Perk Up Buttercup – Natural Wellness/Beauty Products Review

Over the past few years, I’ve started paying more attention to what I put in AND on my body. I’ve started using more natural, organic products and when I buy things for my kids, I’m looking for products that I feel good about using. I went into a foray of making my own natural body wash and lip balm, and have been buying natural deodorant. So, when I heard that one of my running friends, Pam, had started her own company to sell natural products, I was excited when she asked me if I wanted to try them out.

Perk Up Buttercup Natural Products features natural and hand-crafted products for wellness and beauty. They’re locally made (by Pam!) in Akron, Ohio. And the best part? The products are GREAT. And I love the cute packaging and adorable names.

Here’s some of what I got to try out:

Heal Up Buttercup Hemp Balm – This is made to help soothe aching muscles. This was pretty timely, because my quads were a little sore after running hard (for me) at the Sunset Spring 5k. Pam and her husband are serious runners (and they’re fast — they win awards, have run Boston, etc.), so they know sore muscles!

Pucker Up Buttercup Vanilla Mint Lip Stick – I love this. Unfortunately, so does my 3-year-old. Which means that it is long gone and he has claimed it as his own. But I do feel good knowing that there’s only good stuff in there!

Pucker Up Buttercup Lavender & Vanilla Lip Balm – I love anything lavender-related and this lip balm is great. It’s moisturizing and smells great.

Wash Up Buttercup Eucalyptus & Aloe Soap – This is great soap for the morning – it leaves you energized and the smell wakes you up!

Do you want to try out any of the products yourself? I have GREAT news – you can use the discount code MELISSA for 50% off your order!

Some questions for you:

  • Do you buy all-natural or organic wellness/beauty products?
  • What’s your favorite scent?

Disclosure: I received a selection of Perk Up Buttercup products to review. As always, views are my own.

Weekly Running Recap: 30+ Miles

This week was a relatively high mileage week for me total — 31 miles! I haven’t seen 30 weekly miles since I was half marathon training a few months ago, but somehow I ended up hitting that number this week.

Here is a look at my mileage this week:

Some highlights from the week include:

Seeing lots of deer again. Including these 2 baby deer, which I saw a few days in a row!

Getting in a stroller run with my little man on Sunday.

He even took a pic of me during one of our water breaks!

Running every day. It doesn’t happen often that I don’t take a day off, but I felt pretty good all week.

Some questions for you:

  • How many days do you run?
  • Do you have a step goal you set for yourself?

I’m linking up with Deborah and Kim for the Weekly Run Down.

A Few Days in Ithaca

And just like that, the vacation that I have been looking forward to for several months is over. Earlier in the year, we had planned a short getaway with my parents and brother. We had decided to check out the Finger Lakes, finding an AirBNB in Ithaca that would host us for the few days. My brother flew in from Berlin, my parents drove in from Albany and we all stayed together.


The trip was great. It was so wonderful to be able to spend time with my family, and LM and FW loved all the “Nonna, Grandpa, Sweetie and Uncle Greg” time. We also had a good time checking out the city and some nearby sites. Some of the highlights included:

Grabbing dinner and ice cream around Ithaca Commons.

Hiking to and splashing around Taughannock Falls.

Lunching and wine tasting at Thirsty Owl Winery.

Exploring the area – I went running along their waterfront path one day and my family and I took walks as well.

It’s always hard to finish vacation, but this one is especially hard because of the great family time we had.  I don’t know when my parents, brother and I will be all together again!

Some questions for you:

  • Have you been to Ithaca?
  • Do you vacation with your family?

A Few Days in Toronto (With Kids)

Happy Canada Day (a day late)! B, FW, LM and I are spending the week off on a vacation and starting the week off with the four of us in Toronto. Shortly after LM was born, we got the kids passports, but haven’t used them. So, we decided to take a drive across the border and spend a few days in Canada.

If you’re planning a trip to Toronto anytime soon and have kids, here are a few things you may be interested in doing. Even if you don’t have kids, these are some fun things to do.

First (not in Toronto), spend some time in Niagara Falls

On our way up north, we stopped in Niagara Falls for lunch and a boat ride to see the Falls. We met up with some friends who live in Canada and joined them on the Hornblower.


I really enjoyed the boat ride! It was so amazing to see the falls up close and it was the perfect length of a ride for kids (20 minutes or so). Pro tip: Buy your tickets in advance online, and then you won’t have to wait in a long line to purchase tickets. We only had a 10 minute wait or so to take the funicula (which was also fun) down to the boat to the falls. And we definitely got wet!

See a Blue Jays Game

The Blue Jays were in town when we were and we were able to catch a game on Canada Day. This meant there was some pre-game entertainment (including a giant Canadian flag being unrolled onto the field, as well as some people rapelling a flag onto the field) and a great giveaway (a “relaxed denim Maple Leaf hat”). We got to the game early to catch all of these and stayed for all 9 innings to catch a win. Bonus – they also have poutine at the concession stands!

Toronto Blue Jays game Canada Day flag

Toronto Blue Jays game Canada Day flag

See that guy on the roof? He is about to rappel down

Grab gelato and sit by the waterfront

We were lucky enough to have some gorgeous weather the whole time we were there — sunny, upper 70s — and on two evenings we decided to get gelato and walk along the water. One night there was even a live band playing so we got in some music (and FW got some dancing).

Go for a run or walk along the water

You know me – I need to get in at least one run on vacation. So one morning while B was giving LM and FW a bath (super dad!), I got in a run by the water. The Martin Goodman Trail is a long bike path and running path near the water that runs for many miles, which was perfect for me to enjoy a run by myself. It would’ve been great for a stroller run as well. It was perfect weather during the run and made for the perfect way to start my day.

Go to Chinatown (and eat copious amounts of dumplings)

One day we walked from our AirBNB in the financial district to Chinatown and grabbed lunch. We went to the Dumpling House and ordered steamed dumplings, pan-fried dumplings and a green onion pancake. LM enjoyed all of it – and even FW ate a few of the dumplings (minus the filling #pickyeater). The waitstaff also loves kids – they kept carrying LM around the restaurant while we ate and playing with FW.

Dumplings at The Dumpling House in Toronto

These were our pan-fried dumplings

Waitstaff carrying LM

Some of the other kid-friendly restaurants we visited included Cafe Landwer (their kids’ breakfast had amazing toast toppings!), Pie Bar (their kids dinners come with gelato for dessert) and Jack Astors (their kids menu has steak, build your own tacos and more!).

Find a playground

Because you’re with kids, you may as well find a playground for them to run around/swing around/play around on. On our walk one morning we found a small playground with some swings, slides and a seesaw, which made both our kids happy campers.

Relax with drinks (after the kids are asleep)

Our AirBNB had a balcony with an amazing view of the city. There was a lot going on downtown and the humming/buzzing of the cars moving all night was relaxing (for me). One night after the kids were in bed, we just sat outside on the patio and enjoyed the night. It was the perfect end to a long day of vacation! (Vacation with kids = tiring)

View from our rooftop patio

We only had a few days, but I’d definitely go back. The last time B and I were there was before kids, several years ago and the middle of winter, so much has changed. The next time we go, we’d probably do a few more kid-friendly activities, like visit their zoo, see the aquarium, or go to the train museum (which was right across the street from where we were staying). We just didn’t have enough time to do it all!

Some questions for you:

  • Have you ever been to Toronto?
  • Are there some standard things you try to do when vacationing with kids (e.g., find a playground, etc)?

3

My son turned three this weekend. Three. Where does time go? I could go on and on about how I remember being pregnant with him and the day he was born as if it were yesterday (I almost do!) and how time flies (it does!) and how I can’t believe how big he is and that it both breaks and fills my heart to see him grow older.

But this not supposed to be a sappy post. Instead, this post is about our weekend. Because we spent the entire weekend celebrating him, and it was such a joy to see him have fun. And, the weather finally got nice again, so we spent it all outside!

It started off Friday morning. LM went to school and I took the day off work and FW and I had a “Mommy Date.” Basically, whatever he wanted to do, we did. What did that entail?

We started off the day with a trip to the big playground near us.

And spent probably an hour getting dirty in the sandbox.

We went out to lunch together and then brought home a cookie to eat on our porch.

After nap, we then did some afternoon water play.

Followed by some baseball.

Saturday I got in a quick run and then we started the day out with pancakes at a friend’s house.

Followed by some more playground (and sandbox) time.

And that evening, we went to the Indians game. We saw them beat the Tigers!

After FW went to bed, I decided to do some baking. After all, who doesn’t want birthday cookies?

The next morning was FW’s birthday. We started the day with ANOTHER playground. This time, Celia, Maura and Maddie came along.

We enjoyed a picnic, too – bagels, watermelon, cookies, and more.

And then after naps, it was time to get the house ready for B’s family to come over. That meant even the birthday boy did some cleaning!

Before we knew it, it was time for B’s family to come over for pizza and cake.

What a great weekend. I feel so grateful to have gotten to spend so much time with FW, to have family and friends help make his weekend special, and I know he had a great time. It’s so hard to believe my baby is 3!

Some questions:

  • Did you get to enjoy some time outside this weekend?
  • Ideal birthday cake flavor?

Weekly Running Recap: I Take Awkward Running Selfies

You know those perfect running selfies you see when scrolling through Instagram? Of the people running but they also managed to capture the best photo? You know the ones – they are mid-stride and look graceful, yet fierce. Not quite smiling but not frowning. They look like runners.
Let’s just say I’m not one of those. That’s right — I do NOT look like that when I try to take a running selfie. But I digress – here were my runs this week. I didn’t mean to take off Thursday, but LM was awake from approximately 1:45 a.m. until 4 a.m., which meant I had slept about 3.7 hours when the alarm went off to run and I couldn’t move.


And, here’s the aforementioned selfie. I think I look somewhat like an awkward robot, don’t you?

And because there are no better photos than that for this week, that’s all you get.

Some questions for you:

  • Can you take running selfies?
  • How much sleep do you need?

I’m linking up with Deborah and Kim for the Weekly Run Down.

Cleveland Marathon Week 9 Training: Hermes Ten Miler Race Weekend

Well, I’m 9 weeks into my half marathon training, and it is hard to believe thay race day is coming up so soon! This week was a week of fewer runs, fewer miles, but a few good workouts when it comes to speed/pace.

Here’s a look at week 9 of my Cleveland half marathon training. Way fewer miles than last week, but it did include a pretty good interval run, plus a GREAT 10 mile race where I PRed!

I did my interval run outside, and even though I didn’t get it quite as fast or consistent as I would have liked, it felt good and I enjoyed doing it so much more than on the treadmill!

After 2 days off, it was time for race day. I had a 10 miler scheduled, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. My long runs have been slow, and the weather on race day was cold and super windy. But it worked in my favor! Even with the wind (check out those waves!), it was a PR!

So proud of these splits- this is fast for me!

Some questions for you:

  • Do you like 10 mile races?
  • What’s your ideal racing temperature?

Note: I am a Cleveland marathon ambassador! That means I get free race entry for me, and a free race entry to give away.

Wanna run CLE with me? Don’t forget, I have a 10% discount for you!

clé marathon discount

I’m linking up with Deborah and Kim for the Weekly Run Down.