Thursday, January 30, 2014

Running with My iPhone

I have always liked to run with music.  The beat helps me push myself and then I also can't hear myself panting.  (If you want to know more about how the beats can help you check out Melanie's post on Lifehacker.)  Before I had a smart phone I would run with an mp3 or iPod.  Once I finally upgraded to a smartphone I had a HTC Incredible.  I liked the Incredible, but couldn't play very much of my iTune library from the phone and my memory was very small.

But I loved the added apps I could use to track my runs.  My favorite app is Nike +, but I have tried Edomondo, RunKeeper and MapMyRun.  I like Nike + for a couple of reasons.  One, I found their GPS to be the most accurate when I would drive the same route.  Two, I love that you can set goals and see your total miles that day, month, year or lifetime.  Add on the fact that you can play your music through the app, set goals during your run for distance or time (I use this a lot when running with Big B since we are different speeds.  If we are going a 30 minute run I can set that goal and run until it tells me I'm halfway and then turn around and head back.)  Also, if you you like the social aspect you can post your run on Facebook and get cheers during your run.

So, I would run with my iPod and my phone.  But, soon I just didn't have enough hands, see the dilemma from my Nathan Intensity Race Vest review, and I stopped running with my phone.  I have a FitBit (more on that some other time), so I wasn't too upset about my runs being tracked, but running in Seattle doesn't always feel the safest and I wasn't a big fan of being out of touch from 911.  So when my Incredible started missing texts and calls I already had decided my next phone would be an iPhone.
My iPhone holds all my music, not to mention all the music apps available, plus I can use my Nike + and call 911 if necessary.
When I run with my iPhone I either use JayBird BlueBuds X Sport Bluetooth Headphones or Yurbuds Ironman Inspire Woman earphones (pictured).  I picked these two particular pairs because they are water, and sweat, resistant, but most importantly because I could connect with Siri while running.  That way if I needed to call 911 I could push a button and tell Siri to call without missing a step.
The JayBirds are wireless too, so I used them a bit more than the Yurbuds.  I would place my phone in the a pocket, race belt or pack and then I could just focus on running.  The Yurbuds allow ambient noise, which is especially important if you are running on a road instead of a path.

Nathan Intensity Race Vest Review

When I first started training for the half marathon last year I quickly discovered that I needed something with a bit more space.  At first I tried a FuelBelt and the belt was okay, but it bounced around more than I would like.  And then on one of our first longer runs I lost a gel along the course, I really could have used that gel.  Then Tim, the owner of West Seattle Runner, wore the Nathan Intensity Race Vest to a run.  We started talking and I quickly decided that the Nathan pack might be the answer for me and I bought one that day.  The next long run I wore the race vest and never looked back!
There are numerous advantages to the vest and in my opinion only one disadvantage.  Some pros are that it doesn't bounce and it is easier to drink from than bottles, which unfortunately meant I know longer had the excuse to stop to get a drink. It holds my phone, inhaler and some gels all in the front pocket.  The back pockets have room for whatever other items you may need on the run, along the run, or after your run is complete.  As I mentioned there is one disadvantage, it makes me feel like I appear to be a more serious distance runner than I am.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Armband Reviews

For one of Big B's birthday gifts I decided to get him an armband so he had somewhere to put his tunes while lifting or running.  I looked up reviews on Runner's World and various other workout sites to try to find the best armband.  After I had narrowed my options down a little bit I then looked up reviews on Amazon, a step I almost always take since most products have been reviewed often and most opinions don't seem to be from a company's representatives.

 I eventually decided on the Nite Ize Action ArmBand.  It had good reviews online, was weather resistant and wasn't supposed to absorb too much sweat.  Plus I have a few products from Nite Ize, mostly key chains, and have been completely satisfied with the products and believe Nite Ize to produce a high-quality product.  Big B's birthday came up, he opened his presents and then was ready to try on his new present and,  it - didn't - fit.  Unfortunately I couldn't find an option to buy an extender for the Nite Ize, so back to Amazon it went.

Back to the web I went again.  I came across a few armbands that stated that they only fit arms up to 17 inch circumference, so I didn't order them.  I eventually decided upon the Nathan SonicBoom 5 Armband.  It didn't have all of the bells and whistles that the Nite Ize did, but it looked like it would do the trick and appeared like it would fit more muscular arms.  Plus a lot of the other armbands I found that were more water resistant or water proof had a lot of reviews about the protect cover trapping moisture in with the phone and in a few cases the phone was ruined.  Who wants to buy an armband for $20 to $30 and have it ruin their $500 phone?  The armband came and Big B tried it on and it was so close to fitting, but no luck.  Again I looked into an extender for the armband, but couldn't find one.  So back to Amazon the Nathan SonicBoom went.

We have now come to the conclusion that Big B needs to try the armband on because to be honest I am getting tired of paying for the return shipping, so we won't be going to Amazon for this one.  Hopefully we'll find one soon and I can update you on how it performs!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


I've never been a big fan of baths.  I love the water, but I would rather be swimming or floating in a pool, lake, river, etc.  Maybe part of the reason I don't like baths is because I just don't fit in them, and let's be honest, unless you are under the age of 5 neither do most people.  I started taking some baths in Seattle last year in order to relax before bed and often times before a open water swim so that I could shave without getting razor burn.

Anyways, we just moved into a new place at the beginning of December and it has a LARGE tub and not-so-large shower.  If I had the option I wouldn't have put in the tub and would have expanded the shower, but its too late for that, and its not really my house.  So, I have decided I need to start embracing baths.  The other day our place was freezing, the downstairs has trouble getting over 62 if its cold outside, even if the heater is set to 68.  So I decided to take a bath to warm up.  I used epsom salt and EO Everyone Soap Coconut and Lemon and I have to say that it was pretty relaxing.

I might have to do this more often and maybe try out some different scents/soaps.


As a side note I love the EO soap.  I use it for a shampoo and soap and then it shone for the bubble bath.  I don't know how well it will work in the summer when my skin and hair aren't so dry, but definitely loving it this winter.

Monday, January 27, 2014

I have manicures on my mind!

I'm going to get my nails done with a new friend today, after a phone interview for me and an interview for her.  Wish us luck!

Within the last year I have gotten into painting my nails again.  I used to paint them all the time in high school, usually to support whatever team I was on.  Red and silver for high school sports and year round swimming.  Blue and green for my summer swim league.

I have discovered that you don't have to be all that talented to create some fun designs, however, you do need to have some patience.  And I often times opt for rapid drying polishes because then the whole long process, at least in my case it is long, is a little faster.

 I found this pin on Pinterest and it inspired me, perfect for Valentine's Day. Polish is Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Nail: Mauve It 
(I really like the brush on this polish and it dries very quick!  But, I'm not as big of a fan of the consistency of the polish.) and the heart is Petites Island Smoothie.

 Nails painted to look like a robin's egg.  I found them on The Dainty Squid's blog and thought they were too cute and I had to try it myself.  Polish is Petites Baby Blue and overcoat is a couple layers of Nubar - Black Polka Dot .

I can't take credit for these nails.  I went to 8th Day Spa in Tacoma and Melissa painted the words, she is an awesome artist!  (Can you believe how long my nails were?!?)

Fourth of July.  Red is Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Rapid Red and ring finger is Finger Paints in Cerulean Seascape.  I didn't paint the star it is from the Avon Stars & Stripes Nail Art, I have no idea if Avon even still sells this because I have this left over from high school, and it still works!

 Christmas nails.  I couldn't find this white, but I found OPI The Bond Girls Collection Solitare and it still looked a lot like snow. The red is the same as the one I used for the Fourth of July.

Sparkle polish is Nicole by Opi 'Wear Something Spark-kylie' and the other color is the same as above, Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Mauve It.

I wish I could do this! I have tried and have never been successful.  These were done in Centennial and are gels, which is awesome since they last so long.  However, I have no idea what they used for the white, but I had to get help getting it off from Pinup Salon, normally I got my hair styled here, by Lindsey, but luckily they  also do gels and Jen spent forever helping me get the white off.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Turning my pictures into art

I have recently become a bit obsessed with turning some of my photos into canvas art.  Unfortunately a lot of those are photos were taken with my iPhone and I am a bit concerned I will spend money to create the canvas and the iPhone just will not stand up.  I am still in the planning phase, but here are a few things I have been thinking:  Where to purchase the canvas?  I have done a lot of research comparing quality and cost, and have come to the conclusion that CG Pro Prints are the way to go.  Plus they are based out of Colorado!

Some groupings I am considering printing are landscapes.  These would probably be fairly decent sized.

 Alki Beach in July

 Deception Pass in September

 Mt. Baker in January

 Mt. Baker

 Mt. Baker

Seattle in August

Shelter animals.  I wouldn't want to make a very big print, but maybe some smalls ones.  If I do this I might need to track down some photos of kittens that I fostered in Colorado.
 Peaches at Walk for the Animals


 Patrick during a Dog Behavior and Socialization (DBS) shift

 Jake during a DBS shift

 Cowboy during a DBS shift

 Pongo during a DBS shift




Flowers, leaves and berries.  I don't think I would print any of these until I need to match colors in a room.

(I recently starting watermarking my photos, I found this to be the best way.)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Changes to my blog

Change number one, I will actually be attempting to write on my blog.  I am currently looking for a job, so I have a bit more time than normal.  Why not start the habit of blogging along with my increased workout routine.
Change number two, I am going to combine my two blogs.  When I started the Flex with Rex blog there weren't as many options to add pages to a free bog, but now there is.  I don't feel like I post enough on the Flex with Rex for it to be its own separate site.