Scoring sweet swag, reviewing awesome products and living the rad mom life.

Disclaimer: I received a set of Aftershokz Aeropex headphones to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

If you follow me on social media, then you already know how much I love my Aftershokz headphones!  I literally take them everywhere and recommend them to all my friends (and even strangers, ha!) If you aren’t sure what makes Aftershokz so special, they utilize a unique technology known as “bone conduction”.  Basically this means that the sounds travel by vibrations through cheekbones into the ear.  In other words, the device goes OVER your ears rather than IN your ears which is beneficial in many ways.

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My daughter even loves them and I love that her ears are protected.

I was previously using the Trekz Air model of Aftershokz which I absolutely loved! They stayed in place and I didn’t have to worry about anything falling out of my ears while out running PLUS they have great sound quality and long battery life.  So when I had the opportunity to try out the new Aftershokz Aeropex model, I jumped on the chance because I needed to see how much more awesome these babies could get.

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Each package contains: one set of headphones, two charging cables, ear plugs, instructions, and a sleek carrying case.

So what were the major differences between the Trekz Air and Aeropex?  I couldn’t wait to find out!

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Aeropex on the left vs. Trekz Air on the right

The first thing I noticed was the carrying case was smaller, sleeker, and also magnetic.  It’s much easier to fit into my purse or gym bag!  The other noticeable difference is the charging cable.  It is not a standard cable and it is specific to this model of Aftershokz – BUT the good news is that you get TWO of them!  So don’t worry, you have a backup!  Why is the cable so different?  It’s actually magnetic which allows for the water resistant capabilities of the headphones.  They are given the IP67 rating which means they can be submerged in water up to a meter deep for a half hour.

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Charging magnetically

After I charged them up, I took them for a spin around the track on a super hot/humid day.  Even though I was sweating like crazy, the headphones held up and didn’t miss a beat. Compared to the Trekz Air, the sound quality is definitely louder and crisper.  They also felt smoother and fit more comfortably than the Trekz Air. And “Audrey” is still there to welcome you and let you know when it’s time to charge up. 🙂

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Jumping for joy over the Aeropex! 🙂

 

I really like running with Aftershokz because I like to “Be Open”.  In other words, you can listen to your music, podcast, or book and hear your surroundings at the same time.  So my next adventure was to take them on a nature walk!

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Be Open – listen to your music and your surroundings.

Then it was off to the gym!  And not just any gym – the family gym!  This little gadget allows me to listen to some blood-flowing music AND my kids complaining all at the same time! HA!  But seriously, I like that I can enjoy my workout music and be aware of my kids while at the gym.

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They are comfortable to wear with a hat and/or shades, too!

The other thing I love about these headphones is the battery life!  They have an 8-hour batter life or 10 days of standby time.  And that is completely true!  I love that I don’t have to worry about plugging them in each night.  I can leave them in my bag and then charge them up once a week or so.  One less thing to remember is always a plus for me! 😉

Was there anything I felt that needed improvement?  For me, the Bluetooth range for my Aeropex was not as long as my Trekz Air.  They are both advertised to have 33ft of connectivity, but I definitely was able to wander a bit further with my Trekz Air over the Aeropex.  It’s not a huge deal, I pretty much always have my phone close – but just an observation.

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So, what’s the price?  They go for $159.95 plus free shipping AND a 2-year warranty.  Personally, I think this is a great deal as I see it as an investment.  You are saving your eardrums and you will have peace of mind knowing that you have better situational awareness wherever you go!  But wait!  There’s more! 🙂  Right now you can save $50 on the Endurance bundle with code “BRBUNDLE”. So you basically get free SWAG! 😉 Don’t miss out! Go to bibrave.aftershokz.com to save right now!

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Overall, I love the new Aeropex headphones and they will for sure have a permanent spot in my bag.

Have you tried Afterhoshokz before?  If so, what’s your favorite feature??

I’m off to review another product! 🙂

~SM

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Kirin Tea Factory Tour

If you’ve ever visited Japan, then chances are you have enjoyed a Kirin beverage.  Whether you ordered an ice cold beer or grabbed a bottle of tea out of a train station vending machine, it was mostly likely manufactured by the Kirin company.  Well I recently had the opportunity to take a tour of the Kirin Tea Factory and now I’m here to…spill the tea! 😉

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When we first arrived, we were greeted near the parking lot, given a visitor’s badge, and escorted to the entrance of the facility.  Everyone was super cheerful and made us feel like V.I.P. 🙂

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Then we were taken to a classroom where we could take some fun photos with the tea props while we waited for the whole tour group to arrive.

And yes, selfies are a must! 🙂  #ilovetea

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Once everyone arrived, the facilitator showed us a short video about the Kirin Tea Factory and explained what to expect on the tour.  Then they took our photos (I’ll explain why later) and we had to walk through a sanitation machine that sprayed us with sanitized air.

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My four-year-old hated this thing!

We were then taken to a room where we learned about the history of the Kirin tea leaves and saw how the plastic bottles were made.  The kids really enjoyed watching the bottles getting heated up and shrunk down to size.

Then we were able to see the machines in action, however, no photos are allowed in this area because the process is proprietary and basically all a secret. 😉

We entered a last room where they demonstrated how the label stamping machine worked.  We could use our brochures to slide it through a device that stamped the date.  This was much harder than it looked as you had to slide the paper through at just the right time – not too fast or too slow – or else the date would not be centered.

Remember when we took our photos in the beginning?  Well, it was for our own custom labels!  How cool?! We even got to watch the label machine in action!

But the surprises didn’t end there!  We went back to the classroom and learned how to make a special drink that was super delicious!

Also, in the room was a “magical” vending machine where we were able to choose two free drinks! Yay, Swag! And one of them was the newest available Kirin beverage – Citrus Tea! Yum! And the kids were all given the bottles they saw being shrunk earlier in the tour!  More Swag!

Overall,  I really enjoyed this factory tour!  It was very inexpensive, free parking, warm staff, kid friendly, and just a fun way to spend a couple of hours learning more about Japanese culture.  One thing to note is that the employees speak pretty limited English and will only facilitate group tours if it is hosted by someone who speaks both Japanese and English for translation purposes.

And in true Japanese fashion, there was a souvenir vending machine.  I opted for the adorable tea spoon! 🙂

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Have you tried a Kirin drink before?  Which one is your favorite?

~SM

“Disclaimer: I will receive an annual Strava Summit subscription and Strava merchandise to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!”

“Are you on Strava?” That seems to be the question I am asking folks these days and for good reason – I want to share the Strava love as well as give kudos! 🙂  I’m pretty new to Strava (see my first Strava post about my initial thoughts) so I get excited when I find new Strava friends!  Usually when I ask someone if they are on Strava, I get one of two answers: “Yes! What’s your Strava name?” or “No, what’s Strava?” Well, if you are not on Strava – it’s super easy to get started (& free) and here are a few perks of being a Strava user!

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  • Garmin Connection – You can upload your activities a few different ways, including: opening up Strava to record from the app, manual entry, or syncing your fitness watch to the Strava app.  I like that I can use my Garmin like I normally would to track a run and then it automatically syncs to Strava – easy peasy!
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Early morning run through Fort Wilderness at Walt Disney World!

  • Name runs and segments – Not only can you name your run/activity, but you can also  type in a description of how you feel.  It’s like a fitness journal so you can see patterns of what works best of you.  You can also name specific segments of your route and when you make your activities public, you can sort of compete with others (and yourself) and increase your position on the leaderboard!
  • Complete challenges – Strava offers lots of clubs to join and challenges to complete each month.  You can find a local running club or join a global group.  For the month of May, I completed the Bibrave Run Club streak.  This meant that I ran or walked at least one mile each day in May.  I also completed the Strava Virtual 5k for May and June.  It’s a great way to stay motivated, find accountability, and earn some digital badges a.k.a. Swag! 😉
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Walking around the airport to keep the streak alive!

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My little one helping me with the streak!

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Strava’s May 5k done!

  • #StravaStats – Each month you can receive an email with your stats of the previous month.  It shows you the combined mileage of the month as well as how many kudos you gave/received. If you are a visual person or really into graphics, this is for you! 🙂  Don’t forget to post your image on the socials with the hashtag #stravastats! Note: You have to choose to sign up for this email within your Strava account.

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So far I have really enjoyed being a Strava user!  I like the accountability and motivation to find new challenges. Next month, I am planning to do the Strava Virtual 5k and 10k!  I hope you will join me!

*A note for privacy: You can choose who you want to see your activities: Just yourself, your followers, or everyone.  You can also turn off the heat map.

So now here’s the question: Are YOU on Strava? 😉

~SM

 

Let the Sparks Fly!

*Disclaimer: I was provided free and discounted wraps from Momentum Jewelry in exchange for social media posts.  All opinions are my own!

Earlier this year,  I was super stoked to be chosen as a brand ambassador for one of my favorite accessory brands – Momentum Jewelry!  I discovered their products a while back and have been hooked ever since!

IMG_8250Not only are all of their accessories super cute and colorful, they also deliver an important message – Encourage yourself AND others!

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Not every run is easy, not every workout is enjoyable…and sometimes, life is just plain hard.  That’s why I love these wraps. The motivational phrases come in handy if I am having a difficult run or tough day.  It reminds me to keep going and not give up on my goals.  I try not to leave home without one!  They are so soft and comfy you almost forget you are wearing it!

And what’s better than picking yourself up on a down day?  Motivating someone else!  My favorite thing about this company is that they encourage you to #ShareTheSpark! Basically – spread the love, y’all! 🙂  These wraps and charms make great gifts and who doesn’t love to lift up their family and friends?  Or even better, wouldn’t it be great to lift up a complete stranger?  Or that lady you see killing it at the gym every week?  I loved receiving bracelets for myself, but I loved gifting them even more!  It was a pleasure to pass them out to ladies near and far, including to my own little one. 😉

There are so many great phrases and colors, it’s hard to choose just one!  There is also the option to make a custom wrap or choose from shoe charms or other fun accessories! I had the honor to promote the two newest phrases: “Keep Reaching Higher” and “Find Your Courage”.

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Momentum wraps aren’t just for athletes, but something anyone can wear on any occasion!  They may prompt a conversation with a co-worker or someone from your mom’s group.  You never know who you may inspire!

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So if you are looking for gift ideas or a just a way to encourage a friend, or maybe you are in a rut yourself – Momentum jewelry has you covered.  Your small act of kindness may make that person’s whole day! 🙂 Let those sparks fly!

“She leaves a little bit of sparkle wherever she goes.” ~Kate Spade

What about you?  Do you have a #ShareTheSpark story?! I would love to hear about it!

~SM

 

 

 

 

If you are looking for something fun and unique to experience in Japan – you are in luck!  A new pop-up museum exhibit is now open in Yokohama that’s all about – Unko! What is unko, you ask?  Well it’s poop! 🙂  Yes, a whole museum dedicated to poop!  Sound interesting?  Here’s a little bit about my experience so you know what to expect!

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The Unko Museum is located in the Asobuild building, which is about a five minute walk from the Yokohama train station.   The Asobuild building itself is super artsy and also has a few other exhibits to check out.

You have the option of purchasing your tickets online or in person.  If you purchase on the website, you will have to create a membership account (the website is in Japanese so you will have to use a translating browser).  We went during the week in the morning around opening hours and were able to go right in with no wait.  If you go on a weekend or holiday, I would recommend to get tickets ahead of time so you are guaranteed an entry.  Tickets cost between 1600-1700 yen for adults, 900 yen for school-aged kids, and free for small children.  And the fun begins as soon as you walk in!

You are immediately greeted by energetic employees and asked to sit on colorful toilets.  After a flushing sound, you stand up to get your very own colored unko (hello, swag)!  Another person then puts it on a stick for you and you are directed to one of the photo prop areas.

There’s a light up game you can play; another game where you yell “Unko!” as loud as you can; and a couple of other digital type games.

There’s also an “Unko for Lovers” area as well as a “Dessert Unko” table!

Then you can move on to an area where you make your own “Unko Art” and take a look at popular “Poop” products that are sold around the world.

After that, you can hang out at some unko shaped tables and relax while the kids play in the “Unko Ball Pit”.

And don’t miss the “Unko Shower” that happens every few minutes!  The giant Unko will countdown and then explode tiny unko!  You can also learn how to make the Unko sign with your hands!

All of the staff were super friendly and available for taking your photos – or even bombing them if you wish!  They were super silly and helpful and interacted with all the kids!

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Once you’re “pooped out” from all the fun, grab a baggie for unko and head towards the gift shop for some fun unko souvenirs!

Overall thoughts about the museum:

  • It’s pretty small – you can get through the whole thing in about an hour.  So maybe plan something else to do to fill your day unless you’re just passing through.
  • There’s no food or snacks allowed – make sure you eat before or hit up the café in the Asobuild building or some restaurants in the nearby mall.
  • It’s organized – in true Japanese fashion – everything is orderly, methodical, and well-staffed.
  • Lots of photo ops – the whole museum is one big opportunity to take Instagram photos so make sure you are selfie-ready!
  • Kid-friendly – I saw lots of kids, but several adults as well so it’s definitely family-friendly.  My kids LOVED this place and have already asked if we can go back!
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But first…lemme take a selfie 🙂

Sound like fun?  Make sure you plan your trip soon!  This is just a temporary exhibit so the unko will be “flushed away” on July 15th, 2019!  😉

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~SM

Stride, Streak, STRAVA

“Disclaimer: I received an annual Strava Summit subscription and Strava merchandise to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

Strava (Swedish for “strive”) is a popular app used by runners and cyclists.  I’ve had an account for a while but never really took advantage of the functions or interacted with the other users (I literally had zero connections or recent activity).  Well I just started using the app again and have learned a few things over the last month!

  • You can name your runs!  Once your run or activity is uploaded, you can customize the description as well as the actual title of your run for quick reference.

  Analyze your route! Once your run is added you can check out your route and analyze how you could make any adjustments. You can track your pace, distance, heart rate, and set new goals for yourself.

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  • You can see more and change extra settings on the website (not the app).  You can do a lot with the app, but you can do even more with the desktop version.  I feel kinda “meh” about this.  I prefer to be able to access everything through an app so I don’t have to switch platforms, but it’s not a huge deal. One cool thing you can do through the desktop settings is change your “Vanity URL” from a generic number to a preferred name!

You can join challenges and clubs!  Aside from connecting with other runners/cyclists, you can create or join clubs and also join challenges to help you reach goals.  You can also set goals for yourself, keep track of your shoe mileage, and earn badges!

And my favorite thing about the app so far?  Stats overlay!  Besides the ability to give kudos to other runners (who doesn’t love virtual encouragement?), my next fave app feature is the ability to upload photos and add the stats right on to your picture. Before this, I was using another app and manually inputting stats so I have definitely been taking advantage of this function.  A couple of tips here: 1. You’ll have to make your activity shareable – it won’t work if it’s marked to private.  2. Horizontal photos work better so you don’t have to do any extra cropping for the social media platforms.

What about you?  Are you on Strava?  What do you love about it?

Looking for an upcoming challenge?  Join the Bibrave crew for a streak in May! Streaking is a fun way to challenge yourself and find your stride. Run or walk one mile each day in May and track it on Strava!  It’s a great time to streak because you will have lots of support!  Post your streak on the socials with the hashtag #StravaRun so we can all cheer you on!

I’m excited to learn more about Strava so check back next month for another update!

Until then I’ll be adding stats overlay to aaaallllllll the running photos. 😉

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~SM

Mondays get a bad rap. ðŸ˜¦  I feel like most people are always dreading them or just surviving them.  So that’s why I felt I needed to stick up for my beloved Mondays!  Here are five reasons why I think Mondays are the best days! 🙂

Setting Goals

  • I look forward to Mondays so I can sit down and plan out my schedule and write down my goals for the week. I also like to fill in my gratitude list and check off any accomplishments from the previous week.  It’s also my day to assess the mess the kids have made over the weekend and get everything organized and back in its place.

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Spiritual Time

  • Monday mornings are not only a time for reflection, but also an opportunity to get caught up on Bible Study homework, devotionals, and prayer. (with coffee of course) 😉

Solo Fitness Time

  • If you’ve ever been through a workout program, you’ve probably heard the phrase “Never Miss A Monday”.  It’s always nice to start off the week feeling strong and accomplished by a good workout!  I often have to workout with my kids, so Monday is the one day of the week that I know I get time to workout or run solo!

Social Time

  • On occasional Mondays, I get to meet up with some other moms for coffee or breakfast.  It’s a nice little weekday morning outing and it’s so fun you forget it’s Monday!

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SWAG!

  • Okay, this should come as no surprise – but the #1 reason why I love Mondays? It’s mail day!  Which means all the swag and other goodies will be delivered! Yes, I get mail other days of the week too – but since I get no mail on Sundays it’s nice to wake up to packages on Monday! And Hello – It’s also a day to show off the Swag! aka – #MedalMonday

Obviously I think Mondays rock!  What about you?  Do you love or hate Mondays?!

~SM

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