Friday, January 29, 2010

Darn Tough socks winner

Thanks to everyone who entered the Darn Tough socks giveaway. I used the random number generator at random.org to select the winner.

And the winner is . . . Bridget Butler!

Congratulations, Bridget! E-mail me at felicehalf at yahoo dot com with your size, sock choice and address and I'll hook you up!

Thanks so much to Darn Tough for this giveaway!!

Have a great weekend -- and check back on Monday when I'll have a yummy giveaway starting. It's all about breakfast . . .

Monday, January 25, 2010

Darn Tough Vermont socks review and giveaway

Oh, my feet are so very lucky. I've had the pleasure of reviewing several different running socks and it seems that each time I do, I fall in love! The Darn Tough socks are no exception.

As I type, I am wearing a pair of the lifestyle socks (the everyday version), courtesy of my new pals at Darn Tough. Proof:

Look at those cute stripes!

I also received the orange stripe running socks and the stone blue hiking socks, pictured below:
I've worn all three pairs, using the orange striped socks for a few chilly runs. I found my socks to have just the right amount of cushioning and I liked the way they wrapped my arches. I hoped that they wouldn't itch (wool usually makes me super-itchy) and they didn't. This was the case with other wool socks I recently tried as well so maybe my feet are just tough! Best of all, the socks kept my feet really warm on a recent run in 20-ish degree weather.

I also like the fact that Darn Tough is an independent, family-owned business. You can read all about them here.

To buy:

A list of retailers is available on the Darn Tough web site. You can also buy them on Amazon.com.

To win:

This is a bit of a different giveaway. To enter, you need to be on Twitter or Facebook. Yup, these socks are so awesome, you'll have to do a little work for them! And what you win is super awesome: One lucky winner will get to pick a pair of Darn Tough socks of their choice! You want running socks, go for it! Lifestyle? No problem!

Twitter entry:

Tweet the following and then come back and leave me a comment with the link to your tweet:
I just entered to win a pair of @DarnTough socks from @TheHappyRunner http://tinyurl.com/yjdecas
You can enter via Twitter as many times as you'd like. I just need each tweet link in a separate comment.

Facebook entry:

Become a fan of Darn Tough on Facebook and then come back here and leave me comment stating that you did, with your Facebook name (so I can track it).

This giveaway will run through midnight EST January 28th. The winner will be selected from all eligible entries using random.org and announced on Friday the 29th.

Good luck!

Review/giveaway disclaimer: I received samples from Darn Tough to review. I was not compensated for this review/giveaway.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Weekend giveaway spotlight.

There are a bunch of great giveaways floating around the blogosphere this week. Here are a few that you might be interested in checking out this weekend:
Good luck!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Bondi Band winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered the Bondi Band giveaway. I used the random number generator at random.org to select the winner.

And the winner is . . . Becca!

Congratulations, Becca! Enjoy your headband :-)

Thanks to Bondi Band for this giveaway!!

Have a great weekend -- be sure to check back on Monday when I'll have another giveaway starting. Think socks. Darn Tough socks . . .

Monday, January 18, 2010

Bondi Bands review and giveaway.

I was fortunate to be able to try out some Bondi Band headgear recently. If you are not familiar with Bondi Band, they are a company worth checking out. They make headbands, hats and pony tail hats out of wicking fabric. Their motto is "No slip. No drip." And, they are super charitable. Each year they donate 10% of their pretax profits to charity. Read more about them here.

Rebecca at Bondi Band sent me two headbands and a ponytail hat. I've worn them on several runs and I love them! When I head out for runs in the winter, I need something to shield me from the wind. I usually wear a fleece headband that covers my ears and my forehead so that I don't get wind freeze!

The Bondi Band headband and hat, though made of a light material, both worked well to shield me from the wind and keep my ears warm. When it has been extra cold, I've doubled up. For my recent chilly 10k, I wore the funky striped headband over the ponytail hat as you can see here:


The double layer worked and the headband never slipped, even though it was layered over a hat. The combo kept me nice and warm.

Now, what of this ponytail hat? A ponytail hat is something that I never knew exisited but that I now no longer want to live without: It's a hat that has an opening in the back for a gal's (or guy's) ponytail to be pulled through. With normal hats, if you wear a ponytail it gets smooshed and ends up against your neck. It's the reason I have worn headbands during cold months. But, of course, with a headband, you sacrific the full head coverage.

The pony tail hat solves the problem. As you can see in my (poorly executed) photo below, the pony tail is free to do its thing with the pony tail hat:

Overall, I'm a new fan of Bondi Band.

Buy it!

You can buy Bondi Band headgear at their web site here. If you are interested in the headbands, you can buy 3 and get 1 free with coupon code: one. Or, buy 5 for $25 with coupon code: five. (The headbands are normally $8 each.)

Win it!

I have one Bondi Band headband to give away to a lucky reader! The headband is solid black so it is a great basic and can work for men or women.

To enter:

Leave me a comment to let me know you need a headband!

Additional entries (leave one comment per entry for the additional ones to count):
  • Follow this blog or my other blog, or let me know that you already do
  • Link to this giveaway from your blog
  • Pop over to Bondi Band and then leave me a comment letting me know which other product looks cool.
The giveaway runs through 11:59pm EST, Thursday, January 21, 2010. One winner will be selected using random.org and that winner will be announced on Friday so be sure to check back!

Good luck and have a great week!

Review/giveaway disclaimer: I received samples from Bondi Band to review. I was not compensated for this review/giveaway.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

21st Century Formulations looking for product testers

This is neither a giveaway nor a review -- just an announcement. 21st Century Formulations, the company that makes the Skin MD Natural Shielding Lotion that I reviewed last week, asked me to help spread the word about their need for product testers.

The company has developed a new feminine hygiene product that may help relieve menstrual cramps. The pad is designed with new technology based on infrared and negative ion energy that was developed in Japan where they are using this same technology to make hospital band-aids. Infrared light is an energy force, which promotes healing by helping to raise the white blood cell
boosting immunity. Negative ions have been said to be able to increase the flow of oxygen to the brain, improving coordination and giving more mental energy.

They are looking for women that suffer from painful menstrual cramps to test a new product (pads) that might offer a solution. Selected subjects of the study will received a free product in exchange for reports of their results.

Sound interesting to you? If you, or anyone you know, would like to try them, please email the company at padtesting@21stcenturyformulations.com or call (213) 798 3859. And if you do try them out, good luck!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Skin MD Natural Shielding Lotion winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered the Skin MD giveaway. I used the random number generator at random.org to select the winner.

And the winner is . . . Traci Fritz!

Traci, email me with your address (felicehalf at yahoo dot com) and I will hook you up :-)

Thanks to Skin MD Natural for this giveaway.

Have a great weekend -- be sure to check back on Monday when I'll have another giveaway starting.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ronzoni Smart Taste review

Here at Happy Runner-ville we eat a lot of pasta. My toddler loves it and some evenings the most I can get it together to cook is pasta with some sauteed veggies. Not every night, mind you, but some nights :-)

I've always felt, though, that giving my son a lot of white pasta is not a good thing. So, in the past two years, I've made the switch to a mixture of about 2/3 whole-wheat pasta and 1/3 white. My family likes it more than all whole-wheat and I figure I'm giving them a more nutritious meal with the whole wheat.

I may start doing less of that.

Recently, I was contacted by Ronzoni's PR rep to review their Smart Taste enriched white pasta. I agreed and they sent me two boxes to try.


Smart Taste has been on the market for a while but it is now enriched with vitamin D, a new feature. I am a huge believer in the positive effects of taking extra vitamin D. I've read a lot about it and, from what I've read and what I've experienced from increasing my intake, it works well to improve immunity and overall health and function.

In addition to the vitamin D, Smart Taste includes calcium and fiber. Here's some information on those two nutrients from Smart Taste:
Calcium and fiber are two key nutrients that can be lacking in children’s diets. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 30 percent of boys and 10 percent of girls between the ages of 12 and 19 meet their daily calcium requirements. Among children age three to five, less than 60 percent get enough calcium. When it comes to fiber, most Americans consume only about half the recommended daily amount. Research shows that fiber not only promotes proper digestion but contributes to fullness, helping to prevent overeating.
I made the Penne Rigate for dinner for my son, my husband and me. It tastes just as good as any other pasta, in my opinion. The pasta cooked up with the right amount of firmness but was not chalky or tough -- two worries you might have about pasta enriched with extra fiber! Instead, I didn't even notice that there was anything different about this pasta. I appreciated the ease with which I could, effectively, "sneak" extra calcium, fiber and vitamin D in to my son's diet.

I don't worry all that much about it now, because he eats fairly well. Then again, he's only 2 so the tough eating years are still ahead of me. I plan to keep this pasta in the rotation! Thanks, Ronzoni!

You can learn more about Smart Taste here.
They offer coupons on their site here.


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

Monday, January 11, 2010

Skin MD Natural Shielding Lotion review and giveaway

I was contacted by Skin MD Natural to review their Shielding Lotion and host a giveaway. Since I am a total dry skin girl in the winter, I gladly agreed to try out the lotion.

I didn't really know what a shielding lotion was before I received the sample in the mail. According to the company:

"Skin MD Natural is a shielding lotion, a very special type of lotion helping the skin restore its integrity, enhance its protective functions so that the skin is able to heal naturally and regain its youthful appearance. Skin MD Natural works by bonding with cells of the skin's outermost layer to form what works as an invisible shield. This layer of protection prevents environmental irritants and pollutants from penetrating the skin, while sealing in the skin's own natural oils and moisture, helping resolve the dry skin condition.

Skin MD Natural uses only the finest natural ingredients, and is focused on urging the skin to be active, and to use its own moisture to effectively heal itself. It is not oily or sticky, doesn't sit on top of your skin leaving a greasy residue on everything you touch, it doesn't rub or wash off easily, is hypoallergenic, fragrance, colorant and paraben free and dermatology tested."

Ever since I was pregnant and started to pay attention to ingredients, I've attempted to avoid parabens. So, the fact that the Shielding Lotion is paraben free is a plus in my book. I also really liked that the lotion was fragrance and color free.

The first time I used the lotion, I was surprised by how thin it was. It went on smoothly and dried quickly. It was never sticky or tacky at all. Once it dried, it felt like I hadn't put anything on my skin at all. I used the lotion on my body and hands, but not on my face. So, I won't be able to tell you how it works on the face -- sorry! But I can tell you about the body and hands.

I found the lotion to be great for my body. I get really itchy, dry skin in the winter and the lotion helped with that. My shoulders tend to itch the most (weird, I know) and after using the lotion, they just didn't. This stuff definitely worked for my shoulders! And, it felt nice on the rest of my body. I noticed a distinct improvement on my elbows, too. That's an area that can get so dry and gross. The lotion helped.

Now, the hands. I don't know . . . it just didn't work as well as I expected. My hands are still dry and will probably remain so until April. Maybe May. We'll see.

I used the lotion on my hands a lot but it didn't seem to make an improvement there. More accurately, it was only as good as any other regular lotion (worked about as well as Cetaphil, but not as well as my Eucerin hand lotion). I wash my hands a lot so they are just dry. For me, I think the Shielding Lotion wasn't the best.

Overall, I liked the Skin MD Natural Shielding Lotion for my body and would recommend it. For hands, though, I plan to stick with Eucerin.

The giveaway:

Skin MD has offered to send one lucky reader a full size bottle of the Shielding Lotion.
To enter:

Leave me a comment to let me know you need this lotion.

Additional entries (leave one comment per entry for the additional ones to count):
  • Follow this blog or my other blog, or let me know that you already do
  • Link to this giveaway from your blog
  • Leave me a comment and tell me what you normally do to combat dry skin
The giveaway runs through 11:59pm EST, Thursday, January 14, 2010. One winner will be selected using random.org and that winner will be announced on Friday so be sure to check back!

Good luck and have a great week!

Review/giveaway disclaimer: I received samples of the Shielding Lotion and other Skin MD lotions to review. I was not compensated for this review/giveaway. The winner will receive the lotion directly from Skin MD.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Smartwool socks winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered the Smartwool giveaway. I wish you all could get a pair because they really are warm and cozy. But, alas, I had to pick only one winner. So that's what I did, using the handy-dandy random.org site.

And the winner is . . . EricaH!

Congratulations! Send me your mailing address and you'll get hooked up!!

Thank you to Smartwool for this giveaway.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Irongirl sunglasses.

I had been running with an embarrassing pair of sunglasses. The nose thingy had fallen off and the arms were a mess. They were ridiculous.

Then, the folks at The Sunglass Man asked me to review their running sunglasses. They found the perfect person to do so! I was more than ready to change glasses so I happily said yes.

I went to the web site and ordered up a pair of Irongirl sunglasses. When they arrived, I thought they might be a little too cool for me. I mean, my old sunglasses were dork-city and these are something else. They are quite sleek. Take a look:


Since I received the sunglasses, I've worn them on a half dozen or so runs and I like them. They fit well; they don't bounce around or slip at all. They also block the sun and glare so I can run without squinting. Unfortunately, they fog up a little. This is just a problem that I have with all running sunglasses. They always fog on me. My last pair did, the pair before that . . . now these. It's not terrible and certainly no worse than any other pair that I have worn. It just happens and I live with it.

What I like the best about the glasses is the price. So often, running gear that works well is expensive. In fact, I'd been contemplating an $80 pair of glasses before getting these. Yikes, right? Yeah. Anyway, the Irongirl sunglasses go for $27.95, which I think is a good deal considering the quality.

All in all, I've very happy with my new sunglasses and recommend that if you are in the market for a pair, you check out The Sunglass Man. They have tons of styles, not just running sunglasses!

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


Monday, January 4, 2010

Smartwool socks review and giveaway.

Happy new year, everyone!

As promised, I am back from my holiday break with a great giveaway to kickstart the year! And I've got lots of other reviews and giveaways scheduled so get ready for some fun :-)

On to the first review of the year . . .

Do you know Smartwool? Well, I had heard about the products but hadn't tried any until recently when I received a pair of socks from a fellow blogger. I was a little worried at first because wool tends to make me itch like mad. But, I tried out the socks on a particularly cold run and they kept my feet nice and warm. Much warmer than any of my other running socks. And, the good news for someone like me, my feet didn't itch at all and haven't itched any of the times I've worn the socks.

Now, you might wonder if such warm, wool socks made my feet sweat more than usual. Nope, not a bit! I was surprised, too. But, here's the thing about wool (from the Smartwool web site):

"Wool is a natural fiber that keeps you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Wool fibers have tiny pockets of air that provide a buffering layer of natural climate control. This natural buffering capacity helps the body maintain a stable core temperature."

In addition to being warm, my Smartwool socks fit well, comfortably wrapping my arch just the way I like it, and not shifting around in my shoe. Warm, well-fitting socks. What more could you ask for? How about a truly renewable material? That would be nice. And that brings me to the other thing about wool (from the site):
"Wool is natural and annually renewable. All the sheep have to do is get a haircut once a year!"

There's a lot more that you can read about wool here, if you are interested.

Now, after having such a good experience with my socks, I decided to share the wealth! The folks at Smartwool have been kind enough to offer a giveaway of a pair of running socks for one lucky reader. Here's what you can win:

To enter:

Leave me a comment to let me know what size sock you would order if you won (and whether that is a men's or women's size).

Additional entries (leave one comment per entry for the additional ones to count):
  • Follow this blog or my other blog, or let me know that you already do
  • Link to this giveaway from your blog
  • Leave me a comment and tell me what healthy living product you would love to see in a giveaway on this site
The giveaway runs through 11:59pm EST, Thursday, January 7, 2010. One winner will be selected using random.org and that winner will be announced on Friday so be sure to check back!

Good luck and have a great week!

Review/giveaway disclaimer: I received no products from Smartwool, nor was I compensated for this review/giveaway. The winner will receive the socks directly from Smartwool.