Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Product Week - Sports Bras

As I have absolutely nothing noteworthy to say about running right now, I wanted to tell you about my recent quest for a new sports bra.  Here's what I'd hoped to love, didn't end up loving, and what I eventually bought.

The backstory is that while I had three sports bras that worked well, they were all the same style and when I was running so much from January through April, wearing a bra that hit me in the exact same place for every run caused some chafed areas that wouldn't heal.  I usually applied either Body Glide or 2Toms Sport Shield around the band area, but I would chafe in the back, on both sides where the bra hooked.  It got so bad that I'd wear bandaids to try and keep the chafing from getting worse, but because I continued to run so much and wear the same bra style, it never healed.

I had this in mind when I was at the Cap10K expo in Austin in April; honestly, I figured that since we were in a bigger city, after the expo I'd head over to Nordstrom and try on sports bras there.  But at the expo, I came across the Shefit sports bra booth, and remembered that I'd been interested in this bra when I saw it profiled on Shark Tank over a year ago.  The ladies in the booth couldn't have been nicer, and helped me find the right fit.  I tried a couple sizes on and was really pleased - this bra is a zip front, with a smooth back, so I figured I could alternate with my other sports bras and not end up with that chafing issue that stemmed from wearing the same style over and over.

The straps on the Shefit sports bra are adjustable, to either a cross back or like a regular bra.  The neatest thing I liked about the bra was the band itself - it's adjustable!  So if you lose or gain a little weight, the bra will still fit (or if you're pregnant and your size is changing, this would be a great option; I texted Cary to tell her about it, and she ended up buying one).  Here's how you work the Shefit sports bra:
image taken from the Shefit website.

I ended up buying two of the Shefit sports bras at the expo - they had special expo pricing and while the bras were expensive at $50 each, they weren't as expensive as the Wacoal sports bras that I'd been wearing.  Aside from that, this is what I do - run - and I need the proper equipment, so I really didn't stress too much about the price.

I was so excited to have a new sports bra and get through a run without chafing my back that I decided to wear it the following day for the Cap10K race.  I know, I know - the cardinal rule is nothing new on race day, but I reasoned that I'd have to wear it on a run at some point, so why not for this one?  Well.  That was a mistake.  I didn't chafe on my back, but after just a couple of miles, I was feeling a stinging pain in the front, just under the zippered area.  We ended up stopping for a potty break around the 2.5 mile mark and were in line long enough for me to discreetly check out what was happening.  It wasn't pretty - it looked like I had been cut in a couple areas!  The zipper itself was still covered by the fabric flap cover, but the band was cutting into me.  I tried loosening it up, but the damage was done.  I felt like a dunce, really - I wore this without washing it first, and for a 6.2 miles run!  

It took a couple weeks for the chafing cuts to heal; during that time I wore my old sports bras, now with bandages on my back and on my front.  I washed the Shefit bra to soften it up, and decided to give it another try, on a 5 mile run.  This time, I liberally applied Body Glide in the area where the band had chafed me previously.  Well.  We weren't too far into that run when I felt the familiar stinging pain, and when we finished, I'd chafed just below the other newly-healed spots!  Sighhhhh.

A couple more weeks of healing on the new chafed areas later, I wore my Shefit sports bra for a 2 mile run around our neighborhood...and was sliced again.

Obviously this wasn't the bra for me.  And I was pretty disappointed about that, because I think that it's a great concept.  Having a sports bra that is size adjustable would be fantastic - not only for fluctuating and/or changing sizes, but also having the option to loosen it up means that you could use it for less high impact activity as well - generally if I have a sports bra that works for something high impact like running, there's no way I'd wear it for yoga or bike riding - I'd want something more comfortable.  I think the issue with the Shefit sports bra is the band itself - it's very wide, and the fabric is just a little too firm for the delicate skin around my ribcage.  If they made some changes to the band, I would give this sports bra another try, because I do think they are onto something with this design.

I have to give Shefit kudos for their return policy - because I was beyond the 30-day return date thanks to my having to heal and retry the bra and heal and retry the bra again, I had to email the company to ask to return the one bra that I hadn't worn, and I explained my reasons for the return.  They allowed me to return both bras, which was more than I'd hoped for!  That kind of customer service says a lot to me, and even if they had only allowed me to return the one unused bra, I'd still be interested in future redesigns of this bra, but now, I'm extra happy to keep up with their products.

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I was back at square one with my sports bra issues, only at least by this time, Diane had run her marathon so I wasn't running as many miles.  The chafing areas all healed up, but knowing that all too soon I'll be back to running more, I needed to get a different style sports bra.  I started looking around and found a zip front bra from Wacoal, so I tried one out:
Not me, obviously.

This sports bra has been working well, although I went up a size in the band from what I normally wear with their back-closure sports bras.  It's comfortable and I've had no chafing issues, thank goodness, although the longest run I've worn it for was 3.5 miles.  It's the off-season, what can I say?  I like the racerback; it feels cooler to me, which is nice this time of year.  I paid full price for my first Wacoal zip-front sports bra because I ordered it from Nordstrom knowing that their liberal return policy would serve me well if I needed to return this after wearing it, but once I knew that I loved this bra, I shopped around online and found it for quite a bit less - $43 vs $72 (and see, that's why the $50 price tag on the Shefit bra didn't bother me).

So there you have it - my sports bra story.  While I loved the Shefit sports bra in theory, my reality was that the Wacoal sports bra worked better for me.  At least now I'm set for another year with this essential part of my running wardrobe!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Product Week - Teasia Tea Review and Giveaway!

Disclaimer:  I received a box of Teasia Tea K-cups for this review.

I am an iced tea drinker, but I'm also a lazy iced tea drinker, which means that more often than not, I can't be bothered to make up a pitcher of cold-brew iced tea.  I know, I know - that's pretty darn lazy.  So most of the time I just drink water.  But when I was offered a box of Teasia Tea in K-cup form, I was intrigued - I could make a glass of iced tea using my Keurig?  I don't know why it never occurred to me that I could make anything other than coffee in it, but to paraphrase Forrest Gump, "I'm not a smart (wo)man."

I was sent the Floral Series box to try out - this is what arrived on my doorstep:
 
Inside was a jumble of K-cups - I sorted through them and found the four different flavors:
Rose Black, Jasmine Green, Chamomile Mint, and Rooibos Lemongrass.

There was also an info card, and here's where I read something interesting:
Each K-cup provides two brews!  So while the cost of this tea is about 53 cents per K-cup, it's actually about 26 cents, thanks to being able to brew a second cup.  I was a little skeptical, so naturally I set about brewing my first cup of iced tea, which couldn't have been easier - I just filled a tumbler to the top with ice, popped in a Teasia Tea K-cup, and set my Keurig to brew a 6 ounce cup:
Ready, set...
 Brew!
And there you go - a freshly-brewed glass of iced tea!

I liked the flavor - there was a subtle hint of rose that I could smell as I drank the tea, but it wasn't overpowering at all.  I don't use sweetener in my drinks, and I usually just get plain tea, but this was a nice change and made me feel like I was having a beverage as opposed to just getting something to drink.

After I finished the first glass, I refilled it with ice and used the same K-cup to make a second serving, and it was just as strong as the first!  Now that was a pleasant surprise and made my K-cup-loving, frugal self quite happy.

I tried all four of the flavors and while I liked three of them, one stood out as my favorite - the Chamomile Mint!  I thought for sure the Rooibos Lemongrass would have been my top choice, and that is second, but the Chamomile Mint is super refreshing, especially in our hot weather.  I was not a fan of the Jasmine Green Tea at all - not sure if it's because of the green tea, or the jasmine, or maybe both - but that one was a big no for me.  I actually haven't tried any of the tea as a hot drink yet, because after I have my morning coffee, I'm all about the cold stuff right now - but I'm sure it's equally delicious as a warm beverage...and maybe I'll be ready for a cup of hot tea around November, ha!

Teasia Tea is available at their website and also on Amazon.  I get no compensation for wherever you shop, but I do want to point out that it's nearly $5 cheaper on Amazon.

The kind folks at Teasia Tea are providing a giveaway with THREE winners for my readers!
  • One winner will receive - 1 box Formosa Variety – Black Tea, Green Tea, Oolong Tea, Roasted Oolong Tea (36 count)
  • One winner will receive - 1 box Floral Variety – Jasmine Green Tea, Rose Black Tea, Rooibos Lemongrass Tea, Chamomile Mint Tea (36 count)
  • One winner will receive - 1 box Formosa Variety – 12 count & Ice Chameleon Tumbler (this bottle changes colors when your iced tea becomes lukewarm)
United States winners only.  This giveaway will run until August 8th; I'll announce the winners on August 11th.  

To enter, please follow Teasia Tea on one (or more) of their social media sites:

Facebook/TeasiaTeas
Instagram/TeasiaTeas
Twitter/TeasiaTeas
Pinterest/TeasiaTeas
 
AND also leave me a comment telling me where you followed them, along with which flavor of tea you're most interested in trying.  Be sure that your email is either linked to your comment, or else leave me your email so that I can contact you if you are one of the winners of the giveaway.

Good luck!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Product Week - Hair...uh...Products!

It's Product Week here on the blog - I've been wanting to talk about several items that I've tried and loved (and not loved) lately, plus I have a review and giveaway starting tomorrow, so the theme worked out perfectly!  Everything except for tomorrow's product has been purchased by myself; as I'm always happy to hear from real people if something works or not, I thought I'd share my new favorites (and not-so-favorites) with you.

Today's product is Bumble and bumble Don't Blow It (H)air Styler:
Papa bear, Mama bear, Baby bear - I ended up with all of the sizes!

I am lucky to have thick, healthy hair.  I don't need to use expensive hair products to keep my hair looking nice - mostly I stick with a step above the basics in terms of shampoo and conditioner (for the last several months I've been rotating between Herbal Essences and Gliss brands).  But quite a while back, I went with my friend Cary to her hair appointment, and while she was getting her hair done, I spent my time perusing all of the Bumble and bumble products that the salon carried.  Everything smelled so good!  I wanted to bring home quite a few items, but the prices stopped me - I spend between $3 and $5 each on shampoo and conditioner, and this stuff was about $25 each.  So that was a no-go for me.

While my cheapness stopped me from purchasing, I continued my Bumble and bumble lust, and gave my email to their website so they could tempt me with all of their specials.  Eventually, one thing really caught my eye - a product that you could use when you don't want to blow dry your hair...which, with as hot as it's been, sounded pretty appealing to me.  I've been letting my hair air dry for quite a while now, and it gets a little wavy, but I also end up with a halo of frizz.  I kept putting the Don't Blow It in my online shopping basket but could never get myself to click the final "purchase" part, until they offered a summer hair kit consisting of a smaller size (the Mama bear in the picture above), along with a primer spray and a surf spray:

I love everything.  I don't use the primer every day, but I pretty much do use the Don't Blow It every day, and I play with the surf spray often - it's the first surf/beach spray product that doesn't make my hair crunchy when it dries.  Don't Blow It makes my natural waves slightly more wavier and I even end up with some curls around my face, too.  All I have to do is work a little bit of the product into towel-dried hair, comb it through (actually I use a wet brush), and then scrunch and fluff my hair with my fingers.  That's it!  Sometimes I'll step outside in my backyard to let the heat dry it faster - I usually water the plants while I'm doing this.  Here's a terrible picture of my hair while it's wet:
Turns out, it's hard to take a picture of the back of your head...

And an equally terrible picture of my hair when it's dry:
Wavy, curly, no frizz...with no work!
Me on a typical day - no effort on the hair, just wearing sunscreen moisturizer and a little bit of mascara and eyeliner.  I roll very minimalist most of the time, and finding a hair product that makes me feel styled without having to do anything is right up my alley!

I can't get over how wavy and soft my hair is - normally, to make it wavy there's a lot of hair spray or beach waves spray in it, which makes it crispy and crunchy feeling.  And I've not come across any other curl product that doesn't weigh my hair down - for me, the Bumble and bumble Don't Blow It is a winner!  I used it for nearly a month before I broke down and ordered the full-sized tube; when I placed my order, I also received a couple even smaller-sized tubes of the product, so I'm all set now!

Are any of you Bumble and bumble fans?  Have any amazing hair products that you would recommend?  Let me know in the comments, por favor!

Friday, July 21, 2017

FMM - Toes and More!

I finally got my first pedicure of the year - yes, YEAR, thanks to losing a toenail in January after running the Houston half marathon.  I was very paranoid about exposing the skin on that toe to anything that might cause an infection, and it took this long for enough of the nail to grow back.  In the meantime, the place where I used to go did a big renovation and got all new massage chairs, so that was a pleasant surprise when I went in.  Here's my feet, looking sandal-ready (not that I haven't been wearing flip-flops - this Cali girl will always be wearing flip-flops):
A woman at the drying table complimented me on the blue and asked what the name of the polish was - I said I didn't know, I just picked it because it matched my car.
Wasn't even kidding...and if OPI made a Mini Cooper colors set, I'd probably buy it!

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I was sitting and knitting on Tuesday afternoon when the power went out.  It was 97 degrees, but it felt even worse:

I checked the city's online power outage map (thank goodness for smart phones - we now have access to the rest of the world even with no electricity) and there was a pretty big area out...turns out a pole was knocked down during some construction happening down the road from us.  Two hours later, our power was restored, whew!  Not only was it getting warm because of no A/C running, but not having the ceiling fans to move air was especially bad.  We ended up leaving to have dinner in a cool restaurant and then ran some errands to give the house time to cool down before we came back home.  Times like this are when I cannot fathom how people used to live here before the invention of air conditioning...they did this all the time, for months on end.  Heartier stock than I, that's for sure!

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This isn't blooming anymore, but a week ago, it was spectacular:
Texas Mountain Laurel
This year it must have gotten enough rain at just the right time, because it bloomed like crazy!  

In other news, my bougainvillea still isn't blooming, despite fertilizer, full sun, and plenty of water:
Lots of leaves.  Pay no attention to the overgrown grass; our yard guy is coming today.
New growth, but no blooms.  What.The.Heck.

This would look so pretty with the green leaves and pink blooms next to the white brick post - never has a plant let me down so much.  I swear, if this thing doesn't bloom, I'm going to write off bougainvilleas - at least while we live here.  There's still a few months remaining of full sun for it to redeem itself, but if it's not blooming in July, I don't think there's much hope.

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We have no plans for the weekend beyond our usual running and breakfasting with friends, although we need to weed the front flower beds.  Of course, it's a wee bit hot, so finding time to do that when the sun isn't burning down on us will be a challenge; there's probably a small window between sun baking and mosquito biting in the evening that we'll have to jump at.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Wednesday Workout Update

I really don't have much to report this week - I feel like a broken record saying it's hot and humid, so I won't say that.  ::whispers::  But it is.  Anyway, I ran with Cary on Saturday; we did three miles and what you should be impressed with by that is the fact that she's in her third trimester, pregnant during a Texas summer, and she's still running.  I wasn't a runner when I was pregnant, but I did have a summer baby in southern California and that was rough - Texas summers are much worse, so kudos to Cary for staying so active.

So we ran, and then I ran again with Jeff yesterday.  I had to laugh when I realized that my total mileage for the week was what Diane and I were running on a single weekday during the height of her marathon training...but hey, that's why it's called the off season, right?

After my run yesterday, I needed to stretch out my muscles, which aren't sore from running but from sitting and knitting so much.  Luckily I'm on the tail end of my knitting push and won't be sitting quite so much soon.  I probably could avoid some of this if I'd just make myself get up and stretch every hour, but when I'm in the groove of knitting, nothing can stop me.  Well, except when Paco needs to go outside.  And when I'm thirsty.  And then when all the water I drank runs through me.  But other than that, nothing can keep me from my knitting!  Wait, where was I going with this?  Oh yeah, stretching.  Which is what I did after my run yesterday - I started with my wall stretch:
Legs up!  

Which led to a worried Paco hovering over me:
Why yu on de floor?  Do I need to get help??

Then, once I was finished with the wall stretch, I did a few yoga moves since I was already on the floor - child's pose, cat and cow, and then I did a quick plank.  This always feels so good and honestly I don't know why I don't do this every time I run...except that I forget about it in my hurry to get out of my sweaty clothes.

As far as other exercise, we bought a dog Frisbee for Paco - it's made from a soft gel, in case he ever decides to catch it in his mouth.  So far he's just having fun letting us throw it, watching it land, and then he'll bring it back to us and play tug-of-war with it.  We let him get his chasing after the Frisbee out of his system first, and then Jeff and I can toss our Frisbee without Paco trying to get it.  We are getting better, and it's a fun thing to do in the evening before the mosquitoes come out.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Change What You Can

I've always been one who likes to change up my surroundings - even if I just move things around without buying anything new.  This is especially good right now, when we are on the downside of our mortgage payments.  Our house will be paid off next summer and we'll do some updating to it at that point, but of course I've already started thinking about what to do and because I can't get started with anything major yet, I decided to rearrange my living room.  Yes, again.  It's become a yearly thing with me, and I'm amazed at how many ways I can change it up with the same furniture.

My eventual plan, which Jeff is on board for, is to move the two cabinet bookcases to one side of the fireplace and purchase another set of them for the other side.  The mantle flares out a couple of inches farther than the fireplace surround, and we can't fit two cabinets on either side with it there, so we're going to remove the mantle above the fireplace surround.  At first I thought this was sacrilege - remove the mantle?  Is that even allowed?  I know you see it all the time on the HGTV home improvement shows, but this is a perfectly nice mantle.  It was Jeff's idea, and the more I thought about it, the more I agree with it.  Along with fitting in a wall of cabinets without having to have them custom made, we can also mount the TV above the fireplace without it being too high.  I want to free up that one wall in order to change the seating in the room.  One thing I loved about this house when we bought it was all the light brought in by the windows, along with the trees and natural state of the backyard...and yet most of the time we are sitting with our backs to the windows in the living room!

When we do the house updates, I'm also going to buy new living room furniture.  As much as I like the style of what we have in there, it doesn't lend well for my back and hips when it comes to sitting and knitting; I'm tired of the backaches.  Oh - and a while back I had new matching grayish slipcovers picked out for the two loveseats, but coincidentally, the price of the slipcovers was the same as two airfares to Orlando, so you can see what won out.

Here's the newest version of my living room, with the two previous years below:
2017 - I can knit in several spots, but my rolling cart isn't always the easiest to access unless I move it in front of the seating area when I'm ready to knit.
2016
2015

Another view:
2017
2017 (yet another view)
2016
2015

This go-round, along with doing the deep vacuuming that comes with moving everything, I dusted all of the treasures in the cabinets and even moved some things around:
The penguins were on a shelf in my office but got displaced when I put all my yarn in bins, so they made the move the the living room.
I love all of our mementos - I can tell you where everything came from, even the things that go waaay back.

I think this will hold me for another year - and then, all bets are off as I'm really looking forward to making some big changes! 

Friday, July 14, 2017

FMM - Is It Still Considered a Mishmash If I Only Post One Picture?

I'm breaking from my normal routine of posting a bunch of random stuff to just post one picture.  ONE.  Because it's just the cutest thing on the internet today.  Also, fun captions are welcome - hit me with your best shot.  OK, are you ready? 
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Here it is:

It's Woody, the kitty that my running group found in the woods!  Her little tongue sticking out, her paw on her belly - the half-closed eye...she looks like she's been on a bender to me, but what do you think?  I honestly can't stop laughing when I look at this picture.  Pets - providing free entertainment on a daily basis.  Thanks to my friend Andi for sharing the picture with me...and now with you!

Have a great weekend!