United Relay Recap

This past weekend I joined the red team in St Louis to continue passing the baton in the United Relay of America thanks to United Relay, Fit Approach and AfterShokz. My leg of the relay took place entirely in Forest Park, a new to me running spot and a great excuse to go on an adventure to Missouri.

The whole family at the start of the Forest Park leg!
The whole family at the start of the Forest Park leg!

My route was a group stage but my group turned out to be just me and Richard (a big thanks to Richard for all of the pictures) from United Relay. We had a great time running around the park chatting about the relay, running and life.

Richard and I at the finish!
Richard and I at the finish!
Our start and end point was the Art Museum.
Our start and end point was the Art Museum.

I have to admit, that I am envious of Richard and his experience with the United Relay. Who wouldn’t want to run across the US? It sounds like he has been to a lot of great places and has met a lot of amazing people along the way.

Prior to my arrival at Forest Park, I learned through Google research that Forest Park is one of the largest urban parks in the US, even bigger than Central Park! It has many paths that are great for walking, running and biking. It also has great scenery, monuments, fountains and some fabulous attractions like the St Louis Zoo and the Science Center.

We didn’t encounter any trails on our run (doesn’t mean they didn’t exist because the park is HUGE) but it was still a good run nonetheless. It was also for a great cause which makes it even better!

If you are interested in joining the United Relay there is still time! Click here to sign up for a stage near you (or far away from you if you are up for a road trip like I was). And if you are ever in St. Louis, make sure you visit Forest Park!

My future relayer!
My future relayer!

Now tell me about your weekend! 

Did you do any running or adventuring?

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Up Next: United Relay of America

United Relay of America

This weekend (tomorrow to be exact), I will be joining the red route of the United Relay of America to run stage 280 in St Louis! All thanks to United Relay of America, AfterShokz and Fit Approach.

While it is certainly not a traditional race, I am excited to be part of this great cause and undertaking. And super stoked to run 3.5 miles in Forest Park, a new to me running location.  While running, I was also be trying out these sweet AfterShokz headphones.

AfterShokz headphones

Stay tuned for a full recap of the relay and the AfterShokz headphones next week! You can also follow along with me on my adventure through my Instagram.

As if all of that wasn’t exciting enough, Chris and I decided to turn this opportunity into a family weekend getaway to see all of the sites in St. Louis. Plus we figured the best way to determine how this whole blended family thing is working out is to spend 8.5+ hours in the car two times in the matter of three days. Fun or pure crazy? Time will tell.

Our adventures to St Louis, will be made a little less crazy by bringing along our favorite choice in hydration…Absopure! That’s right, Absopure will be on the road with us throughout the whole weekend. We never leave home without Absopure and healthy snacks because as you probably already know, most bad decisions happen when you are thirsty and hungry.

Absopure Home Delivery

Well it looks like B, has the Absopure all packed up and ready to go, so it is time for us to hit the road to St Louis!

What are your plans for the weekend?

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It’s Okay To Be Selfish

I will be the first to admit that my running can seem very selfish on the surface. I spend hours every week running and cross training. I spend time away from my son and our family when I go to races and when I am training. I even plan destination races to fun locales and then I leave my son behind to pursue my wanderlust / running passion.

Even places like Disney.
Even places like Disney.

There have been times when my son tells me he doesn’t want me to go running but I go anyways. When he asks why, I tell him it is because it is something that I like to do. Something that I need to do for myself and my health. I also tell him that he gets to do things that he likes to do, so I get to as well. He’s eight, so he understands these concepts more now than when he was younger. When he was younger he would sometimes cry when I went out for a run. I went anyways. My heart always ached but I still went.

He seems happy. But when the race started he was less than thrilled to see me go.
He seems happy. But when the race started he was less than thrilled to see me go.

So sure, on the surface my running looks selfish. But in reality, it is the best thing that I can do for my son. It is the best thing I can do for all of my relationships. And it is certainly the best thing that I can do for myself.

It recharges me. It calms me. It relieves my stress. It makes me a better person, a better Mom, a better fiance and a better employee.

Sure it was super cold but I'm happy because I'm about to get some ME TIME!
Sure it was super cold but I’m happy because I’m about to get some ME TIME!

It makes me better at whatever hat I am wearing because like most people, I wear a lot of hats. And it can be exhausting. Sometimes I don’t want to wear a hat. Sometimes I just want to be me. And that is what running does for me. It lets me be just me. During those miles I am just Betsy. I am not a Mom, or a fiance, or an employee. I am just me. It’s my me time. It’s me putting myself first. And it is very needed. And I don’t feel guilty about it (most of the time anyways).

So you may be wondering what prompted all of this rambling. Recently, in a running group that I belong to on Facebook one of the members posted that she really needed to go on a solo run but her son asked if he could go with her. She emphasized how much she needed some alone time but also mentioned she wanted to encourage his interest in running.

Most people commented that she should take him with her. The comments included tidbits of wisdom that referenced how short life is, how you should spend as much time as possible with your kids, yadda yadda yadda. (I get it trust me….)

I love every moment I get with this kid. But I like my runs to be kid free most of the time.
I love every moment I get with this kid. But I like my runs to be kid free most of the time.
But we have spent some time running together and we both loved every minute of it.
But we have spent some time running together and we both loved every minute of it.

There was a small portion of us (myself included) that replied she should go alone if that is what she needs.

As parents we tend to put ourselves at the bottom of our to do list. It’s not healthy. It’s not good for ourselves or for our kids. When we put ourselves at the bottom of our list we are showing our kids that we do not value ourselves and that they are always more important. It is a path that is certain to lead to burn out and we are creating a version of ourselves that is less than our best.

Now I am not saying that she shouldn’t take her son running with her ever. She can certainly take him running sometimes. And I am certainly not saying that running should always come first because there are days when things won’t go as planned so flexibility is key. BUT she shouldn’t feel guilty about saying no to her son on those days where she really needs time to herself.

And it doesn’t have to be running. It can be whatever it is that makes you feel like you are not wearing a hat. Whatever gets you excited about just being you. Whatever it is that recharges you and makes you feel like the best possible version of yourself after you do it.

You also don’t have to be a parent. You can take time away from your significant other, your family, your friends.

So give yourself permission to be selfish. You deserve it.

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Ipsy Glam Bag Review: May 2016

Ipsy Review- May 2016

Here’s a look at my Ipsy bag for this month! (Btw if you are not a subscriber, NOW is the time as there is no waiting list for the next 48 hours. Click here to use my referral link so I can earn some points when you sign up.)

Item #1: SOO AE 3 Collagen Essence Sheet Mask Set

Item #2: Clark’s Botanicals Smoothing Marine Cream

Item#3: Mellow Cosmetics Creamy Matte Lipstick

Item #4: Smashbox X-Rated Mascara

Item #5: Glamour Dolls Blending Brush 

This month I am most excited about the mascara and the mask set. I don’t wear a ton of make-up but mascara is one of my staple items. I love how it makes my eyes pop. I am also excited to try the masks because they will give me a chance to wind down and treat myself to some r&r.

I am least excited about the lipstick. I don’t like matte lipsticks but I keep on getting them. Ipsy is very persistent in trying to win me over with the matte trend. It will not work. lol

You know what keeps me as a subscriber to Ipsy month after month after month? Even when I say I should cancel my subscription because I don’t use all of the samples that I get? It’s their bags. They are always so cute. And they are always so different from the months before.

This month’s bag is so ME! I love to travel and this bag screams that I should travel everywhere and take it with me. And I will. The only thing that could have made the bag better is if I had gotten the purple version but I can make do with the pink one.

Ipsy Bag

Want to see my past Ipsy Glam Bags? Click on the links below.

Ipsy #1: October 2015

Ipsy #2: November 2015

Ipsy #3: December 2015

Ipsy #4: January 2016

Ipsy #5: February 2016

Ipsy #6: March 2016

Want to get an Ipsy bag of your own? Click here to use my referral link so I can earn some points when you sign up.

What did you think of my Ipsy bag? 

What did you get in yours?

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Tour Detroit Tuesday: SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium

A while back ago I posted about B and I going to LEGOLAND at Great Lakes Crossings when it first opened. Well, while we were there we also went to the SEA LIFE Aquarium. Finally!

I was able to get a special deal on tickets buy buying tickets to both attractions so that was a bonus!

So how did we like it? I will let the pictures speak for themselves!

If there is an electronic device nearby, B will find it.
If there is an electronic device nearby, B will find it.

Sea Life 2

He liked getting all of the stamps!
He liked getting all of the stamps!

If there is an electronic device nearby, B will find it.

Sea Life 6

Sea Life 5

He had fun, I swear. Prior to this pic he hit his head....
He had fun, I swear. Prior to this pic he hit his head on one of the tanks.

As you can see from the pictures (with the exception of the last one lol), B and I had a great time at SEA LIFE. I thought it was very nicely done and well worth the visit. Unlike a lot of reviews out there that say the aquarium is too small, I thought it was just the right size. It is a mall aquarium after all. If you haven’t already had the chance to visit SEA LIFE, B and I think you should put it on your must visit list!

New York CityPASS

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Stitch Fix Review #22: May 2016

Stitch Fix Review May 2016

I’m on fix #22?? How crazy is that? I am nearing the two-year mark of Stitch Fixing (that’s a verb now, right) and I don’t see myself stopping any time soon. It is too much fun and it has helped me to define my style and expand my wardrobe.

In case you are not familiar with Stitch Fix, let me bring you up to speed. Stitch Fix is a monthly subscription service (although you don’t have to get one every month, you pick how often) that sends you clothes, accessories and SHOES (finally) based on a style profile that you fill out. You can keep what you like and send back what you don’t. There is a $20 styling fee but if you keep any of the items, the $20 fee is deducted from the total purchase price of the item(s) you keep. If you keep all 5 of the items from your fix you receive a 25% discount on EVERYTHING. Basically it is like playing dress up as an adult…..and it is both fun and addicting! To sign up to get a fix of your own, click here to use my referral link!

Every month you can also leave a note for your stylist. So if you have an event that you need some clothes for or if you just have an idea of what kind of pieces you want to add to your wardrobe you can pass that information along!

This month, I challenged my stylist Diana (I feel like I should get her a 2 year anniversary present, she’s great) to send me items that are NOT polyester. You may remember last month’s fix, as I had updated my style profile to reflect that I no longer wanted polyester items but I still received some anyways. This time I added my no polyester request in my stylist note to Diana. Let’s see if is worked, shall we?

Item #1: Gentle Souls Break My Heart 3 Metallic Gladiator Sandal

Gentle Souls Break My Heart 3 Metallic Gladiator Sandal - Stitch Fix

Yay another pair of shoes. Initially when I peaked at my fix (I can’t help it), I wasn’t a fan of these shoes. In fact, I didn’t even want to try them on. I just thought they were not me. Well I did try them on and I LOVED them. They are so comfy and very cute.

Unfortunately (or fortunately) they were about a half a size too big on me, although I did get the size that I normally wear in shoes, so this brand must run big. It’s probably a good thing that they didn’t fit me because these are on the higher end of my price range for shoes and if they had fit I would have been tempted to keep them because they are that amazing.

I’ve added them to my Amazon wish list in case I decide to purchase them in the future. Hopefully they will go on sale at some point. You can view them on Amazon by clicking here.

Cost to Keep: $160.00

Status: Returned

Item #2: Karen Kane Blair Printed Aline Skirt

Karen Kane Blair Printed Aline Skirt - Stitch Fix

My first thought when I saw that this skirt was being sent to me: woah a $118 skirt??? That’s what happens when you ask for higher quality fabrics, you get higher prices. I’ve price checked the skirt online and everyone else has it for roughly the same price.

Karen Kane Blair Printed Aline Skirt Stitch Fix

Stitch Fix - Karen Kane Blair Printed Aline Skirt

I think the skirt is cute and the quality of it is great. However, I just didn’t see myself reaching for it often enough to justify the purchase. Even when I like an item, I try to ask myself how often I will wear it and if it is just a sometimes item, I will usually pass.

Cost to Keep: $118.00

Status: Returned

Item #3: Loveappella Deanne Printed Maxi Skirt

Loveappella Deanne Printed Maxi Skirt - Stitch Fix

I should also mention that I asked Diana to send my boho casual items this month and this skirt definitely fits that description. I could instantly see myself wearing this all summer with a tank top and flip-flops. The perfect summer outfit.

Loveappella Deanne Printed Maxi Skirt Stitch Fix

On top of liking how the skirt looks, I LOVE how it feels. It is so so so soft. (And again, no polyester.) I honestly didn’t want to take it off.

Stitch Fix - Loveappella Deanne Printed Maxi Skirt

The only downside to the skirt is that the pattern does not line up on the seams on the sides of the skirt. Usually this bothers me and I won’t keep an item if the pattern doesn’t line up. In this case, everything else about the skirt screamed keeper to me and the pattern issue didn’t really bother me for some reason.

Cost to Keep: $58.00

Status: Kept!

Item #4: Pixley Malan Cargo Jacket

Pixley Malan Cargo Jacket - Stitch Fix

I am still on the hunt for the perfect spring jacket, so Diana sent me this one to see if it was THE one.

Pixley Malan Cargo Jacket Stitch Fix

Stitch Fix May 2016 - Pixley Malan Cargo Jacket

It’s not. The color is not right for me and it seems too big on me. I am almost starting to regret sending back the one from last month because I really did like it and I haven’t been able to find a jacket that I like anywhere else. And trust me, I’ve looked in lots of places. If you see one that you think I will love, let me know! Please!

Cost to Keep: $84.00

Status: Returned

Item #5: THML Kimmi Keyhole Halter Top

THML Kimmi Keyhole Halter Top - Stitch Fix

Normally I am not a fan of halter tops because high-necked tops are not typically flattering on me but I think this one is pretty great!

Stitch Fix May 2016 - THML Kimmi Keyhole Halter Top

THML Kimmi Keyhole Halter Top Stitch Fix

The keyhole cut outs and the pattern on the neckline really make this blouse. The keyholes also make the top appear to be lower cut which makes it look more flattering on me than a normal halter top. As with the rest of the items in my fix, this top is also NOT polyester. I can see myself wearing this a lot this summer.

Cost to Keep: $54.00

Status: Kept!

So that was my no polyester, boho casual fix! It was great to see that Stitch Fix does indeed have some great non-polyester options and it was fun to try on pieces at different price points to give me a wide range of options. Overall, I thought this was a great fix and of course, I already can’t wait until next month.

Ready to get your own fix? Click HERE to sign up for Stitch Fix through my referral link. It makes me happy when you do! 

Want to see my past fixes? Click on the links below.

Stitch Fix #18: January 2016

Stitch Fix #19: February 2016

Stitch Fix #20: March 2016

Stitch Fix #21: April 2016

What did you think of my fix this month?

What would you have kept?

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Introducing Caring Crate

Caring Crate

You all know how much I love subscription boxes. I mean, who doesn’t love getting fun stuff in the mail?! So when Janelle from Caring Crate reached out to me about her new subscription box, I was excited to hear more about it!

Caring Crate is monthly subscription box that is crafted for anyone who is dealing with mental health issues, a chronic illness or anyone who just needs to give themselves a little extra TLC. I don’t know about you, but I think we all could benefit by giving ourselves a little extra self-care as far too many of us put ourselves at the bottom of our to-do lists.

“By curating a selection of only the best products for our subscription boxes, Caring Crate seeks to change the way you care for your mind and body.

From mood enhancing aromatherapy and teas, to personal journals and healthy snacks, Caring Crate is the perfect solution to indulging in a little self-care, or gifting a thoughtfully curated box to friends, family & loved ones.”

Intrigued? So am I. The first Caring Crate will be shipping out this month which also happens to be the same month that Mother’s Day resides in. Coincidence? Perhaps. But I would like to think not, as I Caring Crate would make the perfect Mother’s Day gift. Every Mom deserves some extra self-care this month and every month for that matter.

Ready to get a Caring Crate of your own? Click HERE to go to the Caring Crate website for more information and to order a crate for yourself or someone else. The deadline to get a May Crate is the 6th so act fast.

I will be receiving the May Caring Crate for review purposes, so stay tuned for a full review!

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United Relay of America

United Relay of America Logo

I am so excited to add another race to my race calendar thanks to Fit Approach, AfterShokz and the United Relay of America!

The United Relay of America is the first of its kind, so I am pumped to get to participate in it! It is the first ever triple cost-to-coast charity relay. The three relay legs start in Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles with all three legs ending in New York City. Those three legs will run through 33 states and will total right around 12,000 miles! How amazing and crazy is that?!

On top of those amazing stats, this is even more amazing in my book:

“The United Relay of America aims to inspire, empower, connect and unite people for a better world. Funds raised help support local children’s hospitals, as well as the coalition of charities partnered with the We Are Here Movement to provide youth education, improve healthcare, fight hunger, end gender discrimination and provide a safe home for orphans. What’s extra special is that 100% of the event’s proceeds go directly to the causes.”

Pretty incredible right?!

Ready to find out more about the United Relay of America? Here is a look at the three race routes. You can get more specific information on each leg of each route by clicking here.

United Relay of America

Originally I was going to sign up for a leg in Ohio, Indiana or Illinois since the relay doesn’t enter Michigan and those would be the closest states to me but I couldn’t get any of the dates in those states to line up with my schedule. So after a bit of an arm twisting, Chris and I decided that we will be heading to St. Louis so I can join the red team on May 21st for a group run in Forest Park. (He did have to twist my arm a bit because this adventure is going to involve us and the 3 kids in the car for over 8 hours there and over 8 hours back. Oy!)

You will notice that some legs of the relay are group stages. These legs accommodate more people and are of shorter distance. I thought it would be fun to do a group stage plus I am not comfortable running alone in an unfamiliar area. Keep in mind this is not a typical race with a course mapped out for you. The legs of the race just indicate a starting point and an ending point. You get to figure out what the middle looks like. Whereas the group stages are set up as a more traditional race.

Because the race is not a traditional race, traditional headphones are not allowed. That is certainly understandable as I mentioned that there is no official course and as such many runners will be making their own route which will probably involve roadways and cars. It is best to be alert when you are not on a closed race course. You can however, wear AfterShokz headphones which are not your traditional headphones.

AfterShokz Headphones

AfterShokz headphones offer an open ear design and the music is transmitted through bone conduction which allows you to listen to your music while still being aware of the sounds around you. They seem pretty awesome and I look forward to trying them out when I run the relay next month. To find out more about AfterShokz and to see all of the products that they offer, click here.

The relay started on April 27th and will end on June 4th, so there is still plenty of time for you to join in! To save 30% off of your registration fees and to join me in running the United Relay of America click HERE.

Make a difference

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Tour Detroit Tuesday: Beauty and the Beast Giveaway

It’s been a while since I have been to the Fox! Too long actually. Fortunately they have an amazing play coming in May that is a must see….Disney’s Beauty and the Beast!

Beauty And The Beast at the Fox Theatre Detroit

Chris and I saw Beauty and the Beast at Disney World the last time we were there and it was amazing. I am sure that the show at the Fox will be longer and even better than the one that we saw at Disney World.

In fact the show is an award-winning Broadway musical that is based on the 1991  Academy Award®-winning animated feature film. It is also celebrating its 20th year since it had its Broadway debut.

“Disney’s Beauty and the Beast has become an international sensation that has been seen by over 35 million people worldwide in 22 countries, and has been translated into 9 different languages.  This production launched in February 2010 and has been seen by 3 million people while playing over 1,000 performances in all 50 United States and 8 Canadian Provinces.  Currently, there are four other productions playing around the world including Paris, tours in Japan and Germany, and a new international tour that currently will visit over 12 countries in two years.”

Beauty And The Beast at the Fox Detroit

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast will be at the Fox Theatre May 20th through May 22nd. Tickets starts at $37.50 and can be purchased through Olympia Entertainment.

Thanks to Olympia Entertainment, you can also enter to win a family four pack of tickets to Disney’s Beauty and the Beast for the May 20th 7:30pm performance. Just use the widget below to enter to win. Good luck!

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Giveaway!

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Tips For Running With Your Dog

This post is sponsored by Absopure. All opinions are my own. 

Tips For Running With Your Dog

Now that Mowgli and I have a few runs under our belt (our should I say feet?) I thought I would share my tips for running with a dog.

Start Slow

Remember when you first started running? That’s what it is like for your dog right now. He has no idea how to pace himself and he has no idea how far a mile really is. It’s up to you to set the pace so that he doesn’t tire himself out too soon or else you may find yourself having to carry him back to the car.

Start Short

Don’t plan on taking your dog out for long runs until he is acclimated to running longer distances. Like people, dogs need to build a base before they can put in some serious mileage. Also, you should keep in mind that some dogs are made to be sprinters and some dogs are made for distance, so you will have to see what suits your dog best.

Running Gear

The right running gear is important for you, right? Well, it’s also important for your dog as well. You may need to experiment with different harnesses / collars and leashes to find out what works best for running.

Mowgli uses a Kurgo Harness which we love. It’s great for running and walking and it also has an adapter that lets me buckle him into the car which gives me the added piece of mind when we are driving to and from the trails. (He likes running trails better than road running too, go figure.)


Absopure Water

Hydration is just as important for your dog as it is for you. I always carry Absopure water with me on my runs and I always make sure that I have enough to give Mowgli as well.

I keep a plastic container with me in my car so that Mowgli has something to drink out of when we are done running but I think I would also like to get a collapsible dog bowl like this one that I found an Amazon, so that  he can  drink while we are out on our run. Or maybe I can teach him to let me squirt the water into this mouth. I’m guessing the bowl will be the easier option.

Make it Fun!

Your initial runs with your dog should be just for fun. If you try to take him out with you when you have a certain time or distance goal in mind you are setting yourself (and your dog) up for failure. Go out for your run with no expectation other than to have fun and you will not be disappointed.

Please keep in mind that I am not a dog expert nor am I a running expert. I just happen to like both and wanted to share my experiences with you. I recommend that you consult your vet before running with your dog to make sure that he is healthy enough to do so. Also you should wait until your dog is at least one year of age before running with him so that his bones have time to grow and mature.

Do you run with your dog? Tell me about it!

Any tips or tricks?

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