What I’m loving Wednesday!

I am excited to share some products with you today that I am loving right now! And I’m proud to say that none of them are tested on animals – which is something that is near and dear to my heart. But first….

I wanted to share something else that’s near and dear to my heart: THE BIG GIVEAWAY that’s happening RIGHT NOW from which all proceeds go to help women in NC with breast cancer or who are survivors, cross things off of their bucket lists! You have until December 15th to enter (by donating to the GoFundMe) and you’ll be entered to win a variety of prizes such as these items from Carolyn Leona!

Dishtowels

Liz, the owner of Carolyn Leona, donated two fancy dishtowels (valued at $14 each!) and one DARLING pig apron. Now, her pig items have been FLYING out of the shop, so this is a great opportunity for you to win one and make sure you get your hands on it before she sells out again!

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Is that not THE CUTEST? Her aprons are $30 each. If you’re interested in ordering any of her items, she has free shipping through tomorrow with the code “SHIPFREE” at checkout. I am a HUGE fan of her linens and aprons and will definitely be purchasing my own – but YOU can win yours here. And by donating $25, you are entered 3 times to win (which is still less than the cost of the apron or both dish towels!).

Now, for those products I wanted to share with you. Have you ever heard of the Beagle Freedom Project? Their videos make me cry all the time. These poor pups have been caged up since they were born and had products put on their skin and in their eyes and mouths to see what kind of reactions they have to them. What products, you ask? TONS of products that you have in your house and probably use on a daily basis. There’s an app that you can use when shopping to find out if an item is tested on animals – isn’t that handy?

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Image from Beagle Freedom Project website

So, in an effort to not support testing on animals, I’ve been very careful about what products I purchase. I’m proud to say my current toiletries do not fall in the category of being tested on animals.

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First is Dr. Teals: I use the foaming bath and epsom salt (I like the relax and relief kind!) for my post-run or hard workout baths. They have a variety of other products available as well, and other scents.

Next is Organix lotion: I have the coconut milk hibiscus scent and love it. You’ve probably seen their hair products when you’re out shopping, those are good too!

Method is a brand I’ve been seeing pop up in different places, but it’s definitely available for you at your local Target, grocery stores or drug stores. Not only do they have body wash, they have household cleaning products – and all at reasonable prices – including laundry detergent.

Jessica Alba’s brand has been one of my favorites for a long time, but this is the first time I’ve used her hair products. I have the conditioner pictured here and I can’t tell you how much I love the smell! It also does a great job of making my hair silky feeling! Did you know Jessica Alba also helped found the Honest Company and they have a ton of baby products?

Jason is a new one for me. I saw this shampoo and thought I would give it a try (I also tried Aquage but I didn’t love the smell of the shampoo. I do like the volumizing products though!). This particular shampoo boasts that it has biotin and of course, that it doesn’t test on animals. It kind of smells like baby powder to me. I do like the way it works, so I’ll probably continue using it.

Lastly, the Neutrogena Naturals line offers a wide selection of acne treatment, creams, cleansers and scrubs for your face. I am currently using the pore scrub and liking it. It’s just enough scrubbing for my face and doesn’t dry me out.

What are some of your favorite products? I’m currently seeking make up that also isn’t tested on animals (and working on convincing my husband we need to foster one of these beagles!).

Weekend Wrap Up

On Friday, we said goodbye to our latest foster dog, Daisy. She was adopted and went to a home with a whole acre for her to play on. Even after she ate 50 pieces of Halloween candy, destroyed my bathroom trash and trash can, and tinkled on the carpet, I still managed to fall a little bit in love with her and tears flowed as she went with her furever family. I’m so glad we were able to help her and keep her until the right family came along!

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We traveled to the triangle area to spend time with my in-laws over the weekend and to watch the Hokies play Duke. I was prepared for a brutally cold game, but instead was met with a sunny day with crisp air. I’ll take it!

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We cheered loudly for our Hokies, not actually expecting the “W”, but somehow, by some miracle, we pulled it off by 1 point. These are the faces of four happy Virginia Tech fans!

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Also, Wallace Wade stadium has it going on with its food choices: barbecue sandwiches, Greek Gyros, burritos, fajitas and nachos, turkey barbecue, pizza, hot dogs, Italian sausage, steak & cheese sandwiches…. I mean,  have you ever? There were so many options! The downfall was that they only took cash at most and who carries cash these days?

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While Monday wasn’t part of the weekend, I thought I’d do a little plug for protecting your skin. I had an appointment with my dermatologist on Monday and came out breathing a sigh of relief as I do each year. I am terrified that I am going to end up with melanoma after my teenage years that were spent in tanning beds and many more years spent worshipping the sun on beaches. I now cover up with at least SPF 30 but more often than not, I use SPF 50. Your skin is your biggest organ and Chelsea will tell you, it’s not worth it. I am so glad to hear her latest results that there is no evidence of disease – but take it from her, not me…. the cutting, chemo and constant doctors visits? Not worth having bronze skin.

PS – New super awesome giveaways coming soon for all those who donate to the Bucket List project! The more you donate, the more chances you have to win! Stay tuned!

Oh Happy day + giveaway winners!

A few weeks ago, I ran a  5-mile race with some of my girlfriends. Afterwards, I tweeted about the race and Mizuno reached out offering me a free pair of their newest running shoe, the Wave Rider 18. These beauties arrived and I can’t help but notice the irony that the color scheme is called “Key West” and we just announced our trip to Key West + my running the half marathon there in January. I think these shoes and I were meant to be!

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I’ve already started training for the race but since I’m 10 weeks out, I have the opportunity to slowly work my way up. I’m currently at 5 miles and did a run last night, keeping my pace under 9 miles (though my first two miles were by far my fastest!). So far, so good with hitting my 2 hour goal. I’m excited to try out my new shoes, set a new PR in this race, and get back into running.

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Now… the real reason you’re here…. the winners of the giveaway. I am so grateful for everyone who donated and read the blog this past month. You helped make some serious wishes come true for perfect strangers. The Porters visited Bald Head Island last week. Adrienne had two stock-car driving experience passes sent to her (big thanks to the Joey Logano Charitable Foundation). Julie G is getting her discs to help her learn to speak French. Michelle received two passes to go hang gliding in the OBX. As donations continue to come in, we’ll work to cross more items off these bucket lists. But let me say one more time, THANK YOU. I’m so grateful for your big hearts (and your excitement for Tieks). The winners were selected by Random.org. There were 14 of you who entered (names were matched with donations and comments). Congratulations to Kelly W, winner of the $100 gift card to Tieks; Amy T. winner of the pink ribbon hat; and Arely P., winner of the $10 Amazon gift card.

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I will be in touch with each of the winners. I hope to be able to offer more giveaways and to continue raising money to bring happiness to the lives of these amazing fighters. Check out the Pretty in Pink Foundation if you get a chance. They do some pretty awesome things with some pretty awesome people. Oh, and you just did something awesome, too, so high five to you. And big hugs all around. My heart is so full of gratitude for you all!

Happy November + a running playlist!

I woke up to stories of snow here in NC, as well as in SC. We don’t have any in Charlotte, but we do have some cold rain. Hard to believe that this past Monday was 80 degrees, and this coming week we will be back in the 70s. Is anyone out there still denying global warming? This weather is craziness! And this weather pushed me straight to the gym for my first half marathon training run this morning. I don’t do rain and I especially don’t do cold rain.

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 11.57.27 AMYesterday, I registered for the Key West Half Marathon in January. I’ve wanted to do this race for years and since my birthday is also in January, we decided to make a birthday trip out of it. My husband even decided to do the 5k while we are there! Having a winter birthday and growing up in Virginia meant I didn’t have a lot of warmth or sunshine to celebrate my special day, so I’m thankful that this year, I will. Well, warmer than January in North Carolina, anyway.

11315_10100995262378323_6758311029683940757_nIf I haven’t told you before, I LOVE the beach. Don’t care where it is, as long as it has sand, salty water, and sunshine, I’m a happy camper. However, signing up for a January half marathon means winter training runs. So I’m going to need a lot of motivation, warm running clothes and some awesome music to keep me going. Luckily, the course is flat (Thanks, Florida), so I will have an advantage training on hills here in NC. I’m already prepared to train some on the treadmill, at least on rainy/snowy days, or days that drop below 45 degrees. My run this morning was 4 miles at an 8:53 pace. I’m pretty happy with that, but am also pretty positive I can’t maintain that for more than 5-6 miles. My goal for this race is to get it done in 2 hours or less. So, I need to be under (or at) a 9:10 pace for 13.1 miles. Whew! That’s what training is for, right?

Screen Shot 2014-11-01 at 3.16.06 PMI created a new playlist to get me motivated for training. I usually just put my iPod on shuffle so I’m not always listening to the playlist in the same order. Everything is pretty upbeat. I’m especially loving Florence + The Machine these days! I grabbed a few songs from Jen’s playlist to push me to the 2 hour mark. Now I know I have enough music to run 13.1 miles (or I’m going to have some quiet thinking time if I don’t get it done in 2 hours).

So, here’s to 13.1 miles, birthdays in Florida and some awesome music on this cold, rainy November day. What are your favorite songs to run/workout to? I’m always looking for new additions to my playlist! 

Tieks Giveaway + Breast Cancer Awareness

I’m proud to support the Pretty in Pink Foundation and love the work that they do. I started a Go Fund Me for the ladies who walked in the Fashion Show in Wilmington this year. They each listed three items they wanted to do in their lives, so I think we should all chip in and make those happen – or at least one of them.

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By giving to this fundraiser, you are directly bringing happiness to the lives of people who are facing an unimaginable situation. So in honor of breast cancer awareness month, I implore you to give whatever you can to put a smile on someone else’s face.

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I am so excited to raffle off a $100 giftcard from Tieks (makers of the best ballet flats EVER). Anyone who donates $10 or more will be entered into a raffle (winner selected on random.org) for the Tieks gift card, a pink ribbon hat and a $10 Amazon gift card. The giveaway will run through 10/31, so hurry, you only have 2 more weeks to get your entries in!

Source: @Tieks Instagram
Source: @Tieks Instagram

So here’s how you can help the cause and get a chance to win some awesome prizes:

  • Visit the Go Fund Me page and make a donation of $10 or more by 11:59 PM on 10/31
  • Then come back here and comment letting me know that you’ve made your donation (be sure to use the same name you used when making your donation!)
  • For extra entries, you can use the Rafflecopter below and share the post on Twitter and Facebook

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winners will be randomly selected by Random.org the week of 11/1. Let’s see how many items we can cross of these bucket lists by November 1st!

***Update 11/5***

WINNERS have been announced!!! Hop on over the the post to see who won!

Weekend Wrap Up

I feel like we did nothing and everything this weekend. JJ Grey and Mofro came to a local theatre that is within walking distance of our house, so we had date night there – with dinner at one of our favorite pizza places beforehand.

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On Friday we felt like we had partied like we were back in college the night before. Funny how much differently three beers impacts you at 28 versus 21. So we hung low and decided to see “Gone Girl” and recreate our first date with a movie and dinner at Fox & Hound. The movie was amazing but sadly ends just the way the book did (which I HATED). However, I loved my dinner and movie date night with him. Saturday, I got up early (feeling better) to run the Rocktoberfest 5-miler with some girlfriends.

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Official results aren’t up yet, but I’m glad I got across the finish line in less than 50 minutes (according to my watch and clock time). On Saturday evening, we got to see one of our dearest friends marry the love of her life. We both met Brandy at work (we started on the same day) and immediately bonded. She is such an amazing person, I can’t possibly tell you how wonderful she is all in one post. So when she called to tell me she and Bill were getting married, I literally squealed (loudly) in the store I was standing in. This weddnig was a long time coming and such an amazing production.

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I say “production” because there was a comedian, pianist, singer, gymnastics performance, and two one-act plays. By far the most interesting wedding reception I have been to in my life. Brandy and Bill were just as wonderful on stage together as they are off. I am so glad we were able so share in their beautiful day! On Sunday, we woke up to rain and sniffles. I made pumpkin pancakes in an attempt to make us feel better. They didn’t do much for the colds we had caught but they sure were tasty!

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Pumpkin Pancakes:

  • 3/4 c. white flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 Tbs. brown sugar
  • 2 teas. baking powder
  • 1/4 teas. salt
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. nutmeg
  • 1/8 t. ginger
  • 1/8 t. ground cloves
  • 1/2 t. pumpkin spice
  • 2 Tbs. melted butter
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 can pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg

Mix dry ingredients in one bowl. Mix butter, milk, egg and pumpkin puree in another bowl. Slowly blend in the wet ingredients into the dry. Stir until well blended. Heat griddle to 300 degrees and pour out 1/4 cup batter onto griddle (or skillet). Cook for about 2 minutes or until little bubbles appear and then flip and cook for 2 more minutes. I imagine these would be delicious with some powdered sugar or whipped cream, but we settled for just maple syrup. I made enough for leftovers for breakfast this morning – still good!

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I tried to ward off my cold symptoms some more with hot yoga but instead just made myself sweaty and dizzy. It did help to stretch out my sore leg muscles after Saturday’s race but I have to admit it was a very unfocused practice. Hoping to kick this cold soon so I can get back to the gym and yoga this week. Hoping we can make it to the pumpkin patch next weekend and finish getting ready for Halloween. How was your weekend?

 

 

Pretty in Pink Bucket List

I’m going to ask you upfront to share this post far and wide so that we can reach a goal and help make some wishes come true. 

I was introduced to the Pretty in Pink Foundation by my husband’s sister. For the past 5 years, she has participated in their annual Fashion Walk Gala in Wilmington. She participates because she is a cancer SURVIVOR. The Pretty in Pink Foundation helped her with some medical bills as she went through her treatment, and within them she also found friends and a support group. We are proud to support this organization that helps women here in North Carolina with their medical bills, co-pays, and also holds their hand as they go through testing, diagnoses, and treatment.

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We attended the Fashion Walk Gala earlier this month and as always, I was touched by the stories shared. The strength of these women who are fighting battles that no one should have to is inspirational. One mother had our whole table on the verge of tears as she talked about never giving up because she has an 18 month old and she wants to be there for his whole life. An older lady laughed with her husband as she talked about all the medical woes they had faced – and vowed to keep moving forward, together.

14220_10101000932779793_2122672083804079527_nThis year’s fashion walk participants wrote down their top 3 things they want to do in the future and that’s where you come in. These women show us on their bucket lists that they have so much life left to live and so many things they want to do to have fun, see the world, spend precious moments with their families.

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I’ve compiled a list of at least one thing that these women wanted to do and an estimated cost of each. Through a Go Fund Me site that was set up, we can raise the money for these things and purchase them for these women. For the things that can’t necessarily be purchased, I am reaching out to others to help with connections and making some of these other wishes come true.

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I’ve set a goal of $20,000 to raise to grant these wishes. So please, share this post with your Facebook friends, share it on Twitter, email it to family and friends near and far and let’s help bring some happiness to these women as they travel down their unimaginable journeys.

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Here is the Go Fund Me page which outlines some of the bucket list items such as learning to speak French, horseback riding on a trail, riding in a hot air balloon, go kayaking, visit Bald Head Island, go see a broadway show, go to Santa Fe, see the Steelers in Pittsburgh, see Paul McCartney live, take the family to disney world. I’m positive that together we can make these wishes come true.