Monday, September 8, 2014

Spartan Five Armband Review

Disclosure: Product received at no charge to facilitate my review.

Get ready to roll and get those cycling apps ready.
I use the Spartan Five Armband or biking more than I do for running. What I liked most about it is that it kept my iPhone dry in a rain storm and I did get caught in a storm the first time I used it.
The neoprene sleeve fits tight around the iPhone without fear that it will fall out and also has a waterproof window that really is waterproof. Because it is neoprene, I found that it feels sweaty underneath. I like to use it on top of my sleeve on my cycling jersey.

The adjustable band means I can fit it as snug as I need to and wear it on top of my exercise clothes or on my bare arm. It even works well over a sweatshirt or jacket. It stays in place well. I have never had it "jiggle" down my arm like some of the other armbands I've used. I have used it for running too and it seems to work well. I like that it comes with earbuds. I'm always losing mine or breaking them. I have only used the earbuds running and I like them. While I haven't had it long enough to comment on the durability, I do wonder how long the Velcro strip will last as it is only secured on the ends with stitching but not in the middle. 

While my photo doesn't show my iPhone 5 through the window, the see through vinyl protects my phone well and I can touch the screen through it to start my cycling app.  If you like the snug fit of neoprene, this is a good armband.

Product received at no charge to facilitate review. My opinions are based upon actual experience.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Try Something New: Stand Up Paddleboarding

I sometimes feel like one of the few parents who is sad when summer comes to an end. I hate sending my son back to school. That means we have to buckle down and get back to normal. With our summer days behind us, I can't help but think about all of the fun things we try throughout the summer.

A few years ago, we found an inflatable stand up paddleboard at the end of the season on sale for a good price. Since we would be dragging it to our annual Lake Powell trip, we decided an inflatable one would be easier to pack. While it is easier, it is not one I would take too far away.

In the few years we have had the paddleboard, we have had a great time on it and the inflatable has been surprisingly durable. What I really like about it is that is stable. It was super easy for me, a middle age woman, to learn and I'm not particularly gifted.  Our dogs even feel safe on it and jump on it every time they see us go out.

Stand up paddeboards are also a fun way to burn a few calories. I'm a firm believer that exercise should never feel like work. All it takes is one long paddle and a few strokes at a time alternating on each side propel the board straight through the water. We like buying our sporting goods equipment at the end of each season so we can find better prices. It doesn't matter if it is last year's model or not when we use them to have fun and not to compete.
What are you waiting for? Give stand up paddleboarding a try!

**This post contains affiliate links.**

+LIFEGUARD MINI 1 Portable Charger Review

I hate it when I need my cell phone and it dies.
While I have a car charger, it's rare that I'm in my car when my battery decides to quit on me. Instead, I'm usually running errands and nowhere near an outlet. I've been on the lookout for a portable battery charger that is compact enough to carry in my purse or pocket but powerful enough to give me a full phone charge while I'm running errands or traveling.

The +LIFEGUARD MINI 1 ended up being the perfect portable charger. It is powerful enough to give my phone a full charge and even have a bit leftover for a partial charge until I can get it plugged in again. It charged my phone from 30% to 100% in about two hours or less.  The best part is that it easily fits in my pocket with my phone so I don't have to worry about carrying extra bulk. This works out even better for traveling. When I travel, I don't use a full size purse for security reasons. The +LIFEGUARD MINI 1 also fits easily in my travel wallet with my cell phone in the special phone compartment. No more getting to the airport and not having enough battery power to call my ride.

When it comes to electronics, I am more concerned about function than style but I have to admit, I love the bright pink of the +LIFEGUARD MINI 1. With my teenage son and husband always trying to stake a claim on my electronics, having a pink charger screams that it is not theirs. They can't even pretend like they don't know it belongs to Mom.

At less than $25.00, the price is reasonable and I love that it comes with an Apple compatible lightening charger. I'm always losing mine or leaving them in the hotel, so it's great to have an extra and it does work on my iPhone 5c. While it doesn't come with a charger for other cell phones, it is compatible with many other brands. I also like that the company offers an eighteen month money back warranty. I'll probably lose mine before it dies on me but it's nice to know that the company stands behind its product.

I couldn't find anything about the Lifeguard charger I didn't like.

What I love about the +LIFEGUARD MINI 1
  • Compact - fits in purse or pocket
  • Charges quickly
  • One full plus one partial charge
  • Price
  • Stylish
  • Color
  • Comes with lightening cord
  • 18 month money back guarantee
What I don't like
  • Nothing - I couldn't find anything to improve upon
Product Rating: ★★★★★

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Mountain Biking in Utah: Temple Quarry Trail in Little Cottonwood Canyon

For mountain bike enthusiasts, trails abound along the Wasatch Front. Temple Quarry Trail, a favorite among locals, is easily accessible with close proximity to the nearby Wasatch Front cities. The trailhead sits at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon at a right before the stop sign before turning up the canyon.
A view of the quarry
The Temple Quarry Trail is aptly named after the history that took place there. The granite knocked loose from the nearby cliffs provided the perfect stone for the building of the Salt Lake Temple. In 1862, John Livingston began quarrying the rocks for the temple for the Mormon settlers. In 1872 a railroad was built up the canyon to transport the granite boulders 20 miles to the temple site. Mining and lumbering took place along the trail as well through the early 1900's. Many small towns dotted the trail but have since disappeared, leaving evidence of the once bustling area. For those who want to stop along the way, marks on the rock from the quarrying activities is still evident.

The Little Cottonwood Trail also referred to as Quarry Trail starts on a wide gravel gentle uphill climb. Also a popular hiking trail, be alert for hikers. The Little Cottonwood Trail continues up the canyon for several miles and is the trail bikers follow. Bikers should stay off the paved area of adjacent Temple Quarry Trail that was made wheelchair accessible for all to enjoy.

As the trail climbs it gets rocky and steep in parts. As it follows the Little Cottonwood Creek up the canyon, it is shaded with many different kinds of trees including spruce, maple and oak.

While the trail does narrow in sections, it stays wide enough to pass slower bikers. Be sure to use a bell or call out when passing. The trail sees heavy use as soon as the snow melts and into the fall on weekends and weeknights. The best time to go is in the middle of the day but even then, don't expect to be the only one on a bike.

The trail ends at three and a half miles right across from an old ruin. Do the world a favor and leave the spray paint at home. So sad to see all of the beautiful boulders along the trail tagged with somebody's idea of street art. Careful with the ride down, especially in the gravel.

Little Cottonwood Creek

**Not a sponsored post though post may contain affiliate links**

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 - Where Great Rides Begin

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

MUV Proband Armband Review

Product received at no charge to facilitate my review

Whether I'm running or on my road or mountain bike, I always take my iPhone 5 with me. There are so many apps that keep track of my distance that it has practically eliminated the need for extra gadgets on my bike. However, it is challenging to find an armband that keeps my cell phone safe, is comfortable and will last through continued use. I am happy that I found the MUV Proband Armband

I've gone through a couple of different brands of armbands and MUV stands out as higher quality one. The red stitching is even and tight. I love that the armband has a place for my car key. This comes in handy when I have to drive my car to the mountains and don't want to lose my key on a rugged trail. Since I sweat a lot, I like that the neoprene keeps my phone from getting wet and ruined. The touchscreen protector works well and it's nice not to have to take my phone out of the armband every time I want to look at the screen.

The first time I used the MUV armband, I was impressed that I didn't slip once, even on a rocky mountain bike trail. I usually have to stop and adjust my armband but I never had to with this one. Though I don't usually bike with headphones, I do like the extra holes in the back to use them while running. I also like the reflective border so when I get caught on the road after dark, drivers can see me.

What I like about the MUV Armband

  • Comfortable
  • Fits iPhone 5 safe and snug
  • Waterproof and Sweatproof
  • Soft, high quality velcro
  • Well made
  • Doesn't slip while working out
  • Key holder
  • Soft Neoprene
  • Touch screen protector
What I didn't like about the MUV Armband
  • Felt sweaty underneath
I like way more things that I don't like and would definitely feel comfortable recommending the MUV Armband to my readers.

The MUV Armband can be purchased on Amazon.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Back to School with Harvest Snaps: Review and Giveaway

**Product received at no charge to facilitate review.**

I'm always looking for gluten free snacks I can send with my college age daughter, Kalina, to her place and also snacks that my teenage son will eat. The teenager could care less if his snacks are healthy, as long as they taste good. On the other hand my daughter has so many dietary limitations that she is just happy to find a snack she can eat. Healthy options are usually the only options for her.

The Snapea Crisps and Lentil Snacks by Harvest Snaps gives me products that will work for my entire family. Even better, the Snapea Crisps are made with 70% all-natural peas while the Lentil Snaps are made with 65% authentic lentils. This means that my family will get protein and fiber in every bite.

It felt like Christmas opening our box from Harvest Snacks. So hard to choose which flavor to try first. Since my daughter is lactose intolerant as well as gluten intolerant, she skipped over those made with milk products and went straight for the Tomato Basil Lentil Snaps. It was love at first bite for her. It was all I could do to get her to let me have a few for review purposes. While it was her favorite, I ended up liking the  Lightly Salted Snapea Crips better. The little bit of salt enhanced the pea flavor and I liked the crunch of the snacks. The Lentil Snaps ended up being a hit with both my daughter and husband as they both really liked the Onion Thyme Lentil Snaps.

 My son ended up liking the Casear and Wasabi Ranch Snapea Crisps the best. I have to admit, I liked the flavor the Ceasar the best as well but my moderate case of lactose intolerance kept me from eating more than a few so I stuck with the Ligthly Salted Crisps.

Last to try was the Black Pepper Snapea Crisps. I'm not a big black pepper fan so these were my least favorite. However, the rest of the family liked them. Kalina talked her brother into letting her take them if she would leave the Cesear and Wasabi Ranch ones for him. He gladly obliged, though if he would have read the ingredients, he would have known she couldn't have eaten those two flavors anyway. He felt like he got the best end of the trade so that is all that matters, right?

I'm not one to buy a lot of snack foods but with back to school time upon us, it means we are rushing to eat in between getting out of school and getting to mountain bike practice. Caden has learned that he has to fuel up or he doesn't go very far or fast on his bike. A quick snack and dinner gives him the energy he needs for practice. Thanks Harvest Snacks for making our back to school days easier.

Be sure to visit the Lunchspiration and create your own for a chance to win $1000.

**This post was created in partnership with Harvest Snaps. I have been compensated for this post. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.**

Giveaway Details:

Harvest Snaps is offering my #HarvestSnapsFans a chance to win their own sampler of Harvest Snacks. Use the Rafflecopter form to enter. By entering, you acknowledge you have read the terms on the Rafflecopter form and agree to them. Contest ends 9/15/2014 at 11:59 EST.
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