Read, Run, Repeat

A tale of fitness, books, food, and life in between

Weekend Stories

First I want to say THANK YOU for all the kind words and comments on my last post… I was overwhelmed! It was not the easiest post to write, and it can be so hard to be vulnerable, but you guys ROCK! Thanks for making 3/21 even better.

 

It was a good little weekend around these parts…. Too fast, as always, but fun! On Friday night, I was seriously craving a cheeseburger (thank you student that I evaluated on Tuesday who kept talking about heading to McDonald’s after he was finished!!), so P and I headed to Five Guys for dinner. Not the healthiest option, but SO GOOD. They seriously make THE BEST fries. Although for the record, still craving McDonald’s. … which is totally bizarre.

After dinner we headed to see Divergent. Neither P or I have read the books, but we decided to go see it anyway, since it sounded very Hunger Game-esque. We LOVED it… I was thoroughly impressed with how good it was(okay, some of the acting was kinda shoddy, but overall it was really good!) I’m not even a huge movie person, and I would totally go and see it again. I was ready at midnight to head to Walmart and buy the books … but we didn’t. The movie may have been even better since we hadn’t read the book yet. But, they’ll make it onto the bookshelf in the next week, I’m sure. Plus, the main male lead, Theo James, is awfully pretty ;-) I may have a slight crush…

Saturday was a hair appointment for a little trim, and then P and I headed to the Flower and Garden Show — it was fun to walk around, but I can’t say that we got too much out of it overall. The show is held at a local community college and it was PACKED. Neither P or I really enjoy crowds… and once we got rammed into by a woman pushing a wheelchair, we were done. It was nice to see pretty flowers though—made it feel a little more like spring.

We hit up Sephora on the way home… what is it about new make-up that make me so happy? (okay, opening a new PB jar gives me a similar feeling) I love this Bare Minerals palette—works amazingly for my green eyes.

Once we were home, we took crazy dog for her afternoon walk and worked on getting some of the usual home stuff done. P made BBQ quesadillas (I CANNOT spell that word!) for dinner with some leftover crockpot BBQ chicken, and OMG they were good. Sometimes the best food is really the most simple.

On Sunday, I was pretty much on my own, as P had to run an event for work and was gone pretty much all day. Fiona and I were up early … she slept all morning – I worked on some wedding stuff (AHHHH. SO STRESSED AND OVERWHELMED!), and then worked out with my new DVD – Jillian Michael’s “Hard Body” – I only did Level 1 and it was pretty intense…. But I loved it ;-) You are totally moving nonstop from the moment you start until you want to drop onto the floor. I finished my workout with a 30 min run and was feeling pretty bad ass ;-) And tired – very tired ;-) I’ve registered for my first race, so running is most definitely back on the agenda!

The day finished with another Fiona walk and finishing up the chores around the house – and then P and I hit the hay early (well, on time, actually, but it felt early!). We were pooped!! So that brings us to Monday – staff day for me, which means comfy clothes and lots of work as the kids weren’t here. Spent almost the entire day pumping out psych reports, so my eyes kinda feel like they are bleeding now – once I hit “publish” I’m totally done with computer screen for the day!

Hope you’re Monday is off to a fantastic start … I’m convinced if I can just hang in there until the end of this week, spring will finally feel like it’s coming! (But today, it’s freezing!)

Answer me this: What was the best part of your weekend?

~ Brittany xo

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3/21: What Down Syndrome Means to Me

Today is an important occasion (besides Friday J )

3/21 is World Down Syndrome Awareness Day – It’s celebrated today because individuals with Down syndrome (DS) are born with 3 copies of the 21st chromosome (for a mini science lesson on DS you can check out my post from last year!)

For my new readers, my “little” brother, who is approaching his 26th birthday in June, has DS. That’s really hard to believe!! This year has been a tough one, for many reasons, but it has been especially hard to be Craig’s sister some days. So today, I wanted to dedicate some time to explaining what DS means to me.

Down syndrome is …. What Craig was born with. We are 6 years apart, so it’s pretty much something that’s always been a part of who I am.

Down syndrome is …. Numerous service providers in and out of the house all the time — speech pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists.

Down syndrome is …. Watching with pride as your baby brother takes his first steps around the age of 2. The first time he said my name was even better – “Binny”

Down syndrome is …. Learning how to be understanding and patient at a young age.

Down syndrome is …. Getting into fights and arguments protecting your little brother because he can’t protect himself.

Down syndrome is … learning sign language to communicate with your toddler brother. Still comes in handy today!

Down syndrome is … feeling so honored when your little brother wants to run track in the Special Olympics, because that’s what his sister does.

Down syndrome is … feeling sad when your brother doesn’t get invited to play dates or birthday parties.

Down syndrome is … learning how to view the small things as the big things. Every accomplishment is a reason to celebrate!

Down syndrome is … shedding tears of joy when your little brother graduates from high school

Down syndrome is … trying to find simple language to try to explain simple concepts

Down syndrome is … learning how to appreciate and respect all people – we all have special needs

Down syndrome … is having a soft spot for the man in the grocery store who is bagging your groceries a little slower than usual

Down syndrome is … knowing what unconditional love feels like

Down syndrome is … having a career in special education to passionately advocate for all children with special needs

Down syndrome is… collapsing on to the floor after a “therapy” run in tears because your “baby” brother is moving out of your parents’ house, because he has become extremely aggressive—and learning how to trust others to take care of him.

Down syndrome is … deciding to sign my name on the line to indicate that I will be his guardian when the time comes.

Down syndrome is … having a man in my life that has completely changed the way I view the world. I believe that most of my empathy skills come from being his sister.

Down syndrome is … feeling overwhelmed about what my future may hold in terms of his care.

Down syndrome is … being proud to be Craig’s sister.

Down syndrome …. Is a part of who Craig is … but certainly not the defining factor on the person he has become. He loves music and musicals, Woody from Toy Story, junk food, and swinging. He loves his family, his pets, and worries when people have a sad heart. Craig gives great hugs, likes to bake, and take trips.

Today, I celebrate my brother, and all individuals with Down syndrome. Being inducted into the DS community is certainly not something I chose, nor do I always love it here. But I am so very proud of my brother and my parents, who have never stopped believing that he could do anything he wanted to. Their strength is inspiring. Not everyone gets to be in this “club” – and while it’s not always rainbows and sunshine, I feel lucky to be a member.

The world is rich with so many different kinds of people and millions of stories.  The more of these people you meet, the more differences you encounter, the more stories you hear and truly listen to…the more you discover the meaning of life and find your own place amid this very big world that needs your voice,  your heart and your hands. Happy World Down Syndrome Awareness Day.” ~ Kelle Hampton

Sometimes, it’s really, really difficult to think of Down syndrome as a gift. But I know that it is. It’s certainly changed me. For the better, I’d like to think.

Today I hope that you will have a little more patience for the people around you, to celebrate all the little moments, and to something “extra” (for an “extra” chromosome) for someone. I do so, today, in honor of Craig. I proudly sport my blue and yellow, and proudly proclaim, “I love someone with Down syndrome.” Because I do. With all my heart. This year may have been extremely challenging, but it only makes us stronger.

Little brother, I am so proud of you, and I am so very lucky to be your sister. I hope that I can continue to change the world to make them more accepting and more receptive to the wonderful gifts that you have to share. Don’t ever stop believing that You. Are. Awesome. Just keep singing your song.

Answer me this: Tell me something you’re celebrating today!!

~ Brittany xo

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Quick Little Update

First of all —- Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I’m not Irish in any way (that I’m aware of any way!), but I’m still decked out in my green attire today — one of the benefits to working in a school … you get to accrue all this holiday gear J We also had a “pot luck” lunch at work today, which is always a great way to kick off the week…. Or eat shamrock cookies for lunch!

So, I didn’t mean to go MIA there … but honestly, I was NOT feeling the blogging vibe at all this last week. There’s been lots going on, work has been CRAZY busy, and honestly, it’s been enough to keep my head above water. I didn’t want to write one negative blog post after another or force something that I wasn’t feeling…. So, I didn’t. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t stressed about not posting (I do that anyway, since I don’t post every day), but it was the right decision for me. I also had the stomach bug last weekend, and I was recovering for the first half of last week! I think I ate twice my weight in saltines. For the record, the mini saltines are better than the regular ones J Did I tell you that already?

The stomach bug DID give me the title of Biggest Loser this week though – so, I’ll take that as a by-product!

We also all have cabin fever, are more than sick of the cold and snow, and that’s definitely affecting my mood. I was ready for winter to be over a month ago.

So, I’ll catch you up to speed quickly, since I never know where to start blogging when I got on a hiatus!

On the wedding front —- We picked out our rings (YAY!!), ordered our save the dates, pretty much finalized the guest list, and started our registry. All very exciting J The registry thing has been quite interesting since we’ve been together and lived together for quite some time already… but we do know that some people just prefer to buy tangible items… so we have a honeymoon registry and also registered for some home items that need replacing or items that we kinda have a mismatch of hand-me-downs.

We are almost to the “6 months to go” benchmark for our wedding, so things are really moving along – too quickly for me some days! I feel accomplished for about 10 minutes after we complete something, and then move on to obsessing about the next thing!! (sorry honey)

Fiona thinks that I make a fabulous doggy bed J or she really missed me that day!

These “jumped” into the shopping cart… but we haven’t yet made them! We also have been attempting to try all the B&J’s “Core flavors” – we are still not impressed, and are still on the hunt for the salted caramel one. P did say that he liked the Karmel Sutra one – and we’ve tried the peanut butter one too – that one was pretty good – I mean, it has PB in it! The “It’s my Jam” is definitely my least favorite.

Running continues to go well … I’m still running on my treadmill, which I don’t mind, but the speed and therefore, mileage, are still busted, so I have no idea how far I’m running. I’ve started to look at races and have signed up for the CDPHP workforce challenge in early May, which I’ve run for the last 2 years, and fired up the racing bug within in me again. I’m excited to run outside and racing always motivates me J Sadly, Best Body Bootcamp has ended, for good, so I have to go back to figuring out my own strength training…..

There, I think you’re all caught up now. J You didn’t miss much!

One more picture of Fiona, because she just cracks me up:

Hope your week is off to a great start! And here’s you’ll bet lucky today ;-)

Answer me this: What was the best part of last week?

~ Brittany xo

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Let’s End It.

Today is kind of a big day.

3/5 is an annual day of awareness for the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign.

So? What is it? This campaign is spreading awareness for something that is so very important to me: raising the consciousness of society about the dehumanizing and hurtful effects of the word “retard(ed), especially in relation to those with intellectual disabilities, and encouraging people to pledge to stop using the R-word and treat ALL people with respect and acceptance.

The R-word is a pretty big deal to me. As with most words, it started off as just a word to mean “slow” – but throughout the years it has become a word that is offensive, cringe-worthy, and downright hurtful. It’s not funny, or “cool”, or “in.” I am appalled when I hear someone use it, and they will most likely get an earful from me if I do hear it. Most of the people I’m around on a regular basis know not to use it in front of me – hopefully, I’ve ingrained how hurtful the word is!

I work in Special Education. My brother is an individual with Down syndrome. I have been immersed in this world since I was 6. I live and breathe special education, IEPS, intelligence testing, and curriculum modifications. But more importantly, I live and breathe with these amazing individuals every day. I see just how hard they work to accomplish something that may take you or me 10 seconds to do. I watch as they love unconditionally and without restraint. I watch, with pride, every baby step they make. I cry tears of joy when they succeed, and I hurt when they can’t do something. I am a better person because of the adults and students that I have worked with. I think they have probably taught me more about life, myself, and persistence then I could ever teach them.

So, you see, this is personal.

Everyone deserves to be accepted for who they are and respected: tall, short, black, white, special education, neurotypical, engineer, president, and bagger at the grocery store. We all have something to share with the world.

We all know that saying “words can’t hurt me” is a lie. Words really do hurt, and they can affect us for years – much more time than a bump or a scrape. I know I can still remember many of the hurtful things that have been said to me! Words are powerful things, and I think we should all work hard to use them to lift one another up.

You can take the pledge to stop using the R-word, here! There’s also some good information and resources about promoting inclusion and acceptance as well as many inspiring stories on the site as well. I really hope that you’ll join me in helping to support this movement and help to stop the use of R-word, educate others, and promote acceptance.

It will make the world a nicer place…. And who doesn’t want that?

(and if you need another reason, you should read Frank’s story)

Answer me this: What are your thoughts on the R-Word?

~ xo, Brittany

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Ding Dong the Cyst is Gone

So, I know that I totally left you hanging on Thursday – but I’ve been trying to keep the typing to a minimum – especially since when I was typing, I was pretty much chicken pecking with my right hand.

Last time I was around these parts, I was headed to the orthopedist to have my ganglion cyst looked at – I was feeling pretty nervous, as I had no idea what I was going to happen at my appointment! First off, for all of you other medical/science/google addicts like me, a ganglion cyst is:

“The most common mass or lump in the hand. They are not cancerous and, in most cases, are harmless. They occur in various locations, but most frequently develop on the back of the wrist. These fluid-filled cysts can quickly appear, disappear, and change size. A ganglion rises out of a joint, like a balloon on a stalk. It grows out of the tissues surrounding a joint, such as ligaments, tendon sheaths, and joint linings. Inside the balloon is a thick, slippery fluid, similar to the fluid that lubricates your joints.” ~ According to American Academy of Orthapedic Surgeons

So, here’s a reminder of what mine was looking like – I took this picture on Thursday at my appointment. It had grown in size over the 5 months I had it, and I was feeling pain all the time.

My appointment included a whole lot of waiting. I did a great job catching up on all my “Words with Friends” games, FB, and QuizUp!! After about 50 minutes (which felt like 5 days), I was finally taken for x-rays of my wrist. They looked perfect, with the exception of the fact that one of my wrist bones was more angled than typical (my guess is that this had something to do with the fact that I broke my let wrist when I was 8). The doctor came in about 15 minutes later, and pretty much asked me what I wanted to do with Mr. Cyst. When I said I wanted to get rid of it, he said, “Ok, let’s do it!” (*my immediate inner monologue: oh, ok… you mean, right now? On second thought, I’m fine… gotta go!*). He explained the procedures to me, noting that the first plan of attack was to aspirate it (read: rupture) with a needle and inject the spot with a steroid from preventing it from returning

Me: Well, that sounds pleasant.

He also explained that the needle method had a 10-15% recurrence rate, where surgical removal had about 10-12% — so it makes sense to go the aspiration route first. So, I signed my life away, and then the doctor said, “Let me go get some needles!”

Here’s where I started to panic. I was glad I wasn’t going to have to come back, but I had myself convinced that this was just going to be a consultation. So, I text P and my mom saying, “Goodbye cyst – I’m waiting on the needle!” I then start to further panic – see… I have a little huge fear of blood. It started in college when I passed out during a blood draw, and then also passed out during a required first aid class for my PT job (one of my more embarrassing moments – had to ride in the ambulance to the ER and everything.). I now freak out when I even think about blood or see it –and I have to take someone with me every time I need blood drawn … (fun fact: we don’t even say blood at our house, P always refers to it as syrup). I have scared many a tech away with my warning, “So, I tend to pass out….”

Anyway, back to my story. Doctor comes back in with his mobile kit of goodies… and has me turn my chair so my arm is on the examination table and rolls a gown to prop my arm up. At this point, I’m thinking, “I should probably mention the whole ‘I tend to pass out thing’” So I do,…. His response, “make sure you fall this way so you fall on me and not the floor!” My doc was both young and cute – I’m not sure if that made the situation more or less awkward!

Now I’m doing my best to A: talk myself into staying upright in the chair and B: answer his questions/conversation while not looking at my hand. I spent most of the procedure looking at the wall, so I can’t tell you exactly what happened – I do know he numbed me up, and then proceeded to aspirate the cyst…. which basically means that he poked around in there trying to get the thing to pop.

Doc told me that I had more than one pocket in there (of course I did, why wouldn’t I?). The darn thing didn’t want to cooperate, so it was several minutes of poking around in there until he thought he had gotten it all. I could definitely feel some of this part of the procedure, and it wasn’t horrible, but I must have flinched a couple of times, since he checked in on my status. I kinda sorta wanted to watch too (like watching a train wreck, I suppose), but of course, the one time I looked, I had “syrup” running all over my hand. So I spent the rest of the time after that staring at the wall, keeping myself in the chair.

Once the thing was popped, he injected me with a steroid and put a band-aid on – and that was it! No splint, no bandaging, no exercise restrictions. He then proceeded to tell me that I’d most likely be cursing him for the next 2 days. I think I smirked at him. He told me to keep an eye on it, and that I’d most likely know in 3-4 weeks if it was coming back, and off I went.

I then made the genius decision to run to the grocery store (after my body stopped shaking like a leaf in the car—apparently I had some shock going on), because I needed to get stuff to make my Dad’s birthday cake the next day. I’m figuring I’ll go real quick before my hand really starts to hurt – NBD.

I’m an idiot.

There I am in the grocery store—picking out an avocado for dinner – and *BAM* numbing stuff is immediately gone and it feels like my hand and arm has been run over by a car. I almost burst into tears in the middle of the grocery store – I then proceeded to repeat “mind over matter” and moved like my ass was on fire to get out of there! But not before picking up some of this because I’d been so brave:

Not gonna lie – I wasn’t all that impressed. P and I are still on the hunt for the salted caramel one though. I have high hopes for that one.

I made it home and was doing okay until I tried to go to the bathroom and struggled to get my pants off…. And then I cried. And then I cried again when I couldn’t get the Tylenol top off. I’m right handed, but hey the left hand does a lot for me. Friends, I had NO IDEA that it was going to hurt that bad. My entire arm and hand HURT – like a steamroller went over the whole thing. I ended up keeping it against my chest the rest of the night (after doing the dishes in the sink, because clearly I have issues!) I may or may not have cursed the doctor. ;-)

Thank goodness for P who took care of me, including getting the Tylenol top off, cutting my food up, and helping me into my pajammies! He’s such a gem. Luckily, I woke up the next day and the pain was much better – I had limited use of my hand, but at least I could use it. It’s gotten a little better every day, although it will hurt a lot at random moments. Now it just looks gross:

I’m a little concerned that there’s still a little bit of a bump there – we’re just going to hope that’s swelling! I’m totally 100% glad that it’s gone – even if I didn’t feel that way 4 days ago!

I was able to make my Dad’s birthday cake, was strength training yesterday, and am pretty much back to being fully functional.

What an experience!! But you know – it makes for a good story at leastJ We did other fun stuff this weekend – but this post is pretty much forever long at this point, so I’ll stop here J

If you skipped to the end: the cyst is gone – it really hurt—but I’m better, and we’re all gonna hope it stays gone!

Hope you’re having a great Tuesday!!!

Disclaimer: Clearly I am not a medical professional — this was my experience and my decision about the removal of my ganglion cyst- please talk to your doctor if you are experiencing something similar! 

Answer me this: Have any good/horror stories about medical procedures? Anyone else squeamish about blood? How are you today?

~ Brittany xo

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Thursday Thoughts (#3)

Random rambling posts are definitely my favorite, and so I am linking up with the amazing Amanda from Running with Spoons for her Thursday Thoughts party J

  1. I highly dislike the grocery store. But I can’t tell you why. I haven’t disliked grocery shopping since I started being responsible for getting my own food – when I was in grad school, I often waited until that last possible second before having to go and load up on everything (which probably made it even more of a pain in the ass!!). Now I’m lucky enough that P and I typically go shopping together – and meal planning has certainly helped us in terms of money and time. But I still can’t say it’s my favorite thing to do – I don’t like to push the cart, or when people are standing in my way, or the rising costs of food. *blech* We have on occasion, tried using the grocery store’s delivery at home service – but honestly, it’s usually more hassle than it’s worth!

  1. On the topic of food, I can’t stand hearing people chew. It gives me the heebie jeebies and usually I want to choke the person who is chewing – usually this is P (sorry honey!), especially since he has this innate ability to chew even soft things. This is probably why I can’t stand gum chewers. Please tell me I’m not the only one who feels this way?
  2. I’m headed to the orthopedic surgeon fairly soon to have this stupid cyst looked at – I’m pretty sure since this is the first appointment, it will only be a consultation, but I’ll admit that I’m feeling nervous!!

I will show you this picture, instead of my gross wrist!

  1. I’m more than ready for the cold weather and ice to go away! I’m sick of cold butt cheeks when I get in the car, sick of slipping on ice, and sick of wearing 100 layers every time I leave the house. The snow stopped being pretty about 2 months ago. I’m really not made for winter. Hence the picture my SIL to be posted on my FB wall last night:

  2. Today is my Dad’s birthday – HAPPY BIRTDAY DAD!!! I hope you have a great day! I feel extremely lucky to be your daughter J I’m planning on making him this cake: Chocolate Stout Layer Cake. Doesn’t it sound yummy? I’m sure hoping it is! Sadly it’ not from scratch, but I figured I needed something fairly easy, just in case the cyst comes off today and my left hand is out of commission

  3. Fiona went to doggy daycare yesterday, and I picked her up, the instructor told me she was “bold!” Apparently she was overly assertive with some of the puppies, and seemed to have a lot of “pent up frustration”, “lack of exercise” and appears to have forgotten how to be a part of a dog pack. Awesome. I’m now the Dog-Mom with the bold kid. REALLY? We’re looking in to having her attend daycare more often since we know that winter is hard on her, especially this year with the constant freezing temperatures

  4. I am forcing myself to take a break from running – I’ve been experiencing a ton of shin and foot pain – to the point where it is difficult to even walk on the treadmill L This makes me so sad, as my running has been going really well – but I’ve had to tell myself (over and over and over) that I don’t want to be injured and be out of commission for weeks and weeks and weeks. So, I’m hoping a few days off will help.

Since #7 is my favorite number, I think I’ll end there :-D We’re coasting in to the end of the week – yay! This week has felt forever long. Hope you’re all having an easy day and that you can see the light at the end of the week!! I promise, it’s coming!

Answer me this: No questions today – tell me what’s on your mind!

~ Brittany xo

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My New Favorite App Obsessions

Happy Hump day!! I’ve got some hot “tips” for you all today ;) I’m not really sure how I ever lived without my iphone, as sad as that is to say. It gives me directions, finds me local restauraunts, can answer random trivia questions, plays music all day long, and keeps me in constant touch with the rest of the world (not always a good thing!). I recently downloaded 2 new apps and am LOVING them so I wanted to share them with you. One is a fun app and one is a more practical app (but is still a lot of fun!). Both apps are free to download from iTunes! #winning First on the list: QuizUp! I discovered this app while on February vacation, and immediately got sucked into it. This is a trivia app that has questions in almost any category that you can think of – more than 350! (and they are constantly being updated). I’ve played questions in categories such as Harry Potter, Disney movies, Psychology, Food, Human Body, Spelling, Name the Pop Star, Health, Food Logos, and Fashion. You can either play against random people and/or you can challenge your friends to matches (You don’t have to play at the same time, and you’ll see the results once you both have finished). I’ve gotten P and K both addicted to the game as well!

One of the best things about the app (besides the breadth of categories) is that each game is 7 rounds and takes approximately 2 minutes! You only have 10 seconds to answer each question (which doesn’t sound like a lot, but it usually is)! So, you can use this game as a brain break – or (and I guess this is a con), you can get sucked in and end up playing for 30 minutes. But at least you feel like you might be getting smarter! You get more points the faster you answer, and the winner is the one with the most points- which can change at the last second since round 7 is double points!

It’s fun to play with your friends, but I’ve also played “matches” against people from all over the world! You “level up” in each of the various categories as you play and earn points (i.e, I’m level 10 in Psychology and level 1 in Spelling). You get to choose the category that you want to play as well. It’s a ton of fun and I really like playing against friends – P and I sometimes play against one another when we are seated on the couch next to one another – and K and I just continue to play the “food” category! Sometimes you’ll get repeat question, but it doesn’t happen often. There have been times when I’ve disagreed with the answer to the question, but again, that hasn’t happened often!

App #2 is called ShopKick, and it will help you to feed your Target addiction ;-) K got me into this app, and it’s quickly becoming another obsession! So, basically, you earn “kicks” (points) at various stores. A whole bunch of stores participate, such as Target, Old Navy, Walmart, American Eagle, Macys, Sports Authority, Best Buy, CVS, Victoria Secret, Home Depot, Kohls, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Gap, etc.. I think it’s based around the area that you live, but there seems to be a ton of places. You can search by store or just in the area that you are in. So, you get points just from walking into the stores (open the app as you’re entering the store, so it registers!!) and then you can also get kicks from scanning various items from within the store. The app gives you various products to scan, you find it and then scan the barcode with your camera. It’s super easy to do – I have an iPhone 4- which seems to register things slower than the 5 – P definitely is able to scan faster than I am! You also get point values for the various products. There are times when a survey pops up after you scan an item; however – you are able to “X out” without being penalized. You can also link your credit card to the app to earn more kicks – I haven’t yet done this.

So, why do the kicks? These add up, and you can choose from a TON of different rewards to work for – gift cards to stores or restaurants, actual items (clothing, purses, headphones), gas – there are tons of possibilities. Obviously, some rewards are a TON of points – but you can change your rewards anytime that you want! I’ll take a $50 gift card to Target for just scanning items – thanks!

Of course, you can look a little silly racing through the aisles to scan items – but you can also make it into a scavenger hunt!! I’m not afraid to mention that P and spent some time in Target hunting down items to scan … it’s more fun with a friend! At one point, we came upon 5-6 items that had been left on a shelf (ones that you could scan). So, clearly, someone else was using their ShopKick app too! So yes, you may look a little silly, but hey, if you’re going to be at Target anyway, you might as well earn some free stuff, right?! Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with either of these apps in any way– I just really enjoy using both of them and wanted to share with you! You should definitely give these Apps a try – you can get them both for free through the iTunes store – let me know what you think of them – and if you wanna play me ;-) Answer me this: Have you tried these Apps? What are you favorite Apps that you use every day? And on a completely unrelated note –anyone have a good birthday cake recipe?

~ Brittany xo

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