Gear Review: Fitbit Flex

Hi there! Hope that you’re having a fabulous weekend. Happy Easter to all of those who celebrate it! Today I have a healthy living gadget review for you on the Fitbit Flex!


If you’re a longtime Foodie Loves Fitness reader, you may remember that I used to have a Fitbit Ultra, which I adored and constantly used (I did a review on it in 2012 here). I used to clip it onto my pants at the waist, which never really was a problem…well, until about a year ago when I went for a motorcycle ride with my hubby, got home, and realized my Fitbit had somehow flung off of me during our ride (whomp, whomp). It was obviously never to be seen again, and while I loved using the tracker, I just didn’t feel like buying a new one.

Fast forward to last Christmas. My father-in-law and I had talked about the Fitbit, so we bought him one as a gift, and he wound up giving me one as a present. I was really excited, because naturally I had missed a gadget telling me to get off the couch and get moving if I needed a little extra motivation. ;-)

FitBit Screen Shot

The Fitbit Flex activity tracker measures steps taken, calories burned and distance travelled. Now that I’ve been using it steadily for a bunch of months, I feel ready to give you the 411 on the Fitbit Flex. So here we go!

Pro: The Fitbit Flex has a simple bracelet design and is pretty easy to use once you learn the basics.

Con: Unlike the Fitbit Ultra I had (which, by the way, they no longer sell – but the Fitbit One on the market is similar), the Fitbit Flex doesn’t display all of your stats on the device itself. It simply displays 1 LED light for every 2,000 steps you’ve taken for the day. At the beginning, I actually really didn’t like my Flex because of that. It just seemed like a hassle to have to go on the computer to look up my stats during the day, and I found myself just not doing it much. Until…

Pro: I discovered the Fitbit app on my iPhone! It tells you all of your stats in realtime, and the Flex automatically syncs up to your phone. After figuring this out, I like my Flex so much better!

Con: A few times the bracelet has unhooked and flipped off of me by accident. The last time it happened I was getting out of a taxi at the airport, and I just happened to have noticed it. But given my track record with Fitbit devices, I’m predicting this to be the demise of my Fitbit Flex. Let’s hope I’m wrong!


Pro: The Fitbit is pretty good at accurately measuring steps taken in a given day. However…

Con: What it’s not good with is gaging most other activities or even calorie burn during walking activities. I can spin for an hour, and according to my Fitbit, I haven’t moved at all. I’ll go for a 2-hour hike, and while my step count will be awesome, the Fitbit will estimate my calorie burn pretty low. It seems like it can’t really distinguish between a walk on a flat surface to a hike with crazy inclines. However, I manually add calorie burn during workouts to MyFitnessPal because I have the Polar heart rate monitor, which provides me with that info (I know, I kind of seem like a gadget nut!).

MyFitnessPal Screen shot

Pro: My Fitbit data automatically syncs up to the MyFitnessPal app I have on my phone where I log in my eats for the day, which on one hand, is neat. On the other hand…

Con: Refer to the con above. It incorrectly gages calorie burn, and then once I manually add the correct number, every time it automatically syncs, it changes my number back to what the Fitbit estimates. I’m all NO! I’m not lying about this Fitbit, I burned 700 calories! Why don’t you believe me??

Okay, it’s not that traumatic, but MyFitnessPal readjusts daily net calorie goals based on activity and it just bugs me a bit.

Pro: A feature of the Flex that I love is its silent alarm. I set the alarm via my iPhone Fitbit app, and it silently buzzes in the morning to wake me up. I’ve always gotten startled by ringtones and noises as my wake-up call, and it’s so much nicer to be woken up gently by my wrist buzzing. Side note: I always wake up right away, but I suppose if you’re a really deep sleeper you possibly could sleep through it.

I love to get my steps in for the day by hiking with Harley!

I love to get my steps in for the day by hiking with Harley!

Pro: You can wear the Fitbit 24/7. It’s waterproof, and I really only take it off to charge the tracker.

Con: In my experience, Fitbit products aren’t the most durable or glitch-free products out there. With my last Fitbit, I experienced some malfunction issues, and it has been the same thing with my Fitbit Flex. Just a few months after I got it, I was experiencing display issues. However…

Pro: The Fitbit team is awesome at responding to complaints to help you troubleshoot or to send out a new product ASAP. I had a new Fitbit Flex in a couple of days, and so far so good with the new one.

Con: The FitBit Flex also monitors your sleep. I like to check this feature out just to see what it says, but to be honest, I don’t trust it or find it to be very reliable. Some nights it’ll say I wake up and toss and turn a ton, which is usually true. But some nights I put it into sleep mode while I’m laying in bed watching TV, and the next day, my Fitbit will say I was snoozing for the entire time I was watching Law & Order.

FitBit Sleep Shot

Overall, I think that the Fitbit Flex is a neat healthy living gadget to have. It’s a nonchalant-looking bracelet that costs $100 and comes in a bunch of colors. I like just knowing how many steps I’ve taken because I’m a number crunching kind of gal. Some weeks I’ll make it a goal to get at least 10,000 steps each day, since my steps can be around 8,000-9,000 during the week when I tend to be more stagnant working. Here were my stats for the last time I challenged myself to this a few weeks ago:

  • Sunday – 10,288 steps
  • Monday – 13,807 steps
  • Tuesday – 11,094 steps
  • Wednesday – 17,525 steps
  • Thursday- 10,189 steps
  • Friday – 12,103 steps
  • Saturday – 15,451 steps

One of the nights that week this happened…

Twitter FitBit-2

…but hey, I met my goal!


Have you ever used an activity/step tracker?

Do you think that you walk at least 10,000 steps most days?

A Visit to The Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam-1

Last week while in Vegas, my co-worker and I ventured over to the Hoover Dam to check it out. When staying there, we always try to do something outside of work and the strip. Last year, we went to Red Rock Canyon, and a free afternoon this time allowed for a visit to the famous dam.

Hoover Dam-2

Five facts about Hoover Dam:

1.) It was constructed in the 1930s and spans the Colorado River in Black Canyon between Arizona and Nevada.

Hoover Dam-3

(The left of the photo is in Nevada, the right in Arizona)

2.) Building the dam required more than 5 million barrels of concrete, enough to create a two-lane highway from Seattle to Miami.

Hoover Dam-4

3.) 21,000 men worked on building the dam over the course of its construction. It’s estimated that around 110 of them died while building the dam.

Hoover Dam-5

4.) The dam’s generators provide power for public and private utilities in Nevada, Arizona and California.

Hoover Dam-6

5.) Hoover Dam impounds Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States by volume.

Hoover Dam-7

After walking around and checking out the dam and bridge from afar, we headed up to be on the bridge itself.

Hoover Dam-8

View from the bridge:

Hoover Dam-9

Hoover Dam-10

The dam was neat to check out, and was certainly a pretty sight to see! Have you ever visited the Hoover Dam?

Vanilla Peanut Butter Cinnamon Smoothie

Now that it’s spring and half the world is starting to get out of freezing temperatures and polar vortex slumps, smoothie season is getting underway.

PB cinnamon smoothie-2

I know what you’re thinking: I live in California and can pretty much drink smoothies year-round. But the truth is, here in the south bay area, the temperature swings are pretty nutty. It’ll get up to 75-80 degrees during the day, then drop down to 35-40 degrees at night. Literally, the temperature doubles most days! When I first moved here I couldn’t believe it.

Vanilla Bean Yogurt

While I drank smoothies somewhat often during winter, my smoothie habit wasn’t nearly as frequent as it has been the last few weeks and will be probably until late fall. You see, the house I’m living in stays really cool – as in, it’s 80 degrees out but I’ll work from my office with a sweatshirt and slippers on, my dog generating heat at my feet, and a hot cup of tea in hand because it’s chilly inside.



Lately, due to the nights being more mild and the days being warmer in general, the house has been staying around a nice 70 degree temperature…which means that my teeth aren’t chattering when I sip on a protein shake. Yes, smoothies have been drank all winter, but they’re so much more enjoyable when you don’t have to bundle up first!



And so, I know that I just posted a smoothie recipe recently, but I’m posting another one today because my smoothie obsession is fully back in action! This vanilla peanut butter cinnamon smoothie was inspired by Sprouts Natural Foods Cafe in Lake Tahoe (you can read all about my eats in Tahoe here), where I recently had a delicious, creamy drink that I wanted to recreate at home.

I’m not pretending like this is one of the most innovative smoothie recipes you’ve ever heard of, but it sure is a winning combo. It may be my new favorite simply because it highlights a few of my long-standing kitchen obsessions: cinnamon, banana and peanut butter. I’m not going to lie to you, I could eat all of these things every single day. Oh wait, I pretty much already do.

PB cinnamon smoothie

Vanilla Peanut Butter Cinnamon Smoothie
Serves: 1

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 6 oz vanilla bean Greek yogurt (or regular vanilla)
  • ½ TSP cinnamon
  • 2 TBSP peanut butter
  • ¼ TSP vanilla extract
  • Ice

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and pulse until smoothie.
  2. Pour into a large glass and enjoy immediately!


Vanilla peanut butter banana cinnamon smoothie…get in my belly! ;-)

Have you been drinking smoothies? What’s your favorite smoothie combo?

Random Weekend Ramblings

Hello friends! Hope that you all had a fabulous weekend.

I’m in a random kind of mood, so I’m going to share some rambling thoughts and recent happenings in my life with you tonight. Sound good? Let’s get started!

FitFluential Is Fitness Found
I’ve been meaning to mention this, but recently I became a FitFluential Ambassador! For anyone not familiar with FitFluential, it’s an awesome community of influential fitness enthusiasts, and was designed to connect health and wellness brands with their ideal target market through customized marketing campaigns. I applied to be a brand ambassador for them not long after I began blogging and wasn’t accepted, and last year I decided to apply again. Second time’s a charm! :)

green juice

I’ve been a juicing maniac lately. Between putting my juicer to work at home and picking up Evolution juices in my hotel every morning in Vegas, there have been lots of green monsters in my life and I’m loving it!

yoga room

Last week while flying Virgin America (which I pretty much never do), I discovered that its terminal at the airport in San Fran has a yoga room. How awesome right? I had woken up so early to get to the airport, got through security, and then BOOM, I spotted a yoga room! I obviously spent the half an hour I had before my flight boarded to stretch and do some light yoga in it. It was awesome to do right before a flight and amongst the business of traveling. I vote for a yoga room in every terminal of every airport!


Ginger tofu with spicy veggies & rice

I went out with my co-workers to hibachi for the first time in quite awhile last week. It made me realize that I’m a big fan of it and I need to go again very soon for a date night!

Confession: I think my obsession withThe Following and all reality murder mystery shows on television is messing with my head friends. When I came home from the airport at 11:30 PM a few nights ago, my hubby hadn’t been answering his phone for a few hours. His car was in the garage, my dog was home, and he wasn’t sleeping, so I immediately assumed that he had been kidnapped or was hidden in a closet tied up with rope and duck tape. I wish I was kidding! I walked around with my taser opening doors and freaking out until he walked in the door from having dinner at a neighbor’s house — which, in my defense, he has never done before. Whew, close one!


The view from my mountain biking excursion

I was quite the outdoorsy exerciser this weekend. On Saturday I went mountain biking, and today I went for an awesome hike at a new spot called Pinnacles National Park (recap to come later this week!).

Speaking of exercise, I’m currently on a hiatus from upper body workouts. Recently I tweaked my shoulder by reaching backwards awkwardly to plug in my iPad. With all of the exercising I do, I hurt myself plugging in a cord?! This may be a sign that I’m getting old. After some rest and a massage, I thought it had gone away, but a few days ago I woke up in a lot of pain and unable to move my arm over my head without wincing. It feels a little better now, but I’ll be forgoing any upper body strength training or rowing until it’s feeling a-okay. A massage may need to happen this week to help iron it out!


In case you were wondering, my long-standing pancake obsession has not ceased in the least bit. Both this morning and yesterday I made oatmeal banana pancakes and topped them with fresh strawberries and Just Great Stuff powdered chocolate peanut butter. So yummy and healthy!

Harley playtime

And lastly, I’ll leave you with a picture of Harley during our afternoon playtime session a couple of days ago, just because she’s so damn cute.

Have you ever injured yourself doing something silly?

What are you obsessed with for breakfast?

Am I the only one who is warped in the head from watching too much Dateline and the I.D. Channel? 

My Next Bold MOVE

Happy Friday!

I’ve been MIA working in Vegas all week, but now I’m back home in Cali and excited to share a big announcement with you today.

Vegas view

I think that my hubby and I are adventurous people. For instance, we went skydiving to celebrate our first birthdays together.

skydiving 006

Before we jumped out of a plane together in the summer of 2007

We make decisions with our intuition and heart. For example, we had an engagement party a few months after the proposal so that our families could meet each other, and when people asked when we were getting married we said, “We’re going to the courthouse to make it official this Friday!” It felt so crazy and exciting, but I knew it was right for us.

engagement party

Our engagement party, 2009

While I don’t make impulse decisions, I also don’t plan life out strictly. I like to think things through, decide what feels right to me, then just go with it and be confident that it’s the right move. If you listened to my recent podcast, you know that the life mantra I spoke of is fear less, live more. I truly believe in doing that.

So what’s our next bold, awesome, scary, exciting move?

San Diego

We’re moving back to San Diego and buying a house there!

The Bay Area has been great, but both of us have missed San Diego. While we took advantage of all the Bay Area has to offer in the past year, we knew early on in our time here that we ideally wanted to get back to Southern Cali. It seems a little nutty to move 8 hours away from somewhere, only to move back a year later, but life is short and it’s what we want to do, so we’re going for it. We plan to move back towards the east side of the country at some point in the future to be closer to our families again, but for now, the beautiful, wonderful city of San Diego is calling our names.

We just went into escrow on the adorable house we’re buying earlier this week. This will be the first home we’ve ever owned. In addition to that, my hubby will be starting his own business later this year. It’s all both thrilling and scary, but it feels right to us and that’s all that matters right?


We obviously celebrated with wine and cupcakes last night. :)


Mint Chippin’ + Peanut Butter Cup + Salt & Sweet heavenly cupcakes

Stay tuned for more details as things progress, but know that in the near future, this crazy awesome life of mine that I share on Foodie Loves Fitness will be continuing on in the place where my blog began — San Diego….and I can’t wait!!

The Morning Burst of Energy Workout

I’m sure I’ve said it before, but I love to start my day off with some movement. During the week I’m typically sitting down working a lot of the day, and it’s nice to just begin my day with either a long walk with Harley, some yoga, or a quickie workout that wakes my body up. It may just be the endorphins flowing, or perhaps it’s the way that movement makes me feel like I’m setting a good tone for the day, but I really think it gives me more energy throughout the morning and afternoon.

wake up be awesome

In the spirit of morning workout love, I’m sharing with you a workout sequence I created last week as a way to get that first thing in the AM movement in. The workout itself takes only 15 minutes. With around a minute of dynamic stretching to start, then a few short minutes of stretching at the end, it takes less than 20 minutes to do, making it an awesome quickie workout to begin your day on a positive note!

Morning Workout

I should note that while I like to exercise a bit when I wake up, I actually prefer to have my real  workout later in the day. This is probably because I don’t like waking up super early! Case in point: This morning I set my alarm for 6 AM to squeeze a workout in at my hotel’s gym since I’m in Vegas at the moment… but I totally snoozed through it and opted for the extra sleep. Instead of an AM exercise session, I worked out at 8:30 PM this evening after work. Whatever works best right!

Question: Are you also a fan of getting some exercise in first thing in your day?

My Favorite Foods to Pack for Trips

Hi there!

Hope that you all are having a fabulous weekend. Mine is going very good so far. I leave for Las Vegas in the morning for a work trip, so here I am, yet again procrastinating packing and instead blogging….not surprising given that I was doing the exactly same thing about 10 days ago before my last trip!

Speaking of traveling, today I want to talk about packing food for trips. Traveling can be so unpredictable. Maybe you’ll have healthy food options available, sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you’ll be in a rush, while other times your grumbling belly causes you to buy overpriced crappy food at the airport while waiting for your delayed flight to get moving. And since I’m paranoid about going hungry without any good options around (I blame this on my mother, who always has lots of snacks on-hand for this very reason!), I always make sure to bring a probably more than necessary amount of food on trips. So without further adieu, here’s a list of my favorite grub to pack while traveling:

Bars galore! 


I am like the queen of bars on trips. Protein bars, granola bars, breakfast bars… I pack a wide variety of bars because they’re so convenient to throw in a purse and eat on-the-go. My favorite types are Kind Bars, Zing, Pure Bars and Cascadian Farms. Quest bars are always yummy, but don’t make the cut because their bars tend to be too hard unless put in a microwave or oven first (fail).


packed fruit

Road trips open the door to all different kinds of food since you aren’t constrained by airport security yelling at you saying that peanut butter is in fact a liquid (I kid you not, that really happened to me!). On last month’s road trip to Lake Tahoe and last weekend’s trip to San Diego, I brought containers full of berries. They’re the perfect I’m-not-really-hungry-but-I’m-bored-and-sick-of-sitting-in-the-car-food to nosh on.


Kashi cereal

This is always a go-to option of mine when I have an early in the morning travel time. This way I can snack on cereal when my belly wakes up. You can bet that I’ll be packing a baggie of cereal for tomorrow, when I’ll be leaving for San Francisco Airport at 6 AM! Just one thing: skip the Lucky Charms and go for something that’s lower in sugar and a little more nutritious, like Kashi.

Dried Fruit

dried fruit

Dried mango is a favorite snack that I like to pack when traveling. It’s great for when a sweet tooth strikes!

Fruit Bars

fruit bars

And while I’m mentioning dried fruit, I mine as well also talk about fruit and veggie bars. They’re so portable and easy to carry around, and they’re a simple way to keep up your intake of fruits and veggies when you’re traveling.

PB Banana Sandwiches

banana pb sandwich

I just mentioned this in my PB & jelly smoothie post, but a PB & banana/jelly sandwich is my go-to for lunch on the road.

Strawberry almond oatmeal bars just popped into my brain, so if I can get on packing and have the energy, I may whip them up to bring with me to Vegas. Yum!

Question: What’s your favorite food to pack when you’re traveling or just on-the-go?

Asbestos Awareness Week

Hi friends!

My last post kept it light and centered around jelly flavors. This post I’ll be talking about the very serious subject of mesothelioma awareness. How’s that for balance?



Recently an outreach coordinator from the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance contacted me about helping to raise awareness for Asbestos Awareness Week, which is taking place this week. Mesothelioma is a very rare form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.

As a person who is very into health and disease awareness, knows very little about asbestos, and is very freaked out by how silent killers like radon, mold, and asbestos can cause sickness, I was interested to know more. If you read my blog, chances are you’re interested in health and wellness, so I thought you’d want to check out these asbestos facts that you probably haven’t heard before:

Did You Know Facts

The story of Heather Von St. James was shared with me. Heather is a mesothelioma survivor who was told she had 15 months to live after being diagnosed with the disease soon after giving birth. Now, 8 years later, she lives to tell her story. She seems to have an awesome positive attitude, and even commemorates the day she got her lung removed — calling it Lung Leavin’ Day — by practicing overcoming her fears. Heather and her friends and family write down fears they have on plates, then smash then into a fire. How neat right?

It’s Heather’s mission to help other mesothelioma victims around the world, and she’ll be giving a speech at the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization conference in Washington, DC this Saturday. She hopes to help spread hope and awareness for others going through mesothelioma,  and I’m happy to be a teeny tiny part of that by talking about the disease today.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Smoothie [Vegan]

My hubby and I have a very serious, ongoing debate in our household.

You see, we’re both grown ups that like eating PB & J sandwiches — though I make mine a banana, PB & J sandwich because it seems more adult to add a fruit into the mix — but he only likes grape jelly. I, on the other hand, think grape jelly is gross and prefer strawberry or raspberry jelly.


PB & J sandwiches happen to be our go-to thing to pack if we’re on the road, going to the beach or anything like that, so it has come up many times and usually starts something like this:

Me: “Babe, we’re out of grape jelly. Should I just put strawberry on your sandwiches?”

Him: “Nah, I don’t like strawberry jelly.”

Me: “Stop the madness…How do you not like strawberry jelly??”

PB&J smoothie-1

When my hubby’s grandparents recently visited, I had to laugh when both of them preferred grape jelly for their English muffins over the strawberry & raspberry jelly, and pumpkin butter options I also had on hand. What?!

Grape jelly lovin’ must run in the family.


Writing this post is making me think about how my grandma loves orange marmalade. She may be one of few people on the planet who seeks out the marmalade flavor in the individual jelly packet container at cafes and diners. I dislike marmalade even more than grape jelly. No thank you!

Different jellies for different bellies I suppose.

And now that I’ve talked solely about the important topic of jelly flavors this entire post (keeping it light today friends!), let’s get to today’s recipe, shall we? I turned my beloved PB & (strawberry) J into a smoothie because, well, smoothies in general are awesome, and a healthy, vegan, yummy smoothie that reminds you of childhood is even more awesome.

PB & J smoothie-2

Peanut Butter & Jelly Smoothie [Vegan]
Serves: 1

  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • ⅔ cup vanilla soy milk (any type of milk will work)
  • 2 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 TBSP peanut butter
  • 1 TBSP chia seeds
  • ¼ TSP cinnamon
  • ¼ TSP vanilla extract
  • Ice

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth.
  2. Pour in a glass and enjoy immediately!


Do you like jelly? What’s your fav flavor?

Developing a Healthier Relationship with Food

Recently I had the chance to be interviewed by Adam & Devon Bate for a podcast on The Lifestyle Accountability Show. The premise behind their podcast series is to share the stories of people who lead healthy lifestyles to help motivate and inspire others.


As a public relations pro and freelance writer, I am always the one doing the interviewing, so it definitely felt weird being the interviewee. But it was fun to share some of my story and put myself out there in a new way. You can check out the podcast here!

Ever go on a job interview or date or something and think later about what you could have said better? Well I am the queen of doing this!

I feel like during the podcast, a few of their questions put me on the spot, and later I looked back and thought of answers that were not only more interesting, but more significant to my life — and there’s one in particular that I want to chat about.

The question: 

What would you say your biggest accomplishment has been in health and fitness? 

My new answer: 

I’m proud of how much my relationship with food has improved along my health and wellness journey.

Growing up, I wasn’t fat, but I wasn’t the skinny kid either. I remember thinking of food as “good” or “bad” and associating it with feelings of guilt. Some of the women in my family are very small people – 5 feet tall and 100 pounds – and I remember feeling embarrassed about being taller and bigger than them. I went through phases of eating very little, to binge eating, to only allowing myself dessert if I had done 2 hours of cardio that day. Being a girl in a society where weight is emphasized so much in the media and living in a fat-phobic environment can be confusing, especially when you love food.


Early in my adulthood, I realized that I love food, cooking, baking, and being in the kitchen experimenting, and I began to take on a new attitude about it. I came to the realization that food is fuel, that we are what we eat, and that I wanted to feed myself with both delicious and nutritious eats. Having grown up believing that peanut butter tasted great but was too high in fat to eat, I started to embrace foods high in monounsaturated fats like nut butters, olive oil, nuts and avocado, and somewhere along the lines, I began to embrace myself more as a woman in general.

healthy high fat foods

No longer was I plagued by the idea that fat = evil. All in moderation was my new attitude, and that also applied to the not so good for you things I like to enjoy sometimes, like ice cream or a cupcake.

I think that any foodie living a healthy lifestyle can relate to this balancing act. Balance is not a destination; it’s not something we achieve and then just have down to a science. Finding balance
veggies is a constant process of evolving with the current circumstances, of realizing that something that worked before isn’t working now, that experimenting with how we eat or workout or do anything really can be a good thing for us.

And so, I am definitely not saying that I’m perfect, that I have all of the answers when it comes to living
healthily. Sometimes I drink too much wine, eat too many cookies, or ignore my body telling me a rest day is order instead of a hardcore gym session. But what I am saying is that I’ve come a hell of a way in finding that balance.

Has your relationship with food evolved?

What’s your greatest accomplishment in your health journey?