Four State Vacation

It’s taken over a month to finally recap my entire vacation.  I still have a few lingering diner reviews left, but with one phase of life over and the next moving forward, I figured it would be best to wrap finally wrap the trip up.

As I mentioned a month ago, my husband and I had no plans when we went out there.  We booked two plane tickets and a rental car.  We had no hotels booked, no plans of which towns and cities we would see, but figured we would wing it.  We didn’t imagine we would drive to four different states and put over 2600 miles on our car…but we did.

road trip through colorado

So where to begin?

We flew into Denver.

We stayed for a few days in Denver.  We explored the city a bit, and went for a few gorgeous runs.  We also got to see my good friend Kevin and his wife which I haen’t seen in a while.  

While in Denver, we drove up and went hiking at Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder.  We went to a few diners including Sams 3 which was on the Food Network as well as the brand new Snooze Cafe.

Next, we headed out West towards Utah.  My good friend Janae had said there were a fun 5k/13.1 and we thought…why not.  It’s only about 400 miles, right?  Plus, we would see what we would see.

Earlier in the year one of my closest friends, Angela, moved to Colorado (from South Jersey). The route to Utah went right through her town which we had been planning to do anyway.  We stayed the night at Angela and her husband’s house, went for a gorgeous run, and of course at her local diner: The New Castle Diner.

Then we continued towards Utah.  It was a scenic and beautiful drive.  Most of the time we didn’t have cell service which was actually nice.  No internet, blogging, or Facebooking.  Just the road and rocks on either side.

We got into Provo late that night, found a nice hotel near the race.  Since there was a half marathon, packet pickup was the night before at the mall.  We overheard some locals talking about the “lazy people” doing the 5k…YAY for being lazy.

haunted half 5k provo ut me running

The race itself was tough.  NJ is at sea level, Utah is 4000-5000 above (I can’t remember).  There was also a massive hill at the end of the race, and I finished in 19:40 dry heaving the whole way.  You can read more about the Haunted Half 5k here.

haunted half 5k provo ut me running

No, seriously it was painful

Janae, who just had her baby, finished and placed in her age group.  It was great to hang out, and the morning was definitely one of the highlights of the trip.   Another state I’ve raced in, not that I’m even sure how many that is.

After the race in Utah, we drove South.  We stayed the night, woke up the next morning and explored both Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park.

Hiking in Zion National Park

Both were beautiful, and we could have spent days, weeks, and probably months in either.  I hope one day to get back and spend more time and each.  Both have half and full marathons too, which would be fun to run if we trained appropriately (IE: at elevation).  Judging from the 5k, it might be awhile. We went to Meme’s cafe for lunch in Zion, which was an “interesting” experience.

After that, we stayed overnight and headed down to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  We were only a few hours away, and I’ve always wanted to see it.  A few hours away is a lot closer than NJ, so we decided to just drive down there.  It was absolutely breathtaking!

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We've always wanted to go to the Grand Canyon…so we did.

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After the Grand Canyon, we progressed east towards Colorado.  We wanted to make a stop at the Four Corners: where Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico meet.  It’s a bucket list item, just to say you did.  It wasn’t too crowded when we got there.  You can stand in all Four Corners or lay there…

For the next couple of days, we just enjoyed the drive, view, and hanging out.  We saw a lot of cute towns.  We drove through Uncompahgre National Forest and over a terrifying mountain pass in which it was snowing.  We decided to stop and take a photo at the top.  It was one of the most incredible views of the trip.

Afterwards, we headed to Tim’s relative’s house in Montrose, Colorado.  It was nice to see family, and they took us for a 10+ mile four wheeling expedition up a mountain.  I’ve never been four wheeling before, so it was a brand new but so much fun experience.  The mountain in the background is actually the mountain we drove over and took the photo (above).

After an enjoyable visit in Montrose, we headed back towards Denver.  We stopped in Colorado Springs for a couple of days.  Initially, we wanted to go walk around the Air Force Academy, but there were essential meetings, and we weren’t allowed on.  We should have started our trip that way!  We decided to hike the Seven Bridges Trail (yes, you cross 7 bridges) as well as the Grey Back Peak Trail.

We also stopped (of course) at the King Chef Diner which was featured on the Food Network.  If you’ve never been, you have to go.  It is definitely one of my favorite diners that I’ve been too, including in NJ!   There are two locations but we chose the 13 seat, small purple castle.

They are most known for their Burritos.  Even with running and hiking, I left full.

King Chef Diner Colorado Springs

Finally, we wrapped our way back to Denver, and it was time to go.  At the airport, I ended up getting food poisoning which I’m still dealing with but that is a blog post for another day.

In summary:

12 Days
4 states
Over 100 miles run
Highest elevation 11000
Lowest elevation 3200
Temperatures between 28-80 degrees
And 2600 miles driven (on the dot)

I had one of the best trips of my life, and it was nice to spend time with my husband before he deployed.  One day we want to do something similar again, but going North to Montana and that way.

Questions for you:

Have you ever been on a road trip?

What is your favorite vacation?

Smile Brilliant Review and Giveaway

As most people know, I like coffee.  As in I drink it almost every day. As much as I wish coffee didn’t stain your teeth, it does. 

Recently, I had the chance to try Smile Brilliant. Smile Brilliant is an easy to use, smooth, custom fitted whitening system.  

Spoiler: They work well as my parents asked if I stopped drinking coffee and I have received multiple compliments on my teeth.

A bit different review than running shoes, or fitness products, but Smile Brilliant was kind enough to send me a complimentary system and who doesn’t want whiter teeth?

What is Smile Brilliant?

A professional, custom whitening treatment that you can use in your own home.  Prior to Smile Brilliant being on the market, a custom fitted tray system was only available at the dentist office.  At the dentist office, these systems can cost upwards of 500-1000 dollars.

How does Smile Brilliant Work?

To get a custom fit, Smile Brilliant sends you a kit that includes: Base and Catalyst Paste to make your impressions. 

Followed by all of the equipment you need to make it.  It reminds me of going to the orthodontist and getting your lifelong retainer.  After following the directions, it molds to your teeth, and you send it back so they can make your customized mold.

First, you mix the pastes together and then press them into the plastic trays. Like when you got a retainer made (if you did), you place them in your mouth, bite down for 2+ minutes and then remove.

You will make your own impressions, but if LOLZ can do it, believe me, it’s fairly simple.  Smile Brilliant also gives you an extra mix in case you mess up.smile brilliant teeth whitening

Then you just have to mail them back in the prepaid mailer and Smile Brilliant will create your molds and send them back to you.  For me, it took less than 2 weeks for my custom molds and get started.

Realistically it’s all about Results:

First and essential, the custom molds fit my teeth perfectly. I kept them in without noticing, and they didn’t fall out or irritate my mouth. I also didn’t feel as though I was forcing them to stay in or it was a burden to do.  Like anyone, I want whiter teeth, but I don’t want to feel hassled while doing so!  This was never an issue.

I’ve tried a few whitening systems where I felt like I was focused on keeping them in and was aware of the trays in my mouth. Smile Brilliant recommends keeping the trays in for a couple of hours, and I was able to do that with no issues.  Typically, I put them in in the evenings when I was relaxing.

smile brilliant teeth whitening

After using the whitening gel.  They also include a “desensitizing gel” to use for about 15 after your sessions.  The first few sessions, I definitely felt as though I needed it, but afterward, I did not.  While I still used it, I didn’t feel as though my teeth or gums were more sensitive to using the system!

Did I notice a change?  You Bet!  I had several people, including relatives, ask if I had stopped drinking coffee or gotten something done with my teeth.  I’m happy with my results, and it’s a system I will continue to use.  You are able to continue buying more gel when needed!

Posting extremely close up photos of my teeth is not what I dream of, but it does show results.

Smile Brilliant

If you are looking for something easy and simple to enhance your teeth, I would recommend Smile Brilliant.

Smile Brilliant sent the kit to use, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. Plus, the photos are untouched, and results speak for themselves.

Deals and a Giveaway: 

I have a 10% coupon code for you: Fueledbylolz10

You can enter the Giveaway to win your own Smile Brilliant kit here
It’s open for 1 week and will end on Friday, November 17th.

Questions for you:
Have you ever used a Teeth Whitening System? 
Are you a coffee or tea drinker?


//www.smilebrilliant.com/widget-article/fueledbylolz

Visiting New York City

After my husband came home, we decided to go visit New York City.  Even though we live approximately 90 miles away, we rarely go.  Between, traffic, tolls, and parking it’s not the easiest place to get too.

So last week, we decided to take the train from Trenton.  It was an easy process, and we made it to Penn Station and into Manhatten.  We ended up staying on 57th street close to Central Park, Broad Way and Times Square. We had booked the hotel before I decided to stop running, so we had planned to run in Central Park.  One day we will (that isn’t the New York City Marathon!)

While in NYC, we didn’t do a heck of a lot.  Both my husband and I are relaxed and we like to take trips with not a lot of plans.  We figure it out as we go along.  For the most part, we walked around New York just looking at sights.  We did go see some of the big things like the Empire State Building and Times Square.  I’ve been before, but it’s always fun to see again! empire state building

We got close to the Empire State Building but opted not to go in.  empire state building

Times Square

One thing we both wanted to do is get a New York Bagel.  As someone who went to college in New York (way upstate at SUNY Potsdam), we got used to good NY bagels.  NJ just doesn’t compare.

My favorite is a Nova Lox.   It was a good bagel (not that I’m an expert) and I have no complaints. 

The one thing we did do was go see a Broadway.  We booked tickets to “Waitress” starring Sara Bareilles.  I like Sara Bareilles as a songwriter, and the Broadway was about a diner waitress…how could we go wrong?  It was excellent, and I highly recommend it if you’re ever up that way.

Before leaving, we also checked out Ellen’s Stardust Diner near Broadway.  The Diner is unique in that the servers are always performing.  You get a meal and a show.  You’ll see your server perform for the entire restaurant.

ellens stardust diner me

We had a great weekend away.  It’s funny, as I mentioned, New York is not a far commute for us, but we never go!  We will definitely go back sooner rather than later.

Questions for you:

Have you ever been to New York City?

Where was the last weekend trip you took? 

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day

I will start by start by saying my mom has always been there for me but even just typing that doesn’t do it justice.  As many readers know, I’m extremely close with my mom.

Growing up in a military family, my mom took care of my brothers and I while my dad was deployed.

She moved 3 children under the age of 6 plus 2 dogs and 2 cats across the world when dad had to be at work.

As I went through middle school, my mom was there. Like most middle schoolers, I can’t say I was best behaved or pleasant to be around.  She took care of us.

She was there for me through my ups and downs of the teenage and high school years.  Like many teenagers, I never appreciated my mom as much as I should until I left for college.

high school prom

During college, I began missing my family and went through quite a bit of rough patches. I always knew I could call my mom and chat.  She helped when I switched majors, ended a relationship and quit swimming all within a month of each other.

Graduating college

Later, as I made my next big life step and moved in with my husband she helped plan and pack for that.  She helped plan and coordinate my wedding while we were several states away.

Mom and I

Now as a 26-year-old adult, I feel so lucky to be close with my mom.   Last week, she drove up from Virginia, and we hung out.

My mom has always been supportive of everything I can, and I could never ask for anyone better.

My mom has truly always there for me. Every year when I reflect upon everything she has done for me, it has made me more grateful.  She is supportive, and I could never imagine it any other way.

I am also grateful to have married into a wonderful family and be very close with my mother in law, Greta.  I could not be any more fortunate.

So Thank You, Moms.

Thank you to all of the moms out there!

Question for you: Tell me something about your mom. 

A Week with Family

For the last week, both my parents and my in-laws visited New Jersey.

Last weekend, my dad and in-laws came up for Broad Street.  Both my dad and father in law ran.  My mother in law and myself spectated.  We had a lot of fun.

Just posing with an Alpaca…NBD

We went to a couple of new diners (sadly neither were amazing) and just hung out.

My mom had other commitments last weekend but decided to drive up that Monday and keep me company for a few days.

I rarely post personal posts anymore, but we had a lot of fun spectating and exploring Philadelphia.  I guess since I’m not running, I need some sort of content right?  (Just kidding).

Even though I’ve lived in New Jersey 3.5 years now, I don’t spend as much time in Philadelphia as I would like.

One thing mom and I were excited to do, was tour the Eastern State Penitentiary.  Prisons have always interested me, and I watch a lot of crime and prison television.  Eastern State Penitentiary philadephia

Eastern State Penitentiary has a headphone guided tour which was fascinating. Eastern State Penitentiary philadephia

We got to see Al Capone’s cell, as well as a, learn a lot of history about the prison system.  It was one of my favorite museums to date, and I’m glad they chose to preserve it.  

It’s only half a mile from the Art Museum in Philadelphia if you are ever in the area.

Eastern State Penitentiary philadephia

We made it!

After getting lost and walking an extra mile, we ended up settling on lunch at the Marathon Grill.  I haven’t been there since I reviewed it a few years ago but it didn’t disapoint.  Their food is fresh.  I ordered the kale and quinoa salad and I have no complaints.

kale marathon grill salad

At lunch at Sabrina’s Cafe another day, I decided to try tofu again.  Tofu isn’t my favorite food, but every year I try it again to see if I’m missing out on something.  While the Tofu dish at Sabrina’s was prepared well, I can’t say I like tofu anymore.  Perhaps better luck next year.

tofu sabrinas cafe

The rest of the week was spent exploring South Jersey.  As many readers know, my mom sews various baby gifts and American Girl Doll Clothes and we found a local store that sells the vintage and retired dolls. I didn’t think it was possible to find somewhere with as many American Girl Dolls as she has at home… 

I am very close with my entire family so having both sets of parents up here and visiting was definitely a relaxing treat.  It has been nice to be away from running and just relaxing and enjoying life.

Questions for you:

Have you ever toured a prison?

Did you have an American Girl Doll? 

 

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