Friday’s Featured Female – Smitha@RunningWithSDMom

Welcome to Friday’s Featured Female!

Friday's Featured Female, #FFF

This weekly series features inspirational stories from admirable women.  IMHO, it’s always good to be reminded of how strength, determination, hard work, heart and ingenuity can impact the quality of one’s life and I’m proud that these women will allow me to share their stories here.

It’s been a short while since I’ve been regular with featuring wonderful females in the world and today I’m very happy to be featuring Smitha@RunningWithSDMom.

Smitha has only been blogging for a year but she has already made quite an impression in the health/wellness blogging sphere.  Her passion for running, family and her work (professionally, as a blogger and as a community builder) all emanate from her pages.  Smitha is one of those bloggers that I haven’t met but know I’d like.  The positive attitude that comes from everything that I read from Smitha is infectious and inspiring because there’s passion in everything that this woman does.  I hope to meet this lady in person soon but until that time……

Haaaave you met Smitha?

I am so honored to be guest posting on Melissa’s blog today!  Someone who loves Duran Duran MORE than me?  Can’t even!  Rio is my favorite song ever!

runningwithSDmom, running, san diego, epilepsy

My name is Smitha and I blog at Running with SD Mom.  But first, a little bit about me as a woman.  I am a wife to SD Dad and a mom to S & D.  Most people don’t know that my blog name is not just a tribute to my favorite city in the world but also to my babies, S & D!  I am also a full time attorney.
Smitha, running with SD mom
smitha, kids
When S was 18 months old, she was diagnosed with epilepsy.  To say that this one event completely changed my life is an understatement.  S being diagnosed with epilepsy made me realize that no matter what happens in this world, my kids depend on me to be their parent and protect them as much as I can.  I have to be their advocate and their voice.  Now, almost 4 years later, S is the bravest, happiest, smartest girl I know.  She bugs her brother and he just adores her.  Well, that is when he feels like it.  We have been thru a lot over the years.  Medicine changes, hospital stays, ambulance rides, blood draws.  Enough to rob any person of their sanity.
smithaepilepsy2
So now, we get to the running.  Running has saved my life.  I used to think I started running because I wanted to run away from everything in my life.  Instead, I realize I run to shed the negativity and the pessimism.  Each run for me, difficult or easy, hilly or flat, is cathartic.  I literally sweat the stress away.  And I come home at the end of the day feeling like a better mother and a better wife but most of all, a better self!
smithafinish
For better or for worse, Epilepsy is my cause.  I didn’t choose it, it chose me.  I truly believe that God doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle.  So when I was given a daughter with epilepsy, I realized that I have the power to do something about this disease.  Here are some facts about this disease:
  • 1 in 26 Americans will develop epilepsy in their lifetime.
  • Each year at least 200,000 people are diagnosed with epilepsy.
  • Epilepsy effects more people than multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and Parkinson’s combined – yet receives fewer federal dollars per patient than each of these.
smithaepilepsy1
 
I am not the type to sit back and just let this disease happen to someone I love.  I decided to take an active role in helping the Epilepsy Foundation of San Diego County help people like Serena.  I started Team Serena’s Crusaders to help raise money and awareness for this disease.  Over the last 3 years, I have raised over $20,000.00 for the Foundation.  And I am asking you to check out the website and see if you would like to join our team or donate today!  I have a goal of $10,000 this year and the 5K is only a few days away.  Please help us get to our goal!
 
In the meantime, check out the Blog.  I have lots of fun giveaways and I do a link up every Wednesday and we get over 45 prizes to giveaway each week!  Check it out here.  
 
Thank you for reading!  
To connect further with Smitha, you can read her blog, connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.   Consider donating to Team Serena’s Crusaders today.

8 Is Great

I’m certain that every single parent on earth would agree to the words, “the days are long but the years are short” when it comes to watching their children grow up.  Today my little boy is 8.  I’m still in disbelief that nearly 8 years have passed since this photo was taken.

BirthAnnouncement

 

It seems like both a long time ago and just yesterday that I was in the haze of having an infant, a toddler, a preschooler and then an elementary school aged child.  8 seems so much not like a little kid and yet, not like a true big kid either.  While I don’t often write about parenting or my child, I do take the time every year to celebrate the little boy who truly changed my life for good.

My little Wild Boy has changed a lot in one year.  It’s amazing how many things can happen in just 365 days.

These are just some of the highlights from the past year:

  • The transition from 2nd to 3rd grade was an easy one.  Being in a class with great friends has been pretty fabulous.  Academics are relatively easy for you.  You excel in math and reading.
  • The two front teeth came out and grew back in nearly as quickly as they fell out.  The Tooth Fairy was generous and wrote some pretty nice notes.
  • This was the year when popular music became important – John Newman’s “Love Me Again”, Fall Out Boy’s “Centuries”, “Turn Down For What” and anything by Maroon 5 became favorites.  You even developed your own appreciation for Duran Duran – you love “Hold Back The Rain” and “Ordinary World” most of all.
  • The devotion to sports still continues to astound.  Waking up every morning to check scores, standings and getting the chance to watch any and every sport is what’s most important right now.
  • A blue belt was achieved in Hap Kido (which was the goal of 2014) but a hiatus was taken to accommodate the soccer/basketball season and then the baseball season.
  • Baseball tryouts went well this season with a move up to the league that required try-outs.  It was a proud moment to learn that  you were one of the youngest accepted to the American League in the Little League district.
  • Ladies Love Cool Wild Boy – the first secret admirer left you a note and a special bracelet.  We figured out who she was by her handwriting but your heart still remained with a special girl in NYC.
  • A tie at the Jog-A-Thon – last year you and your buddy won the school Jog-A-Thon for your grade and this year, you and the same friend ran the JAT together to come in 2nd place.  It made many people smile to see how hard you both worked and that you wanted to do this race together.
  • Image and hair became very important this year.  Currently Shaun White clothing from Target is cool and hair often styled and a bit on the long side for flipping ability.
  • This was the year that a request was made to make drop off at the school gate (not the class line) and hand holding when crossing the street is now a definite no-no.

My Wild Boy remains a headstrong, confident, sweet, smart, handsome and fun child.  There are times that parenting such a child is difficult but it is also quite wonderful.

Family1month

In this photo Wild Boy is 1 month old, Griffin is nearly 2 years old and Jay is 37.

 

I’m lucky to have a kid that challenges me not only as a parent but as a human being.  I’ve learned more about people, myself and the world at large from being a parent.  I like the person that I’ve become from being a parent and I can only hope that my child likes the person from whom he comes as well.

To read what the previous year’s recaps:  Here’s Lucky 7 and 6 is 1/3 of the Way To Being An Adult.

The Tuesday Tune-Up: Sweet Surprises

Tuesday Tune Up, Weekly Check In, Food, Fitness, Family, Duran Duran

 

Hey there!  How are you?  What’s been going on?

The Tuesday Tune-Up is where we can have a weekly virtual coffee date and catch up a bit.

Yes, I’m still on the Simon Le Bon high from nearly two weeks ago but I’ve also been battling a stomach bug of some sort so there’s that….

Food, Tuesday Tune-Up

Eating is not much fun when your stomach doesn’t want to cooperate.  It’s strange because I’m feel hungry but no matter what I eat, my intestines aren’t very happy.  This has been going on since Thursday and it’s absolutely not fun.

I’ve had to forgo My Pretty Healthy Breakfasts that I mentioned on Friday because fruit isn’t welcomed by my body right now.  I did stop over at Lavender & Honey with the family over the weekend and even though I shouldn’t have had the Lavender and Honey Goat Cheese toast with a Honeybee Latte, I did (well, half of the latte).  Look at it.  It’s delicious.  Wouldn’t you want some?

Lavender and Honey, toast, Honeybee latte

Fitness, FitFluential, SweatPink, BurnThis, Tuesday Tune-UP

This past week it was relatively cool for Los Angeles (60’s) so of course I started SpineHab, my outdoor water rehab class.  The water was 95 degrees so it wasn’t really too bad.  We are a class of four people (I’m the youngest by at least 20 years) and the class is led by a Physical Therapist.

water therapy, SpineHab. Rose Bowl Aquatic Center

Even with Pilates Physical Therapy 2x/week and exercises at home, I was very surprised that basic full core exercises in the water would be so challenging?  I guess that’s what you get when you’re recovering from an injury!

 

 

A Healthy U Conference, NYC, wellness, women

There I am 3rd from the left!  Image: ahealthyuconference.com

By the way, if you’re located in or near NYC, I hope you’ll consider attending the A Healthy U Conference brought to you by Kimberly@ManifestYourself, Schnelle@BrooklynActiveMama and Cassandre@LosingInTheCity.  I was lucky enough to speak at last year’s event and a fabulous time was had by all!

AHealthyUConference

Family

It was a relatively relaxed week and weekend in our house.  We actually even went to a mall.  For transplanted Brooklynites, a mall is still a novelty.  The one we went to had indoor and outdoor shops so it was nice to take in the good weather.

It’s rare but we all bought clothing during our mall outing – Wild Boy at H&M, Jay at Lucky Brand and I was the most surprised to find that Express had Skinny Cargo Ankle Pants that are cropped for the everyday person that wound up fitting this petite person perfectly at full length!

Express Cargo Pants, Petite clothing

Shopping is never easy for me and I’m thrilled that I found a stylish pair of pants that I don’t need to alter!

The in-laws are coming to town to help celebrate Wild Boy’s birthday this Thursday.  It’s going to be a busy week but it’s always good to have family in town.

Duran Duran, music, 80's music, New Wave, Tuesday Tune-Up

Did you hear the call-in to the Kid Kraddick radio show that Simon Le Bon did this week?  If you haven’t heard it,  listen here –  you can definitely hear the co-host freaking out that her idol was calling in to wish her a happy birthday.  Simon also confirmed that #PressureOff will definitely be released in May.  The Duran fans are poised and ready, I’d say.

On a music related note, I have to admit that it’s been very hard for me to listen to music lately without it depressing me.  Music makes me want to run or be active in some way, shape or form and the fact that I’m injured is sucking right now.  It’s as if the universe is allowing me to hear a running playlist but just not letting me actually do the running.  It’s very frustrating!  Injury rehab never allows strength to be gained fast enough, right?

In the meantime, I’m mentally preparing my running playlist for when I’m healed.

 So that’s a summary of what’s been going on in my world this week.

What’s been your tune of choice lately?

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Disclosure:  This is not a sponsored post.  Sometimes I just like to name check brands that I really like because a good find is worth sharing.  All links in this post are not affiliate links.

5 Steps to a Healthy Breakfast

I heart breakfast.  I really do.  I could eat breakfast for every meal.  We all go through ruts of eating but lately I was inspired by Ksenia@BreakfastCriminals to make my breakfast more visually appealing.  Presentation is half of the experience of eating.   In just 5 simple steps, you can have something nice to look at and healthy to eat in the morning.  It really is a nice way to start the day!

Welcome to Friday’s High Five: Yum Edition!

 

Friday's High Five

5 Steps to A Pretty Healthy Breakfast

1.  Choose a special bowl – something you normally “save” for “company”.

This 7-Inch Ceramic Heart Shaped Fruit / Cereal Bowl, Red* by Breakfast Criminals was a birthday gift that I bought for myself recently.  A girl born on Valentine’s Day with a blog called thevalentineRD.com needs a bowl like this:

Breakfast Criminals, bowl, heart bowl, smoothie bowl

 

2.  Add something crunchy to the bottom of the bowl.

We are not a cold cereal heavy household.  I do like granola but find it’s more calorically dense than I’d like for the portion size.  However, the few cereals I’m enjoying right now include Kashi Go Lean Crunch and Love Grown Foods Power O’s (made from beans and they come in flavors like Original, Honey and Chocolate).

Breakfast Criminals, Cereal, Love Grown Foods, Kashi

3.  Layer the bottom of the bowl with a creamy substance of your choice.

Lately, my go-to is Siggi’s Yogurt.  Honey Chobani has been harder and harder to find in my neighborhood lately.  You could anything as a bottom layer –  oatmeal, quinoa, cottage cheese, fruit or vegetable puree, a milk of your choice, pancake, egg whites or even peanut butter.  Whatever suits your fancy can work.

Breakfast Criminals, breakfast, delicious, healthy

 

I’m dying to try Pitaya Plus Dragon Fruit Puree (I loooooove dragon fruit) but haven’t hauled myself over to the local Whole Foods to get some (online packs through the website start at $39.99 and honestly, that’s a bit pricey for me).  Maybe once the yogurt route gets boring, I’ll branch out.

4.  Bring on the fruit!

Living in California means delicious fresh fruit year round.  I’m partial to mangoes, strawberries, bananas, blueberries and raspberries but any fruit you choose makes your breakfast your own.

Breakfast Criminals, breakfast, healthy

 

5.  Top your creation with something special.

A Pretty Healthy Breakfast

Here’s where I add the flair.  Sometimes I add chia seeds or cashews but for the past few weeks the toppings of choice have been Navitas Naturals Organic Raw Maca Powder, 4 Ounce* and chocolate dusted almonds.

I’ve trying out the Peruvian superfood Maca Powder due to it’s proposed benefits of being vitamin rich, increased energy and help with mood swings and female hormone balance.  The almonds add some vitamins, minerals, a bit of fiber, healthy fat and hello, chocolate!

Voila!  A Pretty Healthy Breakfast is served.

What’s your favorite breakfast right now?

Disclaimer:  This post is not sponsored but does include Amazon Affiliate links (noted by an asterisk).  The brands name checked in this post are mentioned because I truly like them.

Review of CEP Compression Socks and Calf Sleeves

If you’re a runner, you’ve at least seen or heard about compression socks.  Compression wear claims to support and stabilize your muscles and joints and promote efficient blood flow before, during and after a race and they’re also pretty stylish to boot!  There are many brands of compression wear out there but if CEP Compression is good enough for the amazing Meb Keflezigi, then they were certainly good enough for me for me to try!

CEP Compression, CEP Run Sock 2.0, running gear

CEP sent me some of their products to try sometime ago but it’s taken me longer than expected to share this review due to my injury.  Any runner would agree that few things are more depressing than writing about running when you can’t actually run.

CEP Compression socks, Josie, Josie's Ordinary World, Hard Rock Cafe

Wendy, Josie and Me in my CEP Run Sock 2.0’s at the Run Hard Rock Cafe 5K 2014.

Since I’m back on the mend (and there are a few races in my future), now seems like a great time to share my thoughts on CEP compression socks and calf sleeves.

When it comes to running, it doesn’t matter whether you’re fast (I’m not) or run long distances (I can’t), runners (all runners) like accessories.  I have a ton of accessories (hats, glasses, fuel belts, my Duran Duran Momentum Foot Notes on my sneakers) but none that are really specifically geared to help the muscles and joint of my legs (other than shoes, of course).

As a petite girl with large calves, it was fabulous to find out that CEP Compression Run Socks and Sleeves products are not one size fits all – they’re based on gender and then calf size.

To measure your calf and choose the correct CEP Compression product:

Take a string – or a shoelace – around the widest circumference of your calf, mark your circumference on the string and then lay the string alongside a ruler to get your calf measurement.

To choose your appropriate size, see Size Chart under Choose Size here on the CEP Website.

I needed CEP Women’s Progressive+ 2.0 Run Socks* Size III

CEP Compression Socks, compression socks, Run Sock 2.0

and 

CEP Women’s Progressive+ 2.0 Calf Sleeves* Size III

CEP Compression Calf Sleeve, running gear

I like black so it was a no-brainer when I chose the color for my socks and sleeves but for those of you that like a little flair, they come in white, black, red, blue and pink.  The socks and sleeves feel a little bit like a very thick version of the men’s dress socks my father used to wear.  They’re made of 79% polyamide, 21% spandex but are antibacterial, breathable, have odor reducing silver ions within the fabric (my father’s socks definitely had none of these very cool properties).

What I liked best about the socks is that they had an “L” or “R” to designate which foot belonged in what sock/sleeve.  This is important because compression socks take a lot of energy to put on correctly – you do not want to put these socks on and take them off to switch feet!

CEP Compression,

ALERT:  Putting on compression socks is almost a workout in itself!  

You must scrunch the sock down, place the toes of the correct foot into the sock and then and slowly inch the sock up the calf toward the knee.

If you’re female and remember the dance you might have done to put super tight jeans on back in the day, the experience of putting on compression socks might bring you back to that very special time….but it’s worth it.  Remember what it was like when you finally got those jeans on?  You felt great, right?  From the waist down, you felt and looked fabulous – Well, that’s exactly how your legs will feel when you put on a pair of compression socks.

CEP Compression Socks

Believe it or not, there are CEP Compression socks under these nice fitting jeans so I feel doubly fabulous.

Compression socks are a lot of sock.  It took a little getting used to running in them.  Living in California with the mild temperatures, I definitely don’t need something quite so thick.  I’ve worn the full compression socks for a race or two during the colder weather but I find that I like them best when I’m flying on a plane or for recovery.  I’ve worn my Progressive + Run Sock 2.0 for two cross country round trip flights (one after my Reach The Beach experience) and I do feel it helped my body feel closer to normal after a long time of sitting and promoted some recovery after my run.

For the mild weather running that I’ll often do in Southern California, I will definitely utilize the Calf Sleeves 2.0!  You get all of the benefit of compression gear without any sort of sock interference.  If you’re someone who is very loyal to your sock brand (many runners are), with calf sleeves you get to keep your feet happy with the socks they know and love protection but give those hard working legs, a gift they’ll thank you for in the future!

CEP Calf Sleeves

Because I’m a recreational runner who doesn’t really run fast, long or often (these days), I never believed that I would be someone who would benefit from compression wear accessories but I was wrong.  I think because I am a recreational runner who is still working on strength and stamina building that compression socks and sleeves might be just what I need (in addition to a stronger core, good shoes and safe running gait) to get me back in the game and remain strong.  I’m not a fashionista by any stretch of the imagination but I’m also loving the idea of having more running gear to buy too!

CEP Compression has socks, sleeves, recovery, apparel and orthopedic products geared for more than just running.  To learn more about CEP Compression, see their website or connect with them via Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

Disclosure:  I was provided a complimentary pair of Run Sock 2.0 socks and a pair of Calf Sleeves 2.0 by CEP Compression but all opinions expressed here are absolutely my own.  This post contains Amazon Affiliate links designated by “*”.