Reviews

Stridebox – April ’15 Review

April 15, 2015

I love it when my Stridebox arrives, especially now that it’s warm out. I made my triathlon training schedule, so I know I’ll be taking full advantage of the goodies in the boxes!

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Ultima Replenisher: This is orange flavored electrolyte powder a plant-based product. I like orange flavored drinks, so win for me.
Non-GMO, Gluten Free, Vegan
Value: $1.00

Arctic Ease Instant Cold Wrap: What a neat thing to include! I think Tim will get more use of out this than I will, but it’s reusable so we both get to try it out.
Value: $6-7

Zing Nutrition Bar: I love getting bars in my Stridebox! And, uh, double nut brownie flavor? Count me in. I know it’s a nutrition bar and not a protein bar, but for only having 10 g of protein the amount of calories (200) and grams of sugar (10) are a bit high for what I prefer.
Non-GMO, Gluten Free, Vegan
Value: $2.67

Spenco Gel Heel Cushions: I think this is another really neat item to include, even though I don’t use cushions in my shoes. I could see maybe trying them out when I’m on a rocky trail or a long run, though. Tim may get some use out of these, too.
Value: $7

Movit Energy Gummies: Gummies are my go-to item for energy on long run/cycle days, so I love getting them. I also love how Stridebox included two flavors! That means I get to try both or Tim and I each get one. Oh, and they also contain caffeine.
Value: $2.84 ($1.42 each)

Squeaky Cheeks Body & Foot Powder: Thankfully I haven’t had problems with chafing, but I know Tim has so this will be good for him to try out.
Value: $1.00

Vega Endurance Gel: This is another plant-based brand and product. Tim likes gels, but I don’t so this is a miss for me. Another thing about this brand, is that I really don’t care for the taste of their protein powders. So that makes me hesitant to even try this product even though I love orange flavored things.
Dairy, Gluten and Soy Free
Value: $2.00

Stridebox literally stuffed the box full this month! I also love the addition of the “Run Local” sticker! Big River Running Company is a local running shop here in town that I really try and support.  Though I may not use a couple items, I still think this is a great box with a total of 8 items and a $22 value. Thumbs up.

Reviews

Birchbox – April ’15 Review

April 14, 2015

This month’s Birchbox illustration was done by Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co. I absolutely adore everything Anna creates and own a few things myself, so I was really excited to just get the box! I normally throw the boxes themselves into recycle, but I’m keeping this one.

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There were two Mad Man boxes to select from or be surprised like a normal month. I decided to test my luck and not get a themed box.

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Harvey Prince Yogini Perfume: To get straight to the point with this perfume…I just didn’t care for this scent. It’s too heavy for me. I’m normally one that likes getting perfume samples, but after subscribing to ScentBird for three months I’m no longer impressed with the size of perfume samples. I do wish we could fill out a scent profile for Birchbox.
Value: $1.10

Temple Spa Face & Body Balm: I honestly wasn’t excited to see this product in my box. It’s a lotion carried in hotels, and I’m never excited about those. I don’t care for the scent of this lotion either.
Value: $4.85

Real Chemistry Luminous 3-Minute Peel: This is a product I hadn’t heard about. I tried it out and wasn’t sure I did it correctly. I could tell the product was working, but I don’t know if I had enough on my face or massaged it on my face long enough. I was expecting more out of the product, though. I also thought the size of box was misleading compared to the tube inside.
Value: $4.80

Supergoop! Daily Correct CC Cream SPF 35+: Oh man, I love this stuff! The coverage is great for a CC cream, maybe even too great. I use Origins CC cream right now and will probably switch after that is gone. I was a bit disappointed at the sample size, though. Of course you want a bigger sample when you find something you really like!
Value: $2.00

Jane Iredale Just Kissed Lip & Cheek Stain: Uh, the name isn’t kidding when it says it’s a cheek stain. I tested it out on my cheeks (put it on quite poorly) and then literally couldn’t get the color off! Not even with makeup remover. I really like the color once applied to my lips, so I’ll keep it to that area. It’s “specially formulated to adjust to your body’s unique chemistry to create a customized, ultra-flattering hue.” The sample is half the size of my pinky…so tiny!
Value: I really have no idea.

So I’m really happy with two items, neutral on one item and not excited about the last two. So this box wasn’t quite as successful in that sense. Bummer.

—m.

Fitness

Coming Out of Hibernation

April 8, 2015

I’ve taken a break from running the last couple of winters, and it has seriously been the best thing.

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I’ve always enjoyed running in lower temps. I’m basically a sweaty mess whenever I run no matter the temperature, so why not stay cooler in the mean time. St. Louis has pretty mild winters compared to what I grew up with in Nebraska, and I don’t mind putting on my cold weather gear for a run. So when I signed up to do the GO! St. Louis Half Marathon back in April 2013, I knew I would have to train during the winter. That meant sucking it up and not backing out because of the weather conditions. I trained for my first half marathon in 8 weeks, but that time I gave myself 10 weeks for cushion. I tromped through snow and almost ate it a few times on ice, but I did it.

And that was basically the last time I was a dedicated runner through the winter.

Since that race, my knees started giving me issues and I got burnt out on running. Heck, I didn’t even like to talk about running. So to help with all of that, I’ve taken the last two winters off from running. I found other ways to be active (like using a bike trainer) and going for a run once or twice a month during the winter, but for the most part I just don’t run. They say that winter miles make summer/fall PR’s (or something like that), but I’ve proven to myself that I can PR without winter running. Sure it may take me a bit to get my speed back up, but I don’t mind.

I’m not really sure where I’m taking this post, but I do know that I am so ready to get back out there to swim, bike and run. This year feels different and I can’t pinpoint why, but it’s good. I have really started to take a liking to triathlons (open water ones specifically) and am slated to do two this summer. I actually had wanted to do my first Olympic/international distance triathlon this summer and even signed up for it, but saw that the bike portion was being cut down due to road construction. Whomp whomp. However, I’m ready to get back in the pool to do more/different drills this year. (Thanks mom for forcing me to be in swim team growing up.) I finally have my own “Megan-sized” road bike. I’m even looking forward to going to speed camp again this summer and getting back into doing more races.

Sometimes it’s hibernating and/or taking a break to get re-energized about something you really care and get excited about.

—m.

Everyday Moments

Caught My Eye No. 5

April 3, 2015

Whoa, hello April! We’re up visiting my family for Easter weekend. We’re here for like 48 hours, and of course I felt the need to pack 5 pairs of shoes.

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• House progress! We’re finally getting that pesky door under our stairs in the basement done. We picked up five of these stackable shelves to help organize everything we’ve been storing in that space. It’s the little things that make me happy.

• We have officially signed a contract to totally re-landscape our front yard! Because this has been on our to-do list for probably three years. Nothing is staying. Well, except our giant oak tree…that guy is staying. I also planting more of these guys in our garden again this year.

This is basically what Tim’s diet would consist of if I didn’t feed him. “Butter cocaine pie”

• 98% of the time I bring my lunch to work, but when I don’t it’s the hardest decision I will make all day.

• There were lots of April Fools jokes happening on the interwebs, but this was my favorite. BECAUSE I WANT ONE!

• I’ve been looking for a new graphic tee and am thinking about ordering this one, because it’s how I feel every Monday.

• I love basically every necklace from Elisabeth Ashlie and ordered this one in gold.

This hair tutorial makes me want to grow my hair back out. Maybe by ACL time, it will be long enough.

Happy Easter weekend!

—m.

Travel

Beach Bummin’

March 29, 2015

Attending a couple spring training games wasn’t the only thing on our my agenda…I wanted beach time!

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Our second full day in Florida, we drove down to Marco Island and headed to the beach in front of the Marriott Crystal Shores hotel. The beach is technically public, so we accessed it through their pool area after parking about a block down the road. We spent the next four hours there soaking up the sun, having a cocktail and looking for seashells.

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We headed back to the condo and relaxed by the pool for a bit before we needed to get ready for dinner. We drove down to 5th street in Naples and had dinner at HobNob. (My salmon was good, but not the best I’ve ever had.) I love how cute that strip is with restaurants and shops lining both sides of the street. Most of them are more expensive, but then there are places like Adelheidi’s, where the boys stopped for gelato after dinner.

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On our last day in Florida, we woke to a very gray and gloomy sky which bummed us out because we were wanting to hit up the pool. However, Florida’s weather is about as unpredictable as the Midwest’s so by late morning the sun was coming out. We headed to Coconut Jack’s Waterfront Grille to have lunch with Tim’s aunt and uncle who were also down there. It’s a tiki-themed restaurant right on the water surrounded by mangroves, which is great because you don’t see any of the developments around the restaurant when sitting on their back patio. Of course, we had to get cocktails with umbrellas. Because that’s what you do when you’re on vacation. Oh, and I was super excited to see that they had a giant chair at the restaurant! I have a love for giant chairs.

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After lunch we made one last stop at a nearby beach for about an hour before needing to head back to get ready to fly out. Once we got back to the condo, we learned our flight had been delayed two hours, which stinks because we could have stayed at the beach longer. But we still had to say goodbye to Tim’s brother’s beagle puppy and head to the airport.

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Since our flight was delayed, that meant having to fly through a storm moving through the St. Louis area. The last 30 minutes of the flight was the scariest, roughest turbulence I have ever experienced. I seriously thought the plane was going to fall out of the sky at one point. We were getting tossed around in our seats. It didn’t help that Tim and I got stuck sitting in the last row. The further back you sit on a plane, the more you feel turbulence, which is why I prefer to sit as close to the front as possible. Normally I’m the calm one when we fly, but not that time. To say I was happy when we landed is an understatement. So now that our spring vacation is over, I’m counting down the days until we’re in Mexico…71 days!

—m.

Travel

Spring Training in Florida

March 26, 2015

Tim and I just got home from Florida on Tuesday night. We visited Tim’s brother that lives in the Ft. Myers / Naples area and attended a couple Cardinals spring training baseball games. We haven’t been back down to Florida since our mini-moon, so it was really nice go back!

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Roger Dean Stadium / Jupiter
Our first full day in Florida, we drove two and a half hours to Jupiter to watch the Cardinals play on their spring training home field. We tried to get there early enough to see the players on the practice fields, but we just missed them. We read that we’d be able to watch them up until 30 minutes before the game, but they were done close to 90 minutes before. That was pretty disappointing. So instead, we stopped by Jumby Bay across the street for a bite to eat before the game.

The stadium holds roughly 7,600 people and is shared with Miami Marlins. There’s next to no shade cover at the stadium, which would have been nice because the temps were hovering right around 90 degrees with little wind. However, we won with a walk off hit in the 9th inning.

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Jet Blue Park / Ft. Myers
We didn’t go down to FL with tickets to this game, but Tim was determined to go to a second game. So even with rain in the forecast, we went ahead and bought some last minute cheap tickets on StubHub to watch the Cardinals play the Boston Red Sox. I’m pretty glad we did because it was such a difference experience!

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The Jet Blue Park stadium is a kind of like a miniature Fenway, complete with it’s own Green Monster. The street outside of the stadium gets shut down and there were tents set up for food and drink vendors and a live band. Our tickets were for standing room on top of the Green Monster, which had a great view of the whole stadium. Unfortunately, a downpour rain did happen halfway through the fifth inning and the game was called. Thanks to StubHub’s event cancellation policy, we were refunded our money. The Cardinals were up 2-0 when the game was called so we’re just saying that we got to see two winning games ;).

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The Jet Blue stadium opened in 2012, so the practically brand new stadium was really nice compared to the Cardinal’s stadium in Jupiter. We both liked the atmosphere outside of the Jet Blue stadium, too. I heard that the Cardinals plan on doing renovations to their stadium after this spring training season, so that should be nice! It was pretty fantastic to go to these smaller games with a much more relaxed environment—no metal detectors and being able to get so close to the players.  As someone who’s had to learn to be a Cardinals fan, I thought it was a lot fun and would definitely do again. It was great to see so many Cardinal’s fans at both games!

—m.