Tuesday, March 24, 2015

PrAna Review

Most of you all know that I am very active and spend much of my day wearing running clothes.  You also know that my favorite brand of running attire is INKnBURN because it is a quality product and has some unique design.  Because of the incredible amount of running clothing I already own I find it hard to justify buying clothes specific to hiking or other activities.  However, recently I had to opportunity to try out a few pieces of PrAna active wear. I choose to try the Sophia bra top, the Marly Top and the Monarch Convertible pants.  I really fell in love with the comfort of each of these items and want to share a quick review of each of them with you.

The Sophia Bra-
I will have to admit that I am not a good candidate to review the supportive features of a active wear bra since I am an A cup and do not need to have a supportive bra.  That being said, as a runner my bra must have the proper fit and be made of a breathable material to avoid chaffing.  The Sofia bra passed the running test with me.  I did have some concern with the twist on the back of the bra but found that it did not cause any issue for me.  The bra is lined but has no padding.  It dries quickly.  I like that it is a bra top.  This allows for me to feel comfortable changing shirts after a run and still feeling as if I am clothed enough.  

The Marley Top-
The Marley top has a built in bra with removable modesty cups.  The length of the top is just perfect for me.  As a taller woman so many times when I buy a size small top the length seems as if it is made for a petite sized woman but this top gave my belly full coverage.  The material is some of the softest I have ever felt.  I really like the fit of the built in bra.  This has become a fast favorite of mine.  I am wearing it now along with the Monarch Pants.

The Monarch Pants-
I have wanted to get a pair of convertible hiking pants for a while.  We travel often and I liked the idea of having a versatile pair of pants that allow me to pack a little less.  Although I am 5’8” I ordered the average length because I had read several reviews stating that the pants ran long.  The length was just right for me.  My first thought when putting on the pants was that they felt like a heavier material than I had expected.  Because I live in the desert my concern was that there may be a couple months a year that these would not be practical.  The fit was amazing and I love that they have an interior string to tighten the waistband as needed. There was only one zip pocket (not two as the item description stated online).  The back has flap pockets that snap which I do prefer. The front/side zip pocket fit my phone (iphone 5 with a protective case). The pants have a very business casual look to them and I can see wearing them out to dinner as well as out hiking.  I took them out for a couple of hikes so far and did not find them to be too warm.  They are comfy and allow good movement.

I would highly recommend the items that I tried.  I washed and have reused all items at least twice.  Getting to try a few items reminded me of one of the things I always tell other people.  Buy the best equipment that you can afford.  Although I do have plenty of running clothes I am sold on buying clothing that is the best equipment for each activity now.  The Monarch Pants are what really sold me.  Hiking in running shorts or tights is fine but having the pockets and the adjustable waist along with the option of making them into capris really impressed me.  

Saturday, October 11, 2014


You know that old adage. a squeaky wheel gets the oil?  Well it is true.  Sometimes you just need to squeak in order to get what you need. 

After a fabulous trip to Europe this summer with Michael I noticed that my varicose vein in my leg was dramatically worse.  It was achy and heavy feeling.  Although it was a low level of pain by the end of the day it wore on me and I am sure hubby will attest it made me irritable.  I could not run the distance or speed I wanted and I found myself walking much more than running. 

I did some research and found a good vein doctor at The Arizona Heart Institute.  I made the soonest appointment I could and met Doctor Ravi.  He immediately knew that I had a problem.  Tests confirmed that blood was not flowing back to my heart from the vein.  I had reflux.  I would need to have a laser procedure to cut off blood flow from the vein entirely, other veins would then take over.  BUT the my insurance company required me to wear a compression stocking for 3 months before they would approve the surgery.  This was upsetting as it did not relieve the pain and it was suggested strongly that I limit my running dramatically.  I got my stocking and wore it religiously.  About 2 weeks later I had a large welt at my ankle.  It was hot and red and there was some additional pain associated with it.  I called the doctor's office and was told it was just probably an irritation from the stocking and to take it off when I did my runs.  Again I followed orders.  The welt moved upward in my let and then upward again.  I figured the stocking was just irritating those areas as well but then noticed that the protruding varicose vein was now missing???  It was odd but I was not very alarmed.  I had an appointment scheduled with my regular doctor's office in a few days for a b-12 shot and I would just let them take a look.  Wow, when I went in they were alarmed.  I touched the bump and was immediately ordered not to touch it or my leg.  The office was going to put in for stat testing for what they suspected was DVT.  I became pretty nervous and upon leaving called Dr. Ravi's office.  He was not in office that day but his nurse told me to get the testing and she would get back with me once she reached Dr. Ravi.  She did call back several times over the next hour or so to tell me to get to the emergency room if the tests were not approved soon.  It seemed that every time I calmed myself down I got another call from either her or my other doctor's office or the testing site.  Testing occurred later that day and thankfully it was not a DVT although it was a clot. I never had an irritation from the stocking I had a blood clot that was working its way up my leg.   At this point I was put on bed rest.  Those who know me can imagine what that was like for me! 

Time passed and I was allowed to resume some activity but running was sidelined.  I was benched!  Meanwhile my triglycerides went up as well as my weight.  My health was not where it was just a couple of months before.  I was not happy with how I felt.  Pain was a constant.  My mobility was limited.  I went from running a 50 mile foot race earlier in the year to sitting with my leg up much of my day.  I was getting angry.  My insurance company expected me to continue this way for another 6 weeks before they would approve a surgery which that process could take a month for all I knew.  I was not only missing my running but my social group activities which involved the running community.  I was missing key races that I had scheduled, looked forward to and paid for. 

Michael and I both had planned to run Water is Life on the Hopi reservation.  We had ran last year and it was amazing.  I decided to still go out and spectate despite not being able to run.  As we drove to the reservation something happened.  I felt so neglected by my insurance company and wanted to get some action.  I wondered if they might have a Facebook page....they did :)  I squeaked, I was nice, I was honest but I squeaked.  With in 20 minutes I received a Facebook response asking for my contact information.  I sent it right away.  Within an hour I had received a call from a nurse at my insurance company getting every bit of information from me.  She promised to call back Monday (it was late afternoon Friday).  By the end of the day on Monday my surgery was approved.  :)

Surgery happened on September 29th.  I get to start running on Monday.  Although I am missing another awesome race this weekend (where I am again spectating) I am happy.  Happy that I am on my way to recovery.  Happy that on Monday, although it will be slow and short, I will be running and no longer benched.

From this I will always remember that I must always take charge of my own health.  I must not just accept things concerning my health if I do not feel that it is right for me.  I must SQUEAK when it is needed. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

High Energy Ultra Loaf

Who else gets sick of gels on long runs?  I know that I sure do!  Now that my planters fasciitis is finally all but gone I am doing some longer runs in preparation for some up coming ultra marathons so I baked up a loaf of my high energy bread.  High energy = high calories.  Each small slice had about 200 calories of good stuff in it.  I like to cut the slices in half and pack in a zip top bag for a 100 calorie pick me up during a long run.  It is not as small as a gel but the size is adequate and I prefer it.  My recipe for making a loaf in your bread maker is below.

Add in this order to bread maker
1 1/3 cup very warm water
1/3 cup honey (or agave syrup to make it vegan)
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups bread flour (I use einkorn flour by Jovial...non GMO)
2 cups amaranth flour
1 Tablespoon vital wheat gluten
1 1/2 Tablespoon cinnamon
3 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast

Start bread maker for a 2lb loaf of bread.  I like to use the settings for a medium crust wholewheat bread. 

4 Tablespoons of flax seed
2 Tablespoons of chia seed
1 cup of dried chopped fruit  (I like to use dates, plums, figs.... but use whatever you like).

When your bread maker is ready for the add ins (mine beeps to let me know it is time to add) toss in the seeds and fruit.  You may have to assist the kneading slightly at this point to incorporate the seeds and fruit.

When bread is done slice in to 16 slices. 

I hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Transformation

Everyone who knows me understands that I have a passion for running.  Most people also know that I have a passion for sewing (embroidery, digitizing...) as well.  Last year and for most of this year I have had to temper my running due to an injury.  Sewing has kept me sane- or retain some sanity at least.  I decided to start up a small digitizing business as well called Hug Longer Digital Designs. I do generic and custom designs. You can find me on Facebook- Hug Longer Digital Designs Facebook page and on Etsy as well Hug Longer shop.  Because I am now using my sewing area more I have had some challenges with organization.  I share the room with a treadmill and running paraphernalia.  It was beginning to feel as if the walls were closing in with stuff everywhere.  Something had to change.  I was challenged by an organization event to get things cleaned up and I got serious.

Here is the Before picture of my sewing area, it is embarrassing to even share!

I found some fabric that I LOVED from Michael Miller Fabrics (although there are 3 Michael Millers in my family the fabric company is no relation to me or mine...wishful thinking as they have so many beautiful fabrics!).  You can check out Michael Miller Fabrics here:Michael Miller Love to Sew collection  I knew that I wanted to make table curtains to cover my fabric storage areas and thought it would be nice to have a matching serger cover and ironing board cover.  Once my fabric arrived I could barely wait!  Since the patterns were fairly easy to make I did them myself.  Here are a few of the after pictures.

I would say that it is very much improved!

Now for some more good news......My foot has healed and my running is picking up :)

Dear sewing machines and digitizing programs....you now have to share a bit more of your time with my other passion.  When I am not sitting with you I am probably up in the mountains playing :)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Why I Run

I have been asked that question so many times.  Here is a quick little video to share with you some of the reasons that I run. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Product Review: INKnBURN Lust Capri Pants

ong Lasting
U nique Design
S  tylish

A ctive wear
eady for adventure
NKnBURN quality
ech fabric

Get a pair....you will not regret it!
For an added incentive if you set up a new account online you can use my special discount code:  RedToldMe and receive 15% off your total order!  Plus by setting up an account you will also receive 10 points that you can use on your next order for 10 dollars off your 2nd order!

Must have Lust Capri pants  http://www.inknburn.com/women/capris/women-s-lust-capri-pants.html

Monday, May 13, 2013

How to Applique and Embroider a t-shirt




I have tried several ways to embroider on an t-shirt and have found the following way to be the most effective at keeping the t-shirt from stretching during sewing and also to keep embroidery from blending into the fabric too much.  The first thing I do is I iron the t-shirt to make sure the area that I will be embroidering on is flat and wrinkle free.    Next I flip the t-shirt inside out and apply an iron on cut away interfacing.  I use the Inspira brand.  I have not seen another brand available.  This interfacing makes sure that the t-shirt does not stretch out while it is being hooped or embroidered.  It makes a big difference in how well the embroidery looks when finished.

For appliques I take the fabric that I will use to applique onto the t-shirt and I will use a light or medium weight iron on interfacing on the back side of the fabric.  Prior to applying the interfacing I iron the fabric to get rid of any wrinkles.  A wrinkle in an applique will not make the finished product look neat.

In order to see the center of the shirt well I like to very lightly press a line down the exact center of the t-shirt.  This helps me in the hooping process.

Here is the shirt hooped and ready to attach to the machine.  Each machine has it's own hoop style.  Carefully experiment with yours.  One thing to remember is that you do not want your t-shirt to be stretched while it is hooped.  The iron on interfacing should help you keep from pulling the fabric too much during the hooping process. 
The first stitches that will be sewn of the applique typically are marking stitches.  These will show you were to place your prepared applique fabric.  Once they are sew carefully place your fabric making sure that the entire placement area is fully covered then.  Occasionally I like to tape the fabric in place on the edges but I find that it is typically not necessary.  The next stitched that will be sewn are the tack down stitches. These stitches will sew your fabric to your t-shirt with a double stitch.  (occasionally I have seen applique patterns that do not have the marking stitches as part of the pattern.  Then you will have to know how large the pattern in for placement of your applique fabric for the tack down). 

 Once the prepared applique fabric is tacked down you will have to remove excess fabric.  Most of the time this will require removing your hoop from your machine but DO NOT unhoop the t-shirt.  Carefully remove hoop from your machine and using sharp curved scissors clip away excess fabric.  Take extra caution not to clip the t-shirt or the stitching.  Then place the hoop back on your machine for the final step of the applique. 

The last step of the applique will finish off the edges of the applique.  Typically a satin stitch is used.  It will also add any design to the applique.  

If you would like to add on a name or some words to your design be sure to use a Wash n Gone interfacing on TOP of your t-shirt.  This keeps the stitches from falling into the t-shirt.  Once you have completely finished your design unhoop and cut any jump stitches that remain.  Then trim away as much of the Wash n Gone interfacing as possible.  

Turn t-shirt inside out and gently pull loose the iron on/cut away interfacing.  Trim excess. Clip lose threads.  Flip t-shirt again and dab off the remaining Wash n Gone with a damp sponge.  Any remaining interfacing will wash away with the first washing.  Sometimes I go ahead and rinse the area then toss it in the dryer for a couple of minutes to dry.

I hope you get good results with this method as well!  The extra steps are well worth the time, money and effort.

Happy sewing!