Lessons Learned about Protecting Your Vision

I was invited to sit in a webinar from The Vision Council about protecting your vision. I almost dismissed the invite, I have lots on my agenda each day. But then I noticed a factoid they included: “1 in 4 people rarely or never wear sunglasses.” Tweet:

And when I saw that, I knew that was said as a negative thing and I knew that I fit into that statistic. Also… I knew that my eyes hurt all the time. So I figured that perhaps I should be sitting in on this event!

The webinar was presented by The Vision Council and Dr. Justin Bazan, OD was the speaker.

Another perk? Because I agreed to share information about this event they sent me a sweet pair of sunglasses by O’Neill. They’re super lightweight, they feel good on, they are nice to look through, they actually help my eyes feel relief from the sun when they’re on, they’re spot-on with UV protection standards, etc. The only negative is that I’m a little unsure on the size. Half of the people I’ve polled have said they’re fantastic, the other half said they’re too big. And I was told that I look like I should be on the TV show CHiPs in them.

A photo posted by Jill (@jillwillrun) on

The webinar started off with a couple of quick polls for the attendees. It didn’t surprise me that most people choose their shades based upon style. I mean… read what I just wrote. There were so many wonderful things about these shades by the thing that makes me the most concerned is how they look.


Then they asked us if we always wear sunglasses while doing fitness activities. I admit… I do not, but sometimes I wear them. The times that I don’t are often on cloudy days or when I run early in the morning. Some interesting things I learned:

  • 1 in 4 Americans rarely or never wear sunglasses, leaving eyes at risk
  • 2 in 3 Americans leave eyes unguarded on cloudy or rainy days
  • 3 in 10 Americans don’t protect their eyes in the winter, when UV rays are still present

Another couple of interesting facts:

  • Most people wear shades for driving, walking, going to beach/pool
  • Least often worn for running/biking, gardening and team sports

I have running shades… but I realized that I NEVER EVER wear my sunglasses when working in the garden. Since participating in this webinar that has changed, I now keep a pair of shades by my sliding doors that lead to the backyard so they’re easy to grab.


Short term vision problems that can result from not protecting your eyes from UV rays include: photokeratitis, irritation, redness, swelling, hypersensitivity to light.

Long-term vision problems can include:
wrinkles and sunspots, pterygium (abnormal growths on eye and eyelid), cataracts, macular degeneration, cancer of eye, eyelid and surrounding skin

Common sense tells me “of course you can!” but I think it’s a good reminder: You can sunburn your eyes!

Blue eyes or eyes with less pigment are more vulnerable to damage from UV. (My blue eyes and my laziness might explain my redness problems? Combined with staring at a computer all day!)

They showed us a map of the US Cities with the Highest UV Index levels.


My place of residence, Las Vegas, is #13 with 159 days of extreme or very high risk. But even if you’re not in the list, it’s important to take care of your eyes.

And it’s not just the UV light coming directly into our eyes. Reflected UV light is just as damaging as direct UV:
water reflects up to 100%
Snow reflects up to 85%
Dry sand and concrete reflect up to 25%
Grass reflects up to 3%

The level of UV entering the eye in morning, as the sun is rising/at the horizon line, and late afternoon, as the sun is setting/at horizon line, is nearly double than midday hours. So my logic of not putting on shades when its dim in the morning as the sun is coming up may be flawed!


Some shades don’t actually have UVA/UVB protection, so make sure you look for that. Even look for it in regular vision correction glasses. (Cheap knock-off sunglasses from a street vendor on your vacay, most likely are not giving you protection.)

Really dark shades without UV protection are actually worse because your pupil dilates to accommodate for less light and you are introducing even more UV light into the eye, thus higher retinal exposure to UV.

All of this makes a good case for multiple pairs of sunglasses. You can have pairs that are tailored to your different activities in life (sport vs. business), make sure you are comfortable whenever outdoors and providing ample protection by eliminating the excuse that you don’t have sunglasses. I keep some in my car, in my husband’s car and some with my running gear.

Some things to look for in sport sunglasses

  • Ventilation to prevent fogging
  • Clear or light lenses for cloudy days
  • Wraparound for maximum protection
  • Photochromatic for long sport days (ultrarunners or Ironman competitors)

All of this is done to gear up toward National Sunglasses Day on June 27. Join the conversation on social media with the hashtags #NationalSunglassesDay and #SunglassSelfie.

There will also be a Twitter chat with The Vision Council on June 26 at 1 PM ET.

Do you actively take steps to protect your vision? I’ve definitely been humbled by this information and reminded of just how important it is to wear my sunglasses!

Men’s Health Week: June 21-27

The man cold… I don’t know how many times and places I’ve shared this, but it NEVER GETS OLD for me. NEVER!

See, the thing about men (or at least those in my life) is they rarely visit doctors unless they are absolutely dying, then they expect the women in their lives to know the answers to all their health problems.

I recently learned that Men’s Health Week is June 21-27* and (like so many things in this world) it’s often up to us women to remind the husbands/boyfriends/fathers/brothers/friends in our lives to take care of themselves. The trouble is, I don’t want to be a “nag” and I actually get annoyed at this role. I’m not a day planner or a to-do app, and frequently these are grown men that need someone to take care of these details for them. So maybe I’ll just print out this infographic and tape it to my husband’s mirror and call it good… for the rest of forever. ;-)

But seriously, there are a lot of good men in my life and I want them to be around for as long as possible. So guys… take care of yourselves, alright?

*Is it a special “week” or “day” every single week or day of the year? Guess what, today is ingrown toenail awareness day! And next week will be cactus nurturing week!

Mens' Health Week

Friday Fête

Recently I asked on Facebook for some ideas about indoor activities for almost-3-year-olds. Sometimes during the summer in Vegas, you just gotta treat it like the winter elsewhere… there’s no way you’re playing outside because the weather just isn’t cooperating. And my kid would probably be perfectly content playing on the iPad all day. But I don’t want her to be on it all day.

I admit, I do let her use the iPad. Apparently if you cop to that online you’re a crummy parent. She loves the show Go Diego Go. (Seriously, it’s a fantastic little kid show!) She could watch it for hours and because she watches the show she was this precocious little 2-year-old at the zoo recently saying things like:

  • “Panda bears have very sharp teeth and eat bamboo.”
  • “That ape is going to pick up bugs and eat them.”
  • “Stomp your feet like a tapir!”

kiwi_crate_logo_2xDo all the little animals factoids she’s picked up have any use? I don’t know… maybe someday they will. But I do need to try to temper the iPad use a little bit. Recently I signed her up for Koala Crate (the littler kid version of Kiwi Crate), and our first box should arrive next week. So next weekend is when we’ll open it up, I’ll share what we got in the crate after that… but I’m hoping it contains some fun activities that we can do inside and aren’t super messy. I’m always glad that I send her to school because I just don’t think she would have painted as much as she has if I didn’t. I can’t see myself busting out paints and gearing up for a big mess here at home for just the two of us.

JadeTheBoxer had to go to the vet a week ago; she was moving very slowly, having trouble walking/going up the stairs/squatting to pee… I was concerned she had serious intestinal trouble again like she did four years ago. It was very similar behavior to that incident. But the doctor checked her out and thought it’s more of a compressed disc in her lower back/hips. She was put on some anti-inflammatories and restricted movement for a few days and now she’s eating and moving again. Hopefully everything is all good; she goes in for a re-check next week. #AwesomeA was very upset that the vet didn’t give Jade a sticker though. “She will get a sticker from a doctor!” So that was remedied.


Today I am taking the day off work. I have vacation days to burn up before June 30 so I don’t lose them. I took last Friday off too… I could get used to having an entire day off to myself every week. It’s not likely, but it is delightful. My kid woke up super early this morning so I couldn’t get out to run. But I had the time to do a run inside (too hot outside if you wait until after 7 AM to start) on the Zero Runner. And I did three different workouts using apps in conjunction before/after my run. And then I could take a shower. And then watch @Midnight on Hulu while typing this blog post. And I’ll still have time to do whatever I want. 8 hours a week just for me, it is deliriously amazing! I’ve just had a lot of anxiety and stress and anger built up inside this week… this is helping settle my brain some.


June 21 is International Yoga Day… I need to do yoga that day. (Hmmm… maybe I’ll do some yoga today too, in my leftover hours just for me! ME ME ME!) I didn’t know about this holiday before I was sent these energy mists from Balanced Guru.



They come in different scents derived from essential oils and designed to stimulate different chakras (Fearless, Guilt-Free, Empowering, Full of Love, Truthful, Intuition and Understanding) when spritzed around you. I don’t know if they invoke any improvements to those particular areas for me, but they make a nice air freshener!

What would you do if you had 8 hours of time to yourself? Do you believe a scent can make you more fearless? Any suggestions for rainy day/snowy day activities that we can do indoors during the hot summer months?

It’s Getting “Hot in Herre”

Why does Nelly need two R’s in that song title?

Whatever… all I know is that things are getting smokin’ hot here in Vegas… and not in the ways indicated in that song. It’s all about the barometer baby.

(Okay, no more stupid late 90’s / early 2000’s rap references.)

This is the reality here in Vegas right now:


Each day the news outlets tell me this:


We have over 4x the amount of degrees as there are Republican presidential candidates.


Seriously, this is getting out of control! (image via Fox News… obvs)


Yes, I know… Las Vegas is hot. This isn’t a news flash. However, this is abnormally warm for June, and it has come on pretty suddenly after a fairly mild May. So this heat kind of hurts! Weather like this makes me want to wear a muumuu or something big, floaty that doesn’t touch my body in any way. And hang out indoors in air conditioning. And I’ve posted before how I don’t really feel comfortable in the whole athleisure category of clothing, yet this weather makes me want to wear clothing like all of these items… and maybe not only for running but for all day!

Of these, I really just own the Eddie Bauer Quantum shirt. Which I need to say… is pretty awesome. It’s super lightweight and has these little vents in it to help release built up heat. It’s expensive… so watch for sales. (Or buy it now… because I should encourage you to click on these links and buy stuff at full price so that maybe a couple of pennies get thrown my way to keep this site operational, right? That’s how this works?)


Here are some of my tips that I always have to relearn when summer rolls around:

  • Run early/late: Get up at stupid o’clock in the morning to run or get out the door at fatigued o’clock at night. Either way, it should be dark. The morning run can be just as the sun is coming up, but at night it’s best to wait until dark.
  • Cut yourself some slack: Your pace will probably be different… Runner’s World has some insane formula about cutting your pace by 30 seconds for every 5 degrees above 65 or something dumb like that. Not applicable here because eventually you’d just be standing there. And I highly endorse going inside if you’re just going to stand still. That said, just know that you may not run the pace of your life in scorching heat.
  • Drink: I don’t care about the people who say, “I don’t have to drink water if I’m running less than 10 miles.” Whatever… go do your weird bragging somewhere else. How is that an accomplishment? For me, if I’m running in the summer, I’m carrying water. Some days I drink the whole bottle in 3 miles, others I just drink a few small sips. Either way, I’d rather be prepared.
  • Cool down: After the run, this is the ideal time to make sure you get your body back into normal zones. I will drink something cool (ice cold recovery smoothie?). I will put a small ice pack on the back of my neck or on my forehead. I splash cold water on my face. And finally I rinse off with cold water. But if I don’t take some time to cool off before jumping in a semi-cool shower (because it’s hard to get truly cold water out of the tap in the summer here), then I feel like I just keep sweating. I need to start cooling everything off before that last step.

What are your tips and tricks for beating the heat, in daily life and in running?

Quickie Fitness

I do not have a gym membership. I gave it up when I entered treatment for my eating disorder. The gym wasn’t a healthy place for me and it was the right thing to do. However, that meant that I kind of stopped doing strength training at that time too. I know I need to do it. But I also know that I’m not going to sign up for a gym membership again right now. I just don’t see that I would have the time to go these days. But the past couple of weeks I’ve been finding ways to squeeze in some more strength workouts and the benefits are there. I’ve been feeling sore in muscles that have been neglected for too long. And the best part is that I can squeeze in multiple, very effective, workouts several times a day.

Apps for a Quickie Workout

I do it all with my phone and a little help from some apps. The nice thing about using apps for workout tools is that you can replace your “trainer” if the relationship isn’t working out without worrying about hurting anyone’s feelings. Just quietly delete the app and find a new one.

Some of my favorites lately for strength:


The Daily Arm Workout app is a freebie app. It’s not beautiful, but it gets the job done. It gives the option of choosing to do a 5, 8 or 10-minute workout. There is a full version that is a measly 99 cents… so I could have shelled out for that. But when there is a free version of an app to test out before buying, always go that way! :-) This app allows you to set a schedule of when you want to do the workout and it will notify you when your set schedule comes due.

The next three are all from Runtastic, they have made a whole bunch of apps for run tracking, cycling tracking, various exercises, sleep tracking, etc. If they had an “Arm Trainer” app, I would probably have that installed. I like these ones because you can start a level and then it plans out when you should be taking your rest days and when you should be proceeding with the next workout. That just feels like it’s helping you reign in overexcitement from trying to do too much and also helps to keep you in check by reminding you to workout. And then it gives you new exercises after completing so many workouts and you can advance to new levels.


Other apps I like to get in some fast fitness include the Fitstar line. I have a premium membership for Fitstar Yoga and I like the full length program. But the freestyle workouts are great because you can grab a 10-15 minute easy flow. The regular Fitstar app has other fun freestyle workouts, including a 10-minute core workout that I like. I just have the free basic membership right now, but it’s not that much for an annual membership. If you sign up, you can use my referral code: QEQH1Q

The Barre3 app is cool because the workouts in it are all short. Their online video service is great and comprehensive… These are different. 10 minutes of a focused session to work on core, legs, flexibility, etc. The app is a nice complement to their online studio. Just turn off notifications on the daily tips, they’re kind of annoying and nothing really stunningly new/astounding.

I love that I have been able to do one of these workouts before/after an early morning run, something during the day, and exercise in the evening. I can do several of them while playing with my kid, she’ll kind of try to do moves alongside me. And at the end of the day I’ve accumulated 30+ minutes of strength training without the accompanying drive time or guilt I feel when I’m away from my kid.

This is what works for me right now. Someday maybe I’ll go back to the gym. Maybe not.

Do you have any fitness apps you love?

Friday Fête

Lately, I feel really lonely.

I'm so ronery

I get to play with my awesome kid after work each day, but I miss other people. I saw a tweet the other day that linked to this article: Circle of Friends – Why working moms need their gal pals—maybe more than ever before—and how to keep them close.  It made me a little sad to realize that I don’t really have any super close gal pals. I think it’s partly who I am, I’ve always been really good at making lots of friends, but most of them were not super close. The amount of super close friends who know all my secrets has always been pretty low and right now that count is probably its lowest.

I don’t recall my mom going out for “girls nights” when I was growing up. Of course, when she was my age, I was nearly 13, could take care of myself and was probably lost in my own worries! (Middle school years were so full of drama that’s totally not drama when you grow up and look back on it.) Of course, my mom also had a good network of pals at work and that’s where my life is dramatically different. I telecommute, so my interactions with coworkers are very much limited to all business phone calls and all business video meetings. There’s no fun chit-chat or office parties or lunches out with friends. So that could contribute to these feelings of loneliness as well.

And then there is the whole thing about how hard it is to schedule time with friends. When you’re a kid it was just like, “Want to play after school?” Now it’s like, “Let me look at my calendar. What about this day? No, my kid has this, what about here? No, my husband has this. This day? No, I have a conference.”

I feel really guilty when I go out in the evenings, the extremely rare occasions that I do. I have friends that share on social media all the fun things with friends they do several times a week, but then… they are stay-at-home moms so I feel a little like “They’re stuck with the kids all day, their husbands are probably happy to let them go out and have an opportunity to be with the kids.” (Are husbands happy to spend time with their kids? Especially without the mom to take care of everything?) In my household, I feel like “We’ve both been working all day, so now it’s time to do home stuff.”

Is this just a generational thing? Like part of this whole “have it all” mentality that we’re so desperately trying to achieve these days? Maybe I’m supposed to have friends when I’m old and my kid is gone. I’ll join a bridge club. (Step 1: Learn what Bridge is.)

Let’s move on to other things:

I received this notification this morning:


So I’ve been on Twitter for 8 years now! Feel free to follow me!

I got a rock in my shoe the other morning. It was bugging me, poking into the side of my foot. I sat down on the curb to fish it out only to discover that it was IN my shoe.


I pushed it up a little so it didn’t poke my foot as much and finished out my run. I keep looking and I can’t find a hole to get it out. There must be one, somehow it got in there!

Do you carry something to protect yourself while you run outdoors? I’ve heard of people carrying pepper sprays, knives, and even guns! I was recently sent a little personal protection tool called the TigerLady. It’s modeled after a cat’s retractable claws.


I will never carry this when running. It’s an innovative idea, but the whole thing is just a wee bit too large for my dinky little hands. I feel like when I squeeze it to release the claws, I have to be extremely cautious so they don’t slide up and across my skin. And it feels bulky. I think it would be fine to carry in a purse and if I did happen to be out in the evening and felt a little uneasy, like I needed some kind of extra protection, I could pull this out. But it would be annoying in my hand for the entirety of a run.

I read this post the other day: Why Steve Jobs Didn’t Let His Kids Use iPads
I’m torn on it… I LOVE LOVE my technology. I’m going to be honest here. And it would be hard for me to give up my iPhone. But there are days where I get extremely annoyed at how tethered everybody is to these devices. Even in my own family, we can’t give each other our full attention. And while my daughter has learned a lot of great things from watching stuff on the iPad, there are also moments where she melts down if we try to take it away. But there is no way I’m going to shield her from technology so much that she is the weird kid who doesn’t know what these things are when she needs to use them either. It’s just part of being a parent I guess, in any generation. Navigating innovations and advancements as best you can.

What are your thoughts? On kids and technology or carrying protection while you are out exercises, making friends as adults, etc.

Parent Hack: Tracking Medicine Doses with a Preschooler

Use a paper chain as a simple way to track medicine doses with your child.

The kiddo got pink eye a couple weeks ago. She got sent home from school, had to go see the doctor and couldn’t go back to school until she’d been on medicine for 24 hours and had a note from the doctor saying she was medicated. She was prescribed Moxeza* eye drops.

My daughter was pretty miserable and she knew she had a lot of gunk in her eye that was uncomfortable. So the first dosage was pretty easy to get her cooperation on. But the next few doses were crying fits, especially since her eye cleared up fast and she kept saying, “It’s not sick anymore!”

I knew we didn’t want this battle for 7 days, twice a day. So I made a simple paper chain. Then I sat down with her and had her count the links in it. Then I said, “That’s how many more times we have to put the eye drops in. Each time we do the medicine, we can take off a link.”

We never had any battles over eye drops again. She counted the links, delighted in throwing away one more link and knowing just how long we had left.

Sure, there’s probably some super-mommy-blogger who has already come up with this. And they probably made the chain out of multi-colored construction paper instead of pulling out a sheet of paper from the printer. Just don’t tell me about that mom, okay? I felt incredibly proud of my parenting genius in this moment.

*When we went to Walgreens to pick up her prescription, first they had in the system that she didn’t have insurance and the medicine was well over $100. Then they fixed this and the price dropped to $92. Then we gave them a coupon the doctor provided and the price dropped to $25. So if your kid ever needs this medicine, find a coupon!

Relieve Foot Pain Naturally


Whether you experience foot pain (or just tired feet) from running or being on your feet, it’s nice to have a natural way to get some relief. Of course, my usual steps would have probably been to just take some ibuprofen and then prop my feet up. But I do like the idea of using something that isn’t introducing more chemicals into my body, regardless of how safe they may be.

(Disclosure: I was sent one bottle of “The Runner’s Choice” for free for the purpose of review on this site.)

When I was sent a bottle of The Runner’s Choice I was kind of unsure how to review it. I didn’t actively have any foot pain and I don’t feel that my feet get exceptionally tired. I am usually barefoot while I work all day and I don’t wear really constricting shoes. I do run, but that doesn’t usually make my feet hurt either. But then one day after a run, the top of my foot started to ache just a little. So I figured, “Now must be the time to try it.” So I rubbed a few drops into my foot and then got swept up in my day… not remembering until several hours later that, “Hey… my foot REALLY hurt earlier today, to the point of me being constantly aware of it but it doesn’t hurt now.” Could it have just needed some time? Sure. But it could have been due to this concoction.

You don’t have to rub it in intensely to get the benefits. Just coat your feet and ankle in the oil, wash your hands and go about your day. The smell isn’t intensely overpowering like some topical remedies and it also doesn’t have an intense cooling/heating feel, just gently relieving tension in the feet muscles. I also like that it isn’t really oily, so it doesn’t stain or transfer onto anything else.

The Runner’s Choice is formulated with 100% natural botanical oils: almond, eucalyptus, eucalytol, wintergreen, peppermint and spearmint. The concept is that these oils are well-received through the epidermis and can put them to use quickly and effectively. So… it’s basically right in line with the whole essential oil madness that is all over right now.

What’s not in line with that essential oil madness? It’s way more affordable than many of these special blends floating around. You can buy a 2oz bottle of The Runner’s Choice for $19.97.

Or… you can get it for FREE.

Free is always nice, right?

Well, basically you have to pay a $7.95 shipping fee. But still, that’s pretty cheap. It’s only one free offer per household, so you can’t go trying to cheat the system by having your spouse order another bottle. ;-)

Do you have any essential oil blends you swear by? Do you get foot pain? Do you just want to say hi? I’m going to be picking 3 winners to receive a bottle from the comments here, so drop some words in the comment box!

Disclaimer: All reviews are my own opinion, this product was provided free for the purpose of review.

SweatBlock: 7 Days of Protection?

Is it heating up where you live? Here in Las Vegas we topped 100 recently and we should be pretty firmly planted in the 100’s most of the time until October-ish. (But always remember… it’s a dry heat!)


I was sent a sample of SweatBlock. Instead of rubbing on the traditional stick/roll-on/gel/etc. formulas we’re used to SweatBlock is a little towelette in an individual packet. After a shower, you open it up and press the towelette against your skin. Don’t rub, just press it in places. And here’s the beauty… after you do that you’re wearing antiperspirant for a week.

One application lasts up to 7 days!

Sure, you may want to apply a little deodorant (Did you know there was a difference? Some people don’t realize that you can buy something that is just deodorant vs. the deodorant/antiperspirant combo that is more prevalent.) because the pits are a dark area that doesn’t get much air and are thus prone to bacteria, but you could use one of those crazy hippy crystal deodorants or something equivalent.


A lot of the literature on the SweatBlock site says it is for those with excessive underarm sweating, but it’s not just for those individuals. I certainly wouldn’t say I have an excessive level… but I do live where it’s hot and I notice an increase in sweating as the summer temps rise. In addition to underarms, there are a lot of anecdotal recommendations from users that have had success applying it to other spots.

  • Got super sweaty feet? You could try it there.
  • Sweaty palms? Yep, that’s another spot you could try it.
  • I had a friend who said she got sweaty inner thighs during summer here. Maybe TMI? But she could try applying Sweat Block there.

The company states that it was formulated for the pits and their guarantee is for underarm sweat protection only, but they’re pleased with the feedback from customers who have had other success!

It has a slight clove scent when applying, but that disappears pretty quickly.

If you are a person who shuns all aluminum in antiperspirants, then this probably isn’t for you. The active ingredient is 14% aluminum chloride hexahydrate. But if you’re one of those people, maybe you’re used to just wearing deodorant and being a little sweaty. Personally, I’ve become accustomed to not liking the feel of sweat and until there is some kind of truly definitive information telling me to not wear an antiperspirant for medical reasons, I’m going to keep being anti-perspiring. Well… except when I run. It’s inevitable then, but this keeps me fresh much longer!

You can buy an 8 week supply of SweatBlock on Amazon for $19.99 or $18.99 if you do Subscribe and Save. I am going to buy more to get me through the summer. Honestly… I like the way it works!

Pursuit of a Running Skirt


Alright… I’ve tried wearing running skirts in the past. I’ve had a few of them:

  • a Brooks skirt way back in 2008. This was before they were so commonplace and I felt like a goon wearing it. Also, the inner shorts rode up really bad and that was annoying!
  • Go Girl Sport skirt, another one with the shorts riding up problem.
  • a Mizuno skirt that I wore, and LOVED, while pregnant, but it stopped fitting after I wasn’t pregnant anymore. Go figure.

But I have decided, for some unknown reason, that I need to try a running skirt again. I guess it stems from the fact that most of my running shorts are pretty old and are showing some wear, I figured I may as well try again. So now I’m looking around at my options… lots to choose from.

Maybe I’ll have to post a skirt face-off…

So please, let me know what kind of skirts, or shorts, you swear by!