I DO Monday: Our Anniversary

Fair warning: This has nothing to do with food or exercise :D.

Today two years ago I married my best friend. It was at least 102 in the shade and I thought we were all going to melt but somehow we survived. Now, we’ve survived the last two years together too.

When he proposed he was a few months from graduating with his Master’s, didn’t have a job, and didn’t know where he was going to get one. Long story short: I panicked, said yes, and all was well.

May 5th he graduated, May 30th he had a job, June 30th we said I do, June 1st we moved 300 miles north to Saint Louis, and June 2nd he started his new job. Oh, and his first paycheck came 30 days later. Those few months answered the common “Is love enough” questions.

Life since has been easier but it’s the hard times that make us more thankful.

Here are a few of our favorite snapshots of our big day:


We are about to buy our first home and we’re doing it together, we still have our health, and get on the other’s nerves constantly 😉 – I count my blessings every day.

Happy Anniversary Sweetie!

I Enjoy Long Romantic Walks to the Fridge

House hunting just got real guys. Well, about 30 hours ago.

Yesterday morning I met our Realtor to view a house we thought was The One. Cutting to the chase – it was not. The location, location, location was perfect and true charm oozed from every plaster wall and authentic stained glass window however there was one major hiccup – there was no refrigerator. Not that there just wasn’t one but there literally was no place for one, of any size! We might have been able to stick a mini in a spare room but really I can’t handle going back to the dark ages! We’re not mini sized adults capable of living out of our college size fridge anymore!! Can I get an amen?

After all…

walks to the fridge

And I want that fridge to be a real paradise!

It got me thinking though what is that we really want? Since this isn’t just a me decision I brought in the MR. and let me tell you we very quickly decided we had to have a fridge so let’s call that numbero uno!!

I’ve been spending a lot of time in the kitchen and absolutely loving it! As we all have heard health starts in the kitchen with what you put in your body. Before you can ever HIIT, fartlek, or lift you have to eat! Appliances are meant to aid that, right?! They are here to make that healthy life more attainable and far more realistic. Before refrigeration was the new wheel people actually had to go out to dinner. I know what you’re thinking…we do that now. Our ancestors actually had to go to dinner…and catch it. They preserved through smoking, drying, and salting. Doom, doom, doom. Hunters and gathers meet refrigeration and welcome to a life on your bum. I digress. Are you you used to it yet?!

Onto the dream appliance list:

1. A fridge! Really though, I thought this was a brainer but yesterday showed me not so much. Now it doesn’t have to be a “fully integrated, oh my goodness I didn’t even know was there” fridge but one that has ample room for greens, sweet tea jugs, and an occasional bucket of ice cream would be nice. Referring to the fridge below – let me know what you think of the freezer on the bottom (vs top), I’m kinda digging it!
Yes guys, that’s all we buy 😉 I guess I better specify – it needs a freezer so the ice cream doesn’t melt <- key to happiness.

dream fridge

Let’s chat if you’re fridge really looks like this!

2. Did someone call for a six burner stove top? What, what? Yeah, in my dreams I cook on a Viking and burn everything because my stove is way less accurate! Ha, no need to mention the price tag – they’re an “ultra luxury” brand and come with faintifiable price tags. Let’s remind ourselves – wants and needs and dreams are, in this case, three very different things. I’ll keep dreaming! The drool worthy double ovens make it a septi-whammy!!

VGCC5486GSS

3. A Ninja. Now this is one we already have but now that we do have one I could never imagine leaving it behind and I know the Mr. agrees. We make everything from hummus to smoothies in this baby and it will always have a place in our kitchen!

Lucky for me these are just dream inducing – otherwise I’d be “bothered” to choose the color. Oh, the horror!!

Let me know – what’s the must-have appliance in your kitchen?

Houses, Giveaways, and Stitch Fix

You guys are getting a trifecta today! Happy (Trifecta) Thursday – almost to the weekend!

This morning I am out and about with our Realtor looking at potential homes. House hunting is a little different up here as opposed to Arkansas. I’m having to get used basements being the thing and street parking becoming a reality. Ugh! I know, I know; first world problems! The house we’re looking at today has a moderate yard for the pup and off the street parking for me – whoo hoo! More details to come if it’s “the one”!

This week’s giveaways:

Run Steff Run – Sparkly SOUL headbands and don’t forget to tell her happy (belated) birthday!

Run Bake Blog – Women’s Health BIG Book of Exercises – I own this book and love it!

All That Glitter – Sunshine Burgers – organic, gluten and soy free, vegan black bean burgers.

Run Pretty Blog – $100 gift card to Running Skirts – “from skirts to hydration belts. I’m sure you’ll find something you want or need!”

Lastly Stitch Fix. I really didn’t expect to like this whole fad.

  • I honestly thought I would hate every piece they sent and be able to tell you not to waste your money.
  • I thought because I have been on the list since March and was suppose to get first fix in July that I would be able to tell you the wait was not worth it.
  • I just knew (or thought I knew) that there would be no way for someone who didn’t know me to pick out things I liked much less things that fit.
  • I’m not much of a trendster. I’m going to wear what I feel good in, not what everyone else wearing.
  •  Oh, and I’m cheap! I like sales, clearance being my bff!

I actually cancelled that fix about two weeks ago because I was tired of waiting – I wasn’t even going to bother. A few days after canceling I went back just for kicks and the fix schedule and as it turns out it was this week. I thought why not and signed back up since I hadn’t paid the styling fee yet. I was still iffy and wasn’t really feeling it. Not that my intuition was telling me something wrong, I just wasn’t all gung-ho. Yesterday when the mail arrived I was super excited because for the first time thought I could like the contents.

Stitch Fix is a personal style service that provides about 5 items that make up two or three outfits anywhere between 2/3 weeks and every other month or you can request as desired. When you sign up Stitch Fix will walk you through building your style profile which is compromised of your like/dislikes, your actual proportions, price points, and connected social media (think Pinterest style boards). They then pair you with your own stylist who  goes through the Stitch Fix warehouse and picks out your ‘fix’. Once you’ve been styled they will charge $20, which will be taken off your order if you buy at least $20 worth otherwise it’s forfeited. When you receive your fix it comes with a note from your stylist and ideas on how to streamline the clothes she sent into your wardrobe! Try everything on in your home, send back what you don’t want. If you keep everything your oder is 25% off which is usually the cost of at least one item! Let’s get started.

What I saw when I peeked:

Stitch Fix first look

I was excited to see the patterns and colors – I am absolutely one to be expressive in my clothing! Kaci (my stylist) noted that she went through my Pinterest style board and she gave me ideas on how to both dress up and down each piece with specific references to my preferences. As with every fix there were also style cards to show me how to generally style each piece (in addition to her specific recommendations) and the receipt telling me how much I’d be spending.

Just a quick a look at everything:

Stitch Fix

PS sorry about the headless mirror selfies – nobody is home to feed my vanity!

The three tops, the necklace, and the cobalt colored skinnies that did not act so skinny on me. From top left: This gem had a slit up the back and was a little tight in the chest but not too tight and the slit was tasteful (and it was made in the USA!). The statement necklace was a great color and will go with lots of what I already have. The black and white chevron is something I can pair with a black blazer or any number of things I already own. The white lace tank goes exceptionally well with a number of things and is perfect for summer and spring – might actually wear it on the Fourth. The skinnies – they puddled all wrong but I cuffed them and paired them with orange gladiators I already owned and they perked right up. A note on the quality: everything I received was well made.

If you have extraneous money and you don’t have the time to shop or you want to find new brands I would certainly recommend Stitch Fix; otherwise, why bother? A few tips: be honest, be specific about your likes and dislikes, and know your budget. Here’s The average price per piece is $55, they carry all sorts of price points though. I was sure to mention ‘no basics’ in my request as I’ve heard that can be an issue. For me this is more of a once a season thing to keep my wardrobe updated but as I mentioned you can have it done as often as you’d like! Wanna give it a try? Click here! PS If you’re interested in where you can find any of the pieces just ask!

Disclaimer:I was NOT paid to review the StitchFix service but if you do decide to sign up and use this link I get a small commission. If you didn’t know, now you do.

That’s all I’ve got y’all! Let me know your thoughts on house hunting, those giveaways, or Stitch Fix and stay cool in this heat!

 

5 Tips on Dealing with Confrontation

Good morning you guys! As I was sitting on hold trying to get a shipment issue figured out I was listening to the recording telling me that I’m important and that my emotional state matters. Yes, the world does revolve around me, thank you for verifying that Post Office!!

As wonderful as the PO was to me I was having a bit of a scuffle on social media. First: I hate scuffles on social media. We all have different opinions, all of which should be respected, if you don’t have anything nice to say please just don’t say anything. Yes, it really is that simple.

Before we get too far down the rabbit hole let me say this – I have found the healthy living blogger, all aspects of it, overwhelmingly positive and encouraging. Don’t ever doubt that! As always there will be haters, as the hip kids call them.

This particular scuffle happened to be over food – go figure! Now, if you talk about food (or really anything) you know you may run into a little opposition. It happens, no big deal, and you move on without consequence.

Monday’s post had a few recipes in it that so happened to be vegan and came from a paleo cookbook. After going live on here I hopped on over to Facebook to share in blogger groups and on pages I felt may benefit. I was surprised at how quickly I was having negative comments popping up within a certain group. At first I was bewildered as to how my quaint little post could have fired up so many angry plant powered powerhouses (do I get points for alliteration?!). It wasn’t my post though, it was the very first comment from a member that was snarky. I had to laugh it off at this point; it was beyond my control and, quite frankly, it was amusing.

not-sure-if-serious

Guys, I’m just going be real – I don’t really care what you think of how I eat, how I exercise, or how I spend my free time. I’m going to do me and either you’re going to read about it or not. I’m down with that. I love that you’re here and wouldn’t have it any other way but I get you’re not going to love everything I post or be able to relate to it, or XYZ but that’s ok, I do hope you can find something often enough to come back for more. I am awesome, you know. 😉 I digress by a long shot. I know you all handle haters so get ready to relate!

This confrontation of sorts got me thinking if it happens to little ole me then who else deals with it? Probably lots of you guys! As healthy living bloggers we’re pretty darn liberal to let our beliefs and preferences be known. We kind of have to be. I like that about this community, it makes people accountable and usually gives all a soft place to land when we do slip. Keyword being usually!

We all also have naysayers and haters, even if we’re not all bloggers. If you haven’t run into them you will which really is a cool part of life! I once had someone tell me “If you have a few haters you must be doing something right. If you don’t or everyone hates you, try something new.”  As a community we present people with possibly new ideas, certainly different ways to go about things so yes, of course we’re going to get push back. Am I beating a dead horse yet? Oops, that wasn’t very vegan of me.

OMG uh oh

Yeah, I needed a laugh too! What was I saying? Oh yeah, here a few tips to handle all your naysayers:

5. Pick your battles. No, I’m not saying we should always roll the wooden horse to the gate but not everyone is as sweet as sweet tea; trolls, sharks, and overall negative people are sometimes just trying to get you to lash out and be negative too. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

4. Take a break before responding. It’s human instinct to fight fire with fire but personal and brand image need to be saved. I absolutely believe comments and emails (and face-to-face confrontations) should be responded to accordingly. No need to compromise an opportunity of a lifetime for one Negative Nancy.

3. Know when it’s time to leave. I don’t know if you need permission to leave a conversation but I sure don’t. If we’re “discussing” our beliefs and you become overbearing, rude, or malicious I have every reason to leave, be that out of metaphorical room or real room. You are not doing yourself, anyone around us, or me any good. Not to mention you obviously don’t respect me or my stance.

2. Be ready to learn something new. Funny thing about #3 is that it can come back and bite you. Don’t be that guy or girl someone is walking away from, come prepared to have your mind blown, or at least your horizons widened a little. Coming away from the table with some new information is always a good thing!

1. Last and most important: Be kind. I know people can be upsetting but by talking about food, body image, and exercise we can easily be perceived as attacking core values and beliefs. They’re all tricky subjects that could always be handled better but hindsight is 20/20 so do your best!

All of these are actions on your part. Things you can control and handle. Sure, the other person might get mad, might even develop that “come at me Bro” mentality but hey, that’s just when you #3!

What do you guys have to say to the naysayers and haters? Any advice?

Charity Tuesday: Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

 

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Hey hey! I’m trying a new thing out today! We’re going to call it Charity Tuesday! Each Tuesday I’m going to spotlight a nonprofit and you’re going to read it about it. I hope! These are going to be short, fairly fun posts. Feel free to chime in suggestions down below in the comments!

My heart is in the humanities, my degree is in Nonprofit Management – let’s help organizations make the world a better place!

First up is a nonprofit near and dear to my heart: Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland. Offices nationwide.

cff

What is Cystic Fibrosis?

Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a disease passed down through families that causes thick, sticky mucus to build up in the lungs, digestive tract, and other areas of the body. It is one of the most common chronic lung diseases in children and young adults. It is a life-threatening disorder.

There are approximately 30,000 Americans living with cystic fibrosis. They are moms, dads, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, friends and co-workers who struggle every day just to breathe.

Mission:

“The mission of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is to cure cystic fibrosis and to provide all people with the disease the opportunity to lead full, productive lives by funding research and drug development, promoting individualized treatment, and ensuring access to high-quality, specialized care.”

Latest Achievement:

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation announced today the results of two 24-week clinical trails. Overwhelmingly positive is the fact that nearly 50% of all CF patients will benefit from this combination therapy! That’s awesome!! A drug patent is planned to be filed later this year so people can start using this therapy come 2015.

Why what they do is important:

Although today’s achievement is incredible the average lifespan is 37.5 – way too young. Tremendous progress has been made but there’s obviously more ground to cover. I kicked off Charity Tuesday with CFF for two more reasons – we give and we have a personal connection.

Last summer I had the opportunity to volunteer with the Saint Louis chapter. I was able to see how passionate this office was, help put on events, and meet the families. My first 50k was with them and we’re at it again this year. We got involved because, in 2012, my husband lost one of his best friends to Cystic Fibrosis – 23 years young.

How you can help:

Volunteer: There are chapters around the country that host walk, cycle, and hike events as well as annual galas, golf tournaments, and so much more! There really is something for everyone! Find your closest chapter HERE.

Advocate: If you are interested in helping the Foundation keep CF on the top of the political, industry, and research agendas you can get involved HERE.

Donate: If this is your “thing” or you’d like to donate to help me get across the finish line I would be honored. Click here to do just that!

 

As always – thanks for the reason to blog and all the support!

If you have a nonprofit you’d like to me to spotlight shoot me an email: thesaltypretzelblog@gmail.com

Paleo Monday #1

Good morning everyone!! Can you believe it’s nearing the end of June and finally summer?! It’s already felt like summer for a few weeks now but phew! It feels good for it be social media official 😉

Speaking of social media…I recently joined a paleo re-set group on Facebook so I’m going to be dropping paleo recipes on you guys like cute little flour bombs.

Here’s the first! Crazy Good Cauliflower Hummus:

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And the second:

^This makes 24 oz, we found that was plenty to share!

 

You guys are going to have to tell me what you think!

How many of you guys know how TSP got its name?!
I don’t think but one and she’s in South Asia! Here’s the DL: I hemmed-hawed around about this blog thing a few months before actually starting. I had gone through every name in the book and still came up empty handed. I knew I wanted something cute, memorable, and fairly broad. I knew I liked to exercise, I knew I loved food, and I tend have an obsession for article adjectives (yes, I know it’s weird!) so again, I wanted something to incorporate that! At that time I was doing a lot of yoga and could manipulate this way and that pretty well; ergo ‘pretzel’. I am really, really, really good at sweating. When sweat evaporates it sometimes causes salt lines and other versions – hence ‘salty’. Again, with my article adjective obsession, well ‘the’ only makes sense! The Salty Pretzel came to be.

Now, let’s chat! How are you? What’s your good news to share? I want to hear all about it!

When I’m Not Running I’m Reading

To live in a library is to live in a time machine.

Lucky Us Amy Bloom

If I could build my dream house just the way I wanted, it is a dream after all, you better believe nook and crannies would be filled with books. To get the book you wanted might even require you to grab a library ladder. Phones, iPads, and all other mobile devices would left at the door. That’s my kind of house. Shelves, staircases, and maybe even the kitchen sink would be bustling with the adventures of knights slaying dragons and women saving themselves. I would be typing this on the porch swing outside and the crickets would be chirping, whispering what to say instead of on my couch with the fan blades rustling.

My love for literary art is far from recent. My mother would read Avon books to get me to sleep at the airport before I could read, when I was a little older we read Harry Potter together every night before I went to bed. Reading was required in middle school, I had all my points finished in the first week and, of course, read above my grade by a long shot. It was a relief in junior high when we had access to the high school library – that’s where the good books were! Even though high school brought a great many of distractions I would eat lunch and spend my free period in the library; you guessed it – reading. Into college there was no extra time to spend on anything but reading textbooks. I enjoyed learning but whoever wrote college textbooks should have to try to learn by them. My mother and I drove across county and I read to her. Although busy with Life and Other Things I continue to read blog posts, scholarly articles, and even the paper book when I get the chance. I will teach my children how to read, just like my mom taught me.

Lucky Us Amy Bloom

There are very few books that I will not pick up, I’m a pretty equal opportunity reader if you will. I will even stand toe to toe to the SciFiest of them all. I tend to push my library ladder toward the Historical Fiction. The glamour and the shock-and-awe of the late 1800s, the down and dirty Depression, even the cowboys and Indians of the Wild Wild West on occasion. Looking back it’s books like Experanza Rising and the Luxe series that depicted heroines standing up for themselves and blazing trails of their own that shaped who I am and what my husband calls my “larger than life” personality which just so happens to be the in love version of crazy!

Without having the busy bee summer I thought I would I knew now was the ideal time to get back to appreciating a good book. Lucky Us came at the perfect time. There were summers when I could devour a well written 400-page book in a day on the front swing, I am not afforded quite that now but it didn’t stop me. I picked up Lucky Us every spare moment I could from the moment I cracked the cover and read “My father’s wife died. My mother said we should drive down to his place and see what might be in it for us.” The two half sisters, Eva and Iris, are remarkably captivating as they battle Hollywood, themselves, seemingly insurmountable odds, and so much more; reading about success and failure in the same breath. Along with the fanciful life of what might turn out to be a traveling circus they dare to follow their dreams, take chances, and come out of the whole thing swinging. I found myself tenderly embraced by pages before having to reread passages to believe the scandal within. The next pages would had me laughing hysterical at their next pickle.

Lucky Us Amy Bloom

Lucky Us made me think of my own sister, our family, and the inevitable ups and downs while pursuing our dreams. I love how this adventure is partially told from Eva’s perspective and through letters allowing readers to get to know each deeply developed character in his or her own way. These ladies and their imaginative counterparts won’t be available until July 29th but there is hope (for all)!

Enter the giveaway to join Eva and Iris on their journey to find fame and fortune.

It should also be mentioned that this is not a children’s book. Let me repeat that – not a children’s book.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Random House via 20SB. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Random House or 20SB.