Sunday, April 27, 2014

Vega Bars Review #VegaBars


The following post is sponsored by Fit Approach on behalf of Vega.

Here I am.  The last day of April break.  I've gotten in a ton of mileage and fun treks with the kids over the past week and have relied on a very tasty new line of bars created by Vega to fuel me.     



Pre-Workout
My first bar was the Chocolate Coconut Almond Sport Energy bar.  The consistency is what really sold me on this bar.  It was incredibly moist and flavorful.  And it was gentle on the tummy.  I gave me the boost of energy I needed to get through a challenging (we had wind gusts up to 43 mph that day!) run.  


That bar was so successful, I decided to pre-fuel my 16 miler with the Apple Cherry Sport Bar yesterday.  This bar was delicious, moist, and gave me enough energy for a majority of the run.  I only stopped to refuel one time during the run.  


Refuel and Recovery After the Run
After my 16 miler with Stacy yesterday, I was famished.  After I drank some water, I couldn't wait to tear into the  Chocolate Mint Vega Sport Protein bar.  To be honest, I really thought I was eating a peppermint patty after my run, which is a good thing.  I love peppermint patties!  I didn't even want my traditional egg when I got home from the run.   

yesterday's pre and post run fueling choices

Snack Friendly
This morning I tossed the Dark Chocolate Mixed Nuts and Sea Salt Vega Snack bar into my gym bag and off I went.  I loved the nutty consistency and the natural flavor and it definitely satisfied my hunger.  I couldn't get enough of this bar and it is at the top of my purchase list when they are available!




Meal Bar
I was a little skeptical about the All in One Bar mostly due to the calories.  But, after eating the Chocolate Peanut Butter bar for breakfast, I am no longer afraid.  This is definitely an entire meal in one - providing me with 12 g protein, 4 g fiber, 1 serving of greens, 1 billion probiotics, 1 g Omega-3, 1.4 cups of antioxidants, and 25 vitamins and minerals and the calories are well worth it.  They are not empty calories and you get quite a bit of benefit from only one bar.  



I am definitely taking my last meal bar to school with me and it's staying in my snack drawer for one of those days I forget my lunch or when I'm just so freaking busy at school I cannot stop for a meal, but can get in a bar.  This will do the trick, fill me up, provide me with great nutrition and taste fabulous!  Win win.  

The absolute best part of every single one of these bars is that they are all plant-based, gluten free, and non-gmo without sacrificing flavor.  I'm only sad that these bars are not sold locally.  I am going to have to drive a little to get some or wait until they are available on the Vega site.  Either way, I know I'm going to get more.  A lot more.  





Friday, April 25, 2014

Friday Favorites

If I counted correctly, we have 35 more school days!  Today is our last day of April break and when we return to school on Monday, the time is going to fly!!

Now, if only it would warm up!    Yesterday I saw a little girl running around the playground in shorts with her down winter jacket on as well!  That's spring in Maine for sure! Today is looking to be a nice day.  Blue skies.  The wind isn't super crazy like yesterday.  I saw on the news we had gusts up to 43 mph.  And trust me, it felt like it when I was running!  And it might get up to the 60s.  I'm hoping this is it!  


Spandits!  

It's no secret.  I love Spandits.  I especially love to have Spandits sightings when I'm out running.  Yesterday, I had a Spandits sighting on the Rail Trail.  I wanted to stop her and take photos of our Spandits...but thought she would think I was a little odd.  The funny thing about it is that I went to high school with her!  But, now I'm getting my family to wear Spandits.  The Easter bunny brought Izzy some new Rumple Skullskins.  Probably not what other people picture for an Easter gift, but she loved it!!!  



I have been loving my newest Spandits - Spirograph.  But I'm thinking I need to get some pink Skechers GoRun Ultras now. ALSO a favorite of mine!  I LOVE Skechers! It would definitely make my outfit complete.  Wouldn't you agree?  



Vega Bars

I've only eaten 2 Vega Bars from my FitApproach and Vega Campaign, but they have been amazing!  Yesterday I ate the Chocolate Coconut Vega Sport bar before my run.  It tasted amazing and definitely gave me the energy I needed for my 7 mile run!

Bio Skin 

I have quite a bit of compression gear and each item has it's own purpose.  The newest addition to my compression addiction happens to be these Bio Skin calf sleeves.  They are not like any other compression sleeve I've worn.  They are much tighter than the others and do not seem as breathable.  However, it only takes a short amount of time for my legs to feel awesome after I put them on following a long run.  


Boston Marathon

I have a full recap coming soon on the Boudreau trip to Boston.  But it is definitely a favorite.  This was our 3rd year heading down to watch Ward rock the race.  This year we promised Ward we wouldn't cheer from the finish line area.  Instead we chose to be at the 25 mile marker.  Which was absolutely perfect!  Soon, it will be my turn to be on the other side of the barricades running my own Boston.  But maybe I should start training for and running marathons first.  Give me a couple of years.  I'll be ready to do it again!  


Pearl Izumi 

We have had a couple of gorgeous days.  A couple.  And I have been lucky enough to put on some shorts (with my super white legs) and get in some mileage.  My favorite shorts have been the Pearl Izumi Flash short.  Next week there will be a full review and a giveaway!  



You know when you are surprised by a product?  This one shocked me.  In a good way.  I wasn't sure how that padding would feel in my shoes, but that little extra bit of padding holds my shoes in place, which means no slippage.  I feel like I'm getting a more efficient run when I wear these!  And you can get the chance to do so too!  Check out my giveaway and enter for your chance.  


What are your favorites lately???  


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Great Taste Off - Yoplait vs Chobani

This was Ward's 3rd year running the Boston Marathon.  We are quite lucky, because when we head to Massachusetts for the marathon, we also get to have a family reunion with Ward's family, since they do live 15 minutes from Hopkington.  
I knew on the way down they would be the perfect taste testers for the Yoplait vs. Chobani Taste Off.    


The ingredients for the taste off:  Yoplait Greek 100 Strawberry, Chobani Simply 100 Strawberry, and a blindfold.   



Then out came the blindfold and open mouths.  




There is no better way to liven up a party than to pull out a blindfold and have family members taste yogurt.  Oh yes, I know, we are party animals!




To keep my tasters guessing, I would switch the order of the yogurt, sometimes.  I didn't want them to know which one was coming first.  

And the results...... 





As you can see, Yoplait was the clear winner in this taste test!  

Now,  your turn!  I challenge you to do the taste test and share your results!  I'd love to see what you think!  Let's make this a fun game and share on my Facebook page.   


Disclaimer: This taste test was sponsored by Yoplait, but the best yogurt was determined by my family and myself.  




Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Happy Earth Day! Let's #Ditchdisposable Together!

There are many positive actions you can take to show your love for our Earth and to keep it clean.  Using a reusable water bottle is just one of the many ways you can do this.  As a new CamelBak Ditch Disposable Ambassador, I am happy to have taken the pledge to be disposable water bottle free for a month.  Actually, my month pledge is now over with, but I'm still going strong!



As part of the pledge, I took on the challenge to get my family on board with me.  I wanted them to see the importance of saving money, taking care of our Earth by not adding to even more waste, and having water with you whenever you need it.  



The kids absolutely LOVE their new water bottles.  Before we take off for any car trips - even a 5 minute drive to the grocery store, they run and fill up their water bottles.  How awesome is that?  

On the way to dance!  Gotta have her CamelBak!


My husband is known for buying bottled water quite often at work.  Now, he will reuse that water bottle, over and over again.  But that's not good either!  I've converted him for sure and now he fills his bottle before heading off to work.  


Tucker keeps this bottle at school,
so he always has a water bottle filled for him!
Better hydration = better focus.  And he needs it!


Let's do a little math.  




1 bottle of the Poland Springs will cost you roughly $1.89 for 33.8 oz.  I drink over 100 oz of water a day.  That's 3 of those bottles a day.  3 x 1.89 = $5.67 a day!  

Now, one CamelBak Chute costs $13.00.  Since that one has been my favorite. $13.00/5.67 = 2.29 day it will take me to recoup my money I would have spent on disposable bottles!  Amazing!  

Let's look at 1 month savings....and for the fun of it, we're going to average a month to be 30 days.  30 x $5.67/day = $170.10 a month!   Which means, if I buy a $13.00 CamelBak Chute and use that daily, instead of purchasing my water, I'm saving roughly $157 a month.  That's assuming I actually purchase 3 bottles a day.  Even if I only purchased 1 bottle a day and refilled it 2 more times each day,  I'd spend $56.  That adds up fast! That's GOT to feel good!  And you are helping the environment.   

Some people swear bottled water tastes better.  I disagree.  CamelBak has filtered water bottles that run about $22.00 and the Relay for $37.00.  That's still quite the savings!  




We've even just brought our water bottles to dinner with us.  We each get our own.  Most of the time we use the Relay, and pour our water into glasses, but it's just as easy to bring our own water bottles!


What do you do to show your love for our Earth?  Are you a CamelBak fan?  

Join me and take the pledge!


Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Feet

Keeping my feet happy is quite important to me.  You know when you put your feet in a pair of running and shoes and they feel just right?  Oh, you know that feeling!   Recently, it's been a rotation of three pairs of shoes that have kept my feet feeling quite awesome.

Skechers Go Run Ultra



I'm still shocked by these shoes.  I never thought I'd put my feet in a pair of Skechers.  But I did and now I'm in love.  These shoes are like super light clouds on my feet, that offer a great amount of support.   Ward still comes back from running in his Ultras, picks them up, looks at them lovingly, saying "wow, I really love these shoes."    I've done long runs and speed workouts in them.  An overall awesome shoe.  


Reebok One Cushion



And then there is the Reebok One Cushion.  The first shoe I trusted my feet to after my injuries this summer.  They make an incredible trainer that has gotten me through many miles. I'm even on my 2nd pair of the One's.   It's a pretty big indicator that if I buy a second pair of shoes, them I'm obviously sold.  

Karhu Flow3 Trainer



What my feet like about the Karhu Flow3?  These shoes offer incredible arch support. Not once have felt any arch pains during or after a run in these. They are unlike a lot of my favorite shoes.  They are not cushy.  However, they offer great support for long runs and are light enough for speed.   I did read some reviews prior to receiving these shoes that the forefoot ran slightly narrow.  Knowing my wide bunion feet, I ordered a half size up.  Doing so was the right thing for my bunions.  They are happy, therefore, I am happy.  

The only downside to sizing up in these, meant that the heel was a little loose.  Not the end of the world, but I did notice it.  However, shortly after receiving the Flow3's, I was offered to review the Stable 26 socks.  



Have you ever heard of Stable 26 socks?   These socks take care of any slippage you may experience in your running shoes.  For people, like me, with super wide feet but narrow heels, my shoes sometimes slip.  Doing the runners loop has helped, but it doesn't solve all of the slippage problems.  These socks solve the problem.  The blue padding on both sides of the sock fill that gap and provide cushion without rubbing.   With a shoe that doesn't slip, your run is so much better and chances of getting a blister are greatly reduced.

What makes your feet happy?  

Do you want to win a pair of Stable 26 socks?  I'm a new Stable 26 Ambassador and they offered my readers a chance to win a pair to see for yourselves how great they are!  Enter below.  I will announce my winner on the blog on 4/27/14.  Be sure I can email you, because I will also email the winner.   The winner will have 24 hours to respond to the email or another winner will be chosen.  



Disclaimer:  The opinions expressed above are 100% my own.  I received product in exchange for this review and post.  




Saturday, April 19, 2014

Getting Ready for Boston

Tomorrow morning we'll be heading out to Boston for the 3rd year in a row to cheer on my speedy husband.  

We are beyond excited to head down to Boston for the expo, to spend time with family, and to spend the day watching the Boston Marathon - waiting for this guy to cross the finish line!  


this is last year at our meeting spot - we'll be meeting him here again!


Not only did he qualify again, he also raised money for the Boston One Fund at work and will be running in one of these shirts on Marathon Monday - honoring Boston One Fund and his coworkers who donated.  



Yes - two shirts made, just because he didn't know what he really wanted to wear on Monday and he'd rather be prepared!  

Here's to a great, safe, trip to Boston!  


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

1 in 5 - 5k Recap - As a Volunteer

Sunday morning, I volunteered, for the 2nd year, to take photos at a local 5k at Thomas College in Waterville, Maine.  From what I gather, this is the 3rd year for the race.  The first year it was a senior project, then grew to about 200 people last year to over 500 racers/walkers this year.  For a Central Maine town, it's a pretty decent sized 5k.

The 1 in 5 piece to the race is this "1 in 5 people will experience sexual violence in their lifetime".  For more information about the race, visit the website here.  

What I like about this race is that it starts a little later than a lot of 5ks, with a 9am start time.  The race registration/expo is well organized, in the gym, which allows the participants a great place to stay warm until the race starts as well.  Since it is April in Maine, you never know if it will be 80F or snowing!  Race morning was a bit chilly and quite windy.  Knowing it was cold there last year, I came prepared and brought my rain shell to fend off the wind and brought my gloves to stay warm. 


I found Harold prior to the start, chatted a bit about his training lately and checked out his new shoes and wished him luck.  Then I found a group of HS girls who were there with their PE teacher, which I found to be quite inspiring.  



Shortly after 9, racers came out to the starting area and after a few announcements, the race started and off they went, up the hill.  


Yes - this guy ran in his jeans!  I think it's absolutely awesome he does this.
He did it last year too!  He really makes me think I put far too much energy into picking out my race outfits!  


After the group of runners and walkers went past me, I headed inside to check things out and to warm up.  Then I headed over to the finish line area.  There I was standing next to a wonderful lady who was cheering on every single running coming in.  She was full of exciting and I loved it!  We chatted a bit and I found out that she will be in Boston on Monday as well, as her husband qualified for Boston too!  This was going to be his first year and they were both so excited to be going down.  I shared some of the things I've learned over the past couple of years.     

You can see my race photo collection on the Maine Running Photos blog or on the Facebook page.  I am happy that I've been able to take race photos over the past couple of years.  I know that after I run a race, I love going back and checking out my race photos and Maine Running Photos does this all for free.  The man behind Maine Running Photos - David Colby - spends endless hours finding races in Maine and trying to get coverage from the many volunteer photographers throughout the state.  It's a pretty amazing thing to be part of.  I look forward to taking more photos at more races this season and many more seasons to come.  

Do you volunteer for races?  Ever take race photos before?  How do you give back to the racing community?  

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sometimes I forget

Yesterday morning I had plans to run with my bff, Stacy.  She's training for Sugarloaf Marathon  in May.  I'm not.  But, I like to run with her when I can.  Which hasn't been a lot lately.   She had 14 miles scheduled and I could actually fit it in after my morning commitments.  But then her daughter got sick and she had to change her plans.  

So, when I got home from taking photos at a race, I changed and told Ward I was going for my run.  He asked his normal questions.  How far?  Where are you going?  I said 14 and to the rail trail and back.  He suggested a different route closer to the house that I haven't done in a long time and I thought, why not?   

So off I went.  For my 14 miler.  In the freezing cold rain, with crazy wind.   After 3 miles, I remembered why I don't do that loop a lot.  Someone put freaking mountains along that route.  I might be exaggerating a little bit here.   But they are some pretty significant hills. 



No worries.  I always need some hill training.  I'm never going to love them, but they will make me stronger.  So this run definitely was going to make me stronger.  After the third little mountain, about mile 5, I started thinking, as the winds picked up even more.  Wow, another 9.  Ugh.  This really sucks.  Oh wait!  I'm NOT training for a marathon!  Hmmm......  I'm going going home.  For a hot shower.  For a hot coffee.  Yep.  That's what I'm doing.  So, when I got to my road, I turned and went home.  So, yes.  I bailed.   And I think it was a great idea.  


But hey!  It's not like I've been slacking in the training department.  Here's my week in review:  

Sunday
15.25 miles - with the girls!!!!  



Monday
3 miles.  And planking.  Actually, I've been planking all week.  All month.  But I don't have a running pic for Monday, so you get to look at me in my Spandits doing a side plank.  





Tuesday
4 miles.  With Pepper!  Poor dog.  She was exhausted after this run!  



Wednesday
3 miles.  Home.  Uphill.  The whole way.  From Tucker's conference.  
I wanted to go further, earlier in the day while Izzy was at dance.  Just as I dropped her off, Ward called and asked me to pick him up because the brakes were gone in his truck.  I had this little dilemma.  Go for my run or get the husband.  Ugh.  Get the husband.  So, off I went to pick him up.  Which meant my run would be after Tucker's conference.  I was able to squeeze in 3 before it got too dark for my comfort level.  



Thursday
3.1 miles.  Got home just as the bus dropped off the boys!  



Friday
rest! 

Saturday
4 miles - with Tucker!



Sunday
7.57 miles.  




April total: 60.52.  Not really slacking.  PLUS, I have a long run planned with Stacy and Jill next weekend.   Poor Carrie has to work.  

Plus, I've been planking everyday.  I even had a plank off in my class on Friday morning.  I won at 1:30.   They were not impressed they lost to me.  We actually turned it into a great math activity afterwards.    I had to related it to math some how!  

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Meal Prepping


There are some weekends when it all comes together and I can get my meal prepping done.  I love it when this happens because my week just goes a lot smoother when I do that!  As I type this, I have two meals already done and in the refrigerator plus my lunch for the week is already completed and ready to go too!  

I love to eat salads for lunch. I love them even more if I can prep them on Sunday and just grab them in the morning.   With the weather getting warmer, I was feeling like a fiesta kind of salad.  So I tossed together some chickpeas, black beans, corn, tomatoes, avocado, pepper, and onions.  Then I added Newman's Own Lite Lime dressing.  And boom!  I have a super simple fiesta salad and a new favorite salad dressing.  Since I only have four days of school this week, I only need 4 lunches!




Monday
Kind of cheating - but dinner at Reds, a local pizza place.  Reds is hosting a fundraiser for the Class of 2015, donating a percentage of the proceeds toward the class, and since I'm a Junior Class Advisor, I should really go and support my kids.  Which means dinner is done!  

Tuesday
Stuffed Manicotti with meat sauce.   Already done and in the refrigerator ready to pop in the oven.  Tucker is not a fan of ricotta or cottage cheese and always complains.  But for some reason, he is completely okay with greek yogurt.  So this time, I shredded some monterey, sharp, and parmesan cheese and mixed it with greek yogurt to stuff into the manicotti.  We'll see if he complains about this one!  

Wednesday
Meatloaf.  Already done and ready to reheat.  Plus Ward can take some to work with him, since he's working that night.   Izzy has dance tonight and isn't out until 5:30.  I love having something done already so we can just come home and eat!

Thursday
French toast and eggs.  Always super easy and a huge hit here!  Tucker has dance tonight and isn't out until 5:30, so again, it's something easy!  

Friday
Homemade mac n cheese.  

Saturday
Leftovers or burgers.  Or both!    

Did you meal prep this week?  What are you eating?  


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I Just SCORED BIG!

Ward and I have been talking about taking the kids to their first Red Sox game this summer for quite some time.   Then I received an email yesterday asking me to try out ScoreBig.   ScoreBig is just that.  It's a ticket selling venue that offers it's customers tickets to concerts, theater events, or sporting events a savings of up to 60%.



I was a bit skeptical at first, 60% off?  Now how on earth do the venues make any money off of prices like that?  But, ScoreBig is the first sales channel created to sell unsold ticket inventories.   They've been featured in 



I have found a place where I can get tickets to the Red Sox at incredibly affordable prices for all four of us!  


So, guess what?  We're taking the kids to see their first Red Sox game as soon as school let's out in June.   Now, it's incredibly easy to get tickets at ScoreBig.  First, just type in your zip code on the top of the page and then choose your event.  I immediately knew I was going to be looking for Red Sox tickets. But there are many other options available on the site.  For New England folks, there's Bruins and Celtics games as well.    Not sure what ScoreBig has available in your area?  Check it out for yourself!  



Next, decide how many tickets you are looking for.  Of course, since we're a family of four, I chose 4.  
Then you decide where you want to sit, based on the tickets available.   


I liked how when you clicked on the different "star" seating areas, the website showed you the pricing areas.  

After you choose the seating area you would like, click on "make offer".  If you are new to the site, you'll need to create an account.  But that doesn't take a lot of time at all.  Put in your price and you know within seconds if your offer is accepted. 



Some other awesome facts - you are not charged outrageous fees either.  No delivery fees.  I for one and getting rather tired of fees for this and fees for that.  To be able to purchase tickets online with no extra fees is an extra bonus. 

Check out ScoreBig on Facebooktwitter,  and the ScoreBig blog.  Have you ever tried ScoreBig before?   


Disclaimer: I was provided with a promo code towards the purchase of event tickets from ScoreBig to try out their website. Of course, all opinions expressed on my blog are 100% my own.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Product Review: Tommie Copper ALL DAY LONG

It is not secret.  I live in workout clothing and do try to fit in workout clothing/gear even when I'm at school.   My wardrobe is roughly 75% running apparel, leaving my everyday and work clothing to a measly 25%.  I don't really want to change that either.  I'd much prefer to wear running clothing anyway.    
 
I've been a fan of Tommie Copper for the past couple of years.   Tommie Copper's compression isn't the typical compression, where it goes on tight.  The science behind Tommie Copper is that the fabric is lined with copper, a healing element.  That leaves the clothing and accessories Tommie Copper produces to be comfortable for all day wear.   Not something you feel like you have to take off after a couple of hours.   

I recently was given the opportunity to review a few pieces of Tommie Copper apparel.  I received the Camisole and Capris while Ward received the ActiveFit Full Zip Mock Neck Jacket.  Now Ward and I have a set of clothing that is perfect from morning til night, workouts to work to recovery to date night.  

Working Out

Focusing on strengthening my legs.  

And photobombed by Izzy.  



At Work


I didn't keep my shirt hanging out like this all day.  I just wanted to prove I was wearing my Tommie Copper at school under my shear sweater!  

Date Night 

After we ran a total of 20 miles earlier in the day, the best way to recover is put on our Tommie Copper and hang out.  Ward is wearing the ActiveFit Full Zip Mock Neck Jacket and I'm wearing my Tommie Compression Camisole Tank  under my denim shirt (it has been a super cold and long winter, meaning layers!) 


and Tommie's Women's Compression Capri Pants.    The thing about my Tommie Compression Capris is that they are a soft fabric that looks great all of the time and doesn't look like workout clothing at all.  



Pair the compression tights with some leather boots and you are almost instantly dressed up!  




Hanging Out and Recovering


The wide waist band is flattering for my mommy belly.  Thank you, Tommie Copper, for creating a very flattering capri I can wear anytime!


Put on my Tommie Copper, put my legs up and drink some hot tea on a cold winter night.

Compression gear.  Are you a fan of it?  When do you wear it?  Have you tried Tommie Copper before?