Saturday, June 23, 2012

New Running Shoes For Less...Find Out How

I thought I would post a blog about my new running shoes! I got myself a new pair of them this past week! A lovely pair of Saucony Progrid Guide 4 running shoes! See?

These are a stability type of running shoe because I have the genetic defect of having no arches (hey, we all have our mutations! ;) and I pronate - a lot. :) Makes for one sexy looking run! That means I need a stability shoe with some orthotic inserts. 

The place where I buy my shoes is The Running Room. It's only a block from my house so I love the convenience aspect. Also, they specialize in running shoes and their staff are trained to observe people walk and determine which type of shoe is best suited for your body and your sports needs. I've found that the people in the shop are quite friendly and informative. 

My lovely new shoes, guess how much I paid for them? $50. Yep, $50 for Saucony shoes! That's a bargain and that's what I need because I live on a tight budget. As anyone who works out a lot knows, having good shoes is very important! It can make all of the difference in the world and I was way overdue! Don't believe me that shoes are important? Well, then listen to Lee:

If you still don't believe Lee, see what a doctor says HERE.

The pair of shoes that I purchased are also selling for about $60.00 online. However, you have to consider that online you must also pay shipping. These shoes were actually shipped from another local store, to the one a block from me for free! I wanted to share with you some tips on how I get my bargain shoes.

1. Find the right shoe store for you and get to know the sales people. Since I have been going to The Running Room for a while, I have developed a relationship with the people in the shop and they recognize me when I walk in. One of the ways that I discovered my bargaining for workout shoes was through one of the workers. People who have an established relationship with a customer will be more likely to go out of their way to help you get a bargain.

2. You do not need this year's latest shoe, last year's shoe is the one you want. This is the principal way that I get my shoe bargains. The Running Room has their last year model shoes in their back room. Now, they may not put them out for all of us to shop from, but believe me, they have them. When I go in to by some new shoes, I never look at the shelf. What I do is go to a salesperson and tell them that I'd love to look at getting the same model of the shoe that I had last year (I really do tend to stick with the same models - if it's doing it's job and working well for me, why change it?) but that I am interested in knowing if they still have last year's model. Yes, they usually do. This year's model of the Progrid Guide running shoe, according to the Running Room's website, is running for $144.00. The only Saucony site says $110.00. Now, it could be appealing to have the newest model of this year's shoe, but hey, I can get that next year! :D Yes, the Progrid Guide 5 is 1.5 oz lighter than the Progrid Guide 4, but I'm okay with an extra 1.5 oz. I'm not okay with an extra $90.00.

3. Know the correct kind of shoes for you in case they don't have your model. I bet you're thinking, "Okay Miss Smarty Pants, now what if they don't have last year's model in the shoe?" They may not. They had to call a couple of stores for me to find this one in stock, in my size. However, if they do not have the model that you would like, make sure you know what type of running shoe works for you. I know I need stability shoes. If they didn't have my lovely Saucony shoe, I would have asked for other stability shoes in last year's models and I would have tried them on. I'm willing to bet they would be much less pricey than this year's model of other stability shoes.

There you have it! My three tips on bargaining for running shoes! You do not need to spend hundreds of dollars to have proper foot gear for working out! Having proper gear IS important, spending your life savings on them is not! Get out there, find your favorite shoe shop, get to know your sales people and get bargaining! Most importantly, get out to enjoy your new shoes! :D

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Goal Getter Gurl: Kyla Gagnon

Today, I get to do my FAVORITE type of post - a Goal Getter Gurl spotlight! As much as I love entertaining you all with the mundane details of my life, talking about other AMAZING women who are striving towards their own goals makes me even happier! I love to support and highlight other women who are working hard to accomplish their dreams!

As such, my spotlight for this post is Miss Kyla Gagnon. Kyla is an amazing athlete and woman! I actually haven't even met her in the flesh, but I met her on the good old Facebook! Kyla is beautiful inside and out! If you take one look at her Facebook page, you will see that she is quite a goal chaser (as well as accomplisher!). Having a look at her page initially, I have to admit, I was a little intimated to approach her! Seriously, I didn't know what this woman was going to be like when I first started liking her posts, following her page and eventually instant messaging her. I have to say though, Kyla is VERY approachable and SO nice - not to mention that I love her sense of humor (especially on some of her posts)! I've enjoyed the chats I've had with her about health, fitness, running a business and goals. I also think that she is such an awesome role model to women - proving that you can be fit (STRONG!), have some muscle, and still be beautiful and feminine! Seriously, try some of her workouts - you will get your butt kicked BUT you'll end up pretty fit! ;) If you want to follow Kyla, consider checking out her Facebook page, her workout page, or her business page. Personally, I love them all! I'm sending a big THANKS to Kyla for her post and alas, here is a post from our Goal Getter herself: Kyla Gagnon.


I grew up as an only child with two incredible parents who raised me from separate homes but with the same vision and love when it came to raising their daughter. Their vision was to guide me into becoming the best version of myself that I possibly could be. This by no means meant learning to be “perfect” at everything, but instead simply trying anything.

There was something about the fitness industry that caught my attention, and then really held onto it. Graduation was coming quickly - and with it came slight panic in my little head. All of my peers were prepping for University or College and here I was, still unsure of where I would be and what I wanted to do.

My mom who took herself back to school when I was two (She was 30 when she entered her Nursing program) would sit with me and calm me down with reminders that I am young (I was 17, lets be honest I had my whole life ahead of me). It was OK if I needed time to find what I loved, what I believed in and what I wanted to spend time, energy and money on, rather than taking some university program and spending tens of thousands of dollars only to end up doing something completely different. My Dad would tell me the same thing when we would talk, almost word for word.

NOW, by no means does this mean that my parents thought it was ok for me sit back and do nothing. I had a job and I paid my own bills while I thought seriously about my future, but was never pressured in any way to RUSH the process.

Fitness remained option number one in my mind and really in my heart. Nothing made me feel the way fitness did and so I decided that THIS is how I was going to make my money and live my life.
Was it REALLY possible to earn a living doing what you ALREADY love doing??? I was about to find out.....

Today, 8 years later, I can happily and confidently say that YES, indeed you can earn a living doing what you love. This last year was my first year flying solo as a trainer, not connected with a team, studio, or gym. Just ME and my clients.



For 8 years, I have really had nothing to concern myself with other than developing training programs for my clients and seeing them through. The business end was always sort of taken care of, either by the gym management or the studio owners. Clients for the most part were given to me or referred to me through other clients. Advertising, marketing, budgeting, client tracking, equipment purchasing, fees, know, all the back end part of running a business; this was now on ME. By no means was I or am I complaining...NOPE, loving it, but it's an ongoing lesson for me.

This has been a year of serious goal setting and planning to ensure that this business that I love SO much not only stays going but RUNS THE WORLD! :) Each day offers new lessons for me and thus I am creating new goals.

More recently I have started a website that focuses on short intense do-ANYWHERE workouts; has become my newest baby, and an ongoing goal of evolving the site to thousands and eventually millions of viewers and members. Next in line, and it has been a LONG ongoing project, for whatever reason, is my BUSINESS WEBSITE - is on her way to the top!!!! Creating the right site is harder than I thought it would be. I can see a vision in my mind, but turning that into reality is a project that requires attention and patience. Thats the thing with setting goals.

Patience and understanding is so important, especially when it comes to yourself. You are not super human, as much as you may feel like it from time to time. You are simply human with side steps and obstacles. Set your goals out in front of you with very clear instructions to yourself of what needs to be done in order to accomplish them. For ME, the list for my BUSINESS WEBSITE looked something like this:

Research sites that I like, and list WHAT I like about them.
Discuss options with the 3 web designers ( names not important for this:).
Write the content for each page.
Collect photos, testimonials, videos etc .
Research price options for all the “extra's”.
Determine what I want versus what I need..... Be smart!!

And of course a million other little things, but they are all for a purpose and therefore worth more than the somewhat overwhelmingness of THE LIST. Instead of looking at the great big list of things that need to be done, and trying to imagine what the end result will actually look like, slow down and start at the top. Start with the mini goals, that NEED to be done in order to reach the final dream. Check them off as you go. This feels so great, so refreshing and you begin to feel 'lighter'.

Kyla and her pup, Jackson - who she says brings her daily balance! :)
Some dreams take a lifetime to reach. Some happen in what seems like overnight. Each requires their own mini lists of to do's in order to reach the end, and each is equally important. Whatever you do, whatever steps in your way, just remember what it is that you are going after, and be SURE you are true to your WHY.

Your why is more important than anybody's “You Can't”. So just go do it!!!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wednesday Recipe

I've been so excited for this post for WEEKS now, I just didn't have any time to experiment before! However, a cooking extravaganza over the last couple of days led me to some new discoveries! The last 2 days I've been cooking up a storm! I had no more snacks or good clean food in the house and it was time to stock up! I spent 2 days, in the Minnesota heat wave, with my oven on and cooking in my bikini! ha ha But I got it all done! Here's a pic!

I made tons of amazing DAMY Health recipes; lemon avocado pudding (sounds awful, but seriously SO good), granola bars, taco bites, DAMY crackers, black bean brownies, a cauliflower and sweet potato soup and apple cinnamon almond flour muffins (from the DAMY blueberry muffin recipe but I added cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves instead with small apple pieces). For any of those recipes (except the soup), you should check out the DAMY Health website and click on the blog section! Deliciousness!

Clean Dark Chocolate PB "Crunch" Balls

These PB Balls were an idea I had on my mind to make. I had planned on doing it differently but than when I had an "accident" in the kitchen yesterday while making a DAMY Health recipe, my problem was solved! So part of this recipe is based on the Black Bean PB Brownies made by DAMY.

1. Make the PB portion of the DAMY Health Black Bean PB Brownie Recipe on low heat in a saucepan. I think this is supposed to be smooth and runny, but when I mixed all of these together in the saucepan, it became a Reese's PB Cup-like texture. I clearly left mine on a bit too long but it turned out great! Mix this with a spoon until it becomes stiff. It will roll up into a ball in the saucepan.

2. Roll small scoops of the PB mixture into approx 1" balls. You must do this right away before the PB cools down too much.

3. Melt about 1/2 C dark chocolate (I use Trader Joe's 72% cacao dark chocolate) in a double boiler.

4. Mix in 1/3 C Food For Life Almond Cereal (I LOVE this stuff in smoothies or with greek yogurt and fruit!)

5. Dip PB Balls into the chocolate mixture, coating entire ball.

6. Place these onto a piece of parchment paper and put in the freezer to harden. When hard, you may store these in your refrigerator or keep frozen as well.

Clean Dark Chocolate "Crunch" Bar

1. Melt about 1/2 C dark chocolate (I use Trader Joe's 72% cacao chocolate) in a double boiler.  

2. Mix in 1/3 C Food For Life Almond Cereal.

3. Spoon these into molds (I used some small square tupperware containers that aren't too deep).

4. Place in the freezer to harden.

5.  When hard, remove from freezer and turn container upside down and tap on a counter or plate so that the Crunch Bar will fall out.

6. You may store these in your refrigerator or keep frozen as well.

Enjoy your lovely treats everyone!

And as always, remember - it's Wednesday! You're halfway there!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Keep on keeping on.

As you all know, I own a bike tourism company, Minneapolis By Bike. It's my first FULL season of the bike tours and it's been going well! Of course, I would love to have MORE business, but Rome wasn't built in a day and neither was my business. It will take time for it to get more well-known and mentioned to visitors here but I've been doing my best at getting the word out. One great thing that occurred was that I was able to do a deal with the City Pages, a Minneapolis-based newspaper. I didn't sell heaps of tours, but enough to fill up at least one day, per weekend in June which just getting out and doing tours alone is great advertising! 

I did a tour today and we JUST missed the hard rain at the end of the tour! We got to see an arts festival this weekend as well as visit local farmers' markets. 

One of the reasons I LOVE to do this company is that it involves 2 of my passions. Firstly, it involves fitness. I get to take people around in an environmentally friendly way, that helps them to be active. I hope that people who are relocating here (as was one of the cases today) or even live here, become more inspired to use their bikes to get around when they see what a great city that Minneapolis is for biking. Secondly, it involves my passion for travel and meeting new people. I'm a talker. I love to talk and meet all kinds of new people and being an avid traveler myself, I've done tons of tours and I think I know what makes a good tour. Being able to show people around my wonderful city is a joy!

Are there things that could be improved? Yes. Is there more equipment I would love to have? Of course! However, as a new business, I have to make do. But I am loving the business thus far and it's giving me and opportunity to really grow as a person as well. Each new tour is a new learning experience! Plus, I'm so grateful to the businesses who have really helped me out. Re-Cycle Bike Shop and Recovery Bike Shop, who are giving me a space to keep my stuff and helping me with maintenance have been an awesome help! 

As I mentioned, my real difficulty has been to get this business known. My friend, Kate, had a wonderful idea to stand on the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis, as a lot of visitors go there, and hand out flyers. I did this on Friday and I think that even if I didn't get people to sign up, I DID get the word out more. I think I'll continue to flyer on days that I don't have tours booked. 

Handing out flyers on the bridge.

One thing that I am sure about is that this is a big goal and passion of mine and although business does not happen quickly, I will not be quick to give up. I've had a lot of positive feedback about the business and I know it's only a matter of time before the word gets out there so I will keep on trucking on!

Source: via Alyssa on Pinterest

So this is just a little post to remind myself, as well as the rest of you, keep on believing and chasing your goals! They will come with time. Anything worth attaining comes with a lot of hard work and the key is to not give up when things don't go as planned or as quickly as we'd like them to be. Keep on keeping on! 

What are you currently trying to achieve? What have been some of your obstacles?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wednesday Recipe

I'm back on track again with posting! Yea! This even makes two posts today! So here's another wonderful recipe! I have another one planned for next week that I can't wait to try and make, but I need some time to do it this weekend. For now, this is what I did this week:

Savory Brown Rice Protein Pancake

This doesn't really look like much of a pancake. Truth is, my pancake sort of fell apart when I was making it. Just imagine a perfectly round cake in your head for a better effect. :)

I often times have protein pancakes in the morning. You know, oats, fruit of choice, egg whites, cinnamon, etc. One day for lunch though, I was craving something savory. I had my oatmeal for the day so making a  regular protein pancake for lunch was out of the question. I didn't have many proteins ready and available to whip something up so I was pretty much limited to greek yogurt and eggs. I had a brilliant idea suddenly. Why not a savory brown rice protein pancake?! Then...I got to work!

To make this delicious beauty:

Dice peppers (of all colors) and onion into small square pieces. As much as desired. I would say half cup at least. Saute these in olive oil in a pan. Next, in a bowl put 4 egg whites. Add to egg whites 1/2 C  plus another spoonful of cooked brown rice. Mix these together. Add brown pepper and salt as desired. You could also add other spices depending on what you like: cayenne pepper or some tabasco sauce if you like spicy food, garlic powder, chives, or any other spices you enjoy. I also add a small handful of shredded mozzarella cheese. When peppers and onion are cooked add to the bowl and mix all ingredients together thoroughly. Now, cook this in olive oil in a pan till thoroughly cooked. 

You have your savory brown rice protein pancake! Enjoy!

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

Remember, you're halfway there! :)

Clean Sweep!

A couple of weeks ago, I went on a cleaning mission. For at least a week, I had a box of glass containers that my father gave to me from my grandma's house. They were the cool glass ones with the flip top lids and rubber airtight seals on top that close with a metal clamp. Know the ones I'm talking about? Ah - These:
 As they sat in my path of walking for a week, I finally had to do something about it. I had decided to replace my old storage containers with grandma's. Grandma's containers needed a good washing though, (as did my place), so I thought I would get it all done in one afternoon.
I washed and dried the containers and started to fill them with the food items in my cupboards; noodles, quinoa, nuts, oats. I looked at a lot of my old containers and other items in my pantry. It occurred to me that, most of them, I hadn't touched in a year. These were foods like white flour, white sugar, maple syrup (made of corn syrup), maseca, and on and on. Foods that I've tried to eliminate from my diet. I was thinking about why I still had these around. I remembered having kept some of them thinking that maybe if I had to bring treats to a dinner or gathering, I would use them. Looking at my overflowing cupboard I realized, I didn't NEED to keep these foods. Not only do I not include them in my diet, but why do I feel the need or want to feed that to my friends?! After all, DAMY Health has plenty of recipes on hand that I can make and bring to gatherings. Most of the time, when I bring these foods, nobody knows the difference anyway!

I decided to make a clean sweep of my cupboards  - just like I do my closets each year! Anything that hadn't been touched in a year was gone! Look at everything I found!

Shortening, corn starch, powered sugar, maple syrup (made with corn syrup), biscuit mix, dry milk, pancake mix! Stuff I don't include in my diet anymore!

Flour, maseca, white sugar...

No more!

Gone are the non-clean foods!

What I ended up with though, was much more spectacular and CLEAN!

Popcorn, noodles, nuts, oatmeal in Grandma's containers.

Much less crowded and happier shelves!

While I was doing that, I figured why stop there?! I also finally got some organization done for my business stuff! A calendar to write down all my tours on and a little box to put all of my bills in when they arrive for accounting. Attached it to the back of my door and moved my old board to a new location on the back of another door.

I'm newly organized now and I have no refined sugars or flours to make goodies! It's going to be all clean goodies at parties from now on! And why not?! Then I'll have an option to eat and won't be eating any of the bad stuff! :)

How many of you have cleaned out your cupboards of the items you don't want to include in your diet?

Friday, June 08, 2012


I've been soooooo MIA! Per usual, it's not lack of wanting to blog or having subjects to blog about, rather it's being BUUUSY! It was a really rough week and a half for me when my coworker was gone on a trip at my day job. Plus, it was the extremely busy period for my job. Every end of the month becomes very busy in the food shelf. I worked late every night and was simply mentally taxed by the time I got home! It actually reminded me a bit of my OLD job and how I felt every day when I was working there. If anything, it was a healthy reminder to me that that is NOT what I desire for a career. In this instance, it was just a chance occurrence that my coworker was out of town during the busy period. Normally, it's much more manageable when we are both there to share the work. - When work feels overwhelming, remember that you're going to die
Awful...yet funny! :)

Another thing that has kept me busy is the business! But I am HAPPY to say that it's been keeping me a bit busy! I've been getting more requests for tours now and I'm very excited about it because it means the word is getting out more and hopefully the opportunity for growth exists! I did a special with a local paper here to offer a deal. It didn't sell many (which is okay because I took a huge cut in money I would get from the tours) but it did get me a few and it was good exposure. I'm hoping to keep getting more! :) The last couple of weeks I have had my first tours with "strangers" (people that I didn't know or have any connection with before). They were great experiences! I was really nervous about doing a good job and impressing them. Not knowing what they would think about the tours. The people on both tours seemed to have a good time. Here are some pics from the tours!

I have some other tours booked this weekend as well as for the next couple of weekends. I'm looking forward to them! I also get to give an extremely special tour to my sister and her family when they come to visit from Colorado later this month! I can't wait to see all my nieces and nephew and be able to take them out for a fun bike ride around town!

Now that work has calmed down a bit, I'll try and get back to more posts! Good to be back! :)