Category Archives: Products I’ve Tried

{Product Review} Lifeway Frozen Kefir

Summer and ice-cream go hand in had to me. They are a perfect duo and few things say summer more than enjoying some ice-cream on a hot summer day or night. Okay, so a juicy burger and a cold beer in the yard say summer too, but I digress.

Recently, I was asked by Influenster to participate in a review for Lifeway brand Kefir. I had seen and heard of kefir before, but I had never tried it, so I figured why not?!

Never heard of kefir? I’ll let Lifeway describe it for you… “Kefir is a cultured probiotic beverage similar in taste and texture to drinkable yogurt, and made from milk fermented with kefir cultures. Originating over 2000 years ago in the Caucasus Mountains-where many people live well over 100 years – kefir has been associated with a long list of health benefits.” 
#LWaySummer

I saw that they made a frozen kefir and since I love me some ice-cream, I decided that I would try that over the smoothies they offer. I’ve also been opting for frozen yogurt instead of ice-cream lately, so I figured the kefir would be similar. Thankfully, one of my local grocery stores had it. They didn’t have Mango, which was the flavor I had my heart set on, but they did have Pomegranate so I grabbed a pint of that and headed to the check-out with my voucher.

Before cracking open my frozen treat, I flipped it over to see what the ingredients and nutrition info was and it wasn’t awful. The sugar was higher than I would have liked but compared to regular ice-cream, I thought it had a decent ingredient list.

Frozen Kefir – Tart and Tangy Pomegranate 1pnt (473ml)

Each of their frozen kefir varieties feature all-natural ingredients and 10 probiotic cultures. Each flavor has only 90 calories per serving, 1 gram of fat per serving and is 99% lactose-free as well as gluten-free. Sounds great, but how is it going to taste?!

I’m happy to report that it was really freaking good! It had a nice smooth, creamy texture and the flavor was perfectly tart and tangy. I will definitely be trying the other flavors that my local grocer has in stock and I hope to find some of the others that I have heard of, too!

If you’d like to locate a store near you and get a coupon to try some Lifeway Frozen Kefir for yourself, click here!

Have you ever tried any of the Lifeway Kefir products? If so, I would love to know which product and flavor is your favorite.

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*I received a voucher for one free Lifeway Kefir item as a perk of being part of the Influenster program. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

 

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{Summer Giveaway} Fashion Edition


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I’m incredibly happy to announce, that I have teamed up with Nora & Jac to offer my readers and Facebook fans a chance to win some great items!

If you love fashionable, handmade accessories, this giveaway is for you!

Entering is as easy as 1, 2, 3…:

  1. Visit the Nora & Jac Facebook page and hit “Like”
  2.  Visit my Facebook page and make sure you already “Like” it.
  3. Click the summer giveaway tab on the top to fill out the form.

(There are also links to Nora & Jac’s Facebook page on there if you prefer)

One lucky winner will be randomly chosen on July 1, 2013 by 3:00 pm to win these great items (which are valued at approx $45):

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So hop on over to Facebook to enter today and keep an eye on the Nora & Jac page….she has some great sales going on now to make way for new items which are in the works and will be launching soon!

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{Wordless Wednesday} I’m KIND of Obsessed

KIND bars

 

kind granola

 

 

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{Product Review} Ivory 2-in-1 Hair & Body Wash

I recently received another product from Influenster to test and I must say, I was quite impressed.

The product I received was the Ivory 2-in-1 Hair & Body Wash.

Ivory 2-in-1 Hair & Body Wash

I’m not normally a fan of 2-in-1 products, but my husband and son are so I asked them to join in and give this product a try too.

Upon first opening the box to see what I received, I was not at all impressed by the design Ivory chose for this product. If I was in the store shopping, I’d pass it right by, but I wasn’t in the store, so the next obvious thing to do was flip open the top and check out the scent. This I was very pleased with. It had a nice, clean scent it, without being overpowering, too feminine or too masculine. Nice save Ivory, however that packaging still needs some help.

Of course the next step was to actually shower with it. I reluctantly hopped into the shower and used only one product for my entire shower. This is completely foreign for me but I was pleased with the results. It gave a nice lather when added to my puffy sponge (do those things even have an actual name?) and it left my hair clean and manageable without drying it out or leaving a heavy feeling to it. (Both a plus since I have curly hair that I straighten daily.)

My husband and two kids also really liked this product, so it was a win with everyone in the family. (How often does THAT happen?!)

I think this would be a great addition to your gym bag or suitcase when traveling. Who wouldn’t want to lug around less bottles but still smell good, feel moisturized and have clean manageable hair?! I know I’m all for “less is more”  in both of these cases.

While I don’t think the Ivory 2-in-1 Hair & Body Wash will replace my normal products, I do see a use for it and would definitely purchase it. I know my kids liked it and showers become a twice a day thing around here in the summer, so this could definitely make life easier. Two kids, one product, less empty bottles to recycle…. who knew my laziness could be good for the earth as well!

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A Day In NYC for #FitBlogNYC (Part Two)

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Welcome to Part Two of my #FitBlogNYC recap! I hope you found some helpful info from my first post about the amazing speakers who FITNESS lined up for us! If you somehow missed it, please take a moment to check it out here: A Day In NYC for #FitBlogNYC (Part One)

After our information packed morning of seminars, FITNESS provided lunch for all of the bloggers in attendance and an opportunity to visit all of the sponsor tables that were set up inside of the Mercedes Club. When we arrived at the event, we were given a program and on the back of it was a list of all of the sponsors. We had to use this as a sort of passport and collect stickers from each vendor in order to earn an amazing swag bag!

First up was Saucony, since we encountered their table immediately upon going inside. They had a table set up with amazing running shoes, in bright, fun colors. Looking at the array of colors just made you instantly happy, so you could image how I was about to burst with joy when I found out that we were all receiving a pair of them!! The shoe being featured were the Kinvara 4’s and they are simply #Kickassimus and will help me #FindYourStrong!

#Kickassimus #FindYourStrong

For specs on the Kinvara 4 running shoes click here.

Next up was the Athleta table. They had a table full of swimwear on display for us to check out and two racks full of different athletic wear. While taking everything in, we were told about an Instagram contest they were running. We were to pick out an outfit we liked from the rack and Instagram a photo of it with the hashtag #PowerToTheShe. A winner was selected at midnight based on who had the most likes. Obviously, I did not win, but it was fun anyway!

Athleta #FitBlogNYC 2013

From there we moved over to the Marmot table where we met Paige Claassen who is a Professional Climber. She will be taking part in the Lead Now Tour, which is a global tour to inspire people through rock climbing. While speaking with her, I learned that she will be traveling the world for year during this tour and that she is most excited to visit South Africa, which is where the tour kicks off.

Marmot #FitBlogNYC 2013

For more information on Paige and Lead Now, click here.

The next table I visited was sponsored by Tonalin. I had never heard of them before, but learned that their products are used for reducing body fat and are sourced from natural safflower oil. Tonalin CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) is natural and environmentally sustainable. I don’t know how much I buy into supplements like these, but if you have ever used them and have seen good results, I’d love to hear about your experience.

The items shown here where offered as a giveway during the event.

From here I moved on to the Reebok table and it was fabulous! They had a great display of their CrossFit sneakers set-up for us to check out, along with some of their new #LiveWithFire apparel! There was also a photo-op set up here. We got to write a catchy phrase on a white board, along with our blog/twitter information and have our photo taken. Later, we found out that Reebok had also given us all a pair of their SubLite Train 1.0 sneakers (not featured in this photo) to try out! Score!

#LiveWithFire

For more information on the SubLite Train 1.0 sneakers, click here.

Vichy Laboratoires was the next table I visited. Upon arriving there, we were presented with an iPad and earbuds so we could watch this funny video, which is part of their #celluliteconfessions campaign:

After laughing for a while and joking with Violet Zaki (Fitness Expert, Owner of ZakiFitness and Equinox Instructor), we were introduced to CelluDeStock and their new Capital Soleil Lightweight Foaming Lotion SPF 50, which smells amazing and doesn’t leave that gross sunscreen feeling on your skin. Vichy was kind enough to offer us a full size bottle of each in our swag bags, so I’m sure I’ll have more to offer on these products soon!

#celluliteconfessions

Our next sponsor was Smart Balance and they had a very fun set-up for us. First, we were offered a little snack made with Smart Balance peanut butter, of course! They were No Bake Peanut Butter Cocoa Cookies and they were yummy! They were also kind enough to have the recipe printed out for us to take home, so I figured I’d share with you, too!

Smart Balance No Bake Peanut Butter Cocoa Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Smart Balance Fat Free Milk and Omega 3s
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 Tbsp Smart Balance Blended Butter Sticks
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups oatmeal
  • 3/4 cup Smart Balance Rich Roast Chunky Peanut Butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  • Boil the Smart Balance Fat Free Milk and Omega 3s, cocoa, Smart Balance Blended Butter Stick and sugar in a small pot for two minutes.
  • Remove from heat and add oatmeal, Smart Balance Rich Roast Chunky Peanut Butter and vanilla.
  • Drop by heaping tablespoons onto parchment paper or way paper. Let cool for at least 1 hour before eating.

Nutrition Fact: Serves 40. Nutrition per serving: Calories 72, Fat 3g, Saturated Fat 1g, Poly Fat 0, Mono Fat 2g, Trans Fatty Acids 0g, Cholesterol 1mg, Sodium 29mg, Carbohydrates 9g, Dietary Fiber 1g, Protein 2g.

They also had a fun aspect to their table. There were headbands for us to wear with the hashtag #BalancedBlogger on it and we had to attempt to do a fun pose on a Bosu Ball while wearing it. It was an interesting couple of minutes as I tried to balance on one leg for a photo. Luckily the representative taking the photo caught it right before I fell off. Good times! For our efforts we earned a jar of their peanut butter in our choice of chunky or creamy. If you Instagramed and tweeted the photo, you also earned the chance to win free Smart Balance peanut butter for a year.

I'm a #BalancedBlogger

The final sponsor we visited before giving into our hunger and breaking for lunch was Crystal Light. They had a table set-up with cups of water and a few sample flavors of their new #CrystalLightLiquid flavoring. We had a choice of trying Blueberry Raspberry, Pomtini or Strawberry Lemonade, which is what I opted for. I liked that you could control how much flavor was added to your water and that it wasn’t overly sweet because of that.

#CrystalLightLiquid

From here we took a break to grab some food and head back outside to socialize and enjoy the gorgeous weather NYC was having that day.

CamelBak #FitBlogNYC 2013

#FitBlogNYC 2013 Menu

#FitBlogNYC 2013 Reunion

I wish I had taken more photos of the bloggers I met during the event, but it complete mental overload and I was honestly more into socializing than documenting by this point. It was nice to meet up with Jen (@MomsGottaRun) since we went to High School together and it had been years since I’d seen her.

After lunch we headed inside to visit the final sponsor table, which was brought to us by Ford Fiesta and their #FiestaMovement. They had a fun photo booth set up so myself, Sylvia (@Frolic_Life_Syl) and Susan (@SusanFishback) participated together.

To view our video as well as others from this event  click here.

Our final event of the day was the group workout. Those of you who read my blog regularly already know we had a choice of three workouts. A Cardio Dance Party, Yoga or a Group Run. I chose the run so I quickly changed into a tank top and met my group. The run was being sponsored by Saucony and was being lead by Dorothy Beal (@MilePosts) who is a marathoner, mom of 3, cover model and running coach. Our group wasn’t very big, but it was full of some runners who know their stuff and could easily do the 3 miles we set out to do. I felt great at first and was keeping pace with some of the newer runners, like myself, but as we continued our run along the Hudson River, I suddenly felt the familiar tightening of my chest… the one that has driven me crazy since I was Derailed By The Plague back in March.

I was starting to have an asthma attack and I didn’t have my inhaler with me. Awesome! I slowed down and walked, tried to run again to catch up and then realized I had to walk if I wanted to make it back to the venue. I instantly felt like I failed and tears began to stream down my face. I called my husband to vent once my breath returned and he tried to reassure me that it was okay and I didn’t fail, but it’s hard to accept in the moment. I felt embarrassed and I felt like my body let me down. I eventually came to terms with what happened but it still sucks.

Upon returning back to the Mercedes Club, many of the bloggers had already grabbed their swag bags and were leaving. I quickly changed my shirt and headed over to claim my bag awesomesauce before meeting a few of my new blogger friends for a drink and some snacks.

Photo Credit: Susan Fishback

Photo Credit: Susan Fishback

My bag full of Awesomesauce! (Ignore the mess behind it)

My bag full of Awesomesauce! (Ignore the mess behind it)

This was hands down and amazing event and I hope I am lucky enough to be invited to attend next year. I promise to share more information about what was in this amazing bag as I use the items, but the brands include Saucony, Reebok, CamelBak, Vichy, KIND, SparklySoul Headbands, Smart Balance, Marmot, Goody, Pure Barre, Three Jane, Athleta, Julep, Bliss Labs and many, many more!

Sugarfina #FitBlogNYC 2013One quick one I’d like to feature is Sugarfina.

They gave use a beautifully packaged, delicious box of dark chocolate covered goji berries that even my kid liked!

They are offering our readers 20% off their antioxidant collection until May 31, 2013. Just visit Sugarfina.com/antioxidant and enter the code FITNESS at checkout!

 

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Playing Catch Up

I had all intentions of posting blogs daily last week. Hell, I even had topics to post about, but life had other plans for my time.

Oh well.

After last weeks celebration of finally hitting 200 miles for 2013, I dropped off a bit. I’ve had an awful ache in my neck that just won’t let up and I have been busy with stuff around the house. I’ve also still been playing nurse-maid to the puppy, who thought it would be a great idea to eat half of a tennis ball. Thankfully he is doing better now, I just hope my wallet heals from that vet visit soon. Sigh.

I miss getting out and clearing my head while running. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll steal some time to log a few more miles. Oh…and hopefully I make it to the mall to get some more of this…

Designer Whey Protein To Go

Designer Whey Protein To Go – Lemonade

I received this sample in the mail a while ago and I kept forgetting about it. I brought it out with me the other day during my run and finally gave it a shot. To my surprise, it was pretty tasty. I think I was nervous about trying it because I have a picky palette when it comes to protein drinks. There was a slight after taste to it, but nothing awful. I actually finished the whole bottle and decided that I would like to pick up some of the Orange flavor to see how I like that.

Last week, I also got an e-mail from Fitness magazine saying that I was invited to their Fitness Blogger Meet and Tweet event AKA #FitBlogNYC this year!! I’m truly excited about this opportunity and I can’t wait to go. I’ve already met some great people via the event hashtag on Twitter, and I look forward to meeting them as well as seeing MomsGottaRun. (Someone remind me of this excitement when it’s 4:30am and my alarm is going off because I have to get ready to catch a bus into NYC. Okay, thanks.)

#FitBlogNYC

Photo Credit: TreadmillRunway.com

This week I plan on hitting the weights again and getting my eating under control as well. Every now and then I forget to adjust my caloric intake when my workouts drop down and that’s not a good thing. I’ve been sort of spacey about my nutrition since getting sick. I also thought that being home would make keeping up with eating properly easier, but I was wrong. It’s all just time management and I haven’t been very good at that since losing my job a few months ago. It’s time to get my shit together and start functioning the way I am supposed to.

Speaking of functioning the way I used to… I think I felt a small spark of excitement over design today. I was asked by my good friend Beth, from With Glitter In Her Veins, to help her design some stuff for a new business she starting up. She needed a logo, Facebook Cover photo and stuff like that, so this morning I started messing around with it as I enjoyed my morning cup of sanity. To my surprise, inspiration came to me quickly, I e-mailed my design to her and she loved it! It felt good to have the creative juices flowing again, so I decided to make a new logo for myself and try my hand at designing invitations again. I’m not sure if I’ll get a nice bonfire going with this spark, but I might as well give it a shot again and see where it goes.

How was your week? What is everyone up to with their fitness these days?

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Workout Gear On A Budget

I don’t know about you, but money is always tight in this house.

My biggest fitness splurge to date, are my Brooks Glycerin 10 sneakers which I LOVE! I purchased them last year while picking up my race packet for The Color Run and while I cried as I forked over the cash for them, they were worth every penny. I think if you can only choose one item to splurge one, running shoes should be that item.

Now my daily fitness attire is another story. Because I need enough clothing to support my daily fitness activities, I need them to be cost effective. When I was just doing P90X or Insanity, I wore tank top and shorts that I already owned. I didn’t care if I matched, because I was in my own living-room. My biggest worry was a sports bra for Plyometrics workouts. Since I started running, I’ve had to think about different types of gear. An arm band for my phone, the type of socks I wear, moisture wicking shirts, compression pants and different types of jackets for the different types of weather I’d encounter, as someone who runs outdoors.

When I asked for recommendations, many people said Lululemon, which is completely out of my budget. (I do like to “window shop” on their site, in case I ever hit the lotto, which I rarely remember to play.)

I had looked at Under Armor, Nike, New Balance and other brands at Sports Authority, but most of them were also pushing the ever shrinking limits of my budget, too.

Thankfully, I discovered Old Navy’s Active line!

Old-Navy-Active

It’s truly been a budget life saver and I adore the colors and styles they offer. I have quite a few of the t-shirts, tank tops and compression pants. I even recently picked up the compression jacket shown above, on clearance and used some Old Navy cash, to get a nice haul for very little money.

I was really skeptical when I first tried the t-shirts. I wasn’t sure how they would hold up during washing, and my gear is used often, so it’s washed a lot. To my surprise they held up great and I haven’t seen any signs of shrinking or fading. (which is amazing because I sometimes forget to double check the recommended washing techniques.)

There honestly isn’t an article of clothing I’ve purchased from the Active GoDry line, that I don’t like. The compression pants were my favorite piece of gear when it was cold out. They never rode up or slipped as I ran, which drove me crazy with a pair I purchased prior. The bubble tanks (like the black one on the top left, in the photo above) are adorable and add a little of fun to workout gear. I snagged a few of those in some bright colors on clearance and I can’t wait to wear them now that the weather is warming up.

Do you have a favorite, budget friendly place to buy your workout gear?

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(This is not a sponsored post. I did not receive any kind of compensation from Old Navy for this post. I’m just simply sharing something that I like.)

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{Product Review} Palmolive Fresh Fusions

Palmolive Fresh FusionsI recently joined a site called Influenster, which allows you to give opinions of products and experiences. It creates links between brands and members to reward participation and also helps to influence future products that manufactures may be looking to release.

As a member, I was recently selected to participate in a product review. I couldn’t wait to open my box of Palmolive Fresh Infusions when it arrived. Right away, I was very pleased to see the pretty bottle design! I normally transfer my dish washing liquids to a decorative bottle which I leave on the sink, but I now get to skip that step! I was also VERY pleased to see a Lime Basil scent option, as it is a favorite scent combo of mine.

Luckily (only in this case…normally this is not a lucky thing) I had a sink full of dishes that needed to be washed, so I picked a scent and went to work.

The first scent I used was the Ginger White Tea. It had a light scent that I really enjoyed and it did a terrific job of cleaning the dishes, that had been sitting in the sink for quite some time. (Don’t judge me! Sometimes you have to leave the dishes in the sink so you can get your workout done or fit that run in.) Like with other Palmolive products I’ve used, a little went a long way and everything was left squeaky clean!

Later in the day I had a few stray glasses to wash, so I tried the Lemon Thyme, and it worked just as well. My hands were left soft when I was done and the citrus smell was a nice pick me up, as well.

As for the Lime Basil, I haven’t tried it yet, but I plan on using it on tonight’s dinner dishes. I will however admit, that I have popped the cap opened quite a few times to inhale the wonderful scent!

Overall I think Palmolive has hit a home-run with this new line of dish washing liquids. I love that they created a sleeker bottle and bath & body style scents, while keeping the grease cutting power and hand softening qualities that many people have always loved.

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*I did not receive any monetary compensation for this blog post. I received the three bottles of product as shown, along with some coupons. I did not have to write a blog post about the product, I just simply liked it and felt like sharing. All opinions are strictly mine.*

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Experimenting with Sport Beans…


During the past week of Insanity, trying to find balance between meals and workout times has been a challenge. I’ve found that I have to wait at least 2 hours after a meal to begin my workout or I will puke. The problem with this, is that I’ve been eating every 2-2.5 hours since beginning this program, so I end up running out of energy halfway through my workout and struggle to finish.

While talking with my #insanecrew the other day my beloved coach brought up Sport Beans. I had never heard of  them before so I instantly started asking questions. I found out that there is this whole group of energy aids out there that runners like ranging from Sport Beans to some stuff called GU. Apparently you take them before a hard workout and they give you the energy that you need to make it through without a big meal…SCORE!

Of course I hunted down these beans and bought a few bags in various flavors, along with some GU to test them out and see if they actually worked.

Last night was the big night…I decided to test out the Sport Beans! I flipped over the bag, read the directions and started chomping away on them 30 mins before my workout as directed. Some of the flavors were quite icky (yes, I used the word icky) while the fruit punch and berry were actually quite good. I grabbed some water since you are supposed to hydrate while using them and started my workout.

Fast forward to the halfway point were I felt the beans sitting in my chest and I was as jittery as a junkie who took too much speed! I had TONS of energy but couldn’t hold a plank pose to save my life cause my arms were shaky and I felt sick from the sweetness of the beans.

Of course when my workout was over I told my #insanecrew about my experience and found out that I shouldn’t have followed the package directions. It seems that eating 3-4 beans as I’m waiting for the disc to load is all I should have done…..can you say oops?! (Or should I say “Thanks for the heads up tweeps!”)

Lesson of the Day: Don’t eat a whole package of Sports Beans to do an INSANITY workout unless you want to be a jitter-iffic mess for the rest of the night/day.

Today I tried them again for Pure Cardio and I only popped 2 beans as I pressed play. I had plenty of energy for the workout, didn’t feel hungry at the halfway mark and didn’t get jittery at all. (Insert the “SCORE!” I was searching for.)

By following this modified way of using them I give them a huge thumbs up and thank my coach for telling me about them. (Even if I wanted to kill him last night for not telling me this sooner to ignore the package directions.)

For those you interested in Sport Beans here is some info or you can go to their website. I also found out that they make Extreme Sport Beans with caffeine. I guess I should be grateful I didn’t chomp down a whole pack of those last night!

Sport Beans™, from the makers of Jelly Belly® beans, are specially formulated to fuel your body before, during and after exercise.

  • Simply explained, Sport Beans are Jelly Beans formulated with carbohydrates, electrolytes and vitamins B and C
  • Eat one packet with one to two cups of water about 30 minutes before exercising
  • During a long workout, eat one packet every 45 minutes
  • Eat after a workout to replenish muscles of depleted carbohydrates

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