The Gluten-free & Allergen Friendly Expo (GFAF Expo), is a wonderful small event to attend if your’re new to gluten-free living. While not so beneficial for veterans, it’s a safe place to learn about some big name and small name brands, companies, and maybe even learn something new at the speaking sessions they hold throughout the weekend long expo. This was my second time ever going to the GFAF Expo, this years as an official blog ambassador. While it was smaller than 2 years ago (not sure why), there were still a few highlights and some fun products I want to share with you all!
I’m going to pretend it’s still Christmas, at least until New Years. I mean, don’t you feel like Christmas is extended through January 1st as well? I always did (Hallmark does too….Christmas movies 24/7 until January!) Anyway. I’m here to do my obligatory recap of the beautiful Christmas holiday. Mostly in bad photos and rambles. Ready……?
First up was Christmas Eve at my grandparent’s (mom’s side) house. All the usual and it was wonderful to see all my family again after not seeing them for a very long time.Read More
It’s recap time! What a whirl-wind week. And now I need to gear up for DC on Monday. So much stimulation, so much to take in, in such a short time. But let’s start from the beginning. On Saturday night I went over to my grandparents to sleep and then wake-up and have my grandfather drop my mom and I off at Newark airport. Our flight was at 8:30 and of course we got there early and had to wait for o so long. I get so antsy sitting like that. O and a side note. I still have not gone in one of the new X-Ray scanners! I was specially approved by TSA with a yellow card, to just go through the metal detector and not take off my outerwear or shoes. Awesome! No radiation 😉
We landed in Greenville, SC around 10:20ish and then it was time to grab our little rental Ford Fiesta and hit the road to our hotel in Spartenburg. My mom requested early check-in but of course that was a no go and we couldn’t check-in. We decided to just head out to the Wofford campus and start our day…after lunch of course. We ended up at Fresh Market. Might I say that place is foodie heaven! Organic specialty food everywhere. The produce was all spectacular and flawless. And the best thing…they had…PSPs! When I saw those purple sweets I pretty much died right there. Too bad I couldn’t get any 🙁 I did pick up 2 organic Honey Crisps though. They were perfect! For lunch we grabbed massive salads at the salad bar which were delicious, simple and quick.Read More
Isn’t there always a sense of sadness the day after Christmas? I always get sad Christmas night. I know it will go by way to fast and it does. Everyone seemed to really rush the lead up to the day this year and now it is over. 365 more days until it comes again :/ The Christmas music gets ripped from the air, the love and spirit are quickly forgotten, the Christmas movies end (but not yet on Hallmark! I was so happy to see they will still be playing them for a few days…I have it on now 😉 ). So let’s relive the last few days in a re-cap! This way we can look back at the moments any day we want. And I call this the last Christmas because this is the last year before I go off to college and things will just be different next year. I won’t be home for the lead up an it is the last time I will really be a “kid” I feel at Christmas. SO I really want to savor this year as much as possible. Let’s begin (and mostly pictures because those are the best right?)!
Before we left I had a special gift to give my mom. Blue Nile reached out to me to do a review of their jewelery and I got to pick between a lovely branch necklace of crystal bracelet for the “Get One, Give One” campaign. I chose the necklace and they sent me two. One for myself and one to giveaway. I decided to give the other to my mom. She loved it and now we have matching necklaces to wear 🙂 You guys can still use their holiday 10% off discount code, BNHH10, up until 12/31! Check out their site, they have some really beautiful and affordable jewelry 🙂
At my grandparents house (my mom’s side). We arrived around 3:30, talked (had a surprise announcement from my aunt and uncle, Congratulations were in order! 😉 ), ate dinner, opened stockings (for us kids), then presents, and ended with dessert. A typical lovely Christmas Eve 🙂
(What will they think of next? A sewer dump play set. Crazy stuff!)
( My grandma got all us girls infinity scarves. Mine is shades of blue and perfectly warm! Love it!)
(see those gingerbread men…ya…those are what I miss eating. They were mocking me, haha! But I was not without cookies! I made my own for like the first time ever and can proudly say I actually ate Christmas cookies on Christmas Eve and Christmas this year! Woohoo, win!
And my mom made herself some gluten-free (completely NOT vegan) cupcakes, in case she didn’t like the cookies I made, haha! I took a picture before they were frosted. She was a little disappointed with them. They were a boxed mix (as she is not a cook or baker). They called for buttermilk too and we didn’t have any so I told her about the vegan method of adding some lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to the milk to make your own and she thought I was crazy. Haha!
Well I woke-up my typical time, tip-toed down to check out Santa’s offerings, and headed back upstairs to wait for the lazy ones to wake-up 😉
And the Spiralizer I got! (Hello Zucchini noodles!). And…the greatest thing ever…
(P.S. My family loved the gifts I made them, but I will be putting that all in a post by itself because it deserves its own spotlight!) Then my brother, dad, and I got ready to head to my other grandparents house in PA for the day. It was great to see them as well as my cousins as we don’t get to very often.
And their crazy huge (6-year-old) Rottweiler named Tonka. Scary…But once he sniffed and slobbered on us all, my grandpa kept him on a leash and in the other room, (away from me, thank god). He is cute, but I am just to nervous around animals. Although he was a ham in front of the camera. he stayed so still and posed for each of my shots! Like a sentinel keeping guard.
All in all it was a lovely Christmas Eve and Christmas. A little different than our past years, but it was still okay, I am not complaining. I hope you all had a lovely last few days and are continuing to make memories through the next week up to New Years! It is still the happiest time of year right, so make it the best it can be! I see you all tomorrow with a short Friday Finisher, nothing to lengthy this week. But now I am off to spend the day with my family, finish up my January deadline college apps, haha, almost done! And whatever else I feel like doing, Like devising recipes to make in my blender. O and I got Plate to Pixel, so I need to read up and work on my photography skills! So far the book is beautiful and seems like it will be very helpful!
So tell me:
How was your Christmas? Share your memories, I would love to hear them!
Did Santa treat you well?
Hey friends, happy Tuesday! As you know I was invited a few weeks ago to by Grafica Group which is a social media marketing group to come out to The Live Well Sports and Health Festival for The Summit Medical Group which uses them for marketing and social media. I got to review the event and conduct some interviews with Olympic athletes Tim Morehouse, David Zhuang, Grant and Ross James, and Grace Luczak.
I totally jinxed the weather on Friday saying I hoped it would be as nice on Sunday as it had been all week. Sunday was terrible, completely gray skies rainy and cold. But that did not stop the festival and everyone still came out and had a great time. They had events indoors and outdoors so you could always take a break form the rain and warm-up inside which was nice. They had tons of games, activities, and sports for all to try and everyone seemed to really be enjoying themselves!
I first got to meet Tim Morehouse who is an Olympic USA Fencer and won Silver in the 2012 Olympic Games. He has competed in 3 Olympic Games so far. He started fencing when he was 13 and saw a sign to join his school’s fencing team. He fell in love right away and has now been fencing for 22 years! This past year he has opened up 5 new fencing schools around the county and loves to share his passion with the youth of our nation. I asked him what his training is like and he said he trains for 6 to 8 hours a day doing a variety of weight lighting, speed work, fencing (obviously), and also mental training. During his down times from training he gets his fitness in my still fencing a couple times a week, but he also loves bike riding. His #1 healthy living tip for the average person is to just move everyday. Find something you love, may that be basketball, biking, Frisbee, whatever, just have fun with it and don’t make working out a chore since it does not have to be!
Next I met with the rowers. Grace Luczak is on the US Women’s 8 and is traing for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. She started rowing in highschool and finds that having the goal of competeing in the Olympics has motived her the most. She said rowing is a full time job. The team does 2 to 3 workouts a day, 6 days a week. 1 to 2 of those workouts is stricting rowing, but they also do weight training and the Erg (the rowing machine). I asked her how she fuels for all of these workouts and she says it is hard to get enough calories. So he go-to treat is Ben and Jerry’s! But she also eats a healthy whole colorful diet and includes lots of grains. Some of her teammates are Paleo but she finds that diet is not for her. She said the team had a awesome summer and won the World Championship (setting a world record or 5.54 on the 2000m course!) which is the goal every year except on the year the Olympic Games are held. She is so excited to finally be preparing for her dream in 2016. Grace’s #1 healthy living tip was also to find something you love! She suggests dancing, haha! But really living a healthy lifestyle is about finding what you love. if you don’t love it and don’t enjoy life everyday then you won’t be able to stick to your healthy habits and actually make it a lifestyle. (P.S. She was so tall! I had to look way up to talk to her, haha! But all rowers are have to be pretty tall except the coxswain needs to be super light and tiny and leads the team in the front of the boat.)
The other two rowers were twin brothers, Grant and Ross James, who are on the Olympic Men’s 8 and competed in the 2012 games. They were in charge of the Erg machines they had set up for the attendee’s to try and they got me on one! I have alwyas wanted to try the Erg in the gym, but never knew how to use it and I know it takes alot of practice to get the hang of it, but what better way to learn than from two Olympic rowers! Now, most people think rowing is all in the arms, but that is wrong, it is all about the legs and the push off. If your arms are killing you by the time your done and your legs feel light and free…well you know you did somthing wrong, haha! It was fun though and I would totally incorperate rowing into my rutine. It is a great machine cardio alternative from cycyling or the dreadmill. Try it out if you get the chance, but try to find a a gym trainer to show you proper form first!
Grant and Ross’s #1 healthy living tip was to remember the amount in amount out principle. They don;t have a problem with this since their training is so demanding, their amount in won’t be too much for their bodies. But if someone who isn’t active is taking in to much fuel that they don’t need then they won’t be seeing the results they want. You need to learn to fuel for your activity level, not someone else’s or what you think is the perfect ideal. Listen to your body and because we all need something different! Last, I got to chat with David Zhuang, who is a former Olympic Table Tennis player. David was born in China where table tennis is the national sport, so it only made sense to get involved at the early age of 8. He has now been doing table tennis for 40 years! However he no longer competes and his focus is completely on his students. They train 5-6 hours every day both with physical exercises as well as mental. He is extremely proud of his students who have won 6 golds in the Junior Olympics of the years!
I had such a great time talking to the athletes and hearing about journeys! Team USA is made of such motivational, healthy, driven, and kind individuals. I am so glad they represent our nation at the Games! I would like to thank Paul Graham for offering the opportunity to me, as well as Anne Picone and Nothailah Badawi who work for Grafica Group and were my liaisons and brought me around to all the athletes. I would also like to thank Tim, Grace, Grant, Ross and David for taking the time to speak with me! (Plus extra thanks to Grant and Ross for showing me the Erg!) I loved meeting you all and best wishes to those of you going for gold at 2016 in Rio!
So tell me:
If you were able to meet any Olympic athlete (former or current), who would you pick?
Did you ever dream of going to the Olympics as a child? I always remember whenever the women’s gymnastics would come on I would start flipping around the living room doing cartwheels, back-bends, round-offs, handstands, etc. They are so beautiful and strong!
Ever try the Erg (or rowing machine)? I actually seriously thought about getting into rowing the summer into my Junior year! But you needed to know who to swim and run and due to my asthma running was not an option at the time and I don’t have proper swim training. :/