Saturday, May 31, 2014

Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer

A few weeks ago, Vega Sport offered Sweat Pink ambassadors the opportunity to review a product of choice, and I jumped at the chance*. I was at a point in my training where I knew my approach to nutrition had to change, and trying a new product was a great way to do that. Plus, the #fuelyourbetter campaign is super eclectic and can offer something to just about any level of athlete, no matter their sport!

I chose the Pre-Workout Sugar Free Energizer for my product to review. For one thing, I'm trying to cut back on sugar in general (which is really hard for me, because I have a killer sweet-tooth), and for another, as the weather heats up, my energy pre-workout has been lagging. Not to mention that as the school year drew to a close, my energy preserves were totally sapped.
I chose to review Acai Berry, and was pleased when the product came in the mail. I was expecting just a few samples, and got quite a bit more!
I was surprised by the color, expecting it to be purple or blue based on the flavor. The Acai Berry tastes a bit like unsweetened white tea...Maybe this is because it's the sugar free version of the powder.

I definitely noticed a difference in my initial energy and stamina during my runs; the one time I skipped it (for experimental purposes!) during the trial, I definitely noticed a change in my energy level. That could have been a mental thing, or a combination of other factors.

  •  Easy to transport and take with you.
  • Fresh, light flavor.
  • It works quickly.
  • Easy/fast to drink - you mix it into just 8 oz of water.
It's hard to make a happy face while drinking from a straw, but I promise I was enjoying this!
  • Clears the pipes. (This is a pro for me because I like to know I've emptied everything out before I run, and I definitely found that - like most other pre-workout drinks - Vega Sport's Pre-Workout Energizer did the trick.)
  • Mix consistency. Some of the packets mixed better than others, but for about 80% of them, they didn't really mix in all the way, and no matter how hard I stirred or for how long, I was left with powder residue floating on top.
This is my one real complaint about the product.
  • Meant for "light intensity" workouts, such as a 30-minute run, so its effects may not last for a long run or for intense interval or speed training.
Overall, I really love this drink and I plan to keep using it. Also, after scoping out their website, I'm excited to try more of Vega Sport's products, especially their fuel for during workouts, and their protein bars.

Going along with how personalized Fuel Your Better is, I love this nifty feature on Vega's site, which allows you to put together your own plan based on your exercise routine:
Seriously awesome, especially if you're learning how to fuel for the first time.
*I was given Vega Sport Pre-Workout Sugar Free Energize for free to review. The opinions presented here are genuine, honest, and mine alone.

How do you fuel pre-workout?
What part of your workout is affected most when you don't fuel properly?


Friday, May 30, 2014

Here Comes Summer!

After our amazing weekend in Georgia, I came back to the shortest and most difficult week of the year: the final week of school.

Tuesday was a half-day for students, but we teachers stayed until 3:30...and we 8th grade teachers stayed until about 10pm. (The 8th grade commencement ceremony and following dance and cleanup kept us very busy.) 
Mentally preparing for the last day of class.
Wednesday was another half day, and after the kids left in an ocean of tears (you'd think they didn't all have cell phones and internet access...or that the majority weren't enrolled in the same high school), I spent that afternoon packing up my room. Obviously this was a very exhausting and emotional day because students need to be kept on-task, but at that point there's not much going on to keep them occupied.
My empty classroom is ready for a fresh coat of paint and a good scrub.
Then Matt and I went to check out the house we're currently considering buying. (More on that as plans solidify, I promise.)
Major selling points besides the square footage, pool, and location? The backyard has an avocado tree, banana trees, a lemon tree, and pineapples!
Thursday was the last day for teachers. We had a hilarious and relaxing send-off breakfast, assembled the students' cumulative files to send to high school, and returned our keys. And that's all, folks. It's summertime.
Our hilarious principal and assistant principal performing their "thank you notes" skit a la Jimmy Fallon.
This summer promises to be busy, but in a good way. I'm looking forward to getting my fitness back on track, seeing friends, planning for next year, and unwinding after a long school-year.

I have quite a few reviews coming up for the blog, so keep your eyes peeled! I've added a new tab at the top of the blog; I'll be adding links directly to my reviews so they're easy to find.

What is your favorite summertime activity?
When you were in school, how did you spend your summers off?


Monday, May 26, 2014

The Best Goodbye

Well, we're back from Georgia. This was one of those long weekends that just flew by. Every moment was bittersweet; while we had a blast, we were all too aware that the entire purpose of our get-together was to say goodbye to Todd. He'll be serving in Kuwait for the next nine months.

He promises that after his tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, this will be cake. But it's never easy to send a friend off to the unknown like that.

Our long goodbye began Friday when Rob, Todd, Cayla, Jeff, Oden, Matt and I arrived in the Georgia mountains. We immediately stocked up on the most important provisions...
The sad thing is that we had to make a second beer run Saturday night...It was like College 2.0 for the guys.
...explored the ginormous cabin...
Three words: Not enough bears.
A rousing game of ping-pong started the evening.
Oden and Cayla playing some air hockey.
The cabin boasted four huge bedrooms, a hot tub, a game room, and TV room...among other amenities.
...and enjoyed the view before having dinner and playing some Cards Against Humanity.

Gorgeousness as far as the eye can see.
The boys immediately got to work catching up and reliving old times.
CAH is always good for some gut-busting laughter.
Saturday started with a run. I convinced Matt, Todd, and Oden to go with me. Little did we know, our Florida legs were about to be humbled. I love hills, but the Blue Ridge mountains make Florida bridges look like anthills.
The boys ascending.
Me, descending.
 After we ran, we had a wonderful breakfast courtesy of Cayla. We ate on the balcony, enjoying our view.
The boys put on the Rocky theme and completed their run with a victorious pose.
Rob enjoying bacon, eggs, coffee, and mountain views.
After breakfast, Mark and Shane joined the party! They were just in time, because we had plans for Saturday. We hiked up to a waterfall...and, true to form, went off the trail and made our own path.
Beginning our hike.
The boys at the waterfall.

And we three ladies, rocking pink and yellow. We didn't even plan this!
Then, we went tubing down the Toccoa River. The water was freezing so we chose not to do whitewater rafting; instead, we linked up our tubes (and one kayak, and one paddleboard) and floating leisurely down the river.
Cayla and Jeff chose to kayak to avoid getting wet.
Foreground back: Mark, Shane, Rob, me, Todd, Oden, Jeff, and Cayla.
Super adorable.
We restocked our supplies for the evening, had a wonderful family-style dinner, and finished the night around the campfire.
All smiles at dinnertime.
Our gorgeous evening view.
Not pictured: how the boys put out the fire. Use the gross side of your imagination.
Sunday we got to sleep in. The day called for rain, but luckily it held off long enough for us to have our ziplining tour!
I'm such a creeper.
Oden, Rob, and Mark.
All nine of us in our gear.
My final zipline...1100 feet of awesomeness.
Todd, Shane, and me...all done!
The rain came down after we finished, so some of us (ahem...myself included) chose to nap a bit while the others played pool and ping pong in the game room. Then we watched Delivery Man, which was actually really sweet, and called it a night.

It was a really fantastic weekend, and I hope we gave Todd the farewell he deserved and some warm memories to take with him to Kuwait. 

I can't think of a better way to have spent Memorial Day weekend.

Have you ever ziplined?
How did you spend the long weekend?
What is your favorite mountain-related activity?


Sunday, May 25, 2014

I'll Be Back

You all have probably noticed I've been away the past few days. I'm in the mountains of Georgia bidding adieu to a good college friend as he prepares for his third deployment overseas with the US army. 

I'll be back this week. Until then, have a wonderful long weekend! 


Thursday, May 22, 2014

TBT - This one time, at grad school...

I didn't realize I wanted to be a teacher until my last semester of undergrad. By then, I had my English degree, but wanted some actual training as a teacher. I took my GRE and applied to one program, the only program that looked good to me...Proteach. 

This is a program for teachers at the University of Florida. I spent ten months in Gainesville learning how to teach, actually teaching, and forming some of the tightest bonds I've ever made. It's true what they say about bonds forged in fire...because Proteach was definitely trial by fire, and the people I met definitely became my best friends.
That said, I got ONE photo in my time there of the work I had due at the end...everything else shows the great times we had together.

It all started out normally...our cohort was made of about 21 students focusing on getting our Masters of Education in English for grades 6-12.

Early in the year, gathered around a photo of Dr. Pace, the head of our program.
But constant research starts to wear on you, and soon we found ourselves doing what most young adults do to relax...eating M&Ms and watching The Real Housewives on Bravo.

But we were teachers in training, which meant themed nights were a must:
Our holiday party saw just one ugly sweater.
Teachers know how to get wild, you guys. Believe me.
Our first real Proteach party.
Then this happened. I have to say, men who become teachers are truly a special breed.
Sometimes we needed to get out...Luckily, Gainesville has quite a few places to choose from. The fun nearly drove us mad.
Becca, Kim, PJ, and Kathleen enjoying Drag Night at UC.
I believe in staging cute photos even in the sweatiest of conditions.
But then again, we are teachers. A little karaoke and game night is always a good way to unwind.
We became known as the Ambiguously Awesome Trio. 10 points if you get the reference.
Jem and me belting out the tunes.
Admittedly, I released a lot of my stress through ridiculous comic-drawing in class. Teachers make the worst students.
In the comic above, ghost-me sabotages ghost-Kim's chances of getting into Heaven by making her cuss in front of some Heavenly gatekeeper because she killed us on our way to our teaching placement by running into a road taco. Yes. This happened.

(We ate a LOT of Moe's and had many delirious post-workday conversations in the car. Can you tell?)

 Still, we had to find time to fit in our work. Toward the end, we had multiple giant projects due. Being a good student/teacher means knowing how to stay organized. That, of course, means using post-it notes. Because calendars are for newbs.

So many acronyms...
Eventually, the fun had to come to an end. Before we knew it, we were graduating. 

We staged a banquet for our professors, complete with skits, poems, and speeches. And lots of sorority poses.
We almost look like we're ready to be professionals.
The cohort on the last day. We made it!
 We split off to different parts of the US, but the kind of friendships you make under pressure aren't easily forgotten. We've gotten together quite a few times to celebrate weddings...and to celebrate our love of our favorite pastimes.

Kathleen, me, and Emily at Laura's wedding.

...and Becca, Kim, and Chrissy made it to mine.
We even made a special road trip to visit Chrissy and meet Bethanny from the Real Housewives. That show got us through some tough times!
I always know I can depend on these men and women for insights into teaching, a good laugh, and some butt-kicking if I need it.

What are your best school memories?
Do you keep in touch with your college/grad school friends?