Monday, July 28, 2014

My Running Peeves

I've been running on a regular basis since the spring.  I keep myself motivated to run by signing up to compete in various 5k races in the area.  I'm not an expert, and I am by no means fast or great at running, but I have only 1 rule for races - I don't care if I come in first place or last place, NO WALKING.  In each race I run, I encounter a new Running Peeve.  I've learned that no matter the race, location, or cause, there are always going to be "those people."

1. Those people who hop around at the starting line and stretch their necks side to side as if they are about to exert some major energy.  The gun sounds and they take off in a...brisk walk.
2. Those people who take off as fast as they can go after the gun sounds...that you pass at .25 miles as they are staggering around, gasping for air with their hands on top of their heads.
3.  Those people who wear silly sunglasses or hats, tutus, and tall socks.  I just think they are only appropriate for "fun runs." (Dirty Girl, Color Run, etc.)  All of that stuff would get on my nerves and distract from the race!
4.  Those people who have run the race before and like to hand out advice at the starting line about what we are about to encounter on our run.  Also, the people who like to tell you what stretches you should be doing or how you should warm-up.  Mind your own biznazz, dude!
5.  Those people who stand at the starting line and say things like "I can't believe you talked me into this, Marge! hehehehe" or "I hope someone knows CPR!" or "If I collapse, someone call 911!"  Each time I want to say, "HAHAHA - Haven't heard that one before!" *abruptly stops smiling and laughing* -_-.
6. And then there are THOSE PEOPLE.  The people I like to call "Ralkers." These people frustrate me more than any of the others.  The "Ralker" is a person who is clearly out of shape, not ready for a 5k, but wants to do it anyways...and win.  They walk until they can hear your steps creeping up behind them, and just as you think you're about to pass them, BAM! They take off in a sprint!  After about 60 seconds of running they slow to a walk again, but you'll always see them peek over their shoulder to gage how close you are.  It never fails; I always seem to be behind a Ralker at some point in each race.  I am never competitive in my races - until I encounter a Ralker.  I just can't stand it if they beat me that way!
On Saturday morning, I competed in the Bun Run 10k in Huntington, WV with some of my friends.  This was my very first 10k, and my main goal, as always, was to finish the race without walking.  I didn't care about placing or getting a certain time as I normally do in 5ks because this 10k was uncharted territory.  At the starting line, I noticed a woman in a brightly colored t-shirt committing running infraction #1, #3, and #5.  After the gun sounded, she committed infraction #2.  I was running along, trying to focus on the music in my ears instead of the 6.2 miles I had ahead of me, AND then BAM!.....#6.
Normally when I encounter a Ralker in a 5k, I can let off a little more energy to pass them because it is a shorter distance.  This was a little different.  As I mentioned before, this was my first 10k, so I was unsure of what was ahead.  For 6 MILES I had to stare at the back of her head as she continued to run, look at me, walk, and then run, look at me, walk.  After two very long, very hot, very tiring laps around Huntington, we had finally reached the last .2 miles of the race.  As we neared the giant blue, blowup finish line, I knew what I had to do.  My poor little legs were tired and aching, but I somehow found it within me to work up a sprint.  Or at least what felt like a sprint to me.  After 6 miles, it was really more of an upbeat jog.  I could hear Sarah, Krista, Tara, Jess, and Andy cheering over the music in my ear buds as I passed her.  Then, the unthinkable happened...she started sprinting too!  Several phrases ran through my mind, as my feet pounded the pavement in my efforts of beating her to the giant inflatable.  It was a race to the finish, BUT I GOT'ER!!  Tara captured it all on video, and I must say that it is completely ridiculous and embarrassing. (It felt like I was going MUCH faster!)
After the race I gave her a high five and congratulated her, but apparently it wasn't enough to make up for my bad race karma.  Now, I have planter’s fasciitis.  Oh well, the bottom line is that I finished, I didn't walk, and I really did give it my all!  I guess there are always going to be "those people" no matter what you do, but from now on I will try to ignore them and concentrate on running MY race.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Helen's Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Hahaha you really thought I was giving away that little golden nugget of info!?  I know that all of you who clicked on the link won't admit that I got you, but you know I did!
I know, I need to get a life....Anywho, now that you're here, you might as well keep reading! ;)

I like to walk around the room while I am teaching Zumba.  Sometimes I just like to show everyone that they know the dance and can do it without me.  Sometimes it's because I've done the song so many times that I just can't bring myself to do it anymore.  Sometimes it's because I'm hot and need to walk by the fan in the back.  And then sometimes - I just like to mess with people.  Thursday night I walked to the back of the room where Helen stands (even though she's been coming to Zumba for almost 4 years and could do it blindfolded) to mess with her.  I stood beside her and watched in the mirror as we moved EXACTLY the same way.  Each step, each shake, and each shimmy was identical.  For the first time, I saw what everyone else has been seeing, and telling me, for all these years.

I am realizing it more each day.  A few weeks ago we went to see the movie "Jersey Boys."  Helen actually saw them in concert at the Charleston Civic Center twice while she was in high school, and I saw the Broadway show while I was in high school.  In typical Kellie fashion, I quickly developed an obsession with Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.  This was really exciting for Helen.  We have always had the same taste in music, and we especially love the "oldies, but goodies."  When I was a junior in high school, Helen checked me out of school to go watch one of Tara's softball games in Fairmont.  On the way back we heard "December, 1963" on the radio and decided we had to stop at the Meadowbrook Mall to purchase their greatest hits CD.  We listened to it on repeat the entire way home.  I know it doesn't seem that spectacular, but it was a really, REALLY fun day.  SO, needless to say, we loved the movie!  It's nice to find something that you and your mom both love.  This is especially easy for me because Helen and I love a lot of the same things.  As much as I try to deviate, I always end up right back in her footsteps.

I think we all go through that phase where our moms don't know what they're talking about, and they're so annoying, and you can't believe she'd go out in public wearing THAT, and she just doesn't get it!  Then we go off to college and something magical happens.  Suddenly you realize your mom is smart, and cool, and fun, and she tottttallllyyy gets it!  It wasn't until my freshman year at Marshall that I realized just how much I needed my mom!  Helen didn't baby us, and she always made us do things on our own.  We made our own snacks, packed our own bags, did our homework without being asked, etc.  Even though we knew how to do things, sometimes it's just nice when your mom does it, especially when you're on your own.  You miss the little things like when we were sick, Helen would always make a trip to Video Madness and Dairy Queen when she went to pick up our medicine at Fruth.  Since I moved out, I don't get to see or spend as much time with Helen, but we still talk everyday and manage to find some time to do our favorite fun things together!

I love baking and cooking with Helen.  I thought since I had my fun with the cookie recipe earlier, I should at least mention them.  I have indeed mastered the Helen Lewis chocolate chip cookies.  Not to brag, but I got it on the first try.  It's in the genes!  Although I should be able to do it with one hand tied behind my back after having been her sous chef for all these years!  I've come a long way since the days of sitting on the counter watching her bake, while begging to lick the butter wrappers.  Yes, I said butter wrappers.  I know, so gross now, but delicious at the time!

I love shopping with Helen.  We can always count on each other to be brutally honest.  We have completely different ideas of what looks good and is in style, but we've learned that if it's not a train wreck, just go with it!  Helen can sniff out a deal better than anybody I know!  Our number one rule of shopping:  Never pay full price. (And we came up with that before Marshall's!)

I love sewing with Helen.  Well, actually Helen likes to sew, I like to design. I just didn't want to mess up the flow I have going. When we put our heads together, we come up with some great stuff!  I will draw something up and show it to her, which always leads to a JoAnn Fabrics trip to find a similar pattern.  We will modify the pattern, and then begins the search for the perfect fabric.  This is the only part where we usually don't agree, but it always comes out just right.  She's made countless outfits for me, including my prom dress!  I don't know how she does it, but she's a wiz with that sewing machine!

I love to exercise with Helen.  Helen loves Step and Tone with Gilad.  She has done this same exact workout on a regular basis since I was in pre-school.  I thought it was hilarious that we worked out on "the isle of poopoocare."  I laughed and joked with Helen about them caring for our poo every single time.  (I was little, give me a break!)  I loved going to Helen's aerobics class when she was an instructor, yet another thing we have in common.  I would slap on my leotard, grab my barbie water bottle, and off we went!  Just like a couple of Denise Austins!  Now, Helen is a regular at Zumba.  She has given up the leotard, but she still rocks a sweatband on her forehead!

I love singing and dancing with Helen.  Whether it's Reba McEntire or LMFAO, Helen will give the lyrics a shot and come up with some killer moves.  Helen does this thing we call "microwave dancing."  She can't just stand there or walk away until whatever she is cooking is done.  She has to watch it while she does the pony, or the mashes the potato, or does the twist, or vogues, or whatever dance she's feeling that day.  I catch myself doing that all the time now.  It's ridiculous.

I love backseat driving with Helen.  Helen and I are both terrible drivers.  (If you remember from my previous blog, this is where her phrase "slingin' em around like sausages" comes from.)  We both tailgate, which is especially bad because we have the attention spans of gnats!  However, when we are riding with other people, we are expert drivers and navigators!   We always know the best route and when to "STOP" and "GO!"  Poor dad...and Matt.

I love spending time with Helen, period. Yes, it's hilarious and I always come out with a new word or phrase that is completely ridiculous, but there is nobody else like your mom! I think it's nice to appreciate all they do for us! Not just on Mother's Day or their birthday, but every single day.  I love you, Helen! :)

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Roaring Twenties!

My 20s have been fabulous thus far, but my 25th birthday is fast approaching, and I am realizing there are some things I want to accomplish before I turn a quarter of a century old! Not that I think age matters because you can do whatever you want to do at any age, but I think it's healthy to have goals!  I also want to challenge myself to step outside of the box and do some things I never thought I would do! I am blogging it because you all have to hold me accountable!  Help me, encourage me, and above all, don't let me chicken out!  So, without further ado, my "25 before 25" list! I promise I can count, I have just omitted some that are more personal. ;)

1. Run a 5k - I've done several and even placed in one!
2. Run a 10k
3. Run a half marathon - October 4th I will be running in the 17th Annual Beckley Half Marathon!
4. Compete in a pageant - This is something that I've always wanted to do, but never had the guts to do it!
6. Clean out and decorate spare room - The room is cleaned out, but the decorating process hasn't started!
7. Go to a professional game - Matt and I went to the Penguins hockey game as well as a Braves baseball game.
8. Try new exercise classes - Megan and I went to a TRX class in Charleston, and decided to keep it up! We still can't figure out how a 30 minute class could make us SO SORE! Clearly a great workout!
10. Have a yard sale - After cleaning out the spare room, I am left with tons of stuff I don't need! If it doesn't sell, off to Goodwill it goes! 
11. Go camping - I have never in my entire life spent the night outside. I should definitely go camping!
12. Have a new first with Matt - We've been together for about 2.5 years and sometimes it seems like we do the same things over and over, so it's nice to branch out. We went on our first trip together to Columbus a few months ago and had a blast (even if I did have the stomach virus!)
13. Go to Camden Park - I've never been, and Matt thinks it's something I should do.
14. Do a handstand - When I was cheering this was second nature! Now, it's nearly impossible! 
15. Watch 3 classic movies I haven't seen - I haven't seen A LOT of the "classics" and it drives Matt insane! I have to watch some, and I suppose I'll let him choose!
16. Read more
17. Get a tan - Casper the friendliest ghost will be no more!
18. Travel
19. Volunteer
20. Workout on the beach - I will be training for my half marathon while we're at the beach in August, so I will have to keep up with my schedule!
21. Sing in public alone - I've done karaoke, but always with a friend!
22. Buy a car - A few months ago I purchased a brand new 2015 Mazda CX-5. I'd been looking at SUVs for about a year, and when I finally went car shopping, they had the exact car I had been wanting right there in front of me. I took it as a sign!
23. Teach Ozzie new tricks - He can speak and twirl, but he cowers and hides when I say "sit" for some reason! We will conquer this!
24. Host game night - I LOVE GAMES. I bought a coffee table with stools that fit under it just for game nights and haven't been able to use it yet!
25. Do a photo shoot - The closest I've ever been to this is school pictures!

I have a lot of work to do on my list, but I am already making plans! As you read, I have already accomplished a few goals, but I will blog more about that in October! Let's see how many more I can mark off the list by then! :)


Tuesday, July 1, 2014


There has been a "Bible verse challenge" going around on Facebook.  I don't know how people went from pouring buckets of water on each other’s heads to Bible verses, but okay.  I don't pretend to understand what happens on Facebook these days!  I've been tagged in a few of these challenges and I choose not to participate for no other reason than I just don't want to.  However, I do love Kim Moore.  SO, Kim, this is my reply to your challenge. :)

It's really hard to choose just one verse in the Bible.  There are 31,102 of them after all!  (I googled it!)  Kathy and I were discussing this, and we agreed that your favorite verse changes as you change.  Different passages might speak to you in different ways depending on what is going on in your life.  That is one small part of why God's word is so magnificent.

My everyday "go-to" verse is Matthew 22:37 "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." Simple and straight to the point, but if I was going to tell you what's speaking to me at this point in my life, I would have to say...
Matthew 7:13-14 "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it."  (Clearly I am a Matthew kinda girl. HA! Get it? Okay, moving on...)

Choosing to follow the narrow path is hard, and that is why few find it. It's something that I think everyone struggles with on a daily basis. I know social media plays a huge part in what influences me. I think it's easy to get lost in what everyone else is doing and forget what you are doing, want to do, or should be doing. We compare how good or bad our lives are by what our friends are Instagramming. How many of us girls have been sitting on the couch, catching up on Pretty Little Liars with our Chinese takeout when we look at Instagram to see a gym selfie? You hate yourself instantly for skipping the gym and eating that chicken lo mein, no matter how delicious it was!  Why do we compare our everyday moments to someone else's highlights? Bottom Line: Don't do what everyone else does just because everyone else is doing it.  Instead, focus on what God's doing and what he wants you to do.  Let's let God be the trendsetter in our lives.  If only he had an Instagram to follow!

A few months ago, Kathy gave the boys and me a copy of Mother Teresa's Anyway Poem. I decided to hang it on my corkboard in my office because I feel like I'm at work more than I'm home. I really love it, and it is a great reminder of how to follow the narrow path.

"People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; Give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God; It was never between you and them anyway."

Monday, June 23, 2014

Writing it all down

I haven't been inspired to blog about anything lately, so I decided to break my blogger's block by writing about why I write!  I know some people may think blogging is lame, or so I've been told because nobody is going to say it to my face, but I really don't care. I think people often assume they hate reading and writing because throughout our entire educational careers we are forced to read and write about things we don't have interest in reading and writing about.  Just because you weren't great at writing essays doesn't mean you aren't a good writer.

When I am mad, sad, frustrated, or upset in anyway, I like to write it down.  I know I can't be the only person who does this.  There is something therapeutic about taking it out of my head and putting it down on a piece of paper.  I keep a notebook on my nightstand for this very reason.  If I can't sleep because my mind is racing, I start writing.  Sometimes it's a letter, sometimes its a prayer, or sometimes it's just a list of things that I need to do the next day (If y'all don't know- I LOVE LISTS.)  Usually those thoughts gets crumpled up and thrown in a trashcan, buried in the middle pages of an old notebook, or typed in a blog post that is immediately deleted.

I've always enjoyed reading and writing! I used to tell my dad that I had to do book reports that didn't exist! I just really liked them, so I wanted to do them, but was too embarrassed to tell him that they weren't actually assigned!  Each fake report resulted in a trip to see Mrs. Savilla at the Eleanor library, where she helped me check out books on my topic of choice! When I was finished with my report, I would have dad read it to check for errors (as if I were turning it in for a grade).  I loved playing school and I wanted to be an English teacher for a long time! Sometimes I regret going in to business, especially this time of year when my teacher friends are Instagramming their pool pictures!  Then I remember my work experience class, where I shadowed an 8th grade English teacher for 9 weeks. Completely killed the dream! I won't go into detail, but it was miserable.

My Grammy (although I have a thing against "y"s, so I like to spell it Grammie.  If it were up to me, all names ending in "y" would be "ie".)  Anywho, my Grammy used to keep journals, and blogging is sort of like my online journal.  Except it's public, and a little more thought goes into it.  It must be in my genes because my Aunt Ann has a few blogs that I love to read too!  (I will post those at the bottom of this blog!)  My Grammy loved writing and telling stories.  She used to help my sister and I write stories while she babysat us.  We had big imaginations, so we would start spouting off random thoughts, and she would write them down while encouraging us to go on.  My dad says I remind him of her more everyday! In fact, just about every time I go to her old church in Red House, someone will talk to me for about 5 minutes before asking "You're not Theda's granddaughter, are you?"  I was only 5 or 6 years old when she passed away, so I don't know if they are accurate in comparing us, but I can hope!

I was just getting the hang of reading when she started to become very sick.  I was so excited about it that I brought a book to her house just to show her.  I propped myself up on a pillow beside her to tell her about my new skill, and she asked me in her very quiet, weak voice to prove it.  She listened patiently as I stammered along, "sounding out" and mispronouncing words with her eyes closed and a smile on her lips.  When I was finished, she didn't have to say a word, that smile said it all.  Sometimes when I'm reading a book, my mind wonders off to that moment, and then it puts a smile on my lips.

I write for many reasons, but I put it out there for the world to read because I hope someone can click on the link and escape from their day for just 5 minutes!  I don't claim to be a great writer, I just like to do it.  I think the world would be a better place if more people quit caring what others think, and just started doing what makes them happy.  So, I hope your Monday isn't too terrible, and you enjoy the rest of your week.  Do something that makes you happy! :)

As promised, these are my Aunt Ann's blogs. :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

So long, Farewall, Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu

 To say this has been a good year for my dad would be THE understatement.  After 35 years of teaching and coaching, it all comes to a bittersweet end this week.  Can you believe it took him this long to get out of an elementary school? (Bad joke! haha) I have to say, all of the parents and people in our community really spoiled him throughout the year! Thank you!  I'm sure Helen won't have any problem bringing him back to reality with a nice, long honey-do list! ;)
I really wonder what my dad will end up doing with his new freedom.  People keep telling me that they think he will become a referee or volunteer at games because "he just can't stay away from it."  I don't see that happening, but they do have a point.  He has been involved with GWMS athletics for so long that it will be different to go through the fall without hearing about the Blue Devils!  In fact, my birthday is October 10th, which happens to be right-smack-dab in the middle of football season.  The reason that my birthday is on October 10th is because in 1989, that was a Tuesday.  This meant that Dad could be there when Helen had me in the morning, give her a couple of days to recover, and he could make it to coach his game on Thursday night!  That story always makes me feel so special... -_- 
Helen retired three years ago and has really been living it up!  The most common question I get is, "So, what is your mom doing now that she's retired? Is she working anywhere?"  My question back to them is always, "Why would she retire to work? That would be stupid."  She does whatever she feels like doing!  That's how it should be!  If she wants to sleep in until 10:00 and make chocolate chip cookies, she can.  I am super jealous of Helen's retired life!
I'm interested to see what dad and Helen end up doing now that they will BOTH be retired.  Together.  Spending day after day...together! That's a lot of togetherness!  I'm sure you will still find them at all the football, basketball, softball, etc. games, cheering on the Blue Devils and Bison (while wearing their matching T-Shirts, of course).  Maybe they will buy an RV and follow the Mountaineers around the United States, who knows!?  The world is their oyster now! I'm sure there are plenty of adventures out there to be had for those two!

Dad, we are so happy for you, and so proud of all that you have accomplished in the past 35 years!  We love you tons and we hope that you and Helen continue to have the most incredible life together, filled with fun, laughter, happiness, adventure, and more fun!  Happy retirement! :)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Embrace the Crunch

I've been on a Netflix documentary kick.  Sometimes I think Matt gets a little creeped out by my watching documentaries like Russia's Toughest Prisons and Auschwitz:  Inside the Nazi State.  I can't help it! I just think things like that are extremely interesting! I think he probably sleeps better now knowing that I have moved on to watching some food documentaries, and while some parts are hard to watch, they are really eye opening!  If you have access to any of these documentaries, I suggest watching some or all of the following:
Food, Inc., Forks over Knives, Vegucated, Sick, Fat, and Nearly Dead, and several others I haven't gotten to yet!.

I like to tease some of my friends about being crunchy, but after watching these documentaries, I really think they're onto something!  I don't know a lot about being crunchy, but I want to learn more and share!  SO, to write this blog, I enlisted the help of some of my crunchiest friends, Megan Hannah, Sarah Brown, and Kelsey Lewis!  I asked them to share some of their favorite crunchy products, and this is what they said...

Coconut oil.  Specifically, extra virgin, unrefined, cold pressed, organic coconut oil!  I, too, like and use this product quite a bit!  I am sort of amazed at all of the different uses for coconut oil! It can be used for cooking, cleaning, chapstick, body lotion, shaving cream, diaper cream, conditioner, sunburn relief, YOU NAME IT.  When I drank coffee, pre-Isagenix days, I absolutely HAD to have cream and sugar.  I tried coconut oil in my coffee once and was hooked! If that doesn't work for you, Sarah suggested Organic Valley French Vanilla coffee creamer! This brand has no artificial sweeteners and its non-GMO!

Megan's super cute baby, Parker, gets only the best of the best when it comes to food.  Megan swears by the book, Real Smart Baby Food.  She makes all of his food, freezes it, and then thaws it as she needs it.  When she doesn't have time to thaw his food, or if she is on the go, she likes Plum Organics baby food, which is verified organic, non-GMO, unsweetened, unsalted, no artificial ingredients, and BPA free packaging!
You don't need me to tell you how bad the tanning bed is for your skin, but I will say it - The tanning bed is bad for your skin!  Seriously, opt for natural sunlight or a spray tan!  Sarah will hook you up!  If you just don't have time to get to an appointment, try some Nature's Gate sunless tanner! I am VERY white, so if I want to look human, I use self-tanner.  I used it this weekend and it worked like a charm. I'm not orange or streaky, and I think it looks very natural!
I've heard about the dangers of deodorant for years.  I don't know if it causes cancer or not, but I am willing to try a safer alternative!  Sarah loves Scratch Mom Deo!  As much as that girl exercises, if she says it works, IT WORKS.  My friend, Kelsey, also recommends Pit Putty or Rock Crystal!

Kelsey has done a lot of research on the products her family uses, and one of their favorite brands is The Spirit Goat.  They order the Drawing Salve and bug spray from their website! The salve is great for bug bites and stings, or rashes from things like poison ivy.  She also likes the brand Annie's for food and snacks, and Badger for bug spray and sunscreen.

If you don't know, Megan is the DoTerra guru!  She is happy to share her knowledge with anyone who asks! She has a concoction to cure just about anything!  I once decided to make up my own concoction of various citrus oils mixed with epsom salt to put in my bath.  I didn't know that was a no-no!  After about 5 minutes I started to feel a burn and looked down to find my legs covered in red blotches! I tried to shower and wipe it off, but nothing worked.  I thought my skin was going to burn right off, not to mention other places! Yikes! I had to call for help! Megan said to rub coconut oil on my legs and I was cured instantly! PHEW!  I could've kissed her on the mouth!  Now I ask before I mix such concoctions!  Also, I should add that they were not the DoTerra brand!  The oils pictured are just some of her favorites! Serious biznazz!  Oils can be used for cooking, cleaning, allergies, sleep, colds and sinuses, mood enhancement, ear infections, cradle cap, teething, heartburn, digestion, muscle and joint pain, etc. etc. etc.!

Okay, the more I write, the more I realize that it would take months to go through all of the different things you can do or buy to be more health conscious!  One thing I really held onto from the documentaries I watched is that it is especially important that we know where our food is coming from.  I am making an effort to purchase organic fruits and vegetables from local farmers, and be mindful of the meat I am purchasing.  )Although after watching some of the documentaries I listed above, I would like to be a vegetarian!  Baby steps!)  I am starting to shop more at HealthSmart in Teays Valley, Healthy Life Market, and of course, the crunchy section of Kroger.  These are some keywords to look for while you're shopping...
A lot of labels will say "All Natural," but this diagram shows what that really means. Try for certified organic!

GMO = Genetically Modified Organism, so you want products that are non-GMO!

Gluten is a protein found in wheat grains. I would venture to say most processed foods contain gluten, so staying away from it is probably a good rule of thumb.

BPA is Bisphenol A, which is a chemical used to make plastic.  Often food that is packaged in containers that aren't BPA-free will absorb some of that chemical, which can be harmful to digest.

I just think it's important that we are aware of what is going into our bodies! I know none of us are scientists, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to tell us that eating food loaded with chemicals and hormones is bad for us!  If anyone else has some favorite products, ideas, or even different uses for things I mentioned in my blog, please share! I loved the discussion on my beauty blog a couple of weeks ago! :)