Six Life Lessons from the Marathon

Hey party people! As you can probably tell with my last few posts, the new year has me feeling reflective. Especially with this bomb cyclone going on, it’s easy enough to stay inside and curl up with a hot cocoa and relax under a warm blanket.  Ahhhhhh that sounds amazing right about now! As I discussed in my last post, my goal this year is to run marathon #11.

When you are setting goals for yourself, it’s important to know why you want to accomplish that goal. So why do I want to run a marathon in 2018 after taking 2017 off from running 26.2 miles? Easy. For me, the marathon is more of a mental challenge than any of the other distances. Yes, I think all the distances present their own challenges, but NOTHING will challenge you like the marathon does.

Here are 6 life lessons that the marathon will teach you.

#1- You have to do things you don’t want to do in order to get what you want.

I think this really holds true with EVERYTHING in life.  Think about it. You think to yourself, “it would be so awesome to vacation in Napa Valley.” So you have this grand vision of yourself drinking amazing wine and eating the most delicious food. Great! That can become a reality. But you have to do the things that aren’t so pleasant in order to make that dream vacation happen such as researching flights, comparing prices, figuring out an itinerary, making dinner reservations, flying, etc. Same holds true with the marathon. You have to wake up super early. You have to run 20 miles on a Saturday. You have to stay in on some Friday nights. But guess what? If you don’t do those things, you’ll never run the marathon. I’ll say it again, you have to do things you don’t want to do in order to get what you want.

#2- You can handle it.

When you run a marathon, you are redefining “hard.” The marathon is the single hardest thing I have done in my life. When you are at mile 20, everything hurts and your brain is telling you to quit. But you don’t.  Because you have worked too hard for this to quit! At this point in the marathon, it really is mind over matter. So if you go through anything hard in your life after running a marathon (e.g. loss of a loved one, divorce, illness) you can remember how you felt at mile 20 and say, “I can handle this.” You just know that on the other side of that pain is something greater.

#3- You need a purpose.

Too many people wake up and live the same way day in and day out. Almost like they are just going through the motions. They stop growing personally and professionally. I am not saying you have to set out to be the next President of the United States. But you need something that gets you out of bed every morning and makes you strive to be your best. It could be anything from being a great parent to teaching. The marathon gives you purpose every day. You know why you are out there running in crappy weather and what you are working toward.

#4- You don’t have to go at it alone.

So many of us feel like the road to success is a lonely one. You automatically assume that no one wants to help you or worse, that everyone is against you. That’s simply not true. You might show up to the start line of a marathon alone, but you are among many that are about to embark on the same journey!  You can just feel the energy in the air! Think about those random spectators at a race. They aren’t out there booing you or telling you to go home. They are cheering you on, and they don’t even know your name!  How amazing is that?! And what about the volunteers? They wake up bright and early to get to the race to support you with whatever you need. Again, they want you to succeed. Life is the same. How many times have you seen a random act of kindness? Or saw your team at work supporting someone going through a hard time? Always remember that you have the love and support of many.

#5- You need to keep moving forward.

A marathon is run in many steps, not one giant leap. It takes time, patience, and consistency to get to where you want to go. Even if it’s one tiny step forward, that’s progress. Same is true in life. You aren’t going to be Picasso after your very first painting. I love the quote, “The expert in anything was once a beginner.” You have to keep moving forward and keep doing the work. Your time will come.

#6- You need to be consistent.

When I first started running, do you know how many times I tried to run around the block and didn’t make it? It was a lot. Ask my neighbors 😛 But I kept at it almost every day.  It wasn’t like I tried it once and was like, “Oh well didn’t make it! Guess I’m not a runner!” I was consistent. I am a believer that every failure is one step closer to a success. You just get back up and try again. Think about when babies are trying to learn how to walk.  How many times do they fall down? A ton! But does a baby ever say, “Well I just fell, guess I’ll never be able to walk!” This is a trick question. Babies don’t talk 😉 But NO!  They just get back up and try again until they get it. As the quote goes, “it’s impossible until it is done.”

So tell me, what lessons has the marathon taught you?

Goals for 2018

Hey gang!  Instead of a What I’m Feelin’ Friday post, I wanted to talk about my goals for 2018. How about what I’m feelin’ today is kicking butt and taking names in 2018? 😛

So here are my goals for 2018…

Goal #1: Get my personal training certification

If you follow me on Instagram, you saw my post about getting my personal training certification this year through National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). Why am I doing this? To keep elevating my level of expertise in health and fitness to better serve my coaching clients. I actually debated getting this certification back in 2008 and leaving my full-time job to be a trainer. Do I regret not doing it then? No. Because I am doing it now and that’s all that matters.

Goal #2: Keep growing my business

In 2018, I really want to ramp up the growth and look at multiple ways to bring in income. And just keep working on my ultimate goal. It’s just like running. You eventually run a marathon by taking hundreds of thousands of steps forward. You don’t run a marathon in a single leap. It’s easy to get discouraged when it feels like your taking a long time to get there. But you just keep moving forward and eventually you’ll get there.

Goal #3: Read 10 books

Join the Reading Challenge!

I have been participating in the Good Reads Reading Challenge since 2012. It’s a fun way to stay motivated and look back on what you have read, what were your favorite books, and think about the lessons you have learned from those books. I crushed last years challenge by reading 17 books when I set out to read 7. To help me read more, I’m debating on getting a subscription to Audible. I tried the free trial years ago and really enjoyed it. But remember I am a podcast junkie and that’s all I listen to on my commute. So it’s like, do I spend the $15/month when I listen to free content already? Am I just being cheap? LOL

Goal #4: Learn more about branding and marketing

This one will also help with goal #2. Ever since I have been watching Shark Tank, I have always been fascinated with branding and marketing. I feel like marketing can be the secret sauce to a simple business idea. How about this, I download some branding and marketing books on Audible. That will also help me accomplish goal #3! Hahahaha!

Goal #5: Run a marathon

So this isn’t a new goal, but last year I did not run a marathon. I was feeling a bit burnt out and wanted to shift my focus to other things in life.  Truth be told, I was afraid I wouldn’t miss it. The long training runs every Saturday, the pain you felt during the race, etc. But I definitely do miss it!  Nothing compares to the marathon. I am going to enter the lottery on January 15th for the New York City Marathon but if I don’t get into that race, I will run the Philadelphia marathon. Woohoo!!

That’s all for now!  So tell me, what are your goals for 2018?

2017: A Year in Review

Happy New Year!  Hope everyone had a great first day of 2018. I started out my day with a very cold run on a trail around a lake and came home to a yummy breakfast of eggs, sausage, and toast courtesy of my boyfriend. Then we just spent the day lounging around.  It was perfection!

Before I talk about my 2018 goals, I want to do a year in review for 2017. Last year I blogged about my 2017 goals.  Did I accomplish them all? Mostly.  And I am okay with that!

Goal #1 of 2017: Break 1 hour and 9 minutes at the Parkway Classic Ten Miler

Accomplished?: No. I ran a 1 hour and 14 minutes but I am still so proud of my time!  I did the best I could and had a great day during the race and after. After the race my boyfriend and I headed to Hank’s Oyster Bar for their yummy fried fish sandwich, then headed to Bluprint Chocolatiers for some of the yummiest chocolate EVER, and went to Port City Brewing to continue the celebration!  You can read more about my race day recap here.


Goal #2 of 2017: Continue to grow the blog

Accomplished?: Yes!

Here is a snapshot of users that visited the blog in the past year. Each dot on the chart represents the month.  The big spike was due to my announcement of my clothing line. I know there is a ton of room to keep growing, and that’s what I intend on doing in 2018.


Goal #3 of 2017: Take a cooking class

Accomplished?: Womp Womp lol. No. We didn’t even get near a cooking school!  No sweat though.  Just adding it to the bucket list for 2018!


Goal #4 of 2017: Read at least 7 books.

Accomplished?: Heck to the yeah!!! I read 17 books in 2017. I am seeing a theme here 😉 My four most favorite were:

  1. “The Magnolia Story” by Chip and Joanna Gaines- This book is funny and inspiring. Chip and Joanna do not sugar coat their humble beginnings, which is refreshing in an Instagram world where we only see someone’s highlight reel.
  2. “The Kind Worth Killing” by Peter Swanson- Umm talk about a murder mystery with some serious twists and turns!  I could NOT put this one down!  I was left wondering the following day what was going to happen in the next chapter.
  3. “The Girl Who Wrote in Silk” by Kelli Estes- This is a great tale of two stories from two different women who are standing up to do what they think is right. This story is so vividly told and I loved imagining each scene. I can still remember them as if I saw them happening in real life.
  4. “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls- This non-fiction story about a girl living in poverty with parents that do not conform to society’s norms will send you on a roller coaster ride of emotions. It’s heartwarming and heart-wrenching, but it’ll make you think twice about how you feel about homelessness and raising children. Definitely my favorite book of 2017.

Goal #5 of 2017: Take a fashion illustration class

Accomplished?: Yes! Doesn’t mean I was any good haha! I took the fashion illustration class online through Brit & Co. I really love their online platform and have taken several of their classes. Here is what I came up with….

Hmm okay so the hair can use a little work 😛 But not a bad first attempt! Have I made a second attempt? No. Will I? Meh the jury is still out. I liked it, didn’t love it. But I still think about other outfits/scenes I’d like to draw.  We will see what 2018 brings!

All in all another successful year. Looking forward to an even more successful 2018!

So tell me, how was your 2017? Any big accomplishments? Any bucket list items scratched off?

What I’m Feelin’ Friday #7

Hey gang!  I am loving these Fridays right before a holiday. I love this time of year because I get to relax and think of goals for the upcoming year. Crazy to think that this will be the last WIFF for 2017! So here we go!!!

#1 Staying in for New Year’s Eve

My boyfriend and I have been staying in every New Year’s Eve for a few years now….and we love it! We have a tradition of making this ragu bolognese from Mario Batali. It’s critical you watch the video to see exactly how he does it. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think you were burning the sauce. OMG I am drooling just thinking about it! Pair this dish with a good champagne and you have the perfect evening.

#2 Bulldog Yoga in Villanova, PA

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Every time I am visiting my boyfriend’s parent’s house, I make sure I go to Bulldog Yoga at least once during my visit. Now let’s set the record straight here. I hate yoga. I get so bored during a typical class and some studios are pretentious. But Bulldog Yoga is different. It’s fast-paced so it feels like you are actually working out and fun because they play upbeat music (Bee Gees, NSYNC, AC/DC, etc.).  Last week for the holidays they had a holiday music themed class that took the attention off the actual workout and emphasized the holiday fun! Highly recommend the studio if you are in the area!

#3 Posh Podcast

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Speaking of fun music for your workout, you should check out the Posh Podcast immediately (available through iTunes and MixCloud). These mixes are delivered straight to your phone weekly for FREE. I have not had to create any playlists since I started listening to the Posh Podcast because it scratches my itch for upbeat music during my gym sessions. Yay for saving money!!

And that’s a wrap!!

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What I’m Feelin’ Friday #6

Hey friends!  It’s Christmas week and I couldn’t be more excited! I hope you get all the running stuff you wanted this year under your tree! 😛 He’ll be here soon enough….

So let’s jump to it! Here is what I am feelin’ this week:

#1 Christmas morning run

In my opinion, there is no better day and time to run than Christmas morning. The world is super quiet and most people keep their Christmas lights on and shining bright. I look forward to running on Christmas morning all December long. It’s a great time to reflect on what you are grateful for in your life and just soak it all in.

#2 Daily Greatness Journal

Dailygreatness Journal: A Practical Guide For Consciously Creating Your Days

Photo Credit: dailygreatness.co

I think it’s safe to assume that most runners are type A people. There’s nothing like the thrill of setting goals and going through the journey to achieve them!  I have used other life planners in the past, but what I like about the Daily Greatness Journal (<–Referral Link) is that it forces you to set an intention for the day and has you reflect on your day later that evening. So to me, it’s building a habit of making the most of my very limited time. I’ve had life planners before that week-based, but I felt like too many weeks slipped by where I wanted to be better but didn’t create the habits that would make me better. Watch out 2018, here I come!

#3 Hempz Lip Balm in Frosted Peppermint and Vanilla Sugar

As much as I love the cold weather, I HATE how dry my lips get. I have so much chapstick stashed around the house that I can use it on a moments notice. Unfortunately my beagle loves chapstick too. So much so that he actually broke into Christmas presents to eat the chapsticks that were in the bags. Yes, I had to go to Ulta to repurchase some hahaha. I love to put this chapstick on before my winter weather run.  It makes it feel even more like Christmas!! You can buy it here on Amazon or at Ulta.

So tell me, are you running on Christmas morning? What running-related gift will Santa bring you? Click “Comment” under the blog post title to leave a comment.

Race Recap: Celtic Solstice 5 Miler

Hey friends!  Hope everyone enjoyed their weekend!  This past Saturday, I ran the Celtic Solstice 5 Miler in Baltimore.

This is my 5th time signing up for the race, but really only my 3rd time running it since it got snowed/iced out 2 other years. Unfortunately, they won’t cancel the race for inclement weather and there is not a refund.  So I got smart and sign up just a few days before the race when I can view the forecast. 😛

With the race start being at 8:30 am, my running partner and I decided to leave our ‘hood by 7 am to give us enough time to get there, park the car, and use the port-a-potties. Thank God we did leave early because we thought we would be smart and take a back road to the start area (the Maryland Zoo). We did this because the main way to get to the start is a short exit off the main highway and every year it is notoriously backed up and you are just waiting. Well when we tried to take the back entrance into the zoo, it was closed off. Womp womp! Then we drove around to the front of the zoo, where Santa was waving in traffic to another parking area. Well we must have been on the naughty list this year, because when we pulled up to the lot the attendant (Santa’s helper?) told us the lot was full and we would have to find another lot. So we turned around and were luckily pointed down another road, where we parked right at the start!!  Score!!

After parking, I quickly spotted the Irish Wolfhounds that kick off the race each year. I love petting these gentle giants!  This boy was 165 pounds!

 

Soon enough, it was time to start the race! We all had to walk up the road and turn around to run the other direction. Kinda awkward and it was packed. I couldn’t see the bag pipe march with the dogs but I sure heard it! So much fun!

Then we were off!  It snowed the day prior so I had to watch my footing but the race route was pretty well salted. Mile 1 was crowded but honestly, I do this race for fun. If you follow me on Instagram, you know my fitness watch broke a few weeks back. That allowed me to not be constantly looking at my time and just enjoy the scenery. The course goes through Druid Hill Park, which is America’s third oldest park. Oh, and it’s hilly as all get out. It was fun to run by all the quirky features of the park such as an old graveyard, pools, tennis courts, a K-9 Police Unit, and the Zoo. By mile 4 I was feeling the hills but knew the last mile would be over quickly.

After finishing, I quickly went to the post-race tent and grabbed some mulled wine. That’s always the food item that has the longest line. So right there is your incentive to run a little faster during the race 😉

Basically, the post-race food is the reason why I run the race. Other than the mulled wine from Boordy Vineyards, there is delicious soup (think it was vegetable soup?) from a chef in Baltimore, Italian cookies from Trinacria Deli in Baltimore, and coffee and hot cocoa from Zekes.

Another fun year at the Celtic Solstice in the books!

So tell me, what’s your favorite Christmas-themed race? How many of those cookies would you have eaten post-race? Be honest 😛

What I’m Feelin’ Friday #6

We made it!!!!!! Happy Friday gang! The Baltimore-area has seen snow this past week and I am loving it! Yesterday morning I woke up to a light blanket of snow. A lot of people say running in autumn is their favorite time of year to run but for me? It’s hands down running in the snow. The world seems so peaceful and quiet, even if it’s only for a little while. And the crunching of the snow under your feet? It’s magic!

It’s been a CRAZY week with little time to relax. So I have only 1 new thing I am feelin’ this Friday. I caught this gem yesterday and it had me cracking up! I may have watched it several times by now. 😛

I seriously love all the Bad Lip Reading videos! It’s a compilation of scenes from movies, TV shows, sporting events, etc. and they record their own audio as if they were trying to lip read what is actually being said. So frickin’ clever! I first saw the NFL Bad Lip Reading, but also discovered Game of Thrones, political events, and more pop-culture videos.

Enjoy!!!

So tell me, what are you feeling this Friday? 

Napa, CA Trip Day 4, Part 2: The French Laundry

Missed the previous 3.5 days? You can check out day 1 here, day 2 here, day 3 here, and day 4: part 1 here.

After our tasting at Robert Sinskey Vineyards, we ended our Napa trip on a high note with lunch at The French Laundry. The French Laundry is a three-starred Michelin restaurant from Chef Thomas Keller. It’s known for not only high quality, delicious french food but impeccable hospitality. I’ll be honest with you guys, I was nervous it was going to be a stuffy environment. I was sooooo wrong on that one. I literally wanted to be BFFS with everyone there by the time our meal was over.

NOTE: I am no way a professional food critic, so I will use very descriptive words such as “delicious” 🙂 I am just a girl who loves to eat!

We arrived at The French Laundry around 11:45 am for lunch. I would have never known this was the restaurant if Greg didn’t point it out to me a few days before. How cute is this blue door and courtyard?!

After we entered the restaurant, we were greeted by a friendly hostess and were promptly seated next to a window with a view into the wine cellar. I need one of these in my house…or maybe not because I’d never leave 😛

We started off with cornets and crackers that were delicious. Also, I’m a sucker for presentation.

A few moments after we finished, our plates were cleared and up next was the “Oysters and Pearls”, a “sabayon” of pearl tapioca with Island Creek oysters and Regiis Ova White Sturgeon Caviar. This dish definitely set the tone for the day with it’s powerful, distinct, and rich flavors. I can still taste the oysters. *drool*

After polishing off that bad boy, it was onto the Hudson Valley Moulard Duck Foie Gras “Terrine”, made with white wine poached Bartlett Pears, Sicilian Pistachios, Toasted Oats and Black Winter truffle puree.

Then it was onto Slow Cooked fillet of Wild Scottish Sea Trout, with a “ragout” of vidalia onions, Candy Roaster squash, Celery Root and Sweet Curry “Bouillon”.

OMG talk about fresh! That trout was amazing! After savoring the fish, we moved onto the Sweet butter Poached Stonington Maine Lobster, garden carrots, young coconut puree and arrowleaf spinach salad. This was my second favorite dish we had at The French Laundry.

Then it was onto some bread! YASS!! Next up we had “Bread and Butter”, aka “Parker House Roll” and Diane St. Clair’s Animal Farm Butter. Again, I’m a sucker for presentation. That butter is what dreams are made of!

And then (yep there’s more…) it was onto my absolute favorite dish that I have ever had in my entire life, “Carnanoli Risotto Biologico”, Castelmagno Cheese, Browned Butter, and Shaved White Truffles from Alba. Talk about decadent and rich!

I probably could have stopped here and died happy but no, we still had more dishes to go! Next up, “Chateaubriand” of Marcho Farms Nature Fed Veal, with Black Trumpet Mushrooms, Musque de Provence pumpkin, crispy sage leaves and sauce “bordelaise”.

And then before dessert (remember there’s always room for dessert!) we had the Charcoal Grilled Japanese Wagyu, with “Ris de Veau” slow cooked La Ratte Potatoes, Preserved Green Cabbage and “sauce Raifort”.

And then, a mountain of desserts came at us! Macaroons, Coffee Semifreddo and donuts, real life coffee that rocked my world, and the best of all? They came out with a wooden box of chocolate truffles and you could pick whatever you wanted!!  Mind = blown!!

After we said our goodbyes to the wait staff, we lethargically walked out of the restaurant and took some pictures of the kitchen. I waved at them and they waved back. Yay!

Also, this picture of me cracks me up!  Why did I not just move 1 step to my right to get out of the sun?! I blame the wine.  😉

Some key take-aways:

  1. Soooo glad we did lunch. The whole event lasted about 3 hours and if we would have went for dinner, I would have been asleep by the 4th dish. #jetlag
  2. The timing of the dishes was perfect. We never felt rushed and we had enough time to enjoy conversation and drink the wine.
  3. It was 100% worth the money. This food was on a whole other level of delicious. I have never had anything so good and fresh in my life. Plus the service was fun and top-notch.
  4. You may want to use Uber after you have had so much food….and wine 😉

That wraps up our Napa trip!  Greg and I 100% agreed that this trip was one of the bests we have taken to Napa.  The itinerary was nicely timed without ever feeling rushed and we got to see different areas of Napa Valley and Sonoma. We can’t wait to go back!

Napa, CA Trip Day 4, Part 1: Robert Sinskey Vineyards

Alright we are back with the 4th and final day recap of our Napa trip! I am breaking day 4 into 2 parts; 1) Robert Sinskey Vineyards and 2) The French Laundry. The French Laundry deserves it’s own post. 🙂 But I don’t want our meal at The French Laundry to overshadow our AMAZING experience at Robert Sinskey Vineyards.

Missed the previous 3 days? You can check out day 1 here, day 2 here, and day 3 here.

Earlier that morning since I knew it would be a day of an exorbitant amount of eating and drinking, I knew I should get in a workout. My original intention was to hit the hotel gym. You know the one. The one that only has 2 treadmills and a space the size of a bathroom stall to lift weights. Well guess what? It was full.

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So then my plan B was to walk outside on the trail.  I stepped outside and it was pouring rain. I was just about to bag the workout when suddenly I got the idea to run the stairwell in the hotel. Problem solved! I did that for 20 minutes and then went back to the room and did squats, pushups, and crunches. #noexcuses

After getting ready for the day, it was time to go to Robert Sinskey Vineyards. Not only is the vineyard itself beautiful but their food is amazing!! I mean look at this wood-burning oven!

As soon as we walked in, we were greeted with a glass of wine and explored the lobby and dining room. We opted for the Perfect Circle Tour, which includes a stroll through the culinary gardens, an introduction to RSV’s estate Stags Leap District vineyard, an unveiling of the wine production cellar and a journey to the center of the barrel aging caves followed by an indulgent tasting of seasonal dishes from the Vineyard Kitchen accompanied by a flight of RSV wines. Then as we sipped our wine, we were given the tour of the grounds.

Loved the wrought iron structures to hold the wine. To keep the bottles in place they actually wrapped wire around each bottle neck to the iron frame.

Before we arrived at the vineyard, Greg and I agreed to not snack before The French Laundry. Well, that quickly went out the window after they brought out this board for us. Those pickles are life! I normally hate bread and butter pickles but these rocked! My mouth is watering….

We had a TON of fun at Robert Sinskey. Greg and I agreed that our next Napa trip we will visit this place again. After buying a few bottles and having them shipped back to our home, it was time for The French Laundry!!

To be continued… 😛

What I’m Feelin’ Friday #5

Hey hey we made it to Friday!!!! How was everyone’s week? I’ve been busy checking off my Christmas list which is soooo nice! This Friday I am not following a theme. We will just say it’s overall health and wellness 😉 Here we go!

#1 Athleta

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I am OBSESSED with Athleta apparel. Every time I am browsing online or in the store I want to buy all the things! It is a bit pricey, but after experiencing the quality, comfort, and cuteness of their clothes, the sticker shock wore off. This stuff lasts forever and fits so nicely. I went to Fabletics yesterday just to try on their stuff out of curiosity. Yeahhhhh let’s just say I won’t be back. Any way, when I went to Athleta yesterday, I was on a mission to find some cardigans/wraps for lounging, running errands, etc. Well I scored and found 2 cardigans (the Luxe Pose Wrap and Pranayama Wrap) that are crazy soft. Use this code for 20% off one regular priced item. I am wearing one now. I can safely say it’s good for blogging activities 😛

#2 Williams Sonoma Hot Chocolate

If you’re still drinking powdered hot chocolate, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Do yourself a huge favor and get the Williams Sonoma Hot Chocolate ASAP! It’s not the holidays without this stuff. It’s rich and velvety and basically what dreams are made of. I plan on having a cup (or two!) by the fire this weekend with a book. I can’t wait 🙂

#3 Native Deodorant

I have been searching for a GOOD natural deodorant for awhile. I have been using your typical Secret deodorant and I always felt a burning sensation and occasionally an odd bump in my armpit. Yikes! I was trying other natural deodorants but they either didn’t work or had to be applied by hand. No thank you! Enter Native Deodorant (<—-referral link) . I found this product through another blog and after reading up on it, purchased it immediately. I love how smooth and soothing it is, as well as the yummy smells. Oh, AND it works!

So tell me, what are you feelin’ this week? Leave a comment by clicking the Comment link just below the blog post title 🙂