The title says it all

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The Magical Lands of Iowa

Heading out of town tonight – from Los Angeles to Bettendorf, Iowa. If I’m honest, I’m a little nervous.

No, not about going back to Iowa – I grew up there, I know how to be invisible if I want to be. (read: stay at my parent’s house the whole weekend)

But this is the first time since we got Batman and brought back Rocky that my roommate and I are both out of town…And there’s a heat wave. So my stressed out by the heat pets are going to be doubly stressed because their people are gone! My lovely friend Natalie will be taking care of them at our place, and she has a bunny and a dog (and a cat!) as well so it’s not HER that’s giving me anxiety – I just feel like a parent leaving their kids alone for the first time. Maybe? I don’t know, I’m not a parent…

But what if you have a dog AND a bunny?

I’m sure I’ll get over it as soon as I land back in Hawkeye Country. My sis is in town too and tomorrow is my dad’s birthday so we’re going to have lots of family fun. Followed by running in the insane-to-me heat and humidity fun!

The Bix is a 7 mile race through Davenport’s downtown and McClellan Heights. We start just before Brady Street’s massive hill which is a 7-9% incline. So more than 15,000 people are all lined up to go and then we inch up this hill, bobbing and weaving to try to start off with a some-what decent pace. Oh yeah and it’s 88 degrees with 75% humidity.



Good luck getting through this!

Good luck getting through this!


It’s a great course honestly though – the McClellan Heights offer some scenic old mansions and so many people are lined up, cheering you on – spraying you with a sprinkler or playing music to keep you distracted from the steep hills.

This is my 3rd time running it – I remember watching the race as a little kid, my parent’s had friends who lived on the course and we would cook out and play around and just have a fantastic time, soaking up all the energy from the runners and spectators alike. It’s really cool to be on the other side of that.

Plus afterward there’s the Bix Fest in celebration of Bix Biederbecke, a renowned Jazz musician from the 20’s. That’s always entertaining – festival food, beer, people watching, jazz, running into old friends, avoiding old non-friends, haha.

Should be a lovely long weekend. We’ll see how well I stick to my whole foods, plant based guns…

(other than beer, there will be beer…)

(other than beer, there will be beer…)


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A Not-So-Beautiful Mind.

Thoughts during my Planned-To-Be-Six-But-Turned-Into-Eight mile run on Saturday morning:

Pre Run: Shit. Why did I have that second Hendricks martini last night? Not to mention the Amstel Light?! And why didn’t I do laundry yesterday, the only socks I have are old, worn out Gap ones! Eck, let’s sweat this funk attitude and gin out…

I kid. Well…Only on Saturdays.

I kid. Well…maybe on Saturdays.

Mile 0-1: Ok this isn’t horrible, and I’m so happy Frankie from Kinetic really sent me that Fast Car remix, it’s a fantastic addition to my “Ultimate Workout” playlist! (note: I am really original with my playlist names. I have one that I listen to exclusively while I do yoga. It’s called “Yoga”) 

Mile 1-2: What a lovely-lovely day (in my inner monologue’s Bane voice) – this 6 miler is going to fly by. And I have a water fountain coming up, woohoo – thank you Santa Monica, it’s as if you planned for me needing extra hydration!

Bane Cat is often on my mind.

Bane Cat is often on my mind.

Mile 2-3: OOO if I shoot for 8 miles I can stop and stare at the ocean halfway through! Let’s do that! I feel awesome! 


Mile 3-3.5: I get it Pharrell. You’re Happy – I’m Happy, we’re all HAPPY …I really need to remove this from my playlist for awhile.   ..It is pretty catchy though. Man, I remember when running 3 miles KILLED me. I have come a long way. Mental pat-on-the-back for you, Melissa! Can’t nothing bring me down, my level’s too high! 

Mile 4: YEAH!!! Hello Pacific, you beautiful beast! I should probably stop and take a few pictures of you. Maybe a few selfies of me in my TMNT shirt with you in the background! ..Wow. Note to self: Cut back on alcohol, your face is so swollen and your eyes are small enough to begin with. …Delete evidence and get back to your run!

Mile 4-5: Hmm. My toe hurts…oh right, I forgot I had those blisters from those stupid old flats I wore to work on Thursday. I’ll take advantage of the upcoming intersection and check out the damage.

Mile 5: Shit….my blister has two blisters. That’s going to be fun the next three miles. 

Mile 5-6: Where’s that freaking water fountain? I’ll stop and rub my feet. Man, I should have just worn some dirty socks instead of chancing it with these stretched out, thin old ones.

Mile 6-7: And now the toe on my right foot hurts too…Why did I extend this run? Grr, I’d already be finished. I’d already by airing out my poor tootsies. Ha, this is in no way a pretty run. But whatever, toe skin grows back.

This will be me next week during The Bix.

This will be me next week during The Bix.

Mile 7-8: Woot woot, LAST MILE! Yayyyy, I am kicking today’s ASS! Some people aren’t even up yet and I’m just about to finish 8 miles! I’m gonna KILL IT next week at The Bix! …As long as it’s not too hot or humid. Shhh, don’t think about Iowa summers right now – just bask in your current achievement. 

Finish: Ok, take a selfie of you and the Turtle’s waving and send it to your lazy friends hehe. 

Nerd Alert!

Hungover Nerd Alert!





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Work It Out

I have been bit by the spin class bug. I have been going pretty consistently the last few months – started out with a Groupon – 5 classes for $25, right in my neighborhood. I used to spin at 24 hour fitness and Bally’s and it was always a great workout but this place I’ve been going….they’ve HOOKED me.

Drinking that Kool-Aid. That tasty, tasty Kool-Aid.

Drinking that Kool-Aid. That tasty, tasty Kool-Aid.

Let me count the ways I love Kinetic Cycling:

1) Fun music – lots of current EDM stuff I’m not familiar with, peppered with some new remixes of old songs. Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car?? Brings me back to summer road trips with my sister in Iowa and North Carolina…so good. I just zone out and PUSH when it comes on.

2) High calorie-burning workouts — after last night’s 45 minute class and a short walk with my dog I had burned 1000 calories. Just what I was looking for! (Ok, ok, there were some squats and pushups thrown in there too but still!) I had hit a sort of plateau before I started going to Kinetic 2-3 times a week. I was running, hiking, doing the stairs, and P90X3 – my muscles were getting bigger and stronger but I wasn’t leaning out. I can confidently say it’s starting to happen – friends have commented on it and I have even noticed. I suffer from a bit of body dysmorphia so for ME to notice leaner, more toned legs is a big deal. PLUS my resting heart rate has dropped to 59. BOOM!

3) The instructors!!!! I can’t gush enough about them. I have gone to 6 different instructors classes and they ALL ROCK! I have two favorites but it’s just because their energy pushes me the most – Melina and Frankie. I go to one or two of Melina’s 6am classes through the week and honestly, if it wasn’t her sunny self up there at that hour I wouldn’t go. I KNOW I’m going to be out of my sleepy brain fog by the time the warm-up’s done. And ready to kick the day’s ass by the time I walk out of there!

And Frankie’s 7:30pm class on Tuesdays and Thursdays is a crazy mix of hard work / internal focus / dance party. It can’t be explained, it must be experienced. Plus if you friend him on Facebook he’ll send you your favorite song for free. (oh, did I mention that Fast Car remix???)

Ok, well that’s all I had to share today. Hope everyone is having a fantastic Friday and you do something adventurous this weekend!

Mentally checking out…now.

Mentally checking out…now.



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My IG account has changed a little recently — it’s always been focused on me getting and staying healthy – food, workouts, motivations, etc. But the past couple of weeks I have been focusing more on “tips.”

Make sure your diet is full of vibrant colors. Natural colors though, bro.

Make sure your diet is full of vibrant colors. Natural colors though, bro.

I have been interested in healthy eating since I was about 12 – shortly after I became a vegetarian I realized that that didn’t mean I could survive on cheese pizza, mac and cheese, popcorn, and potato chips… It was a sad realization but thankfully it came then rather than later.

Silly food pyramid.

Now, I have not always stuck to my guns – I fall of the wagon often. I’ll move to a new city and try all of the restaurants and eat and drink anything and everything I want. I’ll go out of town and live by the mantra: “Eh, I’m on vacation!” And come back with crap skin, bloat, and a full body rash. Ha, but it was fun while I did it, right? Wow…that last vacation part could be taken out of context…I’m talking about overconsumption of food and alcohol and sloth here people! Minds out of the gutter 😉

But I do know what I SHOULD be eating. 

I’m not someone who thinks whole food, plant based eating is the best for everyone, but it is the best for ME. And it’s pretty damn good on ol’Mother Earth too so I do push the lifestyle. Don’t get me started on factory farming, but if you want to buy and eat locally raised meats go for it! Those animals, on actual farms, had good lives and supposedly they’re tasty so consume away. I feel the same way about hunting – if you’re going to shoot the deer and eat it and use as much of it as possible then that’s AOK with me. We all have to die, man. I’m still going to pass because it makes my stomach all squiggly just thinking about eating meat – but you have to listen to YOUR body.

How did I get started on this….oh right INSTAGRAM. 

My brain on Life

I’ve been posting my tasty treats and their benefits and I feel like @fitmooney has much more substance. Instead of posting a picture of my salad and saying: “I had a salad for the 80th day in a row” I’m focusing on an ingredient featured in the salad and it’s impact on my body’s health. For example, last night I had the Mediterranean Salad from Real Food Daily and I mentioned that the chickpeas in hummus are proven to lower cholesterol. 

Where am I getting these facts? Wikipedia. So make something up about mandarin oranges and it’ll be posted today. 

Kidding! From reputable websites like the Mayo Clinic and the World’s Healthiest Foods

Anyway, if you’re interested in veganism or just WHY you feel so fucking good after eating a peach in the summer and the anti-aging benefits of white wine then check me out!

"Did you just say white wine has anti-aging properties?"

“Did you just say white wine has anti-aging properties?”




Favorite Restaurants in Town

I’m trying to stick to a whole food, plant based diet – but nobody’s perfect, right? These places help keep me on track:

1) Real Food Daily. This place….mmmm. Yum, had dinner at their Santa Monica location last night and my office ordered delivery from them on Tuesday. There are so many fantastic dishes at this place I could eat there everyday. Items you MUST try:

– The Club. Seitan, tempeh bacon, avocado, vegenaise, tomato, lettuce, on toasted sourdough. I honestly just started drooling. It is massive like a Club Sandwich should be and served with either their house or caesar salad. Even just choosing between those two is tough – their tahini house dressing is outstanding but their blue corn croutons are also the bomb. Yeah, I just used “the bomb”…

– The Mediterranean Bowl. This is what I had last night, it is a fucking smorgasbord of tasty mediterranean food. Arugula, tomato, avocado and lemon herb Za-atar dressing / Cucumber kalamata salsa / White bean basil salad / Quinoa tabour / Almond feta / served with whole wheat Za’atar flatbread. Damn. I subbed my flatbread out for their gluten free bread as I’m trying to cut back on wheat.

– The Real Food Meal. I get this for lunch A LOT. Or if I’m not feeling that hungry I’ll get the Build Your Own Basics and just opt for a few of these macrobiotic offerings. The RF Meal includes brown rice, beans, daily green, land and sea vegetables, pressed salad and your choice of dressing or sauce (the peanut dressing is so divine).

Those are just a few of their amazing offerings – I never turn down The Rueben Sandwich, Not-Chos, Kung Pao, The Burrito Bowl, or any of their yummy seasonal specials. Ooo and I just remembered they offer brunch on the weekends – The Weekender is such a feast!!! Go if you’re in LA — this place is a pleaser for vegans or ANYONE (seriously, The Club has converted many a faux-meat hater).

2) Euphoria Loves Rawvolution. A raw vegan cafe that is passionate about providing nourishing food using Earth conscious methods. They compost their food scraps, use biodegradable to-go containers,  and use non-toxic cleaning supplies. But enough about their cool business practices – lets get to the food!

– Nachos. These are crazy good. I have seriously considered licking the plate… Walnut taco meat, guacamole, salsa, seed cheese, cashew mayo, blue corn chips.

– Pesto Tomato Sliders. So seemingly simple. So delicious – tomatoes and walnut pesto.

– Big Matt With Cheese. Order this. Order THIS – onion bread, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, ketchup, mustard. You will never want a meat burger again. (That’s what my carnivorous friend says anyway!)

– California Crunch Roll. I had never had Caulihemp Rice before – it’s a perfect base alternative to regular rice. Nori roll, caulihemp rice, avocado, mushrooms, walnut taco meat, sprouts, paprika sauce, jalapeño powder.

Please save room for dessert when you go as well – you’ll thank me later.

3) Cafe Gratitude. These guys support local farmers, sustainable agriculture and environmentally friendly products. I have only tried a couple of their meals because I am a creature of habit and when I find something I love I can not deviate. It also comes from growing up in Iowa as a vegetarian – there were usually only 1 or 2 options for me so my brain shuts down when I have a whole freaking menu.

– Transformed. These are two corn tacos made with sautéed baby squash, pinto beans, pico de gallo, salsa verde, raw cacao mole, and a side of wild rice bean salad and jalapeño asado.

– Whole. A macrobiotic bowl with yams, adzuki beans, kale, kim chee, sea palm, black sesame seed gomasio, terrace almonds, garlic tahini sauce and either brown rice or quinoa.

There are so many other fantastic vegan/raw/vegetarian restaurants in LA but those are my favorite on the Westside. Sage, Seed Kitchen, Native Foods Cafe, Shojin, etc are so tasty, I just don’t frequent them – it’s mostly a location thing! Speaking of location — my favorite neighborhood, vegan friendly restaurant is Le Pain Quotidien — Go there if you want tasty pastries, brunch, salads, soups, tartines, coffee, tea.

Is it lunch yet?

RFD's Club sandwich with a house salad

RFD’s Club sandwich with a house salad