Friday, July 19, 2013

New Stuff...Saucony, Two Moms in the Raw, Click, and X1 for Women

To say that the last couple of days have been good mail days is an understatement. 

Thanks to  Grace @ How I Complicated  My Life Today, I took advantage of FREE shipping at and scored a new sports bra, $7 running shorts, and a new tank.  The sportsbra is too big :( but the shorts and tank fit...I'll give them a run-thru tomorrow and let you know what I think.  
Love, love, love getting good deals on stuff I buy anyway.

I've been trying out protein powders and supplements a little at a time...I've tried Muscle Milk (delicious but way too much sugar for me) EAS lite (tastes pretty good, but the powder is HORRIBLE), and those gels...yick, yuck, blah.  
Several of the lady runners I follow are "Clickers" (including SkinnyRunner), and it seems to me that coffee lovers would be Clickers and Clickers would be coffee lovers...if that makes any sense...I just made up that word btw.  I love surely I'll love Click! 
Are you still with me?
I've already bought an entire box of EAS protein powder only to find out after the first pouch that I hated it!  Might as well have thrown that money into the toilet :(  While I'm not the most frugal person in the world (that would be my husband), I don't get a thrill out of throwing money away either.  
On the Click site, you can order the regular size products or you can give each flavor a try in these single serving samples. WIN!  
I have Mocha, Vanilla Latte, and a Decaf sample for $2.95.  

Ear buds are a popular commodity at our house.  Unfortunately, that means someone is always stealing someone else's earbuds  (chargers too...but that has nothing to do with this purchase)
I saw these particular ear buds, the Women's X-1 Momentum earbuds in Women's Running magazine a month or so ago and had to have have no idea how much they have my name written all over them :P  
I am not a morning runner...Layla and I wait until the sun goes down to hit the streets in our neighborhood.  She has a vest, but it's so hot, I hate to make her wear it.  I try to make sure everything I wear, her leash, etc have at least some reflective you see that these headphones light up??  
Oh my...I cannot wait to give these a go!!
The icing on top of this cake is that my earbuds no longer look just like everybody else's :):) 

I stumbled on this last product just yesterday.  On our way to the farmers' market, we stopped by Starbucks for a skinny latte for me and 2 Double Chocolate Chip Frappacinos for the daughters.  I'm a coffee lover so I'm never tempted by the sugary, syrupy, overloaded with whipped cream concoctions there...but I am tempted by their Banana Walnut Bread.  Sometimes I can't resist, but I was determined not to cave yesterday.  While we were ordering, I looked down and saw these:

I bought the Blueberry Granola Bar and the Gogi-berry Granola Bar and put them in my purse for later.  Later came as we purchased school supplies at Office Depot.  I had eaten a good breakfast, lunch and even a snack, but the dinner hour was approaching and I was beginning to get hungry, not to mention that my stress level was out of the roof at that point.  

Have you priced school supplies lately??
Did you realize summer was coming to an end?

I realized it standing in the middle of Office Depot today and started eyeing the Twixs, Peanut M&Ms, and Hershey Bars with almonds.  
Thankfully, I remembered I had these in my purse.  I pulled out the Blueberry Granola Bar right there in Office Depot and started munching while two of my daughters ran around the store gathering up more items for my buggy and checking them off the list.  

My 9 year old wanted to open the Gogi-berry Granola Bar while we were waiting on our food at Sweet Pepper's so I only got a couple of bites of was just as good as the Blueberry...look at all those whole nuts. These bars have just the right crunchiness and chewiness and just a hint of sweetener.  Really, really good.  I will be buying more of these to have around for snacks.  

Go see these ladies at Two Moms in the Raw
Their story is really inspiring :)
They have other products on their website as well, including cereal, crackers, truffles, and nut bars.  I'll be placing my order soon and will let you know what I think of the other products. 

Just so you know, I don't know anyone from any of these companies. 
 I purchased these products with my own money bc I'm 44 and I wanted to :P 
I enjoy reading other bloggers' posts about things on the market they've purchased and loved, so I'm just sharing the love :) 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

City of Hope by Kate Kerrigan - TLC Book Tours Review

City of Hope by Kate Kerrigan
Wm. Morrow, 2013

Source? the publisher via TLC Book Tours
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of City of Hope from the publisher.  However, the review below and the opinions therein are my own and offered without bias.

Format? paperback
Cover? I liked it...I'm a sucker for an old timey cover and this one drew me in immediately.
Title? not sure...which city?

Why? Ever since I visited Ireland 2 years ago, I've been interested in anything I can get my hands on to learn more about its history.  I'm an American history fanatic as well, so City of Hope was a no brainer for me.

What Now?
I'd like to back up and read Ellis Island which is the first part of Ellie and John's story before the third book Land of Dreams is published in the U.S. 

Golden Lines

The blood poured down my stockings as I left the red trail of our newest child behind me on the church tiles. (3)

"Open the coffin.  I want to see him! Open it now.  He's still alive, I know it.  John's not dead - not John, not my John!" (62)

On every street corner there were men selling apples and oranges, out of bags set on makeshift stalls of cardboard boxes, baby carriages and wheelbarrows.  Many of them seemed to be burly Irish men, the size of day laborers, their faces broken with the shame of selling oranges at a dime a time to pitying passerby - one step away from begging. (108)

I had come to New York to escape my own problems and I had not been expecting to be confronted with the problems of others. (110)

Bridie's sharp tongue, Maureen's faith in her own skills, Anna's reticence in her own and Nancy's childlike vulnerability were sources of irritation to all of us.  For myself, I knew that I kept above much of the everyday bickering and, as such, was often seen as cold and aloof.  However, each of us had a part to play in the successful running of one another's lives, so tolerance and endurance usually won out. (155)

I wondered how the cheeky young fellow's head would look if I boiled it and put it alongside the lump of bacon on the table (175)

"You think that by being with him, you can either bury John for good or bring John back, Ellie.  You can't run from grief, Ellie - it'll find you.  Believe me, I know. (195)

Life in the Bronx during the Depression was, I had discovered, all about survival, and if you wanted to survive, you had to negotiate. (221)

"The girl was in trouble when she got here, and she'll surely be in trouble again after too long.  What that happens, we can only pray she has enough sense to find her way back here.  In the meantime we have to look after this little chap - he's the innocent one." (265)

Nobody belongs to anyone.  Everyone dies or grows up and leaves.  It amounts to the same thing: you are on your own, so you had better know who you are and what you want. (320)

Short and Sweet Summary

Ellie leaves her Irish homeland and returns to New York after her husband John unexpectedly dies.  She finds that the New York of her past, the New York that almost took her away from John once before, is not the same and she must find a way to re-invent herself in order to truly figure out exactly who she is and her purpose in life without John.  

What I Liked

The interesting and ironic complexities of life in Ireland and the United States before and after the Irish Civil War as well as The Great Depression.  Irish families who left their home country for America, fearing for their family's lives, found themselves thrown back into poverty after experiencing prosperity for a while.  Ellie travels back and forth during these times, and I couldn't help but get caught up in the politics.  

the fight of the common man trying to keep his head above water in the United States with Roosevelt's New Deal politics, the formation of unions, and a mob run city...and especially the intermingling of all.

Bridie - what a character...on the surface a grumpy old woman...but deep down the best of the bunch.  Loyal, honest, outspoken, talented and practical. She reminded me of the Mrs. Pattmore character in Downton Abbey. My favorite Bridie episode is when they meet Frank Delaney when he comes looking for the mobster Dingus...who knew Bridie had that much guts??  LOVED it!

Matt - the good guy.  That's all I can say.

What I Didn't Like

Ellie - I had a hard time getting on board with Ellie at first.  I couldn't help but think of her as selfish...her husband had already waited on her for 3 years while she ran away, the first year to earn money for him but after that?  Then, she came home and was still not satisfied.  It just felt as if all Ellie thought about was herself...nevermind that her actions and her life affected others as well. She leaves Ireland before her husband is in the ground, checks into the Plaza and goes shopping on Fifth Avenue, looking down her nose at families suffering from The Great Depression.  It took about 100 pages to realize she might be a worthy character after all.  

Sheila - I never understand how Sheila and Ellie were friends.  Of course, I'm glad they were after all things transpired but still.  I wanted to slap Sheila on more than one occasion.

Charles - it will be interesting to see what role Charles plays, if any, in Ellis Island.  

Overall Recommendation

If you're in the least bit interested in this time period and the overlap of Irish history with that of America, you'll like this book.  Give Ellie a chance really did take me a while to warm up to her.  By the end, my chest hurt and I thought I was going to cry.  We don't always get what we think we're supposed to have.  Sometimes life gets in the way.  That's what kind of story this is.  

The Author

Other Stops on the Tour

Tuesday, June 25th: bookchickdi
Wednesday, June 26th: Books in the City
Wednesday, June 26th: Peeking Between the Pages
Monday, July 1st: A Book Geek
Monday, July 1st: Diary of an Eccentric
Wednesday, July 3rd: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thursday, July 4th: 2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews
Monday, July 8th: Dwell in Possibility
Tuesday, July 16th: Peppermint PhD
Monday, July 22nd: Becca’s Byline
Tuesday, July 23rd: The House of the Seven Tails
Tuesday, July 24th: Tina’s Book Reviews
Thursday, July 25th: The Maiden’s Court

Monday, July 15, 2013

Running Re-Cap and The Color Run, Jackson MS

I'm going to try and post a re-cap of my previous week's running/exercise on Mondays from now on.  I enjoy reading other runners' re-caps, and I love the idea of having a log or journal...just like I do with the books I read :) 
Last week was a milestone running week for me bc it was the first week "back on the streets" after my hoo-hah surgery...that's sounds pretty shady, doesn't it? :P 
You're more than welcome to back up and read about my hoo-hah surgery and my Iphone snafu involving my hoo-hah if you so choose (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) , but it's time for the rest of us to move on :) 

Monday - post surgery - Day 1 - 1.13 miles with Layla on leash.  I ran/mostly walked bc more than anything I wasn't sure what would hurt and what wouldn't.  Layla wasn't happy about being on leash either so I'm sure that added to my stress...which added to mine...which added to hers...
I was disappointed to say the least...I was winded and light headed after 1 mile.  :( Boo!
Plank - 1:05

Tuesday - post surgery - Day 2 - 2.30 miles with Layla on leash.  I walked the first mile so Layla would remember our new routine.  Then, I made up my mind to run the 2nd mile at a steady pace, my only goal being to run it without stopping.  Not only did I run the mile but I logged my best time :/ My best time is still slow but who'da thunk it??
12:17 mile
Mowed the backyard with Aunt Bea
Plank - 1:10
Arms - 1 set of 10

Wednesday - post surgery - Day 3 - 3.22 miles with Layla on leash.  I walked the first two miles at a pretty easy pace.  My legs and hips were sore this morning so I really planned on taking it easy.  I ran the 1/2 mile just to get my heart rate up, and boy did I ever. Walked the last 1/2 mile +
Really sore (all over) after, and Kara Goucher reminded me at the end of my run that I had run 3 days in a row.  Tomorrow and Friday, I'll do something different to rest before The Color Run on Saturday...not sure what yet though. I have a couple of DVDs I might try :(
Arms - 2 sets of 10

Thursday - my muscles were screaming, similar to what happened when I first started running.  I decided whether I like it or not, I needed to take a day off.  I didn't even walk the dog today.  Poor Layla :(

Friday - we traveled to Jackson for The Color Run, visited with my dad, checked into our hotel, met my mom for dinner and turned in early.  The race time was changed to 7 a.m. instead of 8 because of the heat so we knew we'd be getting up VERY early.
The very nice server at Primo's in Jackson, Mississippi took this photo of my girls and me with my dad.  he brought us all those Mississippi State caps.

Saturday - The Color Run!! In case you've never participated in a Color Run, the race itself isn't timed.  It's actually a laid back run, which at times isn't really a run since there are so many people.  You can find more info here if you're so inclined.

To say the least, this is a fun experience everyone should participate in at least once.  Even  though the race isn't timed, my oldest daughter and I fired up our Nike Run apps just in case.  She's mega competitive like her dad and I'm more competitive with running than I've ever been about anything in my life :p Seriously!
 Anyhoo, 3,000 people were signed up for this run, so we decided the oldest and I would run together and my mom, my middle daughter and the youngest would walk and stay together.
 My "run" lasted about 5 minutes.  My lungs were burning and I just decided to walk.  I told the oldest to keep running and wait at the finish and that I would walk on.  I eventually caught up with some friends of ours who were in the wave right in front of us, but I was too far ahead of my trio to wait for them.  I slowed down and leisurely walked with our friends until we could see the finish line and then I let them go on ahead while I backtracked up the last hill to walk the finish line with the 3 we left behind.
My Nike app messed up somehow anyway and only logged 1 1/2 miles for some reason, so it was nice to just relax and have fun with the family :)

Here are a few photos from the day:



I have lots more pics on my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram if you'd like to join me there :) 
We had a BLAST!!!!