Friday Five – Baby Stuff I’m Loving Right Now

It’s time for a short Friday Five installment. I figured I would do a list of five baby things that I’m loving right now. Baby Z-peat is 8 months old already! The months are really flying by. He is at the stage now where he want to grab EV-REE-THING and put it in his mouth. He doesn’t have any teeth yet, but he’s drooling like crazy. I’m guessing he start pushing some teeth through pretty soon. Ok, let’s get to it.

1. Vulli 2 pack vanilla flavored ring teethers – Ok, every parent knows about Sophie the giraffe by Vulli. We love, love, love Sophie. Our Sophie is now on her second child and she is still going strong. I found these ring teethers when Little Z was still Baby Z. He loved them and that’s holding true for Baby Z-peat. They’re small enough and easy to hold and maneuver for little hands. The animals on top allow him to get the teether back far enough in his mouth to soothe both his front and back gums. Plus, the bright, whimsical colors and animals are just too cute.

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2. Bright Starts Lots of Links – You can never, NEVER have enough links. We have these things on everything: highchair, stroller, jump-up, bouncy seat. They are a lifesaver. Baby throws toy down, Mommy simply pulls rings and toy comes back up. No constant bending over to pick toys up. Plus, baby can pull the toy back up himself by the rings. He also likes the sound they make when he bangs them against…everything.

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3. Earlyears Fill ‘N Fun Water Play Mat – Baby Z-peat is having a lot of fun patting and squishing this play mat, especially now that he’s sitting up really well. This pay mat will entertain him for quite a while. An added plus is it’s really cooling for those hot summer months.

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4. Baby Einstein Sea Dreams Soother – This thing has been a lifesaver with getting Baby Z-peat to sleep in his crib. It latches snuggly onto the end of his crib and you just press the starfish for it to play soothing music or white noise, with or without the aquarium lights. And the cute fish and crabs move around. He’s getting to where he can press the button himself and I’ve come into his room several times to find he’s wriggled his way up to the aquarium and pushed the button to watch the fish move around. It also has a nifty remote so you can re-activate it from several feet away without waking the baby.

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5. Tomy Lamaze Soft Chime Garden Musical Toy – We got this for Baby Z-peat for Christmas and let me tell you it has been a hit with the entire house. The threenager, Mr. Z and I have all been caught playing with this thing at various times. It is so cute and stimulating. It has three modes where the flowers will play a single chime, part of a song, or an entire song when you softly tap or bump them. The flowers also light up when you tap them. It has velcro tabs on the bottom so you can strap it to a stroller or car seat bar. It really is such a cute toy and very engaging and entertaining for babies and big kids alike.

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AWESOME Giveaway from For Two Fitness!

I am thrilled to partner with For Two Fitness for an amazing New Year giveaway. If you recall, I wore For Two Fitness apparel through my pregnancy with both my pregnancies and they quickly became my absolutely favorite maternity fitness apparel brand. For Two Fitness is running a phenomenal giveaway for the New Year. Read the details below.

Happy New Year! We are so thankful to YOU — our community, customers, and friends. To express our thanks, we are hosting a huge giveaway this week in partnership with some amazing brands and our ambassadors. The Grand Prize is valued at $1000. We have phenomenal prizes, including the newest offering from BOB – a Revolution FLEX jogging stroller – plus prizes from ASICS, Ergo and Maison Drake baby boutique, and For Two Fitness – all facets of your healthy mom lifestyle are in this prize pack!

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The grand prize winner will win everything you see listed here. Prizes have been furnished by our wonderful brand partners in connection with a sponsoring ambassador (Katie from Mom’s Little Running Buddy and Melody from Will Run For Margaritas). Here are more details about the amazing products that have been generously donated for you to win and enjoy:

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Grand Prize Giveaway items:

  • The New BOB Revolution FLEX single stroller
  • For Two Fitness maternity athletic outfit (top and bottom of winner’s choice)
  • Ergo 360 Baby Carrier furnished by Maison Drake baby boutique
  • Asics Running Shoes (1 pair of the winner’s choice)

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Wow! We are thrilled to give away these amazing prizes. This contest runs from Monday, January 12th through midnight on Friday, January 16th. Visit the For Two Fitness site to enter. Be sure to follow @ForTwoFitness and our co-hosts @run4margaritas and @momslrb on Instagram in order for your entries to be valid.

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Thanks for celebrating the New Year with us! Good Luck!!

Friday Five – Top 5 gifts for runners

With Christmas fast approaching you may be scratching your head on what to get the runner in your life. For today’s Friday Five, I’m listing my top five favorite gifts for runners.

1. Road ID – I do not leave for my run without my Road ID on. It’s comforting to know that all of my important emergency contact information is quickly accessible to emergency responders if, heaven forbid, something happens to me. Plus they can work as a medical alert bracelet.

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2. iPod Shuffle – I don’t always run with music, but when I do I love my iPod Shuffle. I’ve been running with a Shuffle for years now and have been through about 6 of them. I’m a sweaty McSweaty person when I run. I’ve waterlogged a few. But they hold a ton of music, are super lightweight and clip easily to anywhere on your clothing. Plus I like that you can create different playlists for different running moods.

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3. Compression socks – Ohhh these things are like buttah on your feet and calves. There are a bazillion different brands out there to choose from, but my personal favorites are the Zensah compression socks and sleeves. They know how to do compression and do it comfortably.

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4. Running visor and shirt from Punk Rock Racing – I love that their clothing is unisex and fitting for that bad-ass runner in your life, be them male or female. When I put their running clothes on I feel a little more rebellious, a little more kick-ass, a little more PUNK. And that usually translates to a little more speedy!

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5. FlipBelt – I just did a big write-up about these guys in yesterday’s post. And I’m posting about them again today. Yes. I like them that much! Love my FlipBelt! Such a great way to carry all of your personal stuff hands-free while working out.

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I still have discount codes to hand out. You can receive 33% off your FlipBelt order by commenting below. What’s on your Holiday Fit List??

Monday Motivation – The Double Stroller BEAST

Awwwright. It is ON like Donkey Kong folks. I am now officially 4 weeks postpartum and this extra weight has got to come off. I put on a pair of jeans yesterday. Ooof. Can you say stuffing 10 lbs of crap in a 5 lb bag? I’m ready to get to work and drop these extra pounds.  Plus seeing everyone’s race pics and updates from Chicago this weekend has really given me the running itch! Congrats to all the Chicago runners!!!

My motivation this week is THIS BEAST! The BOB Ironman Duallie Stroller…whew!

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I took it out for it’s first spin this week and man it is a WORK-OUT! I was just power walking with a few little run spurts here and there (when Little Z screams “I stepped on the gas peddle Momma! Go fast!”, I have to comply). I was drenched in sweat after just 2.2 miles.

dual bobI’m a little intimidated by it because of it’s sheer beast-ness but I’m also a bit excited about learning to run with it, control it and push it. I attribute running with Little Z in the single stroller these last couple of years to my increase in speed and big race PRs. So I know this double stroller is going to get me into some serious cardio shape. *puff, puff*

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?? 🙂

Make it a great week!!

Welcome Baby Z-peat! First 2 weeks home.

As a lot of you already know, Baby Z-peat decided to make an early appearance! He couldn’t wait to greet the world. He arrived early on the morning of September 15th.

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Little Z was really excited about finally getting to see the baby in Mommy’s tummy. I think he was more excited about the huge sticker they gave him at the hospital though. 🙂

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Baby Z-peat checked out perfectly at the hospital even though he was almost 3 weeks early. He’s a tiny little peanut but dang if he isn’t eating like a champ! At his one week checkup he’d already gained a whole pound! This kid is eating and pooping non-stop. He’s already charting on the normal growth charts for his birthday, not his due date, which is exceptional. Yay!

We came home from the hospital a day early. I just am not comfortable at the hospital and I cannot get any sleep there. Both my doctor and the pediatrician told me it was ok to go home, so I packed my bags and bolted for the door. Ahhh…home sweet home. And that way I got to love on my other peanut – Little Z. I was missing him something terrible.20140916_172341

My mom, bless her wonderful heart, packed her bags quickly on Monday and drove for two days to come help us out. She was a Godsend! I truly don’t know how we would have survived and adjusted without her extra, loving hands. She gave Little Z that extra attention he needed while I had to care for Baby Z-peat.

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And amidst all of this commotion I had a birthday! Four days after he was born I was celebrating my own birthday! What a wonderful early birthday gift. We kept it low key and just stayed home with cupcakes and my “new mom” coffee mug.

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A brief run-down of the first week home:

How I’m feeling: SO RELIEVED to have that baby off my stomach! Physically I feel soooo much better. I think I ate enough food for three grown men at the hospital. I kept calling room service for more food. Ha! I was famished. I could eat without getting nauseated or plagued with heartburn. I was really sore after but nothing like when I had Little Z. I was pretty much up and walking around and taking a shower a couple of hours after Baby Z-peat was born. The biggest shock was the late uterine contractions I experienced while breast feeding. Holy ouch! They’ve been coming off and on for about a week now. Because I’m not in much pain, I find I’m overdoing it easily. I think I’m fine and then I get really tired and sore toward the end of the day. I have to remember to take it easy and let my body heal.

Baby eating, sleeping, pooping: Yes, yes and yes to all of the above! He’s eating really well, about every two hours. He’s had some cluster feeding episodes and the 3:30 to 4:30 slot seems to be his witching hour. He wants to fuss and eat frequently. But he is sleeping in solid two to three hour blocks – very manageable. I’m adjusting to his sleep schedule well and I actually feel pretty rested, all things considered. I’m not exhausted. Whoohoo!

Little Z adjustment: He’s done much better than I thought he would. Having to share mommy is hard! The first real melt down was over me putting Baby Z-peat on “his” changing table. He did NOT want to share his changing table. Occasionally he will tell me to put Baby Z-peat in the swing or have Daddy hold him so we can play. He’s also enjoyed pulling out all of his old baby toys and playing with them. He’s becoming more engaged every day. Now he will run and bring me the nursing pillow or pacifier when Baby Z-peat starts to cry. The funniest things of course revolve around breast feeding. The first day home he was confused why Baby Z-peat was biting me (on the breast). Now he will pat my boobs and say, “There’s Baby’s milk, milk, milk!” He also likes to run around the house with the breast pump nozzle and pretend it’s his horn.

Fitness and Body After Baby: I’m just not worrying about that right now. These first few weeks I’m just focusing on recovery, bonding with Baby Z-peat, schedule adjustment, and soaking up all this special time. I do have a lot more energy and I’m feeling the itch to get out there and start walking, especially as the weather is cooling down. We ordered the double stroller (EEP!) and it should be here this week. I’m thinking maybe a short walk to start this weekend.

That pretty much sums up my last two weeks. I will leave you with a picture of a smiley baby after a warm bath. Ahhh – that new baby smell. 🙂 IMG_20140923_130413

Product Review – Block Island Organics Suncreen

I was recently contacted by Block Island Organics to sample and review their sunscreen. Being a runner I spend a lot of time outside. Being a mom to an active toddler, I spend even more time outside. Living in the deep south, sunscreen is a must. I’ve been an avid sunscreen wearer for most of my life. I’m pretty fair skinned and so is the rest of my family. I put sunscreen on my face, neck, chest and hands everyday as one of the first things I do in the morning. Because we use sunscreen so much I’m always on the lookout for a sunscreen that I like and one I feel safe using on myself and my son. I liked what I read about Block Island Organics and agreed to try out a sample.

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Boy am I glad I did! Block Island Organic sunscreens are non-toxic and mineral based. They are vegan formulated, paraben free, phthalate free, nano particle free, and non-eye irritating. If you’ll notice the bottle says “ultra lightweight” and they are correct! This stuff goes on so lightly I barely noticed it. It absorbs into your skin quickly so you’re not left all greasy and sticky as with other sunscreens. It has a very mild odor that I found to be pleasant. Some other things about the product that I really liked:

  • It’s non-comedogenic meaning it won’t clog pores so it’s safe to use on your face and body. I have very sensitive skin on my face. I wanted to test this out for a couple of weeks to see if it had any ill effect and it did not cause one single break out. Yay!
  • I can use the same product on my face and body (see above). No more using two separate products.
  • It is water resistant up to 40 minutes. We used this at the pool several times. I reapplied every hour to four and a half and we had zero sunburns. In the Louisiana 96 degree direct sun that’s saying a lot!
  • Vegan formulated and animal cruelty free- huge plus for me.
  • Super lightweight and easy to apply – it even won points with Little Z. “I like that sunscreen Mommy!”
  • Absorbs and dries very quickly – not thick and greasy at all
  • Low odor – There is no added artificial fragrance = awesome.

The two active ingredients in this sunscreen are Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide, both of which the Environmental Working Group (EWG) lists as a “2” for low hazard. In fact, the Environmental Working Group lists all of their products on the 1 to 3 scale siting them as low hazards. (link here). In addition, their products were listed as a 2014 Top Pick on the EWG Safer Sunscreen Guide!

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I cannot say enough good things about this product and I’m actually ordering some more in the baby line and some of the SPF 40 formula. The good folks at Block Island Organics have offered to extend a 20% off discount code good through 09/05/14 for your total purchase. Just use the code jenzen when you checkout!

The motto for Block Island Organics is “Play Smart. Play Safe.” I could not agree more.

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Running…rather walking while pregnant – 33 weeks

 

It’s been a while since I’ve updated on my pregnancy. It’s fiscal year end and things always get CRAZY around this time. Anyhoo…we hit 33 weeks on Saturday. EEP! It’s getting real folks! Only 6 and a half weeks to go now and I’ve still barely prepared for this guy. I do have some new clothes purchased but really we saved everything from Little Z. We (ehhmmm…My husband) need to get up in the attic, pull everything down, and start putting it together for Baby Z-peat.

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How I’m Feeling:

Good days and bad days, but shockingly mostly good days now. I don’t know if he’s dropped some or what but I do seem to be feeling better. It was really rough there those last few weeks. I was completely miserable. Now I still get tired quickly and I’m still having hip pain but I can actually eat something without feeling nauseated and like a bloated tick about to explode. I can feel the belly weight pulling on my belly and back when I’m sleeping. I have to use a pillow to support the belly to get a good night’s sleep. And there are lots and lots and lots of kicks to the ribs. Oy!

Weight gain:

Up to 18 pounds now.  I’m almost to the point where my running shorts don’t fit anymore and I’m determined not to buy any.  I have a drawer full of running shorts. I do not need to support that addiction by buying more. But I LIVE in running shorts. 😦 ACK! I may just steal some of Mr. Z’s shorts until this baby comes…tee-hee.

Cravings:

No crazy cravings right now. It’s so hot outside that I’m loving popsicles and sno-balls and ice cream but I think that’s nothing outside of my August norm.

Running:

I officially said “buh-bye” to running a couple weeks ago. It’s just too hot and too uncomfortable and painful right now. I’m still walking and moving and hitting the gym as much as I can. I miss running though. I miss the excitement of gearing up for fall race season. It’s so hard to sit on the sidelines watching everyone’s mileage go up. I know this is temporary and I know I’ll be back out there soon. I really need to find a good come-back race to focus on for post baby. Still searching for the right one. If you have any suggestions please let me know! I’m thinking February to April time frame.

5 Things a Pregnant Woman Does NOT Want to Hear

What is it about speaking to a pregnant lady that gets people all tongue tied and flustered? Is it my mammoth boobs that are distracting you? Are you afraid that I will bowl you over with my ginormous swollen belly? Are you intimidated that I’m producing millions of new cells every second and you aren’t (nah-nah-nee-boo-boo!)? Ok, I know most people mean well and are just trying to make conversation, but you hear some seriously ignorant things coming out of people’s mouths while you are pregnant. Here’s a run down of 5 thing no pregnant woman EVER wants to hear about.

1. “Get your sleep while you can.”

This one always cracks me up. Umm…OK. So I can now BANK my sleep hours and make a sleep withdrawal for later? Damn. I could have really used that for my college all nighters (and a few late night parties that segued into early morning work episodes)! It makes NO difference whether you sleep now because you will get NO sleep later. And your body somehow adjusts. You just make it through. You turn into Superwoman. You go into overdrive. You get by. And for all those sleepless nights there are a thousand wonderful, special moments that you share with that little guy/girl at 3:00 a.m. that you will remember and cherish.

2. “You’re SO big/tiny!”

NO pregnant woman wants a comment on their pregnancy weight…EVER. I recently had a family member tell me, “You don’t look like you’ve gained too much weight.” Really? WTF? I’m actually right on track to gain the same amount I did with Little Z which is right at the recommended weight gain. And so what if I gain a lot more!?! So long as mom and baby are healthy and happy the only words that should  be coming out of your mouth are, “You look amazing/gorgeous/beautiful!” Period.

3. Your labor story.

Another, no, no, no, no, no, no, no…do NOT want to hear it…la, la, la, la, la. *fingers inserted into ears*  I don’t want to hear about how difficult or easy your labor was because it has zero relevance to how this labor will go. Every labor is completely different. I don’t want details on the crunching and popping sounds you heard while receiving your epidural. I don’t want to hear about the mirror you used to watch the baby’s head crown. I don’t want to hear how you sneezed and your baby was miraculously here with little to no effort and you went shopping at Target the next day. Unless I specifically ask you about it, please don’t offer it.

4. Unsolicited “advice”

Again, IF I DON’T ASK YOU ABOUT IT, PLEASE DON’T OFFER IT. I don’t want to hear how 30 years ago you let little Johnny sleep on his stomach and chew on a wooden clothespin for a teether and he’s fine and I should do the same. I have received so much “advice” (mostly again from well-meaning folks) about sleep schedules, where my baby should sleep, what kind of diapers I should be using, whether I should cover or uncover that baby, what I should be feeding my baby, tricks to get my baby to eat better, etc. etc. ad nauseam, ad nauseam. Please let me find my own way. And that’s precisely what it is, my way. It works for my family and we’re all healthy and happy.

5. “Your life is totally going to change.”

For this one I’m referring to the “Your life is going to change.” comment accompanied by a grimace face and head tilt. You know the one I’m talking about. The “Aww…bless your heart!” face. This is usually followed up immediately with the “Get your sleep while you can.” comment or the “Enjoy your freedom while you can.” comment. And they may even go into it further moaning about how hard life is with children. I will agree with this. Yes. It’s hard…VERY hard. Lock yourself in the closet, while curled up in a rocking fetal position hard sometimes. But no new mom wants to hear that. She wants to bask in the glow of her pregnancy and the anticipation of new baby smell, and tiny baby feet and baby cuddles. LET HER! Yes, it’s hard, but OH WOW it’s so amazing. For every hard moment, there are a million heavenly moments where you feel like you may burst with love for this little guy/girl. I would not trade my old life before Little Z for anything in the world. I am so, so very blessed and I LOVE how my life has changed.

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Running while pregnant – 27 weeks

It’s time for a pregnancy update! We’ve hit 27 weeks. Time is flying by and October will be here before we know it! EEP!

We went in for our second anatomy scan last week and everything is right on track and looking great. We brought Little Z (#1) along with us while the doctor “looked at mommy’s tummy” so he could see what’s going on. He was not impressed. He liked all the buttons and cords and beeping of the machines more. Ha! But he still talks about going to the doctor with mommy to look at her tummy. I don’t think the reality will really set in until we bring Baby Z-peat home from the hospital and he’s there to stay.

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Hello World! I’m 27 weeks old!

How I’m Feeling:

I’m still having some stomach issues, but it actually seems to be getting better. Small meals are the key. I’m actually kind of grazing and snacking throughout the day. I try and make lunch my largest meal. This gives me enough time to digest so I don’t feel like I have a lead brick sitting on my stomach all night. The insomnia has been OK. It comes in spurts. I will have one night of it where I’m awake from 2:30 to 5:30 and then sleep like a log the next night. Luckily I’m able to work from home several days a week and I can sneak in a quick lunchtime nap if I need it. My eczema has been really acting up on my hands as well. It did with my first so I was expecting it. Apparently that’s pretty common with pregnancy too. I wake up and my fingers are so itchy. It drives me batty! Luckily I have a great steroid cream from my dermatologist that helps if it gets really bad. Usually I can keep it at bay with coconut oil and Aquaphor healing ointment. Continual moisturizing is the key. But other than those minor issues I’m actually feeling pretty good. My energy levels are good and I’m having no heartburn or swelling issues.

 

Weight gain:

Between 11 and 12 pounds.  Although I feel like I’ve gained 30. It seems to be all in my hips and thighs. My rear end feels HUGE!! UGH! And my bra size has gone up. Hello mammoth boobs.

 

Cravings:

I still run the extremes of wanting cold and sweet to crunchy and salty within minutes of each other. Pickles and ice cream anyone? Ha! Right now I’m buying cherries in bulk at Sam’s. I love summer cherries. I can knock back a huge bowl in no time. My other guilty pleasure is hamburger sliced dill pickles. Yes….pickles. 🙂 The generic Albertson’s brand is soooo yummy and thick and crunchy. *drool*

 

Running:

My running has been pretty decent. We’ve had a couple of cool spells plus frequent afternoon rain showers (welcome to Southern Louisiana!). It has actually cut the heat quite a bit. Last week we had several mornings of low 70s degree weather! It was amazing! I’m still managing to get about three runs in a week and trying to do some walking or cross training in between. I really can’t run back to back days anymore. I’ve been plagued by hip pain (stemming from an old knee injury) in my right hip even before I got pregnant. The pregnancy seems to have made it worse. My hip gets so sore after a run now. I’m guessing the extra weight and weird weight displacement. There’s actually a good article about the extra strain pregnancy places on your joints here: http://www.webmd.com/baby/features/preventing-aches-and-pains-during-pregnancy.  Stretching, icing  and rest days between runs help. I’m also still using the filpbelt for belly support and it’s working great. I haven’t had to bust out the support band yet and I’m glad. That thing is great, but it’s thick neoprene which equals sweaty, sweaty, mess. Yuck.

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Loving my new Sweat Pink burnout tank! So light and comfy!

For Two Fitness Review and Discount Code!

If you follow my Instagram or Facebook page you know I love my For Two Fitness “Running for Two” tank. I mean LOVE, love. I swear I wear this thing all the time. These maternity tanks are so comfy and cute. I always get compliments on it when I wear mine out. In fact, I love their product so much I applied to be an Ambassador and was accepted! Whaaahooo!!! ForTwoFitness-AmbassadorSeal_200 Here I am wearing the tank here…and here…and… 10405270_257451367779905_5678687235264805981_n tank         You can see I wear this tank a LOT! It’s just soooo darn comfortable! They have tanks, tees, yoga pants and even jackets for the pregnant mama who likes to work out or even just be cute and comfy! Here are the tank specs: Product Features

  • CoreFX™ technology
  • 4-way stretch and recovery
  • Side-ruching for form-fitting style
  • Generous length for coverage throughout pregnancy
  • Moisture-wicking
  • Breathable
  • Ultra soft
  • Tagless
  • Easy care
  • Made in USA

If you are currently pregnant or soon to be pregnant I HIGHLY recommend you purchase one (or several) of their tanks. You will end up living in them like I do.

For Two Fitness has graciously offered up a 20% off discount code for all of my blog/twitter/instagram/facebook followers! Just input the code JENZEN20 at checkout and you will receive 20% off your entire order! This code is only good for 30 days so get your tops now ladies!!

They’re also currently running a $100 gift card contest through Instagram. Image

Giveaway Description:  One lucky instagrammer will win $100 gift card to For Two Fitness – the very best in maternity activewear.  Simply post this image on your instagram feed along with the tag #fortwofitnessgift and mention @fortwofitness.  Include in your comment the item or items you love the most.  A minimum of 50 reposts will be required to unlock the prize, so share with all of your pregnant friends, and good luck! This contest ends Friday, June 27th so repost soon!