A Runner's Best Friend {Sponsored}

I'm so glad I've started running again.  It's been several months since I've been out running on a regular basis and I can already feel the benefits of getting out there and hitting the pavement.  My energy level is up, I'm in a better mood, I'm getting more done around the house, and I just feel so much better!  Running is a relatively simple sport and not much gear is necessary, but I just got my hands on my new running BFF:  compression leg sleeves by Zensah from SwimOutlet.com, who is sponsoring this post, btw (thanks, ya'll!!!), but all these opinions are my own, yo.  This post is about running, but SwimOutlet.com carries stuff for all athletes and has an awesome holiday gift guide - go check it out!



Since gaining more weight than I want to admit during my running hiatus, I've been getting really bad shin splints.  This also happened to me summer before last when I was trying to pick up my 5K pace and the splints left me almost unable to walk!!!  It was torture!!!  I looked online for remedies and traded massages with my coworkers, but nothing helped very much.  Until I got my new Zensah compression leg sleeves.  I've been using them for about a week now and they are amazing!

Here's how they work:  the compression from the leg sleeve stabilizes the muscle giving the calf extra support to help prevent injuries.  The compression from the leg sleeve is also graduated - more compression at the bottom and less at the top.  This graduated compression helps improve circulation and that's supposed to help reduce fatigue and improve performance.  Compression sleeves are also supposed to help reduce recovery times between workouts.

To be honest, I was on the fence about some of these selling points.  I had been thinking about getting some compression leg sleeves before teaming up with SwimOutlet.com, but just wasn't sure if they would do all the things they claim to do.  Providing extra support to reduce the chance of injury made sense to me, but the whole improved performance/reduced recovery times seemed a little far fetched to me.  Until I tried them.

Now, I'm not going to claim that they turned me into a marathoner or anything (I still alternate between walking and running), but I can tell you that my runs were noticeably faster, my stride was longer - I actually felt like I was running and not jogging, and I had absolutely no pain at all after my run.  In fact, the next day, my legs felt like I hadn't even been out running the day before, and my legs are always sore the day after a run.  Color me surprised that these things really do help improve performance and reduce recovery.  I'll never run without them again.  Srsly.  If you're a runner or if you want to be a runner, go out and get a pair - NOW!  You'll thank me.

Along with my compression leg sleeves, I also got a new pair of running shorts, a book about running, and two different snacks (these and these).  I love, love, love the new shorts.  For some reason I thought they were going to be basic stretchy cotton shorts, but it turns out they're fancy high tech compression moisture wicking anti-chafing shorts.  Maybe I should've read the product description instead of just looking at the pictures, but it turned out in my favor.  I really needed a new pair of running shorts and these are much nicer than I expected.  Bye-bye chaffed thighs!  I haven't started the book yet or had any of the snacks, but I already know I like the sports beans and am looking forward to trying the waffles.  I'll let you know how they are.

Have you ever been really surprised by a product before?  Tell me about it!
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Sunday Confessions (on Wednesday)

The United States of Becky

I confess I've developed this really annoying habit where I say everything to Jack twice in quick succession.  Like an echo or an annoying parrot:  "Time to pick up your toys, Jack.  Time to pick up your toys, Jack."  "Get your shoes on.  Get your shoes on."  "Did you have fun today?  Did you have fun today?"  "Squak Squak."  I have no idea why I've suddenly started doing this.  It's not like he can't hear or understand me, or that he's not listening and following directions.  And it's driving me crazy.  But I can't seem to stop. SOMEONE HELP ME!!!

I confess I went all Momma Bear this weekend on this slightly older kid that raised his fists at Jack out at the Renaissance Festival.  This older kid was trying to unlock the gate to the demonstration area where Dennis and Jack were working, and Jack pulled his sword glorified letter opener on the kid to defend his territory.  The kid tried to get Jack in trouble (and although we've been teaching Jack not to pull out his sword, I was kinda proud of him for standing his ground and not letting the other kid steam roll him - plus Jack was aiming at this kid's chest and not his face), so I told Jack that he needed to be careful with his sword and to not pull it on anyone.  A few minutes later, the same shitty kid tried to unlock the gate again and Jack stared him down.  In response this kid raised his fists at Jack and I was all ready to fight a 5 year old.  Instead, I put on my you don't fuck with my kid voice and scolded the other boy and he finally went away.  But I totally would've punched a 5 year old if necessary (not really - that's a joke).

I confess I'm a total '90's girl.  Grunge, plaid flannel, combat boots, baby doll dresses, thigh high tights, ripped jeans - I think you get the picture here - that fashion was my jam and I've been waiting for it to come back.  And, no, it doesn't matter that I just turned 35.  I'm rocking the '90s again.  I'm simultaneously super psyched that '90's fashion is finally coming back into style and really pissed off when I see teenagers wearing my signature style.  Like, those bratty teenagers just have no idea (but they look good!).  Now I'm off to go buy some flannel.
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Jamberry Holiday Gift Sets: Winter Wishes, All is Bright, and Snow Angels

Jamberry holiday gift sets, Jamberry nail wraps, nail art, nail polish, holiday gift set, christmas gifts, winter wishes, all is bright, snow angels

The Jamberry Holiday Gift Sets are here, ya'll, and they are A-MA-ZING!!!  I know it's been a little while since I've talked about Jamberry here, but let me tell you, my passion for these nail wraps has not waned and these sets are too good to leave off the blog!  Don't know what a Jamberry is?  Let me tell you!  Jamberry Nail Wraps are salon quality nail art wraps that are heat activated and pressure sealed to the nail bed.  They last for about 2 weeks on fingers and up to 6 weeks on toes and (if removed properly) they won't damage your nails.  Jamberry wraps come in over 300 different designs in both regular and junior sizes, plus you can design your own custom wraps if you want (I know, right?!? So cool!!!).  One sheet of wraps is enough for two manicures and two pedicures with enough left over for accent nails.  Basically, these wraps are the best thing, ever!!!  Jamberry has released three different gift boxes this season, Winter Wishes, All is Bright, and Snow Angels.  And in case you haven't figured it out, I'm a Jamberry Independent Consultant - that's how much I love these things.

First up, I want to show you the Winter Wishes gift set.  The Winter Wishes set includes everything you need for a festive holiday party.  Two regular sized coordinating wraps, a bottle of Ruby nail lacquer, and an exclusive bottle of cranberry scented Nourish hand lotion, plus the basic application tools are included.  This set makes a bold statement with the vibrant ruby lacquer, gold glitter wraps, and clear lace overlay wraps.  This combination will turn heads this holiday season!  And it's only $45 plus tax and shipping!!!
  
Jamberry holiday gift sets, Jamberry nail wraps, nail art, nail polish, holiday gift set, christmas gifts, winter wishes, all is bright, snow angels

Jamberry holiday gift sets, Jamberry nail wraps, nail art, nail polish, holiday gift set, christmas gifts, winter wishes, all is bright, snow angels

Next up is the All is Bright set.  This gorgeous set is perfect for a glamorous holiday party.  Two regular sized coordinating wraps, a bottle of Foiled lacquer, and an exclusive bottle of pear scented Nourish hand lotion, plus the basic application tools are included.  This set is glitzy and glamorous thanks to the metallic foiled lacquer, gold wraps, and clear script overlay wraps.  This combination will make you feel like a million bucks this holiday season!  This one is also only $45 plus tax and shipping!

Jamberry holiday gift sets, Jamberry nail wraps, nail art, nail polish, holiday gift set, christmas gifts, winter wishes, all is bright, snow angels
Jamberry holiday gift sets, Jamberry nail wraps, nail art, nail polish, holiday gift set, christmas gifts, winter wishes, all is bright, snow angels


Last up is the Snow Angels gift set.  Snow Angels is perfect for little girls with an exclusive junior sized wrap and Ice Kissed lacquer, plus the basic application tools.  This set is adorable with snowmen and plaid and is great to wear all winter long.  The Ice Kissed lacquer is the perfect compliment to this set!  This set is only $30 plus tax and shipping!

Jamberry holiday gift sets, Jamberry nail wraps, nail art, nail polish, holiday gift set, christmas gifts, winter wishes, all is bright, snow angels
Jamberry holiday gift sets, Jamberry nail wraps, nail art, nail polish, holiday gift set, christmas gifts, winter wishes, all is bright, snow angels


I'm so excited about these gift sets!  They're stylish, they're festive, they're bold, they're glamorous, they're fun, and they're a great deal.  One gift set costs what just one manicure and pedicure would run you at a nail salon and includes enough wraps for FOUR manicures and FOUR pedicures (not to mention how far one bottle of lacquer will go)!!!  Plus they won't chip or fade like a regular mani/pedi would!  I don't know many ladies that wouldn't love to get one of these sets for Christmas.  So get a head start on your shopping and give a unique and amazing gift!

If you have any questions about these sets or Jamberry in general, leave me a comment here or email me at reinventingjess[at]gmail!  Oh, and let me know which set is your favorite (mine is Winter Wishes).
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Day in the Life, November 1, 2015

Seriously, November already?!?  I just can't believe how fast this year is going by!  I know I always say that, but, man, it seems like time is on fast forward lately.  Jack turned THREE last month (or according to him, "Jack big boy now"), Dennis and I celebrated our 5th Anniversary we're already halfway through the Texas Renaissance Festival (TRF), and the end of the year is right there!!!  Slow down, already!!!

I'm still taking my Day in the Life photos every hour on the first of every month over on Instagram (even though I haven't been blogging them).  It got to be such a hassle to download each picture from my phone (or email them to myself and freak out gmail, then get locked out of my account), upload them to a photo editor (I like PicMonkey {and that's an affiliate link) to watermark them, save them to a folder on my computer, get distracted while writing and editing the post, switching to a different computer where I have no access to my edited pictures, having to wait for Jack to stop watching DinoTrux, finding my groove again, and finally uploading those pics to the blog and writing the damn post.  Then I had an a-ha moment:  I can just embed the f***ing pictures straight from Instagram and save myself literally hours.  FACE. PALM!!!

Anyway, November 1st was quite a busy day for us.  We were all in a post trick-or-treating haze, but had to be up early because I was running the Dia de los Muertos 5K fun run first thing.  Then we had to go back out to TRF because, work.  Jack took an epic nap in the middle of the day (thankfully) and all in all, it was a fantastic day.


A photo posted by Jessica Brogan (@actorjess) on

6:30 am and I'm the only one up


A photo posted by Jessica Brogan (@actorjess) on

7:30 am Jack will only cooperate with the aid of DinoTrux

A video posted by Jessica Brogan (@actorjess) on

8:30 am Enjoying the pre-race entertainment

A photo posted by Jessica Brogan (@actorjess) on

9:30 am Mid-race selfie with Jack

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10:30 am Heading to TRF

A photo posted by Jessica Brogan (@actorjess) on

11:30 am Arriving at the back gate

A photo posted by Jessica Brogan (@actorjess) on

12:30 pm Back in the Jackalope costume - Trick-or Treating Round 2...

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1:30 pm .....and he's asleep

A photo posted by Jessica Brogan (@actorjess) on

2:30 pm Standing watch backstage while Jack naps

A photo posted by Jessica Brogan (@actorjess) on

3:30 pm Nom, nom, nom

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4:30 pm Post-nap snack

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5:30 pm "Jack people watching."

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6:30 pm Jack by candlelight

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7:30 pm Fire Dancers at TRF

A photo posted by Jessica Brogan (@actorjess) on

8:30 pm Post-fireworks fireworks

A video posted by Jessica Brogan (@actorjess) on

9:30 pm Danatee plays the Peruvian straw

I fell asleep in the car on the way home, so there wasn't a 10:30 picture and then we all went straight to bed when we finally got home.  We were all so exhausted!  But in a good way.  I like days that are this busy.

And now that I've figured out how to embed those Instagram pics (and seriously, why did it take me so long to come to figure that out), I can start posting my Day in the Life photos here again!  Yay!  Let me know what you think of the embedded pics - can you see all of them, how fast did the page load, do you like them, etc, etc, etc.
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