Friday, August 26, 2016

Friday Favorites

It's that time again... Not only is it Friday Favorites, it's time to start up Friday Night Lights! I love me some football (whether it is high school, college or NFL), so today is double-ly awesome! (Well, in all honesty, I went to the first football game of the season last night, but you know what I'm getting at.)


Garmin's Face-It App


Did you see?! Garmin released a new app last week and it is pretty AMAZING! The new app lets you create a personalized watch face for your Connect IQ compatible devices! Garmin’s Face-It app (available for Android and Apple products) lets you customize your Connect IQ compatible watch face with any photo from your mobile device. Download the app, choose an image from your photo library, add the time and send it to your device to set it as your watch face. Pretty AWESOMESAUCE if you ask me (add a picture of your pup, the kids, a sunset, you name it - it's your choice now!)! And let's just say if I can figure it out then everyone should be able to ;)

I know it isn't the best photo, but I was so excited that I figured out how
to do it (I'm NOT tech savvy) that I was a little jittery when snapping the shot

PROBAR Giveaway


I posted a PROBAR giveaway on my Facebook page earlier this week, but it doesn't end until tomorrow at 11:59pm PST so I thought I'd share it here. I love me some PROBAR but have been stock piling it for a while now and figured I share the wealth and do a little giveaway. Entering is EASY! 1. Follow Carlee McDot on Facebook. / 2. Like the image. / 3. Tag your BRF (best running friend). {You can tag multiple friends, but each tag must be a separate comment}


Five (5) lucky winners will receive a sample pack from me of an assortment of BASE and FUEL bars, as well as some BOLT chews. (**This giveaway is not being sponsored by PROBAR, Facebook, etc. I am just trying to bless some of my fellow runners with the surplus of goodies I have acquired.**)

Conqur LA Challenge Medal


Since I ran the Los Angeles Marathon last year I receive the Conqur Endurance Group emails, but if you aren't on the email list, hopefully you've still seen the post on social media about this bad boy bling (can you see the inspiration from the Olympic rings?)! If you run the Santa Monica Classic (5K or 10K), the Pasadena Half Marathon and the Los Angeles Marathon then you will receive this AMAZING medal!

Source

If you aren't registered yet, you need to jump on it! Registration for the Santa Monica Classic is already at 90% (and once it sells out you won't be able to get this purrrrrrrty medal or participate in the challenge), so jump on it if you aren't signed up! {PS You can save on registration fees by buying the bundle HERE, but in case you can't afford to register for all three races today, don't worry, we've got you covered! You can still get the bling by running the races individually. The deadline to register for the bundle and to receive the bundled discount is Tuesday, September 6, 2016 at 11:59 pm PDT or until it sells out, whichever occurs first.}

Source

Momentum Jewelry Sale


I decided to not extend my ambassadorship with Momentum Jewelry (mostly because I don't want to over commit myself or spread myself too thin), but that doesn't mean I don't love their products and rep them every chance I get. And they currently have a 20% off sale running until August 31st. Use code SUMMERSALE20 to take advantage of the sweet deal! (PS I would totally recommend stocking up for not only yourself but also for your running friends! These make great gifts and Christmas isn't too far away, so place your order today!)

Source

UA Plumbers & Pipefitters 5K


My dad participated in the UA Plumbers & Pipefitters 5K in Ann Arbor last week. Not only did he break 30 minutes and place fourth in his age group, but he was interviewed and is now FAMOUS (okay, I might be exaggerating the last part, but the first three points are 100% real)! If you watch the video below, my daddy-o makes his cameo around the 8:30 mark. My dad mentioned it in his interview, but 100% of the profits will go to the Semper Fi Fund charity (and the UA decided to match what the race raised and double it with their own contribution!).


I'm so proud of my padre! He normally runs a single mile a day (he is quite the streaker!), but every once in a while he will step outside of his comfort zone and knock out a longer distance. HECK YES DAD! YOU ROCK MY SOCKS!


What are you loving lately? 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

REVIEW: Project Repat (& GIVEAWAY)

What do you do with all of your race shirts? 


If you're like me, you have TONS of them! Most of them ill-fitting and never worn (some still have the tags on them)... But even though I don't wear them, they're treasured possessions; reminders of what I've accomplished. Still, mine have been sitting in multiple piles on the closet floor, waiting for SOMETHING to be done with them! And THAT is where Project Repat comes in!

My most recent 30 race tops turned into a gif by my talented hubby

If you've been around for a while, you know that the funny thing is, that the gif above features just some of my shirts from the past two-ish years. You see, back in October of 2014 I sent my first round of shirts to Project Repat. Well, a couple weeks ago I realized my piles were getting a bit out of control again, so it was time to reach out to the experts and turn my hoard collection into something I would actually use.


The process of sending your shirts to Project Repat is easy-breezy! First, select the size blanket you would like to make (I had about 35 race shirts {and have since added a few more to the stack}, so thought I would go with the "Full" size since it requires 30 sides to make). Then pick the color of PolarTec fleece for the back of the blanket (I opted for grey). Finally, select the size of the "squares" (the standard size is 12"x12", but they do have specialty blankets you can do with 8"x8" or 14"x14"). After that, pay for the blanket. Like I said, very straight forward and painless!
The fun part is deciding which shirts to use and what order to put them in. Instead of a chronological order, I decided (with the help of my designer hubby) to lay them out by color. It took us a little while, seeing as I had so many shirts, but we finally decided on a pattern that was just right (trying to avoid areas that looked too dark, having too many runDisney shirts in one area, etc).


The first time I worked with Project Repat they sent you an eco-friendly bag you would use to mail your shirts to them in. Nowadays you are required to cover the cost of the mailing of your goodies (I ended up using one of the medium sized flat-rate box that the Post Office offers - it ended up costing $13.45 with the two-day priority shipping). Not a big deal, but knowing I would need to foot the bill, I decided to get rid of any excess weight by cutting the backs off of my shirts. 



To help Project Repat with the process, they ask that you provide the "side" of the shirt you would like to use (if the shirt has images on both sides). Since most of my race shirts had sponsors on one side and the race image on the other I went through and cut the shirts so there would be no confusion (as well as there would be less weight to ship). [NOTE: YOU ARE NOT CUTTING THEM IN THE 12"x12" SIZE, JUST SPLITTING THE SHIRT IN TWO.]

I cut a template out of cardboard to make sure the panels I was sending were at
least 14 inches by 14 inches so that they would have the necessary size to work with.

Let's just say Walt the Wiener Dog loves this part of the process because he gets new "toys". We make the arms of the long-sleeve shirts into 'ropes' for him to chew on and play tug-a-war with. He has quite the "ruff" life, right?!


I was on the phone the other day and turned around to THIS!
Walt was wearing one of the "ropes" on his head like braids!

The next step is the hardest... Shipping your shirts. No, the physical process is not hard, just put them in a box with your receipt and a picture of the layout you would like and mail them. I was just worried that I might lose my shirts forever (and no amount of insurance on the package would get those memories back if they were lost in transit).

What you need to include: shirts, colored picture of layout, receipt with bar code 

A little excitement mixed with a little fear dropping off my package
at my local post office!

Oh yeah, and the waiting game. Don't get me wrong, Project Repat hand cuts and sews all of the shirts, so a labor of love like this takes times, but I was anxious to get the blanket back. It normally takes approximately 3-4 weeks once they receive your shirts for your blanket to make its journey back to you (of course with the holidays fast approaching the wait time can be longer, although they do offer an expedited option if you are willing to pay the additional cost).

I shipped my shirts out on Tuesday afternoon (via a flat rate priority box for $13.45 from the USPS) and received an email from
Project Repat on Thursday morning that they had received my shirts.

I love that they kept me informed every step of the way! Definitely put my mind at ease!

It took about 2 weeks for my blanket to return (I placed my order on August 2nd, shipped my shirts on August 9th and received my blanket back on August 24th). And when I got it, I FELL IN LOVE!!

Wait, am I the only one so excited about packages that she draws with sidewalk
chalk to celebrate the delivery?! 

It was PERFECT! Since I had worked with Project Repat in the past I knew what to expect, but it is always a pleasant surprise when something rocks your socks and blows your expectations out of the water! Although you lay the shirts out on the floor before you send them and sort of know what the finished product will look like, they are mostly haphazardly placed. The blanket that is returned is so exact and AMAZING!



I do want to say - this is NOT a traditional quilt. One of the reasons that Project Repat can offer their services at a lower price is because they are not quilting or putting in backing into the piece (which can leave it feeling stiff). It is more of a blanket. And a blanket that is meant to be cuddled up in, used, loved and even washed (I mean, it is just shirts).

Snuggling on the porch with my new blankie

One last thing about the company as a whole. If you know me, you know I LOVE to support local companies, ones who keep their products in the USA, etc, which is exactly what Project Repat does!
Source

Although I never wore my race shirts, they were a "trophy" of mine. But let's be honest, they weren't doing anyone any good being in a big pile at the back of my closet. I can now say that they will get a lot of use and will see the light of day much more frequently.

Okay, okay, so enough of me bragging about how awesome my blanket turned out, now it's YOUR TURN to get your joy on! Project Repat has offered up ONE LUCKY READER a $110 gift card! This will get you a twin sized blanket or you could use it to take $110 off your final purchase price.


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Just in case you don't win, I would HIGHLY recommend you still consider checking this company out! The deadline to send in your shirts to guarantee you will get the blanket back for Christmas is September 1st. [If shirts arrive after 9/1, your t-shirt quilt won't be guaranteed to you until Jan/Feb 2017 or you will have to pay a $30 rush fee for Christmas delivery.] PLACE AN ORDER TODAY! And if you decide to place an order before the end of the year, use discount code "Carlee2016" and save 25% off your order! 


Now to start hoarding collecting shirts for my next blanket ;)

This giveaway runs through Wednesday, August 31st at 11:59pm PST. The winner will be contacted via the email address associated with their Rafflecopter account and has 24 hours to claim their prize. All entries are verified, so be sure to complete them or a new, random winner will be selected (I don't want you missing out due to a technicality).


Good luck to everyone who enters and remember to enter early & often as some of the options are available daily!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

November Project SeaWheeze Pop-Up

I have always wanted to go to a November Project workout (or ninety), but with the closest tribe being in San Diego and the drive being 45-60 minutes each way I haven't been able to justify making the trip (I mean, I could technically run 10 miles in the time I would be in the car).

Errrrr, pump the breaks! Do you even know what November Project is?! Hopefully you do, but just in case you don't, let me give you a quick explanation.

Source

Well, when I saw that there was going to be a pop-up NP workout in Vancouver for SeaWheeze I knew it was my time to throw out a verbal and #JustShowUp!

Source

I was able to talk the hubby into joining me (he was stoked that he was going to be able to use the "F" word in a positive way and do more than 'just run'). We set our alarms for bright and early Friday morning (NP workouts start at 6:29am) and got as much rest as possible.


We were about a 25 minute walk from the Olympic Cauldron so left shortly before 6am. The sun was rising and it was a gorgeous morning (although I wish we could have left the humidity down in SoCal rather than bringing it with us).

The crew was already there when we arrived so we gave out hugs (it's a November Project "thing") and were welcomed with open arms - even though it was our very first time.

Source

When it was time to get started the tribe leaders did a little welcome (we couldn't yell since the neighbors complained in the past so we wanted to be respectful of them and their sleep) and we made our way out for a warm-up run.

You see, the Showcase Store for SeaWheeze was set to open at 7am that morning and people had been waiting in line ALL NIGHT LONG! Like, legit, I had friends who were in line as early as 5pm (and heard that the line started as early as 10am Thursday morning). So, what's an NP tribe to do?! Run around the convention center high-fiving all of the anxious shoppers, that's what!

Source

It was a ton of fun saying "good morning" and high-fiving all of the lulu lovers! Some of them were a bit sleep deprived and had no idea what was going on, but some were perky and getting in on the action.

Once we got in about a half mile of high-fives it was time to get down to business. The leaders let us know what the workout for the day would entail - backstreet boys push-ups, stairs, lunges, burpees to broad jumps, etc.

Source

The workout sounded intense, especially for a runner (sure I cross-train and strength train once a week, but I would say the large majority of my workouts are straight running), but you are able to take everything at your own pace so I wasn't too terribly worried.

Source

Source

The first couple rounds went well, but about halfway through the workout I could tell I was going to be super sore the following day (thankfully I had already decided I was going to take it easy for the SeaWheeze Half Marathon). I mean, literally, I think I did more push-ups and burpees in those 50 minutes than in my prior 31 years of life.

Source

The workout was awesome, but wanna know what was even better?! The camaraderie! The tribe is so encouraging and positive it is AMAZING! If you have been around these parts for long, you know I love encouraging and attempting to inspire those around me. Well, this was a whole group of people who were doing this for an entire workout! I don't know that I've ever been that stoked to do burpees and lunges in my life.

Source

After we finished the first workout the broke into groups of three (Ryan and I added Lauren to make three) and did another quick circuit - including hollow bowls, reaching planks and running stairs.

Photo Cred: Lauren

Let's just say that although it was a blast, my body was screaming for it to be done. We worked a ton of muscles, got in a great sweat (thanks to the workout and humidity) and smiled and cheered one another on along the way.

Source

And who doesn't love finishing a workout by running through a tunnel of love?! I mean, come on now, SERIOUSLY!


Then it was time to tag some #grassroots gear! I figured since we were in Canada I should bring some cold weather gear, so I brought a long sleeve shirt. (And I love the way the tag was perfectly split over the zipper!) Ryan didn't bring an extra shirt so decided to tag his sweaty shirt he wore to the workout (thankfully the guys tagging didn't mind... or at least they were kind enough not to mention anything about the soggy factor out loud).



Ryan and I talked about how great of a time we had at the November Project workout for days afterwards! And we both mentioned that it there was a tribe closer we would definitely make it part of our weekly routine (here's to crossing our fingers that we get a North County tribe at some point).



Even though I was sore for days after the workout, it was something that not only my body needed, but it was something my soul needed! If you ever have the opportunity to check out a November Project workout I would strongly urge you to give it a go and see what all the hype is about (because I promise you that it will go above and beyond your expectations)!


So I just have one final question, you good?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Eating Our Way Through Vancouver

While in Vancouver we had some delicious food (both vegetarian and vegan). In case you plan on visiting the area any time soon (whether it be for a race like SeaWheeze or Rock 'N' Roll Vancouver or just a family vacation), I thought I’d share some of our favorites spots. (I also thought if I did a blog post I would be more likely to copy and paste the ‘reviews’ into Yelp so two birds, one stone ;)) PS Although these restaurants are mostly meat-free, I promise that if you stop in for a meal (or treat) you will not be disappointed or feel as though you are missing out on anything. 

**WARNING: I am NOT a food blogger. I realize that my pictures are less than stellar, but I still thought the info was worth spreading. Please don't judge me on my food pics ;) **




We were told about this restaurant by Christina. She said that last time she was in Vancouver she went to Heirloom maybe 4 or 5 times. Well, if it's that amazing, we had to give it a go! It was about a mile and a half from our hotel, so once we checked in and dropped our bags, we put our walking shoes on and made our way over to the spot.

Heirloom is an awesome restaurant with both a vegan and vegetarian menu. It is a bit pricey, but we felt as though it was worth every penny. The ambience was nice (although after just getting off of a plane and train and then walking for a mile and a half we felt slightly under-dressed).

The hubby and I started with an order of the Avocado Frites (the Yelp reviews seemed to constantly be mentioning them) and they were delish! Crispy coated avocado slices with a creamy cilantro sauce (and fresh limes to squeeze over the top). They weren't greasy or overcooked, just the perfect bit of crunch and warm to start the meal.


I ended up deciding on the Ancient Grains salad, while the hubby got Auntie's Curry (he wanted The Royale with Cheese Burger but they had sold out of the burgers prior to us arriving). Both meals were large and yummy. I ordered the half size of the salad and although I was scarfing it down it seemed to never get smaller.



We would definitely give this restaurant four thumbs up (two from each of us). If it wasn't as pricey as it was or far away from the hotel we probably would have stopped back for another meal or two.


The Templeton


While looking for something to eat near our hotel, we typed "Vegetarian" into Yelp. The Templeton popped up and it was literally right down the street so we figured we'd give it a try. We stopped in for lunch and although the inside is pretty tiny, we didn't have to wait long (but then again, we went around 2pm for lunch so we probably missed the rush). 

We loved the hometown diner feel (some of the decor was even from the 50s) and that they offered vegetarian diner food. Ryan decided on the BLT with fake bacon and I got the veggie chili dog. When we saw they had vegetarian poutine we HAD to get it (normally it is a meat-tastic brown gravy poured over a mound of fries, but for the veg-heads they make the gravy with mushrooms and although it isn't super "healthy" it was finger lickin' good!). And, OF COURSE, Ry had to start the meal with a strawberry milkshake! 







Not only were our meals delicious, but the waitress we had was amazing! She sat down with us for a while to chat it up and tell us some great spots to check out while we were in town. We love getting intel from the locals, and definitely took her up on a few of her suggestions! 

Meet in Gastown


This was hands down our favorite restaurant - so much so that we ate there twice even with multiple great restaurants to try out. It was one of the recommendations that we received while dining at The Templeton. Our waitress told us that it was the best vegan comfort food she has had (and couldn't believe it was all plant-based food) - so with a review like that we HAD TO give it a whirl!

The first time we ate there I ordered the Whiskey BBQ Caesar (I always order the dressing on the side so the greens aren't doused in it) and the hubs got the Southern BBQ Burger. Everything tasted so fresh and healthy. You left feeling satisfied, but not like you were weighed down, overly stuffed or lethargic from all of the crap you just ingested. 




The next round I ordered the Mac 'N Cheez and Ryan scarfed down the Angry Burg (but started the dining experience with a Dark & Stormy drink that had fresh ginger beer). Obviously using vegan cashew 'cheez' isn't going to taste like the Kraft stuff that you ate as a kid, but it was still yummy (although I was secretly dreaming of the salad I had the day before). The hubby loved his burger, even with the heat of the buffalo hot sauce.




PS If you can sit 'outside' we would highly recommend it. When we were in Vancouver they were having an unseasonable warm weekend (apparently summer had "ended" a couple weeks prior but came back with a vengeance when we arrived), so the patio area had an amazing breeze. PPS (or is it PSS?!) This place is not on the main street, so keep your eyes peeled and don't walk by it! 


Soft Peaks


Now who can pass up sweet treats?! The hubby obviously looked up about 'must have' ice cream while in Vancouver and with Soft Peaks being right down the street from Meet it was an obvious choice for a post-dinner dessert. 



We ordered the Snowberry, which was organic strawberry and organic strawberry agave syrup with cereal. We decided to share a regular size (but let's say deciding on the flavour was super difficult because we wanted to try them all!).


Not only was the ice cream scrum-didily-umptious, but the company does some awesome things too! They try to use all local ingredients, like a fresh piece of Okanagan and Fraser Valley honeycomb, which have been crafted for perfect pairings. All of their milk comes from Avalon Dairy, a local dairy farm known for its uncompromising quality. Their ice cream cups, spoons, and napkins are from local suppliers (some of them are also compostable). And last but definitely not least, they also support the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation by donating partial proceeds from their sales. 


Earnest Ice Cream


If you read my post about "Adventuring in Vancouver" then you saw we took a 20 mile bike ride while there (PS I would definitely suggest this as a great way to see the city). On said bike ride, we decided we had 'earned' some ice cream so made our way to Earnest Ice Cream (another one of the shops that the hubby researched and heard was amazing). 

I don't know if it was because we were warm from our ride or if the ice cream was just 'that' good, but we loved it! I had a cone of the vegan strawberry coconut and the hubby devoured his Bourbon Peach. If I didn't have a half marathon the following day I may even have went back for a second scoop because it was so yummy! It definitely hit the spot! And if we weren't riding bikes I would have easily talked Ryan into grabbing a to-go pint for the hotel freezer. 






Small Victory


If you know me, you know I'm not a coffee or tea drinker. Growing up we never had it in the house (my dad used to take two Pepsi's with him to work in the morning) and I never acquired the taste. Ryan, on the other hand, needs his coffee to wake up. He did a little research and found a coffee and bread company near the hotel that he wanted to try.


He ordered a mocha and cinnamon roll. He legit says that it was the best cinnamon roll that he has ever had. (Two weeks after the fact, he is still talking/ dreaming out it.) We took the goodies to go because we were on our way to explore the city, so I can't really comment on the seating, but I can guarantee you that if we are ever back in Vancouver this place will be a MUST on Ryan's list (he is even trying to talk me into another trip JUST FOR THE ROLL!).

Tartine Bread & Pies


Although this restaurant came up on Yelp as 'vegetarian' I would say that it is more of a coffee/ cafe shop that offers a few sandwiches (one of which that doesn't have meat on it). With that said, it was still delicious! Ryan and I both grabbed a Mini Egg (an egg salad sandwich with arugula on delicious bread). The location that we went to was the smaller of the two, so I was bummed that they didn't have the full size sandwich because it was so tasty!



Ryan also grabbed an Americano here and I was eyeballin' the pies (this post makes it seem like we get desserts or sweets all the time which is so not us {okay, it is so not me and although it is so Ryan we try to make healthy decisions 95% of the time and limit sugar intake}, but 'when in Rome...'). The one in the picture below is the Elvis (made of banana, peanut butter, chocolate, and meringue).


BeaverTails


I mentioned this in my "Adventuring in Vancouver" post, but it bears repeating ;) While hiking the Grouse Grinder, we heard there was a pastry shop at the top called BeaverTails - with pastries that are a Canadian MUST. Well, sign us up! After sweating through our clothes and getting in quite the workout, we decided we had deserved a sweet treat.

I would consider them to be like a Canadian 'elephant ear' with toppings. Hubby went with the Reese’s option (with a Nutella spread) and I decided on Cookies & Cream. They were both super yummy (but oh so sweet!). I ended up only being able to eat about half of mine (due to the extreme sugar overload), but it did not go to waste because the hubby demolished it as soon as I offered it to him. They also have a cafeteria and a few other dining options when you get to the top of the mountain, but since we had a pretty tight schedule we scarfed our beavertails, grabbed some quick photos and made our way back down the mountain (it’s funny that it only takes the slow moving gondola 4 minutes to cover the same amount of distance as we hiked in a little over an hour, but hey, it was worth the sweat equity!).





I swear we did more than just eat on our trip to Vancouver, but this post sure doesn't make it seem that way ;) We were stoked to see so many awesome vegan and vegetarian options around Vancouver (and we didn't even begin to scratch the surface). If you are in the True North, you should definitely give a few of these locations a try!

How do you research places to eat while on vacation?