Categories
Home

My First Stitch Fix Experience

I am extremely excited to do today’s post. It’s been a long time coming waiting to venture into the Stitch Fix (<–referral link) world, and I’m glad I finally made it. So what I plan to do today is give you a rundown of each clothing piece I received, along with my likes and dislikes, the cost, and whether I kept or tossed it. And please excuse my terrible appearance in the photos below. We were in a bit of a hurry, so the wet dog look was all I had going for me!


DECEMBER 23, 2014

My First Stitch Fix Experience

7 Comments

I am extremely excited to do today’s post. It’s been a long time coming waiting to venture into the Stitch Fix (<–referral link) world, and I’m glad I finally made it. So what I plan to do today is give you a rundown of each clothing piece I received, along with my likes and dislikes, the cost, and whether I kept or tossed it. And please excuse my terrible appearance in the photos below. We were in a bit of a hurry, so the wet dog look was all I had going for me!

{Remember the numbers of the clothing items above because I’d love to hear what you love and what you don’t – and partially, I want to see if you agree with my hubby at all because we seem to have very different tastes!}

1. Kut From The Kloth: Maribel Straight Leg Jean 

I really enjoyed these jeans when I first put them on: the color, style, and fit of them. They were a really good length and a style of pants I would go for, had I been out shopping for myself. Unfortunately, they were about a size too big in the waist. I like wearing my pants so that they can fit comfortably alone or using a belt if need be. These were a touch further than the belt using would go, which was sad to say.

Price: $88.00

Verdict: From my above explanation, I think it’s pretty obvious that these were a TOSS.

2. Fun2Fun: Lamont Tile Print Blouse 

I loved the color and length of the top initially but was worried about the look of it on (I didn’t want to appear too boxy). Although I’ve always been so used to wearing tighter tops, I loved how this one didn’t stick to me and gave me variety. I also am a huge fan of longer length shirts.

Price: $44.00

Verdict: KEEP.

3. 41Hawthorn: Renesme Geo Print Faux Wrap Dress

Although I am a mom, I really don’t want to dress the part, and that’s what I felt this dress was doing to me. Despite not liking the pattern and the style of the dress itself though, I really did enjoy the fabric, which I would totally go for in another piece of clothing. Also, you can’t see, but the fabric crosses itself over to make the V-neck and awkwardly sits right in the middle of your bra, so to look closely would appear like you somehow put it on wrong…but you didn’t. I was super bummed about this one because a dress would be a good addition to my closet!

Price: $78.00

Verdict: TOSS.

4. BRIXTON IVY: Coco Swiss Dot Lattice Detail Blouse

Initially, I thought this top looked super cute. It has a tank underneath attached to it and the color was my style. But once I put it on something about the detailing on the front didn’t look as good on as I thought it would. Had the front been like the back, then I might have been more sold.

Or maybe that’s because I’m such a Plain Jane! Either way, the detailing rocked me in the direction of not being a huge fan.

Price: 68.00

Verdict: TOSS.

5. Renee C: Justin Patch Pocket Cardigan

I love me some cardigans. This one was a dark black/blue with two front pockets and was a good length. I did like the look of it, and how it would pair well with a nice pop of color underneath, but I wasn’t sold on the fit. I received it in a small, but I think for clothing like this, I tend to go down to extra-small just because it was already oversized enough, that I didn’t need extra room. It was super cute and cozy though!

Price: $68.00

Verdict: TOSS.

Overall, I only went with the one top (choice #2), which was so sad to say, especially for my first fix. I really did enjoy the experience though. I don’t think a girl would ever not be happy to see clothing arrive in the mail for her! Because of this, I can’t wait to give it another try the next round. I plan to give plenty of feedback, along with working on my Stitch Fix Pinterest board (which is looking rather pathetic, as we speak).

And before I leave, it’s worth mentioning that Nia was my model, making sure the lighting was OK for picture taking. It’s such a tough job being a cute and super helpful toddler, but someone has to do it!

I’m actually going to sign off for a few days to enjoy the holidays with family (we just got to the island yesterday to visit with all of Tyler’s family), so I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, and I look forward to catching up after it!

Now I want to hear from you, is there anything you really liked or disliked? Did I make the right decisions?! 

Categories
Home

Getting Back on Track

How’d the weekend go? (Says the girl on Tuesday instead of Monday.) Did you do any(more) Christmas shopping? I’m honestly waiting for some online purchases to come and then trying to get it together for the remainder of stuff I need to get. Oh Christmas, how you creep up on me!

Most of Tyler’s family is in town now for the holidays, so it’s nice having some little buddies around to keep Nia occupied. And thus, the absence from posting the first day of the week because I was actually hanging out with them yesterday while Tyler worked away.

Nia did not want to leave the pool for the life of her. Pretty sure Tyler and I somehow bred a fish instead of a human…that looks like a human. I know, I’m just as confused as you are!

And before the weekend left us, I finally got Nia involved in a new library program on Thursday morning.

It was perfect. Tons of toddlers (she seriously needs more interaction with children her own age), singing, dancing, and stories in a great big room. She’s such a book lover that she didn’t want to leave after the program was over. I hope that never changes!

Then on Friday night, we went to picture-perfect Downtown Disney to spend with my grandparents because it was their last night in town before returning back to Canada.

The clouds just looked too fake and perfect for me to not stop and take a few pictures.

Finally, on Saturday, Tyler had a day off work, which meant that I needed to get him more involved with my hobby: running.

We’ve all had this annoying mucus-action going on (that’s lingering), so I blame that for making our run such a struggle, so we did three torturous miles (I need to do a little plug for myself because I pushed Nia in the stroller the whole time) that actually felt more like six. I’m ok when running is a struggle, but not when it feels like you’ve run for way longer than you actually have.

After getting through that, we headed out to check the nearest farmers’ market to us, as we’ve heard good things about it, but haven’t had a chance to get to it yet. I was amazed at a) how big it was, b) the variety of stands/options there (umm hello, Mr. knife sharpener, I will be seeing you next weekend!), and c) the number of vegan options available. We ended up grabbing lunch from the market then enjoying the fountains (for Nia).

One booth was actually on-tap kombucha, but sadly it was sold out by the time we got there (which was only a couple hours into the market). I honestly plan to be lined up first next Saturday because I just think that is so amazing. Plus, their prices seem to be really good.

We spent that evening with Tyler’s family (his sister, her hubby and their kids flew in Saturday afternoon) at their timeshare before calling it a day.

Tyler had to work on Sunday so I did some cleaning around the house and then once we were home from work, I surprisingly went out for a decent run. (Five miles alone, then another two with Nia.)

Some of you might have noticed (or maybe not…) that I haven’t been talking much about half training since 1/4 of the way in, and that’s because of I kind of fell off the wagon. The whole sinus/s, not factory issue sidelined me for a bit, and then just the desire to do long runs wasn’t there at all. In true fashion of laziness and putting things off, that’s what happened, but it’s still not a valid excuse. I’m hoping that I’m finally getting back on track because the miles on Sunday honestly felt good. I just need a little more desire to get me back into the routine and mindset that I can still run a decent half time. Self-doubt is any ugly thing, my friends.

I’m off to take Nia to our first meet-up with mommies and toddlers this morning. Cross your fingers everything goes well!! We’re headed to gymnastics, which is something Nia’s never done before, but something I really did want to put her in before we moved if you didn’t have to commit to 12 weeks (which we weren’t going to be there for), so this worked out perfectly. Plus, here’s hoping that I meet some other moms that I can actually hang out with again! Oh, the life of being an adult living in a new place while knowing no one!

What’s on your agenda today?

What’s your best tip for meeting people?

Categories
Home

On the Agenda

Today marks the last day that I get to hang out with my grandparents before they return back home to Ontario. It is sad knowing that they are the last bit of my family that were hanging around the area (now to convince the rest to get here/get back here!). In order to make the most of the last day, Nia and I are spending the afternoon with them. They’re staying at a resort about 20 minutes away from us, so because I actually am remembering for once, I’m taking Nia to the Windermere Farmer’s Market this morning, and then in the afternoon after a little toddler naps, I’m going to meet up with my grandparents and show them Downtown Disney (as per Tyler’s idea). So that’s what’s on the agenda for today!

And I’m  not saying it’s “cold” here or anything (because I realize back home they just got their first big snowfall yesterday), but I think I’m already developing thinner skin. We were out last night and it felt so much colder than if we were back home in the actual cold. I think the mental part of being in the snow (and knowing how long winter is) helps prep you for those colder temperatures up north, whereas in Florida, it’s not as consistent. That’s how I’m swinging it, at least!

The cool thing about last night (no pun intended!) was that we met up with some of the people from Tyler’s work and they selected a restaurant that was literally two seconds from where we live. We left Nia with my grandparents and got out for some adult time, which was much needed. This place had french fries with truffle salt and it was ah-mazing! (So much that we placed two orders for them.) The moment of the night (for my husband) happened when Johnny Damon walked into the restaurant. I would have had no clue who he was had Tyler never told me. And then Tiger Wood’s ex-coach, Sean Foley, came to join us for drinks because he’s associated with the academy Tyler works at. Two big names in one tiny hole-in-the-wall restaurant is pretty funny, if you ask me!

Well, I better get going! Hope you have a fantastic Friday and then a great weekend to follow it!

Categories
Home

Five Tips for Buying Eco- and Enviro-Friendly Kids Gifts This Holiday

The holiday gift guides are all around us (some of which I’ve already bookmarked)! And don’t get me wrong, these gift guides are amazing, but a big influencer for me making purchases is making sure that there’s some environmental consideration for them…especially for our kids because they eat, slobber, and touch everything.

I thought it was pretty appropriate to post this today, seeing as Christmas is TWO WEEKS TODAY! Ok, it was merely a coincidence that I had the post ready for today, but seriously, I can’t believe Christmas is coming so soon!

There are some really great brands out there trying to do right by using green, eco-friendly, and enviro-friendly practices, and I think they deserve a little recognition and support, which I’m about to give them! So here are my five tips on how to buy eco- and enviro-friendly this holiday season for the kiddos!

1. Go BPA, phthalate, and PVC free.

Bisphenol A better known as BPA is commonly found in plastics, which when released from the plastics, can act as hormone disruptors. So just be careful when purchasing plastic eatery pieces from your child. (Here’s an article on tips for picking plastics safely.) One of our more recent purchases for a plate, bowl, and cutlery set for Nia was actually made of bamboo fiber (we have a ‘bee’ set but here’s a similar one just in butterfly pattern). So there are definitely options other than plastic or glass out there!

Phthalates are a group of chemicals, and research suggests they mess with our hormones and damage our reproductive health. Just be wary when purchasing anything with vinyl, like raincoats and backpacks.

PVC is harmful material used to make squishy plastic (think bath toys), so if any of these options are on your Christmas list, make sure to read labels and find out what’s used in them!

Worth noting are kids brands that are already PVC free: Brio, Gerber, Ikea, Lego, Little Tykes, Sassy, and Tiny Love. As well as brands we love in our home for Nia: HapeGreen ToysMelissa & Doug, and P’kolino. (I know I am still missing a ton, but these are the main ones off the top of my head in our house right now.)

And finally, it’s even worth considering volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which umbrellas a wide variety of chemicals. Think of Furniture. The key here is to just be aware of what to look for, and what to look for ‘free’ of.

2. Buy toys made from recycled material or simply buying used to save a toy from a landfill.

I absolutely love finding toys for Nia from recycled material. It’s great knowing that our systems of recycling are going towards functional and pretty awesome kids’ toys and that it’s not being wasted! For Nia’s birthday, we actually got her this foam mat set (the ABCs), and it is amazing. It’s super huge and feels like any other foam set, durable enough for kids crawling around on it. I also love that the price point isn’t really high ($24.99), and it’s actually one of the better prices I’ve seen for a foam set, recycled material or not!

Alternatively, if not buying items made from recycled material, why not just recycle a toy by purchasing used. I’ve had some great success with this kind of thing on Kijiji (AKA the Canadian version of Craigslist) or from my sister-in-law. Not only will it give a toy a new home, but it could prevent it from ultimately ending up in a landfill had the toy not been sold. A good wipe down and the toys are pretty much as good as new!

(Just don’t go too used, because if it’s super antique, the paint could contain lead which is another no-no (a couple years old, past on from a kid just ahead of yours is a good place to start!).)

3. Look for soy inks and/or water-based colors.

Just to further reduce to risk of getting in contact with unnecessary chemicals and additives, look for books and the like with soy-based inks or water-based colors. One of my favorite books for Nia is actually made from soy inks and from recycled material (bonus!), and it’s called The Little Gardener (I just discovered that there’s actually two more books by the author that might be in Nia’s present pile come Christmas morning!).

4. Consider purchasing items with organic material(s).

As we discovered above, chemicals hide in almost everything. The thing with organic materials (whether it be for stuffed animals or your children’s clothing), you know what it is…no funny business.

Organic products can be a bit pricer, so shop around. I’m a huge H&M advocate because we’ve gotten so many great organic clothing pieces from there for Nia at amazingly comparable prices to conventionally grown cotton products. Plus, their conscious – sustainable style line goes up high in age, so I know I can count on it for years to come!

5. Focus on what they need more than what they want.

I know this might be easier for me to say because my child’s still young enough to not know better, but hopefully, I can still stand by this as much as I can as she ages. I know that getting your children something that they really want is so satisfying and I think that’s great, but I also think it should be paired with essentials. There has to be some balance! Our focus this year will still be primarily on what she needs (i.e.: clothing), along with one “big” purchase we’ve already made for her, and you can count on books (like the ones I mentioned above), as supplemental needs/learning tools/we have a bookworm and I think books are never a harm!

And, if you’re ever feeling a little lost or honestly don’t know what is in a product you are considering buying, then check out healthystuff.org, which researches what chemicals are in what products.

These are just a few of my eco- and enviro-friendly suggestions for children this holiday season that leads to happy families and a happy planet! Good luck shopping this holiday season!

Disclaimer: This post contains some affiliate links. Please note that I only include links to products that I truly believe in and would use myself. As always, I appreciate your support and understanding!

Categories
Home

A Million Things…

I think with the holiday season comes everyone doing a million things. That was me yesterday, for sure. And don’t worry, they were all good things! I love the feeling of knowing you got a lot accomplished in a given timespan. My grandparents are in town until Saturday, until they leave to travel back home, so they came over yesterday mid-morning to hang out with me and Nia. I’m still shocked at the things I got done in the time before they came. I felt like Santa Claus cruising around the whole world in a night! 

So with that, I’ll keep the blog post short and just let you in on a few of my million things, and then we can all keep going!

1. I finally signed up for my first StitchFix delivery!! It’s been on my radar even before moving to the states, so now that I’m here, I had to pounce. It’s set to come on December 24th. Nothing like a pre-Christmas present!

2. I went online shopping crazy. Ok, not really, but I did accomplish some Christmas presents, including for Nia! I can’t wait to share with you what her “big” present will be. (Note: It’s something functional. I still think she’s too young for her to make request, so I’ll ride that out as long as I can and get her things that will get a lot of use out of them.)

3. I made fluffy pancakes yesterday morning. It’s funny because the first time I made these pancakes, I thought they were just ok, but good thing I gave them another chance, we they are flipping amazing. The hubby agrees.

4. Along with the Christmas presents and StitchFix box coming my way in the mail, I also have some amazing other things coming that I can’t wait to use (I had to do some computer stuff myself to make sure this stuff would come to me!). Sometimes blogging can be really fun. Ok, it is all the time.

5. Today was a big day. Until we get Nia a legit bed, I decided it was time to remove the front of her crib and put up a railing (she’s so ready for it). So far she is loving it!

And finally…

6. Has anyone ever attempted to play around with code in their own blog theme before? I’m being ballsy (with the new blog) and trying to edit code to include something on my site that wasn’t originally in the theme. So how am I doing? Well, right now I’m 0/4, and have successfully ruined the code/site in all four attempts. Good thing for back-ups. But then I magically had success at 5. It honestly makes you feel so good when you can actually do something techy yourself. I’m so badass now. Can’t wait to show you guys!

Ok, I’m off to meet up with my grandparents again. We are heading to Whole Foods tonight after Tyler’s done work for some pizza. It’s all I can think about ;).

Have you ever tried StitchFix? Thoughts/opinions?

Favourite breakfast food?

Categories
Home

In My New Backyard: Tiger Woods’ Golf Tournament

Well, kids, I did more than just attend a golf tournament this weekend (unless you thought my post title was a cover for something else ;)). I grew up! I’m actually starting to use capital in my post titles now. Yup. I really put my ‘big girl pants’ on. Hope you all are proud!

So, I realize it’s now Tuesday, but I swear after this week, I plan to get back to a more consistent and regular schedule. Nothing like just in time for the holidays to make that happen! I’ve missed blogging regularly, and I’m sorry if you have too! Let’s just say I’m making some changes in the new year and I’m trying to get a kickstart on it (AKA I’m directing my time towards through changes right now more than actually blogging), so that’s part of the reason for my lack of consistency. This might also be a good time to bust out a reader survey like I’ve seen a bunch of other bloggers doing. Especially with some changes on the horizon! I want to know what you all think about Char Eats Greens and the future it’s taking.

So back to that weekend… or should I say what’s going on in my new backyard because it’s pretty awesome? Since my hubby is a golf instructor, we obviously were destined to move to the golf mecca of Florida. The real pay-off for this came in the form of Tiger Woods’ charity golf tournament this past weekend, which was honestly a five-minute drive from where we live. Gotta love that backyard! The hubby got us tickets, but he had to work on Saturday, so we decided to attend the last day of the tournament on Sunday.

As a non-golfer (incase you don’t care about golf at all and wanted to know my perspective and where this blog post is headed!), it was so cool to be there. This tournament contained some of the top golfers right now, which is my style (because I have a better chance of knowing who they are). Of course, the biggest group of followers on the course was for Tiger, but we kind of watched them all. That meant a lot of walking and stroller-pushing – glad I opted out of my long run before this (although I did run my speediest 5k at 23:20!!).

My favorite part of the day? Getting to see Matt Kuchar up close (he’s one of my faves). No picture evidence, sadly.

We were on hole four and had planned to walk back to the clubhouse until Tyler told me Kuchar was coming up next (didn’t even know he was in the tournament until that point in time!), and we were positioned right where they walk to the tee, so clearly I wanted to wait.

After that, we watched a bunch of different holes and players, but then we really wanted to see Tiger before we left. We waited at the green on the 13th hole and we had such a good spot. I mean, Tiger didn’t get the best shots by the green (two chunkers that didn’t quite get up), but he was positioned directly in front of us. Too bad the cameras weren’t shooting from the angle that would have allowed you to see us… of course!

We waited again until Tiger was on hole 17 and 18 so we could watch as we walked back to the clubhouse.

And then we finished with this view:

By the time we actually left the golf course, we were beyond starving. We hit up Whole Foods for a pizza and pretty much devoured it like the Tasmania Devil would rip down the road.

It’s amazing what a different physical activity can do to a person. I definitely don’t have the “golf” endurance because I was so done on Sunday night. Like, I could not move from the couch. I felt better yesterday, but seriously, never discredit walking a golf course. Phew!

And that about sums up my experience! So if you ever wanna come hang with me in my new backyard, let me know ;).

Do you follow golf?

What’s your favourite sport to watch?

Categories
Home

how to make kombucha from your homemade Scoby + second round fermentation

If you missed the first part of this series on making your own SCOBY, click here, or if you acquired a SCOBY from somewhere/someone else (hey friends! mine will be up for grabs again soon!), then forge ahead!

So, kombucha making… it’s fun! And, it doesn’t take a lot of time to make a ton of kombucha at all (the longest part is making a SCOBY and after that, you’re laughing). Because I’m so excited to share this process with you (and pretty sure a bunch of you have been waiting patiently for this post), I’m not going to prolong it anymore. Let’s get on with the details (and sorry about the length of the post – I wanted to be detailed without going overboard, but it’s still on the wordy side)!

Here’s what you’ll need to make 1 gallon of kombucha:

  • 1-gallon glass jar/container
  • 13 to 14 cups reverse osmosis/filtered water (chlorine-free)
  • 2 tbsp loose leaf tea or 8 tea bags (I used loose organic jasmine green tea)
  • 1 cup of organic cane sugar
  • 1 SCOBY (homemade or acquired)
  • 2 cups starter tea (from your homemade SCOBY creation!)
  • paper towel/coffee filter/tea towel (aka something breathable) + rubber band
  • super clean hands!

And just in case a gallon is too much, here are some different volumes of kombucha:

Amount/VolumeTeaSugarWaterStarter Tea
 1 quart ½ tbsp loose leaf tea or2 tea bags ¼ cup  2 to 3 cups ½ cup
 ½ gallon 1 tbsp loose leaf tea or4 tea bags ½ cup 6 to 7 cups 1 cup
 1 gallon 2 tbsp loose leaf tea or8 tea bags 1 cup 13 to 14 cups 2 cups

How to prepare your kombucha:

1. Boil your water then add the loose tea or tea bags to the water and steep until cooled to room temperature.*

*alternatively, you could boil a small amount of water (I used 2 cups) and make a tea concentrate, add the sugar to it, stir to dissolve, then once cooled/done steeping, add room temperature water to the concentrate to get to your 13 to 14 cup final volume.

2. Add in your sugar while tea mixture is still warm and stir until fully dissolved.

3. Once completely cooled to room temperature, transfer to a jar.

4. With very clean hands, add SCOBY along with the starter tea to your cooled tea batch (never add a SCOBY to a warm tea mixture!). Mix together with non-metal utensils (like a wooden spoon).

(Note: your SCOBY does NOT need to be put on top of the tea mixture, like how it formed there when you made the SCOBY. With the kombucha, you add the SCOBY and starter tea to the prepared sugar tea, and like in the picture above, the SCOBY can float in the mixture. It could eventually float back up to the surface, but if it doesn’t, that’s ok too. A new SCOBY will form no matter where the mother SCOBY (i.e.: the SCOBY in the picture above) is.)

5. Cover jar with a towel and secure with a rubber band (to keep flies out!). You should also label the jar so you know when your kombucha started brewing.

6. Let your kombucha sit to brew for 5-30 days. The length of time will depend on how sweet you want your kombucha to taste. The longer it sits, the longer it ferments, and the more the taste will turn to vinegar and less like sweet tea.

7. A NEW baby SCOBY will start to form on the surface of your kombucha. If your mother SCOBY is free-floating, then the baby SCOBY will foam by itself on the surface of the tea, but if the mother SCOBY floats up to the surface, then it could fuse with the newly developed SCOBY (but don’t worry, they’re super easy to take apart).

Where to store your kombucha while it ferments:

  • out of direct sunlight
  • somewhere in your house that is between 70-80*F 
  • somewhere that you can check, smell and taste fairly regularly (ex: in the kitchen corner, on a desk, on the kitchen table, etc.)

Watching your new baby SCOBY form:

Here’s a look at a few pictures of how mine developed.

I skipped ahead a few days after Day 2, and in Day 7’s picture, the white you see in the upper-left portion of the jar is the new baby SCOBY forming (and my mother SCOBY did actually float up and they joined together):

I actually thought I had messed up by Day 10 and that ‘bad’ mold was forming, but it was just my new baby SCOBY sitting over the mother SCOBY that made it look like greenish mold. Phew!

How to know when your kombucha is done brewing for your personal preferences:

  • Start taste-testing after five days. If you have a pour spout on your jar like I do, then it’s easy enough to pour a bit out to sample OR alternatively, you can stick a clean straw in the top of the mixture, past the scoby, down into the kombucha, then put your thumb over the straw to capture some liquid in it, remove the straw and pour into a glass. 
  • Do some experimenting. Have some after five days, then a week, and then a week and a half, to help you decide how you like the taste of your kombucha best.

I decided that after 12 days my kombucha was ready for what worked for me. I found it not too sweet, but just enough tartness (medium-to-strong vinegar taste) to it by then. But again, it’s all based on personal preference! At the end of this brewing process, you’ll now have two scobys (a mother and a baby) to work with!

And once you’ve decided that your kombucha is done brewing and ready to drink, it is up to you whether you want to just drink it the way it is (i.e.: unflavoured/natural) OR flavor it. This brings me to my next point…

Second Round Fermentation

Second round fermentation is when you take your newly brewed kombucha and ferment for a second round, but this time with fruits, juices, herbs, herbal teas, spices, etc. instead of a SCOBY.

You omit the scoby in this fermentation and put in an airtight bottle this time around (vs. covering with a towel which you did to make the scoby and brew the kombucha). Without the scoby, the yeast and bacteria in the kombucha can still consume the tea and sugar, which results in carbon dioxide building up and what gives the kombucha the fizzy texture associated with it (and also why you might see ‘blobs’ or new baby scobys forming when you buy kombucha because it’s constantly working away!).

Second round fermentations are great because you can play with a ton of flavours, and it doesn’t take long to achieve a finished kombucha product (I know, the end is finally here!). But if you like it plain too, don’t worry, it’s just one less step you need to do in order to start drinking your kombucha.

If you do want to play around with flavour combos, here are some of my suggestions for second round fermentations:

  • peppermint + chlorophyll
  • peach ginger
  • blueberry maple
  • goji berries
  • pineapple juice (from organic canned pineapple)
  • fresh mango
  • fresh strawberries

Now, let’s quickly go over how to do it!

How to do a second fermentation:

1. Remove the SCOBY from your kombucha.

2. Get an airtight bottle and add your desired flavor combinations to it. (Organic peach and ginger in the below photos.)

3. Add your kombucha to the bottle, leaving some space at the top.

4. Close bottle (so it is airtight).

5. Allow the bottle to sit at room temperature for 2 – 14 days (depending on the contents within the bottle; fresh fruit will require less time).

6. Be careful opening the bottle (because of the built-up pressure, especially if it’s been sitting for longer).

7. Strain out the contents (i.e.: your fruits added to kombucha) prior to consumption, if desired.

8. Alternatively, the kombucha can be rebottled (after straining out fruits) and stored on the counter or in the fridge until ready for later consumption. This is also where you might notice new ‘blobs’ or baby scobys forming.

Once the kombucha has been used up for drinking au natural or put into a second fermentation, now’s the time to either keep your baby SCOBY (to start brewing two batches of kombucha instead of one), or to package and put up for donation.

We’ll be donating for the time being, and just working with our SCOBY we originally grew from scratch. So, if anyone around me is looking for a SCOBY in the near future, you know who to contact ;).

A quick recap: make a new batch of sugar tea, then add your SCOBY + starter tea to it, let it sit covered for 5 – 30 days, bottle kombucha and drink OR start a second round fermentation to flavor, then keep your new baby SCOBY (you will now have two instead of one) or donate it to a friend so they can get in on the fun!

So, now that you know how to make your own kombucha, it doesn’t end there. There are other great tips to know about kombucha, like:

  • creating a continuous brewing system
  • what to do with the SCOBY as you keep brewing kombucha batches
  • how to develop a consistent brewing system that works for you
  • and any other missed details (usually the small stuff!)

If any of these topics interest you, or I didn’t answer any of your questions/concerns/etc, let me know and I would be more than happy to put together another kombucha post. Until then, I will stop because I already feel like I might have overwhelmed you. So if I did, I apologize!

All I can say now is happy kombucha brewing! I hope you enjoy the process as much as I have, and realize how easy it is to do!!

Categories
Home

race recap: diva half marathon, north myrtle beach

You know when you keep thinking about a lingering event coming up in the future until it finally arrives and you’re just so excited that the time has come?! That was me Sunday morning, before and during the run. I think I was nervous because I paired it with a wedding the night before. Probably wasn’t my smartest move, but so worth it.

I’m going to try my best to summarize this half without going overboard on details. I really wanted to include my numbers for each mile, but I forgot to bring my ANT stick for the Garmin to upload the data. (I’ll have to edit it in once I’m home!) Here’s how it went!

BEFORE THE RACE

It couldn’t have worked out more perfectly. The race start was only 5 minutes down the road from where we’re staying AND we ran right past our condo at 1.75 and 3 miles. I woke up at 6am, and the husband dropped me off at the starting line at about 6:50am.

The bad? I had little to no sleep the night before; I got to bed by 11:30pm, had to wake up for two feedings (2am and 5:15am). I wasn’t organized at all. I had a half-charged Garmin, iPod still in the car and no race gear laid out. Good for easing the nerves, eh? Somehow I got myself together in those 50 mins in the morning (thankfully).

I picked up my first Sparkly Soul headband the day before at the expo and totally wore it for race day!

Since it was a ‘Diva’ half you can probably guess that it was all females (or at least was suppose to be…I saw a few males though). Lots of pink and tutus! I opted for green, haha.

The good? The weather was absolutely perfect! Although I can only count the number of races I’ve done, on one hand, I’ve never had a race where the weather was bad. If it continues like that, I might be racing every week!

DURING THE RACE

Miles 0-4: I started out with shorts, a tank and a zip-up jacket on, but I was already hot in the jacket before the one mile hit. Luckily, I knew I would be seeing the hubby shortly so I took it off and gave it to him. I don’t know if it was getting to see Tyler at 1.75 and 3 miles or just because I was still in the beginning, but those first 4 miles went by pretty quick! I think I was averaging between 9:10-9:20min/mi at this point, and I also took my first shot blok at 4 miles, so my energy wouldn’t fade.

Miles 4 – 8: Getting to 6 miles was fairly easy, but I did regress a little bit around 7 miles and I was just looking forward to mile 8 because that’s what I wanted to make it to before I took my next shot blok. I made it to 8 and took another book, and kept powering on!

Miles 8-11: Between 8 and 9 I was fading a bit. My breathing changed and I was trying to run ‘different’ to not put so much pressure on my ankles. I felt like I could slow down, but I kept going. At 10 miles, I tried to convince myself that I was just setting out for a 3 mile run (vs. having already run 10 miles!), and that I could do it; I think it worked for a bit! Instead of taking a shot block every 4 miles like my original plan, this time around, I took it at 11 because I knew I would need it more often at the end vs. the beginning.

Miles 11-12: I kept consistent with my pace and took another shot blok at mile 12 to pull me on in-home! That was right around the time I made sure my pace was faster cause I was closing in on 2 hours and wanted to make sure I finished before it hit.

Miles 12-13.1: I started increasing my pace more and more in the last 0.50 miles and for the final 0.10 we rounded a corner with the finish line in the distance so you could so it, so I gave it my all! I made such an improvement since I started in the 9:30min/mi range and ended in the 8:26min/mi range! (huuuuuge accomplishment from my half 2 years ago)

WHAT HELPED ME GET THROUGH IT

I didn’t put my music on until after 8 miles because I actually found it quite nice to just enjoy the views and the other runners. Plus, there were a few instances when we ran past music and DJs so it was nice to have that as a pump you up!

I also found that the shot bloks were a tremendous help. In my first half marathon, I didn’t bring anything and just drank some water + Gatorade on the course – I would have had a gu near the end of the race but as I was trying to open it, I dropped it and didn’t want to stop to pick it up! I definitely think the whole ‘fueling during running’ was key for my energy and pace (and super smart).

Another thing that always works marvelously for me is spotting someone in front of me and beating their butt! Here are the ones I followed and successfully passed during the run (is it bad that I chose bad reasons to pass people? I’ll explain below):

  1. A girl in reeeeeeally short shorts that had half of her booty hanging out
  2. A girl in a red cape that was ahead of me for-ever (I showed her!)
  3. A girl whose running was just plain terrible (there, I said it, and I feel bad but hey, it was a total motivator for me to run faster and past her!)
  4. A girl with a sticker stuck to the bottom of her shoe (it woulda drove me crazy if I stayed behind her!)
  5. This super tiny/toned lady in a pink sports bra (I followed her for practically the whole run and she challenged me, especially during the end when she would speed up more when she saw me getting close to her, but with my sprint for the final stretch, I passed her in the knick of time!)

It also helped that I had some good tunes that came on shuffle so I wasn’t fiddling around with my iPod to switch songs!

THE COURSE

The course was great; it was virtually flat and gave me a decent tour of North Myrtle Beach. I found it funny when we hit this one tiny hill (a 5% incline, if that!) and I heard one lady say, “oh, this hill is going to kill me!” I kinda laughed to myself and ran faster up it.

They had everything marked awesomely with pink arrows and clear signs pointing you in the correct direction (because there was also a 5k that started 20 mins after us, where they were running the same course with us for a little bit).

THE FINISH LINE

I’ve only had one finish line confusion ever and that happened at a 5 miler I did down in Florida. They had you run back over the starting line chip sensor (at the end), but the actual finish line was passed that by a few feet and there was NO sign saying that it was a fake-out and that the finish line was actually still ahead. (I think for that, I said something along the lines of “shiiiiiiiiitttttt” in a picture Tyler was taking of me haha. Whoops!)

This race, you could clearly see the finish and that’s why I boogied my butt for that final 0.10. I also boogied because after you finished, there were firefighters putting the medals on you. Also, prior to finishing (in the last 0.50 miles), you got handed a boa and tiara (too bad I dropped my tiara trying to put my boa on). You also got champagne at the finish, so you bet I grabbed one and it didn’t last long ;).

DISTRACTIONS

I love the spectator part of races because they really help you power through. I really tried to absorb the signs and words of encouragement…I soaked them all up like a sponge!! Some of the best ones I saw (and remembered – I think I’m missing 1 or 2!) were:

  • “H.O.P.E. – hang on, pain ends”
  • “Smile if you’re not wearing underwear”
  • “We can’t all be heroes. Someone needs to sit on the curb and cheer you on!”
  • “Smile if you’ve paid a little”
  • “You look so skinny today!”

OVERALL

Overall, this race was awesome. Despite there being a ton of people in it (3660!) and needing to zigzag through them for a good mile at the beginning, it totally didn’t feel overwhelming after that! I loved the course and the location couldn’t have been more convenient! Weather was not too warm and overcast, so it was the perfect running conditions and I fueled myself properly for once!!

(I’m sorry I said this wouldn’t belong, but I really have to include this!) The crazy part is, I said above that my watch was only half-charged, it literally died RIGHT after I crossed the finish line. Talk about timing!!

MY RESULTS

I didn’t PR unfortunately, but I felt way better this half than I did my last half and I think that counts for something more! Here are how my results stand:

  • 13.1 miles in 1:56:59
  • Overall: 302 out of 3660
  • Women’s rank: 297 out of 3615 (I don’t know why there’s this (and overall) and the numbers are different since it was an all-women race – those few men that entered and ran musta messed the numbers up I guess!)
  • Average grade: 56.22% (<–if anyone knows what this means, please tell me, I have no clue!!)

And just an FYI, I was in the 25-29 age group. You think I can just stay in this age bracket for eternity? ;).

I’m happy with how things unfolded. I’ll be running another half at the end of September so my hope is to PR in that one!! My muscles were totally sore the day after, but they were for good reason!! I had a great time and would totally run this one again!

What’s your favorite race you’ve ever run? And why?!?!