For Two Fitness Anniversary Giveaway

I love For Two Fitness!  It’s pretty much all I wore during my pregnancy.  I mean, how clever is “Running for Two” or “Yoga for Two”?!  I loved wearing my “Running for Two” tank while running at 9 months pregnant.  I was the subject of many “You go Girl” or “Get it Mama” – it always put a little pep in my (very slow) running step!

Running a 5k at 7 months pregnant!

Running a 5k at 7 months pregnant!

For Two Fitness is celebrating an anniversary and they are celebrating US – the community, customers, and friends.  And as a way to say “Thank You”, FTF is hosting a HUGE giveaway! The Grand Prize is valued over $600, and two lucky ladies will also receive runner-up gift bundles. FTF has everything, from apparel to accessories to nutrition and body care – all facets of your healthy mom lifestyle are in this prize pack!

For Two Fitness Giveaway

There will be three winners: one grand prize winner will win everything you see listed here, and two other lucky ladies will win generous prizes from us and many of the sponsoring brand partners. Here are some details about the amazing products that have been generously donated for you to win and enjoy:

Grand Prize Giveaway items:

2 Sarah Haley Fit DVDs Expecting More and Sweat Unlimited — prenatal and postpartum workout DVDs for fit mamas and mamas-to-be.
Kind Bars — 25 bar gift box of healthy snacks to fuel your day, with healthy ingredients you can see and pronounce.
Maclaren Beginnings care products — generous gift bundle of oils, lotions, shampoos, and nursery/powder room products for both mama and baby.
GNC – a three month supply of prenatal vitamins.
Happy Family Brands — baby and toddler foods for your little ones.
For Two Fitness racerback tank and pair of pants or capris
Baby K’tan — stylish carrier to aid in hands-free baby-wearing.
Zensah — 2 sets of must-have compression leg sleeves. Relieve leg fatigue, increase circulation, reduce varicose veins, and get fresh legs.

Visit http://fortwofitness.com/blog/2014/04/for-two-fitness-anniversary-giveaway/ for your chance to win big!

Apera Bags review & giveaway

I’m a fitness-runner-yogi-traveling mother on the go.  And that means I need a bag to carry it all: a pair of capris, running shoes, yoga mat, water bottle, diapers, wipes, wubanub, you name it.  A bag that carries e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. isn’t so easy to find.  I love my Marc Jacobs diaper bag, but a Marc Jacobs diaper bag isn’t always for the yoga studio-gym-airplane-trunk of my car days.  So, after months of searching and eyeing the Yoga Tote from Apera, I was thrilled when they sent me a tote to test out and review.

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yogaThe Yoga Tote is perfect for my yoga studio-long walk-business meeting-traveling to San Francisco-diaper bag days.  Seriously, I love it. I knew I’d love it for yoga, after all it’s appropriately named the Yoga Tote –but I didn’t realize how much I’d love it for everything else.  For life.   LJ and I go to Mommy & Me yoga at least once/week.  This bag is great for stashing all of my yoga essentials, plus everything I need for the little guy.  However, I was pleasantly surprised with its versatility.  A few weeks ago I had a business meeting that ended with a run; I needed my laptop and notebook, plus all of my winter running gear.  And just last week, I used the Yoga tote for our cross-country trip to San Francisco; it worked as my purse and LJ’s diaper bag.  While the Yoga tote is great for, well, yoga, it’s also really great for other things, too.  Like, travel, life, gym, yoga, laptop bag, work tote, diaper bag, and more. Here’s what else I love.  Apera bags are design to be healthier – with built-in antimicrobial product protection to inhibit the growth of bacterial odors, separation of your wet, sweaty gear from your dry stuff, and venting air to keep your bag dry and suppress odor.  (I wonder if it works for diapers, too?!)

  • Antimicrobial Product Protection
  • Vented Compartments
  • Wipeable Linings
  • Washable Insert

At $120 the Yoga Tote may seem a little pricey – but it’s totally worth the price.  It’s versatile.  You can use the bag for anything (reference above if you need more information or convincing).  And it’s really stylish and cute (plus I’m a sucker for the fuchsia).

Do you want one?!

I have some good news for you… I’m hosting a {giveaway}.

One lucky reader will have a chance to win the Sprint Pack and includes a code worth 25% off any other Apera bag.  The Sprint pack is light, active, and inspired.

sprint

Monthly Apera Giveaway: Apera gives away one free bag/month.  All you need to do is sign up for the email newsletter by providing your email address at the bottom of the website. At the conclusion of each month, Apera randomly draws one name from the subscribers in the email newsletter database and selects a winner.

Sale: Apera is offering 40% OFF the entire Blue line of bags.  Any style of Blue bag will be 40% OFF, including the Yoga Tote.  Also, all of theDuffel Packs, any color, are 40% OFF too.  For more information and to order yours, visit: www.aperabags.com

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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disclaimer: I was given the Yoga Tote free of charge.  Opinions are my own.

part lll: transamerica & rock n roll san francisco {final thoughts}

I can’t believe it’s been one week since Rock n Roll San Francisco.  We’re still talking about how much fun we had; I really can’t imagine better circumstances for my racing debut.

Partnering with Transamerica and Rock n Roll has been a wonderful experience and I can’t wait for more to come.  I look forward to Philadelphia and Los Angeles (and potentially Chicago) and hope to raise a lot of money for a lot of great causes.  Thank you, Transamerica and Competitor Group for selecting me as your Tomorrow Chaser.  I feel really blessed to be a part of the team.

A HUGE thank you to my always supportive and encouraging husband, BJ.  If it weren’t for him I wouldn’t be able to pursue as many {running} dreams as I’ve been able to. I feel so blessed and thankful for his support.  He really does believe in everything I do!  And I hope LJ likes running, because there’s a lot of running in his future.

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My return to running/racing was better than I could’ve ever expected.  I thank God for keeping me injury free (I didn’t have much time to properly train), for beautiful running weather, safe travels, a supportive husband and baby, wonderful sponsors, and the ability to raise money for St. Jude.

Here’s to many more miles…

Cheers!

 

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part ll: transamerica & rock n roll san francisco {race report}

After a night of not-so-great sleep (between race nerves and feeding a baby), I woke up feeling excited and ready to run!  I didn’t know what to expect – my longest run was a 9 miler – but I knew I was going to have fun and I knew I was going to raise money for a great cause.  Nothing else mattered.

I’ll start by saying, I didn’t pay for VIP (it was part of the race package) but if you can, VIP is the way to go.  The accommodations are really nice and it’s a cozy pre-race environment.   The Transamerica crew was dropped off at the VIP Start Line/Tent and we walked inside to stay warm, get some food/drinks, check bags, and use actual restrooms.  I never want to run another non-VIP race again (ha!).  I did a lot of stretching and it felt good to move my body.  I was ready to run.

transamerica

About 35 minutes before the race started I had to take care of some mom duties (pumping) and everyone was really accommodating. Staff got me a bag of ice to save the milk and other moms joined around to share their stories.  Pumping/feeding in public doesn’t bother me, but I understand that it bothers some; even though I hardly knew anyone, it was nice to have a support system.  It was nice to know that it’s okay to be a breastfeeding-mother-runner.  Thank you!

Since I was the very.last.runner. to start the race, I had extra time once the race started at 6:30am.  I met with Transamerica and CGI PR teams, posed for a couple pre-race photos, and chatted with other runners.   The weather was perfect and there was a buzz in the air.  I love race morning!

I connected with Steve (videographer) in Corral 15 and we walked together to the start line.  Once everyone started the race, the race announcer said “Here goes Transamerica Tomorrow Chaser, Melody Jones.  For every runner she passes, $1 is donated to St. Jude.  How many runners will she pass?” – and I was off.

The course started on the West Coast, along the ocean, on Lincoln & Great Highway (could that be any more perfect?!).  The course ran through Presidio (hello, gorgeous homes), over the Golden Gate Bridge (talk about once-in-a-lifetime), along the Marina district, through Nob Hill, and finished Downtown at Civic Center Plaza.  The course itself was beautiful with breathtaking, one-of-a-kind, views.  I don’t know when I’ll ever have a chance to run over the Golden Gate Bridge again – and even though it was really, really crowded, I was thankful for such an amazing opportunity!  San Francisco is a beautiful city.

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I met another runner – Dominick – early on.  He was going to pace a friend but she didn’t show up, so we started talking and running and the miles ticked by.  Kind of.  People weren’t joking when they warned me about the hills – 0.5 miles into the race there was a big, steep one, and they lasted for the duration of the run.  We hit the Golden Gate Bridge around Mile 4.  It was crowded and a little dangerous.  Not because it wasn’t blocked off but because runners were running in the opposite lane to pass people and there just wasn’t enough room for everyone.  I was able to snap a picture (I don’t normally run with my phone but had it for communication/video purposes) but it was hard to enjoy.  I know it’s easier said than done, but we needed more lanes.  We came off the bridge right around Mile 8.  Miles 8, 9, 10 were pretty flat and went along the Marina District.  There were boats and gorgeous homes; there was a lot to take in.  Around Mile 11, things started to slow down and hurt but I knew I was on the home stretch and kept repeating “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength”.  I passed a few Transamerica runners around Mile 12 and they gave me an extra boost of energy (plus, I knew that they were hoping I wouldn’t pass them so it was fun to “catch” them so close to the finish).  At the same time Dominick said, “Let’s see what you’re made of” and it was a sprint to the finish.  I wanted to pass as many people as I could, so I ran as fast as I could.  I ran the last mile in 5:41!

photo 3 (22)

I crossed the finish line in 1:52:48.  My first race since having a baby (5 months ago) and I felt much better than I expected.  It wasn’t my fastest time but it was one of the most fun races I’ve ever run.  I knew that every runner I passed was another $1 for St. Jude, and as a new mother, I was even more motivated to raise as much as I could. 

When I crossed the finish line I had NO idea how much I had raised/people I had passed.  I thought I’d have a better idea but it was hard to gauge.  As I took post-race pictures/interviews, the numbers were being tallied….

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St. Jude, Transamerica, and myself went on stage to present the check and say a few words.  Before presenting the check, Transamerica’s Direct President, Ed Walker, got the crowd really pumped up.  “How many of you think she passed 2,000 runners? 3,000? 3,500? 4,000? 4,500? 5,000? 5,500? 6,000? 6,500? 7,000? 7,500?”  The crowd was cheering!  “Our Transamerica Tomorrow Chaser, Melody Jones, passed 7,569 people on today’s course.”  cue: more cheers

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8,603 runners started and finished Rock n Roll San Francisco.  I passed 7,569 runners, raising $7569 for St. Jude!  I was so excited!  Never in my wildest dreams did I think I could pass/raise that much money!  My check was the second largest check they’ve ever written and the largest for this race.

Rock n Roll San Francisco was a race that I’ll never forget.  I had a chance to meet some favorite runner/bloggers, including Pavement RunnerSheenaBean and Daddy’s Running.  It was my return to running postpartum, my racing debut, and a chance to raise money for a great cause.  I’m so proud to be a part of the Transamerica team, creating better tomorrows for people.

I’ll see you in Philadelphia

 

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part I: transamerica & rock n roll san francisco weekend {expo}

I didn’t really know what to expect going into my weekend with Transamerica and Rock n Roll.  I was excited about the opportunity but (kind of) nervous about running a half-marathon.  It would be my longest run to date.

The weekend was even better than I could’ve dreamed!  From the expo, to the interviews, the entire crew, all of the runners, and the actual race, Rock n Roll San Francisco was the perfect place for my racing debut.

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I started the weekend with interviews and photos with Steve from You & Me Productions.  This is the first in a series of interviews that will follow my journey throughout the year.   The interview took place on a Trolley Car – an iconic piece of San Francisco history.  Next I headed to the expo; expos are one of my favorite things about race weekend.  I love the energy, I love the runners, and I love being a part of this unique community!  I worked the Transamerica booth and had a chance to talk with runners and family members.  People had a chance to guess how many runners I would pass, and it was fun to hear their guesses.  Some people asked a lot of questions: “How fast are you?, What time do you hope to finish?, Have you ever run a half-marathon?, What’s your fastest time? How many people do you think you will pass? How many people are running the race?” and others just picked a random number and wrote it down.  Here are a few of my favorite guesses: A LOT!, 1 billion, 50,000, zero (this person didn’t have any faith in me, ha!); I also got a lot of very precise guesses – 5127, 7342, 9,682, etc.  I finished the day with an interview with Joe from The Marathon Show.  He’s a great guy and it was fun to finally meet him (I’ve been seeing him at expos for years!).

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I headed to the expo again on Saturday.  The day started with a Q&A session, hosted by John “The Penguin” Bingham and myself.  I had a chance to talk about the Transamerica Tomorrow Chaser program and why I’m so excited to partner with Transamerica.  More than anything, I love being a part of something that creates better tomorrows for people!  After the Q&A session I headed back to the booth for more guessing games and interaction with runners.  I had a chance to (finally) meet Sheena from SheenaBean13 and Daniel from Daddy’s Running, plus some many others that had heard about the Tomorrow Chaser program or “knew” me from my blog.  It was fun to connect with so many different people.

photo 1 (27)

The Penguin, John Bingham

DaddyRunning

BJ, LJ, and I had a chance to explore the city after the expo each day.  We took long walks, ate at cool restaurants, and even found the best Tequila bar for miles.  I’m really thankful that they were able to come and be a part of this special (and important) weekend.   It was fun to spend time with Transamerica and my family.

On Saturday night, we had an opportunity that will likely never happen again: attend a party on the top floor of the Transamerica Pyramid.  Wow!  What an incredible view of the city – and beyond – from the 48th floor of this iconic building.  It was such a cool experience.

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After the party, BJ, LJ, and I headed back to the hotel for race prep and bedtime.  The weather was expected to be beautiful for race day and I had everything ready to go: shorts, Transmerica jersey, running shoes, socks, garmin, sunglass, and honey stingers (plus all of my pre-race clothes and of course, my breastpump #momproblems).  I was ready and excited for race day.  More than anything, I couldn’t wait to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

My guess for race day was between 4,000 – 5,000 runners passed (which would equal $4-5,000 for St. Jude).  My secret-don’t-tell-anybody goal was to pass 6,000 runners.  What’s your guess?!

To be continued…

Read Part II to find out how much money I raised, and read my race report.

 

For more info and miles, check out: TransamericaRock n Roll, and {will run for margaritas}

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Transamerica
Twitter: @Transamerica
Pinterest: http://tr.pinterest.com/transamerica/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RnRMarathonSeries
Twitter: @runrocknroll
Instagtram: runrocknroll
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/runrocknroll/

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take a guess

5 weeks ago I was given an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up: partner with Transamerica, run a couple half-marathons throughout the year, and raise money for a variety of charities, including St. Jude and Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Even though I was barely running (I started back 3 months ago), I knew that I wanted to be a part of what Transamerica is doing!  Transamerica believes that living an active lifestyle leads to healthier individuals and a healthier society – and so do I.

That’s why I’m running Rock n Roll San Francisco this weekend.  For every runner I pass, $1 is donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

So, I dare you.  Take a guess.  11,000 runners are registered for the race. How much money do you think I can raise for St. Jude?  Remember, I’m 5 months postpartum so I’m not the fastest I’ve been.  But I’m motivated and encouraged by this cause, and you better believe I’ll be running as fast as I can!

Transamerica

If you’re running RnR San Francisco, stop by the Transamerica booth to say Hi, ask questions, and take a guess.  For more information, check out the Transamerica press release {here}

TransamericaRock n Roll, and {will run for margaritas} will follow my progress, check us out for more info:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Transamerica
Twitter: @Transamerica
Pinterest: http://tr.pinterest.com/transamerica/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RnRMarathonSeries
Twitter: @runrocknroll
Instagtram: runrocknroll
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/runrocknroll/

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big news: Transamerica Tomorrow Chaser

I’m so excited to announce that I have been selected as the 2014 Transamerica Tomorrow Chaser! Transamerica is one of the world’s leading financial services companies providing insurance, investments and more to 19.5 million customers.  Yet they see themselves mush differently than “just an insurance company”.  Transamerica believes that living an active lifestyle leads to healthier individuals and a healthier society.  That’s why we’re teaming up to run and raise money for a good cause!
AL_logo-transamerica

To kick off our partnership, I’ll be running the Rock n Roll San Francisco Half Marathon on April 6, 2014.  I’ll start from the last corral and for every person I pass, Transamerica will donate $1 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, one of the world’s premier centers for the research and treatment of pediatric cancer and other deadly childhood diseases.

I couldn’t be more excited!

Join me at the Health & Fitness Expo at the Moscone Center April 4-5.  You’ll have a chance learn more about Transamerica, meet me and the Transamerica team, and ask questions related to running and training.  I’m leading a Q&A session on Saturday, April 5, at 11am; be sure to attend if you have questions about training, running, nutrition, and more.

My favorite part?  Guess how many runners I’m going to pass and you’ll have a chance to win prizes (at the Transamerica booth)!  Remember, I’m 5 months post-partum, so cut me a little slack (haha).

If you can’t make it to San Francisco, I’m also running Rock n Roll Philadelphia (September) and Rock n Roll Los Angeles (October).
Transamerica, Rock n Roll, and {will run for margaritas} will follow my progress, check us out for more info:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Transamerica
Twitter: @Transamerica
Pinterest: http://tr.pinterest.com/transamerica/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RnRMarathonSeries
Twitter: @runrocknroll
Instagtram: runrocknroll
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/runrocknroll/

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lately

Lately.  There’s a lot going on.

Work.  I’m back to work.  It’s been a bittersweet transition.  I love what I do.  But I love LJ more.  I’m still trying to figure out what works best for me and our family.

{working moms} how do you juggle work and family?  I haven’t gotten the hang of it quite yet.

Running.  I’m running a half marathon in 2 weeks.  I was given an opportunity that I could not pass up; I’ll share more next week but in the meantime, it feels good to have a goal race to train for.

{guess} can you guess what race I’m running?  Here are a few hints: It’s in a different time zone (but still in the US).  There are a lot of hills.  It’s a big city.  People vacation here and love it (lots to do!).  There’s a lot of “tech” here.

Cooking.  I love cooking, so I’ve been trying a lot of new recipes.  Lots of healthy, delicious, goodness.  A few of my favorite ingredients: supergreens, avocado, black beans, kale, pickled veggies.

{tell me} what’s on your “must cook” list?

Sister.  My sister Lindsey is living with us and watching LJ while I transition back to work.  It’s been so much fun to have her here – and she’s amazing with the little guy.  She lives in the country of Panama, so I feel especially thankful that she can help us and still have time to work on her non-profit/for-profit businesses.  More info: 4Love Clothing and Sowing Seeds of Love

{family} how often do you get to see yours?

Snow.  We’ve gotten more snow this year than I can ever remember.  I’m ready for Spring and sun, but I have to remember to be thankful for everyday that God gives me.  Plus, isn’t it amazing to think that no two snowflakes are alike?!  If you think about it, that’s a lot of snowflakes!  We got 8 inches in Arlington – and not one is the same as the other.  Pretty incredible if you ask me.

{weather} what’s your favorite season?

Lately.  What’s been going on with you lately?

 

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pinch proof {green} recipes

I’m Irish so I love St. Patrick’s Day and all things {green}.  To celebrate – and to counterbalance the green beer I’ll be drinking later – I’ve rounded up a variety of my favorite and healthy recipes that all have one thing in common- they’re green.

Green Smoothie  kale, green smoothie

Kale & Quinoa Stir Fry

Kale & Potato Soup

Tuscan & Green Lentil Salad 

Kale “wedge” Salad – via Cooking with Kale

Green Goddess Juice
Kale, Romaine, Cucumber, Celery, Green Apple, Mint, Lime

What’s your favorite {green} recipe?

 

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black bean tostadas with pickled veggies

Fact: You’re going to lose your mind when you take the first bite of black bean tostadas with pickled veggies.  The flavors burst with healthy goodness and perfection.  It’s colorful and beautiful.  And my “I need protein” loving husband loved this all-vegetarian meal.

By now you probably know that I like easy recipes (and bonus if it’s delicious).  This meal checks both boxes, and quite possibly takes the cake.  It’s insanely delicious!

Ingredientsphoto (43)
4 large carrots, shredded
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 cup chopped cauliflower
bunch of radish, chopped
1 cup romaine lettuce
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 ripe avocado, diced
1 can black beans, drained and mashed
corn tortillas
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tbsp chili powder

Directions

Pickled Veggies:  Place carrot, peppers, onion, cauliflower, and white wine vinegar in a medium bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.  Let marinate for one hour.

Meanwhile, heat over to 400 degrees.  Place tortillas on baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes.  Flip, and bake another 5 minutes.
Mash beans and stir in chili powder.  Spread beans evenly over warm tortillas.  Top with pickled veggies, lettuce, avocado, cilantro, and serve.

 

Enjoy!

 

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