Holiday Gift Guide for the Fitness Enthusiast!

This post was sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Koss. All opinions are my own.

There are a hundred runner’s gift guides out there this year, and I made my own last year, gifts for runners under $100, but what I don’t see a lot (or any) of are gift guides for those who love fitness but aren’t necessarily into running. This is my gift guide for the Fitness Enthusiast featuring the new Koss Fit Series headphones as part of a FitFluential campaign.

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Let’s start with the Koss Headphones.I was sent two different types from the Koss Fit Line, FitClips ($29.99*) and FitBuds ($29.99*).

First, I love that these headphones are made for women by women. Koss teamed up with Dara Torres, an Olympic Gold Medalist, to create these headphones. The FitBuds (on the right) are 33% smaller than any previous Koss created headphones. With the fit buds you get three different sizes of ear cushions, I personally had to use the smallest ones, so that you can get your best fit. The FitClips (on the left) do not fall out, are sweat resistant and also have three different sizes of ear cushions.

I personally prefer the FitClips, since I haven’t been running and most of the classes I take you can’t wear headphones in, because I end up using them a lot around the house. The FitClips don’t completely block out all noise, so I can wear them while B is napping and I am listening to music or a book while cleaning and cooking and I will still hear him if he cries out. I also wear them in bed if I am listening to a book or podcasts, and they are not uncomfortable. I would absolutely recommend these to other women, especially if you have small ears!

*During the Holiday Season the following retailers will promote these headphones for $19.99. (Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Walgreens, Kmart and Sears)

athleta

I love that Athleta has gear for every aspect of your life and fitness. They have yoga, running, studio gear, hiking and many other sporting gear. They also have dresses and jean type clothing. Both with strength training and studio classes I always wear multiple layers. I always have a tank and some sort of long sleeve on until I warm up. The All I Want Sweater ($98) looks perfect for this, lightweight, soft and thumb holes, pretty much all my must haves.

As a mom, I find that leggings are a big wardrobe staple, especially in the winter. I can throw on a sweater or tunic and a pair of boots and still look pretty together. The Athleta Herringbone Finesse leggings ($44) are also lightweight and have a fun design that can go with pretty much anything.

The sparkle knit leggings ($39) are one of my favorite items, when I go to classes really early in the morning it can be very cold and most of my bottoms are capris. Not only do they keep my legs warm, but they are comfortable and cute!

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I have a lot of friends that are into fitness but also pregnant, working out while pregnant can be a battle enough, but finding clothes that fit your new body and make you feel good in your workout can be hard. For that I recommend For Two Fitness, they have tanks with fun sayings and they also have capris, pants, t-shirts and jackets. My favorite is the sweating for two tank ($49.99).

I have lusted after this Oiselle Runfinity Scarf ($22) for over a year, when I was finally ready to purchase last year it was sold out. I need to pull the trigger on this one ASAP. In a lot of studio classes I noticed that the students and teachers where lightweight scarves, ones meant for activity not your everyday scarf, to keep their upper body warm.

The other Oiselle item I want to try is the Stripey Long Sleeve Scoop Neck ($44). It is lightweight, soft and with thumb holes. I can see myself wearing this to yoga or a strength class to warm up in.

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I love the Runaway Fleece. It is perfect for post-class freezing walk to the car and it has a hood and thumbholes. I also like that it looks fancy enough so that you can wear it with a pair of jeans and boots!

I love the idea of the Namaste Yoga Tote IV, I have contimplated just getting a strap to carry my yoga mat, but I love that this has pockets so I don’t have to carry my mat and another bag. I also desperately need some sort of sweat towel, I used to have ones for my treadmill running and the gym, but those have since bit the dust and I have gotten rid of all but one. The (small) towel would be perfect for all of my classes at Studio Poise and Achieve, and I love that it is super small but also absorbent.

Lastly, I have been looking everywhere for some sort of fashionable but also functional ear warmer, I have extremely thick hair so most ear warmers end up being way to tight and uncomfortable, but this one does not. I also love how wide it is, the Keepin’ It Cozy Ear Warmer is definitely on my wish list this year.

 

 

I added this after my first publish, I actually had mixed feelings about it. I know that lots of people are taking a stand against Lululemon and I respect that. I don’t like the things the CEO said, but I truly believe he is not the first nor the last to say or believe such outlandish things. I haven’t quite sorted out how I believe, but I do know that I love the ambassadors and the employees at the Lulu near me and ultimately, that is why I decided to include these items. 

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Of course I would also recommend a gift certificate to your Fitness Enthusiast’s favorite studio. For me that will obviously be Studio Poise!

What items are on your fitness wish list?

Swanson 30-Day Healthier Holiday Giveaway

It’s kinda crazy to think that one of my first ever reviews was for Swanson Health Products almost 2 years ago!

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Here we are just in time for the holidays with another review and of course a giveaway! I am so honored to be a part of this group, each day for 30 days, well now there are 20 days left, a blogger will be hosting a giveaway and you could win $100 to spend at Swanson Health Products for the Swanson 30-Day Healthier Holiday Giveaway!

Swanson was wonderful and also gave me a $100 to spend. Here are a few of my favorites!

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It’s not holiday time in my house without baking. I am participating in the Food Blogger Cookie Swap, I am hosting my own cookie swap, and of course I bake for my family, friends and neighbors. This means I need A LOT of flour. I am very loyal to two brands, one is King Arthur and the other is Bob’s Red Mill. I love that Swanson carries a variety of Bob’s Red Mill products, including some gluten-free items!

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I got hooked on this stuff when I received it in a Foodie Pen Pals box last year. I drizzle my veggies with olive oil and sprinkle this on top, it is so delicious, and I cannot find it anywhere else!

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The first time I tried Coconut Oil was the first time I ordered from Swanson, and I haven’t used any other brand since. Nick loves to use this when we make popcorn on the stove top!

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A fun treat for the B man and also my sister, ha. I love that Annie’s Organics are available online at Swanson.

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My favorite flavor or kind bar, Swanson actually has quite the variety of bars!

There are a few other items but some of those are going in stockings so you will have to wait until Christmas to see them, but if you would like to enter the giveaway to win $100, enter the widget below! This is only open for 24 hours so make sure you enter now!


What item would you buy first at Swanson?

Elf4Health and Other Fun Stuff!

My blogging is never 100% on point around the holidays, frankly it is the easiest thing for me to step back from and just take a break from in order to not feel (super) overwhelmed and stressed.

Just to give you an update on what’s going on/what’s coming up, I thought I would throw together a fun picture post!

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I am participating in the Elf4Health again this year!

Here are the list of everyday “activities”. Yesterday was meatless monday. Usually this isn’t a big deal, I had my usual oats and peanut butter for breakfast and eggs with avocado and tomato for lunch, but because of the holiday Nick and I are in the mode of “use everything in the fridge” so I made a steak & cheese sub with peppers and onions for Nick and was planning on making a veggie sub for myself but there was too much steak, and I didn’t want to throw it out. It’s the thought that counts right?

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Today, I unsubscribed from a lot of emails, I get a lot of duplicates between my blog email and my personal email. Tomorrow is a new workout, I think I will try a Pinterest one, Thanksgiving is to make a phone call and Friday is to track water intake, both are things I like to do and will hopefully be easy! Saturday is Treat YO SELF, Nick and I are going to a dinner dance at church, so definitely treats ;) and Sunday is 100 burpees…that last one looks fun ha!

Another fun item on the horizon is the Swanson 30 Day Giveaway. 30 Bloggers are working with Swanson Vitamins and each day one blogger will have a giveaway on their website, giving away $100 to Swanson, the only catch is that each giveaway is only valid for 24 hours. It started yesterday, so make sure to check the list here to see which blog is hosting the giveaway each day. Mine will be up on December 4! I can’t wait to show you what I got with my $100, it will surely come in handy for holiday cooking and baking!

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Speaking of holiday baking…I finally put my cookies in the mail (yesterday) for The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. I am so excited to be able to participate this year!

Come back on December 11 and I will share with you the family recipe Nick’s mom passed down to me that I made and sent to my recipients!

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Now with all this baking, I am glad that Achieve is holding a competition to get our butts in the gym. Basically we get points for every class, vacation workout, check-in, smoothie, etc… A lot of these things are ones I already do but this is a great way to stay on top of things during the holiday season!

I am going to take a break until after the holiday, but tell me what exciting things do you have going on?

Elf 4 Health: Round Two

Check out round one if you haven’t yet!

I will be honest, this wasn’t my best round. It was hard keeping up with all the challenges (especially without internet) and that made it hard to check in with all the other elves.

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This round I was paired up with the awesome Lindsay from Authentic Losing. We have a lot in common, and we are on similiar weight loss journeys, it is also awesome that she is local. We haven’t had a chance to get together, but hopefully once the holiday crazies are over we can!

WEEK THREE

MONDAY: Track your water intake.

Today was move day, so I made sure to drink plenty of water. I had at least 4 or 5 of these babies.

TUESDAY: Clean out your fridge & pantry. Get rid of unhealthy and old items.

Considering we moved into a new house and used everything from our old house, my agenda was more to stock the fridge and pantry with healthy and fresh food, so sort-of win.

WEDNESDAY: Eat 3 servings of veggies by 2 pm.

FAIL. This day was a nightmare, we had a rough night with B, I only had coffee until lunch time and I had grand plans of an omelette and a salad, but I had so much to do so a pb & j was lunch. I had plenty of veggies with dinner though.

THURSDAY: Buy coffee for the person behind you in line.

I didn’t go buy coffee today, so instead I let the guy in a rush in front of me in line at the post office, so sort-of a win.

FRIDAY: Workout with a buddy.

This was exchanged with the weekend challenge. I donated to a few of the Salvation Army stations outside the stores I went to today.

WEEKEND: Donate to a holiday charity in your area.


Pre-Race!

Exchanged with Friday’s challenge. I ran my final race of 2012 with my bestie, Casey, her brother and a bunch of TNT alumni!

WEEK FOUR

MONDAY: Complete a circuit workout.

I completed one that I pinned, but totally forgot to take a picture.

TUESDAY: Treat yourself to something you’ve been craving.

I treated myself to some ice cream, but it was before bed and during family time, which means no phone time. I am doing awesome at the photo part, huh?

WEDNESDAY: Bake Cookies.

WIN! Our oven was fixed Tuesday, so I made dark chocolate & mint chip cookies.


Process


Result

THURSDAY: Make a casserole for dinner.

Fail again. I had a West Coast friend visiting. We usually see each other once or twice a year, and we like to get Chinese food and play the Wii. Well we could only do the former, so that’s what we did. I enjoyed our time together.

FRIDAY: Pay it forward.

Sort of similar to one from last week. I paid for the person behind me’s coffee, no picture, stealth mode.

WEEKEND: Have a healthy snack before a holiday party.

Nick and I ate dinner before attending a holiday party so we wouldn’t snack too much. Success!

How did your round two go?

Hung for the Holidays

Since we just moved into the new house, and we still have a fair amount of boxes (unpacking with a toddler is pretty difficult) left, the last thing on our mind is Christmas decorations. Luckily, B is young enough that he won’t notice the lack of tree or decorations.

Of course when you make plans, they almost always fall through, right? The original move in date for the house was for late November, knowing that I had signed up for a great blogger exchange that Carlyn had put together, called Hung for the Holidays, basically we were paired with two others. One person would send us an ornament and we would send an ornament to someone else. I love new ornaments (90% of ours were lost when our condo garage flooded and they were not stored properly) so I was pretty excited to get involved in this.

Turns out one of my twitter & blog friends, Betsy, was going to be sending me an ornament.

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Um, does she know me or what. It is the perfect ornament for me, even if for now it is displayed on the mantle instead of a tree. This blog originally started as a baking blog, with a focus in cupcakes, it was so nice to get a reminder of my “roots”. I am so proud of where I started and how far I have come. Plus it is the perfect segway to tell you, with a new kitchen and better natural lighting, there is going to be more baking coming your way in 2013. As for the ornament, I am telling you now it will be stored properly for next year and the years to come.

For our other decorations, we also have a few rope lights on our front porch and a decorated wreath, Nick’s mom told us we couldn’t be without a few decorations, and I agree.

Check out what I sent to Lindsay, she was so sweet she even sent me a card as a thank you afterwards. Now I feel ilk a jerk since I only tweeted Betsy!

What’s your favorite or most meaningful ornament?

Holiday Challenge

The holidays can be pretty stressful. Currently we are in the last leg of bunking up with my in-laws while we wait for our house to be ready, add in the stress of home buying, the holidays, not being able to maintain your normal routine (not even close) and you have a recipe for disaster, or holiday weight gain.

I love my in-laws, don’t get me wrong, but it is hard when you are in someone else’s house, you know? I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes or not do my part around the house, and I don’t want anyone to feel like they have to spend a certain amount of time with B.

So what am I doing to make sure I don’t fall into the holiday weight gain arena? I am keeping myself accountable with two challenges.

The first, Becki’s Healthy Holidays Challenge. The challenge is a competition for weight loss, inches lost, or muscle gain, it is up to the individual on which sections you want to be included in. There is a great facebook group where we encourage one another. You can follow the #healthyholidays on twitter and instagram.

The second is Lindsay and Elle’s Elf 4 Health!

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Every day there are challenges to keep you motivated to make healthy decisions, there is also a great facebook group to encourage one another. The best part is that every two weeks we get paired up with another elf to correspond with, basically we can do that as much or as little as we want. I got paired up with Leila, and it’s been great, we have a lot in common and it is always nice making new blog friends. You can join for the next round if you still want to be a part of the experience. Follow all the elves by using #elf4health on twitter and instagram.

I am hoping to maintain my weight this holiday weight, I would still like to be losing, but with all the craziness, I am really just hoping to maintain.

How do you stay motivated during the holiday season?

Gifts under $100 for a New Runner

I won’t claim to be an expert runner, or an expert to what works for everyone, because we are all different, but I thought I would put together a little list of items for a new runner.

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I think its great to be supportive of the runner in your life, but running can be an expensive sport. Every item on this list is under $100. I will forewarn you now, I am not including any types of shoes, because the right shoe is so personal. I would give the runner a gift certificate to a local running store, one where they check gait and stride, not just a local store that sells sneakers. My favorite running store is Marathon Sports.

So here are a few of my favorites!

Lululemon Cool Racerback – $42

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I actually prefer the extra long length, although they no longer exist on the website… I hope that doesn’t mean they are getting rid of them. This is my favorite tank, hands down. It comes in a bunch of different colors and also is a flattering fit and cut. It is lightweight so you can use it as a base layer and not once have I had chafing issues.

Reebok Skinny Capri – $39.99

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I have these pants in black, black/pink and the gravel/teal. These are my favorite capris, especially for long distance runs. They fit on my hips and don’t ride up or down while I am running. They are also comfortable for every day wear. I love to wear dark bottoms, but love the pops of color. Although, unfortunately it looks like they aren’t making more of these. Check out the Play Dry Skinny Capri ($35), I have these also, and I do love them, I just prefer the above pair.

Pro Compression Marathon Sock – $50

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I’ve said it before and I will say it again, compression is KEY when recovering from running. Just because the name of the sock is marathon sock doesn’t mean they are only for marathoners. I have worn them after a tough 5 mile run, after a half-marathon and to bed before a race. The swelling and soreness is seriously reduced if not gone because of this. Just know that sizes aren’t based on shoe size, but the customer service is top notch and can help you out.

The Stick – Travel Size $27.50

Another key part to recovery is stretching and making sure your muscles are nice and loose. Again, this is personal preference, some prefer a foam roller others prefer The Stick. I have the travel size because I used to drive to my running group, I travel for a fair amount of race and I run at my in-laws. It’s easier for me to throw the travel size stick in a bag.

Sparkly Soul Headbands – $15 or $17

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I don’t think its any secret that I love these headbands. The colors are bright and the glitter doesn’t fall off, you know what I am talking about. They also work for thick hair, a blessing and a curse, no headbands would ever stay, except these! I love them so much that I sometimes accessorize non-running outfits with them. I prefer the thicker width, but that’s my personal preference.

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Kona Kase – $15 a month

You can read my review here, but this is a great way for new runners to test out new types of fuel and find what really works for them.

Yurbuds – Inspire $29.99

I have reviewed these also, but I have used them every single day since I got them. I have small ears and these never fall out and they don’t give me a headache. Bonus, you can hear noise around you.

ShowerPill Athletic Wipe – $16.50

Once more, I have reviewed this product, but it is great for those who are on the go, the hardest part of being busy is fitting in time for a workout and shower, with this you can delay your shower without offending those all around you.

What would you recommend for a new runner?

Disclaimer: No one has compensated me for this post all product reviews are my own.