Archive | July, 2012

July Foodie Pen Pal Reveal Day!

31 Jul

This month’s fantastic foodie pen pal box came from Jennifer from JennJillDesigns. I have to admit, I forgot to take pictures because I was so excited to try everything. Before I knew it, the empty bag was in the trash. However, thanks to the handy dandy internet, I was able to pull up some pictures of what I got. Jennifer sent me the following items: White Lightening Chili, 2 CLIF Bars in White Chocolate Macadamia, Bear Naked granola in Heavenly Chocolate, and Dole Chia and Fruit Nut Clusters. (Jennifer if I missed anything, I am sorry!).

This was like crack, yo.

Tasty dinner!

So, so good

So addicting!

The first two items to be inhaled were the granola (I am a sucker for anything chocolate) and chia fruit clusters. My cats even liked the chia fruit clusters and nommed on some when I wasn’t looking. The next to go was the chili. I had never made chili before and I wanted to try something different for dinner. It was so good! My husband and I really enjoyed it. And so simple to make! It had just the right amount of spice that you could enjoy the heat without being too overwhelmed. I only had one Clif bar previously and I wasn’t thrilled before so I was a little hesitant about the white chocolate bar. Boy, was I glad to be wrong – so tasty! I still have the other one but I am kind of saving it.

Also really cool? Jennifer also has her own shop where she sells various things she makes on Etsy! I bought these super cute earrings (below) for a steal! They are so beautiful and simple and classic. So definitely check out her shop!

Gorgeous!

If you want to see what I sent to my foodie pen pal, Rebecca, head on over to ChangingUs to read all about it!

Want to get in the Foodie Pen Pal action? You know you want to!  Head on over to Lindsay’s site TheLeanGreenBean and sign up! Here is the 411:

-On the 5th of the month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treatsThe spending limit is $15The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you can choose to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
– Foodie Penpals is open to US, Canadian residents & UK residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. So, I’m going to keep two separate lists and match US w/ US and Canada w/ Canada!

If you’re interested in participating for August, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

You must submit your information by August 4th as pairings will be emailed on August 5th!

FYI: If you’re in the UK, please contact Carol Anne from This Is Rock Salt at rocksalt@thisisrocksalt.com to get involved! 

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Grab a Spoon (Chobani SoHo Review)!!

25 Jul

Hello again! Today was an insanely busy, but exciting day. It was the second to last day at my internship (#sadpanda). The day started with a Wello workout and ended with lots of spoonfuls of Chobani. In the middle of all it, I bumped into fellow SweatPink Ambassador Melissa on an uptown train! Despite its size, NYC really can be a small world! It was so great to see her!

Chobani (the Greek yogurt company) opened it’s very first yogurt bar in New York City today and is aptly named, Chobani SoHo, for the area in which it inhabits. I’ve been eating Chobani for the past 2 1/2 years. When I heard about this bar opening, I was excited and could not wait for it to open. Chobani SoHo is located at 150 Prince Street (where the Swatch store used to be). After my internship, I quickly hopped a train downtown to check it out and see how everything is. I decided to vlog about it so you can all share in the fun with me. (Forgive me for the shaky footage and probably one too many shots up my nose and at one point, really crappy sound quality – I am still figuring all this stuff out!).

Without further ado, click, click, click away!

So, if you could not hear me well, the flavors are:

  • Pistachio & Chocolate (pistachios, dark chocolate, honey, oranges, and mint leaves)
  • Blueberry & Power (blueberries, chia seeds, hemp, walnuts, and light agave)
  • Seasonal Fruit & Granola (seasonal fruit, granola, and honey)
  • Toasted Coconut & Pineapple (pineapple, toasted coconut, hazelnuts, and light agave)
  • Fig & Walnut (Turkish figs, walnuts, and honey)
  • Peanut butter & Jelly (peanut butter, jelly, grapes, and peanuts)
  • Plain Chobani & Olive oil (extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, served with pita chips)
  • Plain Chobani & Cucumbers (cucumbers, mint, salt, served with pita chips)
  • Plain Chobani & Honey served with pita chips
  • Plain Chobani

In addition to the above, the store sells an assortment of Mediterranean specialty oils, nuts and more from their Mediterranean Pantry. Of course, they also sell their regular containers of their infamous yogurt.

The pistachio, dark chocolate, orange, and honey – NOT AGAVE – was amazing. It was fresh, decadent, and happiness all around. I literally licked my bowl clean. I cannot get over the glass bowls – so cute. And you get the to keep them! I am going to start a collection, I swear. Pineapple Chobani is my favorite of all the Chobanis (at the moment, I go through phases) and so their Pineapple, Toasted Coconut one will be the next to try.

So as I said on the video, if you are a Chobani fan and live in the area or plan on visiting NYC, I recommend making a pit stop (or two!) at Chobani SoHo.

Wello Wednesday (Review & Giveaway)

25 Jul

Happy hump day!

So, as a SweatPink Ambassador, I was given the opportunity to try a super cool fitness service called Wello.  Wello is LIVE personal training over your computer.

But don’t let personal training lead you to believe it’s just for gym activities. Wello has certified fitness professionals with all kinds of different backgrounds (yoga, pilates, martial arts, etc.) to lead you through whatever your heart desires. And I am serious, about the certified professionals – these aren’t like people who one day decided “oh I am going to be a trainer, and that was it.” Safety is important and Wello gets that. So rest assured you’re in good hands.

What I truly like about it aside from the variety of exercises/fitness classes (you can do it with a group or even way cooler, have a one-on-one session with a celebrity trainer), is the CONVENIENCE of it all.  It was also super easy to sign up – I did it via Facebook. One click, and wham, I was signed up. There are other ways to sign up though, if you don’t have a Facebook account.

I scheduled a session at 5:30 A.M. (I normally wake up at 6:00 A.M. anyway) of core circuit training with Kimberly Fleming. She led me through a series of intense, but completely doable circuit that focused on well, my core. I don’t do nearly enough core workouts as I’d like and my core has suffered as a result. By the end of the session, I was dripping – nay, soaked in sweat.  We did plank dips, jumping jacks, sit ups, plank jacks, V-ups, etc.

Kimberly was super awesome and so sweet. She motivated me throughout the session and even participated. She didn’t just sit and watch. She showed me how to do the move and then did a few with me. I definitely felt motivated to push through even though by my 30th V-Up, I wanted to just collapse. Having someone watch you, even if far and away, pushes and encourages you to keep going. It’s not like when you do a DVD at home and you take a break during an exercise you hate. You hold yourself accountable. Believe me, I hate plank dips but knowing Kimberly was there got me pushing my limits.

The one thing I personally recommend is setting up your “area” where you plan to exercise up BEFORE.  I had to have my husband toss me my mat mid-way (sit ups on a wood floor – I do not recommend, OW!). Also, figure out the computer set-up. My computer kept going to sleep mode which was annoying, and took away from exercise time. I also had to keep moving it around so Kimberly could see me move from a standing exercise to an on the floor one. There’s an instructional video that tells you how to do this (I should’ve watched before – fail on my own account).

Anyway, I HIGHLY recommend using Wello, especially if you’re traveling, don’t have time to make it to the gym, want something different/challenging. There is something for everyone.

Cost: Wello is reasonably priced, for a 25 minute session, it was approximately $20.00. $20.00 for a personal training session? That’s unheard of. You can book more time, i.e. 45 mins +, but obviously, the cost increases. BUT here is the fun part: beginning TODAY, July 25th, through August 10th, Wello is giving away a 25% discount to all those who try out Wello.  That’s right, you heard me 25% off. Just enter the special promo code: runli25 (case sensitive).

Again, I don’t usually promote things that I don’t think are awesome – seriously, if it was awful, I would’ve said so.  But it’s not. So try Wello out, and let me know your thoughts! Have a great day!

Weekend Haul & Fun Finds!

23 Jul

Hey folks, I decided to jump on the bandwagon and video-blog or “vlog.” I am super excited to interact with you, my lovely readers in this way. I was a little bit nervous, so please be kind. Anyway, I hope you enjoy and let me know your thoughts! Also let me know if there are any topics you want me to talk/share with you!

So, without further ado…

Fueling my Fitness

22 Jul

Happy Sunday folks! Sorry things have been so quiet. I have been wrapping up my summer classes at NYU and I have no races planned this month, aside from the Queens 10K I did earlier this month. However, that does not mean I have not been doing anything at all. Well, that’s not entirely true. I actually took two weeks off from the gym (eek!) because I was sick as I mentioned.  Now that I am better, I am going to start amping up my race training as August is jam packed with races (gulp)! I even figured out a good running loop by my house that I can easily do.

This past week I started to incorporate more Pilates and Yoga into my schedule. My gym offers both, but I can’t ever make it when they have Yoga. Luckily, there is a Yoga studio by my house and they offered a free class to all new students. I hustled this morning to make it (I am not a morning person at all) and made it just in time.

It was amazing. I knew that my body was kind of tight from all the training and running I do, but I had no idea how bad it was! That was a huge wake up call! The class was small, which provided an intimate feeling. It allowed for one-on-one personal instruction, which I loved. After many back bends and shoulder stands, we said Namaste. I quickly signed up to become a member of the studio and cannot wait for my next class!

After yoga and a quick breakfast with my hubs, I went home and decided to incorporate some more stretching. Fellow blogger Carlyn turned me on to the iPhone app called Nike Training Club.

Nike Training Club Opening Screenshot

As the App Store states

Nike Training Club gives you your own personal trainer, anytime, anywhere. Get lean, toned and strong with more than 85 custom-built workouts. Unlock exclusive extra workouts from celebrities like Lea Michele, professional athletes like Shawn Johnson, and Rihanna’s personal trainer, Ary Nuñez.

Carlyn gave an amazing review and since it was free, I figured I had to try it out for myself. This app by far, is my favorite app ever! It really is like having your own personal trainer at all times. There are a variety of workouts to try at various intensity levels, depending where you are in your fitness life. The workouts are categorized under what goal you have including, “Get Lean,” “Get Toned,” “Get Strong,” and “Get Focused.”  I originally did “Shakedown” under the “Get Lean” category on Friday and boy, did I get a workout. It reminded me of one of my favorite gym instructors/personal trainers at my gym. I also liked that the app encouraged you to keep going and reminded how much time was left in each exercise.

So today, I chose the stretch routine that was demonstrated by Olympic gymnast, Shawn Johnson. Shawn led the fifteen minute stretch sequence which helped me loosen up any other muscles that were still tight after yoga.  I highly encourage you all to download this app. It’s so great. And best of all, it is FREE!!! Woot! This is a great app for those who are time crunched or can’t make it to the gym for other reasons.

In other fitness related news, I bought this awesome FitFluential tank top on ViewSport. I may not be an Ambassador (yet!) but I am an Influencer/Enthusiast. ViewSport makes these awesome shirts/tanks that are sweat activated to reveal a secret message. For the Fitfluential tank, the secret message is #proof, which is one of their hashtags on Twitter.

Fitfluential

 

And in even more exciting news, I am going to be attending a SweatPink bootcamp on August 2nd and August 3rd in Bryant Park. SweatPink founders Jamie and Alyse who will be in town for the BlogHer 2012 Conference. I cannot attend the conference (#sadpanda) unfortunately. But I am very excited to meet the SweatPink founders and other BlogHer conference attendees and other fellow SweatPink Ambassadors!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!! This gal’s out!

Minimalist vs. Barefoot Running

15 Jul

Choices, choices, choices

Running season is in full force here in New York City.  It’s not unusual to see throngs of people running everywhere (in the morning on my way to the train, during my break lunch break, whilst doing errands, etc.) in a variety of colored kicks.

What appears to be the new trend (and by new, I mean as of 2004) is minimalist or barefoot running. At races I’d see tons of people in their Vibrams 5 Fingers or some variant of minimalist shoe.  When I first started racing, the first thing I made sure to purchase over anything else was the proper running shoe.

I went to the ASICS store in Midtown and had my running gait analyzed. I had special clips placed on my feet and video recorder was set-up behind the treadmill, which recorded me running (my gait cycle). This was then relayed to a laptop where slow motion and freeze frames were used to carefully assess my running style.  I learned that I slightly overpronate on the left but my right foot is neutral (weird, I know). Most people don’t know their running gait and may be training in improper shoes. Improper shoes can lead to injuries.   Since I was “new” to running at the time and worried about the impact on my knees, I ended up purchasing a pair of more cushiony sneakers which absorb a lot of the shock from my foot hitting the ground.

Of course, one does not need to have to go through super fancy technology to learn their gait style. Simply pick up a pair of shoes and turn them over and look at the wear pattern. Under pronators will have a wear pattern that is more on the outside of shoe (opposite the arch).  Over pronators will have a wear pattern that is more towards the inside of the shoe (towards the arch). It’s estimated that 70% of people over pronate.

As I began to run more, I have focused more on my time and wondered if the weight of my shoes were slowing me down. Since now I spend more time at Lady Foot Locker than Victoria’s Secret, I began to check out minimalist sneakers. Going completely barefoot terrifies me to no end (in my house, yes – running…and running through NYC/LI, no thank you. Also = ew for me). Plus doctors recommend taking it slow – running minimally is a different experience. It also has its own disadvantages as I learned while watching my local news. According to some doctors some runners come in with plantar fasciitis or a stress fracture, but it’s hard to make the ultimate connection. Nonetheless, as I stated earlier, doctors/experts recommend taking it slow.

I like slow. I wondered if minimalist sneakers were for me. I was a little nervous. Minimalist to me means no support whatsoever.  After doing some research, I learned that Nike has a numbering system which indicates the cushioning of the shoe and follows a scale ranging from 0 (barefoot) to 10 (normal running shoe). Thus the Free 3.0 is the least cushioned and Free 7.0 being the most cushioned model.  Plus Nike released their new Run Frees +3 in a variety of candy colors, which I love.

I decided that Nike Frees might be the shoe for me. To kind of break middle ground, I purchased the Nike Run Frees +3 in 5.0. I got the Hot Punch (a neon pink color to which my husband made a o.O face at, haha). After running (even doing a kick boxing class in them because I left my other training sneakers at home) in them, I was hooked. They were so lightweight and I did not experience any kind of pain whatsoever. I actually felt “free” while running in them. They’re that awesome. I even purchased another pair in a different color (and I anxiously await their arrival).

So, I ask you, my awesome readers to weigh in on barefoot/minimalist running. Are you all for it? Or maybe it’s not your cup of tea? Let me know… and if you have any tips/recommendations, feel free to share!

Working Out While Sick

9 Jul

20120709-213546.jpg

Some people think it’s fine to work out while you’re sick. Some people say it’s something to be absolutely avoided at all costs. Where does the truth lie? I myself pondered this question while I laid in bed last week, taken out by a seemingly simple cold.

A cold/flu-like bug has been going around as of late. As a matter of fact, fellow blogger Carlyn was recently bitten by the cold bug herself. My co-worker was out for a few days herself for the same thing. I foolishly thought since I work out 5x per week, my immune system was well, immune to getting ill. As a matter of fact, my husband had been ill earlier this year, and I stayed home to take care of him instead of doing the Japan Day 4-miler race back in May.

So, where does the truth lie?

If you Google, “working out and sick,” most websites (i.e., WebMD) state that one should do the “neck check.” This means if the symptoms of your sickness are located above your neck then it’s generally safe to exercise. Above-neck symptoms include a sore throat, a headache or colds. If it’s below the neck (i.e., body aches, chills, stomach problems or diarrhea) then it is advised to take it easy until you’re feeling better. All websites state if you’re running a fever, no matter where your symptoms are, put off exercising until your temperature returns to normal.

Where does that put me then?

Personally, I would actually go to the gym and just take it easy (i.e., decrease the intensity). Since I mostly work out in a public setting, I would be very aware of what I am touching/sweating on. I would bring tons of hand sanitizers, tissues, towels, and even my own mat from home. However, this time, I was really knocked down by this cold. My chest has been super tight and my coughs have not been productive (sorry, I know, TMI). I also feel really weak and lethargic. I am sneezing and coughing constantly, to the point where I have been waking up every hour, on the hour. Halls and Vick’s Vapor Rub have been my new BFFs.

Halls actually has some super cute and fun motivational quotes on its wrappers.

20120709-214629.jpg

Here are some of my fave:

Flex your can do muscles.

Tough is your middle name.

Don’t give up in yourself.

Inspire envy.

Strut your stuff.

I get excited everytime I open up a wrapper. It helps! It makes me feel like I will beat this cold… eventually, ha!

That said, I chose to not to work out. I have not been to the gym since last week. Overall, it’s killing me to not go. But I simply don’t have the energy to go. I am listening to my body and am practicing restraint. I am waiting to resume training until my motivation and health have completely returned. Remember, you have only one body, take care of it. So here’s to hoping I recoup by this week so I can get back to my regular scheduled programming next week!