amber necklace – hocus pocus?

Whenever I used to see amber necklaces on little kids/babies either in real life in blogs, I wondered what they were used for.  Was it a fashion trend I missed?  Probably but I was still curious!  Finally, with a wee bit of googling, I got my answers.

magic book a.k.a. google

Amber necklaces are believed to have calming properties.  “For those of you who aren’t familiar with this wives’ tale gone mainstream: Baltic amber contains a “natural analgesic” that can, in theory, be absorbed through your skin to relieve pain. Here’s the wiki on succinic acid, where there is indeed a passing mention of it being historically used to relieve aches and pains — though just how far back in history isn’t mentioned. Today, you’ll often see amber advertised for back pain and arthritis, but also for teething pain.” (Alphamom.com).  Most of the anecdotal evidence I found surrounds babies and teething.  However, there were claims it could help with anxiety.

I figured this was probably a silly idea however, retailers had adult sizes.  What the heck?  I purchased a simple amber necklace for $27 and eagerly awaited its delivery.  I was wildly curious if it was some hocus pocus or something that could really offer me some sense of tranquility.  Or even just making some of the jitters subside – I’m not picky.

I immediately tore open the envelope upon its arrival and put the amber necklace on.  While it wasn’t instantaneous, the necklace really does provide a calming effect.  Now, I’m sure there are the skeptics out there saying it’s all a placebo but seriously, who cares?  I told my neurologist about it and I even admitted it was possible it was all in my head.  She completely agreed it didn’t matter if it yielded positive results.  And it does.

I do think there must be something to it since I doubt babies are capable of experiencing placebo benefits.  Since I don’t remember these early (early) years, I can’t say for sure!  Nevertheless, I’ve been happy with this twist on battling my anxiety.  Having an alternative to more pills and something I can put on and feel relief from within 45 minutes is highly appreciated!  I’m not kidding.  For some reason, Saturday mid-mornings, I start to experience a panic and I feel shaky and frenzied.  Typically, I’ve forgotten to put the necklace on so when I do, I start to feel better within 15 minutes or so.  Yay!

On mornings before wearing the necklace.  I’m a work in progress…

So, if you are looking for an alternative to ease the effects of some stress and/or angst either for you or maybe a kiddie in your life, I  suggest looking into buying an amber necklace.  I’m not saying I would put one on a baby – choking risks are a major factor.  But my anxiety was pronounced as a small one (preschool) and the placebo would have totally worked on me; especially if I’d been told I was wearing something to help ease my nervousness.  I’m ordering another one in the next few days as they have a variety of shades so it would be nice to have something different to wear while still reaping the benefits.  If you do, I would love to hear your experiences/outcomes!

Do you believe in alternative therapeutic methods?  I am interested in essential oils as well.  Any experience?

vega sport = vrooom!

Okay, so why the wacky title? Because Vega Sport Energizer gives you the pep you need to GET.MOVING.

vega sport energizerDo I sound like an infomercial?  Or how about Billy May’s replacement? (have you ever seen the auditions for his job? very interesting).

As mentioned in previous posts, my epilepsy meds tend to make me quite sleepy and low on energy.  That coupled with a debilitating bout with depression last year, I’ve gotten in the habit of lots and lots of couch sitting.  I’ve tried numerous products to get myself moving, including some that probably weren’t the healthiest.  You know, the kind that are LOADED with ingredients that nature hasn’t ever heard of – yeah, those.  So, it appealed to me that this was a natural product and plant-based.  I also showed my office mate the package and he is completely natural.  He is/was very intrigued and is taking it with him on his epic bike trip in the next few days.

I first tried Vega Sport Energizer on a regular training run.  I run in the evenings and I didn’t exactly follow the directions on the amount of water to add to the powder.  This was a mistake as it certainly affected the taste.  I will completely admit, I was worried about the flavor.  It’s definitely an earthy flavor and I wasn’t sure this was for me.  For instance, while I like my supplements more natural, I drink my coffee very sweet so these counteracted each other a bit.

check out the ingredients!
check out the ingredients!

I drank it 20 mins prior to working out as instructed.  The boost was very real.  In fact, I could feel it’s effects long into my run, which I wasn’t expecting.  I really needed the energy and Vega Sport came through for me.  On a more recent training run, I decided to half the packet and it seemed to work out for an evening run.  If I could manage to get my booty out of bed in the morning, I think a full packet would be perfect. As it was, I had lots of energy!

I really did feel this way on my run

Next, I decided to try it out for the 25k.  A few years ago when I did the race, I took a gel at the beginning and then two more later in the race.  Gel-sickness set in and it wasn’t pretty.  This time around, I took Vega Sport and also followed the water mixing instructions.  Again, I was very impressed with the results.  Even though I learned my lesson, I still WANT to take a gel at the start of the race.  I’m just not a morning person and while I drink coffee before the race, this only partially helps (I only drink a half cup).  This time around, I had the energy I’ve craved at the start and could evenly space my gels at mile 5 and mile 10.

it's a flower... cause it's plant based!
it’s a flower… cause it’s plant based!

Vega Sport also has Sustain products that I would love to give a go.  I would like to feel more evenly fueled as opposed to certain bursts and then kind of falling with regular gels.  I also think this would really help my pacing.  There is recovery products/drink also that is on my radar but we all know, I am lousy at recovering properly so of course this is lower on my priority list <— please note some of the sarcasm here!

Again, I was really pleased with Vega Sport. I am looking forward to hearing what office mate has to say and unfortunately, I’m posting this before he returns.  So #FuelYourBetter and check it out – I think you will be impressed as well.  I know many people are looking for a different version of fueling and I like this option a lot.  I dig the whole proper prepping of my muscles for what I am about to inflict and ask of them.  Another BIG plus of this product is it doesn’t interfere with my epilepsy.  I’ve tried other things that have made me so wired that a) I could see sounds and b) it was too much for my brain.  With epilepsy, my brain is “easily agitated” so I need to be conscientious about fueling properly and safely. Vega Sport is a win in this category without the side effect of what I call “shaky energy”.

trust me, this is hard to find

Seriously, this is good stuff.  I was able to try out this product for freesies  but I asked to review it since I appreciated what the product contained and promised.  That’s my disclaimer folks…

fitsok… an unsolicitated review

I have a wild love affair with work out gear.  More specifically running gear, although I’ve never met a pair of sweatpants or a hoodie I didn’t like…

However, socks usually took a back seat when it came to spending available funds on new gear.  A black pull over jacket (again)?  Of course!  Oh!  What about a new tech shirt (even though I just got 6 from the Dopey Challenge)?  YES!  Can you see where I am going with this?  I lay down the mullah for compression socks but other than that I go to Target for some C9’s.

Until I found Fitsok.  My good friends and former Ragnar teammates do a Longest Run fundraiser.  They’re on their third year and their efforts are so impressive!  (Look for opportunities to donate and get hooked up with some sweet gear if you win the raffle!)  Last year, I donated and won a few items in the raffle.  Fitsok was a sponsor (which makes them even more amazing) and I got a package of 3 pairs.

“Give athletes the best in engineered fit and performance. We’re about building products that allow everyone to excel”  Fitsok motto

When I first got them, I thought they felt on the thicker side as far as running socks are concerned.  I wasn’t very interested to be honest.  Then a couple of weeks later the laundry mountain had sucked up all of my socks and I decided to give Fitsoks a whirl.

fitsok flower of hope - hope that spring will be here soon
fitsok flower of hope – hope that spring will be here soon

These are prime running socks people.  As you can tell by the title of this post, Fitsok isn’t sponsoring me (please feel free Fitsok!) nor are they showering me with socks (again, please feel free Fitsok!), I simply love this product.  And since I skimp in the sock department on a regular basis, this is huge for me.  What I notice about the C9 socks and many others I’ve tried, after a little while the socks stretch out and then do the dreaded slip to the middle of your arch thing.  Seriously, I feel this is the worst sin a sock could commit!  This resulted in me buying C9 socks in large quantities because I considered them cheaper.  And they were – in quality.

h_sock1
source

Fitsok offers arch support and a snug but not a too tight, fit.  While they do feel padded at first touch, once on my feet they do not feel thick.  It’s just the perfect amount of cushion!  I even wore them for my 1/2 marathon in Disney World with compression sleeves because they are so comfortable and supportive.  I love them as much as I did the first day and I’m always bummed when I don’t have a clean pair.

Last week I bought 2 new packages of Fitsoks because with only 3 pairs I was sometimes (gasp!) wearing them twice before washing.  Yes, I know this is gross but I really love them!  I’ve been wearing them for months now and they are still in great condition and don’t even slide down when I am wearing my Hokas – a sock-pulling-down-culprit.  They have a variety of lengths and I opted for the low ones.  You can find local places to order them here.  I ordered mine from Amazon since there isn’t anyplace around me to buy them.  The cost was about $15.00 for 3 pairs (not even that pricey!).

-1
a “mug shot” of shoe responsible for pulling socks down

Check out their website.  They have a much better technical description of why the socks perform so well.

As an important side note, I did figure out a smarty-pants way to avoid losing my precious Fitsoks in the dryer (or wherever they go).  I’m going to wash them in a lingerie bag all together.  YAY!  I’m protecting my investment and avoiding the inevitable one missing sock rage.

yep

mini reviews of running business

Before we get to the mini reviews allow me to show you my fellow carb-loving friend:

-2-3Oh yes, this little rascal clawed into my trash bag (I was too lazy to walk to the dumpster) and found the bread.  He was in a bit of heaven – or at least I am assuming this considering the little dude didn’t run away when I opened the door.  And Simon?  He sat by the door and just listened to the squirrel outside!

Time for some mini reviews!  All of these following products I purchased but if any of the vendors want to send me some free goodies, I’m totally okay with that!

1.  Oiselle Long Roga shorts

not me... I was too lazy (and sweaty) to take a pic but this is the color I have!
not me… I was too lazy (and sweaty) to take a pic but this is the color I have!

I was drawn to these because of all the hype that they didn’t ride up.  Shorts that ride up are the bane of my existence, so I was intrigued with these.  First of all, I really like the wide waistband that decreases the appearance of muffin top – 3 cheers!  As you can see in the pic, it also breaks up my bum a bit so it’s much more flattering.  There are TWO zippered pockets and I hooked my iPod in one of them and this was very handy.  Next, they are longish but not all out bermuda style which I was nervous about.  I like the fabric, which feels kind of stretchy and I bought a darker blue color.  Oh and I got them on sale because these shorts are not cheap – minor downfall.  For the most part they didn’t ride up, although I get self-conscious if they even ride up a little.  I *think* this amount of riding up is probably normal for all shorts but I’m just not sure.  Damn you chub-rub (<—this saying cracks me up)!  I think this will get better.  I give these an A- but reserve the right to bump up this grade after a few more runs!

2.  Koss ear buds

I bought these before I even knew anything about the Koss brand.  If you check out this post from SkinnyRunner you can learn more.  These puppies were originally $30 but I got them on sale for $8 smackers!  Yay!  These worked REALLY well.  They stayed in my ears, the music came through clearly and I liked the noise control slide that is attached.  I give these a straight up A

3.  Maia Moving Comfort Bra

Remember my Big Boob running post a bit ago?  I completely broke my own rule and ordered what I THOUGHT was the style I usually wore.  When it arrived I realized it was not!  At first I was perturbed because I am terrible about taking things back.  I tried it on and lo and behold it has an underwire (something else I hadn’t tried) and is not the uniboob I am used to.  Great, once again I broke some of my own rules.  However, this was a good change-up, especially now that it’s sticky hot (I know, boob sweat is not a sexy topic but let’s face it, it is a thing) it turned out to be a good chice.  This sports bra exceeded my expectations.  I felt supported and my profile was diminished, so these are two big wins in my book especially right now.  A+!!  Oh yeah, and I got this bad boy for $35 – another sale!

support is ahhhh-mazing!

4.  New haircut!

Okay, I know this one is weird but my shorter hair performed well yesterday.  No ponytail, pigtails were necessary and now I get to investigate some new headbands.

And my iPod actually worked!  I forgot to mention why I had mushed banana in said iPod.  Unfortunately, I’m a dodo bird and I left a bag from a race in my car… for a couple of months.  I totally forgot about it and that there was a banana in it.  It wasn’t pretty.  Good job little iPod!

I don’t know if I should apologize for that or not but ummm… enjoy?

whooha gear review… be prepared – the contents of this post are highly addictive!

This review is a bit overdue.  But I had a problem… I wanted it to be the most PERFECT review EVER!  Why?  Because that is how much I absolutely adore this hoodie!

The incredible and inspirational women over at Whooha Gear sent me this lovely purple “I Run” hoodie a couple of months ago and I have seriously put it through the ringer.  It has traveled across the country with me.  It has curled up on the couch with me.  It has sweated through a run with me.  And it has even hung out at a drinking establishment with me.  Yes, I am sure people are starting to wonder if I have any other article of clothing!

Let us begin at the beginning…Whooha started in the deserts of Las Vegas when two women, Amy and Julie, met while doing what they love, mountain biking. They soon became fast friends and through encouragement and coaxing (or should we say peer pressure) began pursuing many other activities like running, road biking, triathlons. (from their site)

Two of my favorite aspects of this company are that it was started by two women looking to inspire and celebrate others and they are ATHLETES.  They know what is comfortable, what many of us are looking for and expect from our performance gear and frankly, what’s cute!  Plus, I totally dig their company name:

Women Having Optimistic Objectives & Healthy Attitudes – W.H.O.O.H.A

I first saw the hoodie over on TooTallFritz’s site and I did my best to win it.  I was unsuccessful.  And heartbroken.  Getting the opportunity to review and share it and this awesome company with all of you made my day!

I was able to pick what I wanted to review.  This was a tough choice for sure.  I couldn’t decide – did I want the long sleeve t with the super cute heart in the center?  Did I want one of the Miles to Go  (this one is on my Christmas list!) shirts since at the time I was gunning for my first full?  Finally, I chose the desperately cute “I Run” hoodie.

the color is a little softer than portrayed here…

Okay before I get to the mushy aspect of why I chose this, let me tell you about some of the concrete details

1.  this quite possibly is one of the softest articles of clothing I own

2.  I opened it up in an office full of women and we all “ooo-ed” and “aaahhh-ed” over the vibrant purple color

3.  at first I thought it might be a little big – but I really like how it fits.  The bottom is elastic but this is the only aspect that is fitted.

4.  the material is thinner than I expected.  This makes it a great layering piece.  Seriously, it’s that perfect long sleeve to help transition from summer to fall and fall to winter.  I also wear it all the time in my apt when I need something extra to keep me warm.

5.  I like that’s not a bulky hoodie – you can actually tell I am still a woman!

6.  The arms are longer.  I hate it when smaller sizes have sleeves that are too short.  I can’t tell you how often I have to make it a 3/4 length because the sleeves don’t reach past my bony little wrists.  This is NOT an issue with this hoodie!

here is the full text on the hoodie – I LOVE it!

A couple of things to note

1.  I have not put this in the dryer.  I’m not afraid to but I’m cheap and air dry as much as possible right now.  I have a feeling it would only get softer when/if I do

2.  I wore this on a couple of runs for the sake of the review.  But honestly, I love it so much that I wear it much more often when I’m NOT running!

Finally the mushy part of this review…

I love the saying on this hoodie.  Everytime I wear it, I feel like an athlete.  My road to athleticism has been a long (and not always so successful) one.  Running resonates with me like no other sport has and I love that I can show this off with this hoodie.  As many of us know, whether it be running, swimming, biking or walking, when we find that thing that speaks to part of who we are we want to talk about it and share it with those around us.  I’ve gotten tons of compliments on this sweatshirt and when people take the time to read the front it’s one more way I can share my passion with them.

Plus I feel like I look damn cool!

I am wearing a medium if that helps at all. this was at the NWM and a bunch of ppl asked where they could get one – whooha gear baby!

So, either add this to your holiday wish lists or heck, buy something for that runner, biker, IM-er in your life!  Trust me, it will be their favorite gifty!

p.s. I highly recommend adding the Whooha Gear page to your facebook “likes” and/or twitter feed.  They post super inspirational pictures!  In fact, I have been so inspired I’m considering signing up for a 33.1 mile trail race!  Not to mention they have let me know there are going to be some great Thanksgiving sales!