Sugar ‘n Spice VoxBox Review


This month, I got the chance to try out the Sugar ‘n Spice VoxBox from Influenster.  What was in it you ask?


  • Colgate Optic White toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouthwash
  • Single serving belVita Breakfast Biscuits
  • Box of Splenda Nectresse Sweetener
  • Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer
  • Box of Dickinson’s Witch Hazel Oil Controlling Towelettes

I’ve had a chance to try out all of these products, and here’s my honest review.

First and foremost, the belVita Breakfast Biscuits.  This was the product I expected to give the worst review.  After all, they are breakfast cookies.  They can’t be that great, right?  Well, they tasted pretty good.  That I expected.  A single serving is four wafer cookies.  From the texture, I could definitely tell that they were a “healthy” product – it wasn’t like I was eating Chips Ahoy or anything.  But they were enjoyable.  What I didn’t expect was how well they kept me full.  I had these on a Tuesday.  I ate one cookie on my way to the pool to swim and the other three on the way home.  I got to swim around 6, so I ate pretty early in the morning.  Most days, I’m hungry by around 10 am, especially on days I workout in the morning.  This day, I didn’t notice any hunger til around 11:30 or so.  I was impressed.

Are these going to be a regular part of my diet?  No – I like my breakfast smoothies.  But I may purchase a box and keep a pack in my swim bag.

I was most excited about the Colgate Optic White items.  One of my “things” is teeth.  Nothing is a bigger turnoff to me than scary teeth.  I don’t know what it is.  I am obsessed with brushing and flossing regularly.  Mostly because the idea of major dental work terrifies me.  So I was excited to try these products.

And I was running out of toothpaste.

I can’t say much about the toothbrush.  It felt funny, with the scraping bristles on the back of the brush.  But maybe I should be brushing the inside of my cheeks more?  I don’t know.  This will end up in my travel bag for now, as I plan to stick with my electric toothbrush.  The toothpaste and mouthwash are pretty nice though, and very minty.  I’m terrible about remembering to use mouthwash, but I’m trying.

The Dickinson’s Witch Hazel Oil Controlling Towelettes will also be nice for travel.  I use witch hazel on my skin from time to time, especially after a day where I’ve been wearing heavy sunscreen. (I usually just wear SPF 30 in my moisturizer, but when I’m working out or planning to be out for a long time, I use anywhere from SPF 50 to SPF 70.)  The towelettes are large and really nicely textured.  I don’t see myself using them regularly though – too wasteful.  Definitely good for a travel bag and my gym bag though!

I’m not big on artificial sweeteners of any sort, but I liked the Splenda Nectresse Sweetener that I tried.  I put it on a particularly tart mango, and I liked the sweet, non-chemical flavor it added.  I’m going to have to do some research into the product, as I recommend doing with all artificial sweeteners.

I don’t understand the Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer.  I mean, it’s a nice light moisturizer with a great fresh scent… but do I really need to be able to spray it on?  It’s packaged much like spray-on sunscreen (which I do use).  I just… don’t understand why I need it.  You still have to rub it into your skin, and while it does absorb quickly, am I in that much of a hurry in the morning that I can’t put on normal moisturizer?  The product just confuses me.

So there you have it.  Testing out this box was pretty fun, but I generally like receiving surprises in the mail.

And of course, the required text:  “I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.”

Review and Giveaway – Lock Laces!

I bought my first pair of Lock Laces a few months ago when I signed up for my first triathlon.  After all, I needed to do something to make my shoes easy to get on during transition, plus I liked the idea of not having to deal with shoes coming untied while I ran.  I of course, bought them in pink, and they look fabulous in my shoes.


Also, do you know how hard it is to take a picture of shoes when there are nosy cats around?

2013-03-24_14-54-06_938But wait, what are Lock Laces?  The best way I can describe them is that they are elastic shoelaces with a neat little locking mechanism you can use to tighten the laces rather than having to tie. (Their slogan is “Win. Never tie.”  I love it.)

When you open a bag of Lock Laces, inside you will find two very long elastic laces, two locks, and two clips.  You lace up your shoes like normal (the laces even have aglets – the little plastic things on the end of the lace).  Then, you attach the locks.  The next step is the scary step.  You have to trim the laces to a normal length, about 2-3 inches below the lock.  I recommend putting the shoe on before doing this so that you can be sure you’ve chosen a good length.  The first time I did it, the laces were still way too long.  The final step is attaching the clip to the end of the laces.  And voila!  Shoes that can’t untie.

The first time I tried them, the end of the clip was bouncing around a bit and it was annoying, but I figured that I would get used to it.  Then, while at the indoor tri, I noticed a friend had Lock Laces in his shoes and he had tucked the end under the laces near his toe.  Perfect!  No bouncing!  I used that method for the indoor tri and it was perfect.  No trouble at all.

I was worried that because the laces are elastic, they would somehow overtighten my shoes.  I sometimes have trouble with shoes being laced too tightly and causing pain in my feet, and I had nothing to worry about.  No problems at all.  And if they do feel tight, I can just loosen the lock a bit.  Easy peasy.

Right now, I just have a pair in my main running shoes, but I’m about to break in a new pair of running shoes and I plan to put a set of Lock Laces in those as well.


Lock Laces sent me three packs of laces to review, but since I already own a pair (actually, I think I have a total of six pairs floating around my house), I’m using all three as giveaways.  That’s right, three of you can win a pair of Lock Laces!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Liebster Award

Becca recently nominated me for a Liebster Award, and then I got a nomination from Everyday Girl too!!  Thanks, ladies!!


The Liebster Award is one that is passed on from blogger to blogger and is meant for smaller blogs. There are no judges, no scoring, you just answer the questions and nominate some of you favorite small bloggers to participate! The Liebster Award is also a method to also discover new smaller blogs to follow.

I did some research to see where the award originated, and it seems it’s been around since 2010, but I can’t find the original post.  Either way, it’s a great way to find new small bloggers (the rule is under 200 followers, but how in the world are you supposed to figure that one out)?

The 11 questions Becca wants me to answer

  1. Are you a morning person or a night person?  I used to say night, but since I’ve transitioned my schedule to allow for morning workouts, I’m more of a morning person.  I hate getting up, but love getting stuff done early in the day.  It’s nice to have everything accomplished by early afternoon.
  2. If you could make any type of burrito, what would you put on it? Cheese.  And it would be filled with cheese too.  With a side of cheese.
  3. If you could have any job what would it be? You know, that’s a good question.  My dream job has always been to do something I love while making a difference and also making enough money to live comfortably.
  4. What is your dream vacation? When’s the last time I vacationed without a race?  Maybe something without a race… except that I really love races.  Basically, I think I would love some sort of relaxing retreat, spa style.
  5. What is your biggest pet peeve?  People who always have to one up you.  So annoying!
  6. Dog person or cat person?  Both?  I have cats, but that’s only because I can’t afford a dog.
  7. What is the one dessert that you will always indulge in if you have the opportunity to eat it?  Real vanilla ice cream.
  8. What is the best book that you have read recently?  Oooh, a perfect time to promote a friend!  My friend Caela just got her first YA novel published.  Me, Him, Them, and It.  It’s not my usual genre, but within a few chapters,  I was sucked in.
  9. What was your favorite childhood toy?  I had a Cabbage Patch Doll named Kit Cora. I wonder what happened to her.
  10. Desktop computer or laptop?  Laptop.  I don’t do well being tied down.
  11. What is your favorite color?  Either blue or emerald green.

And here are Everyday Girl’s 10 questions

  1. What is your favorite book or movie? Mary Poppins for the movie.  Choosing a favorite book is hard.  Probably A Wrinkle in Time.
  2. Do your friends and family know you blog or are you anonymous? I’m not anonymous, but I don’t think many of my family members read my blog.  I know my friends do.
  3. Where would you like to be in 5 years time? I have no idea.  Happy and healthy, I guess.
  4. What is your favorite blog? Come on, that’s like asking a mom to pick her favorite child.  It can’t be done.
  5. Name one thing you have always been good at? Music
  6. What do you do to relieve stress? Running helps, as does a long hot bath with a movie on the computer.
  7. What is your favorite color?  Blue or Emerald Green
  8. Do you have a bucket list? Nope.  What I want to do with my life changes pretty regularly, so things that I thought I wanted to do are things I no longer do.
  9. If you could describe one word to describe yourself, what would it be? Cheerful
  10. Do you have a favorite quote, what is it? “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

11 Random Facts About Me

  1. I have a slight obsession with post-apocalyptic novels, particularly of the young adult variety.
  2. I used to want to be a professional musician.  Then I realized I wanted to be able to support myself.
  3. I have sung the national anthem at large sporting events.
  4. I have a tea cabinet that has gotten a bit ridiculous in its variety.

11 Questions For My Nominees

  1. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  2. Tell me about your dream pet.
  3. What’s your favorite holiday?
  4. Where do you see yourself in five years?
  5. What was the best gift you ever received?
  6. What three books would you take to a desert island?
  7. In addition to those books, what five things would you take to a desert island?
  8. What’s your favorite movie?
  9. Do you have any weird hobbies?
  10. What got you started blogging?
  11. Sweet or savory?

My 11 Nominees!

Like I said, I don’t know if these all fit the “under 200 followers” rule, but I like these people and wanted to share them with you!  Trying to highlight people I’ve not highlighted before.  In no particular order:

  1. Aunt on the Run
  2. Running Through The Castle
  3. Coffee With Sabrina
  4. Run Cavegirl Run
  5. Running Random
  6. Sarahnaut
  7. R is for Running
  8. Suzanne Ran!
  9. One (Officially) Goofy Mother Runner
  10. The [Foster] Moms Must Be Crazy (not a running blog, but two awesome people)
  11. Lisa Runs for Cupcakes

My Food Beliefs


I’ve talked before about how my diet isn’t perfect, but having read so many posts about whole foods and gluten free and all natural, I thought I’d put in my thoughts.

I believe in everything in moderation. Okay, maybe not everything, since I have no desire to eat Rocky Mountain Oysters or tongue or any sort of organ meat. Or head cheese. But it’s not because I have some sort of moral or ethical objection to these foods. I just think they sound kind of gross. But hey, if you want to eat them, that’s cool.

The only things I really try to avoid are things like 100 calorie snack packs. If I want a cookie, I should eat a cookie, not 100 calories of chemicals that won’t satisfy my cookie craving. Same with the super low-cal yogurts with artificial sweeteners. If I want yogurt, I should have all the good ingredients as well as the calories that go along with them. In general, I avoid certain artificially sweetened foods, but that’s less about health and more about the fact that they give me a stomach ache.

Butter? Bacon? French fries? Oreos? Bring ’em on! Maybe just not for every meal because I need to continue to fit into my clothes. But they are definitely an occasional food.

Heck, I even think lard has a place in my diet – it makes the best flaky pie crusts. Of course, I have good pie maybe once a year, so that doesn’t count for much.

I try to make smart choices, but sometimes a girl just wants canned tomato soup and an American Cheese sandwich on white bread or some delicious Kraft Mac and Cheese. It’s comfort food. Do I think these aren’t smart choices? Not at all – I think it’s smart to make them occasional choices. I don’t know about you, but if I tell myself I can’t have a certain food, that’s all I want to eat for every meal.

I really wonder about this whole gluten-free phase that’s going around. So many people say “Man, I stopped eating gluten, and now I feel better.” 9 times out of 10, I ask more probing questions and it turns out that people have eliminated a lot of the crap from their diets, and that’s why they feel better. Do I think some people have seen a positive effect? Sure. And I think it’s awesome for people who truly do have Celiac Disease – now they can get gluten free products at just about any store and people in restaurants don’t stare at them when they say they have to eat gluten free. But I have to wonder if it’s just a fad. And I wonder what will be the next big bad in our diets.

But for now, everything in moderation. I try to eat fewer chemicals, more vegetables and fruits, and make sure to take my vitamins every day. But you better believe that after a good half marathon, I’m going to be tucking into some pancakes and bacon. Yum.

photo credit: neil conway via photopin cc

Race Report – Lifetime Fitness Indoor Tri

Okay, so it wasn’t really a race.  But there is a results page, so it counts.  Plus I learned a lot.


So backing up.  A few weeks ago, Laura mentioned to me that her gym was doing an indoor tri and asked if I wanted to join her.  For $30, it seemed like an interesting idea.  A good way to test out doing all three sports in a short period of time.  Sure, it doesn’t replicate a real triathlon, but at the very least, it sounded like a good workout.

So here’s the setup:

  • Swim – 10 minutes
  • “T1” – 10 minutes
  • Bike – 30 minutes
  • “T2” – 5 minutes
  • Run – 20 minutes

I put the transitions in quotes because it’s nothing like a real transition in an outdoor tri.  The first transition was ten minutes to give you time to change out of swimwear and into run/bike gear.  Laura had a good idea though –  do the tri in my triathlon gear!  I don’t have my Team Fight stuff yet, but I do have a cute outfit from SkirtSports that I will probably use for my tri in June.  So that’s what I did.

I was a little nervous as to how this would go, but I kept telling myself that it was all for fun.  And hey, I got a nice HeadSweats visor out of the deal too.

First, the swim.  I made the traditional newbie mistake and started out too fast.  Considering my heart rate issues, that’s clearly something I shouldn’t do.  I really struggled in the beginning because of it.  Definitely a bad move and something that I have to watch out for next time.  But eventually, things calmed down and I kept swimming.  I got in 15 lengths, or 375 meters.   Not the slowest, but I could have done better.  I liked swimming in my tri gear though.  It’s a bit loose in my midsection, so it spins a bit as I rotate my body, but it really made me feel the rotation, plus if it were tighter, I wouldn’t feel as confident in the bike and run.

Next up, the bike.  We were on spin bikes, which is a new experience for me.  That clearly doesn’t translate into outdoor bike miles, but it was a good strong workout.  Definitely something I need to continue to work on.  The nice thing about outdoor biking is the option to coast on occasion.

Finally, the run.  My gear was still a little wet, and I noticed that it was pulling down a bit, but not visibly so.  Still comfortable though.  And it definitely helped keep me cool.  The downside?  I’m not a sprinter, so 20 minutes of a run isn’t all that great, but I pushed it as much as possible.

Over all, it was a pretty great morning.  I wasn’t great, but I did my best and it has definitely taught me where I need to train over the next few months.

Edited to add:

Results are up!  I wasn’t last!  You get points based on blah blah blah, but I wanted to write down how I did so that for next time, I have something to beat.

Swim lengths: 15 (375 meters)
Bike miles: 18.3 (if only that translated to outdoor miles)
Run miles: 1.65