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.

Reviews

Birchbox – June ’15 Review

July 1, 2015

I almost forgot about doing this review! The box was awaiting my arrival home from Mexico earlier this month, but I’ve just been busy. This month’s box was adventure themed with the phrase “Say Yes” printed on the box.

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Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic Spritzer: I wanted to like this product…but I kind of don’t get it. Is it a toner? Is it a hydrating spray you use whenever your face feels dry? I could maybe see it coming in handy good during/after a long flight. However, it didn’t spray light or evenly.
Value: $3.75

Catherine Malandrino Perfume: This perfume is okay. I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it. It’s a bit heavy (maybe something to wear at night), but I could see myself wearing it on occasion. It’s on the pricier side of perfumes, too.
Value: $2.35

Marcelle Waterproof Eyeliner: I don’t wear eyeliner, so I’m never excited about getting them. The bright blue, although a pretty color in general, is something I’d never wear. So this is a total miss for me. However, the eyeliner does go on quite smoothly so I could consider the black as an option.
Value: $4.00

Coola Classic SPF 30 Cucumber Moisturizer: This was one product I was really happy about getting! I’ve been wanting to try the Coola brand and I really like that it has a daily SPF built in. This moisturizer is nice and light and I love the scent.
Value: $4.50

Vasanti BrightenUp! Facial Scrub: This is a pretty nice exfoliating scrub. It’s a creamy formula with fairly fine microderm crystals that are gentle on the face. My favorite facial scrub is by Acure, but this could be a good backup.
Value: $5.60

PuraVida Headband: This lifestyle item was a nice surprise. I’m not one to normally wear orange headbands like this, but it’s a great back up to my current black one. It did stay nice and tight the time I did wear it.
Value: $2.25

I wasn’t the most excited about this box, but I’ll use a few of the items. It had a value of just over $22—not the highest for BB. I also received a 20% an order thanks to a giveaway promo associated with this month’s box.

—m.

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.