Facing My Fears

I have been doing some thinking about my blog and the direction that I want to go with it.  I thought I had all of this figured out before I started it, but it turned out to be more difficult than I thought.  When I decided to start this, it was something that I had been thinking about for a very long time.  But, I was terrified of putting myself and my life out there for everyone to see.  So, my solution was to write about only me.  This proved difficult to try to write just the bits and pieces of my life that I was fully comfortable sharing.  I have been and still am very insecure about sharing everything, but I quickly realized that it doesn’t make much sense to try to write about my life when I’m leaving such big parts of it out.  And, it also makes it extremely difficult to find things to write about.  After a lot of thinking and discussing with my husband, we have decided that I’m all in!  I’m going to work on getting past my insecurities because I know that I will never have a successful or interesting blog if I keep so much of myself hidden.

So, I’m going to start with the biggest part of my life, and introduce you to my husband.  This is Jeremy and we have been married 6 years. I love being a wife, and I love having a partner to go thru life with.

Run and Live Happy

We do so much together, and that is why it was becoming difficult to write about just me. It was very hard to find things that I do alone, or at least interesting things that I do alone.  We make a great team, and we have a lot of fun together.  I think that’s what life is supposed to be about, and it’s in the name of my blog- – live happy! Being with Jeremy makes me happy!

 

Run and Live Happy

 

So, from now on I am going to share all of the different parts of my life with you.  Hopefully you will enjoy it and will continue to follow me.

A Really Bad Day

A really bad day

This week was a roller coaster of emotions for me.  I have had some really tough things going on at work the past couple of weeks.  It’s been very emotionally draining, which in turn has been completely physically draining.  And it’s probably been the hardest situation that I’ve ever been faced with professionally.  It finally all came to a head this week and I had the worst day!  I felt like I was being completely attacked – and I guess I was verbally.  I was so mad at myself because for the first time in my life I just couldn’t stand up for myself.  I knew in my head what I needed to say, but I could not formulate the words and get them out.  My stomach was in knots and I felt like I was going to cry.  I was so flustered and it was like I couldn’t even process what was happening.  I am usually very laid back and I don’t let people get to me.  I have always been able to handle every situation, even if I’m in the wrong.  But this time, I was not wrong, and I couldn’t get those words out!  I felt like a complete failure. I held it together until I got in my car, and then the tears came. I came home feeling defeated.

A really bad day

But every bad situation has a silver lining.  And now the problem is fixed, and I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of me.  I don’t have to worry anymore, or be stressed when I go to work every day.  But the absolute best part of all of this was the outpouring of love and encouragement that I received from my (colleagues) friends.

 

F.R.I.E.N.D.S.I got so many hugs and kind words.  Those that were directly involved stood up for me every chance they got.  Later that night, I was bombarded with encouraging text messages!  One of them even came over to bring me my favorite dessert from our local bakery!

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I cannot even describe how much everyone helped me.  They helped me see that I was not a failure, and that no one thought that.   I appreciate the people that I am surrounded with every day, and I’m glad they have my back – there’s not anyone better to go battle for you, than the people that love you!A really bad day

 

Healthy Low Calorie Strawberry Muffins

I was in a baking mood today.  I searched through the pantry deciding what to bake.  But, after looking at ingredients for cookies and cakes, I decided that I didn’t want to make something bad for me because I would probably just eat all of it!  So, I whipped up a batch of my favorite healthy strawberry muffins.  These muffins are only 67 calories each!

Healthy Strawberry Oat Muffins


They are perfect for breakfast, dessert, or just a snack.  I love these muffins because they are so quick and easy to make, and don’t require a lot of ingredients.  They are also very versatile because you can pretty much add any fruit that you want.

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What you need: 1 ¼ cups of oat flour, ¼ cup light brown sugar, 6 packets of stevia, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1 egg white, ½ cup unsweetened applesauce, 1 cup of frozen or fresh strawberries.

I started with the brown sugar and then I added the of oat flour.  I made my own by taking Quaker Oats and putting them in a food processor.

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Then I added the Stevia and Chia seeds.

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After combining all of the dry ingredients, I added the egg white and the unsweetened applesauce.

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Lastly, I gently stirred in the strawberries.  I used frozen today because that’s what I had, but you can use fresh if you want.  If you use frozen, make sure to drain all of the juice off before adding them.

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Then I sprayed a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray and filled each cup about half way full.  This recipe makes 10 muffins.

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I baked them in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.

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I have made these before with blueberries and peaches and they were just as good!

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This is the nutrition information from the recipe that I created in My Fitness Pal.

Healthy Low Calorie Strawberry Muffins

I was in a baking mood today.  I searched through the pantry deciding what to bake.  But, after looking at ingredients for cookies and cakes, I decided that I didn’t want to make something bad for me because I would probably just eat all of it!  So, I whipped up a batch of my favorite healthy strawberry muffins.  These muffins are only 67 calories each!

Healthy Strawberry Oat Muffins


They are perfect for breakfast, dessert, or just a snack.  I love these muffins because they are so quick and easy to make, and don’t require a lot of ingredients.  They are also very versatile because you can pretty much add any fruit that you want.

muffins (4)

What you need: 1 ¼ cups of oat flour, ¼ cup light brown sugar, 6 packets of stevia, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1 egg white, ½ cup unsweetened applesauce, 1 cup of frozen or fresh strawberries.

I started with the brown sugar and then I added the of oat flour.  I made my own by taking Quaker Oats and putting them in a food processor.

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Then I added the Stevia and Chia seeds.

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After combining all of the dry ingredients, I added the egg white and the unsweetened applesauce.

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Lastly, I gently stirred in the strawberries.  I used frozen today because that’s what I had, but you can use fresh if you want.  If you use frozen, make sure to drain all of the juice off before adding them.

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Then I sprayed a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray and filled each cup about half way full.  This recipe makes 10 muffins.

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I baked them in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.

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I have made these before with blueberries and peaches and they were just as good!

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This is the nutrition information from the recipe that I created in My Fitness Pal.

What I Listen to When Running

Yesterday I ran later in the afternoon.   It was so hot! It really cooled off this past weekend but it didn’t last. I had to go pretty slow. The problem is not that its so hot, the problem is that its so humid and it makes if hard to breathe. Summer is my favorite tine of the year but I am ready for fall.

2015-08-17 18.13.35 After my run, I took Jake on a walk to our pasture to feed the horse.

2015-08-12 18.56.18 He loves going up there and running. We walked until he was worn out!

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I love walking up there because we have to walk through a pecan tree grove and it is always shady and cool.

Right now I have listening to the Podcast Undisclosed. I started with Serial and downloaded it for the sole purpose of listening while I was running, but I got so into it that I listened every chance I got until I finished the season. I am only on the second episode of Undisclosed but I’m not that in to it yet. So I’ve been listening more to music when I run and I thought I would share my playlist with you. I have several different playlists, and they are named 5k, 10k, 13.1. lol ( hopefully someday I will have a 26.2!)  Here is my 10k list because that’s mainly what I have been running recently.

Katy Perry                         Hot n Cold

Katy Perry                         Roar

The Killers                        Somebody Told Me

Mark Ronson                   Uptown Funk

Outkast                             Hey Ya!

Taylor Swift                       Bad Blood

Florence & the Machine       Dog Days Are Over

Newly Furtado                 Promiscuous

P!nk                                  So What

Christia Aguilera             Fighter

Britney Spears                Circus

Britney Spears                Womanizer

Iggy Azalea                     Black Widow

Macklemore                   Can’t Hold Us

Florida Georgia Line     Cruise

Florida Georgia Line    This is How We Roll

On a side note, I have been obsessed with Ed Sheeran lately.  I find a song or artist that I like and I listen to it constantly.  I really love his song Photograph!

What are you listening to right now?

Roasted Ranch, Cheese, and Bacon Potatoes!

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To go with our dinner Sunday night, the hubby wanted roasted ranch potatoes.  I have made these several different ways over the years.  This time, Hubby wanted cheese and bacon on them.  First, I washed and peeled four potatoes.  After that, I cut them up into bite sized pieces.  I used Idaho potatoes, but any kind will work.  Then I put them in a gallon sized zip lock back and added a ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil and one packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning Mix.  You could probably add 2 packets if you want more of a ranch flavor.  Next I dumped the bag into a greased 13×9 glass baking dish.

IMG_4705I cooked the potatoes in a 450 degree oven for 20 minutes.  I pulled them out and stirred them and then cooked them for another 20 minutes.  While they were in the oven, I warmed up some Hormel fully cooked bacon and cut it up into small pieces.  ( I love this bacon, it tastes just like it was cooked in a skillet, but it is only warmed in the microwave.  It is so quick!)  When I took the potatoes out of the oven,  I covered them with shredded cheddar cheese and the bacon.  I put them back in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbling.

IMG_4711You could drizzle ranch over the top if you want, but we just dipped ours in it!  These were probably the best roasted potatoes I have ever made!

Sunday Dinner – Grilled Pork Chops

I was going share what I did this weekend, but then I realized that I didn’t do anything!  It was a pretty relaxing weekend!  On Saturday, I caught up on some much needed sleep.  When I got up I was getting changed to go for a run, and it started thundering and came a downpour, which was so random because there was no chance of rain at all!  Got to love Oklahoma weather! So, I forgot about the run and went to visit my sister in the hospital instead.  I also went to see my grandparents and my aunt.  She is here visiting from Houston.   After that, the hubby took me out to dinner to one of my favorite Mexican restaurants.  We shared some enchiladas and a taco.  I always get so full eating the chips and salsa!

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On Sunday, we went grocery shopping.  I was so excited to see how fresh the produce was!

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I bought some to eat this week!
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We have been on the go so much the last couple of weeks and have not had a good home cooked meal.  The hubby’s work schedule has been a little crazy, so he hasn’t gotten home until after 9 just about every night.  So he has been eating at work, or just something small late at night.  I’ve been eating scrambled eggs just about every night, which I love!  So, last night we decided to cook dinner together.  I love cooking together!  We decided to grill pork chops.  I used a center cut thin chop.

IMG_4693 I brushed a little bit of extra virgin olive oil on them, and then sprinkled some Lawry’s seasoning salt, Cavenders, garlic powder, paprika, and pepper on them.  Once I got the seasonings on there, I brushed the pork chops again to combine it all.  I flipped them over and did the same thing.

IMG_4695 I let them sit covered in the fridge for about 5 hours, they smelled divine!!  We grilled them for about 7 minutes on each side and then pulled them off and let them rest under some foil.

IMG_4709They were perfect!  They were juicy and tender, and seasoned just right!

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The hubby wanted some roasted ranch potatoes.  But, he also wanted cheese and bacon on them.  I had to combine a few recipes to make these, but they turned out great!  I will post my recipe separately.  I try not to eat potatoes, but I had to have a few of these.  They were so crispy and flavorful!  Plus, everything is better with cheese and bacon….and ranch!

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While shopping, I had picked up some fresh zucchini and squash, so I decided to grill it.  All I did was cut up the veggies into bite size pieces.

IMG_4703 I put them on a square of foil and sprinkled salt and pepper on them.  (I use low sodium salt) IMG_4706Then I put a tablespoon of butter on the top and closed up the packet.

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These sat on the grill for about 20 minutes.  They probably could have cooked a little longer, but the meat was done, so we pulled them off too.  I have tried to make these with spray butter or olive oil, but they never turn out the same.  The olive oil leaves a bad taste, and the spray butter doesn’t help them cook enough.

We had so much food left over, the hubby got a good dinner again last night!

Did you do anything exciting this weekend?

Summer Vacation – California Trip Part 2

Greetings!CA - Simi Valley (68)

Like I said before, while we were in California we visited a few places and did the touristy stuff!  One afternoon, we went to Hollywood.  We walked up and down Hollywood Blvd.  We had both been there before, but never together, so we enjoyed doing this with each other.  We found Steven Spielberg’s star.  I was there when he received it years ago and got to watch him accept it.  It was cool to see it again.

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We walked around for several hours watching the street entertainers and going in the shops looking for souvenirs.  I really can’t believe some of those entertainers actually make money!  We watched a group of guys make over $100 and all they did was do a flip over a couple of people!  We did see a really good one though.  It was a Harlem Globe Trotter and he was Awesome!

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We strolled through the shopping area next to the Chinese Theater and looked at the Hollywood Sign!

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After walking around Hollywood, we went to Rodeo Drive and around Beverly Hills.  I love California!  (I think it’s all the palm trees!) I wish we would have had more time to spend down there.

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Hollywood (8)The next morning, we got up and went for a drive.  The hubby didn’t really tell me where we were going except to the beach.  We got on the Malibu Canyon road, and I loved it!  I couldn’t talk him into stopping to take pictures.  He didn’t like driving on the side of a mountain, but I thought it was pretty cool.

FotorCreated6After we got off of it, we got on the Pacific Coast Highway.  After seeing this, I really wish I could live there.  To drive next to the ocean everyday would be awesome!  We saw so many surfers and paddle boarders.  I also really liked that several of the beaches that we passed had running trails on them.  I’m in love!  I would love to wake up every day and be able to see the ocean.  Being at the ocean just makes me really happy!

We ended up at the Santa Monica Pier.  I had never been there before and the hubby was really excited to take me.  Honestly I had never even heard of it before.  It was incredible!

FotorCreated7There was so much to look at.  The beach was big and beautiful.  The pier was full of people, and there were all kinds of little stores and carts to shop at.  I really loved that they had a food cart with only fresh fruit!   The amusement park was so cool!  I don’t like rides, but I loved that it was on the ocean.  We had a lot of fun walking down the midway and looking at all of the games.   While we were walking around there, we realized that the kids from Brazil who were in town for the Special Olympics were there.  We really enjoyed watching some of them play games and ride the rides.  They had so much joy and were so and excited about everything and it was adorable. FotorCreated8

After leaving the pier, we drove back down the Pacific Coast Highway and stopped in Malibu.  This was another place that I had never been.  We actually went down to the beach and walked in the water.  It was so cold!!  I don’t know how people were in there in their swimsuits.  We walked all along the beach and took a ton of pictures.  We had to get back in time for lunch, so we didn’t stay too long.

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On our way back to the airport, we went by Venice Beach.  This was my favorite beach of the whole vacation!  The beach was big and had white sand.  The mountains in the distance made the views so picturesque.  I also loved watching all of the sailboats.  When we left, we drove by Marina Del Ray.  I was shocked at how many sailboats were there.

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Overall it was an amazing trip!  I was so sad to leave, and I can’t wait until I can go back!

Summer Vacation – California Trip

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I thought I would share the second part of our vacation this summer.  After leaving Jamaica, we flew to LA to visit my mother in law.  We actually had a 5 hour layover in Dallas.  So, we went to Denny’s and then tried to nap in the airport, but it was FREEZING!!

2015-07-21 03.00.08Our flight left at 5 am and we tried to sleep on the way there, but it was a full flight and not very quiet.  It was also FREEZING!  So, we were still going purely on caffeine by the time we landed!   We got to LA early and picked up our rental car, and then got on the road.  She lives in Simi Valley, which is about 45 minutes away from LA.

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We hadn’t told her we were coming and she was so surprised and happy to see us.  Our first day there, we spent hanging out at her condo with her but we went back to our hotel early to get some sleep.  We hadn’t had a shower or much sleep since the morning before.  The next day we got up and went and took her to breakfast.  We ate at the First Street Café.  It was home cooking and was really good.  I had scrambled eggs with a biscuit and roasted potatoes.  The biscuits were made from scratch and were amazing!  I could’ve eaten a ton of them! first

After breakfast, we went driving around so that the hubby could show me where he lived when he was little.  He showed me his school, where he played baseball, and the places where he hung out.  I loved seeing this part of his childhood that I have only ever heard about.  It was really sweet to see how excited he was to share it with me.  That had to be my favorite part of this whole trip!

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We spent the next couple of days spending some quality time with my mother in law.  We ate at several different restaurants.  One of them was Toppers Pizza.  Hands down, this was some of the best pizza that I have ever had.  It wasn’t too greasy, and there was the perfect amount of sauce on it.  We had a salad bar and a pepperoni pizza.  The salad bar was fresh and it had a decent selection of toppings.  The only thing I didn’t like about it was that you could only make one trip.  Overall, I really enjoyed Toppers.

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Another restaurant we ate at was Don Cucos Mexican Restaurant.  I was not impressed with this one.  First of all, it was so dark in there, that it was really hard to even read the menu.  We ordered the Chili con queso for an appetizer and it was good.  It was very cheesy and delicious, but it was also really greasy.  I could put it on a tortilla and have a stream of grease run off back into the bowl.  We also ordered mixed fajitas for one to share.  The portion size was tiny, even for one person.  The meat was cut into bigger pieces, but there still wasn’t much compared to other Mexican restaurants we have eaten at.  The fajitas were tasty, and came with a lot of peppers and onions.  It was enough food for the both of us, but it was extremely pricey!!  I was amazed at how much our tiny portions of food cost.   So, while I did like the food, the atmosphere and the prices really turned me off of Don Cucos.

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The final place we ate was at Coco’s.  It is supposed to be home cooking and they also had a bakery.  I ordered the turkey and avocado croissant.  It was really good, and the turkey was fresh.  I got a ton of turkey on my sandwich.  My husband ordered a burger, and he didn’t really like it much.  Their French fries were really good though.  They were hot and crispy.  We also shared a piece of apple pie.  It was amazing!!  You could tell it was fresh and homemade!  I wish we could have eaten here again.

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We also ate a couple of fast food chains that we don’t have in Oklahoma.  We ate at In and Out burger, and I loved it!  I don’t eat burgers very much, so this was a really good treat!

We also tried Weinerschnitzel.  This was one of the hubby’s favorite places to eat as a kid, and he still loved it.  I didn’t really like it very much.  But I just ordered a plain hot dog.  It wasn’t anything special.

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We did visit a couple of places on our trip, but I will save those for the next post.

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Running Bonds

run love runandlivehappy.com

When I started running I thought it was something that you do alone.  I had no idea that the people that I would meet and the relationships that would be built would be so inspirational to me.  Runners are a different kind of people.  They are friendly and accepting.  It’s like we have an unspoken understanding of each other.  They make me feel like I belong in their group.  They are not judgmental or critical of each other.  We are people from all walks of life – all different shapes and sizes.  And even though it can be a competitive sport, all the runners that I have encountered genuinely seem to want others to be successful.  They are very encouraging and supportive. runners runandlivehappy.com

I have also seen how easy it is to bond over running. It’s something that we can talk about all day. We share our experiences with each other. We talk each other through the hard times. For me, this was unexpected but very much welcomed. I have come to realize that I am my own worst critic. I am very hard on myself and if I don’t perform the way I think I should I get very frustrated. It really helped me to have people encouraging me and building me up even when I knew I had a bad race. This went for my weekly runs as well. I love how I can talk about having a bad run with runner friends and not feel like they are judging me. They listen and share their bad run experiences. They form a good support system.

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I have made friends solely based on running. We have formed a bond around that. Runner friends are a good motivation source for me too.  If I have days where in not wanting to go run, even though I know I need to, when I hear about what an awesome run a friend had, then it makes me throw my excuses out and get out the door. I also love hearing about races that my friends do. It’s fun to hear their experiences and recommendations.

The best part is running races together! It is so much fun to experience this with my friends, and even my family. These are lifelong memories that we are making. There is just something inexplainable about sharing these accomplishments with the ones you love.

One of the best experiences that I can share with you is from the Oklahoma City Memorial Half Marathon. I was really excited about this race, and I felt like I was physically prepared. However, I had been having some pain in my shn the couple weeks before the race, but I was determined to do it. I started out strong and was really enjoying it! I was having a blast seeing all the spectators and reading their signs. I was even ahead of my planned time at the half way mark.  But, somewhere around mile 9 I started slowing down.  At this point it the race became completely mental for me. I kept telling myself that my leg hurt and I needed to walk. I started taking walk breaks and telling myself that I would be happy to just finish and that I didn’t care how long it takes me. But, even I knew as I thought these things that it wasn’t true. I would have been very upset and disappointed in myself.  I kept trying to force myself to run hard and make up for time that I was losing. But I just couldn’t make my body cooperate. I struggled with this battle for the next few miles. At mile marker 13 I honestly was finally giving up. I was feeling defeated. I started to slow to a walk and as I did, a girl, a perfect stranger, came by and grabbed my arm. She said she had followed me the entire race and she wasn’t letting me quit now. She said we were going to finish strong together. She talked me through the battle that I was having in my mind and ran beside me the entire last mile. When we crossed the finish line together she gave me a high five and told me great job. I have no idea who she was but I am so grateful to her for being there for me when I needed it the most.

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This is what I mean about runners being so encouraging. She could have just run right by me and not paid any attention. But she didn’t, and the encouragement that she showed me in the moment when I was at my worst will never be forgotten.Runandlivehappy.com

 

This is a big part of why I love running!

Why do you love running?