Saturday, January 21, 2017

F is for Favorites

It's time for a list of my favorite things!

Like most people, I like to try new and different things, not because I have any problem with what I'm currently using....I just like to try things. However, some things I stick with for a long time. Sometimes new companies start.

ROKA everything. I've been doing triathlon for 11 years. I have tried just about every wetsuit, goggles, etc. I have never been a fan of Xterra wetsuits. Until ROKA, I was a fan of blue seventy. (Keep in mind, I've also tried very small brands). Three years ago, I got my first ROKA suit. I decided to give the goggles a try as well.

Important note about the goggles: while you can't go wrong with ANY styles, if you are a woman, the one piece goggles tend to be too big and leak horribly. Get the goggles with the changeable nose piece. Given that I race all over the US, I've had different lighting conditions when swimming: from swimming in the dark, to swimming directly into a rising sun--unable to see any buoys. These goggles are absolutely amazing. In the past, I used to load up with different goggles, not really seeing any difference. ROKA goggles, while not cheap at around $30, are SO WORTH THE MONEY.  I love them so much that I lost a pair at the National Championship last year and was devastated. How often do YOU cry over a lost pair of goggles? Yeah. They're that good.

Let's get to the wetsuits. First of all, I swim sleeveless. So, I can't speak to the full suits.

I LOVE THE ROKA WETSUITS. Period. They fit better than any suit I've had in the past. That's a big deal for a cyclist, like me, with bigger legs. The wetsuit fits like a second skin but doesn't restrict motion, like other big clunky wetsuits. The wetsuits are soft and supple. They are easy to remove and (I think) even easier to get on. One thing I love love love is the neck line. Some wetsuits come up over the neck. They can really give the feeling of being choked or claustrophobia. The ROKA necklines (in the sleeveless) are lower and don't come up to the neck at all.

I also have a ROKA swimskin. It was the best investment I've ever made. I've never really been a fan of swimskins. I always thought "why bother"? ROKA changed all of that for me. I honestly feel like I get the same buoyancy with a swim skin as I do with their wetsuits.  I know that can't be possible, but the swimskins are amazing.

Aveda sun care shampoo. With all the time I spend in various swimming conditions, I have struggled to find a shampoo that works for me. I have auburn hair that is wavy/curly and tends to frizz in chlorine. I also don't like how my hair feels after swimming in a lake. Over the years, I've used various shampoos and then offset the drying qualities of that shampoo with a good conditioner. Then, I stumbled upon the Aveda product. I love it because my hair no longer feels "stripped" after a washing. It can also double as a body wash. It's gentle enough that it doesn't dry out my skin. Yet, it gets off the stank.

Sunbasket If you click here, you get 3 free meals. Sunbasket is one of the food delivery services in which you receive a certain number of meals and all ingredients each week. The difference between Sunbasket and other companies is that all the food is organic, and the company shops locals farmers. In addition to this, all shipping material is recyclable. I've tried just about every food delivery service out there, Sunbasket is by far the best. The food is the highest quality. The recipes are delicious. They offer full customization. By that I mean, if you sign up for the Paleo menu, you don't have to order from just the paleo menu. You can order vegetarian options or gluten free. They also recently added a "20 minute meal" option. Who doesn't love a delicious, home cooked meal that's done in 20 minutes?
There's one downside. (You'd have to check out their website to verify this because their policy might have changed). They used to only ship to the west. CO was the furthest east they would ship to. However, that might be different now. I've been ordering food from Sunbasket for over 1.5 years now.

More food fun:
It might surprise you, but I eat quite a bit of food. :) Seriously, triathletes as a whole eat a lot of food. The challenge is figuring out how to eat. How do we get enough GOOD food in? How do we get variety? I mean, just planning dinners can be tough. How on earth do I figure out another 4-5 meals a day

For local people who live south of Denver, you need to check out These are precooked, individual serving sized meals. The meals cost just slightly less than going out to eat at a fast casual place. I think it's worth it because you're getting great quality food, great tasting meals without the highly processed foods of eating out. Also, IMHO, the price is easily justified when I don't have to drive somewhere to get food, and I don't have to stress about what I'm going to eat when I'm one step away from the hangry.

Best of all, they travel well for road trips. I bring my cooler, fill it with meals, and I don't have to figure out what to eat while I'm on the road. 

I love me some baked goods. Kodiak Power cakes are (technically) pancake mix, but the batter can easily be made into protein packed muffins. (If you try them, I can send you my recipe. My recipe is different than the one on the box and is sugar free; my recipe, also, does not have any artificial sweeteners.) These muffins are to die for. Seriously, they are amazing. My favorite flavors are the peanut butter and the dark chocolate (which tastes more like chocolate cake, not dark chocolate). There's also a buttermilk. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm thinking the buttermilk with added pumpkin and pumpkin pie seasonings will be ABFAB.

The hardest days for me to plan meals are days that I swim masters. I get really hungry after swimming. My swims are anywhere from 3300-4000 yards 3-4 times a week. I need something to hold me over until I can get to a regular meal. I used to bring sandwiches with me, but many times, I don't have the time to make a lunch before masters.
Now, I have Dale's Raw Food protein bars.
Look at the ingredients. There's nothing bad in there. There's nothing you can't pronounce. There's no added sugar. There are no preservatives or chemicals. Do I even need to point out the fact that there are 22g of protein?  I haven't had all the flavors yet, but my favorites so far: Chocolate mint, raspberry hazelnut, peanut butter/banana. Pumpkin pie is good, too. There are tons of flavors, and I'm working my way through them. (OH. Right now, they have BOGO on the boxes of 12). 

There's one catch. These are natural with no preservatives. For the longest shelf life, they need to be frozen. When frozen, they last up to 6 months. In the pantry, they only last about a week. In the fridge, they last one month. 

This next item shocked me. JMan got me a cold weather jacket for Christmas. I was blown away by how incredibly thoughtful it was. AND, I REALLY NEEDED A NEW JACKET.

The NorthFace Arcata jacket has become my absolute favorite piece of winter gear. 

Let's be honest. NorthFace just knows their stuff. It's water resistant. There's no bulk to the jacket. I can rave and rave about this jacket, but read the reviews. It has 143 5 star reviews.

Sadly, they don't make one for men, but this looks like it might be similar. 

This list is getting a little long now. I'll stop there.