While I am still sad to see summer go, I am also ready for the cooler weather and everything else that comes with it. When I think of fall I think of nice weather, everything pumpkin, apple and cinnamon flavored/scented, bonfires (or fireplaces), warm foods and drinks, being cozy and...perfect running temperatures = racing season.
What does fall mean to you?
Depending on what area of the country you are in, it might be really cold or it might not be much different than summer (Texas friends and family, I'm thinking of you). I feel like no matter the temperature though, something that starts to happen around this time is stress from a busy work load/school during this last quarter of the year, especially as we gear up for the holiday season - which face it, starts on Halloween. Does time seem to speed up during these fall months for you (especially with the shorter days)? It's easy to get caught up in everything going on and preparing for the holidays - which unfortunately for a lot of people tends to mean giving up on self-care for the next 3 months and starting over again in January. Please, don't let this be you this year!
Fully enjoy the fall (and winter) this year. Let's make this the time of the year where you instead create space for those things that you actually WANT to do, and do less of the things that you don't! Self-care is so important for many reasons. Did you know that with self-care we are more resilient and able to handle life's stresses when we are feeling our best physically, emotionally and mentally AND it makes you a better caregiver (no, self-care is not selfish, it is necessary so you can give your best self to others - and yourself)?
Self-care is needed year-round but your needs change a bit with the seasons so you can explore different interests and go with the energy you are feeling. When trying to decide what you need to do to practice better self-care, just ask yourself "what would make me feel happier/more restored/healthier/energized/etc.?" For example, if I am feeling stressed I know that I need a little down time by myself (and to say no more often) or if I am feeling lonely I know I need to make plans with my husband or a friend and get out of the house. The following is a list of ideas to practice better self-care this season, but remember to do what feels best for YOU.
1. Do the fall things that excite you. Get creative and do what you enjoyed as a child (or still do now): go apple picking, buy a scented candle, bake a pie, visit a pumpkin patch, decorate, view the fall foliage, have a football watching party, read a book by the fireplace, etc.
2. Get active outside. Use this cooler weather to your advantage before it starts to get really cold! Take a hike, go on a walk, go running, ride your bike. Do whatever you enjoy that gets you moving outdoors and try and get as much sunlight and vitamin D as possible (with proper protection and SPF of course)!
3. Cook something new. Now is the time to start trying different slow cooker recipes, cook over a bonfire or just bake something fun! It is the season for warming comfort foods - which can be delicious AND healthy too!
4. Drink something warm. There is just something so nice about sipping on a cup of hot tea, coffee, hot chocolate, apple cider, etc. at the end (or beginning/middle) of a long day!
5. Set boundaries. There is so much going on and so much FOMO (fear of missing out) between different holiday parties, events, traditions and work/school obligations during this season. Prioritize what YOU want/need to do and don't over-commit to things you don't like/want to do. Don't drain your energy. Choose things that fill you with joy instead AND make sure to get enough sleep!
Take care of yourself. YOU are important. Always be willing to ask for help!
Also, don't forget that flu shot...and wash your hands often ;)
Enjoy this beautiful fall season!
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I was asked to make something "fall-like" with fruit for an open house fall event last weekend for two different houses. They were already planning on having cookies and donuts so I decided on making a charcuterie board to also include some savory options with the fruit. Sometimes it can be hard to figure out what kind of things to put on a board and how to make it look pretty so I wanted to show you how I did it so you can use it as inspiration to make your own! It is October now...it's the perfect time to start making these for parties!
I ended up spending around $135 to make the 2 different boards and that included the trays and dishes I needed for them. I think it ended up something like $45 for the food on each tray - and the trays were huge and could definitely feed a crowd. I started my shopping at Tuesday Morning where I picked up the trays and dishes. I also bought most of the non-fruit/cheese/meat items there. The rest of the food came from Aldi and the mini gourds/pumpkins were from Sprouts. Feel free to mix and match any of the items below to add your own unique spin!
Shopping List for 2 Large Fall Charcuterie Boards
To make the trays, I started with the meat. I folded each piece in half, and then in half again so it looked prettier and then arranged them in the bottom left and right side of the tray. Next, I cut and spaced out the cheese in 3 different areas around the board by laying them down in a circular pattern. I added in the 3 dishes to help balance everything out. Next, I placed the red grapes on the tray in a wavy pattern with the green grapes on the bottom. I tried to tuck in some of the grapes to fill up the big void spaces on the tray. I added the cucumber slices on the upper left side of the board and then filled in all of the holes with the blackberries and raspberries. I lined the top and bottom of the trays with the cashews and apricots and then filled the bowls with the candy corn, pickles and fruit spread/apple butter. I then put the gourds and rosemary in the corners and even added little sprigs on top of the brie/camembert and cheddar/havarti. I ended up using additional dishes that I had on hand to lay out the crackers and maple meringues.
While the trays were pretty similar, each one had their own unique cheeses, salami, jams and gourds. It took me about an hour to assemble both trays (which I did the night before) and then I just tightly saran wrapped the trays and kept them in the fridge until it was time to go (or 30 minutes before serving). Everything still looked perfect and made for an easy, yet elegant looking snack on the day of the event!
They seemed to be a hit, they looked beautiful and most of the food was gone by the end of the day! These trays are so great to bring to events, parties or just to have at home on Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year's Eve before the main dinner! Tag me in your post if you decide to make one, I can't wait to see your own little twists!
Note: You can use whatever crackers you want - I chose gluten-free crackers for those who needed them and regular whole-grain for everyone else. For the dairy, you could choose dairy-free cheese options or replace them with nut butter and avocado. Since you can design these however you want, nobody has to feel left out with a charcuterie tray!
BONUS: To make preparing this even easier, download the Prepear app and you can access this recipe (along with all of my others) and order all of these items through Walmart!
Eastern Flank Battlefield Park is 110 beautiful acres and is the former site of the Battle of Franklin. The Carnton House sits adjacent to the property and was witness to one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. It served as the largest field hospital in the area and is home to the McGavock Confederate Cemetery. It is impossible to imagine this as you walk or run along the paved path, as it is such a serene area now. There is access to take a guided tour of the Carnton House, the grounds, outbuildings and gardens or you can follow the paved path out front and read the signage on your own.
The entrance to the park is located at 1368 Eastern Flank Cir, Franklin, TN 37064. That exact address will take you to the event facility where you can park, or you can park closer to the entrance of the Fleming Center at the Carnton House by the traffic circle. That is where I usually park. When the center is open, there is access to bathrooms and a water fountain. I begin by the main covered signs with benches and make my way around the perimeter of the path and then I take the smaller loops - but it can be done any way. The path takes you around the front of the property, through the fields and by some trees. While there is shade under a few of the trees, there is not much sun protection on the paths. It is relatively flat with a 41 ft elevation gain and the path measures out to around 1.78 miles (depending on how you take the loops). You can easily get to 3 miles by adding in the park roads as well.
The path is nice and wide, it is dog friendly and relatively quiet. You will encounter more people taking a stroll and reading the signs vs getting in any intense exercise, but it is still a great place to come explore.
Find more paths, trails and places to hike/run/walk in Williamson County, TN here!
I decided to participate in the Franklin Classic 10K this year and I was excited that Josh wanted to do it as well! The race is always on Labor Day and has live music, a Fun Zone and a bunch of different vendors. The race begins and ends on Public Square in Historic Downtown Franklin, TN and includes a 5K, 10K (or both for a 15K) and a 1K kids run. It is also pretty much guaranteed that there will be a ton of people and it is going to be HOT.
Leading up to this race I hadn't been doing a ton of training. I switched to running 3 days a week after the Hot Chocolate 15K with two days of strength training and/or yoga. My running days consisted of: a 5 mile trail run, a faster road run of some sort and a longer-ish run (up to 8 miles). I wasn't training specifically for any race, it was just the types of runs I enjoyed doing which kept me in decent running shape. This was especially important during the summer when I don't super love running in the intense heat. Something else I did different before this race was relax a bit and not take it so seriously which I tend to do. Again, I think like last time though - having Josh with me just makes me feel better about it all and it is cool knowing he is there running too! We even went out to a baseball game the night before and instead of my normal chicken, potatoes and green beans for dinner before a race - I had the delicious smoked chicken tot-chos (but with sweet potato fries) from the Band Box at the Sounds game! The morning of the race I ended up eating a banana mashed with peanut butter and cinnamon and then a banana/apple baby food pouch right before running and my stomach felt surprisingly good during the whole race which was awesome!
We ran with the Franklin Road Runners and represented Team Beef and Team Potato this year. The 10K didn't start until 8 but we got downtown around 7 so we could take a team picture before the 5K began. After the picture we talked with a few friends and walked around looking at all of the different vendors and made a stop by the classic cars that were posted up by the theater. We did a short warm-up and then got ready to race!
The gun went off and we began! I love the Franklin Classic 10K route because it takes you on a little tour of Franklin. We started by running west of downtown towards Bicentennial Park and then down Del Rio Pike to Boyd Mill Ave, through Jim Warren Park and finished down W Main St. It is a beautiful run with some views of the countryside and some great parks!
I think it was 75 degrees at the beginning of the run and was around 85 degrees at the end of the run. It was very sunny and very hot. Luckily, throughout the course there were bits here and there of shade so that made it a little more bearable. Besides the heat I actually felt really good on this run. I decided to not push it too hard because I don't do well with heat but I still ran at a good pace. I was able to talk to a bunch of people along the course so that always makes it more enjoyable!
I finished in 52:15 with an average pace of 8:25/mi for the 6.2 miles. I was 6th in my age group out of 37 and 150 overall out of 607. Josh did amazing with a 7:38/mi!!! There was an elevation gain of about 210 ft from some nice rolling hills along the route. Overall, it was a great run!
We stayed around after the race for a bit and talked to some friends, drank a bunch of water, got an ice towel (I don't know why I have never done that before-genius!) and then went home, ate breakfast, relaxed for a bit and then recovered at the pool :) Already looking forward to the race again next year!
Jim Warren Park is a 58-acre active park in Franklin, TN. It is a beautiful park with a ton of great amenities! It is the home of the Franklin Baseball Club and Franklin Cowboys youth organizations, has 2 pavilions (1 enclosed) with electric outlets and overhead lights, 12 lighted baseball fields, 4 football fields, 2 multi-purpose fields, 2 playgrounds, 8 tennis courts, 16,000 sq ft skatepark, 1 basketball court, catch and release pond, multiple restrooms and water fountains (even a vending machine and concession stands) and a great walking/running path where you can get in about 2.7 miles without repeating anything.
The path is mainly flat with a total ascent of 44 ft. The path takes you around and through the entire park. Most of the path takes you on the border of the park underneath a great treeline which is great for shade and the other part takes you through some of the parking areas by and around the different fields, and a small section even takes you around a 1/4 mile track!
There are several different areas where you can park but if you want to avoid game day parking, the main entrance to the park by the front playground off of 96 is located at 705 Boyd Mill Avenue, Franklin, TN 37064. You can park by the pavilion and will have a great view of the pond! Follow the path around the pond and by the treeline, around the skate park and across Boyd Mill Ave. Then you can continue down Boyd Mill Ave and turn left on Twin Oaks Drive. You will enter back into the park by the track and can do a loop if you desire! You will now follow the treeline around the back of the park and behind the fields before looping around in front of the enclosed pavilion and through a small portion of a parking lot before getting back on the path. You will pass by a few more fields before crossing back over Boyd Mill Ave and through the field to get back to the parking lot.
You can add on a lot more mileage if the parking lots are empty and you want to explore around the fields a little bit more. You can also add on by running through any of the connecting neighborhoods or the Williamson County Soccer Outdoor Complex.
This is a great place to run or walk and take your kids or your dogs or just yourself!
Find more paths, trails and places to hike/run/walk in Williamson County, TN here!
I am a food loving, activity seeking health coach who resides in Franklin, TN with my husband and two sweet dogs (Lola & Penny).
I believe everyone should eat balanced and not cut food groups if you don't medically need to. All foods can fit in a healthy diet. Unfortunately, I have to avoid gluten and also limit myself with dairy, so my goal is to provide healthy, gluten-free/dairy-free recipes so EVERYONE can enjoy all foods, even if you do have to cut out certain food groups. My recipes are encouraged for everyone to eat, not just for those with sensitivities/allergies! Most of my recipes can be easily converted by using real dairy and whole-wheat in place of my allergy-free substitutes.
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