Fitness, Reviews

Stridebox – August ’15

August 15, 2015

Summer is winding down, but the heat hasn’t let up. Well the heat has maybe just a bit, but the humidity hasn’t. So besides dealing with the humidity, I’ve have to deal with losing my voice, getting my voice back along with an annoying cough for over a week, and then a spat of food poisoning. So getting my Stridebox in the mail kind of made my last two weeks.

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First Endurance EFS Pro Cucumber Water Hydration Mix: This brand is new to me and I like cucumber flavored water, so win for me! It claims to be a “state-of-the-art endurance and hydration formulation…” This a huge sample—the package says it’s equivalent to three scoops of the product intended to be used with 12 oz of water.
Value: $2.10/packet

Amrita Energy Bar: Raw, plant based and full of super foods. I got the apricot strawberry flavor. The texture was a bit odd, but the flavor was good.
Value: $2.25 / Can buy 2 bars for $3 on website.
Gluten, dairy, peanut and soy free

Crank Sports e-Gel: First energy gel to provide 5x the sodium and twice the potassium compared to other energy gels. The website compares this gel to basically all other major gel brands, which is neat to check out. The “mountain rush” flavor makes me think of Mountain Dew or lemon-lime…guess I’ll see if I’m right!
Value: $1.55
Gluten free

Pure Clean Organic Beet Juice Powder: The nutrients and nitrate of beet juice in dried powder form. “Nitrates in beet juice have been shown to boost power output without changing oxygen consumption.” I don’t care for beets, but I’ll still try this out.
Value: $1.65
Organic

Doctor Hoy’s Pain Relief Gel: A natural anti-inflammatory pain relieving gel than can be used on your back, neck, muscle aches, sprains, joints strains and more.
Value: $.60
Natural, water-based, contains no oils or petroleum

SportTea: Made with green tea, vitamin C, electrolytes and Siberian Eleuthero Root, this tea is formulated for active people. I’m a tea drinker in the colder months, so I’ll be interested in trying it out.
Value: $.50 (can get a free sample from their website)

Honey Stinger Energy Chews: Honey Stinger is a favorite brand, so it was nice to see these included. This is a new flavor—grapefuit.
Value: $2.25

All Good Sunstick: A natural screen with SPF 30 meant for your face, ears and more. I wish it had a higher SPF, but this will be great to throw in my bag or car instead of a big bottle.
Value: $8

I really liked this month’s box! I wish I would have received the sun screen earlier in the summer, but it’s great to have now. My second triathlon is next weekend, so I’m looking forward to using some of these items in the coming week.

—m.

Everyday Moments

Caught My Eye No. 9

August 7, 2015

Hello August! Man, where as this summer gone? The next few months are jam-packed, so I’m trying to take it as slow as possible until then.11811560_788257050060_7935778234534801555_n
It’s been a rainy spring and summer for the middle of the country with some incredible storms.

A brilliant way to keep a ponytail around your wrist discreetly.

This print made me laugh.

I’m already thinking about fall and cozy things.

Explains why a logo costs what it does.

Travel goals.

And lastly, you can’t go through summer without a snow cone. With ice cream on the bottom, of course.

Our House

Landscaping-Before & After

August 4, 2015

Three years ago we first started talking about getting the front of our house re-landscaped. It was ugly but it wasn’t awful, so we kept putting it off. That was until this year when we noticed the railroad ties were rotted through and basically falling apart. Both of us were excited by the idea of having landscaping done, but neither one of us wanted to put in the effort of doing it ourselves. We are clueless about picking out plants, making sure we’re in the correct zone and how much shade or sun all the different plants need. It was one of those projects we were okay with hiring out for. So back in March we got quotes from a few places and signed a contract.

Before
Before, we had very dated looking bushes. We aren’t sure how old they were, but they filled the space in and were okay for the time being. We had planted a rose bush in the front that did well. I was actually sad to see it go. Daffodils bloomed every spring, but after that we weren’t left with much color. The lily of the valley bloomed twice in the five years we’ve been here. The railroad ties were rotted, we didn’t love the scalloped edging, and then there was the weirdly placed concrete planter-box-thing (technical term) on the corner. It was all over the place.

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The job was completed back in May, but I wanted to wait until the flowers and bushes bloomed before taking the after photos. Then summer showed up and the plants didn’t like the heat so the plants drooped a bit. Because our house faces south, I found it a bit challenging to get photos because the sun is always behind our house, or our giant oak tree makes everything dark. So all of that aside, the afters…!

After
We went through a local company called Timberline Landscapes and really liked the end result. They provided a pretty thorough plan, a clear estimate and timeline, and were great to talk with if we had any type of question or concern. Timberline and one of the other companies came in with almost identical quotes, so it came down to the design and plants. I asked for a couple plant revisions, which they were happy to do and suggest other options that would work.

What we asked for:
– Low maintenance plants, color, variety of textures
– We didn’t want the front yard to look completely dead during the winter either, so some sort of bush.
– A new curved wall where the railroad ties were and to have the downspout system tied into it.
– Removal of a smaller cedar tree.
– Till up our garden bed on the side of the house and put in new compost/dirt and mulch.

We ended up going with a mix of green velvet boxwood bushes, hummingbird clethra bushes, endless summer hydrangeas, little lime hydrangeas, peach drift roses, veronica flowers and blanket flowers. Oh, and a dogwood tree, which won’t bloom until next spring. When everything is in bloom at the same time, it looks really nice!

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The blanket flowers and roses require deadheading so they bloom in spurts, but I haven’t quite figured out the growth pattern of the veronica flowers. Our endless summer hydrangeas are just starting to bloom for the second time and the little lime hydrangeas are doing great. One thing I didn’t think about when going over the plants was how many bees we’d attract! It’s great and kind of terrifying at the same time. I just stand really far away when watering the plants. Our boxwoods are small right now, but we were told give them a couple years and they’ll really fill out. We’ll eventually have to shape them.

We had several people in our neighborhood tell us how nice it looked when it was done. That made us feel good because of A) the amount of money we spent and B) it shows that people pay attention to what happens in the neighborhood. We found out after our project was completed that Timberline doesn’t normally do as small of a job as our’s, but because it was only a 2-day project they were happy to take it on. So now that that big project is out of the way, we can start researching for the next one: replacing the driveway.

—m.

Fitness, Reviews

Stridebox – July ’15

July 18, 2015

Summer finally arrived in St. Louis. It’s been above 90 all but one day this past week, and the humidity has made it 100x worse. I actually skipped running speed camp this past week because it was still 95 degrees at 7PM. And even though I’ve been doing minimal/recovery workouts this week, I’ll take all the extra hydration and energy I can get with the heat. Thank you July Stridebox for arriving just in time.

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Water bottle: The description on the Stride Guide is kind of hilarious… “Advanced Desktop Hydration Delivery Vessel.” One can never have too many water bottles.
17 oz.
Value: $6.00

Rock Tape: Kinesiology tape made to reduce stress, inflammation and swelling. Comes with an application guide.
Value: $2.00

Dermasport: After-activity skincare products for athletes. I kind of love this. It comes with a facial cleanser, moisturizer and eye cream samples.
Not quite sure on value of samples, but the full 4-step set retails for almost $80.

Youth Infusion Drink Mix: Formulated with vitamins and minerals for a natural source of energy. I love drink mixes that give me energy!
Value: $1.45

Mediterra Sesame Energy Bar: I think this is the item I’m most excited about. Bars like this are great to keep in my desk drawer or to throw in my purse. Of the six flavors, I received the pistachio & honey flavor.
All Natural, Gluten free
Value: $2.00

Huma Chia Energy Gel: I keep trying to like gels, but so far I’ve only been able to stomach one or two kinds. I’ll give this one a go, too. I like lemon flavor, so that’s a plus!
All natural, gluten free, vegan
Value: $2.25

Salba Chia Seed Boosts: With more nutrients than regular chia seeds, add to smoothies, yogurt, juice or a salad. I like chia seeds in moderation, so these will get used.
Raw, vegan, gluten free
Value: $1.00

Purps: A multi-vitamin supplement drink mix co-founded by pro surfer Kelly Slater. I’m going to be honest in that I didn’t love the flavor of this mix. Tasted like sugary purple candy, which is about my least favorite flavor.
Gluten free, dairy free, soy free
Value: $2.00

GU Hydration Drink Tab: I love using tabs (vs powders) in my water bottle during longer bike rides. However, I don’t love watermelon flavored things so I’m going to be passing this to Tim. These suckers are pricey for tabs, too.
Value: $4.00

I really liked the variety of things in this months box! Between Tim and myself, we’ll definitely use everything.

Interested in getting Stridebox? Click here!

—m.

Fitness

New Town Triathlon – Year 3

July 14, 2015

I did the New Town Triathlon for the third year in a row this past weekend. My parents were in town so I got a larger than normal cheering section. It also happened to be the hottest weekend of the summer, which didn’t make the run portion very bearable. But, I PR’d and landed myself in 6th place for my age group!

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Like last year, the age groupers lined up according to swimming ability—fast in the front, slow in the back. I thought I had put myself in the middle, but turns out I had put myself near the front of the age groupers. It didn’t bother me much though because I’m comfortable with this swim. Being in open water with more room also helps. I finished the swim in about the same time as last year. Where we entered the lake was quite rocky, so you had to sit on the ledge and then basically flop into the water to get going. Pretty hilarious to watch.

While I was waiting to enter the water, the first elite racer came out of the water—a female!

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I ended up with a sweet bike rack spot in the transition area—literally right where I came out of the water. I cut my T1 time down by 30 seconds from last year!

I cut a couple minutes off my bike from last year, though I would have liked to even more so. Biking isn’t my strong point and I started to hit a wall towards the end. Thankfully the course is flat, so I powered through. Getting my feet out of my shoes and dismounting from my bike went quite smoothly, too.

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I was able to shave a few seconds off my T2 from last year, but my run was one minute slower. It really bummed me out, even though my pace was still decent. I’m so weird…I’m not happy about having an 8:45/mile pace during a triathlon, but I was happy with that pace during my last half marathon.

Did I mention how hot it was? It was over 80 degrees by 8AM. I actually didn’t feel the best during part of the run because of the heat. New Town residents will hang out in their front lawns and offer to spray you down with sprinklers. It’s pretty awesome.

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The running portion and heat aside, it was a good race. I was happy I improved my transitions and bike times. Our friend Matt did this triathlon for the first time this year and he also rocked it. It’s always nice when you have a friend doing the same race as you. My next year’s goal is to do better than this year, naturally. Have to keep working at it! I literally have to because I have another triathlon in six weeks!

—m.

Everyday Moments

Caught My Eye No. 8

July 9, 2015

This summer is flying by! I have my first triathlon of the summer this coming weekend and my parents are coming into town to cheer me on. I have a full agenda for the few days they’re here.

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• I told my mom she has to bring her own Moscato…just don’t bring the expensive kind.

• I know summer is already half over, but there are so many free things to do in St. Louis!!

• I have a new designer crush.

• What it means to “Be a Man” …quite thought provoking.

Men’s running shoes can be terrible looking. Women’s aren’t far behind.

• I have a new favorite facial scrub. It’s green!

These playhouses kick my childhood’s playhouse’s butt. Mine at least was elevated with a sandbox below.

• Apparently there’s a lot of stuff in space around the Earth. Insane.

—m.