Category Archives: Products

Reach the Beach Part 1: Pre-Relay

In case you missed last Wednesday’s announcement about participating in the Reach the Beach Relay as a member of the New Balance media team, you can read it here!

Oh. Man. Recapping the events of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday is going to take 2-3 posts, and I don’t know if I’ll get through it all this week, but I’ll try! So Thursday morning after a quick 30-minute solo spin session, I headed over to the hotel to meet the other eleven bloggers/members of Team Pumped Up Kicks:

I was a bit nervous at first because the only team members I’d already met were Christine (at the Fitness Magazine Meet & Tweet) and Theodora (at various events). But many of the other girls were in that same situation, and bloggers are certainly good at being friendly and making new friends! It didn’t take long at all to feel comfortable around everyone, especially the fellow members of Van 2 (my van).

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Once we divided into our vans, we hit the road for the New Balance offices/factory in Lawrence, MA!

My group started on the factory floor, learning how the 990 sneaker is made. The process is so involved and labor intensive! Definitely not a 100% automated process. Then we headed over to the testing area where engineers work with athletes, test subjects, and machinery to perfect each shoe and create shoes that will solve athletic problems.

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I got to participate as one of those test subjects, thanks to the fact that I wear a size 8 (most women’s test sneakers are this size). New Balance uses dribble glasses AKA glasses athletes practicing dribbling use (so they can’t look down) to keep testing blind. They’ve found that there’s a lot of bias when it comes to sneaker brands – people are die-hard! So to get more genuine opinions, participants aren’t allowed to see which shoe is on each foot during a test.

Cinderella on the right!

Sharing my thoughts on each sneaker.

Sharing my thoughts on each sneaker.

The dribble glasses truly did work, and I even ended up choosing the New Balance shoe :-)

We also visited development offices and learned how New Balance uses different types of data on both competitors’ shoes and athlete performance to design new footwear. I really loved the look of the offices. The first sneaker actually was modeled using the arch of a chicken’s foot, hence the random chickens one may spot around the office.

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After some visited the factory store (despite the amazing prices I just couldn’t; the last thing I need is more workout gear), we hit the road for New Hampshire! Each van was put up in an adorable townhouse/cabin. I’d love to spend a long weekend at one of these with a group of friends!

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View from the porch!

Intense outdoor Instagramming by Marissa.

Intense outdoor Instagramming by Marissa.

All the New Balance teams met at a nearby ski lodge for dinner – and drinks! The dinner was very nice – chicken, pasta, rolls, mashed red-skin potatoes, salad, and cooked veggies. I had some of all of the above!

9-11-14-rtbrelay4Followed by strawberry shortcake!

(And wine...)

(And wine…)

The two drink tickets each person received ended up not mattering because New Balance kept the bar open. This led to some poor life decisions on my part.

Gia, Theodora, me, and Marissa…AKA the late night crew.

After a little too much food and way too much wine, I went to bed dreading my 5AM alarm. I got a biiiiit caught up, but don’t worry, I woke up on time to get to the start line! I’ll end this for now, stay tuned for part two…

Are you interested in behind-the-scenes of brands you use?

Ever heard of dribble glasses?

What was YOUR last pre-race-day poor life decision? :-P

Relay-ing An Announcement

At the end of Monday’s post I teased an announcement yesterday or today. Well I’m barely making that deadline seeing as it’s almost 8PM in Boston as I write this, but here I am. Time is short because I still have packing to do so I will cut to the chase.

A few weeks back, I was approached by New Balance to run in the Reach the Beach Relay – as part of one of their media teams! The race takes place in New Hampshire – it’s a 200 mile relay race from Cannon to Hampton Beach. Our team is called Pumped Up Kicks (love it, right?!) and consists of two vans of six runners each – twelve runners total. It’s pretty hardcore…24 hours, meaning Friday night I will be sleeping in a van, and I may end up running in the middle of the night. I am a notorious sleep diva, and am probably more nervous about not getting sleep than the running itself.

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The shoes I will be running in – the New Balance 860v4.

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Five Things Friday: Currently

I often see blog posts written in the “currently…” style as in, I am currently doing/feeling/loving/eating/insert-verb-ing-here this. I thought I’d mash that up with Clare‘s Five Things Friday and do five “currently…” updates. (And if you missed yesterday’s restaurant post, be sure to check it out – it’s been awhile since I wrote a good old restaurant visit recap!)

Link up with Clare if you are sharing five things on this Friday!

1. Currently snacking on…Sweet & Salty Chex Mix Popped. I was sent a couple of new Chex Mix products (and honestly can’t remember who did so…but thank you to the mystery network/PR company that did so) from the lower-fat Popped line. I opened the bag and thought I was being all smart portioning out a bit to mix into my chocolate pudding…until I instantly became addicted after bite #1. I even got out of bed to get more after I’d finished my first helping. Foiled by crack-like snack products! Screw portion control.

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MorningStar Farms Meatball Bake

MorningStar Farms products were a staple in my household back when I was still living at home with my parents. My mom often liked to “sneak” the Meal Starter “Crumbles” into family meals (I say sneak because my siblings and dad are not quite as open minded about plant-based protein as my mom and I are!), like her Mexi-Casserole. But I hadn’t tried any other products from this brand aside from the crumbles, so I was excited to have the chance to try some new stuff, thanks to this Clever Girls campaign.

I was also fortunate enough to receive this lovely glass/plate set with wooden utensils, napkin, and a placemat!

I was also fortunate enough to receive this lovely glass/plate set with wooden utensils, napkin, and a placemat!

I was challenged by MorningStar Farms to pick a theme and build a recipe around it, so I selected 15-minute meals. I am a very busy person and quick is certainly a component I look for in a recipe, as well as “Does it match what I have on hand?” and “Is it healthy?” Luckily I was given the ability to choose which MorningStar Farms goodies I wanted to try, and the decision was tough since the products are so varied and versatile. But I was inspired by this Lightened-Up Meatball Casserole by Julie of PB Fingers, so that made my decision to try the veggie meatballs an easy one. Almost as easy as my recipe ;-)

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Thinking Out Loud: Shin Happens

My blogging inspiration and drive has really been in high gear the last couple of weeks! Probably has something to do with the fact that I’ve been trying to give myself the nights in I need to balance the nights out. So that means I have more time to think out loud.

Be sure to link up with Amanda if you’re thinking out loud today!

1. My left shin is freaking killing me and I am SO OVER IT. I had originally planned to run a 10K distance on Tuesday after doing spin on Monday, but once I woke up Tuesday and my shin hurt even when walking, I knew that wasn’t smart. So I ran 3.4 miles instead, but that was also not smart. My shin was literally throbbing afterward. I went home and utilized the closest thing to an ice pack that I had – frozen broccoli.

And wine, because always wine.

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JD Sports: Perfect Timing!

I received a complimentary pair of sneakers in exchange for a blog post about my experience. All opinions are my own. This is not a sponsored post.

I recently mentioned that I’ve learned during half marathon training that sneakers really DO matter. What people have been saying for months and months is NOT a joke! I thought I could get by on training for and running the Zooma Cape Cod Half Marathon with my eclectic collection of sneakers I’ve received from various blog-related opportunities. But not so much. I was shopping around for a pair to purchase, but then JD Sports contacted me asking if I wanted to try out one of the pairs they offer on their site. Um, yes please!

I was offered either Nike Frees or Asics, but I knew at least with my basic knowledge that Asics were a better choice for running. But which pair to choose? With help from friends like Sarah and Alex, both of whom have worked in running stores, I selected the Asics Gel GT 2000. My contact placed the on order for me and the sneakers arrived in a very timely manner, just as depicted on the site.

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Trade Em Up Tuesday: Because It’s Not Monday

I tend to recap my weekends in the form of Marvelous In My Monday, but I didn’t feel like blogging Sunday night and yesterday was too busy. So since it’s Tuesday, this weekend recap is coming to you in the form of Trade ‘Em Up Tuesday, which I haven’t done in awhile (holy – since before I had my new job!) anyway.

I would not trade…the Friday night that I really needed. As I mentioned in Friday’s post, I felt like a big whale all day thanks to a looooong wine tasting and dinner for work the previous night. What kept me going all day was the knowledge that I’d be able to spend my evening with great people! First I met Jen at Eastern Standard for her first visit there (!!!) and we enjoyed some relaxing girl time over drinks and yummy food. Thankfully Jen agreed that the restaurant lived up to my hype and it was another nice visit of great service and spot-on cocktail recs!

My first drink – the Red Hook – a Manhattan-like cocktail. I took a sip and said “ahhh”.

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What I DRANK Wednesday: Brugal Rum!

Okay, so I know it’s supposed to be What I Ate Wednesday. But I am overdue for a recap of a “drank-based” event I attended a little over a week ago, and who says I have to follow WIAW rules? Nahhh. Cocktails are about no rules! Especially on Tuesday nights…

I was invited by Emily of NYC-based M Booth to attend one of many Brugal Rum tasting and immersion opportunities happening last week at Boston’s Cyclorama. The event, titled #RumRedefined, involved first a lesson/tasting about three of Brugal’s products – Anejo Rum, Extra Dry Rum, and Brugal 1888.

Our cute “tasting tray” – started with the Anejo!

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WIAW: Taste of Nature Bar Giveaway!

I received complimentary samples of Taste of Nature bars to review. This is not a sponsored post and my opinions are my own.

This post is not about the type of bar folks usually associate me with. No cocktails here, just what cocktails usually lead to – snacks! Taste of Nature reached out to me to ask if I’d be interested in doing a blog post about their bars, and once I checked out the flavor variety and the nutrition facts, I was 100% on board. Plus they’re up for doing a giveaway with five winners, which is rare to find in the blog world and something I didn’t want you guys to miss out on!

The perfect giveaway for a WIAW link-up!

Regular readers probably already know this: I’m not that into bars as a daytime snack. But night time? Let me at ‘em! I love crumbling all manner of goodies into my sugar-free chemical-laden vice (Jello Chocolate Pudding) and enjoying my snack after dinner, in bed, with a book. The Taste of Nature bars made for a nice evening snack because they’re full of a nice balance of healthy fats, fiber, and protein – plus not too much sugar. That’s the number one thing I look for in a bar, even before I look at its calorie count (not that I want to be focused on that…)

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Reebok Skyscape: Always Thinking Pink

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Reebok.

After some change-of-address-caused hoopla I finally received my Reebok Skyscape sneakers last weekend! You probably have seen other Fitfluential Ambassadors posting about their experiences with the new shoe line, but I’m late to the game on this campaign. At least I can hope that sets my post apart from the others, right? Anyway, I opened the package and found another pair of SUPER bright pink shoes to add to my collection! I think the sneaker gods know my favorite color is pink.

They begged to be paired with cuffed jeans!

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