Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

New Balance Sock Review and *Giveaway*

I love great socks - besides, what good is a great pair of shoes if the socks you wear with them give you blisters?  Kovas and I were recently given the opportunity to try out some New Balance technical socks (check out what he has to say at Midwest Multisport Life).


Technical Elite NBX (859)
List Price $11.99




Designed with innovative Cocona fabric to keep you cool, dry and odor-free, this performance sock is not only packed with comfort and cushioning, but is also environmentally friendly! 


Features include:

  • Environmentally friendly activated carbon from coconut shells provides superior moisture management and odor absorption;
  • Lightning Dry® wicking technology for maximum comfort;
  • Stability Fit Arch Support and Hold technology provides gentle compression to support the arch;
  • Left/right engineering in toe box for anatomically correct fit;
  • Seamless Toe for maximum toe box comfort;
  • Mesh fabric for breathability;
  • Cushioning in key areas of foot to deliver essential shock absorption;
  • Body: 38% Cocona Polyester, 22% Polyester, 22% Olefin, 12% Nylon, 6% Spandex

Technical NBX (705)
List price $11.99




This high-performance low-cut sock features moisture management and light compression arch support, plus a seamless toe and an extra-comfortable heel. These features and more add up to a superb experience for your feet during your workout in the New Balance Technical NBx Low Cut sock.


Features include:

  • Stability Fit Arch Support and Hold;
  • Lightning Dry® wicking technology for maximum comfort
  • Left/right fit
  • Odor resistant - antimicrobial topical yarn treatment
  • Seamless toe
  • Strategic "strike zone" cushioning
  • Body: 54% Nylon, 43% Olefin, 3% Spandex

No-Show Expression (6 pairs)
List Price $15.99




These socks are perfect for everyday wear. Features like moisture management, mesh ventilation panels and a deep heel pocket for a fabulous fit will make you happy that the No-Show Expression comes in a pack of 6!

Feature include:

  • Stability Fit Arch Support & Hold;
  • Lightning Dry® wicking technology for maximum comfort;
  • Mesh ventilation panels enhance breathability;
  • "Y" heel-deep pocket for perfect fit;
  • Body: 97% Polyester, 2% Spandex, 1% Nylon; 

I wore all the above mentioned NewBalance socks primarily for treadmill and some outdoor running, for walking and casual everyday wear.  Throughout all the activities, my feet stayed dry and comfortable plus had no slipping or rubbing.  Thin, yet provide adequate cushioning, these are great technical and everyday socks!


More information on New Balance socks can be found at GoldToe.com or ShopNewBalance.com.


**Giveaway**

Would you like to try all of these New Balance technical socks 
(yes - 8 pairs to one lucky winner!!)?  


How to enter:

- Be(come) a follower of this blog (hit the "join this site" button) - mandatory.


For more entries:

- Follow WEG on Twitter
- Tweet (include @womensendurance), post on FB, and/or mention on your blog

Please leave a comment for each. 
Contest runs through Thursday, March 8, 2012.  
Winner will be chosen using random.org on Friday, March 9, 2012.



(Disclaimer: I was sent this product for free to review on my blog - via Jennifer at Maguire Public Relations, Inc.
 I did not pay for the items, receive payment for this review, or agree to give it a positive review. Aside from information gleaned from the websites, the opinions are my own.)


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Monday, February 27, 2012

Meatless Monday - Spaceflight Salad?

Here's a nice light recipe for a Quinoa, Tomato and Garbanzo Bean Salad.  If you haven't tried or even heard of quinoa, it's a delicious and super healthy grain.

Trader Joe's Organic Tricolor Quinoa
According to Wikipedia:


Quinoa was of great nutritional importance in pre-Columbian Andean civilizations, secondary only to the potato, and was followed in importance by maize. In contemporary times, this crop has become highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (18%). Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), and like oats, quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it a complete protein source. It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest. Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in NASA's Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration human occupied spaceflights.

If you're lucky, you'll have everything on hand like I did - actually I modified a recipe from allrecipes.com so I wouldn't have to go to the store :).  Everyone enjoyed it, especially the kids which is always a bonus!

Ingredients:
1 cup quinoa
2 cups (or 1-15 oz can) garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
1 tomato, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 small red onion, finely sliced
3 tablespoons lemon juice
4 teaspoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (original recipe called for parsley)

Directions:
Using a fine mesh strainer, rinse quinoa under cold running water.  Prepare as directed (I used vegan broth instead of plain water for more flavor).

Once done, stir in the garbanzo beans, tomatoes, garlic, onion, cilantro (reserve some for garnish), lemon juice, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Garbanzo beans, tomatoes, garlic and onions

Garnish with remaining cilantro and enjoy!

Quinoa, tomato and garbanzo bean salad

This salad was even more delicious the next day - I added some chopped avocado -- delicious!!


What's your favorite way to eat quinoa?


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Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday Funny - Benefits of Telecommuting

In the near future, Kovas will be teleworking most days, I wonder if this is what's in store for us...



Happy Friday!!

Any fun plans for the weekend?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Three for Thursday - Presents Day(s), Music Lessons and Running Outside

Monday we celebrated "Presents" Day - mostly because K was too excited to wait for birthdays:).   Tazer received some driftwood for his fiddler crabs, Gaigai some duct tape and Munchkin and Little A Bomb - ukuleles.

Munchkin's and Little A's ukuleles with Tazer's 3/4 guitar.
Tazer and Gaigai are enjoying guitar and piano (respectively) lessons and progressing quickly.  It's cute to see Munchkin and Little A Bomb imitating their big brother (and K) with their miniature sized instruments:).

Little A Bomb and Tazer rockin' out (Tazer pic courtesy of MML).
I'm so happy to be running outside again (at least occasionally, when everyone's schedules permit). ` I was running on the treadmill for my return to running program to ensure a more controlled pace and times, but I'm finally to a point where I feel comfortable just running.  Luckily my knee(s) have been pain free - and the weather has been awesome (for a Chicago winter:)) -- yay!!



Are you running outdoors or still on the treadmill?




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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wilderness Wednesday - Fullersburg Woods

We try to get our family out into nature as much as possible.  Last week one of the forest preserves we visited was Fullersburg Woods.

Fullersburg Woods multipurpose trail and Salt Creek
Fullersburg Woods opened to the public in 1920 and has a rich history. In the 1930s, a Civilian Conservation Corps camp was built here, and the visitor center and several of the shelters stand as remnants of that period. In subsequent years, the preserve was so heavily used that in 1969 picnicking was restricted, and boating was prohibited because sewage discharges and water runoff from surrounding communities polluted Salt Creek.


It was this time that Fullersburg’s revival began. Dedicated to multiple-use land management, the District implemented plans to restore and preserve the natural surroundings, improve flood control, and provide environmental education. As a result, the creek's water quality has improved, trees and other plant communities are thriving, and a restored prairie adds to the preserve's diversity. Today, Fullersburg Woods is a prime wildlife haven in an urban environment, hosting a variety of woodland wildlife, nesting songbirds, and spring and fall migratory birds, especially warblers.

In addition to 222 acres of forest preserve, other features include:
• Oak woodlands and Salt Creek habitat - beavers, red foxes, herons, egrets, migratory birds, songbirds, wildflowers
• Nature Education Center open daily 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. except select holidays
• Graue Mill and Museum, Graue House and Fuller House
• Picturesque view of Salt Creek from benches in southern section of preserve
• Access to fishing spots along Salt Creek
• Put-in and take-out access for paddlers south of Graue Mill
• 6 miles of multipurpose trail (part of which is used for the Oakbrook Half Marathon)

Munchkin trying to identify some local scat.
We had a nice walk and then spent some time exploring the nature center.  After climbing up into a treehouse and checking out lots of cool exhibits including a wooly mammoth skeleton and live stick bugs, we bundled up the boys and headed out to the deck for a picnic lunch.

Enjoying the view off the deck
With our fix of nature and fresh air, it was off to school for Munchkin and naptime for the rest of us:).

Do you have a favorite forest preserve?


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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Happy Fat Tuesday - Lithuanian Style

Although my children dread often protest going to Lithuanian school on Saturdays, last week was an exception.  I had the pleasure of going with Gaigai's 3rd grade class to the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture in Chicago.
Gaigai's mask - kind of looks like Jack Sparrow:)
Each year the museum puts together a fun program for the kids about Lithuanian's version of Mardi Gras or "Užgavėnės."   After a tour of the museum, the children made their own masks and then danced and sang with them in hopes of making winter go away.  The program ended with apple pancakes for lunch.  You guessed right - no complaining from Gaigai:).

Here's how they celebrate in Vilnius, Lithuania.


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Friday, February 17, 2012

Starting a New Fitness Routine?

Anatomy of New Fitness Routine courtesy of Vibram

What's your favorite benefit of being fit?

Happy Friday!  
Get out and enjoy the weekend!


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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Three For Thursday: Warrior Tips


Kovas and I are participating in the Warrior Dash this June, and today we got some tips. These would work for any mud run!  

Tips every Warrior should keep in his or her back pocket (or mud-soaked costume):
  • Invest in a roll of plastic sheets from your local hardware store. Your car upholstery will thank you later. 
  • Whether it's good shoe laces or a zip tie, make sure your chip timer stays with you through the mud. It's your ticket to a free beer at the festival. 
  • Being covered in mud, sweat and beer is stinkin' romantic but can take a toll on the bling. If you're planning on tackling the course, make sure to keep any wedding memorabilia (aka your ring) out of the mud pit.

Any other tips for mud runs?

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

When Little A Bomb wants to play the guitar, we ask him to put on his glasses
(one way to get him to wear his bifocals more) - he chose these instead - nice try:)
Note the "more" sign - take more pictures mama!

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Halo Headband Review

"Halo Headbands are technically designed to keep sweat and sunscreen out of your eyes and off your glasses while training, working out, racing, or just working hard. Halo Headbands include our soft and comfortable Sweat Block Seal. This exclusive water-tight seal redirects sweat away from your face. (US Patent 6,567,991).  Halo Headbands perform as advertised, or your money back. We challenge you to find a product that works better."

HALO II - pullover
Features of the Halo II include a pullover design, no elastic to wear out, and their Sweat Block Technology.  The headband is made from a nice neoprene-like fabric with a soft, comfortable "water tight seal" which prevents sweat from dripping in your eyes.  I wore the Halo II primarily on the treadmill and had no problems with dripping sweat.  Another huge plus is that the headband stays in place.  Most headbands that I have tried, slide back or off my head, but this one stays put and keeps my wispy bangs off my face.  In addition to the Halo II, the company has several other designs, including the Anti-Freeze, that does a great job of covering ears for cold-weather activities.  Check out what Kovas has to say about it at Midwest Multisport Life.

For more information and to purchase, visit the Halo Headband website, and like on Facebook.

(Disclaimer: I was sent this product for free to review on my blog. I did not pay for the item, receive payment for this review, or agree to give a positive review. Aside from information gleaned from the company website and product packaging, the opinions are my own.)

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Meatless Monday Guest Post: Nectarine Salsa

At work we have what we call "Throwdowns," wherein each participant on our team creates a dish around a common theme. We've done cookies, sandwiches, gumbo, and desserts, amongst others. The upcoming one is to create an amuse bouche. I searched for vegan amuse bouche recipes and there are plenty to choose from. What I really wanted to make was Blackstrap Tofu Flan with Candied Pistachios and Pumpkin Syrup (I saw it on Flickr, but  the chef had created a new site and the recipe wasn't included. Pity.

Nectarine Salsa: No Jalapeño, Some Jalapeño, and more Jalapeño 

My backup was a nectarine salsa - I envisioned it in bite-size tortilla bowls, the nectarines, jalapeno and yellow tomato adding some vibrant color to the dish.

Simple ingredients:
  • 2 Nectarines, preferably organic
  • 1 Medium Yellow Heirloom Tomato
  • 3 tbsp Red Onion, finely diced
  • 1 Small Jalapeño Pepper, finely diced (keep the seeds for more heat)
  • 8 Large Basil Leaves, chiffonade
  • 2 tbsp Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp Lemon Zest (about 1 small lemon)
  • 1/2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Agave Nectar
  • 1/4 tsp Fine Grain Sea Salt (or to taste)
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste

Nectarine Salsa - simple ingredients

This dish is simply chopping and combining, tasting along the way. Overall I'd say it was okay, not overly exciting, but pretty to look at and relatively tasty. Changes I'd definitely make would be to use slightly underripe nectarines to make chopping easier, add cilantro for extra flavor, and use a spicier pepper (the Jalapeño was a bit wimpy for even my oldest son, who is somewhat gun-shy when it comes to hot stuff). I'll also be looking for another recipe for the Throwdown, so if you have some good vegan appetizer recipes, let me know!

About the author: When Kovas is not being an amazing husband and father, he works for the federal government and writes the blogs Midwest Multisport Life and 50 States Of Wine.

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Giveaway: Win Mizuno This Valentine’s Day


We are given one day a year to really put our feelings on display. This Valentine’s Day, Runningshoes.com are giving you the chance to do just that. They’ve teamed up with running shoes maker Mizuno for this heart-filled holiday to give away two pairs of the 15th anniversary limited edition Mizuno Wave Rider.

They chose this specific model because of its color scheme—a crystal cranberry for the ladies and a very bright ruby red for the gentlemen. While these are truly the hues of love, we all know that there’s more to running shoes than the color. The latest generation of the Wave Rider is an amalgamation of greatness that the Wave Rider shoe has come to represent. It balances light weight, cushioning and stability with a super smooth ride.

So, how can you win yourself a pair? All you have to do is answer the simple question below in the comment section of the Win Mizuno post. Then the staff of RunningShoes.com will vote on their favorite answer.

What do you love about your running buddy?

Do they always say the right thing to get you motivated? Or do they make killer post-run smoothies? They know there is something about them that keeps you running with them (and not away from them!). Whether it is your best friend, your pet or your significant other, tell them what it is that makes them so darn special.

And if you’re buddy is of the human variety, they could score themselves a pair of new Mizuno kicks too!

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. The winner will be announced on Feb. 15, 2012.

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday Funny - Man vs. Wine

Quote found on Lynfred Winery FB
Lucky I have a man that makes me feel sexy and strong, but when he doesn't, there's always wine:)

Happy Friday!

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Random Thoughts Thursday

We're working on table manners with Little A Bomb...:)


Stay tuned for tidbits and a recipe (or two) from this incredible issue of Food Network!


Do you have friends or family with Alzheimer's that have tried coconut oil as treatment? Any improvement?




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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Healthy Snack - Sesame Kale Crisps

Here's an easy (not quick - takes 1hr+ to bake) and healthy recipe for Kale Crisps:

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.  Rinse, dry, remove stems from

1 bunch kale

Tear leaves into 2 inch pieces.  In a large bowl, drizzle kale with:

2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Season with
coarse salt


Sprinkle with
sesame and/or chia seeds




Toss until evenly coated. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and, using a spatula, flip kale leaves over. Return to oven and continue cooking until kale is dry and crisp, 30 minutes more. Let cool completely.


I tried to "trick" the kids by calling them chips - unfortunately they didn't buy it.  Tazer (11) and Munchkin (4) said flat out they didn't like them, and Gaigai (9) said they weren't too bad.  After seeing the others' reactions, Little A Bomb (18 mo) wouldn't even taste them:(.  I like them - crispy, crunchy and a great alternative to traditional chips!

Recipe adapted from Whole Living.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tuesday Tidbits - Tighten, Tone

...and Tie One On?

I love Women's Health Magazine.  This month's issue is no exception - lots of great, interesting articles.  One of particular interest is titled "Running on Empty Bottles."

source
Researchers found that "most dedicated exercisers are also some of the biggest drinkers."  

"A 2009 study from the University of Miami found that the more people exercise, the more they drink - with the most active women consuming the highest amount every month."

Some theories to explain the study's results include exercising to atone for the night before, drinking more because they have the calories to burn, "work hard, play hard" personality type, exercise causing a cross-tolerance to alcohol, or just a means to blow off stress.

"Exercising stimulates the release of serotonin, which is your natural antidepressant, as well as dopamine, which is the primary neurotransmitter in your brain's reward center.  It makes us feel good..alcohol has a similar effect."

Excessive drinking/bingeing is detrimental on your body causing slower recovery from hard workouts, encourages fat storage in your midsection, disrupts sleep and depletes water and nutrients.

Moderate alcohol consumption is linked to longevity.

Warning signs that someone may be in trouble are the same whether the problem behavior is extreme exercise or consumption - not fulfilling work and personal responsibilities, need to do more to get same effect, feeling irritable when not able to engage in the behavior - are all signs there may be a problem.

Complete article in March 2012 issue of Women's Health.


Bit of comic relief...c/o 50 States of Wine



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Monday, February 6, 2012

Virtual Run for Sherry

On January 7, 2012, in the small town of Sidney, Montana, a runner left her home for an early morning run.  She never returned.  This tragic story has rocked the running world.

"As mothers, runners, and teachers, we fear it could have been us. Our hearts break for her family, her students, and her community. We feel things we don’t know how to express and we cry for someone who we have never met. We desperately wish she did not suffer and we hope that she found peace in her final moments. The human connection often feels deepest during tragedy. These past three weeks this connection has been alive, pulsing, and powerful." (Beth Risdon, SUAR, via Other Voices)


Virtual Run for Sherry will take place Saturday, February 11 at 9:00 MST.



  • Print out a running bib (at SUARand pin it to your shirt 
  • Gather your friends, your running club members, your families 
  • If it’s wet where you are, “laminate” your bib with postage tape and punch holes in it 
  • If that time doesn’t work, go when you can GO.
  • Run as far and as long as you want. 
  • Walk, hike, cycle, rollerblade if you don’t want to or can’t run. 
  • Please share this on your blogs, Facebooks and Twitters 
  • Keep it simple. Just run with Sherry on your minds and hearts.



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Friday, February 3, 2012

Friday Funny


Barefoot, braless...why not Bear Butte running?  Amanda from Runninghood, mentioned an old post on her FB page about braless running, and then on Midwest Multisport Life, this LinkWithin came up...just thought I'd share, in case you missed either.  Endorsement at the very end by Kara Goucher :)




Happy Friday!!

Any exciting plans for the weekend?

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