Fitness, Food and Photography

Follow me on my road to fitness… Because it's all about the journey, not the destination.

Photo Challenge: Travel Theme – Foliage

WordPress usually posts a Weekly Photo Challenge on Friday.  Either they forgot or the person in charge was on vacation that day.

So ‘Where’s My Backpack’ blog invited me to particiate in their Photo Challenge.  The theme is foliage.

Here are a few pics I took this summer while traveling around.

great smoky mountains

Great Smoky Mountains


ocoee river

trees in the river

That last picture looks so peaceful.  I wish I was sitting on the dock right now!


Random Thoughts

Over the last couple of days, I’ve had a lot of random thoughts that I wanted to share with you all.  So I thought it was time for a completely random post!  Sometimes the thoughts in my head are all over the board, so I guess it’s only fitting that the Blog is too!  🙂

1)  Ok – remember that Carb challenge we had at work?  Well, it’s over.  I had to pay $24 into the pot when it was all said and done.  I pretty much cheated every weekend.  Two people tied for first place.  I believe they only had 10 cheat days each.  They each received a $94 prize.  That’s a lot of money that was paid into the pot!  But wait – there’s more!  There was also a prize to the person who was voted ‘Most Supportive Teammate.’  Guess what?!?  That was ME!  I totally wasn’t expecting that.  I won $62  But I will say that I love motivating and inspiring others to achieve their fitness goals.  I love cheering on my friends.

2)  I am so excited about this!  I was contacted by a representative for a new fitness tracker website/ app called Slim Kicker.  They want me to test out the new product, which will be similar to a Fit Bit, and then blog about it.  Sure!  I love the concept.  It takes your diet and fitness goals and turns them into a game!  You can connect with friends for that accountability feature, and the best part is that as you reach your goals and “level up”, you can win prizes!  Now that is some motivation right there.  My user name is katiedaisy921 if anyone wants to buddy up.  I am excited to start using it.  I will let you know how I like it.

3)  I know I sound like a broken record on this one, BUT – we are restarting P90x.  Today is Day 1.  And it will work in conjunction with another Challenge!  My Beachbody coach posted a “Get Lean for Halloween” Challenge.  It’s actually a 90-day challenge to take us through the end of the year, with prizes at each 30-day interval.  So that was motivation for me.  90 days til the end of the year.  Let’s start P90x now.  I want to finish it this time!  Of course, I may be completely crazy trying to do this at my busiest time of the year.  Then again, it may be when I need it the most!

4)  And to follow up a thought about fitness, it’s only fitting that I talk about ice cream!  🙂  Remember that Blue Bell ice cream contest that I told you about where you get to pick the old flavor to bring back?  Mine didn’t win.  Caramel Turtle Cheesecake won.  They say it will be available early next year.

5)  Recent stats show 92 posts since June!  Over 2,300 page views, and growing everyday!  Thanks, guys!  I’m so glad you read my Blog.  Sometimes I feel like Barney Stinson on ‘How I Met Your Mother’, always talking about his blog but none of his friends read it.  LOL  I love that show!!

6) Even after I posted the September calendar for FatMumSlim’s photoaday challenge, I don’t think I actually took one photo all month!  #epicfail  So here is the October calendar, and I am going to try really hard to participate this time.

fatmumslim photo challenge


I think that’s all the randomness I have for today.  So excited that it’s Saturday.  The hubby took the son to a festival this morning, so I am trying to get some things done this morning.  I’ve already made a looooooong list!  Blogging, running, cleaning, baking, shopping.  Not sure if I can get it all done or not.  I still have my daughter here with me and since she’s 2, she’s not a whole lot of help.  But at least she’s darn cute!  🙂

Hope everyone has a WONDERFUL weekend!  Later.

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A Taste Test

Ok, so maybe I have a thing for spreads.  I cleaned out the pantry and realized how many different kinds I had!
taste test nut butters

Peanut butters, nut butters, sunflower butter, cookie butters – doesn’t matter to me.  I love the spreads.

So I decided to do a little taste test.

peanut butter comparison

JIF Natural vs Smart Balance vs Earth Fare Peanut Butter
JIF wins hands down. No contest. The smooth creaminess is unbeatable. Earth Fare’s is too oily, too runny. The Smart Balance was also in the oily category til I put it in the fridge for a few days to harden it up. But who likes hard peanut butter??

hazelnut spread

JIF Hazelnut Spread vs Kroger Hazelnut spread
The main ingredient in both is sugar.  Are you surprised?  Come on – hazelnuts don’t taste THAT good!  And JIF wins again.  So thick and creamy.  The Kroger brand was too thin, almost runny.

biscoff spread

Biscoff Spread vs Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter

After Trader Joes opened in my town, all I heard people talking about was this Speculoos Cookie Butter.  I thought for sure it was just like the Biscoff so I had to try it.  Now, I will say this – if I’d never had Biscoff and didn’t know any better, I would say the Cookie Butter is good.  BUT, have you tried Biscoff yet??  Mmmm….  Biscoff!  I recently discovered the Biscoff when my first Foodie Pen pal sent it to me.  It is amazing!  It is a win in every category!  You must try some today!!

So there you have it.  My very informal taste test.

Question of the Day:  What is your favorite spread??


What I Ate Wednesday – 9-26-12

Peas and Crayons

Once again, thanks to Jenn at Peas & Crayons for the fun linkup.  I look forward to this every week!!  This is the last Wednesday in September.  Gasp!  Can you believe October will be here next week?!?  ….And then it will be Thanksgiving before we know it ….. and then Christmas shortly after that…. and then a brand new year!!!  Oh my!!  Let the 4th quarter panic attacks begin.

Deep Breath.

It will be okay.

Baby Steps.

How about I just show you What I Ate today!  🙂

Of course, I started out with my usual cup of coffee.  I love coffee.

kale protein shake

Yeah, I’m predictable …  I had the usual kale shake for breakfast.  But oh wait, it wasn’t kale today – it was Spinach!  Ah, see – I’m shaking things up!  🙂

And notice the University of Tennessee cup ….  GO VOLS!!!  🙂

morning snack

Morning snack.  I love raw veggies.

For lunch, I headed out for a few errands and ran by Trader Joe’s to grab some produce.  I love Trader Joe’s.  (Apparently there is a ‘love’ theme here).



They have a tiny little deli section where there are all kinds of different salads, wraps and other things that were all very reasonably priced.  And also very fast.  I’ll have to remember that for another day.  The buffalo chicken wrap looked awesome.  But I’ve been craving sushi for a while now.  In fact, I told my hubby I wanted sushi on my birthday weekend, but we just couldn’t fit it into all the other fun.



I couldn’t eat too much.  It really filled me up.  And that tiny little white packet full of wasabi was awesome.  It was exactly the right amount of heat, which for me is a lot!  If my nose doesn’t hurt while I’m eating sushi and wasabi, then somebody didn’t make it right!  The hotter the better!

About 3:30pm, my sweet tooth wanted a treat:

It says it’s infused with spicy red chili.  Hmm.  Well, if it is, I can’t taste it.  Although it could be that my taste buds were burned off with that wasabi earlier.  (kidding)

After work, I had to give blood for cancer research!  No, really!  How cool is that?!?

I am proud to participate in a 20-year cancer research study by the American Cancer Society.  The study is still open all across the country.  I heard they were looking for a total of 300,000 to participate.  If you want to know more about how you can help, click this link.

After taking my measurements and giving blood, I headed over to the Duck Duck Goose consignment sale to pick up my check and my unsold stuff.

From looking at the load I put back in my car, you would have thought I didn’t sell a thing.  The pile looked the same as what I took in there.  My husband was not too thrilled about carting all that unsold stuff back down into the basement.  BUT, I actually sold $202!  (Then you take out their 30% cut and my $15 participation fee), and my check was for $126.  That’s cool.  I’ll take it.  I only spent $84 at the sale, so I call that a WIN!

By the time I got home, it was 7pm and I was STARVING!!!

But guess what?!?  Hubby had dinner waiting on me!!! How sweet is that?!?


Homemade fajitas.  Chicken, onions, peppers, cheese, broccoli slaw, avocado and hot sauce!  YUM!!!  He did such a good job.

After dinner, we took the kids for a walk around the neighborhood, just to get everyone’s wiggles out.  My son didn’t have a very good day at school yesterday.  So we used the time to talk about his actions.

When the kids went to bed, the hubs and I plopped down on the couch and watched the latest episode of ‘Parenthood’.  Do you watch this show?  I used to love it, but my goodness, it’s gotten deep.  Every episode is a tear jerker.  The writers need to bring a little joy and happiness to this family or they are going to lose me.

I needed a little sweet fix.

I saw this flavor at the grocery store and couldn’t resist buying it.  I was hoping it would be as good as Blue Bell’s Red Velvet Cake.  (Read my review HERE)  It was NOT!  In fact, it couldn’t hold a candle to Blue Bell.  Sadly though, you can’t find Blue Bell’s Red Velvet Cake right now.  (One can only hope they will bring it back for the holidays).

I guess it’s a good thing that I didn’t like it very much.  It meant that I didn’t eat very much.

So there you have it.  That’s What I Ate Wednesday!  🙂


Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitary

From WordPress:  Solitary. I love capturing a person in a quiet and often unexpected moment. These kinds of images can be reflective, mysterious, or even sad, conjuring strong emotions and stirring up stories in my head. I snapped this photograph in the grand Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey. That afternoon, it was very busy and crowded inside, but I turned a corner at one point and walked into the empty, bright, airy space pictured above. I experienced a few moments of silence as I watched a woman walk to the end of the room. We were strangersyet alone, together. A solitary moment, frozen with my lens.

Share a picture that means SOLITARY to you!


To me, nothing is more solitary than being alone in the woods.  Reflection time.


Or maybe a bird alone on the top of a mountain.


New to The Daily Post? Whether you’re a beginner or a professional, you’re invited to get involved in our Weekly Photo Challenge to help you meet your blogging goals and give you another way to take part in Post a Day / Post a Week. Everyone is welcome to participate, even if your blog isn’t about photography.

Here’s how it works:

1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme will be announced.

2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag.

3. Subscribe to The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements. Sign up via the email subscription link in the sidebar or RSS


Weekend Recap: Birthday Celebrations

Sorry I’m a little late in posting this weekend recap.  I guess I had a little too much fun.  I’m still recovering.  🙂

It’s so much harder to get away for the weekend when you have kids, which is why we don’t get to do it that often.  Greg wanted to take me on a trip for my birthday, but we only had one night without the kids.  In less-than- 24-hours, we tried to pack in as much food, photography and fun as possible!

Growing up, I lived a stone’s throw from Chattanooga.  We went shopping in Chattanooga almost every weekend.  If you wanted to go to a nice restaurant, you went to Chattanooga.  So to me, Chattanooga is not that exciting.  But over the last 15 years, they have done a LOT to that area to make it exciting!  Downtown is bustling with people – families and kids – walking all over, from the Tennessee Aquarium to the Discovery Museum to the Walking Bridge and Coolidge Park.  So many interesting things to see – the buidings, the art, the water.  It’s beautiful!

We arrived downtown just in time for sunset.


downtown chattanooga

We parked on the Coolidge Park side of river so we could walk across the walking bridge to get to all the downtown attractions.  Downtown Chattanooga is alive –  it’s hopping, it’s cool.  Almost makes me wish I lived there!

Our first stop was at a restaurant called Taco Mac.  It had been probably 7+ years since I’d been to a Taco Mac, and I remembered it being really good.  Unfortunately I either remembered wrong or my tastes have changed.  It was just ok.

They have a HUGE beer selection, but it was crazy expensive.  I started off with a Magic Hat #9.

If a place is known for their buffalo wings, then what should you order?  The Buffalo Wings, of course!  The hubs and I split a half dozen.

taco mac buffalo wings


hair of the dog

From there, we were enticed into an English pub by a British flag door.  I wish I had gotten a picture of it.  The name of the bar was Hair of the Dog.

It was here that I discovered my new favorite beer…..  Pumpkinhead by Shipyard.  Seriously yummy!!  Almost doesn’t even taste like beer.  Apparently it’s hard to find, so I’m hoping that some craft beer stores in Knoxville have it, or at least know how to order it!!!

best beer ever!

best beer ever!

After this, we found some live music – a guy and his guitar, so we sat and listened for a while.  It was obvious that the college students were pretty drunk as they all went completely nuts when he started the intro to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and started dancing where there was no dance floor.  I wish I had gotten a video for you.  I didn’t even think to snap a pic, I was so enjoying the people-watching.

We finished the (very late) night at a German restaurant, Brewhaus.


We ate bad and drank more beer…  isn’t that what birthdays are for??

This was my attempt at a nightscape.  It’s a little blurry.  Perhaps I should have used a tripod.  Or maybe I shouldn’t have drunk that much beer.  LOL  Either way, the pic is a FAIL!

The next morning, we just walked around, enjoying the scenery… and the quiet.  We were enjoying the fact that we weren’t having to yell at anyone to calm down, stop running, leave your sister alone, etc etc.  You get the point.

Here’s the walking bridge in the daylight.

Birds and butterflies…. some of my favorite things to photograph!

Do you see the crane watching those board surfers?

Too many things to photograph.  I could take pictures all day.

Time for (a very late) lunch.

I love Greek food.  So this cute little restaurant called Taziki’s caught my eye.  (I had no idea it was a chain.  I’m thinking Knoxville needs one)!!

The food was fresh and delicious.  I had a Greek Salad Gyro with chicken.  The hubs had the Chicken Gyro with a “side” salad.  Seriously, that was a side salad – it was HUGE.  I would definitely go back there!

After our lunch, we didn’t have much time left before we had to pick up the kids.  No time for our previously planned hike.  That’s ok – I wasn’t too sad since we’d been walking all morning.

We headed up to the top of Lookout Mountain.  The houses up on the mountain are gorgeous.  Just check out that view!!  It’s amazing.

Yeah, I could live there!  🙂

Time to get back to reality….  and to healthy eating …..

But not before one final birthday celebration.  My mother-in-law made her famous carrot cake.  Yum.

It was an eventful and exhausting 24 hours.

Question of the Day:  If you had only 24 hours without the kids, where would you go and what would you do??



Birthday Funday

Today is my birthday.  I won’t tell you what number it is because at this point in my life, I would prefer to stop counting.  I subscribe to the old adage ‘Age is just a number’ and ‘You’re only as old as you feel’.  Sometimes, though, I’ll tell you – the kids make me feel so much older.

birthday banner

I was surprised with a banner, dinner, and presents when I got home from work yesterday.

Yay!  I love opening presents.  Do you see that black ball??  I’ve been wanting a Medicine Ball for so long now.  I am so excited!!

And my son made me some sweet cards.  On the inside of one, he drew me a sunset.  He said, “because you love sunsets.”  How sweet he is!

The hubs handed me a new beer to try.  I love Shock Top, I love wheat beer, and I love Pumpkin!  He did good.  It could have been a little more pumpkin-y, but it was really good.

Then he grilled us some fish and veggies, the makings of fish tacos!!  See that grill pan?  That was one of my birthday presents.  I’m not sure how much it was really for me.  He’s the griller.  I think he bought himself a present and wrapped it up and gave it to me.  But that’s fine.  I’m the eater.  So if he’s grilling, then I’m benefiting!  🙂

Fish tacos have become my new favorite thing!!

pumpkin cake

He attempted to make me a “healthy” pumpkin cake with almond flour.  He says it didn’t turn out well.  I say it was delicious!!!

I took the day off today so I could pack, get a few things done, and get pampered at the spa.  I also had a killer workout.

interval workout

That felt good.  I haven’t been as disciplined with my workouts lately as I should be.  I’ve been feeling a little ‘soft’.  So I needed this workout.  Those wall sits are going to hurt tomorrow!!!

hill sprints

That’s the hill I was sprinting.  From stop sign to stop sign.  I wish I had worn my heart rate monitor.  My heart was about to beat out of my chest on that fifth sprint.

I was so excited to use my new medicine ball for the ball slams!  That box jump-ball slam combination also spiked my heart rate quickly, even though I completed it in under 5 mintues.

low-carb wrap

After my facial, I came home and made a Low-Carb wrap.  There’s grilled chicken, cheese, hard boiled egg, grape tomatoes, fresh jalapenos, and greens topped with some wing sauce.  All on a 90-calorie Flat Out.  Yum!!

The birthday is not over yet.  We will do lots more celebrating this weekend.  Stay tuned for the Weekend Recap with lots of exciting photos.

Also, I wanted to say a quick Happy Birthday to my first foodie pen pal, Stephanie at My Freckled Life.  Other than Bill Murray and Nicole Richie, I’ve never known anyone else who shares my birthday with me!

Question of the Day:  How do you pamper yourself on your birthday??


Bulu Box Review – September


Yay for mail delivery. Today the mailman brought me the September Bulu Box!  I couldn’t wait to see what was inside.

I just got back from a walk so I had water in my hand. I wanted to try the Hawaiian Coconut Energy. It’s a powder you pour in your water. I was a little nervous about the flavor because I don’t like coconut water. Lucky for me, this did not taste like coconut water!

It had a slight pineapple flavor, and the best part is – it was packed with extra B vitamins. The only downside was that it had that artificial taste like Crystal Light has. I’d almost prefer plain water.


I also tried these razberri-k capsules. It’s a stimulant-free way to lose weight by supposedly curbing the absorption of fat.  We’ll just have to see how they work.

I have not tried the Athlete Octane yet.  It does not look too appetizing, however, I like that it increases endurance and reduces soreness.

The Detour bar is yummy. And with 15g protein and only 3g sugar, it’s a great alternative to a candy bar.

To sign up for your own Bulu Box subscription, go to  At only $10 per month (includes shipping), you get plenty of samples of new health/fitness products to try out.

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What I Ate Wednesday

First of all, how is it Wednesday already??  This week has flown by, and tomorrow is my Friday!!  Yipee.

It’s time for my favorite post of the week ….  What I Ate Wednesday …..  thank you Peas and Crayons for hosting a fun linkup every week.

My day actually started at 5 a.m, which was 30 minutes before my alarm was even scheduled to go off.  I’m not sure why I popped up so early. I had some strange dreams and I guess my body was just done sleeping.

After about 4 cups of coffee, I had the usual kale protein shake.  I know – I get a little boring.  I have it every day.  But it is so yummy.

kale protein shake

I gave my daughter a few sips before I left for work.  She was eating her pancake on the couch while watching Curious George.



So I took my salad to a park around the corner, sat on a picnic bench and enjoyed the sunlight while I ate my salad.  Ahhh.  Perfect.

A little light reading during the lunch hour.  🙂

My lunch view

This was my view.  Do you know how hard it was to go back to work???

A few other people were enjoying the park-bench-with-a-view lunch hour too.



When I got back from lunch, I found these sitting on the counter – evil cookies from Panera.  A carrier rep had brought them in.

But guess what?!?  I completely resisted them!!  I didn’t have a single bite!!  Yay!


For dinner, we met my Mom, Aunt and cousin at Jason’s Deli to celebrate my birthday.  (It’s on Friday).  I absolutely love Jason’s Deli simply for their salad bar.  It’s awesome.

jason's deli

Tonight, though, I decided to get the Manager’s Special – a half sandwich and salad bar.  (My kids ate the chips for me).

There are just too many good sounding sandwiches to choose from.   I chose the Wild Salmon-wich.  “Marinated grilled wild Alaskan Sockeye salmon, guacamole, roma tomatoes, leafy lettuce, chipotle aioli on toasted herb focaccia.”  Sounds good, right?

It was just ok.   I think that salmon was the frozen variety.  I probably won’t order that again.

The neat thing is that we went on Wednesday night.  Kids eat FREE on Wednesday nights!!  Awesome.  Well, actually it’s a good thing.  I was very disappointed in the quality of the kids food, so I’m glad I didn’t have to pay for it.  My son’s pizza was crap.  And my daughter’s “organic” mac & cheese was straight out of a box.  The kind that uses yellow dye, too.  Not cool.

But the salad bar.  The salad bar is a different story.  All the veggies on the salad bar are organic.  There’s also a huge choice of pasta salad, couscous, hummus, etc etc.  So much great stuff to choose from.  Here’s what mine looked like.  Those little muffins are good, but I had to share with my kids.

Another main reason why I love Jason’s Deli — is the soft serve machine.  It’s FREE for everyone after your meal!  YUM!!!

After dinner, I headed over to a local children’s consignment sale, Duck Duck Goose.  Since I had consigned clothes, I had a Private pass to shop the sale one day early.  This sale is HUGE, and it only happens twice a year.  I got there at 7:45pm to start shopping.  I ran into a friend around 9:30, which was awesome because we could stand in the line together.  We ended up waiting in line for TWO HOURS to check out.  I didn’t get home til 12:30am.  Oh my goodness.  What a long day!



What a Wonderful Day!

I must admit – I was not looking forward to the day.  It was raining cats and dogs, flooding all over town, and I was going to be driving a LOT.

My first destination was downtown, to a Worksite Wellness seminar hosted by BlueCross BlueShield. The keynote speaker was Dr Ann Kulze, a family physician, a nutrition expert, an author, and a mother of 4!  She was energetic and inspiring.  (In fact, she has way too much energy to have 4 kids, let alone all the other things she does – wow!  I am amazed)!  Today’s address focused on Conquering Carbs, specifically the “Great White Hazards” – white flour, white sugar, etc.  She didn’t have to convince me – I’m already on that bandwagon.  But I did learn one interesting thing about fructose.  Apparently when you ingest sugar, it’s like a double whammy to your body.  Not only does the glucose flood the cells, but also the fructose.  The insulin is pumped out in order to deliver that glucose to the cells.  When insulin is pumped out, the cells go into fat storing mode.  So it’s WAY worse when you ingest sugar of any kind!!  Want to hear more?  The archives of her radio show are posted on her website.  There is one on Conquering Carbs here!

She’s written 3 very easy-to-read books on the subject of nutrition.  I highly recommend you check them out!  In fact, if you are an organization and want to purchase the Eat Right for Life books for your employees, they are only $3.95 each if purchsed from the Wellness Council of America (WELCOA).  In fact, you should tell your employer about this deal!

She was so inspiring I just had to talk to her afterwards.

From there, I drove an hour out of the city to visit a new client, Blackberry Farm.  If you’ve never heard of Blackberry Farm, it’s a luxury, upscale Bed and Breakfast, only it’s not like any bed and breakfast I’ve ever stayed at.  The gorgeous 4,200-acre property is located in the Great Smoky Mountains.  Reservations for even the smallest of rooms is $399 per night.  All the way up to a farmhouse for $5,000 per night.

After the meeting, we were promised a tour of the property.  Despite the rain, we still piled into a golf cart with our rain jackets on.  I would have loved to take pictures for you,  but I had forgotten to bring my Nikon this morning, and my cell phone died while we were in the meeting.  Oh well.  Even if I had taken pictures, they wouldn’t have done the place justice.  Plus, the rain and the fog limited our views.

We did luck out, though.  We just happened to walk into the main dining hall around 2:30pm and were offered some leftover box lunches.  Yes, please.  If I have one rule, it’s this:  You never, ever turn down food made by gourmet chefs.  These guys are frequently featured in Food & Wine Magazine.  People pay top dollar just to eat here!

My husband was just lucky enough that I decided to bring the food home and share with him.

blackberry farm menu

The menu

blackberry farm food

blackberry farm lunch food

That sandwich was amazing!!  Every taste was beautifully crafted.  And I think the roasted red pepper was like icing on the cake.  Outstanding.

I loved the pepper and eggplant salad.  I wasn’t sure exactly what grain that was in there… maybe quinoa?  Delicious.  My husband let me eat that whole cup, so I gave him the homemade potato chips.  I definitely got the better end of that deal!!

Beets.  Sadly, I am not a fan.  These may very well be the best beets in the world and I just couldn’t enjoy them.  The flavor is just too weird.

blackberry farm cookies

And finally, Trail Mix Cookies!  They were soft and chewy.  Loved them.

We had such a good time touring the property and meeting with our clients.  And I also thoroughly enjoyed the Wellness seminar this morning.  The driving wasn’t that bad, and it turned out to be a wonderful day despite the rain!


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