Dec 31, 2015

Doing That Thing You Do: Twenty Fifteen Review

I decided it was time to take a look back at this past year. This is actually a post I was looking forward to writing, because when I thought about it, it was a pretty damn good year, now that I take a moment to stop and look at it. I've accomplished a lot, even if I didn't always hit my mark. Let's take a look at the year.

Running

I had a pretty good year running, even if it felt a little less busy when it came to races. Thanks in partial to my first challenge, some virtual races, and some fun runs with my daughter, I managed 11 races this year. I started the year with a 5K PR on the BRATS Frozen 5K, gritted my way through Rock n Roll DC with my sister when we were both undertrained, completed my first triathlon Memorial Day weekend where I also brought home my first age group award, and finally, completed my first multi-race challenge (and race for BibRave) where I PR'd my half marathon on the final day of the Runner's World Hat Trick. Finishing off the year racing with my daughter on New Years Eve for a 1K was the perfect finish to the racing year.


BibRave

My involvement with the BibRavePro program deserves it's own section in my year end wrap up. My first year as a BibRavePro has been HUGE!. I already mentioned my first race as a pro, the Runner's World Hat Trick Challenge. It was an all around awesome weekend, that I hope to repeat in the future. Where being a pro has really impacted me is right here on this blog. I've gotten the opportunity to try out a lot of great products, which has been a lot of fun but also has helped me with my blog. I've reviewed 11 products this year alone, with another 3 products currently being tested and reviews coming soon.

While I've really enjoyed what I've tested (and I've use most of it still on a regular basis) I feel like I have to pick some of my favorites. If you haven't read these, go check them out. First has to be my review of the Mizuno Wave Rider 18, including a fun little teaser video I made.


Next is one of my new favorite brands, Buff USA. Between the two reviews, I'm going to pick the UV Half Buff, because it has gotten so much use in my running and it has ponies pictures. How can you go wrong there? Of course, I also love the full Buff, and if you're looking for a belated Christmas present or a birthday gift for a certain blogger, might I suggest this one?


Rounding out the top 3 of my reviews would have to be my other new favorite brand, 2XU, with the 2XU Elite MCS Compression Tights. These were amazing and a huge part of my success to my Runner's World Hat Trick, in my opinion. I also reviewed these as my first video review, which was a cool step forward for me.


I'm so excited for being a BibRavePro in 2016 and can't wait to see what else I can share with you.

Team Nuun

It's been a really fun year being a member of Team Nuun. In addition to representing by simply doing what I enjoy and rehydrating plenty with Nuun, I've gotten to take part in some cool things as well. I ran in their first virtual race: Run Ride Hydrate. While that race was Team Nuun only, this year, they're putting on the Nuun Year Dash, which is open to everyone. I also got to be a part of their launch of a completely new product, Plus for Nuun. I used this to help my refueling during my Runner's World Hat Trick, and really liked how it worked for me. Plus, I've represented with some awesome Nuun gear, such as my tri kit or my running shirt.

Blog

All in all, this all has contributed to me having a really great year on my blog. I've written about some really great races I've experienced (and some not so great ones), lot's of amazing products, and some fun posts about my favorite place, Disney, in the Magical Mickey linkup. I feel like I'm almost getting the hang of this whole blog thing 2 years later. I've still got room to grow, but if I didn't, what fun would that be?

How was your running year? What was your favorite highlight of 2015?


Dec 28, 2015

DisneyIG - Disney Instagrams to Follow | #MagicalMickey

Welcome to another #MagicalMickey linkup. Things have been a little crazy around here with the holidays and work. Though I'm sure many of you know the feeling. It's been good, but the blog has taken the hit, because the time has to come from somewhere.


This week I thought I'd keep it simple. This week I'm going to share with you some accounts to follow on Instagram, to get some great Disney content. Some of them I know personally, some just have great pictures.

disney_dom

Disney Dom is the account of Dom Hunt, a cast member I know. He's not only is a fun guy, but puts up some great pictures featuring some Disney magic.


disneyworlddelights

Disney World Delights is the account of Giana Beverly Austin. She is a fantastic photographer that gets some amazing shots at the parks. You'll find pictures of the parades and shows that are hard to match.


disneyphoto_mg

Disney Photog MG is the account of Mike G, a WDW photographer who takes some great close up shots of the characters.


disneyphotosnapper

The last account I'm going to share with you is Disney Photo Snapper. He's a Disney fanatic who takes lots of great pictures. What I like about the account is there are a lot of pictures of the actual park, the Christmas lights, and the fireworks.

A photo posted by Disney Photo Snapper (@disneyphotosnapper) on

Do you follow any Disney accounts you love?


Onto the Linkup

Here are the guidelines:

The post just needs to be about anything Disney related. There have been posts on runDisney, on the parks and even on the Moms Panel, so just give it some Disney and count it.

New posts are fantastic, but for now, if you have a great old post you want to share, drop it on in.

Try to visit as many of the posts that you can as time allows. The point of this is to share and support each other.

If you're going to be a regular, please link back to the host posts. It's just good etiquette and frankly, that's how others will get to your fellow Disney lovers content. Without that link back, they can't find the linkup and therefore the other blogs. Help me help you.

You also have the option to add the linkup code to your post if you'd like. It is not required, just another option. If not, please follow the above link back guideline. Get the InLinkz code


Dec 25, 2015

Dec 23, 2015

Bulu Box December Unboxing Video | BibRavePro

Disclaimer: I received a 3 month subscription to Bulu Box to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador, tell them I sent you), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Subscription boxes are a very popular thing. I also think there are some very cool ones out there. I've gotten the opportunity to try one out for three months. I've received the first of my Bulu Box Weight Loss.


I've done this unboxing so you can see what I've received. To see what I think about what's in the box, follow me on Twitter and Instagram or come back here for the full review.


Do you subscribe to any boxes? How do you try new samples?


Dec 11, 2015

My Holiday Brand Wish List | #FridayFive

It's that time of year, that time when you'll see lots of posts of gift guides, wish lists, and 12 days of stuff. I'm not complaining, it's just a fact. Actually, I like it because I love discovering new things. This week's Friday Five linkup topic fits right in there. This week's topic is holiday wish list. When I started thinking, lots came to mind. But actually, when I looked at it, there were many things that were new items from particular brands that I love. Many of them are even brands I'm new to this past year. So instead of sharing just five gifts on this Friday Five, I'm going to share five brands.

1. Buff

Buff is one of the brands that is new to me this year but became a quick favorite. I first was introduced to them through the BibRavePro program, when I got an opportunity to review the UV Half Buff and then the Full Buff. I love both of my buffs. The half is perfect in the warm weather to cover enough without being too hot and my full is really paying for itself in the cooler weather. It's versatile in how it can be worn to cover the head, neck, face, or even all of the above. Now, while they can do a lot, Buff offer's a lot of more specialized options, like polar buffs, bandanas, hoodies, and gloves just to name a few. They even have your dog covered.

Now, if anyone's interested, my wish list includes a blue full buff for rocking with my Team Nuun gear and a polar buff for the winter. [images from buffusa.com]

2. Orange Mud

Orange Mud is a brand I found through some of my running friends, specifically Jeremy and Smitha, who I was seeing running with their HydraQuivers constantly. For my first half marathon, I had bought a hydration belt, that worked all right. It gave me what I needed, some extra hydration as well as a little room for some fueling, but it only stayed in place some of the time, the bottles never seemed to dry well and it was limited space, so I'd still need an armband for my phone. I kept seeing the HydraQuiver and it looked like the perfect solution for me, so I invested in the HydraQuiver Double Barrel over the summer. I could not be happier with my purchase. It stays in place fantastically, had a lot of room, and most importantly is comfortable. I actually plan to do a review on it in the near future because I really enjoy it that much. Since then, I've also had a chance to test their Transition & Seat Wrap as a BibRavePro and just recently received the HydraQuiver Vest Pack 1 to test (which I took out for a run this morning). Throughout all this, Orange Mud has become another of my favorites brands.

Currently, on my Orange Mud Wish List would be the gear quiver, for short runs to carry my phone, keys and whatever else I need, as well as two of their bags, the Modular Gym Bag and Messenger Bag. Of course, just like Buff, you really could just shop anywhere on their site and make me happy. [images from orangemud.com]


3. 2XU

Brand number 3 is another brand I've tested, 2XU. I had seen some of their products before I got to test the Elite MCS Compression Tights for BibRave, but I hadn't own any. I loved compression, so I was aware of their brand, but hadn't really used any outside of compression calf sleeves and socks. As my video review will attest to, man, that full leg compression makes for amazing recovery. This has led me look through their extensive collection, which includes all sorts of gear, from compression to arm sleeves to shirts, singlets, coats, and bags.

At the top of my 2XU wish list, you'll find the Hyoptik Jacket (which is from their high vis line), a tech singlet for the warmer months, and a pair of compression calf sleeves (BibRave orange, of course). [images from 2xu.com]


4. Nuun

Number 4 on my list is a brand that is my hydration of choice: Nuun. I love that it gives me a light solution to hydration. It adds flavor and electrolytes and the other necessities without sugar, helping keep my hydrated all year round as I work out (remember, even hydrate in winter). Their newest product, Plus for Nuun, is a great way to also get some fuel in with your hydration. You can read more on my blog from when it was first released this year. I'm also a huge fan of Nuun All Day, which is natural flavor and vitamins to add to water, which helped me cut out soda at work. I just don't like plain water all day, so it was a great help there. I love Nuun so much I applied to their ambassador program last year and was selected to join Team Nuun. In 2016, I'll be continuing on with Team Nuun, which I'm very excited about. They even have their own virtual race everyone can participate in coming up, the Nuun Year Dash.

Sticking with the patterns of three, on my Nuun wish list would be Nuun All Day, some Nuun Energy because i can always use some caffeine, and a new bottle to put all that Nuun in, like the miir bottle that also helps others in need get water. [images from nuun.com]


5. BibRave

Last on my list is the company behind what you heard often in the post, BibRavePro, which is the ambassador program for BibRave. Now, this isn't specifically about BibRave gear, though they do offer some OrangeIsTheNewFast BibRave gear, if you love the site and want to sport some orange. For the brand, I'm considering that my wish list would be to write more reviews on BibRave.com, which of course means you need to run said races. That's right, number five on my list is race entries, because who doesn't like them?

My BibRave wish list would be for the Potomac River Running 2016 Race Pass, which gives you entry into 4 different PRR races, the gift of runDisney, which yes IS a thing for 2016, and a new BibRave trucker, because mine has taken a beating already. [images from links above]


What's on your wish list? Do you have any brands that you love so much you could list 'anything from here'?

Linking Up

Check here for some links out to others sharing, staring with our three lovely hosts: CourtneyCynthia and Mar. Check their posts (Eat Pray Run DC, You Signed Up for What?! and Mar on the Run to see the full set of links). I will add some others, usually randomly, as I read them to share the love. Go visit and keep reading!

Our hosts:


Nov 30, 2015

WINNER - (Back)Beat Weight Gain Stress | BibRave and Plantronics Giveaway

Thanks to a team up of BibRave and Plantronics, I recently had the opportunity to give away a pair of Plantronics BackBeat FIT bluetooth headphones. I took part in a series of posts to help you beat the holiday stress. Read again to see how to beat the weight gain stress.


Without further ado, and not even a drum roll, your winner is Derek V! The winner was selected by Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you to all who entered and I hope that your holiday was free of stress.


Nov 29, 2015

Engineered for your Face: Rudy Rydon Review | BibRavePro

Disclaimer: I received the Rudy Rydon Carbonium sunglasses to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador, tell them I sent you), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

You may have seen my preview post about the newest sunglass I've been testing, the Rudy Carbonium sunglasses. I previously tested the XX2i France1 Sunglasses, which I loved. I shared with you my initial impressions ahead of the bibchat, which was all favorable. I've gotten to spend some more time with them, and give a more full rounded picture.

Who is Rudy Project?

Rudy Project is the creation of Rudy Barbazza with the purpose to "improve the performance of athletes all over the world". They do research into advanced materials and technologies to make the best products they can to increase and elevate your performance. They're all about technology and science. They even offer a page on their sunglass technology. Every tiny detail is engineered, from the anti-slip temples to the optimal axis of the lenses. You might know from other reviews, I love good design. I appreciate engineering. I'm a geek, so when you strive to make technological advancements in every little detail, you have my interest.

What are you testing?

I received the Rudy Project Rydon Carbonium with Impactx-2 Photochromic Clear to Laser Red Lenses. A mouthful, I know. The important part is I'm testing the Rudy Rydon glasses. The rest deals with the customization of those glasses. The Impactx-2 lenses are their unbreakable photochromic optics. My particular lenses change to laser red with their own innovative High Dynamic Range technology, for "higher contrast and superior visual perception and sharper image".
Before we go on to the actual glasses, I wanted to touch on one small thing I really liked, the case. The glasses come with a hard sided case which you can see above. They're just big enough for the glasses while protecting them. Frankly, with such high end glasses, they need to be protected. With my xx2i glasses, they were a two frame set, so they came in a larger case. This pair is much more convenient. I can also worry a little less about the glasses getting damaged. I've lost many a pair of sunglasses to a backpack pocket. Back to the main event, the glasses.

How do they feel?

The glasses are extremely lightweight, just 0.88 oz. Even at under an ounce, they feel sturdy. It's one of those things that is just hard to wrap my head around, but they're fantastic quality. The lenses are awesome. They change very quickly in the sun. In fact, I went to take a transition picture and when I went outside, they were changing before I could even take the first picture. When heading back indoors, the go back to clear quickly enough that I didn't even need to remove them. In fact, couple that with how light they are, and I may have forgotten I had them on, in more than one occasion. The glasses fit perfectly, the photochromic lenses work wonderfully, and they all around feel great.
The photochromic lenses are perfect for early morning runs. At this time of year, when I leave for my runs, it's dark. When I return, the sun has come up. With these lenses, I can throw on my glasses and start running. When the sun decides to say good morning, my lenses are ready. Running in and out of some wooded paths are no problem. The lenses were always perfect clarity, whether it's early morning or bright afternoon sun.

I also took my glasses on a couple of my long drives recently. The impactX lenses, in addition to being unbreakable, also darken with natural light or UV. This gives them the ability to transition even behind windows that block the UV rays. When I was on my drives, I found even on sunny days, they didn't seem to darken all the way. At first I wondered if they weren't working as advertised, but then placing them on the dash, the darken instantly. For the natural light, they need direct light. Now, with that said, I never found myself squinting or straining, so maybe the lenses just know better than me.

The only thing I must add in is my wife likes to tell me when they're clear, I look like I'm wearing safety glasses. Not so much a problem when running, more of a deal when I go inside and forget I'm wearing them. She does agree they look pretty sweet when they've darkened.

The Takeaway

I have no problem stating the these glasses are simply the best I have ever worn. They're lightweight, clear, comfortable and look damn good. The photochromic lenses are convenient, work great, and look good. I still have problems comprehending how light weight they are. The frames fit great, they're flexible but also strong and durable. They are a complete package of engineering and style.

Nov 27, 2015

Time of Thanks | #FridayFive

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving! I hope you all had a lovely day. This week's Friday Five linkup topic is gratitude. What you're thankful for is always important to remember, but get's special attention at this time of year.


1. Running

Running is something I really am thankful for. First, I'm thankful I am lucky enough to be able to run. Not everyone can. Second, I'm thankful I enjoy running. I started out running with the goal of finishing a half in Walt Disney World, but there wasn't really more than that. I didn't imagine I would continue running after completing that one goal race. However, early on, I found a love of running. The journey has been amazing. I'm lucky and thankful that I'm on it.

2. My Family and Friends (that are just like family).

I am truly blessed with a wonderful family. I have an amazing, beautiful wife, whom with I have 2 cute, crazy, and awesome children. It doesn't stop their either. We both have great extended families: plenty of Grandma, Grammy, Grandpap, and Pop Pop moments as well as aunts and uncles galore. We also have so many wonderful friends. Friends that are like family. I'm thankful to have friends like that. It really makes for a full family. There's a lot to be said for having a large full family like that, which I am grateful for.

3. Opportunity to Learn and Educate

I love the work I do, programming. It's an ever changing field, which always gives me opportunities to learn. While I code by day, I teach by night. I adjunct at a local community college one night a week. I love to teach and share my knowledge and love of coding. It's not always easy, but can be very rewarding.

4. Coffee

I wouldn't be me without throwing a seemingly random one in there. I am quite grateful and thankful for coffee. It gets me through many days, especially those when my 1 year old decides to not sleep so well. There's nothing like a nice warm cup on a cool morning. I keep it simple, just one sweetener (usually Splenda). I also prefer a larger mug, because the more coffee that fits in, it's still "just one cup".

5. BibRave and Nuun

I'm very thankful for the two ambassadorship I'm a part of. They both have been great experiences this past year, and both come with amazing and supportive communities. I've gotten to take part in some great races, take part in a post on the Nuun blog, and reviewed so many great products for BibRave. Being a BibRave Pro has also been great for my blog here. All those reviews have had me creating lots of content and helped find my style further. I've even dabbled into videos, which has been fun. I look forward to continuing to be a part of both in 2016 and the opportunities they'll present.

What are you thankful for this holiday season?

Giveaway

Don't forget, I have a giveaway going on right now on my blog. I've partnered with BibRave and Plantronics to help you beat the holiday stress. So head over to read how to beat the weight gain stress and then try and win a pair of Plantronics BackBeatFIT Bluetooth Headphones.

Linking Up

Check here for some links out to others sharing, staring with our three lovely hosts: CourtneyCynthia and Mar. Check their posts (Eat Pray Run DC, You Signed Up for What?! and Mar on the Run to see the full set of links). I will add some others, usually randomly, as I read them to share the love. Go visit and keep reading!

Our hosts:




Some other good reads, pulled from the link up:


Nov 25, 2015

(Back)Beat Weight Gain Stress | BibRave and Plantronics Giveaway

Holidays are a stressful times. It’s also a time for lots of food. You put those two together, and you have a dynamic duo of destruction: weight gain. Today, I hope to help you (and in turn me) beat that stress. The way I see it, there are two key points to it: avoiding the stress eating and staying active. Plus, at the end, I have a little something that may just help you in your endeavors.


Avoiding the Stress Eating

No one’s saying you can’t enjoy all the holiday has to offer. The goal is to avoid the stress and don’t let it fuel your hunger. When it comes around, start by asking yourself “Am I really hungry?” Is it just because you’re bored? Are you worried about things being perfect? Or is it because you’re not having some family fueled crazy Thanksgiving you think you’re supposed to have like some TV special? Start by trying some water. You may just be thirsty. If you really are hungry (or that food just smells too delicious) let yourself have something. Just try and make good choices. If the meal is not far off, make sure it’s something small or a healthy alternative. If you’re going to enjoy something a little more indulgent, that’s OK as well. Think about having just a little less than you might otherwise. Saving a little bit back can go a surprisingly long way.

Relieving the Stress

If we’re going to talk about avoiding the stress eating, we need to look at simply relieving the stress to begin with. The problem with weight gain stress is it can be a self fulfilling prophecy. You're stressed about gaining weight, therefore you stress eat things you shouldn't and therefore gain weight. We need to stop that cycle. This is where you need to find what will work for you.

First, remember it’s just a meal. Sure, you may be cooking up a 20 dish feast with recipes from 6 different people and 7 ingredients you’ve never heard of, but at the end of the day, it’s just a meal. The heart of Thanksgiving is being thankful for what we have. It’s not about how amazingly (pre-jail) Martha Stewart your table is or that everyone is perfectly dressed, perfectly behaved, and perfectly entertained. It’s about being thankful for what you have, whatever that is, and whoever you’re with, however many or few that is. Start by remembering that.

Next, find some ways to break the stress. Even if we remember all that, we still need to get rid of the stress that is already there. One way at the heart of stress relief for me is music. It always has been a part of my life, from learning to play the trumpet in 3rd grade, to my great uncle making CDs from his jazz record collection to being a refounding father of the Zeta Alpha chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi, the national honorary band fraternity. Music soothes the soul. The right music can play a huge part. I love jamming out to my tunes over a speaker and filling the room, but that’s not always an option, especially at the holidays. At times, it’s also better to have that music just in your own ears, just for you. Enter the Plantronics BackBeat Fit bluetooth headphones. You may remember my review of the headphones. Frankly, I loved them. Not loved, love. Love them. I still use them constantly. Wire free is the way to be. They’re perfect for that holiday stress. You can throw your phone in your pocket and go about your day. Decorate, clean, cook, all the while letting the music lift away the worries and the stress. With these headphones, is so easy to let the music play on, and the stress be gone.

Remember, our goal is to cut the stress so we can cut the stress eating so we can best the holiday weight gain. It's a chain that we're breaking at the start.

Find whatever works for you to get the stress away. Try taking a break. Go for a walk, play a game, just do nothing. You could even take some time for the next item, where the headphones can come in very handy.

Stay Active

Do you know what goes great with music? Running... The best way to balance out the holiday food is with some holiday activity. Why not start your turkey day with a turkey trot? Too late for that? You can still go out and run one of your own. Nothing like earning that big plate you know you’re going to make anyway. Or maybe that’s just me. I love to throw on my Plantronics, throw on my running shoes, and hit the pavement.

Want to really mix it up? Why not put on the rocky soundtrack and make you're own training montage? Start with some frozen turkey curls. Follow that with the bag of potatoes press, the kitchen sweep cardio and the cider jug squats. Who doesn't love a good training montage?

Running may not be for everyone in the family, so get everyone out of the house for a family walk. Enjoy the fall and enjoy the time together. If you or someone is a gamer, you can always try a dancing game. You’d be surprised the workout you can get from some exergaming. And everyone has some fun when everyone makes a fool of themselves. If you get everyone having fun, that's one less thing that can stress you out later.

Just Do You

Beyond Thanksgiving, just stick to what you do. The one piece of advice I often give for running a race is to “run your race”. It’s the reply I give to people often on course when they tell me to keep running when I take my walk breaks. I’m running my race. The same thing goes for training. Despite the holidays, just keep doing what you do. Stick to your plan and stick to your runs. Miles are miles, no matter how slow. And with these headphones, nothing will stop them. No sweat, no rain, no snow, no stopping. Without the cord, your phone can be wherever you need: in an arm band,  on your waist, in a pocket, or like me thrown on your back in your Orange Mud. And no cord means no excuses. If it's raining, just throw it in a zip lock bag and get out there. That means they unfortunately give you no technology excuses to use. #sorrynotsorry

Have we BackBeat it?

What was our goal today? Take down the one two punch of stress and food so we could be stress relief Batman and beat the holiday weight gain stress villian. If you follow along what we talked about, you should have nothing to stress about. And the Robin to your Batman can be the Plantronics BackBeat FIT, giving you the beats to beat the stress and the pounds just when you need it most. Adam West is good on his own, but is truly great with Burt Ward. Weight gain stress is no joke, so solve the riddle, and pow the holidays this year.

The Giveaway

I may have promised something at the beginning to help you out this holiday season. Just like Erica and Laurel, I have a pair of Plantronics BackBeat FIT to give away to one of you lucky readers. All you need to do is follow the Rafflecopter below and hope for a little holiday luck. One note before the widget, this one is open to U.S. residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

More Chances to Win

Don't forget to stop by all the BibRave Pros this week for more opportunities to win.



Wednesday: You're Already Here, Silly

Thursday:  Still to come...

Friday: Still to come...

Nov 23, 2015

Meet the Tremaines | #MagicalMickey

Welcome to another #MagicalMickey linkup. The past two weeks, I've been sharing video post. This week I'm going to take a break from that, though there are more videos still to come from this trip. But don't worry, there will of course be pictures. I'm going to share with you a fun character meet-and-greet in Magic Kingdom


You'll find the Tremaines in the area right between Fantasyland and New Fantasyland. Actually, the best time to find them without line is also a time to get a special view of the characters. Early after park open, if you're lucky, you might be able to catch a ride on Prince Charming Regal Carousel with Lady Tremaine and her two daughters, Anastasia and Drizella. After their ride, they'll lead the way to where you can join them for pictures at their meeting area. It does at times move slightly, but is generally along the back castle wall of Fantasyland.

Like so many of the characters, they do an excellent job in being in character. Face characters like them have to go that extra mile, and they do it perfectly. Whether it's trying to marry off her daughters to a handsome prince that comes along, or the goofiness of Anastasia and Drizella, they are a lot of fun to meet. They'll even break out a jealous stink face, if the situation so warrants.

We were there right as they took their ride one morning, so jumped in line to meet them after. Below are some of the Photopass pictures. This is why we fork out the money for Memory Maker.

My son was ready to go and meet the ladies.

My daughter was less sold on their rehabilitation, and kept her distance.

Seriously, that stare by Lady Tremaine though...

Lady Tremaine was happy to keep him there all day. Note, mesmerizing him with the ring.

Have you ever ever met the Tremaines?


Onto the Linkup

Here are the guidelines:

The post just needs to be about anything Disney related. There have been posts on runDisney, on the parks and even on the Moms Panel, so just give it some Disney and count it.

New posts are fantastic, but for now, if you have a great old post you want to share, drop it on in.

Try to visit as many of the posts that you can as time allows. The point of this is to share and support each other.

If you're going to be a regular, please link back to the host posts. It's just good etiquette and frankly, that's how others will get to your fellow Disney lovers content. Without that link back, they can't find the linkup and therefore the other blogs. Help me help you.

You also have the option to add the linkup code to your post if you'd like. It is not required, just another option. If not, please follow the above link back guideline. Get the InLinkz code


Nov 19, 2015

Podcastable Me | #MagicalMickey

Guess who just appeared on his first podcast? Me!


Today, you can find me on the latest episode of the DISdads podcast. I got a chance to sit down with Aaron Rittmaster for The DAD Show and talk about our recent trip to Walt Disney World. I talked about surprising our daughter with the trip, the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, and all the rest of our trip.

Go have a listen now. Then, if you enjoy it, subscribe as well.

You can also see some of what I talked about on some of the recent posts, including the surprise reveal and my daughter seeing Cinderella Castle for the first time. Warning, cuteness ahead if you click those links.

Have you ever been on a podcast?

Nov 17, 2015

High Tech on your Face: Rudy Rydon Preview | BibRavePro

Disclaimer: I received the Rudy Rydon Carbonium sunglasses to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador, tell them I sent you), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I've recently been testing a new pair of sunglasses. I previously tested the XX2i France1 Sunglasses, which I loved. I've now been given the opportunity to test another pair of glasses, this time from Rudy Project. While I haven't had the time to give them the full work over yet, but this week's Bibchat will be with Rudy Project, so I wanted to give you my initial impressions so far.


Who is Rudy Project?

Rudy Project is the creation of Rudy Barbazza with the purpose to "improve the performance of athletes all over the world". They do research into advanced materials and technologies to make the best products they can to increase and elevate your performance. They're all about technology and science. Every tiny detail is engineered, from the anti-slip temples to the optimal axis of the lenses. You might know from other reviews, I love good design. I appreciate engineering. I'm a geek, so when you strive to make technological advancements in every little detail, you have my interest.

What are you testing?

I received the Rudy Project Rydon Carbonium with Impactx-2 Photochromic Clear to Laser Red Lenses. A mouthful, I know. The important part is I'm testing the Rudy Rydon glasses. The rest deals with the customization of those glasses. The Impactx-2 lenses are their unbreakable photochromic optics. My particular lenses change to laser red with their own innovative High Dynamic Range technology, for "higher contrast and superior visual perception and sharper image".

How do they feel?

The glasses are extremely lightweight, just 0.88 oz. Even at under an ounce, they feel sturdy. It's one of those things that is just hard to wrap my head around, but they're fantastic quality. The lenses are awesome. They change very quickly in the sun. In fact, I went to take a transition picture and when I went outside, they were changing before I could even take the first picture. When heading back indoors, the go back to clear quickly enough that I didn't even need to remove them. In fact, couple that with how light they are, and I may have forgotten I had them on, in more than one occasion. The glasses fit perfectly, the photochromic lenses work wonderfully, and they all around feel great. They really are some great engineering that I look forward testing further on some runs.

Looking for Savings?

In the market for some highly engineered glasses? Rudy is going to be running some killer Black Friday deals. If you want to get in on them, you'll want to subscribe to their email list. Not only will you get notified about those awesome deals, but they also do a monthly drawing for free gear, so there's that perk too. Sign up today.

#bibchat

Like what you've read? They happen to be the sponsor on this week's #bibchat. Come by on Tuesday November 17th at 9pm EST to join in the chat to interact with the team, the pros, and your fellow runners. They'll even be giving away a pair of the Rudy Rydon Carbonium glasses, so don't miss out. Plus, you can interact with me, talk running, food, or whatever tangent we go off on.


Nov 16, 2015

First View of the Castle | #MagicalMickey

Welcome to another #MagicalMickey linkup. This week I have another fun post to share with you. Last week, I showed you the reveal with my daughter for her birthday trip to Walt Disney World. That video had a high level of cuteness, in my opinion. That, however, was not where the cuteness ended. Just like the trip, that was where it began. The next moment was shortly after that, when we arrived at the Magic Kingdom.


For anyone looking for the set up, especially if you're looking to do this yourself, read on. If you're just looking for cuteness, skip ahead to the video. We knew we wanted to keep the view of looking down Main Street U.S.A. for a special moment with her. We started by taking the ferry across, as the monorail offers a view of the castle as you come around to the station. Second, we entered and hugged the left hand side after entering. This was two fold. On the left, you can get your visit buttons at City Hall, such as her Happy Birthday button or a First Visit button. Just after that, are some rest rooms, important when you have a small child who has been on the road for a while. We then took her to the corner of the Emporium, where my wife covered her eyes and I waited in the center of the street with the camera.

After that, the magic ensues.

Enjoy!

Have you ever done a surprise trip?


Onto the Linkup

Here are the guidelines:

The post just needs to be about anything Disney related. There have been posts on runDisney, on the parks and even on the Moms Panel, so just give it some Disney and count it.

New posts are fantastic, but for now, if you have a great old post you want to share, drop it on in.

Try to visit as many of the posts that you can as time allows. The point of this is to share and support each other.

If you're going to be a regular, please link back to the host posts. It's just good etiquette and frankly, that's how others will get to your fellow Disney lovers content. Without that link back, they can't find the linkup and therefore the other blogs. Help me help you.

You also have the option to add the linkup code to your post if you'd like. It is not required, just another option. If not, please follow the above link back guideline. Get the InLinkz code


Nov 14, 2015

Staying Healthy Through the Holidays | #FridayFive

Welcome to the weekend! This week's Friday Five linkup is getting ready for the holidays: the food, the people, the travel. It's important, throughout all of this, to keep yourself happy and healthy. This week, we'll look at some ways you can try and keep on track.


1. Holiday 5Ks

We'll start with an easy one. At this time of year, there are a lot of holiday based races that make it easy to get out there and run. You can start with any of the countless Turkey Trots on Thanksgiving, if you're schedule allows. If not, there are always plenty of Christmas centric races in December, usually raising money to help others or gathering for Toys for Tots. You can race and feel good about yourself too. Lastly, for the post holiday, you'll usually find some races to celebrate the new year, so there is no shortage of options to get out there and run, even in the chilly northeast

2. Take Family Walks

The holidays tend to be chocked full of times with family. It's important to spend time with them. But why not spend that time being active? It can be simple as taking a walk together. Get out of the house (provided the weather plays nice). Admire the colors of the fall leaves. Take in the colors of Christmas lights. Enjoy nature with each other.

3. Track What You Eat

One important thing when trying to keep healthy for me is tracking what I eat. It helps keep my decisions in check and see the full picture. During the holidays, it becomes extra helpful. The truth is, I'm still going to eat the tasty dishes and let myself indulge. However, tracking, even when not eating my best helps. The reason why is it helps me to see the full picture, which means maybe I have a smaller portion or not have that "one more sweet".

4. Find Healthy Recipes

While we're talking food, let's talk healthy food. Holiday meals are full of delicious dishes. There's no reason you can't find little ways to make those dishes just a little healthier. Make substitutions, use lower fat or not fat ingredients, cut some sugar. If you end up at a party where you bring a dish, bring yourself a healthy option. That way, you help yourself and help others. There's plenty of healthy and tasty options.

5. Relax, Don't Stress, Be Happy

The last point, I think is the most important. Relax. Enjoy your holidays. Enjoy the little thing. Take time to appreciate what you have, what you're doing, and who you're with. It can be a stressful time, but do your best to try and be stress free. Stress can lead to stress eating, tiredness, irritability and all around not having a fun time.

One way that keeps me destressed is my music. I've mentioned it many times before here on this blog, so should come as no surprise. I love so many kinds of music, it's just about the right kind for the right time. Along those lines and holiday stress, I want to let you in on a secret. During the week of Thanksgiving, I'll be teaming up with BibRave and Plantronics to give away a pair of BackBeat Fit headphones, the same kind I reviewed earlier on my blog. Myself and 4 other BibRave Pros will have a different giveaway each day that week, so that's 5 different chances to win. Be sure to check in with my social media that week for all the posts, and my blog on Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

How do you keep from being stressed?


Linking Up

Check here for some links out to others sharing, staring with our three lovely hosts: CourtneyCynthia and Mar. Check their posts (Eat Pray Run DC, You Signed Up for What?! and Mar on the Run to see the full set of links). I will add some others, usually randomly, as I read them to share the love. Go visit and keep reading!

Our hosts:



Mar on the Run

Some other good reads, pulled from the link up:

Run Away with Me

Bradley on the Run

Erica Finds

Nov 9, 2015

Surprise Disney Reveal | #MagicalMickey

Welcome to another #MagicalMickey linkup. This week I have a very fun post to share with you. Many of you may remember my recent Disney trip. We took that trip as a surprise for my daughter's 4th birthday. We left at just after dinner time and drove all night through some rain to Florida, trading off driving. Then, we stopped to reveal to our daughter where we were heading. She simply knew we were going on "vacation". Boy, was she in for a surprise.


Of course, being the Disney geeks we are, we couldn't just tell her we were going there. No, we needed something better to reveal it. So I hatched a plan. When my wife was visiting once on a girls trip, she sent back videos from some princesses saying "hi" to Samantha. Why not get them to say "Happy birthday", rr better yet, inviting her to come visit. So about a year out of the trip, my wife put the call out to Facebook for any friends traveling to Florida, to ask if they'd be willing to do us a favor. She even had some contacts with "friends" to do some recordings.

We then took these all, and I spent some evenings at the computer to edit them into a special message for Samantha. Of course, we were ready to go with the video camera, to capture the cuteness. Here is the end result. Enjoy!

Have you ever done a surprise trip?


Onto the Linkup

Here are the guidelines:

The post just needs to be about anything Disney related. There have been posts on runDisney, on the parks and even on the Moms Panel, so just give it some Disney and count it.

New posts are fantastic, but for now, if you have a great old post you want to share, drop it on in.

Try to visit as many of the posts that you can as time allows. The point of this is to share and support each other.

If you're going to be a regular, please link back to the host posts. It's just good etiquette and frankly, that's how others will get to your fellow Disney lovers content. Without that link back, they can't find the linkup and therefore the other blogs. Help me help you.

You also have the option to add the linkup code to your post if you'd like. It is not required, just another option. If not, please follow the above link back guideline. Get the InLinkz code


Nov 6, 2015

More Than Just a Towel: Orange Mud Transition & Seat Wrap Review | BibRavePro

Disclaimer: I received the Orange Mud Transition & Seat Wrap to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador, tell them I sent you), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Have you ever wanted to ditch those sweaty clothes post race, but aren't up for changing in the lovely portable plastic box? Have you come out the other side of a run muddy or get caught in a downpour? Then you were in need of the latest product I got to test, the Orange Mud Transition & Seat Wrap.

So, you say I need a towel?

No, as the title says, this is "more than just a towel". It's something you look at, that is such a simple idea, but so perfectly done. The best products are those that find a need and solve it right. There are two main uses for the wrap. First is for making changing easy while keeping things covered and the second is for protecting your car seat from you.

Changing your changing

So let's start with scenario one. You need to get changed into or out of your workout gear. Maybe you met up with some people after throwing your gear in a bag or you spent the day at the beach and want to get out of your swimsuit. Sure, you can wrap yourself with a regular towel, and swap off and on under, but then you have to keep one hand on the towel or risk showing the world what you're made of. The wrap gives you that towel with a built in belt clip, fully adjustable to hold it is place, so you can change with two hands and no worries.

Wrapping your seat

Onto scenario two. Let's say you don't have a change of clothes or you just don't want to bother until you can get home and shower (this is generally me). You could be sweaty, muddy or soaked from a downpour. If you're like me, you don't want to get your seat a mess, so you lay down a towel. Of course, you try and sit down, but then it pulls it off the back so you scoot your but around and twist to try and pull it back up to then lean back quick enough before it falls back to where you started. You always end up with nothing more than a bunched up towel behind your back. Well, the Transition & Seat Wrap has a built in zipper that creates a little hood. Simply put that hood over your seat rest and no more falling towel. Simple, yet perfect design. Not only that, it works great as a hood on you and you can wrap the towel around you to get dry or keep warm (or pretend it's a cape, your choice).


I've given my explanation of what it does, but you can also see their hilarious clip on the Transition & Seat Wrap.


So how does it work?

I didn't have a chance to try out the towel for changing purposes at a race, because it didn't really happen for me to have a need to. I did try it at home anyway, and it worked great. The clipping system is really cool and stays in place once you tighten it enough. Last year I did some obstacle courses that resulted in some wet and muddy gear. This would have made changing out of those clothes post race so much easier.

For normal races, I don't usually care about getting changed if I'm just sweaty. Yes, if it's a rainy race, that's a different story. What I do care about is not sticking my sweaty self to the seat, and thus making my seat a sweaty seat. I prefer to keep that dry and not smelling. That makes feature two perfect for me. I used it in multiple cars, and worked great on everything from SUV leather seats to my cloth buckets seats of my G6.

Not only that, it's also a great towel to have handy, useful for any runner's bag. I had left it out after taking some pictures one night, then the next morning took a slightly humid and sweaty morning run. It was great to just pick it up when I came in the door to dry my face down for relief. Plus, it makes a pretty good super hero cape in a pinch for pretend time.

The Takeaway

What is my overall thought on the Orange Mud Transition & Seat Wrap? While it is a more specialized product than others I've reviewed, it is excellent. Orange Mud found a problem in a basic product that runners use all the time, and found a way to make it better. That's a design and product win in my book

Discount

Would this towel make your running (or other sport) life easier? Have you been eyeing up anything else from Orange Mud? Then let's talk discounts. Use the code BIBRAVE to save 15% off everything at www.orangemud.com. So grab yourself a wrap, a cap, a Buff, or even my personal favorite, the HydraQuiver Double Barrel Hydration pack, something I won't run without now, but more on that for a future review. Save on anything and enjoy. Time for an early Christmas present for yourself.

#bibchat

Like what you've read? They happen to be the sponsor on this week's #bibchat. Come by on Tuesday November 10th at 9pm EST to join in the chat to interact with the team, the pros, and your fellow runners. Plus, you can interact with me, talk running, food, or whatever tangent we go off on.

#BibRavePro

Do you love #bibchat? Do you review races on BibRave.com? Want great perks like this? Then check out the application for becoming a BibRavePro. They're open now for joining the team in 2016. And when you're filling it out, tell them I sent you.

Nov 1, 2015

Full Compression, Full Recovery: 2XU Elite MCS Compression Tights Video Review | BibRavePro

Disclaimer: I received the 2XU Elite MCS Compression Tights to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador, tell them I sent you), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I'm a fan of compression. My calf sleeves and socks leave them feeling great, but the rest of my legs sore. I got a chance to test out a product that is designed to fix just that problem and address the recovery of the full leg. They came just in time for the end of my training and my races for the Runner's World Hat Trick. I thought I'd share with you my personal experience with you, but in a new way for my blog.


That's right, instead of writing a wordy blog about what my experiences, I instead broke out the video camera and recorded a video review. It's my first of such reviews, so it's may be a little rambling, but worth the watch.



Do you use compression? Have you ever tried full leg compression tights?


Discount

Do you want this full leg awesome compression? Or do you maybe just want some other great 2XU gear? There really is no better time then now, because I have a code for you. Use the code BIBRAVE20 to save 20% off your purchase at www.2xu.com. No better time to buy than when you can save some money on it.

#bibchat

Like what you've read? They happen to be the sponsor on this week's #bibchat. Come by on Tuesday November 3rd at 9pm EST to join in the chat to interact with the team, the pros, and your fellow runners. 2XU will be with us and giving away a pair of these fantastic tights as well, so participate for a chance to win. Plus, you can interact with me, talk running, food, or whatever tangent we go off on.

#BibRavePro

Do you love #bibchat? Do you review races on BibRave.com? Want great perks like this? Then check out the application for becoming a BibRavePro. They're open now for joining the team in 2016. And when you're filling it out, tell them I sent you.

Oct 30, 2015

Why to Apply to be a BibRave Pro | #FridayFive

Welcome to the weekend! This week's Friday Five linkup is a Free Friday, which is always fun. I decided to share with you this week about an ambassadorship that I love. It also so happens the application is now open for 2016 ambassadors. So this week, for my free Friday I'll share with you some reason why you should consider applying.


Why to Apply to be a BibRave Pro

1. Opportunity to run some great races

BibRave is a great site to find and write race reviews. So at the heart of that, is running races. BibRave partners with races to give Pros the opportunities to run races for free in exchange for their reviews and experiences. I recently ran my first race for BibRave, which was the Runner's World Hat Trick. You can see my experiences running the 5K, 10K and half marathon.

2. Test new products

One of the great perks to being a Pro is the opportunity to test and blog about a variety of products, from compression and shoes to hydration and foam rollers. I've received some amazing opportunities to try some great products. I even found a love for neutral shoes when received a pair of Mizuno Wave Rider 18s. Some of my favorites included (after the shoes) my Plantronics BackBeat FIT headphones, my half Buff, and my first ever product tested, the Zensah Ultra Compression Leg Sleeves. I even have a couple of products I'm currently testing (be sure to look for my upcoming video review of the 2XU Elite MCS Compression Tights).

3. Meet great people (awesome Pros)

While being a BibRave Pro, I've gotten to meet a lot of great other people. All the other Pros are awesome people. Runners always willing to share their experiences, encouragement, and knowledge. I've even gotten a chance to meet some in person at races, which is always fun. It's great to have a close community to talk running and blogging with.

A photo posted by Amy (@dedica217) on

I must mention, you don't need to be a Pro though to share some of that. They are all very friendly, and you can find them in number 4.

4. BibChats

I've written previously about reasons to love BibRave. One of those reasons is the community surrounding BibRave, which you can find each week on Tuesday at 9 pm EDT. Each week, BibChat takes on a different topic. Some of the recent include "Running Style", "Running Tech", "Beyond Running", and "Running Tweaks". The chats are a lot of fun and you might even learn something. I know I have. Oh, and did I mention each week has a giveaway? Well they do. Much of the gear I've reviewed has then also been given away on the chats. Though, I recommend bringing a snack.

5. Discounts

I admit getting to try new gear is great. But we cant always all try everything or run every race for free. One of the great additional benefits Pros get are discounts on the races and on the gear. Now, sometimes we get some special discounts, I'll admit, but you want to know the truth? You can get many of the discounts as well. Just check out my discounts page (though it is due for an update). The latest gear I reviewed, XX2i Optics, offered 50% off your total order with the code XX2iRocks.


Are you an ambassador for any product?

#BibRavePro

Do you love #bibchat? Do you review races on BibRave.com? Want great perks like this? Then check out the application for becoming a BibRavePro. They're open now for joining the team in 2016. And when you're filling it out, tell them I sent you.

Linking Up

Check here for some links out to others sharing, staring with our three lovely hosts: Courtney, Cynthia and Mar. Check their posts (Eat Pray Run DC, You Signed Up for What?! and Mar on the Run to see the full set of links). I will add some others, usually randomly, as I read them to share the love. Go visit and keep reading!

Our hosts: