Author Archives: runeatplay

Now Foods Blogger Immersion Event and a Giveaway!

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to meet up with 11 other Fitfluential ambassadors for a Now Foods immersion event. The event was to give bloggers at inside look at how Now Foods operates, what goes on behind the scenes, and to learn a little bit more about Now Foods and the products they offer.

All of the bloggers:


We started out Thursday evening with dinner at Glen Prairie with the CEO of Now Foods, Jim Emme, and other Now Foods employees for a meet and greet.  Jim Emme started the evening off giving us a little background on Now Foods.

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Now Foods is a family owned company founded in in 1968. They offer 1,400 high quality, natural, and affordable products ranging from vitamins and supplements to hair and skincare products to snacks and olive oils.


100% of Now Foods brands are non-GMO and 75% of their supplements are non-GMO assured.

I had the pleasure of sitting with two employees from the Now Foods sports line and skin care line and listening to their entertaining stories of life at Now Foods. I was also very happy that Michelle from NYC Running Mama was there- we first met while filming the Mizuno commercials in Atlanta two years ago. She is so inspirational and such a sweet person.

Dinner was delicious. I had a salmon with a vegetable risotto.

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During dinner, we got to hear from other Now Food employees and learn a little more about the company. Now Foods believes in manufacturing quality products and both of their manufacturing facilities (in Illinois and Nevada) have received an “A” rating from the Natural Products Association (NPA) for meeting Good Manufacturing Procedures (GMP) standards.

I was also interested to learn that Now products are sold in Fruitful Yield stores which is a store local to me.

Bright and early at 6 am on Friday morning, all the bloggers met at a local Lifetime Fitness to take a private spinning class from the fitness director.


It was a great spin class and we finished our workout with a 20 minute yoga session.


(Photo courtesy of @NowFoodsOfficial on  Instagram)

After the workout, a shuttle took us to the Now operation facility. Here we were given an inside look at how their products are made from start to finish. I love the fact that Now Foods doesn’t just test the final product for quality, they test each individual ingredient that goes into a product.


Now products are created using non-GMO, non-irradiated, and organic ingredients whenever possible. We were able to see each different lab as we went through our private tour.



Now Foods really puts time and care into each and every product they make. Everything is tested and retested until it’s perfect.

After touring the facility, we headed over to the Now Headquarters. We started out with an oil tasting.


Now Foods just put out  line of cooking oils under the name of Ellyndale Foods. I’ll admit that I’m pretty much an olive oil girl so I was excited to try out some of the other oils that are available.


My favorites were the macadamia nut oil and the organic coconut infusions in garlic. So good.


Next, we had lunch while listening to a presentation by Dr. Wendy Bazilian.



The presentation was very informative about healthy living, what to eat and what not to eat, how to stock your cabinets, when to eat for athletes, and how Now products are incorporated into a healthy lifestyle.

And the wellness presentation, we moved upstairs to Now’s Culinary Innovation Center. We had a recipe session led by Chef Suzy Singh who was amazing.


The bloggers broke into two groups and each group made a cookie recipe. My group made Ultimate Organic Oatmeal and Goldenberry Cookies.

Erin from Her Heartland Soul scooping our cookies:



They were amazing!


We also got to sample the chocolate fudge brownies and chocolate chip banana bread.


Both were delicious. I really like that the Now food products are made without the common allergens including dairy, wheat, soy, nuts, and eggs. Since my son, Jaden, is allergic to dairy these products are great for him!

Check out more great recipes from Now Foods here.

From there, we wrapped everything up but not before being able to witness Now’s Ceo, Jim, do a few crossfit moves with Jill from Baked Fit. Fun times.


Overall, I had an amazing experience. I got to meet a bunch of other great bloggers and learn a lot more about Now Foods and all the hard work they do.

You can learn more about Now Foods on their websiteFacebook, and Twitter. Check out the #NOWGetFit Twitter Party on Tuesday, May 12 at 9 pm EST.

Now Foods is providing one lucky reader with a package of assorted Now products!

Here’s a few of the products you might receive in your package:


Now Foods will be giving away a package of products to one reader! Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of NOW Foods.


Filed under Product Review, Uncategorized

Four Miles and Exciting News

Good afternoon!

Exciting news!! My husband, Danny, will be running the Chicago Marathon this October! It will be his first marathon!


The Chicago marathon is now a lottery, drawn at random. About 79,000 people entered the lottery and they chose 40,000 people. Danny was one of the lucky ones to get in through the lottery.

Danny was going to run his first marathon in Disney while I was running my first half marathon but since I was injured and had to have hip surgery, those plans were put on hold. Now he’ll be running a marathon this October!


Yesterday, my son Jaden had a birthday party to go to so while he was at his party, we took Jacob out to lunch to celebrate his birthday.


The sun was in Jaden’s eyes.

We took Jacob to his favorite restaurant – Olive Garden!



I didn’t run very much last week because I was fighting a cold but today I was back on the treadmill. My plan today was to add a little bit of speed.

I started at my normal pace of 5.5 mph for about 8 minutes. Then I bumped my pace up to 6 mph. This is a fast pace for me since having hip surgery. I’m still trying to ease into running faster. I ran at 6 mph for 12 minutes. Then my plan was to go back to 5.5 mph but my heart rate was up to 175 bpm and wasn’t coming back down so I slowed my pace to 5 mph. I was dying! I ran about 8 minutes at 5 mph. Then I walked slowly for a little more than a mile.

Overall, I completed 4 miles.


My Achilles was pretty sore but my hip felt good. By 10:00 am, I was already at 10,000 steps for the day. I was also up at 4:50 am this morning to work, so the longer you’re up, the more steps you’ll get!


After my run, I foam rolled and stretched.



Lunch this afternoon was delicious! I made a salad with spring mix, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and pecans. I bought the Bolthouse Farms creamy balsamic dressing to try and it was amazing on my salad.


I also had some chicken jerky and string cheese on the side for some protein.

Have a great day!

  • Have you ever run a marathon? Any tips?
  • Did you workout today?
  • Favorite restaurant? 



Filed under Lunch, Running, Working Out

Happy Birthday, Jacob!

Good morning! The past few days have been so busy and I’m really looking forward to telling you guys about my trip to the Now Foods headquarters with the other FitFluential bloggers! Look for that post next week!

Happy Birthday

Today is my son, Jacob’s, 14th birthday.


I truly can’t believe how fast time goes! Jacob was born premature at 25 weeks, weighing 1 pound and 14 ounces. Due to how early he was born, he was classified as a micro preemie.

He spent two months in the NICU in a hospital an hour away from my house. He had respirator to help him breathe, a feeding tube so he could eat, and had to stay in a temperature controlled isolette. I wasn’t able to hold him until he was about three weeks old and could maintain his own body temperature.

Jacob as a toddler:


Jacob had eye surgery as a baby and has worn glasses since he was six months old.


Even though he was born 14 years ago, it seems like just yesterday. It’s amazing how fast kids grow up and Jacob truly is my little miracle baby.

Yesterday, we had family over to celebrate his birthday.


Today, we’re taking him out to lunch to his favorite restaurant – Olive Garden!

Happy birthday, Jacob!



Filed under Family Fun

Now Foods Event

Good afternoon! I can’t believe half the day is gone already! I have so many things to get done.

I wasn’t feeling the greatest this morning, but I still went to the gym and did about 50 minutes of easy cardio. I walked on the treadmill, then I completed about 20 minutes on the Stairmaster, and finished with the arc trainer.

I have some fun things going on tonight and tomorrow!

Now Foods

I’m really excited to be meeting up with 11 other Fitfluential bloggers from all over the country tonight and tomorrow to go behind the scenes at Now Foods.

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A leading natural products manufacturer, Now Foods, is dedicated to providing customers with a complete approach to health and wellness by offering more than 1,400 high-quality, natural, and affordable products, including nutrient-rich foods, supplements, personal care items, and sports nutrition items.

We’ll be spending time with Now experts, sampling products, cooking with their R&D chef, and meeting with Now’s managnement team.

You can follow us along with #NOWGetFit on social media. You can follow Now Foods on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook. Follow Run Eat Play on Instagram and Twitter.

I’m really looking forward to the event and going behind the scenes at Now Foods.

Have a great afternoon!





Filed under Working Out

Kettlebell Workout

Good afternoon!


Today marks the 10th day straight that I’ve had a headache. I went to the doctor yesterday because I finally couldn’t take it anymore. He said it’s probably something to keep an eye on since I don’t regularly suffer from headaches. He diagnosed it as an atypical migraine.

He prescribed a pain medicine and said that it should help the headache go away in 1-2 days. He said if it didn’t make the headache go away, the next step would be a blood test and a scan to check for a more serious problem.

The headache isn’t debilitating or causing me extreme pain. I’m not affected by bright lights. It’s most just a constant headache that’s annoying and frustrating. It dulls at time but never completely goes away. Mostly, I just want to sleep all the time. So frustrating!

Today I still woke up with a headache although not quite as intense. If it’s not gone by tomorrow, I have to call the doctor. We’ll see. I’m keep my fingers crossed that this darn thing goes away.

Last night was Jaden’s first baseball game of the season!


Life always gets a little crazy when baseball starts because it takes up a lot of time, but Jaden loves it. And watching young kids play baseball can be entertaining since they’re still learning the game.

Jaden’s team is the White Sox but my hubby is a huge Chicago Cubs fan. :)

Today’s Workout

I changed it up a little bit at the gym today and did a workout using only kettlebells.


Some of the exercises I did included:

  • kettlebell swings
  • kettlebell sumo squats
  • one-armed rows
  • kettlebell halos (around the head)
  • kettlebell orbits (around the body)
  • windmills
  • figure 8 (in and out of the legs)
  • Russian twists
  • half get-ups

I did the workout as a circuit, repeating all the exercises with no rest in between, Then I rested 1-2 minutes and repeated the circuit two more times. It was a great workout to change things up a bit!

After my workout, I taught my Women on Weights class and then refueled with a Premier Protein chocolate shake.


 Local Race

For those of you local to the Chicagoland area, Capitol Nutrition is having their 3rd annual charity run to raise awareness and funds for helping military veterans heal emotional wounds by pairing them with a shelter dog. The event not only helps veterans but also helps shelter dogs. Proceeds for the event go to Pets for Vets charity.

The race takes place on June 6th, 2015 in Orland Park. For more information or to register go to their website here.

Well, I’m off to get a few things done for baseball tonight! Have a great afternoon!

  • Do you suffer from headaches? Any advice?
  • Do you ever use kettlebells in your workout?
  • Favorite piece of exercises equipment? Treadmill, barbells, kettlebells, medicine balls, etc?



Filed under Family Fun, Working Out

Strawberry Lime Protein Smoothie

In anticipation of the nice weather that’s coming soon, I’ve put together a smoothie that’s perfect for a hot summer day – a strawberry lime protein smoothie. Cold, refreshing, and packed full of protein!


I’m always looking for ways to add extra protein to my diet because I know how good it is for building and repairing muscles. It also helps keep you feeling fuller longer, boosts energy, and can help aid in weight loss. But really, this smoothie is just delicious!

Strawberry Lime Smoothie


  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 container key lime yogurt
  • juice from one lime
  • 2 oz cashew or almond milk
  • 1/2 (approx. 5 oz) container Premier Protein Strawberries & Cream shake
  • 4-6 ice cubes



Blend all ingredients and enjoy!

238 calories/2 g fat/ 26 g carbs/ 29 g protein


This is probably one of my favorite smoothies that I’ve ever made. I love the strawberry and lime combination. It’s prefect for breakfast, a snack, or after a workout to repair and rebuild those muscles!

And of course, since I was making a smoothie, the kids wanted a smoothie too. Jaden is allergic to dairy products so his smoothie contained: Silk dairy-free mango peach yogurt, frozen strawberries, almond milk, honey, and ice cubes.



Everyone had a delicious smoothie this morning!

  • What’s your favorite smoothie recipe?
  • What’s your favorite smoothie flavor?
  • How do you add protein into your diet?


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Filed under Breakfast, Recipes

Reaching a Goal

Good afternoon!

I really haven’t feeling the best lately so I’ve been kind of low-key this weekend.

I have had a headache for eight days non-stop. It’s so annoying. I don’t get headaches very often and if I do, they usually last for a very short while. That’s why it’s so odd that I’ve had this headache for eight days straight.

At first, it was just the headache but then I woke up the other day feeling sick. It’s mostly just a sore throat, a stuffy nose, and a cloudy head. I just really want this headache to go away!

Danny mentioned going to the gym this morning, and at first I didn’t want to go, but I finally decided to go and do a little bit of cardio in hopes that it might make me feel a little bit better.

Going to the gym:


Despite my constant headache and feeling under the weather, I managed to run 3.1 miles on the treadmill without stopping!!!


That is my farthest distance and greatest accomplishment since my hip surgery last summer. Apparently, being sick is my super power!

I was really sore by the time I was done and my Achilles tendon and calf hurt a lot. I have two 5ks scheduled next month and then I might need to take some time off from running to let my Achilles get better. That’s kind of a bummer because I was really hoping to run a lot this summer but I don’t want to push this injury like I pushed my hip injury because that ended up with a major surgery.

After running, I stretched and foam rolled. I was sore but so happy for accomplishing my goal of being able to run non-stop for three miles. It wasn’t a very fast run, more slow and steady, but I’m working on endurance instead of speed.

After the gym, I went grocery shopping. I bought Jaden a cactus because he collects plants.


Ever since my dad took him to the hardware store a few weeks ago and Jaden saw a real life mini cactus he has been dying for one. He did think that it was going to grow into a full sized cactus like in the desert so I had to explain to him that it would just be a small cactus not a giant desert cactus. He seemed okay with that. :)

I also bought lots of fruit.


I love fruit in the summer. The watermelon was pretty good but not at its peak yet. I can’t wait for fresh summer watermelon!

I love my fruit cold – the colder the better! I even keep apples in the fridge to eat them cold but Danny is the opposite. He likes them room temperature.

We’re going to Whole Foods later today to pick up a few more groceries and maybe some sushi.

Have a great Sunday!

***Don’t forget to enter my JonnyPops giveaway!***

  • Did you workout today?
  • Did you collect anything as a kid?
  • Do you like your fruit cold or room temperature?


Filed under Running, Working Out

JonnyPops Review and Giveaway!

I have a great review and giveaway for you guys today – JonnyPops!


JonnyPops are frozen pops made with real, all-natural ingredients.  They’re made with simple, wholesome ingredients like real fruit and cream. The main ingredient in the fruit flavors is fresh, real fruit.

I was sent two different flavors to try out – Strawberries & Cream and Raspberries Blueberries & Cream.

Of course, the kids needed to taste test them immediately.





To say my niece liked them would be an understatement.




The kids loved them! And they’re a great healthy alternative to regular ice cream bars.

I also loved the JonnyPops. I loved that they’re creamier than most traditional fruit bars. They’re a perfect guilt-free treat. Great for an after dinner treat or on a hot summer night.

JonnyPop ingredients include real fruit, cream, cane sugar, and a pinch of salt, and they don’t have any preservatives.


Each pop is approximately 130-140 calories.


JonnyPops come in other great flavors including Pineapple Coconut & Cream, Coffee Chocolate & Cream, and Mango & cream.



JonnyPops is giving away two boxes of JonnyPops to three different winners. Lots of ways to enter – enter to win below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: JonnyPops sent me the fruit bars to try out at no charge to me. They are sponsoring the giveaway and all opinions are my own. 


Filed under Product Review

Premier Protein Earth Day Dirt Shake Recipe

Happy Earth Day!

Today, I have a great Earth Day shake recipe from Premier Protein to share with you.



Earth Day Dirt Shake


  • 1 Premier Protein 11 oz chocolate shake
  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 4-6 ice cubes



Put ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth! Top with cocoa powder and hemp seeds if desired.


This was the perfect post workout shake to whip up. It was packed full of protein and a great way to get a serving of veggies in. You can’t even taste the spinach in it!


Running Update

I mentioned last week that when I tried to run on Sunday, it didn’t go very well. Even though I worked on legs Monday, I decided to try running yesterday. My legs were a little sore but not too bad.

I used KT tape on my Achilles tendon and made sure to foam roll with my new Premier Protein foam roller before and after my workout.


Sometimes I just stare at the miles on the treadmill wanting to quit so yesterday I covered the readout on the treadmill with a towel and decided to run for about six songs on my iPod before I checked my mileage.

It started out pretty hard. My Achilles hurt, my legs were sore from the previous day’s workout, but I kept going. There were times I really wanted to stop but my goal was to try to run at least 2.25 miles without walking. My Achilles pain almost had me stopping a few times but after awhile the pain eased up a bit.

After six songs, I was at 1.85 miles so I kept going. I told myself if I was still in a lot of pain at 2 miles then I would stop. Two miles came and I felt good so I decided to go for 2.25 miles. At 2.25 miles, I figured I could keep going. 2.5 miles was my goal last Sunday so I decided to run until 2.5 miles.

2.5 miles came and went and I kept going until 2.75. This was the farthest and longest that I had run since my hip surgery. Although I was in a little pain and tired, at that point I was so close to three miles that I decided to just push through and run it.

At 2.83 miles, my phone rang and my son’s school popped up on the display. Of course, I had to stop running and answer it. I guess it wasn’t my fate to run three miles that day but I did manage to run 2.83 without any walking breaks.

Turns out my son had a rash and they needed someone to come pick him up.

We stopped at Starbucks and got some green tea to make us feel better. :)


My legs/hip/Achilles were so sore the rest of the day. It wasn’t a long distance but it’s more running than my body is used to so I was feeling it. I think I’ll be good to run the Mother’s Day 5k next month. I don’t have a time goal in mind. I just want to be able to run the race without walking. That will be a big accomplishment since my hip surgery especially since I’ve been having so much Achilles pain.

Have a great afternoon!

  • What’s your favorite smoothie recipe?
  • Have you ever accomplished a goal that you’ve worked hard to reach?

Disclaimer: As a Premier Protein ambassador, I was sent the protein drinks and foam roller at no cost to me. All opinions are my own.





Filed under Uncategorized

Anniversary Date Night – Shaw’s Crab House

Happy Marathon Monday! Good luck to all those running the Boston Marathon today!!


On Saturday evening, Danny and I went to Shaw’s Crab House to celebrate our anniversary.


We went to the Grand Crab Buffet which they only have on Saturday nights on the upper floor of the restaurant. The Grand Crab Buffet is definitely pricey but it includes all you can eat king crab legs. If you’re a crab leg fan then you know how delicious but expensive they are!

Even though it was expensive, the food was delicious, and it was something special we’d only do once a year for our anniversary (or maybe birthday?! ;) ).

Besides the amazing king crab legs, there was tons of other food. Danny isn’t a huge seafood fan so I was proud of him for trying some of it. Luckily, it’s not all seafood and there’s other foods as well.

There was a couple different kinds of salad, crab cakes, shrimp, crab tarts, sushi, and snow crab legs.


The waiter brought mini lobster bisque soups with a mini grilled cheese on the side to our table.


I love lobster bisque soup. I had it the first time about two years ago and I fell in love with it!

There was also lobster and spinach mac & cheese, beef tenderloin, parmesan crusted chicken, carrots & parsnips, au gratin potatoes, fried shrimp, oysters, and more.


The king crab legs were by far my favorite.

And of course there was dessert. Most of the desserts were mini sized so I figured I should try lots of them!

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There were peanut butter cookies, creme brulee, red velvet cupcakes, carrot cake cupcakes, chocolate cupcakes, brownies, coconut macaroons, pecan tartlets, cake pops, and more.

Overall, the meal was amazing.

After dinner, we met up with my friend Jenny and her boyfriend, John, for a few drinks.


We got home late and picked the kids up from my dad and stepmom the next day. It was an amazing anniversary with my wonderful husband.


I went to the gym this morning and worked on legs.

Some of the exercises I did included:

  • leg press machine
  • calf raises on the Smith machine
  • walking lunges
  • squats
  • deadlifts
  • step-up to knee on a bench

After my leg exercises, I walked one slow mile on the treadmill. My Achilles still hurts so I’m going to wait another day or two before I try to run again.

Have a great afternoon!

  • What did you do this weekend?
  • What’s the best restaurant you’ve ever been to?
  • What’s your favorite food?


1 Comment

Filed under Dinner, Working Out