D’Moda Sportswear Review

True confession time, Friends…I’ve struggled with negative body image issues most of my adult life. Throughout my weight loss journey, I’ve worked hard to set aside the damaging self-criticism. In all honesty, it’s not easy releasing something that has been part of me for so long. Mindfulness has allowed me to listen to my thoughts, but not necessarily believe them.

Here’s a great example, early on in my journey I struggled to find workout wear I felt comfortable donning in public. The playful, energetic prints that fascinated me on the hanger took on completely different characteristics stretched across my abundantly proportioned body. I often left stores with nothing but frustrated, negative feels. And although I’ve lost considerable weight, those thoughts still linger, their echo deafening if I’m off guard. Does this make sense to anyone else?

On my recent Vegas adventure to IDEA World Convention‘s Expo of all things fitness, I learned a very important lesson. Diana Aguirre, entrepreneurial creator of D’Moda Sportswear had generously agreed prior to the expo to provide me with a pair of her leggings. When I arrived at her booth to see nothing but wildly fun prints, the anxiety of the past began to bubble up. I think Diana’s empathy was on full blast, as she seemed to sense what I was thinking. She didn’t miss a beat in pulling multiple options from the rack for me to try on. I’d love to tell you they all looked as incredible on as they did on the hangers, but those darn thoughts were running their loop in my head again. I chose a pair that fit my spirit far better than my perspective at the time.

Here’s where things get interesting.

I read D’Moda Sportswear’s guiding philosophy…Diana’s wish for women everywhere is to be able to love and accept themselves as they are. D’Moda Sportswear is designed and manufactured to give women the support and style they need to go out there and be active in life with confidence and express themselves freely and fiercely.

I’ve read these words over and over this month as I pulled on the leggings. I have no idea why I waited this long! Maybe it took me that long to begin to love and accept myself enough to do it? Regardless, I was instantly impressed with the weight and unique four-way stretchiness of the polyester/elastano fabric. I wore them around the house all day, enjoying the tucked-in feeling of compression they afforded my loose-skinned tummy, legs and behind. I should mention I’m not afforded that luxury in my ordinary leggings. I also must admit I paused often throughout the day to rub my hand down my leg, appreciating the sheer comfort and texture of these pants.

As D’Moda encourages, Express YOU Fiercely, I decided to do just that to demonstrate how well these new pants fit within my lifestyle. I hiked one of my favorite places to calm, clear and energize…

Unfortunately, I soon brushed up againsts several burr plants and spent a good portion of the trail removing the stubborn little pests from my pants. I was so afraid pulling them off would damage the fabric. But after plucking off nearly 60-75 of them, they left no trace of snags, runs or tears. I KNOW my other leggings would’ve succumbed.

I paused at my happy place to remind myself I am not my thoughts, merely the thinker of them.

This body of mine has done remarkable things. It has brought forth new life twice, it has survived immense loss, extensive trauma, injuries, carried me across multiple start and finish lines and still shows up. Every. Single. Day. If those aren’t reasons to love and accept myself, I don’t know what else would be.

Okay, yeah, that got kind of deep. But I would like to give D’Moda Sportswear leggings two thumbs (or legs) up! I wholeheartedly recommend these pants and this company if you are looking for comfortable, dependable leggings that put that FIERCE within each step. You can check out their vast array here.

Thank you, Diana, for helping me get to this place with a fantastic pair of pants and very compassionate support!

Namaste

Great Lakes Gelatin to the Rescue

Friends, I happened to glance through my Facebook memories this morning and got hit with a biggie…

This was kind of the beginning of the end, so to speak. A year ago today my knee decided to show me who was in control of my upcoming race schedule; unfortunately, it wasn’t me.

 

I did some physical therapy, consulted sports med, got a juicy dose of cortisone injected all in aim to put me at the start line of last year’s Marine Corps Marathon in October. Somehow I crossed the finish line that day too, but it was the end of far more than that race.

I’m not a great patient, nor am I patient, so the rest of the story is my own darn fault. My next option for treatment was a round of more injections, but that didn’t appeal to me at all, so I limped my own direction. I was dealing with pain from a combination of a mad meniscus, patellofemoral pain syndrome (runner’s knee) and a raging mad case of osteoarthritis.

My running came to a screeching halt. I was frustrated but did what I could to keep moving. I’ve continued to strength train the best I can. What I did enjoy about being slowed down was catching up with friends. Those who were intimidated by running have joined me for walks. Others have shown up on the mat next to me for some restorative yoga. I was able to keep the swelling in check by frequent icing and modifying my activities, but no matter how easy I’d been taking it, I couldn’t get relief from the pain.

I worked turmeric and glucosamine chondrointin supplements into my diet, but they never seemed to make much of a difference.

I continued to hobble around until July when I schlepped myself to Blogfest at IDEA World Convention…all things Fitness and Nutrition in Vegas. All those workouts and walking, boy was my knee angry! I looked at a lot of products designed to ease my discomfort, but when I literally stumbled upon the fine folks of Great Lakes Gelatin and read about their Collagen Hydrolysate, I was intrigued. But when they generously put the product in my hand and encouraged me to give it a try, of course I had to! What did I have to lose but pain and inflammation! They told me to give it a month to 45 days to notice a difference. I was grateful, but skeptical…why would this be different from what I’ve tried?

I started mixing the powder into my morning coffee at the end of July and within a week’s time I already noticed a marked reduction in pain and increased mobility. As the days went on, I no longer needed to ice my knee because the inflammation was gone! I continued to take the gelatin and in August I was traipsing around the Boundary Waters with a canoe on my shoulders!

Although my knee got kind of cranky from this epic trek, the inflammation never came back! A few days of rest following that trip and it was feeling fine again. I felt foolish at the beginning of this month when I looked closer at the can and realized I could have been taking it TWICE a day, so I’ve started doing that to experience its full effect.

Friends, I must admit I am not cured. I still experience some stiffness and discomfort when the clouds and thunderstorms roll through, but NOTHING like it was. I’m back doing almost everything in the gym because not only does it not hurt, the tightness and thickness that previously grounded me has diminished!

I plan to continue using this product because I am astounded by the difference it has made! I should tell you too, that I’ve noticed some bonus benefits of a great complexion and stronger nails and hair. And for a lady in my mid-40’s…I’ll take all the help I can get!

If you’ve been struggling with age or sports-related collagen loss/cartilage damage or joint/pain discomfort, consult your physician. But also keep Great Lakes Gelatin in mind for what your doctor-recommended pain relievers can’t help!

I whole-heartedly give this stuff the FIT BFFs stamp of approval!

Shugar Soapworks Review

Friends, I have a little confession to make; it’s time for me to come clean about something. Last month an aroma-filled package arrived in my mailbox from Shugar Soapworks. They generously provided me with a full-sized sample bar of each of their eight regular line soaps…

I thought I could provide a better product review if I shared with others, so I enlisted the help of my friend Angela and my mom. They were both as eager as I was to test drive these soaps! Before I tell you what we thought, check out what I learned about them on the company’s website…

  • made only from the purest plant-derived ingredients and never contain sulfates, parabens, colors or animal by-products
  • each bar is tripple milled to ensure a rich lather, then hard-pressed so it won’t crack or fall apart
  • vegan friendly/no animal by-products/cruelty free
  • made in the USA…in a sustainably-driven manufacturing operation in Commerce, CA
  • available at Dollar Tree and Dollar General (and more) stores across the US!!!

Size matters, Friends, when I opened the box of the Oatmeal & Lavendar bar, I was immediately struck at the enormous size of it…7 ounces!

Both my mom and Angela were both surprised by its size as well. I stayed in contact with them over the next couple weeks to compare their impressions with mine. My mom quickly noticed how the Rose bar’s scent seemed to freshen the room and she really enjoyed its fragrance on her skin. She appreciated how nicely it lathered and how well it rinsed off. She expressed how well the bar held up to daily use, not getting mushy. After several weeks of use, she is completely satisfied with the product and continues to enjoy the experience.

Angela gave the Honey Almond a try. She found the scent of this bar to be very subtle.  Angela wasn’t left feeling at all perfumed after use and would have preferred for the waning scent of that bar to be much stronger. What she liked was how she felt like she had lotion on following use. She stated that since she’s the only one using it, the huge-sized bar is going to last her the rest of the year!

I have pretty sensitive skin, so I was a little hesitant, but I am really enjoying the Oatmeal & Lavendar bar. I’ve noticed zero irritations. Its subtle scent is pleasant, yet not overpowering. I like how quickly the bar lathers and easily rinses off. Because each bar contains a blend of pure essential oils, my skin is left feeling well moisturized. I’ve noticed despite weeks of use, the bar is still enormous. And I’ll admit, I have never really stuck with any particular brand of bath soap and after trying a number of brands, I’m impressed with the longevity of this particular bar’s life

I’m downright fascinated by this product’s great value! It’s hard for me to believe that a soap of such generous size and such long life costs just a dollar, so I took a little trip to my neighborhood Dollar Tree, and there it was! I love a good deal, Friends!

But if that isn’t reason enough for me to be sold, a quick visit to Shugar Soapworks’ website sealed the deal!

They are doing some amazing things with charity work across the country with their Clean Hands Save Lives initiative. You can even take the opportunity to nominate a charity, Friends!

Great company, great product…but why take my word for it? You can find out yourself for just $1! So what are you waiting for?!?

 

I

 

Fashion Friday Tunic Buzz at 40% Off!

Several weeks ago I debuted the comfortable, versatile Hannah Keyhole tunic from Cents of Style. I’ve had countless opportunities to wear it, and after multiple washes, it still looks new and remains amazingly soft.

Tunics are all the rage right now…a quick, trendy way to go from a walk, to school, the office, meetings, appointments, shopping and on to date night. Not many items in our wardrobes can do that! What’s more, these tunics are available in a wide array of color options in sizes small-3X! This weekend, at 40% off, it comes in under $21 and free shipping!

Cents of Style offers several versions, like this babydoll in another great palate of colors. This one is also under $21!

Or how about this simple swing tunic? Add a pair of leggings and you’re ready for the day. This one is under $15!

To grab this fantastic deal, use code FFTUNIC to get 40% off the lowest marked price, with FREE SHIPPING! This code is valid Friday, 5/5 through Sunday, 5/7.

At such low prices, these won’t last, so get them before they’re gone and be ready for any occasion!

Oola For Women Review

While waiting for my flight to Portland last week, something awesome happened…something very Oola! Because the flight was overbooked, the airline offered generous compensation to a volunteer willing to catch the next flight. I just happened to be traveling alone, was scheduled to arrive earlier than necessary and, incidentally, had a book I was dying to dive into; without a moment’s hesitation, I stepped forward!

As I tucked my easily obtained reward (enough to purchase my next getaway flight) into my bag, I pulled out my advance reader copy of Oola For Women I received in the mail just days earlier. There was nothing to do but relax and digest the wisdom of Dave Braun and Troy Amdahl with Janet Switzer and the inspiring stories of 42 women.

This was sort of deja vu for me as I recalled reading Braun and Amdahl’s original Oola book last year on a flight to San Diego! That’s when I was first introduced to their 7 key areas one needs to balance and grow, to live the life of one’s dreams…fitness, finance, family, field (career), faith, friends and fun. I’ve had some amazing opportunities to put these areas to work in my life and have found extraordinary balance in doing so.

These same 7 key areas are beautifully re-presented in Oola For Women, using powerful stories to further the reader’s understanding and connection. The poignant story each woman humbly shares brilliantly illustrates these areas, and beyond as the authors warn of traits that block one from living the life of their dreams, as well as ways to accelerate reaching those dreams.

I kept thinking as I read story after story, how they resonated deep within, how I related to so many as if they could be me!

The last section of the book invites the reader to look deeper into her life, to get real with where she is and where she wants to go. A simple strategy designed to get readers on The OolaPath is spelled out in a straightforward manner, and as they say, “Once you start, there’s no going back to ordinary.”

Braun and Amdahl are currently traveling across the country in their OolaBus collecting a million dreams, so how appropriate there is a blank OolaWoman Goal sticker in the back of the book to record that dream! It’s become difficult for me to narrow it down to a single dream, so I will continue to think on that.

In the meantime, as I finished their book during my Portland vaca and know the OolaGuys are big fans of doughnuts, there was only one thing left for me to do…

 

Dave, Troy, these VooDoo Doughnuts are in honor of your beautifully crafted tool for women to find that delicate balance in an unbalanced world! You two are changing lives all over the world with one word!

Why not treat yourself to less stress, more purpose and uncover that greatness within! Friends, Oola For Women hits bookstores across the country tomorrow, May 2nd. If you’d like, check it out at Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

 

Oh, and keep your eyes open for that VW OolaBus!

Fashion Friday (Saturday) Story

I apologize for the late nature of this post, Friends, but I just returned from a recharge in Portland this afternoon and couldn’t wait to open a package that awaited my return. Cents of Style has done it again; they’ve provided me with the choice of one of their best-selling products…their Be Series graphic t-shirts.

I had zero difficulty choosing the right tee for me! Readers, if you’ve been following me for a while, you know since my weight loss transformation began, there is nothing more I’ve wanted out of life than this…

It is my life’s goal to be happy, so this shirt literally fits me to a T…there is nothing I’d rather be! Happiness is the result of slowing down to appreciate the simple pleasures like treasured time with family and friends, a rejuvenating walk in the woods, taking time to do what’s calling within my heart.

Yes, this tee is who I want to be, but you might want to be something else, and Cents of Style has you covered too! How about one of these…

 

Friends, Cents of Style has made it comfortable and fun to be exactly who you are. This weekend only, using the code BESTORY, you can get each of these fresh, fun t-shirts here for only $15.95 with Free Shipping!

While you’re there, take a look around at their wide array of the latest in trendy clothes, shoes, scarves and jewelry, all at affordable prices.

I especially love this store for its mission: To empower women to lead bold and full lives. We believe that if you look good, you feel good. And when you feel good you can do good for others around you.

I LOVE that!

I hope you take advantage of this sweet opportunity to be uniquely you. But remember, this Fashion Friday deal is only available thru 4/30, so don’t miss out and don’t forget Mother’s Day is coming up too!

Aurorae Review

Friends, I recently received some yoga products generously provided by Aurorae for a test drive and review. This family business was founded in 2009 by yogi/cancer survivor, Dennis Ingui. I love that what began as a hobby has transformed into a business to empower others to embrace an active lifestyle. You can read more about that inspiring journey here.

I’ve previously reviewed one of Aurorae’s yoga mats, totes and towels here. That mat continues to impress and protect…it is one of the few I don’t fear skidding off through my downward dog. I can not say enough wonderful things; it’s plain to see high quality is of the utmost importance to this company. It’s also obvious they understand and aim to meet the needs of yoga students everywhere!

Take, for instance, this organic mat cleaner. Not only is it eco-friendly, it is available in four scents, made in the USA with pure essential oils. I don’t think I know a single yoga friend who doesn’t adore essential oils! What’s better, with the purchase of any mat cleaner comes the free bonus of a plush microfiber cleaning towel. I received the eucalyptus scented wash with towel. Not only do these make quick work of wiping down my mat, it leaves it smelling fresh and me calmed by that relaxing scent…ahhh.

 

I also got to play with Aurorae’s yoga strap. It’s 8 foot length is generous enough for any task you need it to perform. The strap is a bit narrower those I’ve used in studios, but I’ve noticed no difference in its abilities. I like knowing it’s constructed with 100% natural unbleached cotton and again…made in the USA! This strap is helping me get far deeper into some of my poses.

 

Finally, get a look at this unique sling backpack! I had my doubts that it would fit my needs. When I head to the athletic club for yoga, I also tend to sneak in some major cardio before class. So after shavasana, it’s time to hit the showers. This means the need to store extra clothing and toiletries in addition to mat, accessories and water bottle. The moment I saw how small this bag appeared, I thought there was no way my belongings would fit within. Boy, was I mistaken! I could have easily fit another change of clothes in there and probably my flip flops too.

The bag is a warrior…well designed and constructed with so many cool features, it’s obvious much thought went into its design. That’s awesome, but what I really love about it is how well it hugs me with that wide, comfy shoulder strap…from this pic, you’d hardly even know I had it on!

Probably my favorite feature of this bag is its multipurpose nature…I can use it for yoga, other workouts, biking, hikes, travel and beyond…how cool is that?!? I think its versatility is genius.

If you are looking for some products to further your love of your practice, don’t miss Aurorae. Stop by their website today to check out these great products and so much more!

To my fine friends at Aurorae, many thanks for this opportunity, and as always…NAMASTE!

 

Fashion Friday

Happy Fashion Friday, Friends, I’m excited to share my latest dicovery with you! Since my weight loss transformation, I’ve struggled to find comfortable, versatile clothing I feel confident wearing. I’m just now beginning to enjoy shopping again, but was still having difficulty finding a flattering fit. That all changed when Cents of Style sent me this Hannah Keyhole Tunic to test drive and share with all of you.

How cute is that?!?

This tunic has versatility written all over it! I’ve only had it a week, but in that time it has stylishly taken me from church, to the grocery store, between classes and workouts at the gym and even through an online interview.

All the while, I enjoyed the sleek fit of its super-soft rayon/spandex blend and its pajama-like comfort. I am kind of in love with it!

I went with black because it coordinates so well with everything! But these tunics are available in an array of delectable colors…

And if the keyhole design is not your thing, check out this sassy babydoll style.

It also comes in an exquisite palate of color choices.

Both tunic styles are two of this spring’s hottest trends and are available to fit sizes 0-18…that’s great news!

But Friends, the best news is this…Cents of Style normally offers these tunics for a modest $34.95 but are offering them this weekend for the fantastic price of $19.95 + FREE SHIPPING using the code: TOPSTORY when you shop here.

While you’re there, take a look around at their wide array of the latest in trendy clothes, shoes, scarves and jewelry, all at affordable prices.

I especially love this store for its mission: To empower women to lead bold and full lives. We believe that if you look good, you feel good. And when you feel good you can do good for others around you.

LOVE IT!

I hope you take advantage of such a sweet opportunity, but remember, this Fashion Friday deal is only available thru 3/26. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some shopping to do!

 

OOFOS OOlala Sandal Review

Friends, I couldn’t be more excited about sharing with you something that arrived in my mail recently.

My friends at OOFOS provided me with a pair of their amazing recovery technology for feet in one of their amazing new colors! Although it may seem ironic these arrived while snow still blankets much of Minnesota, I couldn’t be happier to have them here right now! Why? Because I am breaking them in at the indoor pool, dreaming of warmer weather.

I already know what magic OOFOS footwear performs on my feet and legs. I am no stranger to the much-needed comfort they provide post marathons and half marathons. Here are some fun post-race pics from some recent events…

 

 

OOFOS footwear looks like an ordinary flip flop or slide or clog, but the instant you slip a pair on, you know you are dealing with something entirely different. That’s because OOFOS designs their footwear to enable a more natural motion, to absorb shock with every step, to cradle your arches. And that’s great news because after a long run, bike ride or strength/weight training session, I yearn to eleviate the stress placed on my feet, knees and back.

This new pair of OOlala sandals is working overtime for me. I’ve been dealing with issues resulting from injury…a temperamental meniscus and patellofemoral pain syndrome in my left knee and some angry arthritis in both for several months. Even though it’s not quite time for these outside…

they’ve been providing some pretty impressive relief from all three issues as I wear them around the house. I may have recommended my sports med doc start writing an RX for these for his other patients lol!

Friends, I’m pretty much addicted to this company’s footwear and I know you’ll love them too. But don’t take my word for it, stop by their website and check them out for yourself; your feet earned it! While you’re there, you’ll notice all their classics as well as some scrumptious new colors too!

Readers, if you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know how generous OOFOS is, so I recommend you all stop back tomorrow for an exciting little somethin’ somthin’…wink, wink!

 

I’m Carla and I’m an Addict

Friends, I’ve been keeping a secret for over a year now; I’m obsessed with a product/process that has become nothing short of an addiction. Well, it’s a bit less dramatic than that, but not much haha!

A while back I was looking for some new skin care ideas and asked my beautifully complected, worldly and much younger-but-wiser cousin Nadia for some recommendations. She turned me onto the “World’s Most Powerful Facial!” I ran right out to the local health food store to find it sold out. As luck would have it, I landed in San Diego a few days later and found it at a Whole Foods store.

It was nearly confiscated in customs on the flight back, but luckily it made the cut. I mean, I wonder what they thought it was. Well here’s the big beauty secret…it’s actually called Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay.

When the clay powder was mixed with apple cider vinegar according to directions, it instantly began to bubble and come to life. It became a green slime kind of concoction that when placed on one’s face gives the illusion of being related to the Incredible Hulk!

I first tried the mask with my brave friend and guinea pig, Cody. It was very green, and didn’t smell too appealing. But it didn’t have to, it wasn’t something to eat, it was more of a facial treat!

I was instantly aware of a tingling sensation that, as it dried, began to pulsate something fierce. My skin felt pulled and tightened. As we washed it off, our skin appeared extremely sunburnt, but that sensation and appearance soon subsided. We followed up with some Moroccanoil and enjoyed awesome, radiant complexions for days. I was instantly addicted…

And my addiction became a fun experience to share with those around me…

 

And it was not unusual for me to text a pic to Nadia and find that while I was masking with Spanky here in MN, she was doing the same thing halfway across the world in Afganistan!

 

Until she returned to the states and we could celebrate!

She’s back in Afghanistan, and I’m sitting here this afternoon trying to smile through a dried mask so tight that I can’t. And then the red after-glow…

 

I’m reminiscing how one beauty tip turned into such fond memories. And can’t wait for tomorrow when my skin glows again!

Friends, if you are looking for a deep pore cleansing 100% natural calcium bentonite clay mask experience, you need to try Aztec Secret! It’s not only the most inexpensive beauty secret, but the life of any party! A great way to put your Best Face Forward lol!