Fitness, Reviews

Stridebox – June ’15

June 17, 2015

“I enjoy running with…music!” – This month’s fill-in-the-blank on the outside of the box.

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Quick Dry Microfiber Sport Towel: I have never thought of using a microfiber towel after a workout, so I liked this inclusion. I usually throw an old bath towel in my bag/car. I did use it this past weekend after a run and have to say that I didn’t love how it felt on my face, but other than that it worked!
Value: $10 listed on the Stridebox card. I have seen others listed for $8-15.

MeStrength Performance Hydration Mixes: This brand of hydration mixes is new to me and I love that two flavors were included—fruit punch and lemon lime. The powder mix includes creatine to decrease muscle soreness.
Gluten free, vegan
Value: $3.00 ($1.33 – 1.75 each depending on the number you order)

E-Hydrate Energy Gels: Another new-to-me brand of gels, and again..two flavors! Tim likes gels and I may have to give these these flavors a try too—strawberry lemonade and mocha. They put an emphasis on their BCAA + electrolytes + energy formula for maximum fuel and recovery.
Gluten free, kosher, uses cane sugar
Value: $4.00 ($2.00 each)

Kate’s Stash Energy Bar: Tim has received one of these in his Cairn box and I really liked it, so I’m glad to receive one in my Stridebox. I got the peanut butter dark chocolate flavor and liked it. It uses 8 simple ingredients that I know and can pronounce.
Lots of organic ingredients
Value: $2.75

Ruby’s Lube: I thought this was a lip product before I read that it’s an anti-chafing balm. Ha! I’ve never had an issue with chafing, except with one pair of shorts. So I used this with those shorts the other day and all was well!
Made with all natural ingredients
Value: $1.00

Skratch Labs Energy Chews: I was so excited to see these included this month! The energy chews are a new offering from Skratch. I really like Skratch’s hydration mixes, so I was really interested in trying the chews. I actually tweeted at Stridebox and Scratch asking if the chews could be included one month..and they were!
Value: $2.45

ActionWipes: I thought it was interesting to include wipes like this in the same box as the microfiber towel, but I’m fine with it. Wipes are great after long workouts, races or camping so these will definitely come in handy.
Made without alcohol, paragons or harsh sulfates
Value: $1.25

This box had a great value to it at almost $24.50. I was really pleased with everything included. There were some coupons included in the box for the products, which is always nice if we want to order more. Be sure to keep an eye out on Stridebox’s Facebook page for discount codes and offers!

—m.

Travel

Mexico!

June 14, 2015

We just got back from spending five days in Mexico, and we had such a good time. I’m not quite ready to get back to normal life!

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Well over a year ago, our group of friends got to talking about how we should take a trip for everyone’s 30th birthdays this year. (I was one of the few on the trip not turning 30 this year. #braggingrights) An all inclusive was the most logical, so I contacted travel agents, got a list of options together and let everyone vote on their favorite resort. The 12 of us ended up Secrets Silversands Riviera Cancun. We booked it through Apple Vacations so everything went pretty smoothly.

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Our room was great. Every guest room at the resort is basically a suite, complete with a seating area and a lounge on the patio/balcony. Oh, and the bathroom…giant! The bathroom had two sliding walls/doors so you could look out into the room or close it off for privacy. The shower had two separate shower heads and could have easily fit six people. There’s also a jacuzzi tub in the bathroom and two sinks. We did a pool view room and was placed in Building 2. (There’s six buildings with guest rooms and each has its own private, smaller pool.) I think we really lucked out because our building’s pool happened to be on the back side of the building so we also got an ocean view from our room. No complaints there.

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I have never done an all inclusive trip before so I have nothing to compare this resort to, but everyone in the group really seemed to have liked it. Some of the requirements for our group (other than staying within a budget) was adults only, swim up bar, and food options. The resort, in my opinion, exceeded my expectations. The entertainment team made a point to learn our names and talk with us throughout our stay; there were EIGHT pool options; the rooms were fantastic; and the resort wasn’t that crowded! Maybe it’s because June is their low season or the fact that reserving lounge chairs isn’t allowed, but we never had trouble finding an area by one of the pools or at the beach.

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There were so many food options! We had one group dinner and then the rest of the time, we all just did our own thing. Room service was included if you weren’t able to make it out for dinner. There was a giant buffet for breakfast and a cafe for speciality coffee drinks. For lunch, you could chose between a buffet, a poolside bar, or a casual grille that overlooked the main pool. For dinner you could pick from Mediterranean, French, Italian, authentic Mexican, Asian/Hibachi, or a casual bar & grille. No one got sick from the food, either. The portions at the restaurants were perfect, too. They weren’t the giant, American-sized portions, but just enough to fill you up without wasting half of a plate of food. Even the appetizers were individual sized.

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We didn’t do any excursions because with 12 of us there, there was enough entertainment just within the group. Ha! There were shows at night, and they were alright. The beach was fine, too. It wasn’t the most amazing beach I’ve ever seen, but it was nicer than others I’ve been too. The fairly constant strong winds made the surf really rough a few of the days, so we weren’t really able to take advantage of the ocean. Seaweed was constantly washing ashore too, but the resort had staff raking it up at various times throughout the day. I’m not counting that against them because they can only do so much.

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So, all-in-all, it was a really great vacation. I would recommend this resort to anyone and would even consider going back. My one piece of advice…pack plenty of sunscreen!

—m.

 

Everyday Moments

Caught My Eye No. 7

May 28, 2015

Ozarks2015

I should be working right now. Seriously. I have a 3:00 meeting for a project I’m just not into, so I’m doing this instead. Oops?

• We’re listening to a playlist at work inspired by our favorite pop-punk and emo bands from the 2000’s. It’s so good.

• I ordered this Sun Safety kit. I just wish it would have arrived before going to the Ozarks last weekend. I got a bit red.

• A friend and old coworker was interviewed for this article. Keep killing it, Steve.

120 Tips for Being a Successful Graphic Designer. Welcome to basically every day of life for me.

• I’ve been working on a personal side project for months now, but haven’t had time to finish it. Soon.

• I’m really tempted to get Global Entry. I don’t do a ton of international trips, but who wouldn’t want that bragging right?

• This is what the inside of my dream house looks like. Every single room.

• And lastly… We’re thinking about going to Barcelona when we go to Europe in 2016. So, I’ll be doing plenty of research. This cheat sheet is a great place to start.

Our House

Landscaping Preview

May 22, 2015

Our landscaping project wrapped up last week, and we’re really happy with it. I want to wait to do a full before & after until more of our flowers start blooming and some grass grows back. Currently there’s straw along the new wall and our hydrangeas haven’t bloomed. However, the new blanket flowers, veronica speedwells and peach drift roses all have great blooms coming in!

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One hydrangea plant actually has a couple blooms on it, but I’m pretty excited to see the complete picture once the rest do!

—m.

DIY, Our House

The Pesky Door

May 20, 2015

So the door under the basement stairs has been an issue for probably two years. The idea was to always have an angled door under the stairs so we could make use of that area for storage. Well, we certainly made use of the area but the door was put on hold for a variety of reasons…

– Tim wanted to rip the whole area out, rebuild the wall and put in a normal door. I said no.

– The way the wall and doorway was built, the hinge had to be on the outside. Well, I didn’t like the idea of a silver piano hinge on the outside of the door.

– We couldn’t agree on how to or where to put trim around the door without the trim being an issue when the door is fully opened.

So yeah, there were some discussions and a couple disagreements, but we finally landed on a solution. It’s not perfect, but it’s what we’re considering finished.

The top pointed corner was previously creating some issues, so we stuck a triangular piece there to square it off. We also had to build out the right side a bit more for everything to be even and allow space for hinges.

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We were originally wanting to do something like this with a track system for a storage, but realized it was over our skill level. So we opted for stackable shelving from the Container Store instead. I must say that I’ve been happy with them, too. Getting to things has been much easier now. After searching for white hinges from, what felt like, every store out there, we found some at Menards. So we worked on filling everything in, painting and installing the trim. It’s barely noticeable, but the trim has a small bit cut out of it at an angle to allow the door to fully open.

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The one main thing we need is a way to keep the door shut…whether that be a magnet or something else on the inside. It stays shut for the most part on its own, but my cat has figured out how to get the door open and likes to hang out in there.

We technically have ONE last project with the never ending basement remodel, but it’s at the bottom of the steps in the stairwell area. Well, I guess two projects if you count installing some sort of railing, but that’s basically at the bottom of our list of things to do around the house.

So there’s our pesky door. It almost killed us to get done, but I’m sure Tim appreciates that I’m no longer nagging him about it.

—m.

Reviews

Birchbox – May ’15 Review

May 17, 2015

I always look forward to the middle of the month when my couple subscription boxes arrive. May’s Birchbox’s was done in partnership with Cupcakes & Cashmere, which I pop in on every once in a while. I like that Birchbox is doing more of these partnered boxes!

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Harvey Prince Sea Salt Texturizing Spray: Birchbox sure does love Harvey Prince products! I’ve always wanted to try a sea salt spray so I was really excited about getting this in my box. I’m interested on how this will do in my hair since I already have naturally wavy-curly hair. It smells great, too.
Value: $1.00

Jurlique Herbal Recovery Advanced Serum: I’ve also taken a liking to facial serums especially at night. It’s to fight signs of aging, which I hope I don’t need yet at my age. I don’t love the smell, but I’ll still use it nonetheless.
Value: $5 or 6

Coastal Scents® Revealed 3 Palette: I’ve never been a fan of receiving eye shadows because I won’t use them. The colors also seems random. Maybe not for people who use eyeshadow? This product gets good reviews, though. I’ll most likely end up giving this item to someone else.
Value:$2?

Benefit Total Moisture Facial Cream: I like getting samples of facial moisturizers. I  love trying them and they’re great for travel. This is a great sized sample, the scent is nice and light, and I like how it feels on the back of my hand.
Value: $4.75

Macadamia Professional™ Nourishing Moisture Oil Treatment: This was the item I was able to select for my box this month. I received a hair oil sample once last year and loved what it did to my hair in the winter. I’ve been wanting to order a full sized hair oil product, but wanted to try another brand first, so I was really excited to receive this in my box. Well, it turns out I basically hate the smell of it, which is super unfortunate. So I’ll either have to suck it up or give it to someone else.
Value: $10

I’m really happy with this month’s box, minus the eyeshadow palette. The hair oil’s value alone is the price of the box. I was trying to decide if I want to continue my subscription or stop, but I’m much more impressed with recent items than what I got last year so I’ll be keeping my subscription for a bit longer.

—m.