REVIEW: Plantronics Back Beat Fit Wireless Music

Disclosure: I received a pair of Plantronics BackBeat Fit wireless headphones 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!

I was super excited to try to these headphones because I’ve always just used the earbuds that come with my iPhone and have been wanting to try wireless headphones for a while now.

I opened the box, which I have to say was packaged very well.  Inside were the headphones, a neoprene armband that reverses so you can store your headphones inside and a USB charger.  I received the neon green version but they also have them in blue.

Plantronics, Back Beat Fit, Wireless Headphones, Bluetooth, bibrave, bibravepro

I immediately tried them on, hooked up the bluetooth to my iPhone (which is super easy to do) and then made a phone call.  After getting on the call I was like hold on, where is the microphone?  I’m still not exactly sure but the lady from American Airlines could hear me and that’s all that mattered :).

Plantronics, Back Beat Fit, Wireless Headphones, Bluetooth, bibrave, bibravepro

My first thought, as soon as I opened the box and put them on, was that these were going to be a tough fit for me and that I wouldn’t be able to wear them while running.  Why do I say that?  Well, while I like to listen to music while outside running, I have always only used one earbud so that I can hear cars, bikes, etc. while out there for safety reasons.

On the box it does say that the contoured eartip lets you hear your surroundings, however having been almost hit by a car in the past, I don’t feel comfortable using them on the road.  Although I have to say these would have been perfect for those times when I got a phone call in the middle of a run.  With the easy controls, I could keep running while talking instead of having to stop to pull my phone out of the case, etc. etc.

Now for running on the treadmill, listening to video workouts (quietly while Sean sleeps) and talking on the phone, I love them because I don’t have to worry about that safety aspect.

I did take them out for a spin while I was in Phoenix last week on a large trail with no cars 😉 and not a lot of people or bikes to watch out for and it was a great run.

Plantronics, Back Beat Fit, Wireless Headphones, Bluetooth, bibrave, bibravepro, Reach 11, Phoenix, Trails, trail runner

#1 the headphones didn’t move around at all, there was no bouncing and I didn’t have to worry about them falling out of my ears like you do with earbuds.

#2 the armband stayed on my arm with no slipping and it felt pretty comfortable.  With the bright neon green it can been seen.

#3 even though my head was sweating alot, I didn’t notice any issues with the sound quality or slipping

Plantronics, Back Beat Fit, Wireless Headphones, Bluetooth, bibrave, bibravepro, Reach 11, Phoenix, Trails, trail runner

The design is super flexible, and once in, you can’t really tell they are in, my only suggestion would be to have a different size for those of us with smaller heads :), I feel like the earbuds are just slightly too big for my ears and if I had a slightly smaller earbud they would fit perfectly.

My biggest use for my new earbuds…using them for phone calls.  I work from home and I only use my cell phone for phone calls and these are perfect for that.  All I have to do is hit the button on the right earbud, I hear bluetooth connected, where the battery level is at and then I can start my call.

Plantronics, Back Beat Fit, Wireless Headphones, Bluetooth, bibrave, bibravepro

And now for a little fun…what’s on my running playlist right now?  Here’s a small selection of what I’m listening too.

Plantronics, Back Beat Fit, Wireless Headphones, Bluetooth, bibrave, bibravepro, running playlist

All in all, I’m very happy with my new Plantronics Back Beat Fit headphones.  I love using them for my phone calls and while I don’t want to wear them on the streets, they work great for listening to music while on the treadmill.

Want to see what other BibRave Pros have to say about their Back Beat Fit headphones?  Check them out…

Angie – https://marathang.wordpress.com/2015/07/15/plantronics-wireless-headphones-review/
Rachel – http://darlinrae.com/2015/07/20/product-review-plantronics-backbeat-fit/
John – http://www.rungeekrundisney.com/2015/07/plantronics-backbeat-fit-review.html
Jeremy-http://bit.ly/BackBeatFitREVIEW
Danielle – http://liverungrow.com/2015/07/20/bibrave-product-review-plantronics-backbeat-fit-wireless-headphones/
Brandon – https://runnerandthebride.wordpress.com/2015/07/19/gear-review-plantronics-backbeat/
Emily – http://azsungoddess.weebly.com/blog-posts/wireless-headphone-review
Chadd – https://cbalbi85.wordpress.com/2015/07/21/review-plantronics-wireless-headset/
Jessica- http://seejessrun711.blogspot.com/2015/08/plantronics-backbeat-fit-review.html

Becoming #TeamNakamura: Choosing a Florist

The #TeamNakamura story continues…I’ve talked about how we met, cake tasting & choosing a dress.  Now it’s time to talk about what ended up being the hardest part of wedding planning, choosing a florist.

When I started the wedding planning process, I went straight to Pinterest to find some inspiration.  Seeing as we were getting married at City Hall, which has amazing architecture, and then having our reception at a more rustic location, at the Plant Cafe, I knew immediately I wanted succulents in my bouquet.  I found this amazing bouquet and it became my inspiration.  I wasn’t planning on doing a ton of floral but I wanted my bouquet to be spectacular and that was my focus.

So, I started out by asking for some recommendations for florists.  I got a few recommendations and started sending emails with this photo and my requests.  Early Monday morning delivery, bouquet, boutinnere for Sean & our dads, corsages for our mom, cake flowers and maybe some small centerpieces.

The first person I contacted, was recommended by one of Sean’s family friends, they send me their price sheet and it was a bit more than I expected but seeing as it was SF, which is an expensive place, I responded to see if I could a quote.  First no response for a week, then when I called, they told me that they were working on a big event and wouldn’t be able to get back to me for another week. WHAT???  If I had told a bride that, when I was working in the wedding industry, they would have immediately gone somewhere else and not come back.  Needless to say I was surprised.  The owner did end up calling me back only to tell me that they work on large events and their minimum starts at $25,000!!!!  Again WHAT??? Seriously, $25k in wedding flowers.

At least she was nice enough to offer up a few recommendations, I looked at them both, one seemed reasonable, the other had a $10k minimum.  I ended up emailing them both because they and 9/10 or so it seemed florists told me they were either not available or that their minimums were way higher than I wanted to pay.

I think for a week I kept getting rejection emails, all with recommendations for other florists.  I went through and kept emailing florists getting interesting responses.  Probably the funniest was when I emailed one florist that was recommended, only to have them tell me they only work with large weddings and to contact the company who referred them? Seriously?

Finally, I got a few positive responses and I ended up having 3 florists that I had to decide from.  They all had a lot of great things to say and 2 of the 3 had been reviewed on StyleMePretty.com.  The 3 florists I needed to decide between were Violetta Flowers, Ha Rue Floral Design Studio and a.Hana Designs.

I spoke with all 3 of them on the phone, had skype meetings with Ha Rue & a.Hana and got quotes from them all.  I scoured the internet for photos, reviews and more info on all 3 of them before making a decision.  All of them would have done a great job, but I could only work with one.

I ended up picking a.Hana Designs and working with Asako Han, who was absolutely amazing.  She was slightly more expensive than the other 2 florists who had great options as well, but after looking at everything and reading all the reviews, I felt like she was the best option for me.  Really the reviews I read on yelp.com and on other sites were the real reason I chose to work with her.  I felt like everyone thought that she got their visions and that she did beautiful work.

When we went to SF for the Summer Solstice Run, we ended up meeting with her, so I felt even more comfortable and couldn’t wait to see what she came up with.

And then finally the weekend was there…and that Saturday I knew I had made a great choice as Asako emailed me some photos of the flowers she had found at the flower market and had planned to use for our event.

The morning of the wedding, Asako personally delivered our wedding flowers, I was so excited to see my bouquet.  It wasn’t exactly the same as my inspiration photo because peonies aren’t in season in late July and I had asked for some other colors, but it was fabulous!  I was sooo happy.

a.hana design, wedding bouquet, succulents, garden roses

I’m pretty sure I tried to have my bouquet in every photo lol.

Carmen Alvarez Photo, San Francisco, City Hall, People's Palace, a.Hana Designs

We ended up with beautiful centerpieces, I did a little trio of succulents in silver vases, a small glass vase with garden rose and a blue mason jar with a larger centerpiece of garden roses.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get many good shots of the flowers on the table at the reception, but I do have a shot of them from when we took them back to the hotel.

San Franciso, Wedding Reception, The Plant Cafe Organic, a.hana designs

Ritz Carlton San Francisco, a.hana designs, cupcakes, flowers, wedding

Also, some beautiful flowers on our wedding cake, way more than I was expecting :).

Plant Cafe Organic, San Francisco, Pier 3, The Embaradero, Wedding Cake, A.hana designs, peanut butter & jelly

And some nice boutonniere’s with a baby succulent and flower and corsages for the mom’s.  My parents both wore their flowers to the Giant’s game, which was awesome.

Wedding Flowers & the Giants Game

I was so happy with the work that Asako did and I would totally recommend her for any of your floral needs.

#SweatPink & prAna #7daystretch #liveinprana Challege

I’m joining prAna and Sweat Pink for a super fun, #7daystretch #liveinprana challenge – it starts today (Monday, August 24th) and ends at the end of the week (Sunday, August 30th). Join in on the fun – answering daily prompts (see below) – or if you’d prefer to lurk, you can follow along on FitApproach or through the hashtags: #liveinprana #7daystretch #sweatpink!

We’ll be talking about how we (the community) embrace a prAna lifestyle (#liveinprana) and are challenging ourselves to stretch a little deeper, farther and more mindfully for 7 whole days (the #7daystretch). And we’re not just stretching our bodies so you don’t have to be pretzel to join in, we’re also stretching our minds and souls!

I’d love for you __all___ to join me for this fun challenge. Complete the fun mad-lib below and let’s get this PARTY started!

We’re nearing the end of August and even though the summer is coming to an end, I’m super excited about the Fall because ___of the cooler weather____.  In fact, my very favorite thing about Fall is ___colored leaves___. I can imagine myself wearing __Meme Pant____ [item from prAna website / include a hyperlink if you can!] while I ____hike_____ [activity/verb] because ___they are wrinkle free, water resistant & super cute!_

If I had one goal for the Fall, it would be ___to run further & faster___ because _I’ve had a rough summer. To achieve it, I know I will need __strong mental fortitude___. And of course I want to look great doing it so have the __Ergo Legging____ [item from prAna website / include a hyperlink if you can!] on my wish-list…..

What are you most excited about for Fall?
Join us for the #liveinprana #7daystretch. Here are the daily prompts to get you started!

Monday, August 24: It’s Monday, make sure you get up and stretch ‘dem legs! Show us your favorite quad and / or hamstring stretch(es)! #7daystretch #liveinprana #sweatpink @FitApproach @prAna

Bonus: We want to see you JUMP it out. Give us your BEST #jumpjoymonday! #7daystretch #liveinprana #sweatpink @FitApproach @prAna

Tuesday, August 25: Backbends. Any backbends. All backbends. #benditlikebackbend Show us how you get bendy! #7daystretch #liveinprana #sweatpink @FitApproach @prAna

Bonus: It’s #transformationtuesday y’all, whether you’re bendier than you used to be, more adventurous, or even faster, we want to see! #7daystretch #liveinprana #sweatpink @FitApproach @prAna

Wednesday, August 26: It’s our mid-week stretch it out, show us what’s getting you through your hump day? #7daystretch #liveinprana #sweatpink @FitApproach @prAna

Bonus: It’s #workoutitwednesday. Show us how you worked it today! #7daystretch #liveinprana #sweatpink @FitApproach @prAna

Thursday, August 27: Show us a #tbt to a time when you stretched outside of your comfort zone. #7daystretch #liveinprana #sweatpink @FitApproach @prAna

Bonus: Show us your favorite stretchy pants (shorts work too)  #7daystretch #liveinprana #sweatpink @FitApproach @prAna

Friday, August 28: Happy #freefriday y’all! We want to see what  makes you feel the most FREE?  7daystretch #liveinprana #sweatpink @FitApproach @prAna

Bonus: Show us how you are celebrating #forearmfriday! Forearm planks, dolphin pose, forearm stands or maybe just forearms on the table? 😉 #7daystretch #liveinprana #sweatpink @FitApproach @prAna

Saturday, August 29: Saturday side stretch! Show us your fave side stretch(es!) #7daystretch #liveinprana #sweatpink @FitApproach @prAna

Bonus: #sunsalutesaturday. Show us how you are saluting the sun today! #7daystretch #liveinprana #sweatpink @FitApproach @prAna

Sunday, August 30: What are your favorite ways to restore your mind, body, & soul? #7daystretch #liveinprana #sweatpink @FitApproach @prAna

Bonus: Show us your favorite zen space. Where do you find peace & tranquility? #7daystretch #liveinprana #sweatpink @FitApproach @prAna #sundayzenday

 

Crewing #TeamNakamura AC100

4 days after we got married, #TeamNakamura headed up to the Angeles National Forest so Sean could run his 3rd 100 mile race in  2 months.  The AC100 is a race that literally sells out in about 10 minutes and it opens the day after the race finishes the year before.  Sean was lucky enough to get in last year after pacing the last 48 miles.

When we picked our wedding day, we knew that meant a tough July, with the TRT100 the week before, SF Marathon the day before and then AC100 a few days later.

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So we drove up to Wrightwood on Friday, I was working in the car while Sean drove 🙂 because we had to be there by noon for him to check-in and turn in his drop bags.  Then there was a mandatory meeting at 2pm.  Again, I was working while at the meeting, on my cell phone.

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This race was really strict about crew cars, only allowing one per runner, which meant that I would have to get his pacer and bring her back to the the aid station to meet up with him.

They have had a huge issue with spectator & crew cars at this race in the past and were very insistent that there only be one car per runner.  Even in the runner book it said the future of the race depended on it.  They even give solo runners an advantage to sign up an hour earlier than the crewed/paced runners.  I believe that if they could have all solo runners that would be the preference.

The race started at the Wrightwood community center at 5:00am on Saturday but they wanted the runners to check in around 4:00a which meant we had to get up at around 2:45am in order to get ready and drive to Wrightwood since we were staying about 20 minutes away in Hesperia.

Once there we discovered that it wasn’t as cold as normal that morning, so Sean decided to just go in his T-shirt instead of with a long sleeve on.  I took some pre-race photos and then they were off.

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Because they are trying to have more solo runners at this race, there are a lot of aid stations.  19 to be exact.  11 of them had crew access including the start & finish.  It’s really an easy race to crew for the first 59 miles since you just take the 2 all the way.  The second half of the race only has one crew access point at mile 75 and it took about 40 minutes to get to from mile 59.

The first aid station was at Inspiration Point (mile 9.3).  When I got there, the sun was just barely coming up, but when the runners started coming, it was starting to get hot.  I talked with a few other people for a bit while waiting for Sean.  I saw his pacer Tim from TRT and our friend Kat’s boyfriend, who I hung out with for most of the day.

Parking at this aid station was really easy, there were 2 large parking lots right near the aid station.

The best thing about ultra races is that you start to see the same people and it feels a bit like a family.  Everyone is cheering for everyone and it’s not necessarily about being fast, it’s about the accomplishment!

Sean came in relatively soon after the leaders, I got a photo or 2 of him and then he was off.

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The next aid station, Vincent Gap was only about 4 miles away (13.9 miles) so it wasn’t going to take them too long to get there.  Here too there were 2 relatively large parking lots near the aid station, and I was lucky to get one of the spots right near the aid station.  It was here that Sean asked for our extra water bottle because it was about 12 miles to the 3rd aid station and had a huge climb.  I got a photo and then he was off.

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Next up was Islip Saddle (25.9 miles) – I headed over, parked about 3/4 of a mile from the aid station.  If I had been there before I would have know that there were a lot of spots really close to the aid station that were still available.  At this point it was getting hot, so I grabbed some water, some snacks and my chair.  I ended up hanging out with Matt and a bunch of runners/race volunteers from the SD100.  I enjoyed hanging out with them and learned a bit more about the race since they had all run it in the past, with Angela Shartel, actually having the course record for about a year.

This part of the race was actually pretty cool because you could see them come down a series of switchbacks on their way to the aid station.  When Sean finally got down, I was taking a video of him and all of a sudden he turned back to talk to someone.  Turns out he passed a runner about 1.4 miles out that was out of water, sitting on the side of the trail.  He was really concerned about this person and was telling the officials.  When he made it to the aid station, we got him another Ensure, filled his bottles, hat, buff and his Camelbak bladder with ice.  He was really hot so we just tried to keep him as cool as possible.  And then off he went.

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I wanted to stay to see how Kat was doing but I wasn’t sure how long it would take Sean to get the next aid station, Eagles Roost, (29.9 miles).  I got super lucky parking wise at this spot.  I was coming up and the volunteer was like are you here for the race and let me just pull in right next to the aid station.  I didn’t have too long to wait and then there was Sean.  He really wanted ensure, but there were no drop bags at this location.  They didn’t have a lot of ice at this location so I tried to get him as much as I could but they didn’t prepare well at this aid station.

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Funny enough, it was at this stop that 5-6 sports cars came by, Ferrari’s, Lamborghini’s and a fancy BMW.  After the runner’s leave this aid station they are on the road for about 2 miles before heading back on to the trails. As I was driving to the next aid station, they came up behind me, I pulled over as soon as I could because I didn’t want to be leading cars like that ;)!  I’m not a huge fan of driving in the mountains to begin with and that would have been uber stressful.

At next aid station, Cloudburst (37.5 miles) I got super lucky and got a spot right above where the runners would come up.  I had some more snacks sitting in the passengers side seat chatting with Matt.  Kat was doing great, she had a few mishaps before mile 25 but she was feeling a lot better after 29 miles.  We waited a few hours at this aid station, but when Sean got there, again we got him iced up and ready to go.

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When I left him at this aid station, I had to go down the mountain to Altadena to pick up Giselle, Sean’s pacer.  I had thought that I would be there to pick her up around 2pm but it ended up being closer to 3:30p when I finally made it down the mountain and to the finish line to pick her up.  Talk about stressful, first, driving on mountain roads, which seemed to go on forever, with no cell signal and I was hungry.

I finally got down the mountain and I picked Giselle up and I hit up Panera for some dinner before we headed back up the mountain.  Poor Giselle was feeling pretty nauseous as we went up the mountain.  I too had a headache, but that was because I was hungry & hot.  I felt kind of bad, because I was driving a bit faster than I normally would because I was super stressed out about us not making it to Chilao (mile 52) in time to meet Sean.

When we finally got up the mountain, we saw Chilao Rd and thought to turn down that road to follow to the visitors center.  We ended up getting totally lost and coming up the back of the aid station.  Fortunately we weren’t the only ones who came up the wrong way, but it was super stressful.  We ended up being there a bit before 5pm and Sean didn’t come in until around 6:30p.  Thank goodness, I was so worried we would be late.

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He came in, it was still light out and he figured that they would make it to the next aid station before the sun went down around 8:20p so I had his night gear and head lamp and would take it to him at the next aid station.  He was looking good, but definitely starting to slow down a bit, compared to his last 2 races, so I offered to pace him the last 25 miles if he felt like he needed someone after Giselle left.  I told her that if it came to that, I’d give her the keys and she could take my car back down the mountain.  After I offered, I realized that we didn’t really have any extra bottles and while Sean had brought 2 packs, I’d have to use regular water bottles to fuel.  I was a bit nervous about that, but I could have totally made it work.

They headed off and then I headed to the next aid station at mile 59.  I ran into our friend Vanessa again and we cheered on the other runners.  It started to get dark and I was starting to get worried because they didn’t have their headlamps.  Finally they came up, and I was super relieved to see them.  Again he wanted an Ensure, but there weren’t drop bags at this station. I gave him his headlamp, he changed shirts and gave him some warmer clothes, just in case it got cold, which it really didn’t and then they were off again.

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Like I mentioned before, the next aid station, Chantry Flats was about 40 minutes away.  Vanessa came with me and we made our way slowly down the mountain.  I think I pulled over about a 1/2 dozen times because I wanted to be able to go as slowly as I wanted down the mountain.  We stopped at a gas station when we finally made it down so I could get some Starbucks Double Shots for Sean.  Vanessa was going to be pacing another girl too so she got some supplies as well.

We headed to Chantry Flats, which is down the 210 about 8 miles before we headed up another steep mountain.  This one made me extremely nervous (if you know me, you know I have a horrible fear of heights and I’m not a fan of driving in the mountains) because we were on the edge of the mountain (or so it seemed) and it was really dark.  Finally we made it up and managed to get an awesome parking spot.  We got our gear ready, I wanted to be prepared in case Sean needed me, and then it was time for a quick nap.  I’m always worried I’m going to miss him, so while I figured he wouldn’t be there until closer to 1am I wanted to be prepared in case.  We set our alarms for 11:45p and tried to sleep.

We got up and made our way to the aid station, where they had all sorts of TVs set up.  I saw Matt and he was like did you check the screens?  It was there that I saw that Sean & Giselle had just left the last aid about 35 minutes before, so we had a bit of a wait.  They also had TV’s and video set up so you could see the runner’s at the last aid station.  We saw Kat and chatted with her for a few minutes before she and her pacer headed out.

Finally after a bit of waiting, we saw Sean & Giselle!  At this point I could tell he was really getting tired.  I gave him another Ensure, filled his bottle with Monster, added the double shots to his pack and watched him eat some pasta.  I again offered to take him the rest of the way, but he was like that’s a lot to ask and pretty much said he was good on his own.  In hindsight, I totally should have gone with him, even if I wasn’t confident on my ability, he could have used the company, although I probably couldn’t have driven home after the race if I had.

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I let him go and then we waited for Kat to come in not too long after.  We cheered her on and then Giselle and another pacer who needed to get back to the finish headed down the mountain.  By the time we finally got there I was exhausted.  I dropped them off, parked, got my sleeping bag and set my alarm for 7am.  There was a street light right in front of me so I actually used my Buff USA half buff as an eye mask to block out the light.  It worked pretty good too.

When my alarm went off, I felt a bit disoriented and I was sooo hot.  I ended up heading down to McDonald’s so I could use the bathroom, but in my contacts and get some coffee.  I admit, I did get an egg white sandwich on an english muffin.  I haven’t eaten McDonalds in a very long time, but I needed to eat something and really this wasn’t that bad.

Then back to the finish line I went.  It was hot out! By the time I got back, I was so hot, I was down to my shorts & tank that I had been wearing the whole weekend.  I went to the finish line and just hung out there for a while waiting for Sean. I must have checked the tracking site at least a hundred times, trying to see if he made it the next aid station.

And then he made it to the last aid station, which was only 4.7 miles to the finish.  I was hoping he would make in time to be under 31 hours since it would be pretty close. as 31 hours came and went, I was getting worried, I kept thinking he should be here soon, just that it was so hot, that could be causing him trouble.  After just a little bit, I decided to head over towards the road to see if I could see him.  And there he was coming up the last little hill to the finish.  I ran down, dumped half my water on his back and then ran with him for a few minutes until we crossed the street, then I ran ahead so I could get a video of him finishing.

IMG_9406Photo by Tim Hendricks

And then it was done, he was finished.  And photographer Andre Blumberg got the best photo of Sean at the finish, it’s a look of pure joy & it is literally just as he finished.

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They gave Sean his finisher’s shirt, he was exhausted and starving by this point, as evidenced in the photo :).

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They had hamburgers for the finishers and the Alta Loma park opened the pool showers to the runners so they could wash off before the awards ceremony at 2:30p.  Note, you do not receive your buckle or plaque until the awards ceremony.  The nice thing is that they do the awards in reverse, so the later you finish, the earlier you get your award.  The negative is that it takes a really long time to go through all the awards and they started late.  I was at the end of my patience by that point and it wasn’t a lot of fun to sit through.

But we did and then it was over and we were on our way home.  As we were walking to the car, the sleep deprived Sean said that he didn’t intend to register for 2016…well needless to say, we’ll be back in Wrightwood next year to race once again!

Becoming #TeamNakamura: Dress Shopping

I’ve already talked about how we met, cake tasting and now it’s time to talk about picking the dress.

San Francisco, City Hall, People's Palace, Nicole Miller, Taryn, Wedding dress

I couldn’t talk about this before the wedding because Sean reads my blog and follows me on Instagram & Facebook and I didn’t want him to see my dress until the day of the wedding. 🙂

When we got engaged, I was still living in Phoenix so Mom & I decided to head out and look at dresses.  I didn’t want to spend too much but I did want something nice.  We went to David’s Bridal, it happened to be right around sale time, probably when they were trying to sell last season’s dresses to get ready for the new line.  I have nothing against them, but I didn’t see anything that looked like what I would want, most of the dresses really looked cheap and they weren’t priced cheap.

So we headed over to Nordstrom Fashion Square in Scottsdale to check out dresses there.  I didn’t have an appointment and they didn’t have a ton of dresses, but I did see two dresses that I liked and they were super nice to squeeze me in so that I could at least get an idea.

Nordstrom, Bridal Salon, Watters, Wedding Dress

I really liked one of the dresses, a tulle A-line from Watters, shown above.  The other I believe was Monique Lhuillier but I’m not positive on that and I don’t remember now.  I wasn’t sure if they allowed photos so here I was sneaking one before I found out they did :).

Nordstrom, Bridal Boutique, A-Line, Wedding dress

Both were pretty, I really liked the Watters dress and I thought to maybe have a dress made that looked similar because both of these dresses were way out of my budget.

Next we went to a consignment bridal store Almond Tree Wedding Boutique in High Street (used to be City North) in North Phoenix.  They had a lot of dresses but there weren’t a ton in my size and while they had a huge selection, a lot of the dresses were dirty so a professional cleaning would definitely be in order.  I tried on a few dresses here, just because I was there and to see if I liked any styles more.  I tried a pretty Vera Wang but it had holes in the first layer by the feet and I was too tall to have that altered.  There was a really pretty, regal brand new Justin Alexander dress that looked nice on, but it wasn’t really me.

Almond Tree Bridal, Phoenix, Arizona, Justin Alexander, Wedding Dress

I wasn’t too discouraged because I did like a few dresses from bhldn and they weren’t that expensive and that was what I was initially thinking to get, although I really liked the tulle A-Line style.

A few weeks later, I decided to go to one last store in the Phoenix area.  There was another consignment bridal shop in Tempe, near Arizona State University, called Adore Bridal Boutique.  Before I ordered a few dresses from bhldn to try, I figured I might as well check them out.

They recommend you have an appointment because there are only 2 dressing rooms.  It is a very small boutique and they had a decent amount of dresses.  Unfortunately, there weren’t a lot in my price range & size.  And even fewer that I actually liked.  I think I picked 5 dresses to try.  There was a brand new Vera Wang in a silvery grey color, pretty, but the color just wasn’t for me.  At first I actually passed over the dress I would eventually pick, but since there weren’t a lot to try on, I figured what the heck, I might as well try it.  There was another closer fitting dress too that they recommended, but OMG whoever had that dress before wanted huge boobs because there was the biggest padded bra added to the dress, it was really ridiculous.

I tried another A-Line dress, but it had some weird bow on the front and I’m sorry, I’m not huge, but a lot of these dresses made me feel like I had huge hips.

Adore Bridal Boutique, Tempe, Arizona

When I tried the dress that I would eventually buy on, I didn’t cry but I definitely knew it was the one :).  I saw the cutout keyhole back, the spandex silk material, which felt a lot like Lululemon and I knew that it was perfect.  I had the ladies there take a few photos which I sent to my mom, who unfortunately wasn’t able to come with me, my sisters and a few friends.  I just wanted to get an opinion before purchasing but I was convinced it was the right one.

Adore Bridal Boutique, Tempe, Arizona, Nicole Miller, Taryn, Wedding Dress

I was extremely lucky as was the girl who was consigning the dress because it still had the original tags on it and she had dropped it off the day before.  I needed to have it hemmed but other than that it was perfect.  I picked the Taryn dress from the Nicole Miller Bridal collection. (Personally, I think I looked better in the dress than the model 😉 )

***Side note, this was a very form fitting dress and I had been eating a lot of french fries so I decided to eat healthier and do some boot camp style exercise in order for it to fit a bit better***

I was lucky because I got to bring the dress home with me immediately and I found someone on Thumbtack here in San Diego to hem it for me.  I’m 5’8 and I was going to be wearing flats and it was super long.  Even if I had worn 5 inch heels it still would have been too long.

The lady who I decided to work with has been in the business for years, she does a ton of theater and costuming.  Mary Jill of Easy Does It Studio was great.  She was super flexible when it came to scheduling and she was extremely reasonably priced.  As one comes to find out when planning a wedding, say the word wedding and the price triples.  This was one case when that didn’t happen.  If you live in the San Diego area, I definitely recommend you hit her up, she’s amazing.

Nicole Miller, Taryn, Wedding Dress, Ritz Carlton, San Francisco

All in all I was thrilled with my dress and it really reflected who I am, a lululemon loving, work-out, runnergirl!

Running bride, nicole miller, taryn, wedding dress, altra running, the one 2.5, a.hana design, san francisco, marin headlands

Would you run in your wedding dress like I did?

 

Review: Buff USA UV Half Buff

“Disclaimer: I received a UV Half Buff from Buff USA 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!”

I received the Stadi Fuschia UV Reflective half buff about a month ago and I’ve been using it non stop since.   If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen me in it a lot lately.

Buff USA, Stadi Fuschia, UV Reflective Half Buff

I love it so much I even bought a second one when I was with Sean at the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 mile race in mid July.

TRT100, Buff USA, UV Half Buff, Lake Tahoe

What is a half buff? Well it can be used in a variety of different ways.

I’ve worn mine as a hair band, bandana, I’ve pulled it down to keep my ears warm, as a neckwarmer and more importantly as a way to keep my neck cool by putting ice water and ice inside it, and I’ve even worn it as an eye mask while crewing/sleeping in the car while Sean is running a 100 mile race.

Some of the ways I’ve worn my Buff USA half buffs.

SF Marathon, San Francisco, Lululemon, Buff USA, Stadi Fuschia, UV Half Buff, Altra Running, CEP Compression SF Marathon, Buff USA, TRT100, We Run Social, San Francisco Cleveland National Forest, Hiking, Running, San Diego, Buff USA, Ultimate Direction IMG_8531

They also show that you can wear it as a helmet liner, a hat liner, a headband and I’ve even seen people where them on their wrists to wipe away sweat.

From the Buff USA website:

Half the length of original UV BUFF® headwear, the UV Reflective Half BUFF® option offers efficient thermal properties, built-in sun protection, moisture management and reflective strips that are ideal for runners. Able to dry quickly and control odor, this sweat-wicking layer fits easily under a helmet. It’s a versatile, go anywhere piece wearable at least nine different ways.

  • Blocks 95% of UV rays*
  • Multifunctional – See Above for some of th ways I’ve worn mine
  • Exceptional Moisture-wicking with its 4-channel fibers
  • Soft, breathable Coolmax Extreme fabric – I wore mine around my neck at the AC100 finish last weekend in 90+ degree weather & didn’t get burnt or overheated & I didn’t wet it down 
  • Cool in the summer, extra layer of warmth in the winter – see above I’ve worn mine in hot & cold conditions and been comfortable. 
  • Polygiene Active Odor Control – I can attest to this, I’ve worn mine on my head while sweating profusely and have forgotten to wash it and not smelled anything on it. 😊 
  • Quick drying’ – but not too quick when you want to stay cool
  • 100% Seamless which means it doesn’t cause chafing

I don’t know why I wasn’t aware of what a buff was before this but it is my new favorite go-to while hiking, running, racing or just hanging out.

I love the size of the half buff, but they do have full sized buffs that can be used in a few more ways.  They have different materials including wool & Polartec® Microfleece™ as well as a lot of other products.  You can even get a buff for your dog!!

You don’t have to be a runner to use a half buff, they have special UV Insect Shield® BUFF® that will repel insects for up to 70 washes so if you fish, hunt or camp in places that have a lot of biting insects this will keep them at bay.

I can’t go thru all the amazing products that Buff USA has available, so I recommend you check it out at www.buffusa.com.

Have you ever tried a buff from Buff USA?

Check-out the reviews of my fellow BibRave Pros…

http://darlinrae.com/2015/08/06/product-review-buffusa-uv-half-buff/
http://www.thelittlethingsblog.com/buff-usa/
http://seejessrun711.blogspot.com/2015/08/try-it-tuesday-uv-half-buff.html?m=1
http://runningmarathonmom.blogspot.com/2015/08/looking-buff.html
http://azsungoddess.weebly.com/blog-posts/uv-half-buff-review-discount
http://www.thecaffeinatedrunner.com/2015/08/uv-half-buff-keeps-sweat-out.html
http://confessionsofanamateurathlete.blogspot.com/2015/08/beating-heat-with-buff-review-discount.html
http://sweetblondesfitlife.com/my-uv-half-buff-review-discount-code
https://presentlyrunning.wordpress.com/2015/08/07/uv-half-buff-product-review-and-discount-code/
http://zombierunningprincess.com/?p=4004
http://runnertransformed.com/2015/08/02/uv-half-buff-a-review/
https://erinrunsaround.wordpress.com/2015/08/08/running-in-the-buff-uv-half-buff-review/
http://www.heatherrunsthirteenpointone.com/2015/08/how-i-buff-uv-half-buff-review-discount.html
http://www.adventuresbykatie.com/reviewuvhalfbuff/
http://wp.me/p20h7V-2aV
http://anotherhalfplease.tumblr.com/post/126260781313/uv-half-buff-review
https://drrunner.wordpress.com/2015/08/09/bibrave-product-review-half-buff-usa/

#TeamSeanandJenny run the SF Marathon

This is my second time running the first half of the SF Marathon, you can see my review of last years race here and Sean’s fourth time running the marathon.  We registered for the race back at Thanksgiving last year before we got engaged.

Sean & I had decided on getting married in San Francisco so it was fitting that we get married the day after the race because our first date was the day before the 2014 race.

We arrived in SF first thing on Saturday morning, the day before the race, and we went straight to the expo, which was in the same place as last year, in Fort Mason Center Festival Pavilion right on the water.

SF Marathon, Fort Mason Festival Center, Marathon, Half Marathon, Expo

This year Fitbit played a bigger role than the did last year, sponsoring the 5k and having a big presence at the expo.  Lululemon had a small booth there as well and were screen printing product.  Unfortunately I didn’t see a lot of variety in the items available so I passed on that.  The expo was a decent size and they had a lot of food samples, which I always enjoy.

Fitbit, SF Marathon, Fort Mason Festival Center

The only thing I didn’t enjoy about the expo is that they put the bib pick-up in the back, which I understand, they want everyone to look at the vendors at the expo and not just rush in and out, but I felt like it was too congested.  Of course it was probably just the time we went because as we went out it wasn’t quite as congested.

We got a few photos, bought a Bff, which I’ll review after we’ve used it a bit more and got some samples before heading off to our next stop.

We had a pretty early night because this race starts early! They start the race at 5:30am and we had 3/4 mile walk to the starting area.  We thought it was going to be a lot colder when we saw that the temps were at 59/60 but surprisingly I was too hot.  I ended up wearing my Flat Jenny outfit exactly as I laid out.

Flat Jenny, SF Marathon, half marathon, altra running, the one2, champion, lululemon, buff usa, uv half buff, cep

We got down to the starting area right around 5:25ish, I needed to drop my bag and then we headed into the corrals.  They used UPS trucks like most of the races for the drop bags and would have them at the 1st half finish.

We made it in to the corrals, took a few quick photos and then it wasn’t long until we were off.  Sean told me that he would run with me the whole time, which was super nice.  Although I have been in a bit of a running rut here lately dealing with my hamstring issue as well as everything else going on so I wasn’t sure how I was going to do since I really haven’t run a ton lately, although I have been doing a lot of hiking.

IMG_8531 IMG_8532

Burnt Toast Moment: Once we got moving, I knew it was going to be a struggle because it was about 93% humidity and the fog was extremely heavy.  So heavy that I was having a hard time breathing.  I didn’t bring my inhaler to the race because I hardly ever use it anymore, but I probably could have used it.

SF Marathon, Chrissy Field, 1st Half Marathon, Lululemon, Buff USA

I did ok and ran until we hit the first hill past Ghiradelli Square, I was wheezing as I walked up the hill, just trying to catch my breath.  We ran down and then I believe I ran thru Chrissy Field until we got to the hill up to the Golden Gate Bridge.  I walked the hill and then we were at the bridge!  It’s always so nice to run across the Golden Gate Bridge.  This year it was so wet, I didn’t even bother taking any photos, although they did have a lot more photographers on the bridge this year, I don’t remember seeing any on the bridge last year.

SF Marathon, Golden Gate Bridge, 1st Half Marathon, Lululemon, Buff USA

I ran slowly across the bridge, mostly because it was so congested there was another option, but did walk once we got to the other side.  Sean was getting cold, I on the other hand was roasting.  I was so hot, not sure why because it wasn’t hot out. After we went around the aid station, I walked a bit more then ran/walked the way back. Around mile 8 we saw ultrarunner Dean Karnazes run past, that was pretty cool.  He was super tiny lol and I was surprised to see him around us, I thought he would have been practically done by then.  Side note, I guess at some point in the 2nd half, Sean passed him because he watched him finish after he did.

SF Marathon, Golden Gate Bridge, 1st Half Marathon, Lululemon, Buff USA

By this point I was exhausted and just wanted to finish.  There was a lot of run/walking in the last 3 miles. We took the opportunity to take a few photos and then right at the split for the first half/marathon we saw the We Run Social crew and Brian, Pavement Runner.  We took a few photos and then I gave Sean a kiss and sent him off to finish off the marathon.

IMG_8555 The SF Marathon, 1/2 Marathon, Marathon

I went off to finish my race, slow and steady, smiling for the cameras and then I was done.  It wasn’t very fast, but it was a great time.  I kept telling Sean that he could go on because I wasn’t going very fast, but he kept telling me that we would get there #togethertogether.  Thank you my love for sticking by my side even when I was struggling.

SF Marathon, 1st Half Marathon, Finish Photo, Hoka One One, Lululemon, Buff USA, CEP, Altra Running

After I finished the race, they handed out bottles of water and then we did a little walk around to get our medals & race blankets.  I went to get my bag and then headed to get some food.  This year they did step it up a little bit on the food side.  They handed out bananas, Perfect Bars, Muscle Milk in Chocolate & Vanilla  and they had coconut water too.  They also still had the hot drinks area but you had to have a wristband/ID for that area.

IMG_8559

After I got my snacks, I got changed into a warmer, dry shirt.  I walked over to the shuttle to get back to the start area to wait for Sean to get back.  As I was waiting I started feeling really bad.  I had taken a few sips of the Muscle Milk, eaten half my banana and it wasn’t making me feel well at all.  The bus ride felt like it took forever and I kept thinking, I might need to get off, but then we were finally there and I walked up to the start area, went to the bathroom, changed into my track pants and then sat down for a bit.  I felt a 100x better by the time Sean got there.

Post Race Medal Shot

It ended up being a beautiful day after the race finished, we had lunch with my family, hamburgers, fries & ice cream, before talking a little walk down the Embarcadero.

IMG_8577

Updates from last year’s race:
Better Food & Beverage at the end of the race
Different colored shirts for each race
More Photographers

Things I like about this race:
Free Photos
Running across the Golden Gate Bridge
Great Expo, albeit a bit crowded 🙂