Be Seen with Brilliant Reflective – Product Review

Disclaimer: I received a Brilliant Reflective multi-pack to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

We all know that with winter and early spring running comes increased time running in the dark. With the amount that I run on my neighborhood streets as well as in Baltimore, I’m always looking for ways to be more visible to cars as well as other people. Unfortunately, some of my favorite gear is minimally reflective…

That’s where Brilliant Reflective comes in!

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Brilliant Reflective makes highly reflective strips that you can add to all of your favorite gear: from jackets to hats, shorts to hydration packs. You name it, you can stick your reflective strips on them! They make two kinds of strips in a multitude of colors: iron-on (non-repositionable) and stick-on (repositionable) and both are made with high-quality 3M Tape!

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Look at these GLOW!

I was sent a multi-pack from Brilliant Reflective: two packs of iron-on strips and two packs of stick-on strips, each in a different color to use. I was immediately drawn to the stick- on sheets for two reasons – I wanted to put strips on some of my cherished jackets and I’ve used an iron maybe three times in my life. I was really nervous to damage my MCM Jacket (with the iron, not the strips). I also had a stick-on Bib Rave graphic that I was stoked to put on a coat!

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Right now my needs were more reflective outerwear, because I hate messing with a reflective vest and it’s been cold in Maryland! I very easily applied the strips and the BibRave graphic to the back of two of my jackets. Running in both jackets feels great and I don’t notice the strips at all. Another use I would have to for the stick-on strips would be for my bike and helmet! More reflectivity on a bike is never a bad idea.

While I haven’t used the iron-on Brilliant Reflective strips yet, I opened up the packaging to share with you how great it is! The instructions are very concise, yet detailed. So if you’re anything like me and don’t ever use an iron, you shouldn’t burn holes in anything. I love that they added in graphics to show where on different garments you will benefit from adding the reflective strips!

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As I get dig deeper into marathon training (a spring marathon?! more on that soon), I will be running the dark of the morning more and more. I can see myself adding Brilliant Reflective strips to my running skirts, which have zero reflectivity, as well as my hydration pack and water bottle. Heck – I could even put them on some of my headbands! The possibility are endless.

Check out Brilliant Reflective for yourself – Use the link bit.ly/BRP25 to save 25% off of all Multi/Assortment Packs! Another added bonus is always free shipping! If you try them – let me know what you think! I’ve love to hear what you put them on and how you chose to apply them!

 

Getting Lit — No, Not Like That!

Disclaimer: I received Knuckle Lights Colors to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Earlier this fall, I found myself with a pickle. It was obviously getting lighter later and darker earlier. With my crazy work hours, the rotation of the sun was not working in my favor. I disliked my headlamp, then it broke while I was trying to replace the batteries. I bought a new headlamp, but it wasn’t running-specific and I really didn’t like how it lit my path. About half of my morning route around my house isn’t well let, so I was in a tough spot.

Then I got the awesome opportunity to check out Knuckle Lights Colors! Seriously, this opportunity came at just the right time (Well, I needed lights. The burn out – not so much). These two lights would be handheld instead of having an uncomfortable headband and would have 120 total lumens. This was a little less than my two headlamps.

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I love lists, so here are some of the top reasons why I love my Knuckle Lights!

  • Hey – they light my path! Actually, I love how they light my path. They light up about 15 feet in front of me. I’m able to see the imperfections in the sidewalks (which are everywhere when I run in Baltimore) as well as other animals and people around me. On my first run with my lights I saw 3 deer, 1 fox and 6 bunnies!

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  • These are Knuckle Lights. Plural. I really like having two so I can move one if I want to see something to the side of me.
  • These puppies are light! They are small enough to fit my hands without making them feel weighed down.
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Start in the dark, end in the light.
  • The batteries (1 AA for each light) are easy to replace. Seeing how I broke a headlamp trying to change batteries, I’m super happy with this.

+1 Bonus: These make me feel very safe when I run in downtown Baltimore. It’s not the safest city and I panic easy. Running in these makes me feel like I almost have brass knuckles and could punch someone with them if I have to 😛

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Think you don’t need any running lights? Think again. Not only do lights help you see people/obstructions, but they help others see YOU. There’s a guy I see running on my route in the morning who never has any lights or reflection. He always scares the crap out of me and I’ve yelled at him multiple times to “light up.”  If lights make you and others around you feel better, use them!

I’m kicking myself for not getting Knuckle Lights earlier, but I’m sure glad I have them now. I will never go back to using a headlamp (aside from at a Ragnar). At $39.99 the Knuckle Lights Colors are about the same price as a decent running headlamp. If you’re in the market, I definitely recommend that you try them out! Knuckle Lights also have a set with rechargeable batteries. Use the code BIBRAVEPRO to save $15 off your order!

Be Open with Aftershokz + Running Playlists

Disclaimer: I received Aftershokz headphones to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

During my last few races, I found myself wanting some music, but not wanting to deal with the headphones. I had never gotten on the bluetooth headphone train, but I was getting so frustrated with my headphone cords, or with the ear buds getting sweaty and falling out! I was so excited when BibRave presented me with the opportunity to try out some sick new headphones – the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium. What made me really excited was what makes these headphones different than other wireless headphones – they transmit sound through bone conduction!

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Now, what is bone conduction, you say? Well, it’s great that you asked (and that the audiology classes from college are coming in handy)…

We have three little bones in each ear (the smallest in our bodies) that together are colled the ossicular chain that transmit mechanical energy that through a process is “heard” by our brain. Normally, sound waves vibrate our ear drums, therefore vibrating the ossicular chain. What you may not know is that  these bones can also be set into motion by transmitting vibrations from your zygomatic (cheek) bone. Using this process for people with “normal” hearing lets you receive two inputs of sound at once!

All nerdiness aside, the #1 reason I love these headphones is because they allow my ear canals to be open. I used to avoid wearing headphones when running in my neighborhood or in Downtown Baltimore because I felt unsafe when I couldn’t hear my surroundings. Now, with my Aftershokz, I can! They are great for work when I want to zone out, but still want to make sure I can hear if someone is calling for me, or has a question I can answer.

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In terms of sound quality, the Trekz Titanium are amazing! I think the sound quality is great, and if anything, it is improved because any ear wax build up (gross) or issues with the ear drum won’t affect the sound of whatever you’re listening to. The range is great, as I can be downstairs cleaning and my phone can be upstairs – with no connectivity or sound issues!

But, do they stay on? Fo sho! I’ve run 10-12 miles in them multiple times and haven’t had to adjust them at all. Even with my nuclear sweat, they stay in place and don’t bother me. There are also buttons on the side where you can change the volume so you don’t have to get out your phone.

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There are very few negatives I could ever say about these. One is just simply that I have to wear my hair braided when I use them, or else I have a rat’s nest at the end at the run. I also wish I had gotten the smaller size – they stay on but the back does bounce a bit on me. The other downside is the price $130 is steep, for me. BUT now that I’ve tried them, they are worth every penny and I hope they last a long time!

Now, since I’ve been using headphones more often, what have I been listening to? During the first (easier paced) half of my long run, I listen to audiobooks. Other than that, I have a Spotify playlist that I’ve been changing for months. Here are a few of my favorites right now!

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Also on my playlist are Disney songs! Seeing as how I used this training cycle to build a strong base for half marathon + marathon training for the Goofy Challenge in January. I can’t not share my favorite Disney running songs!

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So, if you’re in the market for a new pair of headphones, I highly recommend a pair of Aftershokz Trekz Titanium ($129.99). They come in two sizes and four colors. If the price point is a little steep, they also have other models, that I bet are wonderful as well! If/when you order, use the code FREECASE for a free carrying case.

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What are some of your favorite running tunes right now? 

Do you use wired/wireless headphones when you run?

Product Review: Luvo Meals

Disclaimer: I received Luvo Meals to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

A few weeks ago, I came home to a welcome sight in the mail – COUPONS! Not just any coupons, Luvo Meals coupons. I’ve seen these frozen meals in the grocery store(s) I frequent, and I’ve wanted to see if they are the real deal. I’m lucky to live in a suburban area where there are at least 5 grocery stores in a 2 mile radius, so I had some exploring to do.

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If you know anything about me, I’m 1) a pretty picky eater, 2) horribly indecisive. I took myself to the Luvo website to browse their food selection. Between their 4 kind of products, there was plenty to choose from. I was a little worried I wouldn’t find much to fit my picky tastes, but they had many staples, just with a healthy twist on them.

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Through my adventures I found that each store carried a different variety. My favorite meals I tried, the Luvo Bowls, were only available at my local Wegmans. Each store I went to also had at least one meal that I could see myself trying!

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I must admit, all the meals I’ve tried were pasta based (#sorrynotsorry). I first tried the Turkey and Kale Lasagna, which I wasn’t a huge fan of. I felt the noodles were a bit rubbery and the sauce over powered the other flavors. I then tried the Kale Ricotta Ravioli, and I was in love! I’m not a big kale eater, but this meal made me change my mind a bit. I also liked that unlike other frozen meals, this one actually kept me full!

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Another thing I loved about these meals was the presentation and how they were cooked. The “steam in pouch” meals were, well, steamed in a pouch instead of a typical plastic tray. From there it was an easy “slide” onto your plate. The bowls came in a nice paper bowl, which was very convenient for a school lunch!

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Cauliflower Mac & Cheese bowl – my favorite!

I seriously loved the combination in the meals that I tried. There were enough “simple” ingredients that made the others more easy for a picky eater like me to try. And in terms of the ingredients themselves, they were whole, less processed foods. I gasped when I compared the ingredient list from a Luvo meal to my roommate’s Lean Cuisine in the freezer! I could actually pronounce all of the ingredients.

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I’m in the point of marathon training that I’m really trying to clean up my diet for peak weeks and taper. Knowing I was going to eat a healthy lunch gave me motivation to eat better throughout the day. I “cleaned up” the snacks around my office with Krave Jerky (my new addiction), kale chips (I bought some, next time I’ll just make my own), and Moon Cheese – instead of cheez-its and cookies. They also made for a great dinner with a salad on the side (and HALO TOP after, duh).

I’m so glad that Luvo Meals are now in my life! While they’re a little more than I tend to spend on lunch, but they’ll be great to keep in the freezer. When the rest of my team orders out, I can bring one of these for a “special” lunch and not feel so guilty afterwards! With loads of protein, veggies, and whole grains, these meals are guilt-free.

Where can you find Luvo? Check out the store locator on their website. I was able to find them at Giant, Safeway, Shop Rite, and Wegmans.

Have you tried Luvo meals before? What’s your favorite?

Do you eat freezer meals? Do you splurge on good ones or go simple? I used to get Lean Cuisines, those days are over!

My first Runner Box!

When I arrived home from Florida (post up tomorrow!), I was more than happy to arrive to my first Runner Box. After a cancelled race (spoiler alert), what more could a runner want than a box full of goodies?

First off…what is a Runner Box? From their website: “RunnerBox is a subscription based box for runners, triathletes and other active people. It’s a mini shoebox filled with running products, mailed to your front door. It has everything from energy products, gels, chews, protein shakes/supplements, nutrition bars, skincare, to safety products and other fun accessories! Some products will be brand new (but personally tested) on the market, and some will be tried and true favorites. With so many products coming out on the market, leave the trials and testing to us, we’ll search out the best and send them to you!”. There are boxes for runners, cyclists, and triathletes. Additionally, you can subscribe to the boxes, give them as gifts, or get one for a specific event!

First of all, I love how pretty it was packaged all up! There was one item that didn’t fit in the box, which was nicely placed on top of it.

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There were so many goodies. These are just a few I really liked/are interested in!

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Banza mac and cheese!’s pasta made out of chickpeas, meaning it’s loaded with protein and fiber. I’ve see Banza at Wegman’s before, but I haven’t tried it yet. ItThis is a perfect way to sample it. I haven’t tried it yet. I plan to make it this week and share it with my roomies to see what they think!

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Despite loving chia, I’m not a mango fan. I passed these along to my boyfriend, who liked them. He said they were “just like granola” and a “good little snack”. I’d take his word for it – I swear I didn’t pay him to say nice things. If I see these around in a different flavor I will definitely try them!

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Despite how unhealthy most energy drinks are, I’m a sucker for a cold Red Bull. I was so excited to see this Runa “clean” energy drink. I had it the other afternoon – I was exhausted after getting up at 4:30 for November Project and working from home on a “ice” day. I can’t say I loved this, but I would get it again. It’s unsweetened, which leaves the lime flavor pretty strong, for me. I did feel a bit of a jolt, as if I had a couple of cups of coffee. I would try it again!

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Hot Shot is a drink that is meant to improve performance and prevent muscle cramps. With Shalane Flanagan as a fan, I’m willing to give it a try! I don’t normally cramp up much, but I plan to use it tomorrow before a speed workout. I’ll be sharing how I liked it on Instagram!

My Runner Box included more than just this – fingerless gloves, granola bars, and tea, to name a few! It also had coupons for some of the products. I love how the Runner Box is a way to sample products that you may not otherwise think to try. I’m not sure if I’d subscribe myself, as in terms of food/nutriton I’m very picky. If I’m looking for a gift for an athletic friend, I think the Runner Box is a great option!

Disclaimer: I received a XYZ to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Do you receive any subscription boxes? I’m always eyeing my roommate’s Stitch Fix, and I keep meaning to try Nature Box and the Jamberry Style Box.

Are you picky about running foods/nutrition? I don’t eat anything with dates, coconut/mango/pineapple, nor do I like mint!