Monday, July 24, 2017

Mio Slice Review - Heart Rate Matters

I have always been motivated by counting steps and seeing my progress numbers light up on my wrist or an app - it can be incredibly motivating. On the same token, it can be incredibly frustrating when I'd do an intense cross or strength training routine and get little to no steps added to my daily total! I worked HARD for those efforts and dang it - I wanted them to COUNT!

This, combined with all of the recent buzz surrounding heart rate training throughout my friends in the running community, left me so excited to try out the Mio SLICE, a wearable heart rate and activity tracker. Slice technology is based off a PAI score. PAI stands for Personal Activity Intelligence, which is a revolutionary new way of tracking that turns your heart rate into a score. In a nutshell - it shows you how much activity you need to stay healthy.

Your goal is to maintain a PAI score over 100 for a 7 day rolling period. People with scores over 100 are said to live a longer and more healthy life.

Being a competitive person  by nature, there is no doubt in my mind that I had a more active then usual week while wearing my Slice, because heck, I knew I was going to write a post about this and I wanted an impressive score! I am just so visually motivated and having the PAI app to show me my results fueled my fire to fit in bonus activity whenever I could!

Ever had a workout that just FELT so much harder even though it's one you routinely do? Me too! In fact last week, I set our to do the same running workout that I had done the day before except that particular morning the temperature was soaring and the dew point was through the roof. I felt like my leg were just dragging the entire time! Guess what? My heart rate reflected that and even though my distance and pace were the same as the previous day, the higher temps and humidity made my EFFORTS greater and that gave me a higher PAI score for my workout. Pretty great to be rewarded for working harder. right?

The Mio SLICE gives you instant feedback on every workout and all day long. While running, I could glance down at my wrist and at any given moment know exactly what my heart rate was - I LOVE that. Open up the app and you will see it also tracks steps, distance, active calories burned, and sleep quality (how long you are in light vs deep sleep), all in pretty graph form (so easy to read and understand too!) It really helped me to have a well-rounded and overall picture of my health at a glance.

PAI tracks your heart rate intensity and shows you which activities and efforts have the greatest results on your overall health and fitness. For example, last week, we went on a road trip and stayed overnight in hotel off the beach, I got up early and ran along the shoreline solo that morning and then went back the hotel shower and got ready so that we could walk to breakfast.

I was shocked to see that I had medium - high efforts while leisurely pushing the stroller to the cute downtown breakfast joint! again, it was so NICE to see that all of my efforts were being ranked and counted, not just my running steps.

The Mio SLICE adapts to your unique growing and changing fitness level too, since it gives real time feedback, so it's not another fitness device that you'll eventually outgrow. The styling is great too and the fact that it's water resistant means I can wear (and track my PAI points) all day and night. I only take it off 1-2 times a week to charge while I'm showering and getting ready, and it charges up super quick and is ready to roll again!

I think I have finally found the best way for me to track my fitness goals and am so excite to continue using this (and maintain that PAI score!) as I train for my upcoming hilly half marathon in a couple months. Here's to reaching new levels of health with the Mio SLICE!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Fun in the Sun

Pop Up Tent by Fun in the Sun - This is such a fun way for our baby to stay cool and have fun outdoors! This tent has a UV rating of over 50 SPF and pops up in a matter of seconds (it even has stakes to help securely hold it down if its a windy day!). It's nice and roomy, but my favorite thing about it was the bottom can be filled with water (using the included collapsible water bucket) providing a shallow little water "puddle" for sweet babe to splash in.

I loved how this kept my 8 month old safe and shaded, while giving her a fun little sensory play with the water. She loved kicking her feet in the little bit of water. I loved that this can be easily transported for beach vacations as well as trips across town. I'll know she'll always have a way to stay cool and play too no matter where we go.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Aftershokx Trekx Titanium Wireless Bluetooth Headphones Review

Music is a HUGE part of my running strategy. Whether it be a casual run around my neighborhood, or a PR attempt at a big race, I always have my playlist perfected and ready. My hubbie had been trying to get me to try wireless headphones for awhile when running, but I, being resistant to change and a bit stuck in my ways, have always ran with my freebie white corded earbuds from Apple. When Sweat Pink presented me with the opportunity to partner with and try the Aftershokx Trekx Titanium Wireless Bluetooth Headphones I figured now was a better time than any to see if wireless headphones were for me!

Spoiler alert - I LOVED them :)

Below are 8 reasons I am making the switch to Aftershokx Trekx Titanium Wireless Bluetooth Headphones:

1. Comfort! These headphones are super lightweight and made of a flexible titanium design, so if it weren't for the great music pumping through them, I think I'd forget I had them on half the time!! I also love the fact that I don't have to jam any ear buds into my ear, which never stay put and always have to be reinserted several times throughout a run! They did have about a week or two comfort break in period. It's sort of like if you never wore flip flops and then suddenly started wearing them fir the first time ever. It may feel weird or bothersome having something rub between your toes. That's how these felt on my ears at first. Now they are super-duper comfy, but I just wanted to throw that out there honestly if anyone else was making the switch!

2. Safety! These are super unique and made with an open air design, delivering the sound through ear drum vibrations. Since my ears are uncovered while I wear these I can still hear and be aware of my surroundings. I love this feature because I often jog in the earlier mornings and share paths with other runners and mountain bikers. It makes me feel 100% more safe knowing that I can hear someone approaching me from behind and still listen to my music! Before having these headphones, if I was running in the early morning or a new area, I would carry my phone and play music out loud. I'm so glad I no longer have to use that tactic!

3. Sweat Resistant! Trekx are IP55 certified to survive event the sweatiest runs! I have had friends with other wireless headphones that have broken due to getting too wet from sweat!! How does that even make sense? Sports headphones should be designed to survive sweaty workouts and I'm so thankful that these are able to stand up to the sweat test - especially since it's going to be well over 100 degrees here for the next several months in Phoenix!

4. Long Battery Life! I'll be honest, if something needs to constantly re-charged, I won't use it. I mean, I am responsible for keeping 2 children fed, alive, and happy, I can't possibly be expected to keep all of my electronics at constant full-charge too! That's why I love that these headphones have a 6+ battery life before they need to be recharged. That's long enough to get me through a full week of running. Once a week charging I can manage.

5. Incredible sound quality! My music sounds so incredibly good through these earphones and I have experienced ZERO skipping. Incredible.

6. They are Pink! This might be a vain reason, but I love bright and colorful workout gear and gadgets, they make me happy and motivate me too. Pink not your favorite color? They also come in blue, grey, and yellow too!

7. They come with a 45 day money back guarantee! Incredible!! I wish everything came with that kind of a guarantee! Trust me though, you'll love them!

8. Free Water Bottle! If you order your Aftershokx Trekx Titanium Wireless Bluetooth Headphones through this special link HERE you also get a free water bottle with your purchase! Two running essentials: water and great tunes!

Speaking of great tunes, what are some of your current favorites! I'm in desperate need of freshening up my playlist!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Keeping Kids Creative Week

Keeping Kids Creative week is September 18-24, but I wanted to share some fun ways that my kids and I have been keeping creative indoors during our hot Arizona Summer months because when the daily temperatures hover around 110 or higher - we all need to get creative with our indoor play :)

Zoo Keeper Sorter Box from HABA My daughter is nine months old and is so into touching, feeling, and exploring life with all of her five senses right now and that's why this toy is absolutely perfect for her! The rich and brightly colored block shapes can be sorted into the box, but only after sliding the matching little colored towards upwards.

 It's so fun to play this with her because we can practice colors, and shapes, and when sliding the little wooden doors up to "feed" the animal it's correctly shaped block, we can make animal noises together!

Or rather, I can make the animal noises and she can snort like a ping (her preferred and only animal noise of choice right now! We also love to stack and knock down the block shapes together too (another favorite baby pastime that never does seem to go out of style!)

Water Play - Okay technically this is outdoor fun, but there are seriously so many ways to be creative with water (and stay cool in the process!) Some of our favorite ways are: making a toy car or bike "Wash" with a big tub of bubbles and a few sponges, "painting" with water and jumbo paintbrushes on the sidewalk, and making our own sprinklers by cutting holes into empty 2-liter bottles and then sticking the hose head inside.

Hot Wheels Play Tape This tape is SO MUCH fun!! It's a special repostion-able tape that is printed like a two-lane road.

Joining the straight pieces with different angles and corners, and kids imaginations can create the racetrack or city street layout of their dreams! We set up unique street scape in our downstairs playroom and plan on leaving it up all Summer long!

We have all enjoyed hours of pretend play, cruising cars, tractors, and trains over the life-like street design.

 The Play Tape is reposition-able, recyclable, and safe for any smooth-surface, and really a must-have for any car-obsessed kiddo like mine!

You can also check out Pinterest too, as they always are a wonderful and never-ending source of creative ideas for children's play!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

What He's Been Loving Lately (7 year old edition)...

I've been having a blast with my 7 year old this Summer. 7 is such a fun age, he truly is my best little buddy and I love having him home with me all Summer. I am truly so sad that our break is more than halfway over and that I'll have to send him back to school in only a few short weeks! I wanted to share some of the fun things we have discovered lately and love.

ZIPIT Grills Large Backpack My son LOVED this from the moment we saw it online! It has a super cool gender neutral design and we love that when the sipper unzips it reveals a shiny metallic set of "grillz". The back is nice and padded too and is really well made. I love that it's fun and unique and that he can use it for school (his school won't let him wear anything with pop culture references on it - so this is perfect!).

I just had to share, he was so excited when this came in the mail that he has to pack it up immediately for an overnight trip up north. Literally we were staying one night and he packed an entire suitcase and backpack full of things. I don't know where he gets his urge to over-pack!!

Movie Night - This is hands-down my sons favorite thing to do and it couldn't be easier! We either find a movie for free on Netflix or Amazon Prime or rent one on Apple TV, lay down some comfy blankets and pillows in the living room, pop some popcorn and all settle down together. I love that he still loves to do simple family things like this together because I know when he is a teenage that most likely won't be the case!

Marcus & Marcus Kids Chopsticks These are so fun!! We have been all about trying new foods this Summer together. We experiment in the kitchen and check out cookbooks from our local library. When we went out for Sushi to celebrate his dad's birthday, he wanted to try using real chopsticks - which didn't go over too well.

When I saw these kids chopsticks I knew they would be perfect! We tried them out at home while eating chicken lo mein one night and they were a huge success! He even asked for extra veggies because those were the easiest to pick up with the sticks!

Games - We have been playing lots of games together this Summer, especially when his sister goes down for her afternoon nap. We have several favorites but Uno and the Lil Lemonade Standoff seem to be in heavy rotation lately.

Do you have school age children? If so, what have you been loving lately?

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Cool Pool Toys For Kids!

We recently moved into a house with a pool and it has been such a blessing during the Summer with kids! Nearly ever single day you will find us splashing around and cooling down in the pool. The pool is one place where the whole family can have fun and play together. I wanted to share some fun water toys that we have been loving lately that can be used outdoor in a pool, or even indoors in the bathtub, for some fresh water fun!

Yookidoo Musical Duck Race - This is one of the coolest water toys I have ever seen! When you place toy in water, it has suction cups to keep it steady, and turn it on, it becomes a fountain, spraying water from the top.

It has little bright and colorful plastic ducks that float along the base of the fountain that can be picked up and placed on top, changing the water fountain pattern. All the while, the green leaf can be pushed to play a variety of fun melodies that remind me of the songs you'd hear in the It's a Small World ride. So much fun. Our whole family loves this toy, and our baby especially loves sucking on the duckies and getting squirted by the gently falling water stream.

GeoSafari Jr. Subscope from Educational Insights - This was a fun toy for my 7 year old! He is right at that age where he loves exploring an using his imagination. This subscope is shaped like a submarine and has 2x magnification and is a super fun way to explore objects in the pool from ashore.

It's monsoon season here so bugs and leaves often find their way into our swimming pool and he had a ton of fun sticking the scope under the water and zooming in to take a closer look (but not TOO close haha!). He also came up with a fun game: From the edge of the pool he's throw a few diving toys to the bottom, wait for them to sink, and then use the Subscope to check them out and plan his "route for capture" before diving in a retrieving them! Love his creativity!

Marcus & Marcus Silicone Bath Toys - These may be classified as bath toys, but we use these all day, every day. They are some of my babies favorite toys to chew on and they are something I can feel good about letting her chew because they are BPA free.

 I also LOVE that they are made with a detachable design so that you can open them and let them air dry in between water play session to prevent any mold from ever growing. We use them in the pool and bath alike, and always make sure we toss one in the diaper bag before leaving the house to keep her happy while we're out too!

They have so many cute designs but her favorites seem to be Lola the Giraffe, the color changing Rocket, and the Submarine.

SoapSox Minnie and Mickey - These are the cutest things ever for kids that always have to have a lovie in their hands! These innovative scrubbers are made from a soft terrycloth material, so they feel like a washcloth, but look like their favorite Disney character!

They are a fun way to coax a reluctant swimmer or bather into the water and make for a fun way to engage in pretend play with your kids in the water too. My baby clung onto these tightly each time I gave them to her and then promptly stiffed them into her mouth (which I'm told, is the baby equivalent of two thumbs up!) Such a fun toy for any young Disney fan!
Playgro Bath Duckie Family - Anyone else's baby obsessed with that duckie video on YouTube? Three little duckies went swimming one's a favorite in our house so I knew these ducks would be a HUGE hit! AS soon as I got them out of their plastic netting they went straight to the mouth - which is the baby sign for two thumbs up! We love playing with these int he pool and during bath time too.

Do you enjoy playing with water to stay cool in the Summertime? What are some of your families favorite pool toys for kids?

Monday, July 3, 2017

Frozen Pop Pool Day

We live in Arizona, where in the Summertime any outdoor fun must revolve around a pool or a frozen treat. We recently combined the two for an at-home frozen pop pool day and now our pool time just got a heck of a lot cooler!

I wanted to tell you about the coolest frozen pop maker I've ever seen. The Zoku Triple Quick Pop Maker makes frozen pops in just about 7 minutes! Talk about instant gratification!! After freezing the base overnight, your pop maker is ready to go.

You simply add a pop stick into the molds, and in your favorite ingredients, and watch your pop freeze before you eyes. It's almost like magic!

Last week, after a particularly hot day of backyard swimming, we decided to come in and cool down with some homemade frozen pops. We have been loving blueberries lately (they are so sweet!) so we wanted to make some creamy blueberry pops.

We combined a low sugar yogurt, with a low sugar organic juice and some blueberry slices, and before our eyes, the ingredients were transformed into yummy healthy frozen pops!

These turn any pool day into a special occasion! We have already planned a frozen pool play date for my son and his little besties for next week. I can't wait to let them great their own frozen pop creations!

What would be your ideal frozen pop creation?