5 Things You MUST Do This Fall

Whoo! Welcome to October Friends!

October 5th, but still. It’s Fall and the weather has finally decided to cooperate around here. New England has the weirdest weather of anywhere I’ve ever lived. And seeing as how I’ve lived in all US geographic locations, I’m, somewhat of a weather expert…minus the expert part 😉

Anyway, since it’s fall and every other blogger on the planet will be compiling a Fall Bucket List, because we’re bloggers and it’s what we do, I’m throwing my list into the fray. What makes mine better than any other list you could possibly look at? Absolutely nothing! Seriously, all of these lists will be basically the same, something about leaves and pumpkins. Do me a favor and read mine anyway, if you comment I’ll send you an internet hug, and who doesn’t like hugs.

5 things to do this fall

1. Do something with Pumpkins. Drink em, eat em, pick em, take photos with em it doesn’t matter. Everyone knows Fall is the season of the pumpkin. Of course if you’re a communist and don’t like pumpkin then you can always substitute for apple. Just know if you do, you’re not really American AND your basic white girl card will be void.

2. Attend a Festival. Fall festival, food festival, beer festival, harvest festival, heck double points for a pumpkin festival! Go drink some cider, eat a donut, paint your face, ride the hay, play some games, toss the rings, win a prize, listen to the music, chuck the corn, pick the apples, kick the leaves, eat the food. Whatever your fancy there is a festival for you!

3. Drink hot beverages. Coffee, cider, hot chocolate, pick your poison and sip away. I prefer mine extra chocolate-y, heavy on the marshmallow, please and thank you 🙂

4. Host a Cookout/Dinner party. With the nice crisp weather comes perfect grillin weather. It doesn’t hurt that most sane people also love good food. (And if your friends don’t love to get together and eat than you need new friends.) Pair that with football, and you’ve got my favorite weekend activity! Of course only do this if you actually have the room for people over. I myself live in a studio apartment without even a couch so not really ideal to having anyone over….I take advantage of good friends who invite me over.

[Tweet “Looking for somethin to add to your Fall List? Here are 5 fun ideas!”]

5. Hike! Please for the love of everything holy in your life, do yourself and favor and get outside! Unless you live in Siberia (hey, hello!) nature is changing and you don’t want to miss it. Get off the internet, leave your car behind and get that booty moving outside. Besides think of all the awesome Insta content you can snap. The better to join my Instagram challenge with my dear.

So whatcha think? Have you done any of these things yet?

Better yet, how many Fall lists have you seen so far?

Tell me your favorite Fall activity!

Plain Signature

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Crock-pot Chicken Tortilla Stew

Whew, you’d think the weekend would be a bit more chill then the week but goodness! This past weekend certainly wasn’t. When it rains it pours I guess, but at least this kind of “pouring” was all happiness and fun so I shouldn’t complain.

First up one of my good friends is a photographer and she got a brand new (very fancy/expensive) camera on Friday and snatched me up for an impromptu photo shoot. Disclaimer: a model I am not, any beauty in these photos is due to her immense talent. Well and the fact that I’m a sexy beast! What? A little self-confidence never killed anyone. lol

winter photoshoot

More importantly then me flaunting my vanity however, is the 6 mile run I got in this morning at…wait for it….6am. Yes, wonderful blogland of dedicated runners, I actually did another early morning run….It was painful to get up that early for “pleasure” and not an obligation of any kind, but I did it. Seriously, if you find yourself having a hard time gettin out for your runs (no matter what time of day) find yourself and buddy, or two buddies, or join a group and make a buddy! 60% of the time it works every time. (points for naming that movie!)

treadmill running

Confession time: Does anyone else go lots slower on the treadmill? I think I’m bad at playing mind games with myself to keep going faster and I just get so bored. Idk. Those are prob just excuses, but in reality the treadmill does hurt my knee more then pavement. Just me??? Ok, moving on….

Next I have a question for all veteran marathon runners…Should the long run be slow or should I try to push it? I’ve been havin the mindset of slow and steady to make sure I get all the miles in but I’m wondering if that’s right?

I also made the most wonderful Chicken Tortilla Stew on Sunday as well. Claiming to have “made” it is kinda a stretch since my crock-pot did all the heavy lifting. I did open the bags of frozen veggies and cans of beans though, if that counts as cooking. Full disclosure I got the original recipe here, though I did make some changes to it.

Maybe one of these days I’ll actually make something that doesn’t require a crock-pot, but don’t hold your breathe it might be awhile. Although if you haven’t seen it already I did make some Corn Tortilla Chips the other day! Again minimal work, baby steps ppl. 🙂

Crock-pot chicken tortilla stew

I was also nominated by Ashley at the Grits Blog for a Leibster Award, what a sweetheart, go check her out! Doesn’t get much more marvelous then that 🙂 So be on the lookout for that!

How did y’alls runs go this weekend? Anyone  brave the cold for a race?


“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

-Lao Tzu


Let’s Connect!



Ever have one of those days where everything just falls your way and life seems grand? I sure hope so, b/c it’s the best feeling ever!! I’ve had a wonderful day….Also for some strange reason I’ve got this pattern stuck in my head, so as strange as you might find it I got a good laugh out of today’s post. So today I….

Finished my finals (hello Christmas break!)

Ran an extra mile for the FitApproach and Runnerbox challenge and said hello to this cute little bridge 🙂


Almost finished packing for home (hello Knoxville!)

Started plans for a study abroad this summer (hello Netherlands!)

be jealous :)

be jealous 🙂

And finally scheduled my hair appointment this week (goodbye split ends!!)

So short and sweet today! Hey it’s better than goin a whole week without checkin in right?……No?…well, thanks for stoppin by anyway 🙂

Are you doin the Runnerbox challenge week? How’s your RunStreak goin?

“There are only two optiolns regarding commitment: you’re either in or you’re out. There’s no such thing as life in between”



My Weekend in Photos

I’ve been so busy trying to get ahead in class and work I haven’t had much time to write.  Though over the next two weekends I’ll have lots of fun race stuff for y’all.  Anyway, since I know you’re dying to know what I did this weekend (read that with a heavy dose of sarcasm)  I’ve included lots of pictures for your viewing pleasure…..

First up I got this little lovely bear in the mail today from my friend up North.  Now I can rep both my teams in style!!


Next up I spent Friday night babysitting for a friend and being ignored by their dog……I did get to watch Zoolander while eating free pizza so it turned out alright 🙂


Kicked off the Halloween month with a  Zombie play….it was a comedy, I don’t mess with that scary stuff lol


Attempted to mail my FoodiePenPal box, and severely misjudged the Post Office’s hours so that’ll haveta happen tommorrow…..Ooops


Spent way too long trying to do my laundry (the dryer decided not to dry my clothes…thanks dryer…)


But it was totally ok, b/c this little guy was outside the window to distract me from my rage 🙂


And finally I got some new runners, Brooks Adrenaline!  Super cool and didn’t make my knee hurt at all, but the balls of my feet were on fire after 2ish miles, so sadly I’ll be returning these beauties tomorrow as well 😦


So the hunt for new running shoes is still on, my old ones will have to suffice for this weekend (BOURBON CHASE BABY!!).  So that’s one Marvelous weekend for me, disappointing purchase and crappy timing aside.

How was your weekend?


“All life is an experiment.  The more experiments you make, the better.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Happy Hump Day

Woo, we’ve made it to Wed, half way through the week!!  Though for me it’s my last super busy day, 6am to 7pm (like I said long day.)  Thursday and Friday I do have work to do but it’s not very structured so I can come and go as I please and get work done in my office with only a few meetings and no classes.  Anyway, I shouldn’t rub it in, life of a student and all that lol.

I of course need to take a minute to just say that like everyone else, I for sure remember exactly where I was the day the Towers fell……and I will never forget the brave men and women who emerged as heros……

Now, this morning, as per usual was my cross-training day which meant 5 miles on the elliptical.

I tried an action photo, this is what I got lol.

I tried an action photo, this is what I got lol.

Then it was off to pick up some cookies for the office cook-out tonight.  I was technically supposed to make a dessert but ya gotta do what ya gotta do and this girl didn’t have time to make any from scratch.  If only the cook-out was friday (see above for free time lol).  So on my way home to shower I stopped off at Great Harvest Bread Company and picked some Snickerdoodle’s as well as a half loaf of Dakota bread for me.

Can't wait to toast it up!

Can’t wait to toast it up!

With only a few minutes to spare, after a quick lunch of a toasted pb&j on my brand new bread(uh YUM!), I was back on campus for class and more meetings (do you see a pattern?)  Anyway, once class let out I drove straight to the office party.  It was burgers and salads galore!  There are a few Dietitians in my office, not to mention the many Personal Trainers and Health Education Specialists so the food was not only delicious but literally nutritious.  What can I say, I’m spoiled 🙂

I also have some exciting news to announce later this week, so you’ll have to stay tuned.  I’ll give you a hint, it has something to do with pink ;D


“Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”

-Winston Churchill

Running is Freedom

They say you don’t realize what you have before you lose it.  Well in many things that’s true and running in no different.  As a 23 yr old with a pre-arthitic knee(yes you read that right, arthritis at 23) the few times I can run pain free are the most freeing times of my life!  I do, however, need to keep my complaining in check.


I had the privilege of meeting a very sweet man while out on the trails yesterday.  His name is Joe and he has a prosthetic left leg.  Let me let that sink in real quick before I continue…….ya on board?  Ok, yes I met Joe out on the trails where he was giving it his all a few steps at a time.  It was a loop trail so I passed him several times before I finally stopped to talk to him.  Sometimes I’d pass him jogging, others sitting on a bench giving his leg a break, but each time he had a smile on his face, that’s bravery and dedication in the biggest way.

He had the sweetest Spirit and one of the best outlooks on life of anyone I’ve ever met.  He said God found it fit to take one leg from him but he still had work to do….I mean really!?!?!  He’s definitely my new role model in not only running but in LIFE!  It was such a blessing to have met him.

So let this be a warning to all you runner’s out there!  Love and take care of your body b/c it won’t always be able to perform the way it can now!  And even when it doesn’t/can’t do the things you want it to anymore, you gotta find a way to push through and do what you can.   If Joe’s story doesn’t inspire you, then find something or someone that does and get out there!

Courtesy of RunKeeper

Courtesy of RunKeeper

Speaking of getting out there, I ended up with 66.5 miles for the month of July!!! What what!!  Super stoked that I beat my 60mile goal…Should I make it 70 for August?  Me thinks it can be done!!  I’ve already logged 4 as of yesterday, I’m on my way!

Adventures of Manda and Mr Howie

I also have a HUGE announcement on this Fitness Friday!  I’m officially signed up for my 2nd Ragnar TN race!!  I’m so excited to be able to compete for the second year in a row with one of the Best group of ladies and friends!  SO excited!!  Ragnar, prepare to be defeated….AGAIN!

Have any fun, major races coming up? (or majorly fun ones?)  I wanna hear about them and how you mentally prepare!


“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.”

-Babe Ruth

Hot Run, Hot Bod

I’ve got 2 things of wonderful news today!

First, I know I’ve told y’all that I’ve started my new job on campus but I snapped a pic of my new digs at work today to share.  It’s a super nice facility (not top of the line, but big and stocked!) and I so far so good!  It is a bit slower compared to my last job working 1-1 with my clients, I’m more of a Supervisor here.  I do get to do first time consultations with people though which I now live for to break up the “supervising” lol.


Pretty nice eh?

Second…..get ready for it…….Yesterday I ran pain-free for the first time in weeks!!!!  YAY!  Following Dr’s orders really does pay-off! haha (seems like common sense but hard to follow through on sometimes).  I only went 4 miles total, 2 running, 1 walking, then 1 more running so my mileage has suffered but that can be trained up again.  I mean idk about y’all but I’d rather run 2 pain-free miles then 6 painful ones and be incapacitated the rest of the day, so I’ll take it!


But oh my goodness, the thermometer has been stuck in the 90’s all week, flirting with the triple digits!  EVEN when the Sun goes down!!  For that reason my outings have been some pretty sweaty ones lol.  Now I’m not really all that sweaty of a person when working out, I usually only start sweating post-exercise (TMI, I know I’m sorry) but yesterday was a different story. I tried to take a picture to show that I literally had sweat rolling down my legs (sans lotion) but it didn’t really show up. (the close up was just weird so I stuck with a distant shot lol).


The sky keeps threatening to rain, we’re getting some pretty intense heat lightening in the darkening skies but so far no relief, the heat just keeps on….SO I just gotta keep my towels stocked and my sunscreen on hand because I gotta keep keeping on as well!  Besides a hot run means a hot bod right? 😀

How are you faring with the heat this summer?


“Mental will is a muscle that needs exercise just like muscles of the body.”

-Lynn Jennings

The Secret Running Path

Happy 4th of July everyone!! ‘Merica!!  It’s my last day at home before I move on to KY, and I was able to visit every single one of my favorite trails!  Confession time, I did run 2 miles on tuesday (hanging head).  I know, I know be smart about your knee Kelsey.  Well my running ban is technically up, it was just a recommendation to not run for longer…..maybe I rationalized it to fit what I wanted but I only ran 2 miles at about a 11min pace which is really slow for me so I’d say I WAS smart about it (more rationalization lol).  Don’t worry I’m back to no running for a few days.

So remember the other when I was bragging about how cool Knoxville is because of all the running trails? Well I’m about to one-up myself and give the another reason……..As many trails as you can find in the city, there are a few, however, that are little hidden gems only the locals know.  See these bushes?

It's just a bush right?

It’s just a bush right?

Boom!  A trail is hidden behind them!

WRONG! it's a running trail!

WRONG! it’s a running trail!

Yup!  This little guy is in my parents neighborhood!  It’s only about 2 miles down and back but since it’s literally right outside their front door it’s a easy trail to get to between summer rain showers(which we had several of today). Plus it goes right by a horse farm, look how cute the jumps are!


Sadly the horses weren’t out 😦

I just love the green trees everywhere!  They literally will cover the trails giving the runners plenty of shade to keep cool and avoid sunburn.  It’s like a stroll down the rabbit hole, hidden from the world, love it!

My own personal secret trail

you can see the “light” at the end of the tunnel

So yea, Knoxville is one of the coolest cities around in my opinion.  Does your city have anything like this?  No one has yet to convince me their city is as cool 🙂


“Some people feel the rain.  Others just get wet.”

-Bob Marley

Girls on the Run!

Happy June everyone! I started mine out the best way I know how, with a race!  What a wonderful Saturday morning it was!  I ran in the Girls on the Run race with one of my client’s daughter.  She’s been begging me to run with here ever since I met her so today was a long time in the making lol.  If you didn’t see my explanation of Girls on the Run go read it real quick………OK, you back?  Now you can see why this was the perfect race for us to run together.


It’s been a real scorcher these past few days up here in Mass(bordering on triple digits) so I feel at home but everyone else is wilting in the heat.  Even with a start time of 9am it was already inching up into the 90’s.  The only downside of today was the entire course was in the sun and my sunscreen didn’t fully prevent me from getting a little bit of color.  But there was plenty of water and shade at the finish line!

Can you tell she was tired? lol

Can you tell she was tired? lol

They had a freaking rock wall at the finish line!  How cool, it felt like a carnival!  Not to mention the giant Temple to Music down by the water


My lil run buddy did so well, I was so proud of her!  Now that she’s got her first race under her belt I’m excited to see where she goes from here! (Her mom told me she already takes her dogs “mushing” aka jogging, so she’s well on her way lol)  We finished off the morning with a trip to a local ice cream stand and I got  grasshopper cone, my favorite!  There are seriously so many homemade ice cream stands up here! (they all may or may not be on my to-do list this summer 😉

I remember my first race a friend had me run and I can’t thank her enough for the push!  Look at me now!  Have you ever run with someone younger or introduced them to their first race?


“A smooth sea never made a skillful mariner”


Race Recap Roundup on Runners Luck

Racing Portfolio

I’m somewhat of a Hoarder, but not the kind you’d see on tv with their whole house full of crap they can’t get rid of.  (Actually I’m really good about throwing things out and cleaning out every Spring.)  No, I hold onto anything I deem as sentimental, or that has the potential to be nostalgic or collector worthy.  In this case that’s every racing bib I’ve ever had.

I have no good way of displaying them, plus some are pretty muddy or crumpled after the runs so they’re not exactly what you’d call aesthetic.  I’ve seen some really cool bib displaying flip books online but haven’t taken the plunge to buy one yet.  Because of my lack of pulling the trigger on something I clearly want but don’t need, I’m left with a simple essay cover.  That’s right folks, I literally took an old college essay out of it (tossed it of course, see not a Hoarder) and put in all of my racing bibs!

After every race I also write the date, length of race(if it’s not specified already), and my time.  Also some I’ve run with other people so wasn’t shooting for a PR of any kind and recorded that as well.  Its turned into quite the nice little cache of memories for me.  Just one look at any given race bib and I remember every single detail of that day!  I thought I’d share with you some of those bibs.

Ran as a camp counselor with a camper to help him get a PR!
Ran as a camp counselor with a camper to help him get a PR!
Dirty Dash 5k with some of my best college buds!
First solo run, bit by the bug and quickly signed up for my 2nd race!
First solo run, bit by the bug and quickly signed up for my 2nd race!
Second race....and a PR!
Second race….and a PR!
Ran with a camper again and she got her PR too!
Ran with a camper again and she got her PR too!
The Georgia Games! Won my age group!!
The Georgia Games! Won my age group!!
First road race, 5miler....it was a rough one weather-wise
First road race, 5miler….it was a rough one weather-wise
The Ragnar Relay is seriously the best fun in 2days you'll ever have!
The Ragnar Relay is seriously the best fun in 2days you’ll ever have!
Runnin to support a local food pantry...1st race of the new Year 2013
Runnin to support a local food pantry…1st race of the new Year 2013