Shannon: Tips For Running Errands On Your Bike

Hi All!  Today we have a guest post from Shannon, who blogs over at Girl’s Got Sole.  Today she is sharing her tips for running errands on your bike!  Please show her some love and either comment here or comment on her site about the great tips!

Forget the car, grab your bike!

I’ve recently started running errands that are close by via my bike. Not only does it give me a great cross-training workout, but it saves me gas money because I’m not using my car. Not to mention that it’s more eco-friendly!  I wouldn’t be able to feel comfortable or confident enough to do this without the help of Cycling Savvy. Last summer, I took a series of three classes offered here in Orlando by the organization which is in coalition with the Florida Bicycle Association.


While I’m still exploring venturing further out of my neighborhood and doing more errands, I’m learning the must-haves or things that make commute biking a lot easier. Here are some of the things that I’ve found helpful.

1. Panniers. I just got a pair for my bike’s rack and they are one of the best investments I’ve made in regards to my bike. I can put a lot of groceries in each one as well as my camera if I want to go out and take pictures. Definitely a must-have in my book if you want to shop via bike or do any errands that require you buy things (baskets also work, but they don’t hold as much).


2. Bike lock. While the cheap cable locks are okay, they really don’t do much for you if someone has cutters and really wants your bike. I bought a u-lock after many recommendations that it’s the best lock. I also have a very long and thick cable that allows me to lock my bike to my car’s bike rack if I’m transporting it and need to ensure it’s locked up.


3. Routes. I always bike on the road since taking Cycling Savvy as it really is the safest way to ride (sidewalks pose a lot of hidden risks). But, I always look up my routes beforehand via google maps. They have pretty good bike directions, and you can move the route if you want to change some of it around. I do that a lot, change what google offers to make the route I take better (google tends to give a number of side streets and that’s not always the fastest or the best way to go).


4. What to wear. I usually wear a pair of cargo shorts and a breathable t-shirt. Comfort and keeping cool in the summer are key. I also wear a bondiband under my helmet to help wick away the sweat (it also helps keep my hair a bit less crazy looking when I take off my helmet when doing my shopping in the store).


5. Enjoy the ride. Ensure you pay attention to the road and don’t let honking motorists get you down. Unfortunately, there are a number of drivers who don’t know the laws of the road or how to share the road with cyclists.  Cyclists have just as much of a right to be on the road as a car does.


Here are some links that might be helpful or informative:

5 Reasons To Claim The Lane

101 Tips For New Riders

Share The Road Safely

Utility Cycling 


Jen: Tips For New Runners

Today we have a guest post from Jen, who blogs over at Marathon Mom.  She’s a running coach and today she is sharing tips for newbie runners!

Tips For New Runners: 

I think I am asked at least daily for running advice whether it be from those wanting to start running or those wanting to improve. Recently I’ve had many questions from friends and family training for their first races.

I love sharing my passion for running and hope I can pass this on to others as well. I thought about the most frequent questions I am asked and decided to put together a list:

When do I start to like running?

I think this is the most frequent question and I always hate to say “there are some days I still hate running!”

For me the key is to take it easy some days and push myself other days.  Enjoy the surroundings while out and savor the victories whether this is running that 1st mile or a PR. Like anything new it takes work and does get easier.  I still remember when 3 miles was a chore and now I can’t remember the last time I wanted to stop after 3 miles.

When does it get easier?

Everyone is different, but you need to listen to your body and not feel that you need to push right away or on every run. Like I said above it is something new and will get better. Remember it took us more then 1 step to learn to walk.

How do I motivate myself?

Sign up for a race to have a goal and soak in the excitement of the race atmosphere. Find friends or a running group to join. Making that commitment to others is motivation to get started and it is always nice to have company in tough times to push us further.  Then you can go out for coffee afterwards.  Try listening to music or buy some new running clothes and enjoy the fact that you will feel better and have more energy.

What happens when I skip a run?

Listen to your body and if you aren’t feeling it, having pain or need a short break then don’t run.

Missing one run of the training will not hurt you.

Do not make this a routine but don’t be afraid to rest a sore leg, sleep in when you are sick or shorten a run. If something doesn’t feel right and your stride changes then don’t run through it, stop. Do something else instead (swim, bike, elliptical) and see how it feels later.

Don’t compare yourself to anyone else.

Compete and push yourself to improve while accepting that things happen. Life gets in the way and we all have bad days. Learn from these and work through them. Remember we are all different and can’t compare ourselves to someone with different talents and abilities.

What are the best shoes?

Don’t buy what is cute or the brand your friend uses.  Go to a running store for a proper shoe fitting and don’t be afraid to take them back if they don’t work after a run (most stores around here are fine if they are slightly worn).

Please don’t wear that pair of shoes you bought 5 years ago for step class. Most complaints I hear from new runners is that their legs, knees, feet hurt and then I find out they are wearing bad shoes, such a simple solution to prevent frustration.

I have been running about 10 years and was instantly hooked. I have come a long way from those first steps and my first marathon (Disney 2003) where I finished 5:20 to consistently running 3:30 marathons and running competitively. I learned to love the sport and train right. I have coached runners of all abilities for the past 5 years and love it!

Check out my running, food and parenting adventures at Marathon Mom!

Guest Post: Sarah

Hi gang!  I should be home now and sleeping off the travel hangover!  Don’t worry, I’ll get you all caught up on my drinking, eating, and socializing, adventures of learning how to better improve my blog and recipes.  Today’s final guest post is from Sarah at See Sarah Eat!

The importance of accountability

Hello, Off Her Cork readers! I am thrilled to be doing a guest post for Andrea because I am a huge fan of this blog and I appreciate the opportunity to introduce myself to those of you who don’t already know me.

My name is Sarah and I write for the blog See Sarah Eat. Since 2008, I have been blogging about food, fitness and my experiences with weight loss. In 2007, I gave up my unhealthy lifestyle in favor of real food and regular exercise and lost 70 pounds in the process. There were many keys to my success, including food journaling, regular weigh-ins, etc. But the one I want to talk about today is accountability.

For me, in order to stay focused on my goals and not give up on the process, I need someone or something to be accountable too. This can take one or several forms and can change depending on what part of the process you are in.

When I first started losing weight, I went to a Weight Watchers-like support group where we weighed in weekly and sat down to have a discussion related to healthy eating or exercise. I was also accountable to my food journal – whatever I ate had to be written down, which really makes you think before you bite sometimes! But just knowing that I would have to step on the scale every week (in front of someone else) and have someone look through my food journal was enough for me to want to work really hard at achieving my goals.

Then when I started blogging, I felt a sense of accountability there too. For the longest time, I displayed my daily eats and trust me, when you have to put it out there for the world to see, you really think hard about not having that third bowl of cereal. But, keeping up with this style of blogging became stressful and too inauthentic for me, so I gave it up.

Today, I am in a different boat. While I’m no longer trying to drop 70 pounds, I do have the occasional 10 pound gain over the course of a few months, usually in the summertime when cookouts are abundant and I celebrate my husband’s birthday, anniversary, travel out of town and also get a little lazy with my workouts. I find myself dealing with the extra weight again now that we are nearing the end of summer 2010.

But thankfully accountability has re-entered my life in the form of a trusted friend who is going through the same thing. We’ve both lost a tremendous amount of weight but struggle at times to keep it off, especially when life gets hectic or we lose focus momentarily. At the end of each day, we email each other a rundown of what we’ve eaten, what exercise we’ve done, how we feel mentally, etc. We also have each other on standby for an emergency phone call or text message if we are feeling like diving head first into our temptation of choice.

It’s comforting for me to know that someone else out there is counting on me and I am also counting on them. Especially having someone who knows exactly what I’ve been through and exactly what I want to achieve. What about you?

As for your healthy goals, are you accountable to anyone or anything?

Thanks Sarah! Being accountable, even if it’s just to yourself, is a great way to keep track of your goals and to stay on point.

Guest Post: Christie

Hi gang!  I’m off to Atlanta this weekend to enjoy a foodie seminar put on by Food Blog Forum. If you think you cannot live without me, you can follow my adventures via Twitter.  I’ll try and tweet when I get a chance!

While I’m out drinking, eating, and socializing, learning how to better improve my blog and recipes, I have some awesome guest posts lined up for you!  Today’s guest post if from Christie over at Honoring Health!

Hello Off Her Cork Readers! It is my great honor to be here today to meet all of you!

I’m Christie, a holistic health and wellness coach and author of the intuitive eating blog, Honoring Health. My greatest passion in life is helping women all over the world get off of the diet roller coaster and on with life. On my blog, you will find a mix of tips and advice on intuitive eating, ending emotional eating, self care and building positive body image all intertwined with reflections of my own personal journey. But, one of my other passions is life is writing recipes so today, I would like to share with you a few of my favorite things to eat – breakfast!

First up is my latest breakfast obsession: coconut flour pancakes. Coconut flour is a pretty new ingredient on the healthy living scene but is by far one of my favorites. Not only are these pancakes light and fluffy but they are packed with fiber and protein.

The pancakes in the above picture are topped with a simple crushed strawberry sauce but when blueberries are in season, my favorite is a fresh blueberry compote.

But sometimes, a nice bowl of oats are one the menu and my favorite way in the summertime in Peach Cobbler Oatmeal. I mean, how can you go wrong with breakfast that tastes like dessert?

You can’t!

Of course, what breakfast post would be complete without a french toast recipe? I mean, who doesn’t love french toast? This recipe is just a classic one but I also love a good stuffed french toast.

Alright, that is enough breakfast food p*rn for one day! I do hope that you all will stop by and check the other recipes on my blog. You can also find me on twitter or facebook and I would love to hear from you!

Christie that stuff looks amazing!  Thanks so much for sharing your pictures and your fantastic recipes!

Guest Post: Bob

Hi gang!  I’m off to Atlanta this weekend to enjoy a foodie seminar put on by Food Blog Forum If you think you cannot live without me, you can follow my adventures via Twitter.  I’ll try and tweet when I get a chance!

While I’m out drinking, eating, and socializing, learning how to better improve my blog and recipes, I have some awesome guest posts lined up for you!  Today’s post is from a Twitter friend of mine, Bob!

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor.  I didn’t go to medical school.  I have access to the Internet.

In the last 10 years going to a doctor has become less of a treatment facility or counsel place and more like getting fast-food style prescriptions.  Doctors have to see a lot of patients to pay the bills.  As a result, they can’t be relied on for knowing, remembering, or managing you or your families personal health.  Even the best doctors are limited in their time and resources.  We the patients have to become experts on ourselves and what is going on.

I go to the doctor fairly regularly.  Partially due to medicine refill limits set by my insurance company and because my doctor likes to make me take those fasting blood draws.  Well not really the second reason, but she orders them every 4 months so I have to see her.

One particular outcome from my blood draws showed that for some reason my cholesterol had gone through the roof!  I panicked.  She panicked.  She then gave me an order of medicine that was stronger than the niacin supplements I had been taking up to that point.  This was an eye opener.

Prior to this last test I had been a pack a day smoker and my bad cholesterol had been great while the good cholesterol had plummeted.  If the only real change was smoking, why the bad cholesterol increase?  This was a question that my doctor and I had discussed in great detail, but given the 30-40 minutes we had the question remained unanswered.  If it was going to be answered it was going to have to be done by me.  So I got online.

I started looking at the question.  What could cause triglycerides and LDL cholesterol dramatically increase.  I found some things.  Then I asked google a different question.  What can negatively impact your cholesterol?  Few more answers.  This process continued until I had compiled enough to understand cholesterol better.  Then I looked at what had happened.

My doctor doesn’t know my diet, social calendar, sleep patterns, or exercise schedule.  She sees the results.  So deciphering my life activities in relation to that result is really up to me. And low and behold I found it.  Just 5 days prior to my blood work I attended a bachelor party where heavy drinking was involved.  Large amounts of alcohol can greatly effect cholesterol levels for up to a week depending on the journal or site you go to.

To prove my theory I went back just 3 months later and made sure no excessive alcohol was consumed 2 weeks prior.  It was back to the level of the test prior to the last one.  When I told my doctor this she was amazed.  She didn’t know there was that much of impact.  Then I told her what I found about alcohol affecting cholesterol levels and my consumption prior to the last test.   Light bulb’s all around.

Since this visit I have started asking questions about all different aspects of my health.  Medicines I take, injuries, diet, etc.  So now when I see my doctor I come with the problem, and potential solutions that we discuss together.  She knows I’m not going to give up eating red meat.  So I gave up smoking and started to exercise again.

She pointed out that my weight had been fluctuating a lot and so I took that and started to track my diet with a journal on my phone.  Now I can tell her why.  I’ve also found that I was consuming 1000 calories a day in junk food.  I cut out the junk food and I miraculously lost 15 pounds in just a few weeks.

Few points I’ve tried to incorporate in my researching.

  1. Use credited and referenced sites.,  Wikipedia is good but it’s user contributed so I don’t take it for gospel.  It can help putting medical journals into layman terms.
  2. You should always discuss changes to medications and lifestyle with your doctor.  Even if it’s by email.  Let them know what’s going on.
  3. Keep records of change.  A journal in any form is invaluable.  Pen and paper, smartphone app, online app.  Record side effects as well and you’ll be better off.
  4. If you have negative side effects go to the doctor or emergency room immediately.  I had a doctor misdiagnose me and the medicine he gave me nearly killed me.  We’ll save that for another story.
  5. Limit changes to one at a time.  It makes it easier to identify specific results, good or bad.

In the end we have to be responsible for our health, mentally and physically.  The doctors can help us but it’s not their life.

Thanks Bob!  We do need to be in charge of our own health because no one is looking out for you other than YOU!  You are your greatest advocate! :D

Guest Post: Angela

Hi gang!  I’m off to Atlanta this weekend to enjoy a foodie seminar put on by Food Blog Forum. If you think you cannot live without me, you can follow my adventures via Twitter.  I’ll try and tweet when I get a chance!

While I’m out drinking, eating, and socializing, learning how to better improve my blog and recipes, I have some awesome guest posts lined up for you!  Today’s guest post is from Angela at Pretty in Orange.

Hi all, my name is Angela and I am the blogger behind Pretty in Orange.  I have been reading Off Her Cork for some time now and am lucky enough to be able to hang with Miss Andrea in person as we live in the same city.  When she put out the call for guest posts, I was more than thrilled to volunteer.

In today’s world, I think we are all suffering from some degree of ADD.  I know that I have trouble concentrating sometimes.  I start a task and then – oooo, shiny!  Yup, I’m gone.

I actually need to have at least two things going on at one time to be able to focus – one that can occupy a part of my brain (such as music or TV) so that I can work on something else.

When I would leave work, I would miss people greeting me on the way to the parking lot, because in my mind, I was already in my car, driving on the freeway.  I found it impossible to live in the moment, as it were.

I was laid off from my last job in January of 2009.  It’s been a blow to my ego to have not found a job yet.  Still, I feel as though this time has been a gift and has forced me to slow down and find those elusive moments.

I know we can’t all be out of work for nearly two years and survive.  I’m lucky that I have a supportive fiancé and that we’re not in a position where we need my salary just to survive.

So what can you do to live more in the moment?  Here is what worked for me:

1.  Realizing that trying to make everyone else happy would never work – because you can’t ever get to 100% on that one.  My time is better spent trying to make myself happy.  I radiate happiness and that lifts the moods of those around me.

2.  Giving myself permission to not be Superman/Superwoman.   Stop holding yourself to some standard that can’t possibly exist.

3.  Figuring out what’s really important in life.  No one is ever going to look back on their lives and say, if only I had done more laundry.  Nope.  Not going to happen.  Think about what you DON’T want to regret on your deathbed and go after that.

4.  Yoga.  I wish I had words to tell you what a difference this has made in my life.  At first I thought I would never get to the point where I could slow down my mind enough to enjoy more than just the physical benefits.  But through time and practice, I can now quiet my mind.

5.  Focusing on the senses.  I love to sit out on our deck and just take it all in.  I try to imprint on my mind the scent of the air and the grass, the sounds of the geese and ducks (we have a pond), and just the general feeling of that particular moment.

What I’ve noticed is a real improvement in my relationships with people.  I am focused on them when we’re talking, really listening instead of just thinking about what I want to say.   I look at people while they’re talking, instead of being distracted by what’s going on around us.

I hope that these tips can help you live in the moment more often!

Thanks Angela!  It’s always nice to take time and smell the flowers along the way right?  I know I’m guilty of being so focused on other things, I forget to breathe!

Guest Post: Amanda

Hi gang!  I’m off to Atlanta this weekend to enjoy a foodie seminar put on by Food Blog Forum. If you think you cannot live without me, you can follow my adventures via Twitter.  I’ll try and tweet when I get a chance!

While I’m out drinking, eating, and socializing learning how to better improve my blog and recipes, I have some awesome guest posts lined up for you! Today we have Amanda from Two Boos Who Eat!

Hello OHC Readers!

My name is Amanda and I blog over at Two Boos Who Eat with my husband Andy. We started blogging in October 2008 because we wanted to document our food experiences. Andy and I are major foodies who love traveling and trying out the local food. We also wanted to live a healthier lifestyle and found it sometimes difficult to balance being a foodie with being healthy. It is possible!

One of the best ways to experience a new city or town is to walk it. Andy and I went to Italy on our honeymoon and walked at least 5 miles a day doing sightseeing. All of that walking had us pretty hungry and we had no guilt when dining out. We shared a lot of our meals since pasta and rich sauces can sit like a brick in your stomach. Sharing is caring people!

One of our favorite meals in Rome was an order of pasta alla carbonara. Carbonara is comprised of heavy, but simple ingredients. Ours had eggs, fresh spaghetti, pecorino romano (a hard sheep’s milk cheese similar to parmesan), black pepper and guanciale (similar to bacon or pancetta.) Pasta alla carbonara is delicious and we wanted to enjoy it so we ate and then walked around the city.

We noticed tons of fruit carts, open air markets and vendors selling fresh produce and took every chance to enjoy it. In Venice, I bought plums, raspberries, and the most delicious pear I have ever eaten. It was a great way to enjoy the city without compromising your health. I’d also highly suggest renting an apartment or condo with a fully equipped kitchen over a hotel.

Having your own kitchen makes it easy to enjoy a healthy meal while traveling. Buy a guidebook and load up on information about grocery stores and local farmers markets before your trip begins. It will be worth it!

How do you stay healthy while on vacation?

Thanks Amanda!  Those are some great tips to utilize while traveling! Especially the idea of renting a suite type of room where you can prepare your own meals on some nights and opt to eat out on other nights.

Guest Post: Brandi

Hi gang!  I’m off to Atlanta this weekend to enjoy a foodie seminar put on by Food Blog Forum.  If you think you cannot live without me, you can follow my adventures via Twitter.  I’ll try and tweet when I get a chance!

While I’m out drinking, eating, and socializing learning how to better improve my blog and recipes, I do have some awesome guest posts lined up for you! First up is Brandi from Bran Appetit!

Just Peachy

With the end of summer inching closer, I’m trying to enjoy as many peaches as possible. If you have access to local peaches, I hope you’re buying as many as I am each week! It’s tough for me to save enough to actually make a dessert – we eat them with breakfast and lunch, as snacks, and in crisps and crumbles when we can.

Some of our favorite ways to enjoy perfectly ripe summer peaches:

  • Diced into oatmeal
  • Mixed with yogurt and nuts
  • Sliced on a sandwich with turkey/ham, spinach, and red onion
  • Layered with almond butter in a wrap
  • Diced and mixed with berries and melon
  • Tossed in a salad with goat or feta cheese
  • Baked in a breakfast bread pudding
  • Sandwiched inbetween sliced bread with jam or cinnamon-sugar butter and made into French Toast
  • Sliced onto hot pancakes or waffles with yogurt, nut butter, and/or maple syrup

While all of these are delicious options, my favorite thing to make with fresh summer fruit is a juicy crisp or crumble.
I made this Peach and Blackberry Crisp earlier this summer, and we devoured it! In fact, my husband didn’t even know it was a vegan recipe.

Peach Blackberry Crisp

  • 2-3 cups blackberries
  • 3 peaches, peeled and diced
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 2/3 cups oats
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 canola oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Toss fruit with 1 Tbsp sugar and 1 Tbsp flour and pour into greased 8×8 baking dish.
  3. In separate bowl, mix the oats, flour, sugar, oil, salt, and cinnamon together until combined.
  4. Spread crisp topping over the fruit.
  5. Bake 35-45 minutes or until the topping is browned and fruit is bubbling around the edges.
  6. Serve. Preferably with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.

If you haven’t found local farms or farmer’s markets nearby, make sure to check out! You may be surprised what local foods are right around the corner.

Thanks Brandi!  With the end of summer approaching, this is a great way to use up some of the last of the summer fruit!