sparkly soul giveaway winners!


Thanks to everyone who entered my Sparkly Soul giveaway! Now, on to the winners. Two winner were chosen using, and they are…..KAITLYNNE and ANNA!

Winner 1 Kaitlynne - Winner 1


Winner 2 Anna - Winner 2

Okay, ladies, you have 48 hours to claim your prize before another winner is picked. All you need to do is email me at with your name, address, and headband of your choice (make sure you specify if you want a wide of thin band). Sparkly Soul will ship it directly to your house.

Didn’t win? No worries! Sparkly Soul is running a 20% off sale now through the end of the day Friday. Use the code SPARKLYFRIDAY and enjoy!


all that sparkles: my love of sparkly soul and a giveaway!


If you haven’t heard me express my obsession love for Sparkly Soul, Inc., I am fairly certain you have been living under a rock. I have been singing the praises of this company and their headbands for nearly two years, considering myself an unofficial ambassador, and I was completely ecstatic when I was chosen as a real ambassador in June 2014. One of the perks of being an ambassador is sharing a giveaway with my readers!

Before we get to the giveaway, I wanted to tell you about how I found Sparkly Soul. Being a runner, I was looking for something that stayed put on my head. Truth be told I have the tiniest head. Okay, maybe not Beetlejuice shrunken head caliber, but you get the idea. None of the other headbands I tried worked. They popped off, they didn’t hold my hair, they ripped my hair out, they were ugly, etc., etc., etc. On Twitter, quite a few of the people I follow were tweeting about Sparkly Soul headbands, and I was instantly intrigued. I read their blog posts, visited the site, and fell in love. A headband that stays in place AND is pretty and sparkly?! Is this too good to be true?! Being the cheap frugal person that I am, I was a little worried about the cost and whether or not it would live up to my expectations. After unsuccessful attempts to win one from the many giveaways that were going on, I bit the bullet, bought the red and pink rainbow headband, and waited (semi) patiently.

The purchase was worth every single cent! I had finally found a headband that didn’t budge and was pretty enough to wear to work and the gym. The key to these headbands is they have no piece of black elastic in the back like all of the others. It’s 360 degrees of elastic sparkly or satiny goodness that is as functional as it is pretty. I have completed many marathons, half marathons, shorter races, and training runs in these headbands, and not once have I ever had to adjust it. Added bonus – my hair looks the same when I’m done as when I started. I’ve given Sparkly Soul headbands as gifts and recommended them to countless people. My own collection has grown so large that is now has to occupy its own dresser. That’s brand loyalty right there.

My love for Sparkly Soul goes beyond the great product. It’s the company itself. They know it takes more than a fabulous headband to keep people coming back. They care about their customers, listen to feedback, respond to their social media posts, and have a desire to keep them engaged and happy. Sparkly Soul is about empowering women to be strong and push their limits, and that message appeals to me. I think that all women could use a little sparkle in their lives.

Okay, on to the good stuff – the giveaway! There will be two winners who each receive a headband of their choice. There are quite a few ways to win, so read the rules and get started (FYI: each social media method is one entry, so leave a comment for each one!). The giveaway will start Wednesday, November 19 and run through Wednesday, November 26. The winners will be announced on Thanksgiving and have two days to respond before another winner is picked. Here are the ways to enter.

  • Follow Sparkly Soul on Twitter and leave a comment below (1 entry)
  • Follow Sparkly Soul on Facebook and leave a comment below (1 entry)
  • Follow Sparkly Soul on Instagram and leave a comment below (1 entry)
  • Leave a comment below with an answer to the following question – Thanksgiving is approaching. What are you thankful for this year? (1 entry)
  • Tweet about the giveaway – something like “I want to sparkle with @SPARKLYSOULINC & @stephplusfour” You can tweet once a day, but make sure you leave a comment below for it to count. (8 entries total for this option)

If you want to stay up on all things Sparkly Soul, here’s the info:
Google Plus: Sparkly Soul
LinkedIn: Sparkly Soul, Inc.

Good luck and have a sparkly day!

where’s the chocolate?

I bet you are wondering, “Why is there no Hot Chocolate race recap?” Okay, even if you aren’t I’m going to tell you why. Truth: I didn’t run it. As excited as I was to be an ambassador for the Columbus race, I was left extremely disappointed. Without going into specifics or bashing the race, let’s just say that communication was sub-par, and that ultimately resulted in the reason for me not running. Was I upset? Well, yes. I had looked forward to running it since last year, and when the ambassador opportunity arose, I jumped at it. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out exactly as planned, and the whole experience kinda wrecked it for me.

I have no hard feelings toward the Hot Chocolate race series; I still think it is a fun race that encourages many people who wouldn’t normally participate in races to get out and run/walk. Plus you can’t beat the goodies at the end and the race goodie bags. Will I participate again? Probably not. The only exception would be if the race came to my hometown, but shelling out the money for the race entry, hotel, travel, and other miscellaneous weekend expenses just doesn’t seem worth it to me anymore.

I hope everyone who ran Columbus this past weekend had a great time. I wished I could have been there with you.

columbus marathon recap


I’m a little late writing this recap, and I didn’t want to procrastinate any longer. On Sunday, October 19, Dan and I ran the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon. The race didn’t go as planned, but I still think we had a good time.


nothing like a little road-tripping selfie

We left on Saturday morning to make it to the Expo by noon. There was an important item of business that needed taken care of that day. I was meeting with Jack Staph, Executive Race Director of the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon and owner of the Cleveland Marathon, at 1:00. You read that correctly; Jack is so awesome he owns the marathon and is president of Cleveland Marathon, Inc. Pretty cool, right? Anyway, we were meeting to discuss the 2015 race and my involvement with it (spoiler alert…I will help promote the 2015 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon!) Dan, Jack, and I had a great lunch, and I am VERY excited for next year’s race. Thanks again, Jack, for a great afternoon!


The other exciting part of the Expo was the Children’s Champion booth. With the help of friends and family, I was able to raise $700 for Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and combined with last year’s donations, I have raised over $1,500! Because of this, I received a special shirt to wear on race day, two tickets to a catered lunch after the race, and two tickets to a special pre-race breakfast with many of the patient champions and their families.


all smiles with my children’s champions shirt


After the Expo, we checked into our hotel and did a little shopping. Knowing it would be chilly that morning, we needed some throw-away clothes. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to score any at the Goodwill booth at the Expo (genius idea, by the way), so we went in search of inexpensive places. Hence, Shopper’s World! My brother and sister-in-law introduced me to this gem a few years back. The store and location are sketchy to say the least, but the deals are awesome. And I couldn’t wait to see Dan’s reaction, which was priceless. Shopper’s World was a success in all aspects. The best part – setting off the alarm when we walked out, the sales lady not evening giving a crap, and finding a security tag on a $5.99 sweatshirt the next morning. Gotta love it.


The alarm went off on race day, and I just wasn’t feeling it. I knew this was going to be a challenge because we weren’t as well-trained as we had been for Cleveland in May. About an hour later we were out the door and on our way to downtown. Thankfully, we left early enough, and parking and traffic weren’t an issue at all. The walk to the start was memorable because we had one of the elite runners ask us where the start line was located! I mean, what are the changes that you’ll even bump into an elite let alone give directions?!

The start was buzzing with activity as we made our way to the Children’s Champions tent. We flashed our VIP tags and stepped inside. I started to get excited because a lot of the patient champions were there with their families and friends who were running in their honor. It’s so motivating to see those children, and I have to admit when they read through all of the names and gave a little bio, I got teary.


rockin’ my breast cancer awareness Sparkly Soul in honor of my friend Sarah who kicked cancer’s butt


After breakfast, we found corral C and tried to mentally prepare for the race. The fireworks, music, and lights gave me something to focus on other than race worries. And then, we were off! Our plan was to just take this one slow, not worry about pace, and enjoy the surroundings. We clipped along the first few miles, high-fiving the patient champions and their supporters at each mile. Then, at around mile 7, it got really hard for me. I haven’t had knee pain since the 2013 Cleveland Marathon, but it came back in full force in Columbus. We had to stop and walk, which killed our momentum. I knew we weren’t going to make it through 19 more miles of this. A marathon just wasn’t in the cards that day, so we ripped off our time chips and made the decision to finish the half instead. Race over, and I was happy.

Did I feel bad about this decision? Well, honestly, a little. My goal was a full, and I didn’t accomplish that. However, I accomplished a lot more in the way of fundraising, and that meant more to me than the race itself. I would like to thank those who donated to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, so I’m sending a huge “THANK YOU” to

  • Steve and Susan
  • Steve and Tracy
  • Sarah and Rhett
  • Lynne and Ben
  • Vanessa
  • Patrick
  • Halle
  • Emily
  • Rachel
  • Cherise
  • Dan
  • Candy
  • Mary
  • Alison
  • Everyone who purchased Scentsy from Sarah during my fundraiser

things i can learn from my seven-year-old


As we grow up, we learn from others and take a little piece of them with us. Sometimes we learn how to eloquently handle certain situations. Sometimes we learn what not to do by using them as an example. Usually, these are our peers or those older than us. In my case, there are quite a few things I can learn from my seven-year-old daughter, Adrianna, who also happens to be my middle child. Technically, she’s my second out of four, but with one older sister and a set of younger twins, she qualifies.

Lesson 1: Don’t give a crap what people think of you.
Annie is her own little person, and she doesn’t care what people think of her. I don’t always appreciate that she doesn’t care that I think she is being a little bit of a brat, but she has her personality and is unapologetic about it. Love her or hate her, the girl knows who she is. If only we adults could be lucky enough to say that.

Lesson 2: Be honest.
Tip-toeing around things just isn’t Adrianna’s style. The kid is blunt and will tell it like it is. If my hair looks bad, she tells me. If the outfit she is wearing isn’t fabulous, she speaks up. If she doesn’t want to do the same thing that her brothers and sister want to do, she says so. If dinner is, in her opinion, “disgusting”, you better believe she says something. While I hope she learns a little tact later in life, she can’t be faulted for being truthful. I like to compare her to my grandma and can’t help but think she is chuckling looking down on Annie.

Lesson 3: Be independent.
Sure, she needs me to take care of her just as any other child needs her mom, but I admire Annie’s independence. She enjoys doing things on her own, such as teaching herself to ride a bike, and has always been this way. I know this is a characteristic that will stick with her, and I feel a sense of pride knowing that my daughter will be able to take care of herself just fine.

Lesson 4: Don’t be a people-pleaser.
The three previous traits of Adrianna’s contribute to the fact she is not a people-pleaser. She does what she wants and what makes her happy. She also has no problem telling others, “NO!” (which happens to be her favorite word). Do I hate this when I am trying to discipline and guide her? Hell yes! Am I happy that my daughter isn’t going to be someone’s doormat? ABSO-FREAKIN-LUTELY!

Sassy, opinionated, and fierce are some fabulous adjectives to describe my Annie, and I wouldn’t have her any other way (except when I want her to listen to me). Thanks, little Adrianna Banana, for teaching your old mom a thing or two.


little miss sassy pants

help make a difference at nationwide children’s hospital

Children's Champion

I’m sure you’ve seen my previous posts (…and FB updates…and tweets) about the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon, but did you know that race day is almost here?! As a Children’s Champion, it was my goal to raise as much money for the hospital as possible. With the help of family and friends, I’ve already raised $300, but I think we can do better than that. Please consider making a donation to help the children of Nationwide Children’s Hospital. A donation of any amount can make a difference. One dollar provides a pair of non-slip socks for a child, and $25 provides 5 packs of diapers. Do you have any idea how many of those they go through? Try 9,000 pair of socks and 31,000 diapers each year! Did I mention that your donation is tax-deductible? So on top of helping others, you can get a little write-off on your taxes. The way I see it, it’s a win-win.

Check out my Children’s Champion page and make a donation, and thank you in advance for your support! P.S. Race day is Sunday, October 19.

we have a winner! – hot chocolate 15k/5k race entry

Hot Chocolate 15K

Before I announce the winner of my Hot Chocolate 15K/5K entry, I would like to thank everyone who entered and shared the race info. I think RAM Racing puts on a great event, and I am happy to support the Columbus race. Now, on to the good stuff. Using, I added the total number of comments (52, which is the total number of entry comments minus the two that I added to reply to questions), clicked generate, and let it work its random magic.


The winner of the race entry is … LINDSAY (comment #49)! You have 48 hours to confirm your prize, or another winner will be chosen.

Giveaway winner

Not a winner? You can still register for the race and use my code, StephPlus4Hat, to receive a free running hat when you pick up your packet. With races throughout the country, there shouldn’t be one too far away from you.