Friday, August 30, 2019

Emotional Thoughts on the Spartan Race

So if you have been following me on social media or know me in real life, you probably know that for the better part of 2019, I have been pushing myself physically to, I guess you could call it training, to run the Spartan Sprint, a 3-4 mile trail run basically, with 20 obstacles sprinkled in. I never thought I would or could do something like this but I made friends with a fitness instructor (Hi Fawn!) and in a moment of weakness or rather strenght? I signed up for the Spartan Race. But what I gained in the past few months is more than just the accomplishment of running a race, or muscle mass lol,  I have a lot more to show for it than just that. 

So in 2007 I signed up for the Susan G Komen 3-day, 60 mile walk, raised the money and did it on my own. I made some friends along the way that weekend, one that I actually still sort of keep up with on instagram and what I'll always remember from those couple of days together is that we did something that was physically challenging (walking can be challenging when done in 20 mile chunks yes) and it bonded us together because when you do something that makes you tired and feel like quitting, having support there makes all the difference. We literally cried when we finished the 3-day, probably in part because we were so tired but also that we had done something that we felt was amazing. It will remain a vibrant set of memories in the bank in my brain for those reasons.

The reason I bring up the cancer walk and Spartan in the same blog post is because this first Sprint will have the same lasting effects in my memory. Some members of our team I had been regularly doing classes with at the gym, and we were friendly, talking about our kids and such, but once we started training for this race, we definitley kicked the friendships into high gear. Some members recruited other members, which widened this new friend circle and when it was all said and done, I have a bunch of new friends, who I am so proud of and who inspire me and yes, made me a little teary eyed on race day. When we look back on our lives, it will be the people and experiences that mean the most. Yes, that is cheezy but I am a sucker for some sappy memory making and getting mushy with people I care about... and guess what, this Spartan team is full of women I care about.

Our team effort wasn't without some snags, injuries and bumps in the road, but we supported eachother through the training, the days leading up to it, the race itseldf and now our group text is still all a buzz about the Spartan Fenway and the team we're creating for next June (where we're expanding our circle and some husbands might be hopping on board). We're real bonofide friends now, the hugs after the race were like F*&% Yeah we did this! It was really such an awesome feeling, one that has lasted me the past two weeks. I haven't felt so strong physically in a long time but really, that's just the icing on the cake. Sometimes when I think about the things I have experienced in life, I feel so lucky and you can add this one to the list of lasting impressions that will stand the test of time.

To Fawn, Val, Ali, Courtney, Marietta and Andree, Thank you for being the best and most supportive first Spartan race friends a girl could ever ask for! I look forward to our next adventures and perhaps creating new memories together in the future... and to the red headed man who boosted me over that wall, sir, I will never ever forget you, because you saved me from doing 30 burpees, which is apparently a love language.

*A huge thanks to Marietta's husband Nick who literally followed us as much as he could on the race trail to take more pictures than we could ever have hoped for, so much so that GIFs were able to be created. The memories were documented well and I can't stop being impressed by us!

Want to join our Spartan Teams for either Fenway in November or New England Sprint in June? Shoot me an email and I will send you an invite!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Once Again Nut Butters Elevating Our Snacking Game

*This post was created in collaboration with Moms Meet and Once Again Nut Butters. All opinions are 100% my own.

Once Again Nut Butters... how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Seriously, these folks sent me the mother load of nut butters and I have been having an absolute blast working them into our routine and my recipes. Let's get it out of the way right now. They are 100% delicious, each and every variety that they sent. We're talking their Almond Spread, we're talking smooth and chunky peanut butters, sunflower seed butter, almond butter, cashew butters and more. 

I almost immediately took the Amore almond spread with cocoa and made a batch of my "nice" cream! Frozen ripe bananas, almond milk, a touch of honey, and a few dollups of almond spread, a shake of ginger and blend away. My kids absolutely loved this new take on my nice cream because it's the most chocolatey version I've made thus far but I know that it was still not full of a disgusting amount of sugar and dairy, which sometimes irritates our stomachs. I might have tossed some dark chocolate chips and peanut butter into the finished product but hey, we're only human! The Once Again nut butters come from an employee owned factory operated on the idea of products created with integrity and our best interest in mind. The results reflect that. Their products are truly so yummy and their company is working on an awesome sustainability program, Honest in Trade.

As a more discerning consumer, it's important to me to find companies like Once Again. To be able to support a company that appreciates its customers, its employees and the environment, well, that's a dream for this mama. They are 100% employee owned, they donate to charities, they help their community, they have a "green team" to push being sustainable and eco-friendly and above all else, their products are the real (and very yummy) deal. We've already blazed through a variety of their products and even though I got this bundle from the brand, I plan to support them with my own money once I've run out. That's how much I appreciate Once Again and their nut butters... that's saying something!

Monday, August 12, 2019

Win a Weekend Getaway from Fatface USA!

*I created this blog post in partnership with FatfaceUSA. We are always partnering. They give me clothes that I love for free and I tell you how much I love their clothes. This post is to talk about a competition they're running! See below.

You know that I love Fatface. I was introduced to them on a blogger brunch shopping trip a couple of years ago and we have partnered, probably seasonally, since then. I was initially drawn to them because of their committment to sustainablility and their overall passion and authenticity as a brand but I've stuck around because I really have become so fond of the brand and the people behind the brand. When they reached out about this really cool competition they're running, I was like heck yeah, let's tell people about it... so let's get the deets, shall we?

Enter to Win!
Fatface has opened a slew of stores in the Northeaster United States and so this contest is for that market. I would most definitely travel to Newport, RI for the weekend getaway that Fatface has put together for one lucky winner- all you have to do? Is sign up for their email list. How easy right?

What you'll get: A weekend Break with Gurney's Resort, Dinner at Clarke Cooke House, a Rail Explorer's Experience and a $500 Fatface gift card to get you outfitted for the weekend away! You aren't going to regret winning this experience, that's for sure.

Me Wearing my newest Fatface duds

Enter to win by the end of August!

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Comcast Expands Internet Essentials!

*This post was created in collaboration with Comcast. All opinions are 100% my own.

I hopped on a conference call this week with Comcast NBCUniversal's Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, David L. Cohen. He wanted to let us know that Comcast is taking it's amazing Internet Essentials program and expanding eligibility for it. I hadn't heardabout this program before but am incredibly imporessed with Comcast's committment to finding ways to ensure that those affected by the digital divide in our country, are able to have reliable access to internet services.

So take for instance, households in Palo Alto of Bethesda, these are low poverty areas, and only about 6% of the population do not have access to broadband at home compared to those linging in Trenton NJ or Flint MI, where there are high pverty rates, nearly 60% of the population do not have consistent access to the internet. That gap of more than 50 points defines the digital divide in this country. The more broadband technology advances, the more the gap widens.  Think of all the things you're doing with the internet, reading this blog post, doing school work, filling out work applications, reading educational articles, searching for healthy recipes, etc and so on. These are things that I personally take for granted because I have a laptop and great internet service that I am able to afford.

To date, Comcast has connected more than 8 million low income Americans in their homes, most connected for the first time in their lives. With the support of schools, teachers, libraries, non profits, government officials and more, the Comcast Internet Essentials program is reaching more and more people each day.

The program's eligibility requirements are expanidng to include many new enhancements that offer more and more Americans the opportunities to get internet and at a good speed. On the call, someone asked about a very specific area of the country and David was extremely keyed into the area and committed to following up on areas that may need to be reached with the program. I was, like I said, incredibly impressed and am going to put info below on how you or someone you know can apply to the Internet Essentials program. Eligible participants receive free digital literacy training, Internet service for $9.95/month and the opportunity to buy a laptop for less than $150. To me, this could make all the difference for families and individuals throughout the country!

You can find everything you need to know on the Internet Essentials website or by calling 1-855-8-INTERNET which is their dedicated hotline. Seriously something to consider because they are really making the internet and technology accessible to those that need it the most.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Cultivating Real Relationships with Brands that Care

As I have navigated the ever changing blogosphere and now the influencer environment, I have found it to be more and more important to align myself with brands that want to work with me for the right reasons and brands that help me represent what it is that is important to me as a human being of this Earth. I am a small beans type of blogger but I still get a boatload of emails with people wanting to send things or working with me for some reason or another. I am fairly good at weeding out what won't work for me or doesn't seem like a good fit but I think that I am even better at sustaining relationships with amazing brands that speak to me and appeal to my community of like minded people. There may be different reasons that I choose to work with someone but I always want to feel like it's a good fit for both parties. I am just going to shout out to some of the best and most sustained I've worked with because I can and I want to and they deserve it!

Wearing Liverpool Jeans, FatFace Top and Toms Shoes

When I set out to do my #OwnYourBodBabe day this past May, I wanted to make it special. As someone who has been blogging for over 9 years, I have had my fair share of free stuff but what I always want to do is to share in this journey and the fun stuff involved, whenever possible. I reached out to a few brands and had hopes of doing a couple of cool things but one of the most unexpected surprises was Liverpool Jeans not only hopping on board, but doing so really enthusiastically. For anyone who is out in the blogging world, you know how hard it can be to pitch ideas to potential partners. And if you aren't in the blogging world, I'll just say that you have to be really clear and precise about what you want to achieve when asking a brand to work with you on a project. With Liverpool Jeans, I described the #OwnYourBodBabe movement, and they absolutely loved it. They gave jeans to three OYBB participants (and me too!) with no asks or requirements, they just wanted to be involved! I look fantastic in their jeans and you would too, they offer an expanded size range to serve women of more sizes. Check out Liverpool Jeans today!

Own Your Bod, Babe was also supported by Follain, who donated an amazing set of their branded beauty products. I have worked with Follain in the past off and on and feel like I've had a great relationship with them over the years so to have them support me in OYBB, it was really great! For someone who was just willing to share a piece of themselves, they were able to also add a little selfcare. Again, another brand that jumped on board with a cause with nothing in it but to support me and a project I was working on! There are tons of other small beauty brands that have been amazing to Prim and Propah, so I should probably do a separate post for them but some that come to mind are Thesis Beauty, True Moringa, Erin's Faces, Organic Bath Co. and SaltyGirl Beauty, all of which I have met the owners/creators so feel super connected to them!

Wearing Crane and Lion

Along the same lines of owning your body, Crane and Lion has supported me in the past year or so, ever since I (a little abruptly) told their social media person that I'd like to see more images of people of different sizes. So they suggested that I wear Crane and Lion so I not only got to learn about a new brand, I got to show that this body is not only made to wear athleisure, it can look good in it too. This was the beginning of a great relationship with people from the brand and I am sure it will continue into the future. They are great people who create really quality clothes. I hope that they love working with me as much as I do them. I can't help but connect with people on the other end of emails. It's just in my dna apparently.
Wearing Peach
Peach and I have been committed to one another for two years this holiday season. They are a really great brand that just supports women, uplifts women, and creates amazing clothes for women. For example, I am considered an ambassador and with a lot of brands, I would assume, it's a pretty perfunctory business like relationship but not with Peach. They treat us, and their stylists, like a big family. They have invited us to take part in fashion shows, personal development seminars, Giving Back initiatives and more. Just to let you know, that's not the norm. It's pretty special. They genuinely care and that's the biggest reason I love working with them... and I have to say that all that aside, I wear Peach literally all the time. Comfy but cool, quality clothes will always be my thing.

I often visit a property here in Massachusetts called Marketstreet in Lynnfield, it's a fun place to spend the better part of a day shopping and there are two places that I ALWAYS stop at, Pia's and FatFace. Pia owns the most beautiful little shop with gorgeous decor and the most delightful selection of pretty clothes. The boys and I always stop in for some marshmellows she has on hand for guests and I usually pick something up (like this BB Dakota tee). She is so kind and really, I kid you not, we have become friends and all through blogging! She's an amazingly thoughtful and welcoming spirit. After visiting Pia, I usually hit FatFace, a UK based clothing store that creates really special clothing and cares a TON about making them in an ethical and sustainable way. They like what I do and I certainly like what they do, so we have been working together seasonally for a couple of years now and I love it. I know what I am getting with them and they know that I'll provide quality content that is a return on investment.

When I started this blog post, I was like Oh, I'll just highlight the brands that I really love but once I got started, it became apparent that I really do genuinely enjoy working with a lot the brands that I do. On my end, I am always striving to be professional but friendly, authentic while ensuring that I am trying to help each brand achieve its goals. On their end, a friendly, appreciative attittude always makes me want to continue working with them. As I have said many times over the past few years, it's all about creating a mutally beneficial relationship but moreover, creating something that is really aligned with my values, has become more and more important.

Has this been a fun forray into the blogging world? I feel like to people who don't "influence", it might seem like a foreign environment!

Friday, August 2, 2019

Medterra and Me!

*This post was created in collaboration with MedTerra and Moms Meet. All opinions are my own.

If you know me, you know that I am very much a believer in the power of CBD products in various forms. I've been using CBD oil for at least a year now and I definitely notice that it helps mitigate some of my base level anxiety. Because of this, I have recommended that friends and family try CBD because, in my opinion, it is a worthwhile suppliment to give a try, especially if you're like me and don't want to have to take something prescribed for anxiety, insomnia or the like. If you want to read a "what is CBD and what it's used for", this article from Harvard Medical School gives a quick overview that is informative and straight forward. I had never tried a tincture before so I used the MedTerra in my normal routine in place of the CBD oil that I usually use.... and I gotta say, the tincture is GREAT!

I find that this suppliment was just as good if not better at calming my tendencies to feel a bit anxious. I don't know if it's easy to explain my anxiety itself, especially to those that don't suffer from it at any level, but to reduce it to one sentence, I suffer an anxiety attack probably once every two-three years but usually, I am a constant worrier, like too much worry. The tincture strength MedTerra sent me was certainly a good one for me (1000mg) but it also comes in a lower and a higher dosage for those wanting to regulate more.

So now you're interested if it's something that could help you with worry or sleepless nights or maybe even joint pain? The Medterra products pass the test for quality as far as CBD products go. Grown and extracted in the USA, the Medterra quality CBD is fully compliant under the Kentucky Department of Agricultural Industrial Hemp Pilot Program and they are certified by the U.S. Hemp Authority. Their whole-plant, CO2 extraction allows them to draw CBD from the plant material and filter out unnatural substances, maximizing pure CBD concentration. Their CBD products are third-party tested, completely legal, contain 0% THC and so they are able to ship them to all 50 states and most international countries.

If you're looking to try CBD products, make sure you do your research and might even want to consult your physician just to ensure that you're in the right health to try a new suppliment. I asked my doctor and she said that it's not approved by the FDA as it's a suppliment but she didn't see any issues with me giving it a try. You want to take your health seriously and make educated decisions. That said, I do like the Medterra products and if you're looking for something for you or even your pets (yes, pets!) then you can use the discount provided below. Let me know what you think!

Use promo code MomsMeet to save 15% off your first Medterra order by clicking here!