Wednesday, July 31, 2013

#BlogHer13: Lunch with @LeanCuisine was #HonestlyGood (#AD) (#Giveaway)

UPDATE (8/1/13): There is now a giveaway at the end of this post! And just so we're clear, LeanCuisine did not pay me to write this post. I attended this BlogHer event on my own, and all opinions are my own. 

I had no idea that invite-only parties at BlogHer were a thing until I started getting some invites myself. It's a way for brands to target specific bloggers that might be interested in their products. This is obviously why I heard about Best Buy's 5K and Yasso's Yoga in the Park. Clearly I said "yes" to those in a heartbeat. But when an invite came through from Lean Cuisine, I hesitated. They invited me to lunch with them, during which they'd introduce me (and a bunch of other bloggers, obvi) to their new line of Honestly Good frozen meals.

I don't really do frozen meals.

While I admire them for their flavor-filled convenience, I don't like the amount of sodium they typically dish up. But I was intrigued by the Honestly Good line because 1) they looked completely delicious, and 2) because the sodium is sub-500mg in all but two of the six options, which is rare. Plus, they are 100% natural and without preservatives or artificial ingredients. Yet another rarity. But still, could they really convince me—a fan of fresh food and cooking—that frozen can be delicious and healthy?

I accepted the invite.

And got my picture taken with all the chefs behind the creations I was about to taste:

These guys (and gals) are the real thing. Michelle Berenstein is to my right. She beat Bobby Flay on Iron Chef. Paul Kahan, for those of you that live near me, has a number of successful restaurants in Chicago (The Publican, Big Star, Avec and Blackbird). And the rest, well...Michelin-rated, multiple restaurants in New York City and beyond. I mean, my stomach grumbles just thinking about all the good food they must make. And I got to taste some of it because, once again, they created the Honestly Good line for Lean Cuisine. 

Shannon and I sat together in the front row.

Say what you will about frozen meals, this really was an awesome event. It started off with some background information from the team. 

They took us on a culinary journey, so to speak. They were all about innovation and taking it from table to freezer to table again. And I quote: "We cook fresh food and freeze it. We don't do frozen food." Maybe that's just fancy marketing speak, but with a lack of preservatives and natural ingredients, I believe them.

And then came the taste-testing.

Each tray came out on its own. Produce, grains and sauces. All of which combine (with the addition of a protein source) to make the frozen meals you can buy in the store. 

Each tray was better than the previous one, and the culmination of our taste-testing journey was half a typical serving of two different meals, which equaled out to be one complete meal.

Pomegranate Chicken
Grilled chicken breast with a pomegranate glaze; green beans, yellow
beans and ribbon cut carrots; whole grain pilaf with currants.
Lemongrass Salmon
Coconut-crusted salmon with a ginger lemongrass sauce; snap peas, orange
and yellow carrots and edamame; brown rice with wheatberries.
Make note: I don't like ginger and I'm really picky when it comes to salmon and coconut. But this was just ridiculous. In fact, I ate it for lunch today. If only I had this for dessert:

Come on already with the cute cocoa powder accent! And the brownie? Totally made with black beans, which was delicious but I ended up regretting  eating it because black beans wreck my insides. 


It was a great lunch.

Other flavors from the Honestly Good line include Roasted Red Pepper Chicken, Plum-Ginger Grain-Crusted Fish, Pineapple Black Pepper Beef and Honey Citrus Chicken. I think they all sound good, don't you? We walked away with a few coups to try them in our own homes, which I obviously did today as previously mentioned. Now, I don't think I'll ever really come to rely on frozen foods as a regular meal option, but in a pinch...definitely in a pinch I will turn to these guys if I don't have frozen meals of my own in my freezer.

UPDATE (8/1/13):The good people behind these delicious meals would like to offer one Daily Dose reader a set of six coupons for six free Honestly Good meals. Yum, right? 

Please use the Rafflecopter system below to enter. Contest will remain open until 8/8/13. US only, thanks and so sorry to those of you that live outside the US. One winner will be announced on Saturday, 8/10/13. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

#BlogHer13: Conference Goals...Success or Failure?

BlogHer 2013 has come and gone, and I must say—what a weekend! The energy that spills out of such a situation is incredible. So many bloggers, all united by their passion for sharing no matter what it is they share. I learned a lot this past weekend. About myself, my blog and about others. I am still processing the entire experience, and I am completely and thoroughly exhausted by it all! I got home Sunday afternoon, transferred my luggage from car to house, then spent the rest of my day hanging out with the family. I was only gone for a weekend, but it felt like forever and it was good to be home.

It's now Tuesday. What happened to Monday? Note to self: Take a day off post blogging conference. I took a nap yesterday afternoon. For real. Me = Zombie all day.

Anyway. I'm back up and at it today. Spinning followed by Kettlebells followed by blogging.
So. My BlogHer 2013 goals. Let's take a look at them and see how I did.

1) Don't let anyone dull my sparkle. 
I wasn't sure how I'd feel around a group of my blogging peers. I tend to succumb to the intimidation factor, residing myself to being not as good or not as worthy. But I'm so proud of myself for not feeling that at any point this entire weekend. I know my blog isn't the biggest, best or whatever, but it's my blog and I'm extremely proud of it. Not a single person took that pride away from me this weekend. Rather, I didn't let a single person take that pride away from me. It wasn't even an issue. That's the beauty of this community, so I've learned. The support, it's just everywhere.

2) Put the business cards to use. Translation: Meet at least ten new people.

I met a ton of people this weekend. Way more than ten. There weren't a lot of fitness bloggers there, but the very first person I did meet was Lisa of Run Fast Mama who resides in Michigan. Karma? I believe in it.

And the very first panel I attended, I sat next to Shannon of Skinny Sometimes...she and I hit it off, and spent a bulk of the conference hanging out with Stacia, the frugal fashionista behind Free To Be Stacia Lee.

I also met Meg of The Compost Cook, who writes about cooking on a budget. And Crissy of IndieBizChicks and CleverChicks. She's another Michigander.

In addition to these girls, I also met Alyce and Jamie of SweatPink fame. In fact, they were my roommates for the weekend! When I saw that they would be attending BlogHer, I contacted them to see if they'd be interested in meeting up. I wanted to see at least one "familiar" face there, and when they shot back with an offer to share their hotel room, I couldn't say no.

Seriously, they're so sweet. And so passionate about SweatPink and SweatGuru! I am so excited to follow these two girls as they continue to grow their businesses.

3) Connect with five brands.
Confession: The expo aspect of this conference disappointed me a bit. It wasn't very big, and there weren't very many brands there that I'd want to write about on Daily Dose. But I did meet Molly from NatureBox, having exchanged many an email with her prior to the conference. I've written about NatureBox before, was even an ambassador when they first rolled out their product. But after testing out a number of subscription boxes, and after meeting the NatureBox team in person, I can honestly say that I back them 100%.

Now, let me put the rumors to bed: Swag (stuff we all get) at BlogHer is, in fact, completely ridiculous. I wasn't shy about taking samples of the things I could definitely use. And the brands were so gracious about giving samples, too. So even though the Expo was small, I walked away with a ton of goodies. Literally, two boxes full of stuff:

4) Attend at least two panels that are worth talking about on Daily Dose.
This happened. More to come...

5) Run fast on Friday, then run nine miles on Sunday.

Jamie and I ran the Best Buy 5K on Friday morning in less than 26 minutes, and then I hightailed it down Michigan Avenue to attend a yoga event sponsored by Yasso frozen Greek yogurt bars.

Yoga + Millennium Park = Awesome. Not so awesome: My nine miles. I only ran five and a half miles on Sunday morning. I was spent so I did what I could by running up and down Michigan Avenue. A super quiet Michigan Avenue:

6) Visit old friends.
As I sit here and type this, I kick myself for not taking a picture with my friend Maria. We met for breakfast at Corner Bakery. Probably one of the best breakfasts, I've had in quite some time and not because of the food. (Although, the food was quite delicious.)

And my last two goals? Trader Joe's and "have fun"... I mean, obviously.

More to come.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Pinspiration Thursday (and my #BlogHer13 goals)

My bags are packed and I'm ready to go. I leave this afternoon—I can't believe it's here. Excited? There are no words. I registered for BlogHer '13 so long ago, gosh I'm sure it's going to be over before I know it. I'll be one of thousands swarming this convention. So as not to get too lost in the shuffle, I made myself a list of goals to keep myself centered, focused and out there. First and foremost:

1) Don't let anyone dull my sparkle.
I need to stay confident. Don't know why, but I'm prone to doubting myself when I'm in a situation that surrounds me with new people. Clearly that's where I'll find myself over the next few days, so one of my goals is to continuously remind myself that I am comfortable in my own skin. That I have a purpose in being at this event, and that no matter what, I can shine. Not a single person can or should take that away from me.

2) Put the business cards to use. Translation: Meet at least ten new people.
It's easy to greet someone and forget about them minutes later. So when I say meet at least ten new people, I want to really, truly connect with at least ten new people. Ambitious? Maybe. But I'll be at a convention that hosts thousands of bloggers much like myself, and I'm sure to find myself in situations that foster new friendships. Or at least some decent conversation that goes beyond the typical make-small-talk type. And, hey...if I meet ten new people that means I might have found ten new blogs to read. #win

3) Connect with five brands.
There's an expo. Brands will be there. Swag will be had. (Swag = Stuff we all get.) But I want to make sure that I use this time, this event wisely. I want to connect and/or reconnect with brands that I can ultimately forge relationships with for you, my readers. Brands that I can stand behind. Brands that you'll appreciate me standing behind for whatever reason.

4) Attend at least two panels that are worth talking about on Daily Dose.
Aside from the expo, there are a number of really great panels worth attending. Topics cover everything from behind-the-scenes blog work to getting published to health and wellness and food. I mean, seriously. There's something for everyone. And there are a number of must-attends on my list. Some of which you'll care less about me reporting on. But some of them are sure to produce valuable information for you, and I'd like to make sure I hit those. Or at least two of them.

5) Run fast on Friday, then run nine miles on Sunday.
I'm participating in a 5K on Friday morning. It starts at 6:30AM, and there's another event I'd like to attend that starts at 7:00AM. This means I have to run a sub-30 race in order to get to the second event at a reasonable time. I think I can do it. As for the nine miles on Sunday, that's what my Indy Women's Half training plan is calling for this week.

6) Visit old friends. 
A few of my college girlies live in Chicago, and I really want to connect with them at some point. I don't get to see them often, so whenever this possibility presents itself, I do what I can to make it happen. One just has to make time for old friends.

7) Go to Trader Joe's.
No further explanation needed.

8) Have fun.
No further explanation needed.

Question: How do you handle situations that totally take you out of your element? What do you to to keep yourself calm and confident?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

45-Minute High Intensity Interval Workout

Yesterday, I posted a kettlebell workout. Did you try it? If you don't have access to kettlebells, then you probably didn't. And you probably won't. So today, just for you, I've put together a 45-minute high intensity interval workout that doesn't require any equipment (as long as you can find a soft place to lie down, otherwise you'll need a mat).

Directions: The idea is to push yourself. Remember, everyone's high intensity is a little different. Do each exercise for 30 seconds with a 10-second break in between. Repeat the entire circuit five times. Of course, you'll need to warm up first. And stretch when you're done. Got water? Sip frequently.

Oh, and don't forget to enjoy the journey. Always enjoy the workout journey.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I seriously need to finish packing for BlogHer!

Question: What is your favorite piece of workout equipment?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Don't get hurt doing kettlebells!

I won't take the time to reiterate the benefits associated with regular exercise. You know them. And even if you don't, you know that benefits exist. It's common knowledge. But the unspoken truth is that exercise can be dangerous if you don't do it right. That's not meant to scare you, but it is meant to generate awareness. There's a rhyme, there's a reason to everything. Even exercise.

Let's talk about how to avoid injury. Let's talk about kettlebells specifically. I teach a 30-minute class once a week. It's one of my favorites, but it's also one of the hardest to teach in my humble opinion. Why? Because there is so much room for things to go wrong.

Any time you introduce momentum into a workout, it challenges your ability to stay in control. Of course, when you lose control, your body is put under a type of stress that can lead to injury. I do my best to shout instructions as we go, but sometimes out of the corner of my eye, I see cringe worthy actions. It happens. I help and we move on.

Let's not move on for a second, though. Let's take a look at five ways you can avoid injury doing kettlebell exercises.

1) Stay in control. 
This might be easier said than done. It might be too generic of a statement. But seriously, you have to know exactly what you're doing at all times. Don't just swing the kettlebell. Focus on why and how you're swinging it. Really dive into the action by taking control of every muscle involved. Oh, and your mind—don't let it wander.

2) Be mindful of your center of gravity.
Gravity pulls you down. Stand still on your own two feet and you'll find a way to fight that pull—this is your center of gravity. But once you start moving away from this spot, once you start challenging yourself by swinging that kettlebell or stepping from side to side, that's when things get interesting. It's when your muscles, specifically your core, must work in a way that balances the shift in your center of gravity. So, no matter what you're doing, be mindful of your efforts to balance. If lack of balance takes over, who knows what way your body will fall and/or move. And/or get hurt.

3) Keep a neutral spine.
This seems to be the hardest thing for people to get. When we move a kettlebell, or any weight for that matter, we have a tendency to hunch, lean or bend at the waist. This is how low back injuries are made! So don't hunch, lean or bend. Keep that spine neutral. Keep it straight. And focus on the following...

4) Find power from your hips and legs, not just your arms.
When we hunch, lean and bend, we are attempting to generate power from the back/spine. But there's a better, more efficient way to do it—use your hips and legs. They're extremely strong and efficient. Sure, you can use your arms, too. But you really need to focus on the big picture. On using as many muscles as possible to perform whatever task is at hand. Kettlebell swings are not achieved through the arms. Rather, they're created by the force generated by your hips (and glutes and hamstrings) as you push them forward when you swing the bell upwards. Failure to use this method, or to rely to heavily on your arms can lead to injury and/or overworked muscles.

5) Pick the right bell.
Like any exercise, it's crucial that you lift a weight that's right for you. Lifting too much taxes the muscles being challenged. And if you tax those muscles too much, know.

Now, because I know you're all super pumped to get out there and swing some bells, I give you the following 25-minute kettlebell workout. Please be sure to warm up first, and don't forget to cool down and stretch when you're done.

Any questions? Let me know.

Question: Can you recall a time when you hurt yourself working out? What could you have done differently to avoid injury? Let's learn from each other!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Getting ready for BlogHer '13, and other random thoughts.

Welcome to BlogHer '13 week. I'm probably way more excited about it that you'll ever be, unless you yourself are going. (In which case, please tell me so we can meet!) I have always wanted to attend a blogging conference and there are so many to choose from, but they are never in my neck of the woods which makes them hard for me to attend. So when BlogHer announced that their annual conference would be in Chicago in 2013, I scooped up a discounted ticket. Like, last year. So I've been sitting on pins and needles about this for quite some time. But it's here. BlogHer is here...well, it'll be here on Thursday.

I have a number of awesome things lined up, and as it turns out, I'm staying with some very great people that some of you will know. But for now, I'll keep that all to myself. Save the exciting stuff, right? I don't want to jinx it. But check this out:

New business cards, baby. Who wants one?

I'm looking forward to handing them out because hopefully I will be getting some in return. This means new blogs to read, new businesses to interact with...oh, the connections! Can I just say, though. I'm totally going out of my element here. Attending something like this virtually on my own is especially intimidating to me, but I'm just going to put my big girl pants on and do it. I'm gonna put myself out there and have some fun.

I know it's gonna be great.

Also great:

New flavors, friends. You bet your grocery bill I swooped these right up yesterday. I've tried all but the Orange Creme already. Let me tell you, each one of them is delicious. In fact, I put two of the Mint Chocolate Chip cups in my freezer.

Frozen Greek yogurt! What! Do it.

In other news: I had a great run this morning. Four miles fast. Looking forward to getting the rest of this week's runs in while I'm at BlogHer. There's never a dull moment when you run Chicago. The people. The lake. The buildings.

Tomorrow, we do kettle bells.

Question: What do you love about your favorite place to run? Trees? People watching? Tell me...

Sunday, July 21, 2013

#IndyWomensHalf Training Update, Week 3

Whether or not you're sitting on pins and needles about it, I'm here to announce that I've chosen a FlipBelt winner. Was it you? Check your email! Alas, if you did not receive an email from me, you can still snag a FlipBelt with a sweet 10% discount if you use DDOF10 at checkout. This code ends on August 15, just so you know—and just so you know, the FlipBelt is totally worth every penny you pay for it. And I say that not because I'm making any sort of monies off the company (I'm really not), I say it because the belt is dang awesome. Runners, order one. Thank me later.

Time for an update:

I ran most of my miles quite successfully this week. The knee was still feeling a bit sore on Monday, so I shaved half a mile off my run. It's still feeling a bit sore at times, but only if I bend and flex it oddly (like when I kneel at the tub to give Hannah a bath, for example). It didn't give me any problems on my 8-miler yesterday. In fact, I felt really good from start to finish. Here's how it split:

Mile 5 = The time I busted ass to pass a girl running in front of me.

If I can keep this type of pace up up, I'll be a happy runner come August 31.

I see you, Indy.

Question: Run any races this weekend? Tell me!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Guest Post: How Runners Can Get More Out Of Yoga

Remember when I vowed to add more yoga to my life, and remember how I did for quite a bit of time? And then do you remember when I stopped doing yoga? Yeah, I dunno. All three seem like a jumble in my mind because I am not practicing yoga—I really wish I was, though. My runner legs could use some down dog. So when GaiamTV contacted me with a guest post that covered both running and yoga and how the two combine, I took it as a kick in the pants to find a way to get back into some sort of yoga practice. Maybe their words'll do the same for you.

When people begin jogging on a regular basis, they usually run into a lot of soreness. Sometimes that soreness is delayed for a day or two, but it eventually hits like a ton of bricks. This pain should not be viewed as a bad thing, as it means the body is getting stronger and will be able to run longer distances in the future. Having said that, yoga is a great way to manage the soreness and help the body recover. For advanced runners that push for longer distances and/or train for races, yoga follows this high-impact cardio quite naturally by stretching muscles. And by preventing pulled muscles. A runner can start their practice by joining a local class or finding yoga videos online.

Let's take a look at some basic tips that will help you get the most out of your yoga practice.

Make sure you have the right equipment.
You don't need much, but you might look into getting a yoga mat. You can do yoga without a mat, but you may find it more comfortable to have a cushioned surface under your knees and wrists. Yoga can be a nice way to ease soreness and care for your body, and a mat can enhance that experience. Other than that, you just need enough room to stretch out your limbs in all directions. And it can be helpful to practice in a place that you find peaceful, such as your backyard or a quiet room. But literally, anywhere safe is fine which is kind of like running—just get out there and go!

Do not jerk your body.
One of the most important things to remember when you are doing any kind of yoga exercise is that you never want to jerk your body around to get into a pose. One of the main points of yoga is to stretch the body while increasing strength and breath control, and jerking your body around will actually negate this benefit. You should always use slow and controlled movements whenever you are doing yoga so that your muscle control (rather than momentum) gets you into the pose. Be mindful of your body’s limits and do not try to push yourself farther than you can go. Blocks, straps and blankets can help you get into a position without straining any one part of your body.

Jogging can improve a yoga workout.
One of the main reasons that yoga makes sense for runners is that jogging can be a great way to warm up for a yoga exercise. Some people think that yoga should be used to warm up for jogging, but it actually works both ways. As long as you are stretching out your body with your yoga exercise, you will find that you still receive all of the benefits that come with this form of exercise. You can actually complete your yoga routine at any point during the day, but the fact of the matter is that warm muscles are much easier to stretch during certain yoga exercises.

See if yoga works for you.
Yoga can be a beneficial and important complement to your running and fitness program. Many runners talk about the "runner’s high" and many people that practice yoga talk about mental clarity and calming that results from their practice—why not combine the two? There are many different types and speeds of yoga, so experiment and find one that works for you. Most yoga is a total-body experience, and you might be surprised how much you sweat. But at a bare minimum, everyone can benefit from the calming and restorative effects of stretching and breathing.

GaiamTV did not compensate me for this guest post. Check out the links, don't check out the's entirely up to you. And it makes no difference to me. But seriously, do some yoga! Or at the very least, stretch!!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Pinspiration Thursday

Don't beat yourself up if you miss a workout. Eat a chocolate bar. Drink another martini. Just don't do it. It's not worth it because you are not perfect, and that's perfectly a-OK. We are not meant to be perfect. We are meant to make mistakes because that's how we learn. That's how we verify our ability to try...and to try again.

And that's certainly how we rise above.

Pin / Source
Go ahead, make mistakes. Relish the feeling of rising above.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Honey Cinnamon Sunflower Seed Butter

Here I sit, taking a much needed break from cleaning the house to share with you a recipe for some delicious sunflower seed butter—you're right, I usually make peanut butter. And I still do, but Hannah isn't eating peanuts (or any other nut) yet, so I thought I'd stray from the norm for her sake. She loves sunflower seed butter, but I don't want her to get sick of it so adding some flavor to it seemed like the obvious play.

Wait. Why doesn't she eat peanut butter? According to our pediatrician, it's best to wait until she's two to introduce any type of nut. Theory: If she has a reaction, it'll be easier for her to deal with it if she's older.

I'm just fine with waiting. So "delicious sunflower seed butter" it is. I found some dry roasted sunflower seeds at Trader Joe's a few weeks ago, so that's where I started.

Plain sunflower seeds come aplenty in any grocery store, but I'm all about making things as easy as possible these days. So buying pre-roasted seeds shaved some time off this adventure. Make note, if you buy seeds or nuts ahead of time, be sure to check the ingredients. Watch for added salts and hydrogenated oils, both of which decrease the "good for you" factor.

To start, throw two cups of roasted sunflower seeds in your food processor. Whirl 'em and wait. They'll probably turn into a nice crumbly consistency at first.

You'll need to have some patience here. It can take awhile for the oils to kick in. Once they do, the powder will thicken into a nice butter.

Once it reaches a consistency you like, you can add in your flavors. For a honey cinnamon sunflower seed butter, you obviously need honey and cinnamon. I ended up adding three teaspoons of honey and a teaspoon and a half of cinnamon. Add just a bit of each at a time. In fact, you might end up adding more if it suits you. This is the amount that worked for me and my taste buds.

Make note: Honey tends to make nut butters a bit gummy, which is fine. But the more you add, the harder it gets if you end up storing it in the 'fridge. And I always keep my nut and seed butters in the refrigerator.

End result:

So delish. I can't wait to share it with Hannah.
I sense sunflower seed butter and jelly sandwiches in our future.


She's obsessed with stepping on things. Weirdo cutie-pie kid! Love her.

Don't forget to enter my FlipBelt giveaway! 
It ends Friday, July 19, 2013 at midnight EST.

Question: Do you make your own nut or seed butters? If so, what's your favorite flavor combination? Ever mix nuts and seeds? Inspire me with your creations in the comments below! Feel free to share links if you have recipes on your blog!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Win a @FlipBelt!

You guys. I am so excited to share this product with you. Back story: I use my iPhone to keep track of my milage when I run. I don't have a Garmin or anything like that, just the MapMyRun app and a free hand for my iPhone. But dropping my iPhone and shattering it to bits is not an option. You might recall that I purchased a running belt on clearance a few months ago. And I actually really liked it, but there seemed to be just one problem with it—It would only fit my iPhone.

When my training runs for the Chicago Women's Half Marathon went double-digit, this just wouldn't do as I needed to carry some sort of nourishment with me. So I did some research and found this:

I honestly can't tell you how I discovered FlipBelt (probably on another blog...perhaps with a side of divine intervention), but I got so excited about it that I promptly contacted the company to see if they'd be willing to let me test one out in exchange for a published review. You see, the FlipBelt is essentially a gigantic pocket.

It promises to hold your phone, keys, gels and more without losing a single thing mid-run, and without a single bounce to it.

It comes in a wide variety of colors and sizes. Yep, sizes. One quick measure of your waist (at whatever point you intend to wear it), and you're guaranteed a great fit.

It also comes with this handy waterproof bag since the belt itself is not waterproof.

Waterproof...sweat proof...same thing when you're a runner.

Seriously, words cannot describe how comfortable this thing is.

I swear to you on wine and chocolate that it doesn't bounce. Or ride up. I honestly cannot even tell that I'm wearing it.

Little pocket:

Like I said, the entire thing is essentially one gigantic pocket, and there are two of these access slits in the front and two in the back.

Puh-lenty of space for the iPhone.
You just slide it in...

...and then literally flip the entire belt over so that the seams sit up against your body.

This ultimately prevents anything from falling out. See, all tucked in:

I will admit to having some difficulty getting my iPhone in and out of the belt while I was running. And when I carry nourishment, it's usually a pack of GoGoSqueeze or something like that, which I wear on the back side of the belt. It's equally hard to remove, but I don't mind having to stop running for a few seconds to take care of business.

It's a small price to pay for a belt that truly doesn't bounce, is super affordable and is easy to clean. I wash it in cold water with the rest of my fit gear and it comes out like-new.

Love this thing:

I'm pretty sure you will, too. Even if you aren't a runner. It's perfect for biking, walking and/or strength sessions at the gym. You can go hands-free, but still pack your phone, music, whatever. It's a total winner.

And you might be, too!

FlipBelt has so graciously allowed me to pass one along to a lucky Daily Dose reader.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you want to order one of your own, but don't feel like waiting to see if you've won the giveaway, you can use DDOF10 at checkout to save 10%. This code will be good until August 15, 2013.

The giveaway itself will be open until Friday, July l9, 2013 at midnight EST. I will announce the winner on Sunday, July 21, 2013. Hope it's you!

The FlipBelt you see above was given to me free of charge. I did not receive any other compensation to write this review. 
All opinions are my own.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

#IndyWomensHalf Training Update, Week 2

I ran seven miles on Saturday. 
And then I got a massage.

Seriously, massages are amazing. Especially when the massage therapist is your aunt. Man, she digs in. I only wish she lived closer so I could see her more frequently. She found knots in places that I didn't even realize were tight! Like in my calf muscles, for example. They're sore today, although I'm not sure who's to blame: My aunt or my new running shoes. I don't typically get sore calf muscles. I don't typically have knee problems, either, but I seem to be dealing with a bout of Runner's Knee right now. You know the feeling...when it's tight behind your knee cap? Ugh. I don't feel it when I'm running. Only afterwards.

Could it be the new shoes?
I hope not...I genuinely like them.

I'm running in Mizunos right now...the Wave Sayonaras, which I got to sample through my Ambassadorship with FitFluential. They're much lighter than the Saucony Triumph 10 running shoes that I wore for the Chicago Women's Half Marathon. And by "lighter," I mean that they don't offer as much cushioning. This is totally fine with me. I don't mind a lighter shoe. Maybe I just need another run or two in them before they're officially broken in. Or maybe I just need something else for longer runs. 

In the meantime, I've got a little tin of this stuff for the knee:

Another perk to knowing the massage therapist. Free samples! She's the best. (No really, I swear she's the best massage therapist out there. And I'm not just saying that because we're related.)

I've used creams like Icy Hot in the past to soothe sore muscles. It's an ongoing debate as to whether or not they do any good. But when I had some of this stuff on my shoulder this weekend, I swear it put Icy Hot to shame. I rubbed a little on the back of my knee earlier today and it felt really good. Stinks like hell, but who cares. Small price to pay, eh?

Anyway, here's what the training plan looks like as of right now. Two weeks down, seven to go:

Now, to bed I go. This girl is tired.

PS: Awesome giveaway lined up for tomorrow. 

Question: How do you deal with Runner's Knee? What's your shoe of choice for longer runs?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Pinspiration Thursday

Days like today make me stop, sit back and appreciate life just a little bit more. The weather outside is beautiful. Very much Summer. But it's also July, which means this Summer I speak of is almost half past us—I refuse to dwell on this. It happens every year, this zooming by of our favorite season. This is my own fault, though. Right? It's up to me to stop and smell the roses. So today, I've chosen to refocus. To remind myself that every day is a gift that needs to be enjoyed.

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Question: What is happening in your life right now that you are thoroughly and completely enjoying?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What's up, Wednesday!

I'm having one of those days. Lots to do, excited about everything, can't quite concentrate on just one thing. Indulge me while I brain dump—it's officially "What's Up Wednesday" around here.

I'm having a marvelous time with pushups these days...I'm pretty sure my classes and clients hate me for it, but whatevs. Secretly they love me for it, this I know. Lately, I've been a big fan of pushups with alternating rotations to side plank. Never a dull moment when you turn two exercises into one. Obviously you start with a pushup...

...and as you push back up to your starting position, you rotate one arm up into a side plank. But it's not just an upper body rotation. It's a full body rotation into that side plank position:

Notice my lower body? Hips are turned, feet are stacked.

From here, you rotate back down into a pushup, then come up again on the other side. Reps and sets are up to you, and you can absolutely modify to knees if you need to. And as you advance, you can work in a top-leg abduction to increase the core challenge. (<—I know, right? Slick move.)

2) BLOGHER '13

I'm three years into this whole blogging thing, and in two weeks I'll be heading to Chicago for my very first blog conference. I couldn't be more excited (and nervous...totally going by myself). The plan is to not have a strict plan. I know that sounds counterproductive because from what I gather it's a cray-zay weekend. I have been studying the agenda and there are a few sessions that I'd like to attend. And there are a few brands and bloggers I hope to interact with. But really, I just want to soak up the experience. I want to meet my peers, to learn from them...and to hopefully learn more about myself as a blogger (and person). Bonus: I'll be staying with one of my old college roommates who is not attending BlogHer, but hijinx will ensue as there are plans to have some fun.

Things are going well in this department. Two things that are different than when I trained for the Chicago Women's Half Marathon: My shoes and the heat. Holy cow, it's as if the temps changed overnight. My morning runs used to be somewhat cool. Now I feel like I'm swimming through the humidity. Legs still feel strong, though. Here's what I've got coming up:

Yep, still studying. I have a stack of magazines about 20 deep to prove it—unread magazines never happen in this house! I have finally made my way through the book that details human anatomy and exercise science, so now I'm just reviewing my note cards.

Anatomy and physiology, man. There's a lot of terminology in this book that I don't use every day, so I've had to brush up on some of it. And if you've ever studied anatomy or physiology, you know it's not easy stuff to take in. But the more I read through it, the more it comes back to me. So right now, the goal is to take the certification exam in early Fall. We hope to vacation in October at some point, so I'd like to make it a celebratory vacation if at all possible. Fingers crossed.


Vega just sent me some of their new Vega Sport sugar-free energizer packets to try out. I haven't tried one yet, nor have I looked into when, why or how to consume them. But I do tend to like Vega products, so we'll see.

Question: What's up with your Wednesday?


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