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What do you do to lift yourself up?

Let me be honest:: I’ve been lagging in the motivation department. If you’ve looked at my Strava account lately (which I know no one actually does, BTW, so don’t get the impression I think I’m a fancy runner) you’ll see I haven’t logged a single mile since May. I have a little stack of not-yet-earned medals from virtual races mocking me. I’d hoped to run the SeaWheeze Virtual 10k but then Portland had a heat wave and it’s was WAY too hot to even think about going outside. (In my defense, I grew up in Michigan, and I come from two very long lines of pasty-white folks from northern climates. I’m just not engineered for the heat, and I quickly turn into a lobster when exposed to direct sunlight, SPF 2000 for the glow-in-the-dark notwithstanding.) When it finally cooled down, the wildfire smoke rolled in, and the air quality was so bad that I couldn’t workout inside the house.

It’s not just running where my motivation has been notably absent. I was basically a total slug for the entire month of June–no yoga, no stretching, no workouts, no nothing–and pretty much all of July and August and September. I mean, I did do some minor outdoor yard maintenance, but I haven’t felt very motivated to do that either. I definitely did not finish the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee. September was like a very slow car wreck, for reasons I can’t write about here. It’s like I went from coping extremely well with the stay-at-home era to not coping so well at all.

Does this describe you, too? It’s okay. In fact, it’s okay to not be okay.

Where Did My Motivation Go?

First, if you’re feeling drained lately, it’s not just you. Or me. Or us. There’s plenty of “pandemic fatigue” going around–just Google it. If you’re feeling weary, notice changes to your sleeping and eating patterns, lack of motivation, have brain fog or racing thoughts, are edgy/nervous and maybe snapping at others, YOU may have pandemic fatigue. It’s a thing. Check out the UCLA Health recommendations on how to combat pandemic fatigue. Engage your peeps and make a plan. Even if we can’t live 2020 the way each of us planned, that’s no excuse for wasting it. Listen, I’m not saying you have to turn into the person who is working from home full-time, homeschooling the kids while teaching them Japanese language and French cooking, being the perfect house-spouse, and executing a 93-point self-improvement plan. Just that if you’re sitting around pining, while waiting for the pandemic to end, you’ve got better options. It’s okay to throw a pity party and wallow in it a bit–trust me, I GET IT–but eventually you’ve got to pull yourself out of it. (No one’s going to save you–save yourself!)

Second, it’s totally normal to develop pandemic fatigue–even if you’ve been “really just fine” up until now. As science journalist Tara Haelle explains in her essay on Medium, it’s because our surge capacity is depleted: “Surge capacity is a collection of adaptive systems — mental and physical — that humans draw on for short-term survival in acutely stressful situations, such as natural disasters.” Well we’ve been living under an acutely stressful situation for more than half a year now, and frankly, I’m burned out.

BUT. I am sick and tired of being burned out. I know I can’t just jump in with both feet (who has the energy for that?) but I’ve had my pity party, I’ve wallowed, and while I’m still engaging in some extra indulgent self-care

Cheerleader and balloons
I have felt like the opposite of this. You?

Here’s My Process: Step 1, Pick Some Baby Steps

Okay so first, it’s okay if you’re not ready to do anything yet. Maybe you start by calling a friend, or someone you trust. If you’re having a really, really hard time, please seek a counselor or therapist or other professional help. But if you’re not there yet, or you’re trying to climb out of that pit of despair, pick a tiny step.

In July I subscribed to Imperfect Produce. My “plan” was that this would motivate me to start cooking at home, instead of relying almost completely on (boxed) comfort foods and takeout (and wine). I’m not going to lie, I’ve indulged a bit too much in the comfort food. I know this won’t fix my neverending love affair with pizza (and cheese sandwiches), but at least it will up my produce intake. (I’ve been limiting my grocery store excursions because the number of people nose-dicking–wearing masks slung under their noses so that the mask is totally ineffective, as if they were wearing underwear tucked under their penises–stresses me out.)

First I made a hearty lentil and vegetable stew from a recipe that I saw in an email. I had swap out a few things, and I added way more rice, but I thought it turned out perfectly. Second, I made a crock pot curry with a sweet potato-carrot base. I had ordered an immersion blender (on sale, with a coupon) to assist with this, as the entire soup is pureed at the end, and naturally the blender arrived the day after I made the soup!! The only problem with the curry soup is that unlike the rice-laden lentil mix, it’s not something I can eat for three meals a day. Next time, I need to be prepared to freeze part of the batch.

The third experiment was tomato sauce, specifically the kind made for pasta. I say “experiment” because I basically chopped up a bunch of produce from my Imperfect boxes that I identify with pasta sauce (onions, tomatoes, garlic, red bell peppers), sauteed them in olive oil, and threw them into a pot with a can of tomato paste and a bunch of herbs. Sadly, I discovered that while I have a lovely “pasta sprinkle” blend, I did not have all of the constituent ingredients. So while I could add basil (I’ve got two kinds) and oregano, I didn’t have any thyme. (Not sure how that’s possible, but there you have it.) I tossed in salt and pepper, but under-salted it on purpose as I knew I’d want to top any pasta with a generous handful of shredded parmesean, reggiano, and other hard cheeses with a salty flavor.

The experiments will continue as I mix comfort food (seriously, Kraft dinner never goes out of style) with fresh spinach and hummus wraps, and try to switch my snacks from all cheap carbs (Cheez Its are life) to more fresh fruit. Also I may still eat way more pizza than I should.

A monster eating cake
Some days, I eat like this.

Step 2: Wardrobe, Please!

This is also a baby-step. Since I’m working from home 90% or more, and when I go to the office no one cares what I am wearing (if there’s even anyone there), I am literally wearing yoga pants all day, every day. For me, this is delightful–I don’t give a rip about fashion, and I’d be thrilled beyond belief if I could just keep wearing the black tee-shirts I bought at Target in the early 2000s without a wardrobe change. It’s been hot in Portland, and I hate being sweaty. I bought a few more pairs of yoga pants (prana Pillar Pant, black), and a few of those Harper Wilde “bliss” bralettes. When 32 Degrees had a big sale I bought some long shorts (so hard to find these days). I don’t want to do laundry every day, and I might as well be comfortable, right? (Next buy: another pair of my favorite pajama pants.)

Since the statistics on clothing in the US are pretty wasteful and the average American throws away like 81 pounds of clothing per year, I’m trying to be very careful about what I buy and how much and how often. (Seriously, Target, those Merona tees from the early 2000s.) I want my yoga pants to last forever so I buy quality. Harper Wilde has a bra recycling take-back program and they take ANY brand. My discarded tees and race shirts go directly to a church that helps those experiencing homelessness (they go right onto the backs of actual humans, not to some place to maybe be resold); I do clothing swaps with friends; and when what I have to offer isn’t useful to either of those groups, I offer it up on my neighborhood’s Buy Nothing group.

Finally, I’m still acquiring masks. Wearing a mask isn’t a sign of some fear or weakness. I affirmatively choose to wear a mask because I understand the science of droplet management, and I know that people can spread the COVID-19 virus even when they are symptom-free; I do NOT want to spread the virus to you, your loved ones, the elderly, the immunocompromised, or anyone else. I’m wearing that mask because I care about my community, not just myself. I’m trying to choose masks in a way that reflects my values. The first ones came from a local running skirt company that pivoted since they aren’t at a race expo every weekend this year. The next one came from Oaklandish, a store in Oakland I love. I bought a few from crafters on etsy, selecting designs from stores run by individuals making their own goods. I picked a set from 32 Degrees so I could have plain black for court/work. My next masks will come from local running stores.

Step 3: Save the Environment

Well, not ANY environment, but the one inside my house, specifically. Between moving into a new space (this house!) in November and changing jobs in June, my personal environment has been in flux. I’m still experimenting with how to place the furniture (dining set and one sofa) in the main living area and how to work from home. Once I started doing most of my shopping online, the dining room started to look like a cardboard box factory. In my experience–and according to Psychology Today–mess causes stress. The last thing I need is more stress!!

First, I cleared and cleaned the bedroom. At the moment, there’s still clutter on one of the dressers, but the rest of it is in order: clean sheets and freshly laundered blankets on the bed, floor cleaned and de-cat-hair-ed on the regular (hooray for micro-fiber cloths). I now have one sanctuary where all is right with the world, more or less. If you haven’t done this, OMG give it a try.

Then I ordered a desk to use during work-from-home. It arrived four months later. Despite the wait, and the imperfect fit of the chair I bought at Home Goods, this is a vast improvement over trying to work on the dining room table (which is the wrong height for typing) or from the sofa (which angered both my low back and my hamstrings). So now I have one designated Space For Work, which somehow makes me less anxious about not leaving the house.

Next, I started to re-home things I no longer need. Obviously I can’t just drop them off at a resale shop, and many of them aren’t resale material anyway. (Plus the majority of things donated do not get sold.) Instead, I’m finding good homes for most of these items through the Buy Nothing project: the gigantic cardboard boxes that protected my IKEA furniture during shipping, the full-sized box springs I love but that didn’t fit up the steep stairs in my new place, catnip spray Professor Nick Sterling ignored, a fat stack of old magazines, modge-podge, a seat cushion, old cable TV equipment, and so much more. I’ve set aside a bag of clothes to give to a homeless outreach program, once that’s possible. I also have a number of pieces of workout clothing I’m probably going to put on Poshmark. That’s another project.

I picked one room–the one that is going to become the yet-to-be-named workout room–and focused on that. Since it is going to house the equipment I own and my workout clothes, I needed storage and picked out a wardrobe and dresser from IKEA. (They had a bit of a backed-up ordering system, so it took awhile to get them.) The wardrobe is assembled, the dresser needs a drawer fixed (I’ve kicked that to the end of the project). After much consideration I took advantage of the summer sale to buy the CityRow specialized version of the A1 WaterRower–it’s not like I’m headed back to any gym or studio any time soon–and got a TV to hang on the wall (for the DVD player, since I have a stack of fitness DVDs). I splurged on an AppleTV so that I can screen mirror my iPhone to the TV (helpful for apps), though I could have used the phone-holder on the rower, or just dealt with it. Rather than wait for the perfection of finishing off the room–I need to move the TV’s cords out of the way of the heater, and take the things in boxes and put them into the dresser and wardrobe–I did my first workout on the rower with the room in a bit of a mess. It’s coming along nicely, and I anticipate finishing the rest of it this weekend.

Robot on a rainbow with balloons
Changing my environment changes my outlook for the better.

Finally, I spent a little money and one day (when it wasn’t a billion degrees or super smoky) to solve several problems that had been bugging me:

  • My fridge has an ice maker but there isn’t a water line plumbed to it, so it is useless. I bought a countertop ice maker–model based on a friend’s recommendation–and my life is so much better (especially during the crazy hot period when I couldn’t get enough cold liquids in me to save my life). I have ice for the iced tea pot, or for drinks, or to wrap up and hold on my wrists.
  • The cat’s box is in this funky liminal space between the kitchen, pantry, bathroom, and staircase, and it bugged me that it was just “out there.” I found a table at Ross that is the exact right size to cover and protect the cat box, move focus, and provide a place to set things that come in the back door.
  • My cat doesn’t care, but his collars were all shredded from his turbo-foot scratching. I bought a new reflective safety breakaway collar for his sweet bowtie.
  • My 15+ year old lamp that I’ve used in the bedroom, and the lamp I’ve had since I was a kid, both need wiring repairs. The 15+ lamp has one of those roll-the-dial switches on the cord and developed a tic where if the cord isn’t twisted exactly the right way, the light will switch off at some random point. It’s been annoying me, but I need a lamp there and so haven’t taken it to the lamp shop. I found a lamp on sale (about $20) and a clearance lamp shade I rather like ($6.50), and the combo is more appropriate for my bedside bookcase than the dysfunctional one. Now I can pack that one off to get repaired, and eventually installed in the guest room.

Oh, and THEN a friend turned me on to The Home Edit. After binging all the episodes (hi, Little Dave!), I “edited” more things, and realized my temporary workspace is in need of some help. I have a file cart with drawers on the way.

Turtle crossing balloons
Can I help push you across the finish line?

Next Step: Help Others

If you’re a runner, you know at some races there’s the point where everything has gone wrong? Like your shoes are rubbing the wrong way (even though they never have before), and your muscles hurt, and it is too hot, and you just don’t wanna? That’s they point when I know that staying focused on myself will only make me miserable. In a race, that’s when I look for someone else who looks lonely and miserable, and I make a new friend to cheer towards the end of the race.

So, in the spirit of trying to help keep YOUR spirits up–and maybe we can all help each other?–drop a note on how you’re doing, and what you’re doing to keep your own spirits up. THEN, if you want a happy little surprise by mail, drop me an email with your mailing address. You know how we have Valen-tines? I’ll send you a Quaran-tine! (Quarantine, stay-at-home? Okay, that might have been funnier in my head…. ) Anyway, until supplies run out, I will help my beloved US Post Office help YOU by sending you a cheery little something.

Pandemic fatigue resources:

Most of us are looking at another month or more of “Stay At Home”–I’m in through July 6, at a minimum–and races throughout Oregon and SW Washington (and the rest of Washington, for that matter) are cancelled. California races are cancelled. Pretty much all the races are cancelled. That’s okay because running is NOT cancelled, camaraderie among runners is NOT cancelled, and swag and bragging rights are NOT cancelled. If you’ve never connected to the running community on social media, now is the perfect time to join a virtual challenge. Motivate to run/walk/wog/whatever those miles by connecting with a challenge or a virtual run club. Unlike a virtual race (which happens once, you probably do it by yourself, and maybe you forget?) a challenge or a virtual rub club is ongoing support and a reminder to get off the couch!

The Original Edition

Run the Year 2020 medal

Run The Year. “Virtual” since the start! You can choose to literally “run the year” (2020 miles or kilometers), alone or as part of a team, or you can choose your own goal. For the Basic fee of $25, you get access to an easy-to-use mileage tracker (it lets you separate out walking and running and “other” miles), a private facebook group (plus a regional facebook group–once the virus ends, we can meet new runners at local meetups!), and a mileage guide. Upgrade to the Deluxe package for $39 to score a medal, legacy coin, and mileage tracking poster (it’s color-by-number-of-miles!). If you want to Get It All, spend $59 for all that and a bag of chips I mean a sublimated Run the Year tech shirt. See all of your options at https://shop.runtheedge.com/pages/run-the-year-2020 and don’t forget to join the Uncanceled Project (it’s free!)–your race on your day–to get those sweet custom photo bibs I know you’ve seen on Insta.

I’ve been a member of Run The Year since it started. My favorite aspect of this group is that ALL runners are welcome. This isn’t a club about being speedy–though there are speedy members. There are walkers, too. There are people brand new to any kind of exercise, and people who regularly take home trophies. It’s an encouraging space. Last year I volunteered to lead the Portland-area Facebook group, and I met some great people. Plus I’m apparently still a child and I love coloring in my poster.

The Ridiculous Edition

This is the photograph from the GVRAT 1000k Facebook group. Yes, those appear to be buzzards looking for roadkill.

The Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee 1000k. If you’re really into running, like to the point where you read about other people running, look up stuff online about running, or like to hear “war stories” from really crazy serious runners, you’ve probably heard of the Barkley Marathons, aka “the race that eats its young” according to the documentary subtitle. (Trailer on YouTube, film on a variety of platforms.) Despite the fact that few people enter and almost no one finishes, making it almost automatic social distancing, the race is off this year. So race director Gary “Lazarus Lake” Cantrell came up with something else: The Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee. It’s a mere $60 and you have from May 1 to August 31 to run 1000k BUT the miles only count if you cover them AFTER you sign up (and that’s run, walk, treadmill miles) https://runsignup.com/Race/TN/Memphis/TheGreatVirtualRaceAcrossTennessee1000K

Now why on earth would I, a banana slug of a “runner,” who hasn’t done 50 miles to date this year, sign up for #GVRAT1000? I think back to my earlier running days, when I lived in California, and some of my friends were telling me about The Goofy Challenge at Walt Disney World: run a half marathon Saturday, and a full marathon on Sunday. My reaction? “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of!” So when The Dopey Challenge premiered a few years later, I signed right up. Maybe this time I hope to learn some geography? Call it the Go Big Or Go Home principle, if you will, but there’s some magic in publicly declaring that you are going to do an insane thing. Also, it’s find of fun to do the impossible. Take it from Bib #14066. 18,000+ runners in 68 countries can’t be wrong!

P.S. if that’s not enough, perhaps your pooch can motivate you? There’s a separate division for doggos! The cost is half of the human registration (Laz says it is half as hard to run that far on four legs) and 100% of proceeds will go to animal shelters in Tennessee. So grab your pupper and go!

The Local (As I Define It) Edition

At the outset of this section, if you have the resources to support your local running club, local running store, and local race directors, PLEASE DO IT. I know many of you have lost your jobs or lost some income that makes this impossible; to you, I say go forth and shamelessly apply for every running “scholarship” there is for your local runs: then get to doing it, talking about it, and wearing the local swag. I recently read an article about coffee that mused after all this is over, Starbucks might be the last roaster standing. (Blog post forthcoming.) PLEASE DO NOT LET THAT HAPPEN TO RUNNING. While big, national “road show” type races are fun, local races give back more to your community. The money almost all stays close to home (to pay vendors, suppliers, and for security, etc.), and almost every race gives some amount of the entry fees to a local charity. A smaller local race can happen in a town that can’t support a marathon of 20,000 which means more runs in more places.

Marathon Matt’s SF Run Club is going virtual too.

SF Virtual Run Club. California is where I really started running, and Run Club was my first stab at running with people on a somewhat regular basis outside of races. Usually it’s an in-person thing, with a short run and a cross-training workout during the week, and a long run on the weekend, plus plenty of social time. Runners are often training for, or “targeting” the same SF Bay Area race. This year? We’re going the distance, at a distance. The virtual summer season starts May 16 but you can join late if you’d like. http://www.sanfranciscorunningclub.com/

Oregon Brewery Running Series May Virtual Challenge. What’s a local race director to do when all the breweries close and we’re under a Stay At Home order? Go Virtual! In addition to prizes for hitting certain targets, there are weekly Zoom happy hours (you run your miles, then it’s BYOB) with “door” prizes. I wrote about how much I love this series. You should join us. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/oregon-may-virtual-challenge-tickets-102838915966?

The Do-Gooder Edition

Reigning Roses Walk. This annual event is the main fundraiser for Rose Haven, a women’s day center in Portland that receives no federal funding. Rose Haven provides services to women, children, and gender-nonconforming individuals to achieve self-sustainability, with dignity and respect. The programs include medical, access to showers, mail service, and classes. Reigning Roses was never a run. Instead it was a sort of parade, with participants carrying jaunty umbrellas and live music. While social distancing and anti-gathering rules currently in place make it unsafe to hold the event this year, and there is a virtual version, I’m betting participation will be down. That would suck, because Rose Haven does great work and it’s likely even more women will need help in the wake of COVID-19. https://www.makeitreign.org/event/reigning-roses-2020/e275129

The Environmentally Friendly Edition

It’s A Re-Run! No, not like on TV.

Griffith Park Virtual Re-Run. What happens to all those race shirts and medals when the race is over? I know some races will sell them next year as “vintage.” The Race for Warmth uses the shirts for people who late register the next year (so if your size is unavailable, you get last year’s shirt). The people that direct the Griffith Park Run had a better idea: let’s make a new race to use them up! You sign up for 6k, 8k, or 12k and run by May 24th. You get a random shirt, medal, and bib from a prior run, a Gu product, and a Re-Run sticker. $5 of your entry fee goes to the L.A. Emergency COVID-19 Crisis Fund, organized by The Mayor’s Fund of Los Angeles. At only $22.50 (which includes your swag mailed to you), it’s a bargain that also does good (both by repurposing ace swag, and supporting the LA community). Register: https://runsignup.com/Race/CA/LosAngeles/GriffithParkVirtualReRun

One of my favorite California race companies!

Brazen Racing Retro Remote. I learned about this one right after I hit “go” on the original post. Brazen Racing is a much-loved trail race group in California; die-hards who run each of the 20+ events in a year become “Streakers” and receive official numbers at the end of the season. Brazen has pulled ONE medal from each of their prior events to make this happen. As the website explains, “Those participating will have the opportunity to choose which one of those medals they want to get mailed for their virtual race package. Every medal sent out as part of this event will be unique and the medals are available on a first-come/first-serve basis. If you want to know what each medal looks like, you’ll have to do some searching around as even we’re not sure where/if pictures exist for every single one! Or you can just pick an event medal from a certain year and be surprised.” Distances include 5K, 10K, half marathon, marathon, 30K and 50K (the normal Brazen distances) and you can run solo or with a team. “The goal is to at least start your run by May 16th, but there are no strict rules here. We’re just trying to celebrate the good times we’ve had and the good times to come!” https://brazenracing.com/retroremote/

The National Edition

Even though I’d strongly encourage you to run local and support your local race directors and charities first, I have to give a nod to the national series races which are also not happening.

Zooma Run Club. Zooma specializes in women’s destination races, and this is a women’s run club. Sorry gents! Set your own mileage goal for the year (250 to 2500) and get swagged when you bag it. Zooma will also have giveaways, in addition to a private Facebook group, a Strava club, and more. If you join now, you get inaugural member status (which makes it sound like this club is here to stay, even past the Stay At Home era). Price: free option, swag packages at $65 (before June 1) or $75 (after June 1). You have the option to add-on more swag (hats, jackets, etc.) and the summer challenge for an additional fee. What can I say? The hoodie was really cute… https://zoomarun.com/zooma-run-club?

Rock ‘n’ Roll Virtual Run Club. Price: free, though completing a challenge gives you the option to buy finisher swag, and there’s some sort of points system (no idea what the points are for yet). Personally I have given up on this one, as the recording platform that Rock ‘n’ Roll chose to use cannot connect to Strava, and they do not connect to Coros. NO STRAVA? What the what? True story. Sport Heroes, the platform Rock ‘n’ Roll chose to use, can only connect to the following apps: Garmin, Polar, Suunto, FitBit, Nike+, Runtastic, Map My Run, Runkeeper, Health Mate, Rouvy, Decathlon Coach, TomTom, and Movescout. The only one of these apps I use is FitBit. (I also use Strava, Coros, and Charity Miles. I do NOT need to use another app just so I can do a Rock ‘n’ Roll virtual.) While the FitBit app recognizes “activities,” and Sport Heroes can import all the data, the RnR VRC will only recognize an activity if you set your FitBit to “run” before you go run. Sadly, this is not stated anywhere in the RnR VRC materials, so I missed out on the first VR 5k–I signed up and ran 5k, but didn’t push the special button on the FitBit, so it did not count. BTW no explanation from Rock ‘n’ Roll even after I filled out the feedback form, mystified that I’d run 5k but RnR VRC showed zero miles–I had to find this out from a savvier friend! So for the second week I pushed the button to start and end a run. You might think this fixed the problem, but you’d be wrong. Turns out my FitBit and my Coros had slightly different data, so FitBit said I did 9.82k and not 10k. As a result, RnR did not recognize my finish (so no badge, etc.) though I did get 99 points (whatever that is?) for the week. The Sport Heroes explanation for why they don’t connect to Strava is lame, and frankly sounds like it was written by a whiny, overprivileged, teenager who is used to getting away with whatever they want. It also contradicts Strava’s statement, and I’ve got a solid, multi-year relationship with Strava, and trust them. Strava’s explanation is short and sweet: Sport Heroes aggregates Strava data with no transparency about it, in violation of Strava’s rules. So if YOU are interested in attempting a Rock ‘n’ Roll Virtual Run Club event, you can give it a whirl. I’m out.

The Sponsored Edition

Run 50 miles, score a free pack! Image from Honeystinger.com

Honey Stinger 50 Mile Challenge. This is a challenge you sign up for directly on the Strava app. (Why couldn’t Rock ‘n’ Roll just use Strava? So easy, free for everyone.) If you’re not familiar with Strava, it’s a great place to connect with other runners, and with running brands. Honey Stinger is one of the companies that encourages runners on Strava by hosting a run club, and sponsoring various challenges. Head to the Strava challenge page to sign up. Finish 50 miles in the month of May and score a badge for your Strava profile plus a pack of the brand new Honey Stinger Plus Chews. Fifty lucky participants will also score a race kit (though there are 189,000+ people signed up so it’s a bit like the lottery).

If you’re not familiar with Honey Stinger, OMG go check them out! My favorite products are the caramel waffles (they also have gluten-free options) and the caffeinated cherry cola chews. Pro tip: to avoid crushing your waffles, use medical tape to affix 1-2 waffles to the back of your race bib. (Medical tape is cheap, will hold the waffle in place flat, and is easy to rip off the bib without any damage.)

The UnderDog Edition

While you’re at it, join Team Ordinary.

The Ordinary Marathon. Scott Rieke, aka the Ordinary Marathoner, started this ten-day event three years ago. This year, it runs (pun!) from May 8 to May 17. Every year, runners from all over run their miles (maybe a marathon, maybe not!) during the course (pun!) of the race and connect on social media. The photos later become part of the #OrdinaryMarathon slide show video. There are daily prizes, too. Entry fees also support a charitable donation to help pets ind a “furever” home. This year the optional in-person 5k isn’t happening, but that’s not stopping the event. It’s an Ordinary Marathon because anyone can do 26.2 over the course of 10 days–even you! $30 to register, includes a medal and treats, shirt is optional extra. http://www.ordinarymarathon.com/

What are you running in May?

Know a great race that had to go virtual due to the virus? Got a run club that’s “meeting” online? Drop a link to the registration page with your comment!

Unless you’ve been living on a remote island without wifi, you probably know that just about the entire spring racing season was canceled, summer races are dropping like flies, the fall preview is canceled with a side of not happening, AND there are now 27 races every day from November to January. Even the World Majors are not immune: Yesterday would have been Patriot’s Day and the Boston Marathon (now scheduled for fall), and today the Berlin Marathon was canceled and Chicago sent out preliminary information on how to cancel (guaranteed entry for 2021, but you have to pay the race fees again).

Given that we are current living in a global pandemic situation involving a virus for which there is no vaccine and no definitive cure, you shouldn’t be surprised. In fact, you should join me in praising the race directors’ individual and collective decisions to keep us and our communities safe. (As Marathon Matt Forsman observed, “It’s been brutal these past few weeks.”) So far we know the COVID-19 virus spreads rapidly through a droplet- type method. While that doesn’t include sweat, aerosolized droplets can stay airborne for hours. We also know that the virus can live on surfaces for quite a long time; while it is an extreme example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found COVID-19 on the Princess cruise ships up to 17 days after all the passengers left. This is a menace we need to take seriously.

Graphic courtesy of Race Raves

If You Run Enough Races, Eventually One Gets Canceled

This is just a math problem. (Remember “story problems” from math class? No? [Insert Millenial “new math” joke here.]) The more races you run, the more likely one gets canceled. I ran my 100th half marathon in 2017. That’s just half marathons. I’ve also participated in dozens of races of other distances. If you run enough races, you’ll have one get canceled. That’s just what happens. Races I’ve not-gotten-to-run:

  1. Walt Disney World Half Marathon (canceled, lightning)
  2. Walnut Creek Half Marathon (course shortened due to early am traffic accident on one of the roads on the course)
  3. Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Mile In The Sand (canceled, high winds/beach erosion concerns)
  4. Blue Ridge Marathon (black-flagged while I was on course, lightning)
  5. All of my 2020 races to date…

Races get canceled ALL THE TIME. The reasons are usually more mundane, like dangerous weather (e.g. lightning near the course, high heat & humidity, smog) or unforeseen events that affect the course. But there IS precedent for canceling races due to global pandemics. In 1918 (with both World War I and the “Spanish” flu–the one that killed a quarter of the population of the world–in the background) the Boston Marathon was canceled (a military-only event was held instead), and the Indianapolis Speedway voluntarily closed. As they say on “The Good Place,” shirt happens.

I haven’t taken a picture like this in months. As a runner, that feels weird!

The Registration Form Said “No Refunds”

I’m surprised to see so many runners whining that they are not getting a refund. Did you not read the registration materials? Pretty much every race says there are NO REFUNDS, right up front, and makes you check a box that says you have read and understand the rules. Even races that have some kind of refund policy often state there are no refunds when the event is canceled due to an “act of God” or “force majeure,” legal talk that basically means things outside the control of the race director. Can you imagine people demanding a refund if the course was buried by a volcanic eruption? Yeah, me either.

Look, it’s pretty simple: the race lays out the rules when you register for a race. The rules don’t change because the circumstances do. A race with a “no refunds, no transfers” policy has ZERO obligation to do anything if you get pregnant and put on bed rest, or break your leg, or have to go stand up in your sister’s wedding, or get stuck on a hijacked cruise ship, or the venue floods, or you get kidnapped by Norwegian trolls and held hostage on a fjord. A virus–even one causing a global pandemic–isn’t any different.

Woe to the poor race director who did not have the experience, foresight, or outside advice, to spell out a clear “no refund” policy (or whatever the cancellation policy is) early. (If you’re thinking about directing a race, read this one.)

(In Part Because Your Money is Gone)

If you’ve ever been on the other side of a big event–doing the organizing, getting the permits, registering the participants–you know that a lot of planning goes in long in advance. Budgeting requires predicting expenses and how many participants you need to break even. By four or eight weeks before a race, the money you paid to enter is gone. It’s been spent on a website, flyers, race shirts, finisher medals, permit fees, and more. That booth you visited at another race’s expo? Not free. The swag you got for registering early? Not free. The down-payments (or even total payments) for the extra police and security, for barricade rentals, for the sound system rental, for the post-race entertainment? Also not free. Also probably not refundable no matter why the event is canceled. If you haven’t read “In Support of the Race Director During Crisis,” and “Why Can’t I Just Get a Refund? And Other Emails to RDs in the COVID-19 Era” go read those right now.

I asked Marathon Matt for his take on this. He said, “I think most recognize this is a ‘force majeure’ we’re all scrambling to manage. EVERYONE is being impacted by COVID-19. I also think most people recognize I’m a small operation/business and simply can’t provide refunds/transfers (this is stated explicitly in my waiver). While ‘some’ larger race production companies can support this, very few production companies I’ve seen can. There are lots of articles circulating right now explaining why races can’t issue refunds, which is really important during a time like this.” True story.

Yes, runDisney did issue partial refunds or a transfer to the marathon when they cancelled the half on marathon weekend, and they made some kind of accommodation for the Star Wars themed races (no ideas what it is/was; I never signed up to run) but they didn’t have to. Frankly, when you’re a gigantic international corporate superpower like Disney, and your race sponsors are also large and well-funded, of course you can afford to offer a partial refund. But you’re not required to.

Early morning sleepy pre-race selfie with the founder of Every Runner Counts; the fuzziness of the picture matches my pre-coffee state of mind.

Early Cancellation is for YOUR Benefit

Race Directors don’t generally get rich doing their jobs. Many organizations that put on races are non-profits, and many of the “for profit” race organizations are not making that much of a profit. Trust me, they DO NOT want to cancel. Do you really think the city of Chicago wants the Chicago Marathon to NOT bring millions of dollars into the city, fill hotel rooms and restaurants, and other prop up the economy in October? Under ordinary circumstances, larger races understand that people book hotels and flights–not to mention days off from work–months in advance; late cancellation ordinarily results in losing deposits, and eating nonrefundable airfares. With the travel industry also hard-hit by COVID-19, my friends have had better luck rearranging and canceling travel plans. If it’s clear a race isn’t going to happen–like the “Stay at Home” order doesn’t expire until a week after your race date–early cancellation benefits the runners by giving them the maximum amount of time possible to rearrange plans.

What If It Is YOUR Job to Cancel the Race?

As you might guess, it kinda sucks. I asked Marathon Matt about his experience as a race director starting down a race date that you know just won’t happen.

For awhile, I was clinging to the hope that I’d be able to pull off my race on Sun, 4/5. While many larger (1,000+) races were being canceled, I was spared for awhile as I usually see 200-300 for my races. But, as constraints around public gatherings became more and more stringent, it became apparent I needed to plan for the worst. I would need a contingency plan.


I was fortunate in many respects that a number of races were postponed/cancelled prior to mine. People were seeing it happen with a ton of events which kind of prepared them for the inevitable. It softened the blow a bit when I had to use my contingency plan.

–Marathon Matt

As with many canceled races, the race directors facing down COVID-19 did not really have “the last word” on whether to cancel. A variety of “Stay at Home” orders meant that state governors and even mayors canceled races, not an emergency response team. There are only so many options when a race date is canceled–reschedule, go virtual, offer a transfer, cancel and do nothing–and not every race director has every option. Road races often involved coordination among multiple governmental agencies, road closures that local law requires be announced months in advance, and other administrative red tape. Marathon Matt’s race was a trail race, which made it easier for him to secure a new date. “Rather than cancel the race entirely, I elected to postpone it… What I ultimately offered my participants was the option of participating in the event on the new date OR they could opt for ‘virtual participation’ and I would send them their shirt, race woodallion, and other race swag,” Matt explained. “People have generally been pretty cool about this.”

Part of the idea for this post came from the whining on Facebook in various running groups (which I sincerely hope was just temporary frustration seeking an outlet). So I asked Matt what he’s seen and heard. “I’m fortunate that most of my runners have been understanding” Matt reported, giving me some hope for humanity. “I’ve seen more than a few runners lash out at races and race directors demanding refunds, issuing threats, and other unpleasantries. While I understand being frustrated and disappointed that your race was canceled, it’s important to have some perspective. We’re all dealing with something completely unprecedented. We’re all struggling to figure out how to best proceed.”

Go Forth and Suck It Up, Buttercups!

There are no races right now and if all of your 2020 races have been canned, you might feel like ugh, there is nothing to train for and so why bother. Hey, I get it; I’ve done more than my fair share of deep-couch-sitting during the first five weeks I’ve been trying to work from home. Wearing something over my mouth and nose when I run? Sucks. Being mindful so I don’t have to pass other people on the sidewalk? Meh. Not petting any of the adorable doggos I see when I go out? I’m dying. Kill me now. Seriously though, it’s hard times all around, so be gentle with yourself.

But here’s the deal: you probably have extra “free” time on your hands. While you’re certainly not under any obligation to teach your children Mandarin cooking and how to play the cello, or to church out the next novel for Oprah’s Book Club, maybe that’s what you want to do–and maybe you want to do that instead of running. That’s absolutely fine! Or maybe now’s the time you finally check out Athletes for Yoga or check out that cross-training method you’ve been curious about. Somewhere in between “I’m going to cure cancer” and “wake me when it’s over,” is your happy place. Go find it.

“The running community is amazing and filled with a lot of wonderful people. It’s this unique community (which includes runners and race directors) that will help us get through this. It’s important to remember we truly are all in this together.”

–Marathon Matt
True, they are not buttercups, but you get the idea, right?

How are you dealing with the cancellation of your races? What are you doing for quaran-tainment?

Marathon Matt left Corporate America to spread the love of running to as many people as possible. Check out Sasquatch Racing, and follow the Sasquatch Facebook page. Tired of “virtual races” and looking for a longer-term commitment? Check out Virtual Run Club, or The (no-stress) Loch Ness Virtual 5k/10k/Half & Running Challenge.

VERSION INFORMATION

All, there are now several groups in a much better position to do this work than I am. Because of this, I am now promoting their listings instead of mine. (I don’t have help updating this. Both of these organizations do. Plus if I dedicate my time to helping #2, we get more done. #WeBeforeMe) Both are searchable, and both have a way to enter in the specific need/ask for each organization. I strongly suggest you use these resources:

  1. Deaconess, after being inundated with masks following their call for help, has a searchable database. It covers more than the United States.
  2. COVID Mask Crafters is a facebook group where I stumbled into being an admin. It’s now a website: https://covidmaskcrafters.org/ We are US-based and focused.
  3. Healthcare workers and allies created this site to crowdsource both traditional, full-on PPE and homemade masks: https://getusppe.org/

FINAL UPDATE for location-specific info below: 3/23/2020 10:40 am PDT

INTRODUCTIONS

WARNING! Please DO NOT go sewing a bunch of masks and randomly taking them to a hospital!! No matter how good your intentions are, it is not helpful, and may be very unhelpful, to drop of supplies that are unacceptable or not needed. (Imagine if someone showed up on your door every day and gave you a bag of stale potato chips. They’re just trying to help. But now you have to deal with all the stale chips.) BEFORE you start making things, make sure they are (1) wanted, and (2) made to the requirements of the intended recipient.

WHERE TO DONATE MEDICAL-GRADE MATERIALS

Donate any N95 Masks You Have At Home. Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that medical staff across the country are facing a shortage of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). This includes scrubs, goggles,, face shields, gloves, and face masks. You’ve probably read about N95 particle filtering masks. Hospitals are desperate for those. Medical staff are literally asking on NextDoor and Facebook. (If you have any, please call your nearest medical center to see if you can donate them, or check your local news coverage.) Why are N95 masks hard to get? NPR explains. NEW!! Link to spreadsheet of hospitals seeking medical supplies–not homemade masks, but professional PPE and supplies–and how/where to donate them!

ONLY DONATE HOMEMADE MASKS WHERE THEY ARE WANTED!!

I am only listing the facilities that have confirmed they actually WANT masks. PLEASE read carefully, as each has a different need. If there isn’t one near you, try calling a local nursing home, as many nursing homes will want masks for their residents (and a colorful cheery one might be nice).

decorative image of thread
Mask-making can be a way to use up leftover materials in your stash.

WASH YOUR PERSONAL MASK DAILY IN HOT WATER

If you’re only looking to make a mask for yourself/family. There are some lovely tutorials on this page: https://www.sewcanshe.com/blog/5-free-diy-face-mask-tutorials-using-fabric If those are too fancy/advanced, scroll down to the Deaconess (Indiana) link and watch the video–the Turban Project mask is easy to sew. Please be sure to wash your own fabric masks in HOT water and dry thoroughly in the dryer. Otherwise, they might harbor bacteria. Ew.

Details Listed By State

Universal Suggestions: Pre-wash your fabric in HOT water. This is to ensure against future shrinkage. READ CAREFULLY. Every facility has different rules.

For facilities that do not have any specifics listed, my suggestion–based on the ones that do want something specific–is to use the Turban Project pattern (video on the Deaconess page, under Indiana). Use 100% cotton fabric, pre-washed in hot water (to prevent future shrinkage). Make the inside and outside different colors/patterns (so the user can easily distinguish one side from the other). Package in plastic bags or boxes, clearly labeled with the delivery information.

Got Masks To Send Now?

If they don’t match a specific ask below, please email Janie. She is generously distributing among her personal network (because even when a facility doesn’t solicit them, they may allow their employees to use them). janiehamilton86 at gmail dot com

Connecticut

Sharon Hospital (Sharon). The only details I have right now are that the drop-off point for sewn masks is Cotton Candy Fabrics, 457 Federal Road, Brookfield, CT 06804 https://www.cottoncandyfabrics.com/ I have been told they would like The Turban Project pattern (see Indiana, video on the Deaconess page).

Florida

Longwood Health & Rehabilitation Center. They are looking for 500 masks. No specific ask at this time, so please see my suggestions above. Send to: Longwood Health & Rehabilitation Center, 1520 S. Grant Street, Longwood, FL 32750 Attn: Randy Few

Georgia

Phoebe Putney hospital in Albany, GA. If you want to help, they need volunteers to sew covers for N95 masks, (These are worn over the N95 masks, so that each person can reuse the same mask for aweek.) To participate, call volunteer services  229-312-4336. To give you an example of what’s going on, they burned through a 6-month supply in a record time of like 5 days, and only have a couple days worth left. https://abcnews.go.com/GMA/News/video/volunteers-stitch-masks-health-care-workers-69681106 for a video on their efforts

Tanner Health System. This project is being coordinated by the Southeastern Textile and Quilt Museum. Full details are available on their Facebook page, including the TWO acceptable patterns (USE ONLY THOSE), drop-off location, video how-to and more. Must be 100% cotton fabric..

Illinois

Illinois Cancer Care. They are asking for the Turban Project pattern (see listing in Indiana for Deaconess there’s a video tutorial too). Full details here. Deliver to the Peoria location 8940 N. Wood Sage Rd, and pre-arrange pickup via email to [email protected]

Indiana

Deaconess Hospital (Evantston, IN which is nowhere near Chicago, sorry!!). Deaconess is welcoming home-sewn masks. They put together a resource page on how to make and donate masks. This one has an easy-to-follow video using a pattern from The Turban Project. They want 100% cotton masks–this has to do with sterilzation. Please note that this mask is not universally acceptable—you must find out what your facility wants–so call if you are going to make this one for your local facility. https://www.deaconess.com/masks A volunteer coordinator from Deaconess suggested these types of masks are always in demand for other uses too, such as for chemo patients receiving infusions. UPDATE FROM DEACONESS: Update: We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and kindness from our community, the country and the world. We now have plenty of masks coming our way. If you are from outside the Evansville, Indiana area, consider reaching out to a hospital, nursing home, cancer-related organization, etc. near you, as many other health care facilities are also experiencing shortages in masks.

Owensboro Health. See below under Kentucky.

Iowa

Unity Point Health (Cedar Rapids). The request is for a very specific pattern; the full masks (which will include a filter) get assembled at the hospital. For more details, go here: https://www.unitypoint.org/cedarrapids/sewing-surgical-masks.aspx The specific pattern and instructions on where to deliver masks is on that page.

Kentucky

Owensboro Health (serves Kentucky and Indiana). This facility has a page with spedific guidelines, including the two specific patterns they want, and the exact fabrics, etc. to use. It will be updated with drop-off information early next week. https://www.owensborohealth.org/news-events/news-media/2020/fabric-surgical-masks-information/

Maine

Statewide. Collecting masks for distribution to hospice patients, families, workers. Accepting both The Turban Project (see Indiana listing for Deaconness) and N-95 covers (see Washington listing for Northwest Kidney Centers). Requestor emphasized these will not be used in place of Proper PPE for healthare providers, or for COVID-19 positive. (These will free up the precious PPE for those who really need it!) Please send to Christii Maquillan, 42 Cedar St., Bangor, ME 04401

Massachusetts

Burlington, MA (Boston area). The only information I have right now is this post: https://patch.com/massachusetts/burlington/coronavirus-lahey-hospital-seeks-volunteers-sew-masks

Michigan

Henry Ford/Alliance. They have just made their own prototype, and will be looking for volunteers to make masks and face shields. Their model is quite different from the home-sewn ones. Here’s the video of their prototype: https://www.michiganradio.org/post/its-controlled-chaos-healthcare-workers-mask-supplies-dwindle-0 As of March 20 they had distributed a somewhat complex pattern to use (which I have). This morning I was notified the project is ON HOLD. Henry Ford is NOT accepting ANY masks at this time. I will update as I learn more.

McLaren (Bay City and Macomb). BAY CITY location is currently accepting masks, according to coverage by WNEM. I do not have any further specific information. Drop off at the McLaren marketing building, 503 Mulholland Ave, Bay City, MI. Drop off from 8am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. MACOMB location is accepting masks, 1000 Harrington Street, Mt. Clemens, MI 48043. Please deliver masks to the ER entrance. FLINT location is collecting volunteer contact information, which they will use if they need to ask for masks later. To sign up, call 810-342-3895.

St. Joseph Mercy (Ann Arbor). Accepting 100% cotton masks made using the Turban Project pattern (see Deaconess listing under Indiana). Deliver to the hospital screening staffat St. Joseph Mercy, 5301 McAuley Drive, Ypsilanti, MI 48197 Attn: Lisa Friedman, Please DO NOT call Lisa—she’s slammed with work right now.

St. Joseph Mercy (Oakland). They are accepting masks with pockets for filters (see listing under Washington for Northwest Kidney Center for pattern) or those made with fusible interfacing. Elastic or ties are good. Rectangle style is fine. Take masks to ER entrance 4405 Woodward Avenue, Pontiac, MI 48341 Attn Dana.

Kalamazoo County Government. This is an ask for masks for first responders and community. They are requesting N-95 covers, which are the same pattern used by Phoebe Putnam (see listing for Georgia). The mask pattern is sometimes called “The Phoebe.” For a .pdf with complete details including how to drop off, CLICK HERE.

Bronson Methodist Hospital (Kalamazoo). Bronson is accepting donations of the Phoebe Putnam pattern N95 covers. Please see listing for Kalamazoo County Government for a link to the pattern. Drop off is Monday through Friday from 9 to 4 at the Health and Community Services Department, at 311 East Alcott Street.

Northville. The principals of Northville Public Schools are supporting a mask drive. They want the Phoebe Putney mask design, or the Turban Project mask. You can also make face shields. Drop off at any of the NPS elementary schools (there is a box outside the main entrance at Winchester) and the Old Village School, north entrance where they will be collected and distributed as needed.

New Hampshire

Dartmouth-Hitchcock. This medical group sent out a call for N95 masks and gloves. They are now asking for the Turban Project style masks. Full details on their website.

North Carolina

UNC Health. No specifications as to which masks they want are available at this time. I suggest the Turban Project (Deaconess) or The Phoebe (Phoebe Putney) models. They are accepting homemade masks at four locations:

  1. UNC Health Learning Street, 2001 Carrington Mill Blvd., Morrisville, NC 27560. Drop-off times: March 23; Noon – 4 p.m., March 24-27; 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  2. UNC Wellness Center at Meadowmont, 100 Sprunt Street Chapel Hill, N.C. 27517. Drop-off times: March 23 – March 28, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  3. UNC Wellness Center at Northwest Cary, 350 Stonecroft Lane Cary, North Carolina 27519. Drop-off times: March 23 – March 28, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  4. Rex Wellness Center of Raleigh, 4200 Lake Boone Trail Raleigh, NC 27607. Drop-off times:March 23 – Friday, March 27, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

WakeMed. They are NOT accepting homemade masks. Please DO NOT give them any!

Oklahoma

Stillwater Medical Center. This is the message on their Facdebook page: “THESE MASKS WILL NOT BE USED FOR HEALTHCARE WORKERS OR ANYONE DEALING WITH COVID-19 SITUATIONS. We are looking for seamstresses who can sew cloth masks to help with the nationwide shortage. They must be 4 layers of fabric for filtering. (Edited to add emphasis!) Here are some pictures of ones that have been made. They need to be adjustable. Our preferred pattern is from [link below] Spread the word to all seamstresses. Thanks so much. This is a perfect time to use up your fabric stash.  The donated masks will be used in other NON CLINICAL OR WORRIED WELL PATIENTS NOT REALATED TO COVID-19. This will allow us to save our N95 masks & other PPE for Healthcare Workers. Donated masks can be dropped off at our Stillwater Medical Plaza building, located at 1201 S. Adams from 8am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. All donations will be laundered before dispersing to our various areas where they are needed. “The pattern they want: https://buttoncounter.com/2018/01/14/facemask-a-picture-tutorial/

Oregon/Washington

Providence Medical Group. There is currently no information on the Providence page about the 100 Million Mask Challenge. I requested information to publish here and will update as I am able. As of 3/20/20 9:30 am Providence has not released the details regarding what they want or where to send it. Stay tuned! https://blog.providence.org/blog-2/volunteers-making-homemade-masks-to-combat-shortages-caused-by-covid-19

Providence in RENTON, WA. Kits with enough materials to make 100 medical masks will be offered March 26 from 12-4 p.m. at Providence St. Joseph Health, located at 1801 Lind Ave. S.W. in Renton. BUT ACCORDING TO THE PROVIDENCE SITE THE KITS ARE ALL CLAIMED: https://www.providence.org/lp/100m-masks GREAT NEWS!! They got so much media coverage that local businesses stepped up to make ALL the masks! Kit distribution is canceled! I’m on the people-who-sew-and-can-help list and will update when I get more information.

Maryville Nursing Home. Their ask was for people to sew scrubs and masks. There are several ways to help. If you are NOT local, you can make the Deaconess pattern masks and mail them to: Maryville, 14645 SW Farmington Rd,, Beaverton, OR 97007. If you ARE local, they need help with the following projects: (1) people to cut fabric and N95 material to make mask kits for the seamstresses (this can be done at home–you pick up fabric and the patterns there, but work at home); (2) seamstresses to make the masks from the kits; (3) they are about to receive the polyester fabric they need to make their washable gowns and will soon need help assembling those kits and sewing the robes. Please contact mgarcia at maryville dot care if you are local and can help.

Tennessee

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (Memphis). They need mask STRAPS for the kiddos. This is an entirely different project: https://www.stjude.org/get-involved/other-ways/volunteer-at-the-hospital/how-to-become-a-volunteer/at-home-projects/mask-straps.html Please use soft flannel.

Texas

Wise Health System (Decatur). The Auxiliary is sewing masks, and they would LOVE for you to help. They require 100% cotton fabric, 2-ply masks with ROUND elastic (not flat). You can use the Turban Project pattern (above, see Indiana, Deaconess for a video) but use ROUND elastic. Once completed, please mail to:

Wise Health System
Attn: Customer and Patient Relations
609 Medical Center
Decatur, TX 76234

Parkland Memorial Hospital (Dallas). Currently accepting homemade masks. Please direct your masks and your questions to: Parkland Memorial Hospital, 5200 Harry Hines Blvd, Dallas, TX 75235 Attn: Karen Watts

Washington

Northwest Kidney Centers (Renton). Information obtained from this press piece. They are asking for 100% cotton fabric, pre-washed, and ROUND elastic. They prefer this pattern–scroll down to the section that says “Face Mask With a Pocket for Filter Insert.” The main fabric must be cotton, but the lining can be cotton or flannel. There are two ways to donate. One, via front door drop-off to Renton Kidney Center, 603 Oakesdale Ave SW, Renton, WA 98056 (call 425-251-0647. You can also call for a porch pick-up: Deanne Young, RN 425-203-5208

Wisconsin

The Electric Needle. This shop in Madison is a drop-off point for a specific pattern, which can be used over an N95 mask (to prolong the life) or worn alone. For more information and a link to the specific pattern they want: https://www.electric-needle.com/sew-for-a-cause.htm They are located at 4281 West Beltline Hwy, Madison, WI 53711

UW Madison Hospitals. They are currently working on a pattern. You can add yourself to the volunteer list by sending an email to [email protected] I will update as more information become available.

Nationwide/Other Resources

Operation We Can Sew It. Distributes updated information by email. You can sign up at their website https://operationwecansewit.com/

photo of sewing machine
My rig is a classic

Which other facilities are asking for masks?

What is their specific ask?

Here’s looking at COVID-19

New resource: https://www.howardluksmd.com/sports-medicine/covid-19-update-3-14-2020-concerned-physicians-unite/ This one has pretty good explanations of how the virus spreads, and why as a country we need to act now. #CancelEverything #SocialDistancingWorks

If you missed yesterday’s post, it’s here: Don’t Panic, Do Act Responsibly.

How About That Last Week??

Greetings from not-quite Ground Zero, West Coast. When I first started this post (which is now a series of posts) I had no idea how annoying I would find this new block-based WordPress editor. (We hates it.) At that time, OHSU had just announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 (short for “COronaVIrus Disease 2019,” also known as the novel coronavirus) in Multnomah County, and Oregon had 14 confirmed cases. Oregonians who had a legitimate reason to believe they had been exposed to COVID-19 were just starting to learn about the frustrating inability to get tested–our whole state can currently process 80 tests per day–and reading stories like this one.

Testing capacity is still pretty limited, by the way. This means there are not enough test kits to go around, and not enough lab facilities to process them. Do not expect test-on-demand any time soon. These facts mean we also do not have an accurate count of actual infections. First, people who die who may have had COVID-19 but are unlikely to be tested. Second, people with “milder” cases (those who are not sick enough to need hospitalization) are unlikely to be tested, at least for now. Numbers from Italy and other western European countries indicate we should expect to see exponential spread unless we practice social distancing PRONTO. Please read this article in The Atlantic, and start to be St. Louis.

Law firms and courts started getting nervous last week. Well, more nervous–my firm’s Seattle office is closed. Early in the week, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington effectively shut down the Seattle and Tacoma courthouses. (Logic: these are relatively high-traffic spaces, people travel to them from all over the place, with many high-touch surfaces, where people are in close-proximity to each other.) Email from the Washington Supreme Court (deferring to the counties) soon followed. As you likely know Seattle’s King County has the largest number of COVID-19 cases. Monday they had a 50% no-show rate for summoned jurors. That means the there were not enough jurors to cover the criminal trials (which have priority due to the Constitutional right to a speedy trial), and the court warned us that no civil trials would go forward until further notice. I don’t blame the jurors, as the seating arrangements don’t allow for even 3′ in between seats. In the Pierce County Superior Court last Friday, I noticed an abundance of boxes of tissues and hand sanitizer everywhere, plus a giant bottle of Clorox wipes on the shelf (though I didn’t check to see if the bottle was empty). Defense counsel greeted each other with fist bumps, not handshakes. I started tracking Washington and Oregon numbers, since we have upcoming trials and therefore need jurors. Various legal news outlets reported office closures and even the death of a Washington paralegal.

The Day-to-Day Impact on Actual People

Some of us can work from home; others cannot. My Seattle friends who work at Nordstrom HQ and at Fred Hutchinson who shared their work restrictions two weeks ago (e.g. no air travel, no meetings of 5 or more people) are on mandatory work-from-home for the remainder of the month. My own Portland office is on a “Level One” plan, which means if you feel you’re at risk you can work from home, and the firm will pay for parking if you usually rely on transit but feel unsafe. Cancellation of large sporting events means that the hourly-employees who work there are out of work and going unpaid (think large basketball arenas). While some team owners (Mark Cuban, for example) and NBA players have stepped up and pledged to cover some of the lost wages, not all have. Baristas, bartenders, and waitstaff cannot do their work at home. Neither can drycleaners, hairdressers, and many others,

Many races and events are cancelled. In my personal universe, the Mercer Island Half Marathon and Portland Shamrock Run were canceled. The Oregon Brewery Running Series postponed all of their March events. My friend Jim Diego has started a spreadsheet of distance races (half marathon and longer, with some inherently famous races of other distances). You can access it too. In the rest of the fitness world, the IHRSA trade show was canceled, and SCW’s California Mania event was canceled. While COVID-19 is not transmitted through sweat, larger gatherings pose an inherent risk.

Independent contractors are taking a hit, especially in California. The spread of the coronoavirus hit my friend “Alex,” an executive business coach, with a double-whammy. First, she’s fighting California’s #AB5, a law that labor unions promised would target gig-economy workers but threatens the livelihood of all small business owners from certified interpreters to entertainers. The Grinch AB5 even took away Santa’s job! Worse, the federal government is trying to replicate it, which would run Alex out of business. Alex has a California LLC. She’s worked a corporate gig, but prefers the challenge and flexibility of project-based work. California companies are afraid to hire her and run afoul of AB5. Out-of-state companies are less excited than usual about bringing in someone from California, a state hit early by COVID-19. With the self-quarantine and social distancing recommendations, Alex isn’t thrilled about getting on an airplane and living in a hotel, either. Yet when she doesn’t work, Alex doesn’t get paid.

Outside of California, contractors also suffer. My friend Jennifer Canale is a professional spokesmodel who works trade shows and promotional events as an independent contractor. While she wasn’t scheduled to work the recently cancelled Natural Products Expo West–a gathering of 85,000+ people in Anaheim–every single one of her March shows has been canceled. This means Jennifer is losing a significant chunk of her income each time a spring show is canceled or postponed indefinitely. Jennifer and her colleagues often book shows six months to a year in advance. As independent contractors, they make and pay for their own hotel and travel reservations, and don’t get reimbursed for until a month or so after the show. In addition to losing income today, some of them are also eating big cancellation fees.

Act Practically, Act NOW.

There are things you can do to help everyone affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. I’m assuming you are already on board with social isolation (see The Atlantic), washing your hands like your grandma’s life depends on it, and not hoarding resources. So now what?

STAY HOME. I know not everyone can do this (because we have systems of employment and education that make that impossible, and even in ideal situations we’d still need first responders and medical personnel). The best thing you can do is prevent the spread of the virus, and the best way to do that is to stay away from people. Please take a minute to read the article linked at the top of this post. #CancelEverything #SocialDistancingWorks

Again, DO NOT SHARE FAKE NEWS. I can’t say this often enough, as so much bad information is circulating. (So much that entire cities went out partying for St. Patrick’s Day, putting huge swaths of the population at risk. COVID-19 can stay alive in the air for up to 3 hours, and lasts for days on hard surfaces.) My last post had a brief list of resources generally, but you can also pay attention to your local and state department of health. Your governor may also have a website with the latest recommendations and protective measures locally. Don’t panic, be informed!

Share knowledge: What’s for dinner? Jennifer Canale has been posting photos of her creative (and super cheap!) dinners. A recent Mexican-inspired dish was under $5, and could have been stretched to feed more people inexpensively by adding tortillas and more vegetables (more steak optional). That was a splurge dinner, too–several meals have been $3 or less per serving. Not everyone has mad cooking skills, and what Jennifer is posting are easy-to-cook, non-fussy recipes that don’t require measuring. Check out twitter and the #QuarantineKitchen tag for more ideas.

Share knowledge: Where are the resources? Locally, I’ve seen many people share what is available and where via social media. Even better, I’ve seen people post that they need something specific (e.g. hand sanitizer) and watched people who have extra respond and offer to share. I’m not an expert on how to apply for public assistance programs, but maybe you are, or have time to help a friend or neighbor figure it out. Same with unemployment–which sadly lots of people may be facing.

Look out for your neighbors. Not everyone is financially able to stock up on the supplies you need to stay home for two weeks, especially if they are facing cuts to their income. If you can help, please do. You can cook extra food for people you know (it’s not hard to make two casseroles/lasagnas instead of one). You can help your elderly neighbor sign up for Meals on Wheels. (You can also donate cash to your local food pantry or food bank–they can stretch dollars better than canned goods. I can pretty much guarantee that every non-profit that feeds people needs help.) Depending on what’s going on where you live, your neighbors may need help removing snow from the walkway so it is safe to collect the mail.

PLEASE Support food charities. If you can only give $5 to help others, please give it to a charity that will fill empty tummies. Food insecurity is still a big problem in the US. Many kids rely on federally subsidized school lunches–and for some that is their only meal of the day. Others have school breakfast too. When schools close, those kids go hungry. It’s not just a few kids: 22 million children rely on free or reduced-price school lunches. Some schools and area food banks have a backpack program that provides kids with food so they don’t go hungry over the weekend. Check Feeding America to see if your area has one. In Oregon, please give to the Oregon Food Bank.

Give blood if you can. (Yes, I understand our blood donation rules–set out by the federal government and not the Red Cross–are outdated, and that sucks, and now would be a great time to leave the 1980s behind and learn to science.) If you can give blood, schedule a time and do it. The Red Cross has a website that makes this really easy. In general, very few eligible people donate blood even though blood has a limited shelf life, there is no substitute for it, and the need for blood is constant. The donation network suffers any time there is a major illness (as the need increases, and fewer people give so the supply decreases). I’m terrified of needles, and I signed up. You can do this too.

Call, email, or write to your friends, family, synagogue/church/temple/coven members. This is basically free, and can make a big difference in someone’s day. Introverts are joking about how they’ve been preparing to self-quarantine since birth, but your extrovert friends are probably going nuts. Reaching out to the senior population is something a Girl Scout troop could do remotely–and so can you. People who live alone are at a higher risk of feeling depressed or anxious due to social isolation. Reach out and let them know you care. If they are struggling, please point them to virusanxiety.com (if it is COVID-19 specific), or to other appropriate resources (USE GOOGLE!) including the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255 and https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Support your local businesses and small businesses. This one is more of a challenge, perhaps, as you’re supposed to be staying home and engaging in voluntary social distancing. Think creatively. Can you shop online? Order dinner for pick-up from that local restaurant? Place an order for pick-up over the phone elsewhere? Big box stores are going to lose revenue too, but for most of them your business is not a matter of life and death–but for your local wine shop, no income means no business. P.S. if you like the stickers I’m holding up, those came from Pixelated Science on Etsy.

Finally, keep your sense of humor (and your wits) about you!

What are your best ideas on how to help during the COVID-19 outbreak?

Borrowed from the CDC.

This started as a single post on the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. When I started on Wednesday, I thought I’d hit “publish” on Friday. We are now living in a different world, and that single post is MUCH too long to be a single post. (Click here for the second one, A Practical Guide to COVID-19.)

Top Five Tips for COVID-19 Sanity

1. Get news and information from reliable and trustworthy sources.
Your two best sources are the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and your state or local (county, province, city) health authority. The World Health Organization (WHO) is another reliable resource. Unless your people are citing to similarly fact-checked and reliable sources, skip Facebook. Skip the well-meaning mommy bloggers. Skip the fear-mongering fake news sites. Sadly, skip any source that reports the current president’s public statements about the virus are credible (because, in fact, they are not—we’re well behind the ball on developing and implementing effective testing, a vaccine is only just now starting phase 1 human trials, and you only have to read about the experiences of a few travelers to learn we have not “closed the border” and kept COVID-10 out). Skip anyone who is peddling a cure, too–there is no cure, and megadoses of vitamins and other fake cures promoted on YouTube can make you sick.

When you’re sharing information about COVID-19, whether online or in person, stick to the known facts—what you’re reading on the CDC website, your local health authority website, and MAYBE (sadly, also not a given) MAYBE your local news affiliate. Spreading false information doesn’t help anyone, may incite more panic than is reasonable, and has the potential to hurt others. This includes well-meaning but false statements that imply COVID-19 is just a flu.

2. Save your money. Skip the slick marketing campaigns, and the snake oil.
This past week, the FDA and FTC issued warning letters to Vital Silver; Quinessence Aromatherapy Ltd.; Xephyr, LLC doing business as N-Ergetics; GuruNanda, LLC; Vivify Holistic Clinic; Herbal Amy LLC; and The Jim Bakker Show. All of these companies were claiming they have a product that can prevent or cure this virus. Read more here.

There is currently no vaccine (they’re working on it), no reliable (evidence-based) preventive lotion or potion or pill or serum or drug or herb or anything else, and no “miracle cure” for those who are already ill. (This doesn’t mean everyone who gets sick is going to die—far from it. It just means it’s not like an ear infection where you can take an antibiotic and it will go away.) You can’t prevent yourself from getting sick by mega-dosing on vitamins (though megadosing vitamins can make you sick), or diffusing “thieves” essential oil blend, or putting potatoes in your socks, or slathering your body with “flu cream” (thanks for that ad, Instagram), or whatever else people are proposing on Facebook.

Sadly, health and fitness professionals are sending out misinformation (Jorge Cruise just sent an email titled “The superfoods help fight coronavirus”), nutrition companies including Nuun, FNX, Kuli Kuli, and The Feed are holding sales on their “immunity” products (none of which have evidence that the enhance your immunity in any way, and none of which and even some doctors are trying to make a fast buck by claiming their test can diagnose, or their magic powder can cure, COVID-19. Many companies are not saying/writing “this product will protect you from coronavirus” but are implying it by serving up ad campaigns and sales on products for “immunity” (I’m looking at you, nuun: there’s no evidence that adding all the trendy ingredients du jour to your drink will do anything to help your immune system stave off COVID-19!). If the pleasant scent of lavender essential oil calms you, great. If drinking extra vitamins in your water makes you feel better mentally, great. If you’re buying it to “protect yourself,” save your money. You’re better off using it to stock your pantry with essentials in case you need to stay home.

3. Don’t panic—and don’t panic buy anything.
It started with face masks, even though the most effective thing to do with a face mask is to put it on a sick person to help them not spread germs. There hasn’t been any credible recommendation that the general public wear them for COVID-19 prevention, and there is little to no evidence that they are effective in the general public for keeping healthy people from catching the virus. Yet try to buy any type of mask—from the hospital face covers to the white 3M masks intended to keep dust out of your mouth—and the stores have none. In some places gloves were similarly popular, and I saw at least one article reporting people buying condoms to put on their fingers so they don’t have to touch elevator buttons.

If you’ve been in Costco lately, you’ve noticed the shelves that usually hold toilet paper, tissues, and hand sanitizer are bare. Why? Did people just suddenly start wiping their noses, butts, and hands? Look, I understand that people associate being sick with running from both ends…but unless your last name is Duggar, you don’t need a truckload of toilet paper to make it through the next two weeks. While we’re at it, why are people panic-buying bottled water? Did I miss the CDC announcement that COVID-19 has the power to turn off the municipal water supply or something? Look, you’re not doing yourself any favors by stockpiling cold and flu medication—and at the moment, people who are actually sick can’t buy those things because the shelves are empty! If you’ve got to spend money to feel like you’re prepared, stock your pantry and fridge, refill your prescriptions early if you can, and set aside money to pay the bills

Remember that hoarding doesn’t help you, and it hurts your community. Personally, I’d like all of my neighbors to have enough toiler paper and soap. Oh, and while we’re at it, please DO NOT support virus profiteering. Yes, there are people hoarding-for-profit.

4. Stick with the basics.
The first lesson of kindergarten? Keep your hands to yourself! Unfortunately as the #MeToo movement illustrates, some adults never got the memo. We currently understand the COVID-19 spreads primarily by coughs and sneezes that propel little water droplets into the air or onto other people. It’s also possible to share those droplets by shaking hands or being in similarly close contact. While it isn’t the primary manner of spreading, current best knowledge also says that the virus can live on surfaces for quite some time after contact. (This is why you keep reading about “deep cleaning” or “enhanced sanitation” and seeing pictures of workers wiping down concert venues and shutting down schools and office buildings for cleaning.)

If you are currently healthy, your very best course of action is to get a little germophobic. Wash your hands like you’re Adrian Monk—and if you’re tired of singing “Happy Birthday,” look on Twitter for dozens of other options—using soap and water. Do it often. Wash ‘em after riding public transit, after handling things other people touch (like door handles), after going into a bathroom for any reason, and before eating or touching your face, eyes, nose, or mouth. When you can’t wash, use 60% alcohol hand sanitizer. Use bleach wipes or similar to wipe down your home and office (keyboard, phone, and door knobs among others). Wipe down your cell phone too—what’s the point of washing your hands if you phone is filthy?

Gotta sneeze? Cover your nose and mouth! If no tissue is handy, use your elbow—NOT your hand. (BTW, regular ol’ runny noses are not a known symptom of this virus.) Speaking of hands, did I mention to wash them? Consider a fist bump or elbow bump instead of shaking hands.

5. Be kind to others: if you are sick, stay home!
If you are a generally healthy person, be kind to those with weaker immune systems. Chances are good that someone you know has a weakened immune system that makes them more susceptible to viruses. That’s anyone who has had chemotherapy, for example, or who is elderly, but also anyone with an autoimmune disorder like lupus, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis (MS), type 1 diabetes, psoriasis, Guillian-Barre syndrome, Grave’s disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and more. Evidence to date shows that “older adults” (which appears to be anyone over 60) and those with chronic health conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, or high blood pressure, are at a higher risk. The best things you can do to help those who have weaker immune systems or are known to be at a higher risk? Stick with the basics (wash your hands, etc.) and if you are not feeling well, stay away from public spaces and gatherings—stay home if you can.

BONUS TIP: Be kind to others: help if you can. (more on this in Part 2)
The most common advice in circulation is to prepare in advance by stocking your home with at least two weeks of supplies, and staying home if you feel sick. This is sound advice, I’m following it—maybe you are too—and I’m glad to see it being repeated. If you can join me in following it, you’re facing this virus from a place of privilege. No matter where you stand, I encourage you to remember those who don’t share in that privilege.

Millions of Americans do not have paid sick time or paid vacation. This means they don’t get paid for time they don’t work. Worse, if they are not working because they are sick, there are probably medical bills and other costs stacking up too. Two weeks of lost wages might be the difference between paying the rent and getting evicted.

Even with some paid sick time—let’s be real here, most of us don’t get three weeks of paid sick time—or paid sick time and paid vacation (because some employers are telling workers they need to use vacation if they get sick—that’s right U. Conn, I saw your notices), lots of people don’t have the ability to stock up for two or more weeks at home. Looking just at medication, if you are in the early phases of a methadone treatment program you are required to go pick up (and take) your medicine at a clinic. Some medications are restricted by federal law, and that’s not just limited to opioid painkillers; you might have to go see a doctor in person to get a refill, or wait until you have taken your very last dose before you can get more. Other drugs are limited by insurance coverage that won’t allow you to refill “early” (which is anywhere from 5 to 10 days before the medication runs out) unless you can afford to pay the full cost out-of-pocket. Some drugs, including some injections, have a very narrow window between opening the container and the expiration (loss of effectiveness of the medication).

Please don’t think I’m implying that only the economically disadvantaged are going to need help. Plenty of people are facing reduced hours and cancelled shifts as concerts are postponed, flights get canceled, tourism is down, conventions are nixed, and the economy takes a nose-dive.

Reliable Resources:

  • Simulator that explains why “social distancing” works. https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/world/corona-simulator
  • How I’m tracking today: https://projects.oregonlive.com/coronavirus/
  • For those who are visual learners, a compilation of charts that explain the COVID-19 pandemic. https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2020/3/12/21172040/coronavirus-covid-19-virus-charts

Disclosure: while this is not a sponsored post, and contains no sponsored content, my ticket to BlogFest—just like everyone else’s—was generously paid for by the BlogFest sponsors. I’m thankful for that. As is my editorial policy, all of the opinions and words below are my own. The giveaway prize is sponsored by me–I ate all the yummy snacks in the swag bag, but decided to share some of the ones I picked up during BlogFest–though it includes some of the non-edible cute swag given to bloggers at BlogFest.

For the Love of Snacks!

Let’s talk about snacks. I love snacks. I would happily trade breakfast and lunch for snacks all day. Sadly, my go-to snacks are not always the healthiest options, or the optimal building blocks for my body and fuel for my workouts. In world of Snickers bars and Twix ads—not to mention a wide selection of junky choices always at arm’s reach—what’s a girl to do?

Enter BlogFest. #SnacksForDays should be the official hashtag of BlogFest, because we get fed well! This year, like all others, we had a number of great sponsors in the snacking business to keep us going.

Be Better

four different flavors of Be Better protein crunch bars, one of the BlofgFest snacks
Photo Courtesy of Shenie Bento

Even though bars—snack bars, granola bars, protein bars, candy bars—is a pretty crowded food category these days, I like to stay on top of what is available. Let’s face it, most of us don’t cook all of our meals every day, and some of us frequently find ourselves in situations where a satisfying snack is not easily at hand. To avoid office vending machines, my solution has been to keep a drawer stocked with lunch-able items (canned soup, Tasty Bite meals, etc.) at my desk. Bars are a key component of this, and no matter how much I love one type of bar, I also get bored easily…and if I’m bored, whatever junk is in the vending machine looks much more appealing than what is in the drawer.

But back to Be Better.  Be Better is a brand new line (which explains why I’d never heard of it). There are two Be Better products: a flaky protein wafer bar, and protein squares (two per pack). During BlogFest, the Be Better table in our conference room kept a full stock of all of the flavors, and we were able to try them at our leisure. I naturally gravitated towards the coconut flavors, Coconut Trail Mix protein squares, and coconut crunch protein wafer bars. I found the protein bars to be a little bit messier to eat than I had anticipated; due to the flaky layers that give the bars their light and satisfyingly crispy texture, it is possible to eat the bar and wear the bar at the same time. (As someone with zero natural grace, this is how I ate the first bar.) By the time I ate the second bar, I had learned to be a little more delicate in my chomping, which greatly cut down on the resulting mess. By the time I hit the third one, there were just a few crumbs. The protein squares surprised me for two reasons. First, they have chocolate in them and remind me very much of a gourmet type of candy bar. Second, despite my first observation and their delicious flavors, I found that I prefer to eat them one at a time (as opposed to eating both of the squares in the pack).

Be Better follows the current bar trend of being higher in both protein and calories than many older snack bars (think of anything from the very misguided 1980’s low-fat era), and I found one bar was the perfect size for a snack that sated my hunger and made me feel like I’d eaten something of substance. The Hazelnut Crunch protein wafer bar has 200 calories, 17 grams of total fat (largely from the nuts), 4 grams of fiber, and 11 grams of protein, for example.  The caramel & almonds with dark chocolate protein squares have 150 calories, 9 grams of fat, 2 grams of fiber, and 10 grams of protein PER SQUARE (each pack has two squares).

You can learn more on their website, https://www.beingbettermatters.com which is also the only place to buy them right now. (Or at least I checked Amazon and found nothing, and Google didn’t return anything.) At the time I’m writing this post, there is an offer to get a hat, a sticker, and another sample with your first order if you subscribe to the Be Better mailing list.

Psst! My friend Christine is giving away a WHOLE BOX of Be Better bars! Head over to her blog to enter to win!

Jimmy Bar

Bain with a Jimmy Bar in her mouth, in an IDEA session and armed with snacks
Saturday IDEA World session, snacks at the ready

Jimmy Bar sponsored our BlogFest swag bags this year and while they weren’t hanging out in the room with us, they put some bars in our bags and were super welcoming at their Expo booth. It might sound odd to have two sponsors that both make bars, but Jimmy Bar and Be Better seem more like separate categories to me. (That’s probably because I’m a snack conneisseur.) While Be Better features chocolate and a light and flaky texture, Jimmy Bar has does not feature chocolate (though there are some chocolate flavors available) and has a texture that I describe as like a Rice Krispies treat where someone pulverized all of the Rice Krispies before making it and then allowed it to harden up a bit after it cooled. It’s snacktastic. (I bought two boxes before I left the Expo.)

Jimmy Bar’s protein bars also follows the higher calorie, higher protein trend I’m seeing in snack bars now, so one bar is plenty for a snack. For example, the Birthday Cake flavor Jimmy Bar has 260 calories, 11 grams of fat, 29 grams of carbs, and 21 grams of protein. Depending on how your other meals are timed, I could also see eating a bigger breakfast and dinner, and having a Jimmy Bar as a lunch (with a piece of fruit or something, to make sure I get produce in that meal).  I’m planning to add Jimmy Bar to my running stash as well, because the solid texture of the bar means it will be easy to open and eat while I’m out on a run or at a race. Jimmy Bar makes multiple varieties including some that are vegan, nut-free, and in smaller sizes. You can learn more about Jimmy Bar at their website.

Jimmy Bar has been around since 2013, and is more widely available than Be Better. There is a store locator on the Jimmy Bar website, and you can also buy them on Amazon (that’s an affiliate link, but it doesn’t cost you anything extra to use it and Jimmy Bars are eligible for Prime, so…). They have a Dog CEO, and currently offer free shipping on orders over $40.

La Croix

Sweat Pink squad with foam rollers and yoga mats at the La Croix booth
Carleeh and Some of the Sweat Pink Squad at the La Croix booth. Photo courtesy of Carleeh.

While not present in the BlogFest conference room, La Croix also played a major role in my BlogFest and not just because they sponsored the BlogFest Networking Happy Hour that marked the official end of BlogFest. In addition to being a BlogFest sponsor, La Croix is a staple in my fridge. (Friends, 24 cans at Costco for around $7.) Also, they always have a great booth at the IDEA World Expo, and this year was no exception. The photo booth has been a staple for the past few years, and they supply fun props to use. This year each side of the La Croix booth had a color/flavor theme. In addition to their photo booth (tangerine), they had a set of punching bags and pink boxing gloves on one side (berry), and yoga mats and blocks and foam rollers (lime). Each corner had a big fridge filled with every flavor of La Croix, including the new key lime (which was also included in our swag bags).

If you’ve been living under a rock, you can learn more about La Croix on their website, which also has cute pictures of some of their other sampling booth layouts from other events. If you can’t find La Croix at a store near you, try Amazon (affiliate link, and some combinations are available on Prime).

Unfortunately this year the Expo was not in the same building as most of the IDEA sessions—one reason I hope IDEA does not return to San Diego–it was at the far end of the San Diego Convention Center. Since it took a good 15 minutes to walk from one building to the next, I didn’t get to spend as much time in the expo as I had hoped. This won’t be an issue next year in Anaheim, thankfully.

Fizzique

display box of four cans of fizzique
Fizzique sparkling protein water

While not an official sponsor of BlogFest, Fizzique did include some product in our swag bags, and I know they have worked with Sweat Pink, so I went out of my way to find them at the Expo and see what they are all about. The description–sparkling water with whey protein–sounds weird and questionable, but the product is actually quite tasty. First, it’s clear. (I had expected it to be milky-looking due to the whey protein.) It’s only 80 calories, which is about halfway between a diet soda and a regular one. All of the calories come from the protein, as Fizzique has zero carbs.

Fizzique is at the intersection of two very popular categories of consumer packaged goods: sparkling water and protein. The idea behind Fizzique is to curb hunger between meals by giving your body some protein but not many calories. (It is NOT a meal replacement drink.) Each can also has 45 grams of caffeine, which is about the same as a cup of green tea. There are currently two flavors, Tropical Limon and Strawberry Watermelon. I tasted both, and I like them both. In a toss up, I’d pick Strawberry Watermelon.

Fizzique currently has an offer on their website where you can get 10% off if you subscribe to their email list. Or you can order from Amazon (affiliate link, but if you’ve read this far you probably don’t mind supporting the blog?) and it is eligible for Prime.

Win BlogFest Goodies!

There are two prizes for this giveaway: Snacks and Sips.

Snacks. This prize features the brands that sponsored BlogFest, Be Better and Jimmy Bars…though I may just have to sneak a few more things in there to fill up the box, you know?

Jimmy Bar and Be Better bars prizes
Snacks Prize!

  • Be Better drawstring backpack
  • Be Better protein squares in Coconut Trail Mix, Almonds & Hemp Seeds, Honey Oats, and Caramel & Almonds
  • Be Better protein wafer bar in Hazelnut Crunch
  • Jimmy Bar tote and sweat band
  • Jimmy Bar clean snack bar in No Bluffin’ Banana Muffin
  • Jimmy Bar high protein bars in Birthday Cake, Peanut Butter Ice Cream, and Coconut Cream Pie

Sips. This prize features La Croix-themed items, because seriously, who doesn’t love La Croix? Drink it straight, use it as a mixer, make it into a mocktail. There’s enough swag here to share with your bestie, too.

La Croix swag prize
Sips Prizes!

  • La Croix printed tote
  • La Croix embroidered hats (one for you, one for a friend!)
  • La Croix enamel keychains
  • La Croix decals
  • La Croix enamel pins
  • La Croix branded workout bands

Enter using the widget below. But first, start by leaving a blog comment to tell me which prize you’d like to win! Two winners will be randomly selected, the first winner gets to choose their prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was able to attend Natural Products Expo West 2018 as Media Support because I am part of the New Hope Blogger Co-op. I paid the going press rate for my conference badge, and received absolutely no compensation (I paid for my hotel, meals, etc.) from New Hope 360, or any other company, in exchange for my attendance or coverage of Expo West. (I only had access to the press room for the blogger happy hour, too.) While I did receive product samples and swag from various exhibitors and companies, ALL opinions are my own. Per my integrity policy, all sponsored content or affiliate links will be clearly disclosed.

100% vegan mochi “ice cream” (and these guys supply restaurants!)

Natural Products Expo West—or Expo West as the insiders call it—is the biggest business to business trade show for consumer products in the “natural” and “organic” markets. (“Natural” is in quotes because it has no legal meaning when used to describe a product, or on a product label, in the Untied States. I opted to put “organic” in quotes because there are several organic standards including the USDA organic label and the Oregon Tilth organic certification, and I’m not necessarily referring to any specific organic protocol. Since too many quotation marks are annoying, just assume I put both in quotes from here on out.)

Attendees include grocers and retail outlets seeking the newest innovative products, marketing firms, businesses with products to sell, businesses still in the development stages, and all manner of business support services from importers and exporters to label makers to packaging companies to product formulators to third party testing laboratories and much more. At the same time, and in the same space, there is a big show called Engredea, where businesses and product manufacturers can learn and do business with the companies that make and process ingredients—literally everything that goes into a product from maple syrup to every kind of oil to stabilizers and emulsifiers and sugars and lentil flour and anything else you can imagine (as well as a bunch of stuff you only know about if you work in food production).

Excited to see this–a blend of apple juice and Gerolsteiner sparking mineral water.

The companies that attend cover the entire range of consumer packaged goods brands. There are nationally-known names like General Mills, Kashi, Bob’s Red Mill, Clif Bar, and Now Foods. There are companies you’ve likely seen on Shark Tank, including Chapul (the cricket protein people), Ice Breakers candy, Jackson’s Honest (potato chips and other chip made with coconut oil), and Brazi Bites (Brazilian cheese bread). There are companies you may not have heard of yet, such as The Nutty Gourmet (they make the very best walnut butters ever—in my least humble opinion), Petchup (nutrition supplements for pets in the form of gourmet sauces), and Frill (a creamy and delicious frozen vegan dessert). There are kombuchas, colas, and coffee; food wraps, no-FODMAPs, and maple saps; pastas, pretzels, and probiotics. The products are vegan, vegetarian, omnivore, and carnivore; fresh, frozen, shelf-stable and every other possible form. As a result, you see attendees wearing attire that ranges from full-on lawyerly suits to shorts and Birkenstocks, polyester to organic cotton, tye-die to spandex.

Pet products are an increasing aspect of ExpoWest. Pets are a $61 billion industry.

The show currently takes up all of the available convention hall, meeting room, and hotel space at the Anaheim Convention Center and surrounding hotels. There are so many attendees that on Friday night Expo West crashed the Uber app, making hundreds and maybe thousands of people late to business dinners, public relations pitches, and social events. This is despite a sophisticated network of (free) busses to transport attendees from the Convention Center to Angel Stadium (there is nowhere near enough parking at the Convention Center, so many attendees park at Angel Stadium) or to dozens of hotels in the surrounding area. Hotel space near the

Birdie is a spray hand sanitizer with wipes hiding in the bottom. Cute enough to put on your desk!

Convention Center sells out within minutes—more than 80,000 people attend the show, and companies often reserve blocks of rooms for those working the show on their behalf—and I met people staying as far away as Newport Beach because they couldn’t find any hotel or even an Air BnB that was closer (and not $1,000/night).

Expo West is broken down into several distinct sub-spaces. This year, Hot Products (meaning new or hot on the market, and not meaning “foods that you eat while they are hot” as I mistakenly believed during my first Expo West!) occupied the North Halls. The Arena, Convention Center Halls A through E, and the third floor had exhibitors, including Engredea. Thursday’s Fresh Ideas Marketplace (meaning innovative products, not salad bars and fresh produce as I thought my first year) is housed in a giant white tent near the Marriott. The main plaza between the Hilton and the Marriott had food trucks, multiple exhibitor booths, a stage with live music, and roaming promoters, while the smaller plaza near the North Halls had a few food trucks and additional seating. Finally, a section of the parking lot between the Hilton and Morton’s restaurant had food-truck style Expo exhibitors as well as a few food trucks, and more tables for lunching.

Outside of those spaces, there are also several other things going on in the Convention Center spaces. There is a pitch-slam where new products can pitch to established brands and companies (think Shark Tank, but without the made-for-reality-TV aspects). One of the medium-sized hotel ballrooms hosts a variety of speakers, including the designated keynote speakers. (This year’s speakers included Jennifer Garner.) The smaller conference rooms host educational sessions on topics from the most recent FDA regulations to the exploding market for CBD-based products, new studies regarding sleep and nutrition, and more. Some of these are sponsored by exhibitors, while others are not. In addition to these session, which are open to all attendees, there are also specialized tracks that serve as a business school crash course for entrepreneurs, and more. There is a sort of job fair too. Other on-site events include sponsored breakfasts, daily early morning yoga, private business meetings, and after-hours parties. I have no idea how much of the rest of Anaheim hosts additional, private/invitation-only events (which cover the range from happy hours to multi-course meals, and even branch out into a 5k race!).

One of my best finds: PORTLAND-based kombucha that tastes delicious! (I find 99% of kombucha tastes like old socks.)

Despite the app, website, and printed brochure, it can be overwhelming to navigate Expo West. It isn’t always obvious which hall a given booth is located in, and travel from Hall D to Hall A can take 30 minutes due to pedestrian traffic—even though they are attached to each other. The scale of this event is so enormous that even if you did nothing but walk the show floors’ spaces—something few people do, due to meals, meetings, appointments, lectures, speakers, and other events—you still couldn’t see everything in the show’s four days. This was my third year at Expo West, and I finally feel like I figured out the best way for me to cover the show as a blogger. (Which included: make appointment with brands I wanted to spend time with, make a list of priorities for booth visits, stick to my top product categories, and get to the Fresh Ideas tent BEFORE it opens.) Over the course of several posts, I’m going to share what I saw, tasted, and learned, with the goal to help YOU live YOUR best life now.

Curious about a particular type of product, a brand, or a trend? Drop a comment or shoot me a tweet, and I’ll make sure to cover it in an upcoming post.

Disclosure: Bain here. I didn’t run Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans this year, so I didn’t write this post–it’s a guest post by fellow Rock ‘n’ Blog team member Gretchen Schoenstein! (I did write the headline, so don’t blame her for that, okay?) Gretchen ran this race as a Rock ‘n’ Blog team member (which means she didn’t have to pay the entry fee) but all of the content (including the pictures) and opinions are hers alone. Enjoy!

What better way to celebrate New Orleans 300th Anniversary than to run a Rock ’n’ Roll half marathon! RnR NOLA has got to be one of the most, if not the most, colorful race weekends out there. And the most energetic. And most beaded for sure. Those colors, that energy and of course those beads were on full, enchanting display this past weekend.

It might seem a bit odd to celebrate a city known for amazing food and drink to bring a bunch of runners to town to join the hometown runners–had more than one cab and ride-share driver remark on “y’all aren’t the usual crowd”–but where else are you going to celebrate your finish line with a sazerac than in the city that invented the drink?

For me, it’s a city I’ve been aiming to get back to to run since I first ran #RnRNOLA back in February 2011. Back then, it was only my 7th half marathon, and my 3rd Rock ’n’ Roll event. This past NOLA race was my 64th half marathon (54th RnR half!) and oh so worth the effort to finally get to run it in New Orleans again! It’s such a unique place to run–the history, the food, the people. Folks who are from New Orleans have a pride that is nearly unmatched for their city, and they’re so grateful to have all us runners come to town and not only enjoy a beautiful course that shows off some of the best parts of the city, but also make a point to really celebrate in a city that knows how.

You could sum up RnR NOLA for a lot of runners as: Run Hard, Play Hard!

And when I say run hard, here’s the great news, it’s not necessarily a hard run. Meaning, it flat, fast, and below sea level. Which is beautiful. You can’t help be hopeful and expectant for a happy finish time. Not only that, but the music along the course is unique to the city and some of the most dynamic you will hear on any course. ‘Kingfolk’ standing on the bed of a pick up truck playing vibrant New Orleans jazz while shouting and whooping it up with runners as the pass by? Yes please! Or how about looking up and around and seeing the history surrounding you in the churches, buildings, and homes architecture. And if you keep looking up, you’ll see beads just about everywhere.

Speaking of music–the speakers in the new mile markers signs? You have to hear them! Especially when you hear a song again along the way, like it’s your own soundtrack following you.

Run hard and you may just get a PR. Like I did seven years ago. Here’s the thing: it’s still my PR. And so I’d had aspirations of aiming for that PR again–ended 2017 races on an upswing, so why not? Well, the flu and pneumonia got in the way in January and February, so I had to shift my goal a bit. This you can do in NOLA. It’s a low risk, high reward kind of race. You can go for it, and this being the first of 12 halfs for 2018, I decided to get curious and use it as a way to kick the tires or test the water of what my body is capable of at the moment. Within the first few miles, I thought, hmmm, if I fight for every second I can on this course, I might just beat ALL of last year’s race finish times.

And so you take in the whole course, the amazing runners (eager in sequined skirts, green purple and gold shirts, sunglasses with the sun beaming) along the way like the woman running backwards, or the two guided blind runners inspiring everyone around them, Kathrine Switzer, or the Darth Vader wearing a Saints hat cheering people along. And the spectators? New Orleans might just have some of the best out there. So loud, so fun, so delighted to see us running towards them.

Speaking of seeing things coming – you cannot miss the NEW SIGNS along the course! New signs for water, gel and SiS support. I’d heard about these coming up but until you experience them you cannot begin to know how helpful they are. First, they’re super obvious from down the way, so you can much better navigate moving to the right or left or staying in the middle without tripping over runners making last minute decisions. The flow of runner traffic is much smoother through there.

Plus, seeing the signs way up ahead allowed me to finish a gel or make a thoughtful decision about water, yes or no? And if yes, which side? And also if yes, how much? My fueling was far better managed which made for consistency that I know helped keep my pace and health along the course.  These signs are a game changer. As always, there was stellar volunteer support at those water and gel stations–people working so hard to make sure runners have access to things they need–the determined commitment they have makes you shout out THANK YOU as you run by.

When you finish in City Park, it’s nearly an instant party. How could it not be? It’s New Orleans, c’mon! There were even food trucks nearby and I’ve never seen so many runners lined up for delicious offerings with Soul Offerings and Cowboy Mouth raging on stage–if you’re a food truck, you did extremely well serving a lot of hungry runners. That afternoon and evening, after everyone had crossed their finish lines, the bars and restaurants were buzzing with runners eating and drinking their way through the city; you could spot them, they had a hobble in their giddyup and a big smile on their face.

Oh, as for me? Just being in New Orleans and recalling some of the familiar course, including running down and back along St Charles Avenue, a bit along Magazine Street, down by the Mississippi river with it on your right and St Louis Cathedral on your left, past Cafe du Monde, and up onto Esplanade Avenue and entering into City Park past the huge fountains was worth the travel and the effort. And yes, I pushed myself because I could and because the course allowed it. And so, happily, I crushed ALL 10 of last year’s finish times by nearly three minutes. Couldn’t have done without the New Orleans course and the Rock ’n’ Roll support.

Happy 300th Birthday New Orleans. Laissez les bon temps rouler indeed!

About the Author. With half marathons being her preferred distance, Gretchen Schoenstein has run 64 of them since April 2010. In late 2006 she was unable to walk, diagnosed with a debilitating auto immune disease that resulted in doctors telling her she’d never run again. For 3.5 years she listened to them and then decided to run despite their protestations and laced up a pair of running shoes and hasn’t looked back, running 64 half marathons in eight years, with a goal of 75 total by the end of 2018. It doesn’t mean there haven’t been challenges and flare ups, including being diagnosed with asthma, but as every step is a gift, Gretchen is grateful for every day she gets to run and every step she gets to take. 

Psst! Bain here. Why not follow Gretchen on Instagram and Twitter? Her handle is @rungrateful, in case those links are giving you trouble. You can also find her blog at iwonderwoman.com

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Disclosure: absolutely nothing in this post is sponsored content. Every single word and idea is my own. The giveaway in this post isn’t sponsored either, except by me, and neither are any of the associated upcoming giveaways. I have clearly labeled the affiliate links, which give me free stuff if you subscribe (and you get extra goodies too).

Can I Stuff Your Stockings?

Christmas stockings were a HUGE deal in my family growing up. Grandma had knitted each of us a fancy stocking: the kids had green, white, and red with our names and a different Christmas-themed item in each band, with a giant pom-pom at the toe; Mom’s stocking had a grandma figure with soft fluffy hair, and Dad’s had a Christmas tree with little sequined ornaments.

As a kid, the Christmas stockings were the only things we were allowed to open on Christmas day before Mom and Dad got up. There were traditional Christmas-y items like candy and little toys, but also practical things like toothbrushes and socks. Once we got older and moved out–and effectively moved the Christmas celebration to the Friday morning after Thanksgiving–the Christmas stockings had all the goodies (and a check).

This year, I’m celebrating the holidays by stuffing YOUR stocking! My plan is to post a different giveaway each day (be sure to follow @TrainWithBain on Instagram) but don’t hold me to it–we’ve all seen what can happen when you get too attached to a plan.

On the 1st Day of Christmas: Subscription Boxes?

Subscription boxes are everywhere these days–there are even entire blogs devoted to nothing but subscription box reviews. Some boxes are monthly, while others are quarterly. The least expensive boxes start around $10, while some of the quarterly boxes cost $100 or more. There are subscription boxes for every niche, and even sub-niches within those. Need a dog subscription box? There is BarkBox for dogs, or maybe PoochPerks is more what you need; if your dog chews stuff there is BullyMake for dogs who are heavy-duty chewers, if you prefer to get a box from your usual pet food supplier then Chewy.com has GoodyBox. For runners, there is Runner Box, Stride Box, Runner Crate, Challenge Box (aimed at FitBit users), Fun Run Box, 5k Crate, and more. Whatever you are into, there is a box for you.

Birchbox was the first box I tried. As a woman who has always sucked at the “girly-girl” stuff, I basically had no idea how to buy makeup. My basic routine was set by the drugstore makeup I bought in high school, and the one or two foundations I had sampled at department store counters. (Remember when that’s where all the cool kids bought their makeup?) I liked the idea of getting to try samples of products and discover what might work for me before committing to full-sized products. Since I hate wasting money and creating garbage, it pains me to buy a full-sized product and then discover I hate it and end up wasting the rest of it. Birchbox seems focused on high-end brands, many of which I had never tried. My samples often included perfume (and despite my lack of girly-girl knowledge, I love perfume). Anything you like, you can order a full-sized product from the Birchbox shop.

These cute bags are in this giveaway! I use mine for travel and sorting plugs and electronics accessories.

Later I found ipsy (this is an affiliate link), which includes a makeup bag with the goodies each month. Ipsy seems more customized than Birchbox, and samples change based on your ratings of prior samples (including what you think of the brand, type of product, color, and more). I’ve loved some of the pouches, and sometimes use them instead of gift wrap for small presents and gift cards. The brands in my ipsy often include K beauty brands, and are generally brands I’m unfamiliar with–it’s good to broaden my horizons. Like Birchbox, you can opt-out of a category of products, and edit your profile to emphasize what you like. Also like Birchbox, the products in your monthly box are a surprise until they show up–though you can take a sneak peek by clicking through the email. Each month there are special deals on products featured in ipsy bags that you can find on the website. Ipsy also has monthly giveaways. Ipsy has the option to pause for a month, but only for one month. (I currently have a few invites to send a free glam bag, so let me know if you think ipsy might be for you–I’ll happily send you one.)

Somehow Julep (this is an affiliate link) found me. Julep started out as a nail polish subscription box, with two polishes and accessories such as buffing blocks or quick-dry drops in each box. Julep has since branched out to skin care and a full makeup line. With Julep you take a quiz that assigns you a style. Each month there is a curated box for each style. On the 20th you can peek at your curated box–if you do nothing, it is automatically sent to you. You have the option to take your box, choose another style’s curated box, or mix and match to make your own box. You can also skip your box, or have it sent to a friend instead, but you have to choose before the selection window closes. (Otherwise, your box is auto-shipped…and when you get busy, it’s easy to miss that window.) I’ve built up quite the color collection, so I also branched out into their makeup and skin care lines. I’m a huge fan of the gel eyeliners, and the solid face cleaners (great for traveling because they are carry-on friendly). Some Julep products are now available at Ulta.

The one problem I have run into–and more with Birchbox and ipsy than with Julep–is that sometimes I get things that I can immediately tell are just not for me.  Or sometimes my preferences are so clear that I get multiple items that are very similar (like eyeshadows in the same shades, or two different brands of the same makeup brush). Generally my friends score when that happens. Some things make great stocking stuffers and mini-gifts, too.

Guess what friends? Time for YOU to score. Before I moved I barely had time to breathe, much less sort through my stuff before I packed. When you move and start working the new job immediately, that doesn’t leave much time to unpack and sort and arrange, and I have continued to travel all over the place to run, so it wasn’t until Thanksgiving that I had the opportunity to sort through the beauty stash. It’s bigger than the space designated to hold it, so let me stuff your stocking?

Brand new! Never opened! Shiny new hair dryer for your new year’s beauty resolutions!

The first item in this stocking stuffer package is a brand new hair dryer. While I still use the hair dryer I got as a gift with purchase when I bought some leather sneakers (a la the Reebok princess line) back in 8th grade, I do have a backup (which I bought from Birchbox). I then got a super nice one as part of a thank-you box for being a Women’s Health Magazine Action Hero–and I haven’t even opened the box! There’s a list of what else is in the prize below, but let’s get to the good stuff. Here’s how to enter:

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also in the prize package:

  • Panasonic nanoe Hair Dryer, model EH-NA65-k
  • 4 ipsy cosmetic bags (bags are empty and unused)
  • TrainWithBain’s favorites from Julep, all full-sized!
    • Glow highlighting powder
    • Love Your Bare Face detoxifying cleansing stick
    • It’s Balm—2 colors!
      • Flamingo pink crème
      • Electric coral crème
    • Color that treats nailpolish—2 colors!
      • Katherine (a dark purple cream)
      • Channon (a shimmery full-coverage white)
    • Kaolin Clay konjac sponge
    • When pencil met gel eyeliners in gilded gold shimmer and ultraviolet
  • Toni & Guy casual sea salt texturing spray 2.5 oz
  • Makeup brushes
    • Clinique eyebrow tamer and eye makeup combo
    • Bare Escentuals retractable brush with cover
    • Shmissglam small contour brush
    • Beaute Basics contour blush
    • Beau Gachis smudge brush
    • Crown Brush pointed crease brush
    • 3 brushes from Luxie Beauty:Pap
      • Medium angled shading
      • Blush
      • Flat top
    • Paper masks:
      • Nature Recipe Honey
      • 2 Etude House Olive
      • Sephora rose
    • Versace single-use perfume samples
    • Calvin Klein euphoria perfume samples (2) spray
    • Elizabeth Arden pure finish mineral bronzing powder
    • Derma E hydrating day cream with hyaluronic acid 0.5 oz
    • Ruffian nail laquer in nake (neutral beige/cream) 0.17 oz
    • LAW nail polish in Peri Or Whatever (light periwinkle cream) 0.37 oz
    • Ole Henrickson truth sugar glow polishing mask 0.3 oz
    • J Browza brow pencil
    • Make Up For Ever Aqua XL in black
    • Ciate London Wonderland gel kohl liner in black
    • M skin Y Theorem Repair Serum 0.35 oz
    • Tarte Tarteist lip paint in delish (a neutral rosy brownish pink)
    • Nomad highlighting powdwer (sample size)
    • Elizabeth Mott, Whatup Beaches matte bronzer (sample size)
    • FAB First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream 1 oz
    • The Organic Pharmacy lip and eye cream 0.35 oz
    • Clinique samples:
      • Dramatically different moisturizing lotion+
      • Turnaround Cream
      • Moisture Surge
    • SK-II facial treatment essence
    • Crystal body deodorant towelettes
    • Sweet Spot wipes
    • Nano2 natural deodorant

Maybe a few surprise bonuses!