Massage Envy Spa (Giveaway for 1-hour massage in Cypress, Texas!)

Did you happen to see my Sprint Tri recap post last year? I talked about how a massage helped me prepare for the race. I’ve competed in several triathlons since then, and massages are such a huge benefit to help me prepare and recover from these athletic events.

But I’m learning that massages are really a good thing for me to experience on a more consistent basis. I was reminded recently why I love Massage Envy and how I need to sign up as a member so I can take advantage of the therapeutic benefits (relieve stress, relax muscles and improve range of motion) at a cost so much more wallet-friendly then other spas.

massage envy

The Massage Envy Cypress location off of 290 invited me to see their newly renovated space and treated me to a fabulous hour-long massage. It was incredible. They recently moved a stone’s throw from their previous location into a much bigger facility; a 15-room, 4200-square-foot spa which includes four upgraded spa rooms, two couples’ rooms and a large tranquility room.

When I arrived, I filled out paperwork so my therapist, Jessica, could understand exactly what I needed and wanted to get out of the session. My wellness coordinator, Kathy, asked further questions to be sure I knew all my options. I wanted a deep tissue massage with some stretching. Kathy suggested the Deep Muscle Therapy, warming and cooling thermal products to provide deep muscle pain relief from injuries and chronic conditions or limited mobility due to athletic training, to enhance my experience. 

I was relaxed the minute I walked in, so I didn’t take many photos - but I did get a couple of the tranquility room. Look at that beautiful stone wall.

massage envy

Jessica brought me back almost immediately and the session was amazing. The Deep Muscle Therapy was wonderful and so worth the extra $12.00. She made sure the pressure was comfortable and immediately found the spots on my neck that needed to be worked out and helped stretch my legs and arms. I felt like a million bucks when I was finished and I can’t wait to go back to see Jessica again. I felt like she really cared about my health and both Kathy and Jessica were so helpful and caring…it was like I had my own wellness team!

Massage Envy offers members a great rate of just $59.99 for a monthly massage and additional massages during the month are only $39.99. They also offer Murad Healthy Skin Facials, which I would love to get sometime soon!

Do you leave in the Houston/Cypress area? Want to win a free one-hour massage at Massage Envy to try it out for yourself? Be sure to enter the giveaway! For more information about Massage Envy in Houston, check them out on Facebook!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was given a complimentary massage in order to write a review. No other compensation was received and all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Share

Color Fun Fest 5K - November 1st in Houston (Discount tickets!)

color toss with logo

I love attending local fun runs and have participated in many over the last several years. I can’t believe I haven’t had the opportunity to experience a color run yet. I was going to go to the Color Fun Fest last spring, but the event date conflicted with the kid’s swim team meet, so I couldn’t go.

I am so excited that the Color Fun Fest 5K is coming back to Houston this Fall for a Halloween Edition on November 1st and that they invited me to be their guest to join in on the fun.

My kids participated in two triathlons this summer and Jackson is on his school’s cross country team, so you could say that races are starting to “run” in the family. (I know, I’m terrible. I just couldn’t help it!) So we are all going to do the Color Fun Fest together. The best part is, kids 12 and under participate for FREE!

Since the event is the day after Halloween, costumes are encouraged. They have two runs; a day run at 5:00 p.m. and an evening run at 7:00 p.m.

This is a fun run so it’s not timed. The 3.1 mile course includes:

  1. 5 color stations along the run with thousands of pounds of color to shower runners (made of vibrant food-grade cornstarch that is safe and natural)
  2. High energy music along the course to keep families pumped up
  3. Night run features industrial strength blacklights and visual effects
  4. 2 water stations on the course
  5. A course with enough lighting to safely run at night
  6. Post run celebration with vendors, food and live entertainment

 

Event Details:

November 1, 2021 : 2:00 pm – 10:00 pm. Day Run starts at 5:00 PM / Night Run starts at 7:00 PM. Event concludes at 10:00 p.m.

Sam Houston Race Park – 7575 North Sam Houston Pkwy W, Houston TX 77064

Discounted Tickets:

Join the fun and get your tickets now. Still Living The Dream readers can score tickets for an epic discount….just $20!

Use discount code: LIVINGTHEDREAM when you register here. 

Not in Houston? Color Fun Fest events are happening all over the country. Check them out online for a city and date near you!

I am receiving complimentary tickets to the race on November 1st in return for promotion of the event; however, I’m not receiving any other compensation and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Share

#FitMadeFun - Healthy Lifestyle for Kids with CLIF Kid and LeapFrog LeapBands!

photo (2)

School is back in session and while it’s still hot (really, really hot!) in Houston, the Fall season is really just around the corner.

For the love of pumpkin bread, I heart the Fall! As the holiday season approaches, the temperatures will finally begin to drop which makes for much better outdoor running weather!

The kids and I stayed pretty active over the summer despite the heat. Now that they are getting back into a routine with school, organized sports keeps them busy - but we also try to have fun and keep moving around the house.

Which is why we were really excited to be invited by MomSelect to host a Fit Made Fun party sponsored by LeapFrog and Clif Kid. We received a party kit with free product in order to host the party. To inspire kids to get up and active, LeapFrog coordinated an event in Santa Monica, California, on September 6, 2014, where hundreds of kids and parents joined together to break several Guinness World Records with fitness activities.

We participated at home in Houston and while we probably didn’t break any world records, we had a blast!

Annie showed her friends her new LeapBand - a cool wearable activity tracker that encourages kids to move around throughout the day. Like my FitBit, the LeapBand tracks movement - but it also has several fun games, up to 50 fitness challenges you can take and even virtual pets you can create and rewards you can earn.

LeapBand

Instead of logging steps, you earn jewels which unlock even more fun activities. I really like that you are rewarded for your movement and also that parents can lock the device during certain hours during the school day and/or night so games won’t be a distraction during class or while sleeping  (but it can still be used as a watch and continues to track activity!)

For our Fit Made Fun party, we used the CLIF Kid 60 Minutes of Motion cards, a combination of 25 motion, activity, adventure and game cards, to inspire relay races and other fun activities. My friend Kelly and her kids came dressed for the occasion!

photo (3)

exercise

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends kids have 60 minutes of daily physical activity. This card deck, available to download for free starting September 15, 2021 here, is a fun way for busy families to incorporate physical activity into their daily routines.  Star jumps, crab walks, nutrition tips and choose-your-own adventure prompts are just a few of what you’ll find in the deck.

After our activities, we took a break for a healthy snack including fruit, cheese and crackers, hummus and Clif Kid Zbar Protein Parfaits. We crumbled up the Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter Chocolate and Chocolate Mint flavored bars and the kids used them as toppings on vanilla yogurt. It was a huge hit!

food

We are already fans of Clif Bars for grown-ups. My older son, Jackson, eats one before races and early morning cross-country practice. I always have one before a long run or triathlon. They are easy on my stomach and provide the nutrients I need to keep going.

Clif Kid Zbar Protein are great for kid’s growing bodies with calcium, vitamin D, iron, Zinc and 5g of protein. I also like what they DON’T  have - no partially-hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, synthetic preservatives and artificial flavors.

My kids just like that they taste good!

After we played (even the moms got into some of the hula hooping fun!) we gave away a LeapBand to one of our friends! Annie was so excited to draw the winning ticket and her buddy Michael was even more thrilled to win a LeapBand of his own!

DSC_0201_2014-09-06-11_14_

The LeapBand can be found at stores like Target, Walmart and Toys R Us for just $39.99.

What do you do to help keep your kids active?

How do you track your progress throughout the day/week and what helps keep you motivated to stay active?

I received free products in order to host the LeapFrog and Clif Kid sponsored MommyParty but did not receive any other compensation. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Share

My Triathlon Experience

Tri collage2

Success!

Tanya and I finished the Cypress Sprint Triathlon last Sunday. We’ve been training all summer and crossing that finish line was such a rush…an amazing feeling of accomplishment.

Any time I finish a race, whether it’s a 5K or a marathon (I ran the Hawaii marathon in 1999), I celebrate the fact that I finished. While I always aim to better my time, just being in the race and finishing is the most important thing to me.

This is especially true with triathlons. With three different events combined in one, it’s the chance to exercise many muscles and mental strength. I love the challenge! Even though I participated in a Sprint Tri (Towne Lake) for the first time last year over Labor Day, I had my doubts about whether or not I would be successful this time. The swim was 550 meters, 150 meters longer than the race I did last year. Plus, I didn’t spend a lot of time running during my nine-month work contract from September 2013 (right after my first triathlon) to June 2014. I did cycle a bit in the spring (Ed and I trained for the Houston to Austin MS150 but we didn’t end up participating because the event date conflicted with our trip to Disneyland) but I didn’t exercise much between April and June.

With only a short time to train, I really focused on swimming. It’s my weakest link and the part I fear the most. It took a bit to build my endurance in the water back up. Since I don’t have a strong freestyle stroke, I end up swimming breast stroke for a lot of the race, which is fine but a lot slower than if I was able to do an even freestyle. After we attended the pre-race clinic the weekend before the race, I was more fearful of the open water swim then ever before. I’m not sure why, but I got in the lake and choked. Eye-level with the top of the water, the distance between me and the last buoy seemed an ocean length away and I felt exhausted before I even started.

I spent some more time in the pool the week before the race and while waiting in line for my wave to start, I was nervous, but a little more confident. It helps me when I concentrate on getting to each buoy (this course had one at every 100 meter mark) instead of focusing on the swim finish. I like that it’s the first part of the race so I can get it over with and not spend time worrying for the entire race!

While I had some people lap me from the wave that started after me (waves started every four minutes and there were four waves after mine), I held my own. While people swimming over you can be a little unnerving, knowing what to expect helps calm your fears when it happens!

Cypress_Tri_2014_dss009447 817

I look pretty serious in this picture, but I was very happy that the swim was behind me when I got out of the water. I was concentrating on catching my breath and making up time during transition. I love to cycle and I was gearing up for the ride in my mind already.

Cypress_Tri2014_drB002070 817

After I finished the 14-mile bike ride, I started the last leg of the Tri…the 5K run. I didn’t do any brick workouts this year (i.e. alternating between running and cycling in one work-out) so my legs were like lead. It took me about a mile to work out the heavy filling in my thighs, so I ran a little slower than I normally do. The crowd support was so good at the end of the race, I was inspired to sprint to the finish line even though I was completely spent.

Cypress_Tri2014_bbF001781 817

For me, training for running and triathlon events keeps me focused on staying active everyday. It’s so important for me to have a goal so I can keep motivated and keep moving forward! Since losing a lot of weight two years ago, it’s so important to me to stay as healthy as I can.

I’m already looking forward to my next Sprint Tri! I’ll be working on bricks and swimming to try to improve my time as well as re-focusing on nutrition for overall health.

I highly recommend participating in a Sprint Triathlon. While there are incredible triathletes at these events, the community is very supportive of first-time folks and those, like me, who have a goal to finish the triathlon, not win. There are athletes of every shape and size (although at 4’10” I’m usually one of the shortest!) and ability level. I’m a pretty competitive person, but with triathlons, I truly believe that everyone who finishes is a winner.

There’s a great Tri coming up in Clear Lake that I wish I could attend. The 7th Annual Clear Lake International and Sprint Triathlon is on August 23, 2021 in League City, Texas at South Shore Harbor and Resort. It offers both an International Course with a 1.5K Swim, 28.8 mile bike and 10K run as well as a Sprint Course with a .5K swim, 14 mile bike and 3.4K run.

The Sprint course has a shorter run, great for those who are new to running or not as strong in this area. I love that this event takes you over the Kemah Bridge and provides views of Clear Lake and NASA Space Center. It sounds like so much fun and I’m definitely putting this event on my list for next year! Who knows, by then maybe I’ll be ready to take a stab at the longer course?!

Is participating in a Tri on your bucket list? What are your fitness goals this year? Do you participate in running, cycling or swimming events? Do you have any tips for training? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Thank you to New Creative Media for sponsoring this post and supporting my health and fitness goals. While I was provided compensation, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Share

Why I Run

The other day I had the worst. run. ever.

I started too late in the morning. By the time I hit the road it was already way too humid and hot for me and even though I know better, I also ate before I left so I started cramping right away.

My legs were like lead. Each stride was painful. I even tripped on the sidewalk and almost fell flat on my face.

So I stopped to walk. A lot. And I felt generally bad and I wondered the same thing I get asked a lot by others.

Why do I run?

The simple answer: for exercise. I lost a lot of weight through healthy eating and exercise a couple years ago and I won’t go back to where I was. I just can’t. (I’ve chronicled my weight loss journey on my blog. A good starting point is here.)

But it’s more than that.

I have trouble calling myself a “runner”. Real runners (to me) are fast, fit…they make running look effortless. I don’t “look” like a runner. I’m slow and haven’t ever felt a “runners high”, that kick of endorphins that makes running painless. I’m guess I’m just someone who often goes outside and moves awkwardly in a running like motion!

But I’ve been running all my life.

Starting as an awkward 6th grader in upstate New York, running gave me something to focus on. It wasn’t an expensive sport which was good because we didn’t have much money back then. When I moved to Houston in 8th grade, I continued running on the cross country and track teams, but it never came easy to me and I wasn’t particularly good. Plus - I discovered I had trouble sweating properly to effectively cool my body down, so I struggled with heat exhaustion.

In college and in my early twenties, I stopped running, But after gaining weight in the late 90’s, I started back up again. To get back in shape, I trained to walk a marathon in 1999. I ended up running it.

I ran for awhile after that, but I stopped again. And then a couple of years ago I found myself at the heaviest and unhealthiest point of my life.

So I changed my eating habits and I started from scratch with the help of the Couch to 5K plan. (I can’t speak highly enough about this if you are just getting started!) It was as if I had never run before and I remember literally cussing out loud for the first couple of weeks as I started running for only a minute or two at a time.

But after a month I was able to complete a 5K without stopping and I felt proud. I signed up for several more 5Ks then some 10Ks….even a sprint triathlon last summer!  Running events give me a goal. My goal is always to finish. If I can run faster than I ran the last time, even better. But running a race, for me, is never about winning.

photo-780

Warning: I’m about to get a little sappy - bear with me. I’ve got a point and I’ll get to it quickly…I promise!!

Here’s the deal. I come from a long line of those who run away from problems. My biological left us when I was 7. My step-dad also left many years later.

I don’t run away physically, but mentally. My MO is to shut down when things get tough…too painful to deal with.

Running gives me something to run TO. When I make a goal to complete an event, I run towards meeting that goal. Along the way I have little goals: just make it to that corner, just make it to that stop sign (and in a race in Brenham) just make it to the cow! Running, for me, is extremely mental. Working through something physically challenging and seeing it through to the end…finishing, that’s when I get my reward…my “high”.

I’m  a little frustrated right now because during the last nine months I was on assignment and wasn’t able to run that much. So lately it’s been like starting over. Again.

And it’s hard. But it’s healing.

So while my run the other day was bad, I got up a little earlier the next day and ran again. And I didn’t eat before I left. And I did better.

Why do I run?

Crazily pursue this thing that I know I’ll never really be good at….that will always be a challenge and will never come easy?

I think I run because of just that…because it IS hard. And that I’m blessed with air in my lungs and two legs to move me forward.

I’m not graceful, nor fast - but I’m a runner.

photo-782

Do you run? What keeps you going? 

 

 

Share

Moving Forward Past The Goal

I’m a little nervous.

This weekend I’m signed up to run a 10K. I haven’t been running as much as I should and I haven’t been watching my diet as closely as I should. It’s so easy to become misguided when there’s a great Mexican food restaurant on every block and a new gourmet cupcake bakery pops up daily!

So Monday morning I laced up my running shoes and forced myself to hit the track. My music on my phone wasn’t working and I was mad. I was mad that I hadn’t been working harder and now I was going to have to run in silence.

With all that silence comes reflection and the conversation with myself wasn’t all that positive.

 IMG_3843

“Why don’t you have more will power? Why do you still struggle with making good choices with food? Is it always going to be so challenging? Will I ever get ‘good’ at this? Will I ruin everything I’ve worked so hard for?”

There comes a time after you get to your “goal” when people stop telling you that you are doing a good job and that you look good. I knew it was coming and I knew it was going to be hard. Because comments like those gave me strength to do well….to continue working hard.

And I wonder, no I actually worry… do I have what it takes to keep this up - by myself?

I know I have to. I know it’s up to me whether I sink or swim. But there’s that girl that’s still 55 pounds heavier inside me and she says, “you CAN’T do it Jenn, so just stop trying…just GIVE UP.”

And when I hear her I know two things for sure:

1. I don’t want to be that girl again

2. This will be an on-going journey for me. I will struggle, sometimes more than other times, but I will have to work hard at this. For. Ever.

So running on the track Monday I worried that I wasn’t going to be ready for the 10K on Saturday. I thought maybe I would just run the 5K with my family and that would be ok.

But then when I finished one lap, I told myself that surely I could run two. And when I hit two, I told myself that I was almost at three. And then three laps turned into 4 1/2 miles. It wasn’t pretty….but I did it. And If I ran 4 1/2 miles on a track without music or people around to motivate me, that it’s possible that on Saturday I could run two more miles. It’s possible and that’s progress.

And while I was stretching afterwards…I realized that I needed to tell the heavier me who thinks I can’t do it to shut the hell up. That today I did it and maybe I will tomorrow, too. And I’m going to have to take it day by day like that for awhile. Because while I haven’t gained any weight on the scale, I don’t feel as strong as I did - so I need to rededicate myself to this journey.

And I’ve got today, this moment, to make a good decision. And then I go on from there.

I said my mantra several times on the track. I’ve got to remember to say it at other times too.

Be Brave. Be fierce. Believe.

Believe. Because I have to continue on this journey for me and my health and my future.

I can’t go back. I just. can’t.

Do you struggle with weight issues? Have you met a goal and regressed? What do you do when the positive comments stop coming from others and your forced with just the thoughts you’ve got running a muck in your own head and they aren’t particularly positive? 

Share

Working Out With Ellie; Fashionable Fitness Clothing (Reader Discount!)

Meet Ellie, my friend in fitness.

If you’ve followed me during my weight loss journey and road to overall better health, you know that I’ve developed quite an addiction to fashionable yet often expensive athletic clothes. New and fun workout clothes make going to the gym or hitting the track more fun for me. Luckily, Ellie is helping me satisfy my need to grow my workout wear closet without breaking the bank!

Ellie is the new pvbody, an online subscription women’s athletic clothing company that provides high-quality fitness wear at an affordable price. With quality compared to Lululemon and other designer brands, Ellie gives customer attractive activewear options that are a little more cost-friendly!

Remember my review of pvbody back in December?

The biggest changes made to the company since they recently became Ellie:

  1. They now have their own line of fitness/workout wear with designers who are constantly inspired by the latest fashion trends from the runway to the gym.
  2. You can now select which items you want from the monthly look book (with pvbody you were automatically sent two pieces based on your style and size profile from different companies.)

Now that they only ship their own line and manage the whole process from product design and development to fulfillment, they never have to worry about waiting for inventory to come in, not having enough stock or the quality not being good enough.



Here’s the skinny:

You can shop any individual piece you want on Ellie.com. or subscribe to become a Fit Fashionista Club and choose any two pieces (at any price!) for just $49.95 per month. Every month, Ellie will launch a brand new, 24-piece collection, which includes 16 tops and 8 bottoms. As a club member you choose your pieces (two tops, two bottoms or a top and a bottom) 10 days before they release them to the public and they are shipped directly to your door…for free! If you decide not to make a selection, Ellie will pick two pieces out for you based on your unique profile and size.

The best part? If you don’t like it or it doesn’t fit, no worries….Ellie allows exchanges and returns and shipping both ways is free!

Really, there’s no risk to becoming a club member because there’s no shipping fees for purchases, exchanges or returns and you can always choose to skip a month if (gasp!) you can’t find something you want from the selection that month. And members also have exclusive access to specially designed pieces only available to club members.

Check out the outfit I got from their February look book. The top is the Vixen. It has white sport mesh draping over a double lined dark blue bra. It is very comfortable and perfect for workouts in the hot, Houston weather.

Look at the cool back!

I really like this tank and I can tell it’s a great piece by the stitching and quality of material but the sides come down a little more than I’d like (showing a bit more skin on the side then I’d like!) While the style is meant to show a little skin, I think it’s just a bit big and why I’m a little uncomfortable. I just called Ellie and I’m going to try a smaller size. If that doesn’t work, I’ll exchange it for totally different top. I won’t pay for shipping and they will keep helping me until I feel totally comfortable and happy. They are awesome like that!

The pants are the Kiss Me Capris. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the double waistband with mesh overlay that hits my waist just right and keeps everything in place (very slimming) with a pretty pink accent on the top. They look cool and are so, so comfortable. I can’t wait to wear these to Jazzercise tomorrow morning!

EllieTex fabric that promises to be as soft as cotton and washer and dryer safe. The light-weight material is pre-shrunk and moisture-wicking. For those prepared to sweat, pieces in the EllieProTex line are also antibacterial. EllieDryFlex pieces take it up a notch with added UV protection and a Micropoly/Lycra blend provides total coverage. They also carry items that are good for pre and post workout in their EllieSoftex and EllieSilktreme lines.

Growing pains:

Right before and during the transition, some pvbody/Ellie members experienced frustration with long shipping times and the inability to get in touch with customer service representatives in order to rectify their orders. With a brand new website up and running, a 12-person customer service team that works between 7am and 10pm everyday (M-F) and  a shipping team of 15 that works around the clock… items are going out within hours of being placed and arrive at your door in the same, cool pink package I loved receiving when they were pvbody.

Happy mail

Reader Discount!

So what do you think? Are you a fitness fanatic that likes to look good while getting healthy? Then I’ve got a great for you! Still Living The Dream readers will Save 20% on Ellie! 

When you get your fabulous clothes and your friends want to know where to get them….be sure to send them to Still Living The Dream so they can score a discount, too! You can also go to the sidebar on the right and click on the Ellie button there for easy access! Be sure to follow Ellie on facebook as well! They offer great tips, recipes and other fun information related to fitness and health.

Disclosure: I was provided a complimentary outfit to review for this post. No other compensation was received; however, I am now a proud affiliate with Ellie which means that I get a little cash when someone from my site joins the club. I never recommend products I don’t use myself and I am paying Fit Fashionista Club member myself!

 

Share