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

 

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!