Suz's love for COWS + Allan's work with LASERS = one unique blog name! Welcome to our blog filled with race recaps, pictures of our labs, and everything else we share with blogland!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Being Authentic-Part 2

I almost hate to write this second part because I hate saying bad things about a product or company but if I sit back and let everyone assume I like everything that's being misleading.  On the flip side I probably do a bad job of highlighting brands or products that I like because I don't want my posts to sound like a commercial. I assume that if you see a picture and like something I'm wearing or using then you'll ask what brand it is and/or where I got it from. I enjoy reviewing products but I do try to stick to those that I believe I'll actually like. For example, I don't run with music and we all know that so me reviewing headphones or an mp3 player would be nonsense. However, I do always carry a handheld or wear a fuel belt when I run because I won't run without my phone so reviewing something like that would be perfect for me!

This is a 5K and I'm wearing a Fuelbelt pouch for my phone and carrying my Camelbak

We will just start with Chobani and my lack of love for what blog land has crowned king of Greek yogurt. I've tried it more than once and I think it tastes awful. I much prefer the taste of Fage and have been eating that for over a year. They have the cups that have honey, peach, raspberry, etc. on the side to mix in and I've tried every flavor but prefer the honey and peach. I usually stick with 0% unless they are out of it and then I'll get the 2%.

Last year I tried the Vega smoothies and I nearly puked. When I contacted the rep to see if she wanted me to post a less than positive review or not post anything at all I never heard a response which is quite the professional way to handle that. Needless to say Vega products are NOT on my shopping list!

Yum, yum, yum!

While we are on the subject of foodie things let me admit that I rarely post pictures of food or share recipes because I don't think it's that interesting. I eat what I eat and you eat what you eat and I feel there's no need to share unless it is one of the best things I've ever eaten or the presentation is so amazing that I have to take a picture before I can eat it. Other than those two cases I don't usually care about what anyone's eating or drinking. (I hate hurting people's feelings so please don't take it personal if you love talking about food and post pictures of what you eat. I still love you and your blog and will comment if it looks like something I'd eat too but don't expect any WIAW posts from me anytime soon!)

I do always share pictures of our birthday cakes because not taking a birthday cake picture means you never had a birthday in my family

Let's move right on along to headbands. This is one of those things where I'm ready to throw in the towel. I've lost count of how many different brands I've tried but apparently I have a head not made for headbands because all the no-slip headbands (that I've tried) start slipping within the first 1/4 mile of a run. I really do wish I could find something besides Bondi Bands that I can run in because they are so wide and I like the look of a narrow headband better but so far no luck at all. Speaking of trying numerous brands of things and being disappointed leads me right into sports bras. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears (literally) has plagued my sports bra search and last fall I finally settled on Nike sports bras and using athletic tape where I normally chafe since I never could find a brand that fit right and didn't cause "issues". None of the anti-chafing products did anything to help this out so I can add all those products to the list of things I'll never buy but will always have a lifetime supply of thanks to swag bags.

Rocking my favorite Bondi Band to match Allan's beanie

On the opposite end of the spectrum of product disdain comes my shoe collection. I have 18 pairs of running shoes and I can't say anything bad about a single pair. After spending two years selling athletic shoes and taking up running in the past couple of years I have shoes from Altra, Adidas, Mizuno, Nike, Puma, Brooks, Asics, and New Balance in my closet. I wear different ones for different distances and have some reserved for races such as my Adidas Adizero-those are only for racing 5K's because they are super light. I also try to mix it up by rotating my shoes around a lot which I believe helps my feet. I don't think it's any secret that while I like all my shoes I do prefer to race half marathons in one of my 5 pairs of Mizunos. I've found that it takes little to no time for me to break these shoes in and I can run in them on the road, trail, or in the pasture on the farm and I never have any foot pain or get blisters. They have the support I need for longer runs. That leads right into my undying love for Wright Socks. I own five pairs of these and will NOT race in anything else. I gave my sweet friend Alyson a pair and I think I've converted her as well since they did great for her last long run and her first half marathon. They have never given me a blister and my feet don't look like prunes when I take them off so that's a win-win for me!

Even Ali (our niece) approves of Mizunos!

I also use my Tommie Copper calf sleeves religiously after long runs or races because I can tell a huge difference if I don't. I really believe they help my legs recover faster if I wear them after my post-race shower, sleep in them, and then take them off the next morning. Sometimes if my legs are still a little sore I may wear them that next day until bedtime but usually just the night after the race is enough. I also have a compression shirt that I've worn when my back has been a little tight and I'm anxious to see how I enjoy it after a workout at the gym. Honestly I'd own every single Tommie Copper product if I could afford it!

My calves love these things!
As far as things that I'm either learning to love or just feel so-so about the first thing that comes to mind is using gels during a race. I dislike a lot of flavors (I hate grape anything and always have since I was a child) and at first the consistency make me sick but now that I've found GU Roctane Island Nectars we are set! I love that flavor and so far my stomach hasn't had any trouble with it so things are looking up for me and gels! In the past I've used nothing but GU Chomps and I still carry those for most races but I'm starting to carry both chomps and gels now. Compression socks are another so-so item. I think they work great but I can't really say that I prefer one brand over another yet and I prefer calf sleeves because I can't stand to sleep in socks. I've won some Pro Compression socks that I've been waiting on and I'm interested to compare those to the two pairs of Zensah compression socks that I have. Allan wears compression socks under his soccer socks for every practice and game and says it's made a huge difference and kept his calves from getting tight and cramping up. One thing that I want to love but don't is Nuun. I have had a few different flavors and I don't think it's for me or perhaps I haven't found the right flavor combination. I like my blue Gatorade and I can't see myself cheating on it with anything else so I'm sorry Nuun lovers!

Just in case you are wondering: black compression socks + yellow labs = bad news bears

To tie this all back to the whole being authentic theme let me say that I find it very difficult to believe one person can love everything they review. Perhaps people are afraid to post a bad review for fear that other companies won't work with them in the future or maybe you are like me and hesitate to say anything bad about a product just because you hate to talk bad about anything. In the end I think it's best to be honest and let the chips fall where they may and I'm going to do a better job of that. Putting yourself out there reviewing products means people trust you to be honest about what you truly like and dislike about something. I'd hate to think of someone buying something I reviewed only to find that the product wasn't what they expected. It's for this reason that most of the items I buy for giveaways and our virtual races are products I have myself. Yes, there's still a chance that you may get something you don't like or it doesn't fit you how it fits me and I try to be upfront if it's something I've never used before but if I find products I like I enjoy sharing them with you guys!

Hope you've enjoyed reading about things I love, kinda like, or hate. My apologies if I don't love one of your favorite products. My feelings won't be hurt if you don't like my favorites. I'm sure I've probably left something off so if you feel like sharing about a certain product feel free to do so. You'll probably jog my memory about something else I have either tried or want to try!


  1. I love my mizunos, although I think about branching out and trying another brand. I've gotten hooked on pro compression socks, but I'd like to try some calf sleeves because often I'm too hot to wear socks after...
    Thanks for the reviews, I too believe no one loves everything they try.

  2. I too am not a Chobani lover, Fage is really where it is at. I have done a couple of less than positive reviews, but for the most part if I don't have anything good to say I don't post the review. I hate being mean...even it is just being honest. Nuum lemonade is where it is at, I recommend that flavor over every other flavor. I think the others have kind of grown on me a little.
    I am not a brand loyal shoe person either, I used to be an Asics only girl but once I tried other shoes I found I loved a lot of different shoes.

  3. Haha! I love it! I have many of the same opinions! Why do I need to see every single thing you put into your mouth?? I stopped following all those blogs because they were very boring and clogging up my reading list with their multiple postings per day. I do like Chobani, but only the pineapple flavor. And it's more of a dessert than anything you would consider healthy. Never tried Fage. I'll have to pick some up! I have never been approached to review any products and I don't think I would be interested if I was asked. I don't want to be spammy or commercially. Kudos for being honest!

  4. I'm with you on so many of these! While I do post the occasional food photo on Instagram since I'm doing Whole30 right now, it's generally not my thing and I can't understand why certain bloggers get 100+ likes every time they post their breakfast. Seriously. I too wanna like Nuun but it upsets my tummy and I just don't like Greek yogurt period. On the topic of chafing, have you tried Lanacaine? It's a new anti-chafe product and it's AWESOME. Yes, in capital letters. The ONLY one that has worked for me. Anyhow, I'm digging your posts and while I do sometimes do giveaways and the odd food picture I hope I'm still being authentic. Because that's why I blog and that's what I love about the blogs I follow. Authenticity.

  5. I love this post. I don't share your opinions on all the products you mentioned but that is what makes the world go round! I love Chobani yogurt and have been miserable for years that they haven't started marketing in W. Canada yet, but since my Whole30 in January I have given up dairy and don't care anymore. haahahaa And of course you know that Handful and Tommie Copper are MY favorites.

    I think it is good that we all have different likes and dislikes and loyalties. Sheesh, if we all liked the same things, what would be the point of reading other blogs?

    But I do like your point of asking for honesty. I work things out with the company rep up front and honestly won't post a review/giveaway for something I have tried and don't like. I just don't see the point.

  6. I am with you on the headbands....none of them will stay on my head for longer than five minutes...except Bondi bands, and they look CraZy on me!

  7. I used to scoff at the people who ran in Newtons. I mean, seriously?? $175 shoes that look crazy on the bottom? But I really believe now they are magic.

  8. I definitely appreciate these posts! If I read reviews, I read them because I want to KNOW how well a product works before I purchase it-writing anything but the truth does nothing but disappoint the people who purchase it in the future.

    Also, I highly recommend the sports headbands that scunci makes. They aren't fancy or anything, but they totally work and I have naturally curly crazy hair and they do the trick. I THINK I got mine at either Walmart or a drugstore and they were less than 3 bucks. Worked really well for me and they're pretty thin...they can be a tad bit uncomfortable because they hold your hair in place with a kind of rubber-silicone band on the bottom part, but once they're situated properly they're good to go and the best part is they don't move!!!

  9. THANK YOU for this post. omg. this is something i am literally working on at this very moment in my own life and am so grateful to see inspiration from someone like you! loved reading this post and could relate to it so much in my own life!

  10. haha. LOVE this. even if you don't love food pics and nuun. granted, I will NEVER do a WIAW, but i will take pics of food from trips. and please, always share cake! have you tried sparkly soul? they are the only ones that don't slip on me (or stretch out).

  11. Thank you for your honesty! Believe me I have learned that I do not love everything that everyone else does. I am not a Froyo freak like most runners and there are several things I can't do that others can. We are all unique in our own ways and we should all be very proud of that and run our blogs how we want them to be!
    YOU GO GIRL! lol

  12. I really enjoyed this post, Suz. Thanks for sharing your favorites and not-so-favorties!

  13. love this post! i HATE nuun. i think it's disgusting. :)

  14. Love this post too. I can't stand Nuun. I think it's gross. Fage blueberry acai is the jam! Yum! I'd rather see pics of the dogs instead of your breakfast anyway. ;) xo

  15. This is why we are all individuals!! I definitely have my favorites of certain things, Saucony for one, but I like lots of different brands for other things, compression socks for example.

    And yea, if I reviewed headphones people would know I was lying, I don't run with music either! (So I wouldn't review them, but just saying haha)

    Oh and may I please have a piece of that cookie cake now? ;)

  16. I am glad you are being honest! I totally like Fage better than Chobani, and I buy a big tub of plain and add my own honey!

    I also did not love the Vega line... I have had a lot of products that I am ambivalent about and sometimes my reviews are kind of blah. I always feel bad, but hey, we are supposed to be honest, right?

  17. Yeah I rarely even read sponsored posts anymore because they are just a waste of my time, even when they are my blogging friends that do them. I just bought Fage because it was the only kind that had 2% yogurt and it was so good! Unfortunately I'll be sticking to Costco nonfat because I'm cheap. You put into words perfectly my feelings about food - if it's good enough to share, by all means, share, but I don't really need to see a picture of your turkey sandwich and apple. I tried Tommie Copper and thought they were awful actually! I feel like I am always talking up products but it's sadly never freebies just things I bought that I really like! Have you tried Emily's headbands?

  18. I wish I could wear the cute headbands too. I sweat so much on my head that the cute sparkly ones just don't work. I'll wear them if I'm not working out. Otherwise, I love Bondi Bands because they're wide and they absorb my sweat.

    I recently got some yoga clothes to review that I hated. I contacted the company and told them that I didn't love their products and I'd be happy to send them back instead of posting a less than positive review.

    I mostly find myself accepting fewer and fewer sponsor activities. But, I still talk about my favorite stuff because I do love getting recommendations from bloggers.


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