Friday Favorites + the Winner of the Kind Bar Giveaway

I won’t make you wait until the end. The winner of one dozen KIND Bars is….

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Brittany B.! I’ve already been in touch with her and those delicious KIND Bars will be on their way soon.

It’s time for some Friday Favorites!  Some are random things that I have tried, others are products for which I am an Ambassador, still other are advertisers that I am affiliated with. I hope you will trust me when I say that I truly only do business with products that I love and respect. Plus I am able to offer you a few discounts and promotions!

Running Buddy

Running Buddy

Not only have I been using the Running Buddy when I run to stash my phone, key, and nutrition, I used it all cross country season to carry things while I was at various meets. It is light weight, stays in place, and has enough room to fit your phone, cash or a credit card, a gel or two, and a key. Use the code RBUDDYA15 to save 15% and get free shipping!

YogaDownload.com

yoga download.com

I haven’t written about it yet because I want to see if it sticks, but I have slowly been getting back on my yoga mat. I was a member of YogaDownload.com long before I became an affiliate. I pay an annual fee and I have a choice of hundreds of yoga downloads, both audio and video, in a variety of lengths, with great instructors. I prefer the audio classes. I just download them to my phone and I’m ready to go.

Mizuno Wave Riders

Mizuno Wave Riders - Friday Favorites

It’s hard to believe, but I am on my fourth pair of Wave Riders. I love these shoes. I am a recent Mizuno convert, though I had heard many runners praise the brand over the years. I finally decided to try them out and I am so happy I did. Did I say? I love these shoes. MizunoUSA.com! Never Settle! Free Shipping On All Running Orders Over $100! Click Here!

Kindrunner.com

Kindrunner - Friday Favorites

I want to mention Kindrunner here because even though I haven’t purchased new shoes for a while, I want everyone to know about this great company that makes a point of giving back. In addition to many other benefits, whenever you purchase a new pair of shoes you can send in your old pair (free shipping) and earn $10 in Kindness Cash Rewards to use on your next pair. Your old shoes will be repurposed and given to someone who really needs them.

Bestowed

Bestowed Box - Friday Favorites

I happily reviewed a Bestowed Box last week and I was reminded how cool it is to receive a monthly package in the mail that is full of healthy and original snacks. If you sign up using the above link or by clicking the banner in the sidebar you will save $5 on your first Box!

Therafit

Friday Favorites - Therafit shoe

It’s been a long time since I reviewed the Therafit shoe, but I still wear my shoes to work. I love that they are designed specifically for women, come in beautiful bright colors, and that I can wear them for hours at work and my feel still feel comfortable. Since my review they added sandals to their lineup!  You can save 10% when you use the code BAPDW37 at checkout.

Audible

I became an Audible.com affiliate because of my long term relationship as a customer and listener with the audiobook downloading service. I joined Audible in 2006 and I have been listening to books ever since. I listen while I drive to work, while I clean my house, when I run.

Swirlgear

Swirlgear - Friday Favorites

I don’t always mention it, but I wear my Swirlgear all the time. I love the color, the fabric, and the fact that this small company is all-women owned. Use code 1014 at checkout for free shipping!

Ignite Naturals

Ignite Naturals - Friday Favorites

I’ve been using Ignite Natural In Refresh Electrolytes since I was first introduced to it months ago. I love that it contains no sugar or artificial ingredients, has vitamins and minerals, and it tastes great! I just got some exciting news (and a special package) from Ignite: The In Refresh is now available in single serving packets (I already ordered mine)! The package I received was a box of  Reload Energy Gels. I haven’t tried them yet, but they are also all natural, made either from 100% organic fig paste or 100% organic brown rice syrup. I’ll report back after I’ve had a chance to try them out.

KIND Bars

Kind Bar - Friday Favorites

Kind Snacks not only sent me a great sample package to review, they provided a prize for my giveaway! I have always loved Kind Bars. They are made with whole ingredients with names you can pronounce. And they taste great!

I have a fun weekend planned. With no cross country meet, and it being my birthday and all, we are doing the Grandson Sweep: Heading to Huntington Beach on Saturday to see the twins play soccer and stay overnight, then down the coast to San Diego, to visit Samuel who just turned 11 months! I can’t think of a better way to celebrate

What are your weekend plans? I’d love to hear about some of your favorite things!

Disclosure: As I mentioned above, I am an Ambassador for several of these products and receive a discount when I purchase. I am an affiliate for YogaDownload.com, Audible, Bestowed, Therafit, and Mizuno, so if you click through and order I will receive a few dollars. All opinions are 100% my own.

A Tale of Three Cities: La Quinta to Alberta to Calgary. And Therafit Shoes

I was a little hesitant to write this post, because frankly I’m a little embarrassed about the whole thing. It was expensive, time consuming, and completely avoidable. So I have chosen to look at this as an expensive, time consuming, avoidable learning opportunity. A teachable moment for myself.

Therafit shoes

You may recall, way back at the beginning of December, I wrote a review of the Therafit Shoe and hosted a giveaway for a chance to win a free pair. I love my Therafit shoes (I still wear them to work everyday), and I was happy for the chance to give away a pair. So excited in fact, that I forgot some of the basics of giveaways (I was kind of new to this). Number one on the list (at least for me, now), is the Terms and Conditions portion of the giveaway. Pinpointing it even closer, eligibility.  Like the rookie that I was, I didn’t create any terms and conditions, and when someone asked about Canadians’ eligibility, I said, “sure, why not?” Mistake number one.

therafit shoe

When Tina from Calgary won the giveaway, I was excited. She sent me her address (at her parent’s in Alberta) and chose the Red Therafit shoes (the ones I would have chosen if I didn’t need a more neutral color to wear to work).

Therafit shoes

That was when I found out that the contest was meant only for the United States. Oops! Well, no problem, just ship the shoes to me, and will forward them on to Tina. Easy! Um, no.

Oh, the first part was easy. The shipment from Therafit arrived within a week. The next day, I took the package to the nearest UPS store. And discovered why many companies don’t ship to Canada.

First of all, the cost. Just a little short of $40. What? For a two pound package, valued at about $100? (Tina offered to help with shipping costs, but I turned her down. This was my teachable moment.)

Therafit shoes

I was committed to getting Tina her shoes. I paid the shipping charges, sent her the tracking number, made the assumption that she’d receive her shoes in a few days (mistake number two), and managed to misplace the shipping receipt (mistake number three).

I watched the package’s progress on UPS.com for the next 10 days. I originally shipped on December 24 (not the best timing for quick shipping under any circumstances). After about two weeks (not the five days I was told when I shipped), the shoes were scheduled to be delivered. Hurray! I forgot about it for a couple days, then checked back to see that the package was “unable to be delivered,” on its original date, which was a Friday, but would be delivered the following Monday. In the meantime, I received an email from Tina, asking how I shipped the shoes. I’m sure that, not really knowing me, she was doubting the existence of her Therafit shoes.

Therafit shoes

When I checked that same day, the tracking results said, “Delivered” along with a code that ended with the word REAR. Later that same day, January 9, Tina emailed to tell me not to worry. The driver had the address transposed, but the package was at a UPS office about an hour away. She should have the shoes by Friday, January 13.

For the next two weeks, Tina communicated a situation that would have been funny if it wasn’t happening to us. UPS had the package, they didn’t have the package. They would deliver the shoes to her work, then they didn’t (the original address was her parent’s home in Alberta, so that someone would be home when the delivery came). Then she told me that they couldn’t find the package, would I call, as the original shipper, to see what I could do? This was January 24. A month to the day since I shipped the shoes.

Therafit shoes

I called UPS, and after being bounced around a little bit, I found out…nothing. I was speaking to the International Customer Service, they couldn’t find the package, weren’t sure where it was. When I told them that there had been some talk about sending it back, they told be to call the Palm Springs UPS Center. Fine, I said, and hung up. Only problem, apparently the Palm Springs Center does not have a telephone (or doesn’t want us, the public, to know what it is), and the only contact number is the general UPS phone number. Which immediately switched me back to the International customer service, where I had to explain the story to yet another person. If this long explanation is confusing you, you have a good idea of how I felt.

When I finally spoke to a fairly intelligent rep at UPS, she opened an inquiry, the first step in the process of recovering the value of a lost package. They would call me on Monday, January 28, to follow up. Before I heard from UPS on Monday, though, I received a message from my local UPS store…my package had been returned. What did I want to do with it?

Before I called back, I called UPS. They told me to go ahead and ship the package back to Canada. They would reimburse me what I spent on shipping, did I have the receipt? Um, no, remember mistake number three? So they would reimburse me about $20. Not sure where they pulled that number from, but without a receipt I was SOL.

I shipped the package back that afternoon. Another $40. If you’re doing the math, I’ve spent $80 with the promise of a $20 refund. Yes, that’s why I’m calling it an expensive lesson. An hour after I shipped, I got an email from Tina..don’t send it to the original address. That’s my parent’s house and they won’t be there. Oops!

Fortunately, Tina was able to get her sister to be on the lookout, and on February 8 I got this tweet:

We’re not through yet.

It was another 10 days, waiting for a sick sister to recover, then finally I heard from Tina again:

 

February 18, 2013, 56 days after shipping, Tina finally had her hands on her Therafit shoes.

I put my new $60 knowledge to use at my very next giveaway. If the company does not ship to Canada, I’m sorry, but you, my dear Canadian friends are not eligible for my giveaway.

So, have you made a similar mistake (don’t tell me I’m the only one!)? How much did it cost you?

By the way, I have no regrets about this. Tina is a lovely woman, I’m happy that she won the Therafit shoes. I only hope she loves them as much as I do!

Edit: Tina has written her own post about her experience. Check it out!

Weekly Reader: Christmas Shopping Inspiration

Have you ever read a great book, seen an inspiring movie, or heard a great joke, and thought, “I’ve got to share that!” Of course you have! Here are a few things from my Reader in the last week that inspired and motivated me, made me happy, sad, and angry, made my stomach growl, and made me laugh.

Seven Six (couldn’t quite get the post published on time) shopping days until Christmas! If you, like me, tend to procrastinate with your shopping, I have compiled a list of gift ideas from my favorite blogs. They were posted over the last several weeks, so if they list a sale price or special, be sure to confirm before you make the leap to purchase.

reader

Who’d of thought a year ago that I’d be inspired by shopping in a baby store?

No Meat Athlete, The 2012 No Meat Athlete Holiday Gift Guide. Matt, Susan, and Doug, all No Meat Athlete contributors all listed their favorite gift items. You’ll find great choices for the athlete here, whether or not they are vegan.

MizFit, We Made the Gift Guide. While Carla’s post mentions her appearance on another gift guide, here is just the link to order the MizFit Workout Skirt and Sports Bra. They would make a great gift and all her proceeds go to a good cause, too.

Kitten a Go-Go, Christmas List 2012. Danielle tells it like it is and has posted her list of what she want for Christmas. Suits me, she has a bunch of fun choices.

JL Goes Vegan, Vegan Holiday Gift Guide. In this guest post, Jennifer provides a huge list of vegan gifts for all ages. If you have a plant based eater to buy for, this is a great resource.

Fun and Fit, Holiday Fitness Gift Guide. Alexandra and Kymberly have put together a great list for the fitness lover on your shopping list (or if you’re done shopping, I’ll bet you’ll find something fun for yourself!).

Girlie Girl Army, Gift Guide 2012. The vegan website to end all has a list of fun, vegan, and, well, girly items to choose from (and a few kind of weird ones).

Just the Food, Joni’s Top 10 Picks for this Holiday Season. A great vegan resource list from Joni, including books, kitchen tools, and even vegan caramels.

Oh She Glows, 2012 Holiday Gift Ideas. Angela also has a list of kitchen items, vegan food gifts, and more.

Run Wiki, 10 Holiday Gift Ideas for Runners. Seriously, when I saw Lisa’s list of gifts for runners, I kept saying, “I want that,” over and over again.

Racing Tales, Holiday Steals and Deals for Runners and Triathletes. Another great list for athletes, this time from Alison. She includes some discount codes, but like I said above, check to make sure they haven’t expired. Alison has another post, Running and Triathlon Books for the Holidays. Perfect for the athletic reader on your list.

Chef Amber Shea, Holiday Gift Guide: Cookbooks. Not only does Amber offer a list of vegan cookbooks, she also tells you a little about each one plus the type of person who would like each book. Tip: Check out Amber’s book, Practically Raw. It is a beautifully photographed, fun book that is excellent for those who want to try a little raw “cooking.”

Running for Dummies, Gifts for Runners (aka My Christmas Wish List). Lea tells it like it is. This is her Christmas wish list, and if you’re a runner I know you will find several items either to add to your own list, or to give another runner in your life.

Mommy Run Fast, 13 Homemade Edible Gift Ideas. Laura’s homemade granola would make an amazing personal gift. Plus she has done some rounding up of her own to create an imaginative list of edible gifts. FYI, some are vegan, some contain egg and/or dairy.

Lisa Runs For Cupcakes, My Christmas Wish List. Another great runner’s wish list, this time from Lisa. I think I need those Zensah leg sleeves too!

Lyl Mys Ninja, My Fitness Wishlist. Now Maria’s list for runners makes me want Pro Compression sleeves! Decisions, decisions. She’s got a lot of other great stuff on her list, too (love that Endorphin Warrior Training Jewelry).

Kate Moving Forward, Stocking Stuffers for the Fitness Enthusiast. I will admit that by the time I get to thinking about stocking stuffers, I’ve about had it with the Christmas shopping. Kate makes it easy by giving us some great ideas with a variety of price points.

I also hope that you will take a look at some of the folks that I work with here at Live from La Quinta.  At Amazon you can order by Wednesday with Super Saver shipping, and all the way through noon PST on Saturday with one day shipping. YogaDirect.com offers the lowest price guaranteed on a variety of yoga mats and other accessories. Abe’s Market is the online marketplace for great natural products (and they’re offering free shipping on everything through the end of the year!).

I think you all know that I love my Therafit shoes (I wear them everywhere these days!). I think they’d make a great gift for anyone who is a fitness enthusiast or just spends a lot of time on their feet. They are comfortable, supportive, and fashionable.

If I missed any posts that you think should be listed here, I apologize and hope that you will link up below in the comments. I still have some shopping to do!

Disclosure: I am an affiliate for Amazon, Abe’s Market, and Yoga Direct, so I may make a few cents if you purchase using the links. As for the Therafit shoes, I love them and I’m still wearing them, but FitFluential LLC compensated me for this Campaign.  All opinions are my own.

Weekend Happenings: Running, and Shopping, and Vegan Doughnuts. Oh My!

A Very Visual Saturday

Whatever that means. Lots of pictures and a video, I guess.

The morning started with a trail run. A late start, for us, of about 8:00 because it was cold, for us, about 50 degrees. We took a quick run with the whole pack (all six of them), then headed out for the real run with Penny.

Saturday

Alan, Penny and I started out and decided to try a new path that Alan saw, that headed west into the hills. It turned out to be very sandy, poorly marked, and rocky, so our run turned out to be more of a hike and scramble. Still lots of fun, though. Penny led the way, though she is a bit better at rock climbing than we are

Saturday

Saturday

Saturday

Saturday

I tried out the Twitter apps new filters for this. Not bad.

After our run/hike/climb, I ate breakfast (hurray, leftover tofu scramble!), then settled in to see if I could somehow figure out a way to edit iphone video on my new Windows 8 computer. I don’t know if this is the best way (seems mighty complicated), but after I found an app that would download youtube videos, I ended up first uploading my videos (a few I’d taken on the run) to youtube, downloading them to my computer, then using Windows Movie Maker to edit them. Yes, I know. But, I was kind of happy with the result:

I first made a version that used Kid Rock’s Born Free for background music, which was wonderful, but without music rights needed to change it for publication. I will keep my original version for my own pleasure, though.

By the time I was finished with my video, it was time to go to lunch. I got a surprise when I opened the door, though. A package on my doorstep! A couple weeks ago, I was fortunate to win a dozen vegan, gluten-free doughnuts from Cinnamon. Geanna, of Green Vegan Living, founder of Cinnamon, emailed me a couple days ago to let me know they were on the way, which I’d quickly forgot about. So, it was a nice surprise.

Cinnamon was founded by Geanna who suffered from food allergies for years, and found it difficult to find anything on the market that she could eat. Now she creates wholesome, delicious foods that are allergen free, gluten-free, and vegan. In addition to doughnuts, Cinnamon serves cookies, cinnamon rolls, and for the holidays, a variety of pies. They are sold at a few places in Oregon, but, fortunately for the rest of us, they are also available by mail order.

Saturday

 

Weekend

Geanna sent a lovely note with the package.

Saturday

Chocolate Peppermint

Saturday

I brought the plain with cinnamon sugar with me to Starbucks

Now it may have been a long time since I’ve had a doughnut, but I can tell you that both flavors were rich and delicious. And, in addition to being vegan, etc. they are also baked. Sounds downright healthy to me!

After lunch and a cup of coffee (yes, I did bring a doughnut along with me to enjoy with my coffee), we went to buy our Christmas tree. We always go to the same place, a tree lot run by a family who come down from Oregon every year. I think we made our fastest selection ever. It only took about five minutes for Alan and me to decide on our tree.

weekend

No, that’s not Alan! I presume it is Mr. Whitney.

Finally, for dinner, I threw together some seitan, quinoa, hummus, and veggies, along with some Middle Eastern seasonings. Recipe coming soon, but I’ll tell you it was pretty delicious.

Weekend

Sunday Shopping

Sunday also started with a run. A bit earlier, colder, and longer, with no rock climbing. Our goal was to get the run done, then shower, and head out for some Christmas shopping before it got too crazy.

Today we hit the mall, and we were pretty successful at beating the crowd, even though we got going later than planned. Of course, as soon as we are in the middle of shopping at our first store, I get hit with a “hunger thing.” That’s what I call when I’m suddenly so hungry that I get shaky, feel faint, a little nauseous and even break out in a cold sweat. It’s probably a drop in sugar or something, but I’ve dealt with it for years and know what I have to do. Eat.

The problem being, of course, that we were at the mall, not a place known for healthy eats. Bypassing Cinnabon, Wetzels Pretzels, and Coldstone, we made our way to the food court. Honestly, it wasn’t too bad. There were a couple of sandwich places, a Rubios, and the place we finally chose, the Garden Deli. I didn’t take photos, but Alan and I both ordered the 1/2 Veggie sandwich with a side order of sweet potato fries. Not the healthiest of meals, but not the worst either, and at least I knew I wasn’t going to faint or something.

We got a lot of our shopping done, took a quick trip home to feed the dogs, then headed out for a little more. I’m off on Monday, so we can hopefully finish up our shopping when we head out to the outlet stores.

weekend

My tree sits naked, awaiting lights and decorations.

As for the tree, it is up, miraculously straight the first try, just waiting to be decorated. Another job for Monday. Also on the agenda: Yoga! Another fresh start (I’m good at that). I’ve got some beautiful new workout wear that I will be trying out, sent to me from Yogi Clothing, that I can’t wait to wear and review.

I can tell that I am rambling now. That is what shopping all day will do to a person. Time to wrap it up. How was your weekend? For those of you who celebrate Christmas, do you have all your shopping done? I always feel like I’m out there until the last minute, how about you?

Samuel

To leave you with a smile…my grandson Samuel and I wish you and all of your family a happy holiday season.

Two Vegan Recipes: Spicy Lime Soup & (another) Tofu Scramble + the #Therafit Winner!

Fun stuff first. I happy to announce that the winner of the Therafit Shoes is…..Tina! Congratulations, Tina. You’re going to love your new shoes. The contest may be over, but you can still read my review and get your discount code here.

Therafit

Finding balance in Therafit.

I (frequently) say that I love a good tofu scramble. I hadn’t made one in a while, I think because in my mind I think of it as a breakfast dish and I rarely have time to spend on breakfast prep of anything more complex than oatmeal or a smoothie (and even that’s pushing it).

But, I was at Clark’s the other day, picking up a few items that are hard to find here in the desert (like seitan, Daiya wedges, and vegan prepared food, just to name a few things), when a package of Soyrizo caught my eye. I had a plan.

On a side note, I got a kick out of the very young lady that checked me out. Gazing at my packages of seitan, Soyrizo, tofu, plus a bunch of kale, a bag of quinoa, and a few other things, she asked if I was vegan. Stifling my inner smart-ass, I said yes. She told me that she was vegan as well and was happy to see more vegans. I think she would have liked to say “older vegans,” but I agreed with her, because I’m happy to see more vegans too, young or old(er).

Tofu Scramble. Vegan

Ingredients

1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
pepper
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 cup onion, chopped
1 Serrano chile, seeded and minced
1 med potato, cooked and chopped
1/2 package Soyrizo
1/2 avocado, sliced
1/2 cup vegan cheese (optional)

vegan

Originally posted (with a few changes) here.

Directions

Pat tofu dry. In a medium bowl, use a fork to break up the tofu until it has a texture similar to scrambled eggs. Add turmeric, chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper.

Heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion and chiles and cook until soft, about two minutes. Add potatoes and cook until slightly browned. Move vegetables to the outside of the pan and add the Soyrizo and cook until heated through. Add the tofu mixture and stir, blending the tofu, Soyrizo, and vegetables. Cook until heated through.

Serve with vegan cheese, avocado, salsa, and toast or tortillas if you like.

Tofu Scramble2

Last week, while I was training my awesome 82 year old client (she still plays and takes tennis lessons a couple times a week!), she told me that she was making a big pot of soup for dinner. With cooling weather finally here in the desert (in the 70s at least), soup sounded pretty good, so I was inspired to make my own.

If you are looking for a traditional recipe for Yucatan Sopa de Lima, you will not find it here. Sorry. But, this easy vegan soup is still delicious, spicy, and warming, and I think you will enjoy it.

vegan

Spicy Chick’n & Lime Soup. Vegan

Ingredients

6 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup lime juice
1 package Gardein chick’n strips
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 zucchini, chopped
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup salsa
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 Serrano chiles, seeded and minced
1 lime
cilantro
avocado
tortillas (corn or flour, your preference)
salsa
vegan cheese (I used Daiya)

vegan

Directions

Combine broth, lime juice, chick’n, potatoes, carrots, cumin, salt and pepper in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer.

Preheat the oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and chiles. Cook until soft, then add to the simmering soup.

Cook soup on low for about 15 minutes, until potatoes and carrots are slightly tender. Add the salsa, beans and the zucchini, and cook for a few minutes more to heat the beans and cook the zucchini.

Garnish with limes, cilantro, avocado, and serve with tortillas, salsa, and vegan cheese.

Well, 11 more days until Christmas. I’ll be spending my weekend with shopping, decorating, cleaning, etc. What will you be up to?

 

Therafit, The Comfortable Shoe for Women: A Review and a Giveaway!

 I Need a Good Shoe

The giveaway is over, but please enjoy the post and the review:

On the day that my Therafit shoes arrived, I was at the tail end of a 15 hour workday, most of it spent on my feet. I was tired, a little cranky, but most of all, my feet just hurt. I couldn’t wait to kick off my shoes, put up my feet, and relax.

Therafit

When I ordered my Therafit shoes, I purposely chose the Silver and Blue combination, even though I felt the allure of the vibrant red or black with bright pink accents. I wanted to be able to wear them to work, which requires white shoes (I figured silver was close enough). At this time of year, my work days average about 10 hours, sometimes stretching to 12. I’m a fitness director and I also teach classes and do some personal training. I am active at work and at home, where I’m walking the dogs, running errands, cleaning up. Plus I manage to get my own workouts in.

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