11.30.2015

Plantronics Backbeat FIT Wireless Headphones: A Great Gift for Your Favorite Runner

Disclaimer: I received the Plantronics Backbeat FIT wireless headphones to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Is there a special person in your life that likes to run? I have the perfect holiday gift for them! Enter: Plantronics Backbeat FIT.

As a runner, I find headphones to be one of the most annoying running accessories. The ear buds often fall out of place, the cord gets caught on my arm, and if I drop my phone you can bet those suckers are going to be ripped out of my ears. Ouch! That's why, when I was offered the chance to try these Backbeat FIT wireless headphones, I was ALL ABOUT IT. That being said, there are some pros and cons about this product.

PROS:
They're wireless! This prevents some of the issues mentioned above.

I can set my music, podcast, or audiobook on my phone and not have to touch my phone again until the run is over because they have easy to access controls on the headset. I love that I can adjust the volume or song without having to pull out my cellphone.

They're lightweight. A must!

The backbeat FIT are completely waterproof and even come with a waterproof case for your phone. No more worries about sweat or rain damage!

The battery lasts up to 8 hours. I have used them a number of times since I got them and still haven't had to recharge.

They have an around the ear feature which makes sure they stay in place.

CONS:
This one is more a con of my ears instead of the headphones but I have really small ears so it was pretty hard for me to find the right fit at first. However, the ear pieces are adjustable.

Again, probably a personal problem, but I have found that my ears start to hurt if I wear them too long.

They block out more noise than I would like, but I think that's personal preference. I tend to run with the volume down and that helps. 


Overall, I would highly recommend these headphones for runners. Especially those who have headphone problems like I did. 
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11.18.2015

Rudy Project ImpactX-2 Rydon Glasses

Disclaimer: I received the ImpactX-2 Rydon glasses set to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
 
My last few posts have been a little bit on the heavy side, so I'm really excited to talk about a product I've recently fallen in love with. Rudy Project is a company that is well-known for their award-winning lenses in the running and cycling worlds. They recently released their ImpactX-2 glasses which are brand new.

These glasses are guaranteed unbreakable for LIFE, have semi-rigid lenses which means increased safety, are incredibly lightweight and compact, and my favorite feature: they're photochromic meaning they go from clear to polarized in the sun! I love that I now own a pair of glasses I can use on sunny and gloomy days instead of having to prepare ahead of time for the pair of glasses I choose for that day's workout. LIFE SIMPLIFIED. Also, I have to say that normally I would HATE this feature because it can take transition lenses some time to change between the two colors, but I have noticed these change really fast.

I also love that Rudy Project's ImpactX-2 glasses are completely customize-able. You can change out the lenses, adjust the nose and temple piece, and find the fit that works best for you! Given I'm really picky about glasses, I appreciate the flexibility provided by the Rydons. I also appreciate the carrying case they come with because I can easily store them in my running bag without having to worry about them getting damaged.




The final feature I love, love, love about these glasses are the coverage. Some glasses don't cover enough to of my face and feel less "secure." The fit on these glasses are wonderful. That might be weird, but like I said, I'm picky.

I would highly recommend the Rudy Project ImpactX-2 Rydon glasses to anyone in the market for a new pair of performance glasses. Now back to trying to prevent my husband from trying to steal them from me!











What kind of glasses do you like to workout in?

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11.16.2015

Groupon Coupon Like a Pro During the Holidays

 Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. All opinions are honest and my own. I only work with companies I believe in and have personally tested. This is no exception.

It's that time of the year again. The time where you start to constantly think "WHAT IN THE WORLD AM I GOING TO GET MY DAD FOR CHRISTMAS?!" and "HOW MUCH IS THIS GOING TO COST?!" Well, I'm here to tell you that gift-giving doesn't have to be hard or expensive. Enter: Groupon.

Groupon is the perfect place to find great products and services for mom, dad, the grandparents, the kids, etc. It's also the perfect place to save some money on your holiday shopping! For example, often times, when I'm not sure what to get my dad for Christmas (he's tough to buy for), I'll poke around on the Groupon site until something sparks my interest. They even have a "holiday gifts" section! This year, it was the BraunCoolTec Shaver that caught my attention. With Groupon, you can buy the coupon that saves you 57% ($106 off!!!) on the product! BAM! Dad and my wallet are happy.

When shopping for your favorite foodie you might consider the Holiday Wine Package (over $200 off), a crockpot book bundle (for under $20), or a monthly coffee subscription box from Peet's Coffee (up to 35% off). When shopping for mom you might consider a massage ($80 value for only $39) or a knitting class (for half off!). There's really something for everyone. One of my favorite categories to browse is the "Getaways" section. HELLO $1,000 off 12-Day European tour with airfare. Can't beat that.


Another thing I love are Groupon Coupons. For example, you can search something like "Birchbox" and find coupons for $10 off, a free mystery sample, and 20% off orders over $50. Recently, I was searching for new work pants from LOFT and realized Groupon has coupons online for 40% off that can be used online and in-stores. You can find coupons from stores like Office Depot, Foot Locker, and Sam's Club. I will never buy anything again without first searching the store on Groupon Coupons. I might just turn into a crazy coupon lady. Watch out.

Groupon Coupons Loft


Part of what I love about Groupon is that you can find great local deals. I'm all about supporting local businesses and Groupon makes it really easy to do so. You can also search for deals local to your relatives that might not live in the same area as you! Before I buy anything, I usually check the Groupon website to see if there are any relevant coupons.

Do you use Groupon or Groupon Coupons? Have you ever thought of using it to find and save on holiday gifts?

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11.12.2015

I'm Tired and Hurting



I've made a commitment to myself to only blog when I actually have something to say (besides when I do reviews because I actually love informing you all about products,, I'm weird), something that feels real and vulnerable for me. Something that's from the heart. Today I'm hurting. My community is scared and tired and overwhelmed. There is hate all around us right now, but there is also love and it has been really hard for me to remember that.

I love social media, but right now it feels like the enemy. I can't tear myself away from the hateful things being said on Twitter but I'm also not sure I can stand to read one more hurtful comment towards our university and my peers. I'm tired of talking about what's going on. I'm tired of feeling helpless. However, I also feel it's my duty to stay informed of what is happening to my peers. My friends who experience this kind of fear regularly just on the basis of their skin color. I'm glad I'm uncomfortable right now. It has led to hard conversations with others, lots of tears, and a lot of prayer.

It has been incredibly hard to focus on my academics, my marriage, my church, and my relationships. I feel defeated today. I'm in shock that I had to get phone calls from family yesterday asking if I was safe. However, I also feel hope in Jesus and his promises. I seriously have emotional whiplash. My thoughts don't even feel like they make sense anymore. The ocean is rising, so to speak. Everything feels raw.

I'm realizing there's not really a point to this post. Instead, I just need to put these words down on "paper." To process the hurt with others, to let others see the things that are happening at my university (and many other places in the world), and to offer hope in Jesus, even if I have to speak that truth to myself 24/7 right now. I believe in His promises to us. ALL OF US regardless of skin color.

There have been a lot of untruthful things shared by the media lately. Originally I felt this need to "set everyone straight," but that's not very gospel-based, right? So instead, I've been praying. Praying that those who have been depicted as the bad guys remember that many of us have seen their amazing qualities as well. That they remember they are loved. Praying that my friends know not everyone evaluates them on the basis of their skin color. That some people see their hearts. Praying that God heals the brokenness of this world and heals those in pain and fear.

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11.07.2015

Concerned Student 1950


Back in August I shared about some of the injustice going on at my graduate school. Since then, there have been a series of events that reflect a much larger and longer standing issue. The semester has been called "a historic fall." Click HERE to see a timeline of all of the events that have occurred as I am only going to cover a few of the many incidents.

The larger and longer standing issue? Systematic oppression. Racism. On September 11th, the Missouri Students Association's President, Peyton Head, was walking through campus when a group of white men in the back of a pickup truck drove by him and yelled racial slurs at him as they passed. The Chancellor did not respond for six days, which prompted the first "Racism Lives Here" rally. On October 1st the second rally took place.

On October 5th, a drunk white male walked on stage during a homecoming royalty court rehearsal for the Legion of Black Collegians. He wouldn’t leave when asked. He then “stumbled off the stage,” and said “these n*****s are getting aggressive with me.”

On to the October 6th sit-in at Jesse Hall, the university's administrative building. Students and staff joined together to protest racism and administrative inaction on campus.

At MIZZOU's homecoming parade on October 10th, Jonathan Butler (remember that name) and a number of my peers, and friends, were protesting racial violence. When Tim Wolfe, the President of the university, pulled up in a classic car the protesters blocked his path. “We stopped him, specifically because after years of constant emailing, letter writing and social media outreach, he had still not responded to the issues of racial injustice on the largest campus in the state,” a letter said. When the police department arrived, 11 of the protesters were met with force and threatened with pepper spray. One demonstrator was bumped by Wolfe's car. The following video will show you what happened. Please, pay attention to the fear and hurt in this video. I'm warning you, it's disturbing.

Protest stops parade from Columbia Missourian on Vimeo. You can see the full video HERE.

See the man looking outwards at the camera in the fixed frame above? That's a PEER of mine. We sat next to each other every day for 8 weeks straight this summer. His name is Reuben. He's a great guy. He's a christian and wants to make a difference in people's lives, just like I do. And this is how he is being treated. As if he is somehow lesser than the rest of us. Is that personal enough yet? These are good people and they are hurting because of oppression many of us cannot (or might choose not to) even see. JUST THINK ABOUT THAT FOR A MOMENT PLEASE.

The events continue. 

On October 20th, Concerned Student 1950 issues a list of demands and gives the university 8 days to respond. Demands include removing Wolfe from office, increased hiring of professionals of color, and diversity training for MU. 

Four days later, on October 24th, Residential Life staff finds feces smeared in the shape of a swastika on the floor and wall of a bathroom in one of the on campus dorms. A similar event occurred in April.

image via
Moving on to November 2nd. Jonathan Butler (remember him from above?) begins an indefinite hunger strike. The strike will continue until Tim Wolfe is removed from office. The next day, Wolfe issues a statement about his concern for Butler's health. Butler then signs a do not resuscitate order. Personally, I'm terrified. I'm terrified that this wonderful man's life is going to be lost in this fight.

Since then, there have been a number of statements made by Wolfe, the chancellor, and a number of departments at the university. However, the problem is far from solved.

Still don't believe this is a reality? Let me provide some compelling evidence:


Here is where I'm going to weigh in on the things that have been happening around campus. Being a white female, I often times don't realize the privilege that I have. That stops here. I'm determined to start educating myself and opening my eyes up to these issues. Silence on my part is just contributing to the problem. One article stated:

“If you see violence like this and don’t say anything, you, yes YOU, are a part of the problem.”

 

Whether you agree with what is going on or not, I URGE you to see that people are hurting. People are scared. No one should have to feel unsafe on this campus. No one should have to fight for basic rights that are just handed to the rest of us. I should NEVER AGAIN IN MY LIFE have to hear my friend say she wishes she could just wipe off her skin color. I should never again have to watch people cry so heavily due to the lack of hopelessness they feel about change. I should never again have to see my classmates struggle to sit through their classes because of their anxiety and stress. NO. THIS STOPS HERE. 


Peyton Head, MSA President, said “Of course there’s a lot of hurt and pain that’s associated with living in a world that’s not created for you,” he said, “but at the same time, if you’re not able to vocalize that to the people with privilege, who can help change that world, who have the institutional privilege to create change, then there’s no way to see change.”

So, the question is: how are you going to use your privilege? And I say "you" because most of those who read my blog are privileged whether you recognize it or not.

“If your simple existence is not a political statement, I’m really going to need for you to check your privilege,” Head wrote in his post.

 

So how can you help? Here's a list of my own ideas and some that others have shared online:

1. Recognize your privilege.
2. Follow along with #MizzouHungerStrike and #ConcernedStudent1950 on twitter. Share and weigh in but only if you're willing to be respectful.
3. Pray.
4. Educate yourself about racism and systematic oppression.
5. SHARE what is going on at Mizzou. There has been a lack of coverage of this issue in the national media and it needs to be shared. People at the university don't even know what has been going on around them. It's as simple as sharing this post with friends.
6. DIALOGUE. We must talk about this more. I'd love for you to use the comments below as a SAFE place to start doing so.
7. See the below list from Jonathan


PLEASE choose to stand up and fight with us. This has been going on far too long.
 

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11.04.2015

Tulsa Run 15K Recap


Last weekend we road tripped it to Tulsa for the Tulsa Run. We were a little worried about the weather because it was raining all day Friday. Thankfully, when we woke up Saturday for the race it was only drizzling and ended up clearing up once the sun came up!

When we got in on Friday we briefly stopped at the expo. I was in and out in no time. There were a number of vendors with some awesome discounts, but I wasn't able to stay too long to check them out. We got a SWEET technical long-sleeve t-shirt that had a fun Halloween theme and an over the shoulder tote bag. 

The run takes place in downtown Tulsa. My first thought was: great, are we going to be able to find parking? Thankfully, parking wasn't a problem. The parking was free since it was Saturday and we found a space just a few blocks from the race start.


We got to the start line a bit before the race so I could meet up with a few of our other pros. We also got a chance to talk with Heath, the race director! I had heard that there were a few problems with having enough water in previous years but Heath assured us this should absolutely not happen again this year. Thankfully, each water station was packed with both H20 and electrolytes (Gatorade). The race had gear check which is always lovely for the colder months of the year. We were standing right next to the line, which grew VERY large towards the start of the race. I'd suggest getting in line EARLY if you ever do this race.

Laura and I made our way to the start line just a few minutes before the gun went off. We stuck together for the first 3k or so but my lack of training caught up to me after the first hill we came up to. This course is known for being hilly. And it is hilly... for the Midwest. The hills were rolling hills and none had too steep of a gradient. Definitely something manageable.


The scenery was really great and I loved seeing all the people that had dressed up for the race. It was a fun, laid back race with tons of people and tons of entertainment throughout. The traffic control was wonderful (thanks Tulsa PD) and safety wasn't a concern.

I raced well considering I hadn't trained past 5 miles in my training cycle (thanks illness and injury). I wanted to average 9 minute miles (about 15-45 seconds slower than my average) and I ended up keeping a 9 minute pace almost the entire time! I finished in 1:25:28 which I was really happy with considering my training, the fact that I had to stop to use the bathroom (the first time that has ever happened to me), and the course. I am forever grateful for the guy in the orange below that encouraged me during the last mile because I was a STRUGGLE BUS. This is clearly evident in the lovely photos my husband took of me (that's sarcasm).


At the end of the race there were boxes with snacks, a live DJ, food trucks, and of course beer. We didn't get to indulge very much because we were freezing, but it was a great atmosphere and I loved that it was right downtown in the middle of everything. The finisher medals were super cool and I loved that they were consistent with the Halloween theme. Super spooky!

 I will definitely be participating in the Tulsa Run again in future years!


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