Tag Archives: product review

1, 2, 3, it’s thursday!

1. i started my christmas shopping yesterday!

😀

[and that’s all i can say about that!]

2. because it was frickin’ freezing *quite* chilly out yesterday, i grabbed the opportunity to wear my free new saucony compression tights all day out and about, and to work in the evening:

well, that’s a bit of an awkward angle…

…is this a bit better? (fake running!)

the material is fantastically silky! it feels like you’re wearing pj’s. now in terms of compression….i did not actually feel anything in that regard. maybe i am used to how compression socks really support the lower legs?? i felt like i was wearing just a normal pair of leggings with these saucony tights. that is still a very comfortable feeling, but not a compression-y feel. i do like them immensely, though, and envision much wearing of them this coming winter!

3. vfbf joanne and i met at noon for a power visit yesterday. we had a limited timeframe available to us, so we made the most of our minutes, and not even two seconds of silence existed from our “helloooo’s!” to our “see ya’s!” – we are efficient conversationalists! we made plans to go see the movie pitch perfect next week – anyone seen it?? from the preview i saw this summer, it looks like a fun girls’ night out film!

movie suggestions?? i appreciate receiving ideas for films to watch -> it was only thanks to zo‘s mention of moonrise kingdom that i went to see it this summer, and i’d say it was my favourite movie of 2012, so far!

Advertisements

SHU + GU reVU

i love when i have free stuff that i can talk about on the blog, here. makes me feel like a pro (as in professional runner + blogger!).

🙂

recently, i earned myself a pair of saucony shoes, and i chose the saucony triumph 9’s:

also available in a HOT PINK version – which i gladly would have accepted!

it’s been about twenty years since i last wore sauconys. they tend to have a wider toe box and i have a narrow foot, so our relationship was not always optimal. but when i tried on the triumph 9’s at the store, they felt awesome, so i decided to go with them.

for the past week or so, i wore my new shoes out and about, for walks, and to work. then yesterday, i tried them for an ez-paced 6k recovery run [sidenote: while you should not have to “break in a pair of shoes” – they should feel comfortable from the first ten seconds you have them on – i do not recommend that you wear a new pair for a long run, your first time out!].  my thoughts as i was running: 1) i do not feel like a gazelle – these shoes are the heaviest i have worn in quite some time 2) i do not feel a lot of impact – great shock absorption! i could comfortably run a marathon in these shoes, i bet! 3) the triumphs are “triumphing” in their initiation test [haha, composing a pun as i run…that is fun] 3) these shoes are going to go into my active rotation, for sure.

the triumph 9’s can best be described as a workhorse running shoe: they are solid, heavily cushioned and very comfortable. i often tell customers that you want a running shoe that best feels like a bedroom slipper -> these triumph 9’s DO feel like that to me…just a very, very cushy pair of slippers! added bonus: the slightly-elastic laces are quite long – handy for people who lace their shoes with the “bunny ears” method.

a friend who works at a saucony outlet store told me that the triumph is saucony’s best selling model, and i can see why – it’s got a lot going for it, even with the heavier weight. (let’s face it, unless we are gunning for the olympics, a couple extra ounces in shoe weight is not terribly important).

the second product to tell you about is a gel:

not the actual gel i consumed, a full pack makes a better picture!

GU kindly provided us staff at theOTHERstore with some complimentary gels to try out. i have heard rave reviews about this peanut butter flavour, so i was quite excited to give it a try. on my giving thanks run this past holiday monday, i had the perfect opp to try out this new-to-me product. my opinion?? zowie!!! sorry, clif, but i have a new favourite gel!! i loved everything about this GU: the consistency (thicker than clif or powergel); the flavour (it tasted JUST like peanut butter, and even stuck to the roof of my mouth a bit!); the way it gave me a kick of energy (and no intestinal distress); the ease with which i could open the package (i was wearing mitts and even so, did not have difficulty getting the tab ripped off). now i would like to try other GU flavours like espresso, chocolate, and mint chocolate!

i actually have a pair of saucony compression recovery tights to try, as well – we’ll save that review for another day (thankfully, it has not been cold enough yet that i have had to break out tights for running).

at what temp do you start wearing tights as opposed to shorts or capris? back in the hardcore days, our *rule* was that you wore shorts til it was zero degrees C. end of story. now, i’d rather keep my muscles warm, so i wear shorts to 6-10 degrees, only!

thoughts on saucony or GU??? share away if you have tried either of these brands!

** please note that while i received the shoes and the gels for free, all opinions are my own. neither saucony nor GU asked me to review their products.** [this disclaimer is probably not necessary, but again, it’s fun to pretend that i am a pro!].

new balance party!

some people get all hyped up in anticipation of a NASCARtv-watching party or a wine-and-cheese-tasting soirée. moi? invite me to a running-themed get-together, and i am grinning from ear to ear and bouncing on my toes.

this past wednesday, new balance hosted an information event for staff at the store, theOTHERstore, and yetANOTHERstore! i rearranged the aunti wednesday schedule a little so that i could be in attendance.

i had two super-secret wishes, going into the evening.  number one: i was really hoping new balance would bring in this celebrity runner for a special guest appearance – after all, he trains just down the road in guelph:

sadly, reid was a no-show

hmmm, you’d think the guy was busy prepariing for the olympics or something…i really would like an updated photo, though!

dream #2: to go home with a pair of new balance shoes (rumour had it there would be a  free draw happening…).

in order to better my chances of having goal #2 actually occur, i sucked up big time got into the spirit of the evening:

i dug this ancient tshirt out of the depths of my closet: i know i kept it because it is ORANGE!

we had a chance to view some of the NB shoes before our evening officially started:

me and my bosses, haha! manager paul and manager nicole! and bright shoes!

our host for the evening was dave from new balance:

dave!

dave was awesome – his presentation to us was informative yet fun at the same time. dave gave a power point presentation that included some videos and also allowed for some interaction from us.

we learned some nb history, product info, and got the inside scoop on what is coming up!…

we talked quite a bit about minimalist footwear since that is the huge trend, right now (we just got the new balance minimus [zero drop heel], road version, into our local stores). i will share with you what dave told us about good running form in minimalist footwear – you want to focus on these four key points:

  • posture (i need to work on shoulders back!)
  • midfoot strike (as opposed to slamming your heel)
  • cadence (3 steps per second)
  • lean (slightly forward! stand tall!)

by improving your form in each of these categories, you will help prevent injury and enjoy a more positive running experience.

i must say i feel a lot more confident in my knowledge about the different models of new balance shoes and the numbering system used to classify them. dave gave us a great line in reference to the new balance shoes that could be called an everyday training shoe – they’re the “dude, i just wanna run!” type shoes!

next, it was time for the draws (shoes and clothing)!

who will it be, who will it be??

not me, that’s who! luck was not on my side, this evening [maybe that was karma biting me back for this post where i gave my impression of the new balance 890V2 – cringe!]. i’m super happy for nicole, though – she won an item of clothing of her choice!

no party is complete without:

a party favour!

party treats!

many, many thanks to new balance and the store for organizing this event! i had a wonderful time!

and – you were expecting this, i know – i now have my sights set on adding the minimus – and/or the 1400? – to my footwear collection….

the 1400 (mens version) – good for racing!

~*~*~*~*~

30 day photography challenge:

day #24: animal

our official picture:

just how i like my four legged-creatures: safely behind a protective barrier!

i took a tour through the waterloo park animal area for today’s photos. meet one of the llamas:

liking the chain-link border effect for today’s pics!

here is sandy’s companion:

the runner-up photo of the day…would have been the #1 shot, but he wouldn’t turn around!

if we had a sign category for this photography challenge project, here is what would receive my vote:

you don’t have to tell me twice!

that sign reminds me of the time in moab, utah when we saw the admonition, “parents control your children” sign and laughed about that for years!

i like visiting the waterloo park zoo very much…now if they could just build an expansive sanctuary for all the roaming geese – there is poop everywhere!

coming up tomorrow: we are back to a colour photography assignment!…

i wanted to want this shoe!

this past week, we got a snazzy new shoe in at the store:

for men…

…and for women…

meet the special canadian edition of the new balance 890V2!!

it’s pretty exciting to be able to offer this shoe – new balance has committed to donating 15% of net sales of this model to supporting our olympic athletes.

reid coolsaet – he will be representing canada at the olympics this summer in the marathon!!

[remember when i met reid? haha, sorry, i know i post that link a lot, but it was just too terribly exciting an experience!!].

i ♥ special edition shoes. yes, i fall for the marketing ploys very easily. but don’t you agree this shoes look great?!

i wore these 890s for an hour in order to see how they felt.

view from the top…

A+ for looks!

unfortunately, in typical nb fashion, they felt as hard as rocks and as flat as pancakes light and minimally cushioned. (and there goes any hope i ever have of getting sponsored by new balance…). [please note, as always, opinions expressed are my own and nb did not ask me to review this shoe!]. following the trend of designing shoes with a more minimalist feel, the 890Vs has a heel height of 8mm (as opposed to 12 mm) and i really felt a pronounced drop under the toes. the shoe feels quite low to the ground, as a result.

however, to each their own, and if you are a new balance fan and are looking for a light, neutral special edition 890, give this shoe a whirl!!!

so, as much as i would love to support our canadian marathoners by purchasing this shoe, i will refrain. but i will be eagerly watching the olympic marathon, come race day! mom and dad -> consider your tv booked NOW!

~*~*~*~*~

#3!

[aren’tcha glad i am not going to talk about #1 or #2…sorry, bathroom humour never gets old…kinda like jokes about nuts and balls].

since i have been wearing my pink CEP and my black CW-X compression socks non-stop (to work, to run, to shop, to lie around on the floor…) i decided that i desperately needed wanted to add a third pair to the sock rotation. i am telling you, summer 2012 is going to go down as the year of the knee sock.

white was most definitely the colour to get in order to enable fashionable co-ordination with outfits. i thought i’d try yet a different brand of compression sock, just to be fun. i narrowed my choices down to two options:

sugoi on the L and asics on the R

after giving each sock a try-on, i went with…

the asics kinsei compression sock!

they fit tighter than the sugoi sock – that was the deciding factor because both brands were very comfortable.

my impression after one week of wearing the asics: this sock is the least compression-y of the three brands. but i do like how the different colours highlight the changes in design, and fabric strength and weave. these retail for $49.99 [i did pay less, thanks to my employee discount] which places them at the mid-range price for compression socks. [here is my honest, professional advice if you are considering compression socks: make the financial commitment/investment and go for the top-of-the-line CEP socks. the extra money is worth it because when you are wearing the CEPs, you can totally feel the support].

i am going to really try to stop buying compression socks now. oooo, but did you know that you can also buy compression CALF SLEEVES -> just like socks, except there is no foot. so you can wear them with any sock. we carry adidas and saucony at the stores…so so tempting!…

if you were going to be sponsored, which company would you be proud to wear and promote? i have a whole list!

  • shoes: brooks or nike
  • apparel: lululemon
  • food: nature’s path or kellogg’s cereals; egg farmers of ontario; diet coke
  • massage therapy: anyone. ANYONE. anyone????!

~*~*~*~*~

30 day photo challenge: day #2 = what i wore today yesterday

[since i post my blog entries first thing i the morning, i am sharing what i wore yesterday].

this type of self-portrait IS a challenge to fit in the head-to-toe dimensions – this shot was take #3!

  • three pairs of silver hoop earrings, timex watch, brown hair clip, necklace with orange pendant,
  • white nike tech shirt
  • red staff shirt for the store
  • black MEC tights
  • wigwam brand ankle socks
  • *neon* nike free running shoes

this ensemble represents a pretty standard day!

yogurt: it was greek

boy, do i wish today’s post was entitled YOGA: A BIKRAM NEW EXPERIENCE. i am so sad that i still have not made it to hot yoga. that was supposed to be a new experience last year, for heaven’s sakes!

instead, you are stuck with a yogurt review. lame, i know.

this is the yogurt:

i've had greek yogurt before, just not this brand

this is how i like to eat it:

frozen, with choco chips plopped on the top. see, i DO know how to cook! 😀

this is what i thought of this liberté brand: it was fine. to be honest, i didn’t taste much difference between regular yogurt and this greek yogurt. i bought the greek because this brand delivers a whopping 18 g of protein per 3/4 cup serving. so healthy, so satisfying! (although, is there anything that does not taste delightful with the addition of chocolate chips?!).

this is funny: back on march 20th, the globe and mail taste-tested various greek yogurt brands which are available in canada. this liberté 0% did not make the grade! i quote: “On taste and texture, we disqualified Quebec-based Liberté’s 0 per cent (“Thin, lumpy, chalky”).”

ok, then! since i did not mind this yogurt (i repeat, the consistency was similar to non-greek types) at all, what does that say about my taste buds??! you can read the globe and mail article here, if you wish. [i had forgotten that liberté was on the yuck list when i made my greek yogurt purchase – it was on sale, that was the motivating factor].

at this moment, i have a second greek yogurt just waiting to be taste-tested:

the latest and greatest??

we’ll see if there’s much of a difference!

what is your favourite type of yogurt? (this mundane question is perfectly fitting for a less-than-scintillating blog post). i like silhouette or president’s choice brands for regular, plain yogurt. i also quite like kefir which is like a really runny yogurt, if you have not tried it. question, bloggies: does chobani live up to the hype, in your opinion?

~*~*~*~*~

YIPPEE!!

i finished the seed stitch baby blanket on monday (seven days ahead of *schedule,* i will remind you):

seven balls of yarn later...(the colour sequence is 1,2,3,4,3,2,1).

whew, that was quite the project! it is a one-of-a-kind because i do not anticipate ever again knitting a blanket entirely in seed stitch on 2 mm needles with sock yarn.

close up - i'm pleased with how the seed stitch pattern works well with the variegated yarn -> texture + colour!

and i will reiterate that i am banned from making any more baby blankets until i deplete my stash!

two new projects are on the go!…

socks that compress

arm warmers, minimalist footwear, the paleo diet, ice baths…the running community is quick to embrace the next! big! thing! that is espoused in the media as the must-do/must-have item to improve! your! running!

over the last year or so, compression socks have soared in popularity among professional and recreational runners:

see meb run! in his CEP compression socks! (ad in the latest runner's world mag)

well, i am not one to let a bandwagon go by without jumping on (except for ice baths – ick) so, after hearing a clinic guest speaker at the store describe, in detail, the many benefits of wearing compression socks, and after hearing friends rave on about the joy of wearing these special socks, i purchased a pair:

my box o' sox

you’re probably familiar with the concept of compression socks from seeing old people wearing the hideous flesh-coloured ones on airplanes. well, believe it or not, the running versions follow the same type of design, and provide similar benefits to the medical socks (improved circulation, for example) – they just look more fun!

the "compression section" of our sock wall...

...and a close up of the brands (i forgot our house brand - oops!).

as you can see in that photoS (^^), we carry a few different brands of compression socks at the store, ranging in price from $25.99 to $79.99. mine are the CEP brand (yup, the $79.99 ones!). just click on the link, there, to read all about the socks. [i am not going to go into great descriptive detail, here – i don’t know about you, but whenever i see product info on other blogs, i just skip over those paragraphs. it’s much more interesting to read personal accounts!].

in order to give my socks a fair assessment, i wore them for three consecutive days, this past week. [aren’tcha glad this isn’t a scratch ‘n’ sniff blog?! haha!]. here is what i found…

day one: monday april 16th (BOSTON MARATHON MONDAY!)

details: an eleven hour work day, hours split between the storeS.

a warm day! let's show these babies off! i chose muted shoes so as not to distract from the socks!

ready for work!

impressions:

  • i gave myself an extra 5 minutes to get dressed – good call! the socks were quite the challenge to pull on because they are so tight (which is how they are supposed to fit). i also put one on way crooked and had to complete a do-over.
  • the socks are super comfortable! i can tell i am wearing them, but they just feel supportive, not constrictive. i most notice the feel of the fabric on my calves.
  • the test: after many hours on my feet, my left ankle has a tendency to get a little puffy; i was interested to see whether the socks would make a difference. when i pulled the socks off at night…yes! my left ankle was completely normal! i am impressed.
  • conclusion after day one: i’m a fan (both of the feel and of the look – rockin’ the retro 70’s style!). i would wear these all day, every day, no hesitation (however, i do not think i could sleep in them because they are just noticeable enough that i don’t think i could fall asleep with them on).

day two: tuesday april 17th

details: a morning run; errands completed on foot in uptown; a shorter late aft/evening shift at the store.

i pair the socks with my (canary feet) adidas adistar boston 2's for the run...if nothing else, this get-up will help me be more visible to traffic!

off to do my errands; no daffodils were harmed in the snapping of this photo! let's match our shoes to our socks, today!

impressions:

  • during my run: awesome! like yesterday, i can notice i have socks on up to my knees, but it’s a good, supportive feeling, not annoying. i pretend i am an elite – wheeee!
  • did the socks quicken post-run recovery? i honestly couldn’t tell ya.
  • i pretty much don’t notice the socks during the day and evening. i like that the fabric is not itchy.
  • i laugh because i feel like i am back in grade school when i wore knee socks practically every day!

see?! these are my "first day of school" photos for grades 1-4 - note the knee socks in EVERY SINGLE PICTURE!

day three: wednesday april 18th

details: aunti day in toronto!

ready for playtime!

the socks visit the playground with little e!

impressions:

  • the socks were easier to put on this morning (likely because this was their third day of wear!)
  • today was about 9 degrees; i wonder if the socks feel too hot when it’s july temps??

final thoughts:

  • i bet the placebo effect is a factor for those who choose to wear compression socks.
  • i would love another pair of CEP socks (ok, i’ll take every colour available, thanks) and i’d also like to try another brand.
  • i would not purchase these socks if i had to pay the regular retail price of $79.99. they are very enjoyable…but so are my $9.99 nike socks. i just cannot fathom paying over $80 (with tax) for socks.
  • do you dare me…

...to pair the socks with my silver lame shorts?!

now all the socks need is to be tested in a race! wait…oh, yea! they’re going to get that opportunity….tonight!

disclaimer: i purchased my CEP socks with my very own money, although i did receive them at a nicely discounted price, thanks to an employee purchase program through the store. CEP did not ask me to review these socks, i am not being compensated for sharing my impressions, and all thoughts expressed in today’s blog post are my very own. [haha! i love when i can insert a clause like this to a blog post – it makes me feel like a professional blogger!].

would you be willing to try compression socks, either for sport or for travel? i will wear these on my next plane flight!

what’s the most you would be willing to pay for compression socks? they may be a christmas list item for many people!

Flipflopping

I’m on a nice roll at the store!

After having the fun of receiving a $40 Amex Card – and then deciding how to spend it – I was also fortunate enough to win a pair of flipflops, recently!

They arrived a few days ago, much sooner than anticipated. I ♥ unexpected treats!

They are the SOLE Platinum Sandals:

Here are their features, as described by the manufacturer:

  • a custom orthopedic fit [the word orthopedic always makes me think of 80 year olds!]
  • a moldable footbed
  • auto-adapting arch support
  • metatarsal [under your front toes] support pad
  • deep heel cup.

as seen on my UNPEDICURED feet

definitely contoured to the soles of my feet...

I gave them their first test drive on Thursday when I was out and about with Mom and Dad (more on that in a minute). Since then, I’ve been wearing them around the condo building.

My impressions:

These sandals are definitely supportive to the bottoms of my feet. They’re not quite of the calibre of Birkenstocks (Birkies are softer) but are more substantial than your average thongs. The heel is sculpted, the arch support is definitive, the toe bed roomy. I would best describe them as sturdy.

The left foot fits perfectly. Unfortunately, on the right foot, the top of the thong is putting pressure on the top of my foot. It doesn’t hurt, but it’s not super-comfortable. This is not a flaw in the footwear, rather a defect in my foot shape! 😀

By now, you know I love footwear. And, I don’t know if you remember this situation or not, but back in February, I broke my favourite condo-wearing flipflops. The ones I’ve been wearing since are cheap and VERY flippy and it’s likely a good idea for me to retire them before I twist an ankle on the stairs, some day.

I’ve anointed the SOLE flipflops as the NEW condo-wearing sandals. If I can break them in a little/loosen them up, I’ll wear them out and about, too. Yes – the best summary right now is to say that the sandals need to soften up, be broken in. They are very well constructed, so I predict a long lifespan ahead!

**Full Disclosure: I received these flipflops for free. Sole did not ask me to review them, and all opinions are my own.

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

As alluded to in yesterday’s post, I did end up completing the Outing of the Month with both Mom and Dad on Thursday. This month just escaped us in terms of organizing full-fledged outings, so as we did back in March, we compromised.

The three of us convened at Matter of Taste for an afternoon break:

i didn't even have a coffee! it was a perrier kind of day!

Then Mom and I went across the mall hall (literally) to this shop:

photo taken from a distance to show off the wares!

Mom had asked me to accompany her to search out a new bra. Necessity triumphed over just fun shopping this month, we decided.

Sadly, we struck out big time. Mom and I wandered around Just For You a full ten minutes and during that time, NOT ONE of the three sales associates approached us to offer assistance. Heck, no one even said hello. Yes, there were three other customers in the store – that’s no excuse. As a retail sales associate myself, I was horrified, quite frankly, and feel I’m qualified to be harsh in my assessment. Growing more and more peeved (we needed assistance as they only place one size of each bra style out on display), we finally just walked out.

Mom and I did have fun poking about a few other stores in the mall, but the inexcusably poor service at Just For You soured us on ever wanting to go back. Poor Mom will be bra-less! 🙂

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Your preference: flipflops or sandals? I love flipflops which have the thong strap between the big toe and the second toe – it keeps my feet from sliding forward overly much. And I love making a sharp, staccato ‘thwack‘ with each step!

What do you do when you receive incredibly bad service from a retailer? Mom has decided to take her bra business elsewhere. And I’m providing negative publicity (virtual word-of-mouth?) via the blog!