Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Sparkle Skirts product review

As you can see from my post below, I was recently in a night trail race.
I decided it would be lots of fun to get dressed up since it was sort of a Halloween race and as I was searching, I came across SparkleSkirts on facebook!!
They are made in Florida-The USA!! I had heard great things about them on my disney priness half marathon facebook group.
Well, last saturday they had posted a picture of an awesome orange SparkleLight skirt. I thought it would be perfect for my upcoming race and also maybe even my turkey dash next month!! I immediatly emailed Leah sunday night with my size and whether she could get it mailed to me in VA by friday so I could have it for my race on Saturday 20th. I got a response on monday that yes she could and later that day even got a shipping notification!! What prompt and speedy customer service!!!!

On wednesday-2 days later-look what I got in the mail!! I was super excited and my toddler loved touching the shinny fabric!!

I was really impressed with the speedy shipping and the fact that I didn't have to pay for super fast shipping. The skirt was wrapped in nice tissue paper with a couple business cards and a hand written thank you, which was impressive.
I was also very impressed with the quality of the skirt. The black band is soft and stitched very well. It even has a mini pocket in the back for something small like a tissue, dollar bill or key. the hemming of the skirt was very nice and there didn't appear to be any loose or crooked stitching or strings. I hate getting something "hand made" and it looks like it took 5 minutes to put together and looks sloppy.
Definitely use the size chart on their website (http://www.sparkleskirts.com/) because my waist is smaller than my hips/butt. I got a size medium and it fits perfect and should even fit next year! I wish my butt wasn't so big because it would have looked better, however I feel like it was the perfect length that it would be flattering on any size body-seriously!!
On race day, I wore my sparkle skirt over top my Target racing capris.
I didn't even notice wearing this skirt during the race which means it wasn't itchy or irritating which I think is important when racing. The last thing I need is my wardrobe getting on my nerves!! It was so fun to wear and made me feel special. :-)
Overall, I give this company full stars and a big thumbs up for their customer service, fast shipping, great quality, a good prices!!
My SparkleLight skirt was $32 (usually they are $30 but the orange was considered a special edition) which isn't unreasonable for the cost of fabric and the time to make it! Plus it's made in the USA!!
I'm hoping that later on, I can buy a Sparkle Tech skirt, which has built in jogging shorts underneath that are Guarenteed not to rid up!! I can't wait to try that out!! How awesome does that sound???!!They are alot more expensive, being priced at $65 so maybe I can get one at Christmas...
Just as a side note, I was not asked to do this product review. I paid for my product and was really pleased so wanted to share this company with others! Let me know if you have tried them out and what skirt you bought.
Happy Running!!  


Run into the Darkness Night Trail Run on Saturday

This past Saturday was the 4 mile (ish) Anthem "Run into the Darkness" night trail run with my 10 year old son and husband.
I've been "training" for the last month or two for this specific race. I was a little worried about it because two weeks ago I did a 5k trail race for Mercy Ministries and it was HARD!! scroll down a couple posts to read about it.
This past Wednesday I decided to do a trial run of the race, and jogged around my neighborhood in the dark with a flashlight. I was really pleased with my time and I only had to do my inhaler once. It was a little creepy running around in the dark by myself. I was really hopping that I would have more fun on saturday.

This is a screenshot from my Iphone using the app "runkeeper". Its free and I love it!! It appears to be pretty accurate against my FitBit.

I got ready Saturday afternoon for the race. I had a light dinner of a Luna bar (love them!!), banana and water. I was really nervous and didn't even feel like eating but I knew I would feel sick if I didnt.

Here I am still at home, getting dressed for the race. I got a new Sparkle race skirt in the mail, so I was really excited to try it out for this race. (separate blog post on my skirt later!) Note, I am still loving my Pink laces from Fit Approach website!! :-)

Here I am right before the race after I got my racing number, jacket and racing belt (no its not a fanny pack!) on. It was starting to get really really cold!! We hung around for a while, put on our glow jewelry and walked around to warm up.

My husband was in the first wave-called racers-so he started right at 7pm. My son and I stayed in the back because we didn't want to get run over my intense joggers. Mountain Junkies LLC announced this was their 6th race year and they had over 500 people attend!!

I started my fitbit a little early because I thought we would start jogging, but I don't think we actually went until 7:10 or 7:15. We hung out in the back and I was amazed by the sea of people up ahead of us, bobbing up and down with flashlights. We jogged for a couple minutes before heading into the woods. From then on, it was a trail race in the woods.

Through out the race, they had markers and signs and cute little halloween things like ghosts and pumpkins around. Very family friendly.

 As we continued to climb up and down this trail, I'm pleased to report that Steven and I were able to maintain and keep a good pace through out the entire race without stopping. However, because we were in the back group of people, as we tried to pass the slower people going up the trail, there were several times we got stuck for several minutes because (1) it was too narrow to pass them or (2) they were rude and purposely wouldn't move around for someone to pass. That was by far the most annoying thing!! We tripped several times on the trail because there were alot of loose sticks and rocks so it was hard to get a great pace for this race because of that and it was in the dark. It made me very nervous a couple of times with looking down some steep drops in the trail, but thankfully we didn't get hurt.

At one point there was a photographer on the trail that was taking pictures of people. Here is a picture of my husband, me and my son on the actual trail.

It was hard to figure out how much farther the race was in the dark, although I had my iphone RunKeeper app to tell me how far we had gone. I was a little bummed when we hit the 60 minute mark and it seemed like the trail was going forever. Then I heard my husband shouting my sons and my name and to keep going. I couldn't see him but I heard him so we started picking up our pace again and did some jogging. We passed a couple more people and started heading up our last hill. My husband Mike came back for us to cheer us on and to help encourage us up our final stretch. My son passed me with super light speed (because he wanted to be first LOL) and I was struggling to keep up with breathing but we finally did it!!! WHEW!! Took me a couple mins to catch my breath so we could take final pictures.


Here is a iphone screen shot of when I passed thru the finish line. As you can see, it was a little short of 4 miles.

This is my FitBit screen shot. You can see how many steps and calories I burned!! WOW!!

After we took pictures and stretched, we went inside a building for some water, pasta and yummy pumpkin bread!! We didn't win any door prizes or age group prizes, but that was okay.

Here are some stats from the race: 
Mike placed #62 out of 513 people and 9/33 in his age group.
Steven placed #482 and 25/27 in his age group.
I placed #485 and 35/38 in my age group.


Some final thoughts about the race:
* Glow Jewelry was fun to wear
* I must remember to bring gloves and a hat for next year
*Don't get stuck in the back with the "even slower than me" people because it will make me very aggitated.
*Jogging with a racing skirt and hand free hydration bottle was awesome
*Most impotantly, bring a "cheerleader" with you to the race!! My husband was my hero because he truly helped me get thru the last 5 minutes of the race cheering me on, gave me his gloves for the race, and brought me a jacket after the race to keep me warm.

Although it was a hard trail race, I feel like I keep doing better and getting stronger; so this will probably be a race that we do again in the upcoming years!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sweat Pink and Fit approach website!!

I spend alot of time reading fitness blogs and facebook pages.
A couple weeks ago I was reading up on the Disney Princess 1/2 marathon (something I SO want to do in next year or two!) and I found a cool Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FitApproach. Their website is: http://www.fitapproach.com/ and has alot of fun information and blog stuff. As I was reading, I specifically came across girls calling themselves, "Sweat Pink Ambassadors". You can view more about it here on their website: http://www.fitapproach.com/2012/01/become-a-sweat-pink-ambassador/
Such a cool term and I'm totally jealous!! Ambassadors are basically examples to their friends and people around them about health and fitness and like to share what they learn with others!! HEY-that sounds like me!! ;-)
I facebooked them and they aren't taking applications until later this month for some more ambassadors, but I really love the shirts and shoelaces these gals are sporting!! I love to wear things that stand out and are example to fitness and health. Plus, who doesn't like black and pink??!!
I knew I would be doing two races this month, so instead of waiting if I might be accepted as an ambassador, I ordered a black tank top shirt and some shoelaces. I was so excited that they arrived in the mail on friday-the day before my trail race. If you dont know what race I'm referring to, just look at my blog post below. I tell you ALL about it!! ;-)
Anyway-I immediately laced up my outdoor shoes with my cool shoelaces hoping they would bring me luck on saturday!

This is me at the race sporting my new tank top and shoelaces. I ordered a size large tank and I should have gotten a medium. oh well!! I'm just excited that I can actually wear a MEDIUM!! oh-the tank is super soft and washes great.

I thought it would be a fitting race to wear this shirt because my fundraiser race was for Mercy Ministries which supports women and girls and helps them with eating disorders, abuse, addictions, etc. I'm all for women support and girl power!!
I got several compliments on my sweat pink tank while I was sweating up and down the trail!! ;-)

This is my son and I right after crossing the finish line.

Now, I learned after posting my blog post the other day about the race, that at least 212 bibs were spoken for which means that many people registered for this race. Out of that number, only 46 people crossed the finish line!! I'm totally serious!! Thats how hard the "trail"/side of the mountain was! The reason I know this, is because we were timed and if you didn't go through the trail two times, it didn't time you out. I knew lots of people stopped after the first go around, but I didn't know it was more than half!!

The reason I'm making a big deal about this, is because I did something on saturday that I didn't know if I could do. I am not a runner! The only reason I have started training and attempting to run is (1) to continue to be healthy and lose weight; and (2) build up my endurance to do a 1/2 marathon some day. It has only been since last July 2011 that I serious about my weight loss and being healthy.

Last spring of 2011 I had signed up for a 5k race at a park that I had done 2 years prior to having my second baby. I didn't properly train for this race, I wasn't really exercising and I was 75 pounds heavier than I was before I got pregnant. Was I successful in this race? No I wasn't!! After maybe 10 mins I had to stop because I was in so much pain with my shin splints!! I had to send my son ahead with my husband so that they could finish the race. I was so discouraged!!

I finally decided to change my life and my habits around July after having my gallbladder removed the end of May. I didn't want my knees and back to hurt everytime I played with my son and baby! I hated feeling fat and miserable!! I wanted to feel sexy for my husband and look good in my clothes! I wanted to wear all my clothes that I had prior to baby number 2.

I started by reading books, blogs, facebook pages-anything that was about healthy nutrition and weight loss. I joined Beachbody fitness so I could have a support group! I started off slow doing Leslie Sansone walking dvds, and then Chris Freytag prevention dvds. I got more into yoga, cardio, pilates, etc. The more weight and inches I lost, the better I felt about myself and the more encouraged I felt to continue. I have not done any fad diets, pills, patches, etc. I have simply exercised every day, drink 8-10 cups of water, eliminated almost completely fast food and sugar, log my food into MyFitnessPal to track calories, use electronic devices like my FitBit and iphone to track steps and calories burned. My biggest supporter is my husband and family! They help me track my food, we plan healthy meals together, we exercise and play together...they are super supportive!!

So fast forward to this past saturday. I have gone from a size 20 to a size 12. I have lost 65 pounds since this picture was taken last April 2011. (220 pounds) and I have actually lost 97 total pounds since the birth of my second baby boy in June 2010. (I stopped weighing when I hit 250-yikes!)

I feel fantastic and sexy!! I can wear all my old clothes!! I still want to lose 15 more pounds to be at my "goal weight" but I recognize that I have more toning and lower body inches to lose as well so I'm not so obsessed with a scale number.

When I was hiking up that side of the mountain on saturday with my son up above me (the same one in the picture above) I KNEW I was not going to give up no matter how hard it was! I kept looking down at my bright pink shoelaces and knew I had to keep going. I wanted to prove to myself, my son, my husband and anyone else that I could do anything I put my mind to. I knew I was in shape to do this race and I knew I couldn't fail. I was going to "sweat pink" and keep going to that finish line!! There was another girl behind me and we just kept encouraging each other along and we finished within a minute of each other. It was fun to have a "gal pal" to chat with along that way.

 I am proud to say that I DID finish the race and I finished strong!! I didn't have any asthma problems or shin splints which was a total blessing!! My son finished in 62 mins and I finished in 63 minutes. I am totally sore 2 days later, but it is worth it!! and I'm excited that in 1.5 weeks from now, my son, husband and I will be doing a fun 4 mile night race (with glow sticks!) How fun does that sound??

So keep believing in yourself and your goals! Continue to be healthy, or make the decision today to start!! YOU can do it!! If I can do it, so can you!! :-)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Mercy Ministries 5K fundraiser walk yesterday

Yesterday my 10 year old son Steven and I went into Salem (about 20 mins away) to participate in Mercy Ministries first local Fundraiser 5k race/walk.

You can find out about why they do the fundraiser walk here:
Their main website that talks about Mercy Ministries is here:

So, Steven and I got there about 7:15am for check in before the race began at 8am. It was a little cooler in Salem than it was in Botetourt (where we live) so we grabbed jackets from the car. After signing in, I got a small goody sponsor bag along with my Tshirt and race number. We waited in the car for awhile to stay warm, then did some warm up exercises and then it was time to race!

Before the race, I had looked at the race map online and noticed that there was some zigzags in a particular area but didn't really think anything of it. I'm not much of a runner or a racer, but I signed up for this race because I felt like it was a good cause and I wanted to be able to complete a race. I've been training outside for the last month or so with walking/jogging intervals, as well as doing some kind of cardio almost every day.
We started off down a grassy slope for a few minutes and then proceeded to go into the woods. The trail in the woods was marked by an orange string. I would describe it as a side of a mountain instead of a trail-steep with lose dirt and acorns. As you can see with the picture below, this is where the zigzags came in! We would trudge up the mountain and then back down, and up again and back down. over and over again! I spoke with a guy after the race who put the trail together and they did this obviously so we could get the necessary mileage in for it to be a 5k race. And the best part was that after all this, we would do it over again (2 loops around)!! I was really hoping that I could practice my Galloway training method of walking/jogging intervals but because of the severe steepness of the up and downs, my son and I basically had to walk the race, along with many many others. Going up and down was very hard on the knees, but we pushed on!

The picture above is my son ahead of me. I had to take my cell phone off my arm band in order to take the pictures. I wanted proof to my husband about how steep this race actually was!!

After the first round thru the woods, several people stopped because it was so exhausting-I would say about 1/3 of the people. I wasn't excited about it, but my son and I pushed on! I really wanted to be able to finish this race! My motivation was that last June 2011 I tried to do a 5k race and after 10 minutes I had to stop because of shin splits and wasn't able to complete it! Since that time, I have lost alot of weight and gotten more active. (more about that in another post)

We started the second round thru the woods and it was more tough than the first round because we were so fatigued. It was really nice that they had a couple people through out the course handing out water and cheering us on. They also had posters through out the course showing statistics of how Mercy Ministries helps girls. I kept cheering my son on who stayed ahead of me-he was doing awesome!! I did my inhaler at the beginning of the race and then in the middle which helped me alot. I was really hoping to be done with the race within 60 minutes but the last 10 minutes was super hard for me. My stomach was churning so bad and I felt so over heated that I felt like I was going to throw up. For the last 10 minutes I just keep telling myself that I could do it and not to throw up. I encouraged my son at the last stretch of the race when it got flat before the finish line, to hurry ahead and finish strong.

He finished about a minute ahead of me and I finished in 1 hour, 3 mins 48 seconds. Several people where cheering and so encouraging to those of us still racing.

Here we are a few minutes after we finished and then caught our breath. I was so sweaty!

This is a cell phone picture of my race results from Mountain Junkies LLC (who timed the participants)  that they posted online. As you can see, I wasn't the last person in the race and I wasn't the last person in my category!! WHOHOO!! AND I FINISHED!!

I was so happy (at the end of the race when I could breath again) that I had completed the race successfully with my son! It was such a pretty fall day and although the race was very tough, it was nice to be in the woods and enjoy nature.

This is a picture of all the fun things I got yesterday. I got a grey shirt (size MEDIUM-I just recently started wearing a size M which is super exciting) for signing up for the race, a water bottle and drawstring bag because I raised over $100 for Mercy, and a book because my name was drawn for a door prize.

They had lots of water and snacks and several people walking around checking on people and organizing the event. I was really impressed with several of the racers who went around congratulating others on finishing the race and telling them good job. What a great example of sportsmanship and event!! If we do this next year, I will have to definitely train more because this was a tough trail race for sure!! Now off to stretch and drink some more water!!  

Paige by Annette Lyon Book review

I had a chance to read this book several weeks ago. I actually read it in one night because I couldn't put it down!! :-)
This is book 3 of the Newport Ladies Book club. There are currently 4 books to this series with 4 different authors. I've reviewed the two previous released books in other blog posts and you can go to the website: http://thenewportladiesbookclub.blogspot.com/ for more info on the books and authors.

What I like about these books is that they can be read as a series or stand alone individually as books. So far the 3 books-Olivia, Daisy and now Paige have taken place during the same time period. Its really cool to read about some of the same events from the different womens views. I like that these books are Christian based but not preachy-just great clean fiction!

Paige is a Mormon-which none of the other ladies are not-so this particular book has more religious (specifically LDS Mormon) references. I love that this character seems realistic and has real problems that alot of women experience and face. I love that these group of women in the book all have trials but are able to help each other and use the spirit of sisterhood and service to develop their friendships in and outside the book club meetings. This book flowed and was very easy to read-like I said, I read it it one night because I couldn't put it down!! When I do book reviews, I don't like to give any specific references to what happened in the book, because I don't want to spoil it for you!

I can't wait to read book 4 "Athena" by Heather Moore which will be released to the public this month. (be looking for that book review shortly!)

and I was SUPER EXCITED to find out that the 4 authors (Heather Moore, Annette Lyon, Julie Wright and Josi Kilpack) will be writing 4 MORE books that will spotlight 4 new women and go forward in time. Which means we will find out more about Olivia, Daisy, Paige and Athenas lives!! WHOHOO!!!
Can you tell I love these books??!!
If you haven't read Paige yet, or any of the other books; check out amazon, seagull book. deseret book or anywhere else books are sold.

Here is the back of the book write up about Paige: 
After a bitter divorce from her unfaithful husband, Paige moves from Utah to California with her two little boys and vows to make a fresh start. She finds a job at a dental practice that helps her get back on her feet, but it's the friends she makes at her new book club who help her realize how strong she is and who give her support to carry on as she faces the challenges of being a single mom. She also meets Derryl, a wonderful, kind, attentive man who treats her right, something her ex never did. Yet Paige struggles to figure out who she is as a woman rather than a wife, how to help her boys adjust to a broken home, and whether she can ever trust a man or love again. As Paige leans on the book club ladies and Derryl's everpresent care, one thing becomes clear: healing from the past requires more than a change of address.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Athena book #4 is available!!

ATHENA is on shelves at the Fort Union Deseret Book! Three years from idea to publication of the set.

Get your hands on ATHENA before anyone else! For Ladies Night, Heather, Annette, and Julie will be at the Fort Union Deseret Book signing--the ONLY store to get copies of ATHENA. Everyone else will have to wait another month.

Come on October 6th, 6-8 PM to get your early copy!

Spread the Love Contest for October 6th ATHENA BOOK LAUNCH. Help us get the word out and be entered into the contest. Winner receives 3 books by Heather B. Moore: http://thenewportladiesbookclub.blogspot.com/2012/09/spread-love-contest.html

Check out the Newport Ladies Book Club facebook page for more details and pictures of the books!!