Local Connections and Mitch’s Restaurant Palm Desert Giveaway!

Joining up with Amanda today for Thinking Out Loud.


Sometimes it feels like I blog on an island.

Now don’t get me wrong. Since I started blogging over six (!) years ago I have made so many “blends” (blogging friends). We read each others blogs, support each other, and I even had the chance to meet many last year at Blogfest (and more hopefully this year).

20140814 IDEA Anaheim Copyright 2014 Len  Spoden Photography.

IDEA Anaheim Copyright 2014 Len Spoden Photography.

The thing is, even though some of these women (and a few men) feel like true friends, none of them live anywhere near me. Oh, yes, quite a few in Southern California, especially San Diego, Orange County, and Los Angeles. But those places are several hours away, and I don’t get there very often.

But now, that is changing.

Several months ago I was participating in a campaign with Linqia. I always like to support the other bloggers in a campaign, so when they would leave the link of their completed article I would stop by their blog and comment on and share their post.

One of those bloggers was Andrea from Tabler Party of Two. She’d written a great post for Del Monte Pure Earth Juice, including a delicious Pineapple Mojito recipe (check it out!). About a week later I received a message from Andrea asking me to join the Desert Bloggers, a local blogging group! I had no idea she was from the desert! Fortunately, my old blog name Live from La Quinta, let Andrea know that I was a local.

Since that time, a few of us have met for a glass of wine, and several of us will be heading to Bloggy Boot Camp in May. I’m excited to have made new, local blogging friends and can’t wait to see what the future will bring.

Well, in one way, the future is here. The Desert Bloggers are doing our first shared giveaway! If you are local to the desert, or know someone who is (please share this!), you can win a $150 gift certificate and a bottle of wine from Mitch’s on El Paseo !

When Andrea, Lizzie, and I met at Mitch’s Restaurant a couple weeks ago to discuss the giveaway, I had a chance to check out the menu. I, of course, am always on the lookout for plant based options, and Mitch’s has a few. They even have a vegan roll on their sushi menu (called The Vegan). I was also assured by Mitch himself, who is always on hand to greet diners, that the kitchen would be happy to accommodate a plant based diet on request (I’d recommend calling ahead).

For my non-vegan readers, Mitch’s Restaurant, which opened in February 2013 in the site of the former Augusta Restaurant on El Paseo in Palm Desert, has options that range from steak and seafood to sushi and lobster tempura. Truly something for everybody.

Below you will find the links to all of the participants in the giveaway as well as the Gleam entry form. Good luck!


Mitch’s On El Paseo | Tabler Party of Two | Bianca Rae Foundation | Buehler’s Day Off | Krystle Kelly | Coach Debbie Runs | Listing to Port

Mitch’s Giveaway

If you’re a blogger, have you joined a local blogging group? Have you had the opportunity to meet your favorite bloggers in real life?

Start Living Your Legacy. Win a $100 Gift Card to Help

Thanks to Medtronic for sponsoring today’s conversation.


Live On. Give On.

Imagine facing a life threatening illness. We are faced with many challenges in this world, and overcoming a serious disease can take all the energy, determination, and courage that most of us have. I’d like to introduce you to a group of 10 people who, after overcoming their own illness then in turn used that life saving determination and courage to help others.

Live On Infographic

These 10 people are the 2014 Bakken Invitation honorees. People who not only saved their own lives, but used their “extra life” to help others. People like David Watkins, who after finally being diagnosed with a bicuspid aortic valve, asked himself as he was being wheeled into surgery, “what is my legacy?” After undergoing multiple surgeries, a complicated recovery which included a stroke, David finally recovered and decided that he needed to use his second chance at life to create that legacy. To that end, he started the Ironheart Foundation, and began connecting with recovering heart patients who were getting active through sport.


As one of the Bakken Invitation honorees, David will direct a $20,000 grant to the Ironheart Foundation. David’s words of inspiration, which speak to me personally, are “Start living your legacy.”

David Watkins

While I could only hope to have the courage and determination that David and the other Bakken Invitation honorees have shown, I, along with my husband Alan, try to do our own part with the animals in our community. Most of my readers know about the dogs that we rescue, but I don’t write as frequently about the feral cats that we care for. Not only do we feed and take care of their medical needs, we also spay and neuter as many as we can, plus try to tame the inevitable kittens so that we can find them homes. It is expensive, sometimes heartbreaking, and always rewarding, as we work to take care of the feral cats while trying to reduce their numbers, frequently dealing with city and county officials, negotiating with veterinarians, and working to keep the neighbors happy.


Medtronic would like to help you “Start living your legacy” by giving you a $100 Visa gift card to do good in your own community. To win, simply visit the Bakken Invitation website and tell me which of the honorees most inspires you. Then let me know how you could use a $100 to help your community.

The Visa gift card winner will be randomly selected on December 30 from among the commenters who followed the above instructions. The winner must be 18 or older and be a resident of the US. While the winner can use the gift card in any way that they like, they should use it to benefit their community.

Getting Outside with LÄRABAR (plus a Giveaway)

Today’s post is sponsored by LÄRABAR but my love of their bars is all my own.

Get Outside

I love to exercise outdoors. I am a runner first and foremost, and as I have, ahem, gotten a little older, I appreciate more and more the joy of trail running. Some days, though, it’s great to slow things down, lace up my hiking boots (or retired running shoes in my case), and hit the trails for a hike.


I am so fortunate that I live less than a half mile away from some of the best hiking trails in the world. While not your typical woodsy trails with lovely streams running through them, the desert has its own subtle beauty, and your hike or run can be as easy or challenging as you want to make it.


Do you want to put some effort into it, find hidden desert treasures, and spend several hours exploring the trails? Try the Bear Creek Oasis Trail. Would you rather have a more moderate, flat, sightseeing hike? Try the Bear Creek Canyon Trail or simply circle the Oasis. There is even a trail that will lead you about 14 miles up the Santa Rosa Mountains, ending up at 4,000 feet elevation! There truly is something for everybody.


I kept it simple on my hike this week. I was alone for one thing, so I felt more comfortable with the Oasis loop, plus I just got over my cold, so I really didn’t need any challenges. That makes the packing simple too. I just loaded up my backpack with water, a handful of LÄRABARs, and a couple packs of RENOLA. Easy breezy!


Eat Clean

I have been a huge fan of LÄRABAR for years. I’m always looking for plant based snacks, and most LÄRABARs are not only vegan and soy-free, they are all gluten free, non-GMO, and made with simple whole ingredients. For example, my favorite, Pecan Pie, has only dates, pecans, and almonds. You can’t get more real than that.

Larabar8I was first introduced to RENOLA at IDEAWorld Expo, where I picked up a couple packages at the LÄRABAR booth. RENOLA is a blend of fruit, nuts, and seeds, like a combination of trail mix and granola. It is gluten and grain free, and super easy to stash in your purse or bag for a quick snack on the go.


I received a LÄRAbag full of goodies from LÄRABAR so that I could fuel my hike and let you know about the pure clean goodness of their products and also to make sure that you knew about National Take a Hike Day, which is on November 17. It’s a great day, and a great way, to #GetOutside and #EatClean.

larabar12The story behind LÄRABAR is very simple too. Founder Lara Merriken was hiking in the Colorado Rockies one day, and began to wonder why there wasn’t a convenient, wholesome alternative to trail mix that was easy to carry and eat. In that instant, in May 2000, LÄRABAR was born.

Win a LÄRABAR Prize Pack of your own!

Here is your chance to win a LÄRABAR prize pack with 16 assorted LÄRABARs and packs of RENOLA! All you have to do is visit the LÄRABAR site and tell me in the comments what flavor of LÄRABAR and what flavor of RENOLA that you are excited to try. There are over 20 flavors including some seasonal ones that will make your mouth water. The contest ends at midnight on November 7.

Save with this Coupon on your next LÄRABAR purchase!

Can’t wait? Live from La Quinta readers can get this coupon for .50 off any LÄRABAR! Click here for your coupon.

National Take a Hike Day

Don’t forget that National Take a Hike Day is on November 17! You can join LÄRABAR and me, and get outside to enjoy a hike on trails near you. You can share your stories and photos, and read about others’ adventures by using the hashtag #getoutside and #eatclean. I can’t wait to hear your stories!

Contest Rules: Must be 18 years old and a resident of the US to enter. To enter visit the LÄRABAR website and tell me in the comments the flavors of  LÄRABAR and RENOLA you would like to try. The winner will be randomly chosen from all entrants who answered the question in the comments. The contest ends at midnight November 7 and a winner will be selected and notified within 24 hours. The winner must respond within 48 hours or another winner will be selected.

What flavors of LÄRABAR and RENOLA would you like to try? Do you have a #getoutside story to tell?

Bondi Band Review and Giveaway

Bondi BandI was given an opportunity to try a Bondi Band and to host a giveaway through Fit Approach. All opinions are my own. I received one Bondi Band for myself, and three to give away.


I thought there was something wrong with me.

Everywhere I ran, I saw women wearing headbands. Flowery ones, sparkly ones, headbands with cute statements on them. They served a double purpose, they kept one’s hair off one’s face and they looked cute while doing so.

I jumped on the headband bandwagon.

Maybe I should have tried one on before I invested bought a variety of pretty headbands.

Try as I might, I simply couldn’t keep a headband on my head. I’d put it on, adjust it so that it felt secure, but as soon as I moved, it would slip right off the back of my head. I finally just assumed that my head was shaped wrong and that I just wasn’t meant to be a headband wearer.

When I was offered the opportunity to try out a Bondi Band headband, I thought I’d give it one more try. I remembered Carrie wearing her Bondi Band during our Ragnar Relay, and how comfortable and snug it looked on her head, and I was hopeful.

Because of the Ragnar connection, I was happy when I received this in the mail:

Bondi Band 4

I wore it for my run the very next day. First off, let me tell you, it stayed in place. It did NOT slip off my head! I kept touching it to make sure that it was there because while it doesn’t slip at all, it is also really light. The weather is really warming up here in the desert, even though I run early in the morning. I was afraid that it would make my head feel too hot. In fact, the opposite was true. The Bondi Band kept me dry and cool!

Because I just ran a few recovery miles, I had time to practice a little yoga before I needed to get ready for work. I chose a 30 minute flow class, and kept the Bondi Band on. It kept my hair off my face, and again, it felt so weightless I’d forget I was wearing a headband.

Bondi Band 5I always get a little help with my at-home yoga practice.

As I mentioned, I have three Bondi Bands to give away! Not only that, if you use the coupon code SWEATPINK when your order you will save 10% on all items (except Bargain Basement, Design Your Own, and Custom Items) through June 28!

Bondi Band

Use the Rafflecopter below to enter to win one of the three Bondi Bands above.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

Bondi Band 3

Kind Bars Review and Giveaway

The contest is over (and the winner listed below). I hope you’ll stick around to read the review!

I was so excited when Kind Snacks recently offered me an opportunity to try some of their Kind Bars and to sample two different Kind Healthy Grains! I have been a fan for a long time. What’s not to love?

Kind Bars - vegan

After all (from their website):

We believe if you can’t pronounce an ingredient, it shouldn’t go into your body. Actually, it shouldn’t even go into your pantry. That’s why all KIND Healthy Snacks are made from all-natural whole nuts, fruits and whole grains. No secret ingredients and absolutely nothing artificial here. Just a delicious way of getting your body essential nutrients like fiber, protein and antioxidants (to name a few).

My delicious care package included a bag of Oats and Honey Clusters with Coconut (I try to avoid honey so Alan got to enjoy it), and a bag of Dark Chocolate (chocolate!!!) and Cranberry Clusters. All of the Kind Healthy Grains are made with unique 100% whole grains like amaranth, quinoa, and millet, and contain superfoods like blueberries and chia seeds. As with all their products, they use only whole foods, and they are all gluten free and always non-GMO What an inspired idea to put antioxident rich dark chocolate in a cereal/snack!

Kind Bar Review

I also received a supply of Kind Bars, including a few newer ones that I hadn’t heard of before!

Kind Bar Review - vegan

These Kind Nuts and Spices Bars offer a variety of nuts with spices such as ginger and cinnamon. Oh, and dark chocolate too! Plus they all have only 5 grams of sugar or less. These bars were definitely my favorites, though I’d have a hard time choosing between Maple Glazed Pecan and Sea Salt and Dark Chocolate Nuts and Sea Salt. Oh, don’t forget Cashew and Ginger Spice. Or perhaps my all time favorite Dark Chocolate Chili Almond.

Kind Bar Review - Vegan

I also received a few Kind Plus bars, all of which come with an extra boost of protein, antioxidents, fiber, or omega 3 fatty acids. I love to throw one in my purse, just in case I need that boost.

The best thing of all? The kind folks at Kind Snacks want you to have a chance to try out their bars! Enter the giveaway below and you can win a dozen Kind Bars!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

Kind Bar review

Bottom line, I love Kind Bars and Clusters! Great tasting, whole food that will fuel your body naturally.

Disclosure: I was sent the Kind Healthy Grains and Bars at no cost to me in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.