Win $500 in Reebok’s Fall Fitness Giveaway

I’m back! It’s been a crazy busy few months but I’m finally back in action here on the blog – I thought I’d kick things off with a good ol’ fashioned giveaway!

$500 reebook gift card giveaway

What is better than getting the perfect Reebok workout gear to help you and your family stay fit this Fall? How about getting it for free?!? Enter to win the Reebok Fall Fitness Giveaway where both you and I can each win $500 in Reebok gift cards!

To Enter ► Check out Reebok.com from now through 8/31, pick out your favorite fitness item (apparel, shoes, accessories, and more) and post a link to that item in the comments section below. 

Reebok will announce their winner on 9/2, and if we win, I’ll announce who my winner is on 9/3! Thanks Reebok for making staying fit fun! *Open to US Residents Only

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

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Baltimore’s First Fashion Truck Event

Who’s ready for a Fashion Truck Rally?!?

Boulevard of Chic (BOC) is Baltimore’s first and only fashion truck rally and shopping event, featuring a variety of mobile boutiques and vendors from Maryland, Washington, DC and Virginia. BOC is about more than shopping; it’s a celebration of the entrepreneurial spirit that has created a national trend in mobile retail. The mission is to bring savvy entrepreneurs and artists together with fashion-forward consumers to promote the “Shop Local” trend.

boulevard of chic baltimore's fashion truck rallyAmong participating mobile boutiques are Side Dish jewelry truck and Street Boutique fashion truck. BOC is also very proud to announce its premier photography sponsor, The Umbrella Syndicate.

Gina Geppi, “Baltimore Bachelorette” and host of WKHZ’s Gina Geppi’s Social Scene, will MC the event.

Make it a day with the girls, get your shop on and support local businesses. Experience a variety of mobile boutiques, fashion retailers, food, beauty products and services.

  • Saturday, April 26, 2014
  • 12:00 pm-6:00 pm (General Public)
  • 1132 Key Highway Baltimore, MD 21230 (Next to the American Visionary Art Museum)
directions to boulevard of chic in baltimore

<click map for directions>

For a sneak peek of featured fashions trucks & vendors and for more information visit the Boulevard of Chic website!

Help spread the word —>

blvd of chic fashion truck rally baltimore

Hope to see you there!

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Yasso is Yum-o

I’m always on the look out for new and tasty ways to eat healthy. When I was approached to try out Yasso I jumped at the opportunity!

yasso

Low cal… check! Good amount of protein… check! Natural ingredients… check! Yummy… double check! My grocery store only had the raspberry and coconut flavors (as you can see I opted for raspberry) but I’m very much looking forward to hitting another grocery store or two soon on the hunt for some of the other flavors.

yasso flavors

I’m envisioning my freezer stocked with these bad boys! I’ve had one for dessert every night for the past three nights and it definitely hits the spot. I like that it takes longer to eat than dipping into a cup of yogurt.

On a geeky note, I also have to mention that I really appreciate their packaging and their evident willingness and eagerness to engage with their consumers.

yasso frozen greek yogurt

I’m also a sucker for a company that gives back to the community. According to the Yasso website, they support a number of charities and are very involved in helping in any way they can. They even have a donation request form! That’s very refreshing to see when so many companies now days have a “while we’d love to help we can’t possible help everyone so [basically] please don’t ask” policy. Not Yasso!

When you have a couple of minutes I’d suggest taking some time to visit their website, read their story, and check out some of the impressive press and awards they’ve received.

yasso press

I’m definitely on the Yasso bandwagon! Have you tried Yasso? Will you? What flavors look good to you?

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Reebok Online Outlet Sale: 15% Off All Items

reebok online outlet now openSpring is a time to clean out the closets and upgrade the gear, so the latest announcement from Reebok couldn’t be more timely! Today is the launch of the Reebok Online Outlet! And to celebrate, from today through Saturday (3/27 – 3/29) everything on Reebok Online Outlet is 15% off! To get the deal, just go to reebok.com/outlet, select your merchandise, then add OUTLET15 at checkout. Now you’re closet is clean, your gear is upgraded and you have a few extra dollars in your pocket!

**The links in this post are affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

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Smoothie King Veggie Blends + Giveaway

Well my friends, Smoothie King has gone and done it again! Perhaps you read in a previous post about my current love affair with the Firm & Burn smoothie…. now they’ve come out with smoothies that have veggies! Now you can eat your kale, and drink it, too!

The new Veggie Blends come in three flavor varieties: Apple Kiwi Kale, Berry Carrot Dream, and Carrot Kale Dream. Each 20 oz. smoothie is less than 300 calories and provides your daily serving of vitamin-rich veggies!

smoothie king veggie blend smoothies

While I don’t yet have any kiddos myself, I’d imagine these smoothies would be a great option for busy moms on the go trying to sneak in some daily vitamins and nutrients to their little ones’ diets.

Today I tried my first one – I got the Carrot Kale Dream because I was looking for a little protein kick. Despite the name, the predominant flavor was orange – so again, definitely something you could get your kids to drink if they are “opposed” to veggies (as long as they don’t see the name!)

smoothie king veggie blends carrot kale dream

I will definitely get the Carrot Kale Dream again, but really looking forward to trying out the other two first.  Any way I can work veggies into my own diet in a quick, convenient way is definitely a win with me.

Besides loving their smoothies, I’m also totally digging the Smoothie King, “My Smoothie” App. (This replaces the old stamp cards.) With the app you can check-in and scan your personalized bar code to earn points towards rewards. The app also helps you find locations, learn about new products, get coupons, and more. I find it very handy!

smoothie king my smoothie app

In addition to providing me with a gift card to try out the new Veggie Blends, Smoothie King has been generous enough to give me five $10 gift cards to give away to my readers!! Woohoo!! Please keep scrolling down and use the Rafflecopter widget to enter.

Excited to try out one of the new Veggie Blends but don’t want to wait to see if you’re a winner? Sign up to receive Smoothie King emails and receive a coupon to get one for just $1.99!

Oh I almost forgot! Smoothie King is having a sweeps promotion of their own as part of their Veggie Blends launch… you can enter on Smoothie King’s Facebook or Twitter for a chance to win a Trek Bike, Nike Fuel Band, or Nike gift card.

To enter on Facebook:

1) Like the Smoothie King page. Then comment on the Veggie Blends promotional Image and mention three friends you think need a more delicious way to get their veggies.

 

To enter on Twitter:

1) Follow @SmoothieKing and then retweet their Veggie Blends promotional image and mention three friends you think need a more delicious way to get their veggies.

My giveaway ends 4/2 at 11:59pm ET, Smoothie King’s sweeps ends 4/6.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

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StitchFix Review: Hand-picked Style Delivered to Your Door Every Month

A few things about me:

1. I love shopping.

2. I especially love shopping for clothing/accessories.

3. I hate dressing rooms. (Seriously think about it… who’s what touched that last?)

4. I don’t like making decisions.

5. Although I think I’m getting better at it lately, I’m generally horrible at putting together cute outfits.

6. I’m horrible at returning things. If they don’t fit, or I don’t like the style they’ll probably just end up back in the bag in the corner of my spare bedroom.

If you found yourself nodding along in that, “uh huh, uh huh, yep me, too” sort of way… keep reading to learn about StitchFix.

First I’d like you to know that I did not receive any StitchFix products for review purposes nor was I approached by StitchFix to write a review. I’ve been a member for a few months so I decided it was time to fill my readers in on my experience.

What exactly is StitchFix? Here’s my 140 character summary:

It really is as simple as it sounds. You create an account, fill out a style profile (which also includes selecting your budget), and a personal stylist selects 5 items to send to you each month based on your preferences. They really go out of their way to try to get to know your style, too. Instead of only relying on the answers to your style profile questions, they also ask for links to your Pinterest Style board and your LinkedIn account to try to get to know your style even better!

There is a monthly subscription fee of $20 to have your StitchFix put together and shipped to you. However, if you decide to keep items from the shipment, your $20 will be applied towards your purchase.

stitchfix box

Once your shipment of five items arrives you have three days to decide if/what you’d like to keep from your shipment. If you decide to keep all five items, you receive 25% off the total amount.

stitchfix shipment

Included with your shipment is a personalized note from your stylist explaining why the enclosed items were hand-selected for you plus styling tips for each piece.

stitchfix personal note

stitchfix styling tips

My favorite part is that your shipment comes with a pre-paid return envelope so whatever you decide not to keep gets slipped right into the envelope and can go right in your own mailbox to get picked up by the mailman. There’s no requesting envelopes or dropping shipments off anywhere… it’s SO easy!

stitchfix return envelope

stitchfix in mailbox

Once you decide what you are keeping and what you are going to return, the only thing left to do is log into your StitchFix account, leave feedback for your shipment and checkout. The feedback part is key. This month was my fourth shipment and I can definitely tell that they have been paying attention to my feedback to make sure each new shipment aligns with my style/preferences as closely as possible.

This month I decided to keep two of the five items. That doesn’t mean that the system failed and that I did not like the majority of the items – it means that I really, really loved the two that I chose to keep and really just didn’t “need” the other three. I did not sign up for StitchFix with the intention that I would ever keep all five items sent to me. I signed up to be introduced to some new styles, get styling suggestions, and for the convenience of trying on clothes in the privacy of my own home with the added benefit of seeing how the pieces look with clothing/accessories already in my wardrobe.

Here’s what was in my shipment this month:

stitchfix Wisteria Wave Detail Knit Tank

Wisteria Wave Detail Knit Tank – $48

stitchfix Ruthie Cross-Front Side-Ruched Top

Ruthie Cross-Front Side-Ruched Top – $48

stitchfix tiller sailboat sweater

Tiller Sailboat Sweater – $68

stitchfix abrianna longsleeve knit cardigan

KEPT!! —> Abrianna Longsleeve Knit Cardigan – $48

stitchfix tiffany lightweight tribal print infinity scarf

KEPT!! –> Tiffany Lightweight Tribal Print Infinity Scarf – $32

I kept the Longsleeve Knit Cardigan and the Tribal Print Infinity Scarf! I’ve worn the scarf twice already and have gotten compliments each time!

what i kept and wore from stitchfix

Necklace – Chloe + Isabel Pearl + Crystal Drops Long Necklace
Scarf – Tiffany Lightweight Tribal Print Infinity Scarf from StitchFix
Sweater – Abrainna Longsleeve Knit Cardigan from StitchFix

 

———-> Get Your Style Fix Now! <———

 

**The links in this post are affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

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Look Good, Feel Good Spring Giveaway

Spring Into Fitness

Spring is upon us which means having to show some more skin, leading to an increased, if not urgent desire to look better and feel better in our bodies.

I’m in this boat with you. The idea of wearing shorts makes my skin crawl and I much prefer a cozy sweater to a tank top… but when good ol’ Mother Nature turns up the heat, jeans and a sweater are no longer the best wardrobe choices.

Instead of dreading this year’s sundress weather, I’ve decided to take action. I’m going to be proactive, grab the bull by the horns…. you get the idea. No matter how much I love cookies and beer (not necessarily together – well sometimes!) they aren’t going to help me feel comfortable and confident in a bikini.

So what can I/will I do? Sure there’s the whole consume less calories than you burn idea…. but is it really that simple?If it was, I’m pretty there would no longer be a whole table at Barnes and Noble dedicated to the latest and greatest diet fad. So what’s the deal? Should we eat less carbs and more protein? Should we only eat 600 calories two days a week? Should we reduce food to a point system? The answer is that it depends. Everyone’s bodies are different and everyone’s bodies react to different things in different ways. So is there a right way or dare I say it, an “easy” way to lose weight? If you ask me, the answer is no. It’s hard work and quite frankly it just sucks. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. (Oh look we just reached the point in the story where the name of the blog makes sense!)

Anyhoo good news…. the debbie downer part is over! I’ve yo-yo dieted for years, losing about 30 lbs each time only to gain it back within the same year. Why? Is it because I’m lazy? Because I have no willpower? Do I have some deep-seeded psychological issues causing me to self-sabotage? While all of those ideas may be contributing factors, I think a big part of it is that I’ve never actually stopped to think about, or learn about the “why” and “how” of all of this.

Trans fats and high-fructose corn syrup are bad. Got it. You should avoid the freezer section of the grocery store and only shop the perimeter. (Guess except for when the frozen food section is on the perimeter.) Fruits and veggies are good… check. Drink lots of water. Roger that.

None of these ideas should shock you, they aren’t new concepts, but have you ever stopped to think about what’s really going on within our bodies that has lead to these overarching recommendations? Do you know why saturated fat is bad? Do you know what macronutrients are and why they’re so important? Do you really understand the science behind why we must  drink our daily recommended amount of water? If you do. Great! But I don’t… or at least I didn’t, but I’m learning and it’s REALLY helping me put a new perspective on making healthier food choices without struggling to resist temptations.

Tell someone not to do something or that they shouldn’t do it and what happens? It’s all they can think about, right? We all have that inner rebel that lives inside of us that’s just dying to bust out, yell, “Screw You!” and stick it to the man. That’s what happens when we go on diets – or even when we say we’re not dieting but are just going to “eat healthy”. The cookies and pizza don’t go away…. they just lurk on the sidelines taunting our subconscious – and even if you are able to put up a good fight for a few months, it’s not a sustainable way to live (at least not for me.) But the cycle ends here.

Recently I saw an interview with Cameron Diaz and she was talking about her new book, “The Body Book“. She stressed specifically that it is not a diet book. Instead, the book addresses the “why” and “how” of this whole business. Hearing her interview made me realize I had never actually really thought about why I need to get a certain amount of fiber and why I should eat brown rice instead of white rice. I had always just conceded to these ideas, assuming that since other people had done the research, I should just go along with their findings. So my interest was peaked and I bought the book.

Holy cow. While I’m only 25% into the book, I have got to tell you my entire perspective on eating has changed. Instead of just knowing that I shouldn’t eat a whole bag of Oreos, now I know why I shouldn’t. Instead of knowing that I’m suppose to drink eight glasses of water per day, now I understand exactly why it’s so important. This sheds a whole new light on things. Now instead of begrudging the fact that I should choose carrots over carrot cake, I actually understand the impact that these choices have on my well-being.

I know when I eat healthier I feel better but there’s just something more motivating (to me at least) about truly understanding exactly why eating healthy makes me feel so much better. It’s actually quite empowering to know that I can choose my own destiny. By providing myself with the proper nutrition I know that my skin will look better, I’ll feel more alert, and will be a generally happier person.

I’ve read A LOT of diet/exercise/healthy eating books and while all have had very valuable insights in their own rights, this is the first book I’ve read that’s really gotten down to the nitty-gritty of it all.

Again, I’m only 25% of the way through the book, but I’ve already begun seeing the junk food that I loved and that my inner rebel craved in a whole new light. Instead of focusing on the deliciousness and the temporary satisfaction it would bring me to down that bag of Skittles, it’s as if I’m suddenly turned off by these former temptations because I now understand exactly what they’re doing to me and my body. Now my once beloved junk food is not welcome. It is the enemy.

I’m really looking forward to reading the rest of the book and I hope you will pick up a copy as well.

I’d love to go all Oprah here and give everyone who reads this a copy of the book, but well…. ya know. I can however give one away… and that’s just what I’m going to do.

I’ve teamed up with other bloggers for a “fitness blog hop giveaway”. Here’s how it works – you can enter my giveaway below and then you’ll find links to all of the other particpating blogs that you can “hop” to, to enter their giveaways! Pretty cool, huh?

In addition to “The Body Book“, one winner will also receive a $25 Athleta Gift Card and a Chloe + Isabel Heirloom Pearl Necklace… because as the title of this post suggests, we don’t just want to feel good – we want to look good, too! And I want to help!

ak un-sugarcoated fitness blog hop giveaway

My giveaway (and all of the others) runs from March 14th – March 30th. All of the blogs participating have different giveaway prizes although they are all fitness-related. So what are you waiting for?! Enter below then hop on!

You must be 18 years or older to enter and reside in the US (this may not be the same for all participating blogs.)

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Click through to each of the blogs below to enter their #fitnessgiveawayhop giveaways!

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Athleta Fanatics Rejoice! Up to 50% OFF at Zulily

I really shouldn’t be posting about this…. but I know it’s better for my wallet if I do! Beginning at 9am ET today (3/12/14), Athleta gear (my absolute favorite fitness apparel brand) will be on sale for up to 50% off on Zulily!! You better act fast, or else I’ll buy it all:-) Oh, and come back to the blog on Friday to enter my “Look Good, Feel Good” giveaway for a prize pack that includes a $25 Athleta gift card (because I love it so much)! Did I mention that?

Ready, set…. shop Athleta on Zulily!

athleta sale up to 50 percent off on zulily

**The links in this post are affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

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What the F Is Wrong with People?

I’m really glad I didn’t give up alcohol for Lent.

So I’m at the FedEx store today to send off MilestonePods to the giveaway winners and all of a sudden this girl who’s probably about my age starts raging on the girl working behind the counter because she doesn’t feel like she’s being helped fast enough. “She’s in a hurry,” and “her mom is in the car.” Well unless her mom is two years old, which is highly unlikely since this chick was at least 30, mom can suck it up and wait. She was just so rude! Huffing and puffing, arms crossed, chin up in the air (not even kidding)… I wanted to deck her. Honestly. What makes her think it’s okay to behave like that? There were only two people working behind the counter, seemingly doing the best that they could, as fast as they could…. chill the F out. I seriously had to bite my tongue. I sure hope that is the most awful thing that ever happens to her because I highly doubt she could deal with much “worse.” I was appalled and embarrassed on behalf of the human race.

Hang on, need more wine.

Alright… next errand… manicure. Chitchatting and joking with the lady doing my nails when she starts apologizing profusely…. I had no idea for what she had to be sorry, we were having a delightful conversation. My expression must have denoted my confusion as she went on to explain that she was apologizing for repeating a lot of the words that I said. She continued that she has only been in the States for 3 years and is still struggling with learning English – repeating what people say helps her learn. I told her I completely understood and that honestly I hadn’t even noticed. At that, she stopped apologizing and started thanking me… again confused, this time I asked why she was thanking me. Turns out she’s had many people criticize and even scold her for repeating words after they have been spoken. Come on! Who would do that? She was the sweetest person, a fantastic (to the point of perfection) nail technician and the dear thing is apologizing to me and thanking me left and right because as it turns out the general public treats her like crap. And again I find myself stunned that people can act so appalling.

I reiterate. What the F is wrong with people?

When did we become such a “Me, Me, Me” society? One in which there are no second thoughts about treating other human beings like complete crap. Remember that whole Golden Rule thing, here’s a news flash… it’s not overrated…. and in case you need a refresher, it doesn’t say anything about being an a%* hole.

Where’s the decency? The compassion? The good? This is certainly not the first time I’ve witnessed such behavior – it was just a lot in one day. Do people really think that just because someone’s on the other side of the counter or the register or the drive-thru window that they deserve less respect than anyone else? These are REAL PEOPLE. They have real feelings, real things going on in their lives, real families, and their own real issues to deal with – they don’t need you to treat them like 2nd class citizens.

keep calm and don't be a jerk

Here’s an idea…. just breathe…. think before you speak. Is the current situation so unbearable, so detrimental to your well-being that you have to be so mean to a perfect stranger?

Going back to the chick from FedEx… when she left, I’m sure she got in the car with her mom (poor dear mommy who had been waiting) and ranted and raved for a few minutes until she was on to something else and didn’t give it another thought. But what about the lady at FedEx that she blew up at? Will she be over it in a few minutes or will she replay the situation over and over again in her head, wondering what she did wrong, what she could have done better…. guilt ridden for making that poor mom wait in the car? Maybe that was just the straw that broke the camels back…. what if she was already having a horrible day… what if something was going on at home… what if… what if…. anything….. you just don’t know.

Here’s an idea…. just be nice. And here’s a tip… typically people who are nice tend to get “their way” a lot more often than when you act like a complete *%&(#$)&. I’m willing to bet, in fact, I can almost guarantee… that if those who walk around with a chip on their shoulder treating everyone they encounter like gum stuck to the bottom of their shoe just tried being nice, and sweet, and kind…. they’d actually be happier people themselves.

Please don’t get my wrong, my intention is not to come across as “holier than thou”, I’ve got all of the answers, I’m a perfect person… I will be the first to admit I’ve had my share of moments where I’ve treated people poorly and acted inappropriately… but it ends here. Life is too freakin’ short to be a jerk.

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How I’m Getting Healthy and Fit in March

A new month is like a new year; a great chance to start fresh with new goals and new plans.

Since I was sick half of Feburary, I’m really embracing a fresh start for March so I wanted to share with you all what I’m doing.

Food

One of the main things I’m focusing on this month is getting more protein. I recently stumbled upon three products that are super yummy to help me with this that I wrote about here.

I’m also working really hard to drink more water. To do so I’m incentivizing myself with coffee. I’m not allowing myself my morning cup o’ joe until I’ve downed at least 25oz of H20, same thing in the afternoon.

In the middle of February I wrote about whether or not I should try “dieting” again. I lost 37 lbs on Weight Watchers from last Aug through the beginning of the year then began struggling with maintenance mode. I thought instead of tracking every single point I would just sort of “wing it”. What happened was that I just started overeating. I wasn’t sure I wanted to start tracking again so I read the book ‘Overcoming Overeating‘ which proposes not dieting to lost weight. I went back and forth about which way would work for me and while the not dieting method sounds really good in theory, I just don’t think I’m disciplined enough right now, so I’ve gone back to tracking my WW points. The addition of extra protein has really helped with this as it makes me feel fuller throughout the day.

Finally, I joined Dr. Susan Albers30 Day Mindful Eating Challenge on Challenge Loop. I’ve admired Dr. Albers’ and her mindful eating method since I read her book, Eat Q, last year. Her 30 Day Challenge encourages you to add just one juicy fruit, leafy green, an energizing protein, or a hearty whole grain mindfully, everyday. That’s it. What’s nice about joining the challenge is that you get to see how everyone else is doing and what they are adding to their day which helps with ideas on what you can do. It’s not too late, you can join the challenge, too!

dr susan albers 30 day mindful eating challenge

Fitness

When I went into maintenance mode and my eating got screwed up I found myself in a bit of a workout rut, too. I had pretty much been doing the same routine for a while – walk the dog 4mi every morning, do an hour or so at the gym on either the rowing machine and/or the adaptive motion trainer plus some weights at home. I got bored and I think my body did, too.

Now I’m trying to mix things up. I’m taking an Aqua Spin Class, a Kettlebells Class and I’m participating in a 30 Day Squat Challenge. (Don’t worry, Poe is still getting his morning walks, too!) My muscles may be sore at the moment but I’m taking that as a good sign that I’m doing things to recharge my body. I also pick up my 5lb hula hoop during some night time tv watching commercial breaks.

30 day squat challenge

Are you doing anything new to get healthy and fit this month?

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