Tag Archives: Product Review

BackJoy: Posture Positives!

A few weeks ago, I was contacted about BackJoy products and their #GiveBackJoy campaign. As someone who has horrible posture and is always up for spreading the word about companies doing something good, I was more than happy to participate.

So, as a participant in BackJoy’s “Give Back, Spread Joy” campaign, I received a PostureWear Shirt, Sit Smart Posture Plus, and Roller balls. I’ve been well aware of my poor posture for over a decade; my mom was constantly telling me to “stand up straight!” in middle school and high school, but I usually just shrugged it off. Most of the time I chalked it up to being exhausted – she’d notice it the most while I was down on the pool deck during a swim meet. My excuse was always that it was mid-meet and I was either tired from just racing or trying to conserve energy and not wasting my time with perfect posture! Well, I haven’t competed in a swim meet in 6 years, and my posture still kind of sucks.

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I think my poor posture is a combination of things, but there are two glaring reasons. One, my torso is rather long, so I just naturally lean forward a bit. Second, I have a weak core (as pointed out by my physical therapist last week – more on that in another post!), so I get tired quickly when trying to sit or stand up straight. These aren’t medical issues by any means, so I don’t really have an excuse for my poor posture aside from just being lazy about it. So when I got the PostureWear Shirt, Sit Smart Posture Plus, and Roller balls, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to stop being lazy and start getting better about my posture. I mean, good posture can help with so many things… especially that little sport I love so much (running)!

So onto the products. As a runner, I’m a huge fan of the roller balls. They’ve been great for trigger point work on my legs, but also to help work out some tightness and kinks I’ve had in my back since starting to cross-train more (hello upper back knots!). It’s worth noting that my cats also love playing with them. Since I sit most of the day working either at my desk, table, or on the couch, the Sit Smart Posture Plus was an interesting addition. I could feel it encouraging me to sit up straight rather than collapse my core and slump forward and it was easy to move from seat to seat with me. While I haven’t had any long drives yet, I imagine it would be the perfect addition to a car ride – my back often hurts just from being in the car for an hour! The most fascinating product (to me) was the PostureWear shirt. I couldn’t help but think, how could a shirt help my posture? I’m not exaggerating when I say that as soon as I put it on, I could feel myself standing taller. As the product description states, its “ergonomic fit is flexible and comfortable enough to wear during both high and low intensity sports. It features a seamless construction for a comfortable fit, and performance fabric that wicks away moisture.” I was fascinated by the shirt because I could truly feel it encouraging me to stand with proper posture, and it wasn’t uncomfortable!

So at this point, you’re probably wondering why I decided to do a blog post about these products. First and foremost, I think they’re actually good products that can help with poor posture… I think I’ve seen an improvement in the way I sit during the day and it doesn’t feel like such a struggle to sit or stand tall (though I’m far from having “good posture” and I certainly don’t have it all the time). But more importantly, BackJoy is donating $100 worth of their products to chronic pain and rehabilitation centers (such Wounded Warrior Project and Denver Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center) just for this blog post alone (and any others)! I’ve been trying more and more to give back whenever and wherever I can, so I couldn’t turn down this opportunity.

If you have less than stellar posture like myself or suffer from back issues, I encourage you to check out these products – they might be just what you need to help ease your pain and get you to stand up taller!

Disclaimer: These BackJoy products were provided at no cost to me. All opinions are my own.

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Culinary Chic

There’s nothing quite like a homemade lunch, but sometimes I’m just too lazy to prepare lunch in advance. Even though I like to take the easy way out more often than not, it’s important for me to have easily accessible lunches that aren’t too expensive. Sure, I would love to go out to eat every single day, but it just isn’t realistic for my wallet or my waistline. I tend to gravitate towards the frozen food section for the obvious reasons – cost and convenience. Unfortunately in most cases this means some type of sacrifice on taste. Recently Lean Cuisine launched a Culinary Collection line of frozen meals, so when DailyBuzz Food offered the opportunity for me to try them out, I immediately signed up.

One thing I appreciate is vegetarian options, which are harder to come by than you’d think; it seems as though the majority of frozen meals available have chicken in them. One thing that always blows my mind is soup – they have so many veggie friendly options (lentil, black bean, pasta and veggies), but so many of them aren’t actually vegetarian! Of course being only 6 months in I sometimes forget to check the label since I assume things that don’t include meat on the initial package mean it won’t include animal products on the ingredient’s list. Thankfully I’m getting better at it. So I was initially nervous that there wouldn’t be many options for me to choose from within the Culinary Collection, but I was pleasantly surprised! After much debate, I decided on their Mushroom Mezzaluna Ravioli entree, and couldn’t wait to dig in at lunch.

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It’s always a pat on the back when you’re heating something up in the work kitchen and someone makes a comment that it smells good… which is exactly what happened when I was heating up my lunch! You never want to be the person that stinks up the entire room (cough, fish re-heaters, cough). So with the smell already getting a thumbs up from me and my co-workers, it was time to eat. Verdict? YUM! As with all frozen meals, though, I found myself wanting more when I was done. Of course that’s a good thing because it means I enjoyed it, but it was just shy of being enough for this runner girl.

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While the picture doesn’t do it justice, this dish has a lot of flavor. It’s half-mooned ravioli filled with portabello and button mushrooms, romano and ricotta cheeses, in a creamy marsala wine sauce with spinach and red peppers. I definitely tasted all of those ingredients, which was impressive. It’s nutritional values are pretty solid, too, with 14g of protein 3g of fiber, and a total of 290 calories. Paired with some fruit, yogurt, or other healthy options makes for a well-rounded, quick, and easy lunch. I’m definitely looking forward to trying their other varieties!

Have you tried any of the Lean Cuisine “Culinary Chic” dinners?
What do you usually have for lunch?

Disclaimer: I have partnered with Lean Cuisine through DailyBuzz Food to help promote their new line of Chef’s Pick products. I have been compensated for my time commitment to work with this product. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments. Thank you Lean Cuisine!

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Filed under Food Review, Vegetarian/Vegan

ShowerPill: The Shower Supplement!

It’s no secret that we all sweat when we’re working out. As a former swimmer, I was lucky in the sense that I rarely ever felt my sweat; there wasn’t that awkward half wet, half dry feeling – I was either all in or all out (even though that meant I always smelled like chlorine). So you can imagine my initial disdain for sweating when I started working out outside of the pool. And of course adding insult to injury, I sweat a lot. But it usually isn’t a problem; I either run near home and hop right in the shower afterwards, or I run/workout at the gym and immediately head home for a shower. Obviously those are ideal situations, and it isn’t always practical to take a shower as soon as you’ve finished a workout. A great example of this is post-race… sometimes there are errands you need to do, post-run brunches that need to be devoured… you get my drift. So what’s a girl (or guy) to do when they’re in that awkward sweaty cool-down state, and you can’t hop right in the shower? Enter: ShowerPill!

The folks over at ShowerPill sent me some samples of their product to test out. No, it isn’t a pill, but rather a “hygene supplement designed to keep you fresh and clean on the go.” So you can think of it more like a recovery drink – it’s something meant to be used after your workout. I’ve never used a full-body wipe after a workout, so I was excited to give these a try. I decided to go for a run during lunch on Thursday, knowing that I wouldn’t be able to shower right after and wanted to stay fresh.

The first thing I did was smell the wipe – I was curious to see if it had any fragrance, or if it smelled a little more like medicine. The smell reminded me of a baby wipe, but not nearly as potent. This was the first sign that it wasn’t going to just try and mask the sweat-smell, but rather actually clean my skin. The next thing I noticed was it’s size and texture; this wipe is thick! I’m so used to baby wipes or makeup remover wipes that are small and thin, but it’s clear this wipe is really meant for your entire body. After my mini inspection, I gave it a try.

Directions on the package suggest that you use a different side for each body part, and clean each area for about 30 seconds, then air-dry… simple enough. The wipe is on the cooler-side (as are all wipes I’ve encountered), so I definitely recommend using this sooner rather than later – it’s definitely no fun when you’re already cooled off to wipe yourself with something cold! I was left feeling clean, without any sticky residue or awkward masking smell. And since the temperatures outside have been dropping, I was happy to note that my skin didn’t feel tight or dry after using it either. I even gave one to my husband to try and he was equally impressed.

I already have plans to use another ShowerPill after my Turkey Trot next Saturday… these are great and I highly recommend them! So you may be wondering – how can I get myself some of these? Well, you’re in luck! You can order these badboys on Amazon.com, and I’ve got a Black Friday coupon code for you! From Friday 11/23 to Sunday 11/25, if you buy 2 packages, you’ll get 3rd for free! You have to add all three to your shopping cart, but once you enter the coupon the discount will be applied. Be sure to enter SPFRIDAY at checkout!

Have you ever used an athletic wipe post-workout? Would you try this?
Do you have any good stay-fresh tips for after a workout when you don’t have time to shower right away? 

Disclaimer: I was sent samples of ShowerPill to review at no cost to me as a FitFluential Ambassador. All opinions are my own. 

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Shake It

If you remember not too long ago the folks at Vega sent me some of their newly launched Vega Smoothies to try. I loved the individual packets and their convenience, so when they asked if I’d be interested in trying their new Vega One French Vanilla flavor, I couldn’t resist.

It’s true that nowadays I’m a bit of a nutrient powder fiend. Since getting a bunch to try from GNC (final thoughts coming soon!), I’ve been having some type of protein powder in one form or another almost every day. This isn’t to say I am getting most of my nutrients from powders (that would be weird, and I probably wouldn’t be very healthy), but I like the ability to add to my daily intake when necessary – especially during marathon training. Since all of the powders I have are protein based, I was excited to try something that was a little more well-rounded, even if the protein count is on the lower side. These powders have 50% of your daily intake of vitamins and minerals, 15 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber, 1.5 grams of Omega-3, and a bunch of antioxidants, probiotics, and greens.

When it comes to shake and powder flavors, chocolate and vanilla are usually the most popular (and most people I know gravitate towards chocolate). I remember when I was younger stopping at a Friendly’s with my mom and getting milkshakes; she ordered chocolate and I ordered vanilla. I’m never going to forget her commenting about how boring it was that I ordered vanilla, and if I was going to have a shake I should have gotten chocolate (since it’s apparently much less of a boring flavor). While I love chocolate, I still to this day find myself gravitating towards vanilla flavored drinks, and so I was pumped to try Vega’s French Vanilla.

I know a lot of people try different kinds of vanilla powders and say things like “Wow! That tasted like cake batter!,” well I’m here to tell you that if you’re looking for a cake batter or super sweet flavor, this powder isn’t for you. It’s plant based and is derived from ingredients like pea protein, so it tastes much more earthy than your average instant smoothie. This isn’t to say it’s bad – I just think it is much more of an acquired taste than most would be prepared for. I’ve found that mixing it with some type of milk (regular milk, or almond/coconut/soy/hemp) is much better than just using water – the powder mixes much better with a thicker milk consistency, and the flavors meld together in a way that isn’t possible with water. Also be aware – since it’s derived from plants, when mixed it does have a greenish hue. For me, I’m not looking for a dessert flavored healthy shake – if I wanted a milkshake tasting drink, well, I’d have myself a milkshake!

That being said, I like how convenient it is; mixing some into some milk gives me way more nutrients than I would get from your average smoothie, and its filling! I prefer to have it in the early afternoon just when I’m about to hit the slump, or in the morning as a part of my breakfast.

It turns out they’re having a sale and offering 15% off until 9/30/12! So if you’re interested in giving it a try, head over to Vega.com and order yourself some!

Do you use any powders to enhance your daily nutrients? 

Disclaimer: Vega sent me these protein powders to try at no cost to me, and all opinions are my own. 

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Filed under Food Blogging, Food Review, Running, Vegetarian/Vegan

I’ll take you to the Candy Shop

Yes, those are in fact lyrics from a 50 Cent song, that I listened to many a times in a crowded Scranton basement in college. Candy Shop also happens to be the sub-brand of the Duncan Hines brownies I made tonight. I know, you’re thinking I’m a total cop-out for using a brownie mix instead of making my own while having a food blog. Well while wandering down the baking aisle at Target today, I stumbled upon a peanut butter brownie box and had to have it. Sometimes making mix out of the box is just as fun as making them from scratch? And by fun, I really just mean easy.

My fiancé has a seriously delicious salmon recipe that he got from his dad. It’s super easy, and I beg him every now and again to make it. So, after some coaxing this past week, he gave in and made it for me tonight, after letting it marinate overnight. We paired it with rice, and boy did it hit the spot! While I’m forbidden for sharing the recipe (so unfair, I know) I can at least show you how delicious it looked!

Back to the reasoning behind the post, the peanut butter brownies! I always find it interesting that brownie mixes provide you two options; one for fudgey brownies, and one for cake-like brownies. I always think to myself, “who wants cake-like brownies?! Fudge is where it’s at!” I suppose there are some people that would disagree, but I always go for the ultimate fudge-factor. That’s why I’m a huge fan of Ghiradelli’s mixes. For something that only required me to combine the brownie mix, a little bit of oil, water, and an egg and throw it in the oven for about 30 minutes, I’m impressed. Sure, I probably could have made better brownies myself, but it also would have taken me a lot longer. Sometimes a little sacrifice in authenticity is allowed for a quick treat on a weeknight. These badboys will be an excellent afternoon snack tomorrow during my 2:30pm “I really still have 3 more hours of work?” wallowing.

So I thought I’d end the post with a question: what’s your favorite straight-from-the-box dessert mix?

Happy nomzing!

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Filed under Baking, Food Review