Update #2- My Journey Into Running: 30 Before 30

Buenos Dias!

Today I want to give you a quick update on my 1/2 marathon training progress.

This week I got in 3 training sessions: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On Monday I did an hour Piyo (Pilates/yoga fusion) class for strength training. It is always very intense and pushes me to my limits. I love it though and I can feel myself getting stronger. I have never been a very coordinated person so group fitness classes were something I usually stayed away from. Then I just decided I didn’t care if I looked goofy to other people because it’s not about them. It’s about me and my fitness. When I started Piyo a few months ago I was a hot mess and I probably looked like a crazy person flinging my arms and legs about. Now I have built strength and I am able to control my movements better. It also helps that most people in the class are beginners so we are all learning together and there is no pressure to be amazing.

On Wednesday and Friday I did indoor treadmill runs. I know outdoor running would be better but with the windy, 20 degree temperature we have been dealing with this week I had to take it indoors. Like I said in a previous post, I have a plan and a back-up plan. My back up plan is to walk one mile and run one mile until I finish the race. I am taking a similar approach to my training.  I start by walking .5-1 mile and then running 1 mile. Both days I  completed 3.1 miles (5k). Next week I hope to complete 3.5-4 miles each session. I know that doing too much running in a short amount of time can lead to severe knee injuries so I want to build up my distance gradually. According to several training plans, a runner should not increase their distance by more than a mile each week. I don’t want one race to ruin my knees and rack up a lot of physical therapy bills. Slow and steady wins the race.

Overall, I am feeling really good. My time is not very fast and right now between walking and running I average a 14 minute mile. That is with walking though. Yesterday I tracked my running mile and it took me about 11 minutes to complete. My goal is a 10 minute mile because I think that is feasible for my age and experience.

That is my little update for this week and I hope you enjoy following me on this journey. Leave me any questions, comments, or advice down below.

Have a great weekend!

Other places to connect:
Instagram: http://instagram.com/courtney.val
Twitter: @courtneywval
Youtube: Click here

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30 Before 30: My Self Care Plan

Happy Sunday!

Today I am working on one of my “30 Before 30” challenges which is to make and stick to a self care plan. Over the past year and a half or so I have come to realize how important self care is to maintaining overall health and prosperity. There are so many amazing benefits of having and sticking to a self care plan. It’s a total game changer. Even if you already feel happy and healthy, you should still make a self care plan. You will feel even better!

So, what exactly is “self-care”? It’s simple. Self care is the conscious and active nurturing of oneself.
This means you take or make time to care for yourself. I know it sounds ridiculously simple but so often it is easy to put personal needs on the back burner due to work, school, or family obligations.

It is also important to remember that each person’s self care plan will look different. I once went to a self care seminar where a woman raised her hand and asked the presenter “How am I supposed to create time for my favorite hobby when I don’t even have time to take a shower alone some nights?” This woman was a busy working mother of two children. The presenter pointed out that maybe for her a self care plan would include: “Take shower alone twice a week.”

The point is that you don’t have to list a bunch of extravagant activities in your self care plan. First start with basic personal needs. Do you make time each day to eat well? Do you make time to get enough sleep? Are you drinking enough water? These small changes will make a big difference. Once you have the basics worked into your routine you can add hobbies, Netflix marathons, and nights out.

Another practice that goes along with self-care is mindfulness. This practice will also help you enjoy each day and activity to the fullest. If you’re interested you should check out this article from TIME magazine that shows how practicing mindfulness can actually help your professional success.  http://time.com/3670202/daily-mindfulness/

Ready to create your own self care plan?
I created some printable worksheets to get you started. I also included my completed self care plan as an example. Every few months or so I will re-evaluate this plan and see where changes need to be made.

Click on the box at the right hand corner of the document below to download my printable worksheets including: “My Self Care Brainstorming Sheet”, “My Complete Self Care Plan”, & “Self-Care Idea List.

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NEW! 30 Before 30 Challenge: Raw Food & Lifestyle Challenge

Happy Sunday!

I hope you all are getting ready to rock another week. Tomorrow I will be starting a very exciting journey into being the healthiest person I can be. One of my “30 Before 30” challenges is to get myself into the best health possible. So, I created a detailed nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle challenge.

I made a whole video about it which you can see HERE.

Over the past 5 or so years I have overcome a multitude of food and health issues but there are still a few health related things I want to focus on. Specifically, I want to figure out why I continue to get daily headaches/migraines. My doctor has found a prescription that I can take to alleviate my migraines but I just don’t feel that is completely sustainable. What if someday I can’t afford the medicine? What if I start to feel negative side effects? I really want to look closer at my lifestyle and listen to my body to see if there is something I can do without taking medicine to cure my headaches.

I have also been having some outward symptoms that I think point to a need to change my nutrition. I haven’t had acne in years and all of the sudden my face thinks it is 18 again. My hair and nails have also become very dry and brittle. As far as my body and “being in shape” goes I do hope that my challenge will help me create a body I feel good in. I am not trying to lose weight but I think if I treat my body well it will shape itself into a healthy form.

Besides those physical things I want to develop a healthy lifestyle that makes me feel emotional good. I used to suffer from severe depression and I have come such a long way. I feel so much more alive that I ever did but I want to keep moving up and working towards feeling the best I possibly can. A few years ago I wasn’t completely sure I deserved to ever be insanely happy but now I KNOW that I deserve true emotional happiness so I will do whatever I can to achieve that.

One of my favorite personal mottos is “Feel good, preform well.”

Goals for my challenge:

  • Eat fully raw foods until 4pm. I will eat raw fruits and veggies for breakfast and lunch. After 4pm I will have a cooked dinner. 
  • Eat a lean, clean, and green dinner. If you are a Tone It Up girl then you will know this means getting in lean proteins, non-processed foods, and lots of greens. 
  • Drink 2 liters minimum of water/ day. 
  • Limit processed foods and strive to stay away from them completely. 
  • Keep daily journal of foods, how I feel after eating, and recipes/meal ideas.
  • Keep section in journal to document headaches & migraines. Look for triggers. 
  • Set sleep schedule and stick to it. I am aiming for 8-9 hours of sleep each night per a recommendation from my doctor. 
  • Limit or eliminate alcohol intake. I don’t drink much but alcohol can trigger headaches. 
  • Exercise regularly. I want to train for a 1/2 marathon so running will have to become a new friend. I am also focusing on improving my yoga skills. 
  • Oil pulling. I did a whole video about oil pulling which you can see HERE. I found when I did oil pulling my headaches were greatly reduced. I just fell off the wagon so it’s time to hop back on.
  • Start meditation practice. My dad has encouraged me to do this and I want to give it a shot. He says it helps builder a stronger, more focused mind. My goal is start with just 5 minutes. 
I will be documenting this challenge on my Instagram account (courtney.val), on this blog, and also on my YouTube channel. Subscribe or follow at the links below. If you are doing a similar challenge I would love to know and we can support each other! 
Thank you for being here and I hope you have an amazing week!

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One Photo A Day: December 2014

Happy New Year!! I am sorry this is a few days late but I’ve been traveling.

Here are my December photos. Enjoy!

December 1-Piyo class

December 2-Taking Luna to the vet

December 3-Out to get some rays of sun
December 4th- Stepping outside of my nail art comfort zone.

 December 5- Christmas trees and tiny bottles of champagne.

December 6-High end beauty at low end prices!
December 7- Vlogmas continues!
December 8- Luna and her freshly washed blanket.
December 9-New book and a cup of joe.
December 10- New makeup from the drugstore
December 11- Bunny love from Anthropologie.

December 12- Christmas work party

December 13- Experimenting with healthy pizzas.

December 14- Wisdom from Audrey.
December 15-Luna is banana crazy.
December 16- Working and caffeinating.
December 17- Extreme Couponing!

December 18-Healthy hot chocolate

December 19- Visiting the animals at the Humane Society

December 20- Holiday party outfit
December 21- Making health date and coconut treats.
December 22- Detoxing my skin
December 23-Working beachside
December 24- Travel makeup preparation
December 25 (BONUS) Merry Christmas!

December 26-Love
December 27- Luna snuggling with her daddy

December 28- Handmade Christmas gift from my friend, Lauren.

December 29- Testing out my new heart rate exercise monitor

December 30-Luna gets a house upgrade.

December 31- Happy New Years!

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30 Before 30: Book Review

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

I just posted on my YouTube Channel a little quick informational video about my 30 Before 30 challenge. One of my goals is to read 30 books over the next year and I am well on my way to accomplishing that goal. After each book I read I will post a short little review for you here on my blog.

Book #1: The Day I Shot Cupid by Jennifer Love Hewitt

That’s right. The Jennifer Love Hewitt from Party of Five and all of those wonderfully sappy teen/horror movies from the ’90/’00’s. I saw this book one day at Dollar Tree and decided to get it solely based on the fact that I am nosy and wanted to read J. Hewitt’s thoughts on love.

This was an extremely quick read. It only took me two sessions to finish the whole thing. Most of the book is written in first person (J. Hewitt) except for a chapter in which she lets her then fiance give his opinion on women and dating. I think a true book critic would say that this book is not incredibly well written. The story lacks a solid flow and at some points I think bullet points would have been better. I did like the honesty in this book. Hewitt is very vulnerable and open with her stories and thoughts on love. She wrote this as just a normal woman talking to other normal women about how complicated love can be. We see so much gossip about celebrities and their love lives in the media so it’s nice to get the other side of the story. Overall I enjoyed this short little read and I think I like Jennifer Love Hewitt even more now.  I give this book 2.5 1f407-twitter bunnies.

Thanks for stopping by!
Watch my 30 Before 30 Challenge video here:

Other places to find me:
Instagram: courtney.val
Twitter: @courtneywval
Email: courtneywval@gmail.com
YouTube: click here


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30 Before 30 Challenge

Hello there!

I have decided to challenge myself to something a little crazy. While searching for birthday items for my husband’s 30th  I can across a lot of “30 before 30” pins on Pinterest. Many of the ideas related to a birthday scavenger hunt or 30-beer birthday cake but I have something else in mind.
I decided to make a list of 30 things I want to complete over the next year before I turn 30. Not only will this adventure be really fun and inspiring I think it will take the sting out of turning the big 3-0.

This past Sunday (Nov, 9th) I officially turned 29 so the challenge has begun. I had planned to have this post up on Sunday but life got hectic and that just didn’t happen.

On to the challenge….

Here are 20 of the goals on my list. I have a full set of 30 goals in mind but I want to leave a little wiggle room in case I get inspired or want to change something. After all, this is my challenge so I can do what I want. Ha!

I will be documenting this journey through this blog, Instagram, Twitter, and my YouTube channel. See below for all the links to follow me.


1. Get Certified Medical Interpreter’s License
2. Reach 3,000 YouTube subscribers.
3. Read 30 Books in the next year
4. Run a 10k.
5. Start learning French.
6. Visit a new city.
7. Teach Luna (my bunny) 1 trick.
8. Write someone a letter every month.
9.  Vlog (video blog)  for 30 days
10. Invest in a better video/photo camera and lighting set-up.
11. Upgrade blog and buy domain.
12. Pay off my car.
13. Go Skydiving.
14. Go to a concert
15. Volunteer
16. Master 5 recipes
17. Take one photo a day for a year.
18. Make Christmas cards and send them out
19. Take care of dental work I have been avoiding.
19. Stay up all night and watch the sunrise.
20. Make and stick to self-care plan.

Thank you for joining me on this journey! If you have tried something like this before I would love your advice.

Follow Me Here:
Instagram: @courtney.val
Twitter: @courtneywval
Youtube: Courtney Val

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