Road Tested: Fun Run Box

Disclaimer: I received the Fun Run Box Oktoberfest review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Anyone that knows me knows that I’ve become a huge subscription box fan over the past few years. I love being surprised by the goodies included in the box and trying lots of new products.

The Fun Run Box takes the subscription box to a whole other level! Integrating the idea of a subscription box with an online social media challenge team, the Fun Run Box is an innovative way to inspire and motivate runners (and walkers) throughout the month.

So how does it work? The Fun Run Box (FRB) has a series of different challenges. The Oktoberfest 5 Mile Dachs Challenge box had $75 worth of products for $45. There’s also a subscription option; you can sign up for month to month service at $35/month, 3 months at $34/month, 6 months at $33/month, or a year at $32/month.

As a BibRave Pro, I got to try the September box challenge aka the 2nd annual Octoberfest 5 Mile Dachs.

Click on the picture to watch the box dance!

My FRB arrived toward the end of August and everyone is very careful not to post the contents of the box before the start date of the first of the month, as to not spoil it for anyone participating who is waiting to receive the box. The box comes with a challenge rules list and also lets you know what team you’re “competing” on.

Oh yes, did I mention that the challenge is a competition? For the 5 Mile Dachs, the teams were Doxie (woot woot!), Dashie, and Diggity – each with its own hashtag so you could track your team and cheer on everyone!

There are 6 categories for the challenge and through Instagram and the challenge specific Facebook page, you’re able to post and share your pictures throughout the month. The photos with the most votes actually win a prize of a $50 gift card for the Fun Run Box Shop and all members of the winning team with at least 1 photo submitted receive a $5 gift card.

The posting pictures and voting on a separate page was a bit confusing for me. From what I understand, you can post on Instagram or the Facebook page and the go to a separate webpage to vote. Personally I was more focused on taking pictures and having fun with the challenge rather than winning so that’s what I chose to focus on.

I got to work immediately, wearing my FRB 5 Mile Dachs Trucker Hat to my first race expo on September 1st in Virginia at the Vacation Races Shenandoah Half.

Fun Run Box Review

From there I used the rest of my challenge items throughout the month – all of which are things I’ll be using for a long time to come (well, except the food items because those are long gone).

Fun Run Box Review

Roll & Go Massager in action after the Rock ‘n Roll Philly half marathon.

What I really liked about the FRB Challenge was that they included a training plan for each week. Honestly, I wasn’t able to follow it exactly with my training for other races happening but I did try to incorporate it as much as I could.

Fun Run Box Review

Finally a “running” challenge that my husband was all about participating in…

Toward the end of the month, I ran my 5 Mile Dachs. Since the day I decided to run was during that string of extremely warm temps, it was accomplished on the treadmill. Thankfully I got to get some speed-work done while watching my guilty pleasure, The Challenge on MTV.

Fun Run Box Review

Can you spot the bib on my board?

Want to get in on the fun of the Fun Run Box? Code BIBRAVE will save you 15% off any subscription box at https://funrunbox.com/bibrave

Mark your calendars, the Fun Run Box #BibChat is happening on Tuesday, October 17th at 9pm EST. And if you want to see how my fellow BibRavePros fared with the Oktoberfest challenge, swing by and visit:

Amy – Henry

Have you ever participated in a Fun Run Box challenge? What do you like about subscription boxes?

City Fit Girls Fit Retreat PHL

Every August, some of my favorite local fitness peeps, the City Fit Girls hosts their annual Fit Retreat.

I attended in 2015 and was bummed that I had to skip last year’s event (although I was in Germany, so I suppose that’s a good reason).

2015 City Fit Girls Fit Retreat – held at a makerspace in Fishtown, Philly

This year the stars aligned once again! Tickets sell out fast; when they went on sale in May, I quickly purchased mine. The Fit Retreat has both VIP and General Admission tickets – I opted for the VIP ticket which cost $53.50 this year.

There was a FitRetreat pre-party held on Friday evening with a workout followed by a party at Philadelphia Runner. Those who attended the pre-party were able to pick up their event tank tops and entry wristbands. I was not able to make the Friday night pre-party but I was looking forward to waking up bright and early to spend a Saturday getting sweaty!

A few Run856 friends and I traveled to Philly from South Jersey; we met up and shared a Lyft together which worked out perfectly. We had a group message going so we reminded each other to bring our yoga mats, towels, water bottles, change of clothes, and other little things I might have otherwise forgotten at 7am when my brain is on autopilot. Thank goodness for them!

I am IN LOVE with this year’s tank!

Fit Retreat has grown in size, even from two years ago. This year’s Fit Retreat hosted close to 200 attendees (in 2015 it was around 150) and was held at Independence Live! on Market Street. The location has rotated in the past and it’s fun to see where each year’s event will be held. The doors opened a little past 8am and we all eagerly entered the space.

We were able to peruse the schedule of events prior to the day and I made a list of the classes I wanted to attend. Because of space restrictions, some of the classes were limited so we needed to sign up for those pronto. The workouts were split into 45 minutes sessions in the morning, with the afternoon being a bit more low-key and conversation based.

There was a light breakfast provided by Melanie’s Medleys (YUM), various vendors had booths, and we were welcomed by the founders of City Fit Girls – Kiera and Takia.

Kiera kicking things off.

My morning consisted of The BPM Bootcamp, which was a combination class of AMRAPS (As Many Reps As Possible) and Tabata (which is time based. Example: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, for 4 rounds). This was a high energy workout and reminded me a lot of the things I do with my personal trainer twice a week.

Jen was my buddy for the morning and we tried some new to us moves (including a downward dog push-up). She and I were hooting and hollering the entire workout. Sweat was flying all over the place! It was great!

The space we had for this and the next session was a bit challenging because there was a desk right smack in the middle of the space. The BPM ladies (Shoshana and Erin) got creative by getting on top of the desk!

BPM came to an end and the rest of our Jersey crew joined our area for Barre with Megan. While not as high energy as the first session, this was intense! We focused on working our legs, core, and hip flexors. I’m pretty sure my muscles were screaming the entire 45 minutes. Holding and pulsing is a big part of barre work and while we didn’t have an actual barre that we were working with, the workout was just as challenging as the barre classes I’ve taken!

Speaking of challenging: throughout the day off the instructors and motivators called attention to doing what you, yourself, are capable of. At a retreat like this, there are so many different fitness levels and rather than worrying about the person beside you, you can and should modify and do what feels good for you.

After barre, Jen, Brandi, and I joined 27 others in Double Shot [Abs + Butt] which I’m sure you can probably guess worked our… Abs and Butt! The ladies from Freehouse Fitness led us through exercises like lunges, squats, twists, band squeezes, and more.

My abs and glutes were already shaking from the earlier workouts but I did my best to show no mercy and try my absolute hardest! I could feel the blood pumping through my veins.

The floor under our mats was really hard and weirdly textured (which you can see in the picture) so that didn’t feel particularly good. Next year I might want to bring a thicker mat or even double up on my yoga mats!

After the third session it was time for… DRINKS! The ladies of City Fit Girls acknowledge and embrace the fact that many of us enjoy a nice drink or two after a couple hours of working out. This year there was not only mimosas but also lemon shrub. I’d never had lemon shrub before but now that I have, I might need to track it down. It was delicious and garnished with mint. Nice and refreshing!

From there it was lunch time and while the line was long and the space a bit squishy, everyone seemed to be in good spirits and living high off the endorphins from the morning’s multiple work outs. The food (catered by Chef Joy Parham) was delicious breakfast tacos! I love breakfast and I love tacos so this was a no-brainer. And there was GUACAMOLE. SO GOOD.

After a dance party with DJ G33K, we all split off into our afternoon sessions.

My afternoon was geared toward the empowerment side of my well-being. I chose to spend the first session with Melissa Alam and learning about brand building. I recently helped establish the nonprofit Bullock Garden Project, Inc. and I knew that I’d pick up tips and tricks for marketing in regards to that and Scoot a Doot, as well. It was great to hear not only Melissa’s ideas but also some of my peers input as well!

My final session was with City Fit Girls founder, Kiera Smalls, regarding Body Positivity. This was an emotional session and one in which I felt a strong connection with my fellow attendees. The time flew by and I was so grateful to end the day’s journey surrounded by the women that chose to be a part of this session.

Without a doubt, the City Fit Girls Fit Retreat is one of my favorite days of the year – it ranks right up there with my birthday and the first day of school. I’m already looking forward to next August! Until then, train hard, brunch harder!

Yes You Can (plan a last minute Disney trip!)

If you know anything about me, you know that I am a planner. Some might say that I’m a bit obsessive or extreme but I don’t look at it that way. I know what I like, I know what works for my family, and when there’s a game plan the chances of things going wrong is dramatically reduced.

However that’s NOT how I operate in Disney World! And surprisingly, it works for my family. Want to learn more? Read on!

Walt Disney World is a place where planners and non-planners alike strive to grab the best, the latest, and the greatest. Luckily everything is the greatest when it comes to Disney!

It was our youngest son’s birthday trip and we planned it in a month’s time, which is practically no time when it comes to Disney planning. I mean, Advanced Dining Reservations (ADR) open 180 days prior to a Disney trip!

But say you stumble across a last minute trip option, like my family did. Is there still hope? Yes, but you’ve got to be flexible!

The ‘Ohana breakfast in the Polynesian Resort is a favorite of ours. Originally I found a reservation on a Thursday and 11:10am, which I booked. The timing wasn’t perfect but we were willing to make it happen. While checking back, I found an open spot on Tuesday at 9:20! Score! I quickly booked that and canceled the reservation for later in the week, opening it to someone else.

Moral of the story: Check back often! If at first you don’t succeed (or you do but would another time would work better), try, try again!

Speaking of food (because when are we not?) we also got a reservation at Le Cellier Steakhouse in EPCOT. It was the first time ever we were able to nab a reservation… at 3:40pm. We had what we in the Daniel family like to refer to as LINNER, which is lunch and dinner combined. And blew our whole month’s food budget in the process. #soworthit

O Canada!

Who loves steak? This guy, that’s who. (And oh, the rest of us do too!)

We didn’t get to ride Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in the Magic Kingdom. Or Frozen Ever After. There was no Pandora preview for this family. And guess what – we were all a-okay with that. (Although my eldest son was a little disappointed we didn’t get on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.)

With FastPasses long gone before our trip was even a twinkle in our eye, it was a forgone conclusion that we wouldn’t be waiting 110 minutes in the standby line. Instead, we visited with rides that were tried and true and my kids got to ride “new to them” rides like the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster (Lucas) and Test Track (surprisingly, Lucas and Gabe!).

We had a few FassPasses ahead of time but mostly, we added FassPasses we were interested in throughout the day. Thank goodness for the My Disney Experience app and WiFi in the park! We made choices that were good for our family as a whole, maximizing the fun time we got to spend together.

The Jungle Cruise

It’s a Small World – Gabe and Grandma

People Mover – Grandpa and Lucas

Toy Story Mania – Grandparents working on their photobombing skills!

Test Track!

Finally and most importantly, when you focus on spending time with your family and being in tune with everyone’s needs, every day is a good day in Disney. Disney is absolutely incredible and has so many things to do, it’s easy to hit the sensory overload point. Crankiness at the Happiest Place on Earth isn’t very much fun so we did our absolute best to keep those cranky moments to a minimum.

We embraced water breaks, ice cream breaks, sitting in the shade breaks, watching the fountains dance breaks, etc. And let’s not forget, in EPCOT my husband and I embraced the drinking around the World Showcase philosophy.

So planners, if you find yourself in a last minute Disney trip situation, don’t stress! There is plenty of fun to be had, food to be eaten, and drinks to be… drank! 😉

Have you ever planned a last minute Disney trip? Have any tips to share? Any “must dos” or “never ever agains”?

Here Comes the Sun, Little Darling

Two weeks ago, I was counting down the days until my wedding. Today, I’m sitting back, slowly reclaiming my apartment from the piles of stuff, and enjoying a week of being one half of an old married couple.

In the days leading up to the wedding, I baked and baked and fretted about the weather and baked some more. I had my whole family here, and some of my best friends, and with their help, we were able to put together all the treats, make all the favors, assemble all the supplies, and construct all the bouquets. It was a whirlwind, exhausting week, with a few stressful moments, but by the time Saturday rolled around and our music started, the sun came out and everything was alright.

I won’t bore you with too many details, but I wanted to share some pictures from the day, captured by some of my friends and family. It really was the most perfect.

Photo courtesy Sara Thom Photography

Photo courtesy Sara Thom Photography

I made dat cake. It was yum.

Clay’s face in this is just my favorite.

It’s the Final Countdown

Well, folks. It’s nearly here.

Wedding Week.

Photo courtesy Sara Thom Photography

This time next week, I’ll have had a rehearsal dinner, a bachelorette party, made bouquets, baked and decorated a wedding cake, and probably overthought literally all the things. Only one thing will be left: the actual getting married.

It’s hard to believe that it’s already here – but at the same time, I feel like… “damn, it took FOREVER to get here.” Mostly because I’m impatient and excited. I’m also really ready to just enjoy all of the things we’ve spent the past few months poring over and thinking about.

I’ve spent the last month or so eating Whole30 (the last week has been a little bit less strict, since I finished my 30 days last Wednesday), trying to run everyday (I’ve had a couple days, two exactly, where my body said “hey dummy, you need to rest,” so I did.) I feel healthy and strong and not too stressed – the workouts really help with that – and I’m hoping that feeling can carry me through the next week.

My house, on the other hand, is kind of a disaster – the wedding is taking over any free space we had. The closet? Cram-jam full of favors and decor and a dress and shoes and little extras. The laundry room? Currently housing half of our alcohol supply. The living room? Holding the other half. It’s almost comical – but every time I see these things, I get excited about finally being able to put all the pieces together.

I know that the next week will feel a little crazy and I’m probably going to forget something important (or not important), but at the end of the day Saturday, it won’t matter. I get to celebrate with my guy and my friends and my family and that’s the most important part.

So now, I just have to make it through a weekend of work, and it will be full steam ahead to party time!

Cheers!

My make up trial went really well – I’m lucky to have friends that know what they’re doing with that stuff… considering I wear mascara. And that’s it.

Heels at an outdoor wedding seemed dangerous to me, so I opted for sparkly sneaks. I think I made the right choice.

Just this little sneak peek for now… but stay tuned for more after next week! Eeeeek!

I’ve baked more cake in the last six months… but I think I’ve perfected my recipe and I’m excited to do it for real next week!