Wine Me Up

Did you know that tomorrow is National Picnic Day? (Don’t worry, neither did I.) But when Beso Del Sol Sangria wanted to send me a box of wine to help us celebrate the occasion, who was I to turn them down? I was a bit skeptical at first but don’t be fooled, this isn’t your stereotypical boxed wine.

Created from a combination of red wine with Mediterranean fruit extracts and sugar, Beso Del Sol Sangria is the first premium 100% natural sangria with a bag-in-a-box on the market. In addition to a great taste, Beso Del Sol is a fantastic value – each 3L box is the equivalent of four bottles of 750ml bottles! (That’s a lot of wine…even for me :P) The packaging is light and easily portable – easily fitting in a backpack or picnic basket. Additionally, the technology used ensures that each sip stays fresh for up to six weeks after opening…just in case you’re not ready to drink all 3L in one sitting. But the best part? Each box of Beso Del Sol retails for about $20! Where can you get 4 bottles of wine for $20? (Um, if you do know a place like this, send the info my way!)

beso-del-sol-sangria

We shared the box with our neighbors during a game night. We added in pear, orange, and green apple, but the taste still was a bit too tame for me. However, our neighbor had a differing opinion, saying it had an astringient aftertaste. Neither the JA nor I picked up on that, but it could also be that the wine wasn’t fully chilled or that the fruit was affecting her glass differently than ours. In the end, while the wine was great on it’s own, for me, it would also be good with a little added extra kick of brandy or other liquor.

All in all, I’d definitely recommend it as an on-the-go option this spring/summer. I see Beso Del Sol Sangria being a great option for outdoor concerts, tailgating, a barbecue, or for the beach! Connect with Beso Del Sol on Facebook and Twitter for more information.

Disclaimer: I was provided a complimentary box of Beso Del Sol Sangria for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Find this review helpful? Find others like it on my Reviews & Try It Tuesday page!

A Bad Blogger and Sisterly Love

I was a bad blogger this weekend and only took a few photos. Therefore, we’re going to do a quick recap and move on to more important things.

- Easter Vigil: The JA had a former student enter the church on Saturday night at Easter Vigil. It was the first for both of us. While the lengthy service wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be, it wasn’t as spectacular as we had hoped. But the smile on our young friend’s face and his excitement to be a part of the Church was enough to overshadow anything.

- Will Run for Brunch: Yesterday morning, we ventured out to the BWI trail so I could complete my long run. I had originally planned to do a full 13.1, but paused my watch and think I only managed approx. 11 miles. I felt much better mentally and physically this time around (yay no foot pain!) but am certainly feeling the aftermath today. Time to foam roll!

While I was tending to my potential aches and pains, the JA made breakfast. French toast, bacon and orange slices? Yes, please!

- Easter shenanigans. Since our families live so close together, we try to see both sides on holidays. We dropped Watson at my parent’s house, visited the JA’s side for a few snacks and hellos, then returned to my parent’s house for dinner. His parents joined us and we all shared a delicious meal together.

And now, to the important part: today is Nettifred’s birthday! A lady never reveals her age, so let’s just say she’s looking good for being so young :) Happy birthday to the best sister around; I don’t even want to think of how different my life would be without you in it. xoxo

What was marvelous about your weekend? (Mine definitely was all the food!)

Linking up with Katie at Healthy Diva Life for Marvelous in My Monday!

Linking up with Katie at Healthy Diva Life for Marvelous in My Monday!

Spring Breakin’

Wednesday afternoon began our school’s Spring Break. Since staff has to report next week, that left us with four days of true relaxation. However it’s also Easter weekend, meaning that we’re gathering with family this weekend.

Therefore, we decided yesterday and today would be the laziest days. We kicked off the faux weekend with dinner at one of our favorite restaurants.

Prosecco cocktail. Because bubbly drinks are apparently my signature thing now.

Prosecco cocktail. Because bubbly drinks are apparently my signature thing now.

Only to return home to find someone who wasn’t exactly in the holiday spirit.

Sign says: I hate Easter eggs. That wreath was hanging above our couch - the one that W's prohibited from touching.

Sign says: I hate Easter eggs. That wreath was hanging above our couch – the one that W’s prohibited from touching.

Yesterday, we stayed in bed late and indulged ourselves with some puppy cuddles. When we finally emerged, it was time for a quick run then a trip to see one of my best friends and my godson. He’s getting so big and it was such a treat to see both of them!

Be still my heart.

Be still my heart.

Aunt Jess? Pick up the phone!

Aunt Jess? Pick up the phone!

We had another lazy morning today and again have no set plans. This is exactly what we both needed to invigorate and energize us for the week ahead!

What’s your favorite way to relax?

Hold On Tight!

It snowed here in Baltimore last night. Yes, snow. In April. Girlfriend is not happy. Where is the weather from the weekend?! Bring back my spring temperatures!

snow 4-15

Even though it was cold and rainy last night and I would have much rather stayed inside, I offered to sub Barre Fusion class. I’ve been taking things really easy since my race on Saturday, and it felt good to get back to a booty-busting workout. Having a ballet barre installed at the gym has given me the change to experiment with different exercises. Yesterday we did an ab sequence using the barre and, let me tell you, it provided a whole different level of burn!

If you don’t have access to a ballet barre, this workout can be done by holding on to anything over your head – the edge of a bed, the back of a couch, a kitchen counter or dining room table are some ideas. Make sure that you have enough space that you’re leaning back enough to thoroughly engage those abs!

hold on tight

Notes:
Make sure to protect your back – lean back on to the bony part of your glute and feel the engagement in your abs before you start this routine.

The hover part of the last exercise is for your non-working leg. I like to alternate the lift between legs and keep the lower leg hovering above the ground. You can easily modify this by doing the move with only one leg and keeping the other leg on the ground.

As always, let me know if you try it out and if you like it!

Like this routine? Check out others on my Workouts page!

Disclaimer: I am not a certified fitness professional, just a gal who likes to create and vary her exercise routines. If any of these moves hurt (in a bad way), stop and consult a professional.

Q & A

In the past few days, I’ve really been feeling the love from fellow bloggers. I recently (like, within the past four days) was nominated for two Liebster Awards and even though I answered questions during the award’s first inception, I found the questions to be fun this time around and decided to play along again :)

liebster2

The Liebster Award is an award given to bloggers by bloggers! Neat idea, huh? The idea is to nominate smaller up and coming blogs in order to get them a little more exposure. Thank you Ashley at The Small But Mighty Runner and Mary at Four the Health of It for your support and nominations! I was also nominated by Kaitlin of California Endless Summer back in January, but I think my time’s run out on that one. Regardless, make sure you head over to their blogs and check ‘em out!

I’m taking a few questions from each survey, so bear with me:

From Mary: In honor of spring, what is your favorite outside activity?
Running. if you would have told me that last year, I would have laughed in your face but it’s true. Second favorite activity? Hanging out on our back porch being lazy. Life’s all about balance, people!

From Ashley: Name a food that you have tried to like over and over again but just cannot stand… Overnight oats. It’s a texture thing. I can’t get over the semi-mush of fruit and the consistency of the oats. No, thank you.

overnight oats

From Mary: What was your first car? Loved it? Hated it?
Sammie the Saturn. My parents surprised me with a 1997 mint green Saturn when I was in high school. I was elated. He got me from place to place, and I always could pick my car out in a lot!

From Ashley: What is your guilty pleasure? I would have to say I have two – cookies/cakes and craft beer.

From Mary: Do you have a theme song? Hahaha. I’ve had people tell me that they think of me when certain songs play, so I guess so? It can change from time to time, but the dong that always gets me is Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’.

dont stop

From Ashley: Who was your first celebrity crush? Oooh. I might be dating myself, but Jonathon Brandeis from SeaQuest DSV. A close second was JTT in Home Improvement.

From Mary:Name one gadget you cannot live without. This can apply to any part of your life. My iPhone. My husband hates it, so I’m trying to break its hold on me.

iphone

From Ashley: What have you learned about yourself through blogging? How much I love writing and how big of a stress release it is for me. I’ve done a lot of thinking over this keyboard and writing a blog is way cheaper than therapy. Plus, y’all give such good advice! :)

From Mary: If you could describe yourself in one word, what would that be? Passionate. I’ve been told that I feel a lot. I’m fiercely loyal, strong opinioned, and ready to go to fight for anything I care deeply for/about.

From Ashley: What exercise do you despise doing the most? Well, I don’t really like stretching, but know it will benefit me in the long run. Here are five stretches I hate to love.

Thanks again for the nominations, ladies. Great questions!

Today, you get two options: Answer one of the above questions or post one that you’d like me to address!

Productivity, Porch Sittin’, and Another PR

This weekend was gorgeous. Finally, it’s feeling like spring! My hope is that it remains spring-like for another month or so before the humidity kicks in and Baltimore goes from breezy & cool to hot & sticky.

We took full advantage of the weather by racing, relaxing on the porch and sprucing up our yard. Friday started with some “just because” flowers, and ended with seafood pasta and we had a candlelit dinner on the deck. Both the food and the dining conditions were divine. I forgot how nice it is to eat outdoors!

just because flowers

candelit dinner

Saturday morning, we were up fairly early for the Sole of the City 10K. Put on by Charm City Run, the race winds through the streets of Baltimore. This year, the race benefitted the Erika Brannock Fund, a local woman injured at the Boston Marathon last year. Again, the day was perfect – starting a little chilly and warming up throughout the morning. As the JA and I entered the race area, we saw our friend Renee, whose mission was to take some photos along the race course. She succeeded, capturing these gems.

sole city 2014 1

sole city 2014 2

I felt really good during the race. At packet pickup, I purchased a plantar fasciitis sleeve for my foot and liked how it gave my arch the support it needed. The course itself was nice, but challenging. I taught barre on Thursday night and my quads were tight as a result. I did a ton of stretching prior to the race, but was still a little uneasy. The last thing I wanted was to come out of this race in worse shape than I went in. I ran the race without headphones and me legs were not happy that last portion seemed on a constant incline.

However, they could have been unhappy that I was testing them so. I know I said I wanted to take things easy, but I knew I could beat my previous time (58.52). I’m happy to report that I blew it out of the water – 58.11.9! My foot did start to twinge a bit post-race, but once I got out of my shoes and into flip flops, it was much happier. I haven’t had any additional problems since, so fingers crossed it holds up for 13.1 in a few weeks!

We spent the rest of the afternoon doing some spring cleaning and doing more porch sitting. We invited our neighbors over for cocktails and spent another day outdoors. Sunday I had to work an event and left the JA to tackle our backyard. The winter was brutal on our grass and we’re currently looking to remedy that situation. We’ve now got a patchwork puppy and a patchwork backyard! Let’s hope it fills in soon!

so.much. seed.

so.much. seed.

How was your weekend? Spend any time outdoors?

Linking up with Katie at Healthy Diva Life for Marvelous in My Monday!

Linking up with Katie at Healthy Diva Life for Marvelous in My Monday!

Friday Five: Stretches I Hate to Love

I’ve mentioned before that stretching is not my strong suit. I tend to reserve time for my workout, but not a ton for the pre-and post- workout recovery period.

Yet, since starting to run (and especially with training for my first half marathon) I’ve noticed a big difference in my body after I get a good stretch/foam roll session in and when I don’t. My problem areas are my glutes, hamstrings, hips, and calves. I know I need to target these areas and the stretches always benefit me in the long run, but oof, man I love to hate these stretches when actually doing them.

I apologize in advance for my stick figures.

1. Downward-Facing Dog. I really struggle with down dog. When coming into the position, my palms sweat and I start slipping. Add to this that I have long arms, and it can make for a bit of an awkward pose for me. Upside? My hamstrings and glute muscles get a deep stretch.

down dog

2. Pigeon pose. So restorative, but ooh – the hips! Working on getting the foot up and the hip down.

pigeon

3. Kneeling quad stretch. This is how my stretch looks. Ideally, the back foot should be in the hand. Hurts so good, and is definitely worth it in the end.

kneeling quad

4. Standing Wide Legged Forward Bend. Again, working the back of the legs. Especially when I’m trying to get the crown of my head to the floor, it’s a constant push.

forward bend

5. Seated Hip Opener. Activating the majority of my problem areas, this stretch is one of the ones I normally do immediately following a run. Sometimes I rock it back and lay flat on my back. Either way, it’s a great stretch for me!

seated calf