Local Love: Stonewear Designs + Stem Cider Event!

Calling all Denver local ladies!

Next week, one of my favorite Colorado companies, Stonewear Designs, is hosting a fun night of shopping and cider at Stem Ciders next Tuesday!

Stonewear will be showcasing their new Spring line that is SO COMFY and super flattering as well as raffling off prizes and giveaway. And did I mention ciders are $2 for 10? Yum!

If you plan on stopping by, let me know! I’ll be there and would love to say hi!

Stonewear+Stem-Ciders-Flyer-FINAL

Some Things I’ve Learned From My FitBit

I recently bought myself a FitBit Flex for a number of reasons, namely not prioritizing exercise, failing to take good care of my mental or physical health, gaining a few pounds, among others.

When people ask me if I like it, I’m quick to say that I have a very love/hate relationship with it. I love that it’s forcing me to think about moving more during the work day but hate that I know know I don’t move nearly often enough. (Although, I love that it’s inspired small changes in my daily routine to negate the not-moving-enough part.)Things I've Learned From FitBit // lgsmash.com I’ve only been wearing this little guy for just over a month but I’ve learned some things in this short time.

1. 1000 steps is a lot farther than I thought.

2. Flights of stairs are a lot harder than I remembered.

3. The Friends list on my FitBit dashboard is a lot less fun when I’m constantly stuck at #12 or 13 of 15 people.

4. Long lunchtime walks are best done NOT in flats (hello, blisters!).

5. But wearing gym shoes with jeans? Too much pride.

6. We’re walking to dinner nearby rather than drive (embarrassingly, we’ve driven to dinner at restaurants definitely within walking distance. A long walk, but still a walk. I’ll argue it was winter…)

7. Non-walking activities (hi, climbing and yoga) don’t count for steps but do count for ‘Active Minutes’ – which is great…but doesn’t help me move up on my friends list! (see #3).

8. Philly loves the extra long walks as much as I do. Morning or evening, I’m finding the time extremely valuable for my mental health – either as solo thinking time or an opportunity to call family or friends.

9. Knowing how few steps I walk in a workday has kicked my butt to get up before work and move because I sure as hell have a hard time doing it after work.

10. You have to define your own success. I can see how easy it would be to get wrapped up in the numbers and rankings to mentally unravel and feel dissatisfied and hard on oneself. I know 10,000 steps is really hard for me during the week so I aim to get 7,000 steps in – a goal I can hit and still HUGE increase from the 1,500-2,500 on a ‘normal’ workday. And as much as I don’t like seeing my low ranking amongst my friends, I know that yoga for an hour or climbing with my friends or biking to work is just as important as walking for an hour. And some days will just suck and 10,000 steps (or 7,000) is unattainable. But that’s fine. The world will go on and the FitBit will buzz at 10,000 steps another day.

Homemade Funfetti Birthday Cake

Most years, I make my own birthday dessert. I may not enjoy cooking but I really enjoy baking. When Alex offered to make my cake this year, I was giddy thinking about what I would pick for him to make! I took my sweet time mulling over my decision and eventually landed on a funfetti cake with chocolate frosting. If funfetti caked doesn’t scream birthday, I don’t know what does!

Little did I expect that my husband would dive into birthday cake baking head first and make a funfetti cake from scratch! He used this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction and the cake is delicious.

Homemade Funfetti Cake // lgsmash.com

Homemade Funfetti Cake // lgsmash.com

Homemade Funfetti Cake // lgsmash.com I won’t post recipe details because I had nothing to do with the making of this cake! I will say that if you find yourself in need of a funfetti cake, my first time cake-baking husband recommends this one as its easy to follow and his wife found it really tasty.

Reverse Birthday Cards

The past few weeks had left me feeling not very celebratory in thinking about my birthday. Usually, birthdays are my jam – I make sure plan out exactly how I want to spend my day – but this year, some ‘behind the scenes’ situations have left me emotionally deflated.

Inspired by a Valentine’s Day card I received from one of my very best friends (hi Sarah!), I decided that this year, to get out of my funk, I’d send out 29 cards to honor my 29 years. Reverse birthday cards, if you will.

Reverse Birthday Cards // lgsmash.comI love sending mail – from picking out a beautiful card and selecting the right Sharpie color to match to penning a note and decorating with washi tape. Unfortunately, I haven’t made time for this creative outlet as of late: no Christmas cards, no birthday cards, no Galetine’s Day cards.

For this (super simple) project, I picked out 3 different 10-pack designs from Paper Source and dedicated 3 evenings to writing notes. Family and friends, near and far – I loved imagining them finding a pretty envelope in the mail next week and hoping it makes them smile. Which made me smile.

By the end of the 29th card, my heart felt lighter, my dark cloud lifted. I know this is a long shared life lesson but giving > receiving. (Except for the recipients of my cards, of course!) :)

Currently… (March)

(Check, check! Is this thing still on?!)

currently...march // lgsmash.com

…loving and hating my FitBit at the same time (who knew it was so hard to get 10k steps at a busy, meeting heavy desk job?!)

…running at least 1 mile every day – some with my pup, some on the treadmill, all in Sauconys –  for the month of March, inspired by said FitBit and Efo! (Efo ran at least 1 mile every day in 2014.)

…reading The Hard Thing About Hard Things and learning the stuff about startups no one talks about.

…watching How I Met Your Mother on Netflix and feeling slightly daunted yet oddly resolute in making my way through all 208 episodes. (see also: ‘hating my FitBit’ above)

…looking forward to someday having a space to entertain after spending a delightful dinner with friends. (see also: 9 reasons to bring back cocktail parties)

…marveling how, after a few hours with these handsome dogs at above dinner party, my pup is a ‘real dog’ and chewing on toys!

…feeling like a bad Coloradoian in missing the powder snow in the mountains recently but

…relishing in the much needed downtime (and ya know what? It’s okay to be a soaker!)

…celebrating 28 years and 364 days on this earth today and

…cheersing birthday #29 tomorrow!

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

I’m not a big Valentine’s Day person – I don’t want flowers at work or a showering of gifts. Fortunately, my husband is on the same page. We’d much prefer a night in together, cooking a delicious meal (this year, lamb loin chops!), enjoying a few special beers and indulging in a homemade dessert.

While Alex planned dinner, I picked our dessert and decided on my most favorite brownie recipe. Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies // lgsmash.com

These brownies are so decadent and rich that even a small bite, like these little hearts. satisfy even the sweetest sweet tooth.

I slightly modified Ina Garten’s recipe (found here) for an ever-so-slightly more complex taste. Ina suggest making these in a bigger pan where the brownies aren’t quite so thick as a 9×13 pan but because that’s the biggest pan I have (and I didn’t want to do extra dishes by using a second pan), my brownies were super thick and tasty but needed extra time in the oven.

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound unsalted butter
  • 1 pound + 12 ounces semisweet + dark chocolate chips (half each), divided
  • 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 6 extra-large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons instant coffee granules
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 + 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup smooth Earth Balance Coconut Peanut Butter

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350; butter & flour a 12×18 pan (or 13×9 and 8×8)
  2. Melt butter, 1 lb chocolate chips, unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl over simmering water; allow to cool
  3. In a large bowl, stir: eggs, coffee granules, vanilla, sugar; stir in warm chocolate mixture & allow to cool to room temperature
  4. In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt; stir into chocolate mixture
  5. Toss 12 oz of chocolate chips in 1/4c of flour to coat the chocolate; stir into chocolate mixture
  6. Spread chocolate mixture into your baking pan(s); spoon peanut butter on chocolate mixture and cut the peanut butter through the batter with a knife
  7. Bake for 20 mins; rap baking sheets against oven shelf (or kitchen counter); bake in 10-12 mins additional increments until a toothpick comes clean

peanut butter swirl brownies // lgsmash.com

Ski Trip 2015: Park City, Utah

Ski Park City // lgsmash.com

Ski Park City // lgsmash.com Ski Park City // lgsmash.com Ski Park City // lgsmash.com Ski Park City // lgsmash.com This year, we took our annual ski trip in Park City, UT. (Previous years: Whitefish, MT + Telluride, CO) The snow in Colorado has left a lot to be desired this year and, unfortunately, Park City offered even less snow coverage and even warmer temps than Summit County mountains.

Despite the less than dreamy conditions, spending 3 days on a mountain, skiing with old friends, fills a soul with profound joy. These friends, friends to me since college and Alex since high school, are some of the best, most hilarious and big-hearted people I know. Each year, I look forward to spending these days with our friends, exhausting ourselves by skiing as hard as we’ve ever skied and forgetting the real world outside a ski mountain exists. It’s blissful – even in crappy snow conditions.

On our last day on the mountain, the sky drizzled rain on us as we rode the lift up, up, up to the top. The rain turned to graupel which turned to fluffy snowflakes as we reached the summit. We spent the day skiing bowls and trees – the only places to be when the big fat flakes start falling!

And just as soon as it began, we were headed back to Denver after 3 awesome days of skiing and 5 awesome days catching up with great people.

Per usual, we’ve already begun planning next year’s ski trip and I’m already counting down the days!

Currently… (Dec-an-bruary)

Currently // lgsmash.com

…making up Dec-an-bruary to cover the past 3 months of life!

…posting this from high above the rockies…we’re en route to Park City to SKI!

…reading Andie Mitchell’s book, It Was Me All Along, and loving it.

…cooking dinners (and using Pinterest) and not hating it.

…mourning the end of Parenthood but

…devouring House of Cards. Late to the game, I know but holy schneikes!

…climbing often to get better ahead of outdoor climbing (5 ways climbing inside will make you a better outdoor climber).

…tracking my calories on MyFitnessPal and not surprisingly,

…finding I eat (way) too much sodium every day. I blame the midwest. All the salt!

…(obsessively) loving on these super cute Instagram accounts: Priscilla Pig & Tink and Meek

Finding My Own Strong

DISCLOSURE: This post was sponsored by Finish Line but all opinions and thoughts below are my own. All photos in this post were taken by Heidi Kumm and Alex Petre. 

Saucony Find Your Strong // lgsmash.com
#FindYourStrong. This is Saucony’s call to runners, to find their strong and celebrate it.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this the past few weeks. About finding my own strong, pushing my own limits and living up to my own standards, not anyone else’s. We all come from different walks of life, fighting different battles, celebrating different victories. Finding your strong is the only type of strong to find – yours and no one else’s.

Saucony Find Your Strong // lgsmash.com

The first time I recall finding my own strong as an adult was lacing up my gym shoes at the University of Cincinnati Rec Center where I challenged myself to run on the treadmill. As the first two miles ticked by, I decided to not stop till I reached 3 miles. The second after I hit 3 miles, I hopped off the treadmill, elated that I’d pushed my limits and hadn’t died. In that moment, I decided I was a runner. After years of playing competitive volleyball, running brought a new, individual challenge that relied on only me to win or lose, no team pushing me to be better. Just me, finding a my own strong.

Saucony Find Your Strong // lgsmash.com

A couple years later, I took on a half marathon and pushed myself once again, finding a new strong I didn’t know I had. A few half marathons later (including one where I’d convinced my momma to find HER strong and run with me!), running and all fitness came to a screeching halt when my Osteochondritis Dissecans tapped me on the shoulder and reminded me that, oh yeah, I’m not invincible and sidelined me. Surgery on both knees followed. 

And after surgery? I was back to finding my strong again. I focused on recovery, diligently performing the strengthening exercises prescribed. As soon as I was cleared, I rode a stationary bike (slowly), then graduated to walking without crutches and even hopped in the pool to swim laps. As much as I suck at swimming, I was ready to reclaim my fitness, my athleticism, my running.
Saucony Find Your Strong // lgsmash.comSoon, walking became slow running which then became faster running. In the days since surgery, I have never once taken for granted my ability to run, to hike, to do yoga, to walk up and down stairs. Even on the crappiest run, I’m so grateful that I’m even ABLE to run.

I finished a few more half marathons before upping the challenge factor and registering to run UP a 14,000 feet mountain. Granted, the race started at 10,000 feet but breathing ain’t easy in mountain elevation! In the final miles of the Mt Evans Ascent, I found a strong I had no idea I possessed. I finished in the back half of ‘middle of the pack’ while all my friends finished before me. But you know what? I still finished. (It’s just a rumor that I crossed the finish line whining about never signing up for 14.4 mile uphill race ending on the top of a mountain ever again.)

Saucony Find Your Strong // lgsmash.com

In the recent months, I’ve found myself learning to balance a new ‘normal’ that includes a lot less free time. As a consequence, I de-prioritized fitness and running in order to ‘survive’ in those early months. My new normal means I’m starting from just about ground zero when it comes to running. I threw most of my strength and endurance out my downtown office building window.

You know what that means? Time to find my new strong. 

Saucony Find Your Strong // lgsmash.com

I’ve made my health and fitness a priority again. I’ve planned fitness dates with girlfriends to catch up and exercise. I’ve pulled myself out of bed early to get moving before work. I’ve been lacing up my Sauconys for short runs because a short run is better than no run. Without short runs, I’ll never graduate back up to the long runs. And if I expect to run back up Mt. Evans in June, long runs need to work their way into my future real quick.

I’m never going to be the person finishing races before my friends but I’ll definitely be the #runabler cheering them on from (much farther) behind. For me, running isn’t about being the Best Ever. It’s about being the Best Lynne and you being the Best You. It’s about owning the strength I have in that moment to push just a little bit harder, go a little bit farther. To grow as a runner and a person.

Saucony Find Your Strong // lgsmash.com

And that’s what I love so much about Saucony. Of course, they have excellent shoes for those runners who ARE the Best Ever – but for the broader audience, they want us runners to identify what challenges us, individually, and go do it. Sure, it’s gonna be hard and you’re probably going to struggle a bit but without the challenge, we never get better.

So go #FindYourStrong. Get out there, push yourself and jump for joy that you can.
Saucony Find Your Strong // lgsmash.com

#BackToBasicsJanuary Wrap Up

Earlier this month, I decided to join Marisa (Uproot from Oregon) in her quest to get back to basics in the month of January. More about that here.

So a few days past the end of the month, I’ve been reflecting on this endeavor and the changes that came from it.

Back to Basics January // lgsmash.com

How’d it go? 

Overall, pretty well! I brought my lunch every day except 2 – one day I failed to plan ahead and one day was a team lunch at a taco place and I don’t not eat tacos. But for the most part, I planned ahead and actually ended the month with extra money in my bank account. Grabbing lunch out is expensive! Win!

Alex and I definitely focused on eating the food in our pantry and, although we ate out a few times for dinner, it was a much more conscious decision. Planning ahead for a night out made it feel *that* much more special because it wasn’t a ‘well, shit, we don’t want to cook dinner…let’s grab something out.’ Our first dinner out was a planned date for dinner and a movie; after cooking dinners and packing lunches for 2 weeks, eating at Chilis felt like such a treat. We also used gift cards and coupons when we did eat out so we also saved some money – double win! 

What I found to be the most impactful to my daily routine was drinking 16 oz of water before I left for work. As a gal who tries to drink enough water but usually fails, guzzling down 1/2 a Nalgene in the morning was a super easy way to make sure I took a step in the right direction. Because of that extra water in the morning, I made a concerted effort throughout the month to drink 3 full Nalgenes each day and could feel the difference on days I didn’t drink up. Bonus? My skin feels (and is visibly) less dry, clearer and more radiant. Win! 

Last but not least, I didn’t really count my exercise per week but feel pretty good about the exercise I did do. I’ve been hitting up the climbing gym at least twice a week with friends and Alex and have worked in short runs during the week. In just the month of January (and really, in the last 2 weeks!), I’ve seen a surge in my climbing technique and strength. So even if I didn’t get sweaty 4x a week, knowing that I’m betting my climbing is good enough to call this one a win, too. 

I’ll definitely be carrying these tactics with me into February and the rest of the year. I think the key to my success was picking attainable goals – these were things I’ve been meaning to do for a while – and sticking to it. Alex also hopped in on a few of these goals (packing his lunch, reducing our eating out) so knowing we were in it together helped keep both of us accountable. Yes, it sucked to sometimes eat a boring lunch instead of run out for Chipotle on ‘Free Burrito Day’ but at the end of the day, I was proud of myself for sticking to my goals and putting off instant gratification for long term success (and extra money in my pocket!)