Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Zensah Compression Tights! Great No Matter What Direction You Wear Them!

By now, most of you have heard me talk about my new Zensah 3/4 length compression tights that I've been loving!  I talked about and showed you them in my video of my secret hidden talent, I've mentioned them on facebook and I've been telling you that the review of them is coming soon.  So here it is...the review...with a HSB twist.  For those of you that don't remember my Hot Sexy Bitch post from awhile back, today was another Hot Sexy Bitch moment, only with my Zensah Compression Tights instead of the Nike ones.  As you may remember, I went to the gym feeling like a hot and sexy (and probably pretty bitchy since that is the norm with me these days) only to find out after my hot sweaty run that I really just looked like a hot sweaty ass with my tights on backwards. 

This morning I got dressed quite quickly as I was doing my usual scramble to get myself and my kids out the door and on our way to dance, gymnastics and a long morning of errands and seeing lots of people.  After a run this morning and Jillian yesterday, I was thinking that my Zensah Compression tights were the perfect thing for my recovering legs.  I knew they would feel great as always and help my sore muscles feel better so I put them on in a hurry. Too bad I wasn't paying much attention.  I was more concerned with finding a shirt that was long enough so I didn't look silly in such tight tights.  After a long morning and afternoon, I was finally home.  I peeled my tights down so I could use the rest room and found myself wondering why there was a pocket in the inside of the front of the tights.  Just like the pocket in the back.  Hmm, interesting.  then I realized that the crotch of the pants was on the outside too.  I'd been walking around all morning, meeting other moms, a hot dad, talking to a librarian, sitting in the library reading books...all with my already noticeably tight pants on inside out and backwards.  Good thing they don't have that white cotton crotch part that I was wishing for this morning...you know the part of the tights that makes it so you don't have to wear undies since they are so tight?  Thank Goodness!  That would have been quite the HSB show.  

This mishap really wasn't too big of a deal.  In fact, I still have not changed them around and they are still comfortable!  I'm sure nobody noticed, right?  And if they did notice the butt bulge on my front side then they shouldn't have been looking that closely at my crotch anyway.  

Besides being the perfect tagless, white cotton crotchless pair of tights for accidentally wearing inside out and backwards, these Zensah 3/4 tights are awesome in many other ways:

  • They look good.  
  • They feel good.
  • Despite the fact that they look like toddler tights when you first take them out of the package, they do go on quite easily.  
  • They have a perfect sized pocket in the back that would fit keys, gels, ID cards, a tampon and other things. 
  • They seem to make me run faster.  Seriously, I feel great running fast in them.  
  • They feel good on my legs when my muscles are sore and I believe they help with recovery. 

Things I don't like:
  • I kind of wish they had a cotton crotch part...maybe not a white one (just in case I pull this inside out thing again, I'd like the crotch to blend in) but something in the crotch area so that I can have the option of going commando and feeling comfortable.  I mean, they are quite tight and I don't really like undie lines and I don't like always wearing the "thong" variety of undies (can you tell I don't like the word panties? ) too much these days.  
Ha!  Here's what they looked like before I put them on for the first time.  I definitely found it funny to think that they would fit but they did!

What Zensah has to say about these compression tights:

"Zensah 3/4 Compression Capris feature our patented Zensah fabric – thermal regulating, ultra-breathable, and moisture wicking. The compression capris make use of graduated compression to help improve blood and oxygen circulation. Support is given to the legs where it is need most. The compression capris leave the lower leg free, while supporting the upper legs.

The compression capris may be used during activity or for recovery. The high level of compression insures you will recover faster and be back to your activity sooner."

I'd recommend giving these babies a try if you are in the market for a pair of compression tights.  After trying out a Zensah tank and now the tights, I'm thinking Zensah makes some pretty rad stuff!  Definitely some top notch gear! 

Follow up from this morning:
Congrats again to the winners of the Run Like a Mother Giveaway!  And thanks for your comments on my Convenient Communication post from this morning.  It really is a complicated subject and such a personal thing.  I am not a phone person either, as many of you stated.  I'd much rather talk in person and I text and e-mail a TON!  My biggest point was that I think there are just times where we need to call a person back...especially if the person has called us, left several messages and asked us to call.  This is out of courtesy.  Sending a text in response to a phone call where they asked you to call back, seems rude...in most cases.  At the same time, I've done it, probably will do it again, and am an expert at shooting someone the voicemail when I don't have time or want to talk.  And when I do call someone back, just to say hello or share something funny, it doesn't have to be long.  I'm all about keeping conversations short and saving the long stuff for when we can have coffee, a girl night, or meet in person if this is possible!  


Convenient Communication. When is Texting and E-Mail Just Not Enough? And Winner!!

What is it about people today?  Me, You, Them.  What is it that makes us so distant from each other even though we say we are "close".  Texting is the new "close and personal". We do it because it is easier.  Takes less time.  We can multi-task.  E-mail is easier because it doesn't talk back and we can keep things quick.  I get it.  I totally do.  E-mail, text, facebook walls...all of these things are a part of my daily life.  I text with friends often...sharing jokes, sending random thoughts, asking questions, making plans and just connecting!  But when is it too much?  When it is just time to pick up the phone and actually talk?  

I'm okay with text, e-mail, and facebook being a main source of communication with my friends.  It certainly makes things easier and it allows busy people, who might otherwise not have the time to connect, the opportunity to pass jokes, make plans, and share moments of their days with people they love.  These forms of communication work especially well with new friends or people who we don't know on a too terribly personal level.  

All this "easy communicating" is fine but there comes a point where I think we just need to pick up the phone and have a conversation with the people that we call "friend" and "family".   I've done it. Someone calls, I shoot them voicemail and then I respond later with text.  Easy peezy!  If they were just calling to "chat", I might even forget to call back because I figure that they will understand that I got busy or didn't find time.  When does this become rude?  Inappropriate?  When does this convenient responding finally send the message to someone that "You don't matter enough" or "I have more important things to spend my time on"?  

This convenience is all fine if we want convenient relationships with people.  This isn't enough for me with certain people in my life.  This "convenient and distant" type of relationship is fine with a lot of people but when someone that I call a close friend or family can't make the effort or break free from their busy schedule (which is probably not that busy), and stretch themselves out of their safe comfort zone to return a call every once in awhile, it is hurtful in a sense.  It seems rude.  Sometimes we just need to pick up the phone and talk with our voice, not our thumbs.  


Looks like "K" is the lucky letter of the day! Winners of the Run Like a Mother giveaway were #34 and #52.  K and Momma K from Welcome to the Jungle.  Please contact me so I can arrange to have your book and sweaty bands sent to you!  

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Quinoa Burgers, Track Races, and Funny Video

Quickie post here.  Sitting on the back patio with my hubby, drinking some wine and eating these Amazing Quinoa Burgers that he grilled tonight!  Seriously, if I could pull something like this out of my ass like he can then I would be eating so WELL!  I went on on my 7 mile run and left my husband saying "I'll just figure something out for dinner." There was nothing in the cupboards as far as my culinary eye could see so I expected grilled chicken and rice  because that's what I would have made.  For the 10th time this month  (he just told me that I didn't even cook 10 times this month.  He's listening to me talk typing this quickie post since he is waiting for me to get off.  Or get in on the quickie action).  But no, I cam home to these amazing, yummy, did I say amazing?  quinoa burgers!!!  Yay for cooking husbands.  

Speaking of husbands, be on the lookout of for a guest post by Mr. Runninghood.  He loves his new shoes, is obsessed with running, and is ready to express his inner running feelings.  Nah, he just gave me a dirty look and told me to stop typing.  

This week I think I am going to hit up a local and FREE track race.  I might run the 2 mile, 1 mile and 800 if I'm feeling spunky.  And my kids will race the 50 and 100 m.  Yay!  Why didn't I find out about these races sooner?!

Summer came to Oregon this weekend!  Finally!  We spent the day at the river yesterday and today we made lots of time for water play.  Yippee for summer!

Had to share this video.  So funny!  And perfect timing since it goes along with my homeschool vents that I posted not too long ago.  Check out the difference between Homeschoolers and the "Homeschooled".  Ha!  

How was your weekend?  Anything exciting?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Hitting Up the Track for Some Speed! Breaking Free From "a Plan" and Loving It!!

Writing this after my speed workout today, it is very clear to me why I've been in such a "funky funk"  the past few weeks.  Duh!  Why I didn't figure it out is beyond me.  I went from pretty solid marathon training to hardly running at all for a few weeks.  Huge drop in endorphin levels!  But after tonight, I'm stocked up again and feeling back to myself!  

Not sure where the inspiration came from today but I was finally excited to RUN again.  And not just run...I wanted to push some limits!  I woke up excited to hit the track and try out my legs for a speed workout.  I think I knew all along that I wouldn't be playing by any rules.  Not Matt Fitzgerald or Jack Daniels or any of the other various plans out there.  I just wanted to run and see what happened.  My Matt Fitzgerald plan that I just started two days ago and plan on following pretty loosely this time, called for:
1 mile warm up
2x 1mile repeats at 10k pace
1 mile cool down

If I was training for something seriously right now (like the Boston or my peak marathon), I'd be sticking to a plan but I really have nothing that I've really got my mind set on training for hard core, so I think I'm all about doing some training Amanda Style!  And I'm excited for it!  What have I got to lose?  

Since college, I never thought I'd say that I was excited to hit the track up but all day today I was looking forward to putting on my tempo shoes and heading off to challenge myself.  Not sure what happened to the old Amanda but the new Amanda is feeling liking pushing the envelope and seeing what can happen.  For maybe the first time in my life, I'm not so scared of putting myself in a little pain. 

After reading The Manly Runner's post this morning about seeing how fast we can run a mile, I started wondering if I could break 6 minutes in the mile right now.  After today's workout, I'm almost certain that it is still there but it didn't quite happen today.  I've got time!  

Today's Workout:
Jillian in the morning

Strapped on these babies that have been completely neglected...my Addias Adi Zero Manas:

Track workout:

  • 1 mile warm up--sunny and blue skies!  Yay!  
  • Dynamic Stretching...javelin throwers on the track so I was prepared to go around them.  Little did I know that they would start cheering and clapping for me as I passed. Awkward! But sweet!  Since I was using my Garmin, I eventually started going around them since the clapping was uncomfortable.  
  • 1st Attempt at a sub 6 mile.  Help on to a pretty solid pace for the first 800 but by 1k I stopped. 5:40 pace.  Wish I wouldn't have because I'm think I had that sub 6.  Darn it!  
  • 2-3 min recovery
  • 1 mile in 6:16--this felt strong!  I wasn't too tired and I think I could have done another.  
  • 2ish min recovery
  • 400 in 87 seconds
  • 400 recovery
  • 400 in 85 seconds
  • Jogged 2 miles home.  
I'm actually pretty excited to try a 5k again! 

And to answer one set of questions for the Q and A...This is random...

Caroline asked:   
Does your husband read your blog? What does he think of it? Yes.  He enjoys it, says it is funny and he finds inspiration from it.  He might just be telling me this so he can get a piece of ass.  But I really think he enjoys a lot of it.

How old were you when you left home?
18.  When I drove off to Iowa for college.  Didn't look back.  Didn't want to go back.  Even for holidays.  So glad I got to grow up!  

Did you wait to find out the gender of your kids?
For the first one we did.  So wonderful.  Btw, pregnancy and labor...A-freaking-mazing!!

What was your job before you became a mom?  
Teacher!!  Love love love love loved my job!  loved it!  Hard decision to quit.  So hard.  So passionate about it!  But I'm passionate about most things really.  :)  

What about you guys?  When did you leave home? Does your significant other read your blog??  


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Blog Friend Meet Up, Out of the Funk, and Q and A for Runninghood

Q and A Time!  See Below and Ask Away!  

Thanks for all of your positive and supportive comments on my refocus post from yesterday. Reading your wise words, suggestions, warm comments, and reassuring stories ALWAYS makes me feel better.  Just putting myself out there with my goals helped me have a new focus to my day yesterday and today I woke up with a new perspective and energy!  

I wasn't the only one in a "funk" or feeling "blah" yesterday.  Several of my friends were feeling the same way.  While those of you in so many parts of the country are sweating your skin off, we are keeping cool and comfortable.  However, we are also not seeing much of the sunshine.   Most days this summer have just kind of been a grey, jeans and a jacket type of day.  I'm not complaining.  I'd rather have this than the HEAT!  The clouds, grey and rain just starts to put a damper on the creative energy flow sometimes.  Here's how my mom was feeling yesterday:

Ha!  I love her "blog" style.  
Today is certainly a new day!  For starters, I got to meet Raina from Small Town Runner, one of my favorite people that I've met through the blog world.  Raina has come to be a person I consider as a dear friend.  I am honored to have had the opportunity to meet up with her for a couple of hours in Portland.  I felt like I was meeting up with an old friend...so comfortable!  I could have talked to her for HOURS.  So many things I didn't get a chance to ask her about.  I'm sure I talked the entire time (or so it felt)!  She is every bit as genuine, loving and warm as she comes across on her blog.  She even remembered that my girls believe in fairies (specifically jewel fairies) and my son loves rocks so she brought them each a pretty jewel and rock and told them that "someone" wanted her to deliver them.  So special Raina!  They are holding on to them right now!  

Just by setting some new motherhood goals yesterday, I was able to find new focus.  We spent time cultivating our creative side:

And I found a great chore for them to do today so that they can learn responsibility. I think they fold way better than I do:

I took all three of my kids to the track behind our house yesterday for my repeat 1ks.  They actually did a pretty good job at picking clover, playing with sticks and waiting for me to finish  I only did three of them.  The first one was tricky because my two year old ran after me crying.  On my first lap around, I had to yell at my six year old to help me out by playing with him.  I may or may not have bribed her.  Either my Garmin was off or I am in better speed workout shape than I thought.  My goal was to run them at 6:25/6:30 pace but they were 6:10, 6:05, and 6:04 pace and I felt strong at the end.  Today I don't feel sore and I wasn't exhausted yesterday so I think that is a good sign that I didn't push it too hard.  This makes me feel optimistic about future training!  

Q and A

Okay, my turn!  So many of us have seen this thing going around.  You know, where you get to ask whatever you want and the person promises to answer your questions.  I've been meaning to do this for a few days now since Jenn and Annette tagged me. Ask away!  Anything you want to know about me, my life, my interests, etc. and I promise to answer the best I can.  Honest and open.  Yikes!  Be nice please.  Join in if you think it sounds like fun.  Otherwise, I'm not tagging anyone.  


Giveaway Reminders:
Run Like a Mother book and sweaty bands
Sticklete Art Giveaway...You can have an original painting made just for you...a runner, mother, family, yogi, cyclist, etc.  We had a request today for a runner with her dog...I can't wait to see what Cher comes up with.  

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Refocus and Goals

A few of you asked why I removed my post yesterday.  Truth is, I don't really know. Sometimes I do that.  I put myself out there in one way or another and then just feel weird about it and end up finding comfort in keeping to myself.  I know it sounds weird.  I think it also comes at times that I'm feeling most critical of myself.  Do you ever get that feeling like you're doing a lot of everything but NOTHING really well?!  That's kind of how I feel lately.  I'm doing a lot of things half-ass...parenting, summer activities, sticking to goals, friendships, marriage, my job as a SAHM, etc. I know, I know, I can be too hard on myself sometimes, YES, and this isn't a pity party post...just more of putting things out there.  And truthfully, I'd rather have my most recent post on my blog be something other than a post about Sagging Fairy Boobs and stretching my stomach skin.  

Today I figure I would make this post more of an online journal.  How's that for vulnerable?  No, I won't be including any too personal tidbits but I am going to share a few of my goals for the week/day.  Putting them out there even if nobody reads them or cares, helps me feel accountable.  


*  Cooking/Healthy Eating.  I DISLIKE cooking.  I CAN cook.  I can follow recipes, prepare food, etc.  but it is SOOOO not enjoyable for me.  Thinking of things to make, making a menu, grocery shopping.  Probably one of my least favorite parts of daily living.  If I could I would hire a personal chef.  Which seems to be my husband most days.  I will get a grip with this and start making a menu.  Please share your favorite Healthy recipes that are easy to shop for and prepare! 

*  Training.  I've been loving having no training lately.  It has been nice to just not run if I don't feel like it.  But having the routine in my life is good for me so I'm going to start a half marathon training plan partway through.  I will be doing the easiest level in Matt Fitzgerald's Brain Training Book.  This will allow for days off, lower mileage, etc.  I won't be training to the max  but just something on the calendar and if I feel like skipping, then I will.  I'm not all about hard core right now.  Today's workout will be repeat 1k's at 5k pace.  Goal is to do 3 of them at 6:25/6:30 pace.  

* Family Vacation.  I am feeling the need to just disconnect from things.  I want to get away to the mountains, nature and just be in a gorgeous setting with my family.  My first choice would be to drive to Western Colorado to visit our friends near Aspen but the 20 plus hours of driving with our kids doesn't sound so appealing.  We are thinking Idaho now.  Let us know if you have some suggestions.  

*  Motherhood.  Create some summer fun.  I feel like I've been waiting for summer to come (still) rather than living in the moment and making fun when we can.  The Sunshine is out today!  But even if it is grey and cloudy like it has been, I still need to create some fun memories.  Can't wait for life to come to us...we have to make it happen!  And why why why is it so hard to be present with my children??!  I think I'll be working on this one for a long time.  Speaking of that, they are getting up now so I'm about to get off this thing and go create some summer fun!  

*  Reading Real Books.  There are so many books I want to read.  I want to spend less time on the computer and more time getting through the books I have started.  

* Marriage.  Today I will be booking a night away for our anniversary.  If we were not planning a family vacation, going camping, and paying to travel to Washington for my husband's marathon, we'd be going away for a weekend.  But one night away will be nice too.  We are thinking of just going to the Grand Lodge, one of the many Mcmenamins restaurants, breweries, old hotels, movie theaters around here.  Pretty cool places.  

* New Friendships. Tomorrow I get to meet one of my favorite blog friends, Raina!  I'm so very excited to see her in real life since she has come to be such a dear friend through e-mail, the blog world, etc.  

Coming up:
*  Q and A.  I was tagged in this a couple of times and I do plan on doing it soon.  
*  Zensah compression tights review and Run With Amanda

Oh, and Hood-to-Coast is coming up soon!  Another reason to start training a little.  I just found out I'm leg 10.  Are you running HTC?  

Happy Wednesday!  

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Brooks Shoes, $$, Art Giveaway, Random

Nothing poetic or reflective or anything that has any kind of flow today folks.  All random here!  Random, random, random in the Running"hood" so that means Bullets!  Chris K's favorite!  Then he doesn't have to read more than one bullet and he can still make a comment to make it sound like he really read my entire post.  We all appreciate some bulleted writing sometimes!  Easier on the eyes.  

  • So many of you said you didn't think my fairy boobs on my quick fairy sketch for my daughter were that big.  Well, in my world and what I was blessed with in the boob department, they are huge!  I wouldn't know anything about boobs like that so they looked pretty big to me.  
  •  Last night I went to this social thing where I bought lots of running gear for an amazing price.  You know that thing that happens sometimes when you don't need anything but you see a sale and all of a sudden think you have to buy it because it is a good deal but really you are worse off because you just bought a bunch of stuff you didn't really need?  Long sentence, I know.  But that's what happened to me.  I came home with two pairs of new Brooks running shoes for $25 a pair (Ghosts and Glycerines) as part of my loot.  Anyone run in these before?  I've been running in the Brooks Launch so I hope that these other shoes are not too much shoe for me.  If they don't work, I'll be doing an awesome giveaway for some new size 7.5 Brooks shoes! So be on the lookout!   

  • I was also given a Moeben running skirt.  I have never worn a running skirt.  Not sure I will ever race in one...not a hater...just hasn't been my thing.  But neither were pointy toe heels or big purses and look at me now.  Ha!  Never say never!  Anyway, this skirt is actually pretty cute.  It is white and the buns part underneath is a money print.  It is a little big on me so I might be giving it to one of you!  I'll get a picture soon.  I really do think it is kind of cute.  
  • I just realized that the Art of Runninghood (no longer called Art of Runninghood) Giveaway never had a date posted for when I would choose a winner.  A few things about that....Our new Site is no longer Art of Runninghood...It is now called Finding Art in Every Day. Most of you have heard about it by now (since I won't shut up about it)...a site my mom and I are doing together...I'm the writer, she is the visual artist....putting our "art" together and we hope it will evolve into something bigger but for now, it is a starting point.  You'll find more of my reflective posts to go along with her art...challenging ourselves to live artfully and find the art in every day!  We will also have a tab for her new "Stickletes" as she finishes with them. Hoping to get some of the most popular running, yoga, and motherhood stickletes on hats and t-shirts soon too.  In the meantime, we have the original art for sale as well as printed versions of the art on cards.  Note:  The smaller art is an original watercolor...They are NOT just a card...the fact that they can also serve as a card, is just bonus but they are meant to frame for those that enjoy the style. So, if you have not checked out the giveaway, then here it is again with the new information and date that we will choose a winner:  Sticklete Art Giveaway from Finding Art in Every Day!  WE will announce a winner on July 29th!  Be thinking of a special order for a Sticklete just for you!  Mother, yogi, runner, dancer...

This one was a request from Michelle!

So, anyone run in Brooks Glycerin or Ghosts before?  Do you run in the same shoe or do you alternate?


Monday, July 18, 2011

BIG Fairy Saggers! Definitely NOT the Stand Alone Early 20's Variety!

This morning, as I was cleaning up my house, doing laundry, and preparing for a friend to come over, my four year old daughter asked me to draw a fairy costume.  I quickly drew the dress and handed it to her as I made my way up and towards the dishes.  "No Mommy, you need to put the fairy in there!" Per her request, I quickly sketched some almost finished arms and the basic body parts that would extend out of a dress.  

At a second glance, I realized that I had given this fairy some major saggin', tittie slingin', over the shoulder tyin' SAGGERS!  I mean, good grief, this was a picture for a FOUR year old and in my mad sketch, I came up with a fairy that looked like she had 
A. Been well endowed to begin with and 
B. Had nursed at least three kids in her fairy nursing days. 
 She surely wasn't in her perky "stand alone" 20's!  I thought it was facebook worthy.  

Have not done a ton of running but I'm starting to get back into it.  My husband and I hired a sitter so we could run together yesterday.  Just a fun 6.5 miles but mile two was a 6:35 for him and a 6:40ish for me and this was with the last .25 of it uphill (a good size hill too).  I felt awesome about this and so we kept doing short fartleks at about 6 minute mile pace. We then finished our run slow and easy.  Felt awesome to have my running legs on! It is still nice not having anything to train for though.  

Finding Art in Every Day
I was so sick of the name Runninghood yesterday as I was trying to work on the new site I'm doing with my mom.  The Art of Runninghood name just never felt right to me anyway so we changed our site name to Finding Art in Every Day.  I like it much better!  And speaking of that site, we need some new facebook followers over there! Check our our new post:

The Art of Changing Our Space! And the First Few Motherhood Stickletes!

Hope to catch up with so many of you soon!  And be on the lookout for any of those fairies with the large knockers!


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Every Medal Tells a Story

I'm genuinely surprised that I actually gained a few readers/followers since my last post.  I thought that surely I would lose a few of you after displaying my SHT (special hidden talent) of stomach skin stretching.  Many of you enjoyed it, some called me a freak and told me that I gross them out, and some appreciated it for the "skinny" art that it is!  Ha!  I better win.  

Today is a day of cleaning, purging, and organizing around here.  We figure that we might as well make the most out of this dreary, rainy, and grey day.  I'm in the process of finding all my race medals from AFTER college and high school.  I've never kept track of them.  They usually go in a drawer, a box or get lost somewhere random.  I've never cared much about saving them but I started dragging them all out today hanging them up on a bulletin board in our room/office area.  I have not found them all...I've lost many of them but just hanging the ones that I do have has brought back so many great memories!  

Every single medal here tells a story.  I remember the feelings of euphoria, the struggles, the moments that I dug deep within myself to finish strong or get through a tough part of the race, the joyful feeling of being finished and the satisfaction I felt knowing that I was done.  With every medal I placed on my board today, I remembered my life and where I was at that time.  These medals don't just represent a race or a registration fee...they are a symbol of all that went into training for that race and the parts of myself that I was discovering, working through, and embracing during that time in my life.  I'm so glad I've held on to some of these.  

Do you save your race medals?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

My SHT..You Asked For It!

As many of you know, Beth from SUAR has challenged us to tap into our SHiT (Special Hidden Talent).  We all have one.  Nose flaring, throat burping, ear wiggling, lighting farts, talking like Donald Duck, etc.  

I thought about showing you all how I can get my boobs to point in two completely different directions or maybe how I can push my stomach out really far so that I look six months pregnant.  I have several fun things I can do but there is one that takes the cake. And here is the video to share with you.  I still can't believe that I'm putting this on here.  

Beth, I will continue this skin stretching as soon as I get word that I'm in the running for winning this thing.  Otherwise, I won't be exposing myself to any additional "making an ass out myself" video time.  I only show you the beginning here.  

In this video I:

  • Ask you about these new Zensah compression tights that I'm pretty sure are supposed to be worn with shorts over them.  ???  Yes?  No?  
  • Show you the pocket on my butt
  • Show you the small hair on my stomach that needs plucking.
  • Demonstrate that my stomach has no props
  • Sing for you.
  • Stretch my skin.
  • Continue talking when I think the camera is off.

What is your SHT?  Also, I want to know all about what your "Balance Buckets" are so please go check out our new Art of Filling Balance Buckets post.  

Friday, July 15, 2011

Local Oregon/Washington Photography Session Giveaway! A Serious Value and Treasure!

I've never done a "locals only" giveaway on here.  Until now.  And I'm excited to do this because it is seriously a FANTASTIC giveaway!  At least a $165 value and one that I wouldn't want to miss out on if I lived anywhere near the general Portland Metro area (that would be Portland, Oregon).  If you win, it will be VERY worth your time to make the drive to Hillsboro, OR to claim your prize!  

I was lucky enough to meet photographer Jennifer Gomez from All That Jazz Photography in 2009, right before I was about to go to to another local photography business to get my first ever professional maternity shots.  I was still teaching, pregnant with my third child, and wanting to finally get some professional "belly shots" to capture pregnancy.  I figured that this would mostly likely be the last time I would ever experience the miracle of pregnancy and I wanted to capture it perfectly.  

It was an afternoon after school and I as waddling around my classroom, trying to prepare for the next day and get out of there.  I had just made my appointment for the following week with this photography business when a spunky and vibrant Jennifer shouted hello to me from across the hall, where she was setting up to take photographs of some of the fifth grade students for a project they were doing.  Usually I would have just waved, said hello and then continued on my mad frenzy to get everything finished so that I could go pick up my kids from child care and head home but something about Jennifer made me linger a little longer, smile big, and strike up a conversation.  Then Jennifer said something flattering (but sincere) about my pregnant self and suggested that I let her photograph me.  What?  How did she know that I was considering pregnancy photographs.  Once again, usually I would have said a polite but dismissive "No Thank You!"  and continued to my way but something about her drew me in!  Her energy, passion for what she does, friendly and GENUINE personality...whatever it was, I found myself wandering over to the classroom she was in.  Within minutes after seeing what she was doing and looking at her other work, I was SOLD!  I didn't let her know yet but said I'd call or e-mail after I had time to think about it.  I e-mailed as soon as I got home, canceled my appointment with the other place, and started a new relationship with a photographer that would soon become a friend and someone that captured so many BIG moments of our lives! 
A Photographer,
Our Photographer, 
All That Jazz Photography!  
     Passionate about what she does,
Equally as good with animals.  
Will work until she has exactly what you're looking for!
Making her dreams come true and doing what she loves and has been given a gift for....even when it means starting from the bottom and working her way to the top. 

I think the thing I love the most about All That Jazz Photography, besides the photography is that Jennifer is so passionate about what she does.  Her energy is contagious and when I see her shooting, it makes me happy and reminds me just how important it is to be following our dreams and doing what we love when we can.  It is obvious that she loves her job and her work reveals that.  She always gets the the most sincere smiles from our family..not some "CHEESY" grins that look forced and go along with stiff energy.  But she really connects with us and gets my kids playing and doing what they do best, exploring and enjoying life!  She makes us all feel comfortable and makes sure we feel HEARD and not rushed.  

I can honestly say that Jennifer has become a friend.  I consider that day that I met her to be just another hand of fate and I am so thankful for having met her.  

She did get those maternity shots:

And since this is a giveaway for a free photo session then I might as well share with you some of my personal photos and moments that All That Jazz Photography has so beautifully captured.  I know this is a lot of pictures but I figure that this is one way to give you a good "picture" of Jennifer's work.

 That same day as the maternity photos, Jennifer captured some 2 and 4 year old photos of our girls....

Then we went back to her to capture newborn moments with our sweet son....

Christmas time came and she captured our first Christmas as a family of five....

She even gave us some funny ones....

Our little guy's first birthday....

MIght as well get some Father's Day shots while we were at it....

And so much more....We've been back again and again.  Most of you have already seen the photos from our last family shoot....

They even do Pets!  

So Now Here is Your Chance to Win!  A Free Photography Session with our favorite Photographer at All That Jazz Photography!  

Here's what this giveaway is for:
  1. There will be 3 winners! Each winner will receive a complimentary photos session: sleepy newborn, baby, kids, family senior portrait or PET (yes for friends without kids too!!)
  2. Three Free Prints of your choice:  1 (8x10), 1 (5x7), 1 (4x6)
The Photographer Rules:
  1. Photo Session to be done in a local Hillsboro Park or All That Jazz Studio only.
  2. Limit 2 dogs for Pet Session and up to 5 family members for Family Portraits
  3. Must Book Before August 30th
Here is how to play!  Since it is a local giveaway, I am opening this up to non-blog readers/users so I want to make it as user friendly as possible.  I will allow entries to be sent to me via e-mail (artofrunninghood@gmail.com), personal facebook comments or e-mail, and comments on our Runninghood facebook page.  You will just have to include all the things you did to enter so I know how many entries to give you.  I will then enter all entries into a spread sheet and choose a winner using random.org.  

So play along...You have a great chance of winning!  Here's your chance at those pictures you've been meaning to schedule. 

1 entry for each of the following:
  • "Like" All That Jazz Photography on facebook and leave a comment telling them what kind of photos you'd love to get when you win! 
  • Share this giveaway on facebook and let me know you did.
Optional and Extra Entries:
  • Share this giveaway with local friends through twitter, blog (if you have one), etc.  Share share share. 
  • Visit The All That Jazz Website and tell me one of your favorite photos you see.  
This giveaway will be open for 12 days! I will announce a winner on July 27th!  

Good Luck and happy Sharing!  Remember, this is a nontraditional blog giveaway,  If you can't figure out how to comment on this blog post, you can e-mail me or comment on the link when I post on Facebook (I'd prefer the comments to be on here but I understand if that doesn't work).


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Balance. Wanting. Holocaust. Resilience. Determination. Fire.

I've only been on one run since my marathon on the 4th of July.  Not because my body isn't up to it.  Not because I'm tired or injured.  Just because I have been enjoying the art of being lazy.  It has been wonderful to not have a workout to fit in or a schedule to keep.  I am starting to miss running a little bit so tonight will be my first solo run (I've been on one with a jogger stroller) in 11 days!  I'm looking forward to just running because it feels good and because I love it and not because I'm training for something or have a goal in mind.  In fact, I'm enjoying this down time so much that I might not "train" for the half marathon I have in October or the Hood to Coast in August.  Our HTC team is a fun team anyway but I'm thinking the half marathon might just be a fun race too.  My next big thing to train for just might be Boston!  

*  Time.  I've really got to start finding a way to manage my time more wisely.  I'm naturally an obsessive person so when I start something new and I want to do it well, my life can get a little off balance.  I want to make it a goal to focus on BALANCE! I'm thinking I need to just set a certain time that I will give to say starting this new site with my mom, or answering e-mail, reading my books, even cleaning up the never-ending messes around my house....I need to set a time limit and then move on to just BEING with my kids and enjoying them!!  If I don't make a conscious effort to do this then before I know it, the day is over and I realize that I didn't really sit down and play with them at all but rather I just delegated, shuffled them to and fro, put out fights...managed them.  I don't want to just "manage my kids"  I want to be a part of their life.  I want to laugh with them, play with them, watch them, listen to the funny things they say, observe, and just be part of the moment.  So to go with my goal to make time for mindfulness and meditation, I want to make time for Balance!
 Copyrighted to Cher Odum and, as such, is protected by US and International Copyright Laws.

*  I did Jillian Michael's Trouble Zones workout yesterday.  Only half of it really. I hurt! My chest, legs, arms....wooo weee....you'd think I was completely out of shape.  Speaking of good ol' Jillian, check out this interview she did with Suze Orman.  

*  I'm reading The Book Thief for my book club book. Such a good book! The Holocaust never ceases to shock me.  As it should.  I hope we never cease to be sensitive and aware of what happened during that time.  I'm only halfway through the book so far but it already has me thinking about so much.  Makes me realize just how resilient the human spirit is.  More later on this book.  

*  I had a great conversation with a friend today about the people in our lives that have the greatest determination.  I think there is something to be said about having a childhood where you are not just given everything but you're left to want a little.  Or at least a childhood where you are taught to earn things and work hard for them.  And most importantly, being taught a sense of gratitude for the things you are given.  I want my kids to be raised to WANT things for themselves and to have that edge to their life that allows them to have so much left to discover and work towards.  I never want to just give them whatever they want and spoil them so that they are bored with things that some kids would find simple AMAZING and Magical!  Anyway, more on this in another post...just got me thinking.    

*  My husband is on fire!  On fire with running.  He wants to read about it, thinking about it, talk about it, dream...eat...sleep...poop about it.  Pretty cool.  I wish we had some more time before the Boston registration because there is no doubt in my mind that he could qualify but I just don't know how smart it would be to try for that before September without proper training.  Since we are already flying there, it would be pretty cool if he could run too.  We shall see.  For now, I'm really loving seeing him all fired up about something I love so much too!  

* A local giveaway coming tomorrow.  I might have to find a twist to it since it is for people around here...not so sure I have enough Runninghood readers to enter so I'll have to open it up to non Runninghood readers and let them comment on facebook or something.  More on that later too.  

*  One last thing.  I love all of your comments.  Love them.  It is really hard for me to respond to all of them lately and read a ton of blogs but please know that your comments matter to me and that I'm not just being a snob.  Just another part of trying to find balance in my life.  

Balance, balance, balance.