Posts tagged Review
Less than a year ago I was contacted by a company who was looking to partner with me called Swanson Health Products. I must admit that at first I thought, “Why would I want to partner with them? Sure, I use vitamins, but….” I really wanted to stay true to my promise so the email sat in my inbox for awhile as I debated what direction to take. After doing some research I saw that they had more than just vitamins. Within a month they contacted me again to follow up to see if I had a chance to think it over. Because of their variety of products, excellent communication, and genuine persistence I figured, why not? I appreciate when brands take a chance on me so I thought it was my turn to take a chance on one myself.
Fast forward to today and I am grateful to say I am happy with my decision and I genuinely love Swanson Health Products. I love the idea of mail order, their presence on social media, and the products they offer. Some may say, “Can’t you get that stuff in a store?” Sure, I can get some of the items, but not all of the items in one place. The kicker for me? All of the vegan items they carry. With over 1930 vegan labeled items I’m in heaven and every time I browse their selection it grows. While I do rely on them for my day-to-day DEVA Multivitamins and DEVA B12 supplement, I love that I have the opportunity to try new things. Every time I order it’s like receiving my own little goody box with different vegan products.
Swanson recently asked if I’d like to take part in their 30-Day Healthier Holiday Giveaway. I was given a $100 credit to order whatever I’d like and the winner of my giveaway gets the their own $100 credit to order whatever they’d like. Each day, from November 25th to December 24th, a different healthy living blogger is hosting a chance to win a $100 Swanson Shopping spree. In other words, that’s 30 chances to win….and today is my day to host! Want to know more details, what other bloggers are included, and their dates? Visit Swanson’s blog post. I’ve ordered several boxes over time and here are some of the items that I’ve had the opportunity to try…
DEVA Multivitamin and DEVA B12 - No real explanation here other than I love knowing my supplements are 100% vegan.
Justin’s Nut Butter - After hearing such rave reviews of Justin’s I wanted to try some….but I was always too frugal. Ha! My first box I bit the bullet and ordered some. What a life-changing experience. All of those rave reviews? Right on. I may be slightly addicted to Justin’s Nut Butter now.
Beauty Without Cruelty Lavender Shampoo - While eating raw I went ‘poo-free. Now that I eat cooked food and am growing my hair out shampoo is a bit of a necessity. (This is a topic that needs and entire post in itself). My veganism extends further than what I eat. From what I eat, use, or wear, I do my best to use cruelty-free products. The scent is fresh and not “chemical” like regular ol’ shampoos. Kiss My Face Moisture Shave Fragrance Free - When I went ‘poo-free I also reduced the other products I used. After tearing my legs up shaving I realized just using water wouldn’t cut it. I kept my eye out and stumbled up this and it does the trick. This is even DH’s choice when it comes to shaving.
Kopali Organics Organic Dark Chocolate Covered Bananas - Chocolate and Bananas = 2 of my fave things. Add them together and it’s heaven. These did not disappoint. I enjoyed them so much that I’ve ordered them more than once. I only wish the bag was bigger. Then again, maybe that’s a good thing!
Ginger People Crystallized Ginger and Gin Gins Hard Candy - I tend to have nausea issues on 8+ miles runs. While running Ragnar Trail last month a fellow team mate recommend trying dried ginger to calm my tummy and offered my a piece. It was my first time trying ginger alone. Whew! It’s got a kick. I think it will be an acquired taste and not something I’d eat regularly but I figured I’d order some and see if it works. Since there were several brands/types to choose I narrowed it down to 2 types to try and we’ll see if there’s one I prefer over the other.
Bell Plantation PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter - Like Justin’s this is another thing that so many people love and I wanted to give a try. Once again, I’m sold. I love it! Sadly it’s a bit pricey at a store. While this hasn’t deterred me from purchasing when I saw how affordable it was from Swanson Vitamins I was thrilled.
SunWarrior Protein Powder Chocolate and PlantFusion Multi Source Plant Protein - I’m not one to get hung up on the amount of protein I need but I’ve been adding some protein shakes in the mix lately. I’m a fan of Vega but I’ve been wanting to try other options. I love not only having a ton of options but also the ability to try them without breaking the bank.
Dr. McDougall’s All Natural Asian Entree – Spicy Kung Pao and Beanitos Pinto Bean Chips – Better Cheddar - Still making my way through my items so I have yet to try these. =)
See! Swanson Vitamins has WAY more than just vitamins. I’m continuously adding to my saved wishlist. What would you order? Remember you can only enter my giveaway for 24 hours, so don’t forget to enter below!
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
Since smart phones have come about I’ve only had an Android. And while I’ve never had an iPhone I’m pretty savvy to the operating system given that I’ve had a 2nd generation iTouch, 5th generation iTouch, and now an iPad. Over the past several months I’ve gone back and forth in regards to what my next phone would be, crunching all the specs and opinions.
While I dig Apple’s technology (and obviously own several products) I found myself holding out in choosing the iPhone because I have this weird thing about jumping on the iPhone bandwagon. I know, it sounds crazy, and probably makes no sense. I’m just not a fan of following the crowd. And when it came to the new Samsung Galaxy it just seemed so massive in size. Needless to say I never got a new phone.
Just over a month ago I made the trip to NYC to for Nokia’s Lumia 1020 #ZoomReinvented event. Shortly after I arrived home I received a small package in the mail addressed to me. When I opened it I found a Lumia 928.
Just weeks later a Lumia 1020 followed. HUZZAH! (Why yes, that is the 41 megapixel camera phone I’ve spoken about before.) To say I needed a phone is an understatement….and now I have 2! Fact: my Samsung Fascinate crashed a minimum of 5 times during the media press conference event….until I finally just turned it off.
As you saw above, a Windows Phone wasn’t even one of my options when I had been checking out phones on my own. Why? No good reason. It just wasn’t on my radar. So while I was stoked for a new phone I’ll will admit one of the first things that came to mind was, “What am I going to think of using a Windows Phone?
If you’re looking for specs on the Lumia 928 or Lumia 1020 you won’t find them here. (sorry!) But I did want to share my thoughts on the transition from Android/Apple to the Windows system.
Just some of my initial thoughts:
-All of my contacts transferred! Yes!! Ooh, my Facebook contacts too!
-The low light camera is legit. And the Lumia 1020 camera? Knocks it out of the park. Extraordinary.
-The tiles are easy to operate. Drag, drop, just like Android or Apple. I like how they can be adjust in size. I want my Twitter tile larger and my Facebook tile smaller? Done!
-No need to have separate apps for all of my different email accounts. All can be added in the phone settings. Nice!
You may think with all of that I’d be in love with the phone. If so, then you’re wrong. Let’s keep it real. Humans are creatures of habit and it took some adjusting. But, if I’ve learned anything over the past year it’s that I need to accept and be open-minded to change.
The biggest complaint of others when it comes to Windows phones? The lack of apps. During the first few days I was beginning to think the same thing. But that’s not the case. The apps are there….it’s just not what we’re used to. You won’t always find “official” apps like Instagram (Yet!) or other favorites like Hootsuite (Yet!), but you will find other options. Thankfully I had a network of Nokia/Windows Phone users that were ready and willing to provide recommendations for replacement options and I was back in business!
Obviously the Windows Phone experience isn’t quite seamless. While I have access to all of my desired social media platforms and apps, some don’t have all the features that I was previously used to, or it may take more than one app to do what one app used to do. Some may see this as a pain (understandably) and I thought this too initially, but I’ve adjusted.
I think what has me most excited is joining in at this stage of the Windows Phone. Who knows if it will gain ground on Android and Apple but I can’t help wonder what the future holds. With the app market continually growing and connections with brands for official apps being created, along with the camera technology alone, it has serious potential and is in a position to make it’s move.
Bottom line? I dig it. Proof? When I had to use DH’s Android yesterday I found myself saying, “We need to get you a Windows Phone….”
I’m glad I stayed patient and open-minded to the change. If I hadn’t been I would’ve missed some awesome features. Some so awesome that now I couldn’t imagine having a phone without them. What awesome features? This post is already long enough so that will have to wait. More soon!
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
As I traveled home from NYC last week I couldn’t help but think, “I’m a lucky gal….” I don’t say this in a boastful way but simply with a heart full of gratitude. I’ve already discussed how over the past several years my simple blog has transformed in just as many ways as I have as an individual. I have had many opportunities I never dreamed I would ever have and have been lucky to partner with some awesome brands, while I focus on remaining true to my promise to myself (and you!).
I’ve already laid out my generalized criteria on how and why I work with brands but as I looked back I noticed a pattern has unfolded…
I tend to like the underdogs. Most of the brands I have worked with have proven track records, along with having proven themselves in their field of expertise, and possibly even been the front runner at some time. However, at this point they tend to be in the mode of reinventing themselves, proving that they are once again relevant in their field. Although I have never been a front runner I can totally identify with this. The idea of making your move, hoping you’ll get your time to shine, yet not knowing if it’s going to happen, but still continuously moving forward. Yep, my life, in a nutshell.
(Edit: Since posting there were a few people who had took issue with me categorizing these brands as ”underdogs”, given their revenues. Point taken. Thanks to Heather for appropriately categorizing these brands I speak of as ”comeback kids” In her words, “boomed and quasi-busted before reinventing themselves.” I dig it. I may be a blogger but no one has ever said I’m good with words).
I love brands that are personable and get personal. These brands have a real person behind their social media accounts and general aren’t afraid to let it be known. They don’t just spread the word of their products but interact with their followers, fans, users, and critics. After getting to know my brand partners (Hello Adam and Jason!) I like to ask them, “Why me?” and every time I’m told, “I’ve been following you, reading your blog, love your content, and appreciate your interaction with others.” They rarely follow some weird equation to fill their partnership needs and actually pay attention to what I’m doing and saying. In addition, not only have I had the opportunity to meet their employees but CEOs, Presidents, VPs of companies etc. Even better? These individuals are unpretentious, down to earth, real people. So much that one time it wasn’t until after the experience that I realized who I was speaking with. True story. Shooting the shit with Tim Boyle, President and CEO of Columbia Sportswear, not even realizing it.
I don’t worry about stats and neither do they. Straight up, I’m a numbers person. However, I’ve made it a point to NOT pay attention to stats when it comes to my social media platforms. I’ll be honest, I did at one point, which is when things went astray and my authentic voice went out the window. In return my numbers came to a standstill and even worsened. (Proof, that I need to keep it real.) I understand why most brands want/need these numbers, as it allows them to measure their reach, growth, etc., and” proves” to the higher ups social media is worth it. I’m grateful for brands that respect quality over quantity and prefer organic growth.
They are willing to take a chance on me. Continuing with the point above, since they are basing their choice simply by my previous actions shows that they are willing to take a chance on me. At the same time they’re also asking for me to take a chance on them. Sure it’s awesome to be invited to events across the US. Most events are filled with fun, but I still see these as business trips. Often the schedules are jam packed leaving little to no time for other activities outside the planned itinerary. In addition, even though my travel and lodging are covered it still requires that I take unpaid days off of my regular work. Rarely do I know what to expect or if it will be worth the trip, hence why I’m taking the chance. Ultimately my instincts have been proven right and each trip has been worth it.
They ask for nothing in return. It’s no secret that by working with brands oftentimes product and/or money is exchanged. I’ve had some brands contact me and say, “We’ll give you this if you tweet about us 3 times a week, post a photo to instagram once a month, write 2 blog posts…..” Yikes. Once again, I get why some brands want this. It’s a “guarantee”. However, these are the brands I try to steer clear of. Once you get into the situation of things being required then it becomes forced, less genuine, and my authentic voice is lost. Instead the brands I’ve chosen to partner with say nothing. Originally I found myself saying, “What do you want from me? I know you have to expect something…” Their simple answer, “No. Nothing is expected.” What?! Weird. But what I’ve come to learn is that this allows everyone to share their thoughts and experiences their own way.
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
Although I have no focus to this blog I think I could consider the simple topic of ”change” as an ongoing theme. It’s amazing to look over the past months and see what all has changed…heck, even from day-to-day. So it should come as no surprise that here I am once again writing about change.
Unfortunately for me this past year of running has been straight up challenging. There’s not one specific thing I can pinpoint when it comes to this change…it’s just part of the journey. Weight gain, change in gait, different weather….all of those things add in to the change. With that being said I wanted to do my best to rule out any variables that could be contributing to this issue. I’ve hashed and rehashed how I love my Mizuno Wave Riders but one thing I wondered was if my shoes were complicating my existing issues.
Early this year I had the opportunity to try of a pair of Wave Precisions and fell in love in a heartbeat. I can’t put into words how awesome and light they felt but they weren’t quite minimalist. Sadly as time went on I started to feel ankle discomfort/strain during my runs. Having less shoe also meant less support and less control of my foot in the shoe. I was in denial that the Precision wasn’t my perfect shoe because I loved how good they felt. After the discomfort persisted I decided it was time to do something about it.
Last month I took a trip to my local Road Runner Sports store. Instead of just winging it I went ahead and met up with Shoe Dog, had my gate analyzed, and was fit with custom insoles. The analysis proved that I have crazy high arches (already knew that). However, unlike many people with high arches I don’t underpronate (roll my foot on the outside edge) when I run. I find this interesting because I most definitely do when I walk. Instead, I tend to overpronate (foot leans to inside, on the arch), causing more stress on my arches. I’m also a midfoot striker…this is a good thing, right? After my analysis they recommended I go with a support shoe that would correct my overpronating. I left the store with my bright blue Wave Inspires ready to run.
My first run started out pretty good. My foot felt more secure than it ever had, but at 1.5 miles my achilles started burning along with my cuboid. Although this is a problem I’ve dealt with in the past it was well over a year ago since I had any flareups. By the end of 3 miles I was in straight up pain. Bummer. But I stayed positive knowing that I needed to give myself time to adjust. Unfortunately things never really improved and I knew it was time to head back to the drawing board.
Thankfully with Road Runner Sports 90 day test run guarantee they didn’t bat an eye when I went in to get them exchange. They actually listened to all of my concerns and didn’t act like I was a crazy person (even though we all know that I am….). In a nutshell they determined that I needed to stay in a more neutral vs support shoe and basically the Inspire was almost over correcting my gait. In other words, I didn’t need that much support.
After our discussion I tried on the Wave Enigma and Wave Creation. The Enigma felt great but I found it had too high of an ankle collar that rubbed my ankle bone simply from walking. Needless to say those were vetoed almost immediately. Next up, the Wave Creation. Ever since starting to run I never judge shoes by what they look like or their color, but I gotta say, these are some badass looking shoes. Something I noticed off the bat was that that they are heavier than I’m used too. I was used to the Precisions at 8 oz and Riders at 8.2 oz. The Creations weigh in a 9.7 oz…More than an ounce over the Riders, which is attributed to the solid heel. But I remained open minded.
So did the Creations work for me? It’s been more than a week since I started running in them and things are going very well. By no means are these as light as the Precisions but I must admit the don’t feel the extra weight and it hasn’t seemed to cause any issues. Although the Creation is considered a neutral shoe it provides a bit more support than the Rider but not as much as the Inspire, leaving it smack dab in the middle of their shoe line up.
Are they my perfect shoe? I will readily admit I have yet to fall in love with them as fast as I did the Riders and then Precisions, but they are what is working best for me right now. I don’t think I’ll ever totally give up Riders or Precisions and instead use my body as a gauge as to what shoe works best. And right now, the Creations are what are working best.
Although some may see this process as being frustrating and tedious I thought it was pretty cool. I am a self-proclaimed Mizuno Maniac and this allowed me to not only check out their line of shoes but gave me the chance to actually run in them and experience them for myself. This in turn has given me a better understanding of the difference between more of their shoes. Although I have yet to try the entire line of shoes I can check off Riders, Precisions, Ascends, Inspires, Enigmas, and Creations from the list. This experience also gave me the chance to check out the Shoe Dog analysis at Road Runner Sports and I got to see that the whole 90 day guarantee is for real. Pretty rad. Big high five to Road Runner for being patient with me.
I think the biggest takeaway from this experience was that it reminded me that it’s very important to listen to my body, check in with myself, and make adjustments instead of just doing something a certain way because it’s what I’ve always done.
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
You know, I could actually plan out my blog posts, like I used to…something like every Friday write my “grateful” posts. But that never felt right and let’s be honest, that sort of planning actually works against my whole “Be Here Now” plan. I’m over it. I’m going to write what I want to write, when I want to write. For those that are regular readers I’m sure you’ve already picked up on this transition since I used to post Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, which is no longer happening.
Although I’ve always had control over my blog, (hello, I write it.) taking this thought and actually living it has felt empowering. I also have to say that my blogging voice is coming through much easier . My posts may not flow all that well (not that they ever did), but lately I’ve found that when I sit down to type there’s a much easier flow from my brains thoughts to keyboard.
So, with all that being said, it’s been several weeks since I’ve posted about things that I am grateful for I figured it’s time to share.
Mobile banking. Since we have direct deposit that last time we stopped at our bank was months ago. Direct deposit is awesome given that we bank with a credit union and there aren’t locations on every street corner. I recently received a check in the mail to be deposited but kept putting off depositing it because it wasn’t convenient to make my way over to our bank. However, I just happened to check if they offered mobile deposits, like Bank of America shows in their commercials, and sure enough they do! I simply downloaded the app, took a few photos, submitted, and within 24 hours the deposit was accepted. Now, I gotta admit, the whole thought is a bit scary but given that it’s not something I’d be doing regularly it’s a rad option to have.
Swanson Vitamins. After mobile banking and now reading this next one you may think I’m lazy. I swear, I’m not. It’s all about convenience! Coming from a small town I often had to order vegan products to avoid making hour-long trips to Whole Foods and such. Living in Phoenix has made things a lot easier, but heading to the store or mall drives me bonkers (can you believe D loves shopping way more than me?). So from clothes, food, and other odds and ends, I’m all about online shopping. The friendly folks at Swanson Vitamins contacted me and asked to see if I’d like to check out their products and services. Free goodies for trying them out? Why not? I must admit I was pretty blown away not only by the prices (the vitamins I normally order on Amazon are actually cheaper from Swanson) but they have so much more than just vitamins. I was thrilled I could purchase so many of the things I regularly use all from one source.
I also decided to order some Justin’s Nut Butter, which I had never tried. That may or may not have been a good idea. I’ll let you decide.
Running mojo. After several months off of running it may be back. I attribute this to listening to my body, taking a break from my daily runs, and adding in yoga. As you know over the past several weeks I’ve added in Zumba and Total Body classes to the mix. I have slowly pieced together all of this cross-training and am back to working out on a daily basis. I am no longer running everyday (like I used to), but I still workout everyday, with the exception of rest days, and still manage to practice yoga. It feels good and more importantly I’m having fun.
Amande Yogurt. I was never a big fan of yogurt prior to going vegan so it wasn’t something I missed. Several months ago I just so happened to see yogurt at Sprouts Farm Market that was made of almond milk. I was intrigued and grabbed the the coconut flavor. Delicious! I have since tried their other flavors, which are tasty as well, but coconut wins hands down. Unfortunately the closest Sprouts doesn’t carry the coconut flavor nor do they carry the large containers (hence, why David went on the hunt). I have since found the flavor and size at Whole Foods, but it takes a bit of a drive, so I stock up whenever I’m in the area.
Grateful Jar. Speaking of gratefuls. Just like many people we chose to start a Grateful Jar at the beginning of the year. Although I’m not great at putting something in each day I usually make up for it the rest of the days and the jar is slowly filling up. I look forward to reading them at the end of the year. Should be fun!
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
It’s no secret that since moving to Phoenix I have fallen in love with Road Runner Sports. From the Adventure Runs to their other fun in-store events what’s not to love? Their fitness apparel is pretty darn cool as well and I’ve found it to performed amazingly well. However, they just upped the ante. With the help of the Road Runner Sports Tempe store I was able to grab a quick sneak peak of some of the newly released or soon-to-be released items. Wow! Bright colors and versatility are the two things that stuck out to me.
For me, the brighter the better so I’m in love with all of the colors.
I’ve also taken note of a few differences in the overall style of the clothing. Dare I say it’s more LuluLemon-esque? Which leads me to my next point. What I mean when it comes to versatility is the ability to transition from sweat to street with ease. Sure, the clothing is still active wear, but not all of it screams, “I’m a runner!” It can be easily worn for other active lifestyles….or in my case, even work.
Case in point. I have fallen utterly in love with my Out & About Cardi. I wear it a minimum of once a week and most often I wear it to work…in a business setting. Not only can I wear it to work but it can be worn 50 million (ok not really that many) ways. In all seriousness, it can be worn in more ways than you can imagine.
Having already connected with Road Runner Sports they reached out to me to see if I’d be interested in doing a giveaway. After consulting my own personal standards on holding giveaways, I think it fits perfectly, so let’s do this!
What’s up for grabs? This entire outfit below! Men, yes you can enter for the ladies in your life as well. Even better? Send them to this post to enter as well.
To sweeten the deal Road Runner has also included my absolute fave piece in the giveaway….
Yes, the Out & About Cardi! – dog not included
There you have it. All 3 pieces of the outfit could be yours simply by entering. Cool, right?
Here’s how to enter:
-Leave me a comment below. With spring around the corner, what are you most looking forward to?
-For an additional entry, tweet about this giveaway and leave a separate comment here letting me know you did. Something along the lines of “WIN rad new #FitGear from @RRSports & @BananaBuzzbomb!!” or just click this to tweet.
This giveaway ends at 11:59PM PST March 20th, 2013. The winners will be chosen at random using Random.org and notified by the following Monday. Sorry international friends, this giveaway is open to followers with US shipping addresses only.
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
When it comes to drinking, I’m on top of it. No, I’m not talking about alcohol. I’m talking staying hydrated. That’s what happens when you have a history of kidney stones My drink of choice? Tap water. No fancy bottled water for me. As for the actually bottle I use for my water. Now that’s a deal breaker. For as long as I can remember I’ve been a sensory person. Sensory meaning if things don’t feel “right” then I’m not a fan. Surprisingly enough I’ve found not 1, not 3, but 3 water bottles that work for me….all a little bit different.
Several years ago I had a Swiss Army bottle that was similar to the wide-mouth Nalgene bottles. The biggest issues I had was that it seemed to collect slime and stink real easy, it wasn’t BPA-free, and I don’t know how many times I ended up wearing my water due to the wide-mouth. Knowing it was time to replace my bottle I went on the hunt.
Klean Kanteen – I purchased this bottle when the whole BPA-Free craze started. It made sense to stay away from plastic for obvious reasons. With the smaller mouth opening I no longer found myself having problems wearing my water. However, I have to admit I wasn’t a fan of the bottle. I felt that it somehow changed the flavor of my water. Years later I’ve held onto the bottle and have found that it’s one of my faves. Looking back I’m wondering if the “different taste” was all in my head. I’ve never had problems with slime or stink which is a definite plus. This bottle has taken so many beatings, yet although it has a few dings it’s still holding strong and has a ton o’ character. When I hit the trails this tends to be my go-to bottle due to being so light yet sturdy.
Life Factory – Like most I was drawn into these bottles with how cool they look. I stumbled upon these at Whole Foods when I wasn’t 100% sold on my Klean Kanteen. I loved the concept of a glass bottle, yet it being protected by a webbed silicone cover. The mouth is a bit wider than my Klean Kanteen but not as huge as the old Swiss Army bottle. Depending on the day I have to be careful not to spill much water, but for the most part I have no issues. Like the Kanteen I’ve had absolutely no issues with slime or stink and it can be thrown into the dishwasher….silicone covering and all. I love the loop on the lid and find myself using the handle to haul it places. Although it’s thick glass and covered with rubber, I personally wouldn’t dream of taking it on the trail for fear of dropping it and/or busting it on some rocks.
HydroFlask – I was introduced to HydroFlask by Wilderness Dave. After discussing his love of their bottles on our adventure last weekend he was gracious enough to hook me up on an extra bottle he had around. I’m not going to go into all the specifics because Dave does a rad job doing that. What I can say is that I dig it. The best way to explain it is that it’s a mixture of my Kleen Kanteen and Life Factory bottle together plus a bit of steroids mixed in. I have yet to put it through a true test of resilience but this bottle is like a tank. Instead of worrying about it being crushed by the rocks it is the rocks that should be afraid of getting crushed. I’m not a coffee drinker but having the added insulation will be a definite plus come summertime when I need an icy cold beverage. I look forward to putting the bottle through its paces out on the trail but so far it’s a winner in my book and leaves my water bottle line-up looking pretty darn good.
Are you a water-drinker like me? What’s your go-to bottle? Anyone a fan of Camelbak or Geigerrig-type packs? That’s my next step….find a high capacity water carrying option for the trails.
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
I’m sure a week after last week’s post on having my blog be more personal you didn’t expect to see a review. Alas, I have several posts that I promised to deliver and I don’t break a promise. Not to mention, as I stated, I will continue to bring insight on products that I use and/or find helpful.
It seems as though monthly subscriptions boxes of stuff are popping up everywhere. I even did a review on NatureBox awhile back who offers healthy snack foods right to your door step. It should come as no surprise that one that delivers fitness apparel would pop up at some point. Enter Ellie.
Several months ago I was introduced to PV.Body through social media channels and blog posts about a company that delivers high quality apparel to your mailbox on a monthly basis for a set fee. I was intrigued. Lucky for me they contacted me wanting to know if I wanted to try their services at no charge to me. I jumped at the chance. Who wouldn’t? I took their Style Profile Quiz which would help them choose my outfit and I patiently awaited the arrival of what I’d receive.
Soon after I received my bright pink package of two items that I loved I started reading some bad reports from fellow bloggers. Their complaints ranged from ill-fitting items, lack of quality or high-end brands they expected, and bad customer service. A few days later I began hearing “rumors” of changes that were happening within PV.Body. They were going to continue their service but under a different name and only provide their brand new, personal line of clothing. Many felt they were bait switched by having signed up under a different premise only to have the rug pulled out from underneath them. I didn’t want to pass judgement or jump to conclusions and wanted to await their formal announcement of what their actual plans were with the company.
Staying true to my promise of only presenting products I use and/or believe in, I spoke with my contact for PV.Body stating that I didn’t want to review their service based on the items I received because basically I’d be saying, ” Hey. Here’s PV.Body and this is the concept…but now it’s different…because the concept is different and this isn’t the product you’re going to get…you’re going to get their line of clothing.” Make sense? They were 100% understanding and told me to sit tight.
I don’t know the ins and outs of all of the details or whether this was their plan all along but as things began to unfold my own personal opinion developed. What I do know is that what I was seeing was a newer company growing at an exponential rate. Any company has growing pains, whether change in product or vision, but when it is thrust into motion at such a high speed it makes it that much more challenging. Most companies aren’t that well known yet for them to be noticed or criticized. With its popularity it was that much more in the limelight and placed under a microscope.
A formal announcement was finally made about all of the rumors that were swirling. Yes, it’s true PV.Body was now going to be known as Ellie and their monthly subscription would only include items from their yet-to-be released fitness apparel line. They also provided a few more details. Here they are along with my thoughts are in italics:
-Every month, Ellie will launch a new collection of 16 tops and 8 bottoms. <- Different choices each month.
-Your choice of two pieces from that months Look Book for $49.95 per month. You can choose two tops, two bottoms or a top and a bottom and the price is always the same. <- You know what you’re getting.
-You have until the 7th of each month to select your own pieces. Otherwise, Ellie will select and ship an outfit (top and bottom) to you, depending on your selected style profile.
-Ellie offers free shipping on all orders, exchanged, and return to Fit Fashionista program members - If you are not satisfied with the quality of Ellie, you can ship it back for free both ways and you will receive another free piece from Ellie’s collection. <- Doesn’t fit or don’t like it? Send it back.
-Ellie offers exclusive access to pieces available only to Fit Fasionista members. <- Want more of the pieces released this month? You can buy them.
-You can still cancel your membership at any point in time. <-Not locked into a commitment.
More from the brand:
-Ellie created their own TruFit technogology. According to Ellie, “TruFit begins with the fabric. Each piece is pre-shrunk to make sure it never shrinks again. We guarantee that our clothing will fit the same the first time you try it and the 30th time you hit the gym. We carefully design very piece to make sure it fits you in all the right places.”
-The waistband on all bottoms will be the exact same. <- once you find out what size works for you, you’re golden.
-Every piece of every collection is washer and dryer-friendly.
-All products are manufactured in the USA. <- That puts the cherry on top. Pretty rad.
Personally I think this is better than the PV.Body deal on so many levels. Upon seeing the February Look Book and making my choice of 2 pieces I was pretty pumped for them to arrive. When they arrived I immediately fell in love. The Catch Me If You Can top was so buttery soft.
I was nervous when it came to choosing the Electric Love Capris. I love bright colors but didn’t know if they’d be too bright or make me feel uncomfortable. I’m glad I took the chance because they are the perfect fit and beyond comfortable.
I loved both the look and feel of the pieces so much that I actually felt inspired to go for a run. Seriously. And they performed beautifully.
Final thoughts: I know people lost a lot of faith in the PV.Body/Ellie with all that’s gone down in the past month. Fingers crossed that they’ve pulled it together or can do so really fast, because I think they have a great concept and product. I can’t wait to see what this months choice brings.
Interested in trying out some of their stuff? Click to receive 20% off coupon off of your first order and feel free to pass along to any friends that may be interested.
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
Due to my financial situation and my schedule I have been limited in my ability to attend a yoga studio. Don’t get me wrong, I want to attend a studio, and will someday soon, but for now I’m a homebody yogini. As I navigate through the world of yoga I’m trying my best to find my niche and groove. Thanks to books, the internet, DVDs, and the help of friends I’m making my way.
If you’ve ever done any sort of workouts to video you know they can be hit or miss. I’ve been asked several times, “What DVDs are you using?” I’ve done some research on my own but also had the opportunity to check out some different DVDs to review. I figured I’d do a little post on all the videos I’ve tried in hopes of sharing some insight from my experiences.
Weight Watchers Yoga Starter Kit – The kit includes the DVD, strap, block, along with a 10 Week Exercise Tracker. I was pretty stoked about the block since I hadn’t picked one up yet. The DVD has 3 sections – Basics, Get Moving, And Get Strong. As you can expect, it starts with the basics of breathing and then moves into asanas with the assistance of using a strap and blog. I think it’s great how they have two women performing asanas…one regular and one showing modified versions. This DVD really is about the basics but makes practicing yoga attainable for just about everyone and it’s a great starting point for someone just looking to get their toes wet. I also like that the 2 workouts are approximately 30 minutes each.
Zen-Ga Power & Strength – The best way I can describe this is a mixture of yoga and pilates. The DVD is fast moving, almost to a tempo, like most typical at-home workouts. This workout includes the use of a block as well and is 60 minutes in length. I know most yoga sessions are 60 minutes or more at a studio, but personally I find a 60 minute at-home workout a bit too much for me. Especially when it’s something at this tempo. Sure I can do it, but I don’t find it enjoyable. I think this DVD has great substance but the length along with speed of the work really entice me.
Element – Intro To Yoga With Tamal Dodge – Once again, a DVD that shares the basics in one session and then another session at the intermediate level. Tamal does a great job breaking down each asana, explaining breathing, along with the use of a block. This DVD is calmer than the above, focusing on balance and breathing, as he leads you through a series of full sun salutations. I find it excellent that he says all asanas in sanskrit and the modern vocabulary. This helps me to learn both versions. Each session is just over 30 minutes in length.
Element – Yoga For Energy & Relaxation With Tamal Dodge – Another DVD with the same presenter as above. Just as the other DVD Tamal breaks everything down so it’s easily understood. This DVD contains 2 sessions – 1 for energy (AM) and 1 for relaxation (PM). Each at approximately 30 minutes in length. I found these sessions to be more about breathing, holding asanas, along with stretching. I’m not sure if it’s just where I’m at in my journey but this doesn’t feel enough for me right now. Once again, I understand yoga isn’t all about the workout.
Gaiam – Rodney Yee’s A.M. & P.M. Yoga For Beginners – I found this DVD to be quite comparable to the video above. 2 different sessions, one for AM (energy), while the other was for PM (relaxation), both at 25 minutes. The morning session is presented by Rodney Yee and the evening presented by Colleen Saidman. As with the other, it just wasn’t enough for me. However, for those that are just starting out with limited flexibility, this is a great place to begin.
Gaiam – Rodney Yee’s Power Yoga For Flexibility and Power Yoga For Strength – Hands down the winners for me. With Rodney Yee’s calming voice that provides just the right amount of guidance I have quickly fallen in love with the flow of power yoga. It’s the perfect pace that’s not to slow and not to fast. Just perfect. I find it calming but also feel that I’m getting my movement/workout in. It helps to know some basics, but almost anyone can be easily guided with these videos. The length of 30 minutes is perfect to fit in whenever I have a few moments and I often find myself wanting more.
Anton Mackey’s Functional Flow DVD – While at the Sedona Yoga Fest I took advantage of purchasing one of Anton’s DVDs after his class. It’s a very basic DVD with no frills but it has helped reinforce all his teachings he presented in the classes. Although it sticks with the basics he still guides you through full sun salutations so in the end you feel as though it’s actually been a session and not just going through some random motions. And at only 30 minutes in length it can also be revisited when you have a few quick moments.
So those are the DVDs I’ve checked out thus far. Have you tried any of them? Do you have any faves that you’d recommend? I would love to hear about them!
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
I’m pretty excited to have a couple giveaways lined in the coming weeks. Who doesn’t like free stuff? When it’s healthy, it’s even better, right?
So, let’s get to it!
Recently I was contacted by NatureBox and asked if I’d like to try out some of their products. Having had a taste of one of their mixes at Inspiration and Perspiration along with having seen many rave reviews, I was pretty stoked at the opportunity. For those that are unfamiliar with NatureBox, let me break it down….For $19.95 each month you will receive a box via mail. Your box will include 15 to 20 servings across 5 different NatureBox snacks. Each month your NatureBox will be filled with different tasty treats.
Pretty simple, eh? But it gets better. NatureBox focuses on healthy, natural ingredients that are minimally processed. None of their products contain high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, trans fats, or artificial sweeteners, flavors, or colors. Even more, many of their products are vegan and are clearly labeled if so.
When I received my box the hardest thing was not eating it all in one day! I immediately dove into the Carrot Chips but I made sure I shared with the pups. Ooh, did they love the them too.
The Cinnamon Spice Granola and Roasted Garlic Pumpkin Seeds were the perfect flavor for getting in the fall mood. I have to admit, when I received my box I wasn’t sure if I’d care for everything in the box. For instance the Country Ranch Peas and Chipotle Maple Almonds. I saved those for last. Alas, those were my 2 favorites. Go figure! The peas tasted so much like ranch that it was hard to believe they were vegan. I have no idea who came up with the Chipotle Maple Almonds but whoever did needs to win a prize. I’d buy those in bulk if I could. Yes, they were that good.
I really think NatureBox is onto something here. They have some pretty amazing tasting snacks at a reasonable price. Some may balk at the price but have you ever seen how expensive regular ol’ trail mix costs at the store. This is more natural, healthier, unique, and brought right to your door.
Because I loved my NatureBox so much they have offered to help me spread the love to my followers by offering a free NatureBox to one of my readers.
Here’s how to enter:
-Leave me a comment below. What’s your favorite healthier snack when you get the munchies?
-For an additional entry, tweet about this giveaway and leave a separate comment here letting me know you did. Something along the lines of “WIN a box of healthy goodies from @NatureBox & @BananaBuzzbomb!!” or just click this to tweet.
This giveaway ends at 11:59PM PST January 13th, 2013. The winners will be chosen at random using Random.org and notified by the following Monday. Sorry international friends, this giveaway is open to followers with US shipping addresses only.
For those wanting to give NatureBox a try, head over to their site and use the promotional code CARROT to receive 25% off your first month’s subscription. Get snacking!
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)