Tuesday Things

1. Are you sick of me talking about the office? Well sorry, I’m not quite done yet. The project is still unfinished but we’re much closer than we were a week ago. I bought a twin comforter set and while I’m sure it’s the norm, it bothers me to no end that it only comes with one pillow sham and no option to buy an additional one. The daybed looks dumb with just one pillow at the top and definitely requires 2(+) pillows in the middle. Currently I’m on a hunt for two red decorative pillows to match the sheets, but not really red … maybe cranberry? Or wine? In any case, it’s proving to be impossible to find pillows to match. Don’t even get me started on how expensive effing Euro Shams are. WHY?! It’s a piece of fabric. Also, please kill me for caring this much about a bed in a room we rarely go in.

dumb bed

2. I accidentally became a VIB member at Sephora. Seriously, it was accident. My online account said I had 92 points – clearly not enough for VIB. Once I dug a little deeper it looked like they issued me a new BI card at some point and never linked it to my other account. So I was earning points in the store with one BI card and earning points online with another. While I was in there stocking up on moisturizer recently, BAM – they handed me a shiny silver VIB card. I have no idea what this card gets me except a private shopping event in November (which is REALLY far away) so I don’t know whether to be excited about the new status or upset I spend so much time in the store. I blame my sister mostly. In any case, I’m getting a post together about all the fun makeup-y things I’ve bought over the past few months. Makeup? On the blog? There’s something new.


3. Oiselle, Oiselle, Oiselle. A few items from the S14 line hit their website recently and the colors are ridiculously beautiful. It’s taking quite a bit of self restraint to keep myself from putting every single new item in my cart. The newest Stripey (now Earn Your Stripes) comes in two of the best colors Oiselle has put out: brill blue + jade green.  I’ve figured out how to wear 90% of my Oiselle wardrobe to work, which is AWESOME. The seamless flyte tank is perfect for layering and much more exciting than a standard cami under a cardigan. If you’re currently Oiselle-less, this is a great piece to start with!


4. It’s race week! For some reason even though I’m only running the half, this feels like a bigger race than usual. Maybe because there’s been so much build up since the lottery last summer. I’ve heard so many great things about Houston so I’m really excited to finally be able to run it. I’m also running the 5K day before – hello, bonus medals – with Brad. Well, Brad is a maybe. He sprained his ankle playing basketball while we were in Florida (probably trying to get out of having to drive on the way home) so he said he’ll make the final decision on Saturday. Either way he’ll be heading down there with me, so Houston here we come!


5. The Verizon Wireless ambassador program is wrapping up this week and it was definitely a great experience. I learned a lot about the Verizon Edge program and new Isis Mobile Wallet, both of which I look forward to using in the future. One of the perks I received as an ambassador was a Samsung Galaxy S4 to use for the duration of the program. I’m not going to list out all of the technical specs because (1) your eyes will glaze over and (2) I don’t even understand what a lot of it means. The main thing I say to everyone who asks what I think of the S4 is that the battery is horrible. This may be because I came from the Droid Razr MAXX which had a much larger battery. I could stream Pandora in my car for 90 minutes on my way to work, use the phone intermittently throughout the day, stream Pandora for 90 minutes on my way home, and still end up at around 50% battery. With the S4, if Pandora is used on my way to work, the phone will need to be charged by early afternoon – even if I’m connected to the WiFi at the office. Hashtag first world problems. So now I listen to the radio in the morning instead. I’ve tweaked many of the settings but even with minimal use I’m usually at about 40% after 12 hours off the charger.

Okay, so now on to the non-battery related things. The camera is excellent! It’s just average in low-light (concert photos turn out not so hot) and at night, but for everything else the pictures are great. The screen is huge and super bright, even when the setting is at 50%. The Samsung-affiliated apps are nothing to write home about, with the exception of S Memo and WatchON. S Memo is exactly what you’d expect, a note-taking app. WatchON allows you to turn your phone into a remote for your TV. Rather than scrolling through your provider’s channel guide, WatchON recommends shows to you based on your preferences. You just press the photo of the show you want to view and voila, your TV switches to that channel. Pretty cool feature and the recommendations are always spot on.

WatchON App

Also (this is minor) since I own a Samsung Tablet, I really appreciate that the two run on the same operating system. When I had a Motorola phone, it was somewhat annoying to go back and forth between the two devices. Now everything looks almost identical. Also minor, but there are a lot more options when it comes to cases. My current favorite is the Spigen Neo Hybrid – very simple and lightweight.

Overall, I really like the phone. My main issue is with the battery and it’s probably only because I was majorly spoiled with the Razr MAXX. I carry a portable charger (purchased with my own dollars, not provided by VZW) with me when heading to concerts where the camera will drain my battery or when I’ll be away from an outlet for most of the day. I also connect to WiFi at the office and at work, which helps avoid battery draining caused by roaming. Would I recommend the phone? YES. But if you’re a heavy data user, you may want to look into an extended battery or portable charger so you aren’t SOL mid-day.

Tell me something about your Tuesday. Or Wednesday, since this went up way later than I originally planned.

Ditching Your Wallet

Disclosure: I’m a Verizon Wireless Voices SE Ambassador and have been provided a phone to use through the duration of this program. No other compensation was received. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Aside from when I’m heading to work, I am 100% anti-wallet. For going out to dinner or nights out on the town, I toss my debit card, ID, and phone into a wristlet and that’s it. And I’ll usually keep my card and phone in my pocket when heading out to the grocery store or to run errands. No reason to lug the giant wallet around with every credit and discount card I own. Sure it’s easy and convenient, but sometimes I freak out a little when I need the debit card and my pockets are empty. Like when I’m at the gas pump searching for my card and realize it’s still in yesterday’s pants. That’s always a fun little surprise. So when I heard about Verizon’s Isis Mobile Wallet, I was obviously intrigued.

Isis - Pay With Your Phone

Isis Mobile Wallet is an Android app which allows you to pay for items with your phone at participating merchants. You can also load all of your loyalty cards into the app so everything is stored in one place and you can rid your key ring of those pesky mini plastic cards. Isis requires a Secure Element (SE) SIM card – you can pick this up for free from Verizon – which will keep your personal data encrypted and safe.

How Isis Works

The app also allows you to search nearby participating retailers while you’re on-the-go. Currently Isis is available in over 20,000 locations across the country. American Express, Chase, and Wells Fargo credit cards are all compatible with the Isis app. An alternative is to set up an American Express Serve account that you can add money to with your credit card, debit card, or bank account. Now through January 31, Serve is giving customers 20% back (up to $200) on all transactions made using Isis Mobile Wallet. You can learn more about American Express Serve here.

Verizon has uploaded several videos to YouTube to help breakdown each of the functions of Isis and they’re definitely worth a look. From setting up the app to adding your cards to making your first purchase at a participating retailer, this page covers it all.

Find the Isis Mobile Wallet App on your carrier :: Verizon :: T-Mobile :: AT&T

What do you think of the idea of a Mobile Wallet? Would you be comfortable using it over traditional cards?

Upgrade Early with Verizon Edge

Disclosure: I’m a Verizon Wireless Voices SE Ambassador and have been provided a phone to use through the duration of this program. No other compensation was received. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Back in my younger days when I was much less wise, I had countless short-term relationships with phones. I frequently drove with a cup of iced tea in my cup holder. I also drove with my phone in my cup holder. A handful of times those two things happened simultaneously and byebye cell phone. I’ve left a phone at the bar and returned in the morning only to be told it hadn’t been turned in. I’ve had a phone thrown off my second story patio by an ex-boyfriend and watched it shatter into a million pieces. Unfortunately for my meager 20-something bank account, these things always happened outside of the window for a discounted upgrade. Full retail = see ya later, paycheck.

Thankfully as years went by I learned to take better care of my cell phone. But since technology changes so fast these days, I find myself wishing for a better phone only a year into my contract term. Your smartphone is basically outdated the second you walk out of the store with it. Whether you’re looking for Siri to answer all of life’s problems or a camera with higher megapixels, there’s always something bigger and better out there. A majority of the population will wait until they’re eligible for an upgrade rather than plunk down full retail to purchase the latest and greatest device, myself included.

Verizon recently launched a program that might have been able to save my ass back in the day AND gives me the opportunity to try something new much earlier right now. Rather than waiting the standard 24 months to upgrade at a discounted price, Verizon Edge lets you upgrade every year if you want – and there’s no long-term service contract to worry about.


Here’s how it works: first, you choose the phone you want. All phones offered by Verizon are eligible on Edge. I’ll use the Samsung Galaxy S4 as an example, which retails for $599.99. This is spread over a 24 month period, so with taxes/fees you’ll add $25.22 to your monthly bill. Once you’ve paid for 50% of the phone (which in most cases will be 12 months) you can upgrade again! At first the idea of tacking on an extra $25 to your bill each month might not be appealing, but it’s really no different than shelling out $200ish dollars to upgrade. It’s a matter of spreading the amount across 24 months versus dropping a large chunk of cash up front.

With the Verizon Edge program you’ll receive a data plan capped at 6GB. Before you get bent out of shape, know that this is a fairly large amount of data. I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the internet in general more often than I’d like to admit, and the most data I’ve ever used in a month is 4GB. And I’m pretty sure a lot of that usage was due to having the GPS enabled. 6GB should be plenty to get you through each month.

Verizon Edge - Verizon Wireless

Verizon is currently running a great promotion for customers trading up to the Edge program that includes free activation, a waived initial monthly payment, and a $100 Verizon gift card to buy as many phone cases + other accessories (I recommend this one, it’s a lifesaver) as your little heart desires. Interested? Make sure you take advantage soon – it expires on January 15, 2014!

5 Underrated Apps Worth Downloading

Disclosure: I’m a Verizon Wireless Voices SE Ambassador and have been provided a phone to use through the duration of this program. No other compensation was received. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Generally when someone compiles a list of their favorite apps, it includes the usual suspects: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, your bank’s mobile app, Pandora, etc. I decided to only install apps on the Galaxy S4 as I needed them, rather than download every single app I had on my previous phone.

Samsung Galaxy S4

Here are five I ended up installing within 24 hours of activating the phone:

1. IMDB We’re constantly playing the “ughh she looks SO familiar, what is she from?” game while watching a movie or TV show. It’s nearly impossible to hold out for longer than two minutes before one of us reaches for our phone to “IMDB it”. Yeah, we’ve also managed to turn the app into a verb. The most recent time this came into play was while watching The Voice (we’re really behind) and E.G. Daily was auditioning.

EG Daily

Her claim to fame was the voice of Tommy Pickles in “Rugrats” and Dottie in “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure” but neither of those were what I knew her from and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

Until I IMDB’ed it.

EG Daily on Friends

Phoebe's Ex Partner Leslie

Phoebe’s ex-partner, Leslie, from Friends. Thank you IMDB, you solved the mystery.

2. Out of Milk I’m the person in the store that knows for a fact she’s out of something, but can’t quite figure out what it was. I’ll end up buying dish soap instead of dish detergent and then be pissed when I get home. Out of Milk has helped me out a ton. When I run out of something, I just enter it into the app manually or – this is my favorite part – you can just scan the item and it will automatically add it to your list. Then when I’m wandering the aisles aimlessly in Target, I can just open the app on my phone and see exactly what I need. And then because I’m in Target, also spend $50 on things I don’t need.

Out of Milk

3. Yelp This app doesn’t need much of an introduction. For example, if you’re out of town and need a great restaurant fairly close to your hotel, Yelp is a great resource. You can find honest reviews from real people and recommendations on the best dishes to try. This was super helpful while we were in Dallas a couple weeks ago having brunch at Smoke.

Yelp - Smoke Dallas

I was stuck between a handful of items but once I read a few reviews on Yelp, we promptly ordered the Blueberry Pancakes with Vanilla Poached Apricots, Smoked Brisket Cornbread Hash, and a side of thick-cut Pork Belly bacon. Which reminds me, I still need to recap that weekend. The pancakes were life-changing and I am not exaggerating one tiny bit.

SMOKE Dallas - Blueberry Pancakes source

4. Untappd So many places in Austin have 15-20 beers on tap and it’s impossible to keep track of all the varieties I’ve tried. This doesn’t help when I’m in Trader Joe’s or HEB building my own 6-pack and trying to remember what IPA I had at the movies 6 weeks ago. Enter Untappd.


You can “check-in” and rate each beer you try. The app will also recommend similar pints or find your new favorite beer on tap at a local bar. If you’re a beer drinker, this needs to be on your phone. There also needs to similar app for wine because I’m also horrible at keeping track of cabs and sauvignon blancs. (I tried Vivino, but didn’t love it.)

5. Swiftkey This was one of the first (and maybe only? can’t remember) apps I ever paid money for on Google Play. I hated the stock Android keyboard on my Droid X and knew I needed something else. The app had just been released so I only paid $1.99 for it, but if I had to pay today’s price of $3.99 I’d do it in a heartbeat. It scans your email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. to learn how you write and your most commonly used phrases. It takes predictive text to a whole new level. Sometimes I’ll type only a letter or two and Swiftkey will predict the entire sentence for me! Let’s say I want to send Brad a message to let him know I’m on my way home:

Swiftkey Sample

If you look in the first box, I typed “On” and one of the three suggestions was “my”. In the second box, one of the suggestions was “way” and so on. You get the point. I hardly had to type anything! The app also learns the way you type, like if you always hit the bottom right corner of keys. The keyboard will adjust so it doesn’t show you hit the ‘h’ instead of the ‘y’.

Swiftkey Heatmap

If you frequently text, tweet, or draft emails on your phone, Swiftkey will save you a lot of time in the process. If you’re not willing to shell out the four bucks, you can give it a try for free here. The free trial lasts 30 days. Prepare to buy the app though – you’ll love it.

Your turn to share. Tell me your favorite underrated app that I need to download.

A New Opportunity

Last year I was selected to be an ambassador for a certain organization. If you’re in the running/HLB community, you undoubtedly know who I’m talking about. As time went on, it became increasingly clear it wasn’t a good fit. A lot of the campaigns weren’t relevant to me. Many of the campaigns went to the same people, who professed their undying love for Saucony one week and then declared Mizuno as their one-and-only the next. It didn’t feel genuine. My Twitter feed was filled with hashtags and reviews all for the same product. I expected to change my mind at some point but early this summer I asked to be removed from the program. I truly appreciated the opportunity but in the end it just wasn’t for me.

I blog because I enjoy writing. (And yes, I know I’ve been absent for a few days – NaNoWriMo is kicking my ass!) I don’t post three times a day or even every day. If there’s nothing to say, there’s nothing to post. I don’t force content. I don’t accept every free product offered to me just because its OMG-FREE. During this 3+ year journey, I’ve had the pleasure of working with some wonderful companies.


Oiselle In August I was one of a lucky few chosen to run for Oiselle Team. This was a huge (and AWESOME) surprise! I am incredibly honored to run along side some ridiculously fast and inspiring women. Oiselle is a feminine fierce company founded by Sally Bergesen and I consider myself very lucky to represent them at every race I run. Before becoming a member of the flock, my closet was stocked with multiple poppy and indigo items, Lux Layers and 50/50 tees. I love their clothes, my fellow teammates, and the opportunity Oiselle has given to me by offering me a spot on their team.

Keep Austin Hydrated

Nuun Hydration I became an ambassador for Nuun after being assigned as an alternate for their 2013 Hood to Coast team. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. I’ve been a fan of these electrolyte tablets since Tricia first introduced me to them a few years ago. The amount of Nuun tubes in our house is borderline ridiculous. Brad and I both use it for running, and he tosses a tablet in a water bottle for his softball games too. I don’t talk about it because I’m an ambassador – I talk about Nuun because I use it frequently and love it.

And finally, my newest opportunity: Verizon Wireless. The timing of this probably could have been a little better. I noticed yesterday that another company kicked off a campaign with VZW as well. I’m not associated with that campaign – I’m working with Verizon directly. I’ve been a customer of Verizon for 15 years, so becoming an ambassador for them over the next few months seemed like a perfect fit for me. There are a couple programs I was interested in (ie. Verizon Edge) so this is a great way to learn a little bit more about them and in turn, share the information with YOU. I know Verizon isn’t running related, but it’s a company I’ve been involved with for quite a long time (and probably some of yours!)

Over the past few months I’ve been trying to incorporate more of my personal life and other various topics here. Sometimes I don’t want to talk about running and it’s nice to change things up once in awhile. In any case, the purpose of this post was to make everyone aware of my new relationship with Verizon Wireless and why I accepted it. And it is NOT because of OMG-FREE products or to add another ambassador notch on my belt (I feel like this is becoming a trend with bloggers lately…)

Is there a company you are an ambassador for? If you could be an ambassador for any company in the world (cupcakes, vodka, Urban Decay – whatever you want!), which would it be?