Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tinder Tuesday and #YesAllWomen

4 days.  That's all it took for me to become a victim on Tinder.  I was Tindering happily along in my bubble for 3 whole days thinking I was going to be the exception to the rule, and then it happened on Day 4.  The day I received my first overtly obscene message.

I could have just deleted the message, but I chose to call out this imbecile.  What follows is the actual message and because of this idiot, it's NSFW, so be warned.


As, you can see my retorts were somewhat humorous and tongue-in-cheek, but afterward I began to feel really angry that in 2014, this is still the state of affairs when it comes to dating protocol.  The conversation even continued on a few more lines but at that point he started calling me unattractive (uh, YOU are the one who messaged ME, Prince Charming), and I decided to just block him instead of stooping to his level and getting into an argument.

I don't know if you've been following the Twitter movement the past two days - #YesAllWomen - but it aims to call attention to the misogyny and harassment of women that is still rampant, decades after the birth of feminism and women's rights were supposedly 'won'.  The Twitter hashtag is a response to the senseless shootings in Santa Barbara, CA over the weekend by Elliot Rodger.

My intent in bringing my unfortunate Tinder exchange is not to showcase this misogynist's blatant disrespect and misguided attempt at wrangling my attention, but to start a conversation about how this type of behavior is still even happening among men in this day and age.  ANY girl who's participated in online dating, or heck, just meeting guys during a night out with friends has almost surely experienced this type of sexually harassing behavior, and has come to expect it as just something we need to put up with and weed through. 

There is something seriously wrong with that.  There are even men complaining on Twitter about the attention the #YesAllWomen movement is getting.  Because yeah, being the dominant sex for pretty much the entire course of history has been really rough.

I hope all you women out there are brave enough to call out men you see behaving this way and I hope all the men out there (at least my readers)  have evolved way past the days of banging women over the head and dragging them into your cave.

Have you ever been a victim of any sexually harassing behavior?

Have you participated in or followed the #YesAllWomen movement on Twitter?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Tried It! Vega Sport Protein

Through my ambassadorship with Sweat Pink and Fit Approach, I was given the opportunity to try out a new-to-me vegan protein - Vega Sport.  I love protein shakes and I'm always down to try a new vegan option! 
Although I was familiar with Vega prior to this, I had never tried anything from their Sport Performance line.  I drink protein shakes a lot, and it's always tough for me to find powders that are plant-based and vegan, as opposed to milk or whey based.  Vega fits the bill and I'm happy to report it was nice and easy on my tummy!
Vega sent me a 12 pack of their Vanilla flavored Sport Performance Protein to try and I've been using it over the past couple of weeks.  Usually I buy chocolate flavored proteins so I wasn't sure how I'd like vanilla - I was worried it'd be a little boring mixed with my almond milk - however it was surprisingly YUMMY!  It's sweetened with stevia which does give it a sweet flavor, but it's not overly so.  The flavor kind of tasted like cake batter to me!  Hahah, I dk how I even remember what that tastes like but that's what I likened it to. 
Most of the time, I just prepare my protein shakes with whatever powder I'm using, along with unsweetened almond milk, in a blender bottle.  Boom, 30 seconds to sweet satisfaction. 

I like this simple serving because it's super easy and quick to prepare after a workout or as a supplement to a meal.  I don't really want all kinds of other crap thrown in there like nut butters and what not.  That kind of sounds gross to me!
I also use protein powder in smoothies, to up the protein content of what is usually just mostly fruit and sometimes a little greens.  Thus, I also used the Vega to try to recreate a pineapple Julius just like those fancy stands at the mall.  So I threw some almond milk, a packet of Vega, a banana and some frozen pineapple into my Ninja.  It was yummy and refreshing!  Behold:

If I actually had some baking skills, I'd love to be one of those people that incorporate protein powder into their muffin and pancake recipes.  Someday.  Dare to dream Jilly.  Dare to dream!

So how does Vega stack up nutritionally?  Well, here's a screenshot of the nutrition facts from the label.  I'll just highlight a few things I like.

It's all plant based protein (from peas, saviseed, brown rice and alfalfa).  It's got 26 grams of protein per serving!  That's incredible; it's 5g more than my beloved PlantFusion.  It also has a digestive enzyme blend.  Like I said, this was very easy on my stomach, so perhaps that's why.  It also contains Glutamine which is a supplement thought to aid in muscle recovery.  I actually take a separate Glutamine supplement on my own.  Other stuff:  131 calories and 0.2g of fat per serving.
Verdict:  I really like the taste and nutritional profile of Vega Sport Protein.  I'd love to try the chocolate flavor so that I can really compare apples to apples with Plant Fusion.  But at this point, I think this is a protein I'd like to add into my rotation.

*Disclaimer:  I was given samples of Vega Sport Protein to review but was not compensated in any way for this post.  All opinions are of course my own!
Do you like protein shakes as much as I do?!

What's your favorite protein powder?
Have you tried Vega Sport?


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

So, This Happened...

Logo Copyright Tinder
I joined Tinder.  Yep, that Tinder.  The 'is this a hookup site?' Tinder.  Tinder of the infamous Kesha song.  Oh that's Timber.  Anywaaaaaaaaaay, I heard Tinder is a lot more mainstream these days plus all the cool kids are doing it.  I also just recently saw on Ashley's blog that she Tinders and she's a nice, sweet girl, so I thought what the heck.  Therefore, on a random, possibly insane, whim this weekend I signed my little self up. 
I'm happy to report in the 2 days I've been Tindering along, I've not yet been harassed, nor been the recipient of any lewd messages or naked pics.  THANK GOD.  I have no idea how long this streak of good luck can continue.  Probably not long.
If you're not familiar with Tinder, I'll give you the quick lowdown.  It's pretty much the simplest online dating app there is.  You don't even have to fill out a profile!  You sign in with Facebook, but no other users actually have access to your FB profile.  The app just pulls a couple photos in from your profile and that's it.  You're almost ready to start swiping. 
Next, enter your zip code and what you're looking for (man/woman, age range) and the app starts feeding you pictures of potential mates.  If you're not pleased with the photo that pops up, swipe left and move along.  If the gentleman strikes your fancy, swipe right.  If both parties swipe right, it's a match!  Then, and only then can you message each other. 
I like this feature immensely because you have complete control over who messages you meaning you don't get a million messages from random creepy 55 year old men all day long (Oh, is that just me?!). 
So far, my experience on Tinder is worlds better than it has been on the other site I was on.  (If you must know it was POF and I would definitely NOT recommend it to anyone.  I am pretty sure all the inhabitants on the fringes of society are on that site and messaged me ad nauseam. You've been warned.)
Also you will not believe who I met on there.  Have you heard about the girl who became Internet-famous by drawing hilarious cartoons of guys who sent her obscene messages on Tinder?  If you haven't, check out a link to the story here.  I actually saw this story on social media a week or two ago and thought she was awesome.  Well, I matched with some guy who lives here and IS HER COUSIN!  That's what he told me anyway.  This is the internet, so I have no idea how to verify his story, but in any case, it made my day.  I now follow this girl on Instagram! HAHAHA
So yeah, I'm on Tinder now.  God help me.
For all of you out there who met your soul mate in high school or college, or some other natural life setting, I envy you with every fiber of my being.  I hope you thank your lucky stars every day that you do not have to navigate the insidious minefield that is online dating.
Happy Tuesday folks!


Friday, May 16, 2014

Still Searching for my Glass Slippers...

Or in this case, the perfect running shoes.

When we left off, my old Nike Vomero's had waaaaaaaaay too many miles on them and I was on the hunt for a new pair.  I went into the running store (Charm City Run) a few weeks ago with the intention of checking out the newly released Vomero 9's but also wanted to compare them with a few other cushioned/neutral shoes from other manufacturers. 

I've worn and loved Nikes forever - its really the only brand of running shoe I've worn with consistency.  I love everything about them, except no matter what, I still get shin splints.  This causes me to take a few weeks off a year.  What happens is I can run or train for a number of weeks or months but eventually they come back and then I am forced to take some time off until they calm down a little.  This cycle goes on an on.  I also have to pretty much always run in compression socks or sleeves to keep them at bay.  No one knows why.  I even went through PT for months two years ago but he couldn't diagnose the cause of the problem.  All he did was treat the scar tissue and inflammation and gave me strengthening exercises to do, which of course all worked for a time, but didn't solve the problem.  They eventually returned.

So I left the running store a couple weeks ago with Brooks Glycerin 11.  These shoes felt amazing on.  They were less bulky than my Vomero's and when I ran on the treadmill with them the transition after each step felt really smooth.  But after running in them several times at home, I developed pain in the ball of each foot and my forefeet.  I have no idea why.  The cushioning in the Brooks shoes felt a lot harder and stiffer than the foam/air cushioning I was used to so maybe that was it.  But I've never had tingling/numbness in that area before so I knew they probably weren't the shoes for me.

This week I went back to the store to try again.  When I explained my history to the nice gentleman who was fitting me, he said he could put me in a different cushioned shoe, or we could try to solve the underlying issue.  I was all for that!  He gave me a pair of cushioned shoes but fitted them with Superfeet insoles.  He said a lot of people use these insoles for shin issues.  He also suggested a more radical approach.  He brought out a pair of Newtons.  Now I've heard about Newtons and the theory behind them - they are built to encourage a mid foot strike - but I don't actually know anyone who wears them.  I put them on and they felt really good.  So light and so comfortable, but also surprisingly cushioned and springy feeling.  Plus don't they just look fast?!  I took them out for a spin at the store, twice, and really enjoyed the completely different feeling from my usual bulky, heavy, cushioned shoes.  I thought what the heck, let's DO THIS.

The man who was helping me thought switching my bio mechanics to a mid foot strike (which would definitely take time, work and practice) could alleviate my shin splints instead of just masking them as cushioning does.  This is the theory behind barefoot running, minimalist running, mid foot striking, chi running, zero drop and others in this category.  The Newtons are not zero drop but they are minimal (only 3mm differential between the heel and forefoot as opposed to the typical 10-13mm in regular running shoes).  They also have their trademark 5 'lugs' on the forefoot of each sole (which feel really weird initially!), to encourage you to pick up your feet faster. 

All of this requires that you change the way you run (theoretically, back to the way early humans ran before we started wearing shoes).  You need to shorten your stride (think baby steps), lean forward, land on the middle of your foot (as opposed to your heel) and up your cadence so that you are lifting your feet much faster than you are used to and taking many more steps per minute than you do when over striding.  My shoe guy demonstrated all of this for me as he runs in Newtons and also told me to stretch out my calves a lot before beginning.  I was also instructed to take them out for very short runs initially - no more than a mile or two.

So how'd it go?  Well, I got the shoes Tuesday night and have gone on two 2.5 miles runs so far in them.  I feel like I am learning to walk all over again.  Do you know how hard it is to change the way you've run your whole life?!  Lean forward, tiny steps, quick turnover, don't heel strike.  The runs feel restrictive to say the least!  Also my arches are on fire.  I believe this is an effect of the lower drop.  I also have been having a bit of pain everywhere, including my knees and inside my lower shins, and even in my buttocks (!).  No bueno.  The only place I haven't been sore is my calves, which is where you're SUPPOSED to be sore when adjusting to minimalist shoes and changing your stride.  So I'm pretty sure as much as I was trying to land in the middle of my foot, I was still probably landing on my heel. 

I'm going to give these bad boys a few more runs but I'm really not sure if my body is ready, or will ever be ready, to change the way it runs!  Wish me luck.  We may be back to square one again next week.  Who knows, maybe I'll just live with my Vomero's and gimpy shins forever!

Are you a running shoe brand loyalist or do you switch often?

Ever tried Newtons?

Are you a heel striker, mid foot striker or forefoot striker?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

"MOM" means "LOVE"

“Motherhood: All love begins and ends there.” —Robert Browning
It's Mother's Day!  A day to celebrate women everywhere who devote their hearts and lives to loving and raising children, and showing us the meaning of unconditional love. 

Although I'm not a mom myself yet, I am lucky to be surrounded by so many incredible mothers in my life.  Women whom I admire, and hope to some day emulate.  And so today I honor these mothers for the amazing women they are, for the amazing little ones they are raising (or have raised), and for teaching me in their own ways what love really is.
My mom. 
The first person to love me just for being me.  The woman who I owe my very being to, and who has spent the greater part of her life taking care of me and my sisters, and asking nothing in return.  That's something I still can't wrap my head around.  There's no way I could even being to repay her for her years of sacrifice, worry and devotion.  Perhaps the best I can do is just be the best person I can, the person she raised with all the compassion and love in her heart.  Oh and maybe apologize for that time I shoved a blueberry up my nose which required a visit to the ER!
My sisters.
Don't they both have the most amazing, good looking families?!  Here's hoping my future spouse and children are at least half as attractive as they all are!  But seriously, my sisters are both incredible moms.  The bond between sisters is unlike any other and it's been amazing to watch both of them blossom into this next phase of their life right before my eyes.  Plus, I am now Aunt to 3 kids who I love more than I thought was even possible!  Their children are a true testament to the kind of mothers my sisters are - sweet, loving, and funny as hell!
The two best friends a girl could ask for.
Just two more incredibly attractive families here!  These two women are my childhood friends, and feel just as much like sisters as my 'real' sisters.  Once again, it has made me so happy to watch them find their lifelong partners and then eventually start families.  Maybe my happiness is a little selfish as well, because I got to be 'Aunt' to their children before my sisters ever had their kids.  I will always be grateful to them for letting me be a special part of their children's lives and for bearing witness to the work they do each and every day to raise these kind, smart and hilarious little beings.
Also in my heart but not pictured:  This post goes out to my grandmothers, Mary and Alberta; my great gram, Barbara; all of my cousins who are mothers - Joyce, Theresa, Becky and Megan; my aunts - Diane, Fay, and Ellen.  To all of my other friends around the country who are moms, to my Nanny Moms, and to all of you out there who are Moms, Moms-to-Be, Grandmothers, Great Grandmothers, Aunts, Honorary Aunts, or those who play a special part in raising a child - Happy Mother's Day.  Or really, what is means to me is Happy LOVE Day.  I hope to one day join your ranks in raising blessed little souls of my own!
After all,
“Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother.” —Oprah Winfrey


Friday, May 9, 2014

What if Your Biggest "Flaws" Aren't Flaws at All?

We are our own worst critics.  I know I am. 

I wonder what you see when you look at the below pictures...because I see the same giant flaw in all of them:

That horribly crooked front tooth!!
I am actually really self conscious about my left front tooth which is quite askew.  In every close up picture this is always what I see first about myself and I don't like it!  I prefer pictures that are far away so you can't see the offending molar :/
[It's my own fault this tooth is crooked. I wore braces and had beautifully perfect teeth for a short time.  And then like the stubborn teenager I was, I absolutely refused to wear my retainer and lo and behold, my teeth moved back to their old positions.  Ahh, youth is wasted on the young, eh? ]
I'm sure we all have things about ourselves that we don't like, or are self conscious of, in terms of our bodies, our personalities, our abilities, etc etc.  I used to be much more critical of myself in all of these areas but have become better through the years.  However, there are still many things I haven't fully accepted.  It's kind of embarrassing to say that - I mean I wish I could be one of those people who loves everything about themselves regardless of flaws, but I'm just not there yet.
If only I could be as confident as fellow Girls Gone Sporty Ambassador Brooke Birmingham!  Have you seen her blog post regarding her interaction with Shape magazine that went viral this week?  Her personal blog is apparently down because of all the traffic but the story was picked up by every major news network in the past two days.  Link to the story here.
Anyway, getting back to the tooth.  The reason I bring this up is because recently I've had a number of people out of the blue remark on how much they love my smile.  Most of them were people I didn't know, or didn't know well.  After the first few, I admitted to the Universe, 'ok I get it'.  I was on the receiving end of yet another message. 
I read an article recently on MindBodyGreen, which of course I can't find now, that said something along the lines of other people not noticing our mistakes nearly as much as we think they do.  This is so true.  Most of the time when we are having a 'bad hair day', or think we say something stupid, or any of a million other possible 'failures' throughout the day, no one else notices!  We are all usually too tied up in our own heads thinking about what we're doing wrong to notice small 'imperfections' in others.  And people who love us especially, tend to only see beautiful things, despite our flaws.  If only we could look at ourselves through the eyes of those that love us.
I guess what I'm trying to say is the things you may think are 'flawed' about yourself, may be the things that are actually the most unique and beautiful.  When I sat down to think about it I realized I smile a lot throughout the day.  I smile and laugh all day long with the kids.  I always flash a quick smile with strangers I make eye contact with - at the grocery store, runners and walkers I pass outside, people in cars that I let in front of me in traffic. 
A smile is a way to express your joy and happiness to the world, but even as I'm doing that I'm sometimes thinking about how my smile probably looks flawed because of that tooth.  But the Universe has just shown me (multiple times) that's not the case.  Well, if others don't see it, then I'm going to try not to as well.  From now on, I'm going to try to see the beauty and meaning behind that smile, instead of focusing on a misplaced tooth!
Happy Weekend everyone!
How about you?  Are you self critical?
Are there things you are self conscious about that others love about you?!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Silver Linings & My 100th Post!

I just wanted to say 'Thanks' for the encouraging comments on my last post.  I hope it didn't bring you down too much, but I think it's important to show all of me on here, even when it's not all puppies and rainbows, and writing about things also helps me to sort them out.  Things went much better this week and I've already all but forgotten most of what happened (although I'm hoping the lessons actually stick this time!), and I did have to endure the epic rainstorms this week with a broken jacket. HAHAHA

Now for the silver linings:

1.  I had great days at work.  This is pretty much a constant lately.  Working with kids is something I've loved doing since I was 13, and it's pretty amazing that I've been able to transition back into a career doing something that comes so naturally to me.  I take my job very seriously and sometimes I can't believe I get paid to do this.  If not for the fact that I have to feed, clothe and shelter myself, I often think I'd do this for free, and that is something I would have never said at my old job!  I still don't know where I'll end up in the future, but I know I will seek this sense of fulfillment, meaning and purpose in any future endeavor and never, ever again settle for just a 'job', or something that does not jive with my personal values and talents.

2.  I got two unexpected, lovely gifts at work this week!  It's a great feeling to know how much I am appreciated and how much my work matters in my new job.  That's something I never, ever felt working in finance. 
3.  I SAW A DOUBLE RAINBOW!  Does anyone remember this viral video from a few years ago? This dude is so unbelievably excited about seeing a double rainbow - 'What does this MEAN?!' Hahaha.  If you didn't see the video a few years ago, I posted it below.  (No need to watch the full 3 mins - just a few seconds will give you a taste of the entire thing!)  His emotions just might have you tripping as much as he is! 
Well after slogging through days of torrential rains here this week with a jacket that I couldn't zip up, I saw a huge double rainbow on Thursday!  It was beautiful.  Sorry I couldn't snap a pic, but I was driving, and hey, safety first - I mean I AM a nanny after all :)

4.  I finally introduced myself to a fellow Baltimore running blogger - PICKYRUNNER!  I had seen her at the running store and at a few running events around town but was always too shy to introduce myself (what?!).  I stopped in the running store this week because I desperately needed new shoes and she was my shoe fitter!  It was so nice to speak to her in person and tell her I had been reading her blog forever.  She is super nice too :)

5.  Along those same lines, I got NEW running shoes!  This had been a long time coming.  The last time I bought new running shoes was right before the Nike Women's Half in DC last April!  So yeah, I've put way more than the recommended 300 miles on mine, and have been running on shoes that were really run down for way too long.  The past month or so I was have shin and knee pain so I knew I had to make it happen.  As you know, I am pretty much in love with my Nike Vomeros.  I've worn them for years and before that I wore the Nike Pegasus.  However, with my history of chronic shin splints, I wanted to explore other options in the Neutral/Cushion shoe category.  (For reference, I have high arches and slightly supinate.)  Sarah (Pickyrunner) brought out a few different models for me to try including some Sauconys, Asics, and Brooks.  I ended up choosing the Brooks Glycerin 11 because the shoe felt the most comfortable.  I did run in each of them in-store on the treadmill.

I took them out for the first test run on Saturday and it's hard for me to give a verdict just yet.  They are VERY different from my Nike's!  I know they are Brooks' most cushioned model, but they definitely felt a bit less cushioned than my Nike's and not quite as springy, bouncy and cloud-like. The shoe and soles are also a bit stiffer and not as flexible compared to my Nikes.  They have a firmer, more supportive feel.  I am not quite sure yet how I feel about this, but my end goal is to see if a shoe will make a difference in the constant battle with my shins.  I'd ideally like to be able to run again with 'naked' legs, meaning not having to wear compression socks on every run (especially with the hot summer months coming up!).  I am hoping I can find the perfect shoe that will help me do this.  The great thing about Charm City Run is that they will let you run in the shoes for 2 weeks and return them for any reason if you're not happy!  So, I want to get a few more test runs in these shoes before making a final decision.  Any other Brooks Glycerin runners out there?!


6.  And finally, THIS IS MY 100TH POST!!! How in the world did that happen?  Happy Blog Milestone to me!  Thanks to everyone who reads and supports my little corner of the Internet :)
Just as I predicted there was not only one, but TWO rainbows after the storms I endured last week!  Doesn't life just surprise the heck out of you sometimes??
How was your week?  Did everyone stay safe in the storms?
What is your running shoe of choice?