Gearing Up for Hiking Season

by Tiffany in Enjoying Nature

Woman Hiking in the Fall

These days I am pretty much all about CrossFit but I have not forgotten my other “love”. Hiking. I got an email reminder over the weekend that my city’s annual Fall hiking series kicks off in late August and I am psyched. You basically take a guided or unguided hike through 10 of our 16 Metro parks. It is a great way to spend every Saturday for ten weeks…with your community, enjoying the changing of the leaves. I look forward to it each year. You get free refreshments after each hike and if you do enough of them you get prizes too. It is just another thing I love about Columbus, OH and just when that the Fall fun ends they start up their winter hiking series and you get to trek through snow.

I always make time for these annual hikes. Hey, it’s exercise and if you have a sedentary job (like I do) then it is important to keep moving. Walking is good. Hiking is better. It is good for your body and heart because it is interval training with periods of heavier effort followed by plateaus and resting points along the way. It’s good for you mentally too. There have been some studies over the years that have shown cognitive benefits of interaction with nature via hiking and walking. It can help you focus and ultimately be more productive. I do some of my best thinking on hikes.

As with most fitness gear I like to buy high quality. I may spend more initially but quality items last and I end up buying less and spending less in the long run. Sure I might spend $200 on a good pair of shoes but they still look brand new after two years when a pair from a big box store would have fallen apart after one season and they would have fit so badly I would have blisters. Go high quality the first go round and save your feet…unless of course you also need that pair of barefoot hiking shoes for low mileage hikes. Can’t go wrong with a few different choices, or so says this shoe whore. ;) My hubby used to give me hard time about how much I would spend on athletic gear but now that he is equally involved in these pursuits he has quickly come around to my way of thinking.

We also both love to shop at The Clymb for this reason. They carry the bands and gear we love at hugely discounted prices, try these out. We have gotten shoes, compression clothing, and thermal fitness clothing for amazingly low prices. It’s hard enough to stomach the fact that you NEED a pair of compression socks but paying $60 for those socks (a single pair) can leave you feeling faint. The Clymb though often has these socks for 50% off or more. Shoes go for equally amazing prices. The aforementioned pair of $260 shoes… knock those down to $130. My husband can attest to this. He and his workout buddies are always gabbing about some amazing deal one of them spotted on this site. I may have created a monster but a well-dressed one nonetheless.


I Resolve to Make 2013 Another Great Year

by Tiffany in Tidbits


I thought today would be a fitting day to not only get off my duff and come back to work/blogging after a ten day vacation but also to write up a post with my New Year’s goals for 2013. If you recall I had three goals or resolutions for 2012 with the main one forming a sort of theme… HAVE MORE FUN!!! Well I knocked that resolution out of the park.

Here is a picture of me thoroughly enjoying 2012…

Okay so that isn’t actually me that picture kinda sums it up though.

I took three trips with girlfriends (3-5 days each) that involved lots of parties and special events. One of those was to the Big Apple.  I had much fun indeed and came home with lots of free tech and other products. I met up with local bloggers and friends for lunch/brunch dates throughout the year. I got on a zipline with my husband, I took the kids to the beach, we did our annual winter hikes, I went on a slightly terrifying four-wheeling adventure, I attended several local blogger events including a tour of a hospital, a couple movie premiers, and a couple trips to the science museum. We actually just saw the exhibit with the dead bodies on display this month…that was super interesting! I went to the Arnold Sports Festival with hubby and The Country Living Fair with my mom. I got to borrow several cars for an extended test drive this year, went out for regular date nights, and I discovered a deep and abiding love for CrossFit. I have had a blast!

So goal #1 down. How did I do with  the other two. Not so well.

#2 was to make more money and I made about the same but because of all the aforementioned fun it feels like way less. The fun goal, our fitness pursuits, and our paleo diet all meant we started spending more.

#3 was to get more organized and that was mostly a failure. I did set up an organization infrastructure but I don’t use it that often.

So what does that mean for this year??? Well, if at first you don’t succeed…

My top goal for this year is to…

Make More Money

I want to keep the fun going and have already had to slow my roll to some extent and that just won’t do so this goal needs to be tackled again and put at the top. I also think we will be hit with some bigger expenses this year because our car may be on it’s last wheel, our son will have some medical bills/procedures due to a previously un-diagnosed birth defect, we want to get all three of our kids in CrossFit, and I have more “fun goals” for this year (see below).  I DO plan to cut costs where I can but in general I want to tackle this issue with an income increase.

Ways to cut costs would include joining my hubby on his cell contract when mine ends in (March), dropping my other gym membership when my two year contract expires (also in March), and renegotiating our cable when our current deal ends. Other than that I can’t cut much. Our most major expense is food. Paleo isn’t cheap but I am not willing to buy lower quality food. We already buy second hand clothing and furnishings. We don’t have high cost of living expenses (rent, utilities) and we save on entertainment by bundling services and buying prepaid/discount cards for things like Xbox Live memberships. We could do without our NetFlix sure but we don’t want to and as pointed out in one of my fave books All The Money in The World, pinching pennies like that can ultimately deflate you in your goals.

I blogged about how I plan to make more money with my business here. My hubby will also no doubt work overtime when he can.

Goal #2 is to

Have More Fun As a Family

Now that I feel recharged after a year of focusing on my own self care and fun I want to focus on bringing my family into the mix as well. It’s not that we didn’t have fun together in 2012 but it was not my focus. With my youngest finally entering Kindergarten I felt it was a good year to rediscover my own interests and pursuits and it was needed badly. It is rather like putting the oxygen mask on yourself first in the airplane and THEN putting a mask on your child. I had to take care of me first and I do very much feel like “Tiffany” again and not just “Mom”.

In 2013 though I plan to make sure my family is included in more of my adventures. I will likely forgo attending any professional conferences this year so that we can do something together instead. Though I must admit I already have an out of town press event scheduled in a just a couple days that will take me away from them. Oops! I want to rent a yurt in a state park, take a ferry across Lake Erie, see more children’s movies, go camping, and in general do a bit more traveling with my kiddos this year. To that end I already have some indoor water park passes purchased for January/February.

Also, as mentioned, I want to get a CrossFit membership for all three of our kids (ranging from $60 to $100 monthly, depending on age). Spending over $400 on gym memberships will be a stretch but working out together will be lots of fun!!

Goal #3 is to

Make My Husband/Marriage a Priority

I have a great marriage and it’s not like I am neglecting the man or anything but this year marks our 15 year wedding anniversary and over 20 years together. The man deserves to be one of my goals this year! Plus its not really about time so much as it is about making him feel loved and special more often. We already spend lots of time together. We go to the box together for CrossFit 5-7 days a week. I kick his behind in cardio/chipper based WODs and he kicks my butt on the weighted ones. We spend our afternoons together while the kids are at school doing everything from grocery shopping to watching DVRed episodes of our favorite shows. I often tell this man how much I love and adore him but I need to make some grander gestures and just give it that extra attention. Specifically this means more random acts of love expression, surprise gifts, hand written notes, packing his work meals for him, arranging more date nights and date weekends (sans children), and finding new ways to show this man I am as crazy about him now as I was when I was 16. If we can afford to go away together for our anniversary in August I will be ecstatic.

Goal #4 is to

Do More Philanthropic Work

This means blogging more about things along these lines and I will as a member of the Global Team of 200 but also getting involved more where I can personally. I want to volunteer often and find some charitable causes important to me and really throw some energy and resources in that direction. I would also like to get my kids involved as much as I can.

I think these four goals are more than enough to work on for 2013. As for organization…well on some level I will have to get better with that to accomplish the other three. Perhaps this year I can really rock goal #1 and have enough money to pay someone to organize for me. We shall see!

I also plan to post separately with some green goals…

What are your goals/resolutions for the New Year?

2nd photo: photo source


Organic Lip Balms for Dry Winter Lips

by Tiffany in Beauty

I am sure that you are very familiar with the loads of lip balms and chapsticks that frequently appear near grocery check out lines. There are lots of choices in theory but none that are all that healthy for us unless you are at a health food store. The leading brand is full of parabans, petroleum, and chemical dyes and fragrance. Not something we should be rubbing on our lips. Sadly this is the case for most lip balms found in conventional stores.

There is also a market for these products year round. Our lips get chapped, dry, and cracked in the summer from the sun and the same in the winter from the dry air and wind. I know that ever since winter weather made its arrival here in Ohio I have been using lip balm non-stop on myself and on my kids. My hubby is also a big user, as is evident from the all the plastic tubes I find in the wash, after he forgot to take them out of his work pants pockets.

I recently tried four alternative products to the mainstream and all are effective as well as safe and healthy…all from Eco Lips. They came to us just in the nick of time. All Eco Lips products are petroleum free and most are organic or nearly organic and fair trade.

I also read online that Eco Lips has in the past had a recycling program where they take back their lip balm tubes though I could find nothing on the site currently to verify this…I have sent a long a question about that and hope to post the response when I hear back. I really don’t like using metal tins and applying lip balm with my finger so using a plastic tube is preferred, provided you can recycle the tubes.

Update 11/28/12: Eco Lips no longer has a recycling program. Bummer.

Moving on…

My fave is the Eco Lips Restore One World Lip Balm. It comes in three exotic blends and all are fair trade and organic. Restore is Coconut Ginger, Relax is Lavender Lemon, and Renew is Orange Spice (I have this one). I absolutely love the more mature flavors as opposed to the sickly sweet cherry that is so popular among the leading brand. This balm smells good and tastes good. It has become my go-to lip balm and I carry it in my purse. When I run out, I am soooo buying this one again…

Another favorite is the Eco Lips – Eco Tints lip moisturizer in Rose Quartz. I love it! Not only does it work and last a long time it gives my lips just a hint of color. It is more than appropriate to wear to the gym for just a hint of color that doesn’t make me looking like I am trying to glam up and wear makeup to lift weights in. I am not a big lipstick wearer actually because I so unused to wearing any that I feel like a clown when I do. The Eco Tints balm is perfect for me…subdued color. 90% organic.

The Eco Lips Gold Balm is the softest and most luxurious of the bunch. It feels like liquid silk going on your lips. It’s just the finest organic ingredients and no scent for no frills lip protection. No GMOs.

Last up is the Eco Lips Dagoba Chocolate Lip Balm line.  It is an organically tasty treat in three flavors – Lavender, Mint and Roseberry. I have the mint flavor. Yummy! This one is also silky soft and I love the mint and chocolate combo. Who wouldn’t???

The entire line was created by a mom who wanted a better product and started crafting them in her kitchen for her family and friends. The right person got a sample and the rest is history…it is now an ethical and healthy line of lip balms that I am happy to use in my own household.

Interested in trying them out yourself? I am able to give away an Eco Lips Lip Care Kit to one of my readers. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!


TGIF – A Fresh Spin on Hot Chocolate, Fitness Blogging, and Laser Hair Removal

by Tiffany in Tidbits

TGIF! I spent the morning seeing the new Twilight movie. Yes, I am a 35 year old woman and yes I DO like the Twilight movies. I can own it!

One of the best parts of the movie was seeing the trailers that came before it. I finally saw the trailer for the new Mortal Instruments movie (based on the books I read a couple years ago) and a trailer for the new Hunger Games movie. I am so, so psyched for them. I was also uber curious to see why there was so much fighting in the trailer for the latest Twilight movie that was not in the books…very clever and very funny to see grown women having anxiety attacks in the theater when they couldn’t figure out what was going on. All in all, it was very satisfying. ;)

This past week was mostly spent being sick with something the kids brought home from school (and dealing with another issue I mention below). I felt better somewhere around Thursday (yesterday) and got my rump back to CrossFit classes and hubby and I cooked up a storm…lamb, cranberry sauce, monkey bread (not for us – for friends), and a pork roast with sauerkraut. It felt good to get back to eating good because all I wanted to eat while sick and nursing a sore throat was Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. At least it’s Fair Trade. ;)

What I should have had was this awesome recipe for Green Tea Hot Chocolate…Yum! This would have been the “proper” way to nurse a sore throat.

 Be sure to check out this recipe and the blog…amazing recipes happening there every week.

In other news I have been dealing with a health issue in one of my kids as well. This child got a serous infection twice and had to be put on antibiotics stat, which I am loathe to do. After seeing several doctors who were kind of cryptic we finally saw a specialist this week who identified a birth defect that is causing our bout of problems. Ack! We have a barrage of tests coming up to see what we need to do. Sorry for being cryptic myself but I have to think about the privacy of my kiddos and what they would want me to say on the Internet but let’s just say if has been so very stressful! It is horrifying to hear that something is wrong anatomically with your child and that it is causing all kinds of health problems. I just keep thinking back to the fact that I had chicken pox when pregnant with this babe and how I read (way back then) that birth defects can happen. Perhaps I didn’t luck out like I thought I did?


I am also blogging somewhere new of late. I started a Fitness and CrossFit blog so that I wouldn’t bombard readers here with all my raving about CrossFit. I know some liked it and asked me to keep posting but others probably have no interest so I will just link to my fitness hijinks over there instead. Yesterday I posted about my intro back into CrossFit after taking almost a week off sick and how graceful I was not. Today was no better. My box jump bruises from yesterday now have complimentary rope burns from rope climbing. :) I also recently posted about finding gifts for CrossFitters.

This week I am kicking off a journey to see if laser hair removal is the greenest route to go. I hate shaving my legs and for years I just didn’t. I really was a hairy hippie. When I got back into fitness I went back to shaving. I just felt better about me if my legs looked clean shaven in group fitness classes. That meant having to buy disposable razors though, which is not so green. No way was I going to be getting a stainless straight razor…they scare me and I am actually not supposed to even be shaving my legs since I have almost no lymph nodes in my legs (cancer). If I get any kind of cut on my legs it takes weeks or months to heal and it scars. So what to do???

Well, I met some folks from Tria while at BlogHer in New York this past August. After a chat and some follow up emailing they generously sent me one of their home laser hair removal units. Doing it at home takes longer than doing it in a salon or doctor’s office, perhaps because you can’t get a home unit as strong as what they use? The home unit supposedly takes 6-8 months for complete hair removal with treatments being done every 2 weeks. I am not gonna lie…this thing hurts something fierce…at least on the strongest level which is what I tried first. It alternates between a feeling that you are being burned with a curling iron or being snapped hard with a rubber band. I plan to try the next treatment on a lower setting. So get ready to find out, eventually, if this home laser hair removal is reality or fiction. I primarily want to remove hair from my legs, armpits, and bikini area. The legs may take a bit longer than 6-8 months! We shall see…

Other Links of Interest for Your Weekend Perusal….

A petition started by my bloggy friend Lori (Groovy Green Livin) is going around to spur Disney to get the toxins out of their lunchboxes. Please sign if you too want to send a message that these products are not safe and Disney needs to step up and fix this.

While your at it please sign this petition to get the FDA to set arsenic limits for rice too. So many bloggers are trying to create awareness and change for our children and they need our support.

Today is the last day for the Wildcraft Herbal game sale. This is probably the last sale they will have until next year so don’t miss out on 50% off!

Have a great weekend!!!!


Lego Castle Adventure at COSI

by Tiffany in Children

If you are local, check out the giveaway at the end of the post…

Last week my two youngest kiddos, (my daughter’s friend), and my hubby hit up one of our favorite places in Columbus…the Science Center, COSI. We have been season pass holders off and on throughout the years but not of late so it had been awhile since we had been there for any length of time (minus that preschooler event in June). We were excited to check out the new Lego Castle exhibit though since all three of my kids are crazy for Legos. At their grandparents house they have  “Lego Room” filled with many, many thousands of Legos and work tables for all their marvelous creations. They are pretty serious about their Lego love.

So obviously this exhibit was a big hit with them. It had numerous places for them to build with Legos big and small, play with Castle props (dress up , joust, etc.), and of course see elaborate Lego creations built by other people, many of them children.

After spending the morning in this Lego wonderland we spent some time visiting the rest of the museum…the Ocean wing is always a favorite. My kids always manage to get wet…always.

Another new to us exhibit were the Jelly Bean works of art. Love!

A good time was had by all…

If you are local and want some passes, COSI was kind enough to give me a set of 4 free entry passes with 4 extreme screen passes. If you want a chance to win just comment and tell me what you love about COSI. Good luck!

Disclosure: I was given free passes/parking to attend this event. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

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