Piyo Review

First of all, I want to emphasize that I am no way affiliated with Beach Body (yet… haha) and I was not compensated for this review. I decided to try Piyo at the prompting of a friend and purchased the DVDs with my own money. 

Piyo is a workout program that uses pilates and yoga moves and is all body-weight: all you need is yourself and a yoga mat! From Beachbody:

PiYo combines the muscle-sculpting, core-firming benefits of Pilates with the strength and flexibility advantages of yoga. And, we crank up the speed to deliver a true fat-burning, low-impact workout that leaves your body looking long, lean, and incredibly defined.

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When you order Piyo you receive 8 workouts on three different DVDs, a Quick Start Guide, a 60-day workout calendar, a nutrition guide and a bonus Buns DVD. When I ordered Piyo, I do so through a Beach Body Coach, who is meant to answer your questions and support you along your journey. My coach, Anna, offers monthly challenges to keep you accountable with your workouts and your eating, as well as to keep you motivated.

I decided to follow the 60-day workout calender to the best of my abilities. So what did I think? I actually really liked this program. I usually hate doing at-home workouts but over the past few months I’ve really enjoyed them. The first couple of weeks of doing Piyo was a little harder, but once I got further into the program I started to feel stronger and fully understood the rhythm. Also, the workouts you do starting after the first two weeks are a little more interesting. The program adds in new workouts as you move along which helps to mix things up quite a bit.

I did not 100% follow the program for two reasons: 1) by the last two weeks I was missing Tone It Up workouts and getting a little bored and 2) I haven’t been feeling my best and they started to be too much for me. As for 1, that’s pretty typical of me and as for number 2, well, I’m seeing a doctor this week about some things I’ve been dealing with and hopefully I’ll be more capable of demanding workouts in the near future.

So final verdict? TRY IT! If you’re willing to pay for the DVDs, this is a great at-home workout program, especially for someone who doesn’t have much space or equipment and if you’re consistent with it and with your eating habits, I really think you will see great results.

 

Do you like at-home workout DVDs? 

Do you follow a workout program or make it up as you go? 

Mizuno Wave Rider 18 Review

This post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Mizuno. As always, the opinions expressed here are completely my own.

I really loved the Mizuno Wave Rider 17, so I was excited when Mizuno sent me their Wave Rider 18 to try out. The Mizuno Wave Rider 18 is a neutral shoe, which means that it has the right amount of support for a wide range of runners. The shoe is actually 1 oz lighter than its previous version, coming in at 7.8oz with a 12mm ramp (difference between heel and toe height). The shoe also comes in wide or narrow, and three different colors:

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I’ve been using my Mizunos for a couple weeks now, taking them on light jogs, walks, and plenty of errand running.

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According to Mizuno, they adopted the influence of the Japanese “Hado,” which essential means a life force that promotes powerful transformations. Their idea is that the sleek, dynamic design relaying the power and kinetic energy of running will harness the transformative possibilities of every run. Some inspiration, right? Haha I didn’t realize so much background thought went into these shoes, but they are passionate about them!

The one thing I noticed about the Wave Rider 18 is that they do take time to break in. The bottom of the shoe is pretty stiff, so when I wore them for 4 hours volunteering and then on a walk with a friend, my feet were feeling it by the end. I’d recommend slowly breaking these in on shorter runs/walks before taking them out for anything longer.

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Otherwise, I was pretty pleased with the fit. I normally order a narrow in running shoes, but these worked really well for me in the regular size. They also have plenty of support for a neutral shoe, so once you do get them loosened up a bit they will be great for long runs. According to Mizuno, their patented Wave Technology gives you maximum responsiveness, or “just enough” support for your run, and the modified outsole pattern gives the shoe added durability and an improved underfoot feel.

I do have to be honest and say that I preferred the 17 over the 18 so far, but I’ll give these some more time and report back to you all if I change my mind! I plan on wearing them through the winter to really break them in, so I’m excited to see how they do!

 

How often do you get new running/walking shoes? 

If you were designing a running shoe, what would you choose for your inspiration? 

 

Graceland Cemetery Tour–Vimbly

Disclaimer: I was offered a free ticket for the tour, however all opinions and thoughts are, as always, my own.

First off – HAPPY OATMEAL DAY! Haha did you know October 29th is Oatmeal Day? Well it is! And to celebrate I have a new recipe for you… coming on tomorrow’s WIAW post! I know – brace yourselves. The excitement is overwhelming, right?..

So. Why would I want to take a tour of a cemetery? Creepy, right? Let me explain. I was contacted by Vimbly to try out their services. It’s a website where you can search for things to do in your city, and then you can buy your tickets right on their website.

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I really enjoyed how easy it was to find and book a tour on Vimbly. I liked it so much that I used it again to book the architecture tour I went on with my family on Sunday!

Although booked through Vimbly, the tour itself was given by Joyce Walks Chicago, which offers several other tours in the city.

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Here is a description of the tour from their website:

Graceland Cemetery was established in 1860. At that time, it was outside the city boundaries. Taking a stroll through Graceland Cemetery will take you back in time as you discover the history of some of Chicago’s famous politicians, architects, business leaders, philanthropists, and artists.  Some of the greats buried here include: Daniel Burnham, Potter and Bertha Honore Palmer, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Ruth Page, and Louis Sullivan.

 

I chose the Graceland Cemetery tour because I was intrigued, I’d never been on a cemetery tour before, and I knew it would have a lot of Chicago history. Before we started, our tour guide gave us a map of the cemetery with a list of the grave sites we would visit and hear about on the tour.

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I was surprised at how beautiful the cemetery was! We learned that it had actually been designed that way. It’s a privately owned cemetery and the man who founded it wanted it to feel like a park, giving family members the experience of visiting their loved ones in a beautiful and uplifting space.

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The cemetery is run by a board, who make all aesthetic decisions. Unlike most cemeteries, you can’t place flowers, pinwheels, ribbons, flags, etc. on the gravesites. They’re very specific about what is and isn’t allowed.

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Although the cemetery was interesting, the part of the tour that I really came for was the history of Chicago, which I heard a lot about through the people who are in the cemetery. Since Graceland is such a beautiful and private cemetery, a lot of prominent characters from Chicago’s history are buried there.

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Our tour guide was absolutely fantastic. She had an incredibly upbeat attitude (which helped since it was so cold out…), a real passion for history, and a lot of great stories. What I loved about the tour is that she didn’t just recite facts to us, she told us stories. If only my history classes in school had been so interesting!

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Despite the cold, I really enjoyed the tour and would love to sign up for more. I’m already looking into the one in the Gold Coast area, which is another more historical area with large houses. Beautiful architecture and a lot of Chicago history!

I had a great experience on both my tour and with Vimbly and would definitely recommend using the website if it’s offered where you live!

 

Have you been on a historical tour before?

Have you ever been on a tour of a cemetery?

Hanson 2013

Why did I title this Hanson 2013? Because I fully intend to see them in concert over and over and over and over again. So get ready for Hanson 2014, Hanson 2015, and so on.

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In… March or April of this year Kelsey discovered that Hanson was coming to Chicago during their tour and insisted we go. As a Hanson fan in my younger days I thought this could be pretty fun so we bought our tickets and waited…

Months and months later it was FINALLY TIME FOR HANSON!

After grabbing dinner at Taco Joint with Emily, her friend Kelli, Lindsay and Kelsey, we proceeded to the House of Blues to wait outside until we could get into the venue. We got there plenty early since our tickets were general admission, meaning we needed to elbow our way as close to the front as possible.

Don’t worry, we didn’t actually elbow our way to the front… but many other girls tried to. Drama ensued, lots of shouting, name calling etc. You don’t mess with boy-band fans. (Again, you know me, we stood there silently watching it all happen…).

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SO EXCITED!

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Love these girls. True friends go see Hanson together.

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While we were standing in the venue waiting for the opening act to come out we noticed that TAYLOR HANSON had come out into the bar area on the opposite side of the stage from us. We kept thinking – there are three of them and only one of the three is over at that bar, so one of the other brothers is bound to come out by the bar right next to us, right? Wrong. After waiting for 20 minutes, Kelsey took fate into her own hands, elbowed her way across the crowd and man-handled Taylor.

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For her amazing photo WITH him and a hilarious recap of this venture to the other side of the crowd, please go read her blog post. You will laugh, I promise.

All previous photos courtesy of Kelsey

After some serious anticipation, Hanson came out around 9:30 and I just died. I never actually thought they were cute back in the late 90s but these guys grew up well. Pictures do them no justice. That hair. I die.

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They played a great mix from all three of their albums, many songs I didn’t know but plenty that I did. I really loved getting to see them play.

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My biggest question since buying my ticket back in the Spring was: “Would they play MmmBop?”

My prayers were answered.

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The song started up and I literally screamed, doubled over and grabbed Kelsey’s arm because I about lost it. I was a pre-teen all over again and I loved every second of it. Actually, I hated being a pre-teen so this was way better.

If you ever spend too much time with me (I warn you against this) you’ll notice that if I’m really bored I will randomly break out into the chorus of MmmBop. This song has been stuck in my head for 15 years and I finally got to hear them play it live. I can die happy.

And because I love you all:

MmmBop Acoustic

 

What was your first concert?

What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to? Mine would be a tie between this concert and seeing an ABBA cover band at the Red Rocks in Denver. Oh and Zac Brown Band at Frontier Days in WY. That was cool.

Ellovi Body Butter

Disclaimer: Although I received Ellovi Body Butter free of charge, all opinions and thoughts expressed are my own.

First, I want to say good luck and HAVE FUN to everyone running the marathon this weekend!!! I’ll be volunteering at the Mile 18 Aid Station so if you’re running, say hi! I’m sure I’ll be really discernible as one of about a bazillion people in matching volunteer jackets and hats…

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 This feels like forever ago! 

I’ve mentioned this before a couple times, but I’m slowly trying to incorporate more “all natural” and organic products into my personal care routine. Since many of us look at labels to try and reduce the number of chemicals we eat, it makes sense to do the same with what we put on our skin. A great resource to find out how your products rank on the natural scale is the EWG database.

 

I was recently sent a sample of Ellovi Body Butter to try out. Ellovi is a company started by two people, Kelly and Ryan, who want to create an entire beauty product line that is made from plants, not chemicals. In the letter I received with my package, they say that there are only 9 banned ingredients for beauty products in the USA but over 1,000 banned ingredients in Europe. I found this a pretty interesting, and yet unsurprising statistic after taking Food & Drug Law in school.

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Unlike other body butters, Ellovi does not contain water, which will evaporate and leave your skin feeling drier than before. Ellovi is meant to keep your skin feeling hydrated for days.

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My container of Ellovi Body Butter listed the ingredients on the back and I was actually surprised at just how natural they were: macadamia nut, coconut, marula nut, hemp seed, and shea. THAT’S IT.

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So the real question – does it work?

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The very first thing I noticed about the body butter is that it doesn’t have a fragrance, which is probably a really good sign. That means it doesn’t have any artificial fragrances or unnecessary ingredients. If anything you could kind of smell the macadamia nut.

My hands have been really dry this week since Chicago suddenly went from warm and muggy to chilly and dry. I used Ellovi butter on my hands a couple times and after two days I could already tell a difference. Just by day 2 I stopped constantly feeling the need to put lotion on my hands. Woohoo!

The only thing I didn’t like was that it didn’t absorb immediately into my skin. For example, if I put it on my hands and then used my phone in the next minute or two it left kind of a film on my phone’s screen. Thankfully it absorbed within a few minutes, but just something I noticed.

I love supporting small and new companies, especially such ingredient-conscious companies so I really enjoyed getting to try and share Ellovi with you! I can’t wait to see what else they do!

 

Are you conscious of ingredients in your beauty products?

What kind of lotion do you use?

What’s your favorite beauty product?