Running Through Summer With LifeTrak

Running through summer

LifeTrak provided a complimentary Move C300 for review via the Fitspiration For Moms Network.

This has been one of the busiest summers of my life. It seems that we’ve been running from one event to another nonstop – sometimes quite literally, since Jai has also been trying to get back into jogging now that the weather is better! One of the issues he’s encountered with getting a jogging routine down is that he’s been having trouble finding a replacement for the GPS running app on his Android phone now that it is kaput. He used to track his runs with the app on his device so he could see progress and stats as well as time himself, essentially competing against himself to make good time. Although he can obviously still run without any devices, he feels a little defeated if he can’t track his progress and doesn’t feel encouraged to run because he has no way of setting and meeting goals.

LifeTrak Move C300

So when I heard about the LifeTrak Move C300, I immediately wondered if this activity tracker could be something Jai could use to replace his Android device. The Move C300 wears like a watch and tracks steps, calories and heart rate, with Bluetooth connectivity available for their optional app. Jai has been using it for about a month now, and has gotten to try it while going about his normal daily activities as well as more athletic pursuits like running.

The LifeTrak does not have a built-in GPS, unlike what Jai was using with his Android device, however it can connect with the Argus app and make use your device’s built-in GPS. The app is currently only available for iOS devices, but an Android app is in the works as well. We did give this a try with my iPhone 3GS, but the bluetooth feature is only supported in iPhone 4 and higher.

Move C300 is surprisingly accurate with how it senses your steps and can tell the difference when you’re walking or running. It keeps track of all your movement and gets a good estimation of how far you’ve gone; and if you’re a person that takes lighter or harder steps than average, you can adjust sensitivity if you find the Move C300 is being thrown off.

Looking right at screen, the activity tracker shows you the time, day of week, date, how far you’ve gone, heartrate or how many calories burned – you can adjust what stats you want it to show. You can set your daily goal and the bar at the top of the screen tells you how close you are to hitting it throughout the day. The LifeTrak can also be a stopwatch, telling you how far you’ve gone and doing a sub-count of single workouts in addition to your daily totals. Jai is surprised at how hard it is to fool – it seems to know the difference between shaking your arm and actual steps. It seems to intelligently discern between different kinds of movements, which is really helpful. Jai did notice that while he was mowing the lawn, it seemed to exaggerate how far he went; he thought that the vibration of the lawnmower and the weird movements may have thrown it off a little, although it could have been factoring in the extra calories he burned.

Jai wearing LifeTrak

Jai really liked the fact that he could wear this on his wrist as a watch – it makes the Move C300 a functional accessory that is easy to carry and keep with you at all times. The lack of ability to utilize a GPS with our current smartphones is the main dealbreaker for him at this time. He thinks that this might not be the first choice of a hardcore runner training for a marathon, but for someone who just wants to walk or run more; he thought this was perfect for casual use and general health.

The fact that it’s always on you and keeping track of your activity separates it from devices that you can’t wear so easily. Grandma was actually really intrigued by this, since she’s always said she wanted to get a pedometer because she’s curious to know how many steps she takes around the house, since she’s always hustling and bustling with cooking and cleaning. Jai’s going to let her try it out, but if she gets tired of it he’d be happy to use it again just because it’s an awesome watch, tracker, and tool in general, even if he does supplement his running with other tracking methods.

Enter to Win a LifeTrak Move C300

Would you like to try out the Move C300 for yourself? Enter for a chance to win one via the Giveaway Tools widget below. Giveaway ends September 14th, 2013 at 9:59 PM PST. This is a group giveaway we are participating in – please see the terms and conditions outlined in the widget for full rules.

For more on LifeTrak, check them out on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+.

Have you ever used a fitness tracker before?

Summer Blur

Summer Blur

Over the last few days, I’ve been to Seattle, Orcas Island, and Issaquah; and I’m only home for one more day before Jai and I head out on the road once more for a blogger event I am hosting in Portland on Friday. It’s been a full month of work, travel, family celebrations, and more things than I can really keep track of. That picture above? Those are my to-do lists. The planner on the right-hand side shows what was on my agenda for just 3 days. Jai looked at my list and said, “Geeze, I should take a picture of this because it’s so crazy!” When I was looking through my hundreds of trip photos to decide which one to use for this post, I thought this one was the most appropriate. I added the blur filter because I figured the whole world didn’t need to read every single detail of my daily schedule, and I also think it adds the appropriate feel to represent summer 2013.

I have so many fun, crazy stories to share soon from all of my August adventures – and I’d love to hear yours! What have you been up to this month?

Q&A With Director Tommy Reid

This week, I spoke with filmmaker Tommy Reid about some of his current projects. Reid is known for his work on movies such as Kill the Irishman and Danny Greene: The Rise and Fall of the Irishman and has worked as a director/writer/producer for 13 years. His films have featured everyone from Christopher Walken to the voice of “Bender” in Futurama and his sister, Tara Reid. His latest flick is $uperthief: The Mastermind Behind America’s Biggest Bank Heist, a documentary about Mafia career criminal Phil Christopher, who is famed for a major bank robbery in 1972.

Q: Can you give our readers an overview of what $uperthief is about?

A: Gladly. $uperthief is a captivating documentary that goes inside the mind of one of America’s best bank burglars, Phil Christopher, and we learn about how they pulled off America’s Biggest bank score in 1972, getting away with more than $30 million dollars.

Q: What inspired you to make this film?

A: What inspired me to make this film was the ability to tap inside a criminal’s mindset to learn about the ins and out of pulling of America’s biggest bank heist, takes knowledge, bravado and courage, and somewhat of stupidity. I wanted to show all this.

Q: How did you go about arranging the interviews for this film?

A: I wanted to obtain both sides of the law. Getting both the police/FBI and then Phil’s side, would be the best way to show the film’s contrast.

Q: What was the most memorable part of filming $uperthief?

It was travelling to Cleveland to capture these interviews. We had a great time and then went to Putin Bay after. Good times.

A: Tell us about your upcoming projects.

I just finished a film that I produced called I KNOW THAT VOICE, a voice over documentary that puts a face to the voices we all know and love. My partners are John DiMAggio (Bender of Futurama) and Lawrence Shapiro. Our trailers have been viewed over 1 million times. Very cool doc.

True Chews Premium Jerky Cuts Review

True Chews

Bob the dog received a free bag of treats to taste-test! :D

Grandma’s Labrador Bob has a chewy snack or bone every day. So when our friends at the appropriately-named Chewy.com offered me my choice of doggie snack to review, I thought that a bag of True Chews Premium Jerky Cuts looked like a good one. These strips are made from chicken and have that nice, chewy consistency that makes a good snack for Bob.

Bob

So when Jai was walking Bob, he brought him by the house to say hi, and we took out the True Chews to see what Bob would think.

Bob eating True Chews

Bob got so excited when he saw Jai holding the bag of snacks that he started jumping up and trying to get at them before we had even gotten the bag open! He gobbled the chew down lickety-split. Now, Bob can’t speak English to tell us what he thought, but he was so anxious for seconds that when Jai was getting ready to give him another chew, Bob literally had drool running out of his mouth. I think that’s dog speak for “GIMME!”. ;) Grandma told use that she was at the computer printing out some family photos yesterday, and when she looked over at Bob, he licked his lips, which is his way of letting her know that he’s hungry. So, she pulled out a True Chew and he was satisfied! She was happy to have another bag of chewy jerky treats for Bob and I think Bob was also most delighted!

Can I have another?!

Disney’s “Planes” Movie Review

Disney's Planes

Complimentary movie admission was received.

On Monday night, Jai and I headed into Tigard for an advance screening of Disney’s Planes at Bridgeport Village. The theater is right next to a pizza place that I had a gift card for, so we enjoyed a nice dinner and then settled in for the movie.

Planes follows the adventures of Dusty Crophopper, a cropduster that has big dreams of becoming a daredevil flyer and competing in a major air race. With a little help from some other planes and automobiles, Dusty sets off for the experience of a lifetime!

I enjoyed some of the sly jokes in the film; for example, the planes sit at a bar sipping gas cans, and at one point of the film, they mention a plane who was disqualified from the race for using a banned blend of super-powered petrol that “Blurs your vision” – hahaha! At another point in the film, Dusty lands on a giant aircraft carrier called the “Flysenhower”. I also noticed that they paid attention to details in the plane universe. At one point when the planes are flying, you notice a flock of little gliders below them made to look like birds; and when they race through New York, you see the Statue of Liberty as a giant plane.

Although this movie has been aimed more towards little boys, I loved the inclusion of Dottie, a smart and skilled mechanic who also happens to be female. There are also two girl planes participating in the race, although they are mostly relegated to love interests, so nothing groundbreaking there.

This movie has a “Sporty” feel to it, with sports newscaster planes narrating the action as the planes race from one location to another. The 3-D really suits this movie, since it makes the loop-de-loops and aerial tricks more impressive as you feel like you’re flying along with them. At the heart of the action is a story about overcoming odds to achieve your dreams, facing your fears, and doing the right thing. I’ll admit that I even got choked up at points towards the end! The plot develops exactly as you would expect, so there are no shocking twists here – just a cute little flick that kids and parents can enjoy together.

Disney’s Planes hits theaters today, August 9th!

Moves Like Jagger, or Moves Like Muppets?

Moves Like Muppets

As a Maroon 5 superfan, it always warms my heart to hear their music in moves and TV. In the new trailer for Muppets Most Wanted, Scooter and a group of penguins cut a rug to “Moves Like Jagger”. They even got their own hashtag, #MovesLikeMuppets, for people to share their dance moves – haha! I have to say, my dance skills are more on par with the Muppets than with Jagger.

And of course, what kind of fan would I be if I didn’t tweet out something on a Maroon 5 hashtag? I am @hardertobreathe, after all:

Yes, that’s my Christina Aguilera Barbie – who better to duet with the Muppets on a “Jagger” cover than the Xtina doll, after all? And yes, this is my first-ever Instagram video…

Frownies Immune Screen Review

Immune Screen

Complimentary tube of sunscreen provided for review.

I’ve been a fan of Frownies products for a while now. So when I heard that they had a new sunscreen on the market, I knew I had to check it out. Sunscreen is really important to me, especially during the summer when I have to be really careful in order to avoid sunburns.

Frownies Immune Screen comes in a 4oz bottle and is designed for use on the face and neck/chest. I’ve never used a sunscreen quite like this before – it has the consistency and color of a clay mask out of the tube, but goes on clear and can be worn by itself or underneath foundation. I’ve tried it both ways – if you wear it alone, you could tell you have a product on if you look really closely, but it doesn’t make you look super greasy. I would totally feel comfortable wearing this alone, although these days I pretty much always put on foundation or powder while doing my makeup because I have such dark circles under my eyes.

I really like this sunscreen – it smooths on like a moisturizer but dries quickly, so your fingers will drag on the skin if you don’t mix it over your face fairly rapidly. It also has a pleasant scent reminiscent of their other moisturizers – it doesn’t smell like a regular sunblock to me. Immune Screen has an SPF of 15, so this would be absolutely perfect for year-round use, since my preference is to wear sunscreen on my face even during cloudy weather. For bright summer days, I’d want to go higher in SPF or my face would probably burn.

Frownies Immune Screen retails for $39.97 and is available on Frownies.com.