Tested Tough Columbia Clothing

When I was a kid/youth growing up I had many items made by Columbia: jackets, ski pants and their head to toe old fashion yellow rain suit. I used that all the time as an outdoor ed instructor until it felt apart beyond repair. I loved their stuff so I was really excited to test out some new clothing recently.

Last month I was approached by Columbia Canada to review some clothing and participate in Mud Hero Halifax, however the timing wasn’t right and I couldn’t do the event. I’ve done Mud Hero a few years back and had a blast so was disappointed when I couldn’t participate. Even though I couldn’t do it, they still provided some clothing for me to review!

Columbia Tested Tough

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Shimmering Light Racerback Tank (Blue/Green)

I put this tank on right away and loved how soft the fabric felt. Even my girls thought it was “so soft” too. It’s really comfortable and I enjoy wearing during yoga or hiking…actually, just around the house a lot too. It’s perfect for our hot summer days we are having lately.

Facts: It’s 94% polyester / 6% elastane jacquard, Inner Bra: 86% polyester, 14% elastane,
Outer Bra: 94% polyester, 6% elastane. It has OMNI-WICK® High-Performance Wicking Fabric {Moisture-wicking fabric moves perspiration away from the skin to dry quickly on the surface}, 4-way comfort stretch and is an active fit.

hiking with the girls tested tough

Shimmering Light Tank (Pink)

This by far is my favourite item. I’ve worn it to work, on the weekends and out walking. It’s super light and comfortable. I love that I can wear it with a skirt for work or shorts on the weekend. The open back is my favourite and I like that the opening is big enough but doesn’t show my bra. I may have worn this shirt once a week (okay twice sometimes) since I got it. I seriously love it.

Facts: It’s 94% polyester / 6% elastane jacquard; has OMNI-WICK® High-Performance Wicking Fabric {Moisture-wicking fabric moves perspiration away from the skin to dry quickly on the surface}, 4-way comfort stretch and is an active fit.

pink tank dress up down

Women’s Titan Peak Short

These shorts did not disappoint. Before kids we used to go paddling and camping a lot…something we are trying (albeit slowly)…or wanting to get back into. These shorts would be perfect for both. Again, I’ve worn them to work, walking,while coaching soccer, hiking and just every day. These have been another staple this summer, are super light, great for traveling in the car to PEI last week and dried quickly when I got them wet. The pockets stood out with the bright coloured zip and the belt was a bonus.

Facts: “This lightweight and technical performance Titanium short is crafted of 4-way comfort stretch fabric with built in Omni-Shield™ advanced repellency and Omni-Shade™ UPF 50 sun protection. Designed with the serious thru-hiker in mind, the flattering Titan Peak will become your go-to short this summer”.

green tank and shorts

Vent N Vent Slip {Shoe}

These poor shoes! I originally requested a size 8.5 since that’s what I’ve been wearing in shoes lately but they didn’t fit. I had to send them back for a size 8 which was no problem for Columbia (thank you) but there was another mix up and they sent size 8.5 again. We got it all sorted and I’m glad we did as they are really comfortable shoes not to mention lightweight and cute. I don’t own anything like them so I figured why not give them a try. I like how simple they look but fun at the same time. They are really easy to slip on and kept me comfortable all day. I’m a big fan of blue but this is my first pair of “blue shoes” and that I can wear them to work, at home or out and about.

Facts: “Classic slip-on styling and aptly placed midsole vents turn this casual, comfy low top into a warm-weather style statement. The women’s Vulc N Vent Slip-On Shoe features a soft, washed-canvas upper, a vented midsole and sockliner to keep fresh air flowing underfoot, and a soft, full-length EVA-foam foot-bed for cushy, all-day comfort”. Weight: 6.8oz or 200g.

Shoes Tested Tough

Lots of great stuff from Columbia that I’m looking forward to wearing this summer in pretty much any atmosphere. Thank you Columbia Canada for providing the clothing and shoes, all opinions are my own.

For more awesome Columbia items, check out their website here: Columbia Canada.

Do you wear have go to clothing in the summer heat?

Can you wear “workout” clothing to work occasionally, all the time or never?

Do you pair your workout clothing with work day clothing at all like me?

 

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Polar A300 Activity Tracker

Sometimes I find it hard to remember I’m training for my 5th half marathon (in September) because I feel like I’m taking a laid back approach to my training. Sure I have a training plan that will get me to the start line but I also have “other” things I want to do in the summer. Swimming, cycling, playing soccer AND coaching soccer. It’s busy but it’s working.

To help keep track of all my activity, I’ve been using the Polar A300 Activity Tracker. It’s part of the SportChek Ambassador Program that I’m apart of. Now, if you’ve been around my blog for the last year or more, you’ll know I gave up an activity tracker last year as I just wasn’t loving it any more. I found it wasn’t accurate and would often give me “steps” when I was washing the dishes and even changing diapers (wow, that was long ago!). It was pretty basic and in the end I just didn’t want to feel like I wasn’t getting my steps in.

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Fast forward to the six weeks and I’ve hardly taken this one off my wrist. I usually wear a simple sport watch day-in and day-out …yes even to bed. Why? I can’t see with my glasses off and got into the routine of wearing my watch all the time especially when our girls were babies and I was nursing them around the clock. I just liked to know the time and it was easier to look at my watch then put my glasses on and find the bright clock across our room.

The Polar A300 is an activity tracker; so counts your steps, daily mileage, sitting, sleep and when paired with a heart rate monitor (HRM), can track your heart rate, do fitness test and provide other data along the way. I don’t have the HRM with this device so I’m limited to some of the cool tricks this activity tracker can do. Even though I can’t use the HRM functions, this watch continues to surprise me over and over.

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Pro’s:

  • It feels like an every day watch.
  • The arm band is super flexible and you can change the colours if you want to (purchase required) and extremely soft.
  • Pretty easy to figure out how to use.
  • Provides multiple “activities” such as running, cycling, indoor exercise, other outdoor exercise. These can also be changed to the activities YOU do. I’ve added Yoga and soccer.
  • Easy to take out the device from the watch strap and sync on a computer.
  • It can get wet – bonus for the summer and busy lives.
  • It tracks your activity in six  different areas (Not worn, Resting, Sitting, Low Activity, Medium Activity and High Activity).
  • If sitting for too long (60 minutes) it will prompt you to get moving (noise, vibrating and a message).
  • It counts your daily steps, mileage in kilometres or miles, what % of activity you have accumulated and it also tells you what activities you can do to reach your goal. Example: 1 hour 10 minutes of walking or 4 hours and 38 minutes of yard work etc.
  • When you hit your daily goal, it tells you so by vibrating with a message on the screen.
  • When it’s your birthday, a cake appear. Seriously…that was fun. See above!

Polar Flow App (I use)

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Con’s

  • It can get fuzzy from your clothing (see picture above bottom right).
  • You need the HRM to use all the functions of the watch.
  • I had some challenges syncing it to the Polar Flow app on my phone but manged to get that sorted with Polar’s IT support.
  • I wish it had a GPS tracker in it (which the M400, A360 and V800 to have).  I like seeing my distance and pace when I run or cycle.

Product Details:

  • Weight 48 g
  • Thickness 12,7 mm
  • Water resistant (30 m)
  • Updatable software
  • Memory capacity up to 60 days (with daily activity tracking and 1 hour of daily training)
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Battery life up to 4 weeks
  • Easy sync via Polar Flow app with Bluetooth Smart
  • Data transfer to PC and Mac with a custom USB cable

I really like the Polar A300 and as I mentioned, I haven’t taken it off (maybe once or twice) since I got it. Two thumbs up for this activity tracker!!  The biggest difference for me between this activity tracker and one I’ve used in the past is that I’m less focus on getting in my daily steps and more excited to track my multiple activities. I would recommend this one of the activity tracker I used last year (and no longer use).

Do you use an activity tracker?

Birthday wishes on your watch, yah or neh?

All opinions in this blog post are my own thoughts and experiences. These products have been provided as part of the summer SportChek Ambassador program.  Thank you SportChek!

Hemp Protein Smoothie Review

Through Fit Approach, I’ve been given the opportunity to test out lots of Manitoba Hemp products: hemp hearts, hemp bars and more recently hemp protein smoothie powder.

I’ll be completely honest, I’m normally not a protein power person so I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to review something that I generally don’t use on a regular basis. I was hesitant. Once selected for the review I figured I’d give it a go and give my honest opinion. Please note these opinions are my own.

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Flavours: Mixed Berry, Vanilla Chai and Chocolate. I’m not a Vanilla Chai person so I wasn’t sure if I’d like that to begin with. We’ve been having LOTS of smoothies for breakfast each morning and I’ve been adding the Hemp Protein Smoothie Powder in.

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The first morning I put the suggested amount of 4 tablespoons in and gave the smoothie to Lilly and she disliked it. I wasn’t bothered by it like she was but wasn’t sure that was the right amount of powder vs smoothie stuff. Over the next few days I played with the ratio and like 2-3 tablespoons vs 4.

I made a smoothie for my husband with the Vanilla Chai and he loved it. I tried it and wasn’t in love with it so lucky for him, he get’s to have that one to himself. I think one of the things I like about this product is that it’s vegan but that’s not their focus. With Saï being a vegan it can be a challenge to find products for him. All three flavours are vegan.

hemp heart protein smoothie

After my hard IronStrength workout on Monday, I decided to test out the chocolate hemp protein power with some chocolate milk/almond milk. I really loved it. This one is my favourite and I can see myself using it over and over. It wasn’t grainy, mixed really well; especially when you put the cap on right…ha ha yeah, I made a little mess.

Product Information:

Manitoba Harvest is launching a new smoothie product that combines HempPro 70 protein powder, organic harvest greens (spinach, kale and broccoli). Proteins and Greens!!! Each 30 gram serving has 15 grams of plant-based protein and is slightly sweetened with organic coconut sugar. You mix it with 12 oz of fruits/veggies for a smoothie or dairy/non-dairy like drink.

What I liked/disliked about it:

Pros:

  • Vegan
  • Chocolate flavour
  • Not grainy (at all!)
  • Easy to store in reusable bags
  • It has kale, spinach and broccoli in it, gotta get those greens in some how.
  • There website has recipes for baking with it…ummm, hello, yes please!

Cons:

  • Really didn’t like the Vanilla Chai flavour (though my husband did).
  • Would love to be able to buy it in my local grocery store where their other products are for sale.

Would I buy it on my own?

I would buy the chocolate hemp protein smoothie again for sure. The other two, I’d leave the Vanilla Chai for my husband and the Mixed Berry as a back up. If you are looking for something new to try out, I recommend giving the Manitoba Hemp Protein Smoothie a try.

Wanna try it? Here’s a code for you to get 15% off: hempsmoothielaunch16 until April 30th, 2016. You can also enter their contest social media platforms using the #hempproteinsmoothie hashtag! You can check our their website here. (300 gram bag for $24.99 Canadian). 

What’s your favourite flavour for protein powder?

Ever try Manitoba Hemp Protein?

What’s the most important “pro” when finding the right protein powder?

All opinions are my own. 

 

Manitoba Hemp Heart Bars {Contest & Review}

Lately it seems as if I can’t get a hold on my hunger especially after I run. I’m just rungry all the time. I’ve been doing my best to eat “good for you foods” but as life goes on, that doesn’t always happen.

As part of being a Sweat Pink Ambassador with Fit Approach, I had the opportunity to test out the Manitoba Hemp Heart Bars! I can’t lie, I LOVED the Apple Cinnamon bar. They filled me up when I needed the extra fuel.

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What are they?

They are these soft bars filled with hemp hearts and yummy other ingredients. Manitoba Harvest whipped up three different delicious flavours to choose from: vanilla, chocolate and apple cinnamon. Each 45 gram bar contains 10 grams of plant-based protein and 10 grams of omegas, so whether you grab one for a pre-workout snack or nutrition on the go, these convenient bars are sure to get you through even your busiest day.

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What I liked about them:

  • Super soft.
  • Lots of protein.
  • Not overly processed with crap.
  • Great as a snack or after a workout when you need a little something
  • Loved the taste of the Apple Cinnamon bar – my favourite.
  • They are also vegan….no I didn’t let my husband try them…whoops!

What I didn’t like about them:

  • The Vanilla and Chocolate lacked flavour; kind of bland.
  • That’s it.

Nutrition Content:

MH_HH_Bar_AC_45g_NFP_2015-10-02

You can check out more at their website here: Manitoba Harvest 

PHOTO CONTEST:

You can win!!! Join this contest by tagging @manitobaharvest #hempheartbar #fuelledbyhemp #sweatpink @fitapproach on Instagram or Twitter for a chance to win a box of your favorite flavor of Hemp Heart Bars! Photos do not need to include Manitoba Harvest products, but of course it’s fabulous if they do.

Eligibility: open to US and Canada residents. Full contest details are here

Also: You can use this discount code hhbarlaunch1015 will get you 15% off! Expires 3/31/2016. 

Have you tried Hemp Heart Bars?

What’s your favourite go-to bar?

Which flavour would you want to try?

Note: I was provided this opportunity through Fit Approach as part of being a Sweat Pink Ambassador; all opinions are my own.

Also the photos taken are terrible but I didn’t realise this until after all the bars were consumed 😦 Blogger fail….apparently my eyes are failing me.

Meals On The Run {Book Review}

Just before the holidays I received a copy of the “Meals On The Run” book. I quickly looked through it and found a number of recipes I wanted to make. Conveniently, the next day we were getting groceries so I planned most of our meals around the new recipes.

I’ve taken a little more time with the cook book and made a few more things that did not disappoint! There are 150 energy-packed recipes you can make in 30 minutes or less (and it’s true!).

THE BOOK: Runner’s World Meals on The Run. 

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It’s broken up into into your typical chapters:

  • Breakfast
  • Smoothies & Juices
  • Snacks & Sweets
  • Salads
  • Soups & Stews
  • Pasta & Noodles
  • Vegetarian Mains & Sides
  • Seafood Mains, and
  • Meat & Poultry Mains.

There is also a section that breaks down the foods into a list of categories:

  • Prerun
  • Recovery
  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Low Calories
  • Gluten-Free
  • 5-Minute Fixes
  • 10 Minute Tops
  • Hydrating.

We tried everything from Cranberry-beet smoothie, El Guapo’s Great Energy Bars (amazing), Sweet Potato-Black Bean Falafel, Orange-Chipotle Chicken Thighs and Chunky Tomato-Beef Soup.

Even our girls tried everything. The Orange-Chipotle Chicken Thighs were a little spicy for the girls but the Chunky Tomato-Beef Soup was a major hit with my family. We even made it on Boxing Day (Dec 26th) for my entire family who wanted to recipe right away.

Meals on the Run

What I like about the book….

  • Easy to make
  • Not an enormous amount of ingredients that it’s overwhelming
  • Variety/lots of choice
  • The break down: Pre/Mid/Post Run; Vegan/Veg/GF, Hydrating etc.
  • Helpful tips
  • Combinations I’d never think of: Bacon-Apple Cheddar Oatmeal!
  • Recipes are provided by different people
  • Colour coded margins
  • Last but not least – the pictures of the foods. I’m a picture girl when it comes to recipes. I like to see it before I made it.

Honestly, this has been my go-to cookbook for the last month and I’m loving it. So many good recipes that I probably would have never made before.

What’s your favourite way to fuel for running or working out?

Do you have a favourite winter soup?

 

Night Runner 270 Lights {Review}

I’ve been lighting up the pathways lately 😉 Well, my feet have been with the Night Runner 270 lights I received a few weeks ago. I’m going to say this upfront – THESE.ARE.AWESOME!

NRLights on Shoes

It’s been getting dark earlier here and I’m still trying to run at night and early in the morning for my long runs. I’ve been wearing lots of reflective gear lately: vest, wrist pieces and clothing with reflective strips on them. The Night Runner 270 lights are the newest addition to my running.

The first night I tested them out I quickly put the lights on my sneakers after following the directions and was good to go! I was surprised at how easy it was to attach them to my runners. It was still fairly light outside when I started my run and I ran my normal 5k route in my subdivision. There were people out walking their dogs and children playing road hockey – can’t get more Canadian then that, eh!

When I passed the kids playing hockey, they turned to me and said “LOOK at her shoes” with surprised faces. I had a little laugh to myself and kept running. As it was getting darker the lights were making a noticeable difference in the ground in front of me. As my run progressed, so did the dark sky and I was running in complete darkness only able to see the ground in front of me with the aid of these lights.

PicMonkey Collage

A few runs later I was scheduled to do my 18k long run on my own. It was extremely dark out at 6 am and I felt like the Night Runner 270 lights gave me a little more confidence. It made running in the dark a little safer.

Now the facts:

  • Two ultra-light LED light units
  • Back-facing red lights
  • 4-8 hour battery life
  • Li-ion rechargeable battery
  • 150 total lumens (2 units)
  • 30+ meters in beam distance
  • Bi-lateral ‘wing’ design
  • Water-resistant unit
  • Secure, stable, multi-position shoelace clips
  • Free US Shipping (4-7) days
  • International Shipping – Flat rate $9.95 (7-25 days)
  • The patent pending bi-lateral ‘wing’ design features 270 degrees of visibility in front of the runner and two red ​tailights facing behind.

What I liked:

  • Easy to turn on/off.
  • They are easy to charge.
  • Easy to use (put on and take off sneakers).
  • Made me feel “seen” by oncoming traffic in the dark.
  • Charger wires and lights can be stored in a bag so you don’t lose them.
  • I like how I could see the uneven ground in front of me and what was coming up ahead.
  • Extremely light weight. I often forgot they were attached to my shoes a while after I had turned off the lights.
  • I also thought it was funny that I could see any reflective signs (stop signs, street signs) as I run. They light up far in advance to the point that I thought something else was lighting them up.

What I didn’t like:

  • To be 100% honest, there wasn’t anything I didn’t like about them. As mentioned I often forgot they were on my shoe when not turned on.
  • I wish I could buy them at a local store, however you can purchase them online.

I need to back up a bit and share this with you. When I opened the box and tried them on in my house I had many thoughts go through my head. Everything from “sweet these will be awesome when the lights go out” to “I wondering if I can use them this winter to shovel the snow in my driveway. Seriously, I even thought that I could pay night-time tag with the girls in the house – could you imagine! No, they have yet to see how they work but once they do I know they will want to try them out 😉

To learn more about Night Runner 270 lights you can find it on social media here:

What do you think about these lights for running (or walking)?

Would these lights help your running?

Do you feel safe running in the dark?

Note: Thank you to Night Runner 270 for providing me your product to review. You have definitely change they way I run now.

Cordskinz Review & Giveaway

I’m not very good at listening to music when I run outside. This could be the fact that I haven’t downloaded/uploaded any music to my little Ipod in a few years! Eekkk!!! Or maybe I just like to run and not hear anything, however at races I LOVE hearing music pumping along the course as it gives me a little extra boost that I need sometimes!

When I run on my treadmill I always watch a show on my tablet therefore I need my headphones. I always leave them on my treadmill so I don’t lose them or the girls pick them up and think they can play with them; a classic way of losing stuff.  A while back I was given a pair of Cordskinz to try out!

I don’t have fancy headphones and the ones I use are for my Ipod but they work AND they get tangled as do other pairs I’ve had in the past. It happens! They are plain white so I chose to put the violet Cordskinz on and make them look spiffy, I think!

cordz

The Cordskinz are super easy to put on – they supply a little blue skinner tool and directions on how to do so. They keep my headphones neat when I’m not using them and haven’t been tangled since I put them on!

Two thumbs up!

You can find out more about Cordskinz on their website here: http://cordskinz.com/  They are made in the USA, cost $9.99 and come in a variety of colours or colors if you are in the US 🙂

They sent me a few pairs and said I could do a giveaway with them. So, I’m going to give two sets away – specifically these set:

One is violet and one is pink!

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Violet & Pink

 

Fill out the rafflecopter –> a Rafflecopter giveaway  <– and two winners will be chosen on Tuesday June 2nd! Open to anyone that I can mail it to, anywhere – I must be able to email you or tag you on twitter to connect and get your mailing address. If I don’t hear from the winners within 2 days, I will pick another winner.

Do you listen to music when you run?

Ever get your headphones so tangled up you pitch them?

How many headphones, ear buds have you gone through?