Review: Ace’s Pumpkin Cider

I have a confession:  I am not a big pumpkin eater.  My best friend, Shawna, loves this time of year because EVERYTHING is pumpkin.  EVERYTHING.  It’s crazy what they put pumpkin in.  I am American though so around Thanksgiving I do have a piece of pumpkin pie, because I probably should.

Anyway, I went to a liquor store to buy a bottle of wine and found myself in the hard cider section.  They really are next to each other so it wasn’t much of a stretch.  I was a little surprised at the variety of hard ciders available.  Many different types of apple hard cider, a berry cider, ciders with hops, and on and on.  The one that caught my eye was the pumpkin cider.

I’ve never tried Ace’s Premium Craft Ciders although I’ve heard it’s good.  The packaging was clearly marked “Gluten Free” and is also certified Gluten Free.  Since I had looked at a few hard ciders that weren’t marked, this made my day.  I decided to take a chance to buy the pumpkin hard cider.  I told Shawna that she would have to try it with me because, in my mind, if I didn’t like it I knew she probably would.

I finally had my chance to try it.  I was expecting a super pumpkin-y taste but was very pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t.  It has a good cider base but you could taste the hint of pumpkin pie:  nutmeg, cinnamon, etc.  Not overwhelming at all, very refreshing.  It was also very smooth and I could see sitting outside on a fall day next to a fire and having one of these to welcome the fall chill in.

I have to say that I will be buying more of this this fall since it is a seasonal item.  Thank, Ace, it’s a winner!

Pumpkin Cider


Drink up!

A few weeks ago I got a text from my brother, who is a graphic designer primarily for breweries and distilleries.  He works with a company that has developed an amazing hard cider and I figured that they were up to another project.  His question to me was about how large to put “naturally gluten free” on the label and placement of that statement.  I told him that if someone is gluten free, they will look for that statement or the “GF” logo on any product.

That brings me to my most recent trip to the liquor store.  I was putting together a “at home date night” kit for a co worker of mine that got married over the weekend and was looking for a nice bottle of wine.  In the process, I wandered to the cider area of the store.  Now, this is a store that I don’t frequent often but it was handy so…I wanted to do some looking.  Their cider selection was CRAZY.  Pumpkin cider, blueberry cider and so many more.  Can you say heaven?  But I got to looking and some of the bottles weren’t labeled gluten free.  Really?  Cider should be, technically, gluten free.  I’m not one to take chances.  It surprised me that a graphic designer didn’t have the forethought to say “hey guys, is this cider gluten free and, if so, we need to label it”.  I don’t buy something that I can’t read the ingredient or doesn’t say plainly “gluten free”.  The funny thing is that two of the bottles I chose back to back weren’t labeled.  (I turned to the single bottles so I could try a couple new ones).  And too bad…they sounded delish!

I turned around and lo and behold, I saw this:


Now, THAT’S the way to label a product!

I will never say that a product HAS to be labeled, that is up to the company.  But it makes it easier for those of us that are gluten free to know what is safe.  Plus, if you do have a product that is gluten free, I am more apt to buy it!

By the way, I’m not a huge pumpkin person but my friend Shawna is so when I saw this, I thought “Well, it’s fall and something different so I’ll try it”.  I will let you know what I think!

Ace Pumpkin Cider

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Warrior Dash 2015

This past weekend was one of the weekends that I always look forward to every year. It’s the weekend of the Warrior Dash which is held up at Copper Mountain here in Colorado. It is a 5K race mixed with an obstacle course and on the side of the mountain that is pretty rugged terrain.
I love this weekend for multiple reasons. First, it’s a challenge. Every year the race route has been about the same but they change it up with the obstacles. It is still hard no matter what! The second reason I love this weekend, is that I get to spend it with some dear friends of mine. Three of us have done this race for the past four years and then we brought others on along the way. It is a time for us to hang out, to work hard on the race and then relax and enjoy the company.

They also have pretty good gluten free good there. We ate at the Incline, a bar and grille at the resort. When I told the server I was Celiac, he was very knowledgeable and told me what I could and couldn’t have.  He even provided info like the fact that the fries were fried in with breaded items and explained what sides I could have.  They had gluten free buns so I jumped in and got a burger.  We then went to the Storm King Lounge for sushi. They had one roll that was gluten free, quite a disappointment as I was sure they had more gluten free rolls last year.  They did have an appetizer and dessert that were gluten free. It was good but I’m used to more variety.

All in all, it was an amazing time and I can’t wait until next year!!



Starting anew

While most people were spending New Year’s Eve with family and friends, I opted to stay at home.  It’s been a weird week and then when I got home from work, my cat was sick and thought it was better to cuddle with her and make sure she was ok.  When your fur baby is over 18, you never know…

I had time to think while watching a marathon of “Wings”.  I had read a blog by Ashley Castle, a world-class traveler and Arbonne consultant, earlier in the day and it got me thinking:  What are my goals and dreams?  What do I need to change to reach them?

I actually met Ashley this summer.  She was working on the Mutual of Omaha Aha! Tour.  When I came in for my interview, she spotted my Arbonne necklace and made a connection.  Once an Arbonne sister, always an Arbonne sister.  Since then I’ve followed her on Facebook and via her blog.  I won’t lie, I’m pretty jealous of her lifestyle as she is always traveling somewhere, it seems.  But she is by no means a trust fund baby, she has worked hard to make it all happen and she is a travel writer so makes a living by the sights she sees.  The point is that that was her dream and two years ago it HAPPENED.  Now, someone didn’t just give it to her…again, she worked for it, it was a GOAL.

She makes goals in four or five areas of her life every year.  She WRITES them down.  I’ve had my Arbonne consultants ask why they should write their monthly goals down.  Here is the reason:  you are 70% more likely to reach a goal if it is written down.  If you don’t write it down, the likelihood of reaching that goal drops to 7%.  (Thanks, Ashley!).  In reading that, it made me think this:  “If I don’t write a goal down, I really have no intention of doing it.  I have no DESIRE to reach that goal.  It’s just a “if I do it, then it’s cool.” kind of goal.

I will be following Ashley’s method of creating goals in my life from professional to different aspects of my personal life.  I also will be focusing on the positive.  This includes cleaning out the negative friends, acquaintances, books and so much more from my life.  I will be limiting some relationships because they are “poisonous” which may mean cleaning out my Facebook friends…the horror!  I will be downsizing because we all have too many “things” in our lives.  Things do NOT equal happiness.  I will cross one or two items off of my bucket list.  I will run more races, will take the time to FEEL better about myself which will translate into looking better, if that can happen.  Haha!  Just kidding.  I will take time for ME.  We don’t do that either.  Taking time for yourself isn’t a bad thing, being selfish with “me” time is a GOOD thing.  If we don’t take time for ourselves, we are no good for anyone.  As a social butterfly, this will be a hard one for me.  I hate missing out on things!  I will try new things because if you don’t try it, you don’t know if you like it!

This is a start to my new year.  This will be a new year, a new me and a great new time in my life.  This is the year I turn 40 and I won’t go into it kicking and screaming.  I will welcome it because it means greater things are ahead.

I hope you had a great New Year’s Eve and that you have an amazing start to 2015.

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and also follow my friend Ashley there!

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Giving Thanks

In two days it will be Thanksgiving and most people think about what they are thankful for just long enough to get to the turkey and stuffing.  Then the day is filled with football, naps and more eating.

Yes, I will be doing some of that, as well as running a race, but the last couple weeks have made me realize how thankful I really am.

You see, I have had multiple friends that have kids in the hospital, have a spouse or family member or close friend with cancer, or surgeries that were complete surprises.  At this time of the year, when we give thanks and move towards the happy holiday that Christmas is, there is so much hurt and heartbreak.

I think of three different families that I know right now that are dealing with cancer in one of their loved ones.  I know that there are more out there but there are the ones that I personally know.  There is much to be thankful for this holiday but I know that they are thinking farther ahead.  I hope that they take in each moment to treasure them in their hearts.

I think of my good friend Shawna who’s daughter is in the hospital fighting a bacteria in her lungs because she has Cystic Fibrosis and may, or may not, be out of the hospital before Thanksgiving.  Each day is precious to them as well…but Courtney is a fighter!

There are more but I’m writing to say this:  be thankful EVERY day.  There is so much to be happy about, to give thanks about on a daily basis.  Remember what they are, write them down, or at least write them on your heart.  Give thanks to God for what He’s given you, even the hard stuff because it grows you.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving, hug your friends and family and eat lots!  🙂


Just keep swimming…

Somehow the spring and summer got away from me.  It was an amazing time with friends, family and spending a LOT of time outdoors.  That meant that I spent LESS time away from my computer and less time writing, obviously, except for my weekly article for the Free Press.  I apologize for being lax in my writing for my audience.  It wasn’t my intent to forget you!

There were two things that stuck out for me that happened over the summer.  First, we had a family reunion over the 4th of July holiday…ok, we had two family reunions.  One planned, the other just happened.  You see, there is a lot of my family (from my mom and dad’s sides) that either hadn’t seen my niece and nephew and some that hadn’t even met my sister in law.  This was an opportunity to kill several birds with one stone.

My mom’s side of the family hadn’t been together since the funeral of my grandpa so it was decided that we would get together for something fun instead of a sad event.  There was so much laughter and memories during those day that went so quickly.  Then, as my mom’s side of the family left, my dad’s side came.  More laughter ensued…more great memories.

The best thing is that, during these few fleeting days, everything we ate was gluten free.  I don’t think a lot of people even gave it a thought as they picked up the scones, muffins and or other tasty treats that my mom had baked.  Most of the baked goods were recipes that had been handed down for several generations and she had modified.  It was, from my point of view, a great showing of what gluten free isn’t:  tasteless, cardboard food.  It was also a showing that we are normal people, we just had a disease that causes us to adjust HOW we eat and WHAT we eat.  An adjustment, not a death sentence, if we follow the rules.

The second thing that I did this summer was the Warrior Dash, which happened to be my third time running this race.  Despite disappointments during the actual race, it was the most fun that I’ve had at the race.  Shawna, my running partner and partner in crime, and I stayed at Copper Mountain this time and we were able to catch the post race festivities with our friends.  The nice thing about Copper is that, as a ski resort, they are sensitive to the needs of the GF community and I was able to eat sushi and many other things while there.  It was another amazing milestone for summer 2014.

I will try to not be so lax in my writing here on out.  Feel free to keep following and have a great day!


As time goes by…

Nine years ago a wide eyed North Dakota girl arrived in Fruita, CO, ready to start a new life.  (Imagine cheers and the clinking of wine glasses)  I grew up in the midwest and, besides a short three month stint in Michigan and one year of school in Minnesota, I hadn’t left North or South Dakota.  When I lost my job in South Dakota, and after a few months, I called my parents up and asked if they would like a houseguest.  Dad came out and moved me to CO and today is my anniversary of arriving in CO.

I’ve never lived anywhere nearly a decade and it’s surprising how quickly it’s gone.  I’ve been reflecting a lot this week.  I’m no longer a shy, scared, “don’t take chances” person.  I’ve started a few businesses, started a gluten free support group, worked in media, sales and insurance, have become active in Lions Club, and have met a ton of great people.  People that have stuck by me through good times and bad.    I’ve become an outdoors person, even doing 5K races and obstacle course races.  I have become very outspoken about Celiac Disease and what it means to me and to others.  I almost forget who that other person is.

Through it all I’ve become a stronger person.  I know what I stand for and when to be outspoken about it.  I know who I can count on and who I can’t.  I know that when the rubber meets the road what my strengths are and how to use them and who will be by my side.

And I know I love where I’m at:  physically, spiritually, mentally.  I’m ready for another year and more adventures.


2014: The Year of No Excuses

Where did 2013 go?  It seems like just yesterday we were welcoming in the New Year and now it’s just a few days from being over.

With a new year typically come those pesky resolutions.  Many people will make the resolution and within a month will have forgotten about it.  That’s why I challenge you to make a goal, not a resolution, for the entire year and make 2014 the year of “No Excuses”.

I can’t claim that this idea is mine; it actually came from the company I work for.  They challenged us to not make excuses for things we “couldn’t” do and make them happen.  They weren’t just talking professionally; they were talking mostly about personal goals and this all stemmed from Team Hoyt.

If you’ve never heard of Team Hoyt, Google them, it’s an inspirational story for all.  The story goes like this:  Rick Hoyt was born with his umbilical cord around his neck which resulted in him having cerebral palsy and being a quadriplegic.  When Rick was younger, his friend, who was recently wheelchair bound was having a fundraiser race and Rick told his Dad, Dick, that he wanted to race.  Dick agreed to push Rick in his wheelchair through the race but Dick had never run more than just a few blocks.  They did the race, and another, and another and to this day they have finished Iron Man Competitions (a triathlon where you swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles) as well as marathons and many other races.  Dick does all of this WITH his son: pushing him in the wheelchair, pulling him in a raft and biking with him.  Oh, and by the way, they have come in ½ an hour short of a marathon record.

No excuses.  Dick just gets out there and does it because his son loves it.  Dick didn’t know how to swim and learned to swim.  He hadn’t rode a bike in years and got back on a bike.  He couldn’t run any distance and got out there and DID it.

I had a “no excuse” moment about three years ago.  I was having a rough time that fall and decided that I wasn’t getting any younger: it was time to run a 5k.  My friend, Cheryl, had been telling me for years that I should run a 5k.  I kept making excuses:  I couldn’t run far, my knees are bad, etc., etc.  But that fall something changed and I knew that it was now or never.  I asked her when the next 5k was and there was one in eight weeks, the Turkey Trot.  Upon the advice of my friend Gabe, I followed the training program of Hal Higdon, which was a good, slow start training program.  I trained.  I followed the program and even on days when running was the last thing I wanted to do, I ran.  Cheryl took me under her wing and took me running hills with her running friends.  She called and texted asking how training was going.  And when money ran short and I couldn’t afford to pay for the race, my parents stepped in and paid for the race.  They even bought me running pants so I would actually look like a runner!

So, when it came to the day of the race, I had no excuses.  I was trained, looked like a runner and Cheryl even came and picked me up.  My parents were there to cheer me on.  Now, all I had to do was run.  Was I fast?  Not really.  Did I finish?  Yes.  Was I proud, excited and sore the next day?  Yes.  I put all of the excuses behind me, had friends and family to push me and take away anything that could be an excuse and just did it.  The best part is that running is addictive and I have brought another friend (Shawna) in to run with me too and I keep running races.  My most recent Turkey Trot was my fastest time ever for a race and I plan on keeping on.  No excuses.

So, make this your year of no excuses.  What is something you’ve always wanted to do but “couldn’t”?  What is something that you “didn’t have time for”?  What is something you’ve been scared to do because it was new?  Take the words “can’t”, “couldn’t”, “don’t have time” and other negatives out of your vocabulary.  Make 2014 a year where you can say “I did all of these new things and I’m a better person for it.”  Happy New Year!

Warrior Dash 2012

Warrior Dash 2012

Children With Hope Race 2011

Children With Hope Race 2011

Sweetheart Race 2011

Sweetheart Race 2011

Warrior Dash 2013

Warrior Dash 2013


It’s the Holiday Season

I had a great Thanksgiving:  spending time with my parents, ran a race, and just vegged.  Saturday I came home, got the decorations and tree out and started decorating the house.  I love this time of year, the festive decorations, the Christmas carols, parties…it all makes it so special.

Every year I set up my Christmas tree (all pre lit lights since I HATE putting lights on the tree) and then line out all of the decorations.  I know some people have a certain “look” to their tree but me, well, I like to keep it nostalgic.  I have ornaments from so many people, so many parts of my life, that I like to remember as I put them up.  There is the wooden teddy bear that my Grandpa made me.  Every year I look at it, remember how he loved his wood working, how he let me paint the details and how he made so many things in his shop in the basement.  He took such pride in those items and I hang it with pride year after year.

There are my Coke ornaments: one from a former roommate, one from an ex-boyfriend.  The two ceramic ornaments that I got from a secret Santa in high school, the one I bought because it looks like my Punky cat, the Chicago Bears ornament because I’m a die hard fan and the nursing ornaments.  Those are crazy because for a good majority of my growing up, and into my first years of college, I wanted to be a nurse.  So, I got a few ornaments of that nature.

There are the ones from when I was born, some my mom made for me and many more that have so much meaning to them.  So not only has this become a Christmas tree, it’s a memory tree.  As I hang each one, as I look them over throughout the season, I smile at the good times I had with the people that gave me the ornaments and I cry for those that have left this world because I miss them.

This Christmas season, I suggest that you take time to remember past holidays, people that may not be in your life anymore.  Laugh, smile, cry…remember.


How to keep from running on empty

I am an athlete, I guess.  Running races does something funny to you, makes you want to work harder, be faster and beat your time every time.  It’s called “runners high” and I get it bad.  It started three years ago when I wanted to check “running a 5K” off my bucket list and now I can’t stop.

The issue that came up when I went gluten free was the pre race “carb loading”.  I had gotten used to a big bowl of pasta, some chicken and a side of bread.  With being gluten free, that kinda went out the window, because gluten free pasta isn’t a delight.  So now what do I do?

I decided to go with foods that were natural carbs and to increase my protein intake.  So now instead of the pasta, I have a nice chicken breast or pork chop along with a baked potato, a side of rice (I love wild rice!) and a veggie.  In fact, most times I will have broccoli as it’s a great natural carb!  These foods will not only provide me with the carbs I need but provide a good base of energy, short term and long term.  With all of these being natural items (and not a processed item like pasta), I feel like I have a better base!  What to drink?  Water, water, water.  This is the best thing you can drink the night before a race.

Breakfast remains mostly the same for me:  two eggs and a piece or toast or two.  This provides me with short term and long term energy before the race.  The other trick is to drink water but not too much.  How much is too much?  The general rule is to drink 16-20 ounces of water the morning of the race but quit drinking about an hour before the race.  You don’t wanna be looking for a bathroom at mile two!  Then, right before the race, take a few sips.  “What if my mouth gets dry during the race?”  You can take a bottle of water along but since a 5K is a relatively short race, I usually chew gum to keep my mouth from getting dry.

After the race, don’t forget to to rehydrate.  A lot of races will provide water and juice or a drink like Gatorade/Powerade.

The thing to remember the most is to HAVE FUN!  So get out, get running, get healthy!