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The Best Running Apps for Beginners

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Recent/ Running
Monday August 30, 2021

The Best Running Apps for Beginners

























I’ve been running for 20+ years and when I started running, I had to drive my routes (or ask my mom to drive me before I could drive myself!) to figure out how long they were. I couldn’t afford a GPS running watch – they were brand new! — and smartphones weren’t a thing. While technology can be annoying in some ways, it’s also amazing to be able to easily to track our runs!

Before smartphones, GPS watches were the easiest way to track your runs and they were HUGE. I wish I had a better picture of my first running watch. I mean, look at the size of that thing on my wrist. (Oh, and checkout the iPod, ha!)

And before I got a GPS running watch, I measured out running routes in advance by driving to see how long it was. All that to say, it’s a blessing of modern technology to have so much information about our runs recorded for us so easily. And the fact that we can see how fast we’re going while we’re actually running in real time is incredible. (I’m dating myself and sounding old, but it’s true!)

But, you don’t need a GPS running watch. Sure there are pros and cons, but if you aren’t ready to invest there are plenty of free running apps available on iPhones and Androids to track your time, distance and pace. Some even have pre-programmed routes, while other apps provide audio coaches to serve as your virtual running coach. And most allow you to share your progress on social media. Today, I’m rounding up some of the best running apps on the market for beginners so that you can start running.

Let’s dive in! Err, I mean, let’s get running!

The Best Running Apps For Beginners

The Rookie Runner Program

The Rookie Runner Program is the running course I developed specifically for beginners. It’s different from the apps below because it doesn’t track your mileage or stats, but rather it teaches you everything you need to know to become a runner and stick with it. The course isn’t free, but I do offer a free newsletter with weekly running tips. Join that here.

Most running apps – free or paid —  only show you your time, pace and distance. But there is SO much more to running. In the Rookie Runner Program, you’ll learn what type of shoes to buy, how to warm up, what to eat beforehand, what to eat after a run, what stretches to do, how to run faster (besides being chased by Zombie’s ;)), how to choose a training plan and more. You can even listen to lessons while you’re running and access training plans for 5Ks, 10K and half marathons that I wrote. Join the Rookie Runner Program here.

Strava

Strava is one of the most popular running apps. You can “start a run” to track your pace, distance and running time and then it will add it to your training log when you’re done. You can also add manual workouts into Strava after the fact if you didn’t carry your phone with you for your run. I especially love the social media aspect of Strava, where you can see your friends’ workouts and give each other “kudos”. I use Strava so much I wrote a full blog post on it here.

Strava is a free app but there’s also a paid version that includes training plans. For runners training for a race, it’s helpful to have your workouts recorded in Strava as your training log. I love looking back at runs from years ago too! Plus, if you do get a GPS watch down the road, you can sync your watch to your Strava account to have all your runs automatically uploaded.

Pros

Free, paid for upgraded features
Easy to use
LOTS of data
Tracks workouts other than running
Social media aspect
Shows other running routes
Motivating to see your friend’s runs
Tracks miles on shoes

Cons

Not the most intuitive app as a brand new runner
No audio coaching
May be discouraging to see others’ run if you’re prone to comparison traps. (On the flip side, that may motivate you as noted above!!)
Some of the data may be overwhelming.  It tracks and displays a lot, so it can be a little complicated compared to other apps.

Runkeeper

Runkeeper is pretty basic but it tracks all the typical things like distance, time, calories burned, pace, etc.

Pros

Free
Easy to use interface
Great for beginners
Audio stats provide verbal updates about your time, distance and pace
Paid upgrade options
Works on treadmill with stopwatch feature

Cons

Not as robust of a platform with fewer features

Nike Run Club

The Nike Run Club app (no Nike gear required!) does all the essential things like tracking your pace and distance, but it also makes a game of things. You can challenge your friends, share your workouts, and even upload a song for the app to play when you’re needing an extra boost of energy on your run. I like the playfulness of this app and the fact that you can use this on your Apple watch easily. It also has audio coaching which is helpful for beginners who need a little motivation and help during their runs.

Pros

Free
Connects seamlessly to Spotify
Guided audio-based runs
Create custom running plans
Social aspect

Cons

Does not note suitability level for each run
App glitches occasionally

Map My Run

Map My Run does all of the things you need a running app to do, but it also allows you to specify the “type” of run you’re on. For example, if you’re running indoors on a treadmill or out on a natural trail, those bits of data will be helpful to know when you’re looking back at your statistics. Map My Run is part of the Under Armour umbrella (along with My FitnessPal), but like the Nike Run Club, no Under Armour gear required ;).

Fun fact: I used Map My Run in the early 2000s to plan my running routes (or calculate them after the fact) to see how long they were. You could drag a route on a map and it’d tell you the distance. I think that’s actually how the website started… and they still have that feature!

Pros

Free
Access user generated routes around the country
Tracks all basic running stats
Easily specify the “type” of run you’re on

Cons

Ads unless you upgrade to paid version
No heart rate monitor fata
A little wonky to use

Adidas Running App by Runtastic

Runtastic is another popular running app for beginners. People love this one specifically because it links with Google Earth to make route mapping super easy, especially in a new city, which makes it great for working out while traveling.  It connects to Spotify too, which is great.

Pros

Audio coaching
Easy to integrate with Spotify
Simple to use
Social aspect
Tracks shoe miles

Cons

Drains battery
No modification of training plan
You cannot delete the voice on the app

iSmoothRun

This app has a unique feature (in addition to all the basics that we’ve talked about so far): it allows for walk-run intervals. Many beginners should be starting with walk/run intervals when they’re starting out, and this app supports that.

Pros

Free
Easy to track walk/run workouts

Cons

App interface isn’t great

Pumatrac

Pumatrac also does it all, and also tracks the weather so you can get a well rounded picture of your run. And that’s important since running the cold or the heat impact your running dramatically. (You can get weather stats on Strava too, but it requires a connection with Klimat.) The interface is known for being really sleek as well, which is nice for the user. There are lots of non-running workouts pre-programmed in this app, including strength and HITT workouts.

Pros

Free
Includes weather info
Sleek interface

Cons

Some of the workouts are not explained thoroughly

Couch to 5K

The C25K app is a little different than the other apps I’ve mentioned, because its function is a specific training plan. While it does record all the data we’ve talked about, instead of clicking “start” on the app to begin a free run, you will follow the plans on the app. It will tell you exactly what the day’s run should look like, and you’ll follow it from there.

Pros

Great for beginners who need specific training plans to start running for the first time
Dedicated to beginners specifically
Community aspect
Free
Takes all the guesswork out of training plans

Cons

Cluttered and hard to use interface
Limited to just the C25K plan
No other workouts included
Not helpful for intermediate runners

Pacer Pedometer

The Pacer Pedometer tracks your steps all day as long as your phone is on you somehow. You don’t even have to hold it in your hand. It will track your steps from your backpack or purse! Think of this app as a health app in general, not just running specific. They have a few free guided workouts on the app as well, and you can pay for a premium feature with more options.

Pros

Tracks your steps throughout your day, even if phone isn’t in your hand
Geared towards very beginners who need to start with walking
Great for creating fitness goals for the first time

Cons

Not geared to runners specifically
Very basic fitness goals, not made for someone already athletic

Zombies, Run!

This app has such a funny concept. It’s set up as a game where you have to run from zombies. In Zombies Run, the goal is to run as many miles as you can, and as you run more miles you get rewarded in the app with “supplies” for your village. The slower you run, the zombies catch up!

This isn’t something I would necessarily like, but if it helps you feel motivated and makes running more fun, then I’m all for it.

Pros

Fun
Free
Great for a younger age group
Easy to use

Cons

Not traditional in it’s design so may be confusing to use
Promotes running faster and not every run should be pushing the pace (Learn why not in the Rookie Runner Program)

Charity Miles

Charity Miles is one of the coolest running apps on the market. Basically, brands like Timex have committed to donating to charities when people log miles in this app, so you choose a charity to run for, and for each mile, the brands who are part of the app donate to that charity. How cool is that?! This app tracks all of the basic running information that you’d need as well.

Pros

Free
An AMAZING way to give to charity
Tracks all your running info while donating
Simple to use

Cons

Not a purely statistic-focused running app and you may want more data if you’re training for something specific

I hope these apps are helpful as a place to start if you’re new to running and want something to keep you accountable or track your progress!

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Thanks for visiting my blog! I’m Teri Hutcheon, a Utah girl who now lives in Winston-Salem, NC. I’ve been running for 20+ years and love sharing what I’ve learned along the way. I also share easy recipes, my favorite beauty finds and other tips to help you live happy and healthy! Check out my About page to learn more!

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5 Things I Do Every Morning for a Productive Day

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Life/ Recent
Tuesday August 17, 2021

5 Things I Do Every Morning for a Productive Day

























When you work for yourself, establishing routines can be hard — but they become even more crucial without a deadline of getting into an office. Here’s what my mornings look like since I left Corporate America to help set me up for a productive day.

I pride myself in being really disciplined (maybe too much so?). I’ve worked hard to create habits that serve me well, like not being addicted to caffeine (anymore, ahem!) and having a consistent workout schedule. By no means are my habits perfect, and my routine changes all the time, but the key is that I’m always attempting to make good habits. I’ll adapt where necessary and give myself some grace when it just doesn’t happen one day. And it’s worth noting that when I first published this post, I wasn’t a new mom! Becoming a mom has drastically changed my productivity and schedule in the last year, but it’s SO worth it.

As with all habits whether it’s eating healthy, working out or staying focused at work, creating routines that stick all starts with a plan and consistency. It’s also important to recognize when a plan you’re trying to implement just won’t work and pivot!

I get asked what my morning routine looks like pretty frequently since I often post early coffee shots on IG. Since I left Corporate America I have a completely different schedule than I did a few years ago. For about 9 months I worked 80+ hour weeks, and then I had to adapt my schedule to life post-Corporate America, working for myself. And now, I’m adjusting to everything all over again now that Thomas has changed our lives in the best way and my work-mom life is very different. Like I said, things change all the time.

5 Things I Do Every Morning for a Productive Day

I do have a pretty consistent morning schedule, though. And I have five habits that are part of my day, every day.

1. Read the news
2. Move my body
3. Eat breakfast
4. Don’t reply to emails on my phone
5. Block social media 

These things helped me navigate the craziness that was 2020, and helped reduce my anxiety. And now they help me stay on top of my responsibilities!

My Morning Routine

Here’s what my mornings look like most days:

6-6:30 My alarm goes off and I grab my phone

I try to grab my phone right away since that helps me wake up to engage my brain and helps me wake up. I know lots of morning routine or productivity experts say not to start your day by looking at your phone, but it helps prevent me from hitting snooze! However, I don’t get on social media or Voxer (which I use for Beautycounter work) – I only triage emails — deleting, starring or forwarding to an employee. Answering emails on my phone typically takes too long so I save those for when I’m in front of my computer.

I also read the news in the morning but I try to stay away from Instagram as it can become a stress inducer if my DMs are full. I often delete Instagram in the evening so I don’t get it on it too late in the evening or too early in the morning.

5 Things I Do Every Morning for a Productive Day

6:30 Get out of bed and have a little quiet time

After laying in bed waking up for about 10 minutes, I get up, get coffee, read more news, read a short devotional. Tommy has been bringing me coffee in bed recently which I love. Or, if I wake up before him, I’ll take him coffee in bed. It’s nice to spend just a few minutes together before we both get into work mode and get Thomas up. Sometimes I’ll head downstairs to work for 30 minutes or so.

7:00 Get Thomas up

If Thomas isn’t up yet, I get him out of his crib, never past seven to keep his sleep schedule on track. Sometimes he wakes up early but he stays in there until 7 and just plays in the dark. It’s kind of hilarious to watch him on the monitor. I nurse him in our bedroom around 7:15 and we all have family/coffee time together in bed. This is one of my favorite times of the day!

7:30 Eat a preworkout snack

I make a piece of toast with peanut butter (Costco has the best PB of all time) for my pre-workout snack and eat that while I pump if necessary. Sometimes I also work on my laptop while I pump. Then I put on my workout clothes.

5 Things I Do Every Morning for a Productive Day

8:15 Workout

My workout varies each day, but either I workout at home doing a 30 min Peloton bootcamp, head out the door for a run or I drive to the gym for heavier strength training. I also do a five minute core class and a five minute stretching class after my main workout (using the Peloton app). While I stretch, I upload my workout to Strava. If I’m doing a shorter workout (30 minutes or less or taking a rest day), I’ll go on a walk first to warm-up my body and sometimes I’ll answer Voxers while I walk.

9:00 Eat breakfast while I start work

After my workout, I snag a quick breakfast, almost always a Daily Harvest smoothie these days – it’s quick and helps cool me down. I nurse Thomas at 9:15 and put him down for a nap at 9:30.

For breakfast if I’m not having a smoothie,  I like Ezekiel English muffins or sprouted bread, an egg or two, fruit, and some avocado. I’ll watch the news while I eat breakfast and triage emails again. Noticing a pattern? I know some people hate the news but I love it. I like knowing what’s going on with national current events, politics, and things around the world. Tommy and I are both news junkies!

Usually I’ll grab my laptop while I eat breakfast to start to work through my Star Box in my two work inboxes. (The Star Box is something I learned in this Digital Clutter course, which is worth EVERY penny).

9:30 – 10:00 Get Ready

I like to eat breakfast first to kickstart recovery and to give myself time to cool down before I shower (especially if I ran outside in the summer!). I always do my hair & makeup, even though I work from home. Since I just feel better when I do. I also get dressed in real clothes every day – I save athleisure for the weekends since I’ve learned I don’t really love athleisure in the warmer months. And getting dressed in “real” clothes helps me be more productive. While I get ready I’ll listen and reply to Voxers from my Beautycounter team.

10:00 Head into my home office to work

I NEVER work from the couch or in the kitchen for more than 20 minutes. To really focus, I head into my home office so my brain knows that it’s time to really focus. And, when I get there, I know exactly what I need to work on first. Before I end work every day, I list out everything I need to accomplish the next day and throughout the week using TeuxDeux (again, another Digital Clutter lesson!). So when I sit down at this point in the morning, I already know my top priorities. And that helps me stay focused. At this point, I often put my phone on Do Not Disturb or at least put it in another room so I’m not tempted to look at it. If I need to get notified of a call, I’ll put it in another room and just let my watch alert me.

5 Things I Do Every Morning for a Productive Day

That’s it!

My mornings are certainly different now that I don’t head into an office with a Corporate America job and it’s took some getting used to the flexibility after 13+ years of heading out the door for work (sometimes as early as 6:30 AM when I worked at Goldman Sachs), but I LOVE the routine I have right now. If you’re feeling a little scattered while working from home, juggling kids and are craving a schedule, a simple step is to outline your ideal morning.

Write in detail how you’d like to start your day. (If you’re not a morning person, read this post about how to wake up early.) You may not be able to implement all of it overnight but you could start to take steps towards it. I did that when I was struggling to figure out how to workout, get ready, nurse and still enjoy time with my family in the mornings! It helped me land on my routine now and THAT sets me up for productivity.

Here are a few products that I enjoy in the morning


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Thanks for visiting my blog! I’m Teri Hutcheon, a Utah girl who now lives in Winston-Salem, NC. I’ve been running for 20+ years and love sharing what I’ve learned along the way. I also share easy recipes, my favorite beauty finds and other tips to help you live happy and healthy! Check out my About page to learn more!

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The Ultimate Classic Cobb Salad

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Ingredients

Scale

4–5 cups chopped romaine
2 carrots, thinly sliced (I like using a vegetable peeler to create long thin strips!)
1 large tomato, chopped
1 stalk green onion, thinly sliced (white part + a little of the green part)
1/2 avocado, chopped
2 hard boiled eggs, sliced
2 grilled chicken breasts
2–4 pieces thick bacon lardons, cooked until crisp
Cheese (blue cheese, feta, or goat cheddar are great!)
Favorite dressing + salt & pepper to serve – Ranch or this vinaigrette is my favorite

Instructions

Assemble it in two bowls, dividing the ingredients evenly. I put the romaine in first and then group the toppings in sections (eggs on one side, tomatoes on another, etc.), but you could evenly spread everything over the romaine too. I don’t know why I like it grouped together, but I do.
Drizzle dressing over the top and dig in with a fork and knife. Cutting it all up helps spread the dressing.

Notes

I buy the 5 pack of romaine hearts from Costco and use one heart for this. They’re super easy to chop into strips and then wash in a salad spinner.
I use a vegetable peeler to create thin slices of carrots. If you have a mandolin, that’d work great too. I’m too uncoordinated and fear I’d lose a fingertip if I bought one.
I bought a slab of thick bacon at the farmer’s market, and I LOVE the bacon lardon style in this. Plus, it was super cheap! If you use regular bacon, I’d recommend upping the # of slices.

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Barrington Gifts St. Anne Tote Review (the Only Oversized Tote I’ve Loved!)

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Fashion/ Recent
Thursday August 19, 2021

Barrington Gifts St. Anne Tote Review (the only oversized tote I’ve loved!)

























I’ve been carrying the same tote for about a year and a half now and I’m still just as obsessed with it as I was when I first got it. I’m not a person who buys purses often. Rather, I prefer to have a few that I can rotate among for all four seasons and in a few different sizes. But I’ve barely touched my other purses since I got this one, except for an occasional night where I grabbed a clutch or cross-body bag, and of course when I need my diaper backpack for Thomas.

I originally bought the Barrington Gifts St. Anne Tote to carry my laptop to and from my coworking space, but even since I moved back to working from home full time, I still use it everyday! (Well, every day that I leave the house, ha!) It can hold a LOT but even if it’s not overfilled, it still looks structured. And I’m especially fond of the price (more on that below!)

I also bought their weekend bag and used it as my hospital bag. See what I packed in it here.

Tote | Dress (Similar here) | Shoes | Earrings (similar)

Barrington Gifts St.Anne Tote Review

It’s the perfect size – big but not overwhelming

I hesitated to get this tote since I don’t typically love an oversized tote. When I saw in other women carrying large totes, they always seemed like a black hole of stuff. But this tote is large without feeling like a magic bag with no end. It’s large enough for my laptop, charger, a couple regular purse items, and a few snacks (necessities for me). The dimensions of the St.Anne tote from Barrington Gifts are 20″L X 13″H X 5″D.

I opted for the non-zip top but they sell a zippered option as well.

Tote | Top | Shorts | Shoes | Sunglasses

Exterior fabric stays clean and is very durable

The Barrington Gifts St. Anne Tote is made of durable, water-resistant nylon canvas with leather accents. The interior is twill. I especially appreciate that the Axis collection (the pattern I have) is not faux or genuine fur, since that would a nightmare to keep clean. (It’s hard enough with leopard print shoes I wear occasionally, let alone a purse that I use daily!)

And while I was worried the nylon canvas might make it feel cheap, that’s not the case at all. It looks and feels very high quality and I love that if I spill on it (which happens a lot), I can easily wipe if off.

Another perk is that is weighs less than 2lbs which is really lightweight for a tote of this size.

More affordable than many popular totes

The St. Anne tote costs $160-$180, depending on the customizations you add. (More on that below.) A new Louis Vuitton Neverfull tote costs $1,500 and a Tory Burch leather tote costs around $350. So immediately, the Barrington bag has those beat.

Super customizable

I love that Barrington Gifts lets you pick the pattern of your bag with 50 options (I know, FIFTY!). And you can also add your monogram to a leather patch, add a stripe or choose to get a tote with a top zipper.

Interior pockets

The Barrington Gifts St. Anne tote has a few pockets inside of it which are absolutely crucial if you’re bad about throwing everything you own in your purse. I appreciate having pockets so that I don’t have to dig into the tote to find something. Even though I’m not the person who crams my purse full of things, I appreciate the organization. And I love that it’s also big enough for a diaper bag organizer. (They also sell diaper bags!)

I use my Freshly Picked diaper backpack for Thomas, but I’ll likely switch to my Barrington tote this fall when I need less “gear” when heading out the door with Thomas.

Makes a great gift

I gave a Barrington Gifts tote to both my mom and mother-in-law for Mother’s Day. It’s perfect for any age and not too trendy, especially since I was able to customize each tote! Since it’s also under $200, it’s a great price point for a nice gift.

St. Anne Tote vs. Savannah Tote

I eyed both options and ended up getting the larger St. Anne Tote. But, I got my mom the Savannah Tote since she definitely doesn’t like an oversized tote. The Savannah Tote only comes in a zipper top, and the dimensions are a bit smaller.

St. Anne dimensions: 20″L X 13″H X 5″D

Savannah dimensions: 17.5″L X 12″H X 5″D

The Savannah has an exterior zip pocket, while the St. Anne does not. They both have the same interior pockets – one large zip pocket and four slide pockets. And with both, you can  choose between a patch or a stripe on your pattern.

Other Barrington bags I’m eyeing 

The St. Anne Diaper Bag 

I ended up buying this and used it as my hospital bag! This bag is just like the tote I have above, but is made with a few more pockets which are great for holding bottles, diapers, wipes, and all the other essentials. I like that you can customize these because they have a couple really cute patterns that are pale pink and pale blue. Perfect if you wanted to grab one based on your baby’s gender. I might just stick to the St. Anne tote that I have since they’re so similar, and add a ToteSavvy insert. But if I was new to Barrington and just needed a diaper bag, I’d get this over the basic St. Anne.

I do highly recommend this Freshly Picked diaper backpack too. That’s what I’ve used most for Thomas.

Barrington Gifts St.Anne Tote Review

Tote | Top | Jeans | Shoes

Catherine Crossbody

I LOVE the look of this crossbody bag. The fact that the exterior is a bit structured looks more polished than many cross body bags. And I like the gold hardware accents!

The Belmont Cabin Bag 

This is such a gorgeous weekend bag and will be durable enough to throw in the back of my car. Like all of Barrington bags, you get to customize the outside. I will probably get a similar look to my Axis collection St. Anne so it feels like a set.

I really need to get a new weekend bag – my previous one is literally coming apart at the seams! When I take weekend trips to Boone, I use my Away luggage. A soft shell duffle would be nice to have since I think car trips will be more common in the future. (I love this post from Hannah with tips for long drives or road trips!)

Hanging Toiletry Kit 

Okay, I actually bought this one already. A hanging toiletry kit is a must-have for me. I really wish I’d bought it years ago, when I was flying multiple times a month, every month. I HATE fiddling around for skincare and makeup or worrying that something will break. This kit has multiple pockets, folds unfolds neatly, and helps protect my skincare products (I use this travel sized set of my favorite skincare line). I branched out and got this one in a blue Zebra stripe pattern.

Buchanan 15″ Laptop Case

I love how sleek this case looks and it’d fit perfectly inside my St. Anne to keep my laptop free of scratches or scuffs.

Barrington Gifts for Men

I’m always looking for gifts to give Tommy and my brothers. The Barrington gift’s men’s selection is SO impressive. It’s all genuine leather and looks so sharp.

Original Money Clip 

I love this money clip because you can put their initials in it really subtly which is so nice looking.

St. James Expandable Folio 

THIS is a super handsome gift for any men in your life who work at an office or need to carry files back and forth between the office and working from home these days. It’s such a gorgeous leather too.

Captain’s Bag 

If you’re looking to splurge on a really nice gift, go for this Captain’s bag. 100% genuine leather and SO gorgeous.

I’ll be saving these ideas for Christmas gifts (hard to believe we’ll be Christmas shopping in just a few months!!!) And in the meantime, maybe I’ll just buy myself another tote in another pattern. 😉

Barrington Gifts St.Anne Tote Review

Tote | Dress (Similar here) | Shoes | Earrings (similar)

Shop Barrington Gifts


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Thanks for visiting my blog! I’m Teri Hutcheon, a Utah girl who now lives in Winston-Salem, NC. I’ve been running for 20+ years and love sharing what I’ve learned along the way. I also share easy recipes, my favorite beauty finds and other tips to help you live happy and healthy! Check out my About page to learn more!

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