Monday, March 28, 2016

Spring into prAna

If I could live in running clothing all day long, I would be a happy person.  I have a strong dislike for "regular" clothing or as I often refer to as "work" clothes.  I change my outfit several times every morning and as soon I come home from school, I'm changing.   

But when I found prAna, I found happiness in the world of "work" clothes that didn't make me feel uncomfortable. I actually found clothes I wanted to wear all day long.  Clothing that looked great.  Felt great.  Soft.  Moveable.  Clothing I could actually do yoga in or chill out at home and relax in.  

Or I can just do wheel when the students leave.  I am finding I love to do wheel in my classroom....while wearing prAna.  Coincidence?  Hmmmm...... wheel kinda looks like a parabola to me... guess I can start incorporating it into my quadratics unit! I bet my students would LOVE that.   Or not.  But I would LOVE teaching them about it with wheel.  So, I guess at least I would win! 

As you can tell, I really do LIVE in prAna.  This fabulous last season shawl collar sweater (that is fleece lined) with my Kara Jeans.  PS I have 3 pairs of Kara Jeans.  I'm slowly adding to my Kara Jean addiction.  If you haven't worn them yet... DO IT!  These are the most comfortable stretchy/flattering jeans I've ever put on.  

I love a quick little roll of the Kara Jean and wear them with my Altra's for a cute sporty look.  

And oh look!  More Kara Jean's!  Love them!  

On February 28th, my 39th birthday, it was actually warm enough for me to put on this gorgeous new prAna Cali dress.  It's incredibly flattering and so comfortable.  It definitely makes me feel like spring when I put it on!  

And pair it with a jean jacket and have a cute outfit that is gorgeous is actually a bluesign® garment.  Did you know that since 2012, prAna has partnered with bluesign® systems to ensure that the fabrics used meet the highest environmental and human safety standards.  Yeah.... prAna.  You are amazing!

Ready to make your wardrobe springy????  Oh yes you are!  Use PSSS16RWTG for 15% off your purchase from prAna!  They have a great sale going on too... so be sure to check it out!

disclosure: I was provided the Cali dress at no charge by prAna due to my relationship with FitApproach.  I was not compensated additionally.  As always, all opinions expressed \

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Who Do You Run For? Help me Fundraise for Miles for Miracles

My cousin sent me a link the other day for IR4.  I had seen tons of posts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram....  with hashtags #irunforMichael or basically anyone who cannot run who has touched you in someway, so you dedicate your running for them.  It's a heartwarming movement that I have done time and time again when I run a virtual race of one fundraiser or another, or when a fellow runner has been sadly killed while out on a run.  That is one of the things I love about the running community.  We take our running and dedicate those miles for the good, for someone we love, and while we're doing that, we're doing something we love.  Mostly.  

It got me thinking.... who do I run for?  The first person who comes to mind is my mom.  She was not a runner.  Not even close.  But she's no longer with us and I feel very much connected to her when I run.  I feel like she's with me every step of the way...the good and the bad.  While Tucker was going through the surgeries for the tumor on his nose, I ran for him.  While he recovered, I ran for him.  Now that he's healing and able to be an active 12 year old boy again, he gets to run.  Yet, I still run for him.  I still run and pray that he makes a full recovery from this.  That the tumor will never return.  That his scares will fade away and we won't have to put him through further surgeries to fix the skin graft.... Sadly, that isn't looking promising.  As the scar heals, we're seeing some spots that are not healing the way they should.  

the first post skin graft picture he would allow

I've shared our story on here before, but I thought I would share again.   Warning - it's a long one.  

Last winter, sometime in February, we noticed a bump growing in the middle of Tucker's nose.  You couldn't notice it head on, but from a side-view it was apparent.  Being concerned, we took him to our primary care physician.  She didn't even know what to make of it and referred us to see a plastic surgeon.  His diagnosis was cyst and scheduled Tucker for a removal surgery.  April 15th, 2015, was his first surgery.  Seeing my first born go through the surgery was heart-wrenching.  The doctor biopsied the "cyst" and told us he removed everything and that it was just a cyst.  

before all of the tumor growth

A couple of months later, we noticed a bump returning again.  I called the plastic surgeon immediately.  It took a long time to get back in to see him, but when we did, he agreed another surgery needed to be done.  Surgery #2 was August 19th.  He had it biopsied again and told us it was just a cyst.  

after surgery #1

In October, I went away to the Runner's World Festival for 4 days.  When I returned, there was a huge growth in the middle of Tucker's nose!  We went back to the doctor again, and he admitted he didn't know what was going on and suggested we see a dermatologist, an ENT, and get a 2nd opinion.  Due to the timing, we saw the 2nd opinion plastic surgeon (who read the pathology reports from the first two surgeries) and said it was just a cyst and she was going to remove it the same exact way the 1st doctor removed it.  She went on to say the kind of cyst it was, it was going to continue to come back and we'd have to put him through repeated surgeries.  My momma senses told me that this was not an answer we were going to accept.  

The Friday before the Philadelphia Marathon, we finally got into see the dermatologist.  Ward took Tucker there earlier in the day. She told him she would review the pathology report and get back to us in the next week or so.  By 5pm, she was on the phone with me.  She said she didn't have good news. That the growth was not actually a cyst.  That it was actually a benign tumor...and that based on the fast growth, it might not be benign anymore.  She was rather alarmed and said she would be in touch Monday with a plan, but basically she was sending us to Boston.  She didn't know which hospital yet.  

I thought about not going to the marathon.  I wanted to stay with him the entire weekend, but I knew I couldn't do anything about it over the weekend and he was excited about doing fun things with his grandparents, so we went.  And I ran that marathon for him.  

running Philly for my boy

Over the next few weeks, we were convinced he had cancer.   Due to the holidays, things seemed to move super slow.  The dermatologist had the pathology slides read by a specialist in Boston who decided that we needed to go the the Boston Children's Hospital.  We saw Dr. Taghinia, a very talented plastic surgeon just before Christmas.  He reviewed the pathology reports and described our options.  He said he would get back to us as soon as possible (but again, with the holidays it might take longer).  On New Year's Eve, we were heading to Boston for the first surgery.  He removed the tumor and a bit of skin around the area.  He ordered a pathology report which took longer to get results due to NYE, but he found that there was still tumor cells remaining.  In the mean time, Tucker had a cotton ball like bandage sewn to his face (because the doctor wanted to make sure the tumor was completely gone before taking the next steps to repair).  Two weeks later we were in for another removal surgery.  This time he took quite a bit of skin and had to go extra deep.  And another cotton ball was attached to his nose.   

Tucker had already missed 2 weeks of school, because I didn't want to send him in with a cotton ball attached to his face.  At this point, we didn't know how long it would take until he would have the skin graft and see an end..... if we kept him out, it could be another month!  But we left the decision up to Tucker, who chose to go to school.  I was amazed by his strength and courage to face his peers with a cotton ball on his nose.  But he did it.  My strong boy.  

Finally we heard that there was no longer any traces of tumor cells, and it was time to do a skin graft. Because the removal site was so large, the doctor needed to take the skin from his collarbone.  My strong and courageous kiddo took it all in stride and got through surgery like a champ.  This was surgery #5 in less than a year.  

So now, we're over two months after the skin graft, and it doesn't look like there any other bumps or new growths returning to the site.   It's going to take a long time for his nose to look better and it will probably never look normal again, but we're thankful we found a doctor who knew what we was doing and removed the entire tumor.  We are thankful it was never malignant and we are thankful for the strength Tucker showed during all of these surgeries.  We are also thankful for our family who took Izzy several times for long periods of time while we headed off to Boston to take care of Tucker.  

Looking at the big picture, this was just a benign tumor on my kiddo's nose.  Thankfully he never became sick during this process.  During all of our visits to Boston Children's Hospital, we saw many families who would arrive with enough luggage for days, while we would walk in for a day surgery and would be home that night.  We saw babies being wheeled around in their walkers hooked up to IV's, families who spent endless hours/days in the waiting area, much much longer than we spent in there.  I kinda felt guilty for bringing our "minor" issue to a place where the other kids are so much sicker and needed so much more.  

That is why I have decided I need to run for ALL of those kids at Boston Children's Hospital.  That is why I decided to apply for the chance to run on the Miles for Miracles team for the NYC Marathon and accepted the huge task of raising $3000 for Boston Children's Hospital.  I have decided that I need to do this for Tucker, but I also need to do this for every single kid who has been/is still at/will visit Boston Children's Hospital.  I need to help this amazing facility filled with the best nurses, administrative assistants, physicians, staff continue to do what they do so other families can have the best care.  

Part of my participation in Miles for Miracles, is that I get to choose my patient participant.  I couldn't choose "all of the patients" I chose the one that is nearest and dearest to my heart.  My first born, my strong and brave kiddo that faced so many scary surgeries in the past year and who's face will never look the same.   But at least the tumor is gone.  I have chosen Tucker as my patient participant and I couldn't be more excited by this!  

Have you known anyone to have to go to Boston Children's Hospital or any Children's Hospital throughout the US?  

I shared this the other day on my blog, but my entries are very low, so I'm sharing again with hopes that I could convince my readers to want to donate $10 (or more!) with the chance to win a great package!  

I'm going to do some big time fundraising between now and October, and I've kicked it off with a Runner's Package - a Trigger Pin, Red Fox wireless earbuds, and Polar Watch.  Retail value $350.  I bought the Trigger Pin, the Red Fox earbuds were donated and the Polar Watch I bought and used a few times, but decided it would be better in a fundraiser!  

How to enter:

The Runner's Package contest will run from 3/23/2016 to 4/07/2016 (midnight, EST).
  • Donate to my NYCM fundraising page. Every $10 donation = 1 entry. Come back here and comment below. Each social media share earns another entry. Comment below with your link to your social media share!
  • 1 winner will be selected using a random method (names in bucket).  
  • Open to Residents of the US only 18 years of age or older.  
  • Winner must have a valid email address.
  • Winner will be notified via email and/or blog post and will have 24 hours to claim prize.  If original winner does not claim prize within 24 hours, an alternate winner(s) will be selected.
  • All winning entries will be verified. 
  • If a winning entry cannot be verified as completed, a new winner will be drawn.  
  • I will mail out the prize package.  

If you commented on my other post after you donated... you are already in the drawing!  

Thank you so much!!!!  And tell me - who do YOU run for? 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Smoothies Smoothies Everywhere!

I seriously love smoothies!  They are what gets me through each and every single day.  To me, a smoothie is the best way to cram all of the nutrients into one, convenient serving that will fuel me for breakfast or lunch!  I've been doing two smoothies a day since the fall.

It's almost like Manitoba Harvest had me in mind when they made their newest Hemp Protein Smoothie mixes.  A creamy blend of HempPro 70 protein powder with organic harvest greens (organic spinach, kale and broccoli).  

Each 30 gram serving contains 15 grams of plant-based protein and is slightly sweetened with organic coconut sugar.  

And the flavors?   Mixed Berry, Vanilla Chai, and Chocolate.  A great variety and ALL delicious.  

Lunch?  If it weren't for a shaker bottle, and protein powders, and almond or cashew milk... this girl would be hungry!  My lunch literally takes me seconds to make.  Scoop in my Hemp Protein Smoothie powder into a shaker bottle I already put cashew milk in....shake and drink!  Yum!

This 2 min breakfast works perfectly for me!  Add some cashew mix, 4 scoops of Hemp Protein Smoothie, top with some fruit and blend.  Then drink on the go.  Full of nutrients.  Full of flavor.  And SO EASY!  

Nutrition on the go!  And filling.  Yeah, I forgot to mention that.  But these mixes filled me up.   No starvation by 9 am.  I was perfectly satisfied until 11 (which is my lunch time) every day!  

Looking to try out Manitoba Harvest Hemp Protein Smoothie mixes - head on over to Manitoba Harvest and load up your cart, use hempsmoothielaunch16 for 15% off until 4/30/16.  

And if you want to get active with the Manitoba Harvest contest - go ahead and snap some pics of you enjoying your smoothies and share, share, share on social media using #hempproteinsmoothie and tag Manitoba Harvest for your chance to win a case of your favorite Hemp Protein Smoothie mix! 

disclosure:  I reviewed Manitoba Harvest Hemp Protein Smoothie mix due to my FitApproach affiliation.  I was not required to write a positive review.  As always, all opinions expressed on my blog are 100% my own.  

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

What I Ate Wednesday + GIVEAWAY!!!!

This past fall I experimented with a cleanse - which means I took dairy, gluten, coffee and sugars out of my diet.  For that time, I felt amazing.   Then I gradually added gluten and dairy back into my diet.  Sadly, my body revolted.   Coffee was making me sick.  Like really sick.  I have found that cold brew coffee and green tea are now my caffeine sources.  I'll take it!  I also found that gluten didn't really agree with my stomach.  When I splurge on that seriously amazing tasting whoopee pie, my body revolts.  Like it did last night.  It was bad.  So bad.  But I love bread!  

Gluten free breads in my area is kinda hard to come by.  You can buy UDI's at the grocery store, but that's really your only option.  Unless you are lucky and get to the local food coop we have downtown.  Which is somewhere I normally do not frequent, but I guess I have to now...because I have found the BEST gluten free bread ever there.  And I mean THE BEST!  So now that I found them, I'm on the quest to make sure I always have this delicious bread in my house.  I bet I can even feed it to my family and they won't have a clue that it's glutenless.  She is actually the Bread Lady Bakery.  

And her brioche burger rolls?  Soft.  Flavorful.  Delicious!  They do not "taste" glutenless at all.  And I can enjoy burgers with buns again!  Yippee!!!!   Now I need to find out where she sells those brioche rolls!  I need them in my life!

And now..... My first fundraising contest!  As you know, I'm running the NYCM this November with team Miles for Miracles with Boston Children's Hospital.    You can read about why I've chosen to run for Boston Children's Hospital here.

Which means, I am in fundraising mode!  My first fundraising contest is this Runner's Package! Red Fox Wireless earbuds, Trigger Pin, and RC5X Heart rate watch and strap.  Retail value $350.  

The Trigger Pin and Red Fox earbuds are new.  I used the Polar Watch a couple of times...but decided it wasn't for me.

How to enter:
The Runner's Package contest will run from 3/23/2016 to 4/07/2016 (midnight, EST).
  • Donate to my NYCM fundraising page. Every $10 donation = 1 entry. Come back here and comment below. Each social media share earns another entry. Comment below with your link to your social media share!
  • 1 winner will be selected using a random method (names in bucket).  
  • Open to Residents of the US only 18 years of age or older.  
  • Winner must have a valid email address.
  • Winner will be notified via email and/or blog post and will have 24 hours to claim prize.  If original winner does not claim prize within 24 hours, an alternate winner(s) will be selected.
  • All winning entries will be verified. 
  • If a winning entry cannot be verified as completed, a new winner will be drawn.  
  • I will mail out the prize package.  

Best of luck to you!!!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Livin' The TASClife

Welcome to hump day! I hope you are having a fabulous week so far!  Spring is here.... but I'm in Maine.  So spring can mean any kind of weather, and I'm sure mother-in-nature has plenty of variety in store for us!  We started off spring with gorgeous blue skies.  Then the next day we snow and rain. Thankfully, the snow melts quite quickly (most of the time) and the end of the school year is in sight!  

This winter, I had some fantastic news.  I was accepted as a Tasc Performance Ambassador.  So what does that mean?  It means I get to be spoiled with amazing, gorgeous, comfortable clothing that is great for ALL activities - running, yoga, cycling, errands, work...sleep.  

You name it.  Tasc Performance has something for you!  

As the tags above say - Tasc Performance is made from natural materials.  It wicks moisture, protects you from the sun, doesn't trap in odor, is incredibly breathable and is super lightweight.  

Pictured above: Nola Crop and Elevation Hoodie

I could LIVE in Tasc Performance.  I want to wear it everywhere.  It is now just blended into my regular rotation of clothing.  

The Endurance Sports Bras are amazing.  Not only do they offer so much support, they are comfortable, reversible, odor-free, and super cute.  

 Bywater High Low Pullover and Nola Crop Leggings..... a constant in my life.

I have an older tank from Tasc, that I still wear, all of the time.  It's great for all activities too and for pairing with my Nola Crops when I hop on the trainer for an indoor sweat.  

Yup....the Bywater High Low is great to wear to school too!  Love this top!  

And it's great for cuddling with the puppy at night too!

The Falaya Racer Top is seriously amazing.  Light weight, flattering, and adorable!  I liked it for running and I can lots and lots of time in it when the outdoor temperatures increase!

The Riverwalk Pants are far beyond the best pants I've ever worn.  They have the "jogger" look, but the feel and comfort go far beyond any "jogger" out there.  Ward and Izzy couldn't stop looking at them and touching them, saying "I want some of those".  Sorry guys!  Mine!!!!

The Elevation Hoodie is super soft, warm and flattering. I love to wear it everywhere.   I haven't worn it running outside, because, well, I haven't run outside a lot lately.  But I wear it to yoga, running errands, to school.  It's an amazingly warm and cozy top!  

Now that I have you drooling and jealous over my newest wardrobe additions, you can stock up on your Tasc Performance clothing with this sweet discount!!!  Use FF0103-hjA6 to enjoy 15% off your purchase through 3/31/16.  

I have been eyeing up the cute Congo skirt!  I must have it!!!!  

What do you think?   


Monday, March 21, 2016

Staying Active While Sick and Staying Sane

Being sick is no fun! This week I had a really awesome back-to-back series of illnesses.  The stomach-bug hit me hard Tuesday/Wednesday and then I came down with an awful cold.  Which meant that I ran 1 time this week.  In the grand scheme of things, that's not a big deal.

It's taken me a long time to accept that it's okay to not push it and run through illnesses.   I've also gotten better at reading my body.  I used to push through a cold.  And sometimes I do.  Actually, sometimes running with a head cold does help me feel better.  But when I feel that cold settling into my chest, I know to steer clear of the running and take care of myself - being the asthmatic that I am and having a history of pneumonia and bronchitis.  

So what does one do when you are sick and want to be active?  

Yoga with Momentum Jewelry and Spandits tights.  Perfection!

Remember, you're body is sick.  If you are contagious.  Keep your body home and away from others so you're not spreading your germs.  Be aware of that.  If you do go out, please, please, please practice good hygiene - sanitize, cough into your elbow, you know the drill!  

Continue to run.  
Yes.  Some people continue to run.  But remember to listen to your body.  Don't overdo it or you'll slow down your recovery.   You may need to reduce your mileage and/or slow your pace.  If your body is saying NO RUNNING, listen!  A few days off, are not going to completely derail you.  You'll come back well rested and healthier and ready to take on those runs!  This week, I ran once.  It was horrendous.  I knew from that run that my body needed rest.  

Yoga is an amazing exercise.  Slow, stretching, strength, balance, mind cleansing.... all amazing.  Just remember, if you have a head cold, your balance may be off a bit.  So if you are unable to hold balance poses that you were once able to, cut yourself some slack!  

I wouldn't recommend going outside on a chilly day and getting chilled.  But if you have an indoor trainer or access to a gym with bikes, go for it!  Cycling is an excellent cardio workout that doesn't put a ton of stress on your body.  I highly recommend it!  

When I want the feel of running, but my body isn't 100% up to running, elliptical satisfies my craving.  Almost.  But at least it's a great cardio workout!  

Always an excellent form of exercise.  It's something the entire family can do together and fresh air does the body good!

I should be much better at incorporating strength into my workouts.  I definitely go in phases.  When I'm sick, I tend to want to do more strength because I just want to do something.  Anything.  So, if you're not as good at remembering strength, take advantage of your non-running time and get back at it!  

And remember, you still need to rest.  I feel that being sick is your body's way of telling you that you NEED rest!  Rest is completely okay!  and remember to hydrate (or rehydrate) with SOS Rehydrate!  

Tell me!  Are you a person who stops and listens to your body?  Or do you power through?