The Happy Girl Blog

Happy girls are the prettiest girls


2017 is upon us & Spartan races are better than ever!

Hello and long time no see, my bloggy friends! Though I have moved on from blogging to writing fiction and research papers (more on that in a later post!) I still miss blogging and keeping my internet friends in the loop with my life. There is a whole community here that I miss, desperately. I can't commit to adding blogging regularly into my jam-packed schedule, but I might drop in every once in a while to give a quick update or say hello. Which is what this is.

And I have Spartan news! You know, because I occasionally work with them to promote their events and whatnot.

So, what's new with Spartan? Season passes. That's right, you can race again and again in a single season! You can also do a trifecta and race sprint, super, and beast races on one pass. Genius for those awesome Spartans who want to really push themselves. There are two options to choose from, the open or the elite.

What you get with the open season pass:
  • Unlimited Racing during the Calendar Year (2017)
  • Free Spectator Pass
  • Free Bag Check
  • Guaranteed Entry to all events (not guaranteed heat)
  • Multi-Lap Discount
  • Valid on all Continental US & Hawaii Events
  • Valid for OPEN Heats ONLY
  • Upcharge for Elite (+$30) and Competitive (+$15)

What you get with the elite season pass:
  • Unlimited Racing during the Calendar Year (2017)
  • Free Spectator Pass
  • Free Bag Check
  • Guaranteed Entry to all events (not guaranteed heat)
  • Multi-Lap Discount
  • Valid on all Continental US & Hawaii Events
  • Valid for ALL heats (Elite, Comp. & Open)

Another cool new change: the medals!! They are so rad for this season. This kinda bling is exactly what you need to add to your medal hanger or to decorate your office. Or you can just wear them around town like a really heavy necklace. Might as well, you earned it, right?!

As usual, I have a giveaway for a free race code that will work for any US Spartan race in an open heat. Enter for your chance to win and share with your friends!


So, I wanna be a half Ironman

I wouldn’t call myself much of a nostalgic person, but I really love the Facebook “On this day” memories function. Each day a notification pops up to let me know what I was doing on this day over the years and I get to remember specific details that may never have made it to the front of my consciousness after being tucked away for safekeeping. This past weekend, FB reminded me that six years ago I was just beginning my couch to 5k program and had reached the point where I would have to run 2.5 miles straight, three times! Cue OMG I can’t believe how far I have to run status update. You guys. I now view 2.5 miles pretty much as a warm up.  But that is six years of training, pushing myself to achieve goals and race new distances, overcoming setbacks, make it through injuries, my own brain telling me I can’t, and my body refusing to cooperate until I made it.

In 2009, I had a New Year’s goal to run a 5k, 3.1 miles, by June. I hadn’t run more than a mile straight since high school, and even then I was a shorter distance runner specializing in sprints. A 5k was a huge undertaking and a lofty goal for me at that point. I often have friends tell me they can’t believe my training distances or how often I find myself outside pushing through a workout. I view my training now as somewhat average with dips and peaks that either push my mileage or allow me to rest. I didn’t just start out riding 30 miles on my bike and loving it. I started with a few miles at a time and worked up from there. I had to use a program to teach myself how to run even 3 miles straight. I have spent years getting to this place, and even then, I am not always capable of running or cycling the distances I would like to. I have to tell my friends (and myself) that you can’t compare yourself to anyone else, they may be further along in their journey than you, so you have to compete against yourself, each workout pushing to move forward in your training. It’s an endurance race, not a sprint. You will get where you want to be by putting in a lot of time and effort.

I did run a 5k by June 2009. I ran two more that summer, and a 10k on Thanksgiving. I was finally a real runner! I didn't always feel like one and I had so many horrible runs where my speed sucked or I couldn’t make it as far as a previous run, but I was a runner.
In 2010, I set my sights on a sprint distance triathlon, because why not?! I could run 5 and 10k, I might as well throw in a swim and bike ride first. I bought my first real bike, you know, from an actual bike shop, that was designated for road riding, and started figuring out how not to drown, because I still don’t consider myself a swimmer.

Six years later, I am staring down the behemoth that is a half Ironman distance triathlon. Again, because why not?! I have raced two sprint triathlons, a few duathlons, and run five half marathons, why not add a mile swim and a 56 mile bike ride before it? I recognize my crazy status, and I embrace it. I picked a race late in the season, the Austin 70.3 on Mr. B’s birthday, October 30th, (Happy birthday, honey! Come watch me race!) and am beginning to realize it’s go time to implement a training plan and get serious about this race that will be the most difficult athletic endeavor I’ve taken on in my life. I have two sprint distance and two Olympic distance races leading up to the half Ironman, which I hope will prepare me to tackle the monster in October.

Now, who has a good half iron training plan they would like to recommend?  I am taking suggestions, advice, your own crazy stories, and commiseration for why we think these races are good ideas!


Spartan Fit, Agoge, and a free race code!

Hello, happy girls (and boys)! I'm back for a minute to tell y'all what's new with Spartan.
Super exciting things are coming from the Spartan camp with a new book by Joe DeSena called Spartan Fit!, a follow-up to his NYT #2 bestseller Spartan Up!
With a release date of August 2016, you can pre-order now and have the book show up at your doorstep or pop up on your Kindle ready to motivate, inspire, and push you to greatness derived from the living legend himself. It looks awesome! I mean, check out this tagline: A complete Spartan training guide, Spartan Fit will arm readers with the strength, knowledge, and grit to never question their potential again. Um, yes, please! Sign me up!
31 Days. Transform your Mind. Transform Your Body. Commit to Grit. No Gym Required.
A 31-day workout and diet plan to prepare for the Spartan Sprint — or to just get you in ultimate shape
Full-body workouts requiring no gym and no weight
How to build fitness levels from one race to the next
Inspiring, motivating stories of Spartans
A complete Spartan training guide, Spartan Fit! arms readers with the strength, knowledge, and grit to never question their potential again, both on and off the race course.

JOE DE SENA is the founder and owner of the Spartan Race, as well as a living legend in endurance and adventure racing circles — he completed the 135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon, raced the 140.6 miles of Lake Placid Ironman, and finished a 100-mile trail run in Vermont, all within one week.

In 2014, De Sena authored Spartan Up!, the #2 New York Times Bestseller, that changed lives and revealed the secrets to developing the resourcefulness and mental determination needed to become a true Spartan.
Y'all...there is a NEW Spartan endurance event that is shaking up the competition and pushing the limits like never before. It's called the AGOGE.

In the 7th century BC, the Spartans wanted to produce the strongest and most mentally tough citizens on earth. To do this, they created the Agoge, a system of training that became the envy of the known world.

Spartan Race brings this same philosophy to modern times with a fully immersive training program that balances class time with hands-on practical application of skills and lessons taught in the classroom. The Spartan Agoge will be held in Pittsfield, Vermont on the “farm” twice a year—once in summer and once in winter—with special sessions for US military units.

In the future, the Spartan will host the Agoge in historic locations across the globe.

To complete the Spartan Agoge, a person must overcome mental and physical obstacles that aim to develop the body, mind and spirit. Most people will need to undertake months of training and self-discovery to earn this coveted achievement.

It is advised that entrants have completed various endurance events and intellectual challenges. This could mean developing perseverance, camaraderie, and leadership through military training, or it could mean completing various Spartan Race and SpartanHurricane Heat distances.
Do you want to push your limits and see what you're made of? Enter my giveaway for a chance to win a free race entry in any open heat (non-confirmed start time) for any Spartan race in the continental US. 


Tasty Tuesday: Paleo Turkey Meatballs

Hello, blog world! I know, long time no see, but you should be used to that by now ;)

I made this recipe twice last week, it was that good. I made it on a whim one night for Billy and our roomie, then decided to serve it for our dinner and game night later when we had company. I took inspiration from a recipe I found on Paleo Newbie, but changed enough to make it necessary to create my own recipe so I can remember for the next time I want to have these awesome meatballs. PN goes the extra step to make her own marinara, whereas I used jarred for ease. Please check out her recipe as well by clicking her blog link above!

Crock Pot Paleo Turkey Meatballs
paleonewbie-com recipe slow cooked Italian meatballs in marinara sauce
Photo from Paleo Newbie!

  • 2lbs lean ground turkey
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2/3 cup quinoa flour (or any gluten-free flour of your choice)
  • 4 gloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 jar of your favorite marinara (I used Trader Joe's tomato basil marinara both times)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella, optional *won't be paleo if you add cheese*

Spray your crock pot and a large skillet with non-stick spray. Pour a quarter of your marinara into the crock pot. Heat the large skillet over medium heat. In a large bowl, mix turkey, spices, flour, and eggs with your hands until it all comes together, but don't overmix. It will be sticky and weird, but it's easy to do. Make golf ball sized meatballs out of the mixture and place in the skillet. I have to do this in two batches due to the size of my skillet. Brown on all sides by flipping each meatball after a minute or two on each side. You don't have to cook the meatballs all the way through, just get the outside browned up and transfer to the crock pot. Once all of your meatballs are ready, cover with the rest of the marinara and cook on low for 2 and a half hours or until everything is cooked through. If you are adding the optional cheese, sprinkle on top and replace the lid to cook for another 15 minutes or until melted and gooey (and delicious).  Serve as is or with a salad, pasta, and garlic bread if you aren't adverse to carbs. I'm not, but if you're paleo you have to make concessions.

Makes about 20 meatballs depending on the size you make them into. You can cut the recipe in half easily if you want fewer meatballs.


Midsummer Spartan Race news

Whoa...I'm making an appearance on this sadly neglected blog? Yes, yes I am.

I'm stopping in because there is some cool Spartan race news I just found out about and I figured I would share with you. I am sure there are some awesome athletes who may read this and want discount codes and race news, right? YES. I'm putting a Spartan race on my must-do race calendar for next year when it returns to Austin (along with Rock 'N Roll half marathon New Orleans in February and another triathlon at some point), and hopefully there is a race soon near you if you are interested.

By the way, Spartan races not just for crossfitters and endurance race fanatics. They are for anyone who wants to challenge themselves in a whole new way. Who doesn't want to take on this challenge and say they completed a Spartan race? It's sort of the best obstacle race you can complete, with mad bragging rights.

Want to hit up a race before summer is over? Good news, I've got a code for you to save some moola. Use code: SPARTANSUMMER to save $20, $30 or $40 off a race. Lucky you.
We all know that misery loves company, er, athletic prowess loves company, so I can imagine if you sign up for a race you will be dragging your nearest and dearest, and most badass, friends along with you. 
Recruit three friends and your next race is free.
We have more races than ever, in new locations. We also have new obstacles, new burpees, new finisher tees, new medals and new stories to tell. So when your friends hit you with excuses, you have the facts to hit them with.
Recruit three of your friends sign up, you’ll get your next race on us; completely free! Your friends will also get $20 off of their race. That means everyone wins.
We’ll see you and your team at the starting line. Use Code: TEAM

You can look up a race near you, or plan a "race-cation", which is a great opportunity to visit a new place AND get your Spartan on. Just check out this link for more details. Ahem, there are races in Canada and
 Europe. Can you say destination race? 
Calgary friends, there is a race NEXT WEEKEND for you. You're welcome.
Prepare for your next Spartan Race with a FREE Spartan Workout! Learn exercises from official Spartan SGX Coaches to help you over the toughest of obstacles while you train with like-minded Spartans. Earn your signature "I'm Training for a Spartan Race" T-shirt and wear it with pride while you continue to train up until race day. All you need to bring is some water, a towel, and friends!

So, tell me...
Will you take the challenge? AROO!!!


Book links and almost release day!

What up, happy people?!

Guess what?

My book releases in less than 25 hours. Yes, so soon. Tuesday April 7th at midnight (like what comes right after 11:59pm on Monday April 6th, just to be clear) A Taste of Bliss will go live on all e-book retailers I have uploaded to. Which is practically all of them, because I like to cover my bases like that.
These are all pre-order links until it goes live on Tuesday, which is when they will become buy links instead.
Amazon Kindle
Barnes & Noble Nook
Google play
Know what else is cool? I have a paperback that is ALREADY available to order. Because who doesn't want to be able to buy the hardcover early? If you buy it off Amazon and still want a Kindle version, I have ebook matching on so you save $2 off the Kindle price of $2.99.

Paperback on Amazon

When I received my paperback proof in the mail last week and held my book for the very first time, I was brought to tears. Every part of this journey has been humbling and incredible, but actually holding my physical book in my hands was the craziest part. This is a big, crazy, surreal dream that is actually coming true after a lot of hard work and a lot of dreaming big. I can hardly believe it.
Want some sexy teasers? Of course you do!


Book news!

*mic tap*

Uh, hey there, Happy Girl followers--if there are any left!
I have news.
Good news.
Good news as in book news, because y'all know that's my life now.
Look at that beautiful cover. It's pretty dreamy, right? Kari Ayasha of Cover to Cover designs put that beauty together with photos shot by Josh Baker of AzulOx Visuals. It's a little light and almost "chick lit" style for the kind of story it is, but I like it. I didn't want to put a black and white man chest with bold lettering on my cover. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE those covers on other books, but for this one, I needed something different.
And more news!
A Taste of Bliss has a release date! April 7, 2015 my little novel that could will go out into the world of ebooks and try to make a name for herself. I'm keeping my expectations realistic and low: No one knows about me. I don't have a back stock of books that I can use as a stepping stone or a large fan base from previous releases. Nope, I am doing this all indie style. I'm trying to build a fan base on my Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter. Maybe through those interactions I can drum up some likes and sales. Who knows.
You know what would make this book a success for me?
Just to have my book published.
It doesn't matter if I make back the money I put into producing it (um, even though it's self-published, it was definitely NOT free. I paid a professional editor, cover designer, formatter, hired a PR company, bought ISBN numbers, bought domains and built a website, etc.), I am not looking to make money off this. Oh, of course, it would be amazing to get some sales, but if I don't and my expectations are high, I'll be disappointed.
I do not want to be disappointed.

Want to know how you can help me out? Spread the word.
Yup, that's it. Post my pre-order and social links anywhere you want to. Tell your friends.
Read the blurb; if you like it, tell someone else.
If you really feel like supporting me, buy a copy from one of the many places I will have it for sale.
If you like what you have read, review it wherever you bought the book. Those reviews mean so much. Mostly, they tell other readers what you thought, which can help them decide if they want to purchase the book for themselves.

Follow me on Facebook: Adrian R. Hale on FB
You can add it to your Goodreads to be read pile by clicking this link: A Taste of Bliss on Goodreads

You can pre-order at the following links:
Amazon: Kindle
Google: Google play
Smashwords: for e-readers
Barnes & Noble, kobo, iBooks, paperback: coming soon!

Adrian can be found around the web here:
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A Taste of Bliss
by Adrian R. Hale

All Bliss Kaufman wanted was a sandwich and a nap after a grueling day beautifying this week’s bridal party. So when a bartender with a panty-melting grin offers her dinner and a ride on his motorcycle, Bliss swerves from her plans for one unexpected night with Talan McGregor. Just one. It was never supposed to go further. But once isn’t enough for Talan who returns demanding more--and his timing couldn’t be worse.

A life-changing diagnosis forces Bliss to abandon her carefully crafted plans. Even though she can make anyone beautiful with enough makeup and hair product, she can’t fix everything with her 50-pound bag of beauty tricks. Bliss is starting to think she might need Talan after all, but letting him in means cracking open her heart and embracing a life without a safety net.

After all, love is life’s greatest complication, and might just be worth the risk.


Tasty Tuesday: steam-fried sausage and veggies

You know what's good? When you make a recipe that is easy and makes you feel like you're eating decently. I love striving for health when it comes to my food, but dang, I hate the preparation involved to get there. Enter the genius of throwing a bunch of stuff in your fridge into a skillet and steam-frying (totes legit cooking term) it all together until yumminess occurs. Well, B, the veggie hater, would say the sausage part was good, but he still ate the bowl I served him.
Steam-fried Sausage and Veggies
  • 1 package Aidell's chicken apple sausages (or 5 links of your fave cooked chicken sausage), sliced
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced and quartered
  • 1 small sweet potato, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup of cooked broccoli (mine was frozen, so I microwaved for two minutes and dumped it in semi-frozen)
Slice, chop and assemble ingredients. Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat. Brown sausage and sweet potato, then add zucchini and broccoli. Cook thoroughly and serve. 

Easy, right? And tasty. I'm not paleo or anything, but I think this recipe would fit that diet pretty easily. 


To 2015, and beyond

My little blog turned four years old yesterday. I wasn't a very good blogger in 2014, so of course I didn't write up a year in review post, or wish The Happy Girl Blog happy blogiversary. Instead, I lived outside the computer, had friends over for mass amounts of delicious food, drinks and hours of entertainment via Cards Against Humanity. You find out the true depravity of people with that game, and it's wonderful.

2015 is going to be the year of dreaming big and chasing after them. My 2015 vision board was made back in October while in Newport Beach, (thanks to the fortuitous timing of my visit and the friend I saw who arranged for a career coach to lead the board creation), and I am already running full speed ahead toward those goals.
I plan to publish the first of four planned books early this year. If I can get to the other three and put out a fantastic product I'm proud of, you better believe I will get all four out there. 

I want to learn as much as possible about being an indie author (read: self-published), and each day it seems like something new is presented to me. I do not have monetary goals other than to make back the investment I've put into this process. Sure, finding success and seeing great sales is the cherry on top, but really, it's more about getting the story out of my head and into the hands of readers, connecting with them, and being happy with my work.

I do not plan to be a better blogger. My new author friend Heidi Joy Trethaway has a resolution to say NO more often, to make room for YES. Because being creative takes time and energy. If you spend your time and energy on everything else that is asked of you, you have less time to create and make the most of your time. Or something like that. I will have to learn to say no more often to make sure the quality of what I put out is better. That means saying no to social events, things that take time away from writing, and finding a way to string up my monkey mind so it's not bouncing every which way when I sit down to write. Sorry sweet little blog, that means fewer entries, and I am okay with that. You can stay up to date with me via my new website,, on my author Facebook page, Instagram, and Twitter. I have a blog feature on the website that will hopefully get more content as I get closer to publishing this monster, and will make this blog less book focused.
 So what are your 2015 goals and resolutions? Are you dreaming big, like me? 


Grandma Ople's apple pie

In 2010, when I was still blogging on a now defunct blog over at WordPress, I wrote a post about my favorite apple pie recipe.

A friend of mine, also named Adrienne (we spell it differently) loved the recipe so much she begged me to find it for her this year after a tech snafu that caused her to lose the link.

So, I figured I would add it to my current blog (even though I'm terrible about updating) so I could find it easier.

A lot of women can ask their mom or grandma for a trusty pie recipe, however my grandma is not really known as a cook. She can get along all right in the kitchen, but she will be the first person to let you know she isn’t very good. Instead of asking my own grandma for her apple pie recipe (because she doesn’t have one) I looked to for a yummy apple pie recipe. One of the first recipes I looked at was Grandma Ople’s apple pie. It looked easy enough and had delicious ingredients, so I decided to give it a try.
I followed the recipe very closely, only adding a little cinnamon, and using trader Joe’s frozen pie crust, even making the lattice top crust. The pie was amazing. I mean melt in your mouth, buttery perfection. I have never had an apple pie that delicious. The only bad thing was it wasn’t very pretty with the lumpy lattice top.
I made the pie again for a pre-Thanksgiving dinner party I was attending, and decided to use a full crust this time. It turned out even better this time around, and I got so many wonderfully sweet comments on how yummy it was! The other day, my friend Adrienne asked for apple pie recipes, and of course I had to offer her Grandma Ople’s recipe! I don’t know who Grandma Ople is, but I just want to hug and kiss her for creating this wonderful recipe! I am giving you the recipe with my own little additions and changes so you can try it for yourself!

Grandma Ople’s Apple Pie, a la Adrian
1 pkg Trader Joe’s frozen pie crust (includes 2)
6 large (8 small) Honeycrisp apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 tbls flour
1/4 water
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, cinnamon, white sugar and brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer for 5 minutes.
2. Place the bottom crust in your pan. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes, remove and let cool for a few minutes.
3. In a separate bowl, pour sugar and butter mixture over apples, saving just a little of the mix for the top crust. Toss to coat, then fill pie crust with apples, mounding slightly.
4. Cover with full crust and paint with leftover sugar mixture. Pinch both crusts together, making a pattern if you want all the way around the pie.
5. Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F. Continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes, until apples are soft.
Remove, let cool and enjoy!! Let me know if you use this pie recipe, I want to see if you make any adjustments and what you think!

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