#blogtober14: My Favourite Blogging Apps

For the next month (eep!) I’ll be linking up with Taylor and Helene for Blogtober. Missed a day? Never fear, just jump in, include the image and link up with one of these lovely lassies!

The Daily Tay
 
 
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As soon as I saw this as a prompt, I knew I’d be talking about blogging apps. Even more specifically, plug-ins that I’ve been using that help me manage my blog that I think everyone should know about!

cowgirlruns blog plugins

First off, in order to use these awesome plug-ins you’ll need to be self hosted, so that means you’re working with wordpress.org and not wordpress.com and you’re paying a company to host your website for you.

^^ note: affiliate link ^^

I host through BlueHost and have hosted through them when I had a different blog as well. Right now I’m on the inexpensive shared server plan, but there are many different options out there for you.

Now that you’re self hosted, what plugins should you use?

Akismet

This plugin is my anti-spam plugin. I’m not a fan of “captcha” codes on blogs for comments because half the time I can’t manage to type the damn letters/numbers in correctly, so this does the work for me.

On occasion a not spam comment will get sent to spam, but I do my best to review my spam comments once a day or so to keep it manageable.

Comment Reply

This is possibly one of my favourite plugins, and I highly recommend it to anyone with a blog.

Anytime I reply to a comment, this takes care of sending an email to the person who commented. I know I don’t have time to go back to blogs I’ve commented on to see if there’s a reply to my comment, so when a blogger has this installed I’m always pumped to read an email reply.

CoSchedule

I just started using CoSchedule this week and I’m already in love. With all the posts for #blogtober and all the other random stuff floating around in my brain, it’s nice to have a place where I can organize it.

coschedule

Even if I don’t write immediately, I at least have a title and a topic and can write/schedule when I have time.

jQuery Pin It Button

That nifty “Pin It” mouse over on my images?

That’s from this stellar plug-in. Just do it.

Recipe Card

For the times when I decide to post a recipe (which I hope to be more frequent) I love this plugin. It makes it look all awesome and professional. Something I don’t think I’d be able to do on my own.

There are many (many!) more plugins out there and many more that I have installed, but these are definitely in my top 5.

What’s your favourite plugin?

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#blogtober14: Pet Peeves

For the next month (eep!) I’ll be linking up with Taylor and Helene for Blogtober. Missed a day? Never fear, just jump in, include the image and link up with one of these lovely lassies!

The Daily Tay
 
 
Want to read more? Click for more #blogtober14 posts.

sigh So, this post was pre-written before the events in Ottawa this morning. Then I had the typical back and forth of what to do. Do I just publish the post as it? Do I not publish it? Do I address it?

Even now, I don’t know. All I now is that my heart is sad. Maybe this post with help you crack a smile. Maybe it will piss you off. I don’t know, I really don’t.

Pet peeves.

We all have them, and, I’m relatively certain, are all somewhat irrational.

At the risk of sounding like a complete and total a-hole, I am here to share with you a list of some of the pet peeves that absolutely grate on me.

Vague-booking

We all have those friends. The one that post these cryptic Facebook statuses but “can’t talk about it” because it’s “too painful” but in the end they’ll “be okay”.

Barf.

If this happens more than twice, you’re unfriended. The end.

Unnecessary Abbreviations

This is possibly the most irrational pet peeve I have, but I cannot stand the use of the phrases “totes jelly” “amaze” or “mara/marry” for marathon.

(Sometimes I’ll type marathong instead of marathon, but you won’t see me abbreviating it to “mara”).

Nope nope nope.

I assume we’re all grown ups and know how to spell and type. The only situation I’ll use something like “totes jelly” is when conversing with my girls and I want to make a point and/or have one of them roll their eyes at me.

Text Speak

I assume 95% of the population has some kind of a smart phone with a keyboard. I can understand text-speak when we all had to press those freaking number keys three times to get to the letter “o”. Now? You have a keyboard. Heck, you can even install keyboards now so you don’t have to lift up your finger, you just slide.

I can forgive using “u” instead of “you” but I don’t want to have to attempt to cock my head to decipher a word with random numbers in it.

Excessive use of “LOL”

If you end every Facebook post or Instagram caption with “lol” my general assumption is you aren’t laughing.

Actually, I’ll probably be screaming at you in my head that is not funny.

Admittedly, I do use “ha” or “haha” rather frequently in exchanges, but at least I’m not pretending to laugh out loud when I’m not laughing out loud.

What are some of your pet peeves?

If your answer is “blogtober” you only have to suffer through for 9 more days :P

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WIAW: SPUD and Meal Planning

Have you ever had one of those weeks where you’re completely blown away and what life hands you?

That was last week.

I was recently asked to be an ambassador for SPUD Calgary and received my first shipment of goodies on Monday! Let me tell you, they didn’t disappoint :)

What is SPUD?

SPUD stands for “sustainable produce urban delivery” and is a grocery delivery service operating in Vancouver (and area), Victoria/Nanaimo, Calgary and Edmonton in Canada and San Francisco & Bay Area and Los Angeles & Orange County in the US.

How does it work?

Thanks to the SPUD website, here’s a nifty graphic for you.

SPUD order

Basically set up your account, browse the store (items will vary by your area as SPUD works to bring in local products as much as possible), place your order and wait for delivery.

I wasn’t sure if I’d be home on Monday (my delivery day) so I gave the driver my buzzer code and asked them to leave it outside my door. All I did was answer my phone and food magically appeared at my door :)

What does it cost?

That’s completely up to you. For orders of $35 in Calgary delivery on your assigned delivery date is free.

Use code 'CRCAL-WILANC' to save!

Use code ‘CRCAL-WILANC’ to save!

From now until November 15, if you sign up as a new customer and use the code “CRCAL-WILANC” you’ll double your savings from $20 to $40 on your first order. Now, this does require a minimum order of $60, but you’re still saving 2/3 of the cost and you don’t have to try to brave the grocery store on weekends. Ew.

Here’s a peek at what I received this week.

FullSizeRender (9)

Merlin was scared of the bins at first, but eventually warmed up to them :)

I also ordered some refrigerated items, which were packed in insulated bags and even included an ice pack to keep things cool. I was home when the bins were dropped off, but if they needed to sit for a while, nothing would spoil that day.

IMG_9563

Meal Planning

I’ve really been trying to make more meals at home and keep an eye on my grocery budget. By having a specific day for groceries (instead of just popping to the store whenever) I’m hoping I’ll be better able to keep both my spending and calories in check!

Monday night I made some lunches for the week (which I also ate for dinner on Monday). I’ve been on a curry kick because it’s super easy to make and can feed me for a few days.

I’ve never tried tempeh, but I really wanted to, and I figured red curry tempeh would pair perfectly with the Red Thai Curry sauce from Trader Joe’s. Tip: buy yourself some now it’s amazing!

IMG_9565

This was pretty much the easiest dinner ever. I shall assume I don’t need to provide terribly specific directions as it went as follows:

  • prepare rice per package directions. Use can of coconut milk + water for rice liquid because coconut rice is amazing.
  • cook frozen veggies, add-in sauce when nearly done.
  • cook tempeh per package directions.
  • assemble and enjoy.
IMG_9573

Yeah…..so this isn’t the most appetizing picture, but I can assure you it tasted phenomenal!

Have you ever used a grocery delivery service?

What’s the best thing you ate this week?

Cheesecake after my Sunday run for me!

WIAWbutton (1)

Linking up with Jenn for WIAW




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#blogtober14: Dream Vacation

For the next month (eep!) I’ll be linking up with Taylor and Helene for Blogtober. Missed a day? Never fear, just jump in, include the image and link up with one of these lovely lassies!

The Daily Tay
 
 
Want to read more? Click for more #blogtober14 posts.

I absolutely love to travel. Love it. Unfortunately, it’s not always so awesome on my wallet, so there are a ton of places I would absolutely love to visit that I haven’t yet.

I’m also spoiled and want to see all the things so I wasn’t able to narrow it down to just one vacation #sorrynotsorry.

This list is in absolutely no particular order, with the exception of Costa Rica since I do plan on going there soon!

1. Costa Rica / Nicaragua

I really don’t know how/when I decided I needed to go to Costa Rica, but it’s been on my list for a really really long time. Like, really long.

9_fl_costa_rica

Every year I hope that I’ll be able to go, and then well, life.

I’m crossing my fingers that 2015 or 2016 will be the year it happens.

2. Antarctica

For how much I absolutely despise being cold, I really would love to take a vacation to Antarctica.

Antarctica coverage

Mainly because I want to see penguins. I love penguins. I mean, my nickname for a period of time was penguin!

3. Africa

(preferably not one of the countries wherein I could potentially contract Ebola).

8589130406427-zebras-sunsets-nature-africa-wallpaper-hd

I can’t even tell you how many things I want to see in Africa.

I want to go on safari.

I want to go cage diving with sharks.

I want to go to the place where the penguins are and you have to look under your car to make sure they aren’t hiding under it.

I want to visit wineries.

4. Australia

A good friend of mine moved to Aus just over 2 years ago and I still haven’t been to visit her. I know. I’m awful and terrible.

Australia-2

For how much I love nature and animals and hot weather and beaches, you’d think I’ve had gone ages ago. I need to get my s-t together and go.

5. Peru

This is tentatively set as a 2016 adventure, but you know, life.

I have solid plans to hike the Inca Trail and visit Machu Picchu and see the sunrise at the top.

machu-picchu-peru

I could probably come up with at least 10 more places to visit (Germany, Thailand, The Great Wall, New Zealand, etc) but I’ll leave the list at five since that seems like a pretty good number :)

What’s your dream vacation?

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TYT: Fabletics

My Monday was a pretty stellar Monday. I had a number of packages arrive and probably my favourite was my shipment from Fabletics.

This was the first month they’ve been available in Canada and you better believe I jumped on the chance to try them out!

Because I can’t help myself (heh) I ordered two outfits and was so pumped to try them out.

cowgirl runs fab power cowgirl runs fab outlet

First thoughts?

Love it!

The quality seems awesome and the clothes fit true-to-size which I always appreciate! Right now I’m in-between sizes in my pants so I sized down in one pair and up in the other. For the recommended (up) size, they’re perfect for around the house, but I can tell I’d be pulling them up constantly if I were to wear them when running.

CGR fabletics power

I think the blue pants (sized down) will work for running, but the cuffs might be a tad tight around the calf for day-to-day wear. I’m planning on giving these a shot for my run today, so I’ll be back later with an update on how they worked.

All-in-all I’m super happy with what I received and I’m pumped to increase my workout wardrobe for a decent price :)

CGR fabletics outlet

In case you’re not “in the know” if you sign up to Fabletics as a VIP member (fancy, right?!) you’ll receive 50% off your first outfit. After that you’ll receive an email on the first of each month for your selected outfits. From there you can “pass” (pay nothing) or pick your outfit. If, you’re like me and forgetful, and forget to “pass” on an outfit, you will be charged $49.95 (boo) but that amount will roll over to the next month, so it won’t be lost (yay!).

How have you treated yourself this week?

cowgirl-runs-treat-yourself-tuesday

I’m linking up with Becky for Treat Yourself Tuesday!




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#blogtober14: My Biggest Fear

For the next month (eep!) I’ll be linking up with Taylor and Helene for Blogtober. Missed a day? Never fear, just jump in, include the image and link up with one of these lovely lassies!

The Daily Tay
 
 
Want to read more? Click for more #blogtober14 posts.

My biggest fear used to be failure.

I was convinced that if I failed at something then my life would be over. Obviously, I learned that wasn’t quite true, even if I did keep it a secret for, oh, about 15 years.

For a long time I’ve had this underlying feeling of not being good enough, of never being cool/nice/fun/funny/smart/pretty/whatever enough. Let me tell you, that’s totally not a fun way to live – at all. It’s all-consuming and I spent many years constantly judging myself and my actions. I’m pretty dang sure I was judging myself far more harshly than anyone else ever was.

I’m finally now in a place where I’ve realized I am good enough (if you’ve been around for a while, I’m sure you’ve heard me say this a ton!) and I love it.

So, what’s my fear?

(I’ll warn you, this is a super personal one and yet, for some reason, I’m sharing it….)

Being a single cat lady.

cowgirlruns biggest fear

I mean, yes, I love Merlin and think he’s pretty darn cool, but I also think I’m pretty awesome and would make an awesome girlfriend (and maybe wife).

On a related note, I’m pretty scared to put myself out there and date, because I’m an introvert and I have this assumption that I’ll hate dating.

I…..don’t really know where to go with the rest of this post because it’s pretty personal and, yeah. 

Ha! :)

Ummm, does anyone know if Matthew Iman (aka – The Oatmeal) is single? Because, yeah….Heh.

What’s your biggest fear?

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Marathon Monday: 10/20

Happy Monday, friends! <– I know I probably say that most every Monday, and no, I don’t see that changing :)

Can you believe there are only 11 days left in October?! I think October may have flown by faster than September, how is that even possible?!

This weekend I finished my third of four half marathons for the month :D

Ragnar Las Vegas training schedule

Monday – driving home
Tuesday – rest day
Wednesday - rain :(
Thursday – packed wrong run gear :(
Friday – off
SaturdayRobert Hamilton 5 Miler
Sunday – Mec Race 7 Half Marathon

Total mileage: 18.1 miles / 29km

Mileage-wise it could maybe have been higher, but after racing the previous weekend, I really wanted to make sure my body was able to recover. Add in weather issues (I picked up a rain jacket this weekend!) and brain issues (it is not warm enough to run in a tank top right now!) it just wasn’t in the cards.

I’m hoping to fit in runs on Tuesday and Thursday both at lunch and after work to get my leggies prepared for back-to-back runs during Ragnar.

This weekend I’ll be flying to Vancouver for the Rock ‘n Roll Half and the trip will also include a trip to Trader Joe’s to pick up some fun goodies for myself!

How was your training this week?

More Marathon Monday.




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#blogtober14: Because I’m Happy

For the next month (eep!) I’ll be linking up with Taylor and Helene for Blogtober. Missed a day? Never fear, just jump in, include the image and link up with one of these lovely lassies!

The Daily Tay
 
 
Want to read more? Click for more #blogtober14 posts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two years ago if you had asked me to come up with a list of things that made me happy, I probably would have thrown a sarcastic remark your way. I wasn’t happy, so it pretty difficult to come up with a list of things that make you happy when you aren’t happy with you.

Now? I could probably come up with a pretty extensive list because I’ve learned to find joy in the little moments throughout the day. What a difference that makes!

The list of what makes me happy changes from day to day, so here’s what’s made me happy this weekend.

Merlin

This should be pretty obvious. This guy is my shadow and I’ve also been known to call him my best friend on occasion. He’s the sweetest and snuggliest cat ever (even if that means he doesn’t “cat” very well).

 

My view while writing this post <3

My view while writing this post <3

A beautiful sky

I saw this on my way to my third October half marathon this morning. I even pulled over to fish my phone out of my purse because it was so gorgeous I couldn’t not take a picture of it.

 

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Unbelievable sunrise in my way to the MEC half this morning. 3 October halfs done, one more to go!

Naps

Bonus points if those naps are after a race!

Running with friends

I’ve been lucky enough this weekend to meet up with friends at both races. Running friends truly are awesome!

3 Calgary Flockies at the start of the MEC race

3 Calgary Flockies at the start of the MEC race

What’s making you happy today?

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Robert Hamilton 5 Miler – October 2014

For a few days this week I felt a cold coming on, and it finally came to a head on Friday. My voice was croaky and my were crazy stuffed up. After staring at my computer for 30 minutes and not knowing what I was doing, I decided to head home on Friday and rest.

When it comes to sick, I’m a big fan of resting and not pushing my body, but I also didn’t want to not run my races.

I decided to play Saturday morning by ear and when I woke up and thought about running 10 miles I just felt dread……5 miles it was then!

Leana was kind enough to pick up my race package for me on Friday, so I met her just before the start and we grabbed a picture before setting out. (All pictures are stolen from Leana’s Facebook because she was awesome at pictures!)

10648295_10154760276890298_7183773377821181974_o

My goal for this race was basically not to die. I knew my head wasn’t feeling great and I just wanted to get some mileage under my belt for Rangar prep.

Leana is obviously WAY better at pictures than I am!

Leana is obviously WAY better at pictures than I am!

I felt great at the start and wanted to run anywhere between 6:05-6:15/km.

At the turnaround I could really feel my cold catching up with me. My legs felt fine, but I started to have some trouble breathing, so I just wanted to keep a consistent pace and make it to the finish in one piece :)

Gingerbread medals are always a great idea!!

Gingerbread medals are always a great idea!!

Garmin time: 49.24 or 6:03/km average pace.

I’m extremely pleased with my pace since I didn’t feel so hot for the last half of the run.

Saturday was an absolutely perfect day for a run! I thought it would be cooler at the start and just slightly over-dressed, but I got to wear my favourite flyte shirt, so I won’t complain!

Sunday is also looking like a fabulous day for a half marathon :)




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#blogtober14: My Secret

For the next month (eep!) I’ll be linking up with Taylor and Helene for Blogtober. Missed a day? Never fear, just jump in, include the image and link up with one of these lovely lassies!

The Daily Tay
 
 
Want to read more? Click for more #blogtober14 posts.

When asked to share a secret on the internet, what do you share?

Do you share some silly little thing you do, like a weird superstition? Or do you go with the big guns and share some juicy tidbit that will get the internet talking?

This secret is 15 years old and while it was something that I was ashamed of at the time, I’m over it and it’s time to let the cat out of the bag.

Before I share, I feel like some background is a good idea. I was a bit of a goody-goody in high school. I was the straight-A, a B means your life is over student. I’d throw crying fits before exams and big projects, only to pass with flying colours and keep that GPA up.

I can’t recall if it was the day of my 16th birthday or the day after, but my mom drove me down so I could get my learner’s permit. I’d already gone through the required in-classroom course in preparation for my practical lessons, so I felt like I knew what I was doing.

And?

I failed.

Miss 4.0 GPA failed her learner’s test.

I was completely and utterly heartbroken.

I didn’t fail things, like ever. And I failed the biggest test toward becoming an adult. Or, so I thought at the time.

I can’t recall the specifics of what happened after, but I’m pretty sure my mom told me I didn’t have to tell anyone (I didn’t…..until now) and we went there the following day and I passed with 100%.

Even now, just thinking back on that moment, I can remember the heartbreak and utter shame at failing such a simple test.

Thankfully, 15 years later I can look back and realize it was just a blip in the road of growing up.

Have you ever failed anything?

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