Thursday, August 21st

Fit Foodie 5K Race Weekend

Even at my most fit, I’ve never been a runner. I’ve always been intimidated by the prospect of a long stretch of road (or time) with just me and my sneakers on the pavement. Unlike a spin class, which is my preferred cardio, there’s no routine, no one to push you on, no air conditioning.

And yet, I signed on as an ambassador for the Fit Foodie 5K which is a race and also a whole weekend of events. Why?

Because I need a challenge.

And because I’m NOT at my most fit.

And because I’d like to be someone who runs, if not obsessively, at least sometimes.

And because 10% goes to City of Hope.

The reasons to do it far outweigh the reasons to stay home. So I’m doing this.

Fit Foodie Race Weekend Austin

But this is so much more than a race. The theme is Calories Burned, Calories Earned, which means that there are some delicious elements to the weekend, too. (How very Austin, right? Exercise and food? If they incorporate some dogs, a live band, and a new online social platform, they’ve nailed the city. Oh, and hipster mustaches. Can’t forget those.)

In addition to the Saturday morning race, there’s a VIP Party Friday night, a post-race chef experience, and brunch, yoga and bootcamp with an obstacle course on Sunday. You can go to one or all. And the code MADBETTY will get you 10% off. Buy tickets or learn more here and get updates and news on Facebook.

My goal for the race is simply to run for as much of it as I can. I won’t be the fastest. I might even be the slowest. But I will finish. And I’ll be running for the next few weeks to prepare and using the hashtag #TweetYourFeet. Should you decide to join me, use the hashtag so I can cheer you on!

#tweetyourfeet

What’s going to keep me inspired?

  1. The Finisher’s Village with chef tastings and demos, giveaways, and Alison Sweeney, Biggest Loser host and author, signing her book for fans.
  2. Mr. Betty. He’s an avid runner and fellow race ambassador, so I’ll have a buddy on race day as well as a training partner.
  3. I have a bunch of friends who are also participating in the race including Mary Makes Dinner, Stetted, and A Time to Kale.
  4. My playlist! I’m putting together a motivating selection of songs to keep me pumped for 3.1 miles.

I’d love to see you on race weekend! And my question for you: Have you done anything lately that’s pushed you out of your comfort zone? Leave me a comment!

Disclosure: I received free entry to the Fit Foodie 5k Race Weekend but was not compensated for this post or any further social media sharing. And the running? That’s all me, baby.

Wednesday, May 21st

A Better Workout: RELAYS Giveaway

I’ve been hitting the gym a lot lately. I like to hide out in the dark bike studio and hold my own private spin class during off hours. Why do I ride on my own? Because I’ve been to enough classes to have developed my own tough routine and frankly, I want my own music. The teachers at my gym tend towards either techno or Kenny Logins. I mean…just…no.

Lately my workouts have been improved by my earbuds. Sol Republic sent me a pair of RELAYS to try out and you guys, they are fantastic. They are specifically made for working out and they don’t fall out. No matter what you do, those suckers stay in!

Sol Republic RELAYS

 

You can sweat like crazy, lay on the floor for crunches or stretching, or shake your head around. They’ll stay in. And the sound quality is tight, too. They retail for about $80, so these are premium in-ear headphones that will last. Also useful when you’re not working out, the three-button operation gives you control over your music, the mic, and your phone. They come with four cushions so you can customize the fit that’s best for you. (I use the second-smallest cushions.) You pull the back of your ear a bit, gently insert it until it feels comfortably secure and go about your business.

Sol Republic RELAYS

 

So how can you win a pair? Just leave me a comment and tell me one workout song that gets you pumped. I’ll randomly draw a name on June 4th. (Like Sol Republic and Mad Betty on Facebook for extra chances to win!)

*I received a free pair of RELAYS for review purposes, but I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, April 16th

The Spa Buzz

The Spa Buzz is a company focused on the professional growth and networking of spa professionals and they throw events all around the country. While I’m not a spa professional, I was thrilled to be invited to their recent Austin event, where I’d learn about the newest, cutting edge products and maybe even get to sample a few myself.

The day started with mingling over breakfast while we each built a personal schedule of mini appointments with the vendors. Now, I’ve had my share of massages and facials, but I’m no expert. So I scanned the list and picked a few things that were completely foreign to me.

NuFace

The most foreign was NuFACE, who makes a handheld device that delivers a microcurrent to lift and tighten the face. They slathered my face with gel and spent about five minutes working on the half of my face. It didn’t hurt at all, but I was aware of an electrical sensation and my face reddened and felt warm. When I compared the two sides of my face, indeed, the treated side looked revitalized and lifted. They went ahead and did the other side of my face so I wasn’t uneven, and I learned that they suggest you use it five times a week for 90 days, and then occasionally as needed. At $350, it’ll be a little while before I pick one up, but…yes. I want this.

Spa Ritual

I was also really impressed with Spa Ritual, whose philosophy of “slow beauty” is about feeling good in your skin at any age. The vegan line has some of the most fun nail polish colors I’ve ever seen and I was lucky enough to get to take a few home. The coolest one is Lighthouse Top Effect, which turns any manicure glow in the dark. It charges all day and glows all night. It is incredibly bright! I also took home some Chinese Jasmine lotion and bath salts.

Lira Clinical

I had a full facial and light peel with Lira Clinical products. Ah, it was so relaxing and I walked away glowing. The extensive brand has lines for all global skin types and complete customization. Whatever the problem is, they have a fix. I love retinols, vitamin C, and good protection. I took home a plant stem cell physical sunscreen that I’m pretty psyched to try, as well as a body scrub and silk soufflé.

I picked up a trend forecast from Spafinder and was excited to see natural brands taking advantage of apps/social media and hot springs making a comeback. Spas are looking to branch out into the transition markets to help people going through divorce, job loss, even death. I’m on board with the idea of some pampering to get through life’s rough times.

Some other brands I learned about:

MedSkin Solutions. The scientific brand makes high quality eye masks that provide immediate, visible results. I wore one for about 20 minutes and I looked refreshed and brighter. I’d love a stash of these for when I’m tired.

Cosmedix. Another science-backed line, I tried some serums and reparative eye creams. They have a deep background in corrective products and sell convenient kits indicated for a variety of concerns.

B. Kamins. The Canadian brand uses a Bio-Maple compound derived, in part, from actual maple trees. The high quality products are gentle and packaged more for the consumer eye, ie, less clinical than other lines.

PINO. I took home an Orange Lemongrass massage candle and the smell is bold and invigorating. The full line of spa products have the best scents and are natural and luxurious.

I’ll be counting down the days till my next spa encounter. And now that I’m better informed, I can try new things and stay on trend with the latest and best services.

Thursday, April 25th

Under the Influence

I am crazy about whitening my teeth. For a good portion of the year you’ll find me lisping my way through whitening strips. So when Influenster approached me with a Vox Box that included whitening products I did cartwheels all over my living room.

Betsey Johnson

Influenster sends new products to trendsetters to try out. They encourage people to Tweet and Instagram their thoughts, generating a little buzz for these new products. I’m choosing to blog about it.

Influenster Vox Box

There wasn’t just teeth whitening stuff in my package. It was a whole bunch of goodies.

Influenster Vox Box

That’s a pretty awesome thing to get in the mail, right? So here’s my quick impressions of the contents.

Influenster Vox Box

  • Colgate Optic White Toothpaste, Mouthwash and Toothbrush. I can definitely see the whitening effects. The taste of both the paste and mouthwash are fine, not overly strong. The toothbrush is of good quality and I imagine most people would love it. I’m an electric toothbrush user, so these old-fashioned manual brushes never leave me feeling quite as polished.
  • Nectresse sweetener. Very pleasant. It’s made from monk fruit and has a light, pleasant taste. Not overly sweet. I normally use half a packet of stevia in my coffee, so this is not much different.
  • Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer. I was unsure of this one. Lotion that you spray on? Turns out it was my favorite thing in the box. I will happily use up this can. I don’t know if I’ll buy it again, but it’s pretty convenient. That commercial where the girl sprays it on and gets dressed in ten seconds? Accurate.
  • Dickinson’s Oil Controlling Towelettes. These are large sheets soaked in witch hazel. When I say large, I mean you could share one with three other people. They are HUGE. I think these will come in handy this summer. Like a mini-shower. Frankly, everyone in Texas should buy these because as soon as it gets hot out, y’all stink.
  • BelVita Breakfast Biscuits. Somewhere between a cookie and a granola bar. Very tasty. Mr. Betty wants more!
Thursday, September 13th

One Year Ago

Mad Betty quietly turned one without an acknowledgement. No cupcake, no birthday candle, no party. How sad for this blog! I am a bad, bad, neglectful blogger.

Middle Finger

The truth is, the year passed and I hadn’t realized I missed the anniversary mark. One whole year of blogging (and then some) went by very quickly. It’s been a good year and I feel lucky to have documented so much of it here. I’ve done, seen, and eaten a lot of things. I bought a serious camera. I switched from a PC to a Mac. After much soul-searching (and tears) I left a job that made me absolutely miserable. I guess you can say I grew up a lot.

What was happening one year ago on Mad Betty? This post. I loved that Standard Process Cleanse. It changed the way I viewed the food-body connection. Ever since that cleanse, smoothies have become a regular part of my life and I eat tons more veggies than I used to. Now if I ever feel crappy, I know that a couple days of produce will fix anything. My body definitely prefers a vegan diet, although I don’t know that I could sustain it forever. But every vegan meal is a good one and I incorporate them more and more.

One year later I’m doing Tracy Anderson’s 30-Day Method and I’m digging it. Twelve days down so far. I love these timed challenges. I love how quickly you see results and feel stronger from working out. By this time next year, maybe I’ll be thinner, stronger, vegan and working a job I love. Or maybe I’ll still be figuring it all out. Either way, I’m grateful to have a chance at another year. Life is fragile and I’m not taking it for granted. Happy anniversary, readers. Thanks for being here.

Tuesday, July 10th

Mel’s Meals Wrap-Up

I just finished three weeks of Mel’s Meals. I can’t believe it’s over already. Twenty one days can feel long, but then goes by in a flash. They say it takes that long to make something a habit, and I definitely feel that I’ve formed some new ones. I’m used to eating a real breakfast now, something I only did sporadically before. Most of my Mel’s breakfasts were egg-based, but I’ll probably eat Fage and fruit most days. Or smoothies. If I do eggs, I usually save them for the weekend.

So how did I do? I lost six pounds (and five inches), which is the recommended (and safe) two pounds a week. I worked out almost everyday, alternating between Jillian Michaels’ No More Trouble Zones and Banish Fat Boost Metabolism. I might post the occasional workout DVD review on my blog, too. I love to check out new ones.

I struggled to drink eight glasses of water a day, which is really the minimum a person should drink. I still struggle with that and need to just keep trying. I love the great suggestions from you guys! In addition to those, I’ll be drinking sparking water everyday because I’m fancy like that.

My experience with Mel’s was very positive. It forced me to eat regularly, not starve all day and then eat all night, as I am wont to do. And it simplified my life as far as shopping, planning and cooking. Someone did all the work for me. The calories and ingredients were listed, and everything stacked up nicely in my fridge.

So what are the cons? Well, cost, for one thing. Convenience comes at a cost, after all. I wouldn’t be able to pay that for very long, but that might not be an issue for some people. Another drawback is freshness. Pre-made food is never as fresh as when you make it yourself. It wasn’t always an issue, but I found the raw veggies and especially the fruit didn’t always hold up so well. And the last drawback, for me, was the packaging waste. Each meal was packaged in plastic. Of course I recycled everything, but it’s just something to think about when you eat this way long term.

I am happy to recommend Mel’s to anyone looking for a healthy lifestyle change, or to anyone simply looking for fast, convenient healthy meals. Whether you embark on a weekly program or just stop in to a Mel’s location and pick up lunch, you won’t be sorry.

Mel's Meals

*Full disclosure, Mel’s Meals picked up 60% of the cost of my meals in exchange for my honest blogging about my experience.

Sunday, July 8th

Mel’s Meals Day 19

Were you wondering who “Mel” of Mel’s Meals is? She’s a real person!

Mel

After many years in food service, an industry widely contributing to America’s obesity problem, Mel decided to help Austinites make better choices by providing better options. What started with Mel cooking every meal herself quickly grew. The demand was so much that they opened multiple locations, hired dietitians, and a huge staff to cook, deliver, and maintain the stores. It shows just how much people care about their diets in Austin. In a city with plenty of healthy options, we always want need more.

Turkey Egg Scramble and Blueberry Almond Muffin

Turkey Egg Scramble and Blueberry Almond Muffin

Sloppy Daddy

Sloppy Daddy

Tea-Rubbed Pork

Tea-Rubbed Pork

Stuffed Dates

Stuffed Dates

Cottage Cheese and Tomatoes

Cottage Cheese and Tomatoes

A bona fide foodie, Mel is constantly coming up with new recipes and working with her dietitians to make her offers healthy, tasty, and well-balanced. I’ve really enjoyed the variety of the meals and the inclusion of vegetables into so much everything.

Saturday, July 7th

Mel’s Meals Day 18

Veggie Frittata

Veggie Frittata

Steak Salad

Steak Salad

Salmon Cakes

Salmon Cakes

Hardboiled Egg

Hardboiled Egg

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

Friday, July 6th

Mel’s Meals Day 17

Oy! Another late post. Thanks for hanging in there, everybody!

Breakfast Burrito

Breakfast Burrito

Chicken Enchiladas

Chicken Enchiladas

Tofu Stir Fry

Tofu Stir Fry

Stuffed Dates

Stuffed Dates

Banana Pancakes

Banana Pancakes

 

Thursday, July 5th

Mel’s Meals Day 16

Ah, I attempted a three-week challenge and a holiday fell within that time period. Luckily it was Fourth of July, not Thanksgiving. I wouldn’t have minded a little something something from the grill, but it was not to be. I did, however, find that flourless chocolate cake on the menu and that made me happy.

I had:

Huevos Rancheros

Huevos Rancheros

Stuffed Poblano

Stuffed Poblano

Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Flourless Chocolate Cake

I also had an almond blueberry muffin for a snack and forgot to photograph it. They are that good! I hope you all had a great Independence Day, filled with chocolate cake and sparklers!