Sunday, June 28, 2015

Healthy & Gluten-free snacking and fueling! NoGii Gluten-Free Protein Bars, Powder and Paleo Bar review....love them!

I was lucky enough to have Moms Meet send me a huge package of NoGii entire line of products, including the book, The G Free Diet and a fabulous shirt as well. I felt so spoiled opening up this package and seeing how generous and how many awesome products that were included.

Awesome sample swag pack!
NoGii is a line of certified gluten-free protein bars, protein powders, and paleo bars created by Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Made from high quality and sustainably sourced premium ingredients, all products have an ideal balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates and do not contain high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, or hydrogenated oils. They're a perfect way to get a punch of protein and quick, clean fuel for an on-the-go and active lifestyle. 

The package contained a TON of protein bars, which was the first thing that I wanted to try. I love having protein bars on hand because it's a perfect way to fuel pre or post-workout, especially when short on time or leading a busy lifestyle. There were many different flavors to choose from and also a choice of high protein and super protein bars. The high protein bars range from 17 to 20 grams of protein per bar and are under 250 calories so perfect for a snack or energy boost. The super protein bars had 26 to 30 grams of protein in each single bar! Talk about a protein punch!  The super protein bars are about 400 calories a piece so on the higher end for calories. I actually usually just eat half a bar at a time to keep it around my 200-250 calorie snack goal. I definitely keep one of these bars in all my different bags (purse, diaper bag, yoga bag) and car for quick and healthier snack.

I reached for the chocolate coconut flavor (a high protein bar) first and it was AMAZING! This flavor was by far my favorite one and they didn't last too long in our house (my husband was pretty excited to give these a try too).  To be honest, all the flavors that I have tried were all great tasting and none tasted chalky or dry like some other competitors. I liked that they were chewy and weren't overly sweet to me. Having all natural ingredients (that you can actually pronounce) was a huge bonus and made me feel better about what I was eating. 

Definitely my favorite flavor! 
Also included was paleo bars. I've never seen paleo bars made by a manufacturer before (always see recipes to make your own on Pinterest). These bars are made with all natural ingredients (main ingredients are nuts, dates, honey, and fruits). They have a lower protein content compared to their other products, but they taste great and offer a lot of healthy fats and vitamins from the nuts and fruit in the bars. My favorite was the Nuts About Berries flavor. The tartness from the cherries was nicely balanced by the nuttiness. 

I also received a 2 pound jug of the vanilla Whey and Quinoa Protein Powder. I've had several different brands of protein powder in the past, but none that contained quinoa as well. Quinoa is an amino-acid rich seed that contains more protein than any other grain, and is higher in unsaturated fats and lower in carbohydrates. I'm very reluctant when it comes to protein powders because I feel like most taste pretty terrible. I reluctantly added this to my strawberry banana smoothie and was pleasantly surprised as I loved the addition. It tasted great and added a smooth vanilla flavor to my smoothie. Two scoops of powder (a serving) contains 20 grams of protein, 160 calories, 5 grams of sugar and a ton of fiber (7 grams or 28% of your daily value).

Awesome in smoothies!
Even my toddler loved it!
Overall, I was really pleased with all of these products and would recommend them to anyone trying to lead a clean eating or gluten-free diet. They tasted great, the nutritional facts were on point and they provided a quick and easy source of protein. The only downside to the products that I could find was that they were a bit above my preferred price range (for example, NoGii’s High Protein Peanut Butter & Chocolate Bar retails for $2.50 to $2.99 for one 1.93oz bar). 

If you're interested in learning more about NoGii's product line be sure to visit their website at www.nogii.com and check out their Facebook page as well. 


I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product. If interested in participating in review panels and other opportunities, join the Moms Meet community at greenmomsmeet.com 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Xlear Care Kit Review - Dental & Nasal Care Products with All-Natural Xylitol #momsmeet

I was selected as one of the Moms Meet Bloggers to be able to recieve a Xlear Care Kit to try and review. The Xlear Care Kit contained several different dental and nasal care products that contain xylitol, a naturally occurring sweetener. According to Xlear, Xylitol has been shown to help the body's naturally cleaning process to clear away allergens, asthmatic triggers and other harmful bacteria. It is also one of the newest, easiest and tastiest ways for people to improve oral health. Research has been found that xylitol use may reduce tooth decay.

Lots of great products to try!
The dental health products that came in my Xlear Care kit were:

  • Spry Toothpaste Non-Fluoride - The toothpaste has a fresh taste that left your mouth feeling clean and breath feeling fresh. The toothpaste was a bit different than other toothpaste because it didn't foam as much as others, but still provided a good clean. The toothpaste contains 1/3 xylitol which provides 20-25% of the daily dose recommended for health benefits. The xylitol also increase absorption of minerals into the enamel of teeth providing increased protection.
  • Spry Oral Rinse (with awesome wood toothbrush) - I really liked this rinse because it didn't burn like other brands of mouthwash. It left my mouth feeling clean and minty. Interestingly, it uses a mix of natural flavorings and herbal extracts such as aloe vera, chamomile, and echinacea to help soothe irritated mouth tissues. The wooden toothbrush is really nifty too and my toddler definitely claimed it as his own. 

  • Spry Gum - I received the peppermint flavor gum to try and it has a great. lasting flavor. I feel like the gum retained flavor better than most competitors gum varieties and was great for a midday breath freshener. 
  • Spry Gems - These breath freshening "candies" are sugar free and use xylitol for sweetening, along with natural flavors. The xylitol is combined with calcium to provide an enhanced, balanced formula for increased dental health. I was able to try the peppermint and cinnamon varieties (my favorite was peppermint, but the cinnamon was great as well).

The nasal care product included in this kit was the Xlear Nasal Spray. According to Xlear, this nasal spray combines the use of saline and xylitol to alleviate congestion due to allergies, cold, flu and sinusitis. The addition of xylitol to a saline nasal spray has been shown to decrease bacterial adherence in the nose, therefore decreasing chances of irritation and infection. This spray is to be used twice a day to hydrate the sinuses and passages and to also help rinse the nasal passages of allergens and contaminants that can occasionally lead to respiratory ailments & problems. Unlike some other nasal sprays, long term use of this product doesn't lead to tissue damage.

I was only able to give this product a try a few times. I have a really hard time with nasal sprays and personally hate the sensation of them. The few times I used it were after I had been out in the garden and thought it may help clear away some allergens. I'm not entirely sure that it made a difference for me, but I didn't notice anything being worse than normal after similar conditions. My husband will likely use this, as he tends to have more nasal issues than myself.



If you're interested in these products, Xlear is offering a specials for my readers. You can now purchase the kit (valued at $65) for only $25 by using the code SAVE50. Visit Xlear to order.

Overall, I thought the products were good, but nothing really stood out. My favorites were the rinse, gum and gems for the reasons stated above. The other products didn't stand out enough for me to really pick them over lower priced competitors. I am curious to read more about xylitol and it's therapeutic use as a health care product and the health claims to see if there are any scientific studies on it.


Do you use many products containing xylitol? 

I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product. 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

12 Tips for a Safe & Stress-Free Stroller Run! #StrollerRun15

Being a stay at home mom, there are many days that it can be really difficult to get a workout in. I often take advantage of nap time for a quick yoga session or HIIT, but some days there are other chores/errands/etcetera that need to be done during that time. I'm thankful enough that I was generously gifted a wonderful jogging stroller and I LOVE IT!

It's so convenient being able to pop our toddler in and go. We both love being able to get some fresh air, it can lull him to sleep if need be, stimulates his senses, allows me to get a good sweat session in and allows each of us to zen out for a bit. I'm thankful that he really digs being in his stroller (the faster we run, the better), but there are definitely steps that I take that can make it much smoother of a run.

Below are a few tips for making your stroller runs smooth and tear-free!
  1. SNACKS! - I always make sure to have snacks on hand for our son. If he starts to get a little antsy, giving him some yummy fish crackers, fruit or raisins to nosh on can completely allow me to get another mile or two in. 
  2. DRINKS! - Make sure to pack drinks for both of you! A lot of the time I'm so busy getting his stuff together, that I forget my own drink. DOh! There's been a time or two where his sippy cup definitely came in handy for me as well. Lol. 
  3. DRESS APPROPRIATE - I get super hot quickly, so I always wear lots of layers. Make sure to do the same for your kiddo. Remember, while you might be hot, your child could be cooler since he's not expending very much energy while sitting there are you run (plus the wind from movement can add a chill). I always keep a light blanket in his stroller for additional warmth or sun coverage. A hat to shield your child's face is a must too for sunny days. Don't forget bright colors and reflectors on clothing as well. 
  4. SUNSCREEN - Use it and use it liberally. I always lather both of us up a half hour before heading out the door to make sure to have full protection. 
  5. ID - Always carry ID. You never know when you might need it or in case of emergency. I usually keep $10 in my stroller too, just in case.
  6. ATTACHED TOYS - We have toys that are always in the stroller and attached via links. No one wants to have to backtrack when a favorite toy is thrown out and also it prevents potential trips and falls. 
  7. WRIST STRAP! - I cannot stress this enough, use the wrist strap that comes with your jogging stroller. If you don't have one, get one ASAP. Using the straps ensures that if you were to fall or lose grip of the stroller that you child and stroller don't go flying down a hill, ravine, into water and so on. I've read tragic stories of parents losing control of strollers with dire consequences. It's not worth it and gives you additional peace of mind. This story solidified it for me. PLEASE, use one. Accidents happen.  
  8. BRAKES/LEVERS - If you need to stop, use the back brakes or levers so that the stroller doesn't roll off with your precious cargo.
  9. RUNNING FORM - Be aware of your running form. It can take some time and practice to get used to running with a stroller. Your gait changes and arms are actively being used. Run tall, don't slouch and alternate what arm you use to hold the handle.
  10. SCHEDULE WISELY - Don't go during your child's fussy times (before meals, while tired unless you want them to nap while you run). 
  11. 5 POINT HARNESS - I highly recommend a stroller with a 5 point harness. They protect your child better in case of a quick stop.
  12. AGE - Be aware of what age is safe for your child to ride in a jogging stroller. Most professionals warn against jogging with a stroller before 6 months of age (some even 12 months). While young, their neck muscles are not strong enough to support their heads and for the potential jarring motions during a run.
May 31st, is National Stroller Running Day! If you don't have a jogging stroller and are looking to purchase one, now is a great time to do so since many companies (BOB gear definitely is and their strollers rock!) are offering amazing promotions in celebration. 

For more information on National Stroller Running Day check out Moms Little Running Buddy! Also, be sure to tag your photos on Instagram with #StrollerRun15

Do you plan on getting out and running this National Stroller Running Day? 
Do you have tips for a great stroller run? 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Surprise Yoga Love Swag from Lululemon...My Lucky Day!

I feel like this week has been a mini Christmas with all the goodies that have shown up at my house. I've recently signed up with a few blogger ambassador programs and cannot believe the generosity of the companies and the awesome products they have sent. You guys will likely hear about a lot of these products in the upcoming weeks but today I just wanted to send a special shout out to Lululemon and their awesome social media team.

As some of you know, I'm a pretty avid Twitter user (say hi!) and often use the platform to get ideas and recommendations on products. I randomly tweeted out to the twitter-sphere asking for recommendations on a new yoga mat since I've been looking to upgrade now that my practice has become more serious. Several minutes later I receive this response from Lululemon:


Definitely intrigued, I quickly respond to be asked for my size, address and being told I was receiving a surprise! Not even 24 hours later, these beauties showed up on my doorstep:

Love the colors!
Sticky & thick....love it so far! 
LOVE! This was the exact mat I had been looking at as it's suppose to be a great option for hot yoga since it's extra sticky and absorbs sweat (I'm laying in a puddle after being in class 30 minutes). I can't wait to give this a try next week at class and have already had a few short practice sessions on my own at home. I'll definitely let you know what I think after a few classes. The shirt is super comfy too. Loose, breathable and will be fabulous for yoga or long runs this hot summer.

I just thought it was a pretty amazing response from what seems to be a pretty cool company and I'm definitely feeling pretty lucky and grateful. They've definitely caught my attention as a consumer and I'll remember them more in the future for athletic purchases.

A little deck yoga action for the #MayIBeginYoga2015 challenge
Even little man is into it. 
The giving spirit caught after this too. I had a large bag of clothes that I had been meaning to sell (through online facebook re-sell groups), but decided I'd give them away instead since I've received some great goodies lately. Feels good to clean house and help some others out as well.

This is in no way sponsored...just my personal experience and wanting to share what I consider an awesome surprise. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

E-Cloth Eye Cleansing Pad Review & Giveaway!

E-cloth was wonderful enough to provide me with their eye cleansing pad to review AND host a giveaway to my readers as well.

The e-cloth Cleansing Pad has soft, fine weave fibers that gently removes eye makeup from your eye area without being harsh, intense scrubbing or with the use of other chemicals. Interaction of the super fine cleansing fibers paired with a a little soap and water provides a rich lather that easily removes makeup, oil and other impurities from your skin. And one of the best parts? No harsh chemicals are used!!
Soft and finely woven fibers provide a rich lather and gentle cleanse. 


I'll be honest, when I first received this product I was skeptical that it would work well. I wear a lot of eye makeup, including under eye concealer, mascara, eye liner and eye shadow. When I first opened the product I was impressed by how soft the material was as I'm used to using a more rough washcloth to wash my face to remove all my makeup. I first used it with water and was surprised how much makeup it was able to remove without the use of a cleanser. I added a small amount of cleanser to remove the remaining makeup and it easily came off without having to scrub hard. I definitely loved that I didn't have to rub vigorously (much less irritation and redness) to remove eye makeup, as I usually do with a washcloth and that I didn't have to use additional makeup removers or disposable cleansing wipes. I felt like my eyes were cleaner than they normally get and had no residue makeup leftover.

Another great thing about this product is that it's reusable. It can be washed in hot water with detergent alongside your other laundry for up to 300 washes so there is also less waste (compared to disposable wipes) and a more economical option.

If interested in learning more follow them on their social media outlets below and be sure to sign up for their email list for special promotions.

  Website: www.ecloth.com
  Facebook: www.facebook.com/eclothUSA
  Twitter: @eclothUSA
  Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/eclothUSA
  Instagram: @eclothUSA
  YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/eclothCleaning

To win one for yourself (or as a gift), follow the prompts below (US residents only):

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I did receive this product complimentary, however I do give my honest opinion - the good, the bad, and the fabulous.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Running season has begun! Tri to Finish's Cinco de Mayo 5k & 10k run race recap!

This Saturday was our first 5k of the year and it was a perfect day to start the season! We woke up to a bright and warm morning (which has been an oddity here until recently), got ready, dropped the kiddo off at his grandparents and made our way to Flint to Swartz Creek Golf Course to pick up our bib and race swag for the Tri To Finish Cinco de Mayo 5k.

Registration went quick and I loved this years shirts too! Soft cotton blend and a women's fit so this is a shirt I'll most likely be wearing pretty often. Anymore, my "mom" wardrobe consists of race shirts and tanks. Lol. We also received sombreros, a few product samples in the race bag and Redbox vouchers (perfect for lazy evenings after race days). I also ran into an old college friend, who was working on the timing of the race, so it was nice to catch up real quick.

Once we were all set we headed to the starting line, which was about a 1/4 walk (a nice warm-up) and got our positions. Ryan and I were both feeling a bit sluggish that morning (no coffee!) so we were trying to amp ourselves up for the run since we both wanted to at least beat our times from last year and I really wanted to place in my age bracket. I don't think that either of us were feeling super confident going into the race since we hadn't really ran all that much the past month (all my runs had been short or easy runs since it was before or after yoga). We made our way to the front of the crowd since we didn't want to get stuck behind walkers and having to dodge our way through. We joked that this would be the first time in our lives that we'd ever be following the lead bike.

Pre-race
The race began and we both worked into getting into our cadence. Ryan darted ahead (wayyyy faster than me) and I paced myself with a girl that looked like she was in my age group. I'm terrible with pacing myself so I always look for another racer to follow and hopefully surpass (anyone else do this?). The race course is an out and back and is full of a ton of climbs and declines and through a residential neighborhood and it's actually part of the CRIM course (you pass the 7 mile marker on the course). Hilly courses are my favorite, despite the fact that they kill me. I felt pretty good until mile 2 when i started getting stitches and had to walk a few seconds. :(  I came around the final bend and saw that I was going to be cutting it close to the 27 minute mark and just missed it (darn those stitches!)! Oh well, I was still pumped about my finish since I hadn't trained much and it was fast than prior races.


One of the things I love the most about this race is that everyone get's finisher medals. I'm always really bummed when I find out that a race doesn't give a medal. Also, everyone gets race photos too,  without paying for them and the normal ridiculous photo fees! There was also an after-party with Mexican breakfast foods (eggs & chorizo, beans, tortillas, bananas, apples, etc) from Rico's. I love the atmosphere at the Tri to Finish races. It's always a super friendly, happy and supportive group/community of runners, organizers and volunteers. I actually ended up exchanging info with the runner I was pacing so hopefully we can get together for some runs/races in the future as well.

Post-race glow

Refueling with some mexican food!
Once we checked results, we found out that Ryan & I both placed first in our age groups! That was a first for both of us! I finished the 5k in 27:01 (1st place in 30-34 year group and 18/198 overall) and Ryan finished in 23:48 (1st in 25-29 age group and 8/198 overall --- I'm totally jealous of his pace!). It was definitely a great way to start the running season!

Speed demon!


Both gals were great! Third place ran the whole thing with her baby in a
 jogging stroller too (a tough run on that hilly course)!

Did you have any races this weekend or coming up soon?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Rolling into fitness: We're now a cycling family, toddler included!

Five years ago, my husband surprised me with a surprise anniversary trip to San Franscisco (awesome right? Major points to him). That was definitely one of my favorite destinations that we have been to and I really hope to visit again someday in the not so distant future. While there, we rented hybrid Trek bikes and it was the best decision that we made. Since we were there for a long weekend we wanted to see as much as we could in a short period of time and the bikes gave us the ability to do so. Riding bikes there reminded us so much of how freeing and fun it can be zooming around on bikes. San Francisco consists of hill after hill and provides an intense workout, whether walking or biking. We definitely got an intense workout everyday navigating those hills.


Anyways...that trip ignited our desire to have some bikes of our own and today we finally took the plunge and made the investment. Now that were settled in our home and Aiden is old enough to ride in a trailer, we felt like it was the perfect time. We bought 2 Schwinn hybrids, a tow behind bike trailer and helmets (must have!!) for everyone. I cannot wait to get out and cruise around (we still have to install the hitch and rack on the car to get them home).

A's styling ride. It's a Schwinn Echo Double Trailer.
Ryan's Schwinn Men's Suburban bike
My white beauty, a Schwinn Network 1.0 700c Hybrid bicycle
We're lucky enough to live near some pretty great trails with gorgeous scenery (Kensington in Milford, Indian Springs in White Lake and Holly Recreation are a few of my favorites) and I have a feeling that this year we will be checking out a lot more areas than ever before and these will be perfect for adventures during our trips up north this summer. I've thrown around the idea of trying out a triathlon or duathlon for years so maybe now that I have all the gear, I'll take the plunge. I just love that this adds another way to get out and be active as a family. Were so busy sometimes that I hate to take family time away by going and doing fitness endeavors on my own, so being able to do this as a family is a win-win for everyone. And as always, it's so important for your children to have a healthy, active role model in their life too so I really try emulate that sentiment for our son. 

Since it's been years since I've rode a bike consistently, I really need to familiarize myself with rules, laws and all the safety guidelines. AND I'm a bit nervous about the ride behind trailer and really, really hope that Aiden enjoys it. I'd hate to have this be a struggle each time we go out (plus, those trailers are expensive!). He loves going as fast as possible in the jogging stroller, so I'm hoping that that is a good sign. 

For those of you that bike often, any newbie or beginner tips? 

Anyone have any must-have jewels of wisdom for cycling with a toddler? 

Any Michigan cycling trails that we must check out?