Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Winter Running Essentials #ThermoBreath

This post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Mizuno. All opinions are my own.


Winter is here in full force and in Maine, winter temperatures are going to be here for quite awhile!   I'm loving that Mizuno has the ThermoBreath line to keep you warm on those winter and cold weather runs!  


It's no secret.  I'm not a fan of super cold winter runs.  Frozen eye lashes and icy roads are not fun for me.  But I won't argue ever that running in the fresh air is good for the soul.  And I'm going to be toasty warm in my newest Mizuno ThermoBreath top and gloves.   



I'm loving the longer length of the top.  I seriously hate it when a shirt inches up when you are running and exposes your belly.  Ugh.  But I don't have that problem in this shirt!  It's long, soft, comfy and warm.  Sounds like the perfect top for running to me!  



And the gloves?   I would say they are great for temps above 20F.  They are thin and perform quite well!  Actually, the Mr. has taken them far too many times.  And I have washed them quite a bit too because I don't want his snot on my gloves when I wear them.  After the numerous washings, they are still quite amazing.  They are my go-to choice in gloves for running and just in general.  

Perfect for a driving glove when you're driving to your running destination or just running errands.






Tell me, what are you winter running essentials?    


Friday, December 23, 2016

My Best Gift Ever #FTD

With only two more days before Christmas, gift giving is at the top of so many's lists right now.   I've been thinking about the best gift I've ever received.    It was 17 years ago, when Ward and I started dating.   He made me this clock, from love.  




It hasn't worked in about 13 of those years.  I change the battery every so often and it works for about a day.  But it's not going anywhere.   He made it for me.    It was the first gift he gave me.   The value of this gift far outweighs any gift anyone could ever give me.   




Gift giving doesn't have to be about how much money you spend on someone.  It's about the thought behind the giving of the gift.     The message of "I'm thinking about you".    





A gift from the heart isn't necessarily an Apple Watch or a doll house.  It's time.  It's love.  It can be a phone call or even a FaceTime (which is always fun).   It could be a gorgeous floral arrangement from FTD.  


It's not too late to send one either!    Check out FTD now.  Sign up for the FTD email and you'll get special offers for beautiful arrangements.    



Just know that saying "I'm thinking about you" is enough and is the most important gift you can give anyone.   Merry Christmas everyone!  

disclosure: I was sent an arrangement from FTD, but was not required to review my product.  Instead, I was asked to talk about my favorite gift.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Let StitchFix Style For YOU!

When it comes to running clothes, I feel like I have have it down.  The colors, the prints, the #twopairdontcare and the #runmatchy(TM).    I put FAR too much time putting together an outfit for a run or a workout.   Even if I don't take a selfie from my workout.  I know you all think I take pics from all runs or workouts, but I don't.  




But when it comes to my outfits for school or going out, I'm completely lost.  To be honest, I've seriously thought about taking a few more classes and becoming certified in Physical Education so I can wear my workout clothing to school.   And of course, I would absolutely LOVE teaching PE as well.  However, I do love being a Math teacher and I worked super hard at passing that darn Praxis II, so I'll stay where I am.  



I've seen ads and posts for StitchFix here and there, and I thought nothing of it at first.  But then curiosity got to me and I checked it out.  I seriously should have been going to StitchFix all along!    It's so easy.  After you sign up, you are lead through a series of questions to set up your Style Profile - height, weight, sizes, fit preferences.  Then you get a chance to choose styles that you like the most.  



After you go through the questions, you set up your delivery date and wait.  Shipping doesn't take too long.  My package came through USPS and considering the time of year it is, my package was here in no time.   


My initial thoughts after opening up the box was "those colors!".  Blues, purples, blacks, dark mulberry.  All of the colors I love.  So pretty.  And the bracelet?  Super cute!   



But hold up!  What if you don't really love what is sent?  Or if it is too big or too small or just doesn't look like you thought it would.  No sweat.  You get 3 business days to return and there is a free shipping package enclosed.  Just log into your StitchFix account, note which items you want to return and why, then package up your returns and you are done.  If you love everything, you'll still need to log in and pay.  Of course!    


So, how about this!  Treat yourself to a personalized stylist-inspired outfit from StitchFix.  It's a nice treat for all of the hard work you have done getting everyone ready for the holiday season!   



And if you aren't sure what you want, or if you have that difficult person to shop for who has everything, let StitchFix do the styling for you!   

So there you have it!  StitchFix is a great way to gift yourself or someone you love!   Have you tried a style service before?  What are your thoughts?


disclosure:  This post is sponsored by StitchFix through my affiliation with FitApproach.  I paid for for the outfit I received out of my own money.  As always, all opinions expressed on my blog are 100% my own.  



Thursday, December 15, 2016

Coastline by Anne Zimmerman {a review + giveaway}

I am a huge lover of the ocean.  It's actually one of my favorite things about the state I live in.  Before my family moved to Maine, we vacationed along the coast and that is where the love started.   The rocky shores, beaches, so much to explore.  Incredibly beautiful.  



Lucky for me, I married a man who shares the same love of the coast as I do.  We love the water.  It's our dream to one day (many years from now) retire somewhere along the water.  But until then, I'll continue to enjoy my trips to the beach and the rocky coast with my family and friends and then come home to enjoy my gorgeous new pillows and tote from a lovely lady, Anne Zimmerman, the owner and artist behind Coastline by Anne Zimmerman.  



I first saw Anne's products on my husband's Facebook feed and instantly fell in love.   The shades of blue, the coast.  It just drew me in and seemed perfect to me.   Last month I took the plunge and purchased a set of pillows for my living room.  Aren't they perfect?  I think so!  I chose a Downeast coastline and a MidCoast coastline.   Perfect for my family with so many memories along both!




Then Anne and I started talking a little bit.  She actually went to high school with my husband and ran on the cross country team with him.  It is seriously a small world indeed.   Her products are absolutely gorgeous and would make the perfect gift for a friend, family member or yourself.  You know you deserve to buy something pretty for yourself.  So do it!  



Anne just sent me one of her NEW Maine Coast Cruise Totes to review.  As soon as I laid my eyes on it, I knew I was going to love it.  The colors are very calming and draw you in.  They make me want to go to the coast RIGHT NOW!  But, alas, I live in Maine and we're heading into a super cold-spell, so for the time being you'll find me right by my wood stove until it gets a little warmer.   I'm thinking it might be May before we get back to the coast.  But until then, I have my Maine Coast Cruise Tote to remind me of the place I love the most.  And I'll dream about hanging out on the beach again. 
 


The construction of the tote is quite sturdy.  It will definitely hold up to everyday use.  I see myself using it for just about anything and everything.  When going out for a day trip and I want to bring along a book and snacks, I can see myself grabbing my new tote and taking it along.  It will also be great for a quick trip to the gym.  Plenty big enough for some sneakers and a change of clothing.  Imagine all of the possibilities!   And because I don't LOVE my current purse/handbag, I might just move into my new tote!  It's THAT gorgeous!  



I've been going on and on about the Coastline Maine Coast Cruise Tote, but I need to add that Anne NOW lives in Florida and has an entire Florida line as well.   You know, after our trip to Florida in April, I may need something from Florida!  Her prints sure are pretty!  


And if you don't have any connections to Maine or Florida, do not worry!  She has a New York Harbor line AND she makes custom pillows and wall prints.  Your location, your colors.  You know, I'm all about custom!   

And yes, I did mention something about a giveaway!  Anne has a giveaway going on RIGHT NOW on Facebook.   




To enter, head over to the Coastline by Anne Zimmerman Facebook page.  To enter, all you need to do is share the photo of the contest, then GO BACK to the original post on her page and comment "DONE".  She'll select her winner from there.   That is SO exciting and you'll love it!  



Check out Anne's website and let me know what you love about her products!  Check it out and subscribe to her newsletter and you'll get a 20% off code.    

disclosure:  I was sent a product as part of a review.  I was not required to give a positive review.  As always, all opinions expressed on my blog are 100% my own.  


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Why I Love Running on The Treadmill




This post is sponsored by Matrix Fitness. All opinions are my own.

Runners are often known for their toughness.  Rain, snow, sleet, freezing rain - they are outside in the elements getting their run in.   Some days those runs make you feel incredibly strong; other days, not so much.     I admire those runners who still get out there in the elements and bust out a workout.  I do!   However, for me, I’d much rather get in a quality workout at home in much better conditions.    I used to gasp at thinking about running longer than 5 miles on the treadmill.  It just seemed so boring.    


However, overtime and with lots and lots of practice, I have found some great tips that get me through any kind of run on the treadmill.    And fitness companies, like Matrix Fitness are making treadmill running much more enjoyable!   

WEATHER WOES
First of all, instead of dreading your run on the treadmill, think about how you get to wear shorts and a singlet on a -10F day, because you’re running inside!  I don’t have spend 20 (or more) minutes finding your gloves, neck gaitor, hat, wool socks, windproof tights, and  jacket.    Instead, I put on my shorts, tank, grab my water, gum and head down to the basement - to my own personal gym and enjoy my run!  

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SPEED ROCKS!
Speed workouts rock on the treadmill.  When my coach gives me a speed workout, I fret about it because I feel like I won’t hit my targets on the road.  But on a treadmill, I control the pace with a few clicks of a button and because I’m stubborn, I get that interval at whatever pace I need to do, because I won’t change the speed until the time or distance is up.  


Actually, I have found that even for an “easy” run on the treadmill, running any kind of interval run makes time pass by so much faster!   Here is an example of one of my favorite “easy interval” runs:   warm up 1 mile/ increase speed up 1.0 mph  for 1 min/ recover at easy pace for 30 seconds/increase speed up 1.5 mph for 1 min/ recover at easy pace for 30 seconds/ increase speed up 1.0 mph for 1 min/ repeat/then cool down.    

console-xr-tread.jpg

Matrix treadmills have the Sprint 8® cardio workout program already installed.   This program helps you take your HIIT training to the next level.  Yes, HIIT.  HIIT is short for High Intensity Interval Training and I love it.  Most of the time HIIT workouts are short but focus on super high energy intervals to maximize your time on the treadmill.  Some users have actually experienced a 27% body-fat loss in just 8 weeks without changing their diets while using the Sprint 8® cardio workout.  

DISTANCE
I have logged many 20 milers on a treadmill.  How?  By entertaining myself.  No way could I hop onto a treadmill and crank out 20 miles without some form of entertainment.  Hello Netflix!   And Matrix treadmills have that app on their screen so you can get sucked into a the Gilmore Girls or any series and just start from the beginning of the series and just run your heart out!    

Are you a fan of the treadmill? What tips do you have to get your through treadmill miles?

Friday, December 2, 2016

5 Ways to Reduce Stress This Holiday Season

 Disclaimer: This post and giveaway is sponsored by Designer Protein thanks to my ambassadorship with Fit Approach and Sweat Pink. 




I can see it already.  The excitement of the holidays starts to ramp up the Monday before Thanksgiving.  A two day school week, 5 days off full of eating and shopping.  Back to school for 3.5 weeks then Christmas Break! (well, winter break)   It's exciting but it's incredibly stressful.   

I know.  I can already feel the stress building up.  But it's that time of year when I need to focus on the positives in my life.  (well, that should really be all year!)  Hopefully you find some of my little hints helpful.  

1.  TIME
Take time for yourself.  Period.  It's hard.  Go here. Go there.  This party.  That party.  Holiday concerts.  Tree lightings. Shopping.  If you don't take some time for yourself, you can seriously lose it.  For me, my time to myself is running.  Even if it's 30 minutes.  It's a glorious 30 minutes.  


You thing doesn't have to be running.  It could be a pedicure.  A massage.  That 10 minutes with a cup of coffee in the morning before the craziness of the day kicks off.  It doesn't matter.  Find your thing.  And do it!  And do it often.  You deserve it.  

2.  LAUGH
A lot.  And smile and hug.  It's seriously contagious.  There are somedays my shoulders are so tense I can almost feel my shoulders up by ears.  I take a few deep breaths to relax them, the find something to smile about.  Then I focus on lightening the mood.  The best laughs are usually with my family.  My family is the best.  It doesn't matter what we do....



but if we're together and laughing and smiling, I know it's going to be a great time.  


3.  EAT
If you avoid all delicious treats.  I can almost guarantee you'll go crazy.  Or you'll break down and just go to town on that PB pie!   Enjoy a treat here and there.  But keep it in check.  


I enjoy my morning Designer Protein shake with pumpkin, pumpkin spice, and cold brew.  Some people think pumpkin season is over, but I think it lasts until January 1st for sure!  It's a delicious way to start the day and it doesn't lead me searching the school for some chocolate treats.  


4.  EXERCISE
I'm not repeating myself.  I promise.  My me time is running.  But exercise in general is great for you!  On those days I can feel the stress levels building up and up and up, I know if I can just get in a run or yoga or a bike ride, my day will be so much better afterward.  Busy?  Make time.  You won't regret it!  




5.  REST 
Put those legs up and relax.  Read a book.  Watch a movie.  Take a nap.  I don't care.  Rest is important to recovery and your ability to function in general! 






I need to take my tips from these two.  They rock at rest.  Look!  They are pro's!  Do you actually take time to rest?  Try it!  I bet you'll like it!  


Check out my instagram page today only 12/2/16 for a FLASH giveaway for Designer Protein. Look for this picture and comment on your tips to a stress free holiday.  The giveaway will only be on instagram.   




Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Top Gifts for the Runner {in your life}



Finding the best holiday gifts for your runner friends can be stressful but it doesn't have to be!    I have a few of my favorite items that you can definitely get for your runner friend and now that they will love them!   

ProCompression 

Get ready is RIGHT!    December 1st, the Ugly Sweater Remix will be ready to go on the ProCompression site.    This is one hot ticket item that will surely make your runner happy and your own legs happy too!  I mean, how cute are they?    


But if the Ugly Sweater isn't for you, check out what ProCompression has to offer!  They have lows, no shows,  mid's, dress socks, casual socks, calf sleeves, and marathon socks.  There are so many choices that surely you'll find something you have to have!   And you don't even have to be a runner to love ProCompression.   I wear mine all the time under my boots at school!   If my feet are happy, I'm happy.  




If the Ugly Sweater sock isn't your cup of tea, try out the new William Tucker socks!   Dress socks meets ProCompression.   I'm loving wearing them under my boots and such.  And while they are on the dressier side, I do see that I'll enjoy them for a run here and there too!  



Spandits! 

How about ordering your runner a custom pair of running bottoms?   Yeah.  CUSTOM!  These ladies are not only fabulous runners, coaches, moms, friends, they make CUSTOM running bottoms.    Think one leg one pattern, the other leg another pattern.  Get crazy!  Have fun!  



And now they have added on an ala carte pocket option.  Go solid on the bottoms and add a fun pocket!   


Or you can always order one print bottoms.  They are pretty amazing as well.  And while you're at it, buy some arm sleeves, a bandit, or a tumbledown hat.  You won't regret it!  Spandits! is made in Maine and made just for you!   



Remember to use SPANDITSLOVE for 10% off your purchase! and please tell them Jen B sent you! (their longest standing ambassador right here! I am that dedicated!) 




VKsCups 

Runners love coffee (or caffeine) right?  Well, I guess this isn't strictly a runner gift, but it's freaking cool!   


To order your own VKsCup, simply send an email to vkscups@gmail.com.  To get some ideas about the designs and sayings area, check out the VKsCups Facebook page or instagram page.  You won't be disappointed!



Mile 22 Bags 

Have an avid racer on your hands?  Someone who holds onto all of, or quite a few race bibs?  This is one unique idea for that friend!   Right now, for every $25 spent on a gift certificate, Mile 22 Bags will add $5.   They create customized stylish bags from your race bibs and other race memorabilia, crafted right here in the USA!  




Rad Dog

Raise your hand if you love running with your pup!  ME!   Well, only one of them.   Pepper is my runner pup.  Mallie just hasn't mastered it yet.      Pepper only really needs a leash for the 1st mile, when she's so excited.... and just wants to go out as fast as possible.  After a mile, she remembers that we're going to be out there for a little longer and slows her pace.  She is great at sticking right beside me.  If I increase my pace, she does.  If I slow or stop, she does too.  She's pretty amazing like that.  But I don't want to be completely leash free.  There are too many other factors out there that I want a leash option all of the time.   Like other dogs.  She doesn't go after other dogs.  But I don't want to take that risk.  Cars too.  The cars are insane on my road.  And I prefer to keep her safe.  


Enter Rad Dog's Release N Run Leash.   (retail value $39.95) It's a collar with a leash built in.  How about a genius idea!  Instead of always having to go through your things looking for a leash, it's already attached to your dog!   Need a quick leash when you're out, it's already there!   Our on a run and decide that we don't need a leash anymore?  Just let it go and it will retract back into her collar!   Pretty cool!   

Tasc Performance 

Perhaps your runner friend prefers some clothing they can work out in, but also can wear casually?   Do they love soft clothing?  Yeah... then they probably want Tasc Performance Clothing.   



Comfy casual meets athletic, made from Bamboo and it won't pick up that stink overtime.    I've been wearing Tasc Performance rather consistently for the past year.  When I put on my Tasc it's comfort and style all in one.  




What gifts are on the top of your list?  


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received for free from 
Release N Run Leash in consideration for a gear review


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