Posted in Thoughts

My 100 Happy Day Project

If you remember back in January, I posted my resolutions for the year. As expected, most of those have kind of fallen by the wayside, but that’s okay. I’m still working on more than half of them and that’s still a win in my book.

Today’s post will focus on one resolution in particular – my 100 happy day project. You may or may not have heard of it, but it’s a very simple project. For 100 days, you take a minute or two out of your day and reflect on something that made you happy that day. It can be something small. Something someone said. Someone opening the door for you or even just a sunset that made you feel at peace. The purpose of the project is to help you focus on the positive things in your life. Don’t dwell on the negatives, but reflect on the positives. That’s what will keep you going.

A few years ago, I did this project. I was going through a really bad break up at the time and was in a complete rut. I was going to therapy, taking medications, and nothing seemed to work. So when I came across someone else’s happy day project, I decided to try it. For those 100 days, I took photos and videos of food, friends, and activities that I did and posted them on social media. The project doesn’t require you to. You can keep it completely confidential if you choose to do so. I chose to post on social media to keep me accountable. With each photo and video that I took, I felt better about myself and my situation. I really believe I came out a stronger person after the project was over.

I haven’t been having the best outlook on life lately, so I decided it would be a good time to begin a new 100 happy day project. 🙂 This time around, I will be recording myself recapping things that made me happy that day. It’s not as exciting as pictures, but I find that if I say it out loud, I believe it more. I’m almost two weeks into my project and I definitely feel more appreciative of things I have in my life. I may or may not show the entire 100 clips on here since I think that would be too long, but I may post a few here and there for you to listen to.

I will end this post with pictures from my first 100 happy day project. Oh how much I’ve grown since then. 🙂

So tell me, have you heard of the 100 Happy Day project or done something similar? What was your take on it? 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running

Road ID – Product Review ($5 gift-card included)

Disclaimer: I received a Road ID Wrist ID Elite to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews! All opinions are my own. 

Call me naive, but I never really thought about all the safety issues that came with running until recently. Sure, I’ve heard “stranger danger” and carry pepper spray with me, but I never really thought about other precautions I could take while out on my run.

Recently, I came across two products that I’ve attributed to safer runs – the first being Brilliant Reflective strips and the second being Road ID wrist IDs.

First, what are Road IDs? They are a form of ID that you wear on your wrist like a bracelet. They contain whatever information you want it to contain – your address, emergency contact(s), allergies, etc. FullSizeRender

And why do I need one? I’m a runner. I don’t carry ID with me when I run. Why would I? It’s just another thing to carry and then there’s a chance of losing it. I almost lost my ID during the NYC marathon when I was shuffling things in and out of my Flipbelt and you can bet, that would have been a nightmare to find/replace. With a RoadID, you can easily slip it on for your run and slip it off after. If have an allergy to a medication, a RoadID or other medical bracelet is SUPER important to have. If you collapse and need help, first responders will need to know what NOT to administer to you. The wrong move could be bad.

Ever notice that there’s an emergency contact form on the back of your race bib? I am SUPER guilty of not filling these out when I race. With my RoadID, I won’t have to anymore (as long as no one has ripped off my bracelet during the race). I won’t be a Jane Doe anymore. Yay! That’s definitely a plus for me.

Okay? But I’m not a runner? Even if you’re not a runner, there are a few other reasons to wear one. As stated before, if you have an allergy to medication, wearing a RoadID would definitely help you if for some reason, you were unable to speak for yourself. Also, if you have children that are too young to remember crucial information like your number, you may want to grab one of these for them. When I was younger, I would ALWAYS get lost at a supermarket. I even got lost in Vegas. LOL. With a RoadID, if someone had found me back then, they could have just called my parents (assuming they had cellphones back then).

What about the fit? You don’t have to worry about choosing the correct size because the wrist IDs come with a lengthy band that you can size yourself. All you need to do is cut CAREFULLY. I say carefully because once you cut, that’s the size. You can’t reattach it so make sure you are sizing yourself correctly. IMG_8488

From the picture above, you can tell that I was nervous about cutting my band. They recommend that you cut one section at a time and the closer I got to my size, the more hesitant I was about cutting it. LOL. I succeeded in the end though so not all was lost. The Wrist ID elite was pretty comfortable to wear. I think I could have left a little more wiggle room for the band, but now I know. I would recommend to anyone cutting these to leave a little wiggle room for band length and test it out on a run. You don’t want your wrist ID to cut off your circulation so trial and error is best. 🙂

What if I want to be fashionable? The great thing about these RoadIDs is that they come in all different flavors. If a bracelet isn’t your thing, they also have colors, band widths, and BADGES. Oh man. Badges are one of my favorite aspects of these IDs. Think of them as accessories. You can choose one of their designs or customize one to add to your RoadID. As you can see from my picture, I chose two badges that represent me well. Although I’ve run a marathon, I don’t quite consider myself a marathoner just yet. For now, I am Mai, half marathoner extraordinaire. 🙂 Also, telling my legs to shut up is a common occurrence nowadays. IMG_8586

There is one last thing. Customer service is a difficult job. I understand that. RoadID’s people skills have been nothing but phenomenal. And I’m not just saying that. They kept me informed of when my Wrist ID was shipped and the moment it arrived. Their emails are witty and a lot of the things you read from them are pretty funny. See below for example.IMG_8313

Okay, you got me. Where do I order one? Use this link, right here. That link will provide you with a $5 gift-card that can be used towards your RoadID purchase. The $5 gift-card will be valid for 2 weeks after you sign-up (a copy of the gift-card will be emailed to you). For $5, you can add a pretty badge to your Road ID.

For reviews on the Wrist ID from other BibRave Pros, click below and feel free to ask me any questions regarding this product.

Meridith – Matt – Jeannine – Vanessa – Heather

So tell me, what will you use your RoadID for? 

Posted in Race Reports, Running

Triton 5k – Race Report

Happy Monday lovelies! I hope you all had a great weekend. I did. This past weekend, I ran another 5k – the Triton 5k. This race is in its 21st year running and is held by the University of California, San Diego. Most participants are students or have some affiliation with the campus and dogs are welcome on this course (at least, that’s what I assumed based on all the pups I saw during the race). This was my second year running the race and again I had a pretty fun time running around a campus I’ve spent over 10 years at. IMG_8676

The Details

Price – For a 5k, this race is pretty affordable. If you are a student, it costs $15. Luckily, I still fall under this category, but next year, I won’t be so lucky.

Time – 9 am

Course – The race starts at the most northern part of UCSD. There is a nice loop to help corral the participants. The course takes you across the campus and loops you back to the track and field. The course, unfortunately, is nothing too scenic and I felt a little cheated to not be able to run through the more beautiful parts of the campus. I will say though, in the campus’ defense, that there is a LOT of construction going on and so there aren’t too many paths that they could have taken to make the 5k. It could also be that I’m used to running longer distances and have more chances for better views.

Swag – For the $15, I get a nice T-shirt, a reusable bag, and a piece of fruit. There is no medal, which is fine because I already have quite a few. (Don’t get me wrong. If I’m running a half, I want a medal. A half is no easy feat. LOL).

How it went down – Since this race started at 9 am, I was able to get more sleep than usual. HOORAY! My friend picked me up and off we went to the northern part of campus. I got into my corral and off we went. Despite the runners being released in waves, there was still quite a bit of bottlenecking at the beginning. With all the adrenaline I have at the beginning of a race, it’s actually kind of nice to have people physically be in your way. It makes you slow down so you don’t burn out as quickly. I also kind of like having to weave around runners. I take much shorter steps and for some reason, I always feel like an airplane avoiding collisions. The first mile sped by – 7:26 min/mile. I was running on an injured hamstring and even though I knew I should have slowed down, I just couldn’t. Something about my competitiveness kicked in and I pumped my arms and finished the second mile in 7:47. That’s when both of my legs started to give in. At that point, I decided to slow down and take deeper breaths. I was super winded, but was able to finish with a time I’m pretty proud of. When I first ran this race 3 years ago, I ran it in 24:36. This year, I ran it in 23:59. That’s only 12 seconds slower than last week. By golly, I think I’ll say it. I’m improving as a runner! YAY! 🙂

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My friend Miren and I with the Triton, UCSD’s mascot
Now to heal up and get ready for the La Jolla Half marathon in two weeks! Eek!

How was your weekend? Did you do any fun things? I’d love to hear about them. 

 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running

Brilliant Reflective and Running Safety

Disclaimer: I received Brilliant Reflective Safety Strips to use and review as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave to review, find, and write race reviews.

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I am not a morning person. The only way you can get me to wake up in the morning is if you tempt with a race and a medal and even on those days, getting up is a struggle. Because I can’t really get up early to run, you can guess that I’m primarily a night runner. Night running is very calming for me, but at the same time, it does pose some safety risks. One of the main safety issues is being seen. Neighborhoods are not always well lit and cars may not see you until it’s too late. I recently bought a dinky little red flashing light that I attach to my flipbelt on my runs, but it’s not extremely bright and sometimes, I’m not sure cars see me.

Running with the Brilliant Reflective strips has put me more at ease. I’m still really cautious running by cars (and everyone should be), but at least I know that I’m shining bright like a diamond and that cars will see me. I was able to try both their stick-on strips, which are removable, and their iron-on strips, which are permanent. These strips, when shined on, ARE EXTREMELY BRIGHT. You can see for yourself below.

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Left: without flash; Right; with flash
The strips come in various colors – black, blue, red, and purple. When a bright light source like a flashlight or headlights from a car shines on the strips, the reflected light doesn’t just scatter and appear diffuse to driver. Some materials do this. These strips do not. The reflected light from these strips will shine directly back at the source. This phenomenon is called retroflection. Because light scattering isn’t occurring, the brightness is a lot stronger and will allow me to be seen from 300+ meters away. Hooray!

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The purple strips blend in well with my top during the day and will shine bright when I need it to

Pros

High visibility – Like I mentioned, these strips are extremely reflective and will allow you to be seen from far away. You want to be seen if you’re running at night. If you don’t want to be seen, you’re probably a burgular. 🙂

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Be Seen. Be Brilliant.

Easy to put on – Both the stick-on and iron-on strips are relatively easy to put on. For the stick-on ones, you just have to peel the material off the back and stick them on like a sticker. The iron-on strips require a little more equipment, an iron. I actually didn’t have an iron and had to borrow a friend’s to put mine on. Each strip takes 30 to 45 seconds to iron on and can be re-ironed on if the ends start to curl, which mine haven’t (yet).

Lasts long – I’ve used these strips for a few weeks and have had no problems with them. The stick-on strips, even after washing, stayed secure. I’m not sure how long they’ll stay on for, but I was definitely impressed they stayed on after a few washes. I did turn my shirt inside out when I washed so maybe that made a difference? If you’re worried about them falling off, you can always opt for their iron-on ones, which are permanent and exactly the same price. I would suggest using the stick-on strips on helmets, leashes, and other things that aren’t made of fabric and using the iron-on strips on your clothes.

Price – For a set of strips, it will cost you $9.95 (free shipping). You can probably light up two articles of clothing with one set. This is a great price if you’re worried about not being seen at night. Buying brighter colored clothes can cost a lot so why not just light up your darker clothes for $9.95?

Cons

None

If you are a night runner and need more reflective gear, this may be the way to go. If you are unsure or have more questions, feel free to join in our #BibChat on Twitter 6 pm, Tuesday, April, 11th, where we will be discussing the product and giving a free set of reflective strips. Woohoo! You can also ask me about them as well. See what other BibRave Pros have to say. Use the code BIBRAVEPRO25 for 25% off the already low price of $9.95 + free shipping! This code is valid from now until Tuesday 11:50 pm CT.

Sarah – Jeph – Jessica R – Lindsey – Jen – Gina

What kind of reflective gear do you wear on your nightly runs? Any safety precautions you take? 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

The Carlsbad5000 – Race Report

Disclaimer: I received an entry into Rock N Roll’s Carlsbad5000 as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews! All opinions are my own. 

It happened. I didn’t think it could, but it did. Today, I beat my personal record of 24 minutes and 36 seconds with a time of 23 minutes and 47 seconds. Yay!

I genuinely believed that I couldn’t beat my personal record going into the race. For the past few weeks, my motivation to run dramatically decreased. Remember the plan I had for last week? Yeah, I barely did any of it.

Monday – 5.5 miles

Tuesday – 4.5 miles 3 miles

Wednesday to Friday – 2 to 3 miles a day zero miles

Saturday – 2.6 miles

The plan was to get the bulk of my miles in on Monday and Tuesday. Everything went according to plan on Monday and I was feeling good. I ran out of time on Tuesday and only managed 3 miles. I had some unpleasant news drop on me Tuesday night and I was out of commission emotionally Wednesday through Friday. I guess you could call that tapering in a way. Saturday, I came to the realization that despite encouraging others to sign up for the race, I, myself, hadn’t signed up for it. Wow. I couldn’t believe it. Luckily, there was race day registration and I decided that I would just sign up the morning of and it’d be fine. I managed a 2.6 mile shake out run that day as well in hopes that I wouldn’t feel too terrible on race day.

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Race Day Essentials

Race morning came. I ate an organic HoneyStinger waffle for breakfast and got myself to the race. Parking wasn’t too bad and I found a spot within a few minutes and made my way over to the registration area. Note that parking isn’t too big of an issue for the Carlsbad5000 because of the way the 5k races are spaced out. You only really need to show up an hour before your start time and by the time you get there, other runners will have already left giving you parking space. 🙂

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Ran into a HoneyStinger Truck on my way to registration. Yay HoneyStinger!

Registration was a breeze. I just walked up to a computer, swiped my driver’s license, swiped my credit card, and got my bib. I have never come across an easier registration process. Because registration was a lot faster than anticipated, I still had about an hour before my start time and decided to stay and watch the race before me (Master’s Women Ages 40 and Over).

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A successful jumping photo on the first try!

While I was waiting, I heard the announcer say that the fastest time achieved on this course for men was a 12 minutes and 59 seconds and the fastest time for women was a 14 minutes and 46 seconds. I kind of stood there in disbelief that there were people that fast out there. It definitely put me to shame.

Anyway, after the women ages 40 and up started their race, I ran into a friend from college. We caught up and as the sun came out, I started to feel a bit better about the race. I started to believe that maybe I could do it, but also believed that it’d be okay if I didn’t PR. The goal was to just enjoy the race and not quit.

The race itself was awesome. I’ve been really fortunate to be able to repeat a few of the races that I first ran 3 years ago. Back then, I only concentrated on finishing. That was the goal. I was so set on proving that I could do something that I forgot to “sit back” and enjoy the course. Don’t get me wrong. I’m still set on finishing each race, but I’ve found that taking in all the sights is a really a great way to see a city (and enjoy the race), even if I’ve lived in it almost all my life. We started the race by crossing some train tracks, then turned left on Carlsbad Boulevard and headed towards the infamous Carlsbad sign. I was moving my little legs as fast as I could, dodging people left and right. There was a bit of a bottleneckat the beginning, but once we were on Carlsbad Boulevard, it cleared up a bit. Mile 1 had passed easily and my strava app announced that I was running at a 7:23 min/mile. At that point, I had an “oh crap” moment. I started out way too fast. I somehow reasoned to myself that if I could just keep the pace for another mile, maybe it’d be okay. If I gassed out during the last mile, maybe it wouldn’t matter as much and I could still PR. So I kept going and pumped my arms as fast as I could. While on the course, we got to see views of the Pacific Ocean and I thought that it was a shame I didn’t visit the ocean more often. I assure you, that will change this summer. We then made a U-turn and made our way back up the street. This is when I started to gas out. I was having a hard time breathing and people were passing me, but I just told myself to give it everything I had left and ran to the finish line. At the finish line, I was greeted with this pretty medal and post-race goodies.

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I was also one of the first 250 finishers. 🙂

I was so happy to get that medal that I had almost forgotten to stop my Strava tracking. When I did check my Strava data, I was in shock. I had PRed again! Hooray! Maybe it is all in my head? I don’t really know. I’m just eternally grateful for this fortunate event.

Anyway, back to the medal. If all medals were like this, I’d run all the races. It’s a smaller medal, but I don’t mind it at all. I think the size actually adds to its appeal. Post-race goodies included an orange, water, gatorade, crackers, and some other refueling items I didn’t get. After finishing, I skipped the beer garden and caught up with some friends that came to cheer me on.

The Carlsbad5000 was a great way to kick off April and with the way that March ended for me, this was something that I desperately needed. Maybe next year, I’ll be crazy enough to do the all day 20k. IMG_8527

How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun? Run any races? Or just tell me a random fact about yourself. 🙂 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Running, Thoughts

The End of March and my Run Streak

March is ending and so is my run streak. Well, actually, it ended already. I just didn’t announce it. Let’s recap shall we?

Networking – Yes, I kicked off March with another round of networking events. I met with someone at Technical Support for an informational interview and gathered quite a bit of helpful information. I think I’m narrowing it down a bit everyone. 🙂 I also attended a speed networking event held by AWIS, the association of women in science. I learned a lot and hope to continue meeting new people from the field.

GloZone LA – I took a night trip to LA to celebrate a friend’s birthday at GloZone LA. Glozone LA is a glow in the dark play area. For a few hours there, we were able to play mini golf, laser tag, and rock climb and because we went during adult night, there weren’t any children running around. It was just grown up fun. That day also happened to be the day I came down with a nasty respiratory infection. Screaming to someone standing right next to you because it’s too loud does wonders for your throat.

Medieval Times – When I was in middle school, our class took a field trip to Medieval Times. There was jousting, sword fights, and food. The boyfriend has always wanted to go so I decided to take him here before he leaves for Texas for a year. It was everything I remembered it to be and more. The food was delicious. I had a cup of tomato bisque, some garlic bread, “baby dragon” aka roasted chicken, and soda. The best part of the food was that it was eaten without utensils. Medieval to the end! 🙂 The knights were extremely guilty of bad acting, but I actually found that more enjoyable. Unfortunately, our knight didn’t do so well in the jousting round and he was the first to die. We cheered for him anyway. 🙂 

More Escape Rooms – Even though February’s escape room scared the crap out of me, I’ve been hooked on escape rooms since then. I did two more this month – one at QuickSand Escape Games and one at Escapology, both of which are in San Diego. QuickSand Escape Games is my favorite escape game. I’ve been to two of their rooms and I can’t wait until their third comes out. The puzzles are extremely logical and the decor is true to their theme. We were able to escape Escapology, which I thought, was a bit easier because it is a chain and is probably geared towards families. The one thing I reallly liked as Escapology was that there is a ranking system based on the time you get out. We were able to get out with a little over 13 minutes to spare and were the top team that week. Woohoo. I think we’re ranked 24 overall, which is still pretty awesome. 🙂 Again, if you haven’t done an escape room yet, please try it out. They’re so fun. I’ve already done six. LOL.

San Diego Half Marathon – I ran one race this month and it was the SD Half. Read all about it here. Spoiler alert – I beat my PR. 🙂

Run Streak – On Thanksgiving day, I started the Runner’s World Run Streak challenge. The challenge required that you run at least 1 mile a day everyday until the first of January. On the first, I decided I would keep going and see how long I could last. The answer was 120 days. This month was kind of a rough month for me personally, with a lot of unexpected changes and looming deadlines, and on day 121, I just couldn’t do it anymore. I’m sure that I could have run a mile on day 121 because I actually did run on the following day, but I just didn’t want to anymore. It felt more like a chore the longer I did the streak and to be honest, I actually feel happier since I am now choosing to run because I want to and not because I have to. I don’t regret participating in the run streak and I admire anyone who does them. It takes a lot of time and effort and the people who do them are amazing. I learned a lot and will recap in a later post.

Mileage – I fell short of my goal this month and was able to only run 81.6 miles, 1.4 miles shy of my goal. I was struggling a lot with personal issues this month and it really affected my running to the point where I have wanted to just stop running altogether. Here’s hoping that April will be a better month for me.

So that was my March. How was your March? Do anything interesting? What’s in store for your April? 

 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts

Do you Smellwell? – Product Review

Disclaimer: I received SmellWell to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews! All opinions are my own. 

Do you remember the lyrics to “Low” by Flo Rida? It came out a decade ago and I still remember the iconic lyrics

“Shawty had them Apple Bottom Jeans (jeans)
Boots with the fur (with the fur)
The whole club was lookin’ at her”

Why bring that up? Well, I hate to admit it, but I was one of those girls. Yes. Me. I had the boots with the fur. LOL. In my defense, I got those boots a few years before that song came out. I thought I was so cool. LOL. Anyway, I brought those boots with me to college freshmen year and boy, did those boots cause some fights among my roommates, but not because of the physical boots. It was because of how they made my feet smell like CRAZY after a few hours of wearing them. My feet would sweat and all that bacteria would stay in my boots. I would always have to wash my feet thoroughly to get rid of the smell and I’m pretty sure that the smell just got worse overtime because I couldn’t wash them.

After trying out SmellWell for a few weeks, I now know that I could have easily solved the smell/bacteria issue in my boots with these pouches. Damn’t! Ten years too late. I could have avoided so much drama back then. LOL. IMG_8070

Anyway, Without further ado, here’s my breakdown of the pros and cons.

Pros

Removes moisture and odor – If you know anything about bacteria and fungi, you’ll know that they LOVE a moist environment. These pouches are designed to remove moisture and prevents bacteria from growing in your shoes. It might not be as obvious in running shoes since socks are used to wick away moisture, but it’s very obvious in ballet flats. I actually stopped wearing my flats and put them away in a corner of my desk hoping that the smell would go away. A few weeks would go by and the smell would still be there so I just gave up. I put them away in a corner and forgot about them.

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When I got these pouches, I remembered my flats problem and decided to give the pouches a shot. I wore the flats for a few days and of course they started smelling again. I would put the pouches in at the end of the day and by the next morning, they’d smell great again.

Versatility – These smellwell pouches don’t have to be used in just shoes. I do cardio kickboxing from time to time and sweat A LOT in my gloves. I just put the pouches in my gloves after a sweaty one hour work out, let them sit there for a night, and ta-da, I had really nice smelling gloves. LOL. I know it sounds silly – making my gloves smell nice, but I actually throw my gloves, wraps, and clean clothes into one bag and if I can decrease bacteria exposure, I will. I haven’t been traveling lately, but you can bet that I will DEFINITELY be using these in my travel bag. 🙂

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They fit great into my kickboxing gloves
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To keep the dirty clothes smell to a minimum; also, because I sometimes don’t do laundry in time and I need to re-wear a smelly top

Shelf life – These babies last approximately 3 – 4 months depending on what you’re putting them into. The more moisture these pouches soak up, the shorter the life span so unless you absolutely need to put them in wet shoes, don’t. I haven’t personally tested them in rained on shoes, but I have a feeling they probably work fine.

Variety: These pouches do not come in varying sizes, but varying colors! They have zebra patterns, camo, and if you just want a plain one, they have black, which is the one I chose. Each order comes with two pouches, one for each shoe, glove, skates, etc.

Cons

Size: They only have one size, which could be a problem if you have something larger that needs a lot of deodorizing. Maybe a spray would be better in that case?

If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask me about these or come talk to the rest of the #bibchat (Twitter) crew on Tuesday, April 4th at 6 pm PST. They also have a Spring promotion right now where you buy 3 and get 1 free! 🙂 Get them for all the smelly people in your life. Haha. Just kidding. Sort of.

Also, here’s what other BibRave Pros had to say about them.

Lindsey – Katherine