Cigna Blogger Meet-Up at Disneyland Napa Rose

Cigna Blogger Meet-up! Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend

This is my first recap of my Coast to Coast edition of  runDisney weekend! Prior to the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend, I received an exciting email inviting me to a Cigna Blogger Meet-up! I had the pleasure of attending my first Cigna Blogger event back in January, so I couldn’t wait to connect with the team again! Cigna is the official sponsor of the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend. The meet-up was held at the exquisite Napa Rose at the Grand California Hotel & Spa.

We were first introduced to Cigna Dietitian Julee Stand and Laura Flores, co-host of Un Nuevo Dia. They spoke to us about their healthy lifestyle journey as well as planning nutritious meals. The event centered around nutrition and meal preparation. We also discussed how “lack of time” is one of the reasons we often make poor food choices. I have been guilty of this myself, so it was great to learn ways to stay on top of my nutritional game.
Cigna Blogger Meet-up - Hosts Laura Flores and Julee Stand We were split into four groups which meant four healthy cooking demonstrations. I was part of the “Goofy Group“! Woot-Woot! Learning how to prepare healthy meals in 20 minutes or less was a win-win, because I’m notorious for being tired after a long day and/or workout and in need of a quick, healthy meal to prepare.

Cigna Meet-Up - The Goofy Crew

The Goofy Crew with Chef Mickey!


Our first stop!

The Salad Station! If you know me then you know that I’m a Condiment Queen! I love dips, sauces, dressings…you name it. We learned how to make vinaigrettes, herb-oils, and all sorts of fun fixings to go on our salads. I was in foodie heaven! To commemorate the moment, we were encouraged to taste, take photos, and share our foodtastic experience on social media! #CignaRunTogether

Cigna Blogger Meet-up - Salad Chef

Cigna Blogger Meet-up - Sampling

Here I am sampling freshly made vinaigrette.

Cigna Blogger Meet-up 1a


Next up…

Cigna Blogger Meet-up - Chef Chris

Chef Chris started off by preparing a delicious meal including: chicken (or a vegetarian option), kale pesto, veggies…and FARRO! What the what? I seriously had to Google “farro” because it was the first time I’d ever heard of it…like ever! It was prepared in the most amazing, flavorful way—toasted farro with smoked mozzarella. I was in heaven! Chef C definitely had my creative juices flowing!

Cigna Blogger Meet-up - Chicken Dish


Fruit is the New Black!

We made it to the dessert station with an assortment of nature’s candy!

Cigna Blogger Meet-Up - Candy Striped Fig

Do you know what this is? It’s a “candy-striped” fig! They are only available approximately 3 weeks out of the year. It was too pretty to eat, but you know I ate it!


Cigna Blogger Meet-Up - Nature's Candy

You also heard me talk about cotton candy grapes—yep, we sampled those, too, along with tree-ripened peaches…AND GOOSEBERRIES! I love that they were dipped in white chocolate. So fun to eat! GET IN MY BELLY!

Cigna Blogger Meet-up - Gooseberries


Smoothie Bar!

The last stop was the smoothie bar! We were provided a pre-workout and post-workout smoothie demonstration. The pre-workout Crunchy Coffee Cocoa Smoothie was perfect for coffee lovers…and yes, I love coffee! I also loved the post workout Blueberry Cactus Pear Smoothie. It was my first time hearing of this fruit, too. The smoothie was refreshingly delicious! I’m happy the earth is filled with so much yummy goodness!

Chef Katie pouring up yummy smoothies!

Cigna Blogger Meet-up - smoothie bar

Healthy cooking and meals can be fun. All it takes is a little effort and a meal prep party! I love cooking and it’s important to me that my family eats healthy…with a few indulgences from time to time, of course! Simple healthy meals don’t have to be boring! If you don’t believe me, ask the smoked mozzarella farro! I can seriously taste it as I type. I really just had a flashback—So good! A big thank you to the Chefs at Napa Rose for showing us ways to enjoy and prepare quick, fresh, and healthy meals. 

I’ll just put this right here…

Cigna Blogger Meet-up - Napa Rose, Main Dish

Chicken Breast with Seasonal Vegetables and Smoked Mozzarella Farro

Cigna Blogger Meet-up - berry salad

Berry Salad

Cigna Blogger Meet-up - Peach Crisp

Peach Crisp



Cigna Blogger Meet-up Chef MIckey & Artie Cakes

Chef Mickey & Artie Cakes


I am honored that I was able to take part in this special event during Disneyland Half Marathon weekend. THANK YOU Cigna for inviting me to attend and Napa Rose for having us. I am forever grateful to runDisney for connecting me with so many amazing people, bloggers, and friends who are passionate about healthy living. The memories I have will last a lifetime! 

Visit Cigna’s website to learn about the mental benefits of running and how to prepare for a race. You can also check out Cigna’s Top Training Tips for Runners here!


Disclosure: Cigna invited me to this event and no compensation was received. However, my tummy left happy and all opinions are my own. Photos by My Pretty Brown Fit ©  


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Friday Favorites #2 – Week 10/2

I’m so happy it’s Friday! Can you believe that October is here? With a new month comes new adventures, costume parties, festivals, pumpkin spice everything, and so much more! I shared my first edition of Art’s Friday Favorites a few weeks ago, so I’m excited about this new installment! I hope to keep this going even if it’s once a month. Since today is Friday, I’ll be sharing a few favorites that have taken my excitement to a whole new level!



  • Spotify Running

I love Spotify because I can create so many playlists: from a hardcore weight lifting session (YES, GIRLS LIFT!)…with “Eye of the Tiger” blaring from my headphones to a playlist for cleaning up while listening to old school jams. I also love Spotify’s new “Running” feature. How does it work? You select how many beats per minute (BPM) you would like to run and the songs will match your tempo/pace while you run. So whether you want to run slow and steady or BQ fast—there will be a song that will keep you moving! The music is pretty dope, too! You can find out more here.

Spotify Running



  •  The Clifton

Speaking of running, I have worn Hoka One One running shoes since early 2014. I am now the owner of five pair. Clearly, I love them and their max cushioning. I have them for both road and trail. The Hoka Clifton (affiliate link) has been with me since last winter. Until recently, I only wore them for a few training runs leading up to the Walt Disney World Marathon (recap here) and for the magical race day. In the beginning, I didn’t wear my Superfeet (affiliate link) inserts like I should have. They would have given me the arch support that I needed. I bet I won’t do that again! Lesson learned. After “flat feet” #RunnerProbs kicked in, I decided to start back using inserts again. Hoka’s max cushioning make them feel like stability shoes, but they are still neutral shoes—thus the reason I wear arch support. Trust me, they have made a big difference. As for the Clifton, it has become my favorite shoe to date. Most runners know the rule: nothing new on race day—but the Hoka Clifton is the only shoe that I would wear straight out of the box for a race. Not saying you should try this at home…I’m just sayin’! The Clifton 2 is out now, so I think I may give it a try. I’ll keep you posted!

Hoka Clifton

  • Zoodles my Noodles!

Yes, I really said “Zoodles” (aka spiraled zucchini)! They make the perfect healthy swap, especially for those limiting carb intake. They allow you to get your recommended servings of veggies in without missing a wheat! Get it? Beat = wheat.  *laugh uncontrollably* Okay…I know that was REALLY cheesy. Maybe my whole grain pasta lovers got it. Yes? No?

Well, I did try out a new Tomato Cream Sauce and LOVED it! You can get the recipe here!

Zoodles via My Pretty Brown Fit


  • War Room – The Movie 

The HB and I decided on an impromptu movie date to go see War Room after church service this past Sunday. War Room is from the creators of Fireproof and Courageous. I loved them both and if you did, too, you will love this one! This movie is absolutely amazing! It’s probably one the BEST movies I’ve seen to date. If you have ever wondered about the power of prayer or if you are having moments in your life where you feel your faith is dwindling or being challenged, you will want to see this movie. Not even kidding. ‪I’m a living witness that prayer changes EVERYTHING!

War Room - The Movie



I hope you have a great month of October! What have you been loving this week or lately? Have you tried the new Hoka Clifton 2?

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Zoodles with Tomato Cream Sauce

Zoodles with Tomato Cream Sauce

Zoodles with Tomato Cream Sauce My Pretty Brown Fit

I know you are wondering, “What is a zoodle?” Zoodles are a fun way to say spiralized zucchini noodles! They look identical to traditional pasta noodles that you would find in the grocery store or at your favorite Italian Bistro. If you have been following my Artstagram then you know that I have fallen in love with my Veggetti Spiral Vegetable Slicer (or Spiralizer). It is amazing! The spiral slicer has dual stainless-steel cutting blades and I can choose between thin or thick spiralized pasta zoodles.

I love that Zoodles are completely healthy and not packed with carbs like traditional noodles. They are also a great way to get your recommended servings of veggies in. So far I have only used my Veggetti for carrots and zucchini, but you can also spiralize squash, cucumbers, and potatoes. You can purchase the Veggetti here (affiliate link). It’s inexpensive and does the job!


Zoodles with Tomato Cream Sauce I craved spaghetti for weeks so I decided to go to my local Aldi and pick up a few zucchini. I bought enough to meal prep so I pre-spiralized them and had them ready to cook. I decided to enjoy my zoodles with a delicious Tomato Cream Sauce!


Zoodles with Tomato Cream Sauce 2


Tomato Cream Sauce


1 pound of lean ground beef or turkey
1 jar, Classico Creamy Tomato & Roasted Garlic
1, 6 oz tomato paste (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
1 onion, chopped
2 tbsps Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp of white pepper (or black)
Parmesan cheese (optional)
Parsley for garnish


Combine ground beef, onion, and garlic in a large sauce pan (or pot *see note). Continue to cook until meat is brown and vegetables are tender. Drain.

Stir diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and tomato sauce into the pan. Season with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

*Note: I use 2 jars of Classico tomato sauce and 1-1.25 lbs of ground beef or turkey. When I use 2 jars, it’s best to use a large pot when preparing sauce.



Instructions (save this step for last)

(Per serving) Spiralize 1 medium or large zucchini. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in pan. Add spiralized zucchini noodles to pan. Lightly sauté over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes or until you get your desired texture. Be careful with sautéing too long because you don’t want to overcook. Also, zucchini releases water so you don’t want your zoodles to be too watery. If they are, just drain.

Serve zoodles with a serving of tomato cream sauce and sprinkle with 1 tbsp of Parmesan cheese and parsley for garnish!


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Hello Fall | My Pretty Brown Fit

Pumpkin Spice + Everything Nice!

wpid-pumpkin-spice-everything.jpgHAPPY FIRST DAY OF FALL!!!

Not sure if you can tell it or not, but I am SO EXCITED! I absolutely could not wait for fall to get here! I love this time of year for so many reasons. This is the opportunity to set new goals and prepare to crush them. I also love fall weather, watching the leaves change, cooler running temps, and pumpkin spice everything! If you really love pumpkin spice like I do then you have to say…”pumpkin spice everythang”! *sips coffee*

I also could not wait to bring out my boots! I bought my first pair of for real cowboy boots one year ago when the HB and I went to Nashville to run our first Women’s Running Series Half Marathon – Nashville! It was so much fun and you can read my recap here. If you have never been to Nashville…this is a great time of year to go!



Seasonal Yummies!

I will be trying out some new recipes for fall and I can’t wait!  Also, if you love baked goods, check out my Paleo Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins recipe here. They are amazing! I told you it’s all about pumpkin spice everythang!

Paleo Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins - My Pretty Brown


Another favorite is my Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup! It’s super healthy and I know you will enjoy it. You can find the recipe here!

Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup - My Pretty Brown


Fall Races and Training

If you are training or preparing for a fall race, make sure you check out Jeff Galloway’s newest installment of Training and Motivation Tips on The Training Plan here! If you need more running/training tips, you can always look under the “Fitness & Running” section under the “Jeff Galloway” tab–OR get Galloway Tips now!


Before I go…

With every new season comes change. You may have noticed a slight change here. My blog (name) has officially transitioned to My Pretty Brown Fit! The slight rebranding (name change) just felt right. It was time. The content will stay the same, but if you are new to my blog, you can read more about us here. I hope you will enjoy your stay! And make sure you subscribe to stay up-to-date with my latest posts on fitness, food, running, new recipes…and more! I’m really excited about my growth and the journey ahead.

I am looking forward to a great season and I hope you are, too!


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Art's Friday Favorites!

Friday Favorites #1: Week of 9/11

Happy Friday!!! Welcome to the first edition of Art’s Friday Favorites! So much goes on in my world and before I know it I have photos, new finds, recipes, etc. that are just waiting to be shared! I also think this is a fun way to share things that other people may not know about. Take a peek of a few of my favorite things…

Art's Friday Favorites

  • Confessions of an Unlikely Runner: A Guide to Racing and Obstacle Courses for the Averagely Fit and Halfway Dedicated

This book was shared on Facebook for a $FREE99 download so, I immediately jumped on it. The title of this book is what really got me. I read a few excerpts and said to myself, “She’s seriously sharing my life!” I started reading it while on vacation and it’s HILARIOUSLY funny! I think every runner should read it, especially my “Back of the Pack” runners. You can buy it on Amazon here for $2.99.

Art's Friday Favorites (Book)

“I was also passed by a pregnant lady and a man wearing goggles. I quickly learned to embrace the fact that I will be passed. A lot. So I might as well be amused by it.” — Dana L. Ayers


  • LaCroix Sparkling Water

Okay y’all! I’m seriously obsessed with LaCroix water. It’s an acquired taste, but once you acquire it…there’s no going back! When I started drinking LaCroix I had to add a few drops of liquid Stevia. After a few extremely hot workouts and reaching for the first cold beverage to quench my thirst, it didn’t take long for me to enjoy it without sweetener. It’s one of the most refreshing beverages after a run, too! I have been stalking their website for a minute. Since the new flavors have been released, I thought I’d look for them while visiting my sister in Los Angeles. *SCORE* I found Mango, Passion Fruit, and Piña Fraise (Pineapple Strawberry—my absolute favorite so far)! When I got back to Birmingham, I was happy to find the last two Passion Fruit 12-packs waiting for me on the Publix shelf.

Art's Friday Favorites (LaCroix)


  • Bubba 52 oz Keg

Speaking of water….I kind of struggle with getting my daily water in. I just don’t like water like I should. It’s weird, I will drink it after a workout or I can go to a restaurant and guzzle it down like it’s a Peach Faygo for 25 cents (circa 1987) — but to sit at my desk and sip on a bottle of water just for fun? Totally not my jam. I found this Bubba 52 oz Keg on Amazon and I love it! It definitely helps me get my water in daily. It also keeps beverages cold, pretty much, all day long. I love that it has a bottle opener attached, too! After my long runs I’ll add ice and my electrolyte drink (or water) and sip on it for the rest of the day. You can search them here.

Art's Friday Favorites (Bubba Keg)


  • Cotton Candy Grapes

These grapes seriously taste like COTTON CANDY, y’all! I was a little skeptical at first, but word on the street is they are legit. Make sure you grab a bunch from your local grocer because I’m not sure how long they will be in season.

Art's Friday Favorites (Cotton Candy Grapes)


  • Coke Life

I do enjoy occasional indulgences, however, it’s rare that I drink REAL coke. That was until I discovered Coke Life.  I don’t drink a lot of soda, but I have been trying to wean myself off of diet soda  (I know they are so bad for you *wanh, wanh*). That’s why I started drinking LaCroix (aka “LaCoke”) as my sole sister Cecily aka I Am A Wunner says! lol But…every now and then I want a Coca Cola. I love Coke Life because it’s reduced calorie and made with cane sugar and Stevia.

Art's Friday Favorites (Coke Life)


That’s it! Now I want to know…What fun finds have you come across lately?

I hope you all have an incredible weekend!


The Training Plan - My Pretty Brown2

Jeff Galloway Training & Motivation Tips: The Training Plan

It’s a new installment of Jeff Galloway Training & Motivation Tips! Woo-hoo! Fall is here which means it’s training season. I absolutely LOVE this time of year for so many reasons and running in cooler temps and fun races are a few of them. If you have followed me then you know that I follow a training plan. I think it’s imperative that everyone follows a plan from 5K and beyond. Jeff Galloway will be sharing tips that new and seasoned runners will benefit from when having a training plan. Check out these tips and why you may want to consider incorporating a plan into your training.

Jeff Galloway Introduces New Run Walk Strategy - My Pretty Brown




WHY SHOULD I HAVE A TRAINING PLAN?  When using a proven strategy, a runner gains control over fatigue while improving motivation.  Those who follow the right training plan, for the individual,  tend to improve more, with less injury risk.
WOULD BEGINNERS BENEFIT MORE FROM A PLAN?  Unfortunately, most beginners “run as they feel” or follow conflicting advice.  This leads to confusion and more aches and pains.   The right schedule will systematically increase the type of running needed for a goal, with strategic rest for rebuilding.


1) A longer run builds endurance, 2) a hilly run builds strength, 3) Scenic or social runs insert fun and keep you coming back for more.
WHAT IS ADDED TO A PLAN IF THE GOAL IS TO RUN FASTER?  The right training plan will gradually increase the speed repetitions needed for the individual goal.  Easier days and rest days must be inserted before and after speed workouts.  To avoid injury, the pace and the increase must be realistic for the individual.   
EVERY OTHER DAY!  Most runners—especially beginners—run best when they run every other day.  This allows for the “weak links” to heal.  The very slow long run is usually on the weekend, when there is more time available.  Hills and fun days can be run on the short runs during the week (for example, Tuesday and Thursday)
SHOULD I EXERCISE ON NON-RUNNING DAYS? While you don’t have to exert yourself on non running days to improve your running, exercise will energize your mind, and improve your attitude and vitality—while burning some fat.  So I recommend any exercise that does not fatigue the calf muscle, such as recreational walking. 
DOES VARIETY HELP?  Changing things a bit can improve motivation.   You don’t have to change the “mission” on specific days, but alternating some of the courses or running with different groups can make each day more interesting.
WHAT ARE VARIOUS MISSIONS, FOR VARIOUS DAYS? Each type of run bestows a different benefit.  Hill runs build strength.  Drills that work on cadence, gentle acceleration and gliding will improve your running form.  Long runs produce stamina and endurance. 
WHAT SHOULD I DO THE DAY BEFORE AND THE DAY AFTER LONG OR FASTER RUNS?  Take it easy on these days.  Do little or no exercise, don’t over-eat, drink 8 glasses of water/sports drinks, and focus on how you will enjoy the next run.
SHOULD I SKIP THE REST DAYS—TO IMPROVE MORE QUICKLY.  Not Recommended!  It is during the days off from running that the running body rebuilds and improves.  While some runners can get away with running short and slow runs on rest days for a while, these “junk miles” can compromise recovery and lead to injuries. 

IF I DON’T LIKE A WORKOUT CAN I SUBSTITUTE? Following a consistent plan is more likely to lead to success and improve motivation.  Those who pick various elements from different schedules experience  more burnout and injury. 


Jeff Galloway 13.1 | My Pretty Brown BlogRegister now for the Jeff Galloway 13.1 Half Marathon weekend from December 11-13th

  • Jeff Galloway 13.1 – Sunday, Dec. 13th
  • Barb’s 5K Presented by BeeCauseSaturday, Dec. 12th
  • NEW Fit Kids Run/Walk – Saturday, Dec. 12th

Register now! 



Jeff GallowayNEW Jeff Galloway‘s Customized Training Plan!

Let Jeff customize a plan that allows you to “have a life” while achieving your goals! Your 6 month plan includes:

  • customized training schedule
  • daily email reminders for your workouts
  • drills to improve your running form and efficiency

For for runners of all levels, from beginning to ultra, with busy schedules or without a local Galloway training program.
Learn more now!

Jeff’s proven method has helped hundreds of thousands to achieve their goals, injury-free. Whether you’re a beginner or a Boston Qualifier, let us customize a plan that allows you to “have a life” while achieving your goals.
Your 6-month Custom Training Plan includes –
• A customized training schedule to your target race over the next season
• Daily email reminders of upcoming workouts
• Based upon your current conditioning
• Drills to improve running form, efficiency, and speed
• For runners at every fitness level, from beginning runners to ultra-runners
• Perfect for those without a local Galloway Program or with busy schedules – See more at:
You can read my previous installments of Jeff Galloway Blogger Tips here! For more great tips and wisdom from Jeff Galloway, you can find him on Facebook and Twitter!
 Have you ever used a customized training plan?


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Dumbo Got Me Thinking…

dumboI’m back! I’m still on a high from my trip to Cali and the Disneyland Half Marathon 10th Anniversary Weekend! I can’t wait to share my recaps and photos from the awesome trip. There’s something truly magical about Disney. I’m really sad that my vacation is over and I miss my family and my running friends. The only thing that keeps me from sinking into post-Disney/LA blues is planning our next trip. Well…

Dumbo got me thinking.

We all know who Dumbo is. He had big floppy ears and there were people who made him very aware of his “imperfections”. They said hurtful things about him which only made matters worse. On top of that, his Mom tried to protect him from those mean people and ended up getting locked up. I’m sure that brought about a lot of emotions for Dumbo. Life situations can catch us at our weakest moments and we, too, can feel just how Dumbo felt. I’m sure we all have moments where we think about (and sometimes dwell on) our imperfections. We will start thinking about what is “wrong” instead of what is totally right. ONLY if we allow it. Whether it be a fitness or weight loss goal, career, whatever…we cannot allow our thoughts or words to make us lose focus or devalue our progress. *Preachin’ to myself here*  I have come to realize that some things take time, take longer than expected, or don’t go according to OUR plan–but there is still hope!

“Find your tribe. Love them hard.”

We need Timothys to help reel us back in. I love the quote, “Surround yourself with people who believe in you.” We need people in our lives to see our potential even when we can’t see it for ourselves. Timothy helped Dumbo realize how unique and spectacular he was…BIG floppy ears and all! He didn’t need a magic feather — he had a gift — a gift that Dumbo would go on and share with the world!

So, thank you Dumbo for being amazing and showing us that it is okay to have imperfections, that we can reach our goals, and that our gifts will make room for us! [Prov. 18:16]

I will not just fly, I will SOAR!

Dumbo 2015




My 2015 Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend recap!