SKECHERS’ New GOrun Running Shoes: Day 1

SKECHERS GOrun

Yesterday was like Christmas (again) around my house. FedEx showed up with a new pair of kicks from SKECHERS, the brand new GOrun. First off, I want to say thank you to SKECHERS for sending me a pair to review. To say I get excited about new shoes is an understatement.

I wanted to give an immediate review today, but I’ll continue wearing them and report back periodically to let everyone know my thoughts.

Two things struck me the moment I opened the box. First, the color orange. When I initially saw the orange on skechers.com, I thought it was kind of cool in an in-your-face sort of way. I like it so much better in person. I personally think my photo above is a better representation of the true color than what’s on SKECHERS’ site. It’s the perfect tropical orange, and it’s the color of Spring 2012 (so says Pantone). Second, the weight totally caught me off guard. They weigh next to nothing. According to the marketing materials, a woman’s size 6 weighs in at 4.9 ounces. My foot is a little–okay, a lot–bigger. My size 10 shoe weighed in at just 6.45 ounces according to my kitchen scale.

Once I put the GOrun shoes on, I immediately noticed the 4mm heel drop. According to SKECHERS, this drop puts your foot 66% closer to the ground to replicate a barefoot running experience. I’ll be honest…it felt really weird. Not bad but weird. Once I wore them around, though, it all started to feel more natural. When I put them to the test with my first run, the drop was actually quite comfortable.

4mm Heel Drop

The GOrun‘s design incorporates a roomier forefoot to allow your toes to spread, grip, and push off. To fully take advantage of this, the shoe is designed for sockless running. Now I am usually not the type to wear any athletic shoe without socks. I felt like I needed to go sockless for the full effect. I’m trusting that the OrthoLite will truly keep them from getting a funky smell. I can say that I didn’t have a single blister after my test mile, and I really did like the feel of free toes in the shoe.

Key features include the 360 flexibility, OrthoLite for sockless running and a roomier forefoot

One of the other major technological advances with the GOrun is the mid-foot strike and high-abrasion strike points, which are supposed to create extra stability and traction control. The first 1/4 of a mile, I began to think I didn’t like the strike points. Literally all of a sudden, though, I adjusted to them. I’m going to have to pay more attention to what this all may be doing for my stride. I can say that I had knee pain yesterday during my run but not today. I’m not prepared to say the GOrun stopped the knee pain but it certainly is plausible that it corrected my stride or alignment, putting less pressure on my knee. This is one area I’ll have to continue watching.

High-abrasion rubber at strike points for traction control and stability

The SKECHERS GOrun comes in 8 colors and retails for $80, which is an absolute bargain. When I realized that I needed new runners last month, I was a bit shell shocked by prices. Sure, you can get a runner for less than $50 but I didn’t find a single one in that price point that felt good and met my needs. To see this one under $100 and then to see how lightweight, comfortable and chock-full of technology it is, I think the price is a great deal.

Like I said, I’ll continue to wear them. If you have questions, feel free to ask.

As it Turns Out, I’m Superwoman…Running and Ear Infections

I fell off the treadmill a few days ago. No, that isn’t a euphemism for complete failure. I literally stumbled off the treadmill. In hindsight, that was the first clue that I had two big ol’ ear infections but, like every mother, you pretend you aren’t sick until it’s practically time to call the CDC. So I’m walking for a few days. It’s about all I can do to keep a 3 mph stride; Amoxicillin should fix that soon. I’ve actually received messages asking how the running was coming, so I felt like I owed a recap to some of you.

Now it’s time for a funny observation. I realized today that I am actually Superwoman (and I bet you are, too, if you are reading this). Before having a child, I did get an ear infection every now and then. I. Was. Wiped. Out. I’m talking on my back, writhing in pain, crying for my mother (okay, maybe she was already there that one time but I still asked for her). Post-baby? I clean the floors. I feed, bathe and dress said child. I go grocery shopping. I write contract and non-contract blog entries. And I do it all with not one but two raging ear infections.

Superman may be able to save Gotham but I’m pretty sure the fate of the world rests on mothers.

Now I’m off to my Fortress of Solitude (aka the shower) for 10 minutes of peace and quiet. I’ll be back with prettier content in a day or so!

Revealing the Newly-Painted Furniture a la Pottery Barn

I mentioned last week that I was sick and tired of my Colonial style bedroom furniture. I’m not exactly sure how it was ever my style, but we all make some questionable choices in our twenties, don’t we? Despite my dislike, it really is quite nice. We had the forethought to buy the best we could afford, which meant all-wood Broyhill. Knowing it wasn’t in the budget to buy new furniture right now, I began looking for ways to change what we have. After seeing several different “Creating Pottery Barn Black” tutorials on Pinterest, I thought it was worth a shot to paint the pieces. The goal was to start small (the nightstand) and move on from there. It would be easier to cover a ruined nightstand than an oversize-style chest of drawers. (The blog entry that most heavily guided me was from Just A Girl blog.)

It was a…success! I chose what I deemed the best tips of all the tutorials and went from there to create my own. Best of all, we didn’t have to sand anything (well, a single spot on the top of the nightstand). I thought I would share our results and my own tips. I will give you fair warning that I don’t have a great camera. Everything I shoot comes from an iPhone 3GS. Forgive the poor picture quality.

Nightstand Before

Nightstand After

Chest of Drawers After

Dresser After

If you’re interested, I’m happy to share information on what we (Eddie and I) used. First, we chose to use only foam rollers (Whizz High Density from Lowe’s) to apply everything, from primer to paint. No brushstrokes! Our primer was Zinsser Cover Stain Primer in white, and we used about 1 1/2 quarts. For paint, we chose Benjamin Moore Low Lustre Finish Acrylic Exterior Latex Paint in 213 Black (about 1 1/2 quarts).

From there, we literally just applied product to the wood. It took two coats of primer per piece (don’t forget, we didn’t sand). It also took about two coats of the paint; we touched up some spots with a third coat.

The most expensive addition was the hardware. With a military discount, we wound up spending $140 on drawer knobs alone. I, personally, think it was worth it, though. And while we’re talking money, I’ll just add that the entire project (not counting labor since it was a DIY project) came in at around $200. Not a bad return on the investment, in my opinion.

As you can see, it isn’t all styled yet. We’re planning to change the bedding and curtains, and we’ll add some decor (and clean off my jewelry box) before it’s all said and done. I’m quite happy with it all, though! I hope this inspires someone to try it.

Insults, Nitpicking and Hating on Our Sisters

A few days ago, a FaceBook friend posted a picture of Kate Gosselin walking the red carpet. I’m not a follower of Kate’s show or escapades but she’s a beautiful woman. Heck, if I had that kind of body after having one, let alone the 6 or 7 or however many kids she’s birthed, I would be strutting everywhere in a string bikini. Upon loading FB later, I saw the same post with a huge list of comments like “She’s ugly inside” and “She paid for that body.” Now, I don’t know Kate Gosselin. She may very well be “ugly on the inside” but I’m betting none of those women (oh, yeah, did I mention the comments were all from women?) have met her either. So why the hate?

I abhor stereotypes, but by-and-large, women seem to choose insults and nitpicking when they feel inadequate or lack confidence. To be totally honest, I’ve done the same. And to be even more honest, it wasn’t until the last few years that I’ve stopped hating women. What have I hated? The cattiness, infighting and struggles to gain superiority for no particular reason other than to hurt or “put her in her place.” It was the ultrasound that revealed Zoey’s sex that began to change me. I don’t hate women now. I don’t like a whole boatload of them but I don’t hate women. They are struggling the same way I am…some just use a poor arsenal.

The moment the sonogram tech saw “girl parts,” my focus changed from what I hate to what I need to teach a future woman. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am not confident in my looks. Textbook-wise, I should be a Barbie or Victoria’s Secret model (tall, busty, blond, thin…in my adult years) but somehow it didn’t all translate like that. Oh well. I’m kind of past all that at this point. I need to be a strong woman who appreciates herself AND other women so that my daughter will grow up to be a strong woman (which should be the textbook definition of “gorgeous”).

I realized the other day that I toss out compliments all the time. If I had a nickel for the number of times I’ve posted “You are beautiful!” on a FaceBook comment, I’d be wealthy. But I MEAN IT! I’m (almost) past trying to compare myself to others and I am past putting down others to bolster my confidence. I started this for my daughter but it’s made me feel so much better about women and about myself.

Before I close, let me tell you…You Are Beautiful!

“Secret” Recipe Cinnamon Rolls

It snowed ever so slightly on Thursday morning; it was the first of the year and the season. Talk about traffic snarls! I’m so glad I didn’t have anywhere to go. If you’ve ever spent a few seasons with my family, you know that a snow day automatically equates with cinnamon rolls. And good grief, can my mom (and my grandma before) make some kick butt cinnamon rolls. Eons ago when my mother owned a shoe store, she would find some way (maybe she could harness the space-time continuum??) to make them on a cold, snowy winter morning before heading to the shop. Point is this: if it’s snowing, you make them.

The recipe has never been a secret really, yet so many people assume that it is. Strange as it sounds, no one asked for it (usually) and it wasn’t like Mom or Grandma showed up with recipe in hand. That being said, there is some secret skill or method to making them truly “Mom”-worthy. I added my own photo but trust me, her rolls make Cinnabon look amateur. Mine are just edible. So…you want it? The recipe, that is.

Rhonda and Bernadine’s Sweet Rolls

1. Soften 2 packages of yeast in 1/4 c. lukewarm water with 2 tsp. of white sugar. Set aside

2. Scald 1 c. milk

3. Pour scalded milk over 1/4 c. of shortening and melt. Add 1/2 c. white sugar and 1 tsp. salt. Mix well and cool to lukewarm.

4. Add 2 beaten eggs and the yeast mixture to the scalded milk and shortening. Mix well. Add 3 c. flour. Mix well and continue to add flour, if needed, until a soft dough forms. (It should not be sticky but it should also not be too dry.)

5. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead lightly, then turn dough over and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.

6. Knead a few times and place in an oiled bowl. Work the dough around to cover with oil. Place a cloth over the bowl and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour.

7. Punch down the dough and divide in two. Roll each out into a rectangle (about 9X13 or 1/2 inch thick). Spread melted margarine over the dough. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. (Plan to use about 1 c. of sugar and 2 tsp. of cinnamon per half, or to taste).

8. Roll beginning at the short end and seal the final edge. Slice into 1-inch pieces. Using a long piece of thread works excellently!

9. Place rolls into a prepared pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Cover with a towel and let rise for about 1 hour.

10. Pre-heat over to 400, then bake rolls for 20-25 minutes.

11. Cool just slightly, then frost with a mixture of powdered sugar, vanilla and milk. Whip up to taste but we typically use 1 c. of powdered sugar per pan, 1 tsp. vanilla and a tbls. or two of milk.

12. Cool, if you can wait, then eat (and vow to exercise hard tomorrow).

Enjoying the Moment

I hate New Year’s Eve. I hate that the year is ending even if it’s been a less than stellar year. I hate that there’s a new year starting…too full of unknowns. For that reason, I always stay at home, drink responsibly, and try to make sure I’m sleeping soundly at midnight. I asked myself just a few weeks ago why I’m like this. Well, for one I hate change. I hate the unknown. I have to and often do push myself into new situations because stagnation is bad. If I was an extremely positive person, though, I might instead say I’m into living in the moment. Sadly, I’m not the living-in-the-moment type. That being said, I think maybe I need to be.

To me, living in the moment is enjoying where you are, who you are with, what you are doing, and how you are feeling. It isn’t burying your head in the sand or missing deadlines or drinking a whole bottle of vino with little regard for the consequences. It’s about feeling content and enjoying life. It’s about enjoying the few minutes of silence or a 5-second cacophony of laughter from your 3-year-old in between tantrums.

And so I enjoyed the moment today. I put Zoey in coveralls, snowboots, a coat, a hat, mittens, and a hood (and she looked like the little boy from A Christmas Story) and dressed similarly myself and we played in the snow. I had things to do but, really, what was more important? We walked up the block and traced the footprints of others, I watched her make multiple snow angels, and we went sledding. I even got on the sled twice and let her push me. (Yes, a 3-year-old can push her mother down a hill.) And it was frigid and fun and I am so incredibly glad I did that even though I didn’t get more edited on a dissertation I’m editing.

I’ve realized that I’ve missed so much of the scenery because of the minutiae. Living in the moment will never come easily because I’m a worrying type A but I’m making some conscious strides.

Check out what I experienced living in the moment this afternoon…

Sometimes it’s the Little Things…Conversation Hearts

As my grandparents used to say, I have some irons in the fire right now. I am sick of my bedroom furniture but really can’t afford to replace it with anything of excellent quality (and at this point in my life, I want quality). A Pinterest pin inspired me to paint it a la Pottery Barn satin black. It’s looking excellent, and I am going to share the tutorial, pictures and outcome soon. It’s not ready for its debut right now. Until then, or until I am able to wax poetic, I wanted to share an extremely simple holiday decor idea. And, yes, I did find it on Pinterest.

Check out my conversation hearts centerpiece. I found the candle holder on clearance at Target a few months ago. I had no idea what I’d do with it but thought it had great potential. At Christmas I added the candle and some Epsom Salts “snow.” For Valentine’s Day, it’s Conversation Hearts. I have to admit that the candy is dwindling because Zoey actually loves the hearts. I have a hard time keeping her hot little hands out of it. But, you know, it’s hard to deny a clever 3-year-old when she makes an iron-clad case for why she deserves a treat. I do have to admit that I am a little grossed out by the “UR Hot” ones. Seriously, who says that outside of a dive bar?

I’ll warn you, I’m a Pinterest-a-holic (at least early in the morning and late, late at night). If you’d like to follow me, find me under CourtneyStrimel.

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