Category Archives: Reviews

Run For Another (My First Review!)

Hi again! 

I’m very excited for today’s post because I’ll be doing a product review on an up-and-coming running apparel brand with an incredible mission.

Have you heard of Janji?

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Janji was founded by Mike Burnstein and Dave Spandorfer. As collegiate track and field athletes, the two knew that runners as a whole are a pretty friendly and philanthropic bunch – think about it, we show our support to countless charities through running races, not to mention all the donations and/or other purchases we make to support those good causes!

As runners we are also pretty darn focused on hydration and nutrition, but there are many people in the world who even in the 21st century still do not have the luxury of clean water and plentiful food. Something had to be done.

Thus, Janji was born. Their website explains,

“Through each purchase of Janji’s distinctive running apparel, a portion of proceeds funds organizations that are alleviating the worst problems related to food and water.  By funding solutions and raising awareness through our apparel, Janji wants to create a nation of runners that run for another and eliminate the global food and water crisis.”

The word “Janji” is Malay for “promise”. By purchasing Janji apparel, you are promising to Run For Another (the brand’s motto!). Pretty cool, huh? 

I was lucky enough to receive a discount on one of Janji’s newest shirts in exchange for reviewing it on the blog! After spending a LONG time perusing all the cool designs and brightly colored tops they have on their website, I finally settled on the Women’s Kenya Elephant T-shirt.

The country of Kenya is actually very special to me because I got to travel there as a baby. Though I was too young to remember anything about the trip, I always enjoy listening to the stories my parents tell about it.

in kenya

(I’m the blond one in the photo. )

By purchasing this shirt, a growing season’s worth of water is provided to a Kenyan family. So every time I wear it, I will think of that family, and know that I was able to help them, even if it was only in a small way.

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When the shirt finally arrived in the mail, I COULD NOT wait to test it out! The fabric is incredibly soft and the red stitching contrasts with the green of the shirt in a gorgeous way. It also has a really flattering v-neck. Heck, it’s such a cool shirt I’ll probably be wearing it to my classes and not just for runs!

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I finally tried it out yesterday when I ran the Ramon Rocha 5k. Ramon Rocha was a humanitarian and the driving force behind the establishment of the Teresa House and several other local charities, so it seemed fitting to wear my Janji shirt for the first time at this event.

It was a cool fall morning, and it felt absolutely perfect for running! I went with a couple of friends, and ran with them most of the way.

The start of the race! (Photo Credits to North Street Studios)

The start of the race!
(Photo Credits to North Street Studios)

I wanted to relax and have fun with this 5k, so I didn’t push myself too hard. Instead, I just reveled in the happy atmosphere of excited runners.

Running with a few friends! (Photo Credits to North Street Studios)

Running with a few friends!
(Photo Credits to North Street Studios)

(Photo Credits to North Street Studios)

(Photo Credits to North Street Studios)

I finished 52nd, with a time of 26:02. Then, I ate some delicious apple crisp (one of the best foods fall races can serve!), listened to a little live music, and headed home.

My Janji shirt was soft and amazingly comfortable to run in, and I know it is going to become one of my absolute faves. Knowing the good cause behind it just makes it that much more special.  I would highly recommend Janji to anyone looking for some new running clothes for the fall – you definitely will not be disappointed!

Overall,  it was a great start to the fall racing season and an awesome Saturday!

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A Guest Review…

Hello there! 

Today’s post is a little special- this is NOT Nora posting, but the OTHER HALF of the Running Duo (aka her mom!)

As runners, Nora and I are always looking for that perfect refueling bar, something that amuses my husband, who always kids us about our “candy bars”. So, a few months ago, he found an article about an unusual kind of bar and sent it to me: the article was about Chapul Bars, and the unusual thing about Chapul Bars? Well, that would be that they are made with crickets, or rather finely ground cricket flour. He thought I would laugh or be grossed out, but actually, I was pretty intrigued!

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First, I researched a bit about the company. The founder of Chapul Bars is Pat Crowley, an avid white water rafter who grew up exploring the great Colorado River. After visiting Central and South America and studying the water shortage problems there, he returned home and set about obtaining a master’s in hydrology. With 92% of most industrialized nation’s water going to agriculture, Pat began to wonder how such use could be reduced so that the production of protein, vital to our daily diets, could be less of a drain (no pun intended! ) on our water resources. As a white water rafter and guide on the Colorado River, he could see the strain on the river first hand.  After watching a TED talk by Doctor Marcel Dicke about the use of insects as a source of food, Pat Crowley and some friends began to talk, explore and experiment and, eventually, developed some recipes! At that point, Chapul Bars was born. (The cricket flour they developed provides the protein usually provided by soy or whey protein in other bars.)

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When I told Nora about my interest in Chapul Bars (and what they were made of) she looked at me funny and said, “You go ahead, but I’m not eating bugs.” Not an uncommon reaction, but one that the company is hoping will change with time.

Chapul makes three kinds of bars:

  • The Chaco Bar (the original flavor) made of dates, chocolate and peanuts, and flax and walnuts.
  • The Aztec Bar, a nut free bar made of dates, cocoa, coffee beans, and cayenne pepper.
  • The Thai Bar consisting of dates, almond butter, and cashews, flavored with coconut, ginger and lime.

Sounds pretty good, right?!

After much deliberation, I decided on the Aztec Bars and ordered a box of twelve. (Somehow I missed seeing that Chapul offers a sample pack of all three, oops! )

When the bars arrived in their simple brown box with a picture of a cricket on one side, and the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River on the other, I told Nora again about my plan to try the bars, and she once again, voiced her skepticism. Despite my enthusiasm, I put off actually trying one. Whenever we returned from a run, I would have the usual protein shake, or a piece of whole wheat bread with almond butter. I was a little nervous, too. So for several days my “buggy bars” remained unopened.

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But this morning I did it. After returning from my four mile run, I told my husband this was it! I drank some more water, got myself a second cup of coffee, then opened one of the Aztec Bars.

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(I like that the packaging is simple and recyclable, unlike so many companies that over-box and over-package things to make you think you are getting more for your money!)  Freed of its wrapping, the bar looked like a small brownie, very dark, with a slightly oily sheen. I took a bite as my husband watched.

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And the taste? Well, it does taste a little bit like a cappuccino brownie, with the coffee beans lending some crunch – and then you get the spiciness of the cayenne. But there was no need to be nervous. Nary a taste of crickets at all – not that I would know what a cricket would taste like! The bar was moist and delicious and tasted great with my coffee!

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Finally over my fear (and realizing that these bars are actually pretty tasty!)

So, bars with a “mission” and great taste! I don’t know if I’ll be able to convince the other half of this running duo to try these, but I’m a believer and I plan to pass them around to our running-club friends when we run the Lake Winnipesauke Relay in a few days. (I’m sure I will make some converts to cricket consumption.) 

Would you be willing to try a protein bar made using crickets?

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