Monday, November 30, 2009

Giveaways!

There are a bunch of giveaways out there that you may be interested in checking out this week. They include:

Strider Running Bike at Mission Mommy
Another Strider Running Bike giveaway at Oh My Baby
Bag of Thanks giveaway at Tall Mom on the Run
GloGirl Eco-friendly Snack Baggies at CouponGeek

Good luck!

Amon bodyshaper winner!

Thanks to all who entered the Amon Maternity bodyshaper giveaway. Since today is Monday, we have a winner:

Congratulations to Steel Springs! Drop me a line with your email and you'll get hooked up with your $50 gift certificate for Amon. :-)

Thanks to Amon Maternity for this giveaway!


Review disclaimer (I failed to include this with the original review): I received a free sample of this product to use and keep but did not receive any other compensation for this review or for hosting this giveaway.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Forgive bodyshaper review and giveaway.

Guys, this one might not be for you. My apologies in advance . . .

I recently had the opportunity to try out the Forgive bodyshaper from Amon Maternity. No, I am not pregnant. This is a bodyshaper for the post-pregnancy body -- or, in reality, anyone who would like a little extra "support" through the mid-section. You see, not everyone has the bounce-back ability of Heidi Klum. I certainly wasn't ready to walk down the Victoria's Secret catwalk 5 weeks after my son was born, that's for sure!

OK, I know what you're thinking. I'm not ready to walk down any catwalk -- Victoria's Secret or otherwise. But that's beside the point. The point is that not everyone returns immediately to their pre-pregnancy body the way Heidi does. Some people might want a little extra something to keep their middles in check.

Vanessa at Amon sent me a black Forgive, size medium, and I tried it out. I've worn other bodyshapers before, most notably Spanx, so I had something to compare the Forgive to. Overall, I liked it. I liked the seamless control band that goes around the belly. It was comfortable and there was no "spillover" at the top because the bodyshaper is smooth and doesn't cut in at all. That's one problem I've noticed with Spanx: The top of them can sometimes cut in and create a bulge where there wasn't one. (And, yes, I've tried different sizes, so it isn't that I was wearing one that was too small.) Also, there are no visible seams to create bumps, another issue I've had with the Spanx versions.

Anyway, the Forgive bodyshaper created a nice, smooth foundation for under my clothes. And, being that it is a bodyshaper, it actually did that. I had a super flat tummy!

My only wish would be for them to make a bodyshaper that is a little longer in the leg, to smooth over the hip area (the bodyshaper is just a brief).

Buy it:

The bodyshaper retails for $25 and is available on the Amon Maternity web site here.

You can also find it at several specialty maternity stores throughout the US and in Canada. A list of retail locations is available here.

Win it:

I am so happy to be able to share this giveaway because it is ultra generous! One lucky winner will receive a $50 gift certificate to the Amon Maternity store. Entering is simple: Leave me a comment and let me know you want in. You can get extra entries by doing any of the following (please leave one comment per entry):
You don't need to be pregnant or even have had a baby to enter. Seriously, the bodyshaper is good for anyone who wants some smoothing or support under their clothes!

This giveaway will run from today through Sunday, 11/29 at midnight EST. The winner will be selected using random.org and announced on Monday, 11/30.

Good luck!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Winner announcement.

Thanks to all who entered the thank you card giveaway. The winner, chosen using random.org, is J from Morning Runner. Congratulations, J!

Now, here are a few giveaways on other sites to check out:

Finishing is Winning favorite things giveaway.
Daily Cadence box o' stuff giveaway


I'll have another giveaway coming up on Monday so be sure to check back!

Have a great weekend, everyone!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Custom thank you cards giveaway.

Thanks to DigitalRoom.com, I have a new giveaway for you!

In this age of email, Facebook and Twitter, there's nothing like getting a hand written note in the mail. I love getting hand written cards and try to write them when I can. I don't always find the time, but I try to!

So, when Digital Room contacted me about hosting a note card giveaway, I decided to jump on it!

Just in time for the holidays, Digital Room is giving away 50 custom thank you cards with plain envelopes. Here are the details:

Giveaway: (50 ct.) 7 x 5" (folded to 3.5 x 5") Custom Thank You Cards with plain envelopes

Shipping: Free UPS Ground within United States

How to enter:

Leave a comment (make sure to include your email address or have it visible in your blogger profile) on this post between now and midnight (EST), Thursday, November 19th. The winner will be chosen using random.org and announced on Friday the 20th.

Additional entries

  • 3 entries- Blog about this giveaway and leave a link
  • 2 entries-Tweet about this giveaway (pls. mention @happyrunner)
  • 1 entry-Follow me
You can read reviews on Yelp here.

Good luck!

* * *

Giveaway disclosure: I have not reviewed Digital Room's products, however, by hosting this giveaway I am eligible to receive the same prize (50 thank you cards from UPrinting).

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sun Crystals all-natural sweetener review.

I was recently invited to try Sun Crystals, a new sweetener that you use in place of sugar. I tried the granulated blend, which has the look and feel of actual full-on sugar. It makes sense, because Sun Crystals are made from sugar cane and stevia. According to the material they sent with the product
"[Sun Crystal] starts with two plants -- sugar cane and stevia -- nourished by the sun and celebrated for their natural sweetness.

Native to the highlands of South America, stevia is a small flowering plant that has been used as a sweetener for centuries around the world. Now it is being discovered and embraced in the US.

We use only the perfect blend of stevia and pure cane sugar, unlike other natural sweeteners that blend with sugar alcohols. Sun Crystals is a delicious all natural sweetener that's delightfully low in calories"
Sun Crystals are not a non-calorie product. They have 8 calories per serving (one teaspoon), compared to 16 for sugar. The calorie difference is actually a bit larger, though, because Sun Crystals are twice as sweet as sugar, so you use half as much in baking, etc. If you normally use two teaspoons of sugar, which would be 32 calories, you would use one teaspoon of Sun Crystals, which would be 8 calories. So, you would save 24 calories.

All of this is great but what really matters is how the product works. I tested out the granulated blend in my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. Instead of regular sugar, I used half the amount of Sun Crystals. The first thing that I noticed was that it made the cookie dough taste a little odd. OK, sure, eating raw cookie dough might be gross, but I have to admit that I do it. I can't help it! I just love to sneak a taste when I'm baking!

Anyway, the dough tasted a little different. It was more of an aftertaste, I guess, almost a slightly sour aftertaste. It's hard to describe.

The cookies though, were completely normal. They puffed up and browned just like cookies made with regular sugar. And they tasted just the same. I didn't notice any difference at all so I consider that a big win. Since my recipe called for a cup of sugar, I used half a cup of the Sun Crystals, which meant I reduced the calories in the cookies by a lot.

Overall, I like Sun Crystals. I am not a fan of artificial sweeteners so I like that I can reduce the calories in a recipe without using anything fake.

You can buy the single-serving little packets at most grocery stores (the packets contain a non-granulated version of the sweetener, perfect for adding to coffee). The granulated crystals are available at these stores:
  • A&P
  • Bozzuto's Inc
  • Giant Carlisle
  • H.E.B.
  • Larg
  • Marsh Super Markets
  • Meijer
  • Price Chopper
  • Shur Save
  • Smart & Final
  • Spartan Stores
  • Weis Markets
You can also buy them online at the Sun Crystals web site here.

If you'd like to get your hands on some samples, fill out the form here and Sun Crystals will send you some.

Happy Friday!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Some giveaways to check out.

So, for your Monday, I have a few giveaways for you to let you know about. Here they are:

Luvn Life is hosting a ProtectABed giveaway. Check it out here!

Mambo Sprouts is giving away five Harvest Eating Cookbooks (with over 200 easy recipes), Organic Spice Blends courtesy of Chef Keith Snow, and a $25 Gift Card to Whole Foods! Check out their blog to enter here.

Mission Mommy is also giving away a cookbook. You can win A Century of Flavor here.

L'il Runner is giving away Chocolate Agave #9 energy gel here. Yum!

Yay for some fun giveaways!



Friday, November 6, 2009

Thriv Natural Performance Women's Racerback Tank review.

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by Jonathan at Thriv to try one of their workout tops from their new natural performance line. I gladly agreed and received the top about two weeks ago. It looked a little like this, only light purple:


Cute, right?

Yes, the top was definitely cute and the material was softer than any workout top that I've worn. I tend to buy tops made from technical fabrics that wick moisture and those never feel overly soft. Granted, several of my tops are Target brand, but I also have some Nike, Adidas and Brooks mixed in there. The Thriv top compared to those quite favorably.

I checked out the promotional material included with my top, as well as the Thriv web site, to learn more about their fabric and performance claims. Regarding the fabric, here is how it is described on the web site:

Bamboo for performance and luxury. Organic Cotton for additional sustainability. Elastane for stretch and support.

The result is a garment that performs as well or better than synthetic/petroleum based product, is infinitely more comfortable, offers more wearing occasions, and is better for the environment.

Now, that's all well and good but what you really want to know is how did the top work when I actually wore it. Right? Of course!

The answer is: Pretty good. As I said, I loved the feel of the material. The fit (women's medium) was perfect for me. I'd say I'm average height (5'6") and the length of the top was great. I often find that workout tops can be a little on the short side and this one wasn't.

The one problem I had was with the shelf bra part of the top. I'll say upfront that I am not a fan of built-in shelf bras. Although I am not overly large on top, shelf bras never provide enough support for me and I would prefer the tops not to have them. If I am wearing a top for a run, I always have to wear a sports bra under it, even if it has a shelf bra. So, that's what I did when I tested the Thriv racerback tank on a run. The top was comfortable and didn't cause a single bit of chafing. Yahoo!

A day or two after the run, the top went through the wash and came out in as-new shape and smell.

For the next test, I wore the top to cross train. Again, it felt great and was perfectly comfortable for the workout. The biggest benefit was that it never rode up when I was twisting and kicking and doing all those workout-y things. I waited a few days to wash the top and after doing so, I'm pleased to report that there was no residual stink. (That can be an issue, you know!)

Overall, I liked the top and I'm glad to have it in my rotation. It retails for $29.99, which I think is a fair price for a quality product.

Since Thriv is a new product line, it is currently only available at Sports Authority here. You can check out Thriv on their web site here.

Review disclaimer: I received a free sample of this product to use and keep but did not receive any other compensation for this review.