Friday, February 28, 2014

The Color Run: 2014 Kaleidoscope Tour

You may (or may not) remember when my husband and I did The Color Run in Portland this past fall. SO. MUCH. FUN. Seriously. Well this year, they're back - bigger and better than ever.

I told you before, I didn't know what to expect but we were pleasantly surprised by our experience. In fact, the thing I was MOST disappointed with was that I'd left my son at home. This is really a happy place, and a truly family friendly event. Don't feel like you'll be out of place if you don't have kids or if you leave your kids at home, just know (in my personal opinion) kids will actually love it. I think my 2 year old may or may not have appreciated the color being thrown at her throughout the course, but I can pretty much guarantee my (now) 6 year old will LOVE it.

In the interest of full disclosure, I'll tell you this - I'm being compensated with free registration for posting about this, but you already knew I love The Color Run and wrote about it before without being compensated. I wouldn't promote an event I don't believe in, folks.

Go to and search for the city nearest you. This event takes place all around the world, so definitely don't count yourself out before checking. You can even use the code COLOR5OFF to get $5 off a registration to any city.

Note: Code must be entered at time of registration, cannot be retro-applied. Also, please type the code in, do not copy/paste. Not for use with other promotions or sales. 

Go to to sign up and register. Then, once you've completed your runs (or even, WHILE you're running), be sure to share your pictures with me on Instagram and/or Twitter with the hashtag #Happiest5k. That way I can see you in all your colorful, kaleidoscope glory. 

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Another Baby has a Birthday

My first baby is 6 years old today. It's amazing how much he's grown in just one year. We started kindergarten in the fall, and that has been a HUGE transition (mostly for me). This kid loves school. And he's smart. Seriously. I'm not just saying that because I'm his mom, either. In December, he was already working on subtraction and reading 3rd grade level sight words.

It's ridiculous how proud I am of him, and not just for the academics. He is sweet, and loyal, and caring. I love that even when we fight (which is fairly often - we call it a battle of the wills), we always know that at any given time, we will hug and tell each other how much we love each other. I love that he can tell me when I'm being mean (even though that sometimes is defined by me saying he has to do homework before playing video games, etc.). I love that he wants to comfort me when I'm sick or feeling sad. And he does.

This kid, my kid, is amazing. From the day he was born, he has been a complete blessing in my life. Even the trials he puts me through - when he refuses to listen, or talks back, or whatever - it's all been worth it. And it's only been 6 years.

Happy birthday, Stink Bum.

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Budgeting for Financial Security: Part 3

This is something I'm pretty proud of and wanted to share. It's also incredibly personal, and I'm more than a little nervous sharing, but maybe it will encourage or inspire someone having their own financial struggles. This started out as a ridiculously long post, so I ended up splitting it into a series. Be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2!

budgeting for financial security: simple tips for becoming debt free

I did it!

Didn't we just pay off my husband's student loan? Well, this morning, I hit the final "make payment" button on my own Sallie Mae crutch. Aside from our mortgage payment (which is covered by our renters each month), we are entirely debt free!

I'm honestly excited for the day we are really 100% debt free and ready to buy our own house again (which will be a very different experience the next time around). It's a pretty incredible and empowering feeling as is, though.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Valentine's: with love from Portland

Valentine's is just a few days away, and you don't have anything for that special someone. Or maybe that's just me? (Am I always a procrastinator? Don't answer that.)

Anyway, I have a few special ideas that might appeal to your loved one - if your loved one happens to love good food. Like me. Ahem...

Valentine's specials/ gift ideas from Portland vendors

First and foremost, if you're looking for great recommendations for places to go on Valentine's - you may have come to the wrong blog. I've said it before, and I'll say it again (and again, and again) - we need to get out more. I can tell you that if you're looking for a special place (read, fun and not run-of-the-mill either) to satiate your sweet tooth, you should definitely stop in at Salt & Straw for some amazing ice cream.

For Valentine's, Salt & Straw has even collaborated with some of Portland's best small-batch chocolatiers: Sahagun Chocolates, Xocolatl de David, Missionary Chocolates, Alma Chocolate and Woodblock Chocolate. I am seriously drooling over the pictures on their website. I want to go to there. Like, right now. Except I'm snowed in, sort of. Check out there website to find the location nearest you, and also to get a peak at which flavor you'll want to try first. I'll tell you right now, my absolute favorite is Grandma Malek's Almond Brittle with Salted Ganache. It might be a mouthful to order, but that ganache more than makes up for it.
And now for some actual gifts from local businesses that you can purchase ahead of time, and you don't need to live in the Portland area to take advantage of a lot of these!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Be Mom Strong

Be Mom Strong: free fitness program w support & guidance from personal trainer @bemomstrong #bemomstrong
Some of you may be curious how I've been doing with all my fitness goals since becoming pregnant. You wouldn't be completely off base to think I set a lot of those to the side for the time being. I've definitely allowed myself to indulge in some extra treats with the "but I'm pregnant" mentality. Same goes for letting my regular exercise routine go to the way side.

Fortunately, thanks to some great habits I picked up through Shaklee, I'm getting through this pregnancy a whole lot healthier than my last two. It's taken me 20 weeks to gain the amount of weight I've normally put on in my first trimester alone. (You can imagine the related health issues I dealt with as a result of gaining so much weight so quickly!) This time, I'm indulging some, but being mindful of what I'm indulging in, how much, and how often. I'm trying to stay active, and I've genuinely referenced this guest post by Emma along the way. I even bought myself a maternity belt so I can get back into running (this belly DOES NOT want to stay put on runs, and it is SO uncomfortable to put up with). Unfortunately, I haven't gotten the chance to put it to the test, what with the rain and snow. But I promise to hang up the excuses before too long!

So if you're like me, and looking for some new exercise routines, here's something for you to do: check out Emma's new venture - Be Mom Strong. Trust me, it's not just for moms. It is, however, an excellent resource for busy people wanting to stay active and fit. It is also a great resource for people NOT wanting to spend a lot of money.

Along with fellow certified personal trainer and nutritional specialist, Caitlin, Emma shows you how to do real workouts with a real mom's schedule. Both ladies are even pregnant (CONGRATULATIONS, ladies!). All you have to do is subscribe to their YouTube channel, and you will get FREE workouts delivered to your inbox on a regular basis. Follow their Facebook page, and interact with these personal trainers WHENEVER YOU NEED THEM. They also have a Twitter account and an Instagram account you need to check out. And the very best part? You can get their top-notch advice and instruction for absolutely no charge!

Still need a reason to Be Mom Strong? Check out this video by Emma: 

What does it mean to you to be "mom strong"? What are some goals you have as a mom or parent - fitness related or otherwise? 

I was absolutely NOT compensated for this post. I just believe in what Emma is doing. You know that I didn't grow up with strong role models in my home for keeping a fit & healthy lifestyle, so I have enormous love and respect for what these ladies are working to accomplish. Your health is so very important, but no one can do the work for you. These ladies can help, though. 
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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Chef's Week PDX

I had the super awesome privilege of attending the Chef's Week PDX kickoff event at the Nines Hotel in Downtown Portland this afternoon. It was hosted in the Urban Farmer lobby.

Chef's Week PDX #chefsweekpdx
We braved the snowstorm to get the opportunity to meet with some of the minds behind Chef's Week and enjoy a few tasty appetizers put together by Chef Matt Christianson, executive chef of Urban Farmer. It was an added treat to get our very own Urban Farmer soap, made from beef tallow - this chef lets nothing go to waste!
Chef's Week PDX #chefsweekpdx
My husband doesn't normally get to attend things like this with me, but with all the snow and accidents on I-5, his work was cancelled and he came with. We were a little early, but loved the opportunity to soak in the atmosphere of the Nines.
Chef's Week PDX #chefsweekpdx

Chef's Week PDX #chefsweekpdx
If you hadn't heard of Chef's Week before, it's an awesome opportunity to try food from some AMAZING chefs from up and down the west coast. This is the first year for the event, and I feel confident saying it won't be the last. Each night, there is a dinner hosted at a different venue - each an amazing restaurant in its own right - and each night has its own theme. The themes for this year are Hearth and Turf, Present Culture, West Coast Modern, and West Coast 2014. The meals are a collaboration between various chefs that wouldn't ordinarily get to work together.

The events are all but sold out, so you should act fast if you want to get in on this amazing dining experience! Events run through the 9th. The chefs, restaurants and vendors taking part definitely care about their crafts, and it comes through in the taste, texture, and atmosphere.

I'm not fortunate enough to attend any of the dinners myself, but I would love if you could go, unabashedly take some pictures, and then share with me like crazy so I can live vicariously through you! I had the thom kha from Departure chef (and Chef's Week PDX co-founder) Gregory Gourdet last fall, and I still dream about it. If you're not able to go either, be sure to follow #chefsweekpdx on Instagram and Twitter to see all the tasty pictures I'll be drooling over!
Chef's Week PDX #chefsweekpdx
the view as we were leaving the Nines

What is your favorite restaurant these days? Any places on your "must try" list? My husband says my list is about 1,000 places long now! I think that just means we need to get out more. 

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Monday, February 3, 2014

2014 Favorite Things Giveaway (closed)

Welcome to the Favorite Things Giveaway Hop, hosted by the Cloth Diaper Revival

Each blogger participating has a great cloth diaper prize for you to win, worth at least $20, so after you enter mine, be sure to hop around to all the others in the linky!  Don’t forget to enter to win one the GRAND PRIZE for the event!

I had a really hard time deciding what I wanted to share with you. I'm not using cloth diapers right now, but it won't be much longer before our household is back in cloth! One of my favorite diapers with N was the bumGenius Freetime. I love the simplicity, and even though it's microfiber, the design allows the inserts to be fully cleaned. If you're interested in reading my review, you can go here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for entering and good luck!

Disclosure: The prize offered on this blog has been self-sponsored. It was purchased by myself and will be shipped by Sweetbottoms Baby Boutique. Cloth Diaper Revival and the Favorite Things participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations.

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