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.**

Let MealEnders help you through the holidays! Plus: A GIVEAWAY

 

**I received MealEnders to sample and review as part of my affiliation with Sweat Pink and FitApproach. All opinions are my own. **

We’ve all been there, stuffed beyond feeling good, way beyond satisfied, uncomfortable or even sick — overeating is a common occurrence year round, but never more evident than around the holidays.

Be sure to stick around for the end of my post to enter the giveaway to win all four flavors of MealEnders, just in time for the new year!

Enter: MealEnders! These delightful little candies (er, excuse me, lozenges) are a safe answer to curbing your appetite and preventing you from overeating. They come in four flavors: Cinnamon, Citrus, Mocha, and Chocolate Mint. *I am a fan of all but the citrus, but that’s just me. The lozenges have two layers, the first is a sweet, dessert-like layer that melts in your mouth and the second is the signaling layer. It makes my mouth tingle a little, but it still tastes good!

MealEnders

Now before you cast this product aside fearing the use of stimulants and other harmful additives, consider this:  according to the MealEnders’ website, MealEnders contain unique duo sensory taste formula made from a stimulant-free blend of flavors and ingredients. They log only 15 calories a piece and contain only 2 grams of sugar.

They simply cue your mind that you have had enough, are satisfied, and keep you from overeating. BONUS: they are sweet and give you the sense that you are getting a treat or dessert. Try them for yourself! Enter to win my giveaway for all four flavors! Can’t wait? Use code FitHolidays20 for 20% off at MealEnders.com.

These can be used during a meal to signal your mind that you have had enough or they can also be used to curb your appetite between meals (or signal your mind away from wanting that afternoon snack that you really don’t need).


While these won’t make very tactful stocking stuffers, I do plan to have them in a candy dish at the dinner table for those wishing to feel satisfied but not sick after Christmas dinner.

The giveaway runs to December 22 — Good luck!

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Hooray for Thinking Out Loud Thursday

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Today I am linking up with Running With Spoons for Thinking Out Loud Thursday. Thank you Amanda for hosting this super fun link-up!

Friends! It has been a long time and I have much to tell you and, in sticking with the theme — it will be random!

You're HiredI have a job — yay me! As most of you know, due to a relocation this summer, I have been without a full time job. Currently, I have been a freelance writer for the website Fashion Week and that has been a lot of fun and different than anything I have done before. In addition to that, I had explored several possibilities and finally landed a really great opportunity in a field that I am truly passionate about – Economic/Community Development and Marketing/Communications. I am thrilled and I start Monday!

clockDaylight Savings Time – I’m sure you are all aware that Daylight Savings Time ends on Saturday/Sunday. For some of us, this is viewed as a life-saver and for others, it messes up their sleep patterns and they are grumpy for the next 30 days. I, for one, love to fall back, to have an extra hour of sleep, for the sun to be nearly up when I go for a run. I am especially excited this year because it will be just in time for me to start my new job and new routine!

If you recall, I set a goal for myself this year to run 1000 miles by the end of 2015. If you don’t recall, you can check out my goals here. Right now, I am at 750 miles and the goal is within reach, but still quite far away. I got behind this summer with the move, logging only 73 miles in May and June. I am paying for those months now and the outlook is bleak. With my job starting next week, I am a little worried. Stay tuned on whether or not I can get those last 250 miles in the next two months!

My final random thought for today is to shamelessly talk about a new product that I LOVE!

I received two Yves Saint Laurent lipsticks from Influenster a month ago and I LOVE LOVE LOVE them! They are from the Rouge Pur Couture collection. The colors that I received are No. 19 Fuchsia and No. 9 Rose Pink. See my LinkedIn pic at left for a visual on the Rose Pink. Another fun fact, I wore it to my job interview! The fuchsia is super fun and I’ve been wearing it everywhere! See below:

The packaging is also super cool. It’s in the YSL iconic gold tubes — beautiful!

 

So that’s it! Those are my random thoughts of the day. Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to visit the other blogs in the link-up!

Until Next Time,
Meg

Product Review: OZ Naturals Retinol Serum

I received this product from Brandbacker for review purposes. I was in no other way compensated for this post. All opinions are my own. 

If you’ve read my blog before then you are likely aware that I have suffered from acne nearly my entire life and have tried nearly every product on the market. In more recent years, I have been trying to balance having acne prone skin with battling the early signs of aging. (If you haven’t followed along on any of my journey, you can catch up here, here, here, or even here.)

So as you can see, this is a subject that I’m quite versed in. You can’t use the same products to fight adult acne as you used in your teens. Those products are simply too harsh on aging skin, so trial and error gets a little dicey now that I’m older.

A year and a half ago, I used Accutane and, as scary as it was (and as overly drying to all parts of my body) it was the best thing I ever did for my skin as it pertains to acne. However, now I suffer from hyper-pigmentation and ruddiness in my cheeks from all those years of acne.

OZ Naturals Retinol SerumAlways on the lookout for products that claim to help smooth complexion while preventing breakouts and wrinkles, I jumped at the chance to try OZ Naturals Retinol Serum. This serum contains clinical strength 2.5% Retinol plus Vitamin E and is the only retinol product on the market to contain Astaxanthin. The unique blend of active ingredients promises to minimize hyper-pigmentation, fine lines, wrinkles and, over time, greatly improve texture and tone. A few other things worth mentioning: this product is made in the USA, is cruelty free, 72% Organic, and doesn’t contain any alcohol, parabens or sulfates so it is safe for sensitive skin.

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I’ve been using the product for about 10 days and, while I haven’t noticed a huge difference in my hyper-pigmentation, I have noticed the texture of my skin feeling better overall. Also, and this is a huge plus for someone with my skin type, it has not caused a single breakout! I plan to continue using the serum, targeting my cheeks for ruddiness and my forehead for fine lines as well as on my neck and decolletage. I’ll report back here when I have Uh-mazing results!

Until Next Time,
Meg