Cents of Style Dress Review and SALE!

Friends, I’ve been searching for the perfect dress for my son’s outdoor wedding next month. The venue is a beautiful, built-for-weddings barn and meadow. The standard mother-of-the-groom dress is not what I’m looking for; I’m aiming for something comfortable, airy, playful. On my hunt, I came across a dress that caught my attention.

The kind folks at Cents of Style generously provided me with that dress in exchange for a test drive and sharing my results with readers. How cool is that?!?

I should tell you, I didn’t have high hopes. About 98% of what I tried on in brick and mortar shops looked fantastic on the hanger, but much less so on me. I have a tough time finding a dress that fits my uniquely proportioned physique. When this little number arrived, though, I thought only positive thoughts as I removed it from the neatly tissued packaging.

Almost every dress I tried prior was fitted, constricting, too short for my generous legs’ liking…I was not having much luck. The moment I slipped into this Shelly Lattice Back Dress, I knew it was a keeper! Remember I said I wanted comfortable, airy, playful? Well this was all of that! The polyester/spandex content, a super-soft fabric, is comfier than my jammies! Its cut is generous and drapes in all the right places…so much better than the fitted straightjackets!

Keep in mind, I’m no model, so I will provide some additional pics from Cents of Style to give a better idea of what it looks like in a moment. But first…a little visit to the park with my soon-to-be-married son. He was such a great sport in capturing what this dress does for me.

I was in my element…I LOVE the outdoors, but I don’t often (well never, really) wear a dress outside. But because I didn’t feel trapped within this garment, I could be myself…I could let my light shine!

I mean, I don’t often visit a park without relaxing…

I didn’t realize just how at home I felt until I found myself doing what I do…soaking in the good vibes of nature!

And do you know how comfortable I was? Well, this is the first dress I’ve ever been tempted to climb a tree while wearing. It made me reminisce about the relaxed fit of play clothes from my childhood.

Not even kidding…I was right up there in that tree. In a dress. A dress that allowed me to be totally and completely ME!

If I’m this comfy here, I’m excited about how great it will feel to wear this versatile dress to work, play, church, parties, picnics, the beach, etc. As for the wedding, I can’t yet be certain I’ve said yes to the dress, but this could be it!

As promised, a few professional shots provided by Cents of Style. Check out the fun shape and colors…

  

Comfortable, airy, playful…Cents of Style nailed it and they want you to experience that feeling too! Friends, here’s the good news…this dress retails for $54.95. And the GREAT news…between now and Wednesday, 6/13, you can save 35% and enjoy free shipping too with this VIP Exclusive Offer just for you, FITBFFs readers!

Simply follow the link below to a comfortable, airy, playful summer dress of your own for under 36 bucks! You may not climb trees in yours, but I know whatever you choose to do, you’ll feel comfortable, airy and playful too!

Exclusive Deal for FITBFFs – 35% off Summer Dress! + FREE Shipping w/code: FITBFF

 

Win-It Wednesday OOFOS Did it Again!

Hey Friends, you’ve traveled alongside my adventures, milestones and recovery, and so has OOFOS! They’ve been there, literally supporting me every step of the way; here’s just a peek…

Wow, did it feel great to peel off my running shoes and socks and slide right into my OOahh slide sandals after every race…OOFOS’ OOfoam recovery technology is the BOMB!

Whether I was out for a bike ride, walk, hike or a marathon…the relief of my OOlala sandals were always right there waiting for me!

Through every season, I was so grateful to recover in extraordinary comfort…these OOriginal sport sandals made all the difference. I felt the OO again and again!

When Old Man Winter came, both the OOcloogs and OOmgs really helped me through some long days of work and play!

Just two weeks ago I was still snowshoeing here in Minnesota! And as OOFOS has continued to follow along my journey, they’ve made amazing strides to expand their line of support. They recently released some amazing boots that actually fit within my snowshoes! More news on those later this fall!!!

It’s been so incredible to include OOFOS as part of my Flat Carla pics…here you see what all is needed for one of my races, and those fantastic Project Pink sandals were ready for me at the finish. This particular race was Donna’s in Jacksonville to end breast cancer. How fitting that the OOFOS Project Pink line contributes $10 for each pair sold for breast cancer research.

Just the other day I stopped by OOFOS website to spot their latest release…their OOlala Luxe Black Glitter!

The minute I saw them, I was hooked! My friends at OOFOS generously provided me with a pair to test and recommend. I can’t tell you how excited I am when a pair shows up in the mail. I am addicted to that new smell. What’s more, I can’t get enough of how extraordinary that brand new support feels.

But what I’m most excited about with this new sandal are the many dressed-up possibilities! They’ve really stepped up their game, because this new sandal will allow me to take support even further into my lifestyle. Remember that Flat Carla above? Well, I’ve been thinking about my son’s upcoming outdoor wedding on the beautiful prairies and bluffs of Wisconsin wondering how I will survive the night in my dreaded  dress shoes, so here’s a Flat Carla of a different kind…

Problem solved! Seriously, OOFOS has been instrumental in fixing so many of my issues, and they can help you too! OOFOS has generously provided an additional pair of these exquisite sandals for a reader giveaway on this Win-It Wednesday!

To enter, simply leave a comment below stating which size you hope to win between now and Tuesday, May 8th, midnight central time.

Giveaway open to US residents only. Randomly selected winner will be announced here on Win-It Wednesday, May 9th. Good luck!

Review: Latest Bedding’s Black Bear Lodge Quilt Set

Hey Friends, I’d love to share a fun little story with you! I should start by telling you how much I LOVE my bed. You know that feeling when you travel, how you long to be back in the comfort of your own bed? Well that’s exactly my point…my bed is my sanctuary.

Several weeks back while making my bed, I thought how frumpy my bedding looked…that since we’d had it nearly as long as our oldest son (the almost 21 year-old), because it was beginning to show its age, I should think about updating. And because of how the universe works for me lately, just a few days later I was asked to review one of Latest Bedding’s quilt sets. I was just heading out for another of my adventures when it shipped, so it arrived while I was exploring Arizona. You know, I love the outdoors, right? There was this great mountain in downtown Tempe that beckoned, so of course I had to check it out!

It was a whirlwind couple of weeks. I kept thinking, as great as it all was, I couldn’t wait to get back home to my own bed! Better yet, I knew there was a certain package that required my immediate attention. I couldn’t wait to see the Black Bear Lodge Quilt Set and Black Bear Lodge Pillow Pair Latest Bedding generously provided for my review. I should mention, they pre-selected this quilt set for me, but after exploring their site, I have to admit, it’s the very one I would have chosen for myself…I mean there goes the universe again right?!?

I admit, I was hesitant in ordering the full/queen size quilt, as I feared it wouldn’t be wide enough to adequately cover my queen mattress, but it was the perfect size! I also noticed the use of the word quilt in this case refers more to the fact that the fabric has lots of embellished stitching, but is not the thick, warm weight I was expecting. But as it turns out, that is a very good thing because I was sad to think I’d be replacing my favorite down comforter…I get to use both…win/win!

The pillow shams are a great weight for decor, the pillow pair is the perfect accent, and together, this well constructed set makes my room pop!

The minute I finished assembling the new ensemble, I stepped back knowing this bed set was so ME!!! Know how I knew? Because this weekend I was back out there again, embracing Mother Nature’s glory…

A quick trip to the beautiful woods of northern Minnesota had me breathing deep, receiving all those amazingly good vibes! Yeah, of course I hugged a tree or two haha!

As spectacular as it all was, I was right back to that familiar yearning…to get back home to the comfort of my favorite retreat. But this time, upon returning home, I couldn’t help smiling when I realized I have my favorite parts of nature’s beauty all right there…the wildlife, mountains, trees and those good vibes all right here…ahhhhh.

This set couldn’t have been more perfect than if I had picked it myself. But I know the Black Bear Lodge set isn’t for everyone. That’s why you should stop on over to the Latest Bedding’s website to look for yourself…there’s something there for everyone to create a comfortable refuge that is just so THEM!

 

 

 

Win-It New Years Edition

Happy Win-It New Years Edition, Friends! I’d like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for stopping by this year and hanging out with me at the blog! I’m so grateful to have partnered with some wonderful companies this year, which have enabled me to share a few of my favorite fitness/wellness products in the industry with you.

You may remember me mentioning them in past reviews, like how my love of yoga has been greatly enhanced by my friends at Aurorae…

 

You might recall how OOFOS recovery footwear has been my constant comfort companion throughout my running/marathon days and now well into my injury recovery and osteoarthritis management…

 

And who remembers my friend Tim of Rollga…the co-creator of my favorite foam roller I keep running into when I’m in dire need of relief? 

 

Friends, are you feeling lucky this New Year’s Weekend? I hope so, because there are some great prizes to be won from these fantastic companies…want to know what you could win?

The kind folks at Aurorae have generously contributed a prize pack including a yoga mat, tote and towel for one lucky winner. This will surely illuminate your life…namaste!

 

Those generous folks at OOFOS have decided one lucky reader will win a pair of OOFOS of their choice! Remember, they offer many options so my Midwestern readers in the deepfreeze may like OOcloogs or OOmgs over the OOlalas right now. The lucky OOFOS winner will, no doubt, feel the OO!

And last, but far from least, these genius, generous developers of Rollga would like to help one lucky winner find their Ahh-Spot with the awesome black and gold Rollga foam roller in Taggart’s hand on the right…you’ll be so grateful to roll with it!

Many, many thanks to my friends at Aurorae, OOFOS and Rollga for partnering with FIT BFFs for this fun!

Wondering how to win? To enter, simply leave a comment below mentioning what goal or intention you plan to work toward in 2018. That’s it!

Entries will be accepted between now and Tuesday, January 3rd, midnight central time. Three lucky winners will be randomly drawn and announced on Win-It Wednesday, January 4th.

Please note, this giveaway is open to US residents only. And remember, you can’t win if you don’t enter, so do it right away!

Good luck!!!

 

 

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!