Just Another Mani Monday

I am a big fan of nail polish.  That being said, I am also a working mom, a sweaty runner (who must shower daily), and someone who does not own a dishwasher. You see where I’m going with this? Oh, and I’m also too busy to paint or touch up my nails Every. Single. Day.

When gel formulas came out, I thought it was the best thing next to sliced bread (**I’ve been trying to work that phrase in my blog for quite some time – hehehe).

I mean, what’s not to love about nail polish that sets hard as a rock and maintains a high gloss for 10 days? Oh, that’s right. The part that they don’t brag about is that the process of getting that high-gloss manicure that won’t chip for days takes about 45 minutes… and requires equipment (LED light). And one more thing worth mentioning — the process to remove the polish is almost as extreme. I mean who has time (or desire, for that matter) to walk around with remover-soaked cotton balls taped to their fingertips while the remover soaks the polish off? Not this girl.

I know I’m not the only one with these complaints because brands everywhere began to create gel-like formulas with simple base and top coats that produce a similar result for a fraction of the time and cost.

When I was asked to review Formula X System XCEL, I was stoked. If you’re familiar with Formula X, then you know that they have a TON of fun shades and effects. I received the color TGIF to sample, which is a salmon-y pink shade. It is perfect for the end of summer and will be great for spring.


The kit (retails for $32 at Sephora + you get to pick your shade). It comes with a cleanser, primer, color, and topcoat and takes only minutes to apply. The color is full coverage and I only needed 2 coats (though in a time pinch, one coat would suffice). It dries quickly and has that coveted gel-like shine.

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While my polish did not last the full 10 days without noticeable wear and diminished shine, I would say it lasted a good week and that is longer than most other polishes that I’ve tried.

The Delete All remover, which I was also lucky enough to sample, is uh-mazing. It has five finger holes in the soaked sponge and it seriously only took about 7 seconds per nail to remove every speck of polish.

My overall impression is that I will definitely be purchasing more shades from this brand (I am actually expecting one in the mail this Thursday along with the rest of my Sephora haul!)

What brands of gel polish have you tried? Do you think they are worth the extra money?

I received these products from Influenster in exchange for my honest review.  Links within this post are NOT affiliate links, but simply links to enable you to learn more about the product. All opinions are my own.

Until Next Time,
Meg

Five Things Friday

Happy Friday (Fri-YAY) Ya’ll! Is it me or was this a long week? My days felt fast, but the Week. Dragged. On.

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It’s been awhile for me, so I thought I’d ease back into things with a Friday Five post. These are the 5 things I’m loving this very moment (in no particular order)

♥  Yurbuds

I’m not sure if you know this about me, but when I run, I listen to audio books (James Patterson and Janet Evanovich are my favs). In order to hear Every. Single. Word. you have to have the right ear buds. I have tried what seems like every style from the ones that clip over your ears to the plain ol’ Apple ones that come with your device. My search may be over with these Yurbuds. They fit perfectly, don’t hurt, don’t slip or fall out (no matter how sweaty my workout leaves me) er..uh, I mean no matter how blazing fast I’m running.

**Yes, I am aware of my typo in my tweet – insert embarrassed emoji here**

♥  Full Moons

I may or may not have actually howled this morning...

I may or may not have actually howled this morning…

Don’t get dirty thoughts on me. I’m talking about the real moon in the sky. These dark fall mornings have been brutal on my running. I’m kind of a chicken, so when it’s pitch black out and I’m running down the road (slowly) and I hear an animal scurry in front of me, I tend to freak out. Not this morning, though. There was the most beautiful full moon out and I could see the ground!

 

 

 

♥  Snapchat filters

I’ve been having a crazy fun time with Snapchat and all the filters. This week I have been an old man, a monkey, and a creepy alien!

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Follow me on Snapchat @pinkess1

♥  Homecoming Week at my kids’ school

This week makes me think back to my glory days. I went all out every day of Homecoming week, dressing up like all the crazy themes (nerds, 70s, old lady, etc). Now it’s my girls’ turn and we have a blast! **Note, I do have a 7th grader this year and apparently it isn’t that cool to dress up on all the days, so she’s noticeably absent in some of the pics.

♥  The scents of fall

Outside of the skunk that I caught a whiff of this morning on my run, I am loving the scents associated with fall. The mornings are beginning to be crisp and fresh. I also love the scents available from Scentsy and Bath and Body Works. My house smells like I’ve been baking pumpkin pies and brewing apple cider — I love it!

What are you loving at this very moment? I’d love to hear from you!

Until Next Time,
Meg

The Taper, The Race, and The Aftermath

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We’ve all been there, following a training plan for a big race — 8 weeks, 10 weeks, sometimes 16 weeks or more to a half or full marathon. Then the big day nears and we slip into taper mode. The lower miles come easy and the race goes as planned (or better/worse, but it’s over).

Now what? The aftermath — the let down. While some runners, like my husband for instance, go on with business as usual, running daily like brushing his teeth. Others go right into training mode for their next race. I, on the other hand, tend to slip into a low motivation cycle where I don’t want to run… at all. It’s especially hard this time of year. My kids are home in the mornings with no school, my husband (also in education) is able to sleep in a bit, it’s hot and humid and the desire Just. Isn’t. There.  While I’m giving excuses, I’ll add that I now have a 25 minute commute to and from work so it’s harder to get up earlier and it’s too hot/late (and I’m starving) when I get home.

We went on vacation last week and I took an entire 7 days off from doing any form of exercise (outside of some short hiking with my family). It felt awful. Then, yesterday morning came and I had good intentions, but didn’t look at my watch until 6:17, which is too late to get a run in and still get to work with dry hair. Again, the awful feeling came back. This morning, I looked at my watch at 6:13 and decided to try and get out the door by 6:20 and just do what I could do in 25 minutes. I already feel like a new me (or rather. that my regular me is back). Perhaps tomorrow morning it will be 6:05 and before I know it, I’ll be back to regular 4-5 mile mornings. Wish me luck….

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Do you have moments like these, where you lack motivation to run? How do you keep running day after day? Or do you mix it up instead? I’d love to hear about it!

Until Next Time,
Meg

Think Out Loud Thursday

Thinking-Out-Loud2Happy Thursday everyone! I’m stopping by to participate in the Thursdays are For Thinking Out Loud link-up hosted by Amanda!

My favorite part about this link-up is that it can be totally random thoughts and I’ve clearly proven over the last several months that I’m not capable of creating an organized blog post at this time in my life. So….here we go!

1. The Great Taper

I have been training for a Half Marathon since February and This. Is. My. Favorite. Week. I am finally to the taper! Some of you know that a full marathon is NOT on my list of things that I want to do before I die and I think the primary reasons for that is the training. I feel like the half marathon training takes up So. Much. Time. as it is that I cannot imagine training for a full. Don’t get me wrong, I commend all those that take on the commitment and I’m inspired by your will, I just don’t have a desire to do it.

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Ahhh, a week of easy mileage!

2. The Half

While we’re on the subject, I have to tell you how nervous I am for the race this Sunday. If you’ve kept up, you know that I suffer from long run anxiety (read my post here) and so I get a queasy feeling in my stomach every time I think about the run. I should also mention that the weather forecast isn’t helping with my anxiety. It is forecast to be raining, windy, and cold at the start. Oh, the joys of running!

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This was the day that I was “lucky” enough to run in both the rain and the wind. I guess I should be thankful for helping me be prepared!

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My girls look cuter than I do in the rain!

3. This crazy thing we call life

As you can tell from my sporadic postings in the last 6 months or so, my life has gotten a little crazy and I’m still trying to find balance. I had a career opportunity open up in late October that I couldn’t pass up, so I’m back to full time work in economic development plus marketing director. When I get home from work the last thing that I want to do is spend more time at the computer and more time away from my kids and husband to write a blog post. In time, I will get a better handle on my time and utilize scheduling tools more effectively, but for now….I’ll participate in things like Think Out Loud Thursday because it allows me flexibility on topics and organization.

4. Vacation anyone

It seems fitting that I follow up #3 with the topic of vacation! In spite of super crazy schedules, we are trying to schedule in some much needed family vacation time. We are hoping to combine it with a trip to see my mother-in-law, who moved to Washington last year. I’m pretty excited to see Seattle, Portland, maybe even the Redwood Forest!

That wraps up my random thoughts for today! I’d love to hear from you!

What are your recommendations for running a half marathon in the wind and rain?

Do you have any vacation plans this summer?

Until Next Time,
Meg

 

Think Out Loud

Welcome to Thursdays are for Thinking Out Loud! Thank you to Amanda for hosting this fun weekly link-up!

Hooray for a community full of awesome running trails! I recently had to travel for work and I could hardly wait for my morning run because of the great trail system located Just. Outside. my Hotel.  

I miss running trails. Have I whined about mentioned that lately? We used to live across the street from the start of a wonderful running trail. I love everything about our new location except for the lack of any running trails within 20 miles (sad face).

Speaking of hotel stays. I just got this new set of resistance bands to review, so I threw them in my suitcase for the occasion and was pleasantly surprised at how different they were from all my other bands. These are from TKO and they look like this:

 

They have adjustable tension and are supposed to help you focus on abs and core muscles. I used them for some arm and ab exercises and gave my legs a break after my run. *I did receive this product complimentary in exchange for my honest review. However, the above link is not an affiliated link. 

If you have never experienced spring in the midwest, I have to tell you — it is a crazy time of year. A typical week includes two different seasons. For example, Tuesday (the day that I ran on the awesome trail) it was 77 degrees with no wind. Wednesday, I had to leave work at 3:30 and drive in a raging blizzard and whiteout conditions (in fact, my kids were released from school at noon due to the winter weather). It is SO crazy and confusing.

Last weekend it was absolutely beautiful and we spent the day at my parents’ ranch. This fella says “hey, have a nice weekend.”

Until Next Time,
Meg

 

Good to be Back: The Ultimate Coffee Date

coffee date linkup

Good afternoon friends! It has been SO long since I last participated in the Ultimate Coffee Date Link-up hosted by Coco at Running with Perseverance, Deborah at Confessions of A Mother Runner and Lynda at Fitness Mom Wine Country. So much has changed in my life since the last time we “talked” over coffee! Let’s catch us!

If we were having coffee…we would leave off where we last spoke and you’d ask me whether or not I found a job. I’d tell you that I did, in fact, find a job. I’d remind you how last time I said that I believed that everything happened for a reason and I still do firmly believe that, maybe even more so. Remember how I was sad to leave my last employer, how I had the Best. Boss. Ever.? Well, that amazing boss happened to leave his post in my previous town and happened to move to a town near my new town. Are you following? There came a position open that we both applied for. He, of course, has vastly more experience than I, but we both received interviews and both were named finalists. Then, the most amazing thing happened….they hired both of us! So, here I am working in a job very similar to my last role for the EXACT same boss! Now, if that doesn’t affirm that things happen for a reason– that you should trust the path, then I don’t know what does!

If we were having coffee…you would ask me how I like living in my new town. I’d tell you that it is amazing! We actually live about 2 miles outside of town on a small acreage and it is everything that I’ve ever wanted. I grew up in a rural setting — actually 40 miles north of a rural setting — on a ranch in the middle of nowhere! We didn’t have neighbors for miles and the nearest town was 40 miles away. Oh, and I should mention that the town had just a few more than 200 population. So this, 2 miles from town and 20 miles from a larger community with shopping, medical services, jobs, and eateries, is perfect.

If we were having coffee…you would want to hear about my running. I’d tell you that I started off strong when I first started my new job back in November. I’d admit to you that I missed being able to get my kids ready for school and then go run without having a work schedule dictating the length of the run/shower/get ready process. I’d say that my mileage fell off a bit towards the end of November and then completely off in December. I’m getting back into it and did a 7.5 miler today. I didn’t set any records, but I finished it with a good attitude. I’ve registered for a half marathon in May to keep me motivated.

If we were having coffee… I might also reveal to you that my blogging and ambassadorships have taken a hit since I started my new job. I worked very hard to build up my social media following, try and blog regularly, post product reviews, etc. and I’ve been waning a bit lately. Actually, I was waning for the last 3 months. I’ve gotten a renewed sense of motivation recently and I plan to keep it! So that means that you can expect to see me here next month for another cup of coffee.

Until Next Time,
Meg

Do you struggle with motivation? What keeps you going or what gets you going again?

Refuel with Hemp

**I received these Hemp Heart Bars from Manitoba Harvest through my role as a Sweat Pink Ambassador. As always, all opinions are my own**

If you have not heard of hemp and all the amazing ways to use it, you should check out Manitoba Harvest’s website where they detail so many handy (and delicious) ways it can be used! You have heard of super foods, well this is a super plant! You can use the entire plant for things without any waste! It can be used for items such as clothing and building materials as well as food items.

Enter in: Hemp Heart Bars. These little bars pack 10 grams of plant-based protein and 10 grams of omegas – plus they pack 4 grams of fiber! They are the perfect pre- or post-workout snack.

I received a sample of the chocolate and a sample of the apple cinnamon. Now, I’d love to tell you that they are a delightful snack and that I could eat an entire box in one sitting. My favorite part about the bars is that they are chewy and really satiating. My only gripe is that they kinda taste like birdseed (or at least what I imaging birdseed tasting like). Now, don’t get me wrong, because of the protein and omega benefits, I would still add them to my list for the perfect post workout re-fuel snack. I think the flavor will grow on me.

If you are curious to try them I have two ways that you can get your hands on some. The first is using this 15% off discount code hhbarlaunch1015 by March 31, 2016. The second is to enter Manitoba Harvest’s monthly photo contest. Simply post a photo on Instagram of how you’re fueled by Hemp (use hashtag #fuelledbyhemp (yes, with two ‘l’s) and tag @manitobaharvest. They pick a winner monthly!

This is not my first try at Hemp products. In fact, Manitoba Harvest sent me a sample of Hemp Hearts about a year ago. They were delicious! You can see my review here.  I’ve also tried the Hemp Protein (also from Manitoba Harvest) and it is by far my favorite hemp product to date.

Have you tried any Hemp products? What are your thoughts?

Until Next Time,
Meg

Friday Favorites 

Good morning friends! It has been a loooooonnnnnnggggg time! To get back in the groove, I thought I’d try something easy like a favorites post. The list includes many products that I’ve received lately complimentary, however all opinions are my own.

Happy Friday all!

Here are some products that I’m loving now — in no particular order.

Who knew that Cetaphil made moisturizer?! When I first went to a dermatologist at age 14, the only product that he recommended by name was Cetaphil face wash. While I’m not one to use only one product (I have to try everything) I always come back to  Cetaphil when I have issues, especially any sort of dryness. It is the most gentle product out there. As for the moisturizer, ditto. It is gentle and non-irritating to my acne-prone skin and it works really well to hydrate without the shine.  *disclaimer: I received this product from Influenster in exchange for an honest review.

I LOVE these Kushy Foot socks. I received an assortment in the mail awhile back and have managed to try out all the styles. The socks are made with a support fabric in the middle to provide arch support. I really like the dress socks and the athletic socks. I’m not wild about the yoga socks, but it could be one of two things: 1) The socks were for sizes 9-11 and I wear a 7.5 or 2) I’m not used to socks that separate my toes. The others, though fit pretty well and seemed to do the job of cushioning my run and my dress shoes.

  

Okay, with Superbowl Sunday coming up in T minus 2 days, I have to include a snack that, while not healthy, is super delicious and perfect for the big game. I received a bag of Oreida Tater Tots from Influenster and was challenged to create some recipes. One of the featured recipes was Totchos (get it? Nachos, but with tater tots?!) My husband and I crafted our one-dish Totcho recipe using black beans, jalapenos, colby-jack, hamburger, onions, and black olives. They were delightful! Later, we tried to make burritos using the same ingredients and they were equally as delicious!

PS: GO PANTHERS!

And finally, I love SNOW DAYS! We had two this week with well over a foot and a half of snow and 60 mph wind gusts. We made snow ice cream, snow angels, and lots of hot chocolate!

I hope you have a wonderful Friday. What are some of your favorite things? Who are you rooting for on Sunday?

Until Next Time,
Meg

Product Review – Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Mascara

I received a sample of this product complimentary from Influenster for testing and review purposes. As always, all opinions are my own.

Love the packaging on this @marcbeauty mascara that I received from @influenster! #VelvetNoir #contest

A photo posted by Megan (@pinkess1) on

Mascara is one of those products that once you start using it (which I crazily didn’t do until college!) you can never go back! My look just doesn’t feel complete until I have at least one coat of mascara on — even on those days where I’m aiming for an Au natural look.

That being said, I have tried about a bazillion (yes, I’m using a little creative freedom with a made up word to mean “a very large unspecified number” according to Merriam) types of mascara. As someone who subscribes to several different beauty boxes and is also a fan of beauty samples with purchase such as the Clinique Bonus, I always have a ton of sample sized mascaras of various brands laying around. One of my favorites is Benefit They’re Real that I received in my Birchbox many moons ago.

Anyway, on to my product review! I was one of the lucky handful of Influensters to receive the Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara in black before it hit the markets! First of all, I must talk about the packaging. It is truly exquisite. The geometric shaped tube, while it adds an air of sophistication, it also makes handling and application easier.

TheMarc Jacobs Velvet Noir next feature worth mentioning is the brush. It is not only very full bristled, but it also has a unique shape that allows you to reach the middle lashes and side lashes at the same time!

Finally, I’ll note that I really only need one coat of this mascara. It does a great job of coating my lashes and adding volume as well as length. My only complaint is that sometimes by the end of the day (depending on the eye cream that I used that morning) the mascara tends to bleed at my lower lash line. If I use a matte eye cream or one that isn’t super hydrating, this does not happen. Adding a bit of powder over the top of my eye cream seems to work as well, so maybe it’s my eye cream and not my mascara??!!

Overall, this mascara will be making my list of favorites for the next time that I need to purchase a full size tube (meaning: if I ever run out of my endless supply of samples!)

Do you have a favorite mascara? If so, I’d love to hear about what brand and why it tops your list!

Until Next Time,
Meg

2016 – Let’s Do This!

I’m sure we have all set our New Year’s Resolutions and among those resolutions there is bound to be a goal or two surrounding fitness. If you’re like me, you set relatively the same goals each year. Maybe you stick to them, maybe you modify them, or maybe you totally let them go by the wayside. No matter what happens, the new year rolls around and I always set them again. I’ll save my goals for 2016 for another post, because to tell you the truth, I’m still tweaking them a bit.

In the mean time, here is a quick resource to help you stick to your fitness resolutions. Especially if you are the type that needs variety in your routine rather than someone who is content to practice the same fitness routine day after day without boredom.

1280-720A few months ago, I partnered with Booya Fitness to produce a suggested exercise regimen for the person with a super busy schedule. I originally titled it, “The Busy Mom’s Workout”, but since it is not gender specific, nor do you have to have kids to do the workout, I have since dropped the “mom” from the title. The way that Booya works, is that you buy a workout that guides you through 7-14 days. You can pick cardio, strength, yoga, specific muscle groups , etc. The workouts are super low cost and low commitment.

Now is a great time to sign up with Booya Fitness because starting on January 11, they will be doing a Resolution Challenge and offering tons of prizes! Sign up with Booya Fitness anytime before January 10, 2016 and the challenge details will be announced on January 11, 2016!

Awesome prizes + a hot bod?! Yes please! Start the #ResolutionChallenge with @booyafitness and I!… Click To Tweet

Take a look at the promo video here:

We will do this together and have a GREAT 2016!

Until Next Time,
Meg

**Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you purchase my workout from Booya Fitness, I do receive a small compensation.**