Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Kicking Chronic Pain with Vionic

There was a time that I wore a size 7.5 shoe. A perfectly average size which meant that finding shoes on the clearance rack was unlikely. But then, my shoes began to slip on my heels and I realized that I needed a size 7. Then a 6.5. Then a size 6. No longer perfectly average, but certainly better odds when it came to the clearance rack.

It turns out that having a tethered spinal cord damaged not only my lower back, but a majority of my leg muscles. For months, I went from doctor to doctor, explaining that I felt as though I had severe shin splints. All. Of. The. Time.

I would later learn that my leg muscles were in constant spasm, affecting me from hip to toes. And most notably, in the arch of my foot which was getting increasingly higher as time went on.

When my surgery failed to help my pain, I turned to a podiatrist. After all, I had met my out of pocket max for the year, meaning that my orthotics would be free. When they were ordered, I was elated. Finally, hope for my aching feet. And legs. And back. But then I saw the shoe catalog.


Clueless, I turned to Facebook and polled friends and family on their favorite shoes for orthotics. Only to realize that the orthotics I needed - which are very tall, and rigid - wouldn't fit in their shoes of choice. I checked Zappos. I used their filtering tool to select only brands which worked for orthotics and that's how I stumbled upon Vionic.

It was winter at the time so I started with a pair ankle boots. But after wearing them daily for three months, Spring came and with it, new sneakers.

For my first pair of Vionic sneaks, I went with the Fyn Active in black. While I love the little pop of pink in the toe and sole of the shoe, I thought I'd upgrade them by replacing the pink ombre laces with a set of Hickies no-tie shoelaces.

It's the end of May and these shoes have already helped me to cover mile after mile, by foot and by bike, to hike the familiar desert and to see new cities, all without leg and back pain.

(I'm kind of obsessed.)

This year, I am partnering with Schwinn Bikes as a #SchwinnAmbassador to share my wellness journey. Catch all of the updates here, on Instagram (with the hashtag #fromwherejenrides) and on the Schwinn Red blog.

Fyn Active Sneakers were provided to me by Vionic in exchange for writing this review, but all views are my own. You have my promise to  never share a product with you that I do not personally use and love.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Gluten Free Recipe | Sausage, Spinach & Tomato Quiche


I never thought that I'd say this, but our favorite cinnamon rolls have been replaced.
The past few weeks, we've been enjoying various gluten free quiche, instead.

Most recipes that I share with you here have gone through a few rounds of modifications, the first batch usually being so so or almost right. This quiche was an exception to that rule. As Nicole said, sometimes you just need to make something that you know will work. While I didn't know that this crust would work, I knew the right ratios for a perfect egg based filling, and a new found love of oat flour so on a Saturday that Trevor chose to sleep in, I put my gluten free baking skills to the ultimate test. And what do you know, it worked. It worked beautifully, turning out to be the wheat-less equivalent of paté brisée.

The best parts of this recipe? The crust doesn't need rolled, only pressed in, and the quiche itself can be easily reheated. That means having hot quiche for 5 a.m. breakfasts and only spending Sunday afternoon baking.

Gluten Free Oat Flour Pie Crust


1/2 Cup plus 3 Tablespoons of Gluten Free All Purpose Flour (Might I suggest Bob's Red Mill?)
1/2 Cup of Fresh Ground Oat Flour
1/2 Tsp of Salt
1 Tsp of Sugar
1 Tsp of Xanthum Gum
8 Tbsp of Butter, cold and cut into cubes
2 Tbsp of Ice Water


Mix all purpose flour and oat flour with salt, sugar, and xanthum gum.
Add the butter, kneading the dough with your fingers until it resembles corn meal.
Add the ice water, continue kneading until dough is a solid ball with the butter evenly distributed.
You may need to add more water or more oat flour, depending on the texture of your dough.

When the dough has reached the proper consistency, create a ball and wrap it with plastic wrap.
Allow the dough to chill in the fridge for at least forty-fix minutes before using.
(Dough can also be made in advanced and either left in the fridge for a few days, or frozen.)

After the dough has chilled, spray a nine-inch glass pie pan with non-strick spray and press the crust evenly across the bottom and sides of the dish.

Sauage, Spinach and Tomato Quiche Filling

1/3 Pound of Sausage
2 Cups of Sliced Leeks (diced sweet or white onion can also be used)
2 Cloves of Fresh Garlic, mince
2 Cups of Fresh Spinach
1 Can of Hunt's Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes, rinsed
(I highly recommend these tomatoes - we're obsessed - but fresh or regular canned tomatoes could be used)
5 Eggs, lightly beaten
1 Cup of Heavy Cream
1/2 Tsp of Salt
1/2 Tsp of Pepper, or to taste 
1 Tsp of Sage
1 Cup of Shredded Mozzarella, Provolone or Parmesan


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Brown sausage in a large skillet.
Add leeks and garlic, sautéing until soft and translucent.
Chop spinach and add to the skillet, mix well.
Add tomatoes and stir until everything is heated.

Beat eggs, cream, salt, pepper and sage in a medium bowl.
Cover the bottom of the pie crust in shredded Italian cheese.
Then, add sausage mixture to the bottom of the quiche.
Cover with egg mixture, and sprinkle with more cheese.
(You may not need all of the sausage mixture or all of the egg filling, use your best judgement)

Bake for ten minutes at 425, then lower the oven to 375 degrees and bake for another 30 minutes or until firm.

So tell me, what are your favorite things to put inside a quiche?


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Getting Back on the Bike

Nearly two years ago, I had brain surgery.

I went in to surgery with a lot of expectations. I expected there to be pain. I expected there to be weeks of recovery. I expected that there would be months of physical therapy. I expected driving to be tricky. I expected to be tired. And while all of those expectations came true, there were so many things - both small and large - that I didn't expect.

I never expected that watching fish at the aquarium would make me dizzy. I didn't expect that would need another neurosurgery so soon after the first, or I would keep my handicap placard permanently. I never considered that swimming with a fused neck might be difficult, or that motion sickness would make riding a bike nearly impossible.  After all, how many times have we been assured in doing new things that, "it's just like riding a bike?" And yet, all of those things were true.

But this Spring, I'm getting back on the bike.

This year, you'll be able follow my journey as a Schwinn Ambassador as I learn to balance on two wheels, find the best bike friendly businesses in the ABQ, and figure out how exactly a girl can avoid helmet hair.

(But really, if you have tips on the hair, do share.)

Catch all of the updates here, on Instagram (with the hashtag #fromwherejenrides) and on the Schwinn Red blog.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Ten on Tuesday | Valentine's Wishes with Spring

I have a new obsession this Valentine's Day and it's not red wine, chocolate, or a new crush (though I am still obsessed with you, Trevor.) I am obsessed with a new app called Spring which combines more than 850 brands in one place and get this - every single order ships for free. I have a little something I like to call "Amazon Prime Syndrome" which prevents me from paying for shipping so this might just be my favorite thing about shopping with Spring.

For today's Ten on Tuesday, I rounded up ten gifts I would love to receive this Valentine's Day from the accessories page. I considered rounding up a list of gifts for the guys in our lives first but gave up adding "beard conditioner" to the list.

Have a best friend in need of a Galentine? This is the list you need.

Maybe you want to prepare for Easter, a Spring birthday, or maybe even Mother's Day? Look no further.

Every year that we've been together, Trevor has actually made it a point to write me a small book of poetry for Valentine's. And while I love that, I'm totally not above treating myself, so..

Here are ten items that I am crushing on this Valentine's:  

1 // The weather in Albuquerque is more volatile than ever this year, vascilating between snow and 65 degree temperatures. But one thing is consistent: it's sunny. I am loving wide brim fedoras, like this one from Scoop NYC, this time of year. They block the sun and keep you warm whether it's snowing or just breezy.

2 // Speaking of sunny days, these acetate and wooden glasses from Lee Circle are high on my list. And, they're even on sale. 

3 // If you didn't know, I am a huge fan of the color orange and all of it's iterations from coral to, well, neon so I was totally drawn to the horsehair tassle on this clutch from Kempton & Co.
4 // Another thing I am crushing on this season? Rose gold. This Marc Jacobs watch blends rose gold and cognac leather, and I am obsessed. Plus, it's nearly half off.

5 // Okay, this one just made me laugh. Spring carries a wide range of keychains from Ryan Porter, each with it's own clever phrase ranging from "fries B4 guys" to "haute mess."

6 // While in Arizona last month, I couldn't help but notice my friend Becky's bright yellow tote - the perfect pop of color, the perfect size. I've searched for the brand everywhere without luck, but when I saw this bright blue tote from Dagne Dover I was sold.

7 // And the matching card case because, well, a girl's got to match.

8 // In December, I received the new Velvet Noir mascara from Marc Jacobs (courtesy of Influenster) and fell in love with the brand so I was excited to see this precision pen, eye crayon and mascara set available on Spring.

9 // Back to that rose gold obsession, how pretty is this French pink clay cleansing soap from Herbivore Bontanicals? I have dry and sensitive skin so struggle to find soaps that work well for me and this totally fits the bill.

10 // Living in the desert, my lips get equally dry. And that's certainly not what you want on Valentine's Day. ;) So, I had to add the Coco Rose Lip Conditioner as the final item on my wishlist.

So tell me, what are you crushing on this Valentine's Day?