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

Posts tagged ‘the swag mama’

Rockin’ & Rollin’ in San Diego

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in San Diego 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!”
Hopefully you’ve already read my recap on the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego race expo and 5k!  So here we go with my 4th half marathon adventure!
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Parking: Parking was pretty complicated.  The race website listed which roads would be closed off and suggested parking plans, but it was a little hard to follow.  I had a friend pre-pay for parking in the finish line parking garage only to arrive early and sit in a parking line for over an hour.  Then she ended up missing her pre-paid shuttle because of the delay and had to run 1.5 miles uphill to the start line and almost missing the race altogether.  We ended up finding street parking near North Park around 5:30am and walking two miles to the start line.  Basically, all of the streets around the race were shut down by 5 am so if you didn’t arrive by then, you were walking at least 1.5 miles.  Overall, the parking situation was a total mess and really needs to be re-evaluated.
Race Morning: The half and full both began at 6:15am from the same location.  It was more “June Gloom” weather which meant is was overcast and in the 60s.  There were close to 40 corrals and I was in corral 32.  The waves were pretty well organized and were released about every two minutes.  This meant my wave was released around 7:20am.  We arrived to the race area around 6am so I had plenty of time to prepare for the race.  There were lots of porta potties and crazy long lines, but I waited until about 7am to find one so the wait wasn’t too bad by then.  Gear check was simple – it was organized by last name and divided up among UPS trucks that transported the bags to the finish line.  Pre-race also included a water station, info area, and medical tent.
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Miles 1-5: The first 5 miles were a little hilly, but nothing too crazy.  I watched a woman throw up on the 2nd mile and another woman trip and fall pretty hard around the 3rd mile.  A few runners stopped and helped her up and it looked like she kept going.  Then apparently their bad luck rubbed off on me because I rolled my ankle (the same ankle I had rolled a week before) on the 4th mile.  I’m not sure which hurt worse, my ankle or my pride because now I knew I couldn’t PR.  Luckily my friend was also running with borderline pneumonia so she wasn’t planning to PR either and ran with me the rest of the race.  The spectators and crowd support were fantastic though and they even had a bar set up at the 4.5 mile mark!
At this point in the race we had seen a couple of small bands, lots of cheer squads, and some clever signs.
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I even saw my old pal, Forrest Gump! This time he was bouncing a ping-pong on a paddle! 😉
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The 5th mile was the Wear Blue mile and it was quite emotional.  American flags lined the streets along with names and photos of fallen service members.  I knew a couple of the ladies volunteering and holding the flags so it was nice to see some familiar faces during this emotionally tough stretch.

Miles 6-10: This part of the course ran through more small districts and some residential areas.  There were a couple of more bands, water/Gatorade stations, spectators, and plenty of cheerleaders.  The terrain was a little rough since this is a heavy-traffic area – so there were lots of cracks and holes in the roads, not to mention slanted streets.  These are all horrible things for running on a sprained ankle. 😦   Also, the full marathon course started to split off sometime around here so things got a little less crowded.

And I always appreciate a good reference to Da’ Dip 😉

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I even got a fun pic with this guy! 🙂

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Miles 11-13: Despite my injury, I think these miles were the most entertaining. There was a stretch of the course where there weren’t many spectators, but then there were fun drums and more fun people!  They even had signs with inspirational quotes from the participants lining a long stretch of the course.

 

Then came the disco tunnel!  Complete with a DJ!  I was sad that the marathoners didn’t get to experience this part of the course.

Then we started making our way through more of downtown and towards the Waterfront Park.

Finish Line: Yay!  I made it! Injured ankle and all! But the finish line was kind of a mess.  They handed us our medals…followed by water, Gatorade, chocolate milk, and various snacks.  Notice anything missing from that list?  Bags…there were no bags.  On top of having to carry 20 items, we had to walk a block down a hill, through an intersection to the finish line festival.

Not to mention, it was extremely congested.  It was crowded and confusing and gave me a bit of anxiety.  We finally made it down to the festival near Waterfront Park where we had some more room to breathe.  The festival included a medical tent, photo ops, a beer garden, live band, and medal area.  The medal area is where you could pick up any of the extra bling you may have earned.  Since I completed the 5k the prior day, I picked up my Remix Challenge medal!  All I had to do was show my wristband that I received at the expo and it was all mine!  There was also a marathon jacket table for all of the awesome marathon finishers!

I didn’t stay very long for the concert fun because we were pretty tired and my ankle was hurting. We were also a little chilly and were ready to get warm.  So we caught a Lyft back to the car (super easy and quick) and headed home!

So what was the SWAG?!

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Most of it is pretty much the same stuff I received in my 5k swag bag.  The tech shirt is slightly different and my bib was personalized which was nice.  We also got extra snacks at the finish line.  (not pictured: Gatorade, chocolate milk, and banana)  I also didn’t make it to the beer garden this time, but it was Michelob Ultra again and I saw a lot of people in there so I’m sure it was great!  My gear bag also came apart right before the race, so I was a little disappointed in the quality.

You even get cute little digital badges for reaching certain goals!

And of course the sweet medals!  The half marathon and remix medals spin!  Woo hoo!

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Overall thoughts: Things I really liked about Rock ‘n’ Roll: course support, spectators, hydration stations, medical tents along the course and at the finish line, race swag and medals, quick race photos at a decent price, race expo, beer garden, disco tunnel, photo ops, some of the bands including Naruwan Taiko, Forrest Gump, the Wear Blue mile, and running with @thehungryrunner_.

Things that could be improved: Parking, more upbeat bands – the bands were all great, but it would have been nice to hear more energetic music rather than blues types songs during certain points of the run; better quality gear bags – they were essentially grocery bags with strings; offer bags at the finish line; also offer mylar blankets – even though it’s June it was pretty chilly; a lower participant cap – I really think the event was slightly overcrowded and felt like the experience would have been better if it hadn’t been so congested.  Also, San Diego is such a beautiful city…I think the course route could be slightly altered to include some more scenic spots.

Another interesting fact: This was the first half that I ran without headphones!  I wanted to experience the bands and full essence of the race so I skipped personal music this time.  In doing this, I heard a lot of other people’s music in passing and guess what song I heard the most??  “CALL ME MAYBE”!! I actually forgot about this song so I was surprised to learn that this was a lot of people’s power jam.

Also, my D-tag malfunctioned and my time wasn’t recorded.  I’m not sure if it was a glitch or an error on my part.  Regardless, my time was unfavorable due to my injured ankle so it’s probably better that my finish time isn’t etched into the internet. 😉

Would I run this again?  I’m not sure if I would run the San Diego event again, although that could be my injured ankle talking.  However, I would LOVE to run Rock ‘n’ Roll in other cities!  I think it would be amazing to experience this event all around the world and rack up extra medals!  But I’m happy to say that I Rocked and Rolled (literally) in America’s Finest City. 🙂

What do you think about the Rock ‘n’ Roll series?  Which city is your favorite?!

Well I’m off to add Da’ Dip to my playlist. 😉

~SM

 

A Rockin’ 5k!

I’m still recovering from this weekend’s  Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series  in San Diego, but I am so excited to share my experience from all of the festivities!  The Expo itself was quite the party (see previous post) and that really should have given me an idea as to what was in store for the remainder of the weekend.  I decided to participate in the Remix Challenge – this means you get an extra dope medal if you run the 5k on Saturday and the Half or Full on Sunday.  So here are the deets on the 5k!

Parking: The event was held near Balboa Park, which is a pretty large area – so the website listed which roads would be closed and where a free parking area was located. We figured everyone would park in the advertised free lot so we decided to park near the San Diego Zoo and walk about a mile through Balboa Park to the starting line.  It was actually a nice and relaxing walk plus it was nice to walk through the park before it opened and filled up with tourists.

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Course: The 5k started at 7am and had about 6 or 7 corrals and they were released about every minute or so.  We took our time walking up to the event so we were kind of towards the back.  The announcer was super enthusiastic and getting everyone pumped.  The weather was typical “June Gloom” weather for San Diego.  Cloudy and chilly with a bit of a dampness in the air.  Terrible for hair, but great for running! 😉

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The course was pretty smooth with a couple of rolling hills – honestly the hills felt like speed bumps compared to the La Jolla Half Marathon so they really weren’t that bad.  It felt like a nice relaxing run around the outside of Balboa Park!  The energy was great, lots of fun people and good vibes.  There was even someone dressed like Forrest Gump and juggling footballs.  Everyone kept yelling “Run, Forrest, Run!” as they ran by him.  It was a mix of funny and annoying.  There was also a couple dressed up like a king and a queen.  Their costumes were pretty amazing, I’m not sure how they ran in them.  There were a few groups of spectators along the course and also a water station.

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Finish Line: We were met at the finish line with water, bananas, Cheez-Its??? Why?!, and our race medals!  Then we headed to the beer garden.  Usually at beer gardens, they check your I.D., but the guy at this one checked our timing chips attached to our shoes which had our ages on them.  That was a clever idea and kept the line moving much quicker than waiting for people to pull out their I.D.’s.  I also liked that they were giving out Michelob Ultra rather than craft beer.  I’m probably the only person in San Diego that feels this way, but I just never hopped on the craft beer wagon.  There weren’t really any vendors at the post-race festivities, but there was a medic tent and a live band.  The band was pretty hype….they sang “Push It” by Salt-N-Pepa with heart and passion.  And I appreciated every minute of it. 🙂

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So what was the SWAG?!

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Really the stuff at the top of the photo was from the Expo.  The only they gave out at the 5k was the Cheez-Its.  Never in my years of running have I ever finished a race and thought, “Wow, I wish I had some Cheez-Its.”  But whatevs, someone voted on this and that’s what we got.  The shirt is a pretty cute 20th Anniversary tech shirt and the goodies from the expo were decent.  Then, of course the medal!

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The 5k medal is pretty nice!  It’s a little smaller than the Half/Full marathons and doesn’t spin like they do, but I like the sunglasses with the little scene in them.

Also, for some reason my timing chip didn’t register correctly.  I’m not sure if I had it fastened incorrectly or there was a glitch.  I did email them and they are looking into fixing my time.

Overall, I really enjoyed this race!  I thought it was fun and I liked the course and the medal.  It is a bit pricey for a 5k – I paid around $50, but if you register early you can get a better deal.  I was a little disappointed that they didn’t do more to commemorate the 20th Anniversary, but overall I thought it was a well-organized race.  I definitely would recommend signing up early to save money and to carpool the day of the race to make parking easier.  Also give yourself extra time in the morning in case you have to walk a bit to the start line.  I loved the medal and the beer and I would totally do this event again!

Check back later this week for my review of the half marathon! 😉

~SM

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. I paid for my own entry into the Rock ‘n’ Roll 5k. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

 

 

Running for Autism Awareness

Last month, I ran the ACT Today! for Military Families 5k/10k for the third year in a row and it did not disappoint!  I really love this event for a few reasons: 1.  It supports military families and autism awareness.  2.  It’s family friendly and offers fun activities for all ages.  3.  The course is fast and flat which makes it much easier to push a stroller – and Bonus: There’s even a Stroller Division!  So here’s my race breakdown:

Pricing: The pricing ranges from $20-$45 depending on your distance and how early you register.  But they do offer a few promo codes throughout the year so be on the lookout!  I paid around $30 for the 10k, which is a fantastic deal!

Expo: There are two options for packet pick-up: Pick up at Woodstock Pizza in Pacific Beach the evening before OR pick up the morning of the race.  I had a friend pick-up my bib at Woodstock, but picking up the morning of the race is really quick and easy too.

Parking: Free parking is available all around the event location.  The later you arrive, the further you will have to park.  I parked about .5 mile away in the dirt “Sun Runners Lot” and it allowed me to warm up on the way to the start line.

Race Course: The course runs around Fiesta Island in Mission Bay so it’s a pretty flat and scenic route.  The weather was nice this year so it made for an enjoyable run.  The 10k starts a half hour before the 5k so that everyone is funneled into the finish line area around the same time.  I like that it’s staggered that way and the course was not crowded at all.

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Course Support: There were a few water station, energetic volunteers and police officers directing traffic and cheering us on.  If you notice in the above pictures, there was one thing missing: Spectators!  There were spectators cheering us on around the Finish Line area, but none on the course.  It wasn’t a huge deal, since the course was peaceful…but it would have been nice to have that extra energy at times.

Post-race: After you cross the finish line, you are given a medal and a volunteer will remove your timing chip from your shoe.  Then you are free to grab water and fruit.  This event has a lot of vendors and they were all generous with their products and free samples.  There were also some areas for the kids to do crafts or jump in a bounce house.  And since it is an event that benefits children with autism – there was also a quiet zone to accommodate children with sensory sensitivities.   And like I said in the beginning, there are activities for all ages…meaning: There was also a beer garden!  I didn’t get a chance to sample any adult beverages because I had my daughter with me, but it was a packed area so I’m sure it was tasty!

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There were also a few contests that included: highest fundraiser, largest team, and best costume.  Winners received gift cards and free wine from One Hope Wine.

And some free hugs!

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Since this year’s event was held during Easter weekend, there was also an Easter Egg hunt and appearance from the Easter Bunny!

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So what was the SWAG?!

I love the color of this year’s t-shirt and the beach ball is still going strong in my house.  Not pictured: lots of other drinks and snacks that got consumed before the photo. 🙂 And I always count scenery as swag!  Plus the Easter Eggs that were filled with stickers and coupons. Also, Naked Juice is pretty delicious!

And of course, the medal!

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I also ran with my running group, Stroller Warriors and because we had such a large group they provided us with a tent, table, and extra snacks!  Score! It was nice to have a meeting spot for everyone before and after the race.

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Overall, I really enjoyed this race and would totally do it again next year!  So grab your family and friends and get prepared to register for next year’s event!  Start your own team or begin a fundraiser and you could even win a prize!

See you at the next event! 😉

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~SM

Feet in the Clouds

*Disclaimer: I received a free pair of OOFOS footwear 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!

“Your Feet Earned This!” – That’s the motto from OOFOS footwear. These little babies are not like any other type of footwear you’ve tried in the past.  These will literally change your life.

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At first glance they look like foam-platform sandals. Then, you put them on your feet and the magic happens.  It immediately feels like you are walking on clouds. On. Clouds. For real.  So what exactly are these magical cloud sandals?  Well here are some quick facts:

  • They absorb more shock than other foam footwear
  • They reduce stress on knees and back
  • Extra arch support to relieve pressure from hips, knees, and ankles
  • Soft and flexible so your foot keeps a natural stride
  • The OOfoam cushion lasts the life of the sandal
  • Machine washable and safe for showers
  • Super light – they even float!
  • Get more details here!

When I first received the OOFOS sandals, I thought they would be great for recovery after long runs…especially while training for the upcoming Hot Chocolate 15k.

 

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Recovering in my OOFOS and LEGend Compression sleeves!

But then I realized that I never wanted to take them off!  I wore them all around the house and they were great for folding laundry and doing the dishes!

 

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Dishes aren’t so bad in my OOFOS!

I have high arches and occasionally experience lower back pain, so slipping these sandals on felt like a dream!  They especially saved me after a grueling hike up to Potato Chip Rock (Elevation: 1800-2000 ft.)

I don’t think my back and hips would have recovered as quickly without the OOFOS! They were even light enough to throw in a bag for a little relaxation time to soak up some vitamin sea. 😉

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It doesn’t get better than beach time with some OOFOS!  Clouds! Really…Clouds!

I also took them along on a trip.  They were perfect for foot recovery after a long day of sight-seeing (almost 6 miles to be exact).

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As a bonus, I liked having comfy sandals to protect my feet from questionable hotel carpet. 😉

As you can see I’m wearing a pink pair of OOFOS with a ribbon.  That’s because they are from the Project Pink line.  For every pair sold, $10 will be donated to Dana Farber Breast Cancer research.  How amazing is that?!  You can make an impact on the world while reducing the impact on your feet. 😉  Check out the Project Pink collection here.  And don’t worry guys, there are plenty of options for men too!

Pricing ranges from about $45-$65 with free shipping/returns and they are also available in select countries.  There is also a 6 month warranty.

So if you are experiencing any foot issues such as plantar fasciitis, hammer toes, bunions…then I highly recommend giving the OOFOS a shot!  Or if you just want to experience the feeling of walking around on clouds, then order a pair and see for yourself.

They feel just like clouds!

#FeeltheOO and your feet will thank you!

~SM

6 Reasons Why The Hot Chocolate 15k Will Give You FOMO

**Disclaimer: I received a free race entry to the Hot Chocolate 15k in exchange for an honest review as part of being a Bibrave Pro. Learn more about becoming a Bibrave Pro, and check out Bibrave.com to review, find and write race reviews!

Next month, I will be running the Hot Chocolate 15k and I could not be more stoked!  I’ve been wanting to participate in this event for a while so I knew I could not miss out again this year.  In case you’ve never heard of this event, you basically run and consume chocolate for 9.3 miles…and then take a chocolate shower at the finish line.  Okay, maybe the last part isn’t true…but I assure you that there will be multiple opportunities to fill up on all things chocolate.  So here are six reasons why I think YOU should also attend a chocolate-filled running party!

  • The Amazing Cities! – The Hot Chocolate race travels to over 20 major cities with amazing views.  Some of these include: Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Orlando, and of course…San Diego!  There’s bound to be an event near you so there is no excuse for you to miss out!  Check out the full list of cities here.

 

  • Charities! – Participating in the Hot Chocolate Race Series means you get to contribute to a local charity.  One of the charities benefitting from this race is the Ronald McDonald House.  These facilities provide a comforting and encouraging place for families to eat, sleep, shower, etc. while their children receive treatment and care for difficult medical issues.  They even offer an onsite school for siblings of the hospitalized children.  And if you really wanna make a difference in your community, you can fundraise and score a free race entry!  It’s a win-win for all!

 

  • Training Plan! – Maybe this is your first 15k.  Maybe you’re coming off of a running hiatus.  Maybe you’re looking to set a new PR (personal record).  Either way, you will need some time to train.  Training for a race can seem overwhelming.  When do I run intervals?  When should I complete a long run?  When should I cross-train?  When should I rest?  Well the Hot Chocolate run takes out all of the guess work and provides you with a weekly training plan that goes straight to your inbox!  In addition, you will receive tips on hydration and recovery and advice on running gear!  You can also calculate your pace with the McMillan Running Calculator so you can customize your plan.

Here’s a little peek at how my training is going starting with a sample of my weekly training plan! 😉

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  • Chocolate! – This seems like a pretty obvious reason, but I don’t think you realize the amount of chocolate that will be present at this event!  You will literally be taken to a wonderland of chocolate!  There will be chocolate opps at the Expo as well as tons of photo opps with Chocolate mascots!  There will be sweet stations at various stops throughout the 15k! You will receive tons of chocolate goodies at the finish line followed by an all out chocolate party!  Here’s some more info on the chocolate goodies!

 

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Diagram courtesy of hotchocolate15k.com

 

And just in case you’re wondering how I’m training for the chocolate portion of the event…  😉

I gotta make sure I’m prepared, right?  Ya know… “nothing new on race day!” 🙂

  • SWAG!!!!!!!! – Okay this is where you will really want to pay attention. There will be SWAG GA-LORE at this run!  You will be greeted at the finish line with a large mug full of marshmallows, bananas, pretzels, and duh…chocolate! (see above diagram) You will also receive FREE race photos! Then there’s the medal…chocolate gold!

 

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photo from hotchocolate15k.com

You will also get a high quality finisher’s jacket!  Not many races offer this type of thing…so even if chocolate isn’t your jam, this fitted jacket alone should motivate you to register for the nearest run!  There’s even a spot at the Expo where you can switch your size to guarantee the best fit.

 

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photo from hotchocolate15k.com

  • BONUS SWAG!!!! – And the last reason you won’t want to miss the Hot Chocolate 15k is that you can receive bonus swag!  Use code “SDBRHC” for the San Diego race (check out my race discount page for more codes for other cities) to receive a sweet visor!

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And just in case you aren’t ready to commit to a 15k just yet, have no fear!  There’s also a 5k option, but less swag!  Or become a volunteer and score a little swag along with all of the chocolate epicness!

Ready to run for chocolate?  Come join me in San Diego!  Here are some quick facts:

Date: March 26th, 2017

Location: Petco Park

Pricing – 15k: $74 – 5k: $49  But hurry, the price will increase soon!

But don’t just take it from me, here are some testimonials from other Bibrave Pros  courtesy of Bibrave.com:

Haley says: “The course was very scenic and I had a good time. Plenty of aid stations, and they supplied Nuun and water which was a life saver for me because I forgot my salt tabs.”  Read the full review here.

Jenny says: “I actually really liked the course, I didn’t feel like there were any moments where I was disappointed. The finish was nice because it was pretty much all down hill from mile 8 on.”  Read the full review here.

 

See you next month!  I’ll be the one covered in chocolate! 😉

~SM

 

The Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo

Do you have a food allergy?

Do you enjoy eating healthy foods?

Do you enjoy learning about new products?

Do you like networking with bloggers and authors?

Do you LOVE scoring SWAG?!

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you won’t want to miss the upcoming Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo (GFAF) in San Diego!

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The event will be held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds on February 11-12, 2017.  More details about the time, location, and parking can be found here.

I am really excited to attend this event not only to score SWAG, but to also learn more about healthier food choices and to network with other health-minded individuals.  There will be tons of samples as well as classes and presentations!  Check out the schedule here.

As a bonus, the event is being held in a beautiful location! The Del Mar Fairgrounds offer great views and are located within walking distance to the beach!  So snag a hotel and check out the sights after the Expo.  It would make for a pleasant weekend getaway!


So what should you expect from this event?

  • You will get to explore over 100 vendors and brands!
  • Samples and Coupons!
  • Discounted items to purchase at the expo!
  • Classes and presentations about living a more gluten-free and allergen-friendly lifestyle!
  • Free bag to carry all of your SWAG!
  • An opportunity to meet authors and bloggers!

This will be an amazing event that you won’t want to miss!  I hope to see you there!

Tickets cost between $5-$35 and you can purchase them here!

And the sooner you purchase, the more you save! Use code “ADVANCE” to save 20%!


As an added Bonus, I will be giving away tickets this month on my Instagram so make sure you are following me (@theswagmama) so you don’t miss your chance to win!

***Note: I am receiving complimentary admission to the Gluten Free Allergen Friendly Expo in exchange for participation in the blogger program.  I am also associated with the affiliate program for ticket sales.

~SM

Well Beginnings Diapers/Wipes

I was given the opportunity to test out Well Beginnings diapers and wipes through the Massive Sway sampling campaign.  Well Beginnings is a line of products for babies and toddlers that are exclusive to Walgreens.  They claim to display the same quality as the more popular baby product brands, but at a fraction of the cost.

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I used the size 5 diapers on my very active almost-2-year-old son.  He wore them throughout the day and during the night.  I was surprised at well these held up!  As far as thickness and quality, I would say they are a step-up from the Huggies Snug & Dry…but not as thick and durable as the Huggies Little Movers.  We also didn’t encounter any rashes or irritation.  The designs are pretty simple – just some giraffes doing yoga or something. Designs on diapers are not a big deal to me or my kids, so this really isn’t even a factor when it comes to diaper buying decisions.

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The wipes also held up well.  I didn’t have any rips or tears during my review and the scent is very subtle.  I really liked the packaging on the wipes, too.  Instead of just a lift-up flap, you can press the button and the lid flings up on its own.  Fancy.

 


The pricing is very reasonable compared to other brands.  A standard pack of wipes goes for $1.99 and a box goes for $8.79.  A box of 70 diapers (size 5) goes for $16.99.

Overall, I was pleased with this product and surprised that I had good results from a drugstore brand.  The only negative is that I don’t really live close to a Walgreens.  I live much closer to Costco and Target and would probably shop there first before travelling out of my way to a Walgreens.  But I’m glad to know that this brand works in case I am travelling and happen to be near a Walgreens.  You can learn more about this brand and shop here.

What do you think?  Would you try a drugstore brand of diapers/wipes?

***Note: I was provided a free package of Well Beginnings diapers and wipes in exchange for an honest review as part of the Massive Sway sampling campaign.

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