewing at a top publishing company in New York City. I learned that being a great graphic designer means being open to change and not falling in love with your own work. I discovered true rejection when people told me “No” or “You can’t do it.” I learned that true friends can also make great roommates. I learned that it’s OK to look forward to buying O’Betty’s french fries or Good Fellas at 2 am. I’ve figured out what qualities I look for in a prospective relationship. I’ve learned that friends always appreciate a homemade meal and a nice glass of wine (or two… or three). I’ve learned that I’m in love with meeting people who are ambitious and passionate about what they want to do and be. I’ve discovered the beauty and meaning of a hand written letter and printed photograph. I’ve learned that I should try everything at least once, especially if the moment never arises again. And I’ve learned to recognize that it’s acceptable to be afraid. Ultimately, I learned to take risks to become who I am at this point.

My roommates and besties

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Senior designers!

As a result of my experience at my first, second and third jobs, I will be another person. I will have new memories in new cities, and new friends and relationships that follow. I will be free and ecstatic and miserable and distraught at the same time, because I am 22 and I’m indecisive sometimes. I make mistakes and still have to learn how to deal with rejection. The phrase, “Now what?” has never felt so applicable or real or inevitable. The world is waiting for me…

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And I am ready. I’m ready to start fresh. I will be headed Washington, D.C. in June for my first endeavor as a real designer. It hasn’t really hit me, hasn’t really smacked me across the face yet. But the excitement and fear and desire for the unknown is there. And it’s strong.

(I’m not sure how frequently I will be updating while working full time, but I’ll try not to be a stranger. And go do cool, healthy things in city!)

xx

Athens (Ohio) Half Marathon Recap

TGIF. But really though. Today is the last day I will ever have college classes. The end of an era! But it’s not about that. I need to talk about my latest race a few weeks back because it went really well!

Athens Half Marathon

I PRed! I went around 1:45:00 for this race, beating my previous time of 1:49:56. I’m definitely proud of myself because I did struggle toward mile 9 and 10. There weren’t any hills on this course though — it was completely flat. Regardless of cutting down my winter runs, I’m proud of how well I did.

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What was really cool about this race was that I got a text message when I hit the halfway point. It was perfect since I was listening to music on my iPhone (Does that mean I’m not a real runner? Maybe.). I also came in 6th in my age group; this wasn’t a huge feat since there were only 588 participants (I placed 71st… top 12 percent, what up!). It was definitely a small race in a small town (my college town) and few students participated since there was a big fest the day before. Many runners traveled from Columbus, Cincinnati or Cleveland, and I’m sure many of them felt they could PR on the flat course. Oh, Ohio. I will miss your flat trails, that’s for sure.

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Angela met me around 7:30 that morning… thankfully I had some support that early! This is no easy concept for college students, and to be awake that early on a Sunday, no less. I was super grateful.

The course went 6.5 miles down our town’s bike path and then turned around. Nothing too exciting, but it was neat because this is the trail I endlessly trained on last year for the Pittsburgh Half and this year too. Familiarity was good to me!

Finished with a painful 1.5 laps around the track, though. It reminded me of the 800 meter run in high school. Ouch. But it was all worth it and I’m so proud of myself for cranking through another round of training. Maybe I’ll run a half in DC this summer when I’m there! I am salty about missing the Nike Women’s Half Series this weekend, but let’s not talk about it. I want to cherish this race in my college town.

I didn’t run for a solid week after the race. My body needed the healing (besides a light 3 mile jog the following Wednesday). Yoga and pilates were my friends for sure. I’m ready to jump back in, though!

 How’d you do on your second half marathon (or first?!) How do you recover from your races?

Tofu, A New Weekly Staple

I’ve always steered clear of tofu. I never thought I’d like its spongy, awkward texture, and I sure as hell had no idea how to cook it or season it. I also thought I didn’t have to like it, because I wasn’t a vegetarian.

Enter… 2014. I was wrong. FINALLY, I’ve warmed up to tofu and can start incorporating it into more of my meals, especially on my meatless Mondays. Just wanted to share a quick recipe I put together for a simple stir-fry with roasted tofu. With a little patience, it turned out great.

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Um, hi. You’re beautiful.

Simple Tofu Stir-Fry (serves 2)

• 2 cups Brown Rice
• 1 package Extra Firm Tofu
• 1/2 cup Broccoli
• 1/2 sliced Avocado
• 1/2 a Red Pepper
• 1/4 cup raw Pine Nuts
• 3 Tbsp Mild or Strong Curry Powder
• Pinch of sea salt + other seasonings you’d like

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1.) Preheat the oven to 450. Hot hot hot.
2.) I cut and prepped the Tofu first using this recipe from Gluten Free Girl (without the sauce). I made cubes out of the tofu, seasoned it with olive oil and stuck it in the oven for 30 minutes, tossing the cubes half-way through.
3.) While that’s happening, cut your veggies. Toss broccoli and red pepper in a medium-sized skillet and season with whatever you’d like — I used onion powder and some pepper. Cover them up.
4.) Meanwhile, I started the brown rice on the stovetop according to the boxed directions.
5.) Take the tofu out. Let it cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes. It’s all coming together now.
6.) Combine cooked rice and cooled tofu into the pan with the veggies. Season with the curry powder and stir for about 5 minutes.
7.) Add sliced avocado last to garnish.
8.) Eat both servings. Because I totally did.

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What are your stir-fry staples? When was the last time you made it?!

Side Note: Chrissy from Pink Polish and Running Shoes nominated me for a Liebster Award! I’m so pumped! I’ll totally post about that soon. Thanks girl :)

Nuts for Nuts: A Crunchy, Creamy, Yummy Infographic

Hi! So I’ve got quite a few post ideas for the week — including a half marathon recap — but first, I wanted to share an exciting, relevant and um, DELICIOUS design project I’ve just finished.

Just like a lot of the healthy-living blogging world, I’ve been super interested in nuts and all they have to offer. I was curious about nut milks and butters and how they can be made at home, since the store-bought stuff can be PRICY. So I did some research and found that using nuts to make these products is actually pretty easy. Then, I made an infographic so everyone could understand it!

Nuts For Nuts

What’s your favorite product made from nuts? Have you ever made your own nut milk or nut butter? What tips do you have?