Finding a Balance

Learning to live a healthy, balanced life.


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BiPro Protein Water Launch VIP Event

I received free BiPro protein water and powder samples. All opinions are my own.

A few weeks ago, BiPro reached out about their new protein waters and I was able to check out their launch event last week at the new U.S. Bank Stadium. The building itself (to me), was kind of meh inside, but in the actual stadium, it’s gorgeous! ALL the natural light and the “newness” is pretty incredible.

The event was held in the Fire Club room, which had a nightclub-ish feel to it and the crowd was mostly fitness industry people.

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After I arrived, I was greeted by the BiPro communications folks and they brought me into the stadium and introduced me to pro runner Jordan Hasay and former pro Minnesota Viking Ben Leber!

I had mentioned in my back and forth with Erin that I was a fan of Jordan’s and she must have mentioned that to her, because Jordan asked if I was the “runner with the blog!” The three of us took a quick photo and talked about everything from recovery (both are fans of the Normatec system), to how much they sleep (Ben can’t function on less than seven hours and Jordan sleeps 10+ a night, plus a nap when she can!), making the NIKE Oregon Project newbies drink Gatorade protein drinks (which, I gathered, taste pretty terrible), cross training (Jordan can dead lift 2x her body weight. No lie. And Ben talked about football players getting more into yoga and pilates), and of course, how BiPro has played a big role in their nutrition and recovery.

It’s no secret that as part of the Nike Oregon Project under the coaching of Alberto Salazar, Jordan’s training is intense. She talked about how after turning pro, she was struggling with recovery after workouts and that she was initially very against the idea of taking a protein supplement of any kind. But after a lot of research and trial and error, she came across BiPro, and it’s made a significant impact on her ability to recover and nail her workouts. (Fun fact: Jordan eats somewhere in the ballpark of 5,000 calories each day and runs 10-12 miles in the morning and another 5-6 in the afternoon — amazing!) Ben also talked about trying numerous protein powders and shakes that were readily available when he was playing in the NFL, but all of them would upset his stomach. He finally found BiPro and started using it regularly after being impressed by its short ingredient list and the fact that it was easy on his stomach. He also talked about cooking with BiPro (pancakes are a favorite) and that his kids like it, too.

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Soon it was time for me to grab a seat and Ali Lucia from WCCO kicked off the panel discussion.

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While I listened to the panel, I sipped on some protein water mocktails that were being passed around (see below for some protein water recipes), and a lemon protein water.

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I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the waters! I like the peach flavor slightly more than the lemon and I love that one bottle has 20g of protein in it! The downside? They’re spendy. As part of the launch, I did notice that BiPro has introductory pricing and a free shipping/free cooler bag offer going on right now.

Quick notes about the other products I tried:

  • LOVE the strawberry protein powder and I don’t normally like strawberry-flavored stuff
  • Also love the chocolate. Because, well, chocolate.
  • Vanilla was my least favorite flavor — the stevia taste really came through.
  • I love that their protein has just a few ingredients and that it’s easy on my stomach
  • Like most protein powders, shakes taste better with almond milk than with water, IMO.

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Your turn to give it a try! Use my code BALANCEVIP for $10 off any order at BiPro!

ProTea = Lemon Lift or Peach Power protein water, 1-2 tsp. instant tea, ice

Protein Refresher = Lemon Lift or Peach Power protein water, sparkling water, ice

Berry Refresher = Lemon Lift or Peach Power protein water, crushed or finely chopped berries, sparking water, ice

Protein Water Shaved Ice = Blend ice cubes made from Lemon Lift or Peach Power protein water


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First run post-half + Title Nine bra review

Disclosure: I received one free sports bra — all opinions are my own.

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Sure, I only went two miles, but I stand by what I said earlier about this bra being life changing! It was comfortable and with the right amount of compression. And the best part? I only had to wear one bra!

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Unfortunately, while the bra was awesome, the run didn’t go the greatest. The pain in my hip that showed up during the half was still there, even after taking a week off from running. After discussing with Coach, we decided to proceed with caution and I made an emergency PT appointment as well. This week, I’ll be focusing on slow and short easy runs and lots of yoga and I’ll be paying close attention to how my hip is feeling. Hopefully I’ll be able to ease into “real” workouts next week.

Don’t forget to RSVP at 612.238.9992 or through Facebook for Title Nine Edina’s Fit Fest taking place this Wednesday and Thursday! (You could probably talk me into going with you because I want to pick up a couple back up bras now that I know how much I love this one.)

Also, there’s still time to enter my Title Nine bra giveaway! I was sick all day yesterday so I’m extending the giveaway by one more day. I’ll pick a winner tomorrow morning. Oh! And you don’t need to be local to enter. And if you’re not near a store, you can use the online bra genie or call 800.342.4448 to chat with a bravangelist. Good luck!


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Title Nine Bravangelists to the rescue + a giveaway!

Disclosure: I received a free bra — all opinions are my own.

It probably goes without saying that a post about sports bras might venture into TMI territory. But I’ll say it anyways: This might venture into TMI territory.

I’ve always felt very lucky that I’ve never had to worry about having a large chest that got in the way of running, playing sports, etc. I’m sure I’ve also taken it for granted at times, but I recently found myself in a new situation: I love my Oiselle bras (they’re comfortable and cute), but now I need to wear two of them when running or a weird combination of one sports bra + a tank with a built in shelf bra. I guess having two back-to-back pregnancies and then nursing Calvin for 10+ months did a number on me.

So when I had the opportunity to attend the Title Nine Fit Fest Media Night to have an expert ‘Bravangelist‘ fit me for a sports bra, I couldn’t wait.

Ahead of the event, our Title Nine contact, Jessica, emailed and asked that we provide our current bra size and I was like “Uhhhh.” To be completely honest, I’m still wearing nursing bras and tanks because all of my old bras fit weird. Jessica assured me that it wasn’t a problem and they’d be able to find me the perfect bra.

After hitting up Tilia for a quick dinner (um, of fries and a lobster roll — the ideal meal before trying on bras in front of other people) courtesy of my bro (it’s fun to sit and harass the chef), I arrived to Title Nine Edina at 50th and France. Julia, the store manager, greeted me by name! Shortly after, Erin, Jessie, Bert, Samara and Anna arrived. So great to meet some of the other bloggers I follow, in person!

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We met Molly, Title Nine’s head Bravangelist (and bra buyer) who fit us each individually. She took a few really quick measurements (and if it matters to you — you can even keep your top on) and brought me a few different options to try on. Easy peasy!

Bloggers + Molly!

Bloggers + Molly!

She told me I was a 32C and in some of the bras that run small, a 32D, so it’s pretty obvious that I’ve likely been wearing the incorrect size for many years. In fact, while the majority of American women wear a 36C bra, most sports bras are made for A or B-cup women.

I tried on the 3-reasons Brooks/Moving Comfort bra (similar to the Moving Comfort best-selling Fiona bra) and the Tech Athena. Both felt very supportive and comfortable, but not quite right.

Yep, 10 months postpartum and my stomach still looks weird

Yep, 10 months postpartum and my stomach still looks weird

The third bra I tried was the one I ended up deciding on — the Fits-to-a-T sports bra, made by Brooks/Moving Comfort. I love everything about this bra — it’s comfortable and extremely supportive and the racerback cut shouldn’t lead to any chafing or rubbing on long runs. OH and the straps are adjustable for just the right fit (with velcro — perfect for a nursing mom).

The winner!

The winner!

What I loved about all of the options I tried was that they were “band and cup”-style, which I’ve never worn before. They felt much more supportive than the typical S, M, L-type bras I’ve always worn in the past. This got me thinking that I don’t think I’ve ever worn the proper sports bra. Ever. In my life.

We also participated in a “bounceathon” in our bras where we tested out how the bras handled jumping rope, bouncing on a ball or hoola hooping. It felt a little awkward, but it was a good way to really put them to the test!

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The best part of all of this? There’s a public Title Nine Fit Fest on Wednesday, June 29 and Thursday, June 30 at Title Nine in Edina! RSVP here to sign up for your personalized bra fit with a Title Nine Bravangelist expert. It’s a super quick process, but seriously life changing. And the staff at the Edina location is super friendly and knowledgeable (btw, good luck with your half marathon, Angela!) and they’ve got a carefully curated selection of awesome clothing and gear in addition to sports bras (for example: they carry Oiselle items, some designed specifically for T9)!

GIVEAWAY TIME!

Enter to win a Title Nine bra of your choice! The giveaway is open to anyone in the U.S. Along with the bra, you’ll get a personalized fitting, either in-store or by-phone, depending on your location.

(Note that if you’re a winner that’s located within driving distance of a Title Nine store you’ll be asked to redeem your prize at the closest/preferred retail location.)

To enter this giveaway, leave a comment below about ANYTHING to do with sports bras! For an additional entry, tweet about the Title Nine Fit Fest using the @TitleNine handle and#T9FitFest hashtag. Then let me know you tweeted, with a separate comment and link to the tweet. Good luck! Enter by the end of the day on Monday and I’ll pick a winner Tuesday morning.

Stay tuned for my full bra review (once I start running again!)


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Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon Training: Week Ten

Monday: REST

20 minute arm toning circuit and some stretching and foam rolling

Tuesday: 5 miles (9:30 pace)

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Wednesday: REST

Did my PT exercises and some pushups and planks.

Thursday: REST

Did this, instead of running:

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(Not pictured: A couple of delicious glasses of wine.)

Friday: 5 miles (9:20 pace)

Got a free pair of Fitsoks and tested out my new Oiselle stride shorts

Got a free pair of Fitsoks and tested out my new Oiselle stride shorts

Even though the forecast called for morning thunderstorms, I woke up to clear skies. I decided to hit up Flapjack Friday again and had a lovely five mile run with Sara! Bummer though, not even a half a mile into the run, I felt a sharp pain shoot through my neck and shoulders. It was uncomfortable through the rest of the run, but it wasn’t until I stopped running that the pain really set in. I’d experienced something like this a few times in the past, moving wrong in the shower, etc. but this was by far the worst pain. So I found a chiropractor with an opening and carefully drove (without being able to turn my head) to his office for an adjustment. I left still in pain, but slightly looser.

I spent the next 24+ hours laying in bed, icing on and off. Thank goodness for J who took the lead on Calvin duties, especially since Calvin is in a “crawl all over mommy” stage.

Saturday: REST (still in a lot of pain)

Much of Saturday was spent in bed, icing on and off, but I did make it to C’s last swimming lesson (he LOVES the water now!), which made me decide I NEED to get back in the pool to do some lap swimming again.

Sunday: 11 miles (9:29 pace)

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This was rough, but we powered through! Andrea and I met at Lake Harriet and ran the three lakes. It loosened up quite a bit, but my neck/left shoulder bothered me the entire time. Also, was feeling some soreness in my knees.

I need to find a better water bottle to run with. Any suggestions? Luckily, there are plenty of water stops around this route, but I’d still like to hydrate more regularly on warm days.

After we finished, we hit up the Rose Street Patisserie. I tried their chocolate chip cookie (it was OK, I think this batch was overdone) and an unpictured feta and spinach croissant (YUM).

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I’m getting anxious for race day to get here already! I’m still not setting any goals — if everything falls into place like it did on the day of my 10-mile race, I could be looking at a really solid half, but if it’s like my day on Sunday, it could be a struggle. We will wait and see!

Favorite post-run treat?


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[GIVEAWAY] Getting back into running, post-baby, with the help of Orthology

Disclosure: I received one complimentary tune-up from the folks at Orthology. All opinions are my own.

About eight weeks postpartum, I headed out for my first trial run. I had the same plan as I did during my last postpartum period — start slow, using the Couch to 5K approach. I completed the first workout, but it didn’t feel right. I knew it wouldn’t feel good, heck, I hadn’t run in more than nine months, but something just felt off.

After a couple more attempts at running, I realized that it was my gait that felt off. I was babying my left ankle, the one that I’ve sprained numerous times and that caused my big spill about a year or so ago.

I went to Twitter to see if anyone had recommendations. Twitter did not disappoint. I got tons of recommendations, but was especially intrigued by Orthology. Sara recommended them and their approach seemed really innovative, so I decided to schedule an appointment. Coincidentally, the folks at Orthology reached out around the same time and offered a complimentary tune-up, so I decided to take advantage of that!

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I arrived at my tune-up and was greeted warmly by name. The check in process was smooth — everyone was friendly and I completed my “paperwork” via iPad. Just a couple of minutes later, Drs. Bieta Kia, DPT and Derek Doty, DC, CCSP came to greet me.

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The Orthology Approach to Healing

Orthology uses a team approach to providing care. So both Bieta and Derek went through a ton of questions about my injury history, my physical activity habits, etc. etc. They were extremely thorough, looking at my injury from all angles, and were really understanding about wanting to get healed and back to pain-free running quickly!

For the next hour, they both worked on my ankle, foot, calf muscle and pelvis/hip area. I won’t lie and say it all felt great, but I knew it all served a purpose. They explained everything they were doing and why they were doing it and I kept finding myself saying “that makes total sense!” Orthology’s approach to healing seems so simple when you think about it, you don’t understand why it’s never been done this way before. But it hasn’t. It’s truly unique and cutting edge.

Orthology is all about breaking the “cycle of injury” and getting you back out there and pain free as quickly as possible. Since my first appointment, I’ve been back for one follow up appointment and have another one this afternoon. After each appointment, I left feeling pretty quite awesome already. I’ll be sure to report back with my progress — I got into the Garry Bjorkland half marathon, so I want to get back to 100 percent soon because it’s time to start base building!

Now for the giveaway. Want to give Orthology a try? Leave a comment to be entered to win one of two free 30 minute tune up consultations! The comment can be about anything: tell me about a past or current nagging injury, if you’ve ever done physical therapy, etc. Good luck — I’ll choose a winner end of the day Tuesday 11/10!


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Maven Clinic: a postpartum life saver

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Disclosure: I received one free 20-minute visit with a healthcare provider with Maven. All opinions are my own.

Two things I’ve found to be true about being a new parent (at least for me): 1) it can be hard to get out of the house and 2) you worry/have questions about everything. A recent discovery has helped ease my anxiety — and I didn’t even have to leave the house!

I’m exclusively breastfeeding Calvin and for something that’s supposed to be so natural, man…breastfeeding is hard. Every time I feel like we have the hang out of it, something happens that throws everything off. In the early days, when I was worried about Calvin getting enough to eat (which obvi wasn’t an issue since he’s now 16 (!!) pounds) and things were still pretty painful, I decided I needed to see a lactation consultant (LC). A few things kept me from actually scheduling an appointment: I wasn’t happy with the hospital’s LC, leaving the house for an appointment was stressing me out and having a home visit was expensive. Enter Maven.

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I originally heard about Maven when a friend sent me a promo code for a free visit. I loved the concept and I found the app to be really easy to navigate and enjoyed watching the providers’ video bios. I immediately scheduled an appointment with a LC for that evening — for 8 p.m. a time that would be convenient for us (after dinner, etc).

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At 8 p.m. I got comfy in my bed and opened up the app. My video consultation started shortly with Yosefa, an MD and IBCLC. We went through all of my questions and I finished the appointment feeling much less worried and much more confident.

Since that first video appointment, I’ve had three more appointments with the same LC and I feel like she knows us pretty well now even without ever having been in the same room together at the same time. She helped me through a couple of cases of bad plugged ducts, figure out why Calvin went through a short period where he wasn’t eating well and helped me get comfortable with pumping before returning to work.

I haven’t booked any appointments with any other providers, but there are nutritionists, physical therapists, pediatricians, mental health providers, doulas, etc. Obviously, some health issues require an in-person visit and there are certain things I’d want to see my regular doctor for, but for many things, Maven is a great option!

If you’d like to give it a try for free, use my code O3DHN.


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Finding the Perfect Gift

This post is sponsored by UncommonGoods. I received free product in exchange for writing a review. All opinions are my own.

One of my favorite things in the entire world is buying and giving people gifts. I love the challenge of finding the “perfect” gift and I love when the recipient is just as stoked to receive it as I am to give it.

One of my favorite things to gift are “experiences,” but sometimes, it’s fun to actually be able to wrap something that someone can enjoy right away. I tend to over think gift giving (let’s be honest — I over think everything) so it’s really hard for me to just go to the store and pick something up off of the shelf. This is especially true when it comes to buying gifts for my mom — I usually start my Christmas shopping for her in October because it takes me forEVER to come up with the perfect gifts for her.

My mom is an “on-the-go” kind of lady, so I was looking for something that could complement that part of her life, as well as something that would encourage her to slow down and relax, too. She’s also pretty healthy and walks 2-5 miles almost everyday. (She walks fast, too.) I bought her a FitBit a couple of Christmases ago, so I was at a loss for what I was going to get her for Mother’s Day. Then, as luck would have it, the awesome people at Uncommon Goods reached out and asked if I’d like to review some products they were featuring for Mother’s Day! I jumped at the chance, as I’ve been super curious about UncommonGoods, but hadn’t yet pulled the trigger and ordered anything from there yet. I’ve mostly been drawn to the company because they feature really unique and hand made items and their motto is that they are “created in harmony with the environment and without harm to animals or people.” (LOVE THAT.) About half of the items they carry are hand made and their lowest-paid seasonal worker starts at 50 percent above the minimum wage. They also support the following non-profits:

RAINN – the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help survivors, and ensure that rapists are brought to justice.

American Forests – protects and restores forests worldwide, helping to preserve the health of our planet for the benefit of its inhabitants.

Women for Women International – provides women survivors of war with the tools and resources to move from crisis and poverty to stability and self-suciency.

City Harvest – strives to end hunger in communities throughout New York City through food rescue, distribution, and education.

You can read more about their story and mission here.

So here’s what I picked out for my mom:

Flavor Infuser Water Bottle

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My mom has commented on trying to find ways to make drinking water more exciting, so this really seemed like the perfect gift. I also liked that this bottle is made from glass rather than plastic. It even came with a little booklet with fun recipes!

Luxury Herbal Slippers

My mom goes through slippers like nobody’s business so I thought a new pair would be a nice, practical gift. Then I saw these organic cotton fleece slippers — stuffed with therapeutic flax seed, grains, and fragrant herbs. And you can microwave or freeze them for even more deluxe pampering! They’re super soft and my mom literally said “ahhh” when she put them on.

The cat is very interested, too.

The cat is very interested, too.

I also gifted myself this lovely pregnancy journal:

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The UncommonGoods folks asked me to review the Mother’s Day gift items specifically (click here or here to see their entire collection of gifts for mom), but I came across a TON of great guy gifts as I browsed the site. And guys can be really hard to shop for. I already bookmarked some items to come back to for future gift needs.

My parents live about six hours away, but unfortunately, I was able to give these gifts to my mom in person. Last week, I made an emergency trip to my parents’ house. My dad had a heart attack and needed quadruple bypass surgery. He’s doing really well, but it was incredibly scary — especially since this was his second heart attack. Since I was going to see her in person, I decided to bring her gifts along so I could give them to her early, rather than mail them. She loved them!

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