All I do is WIN – WIN Detergent review and giveaway

Dear Workout Clothes,

No offense but you stink.

No Love,

Meridith

laundrywin

If you ask me what I’m doing, chances are that about 85% of the time, I’ll give you the same answer: LAUNDRY.

Friends, I do laundry more than I do basically anything else. If I’m not doing laundry, then I’m probably not at home. I wish I were kidding. But I’m not. The other Chicks can back me up on this (you know, if you need verification) because every single email that we exchange includes my laundry woes.

Lately, I’ve been pretty frustrated because while I’m constantly doing laundry, I haven’t felt like my workout clothes have been getting particularly clean. They seem to hold on to the stench of sweat, no matter what. Lovely, it is not. So when Fit Approach gave ambassadors a chance to check out WIN detergent, I was stoked!

windetergent

Welcome to my lair, WIN.

So what’s the difference between the regular (blue) bottle and WIN GREEN? Both are good to use on technical apparel and are geared toward sports/workout clothes. The GREEN is hypoallergenic and dye-free, as well as fragrance free. That means that all of my husband’s and my workout clothes as well as my (sensitive skin) kiddo’s soccer uniform were thrown in there together. Additionally, I had some towels in there because, well, we were running low!

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I’ve been using WIN detergent since the start of October. The verdict? I’ve been really pleased! The funk of my workout clothes has dissipated and I no longer feel like I smell bad BEFORE I start working out, which is always a positive.

The regular detergent gives the clothes a nice scent and while the GREEN doesn’t have a scent, I think that it’s cleaning my clothes and not masking odors.

I’ll continue using WIN and since it’s available through Amazon I don’t even need to leave my house to get it. Which is great, considering I always have laundry to do.

Want a chance to try WIN detergent? Well, I’m so glad to hear you do! We’ve got a bottle of the regular detergent and the GREEN up for grabs for one lucky reader. Don’t wait to wait to try WIN? Use the discount code WINGIVE1 for $1 off your purchase on Amazon. Cool? Cool!

rafflecopterWIN

Click the pic to enter!

 Thank you Fit Approach for the hook up! Other than the two bottles of detergent and the prize, no other compensation was given. All opinions (and laundry) are completely my own.

Putting Up a Fight…And Winning!

Well, so far.

A few weeks ago I blogged about how I was going on a diet. And the next day I went on said diet. And that same day I asked myself, “Self? Why did you go on this diet?” The day after that I seriously pondered the link between lack of carbs and homicide. But I kept going. And going. And going on phase 1 of the South Beach diet, which lets you have yummy things like lean protein and veggies and dairy (THANK GOD) and nuts and beans and blah blah blah no carbs blah no sugar blah blah what the hell am I going to eat blah blah etcetera.

At any rate, I kept chugging along. And what do you know?

It’s working! I’m down 6 pounds. I’ve actually been down 6 pounds for a couple weeks and have basically plateaued, but you know what? That’s okay, because I’ve lost 6 POUNDS!

Other interesting things to note: when I sneak a bite of something that’s not-so-healthy, I immediately feel it. As in, “wow that was good in my mouth but no me gusta in my stomach.” It seems that my body likes the good stuff I’m feeding it, and now that I’m feeding it 90% good stuff, the bad stuff sticks out even more. I’m surprised by this revelation because I felt like I was always going to have to battle against wanting to eat the crapola foods.

Of course, I say this having just snuck a piece of brownie. But I snuck JUST a piece. That was enough, and yeah, my body’s kind of eh about it. But my mouth? Looooved it.

The best part of all of this is that I’m starting to feel good about my body again. The second best part of all of this is that my co-workers are telling me how great I look. I’m still the same size I was before. I don’t think my body looks insanely different. But my clothes fit better and I’m definitely slimmer and the scale and I are really starting to mend our relationship.

So there it is, people. I’m winning the fight so far. You were all so lovely with your words of commiseration and encouragement that I had to update you.

And, may I submit into evidence this before (left) and after (right)? Both taken in work restrooms, I’m sorry to say. I wish I had a more beautiful backdrop but alas.

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I’m going to keep at it and fight the good fight. If any of you out there are dealing with the same thing (and I know you are!) I hope this encourages YOU, since you were all so wonderful about encouraging me.

Throwaways: the good, the bad and the really ugly

I have a stash of old sweatshirts and hats in the corner of our guest room.

Of course, they’ll go to charity. But first, they get one last use – as early morning road race throwaways!

IMG_1497It’s overflowing

Since the days are growing colder, and I’ve started to actually wear long sleeves while running on crisp mornings (gasp!) so I thought I’d share some tips on throwaways – including a how-to manual to create my infamous tube sock mittens!

Throwaways:

Most race organizers have volunteers collect discarded clothing at the starting line and along the course. Those items are then donated to charity. I love this. It’s such a smart form of recycling and giving an item a second – and third – life.

Typically, I scavenge my house looking for clothing (read: warm outerwear) I don’t mind parting with. I typically don old sweatshirts, long-sleeved shirts and knit caps.

If I forget or can’t find what I am looking for, I head to the Dollar Store or a second-hand store to find what I need. I even found a $5 fleece at Target in a pinch.

A Mylar blanket – the kind you receive at the finish of most large races – or a garbage bag – with a hole for your head – will also do the trick.

vic throwawayMe and my many layers before the Philadelphia Marathon in 2010.

 For my first marathon, I was overdressed with throwaways.  Sweatshirt, sweatpants, mittens and knit cap. I had it all. I also tossed it all before I started running. That taught me that its sometimes smart to hold onto mittens and hats until I warm up, typically a mile or two into my race.

nwh5The chicks and friends in a few throwaway tops before a 2014 race in D.C. Note how Meri dons a fancy shrug. (yeah, its really a ripped Lululemon shirt)

The key is to wear something that will A.) keep you warm and B.) you don’t mind discarding.

I struggle with this. I want everything to have a second life. And I hold onto some clothing for far too long. What’s that? You want an example? Well, ok.

Nov13 to May14 079See these duds? They are hideous and I couldn’t part with the 17-year-old fleece for about 15 years too many. That and my hubby’s torn-on-the-behind sweatpants have me looking voluminous pre-NYC Marathon in 2013. But hey, Christy Turlington Burns complimented them as we waited to start the race.

Brooke is fantastic about tossing unwanted or damaged clothes. We’ve traded throwaway layers at more than one race.

bthrowawyBefore the 2012 Princess Half Marathon, Brooke tossed these layers.

Sometimes, I really don’t want to part with an item.

In March, I passed on a favorite pair of warm up pants I’d had for years. They were ratty, but fit over my sneakers so became my go-to pants for regattas and road races.

Nov13 to May14 1601I memorialized these pants before I discarded them before a race in March.

Good bye, old friend.

The key with throwaway pants is the ability to take them off in a rush – without having to untie your shoes.

Most warmup pants don’t fit over my sneakers, so I make them fit. I take a pair of scissors and cut up the seam of the pants, starting at the ankle. I make the opening large enough for my show to fit through. (If you look closely at the first pic in this post, you can see my handiwork)

And yes, this is why a supermodel/runner told me I was brilliant before we both ran NYC last fall.

How to make your own tube sock mittens:

It’s easy. Place tube socks over your hands and push your thumb through the heel area of the sock.

IMG_1499So simple, so stylish

If you’re like me, your socks are well worn and might even already have a hole in your heel.

If you don’t wear your socks to threads, you can opt to use scissors.

Presto change-o! Done! Tube sock mittens.

wineglassmittensTube sock mittens paired with an old sweatshirt. These mittens lived to see another race day.

Now that you’ve seen my hideous throwaways, I want to hear what YOU do! Share pics of you in your discard layers with us on social media! – We’re ScootaDoot on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!

Product Review: MyOatmeal.com

Every once in a while, we talk about our enjoyment of oatmeal. There may have been posts dedicated to oatmeal before.

Fine, we’re obsessed. You caught us. If you think we talk about oatmeal a lot on here, you should see the number of times oatmeal comes up in email between Mer and I.

But, when I first happened upon myoatmeal.com, I skipped email and went straight to text! And there was some back and forth flailing.

Because custom oatmeal? Where do I sign up for that??? On the My Oatmeal website, of course! (I’m not even kidding. You can literally sign up for the Oatmeal of the Month Club, and along with sending you a bag of handmade oatmeal each month, they will donate a bag of oatmeal to a hungry child in the US for each subscription purchased).

So, when I got the chance to do a review for myoatmeal.com, I was beyond excited. To say it took me a while to decide is a vast understatement. I just wanted to make sure it was the PERFECT blend. And there is a lot to choose from! Thankfully, the website is super easy and has lots of information on the ingredients.

Custom Built Oatmeal? Best ever.

Custom Built Oatmeal? Best ever.

First, you decide on your size (1, 2.5 or 4 pounds) and pick your oats. Rolled oats, Steel Cut, Instant… they’re all there, just pick your favorite. Then you add your flavors, which are 100% Natural, Vegan, Gluten-Free and Non GMO. Also, they’re FUN! And then, you’ve get to decide if you want to do add-ins (you really do, I swear). Fruits, nuts, protein, sweetener. There are practically limitless options to make your custom oatmeal exactly what you want it to be.

And then? The most fun part of all? You get to name your oatmeal! (I accept that this might not be the most fun part for everyone, but I got totally dorky with this part. You’ll see below.) I’ve seen some pretty cute things people have done here, including on person who named theirs ‘Don’t Touch This Bag’. I feel you, friend.

If you can’t figure out what you would want in your oatmeal (hardest choice ever), they also have some Seasonal and Popular blends already picked out for you. And, they have a Mystery Blend option if you think “I don’t care what’s in it, just send me some oats!”

Myoatmeal.com also sells PBLean, which is dehydrated Peanut Butter powder. You can reconstitute it with water for a Peanut Butter with 85% less fat, mix it with any liquid, throw it in smoothies, use it in baking, etc. And it’s just as customizable as the oatmeal!

But if you’re watching what you eat, which I always am, one of the coolest parts was the nutrition calculator. It sits on the side of the screen and updates as you add customization. So the whole time you’re making your oatmeal, you can keep an eye on the nutritional impact and make sure it fits your points/calories/carbs/macros/whatever.

All in all, it’s a pretty rocking process. But let’s get down to brass tacks. How does it taste??? I’ll break down each of the products I tried for you.

Mystery Blend Oatmeal

I decided to try out a bag of the Mystery Blend. Sometimes, I don’t have to have complete control! This was one fine bowl of oats, I tell you. It had fruits and nuts and spice. YUM. That said, this is not what I was expecting. When it said Mystery Blend, I thought that the mystery would be solved upon arrival. Essentially, I thought that when I got the bag, it would tell me what was in it, so that if I wanted to, I could order again. No such luck. I’m not sure if Mystery Blend is always the same, or if it changes every time you order. Either way, it was delicious and at only 6.99 for a 1 pound bag, it was a very cost-effective option.

Bananas Foster the People

See? I told you I was a dork. But, once I went with banana bread and dark caramel flavor, the name just hit me! For my custom blend, I added the following: Smash Blend Oats, Banana Bread and Dark Caramel Flavor, Banana Chips, Ground Flax Seed, Quinoa Flakes and Brown Cane Sugar Granules. This was SO good. On the sweet side, which I like. The smash blend oats, which have some added barley, rye and red wheat, were nice and chewy. I hate mushy oats, so this was good. I could definitely taste the banana and caramel flavors. The only thing I would change would be the banana chips. They stayed a little too hard, and didn’t add much in the way of flavor. Next time, I think I’d throw in some pecans instead.

Bananas Foster the People Oatmeal with Fresh Bananas and Caramel Bits

Bananas Foster the People Oatmeal with Fresh Bananas and Caramel Bits

 

Sticky Toffee Pudding Butter

PBLean is not my first rodeo with powdered peanut butter. I’ve had products like this before, and I’ve always enjoyed them. But this was the first time I could customize it! I went with Light Roasted Peanuts, Dark Caramel and English Toffee flavors, and Brown Cane Sugar Granules. This was complete and told win. I made a smoothie with vanilla protein powder, milk, ice and PBLean. Dude. So good. And below, I reconstituted it with water and thinned it more than I normally would to make Caramel Toffee Peanut Butter syrup to go with Double Chocolate Waffle Sticks. Insanely good.

Sticky Toffee Pudding Butter 'syrup' with Double Chocolate Waffle Sticks

Sticky Toffee Pudding Butter ‘syrup’ with Double Chocolate Waffle Sticks

All in all, I’m a huge fan of this company and their products. They were incredibly nice to deal with, and they’re selling an awesome, healthy product line. I will totally be making myself some more. If you think this all sounds like the most fun ever, or even if you just want some PDT (Pretty Darn Tasty) oatmeal, you can use coupon code Scoot15 to get 15% off of your order. Do it! No pressure. Seriously, though. You won’t be sorry. And then you should come tell me what you picked and we can talk even more endlessly about oatmeal!

Win/win.

*The products I tried were provided by myoatmeal.com in exchange for an honest review. 

Tales of the Wild Sisterhood

I’ve always considered myself a natural kind of girl.  So when one of my bestest friends, Kinsie, mentioned she was going to be barefoot dancing in the mountains of North Carolina, I jumped on the bandwagon.  We participated in the Wild Woman Sisterhood’s Wild Feminine retreat.  The Wild Woman Sisterhood focuses on reconnecting with Mother Earth and getting in touch with the inner wild feminine inside.  They began in the Netherlands as a response to the conflict so many females find with other females.  I’ll admit it.  I’ve said it before: “Oh, I just don’t connect with other girls.”  But after high school, I had the opportunity to travel the state of California for a girl’s service organization with a group of amazing young women. And I connected with them. For the last 15 years, I’ve shared many unforgettable experiences with these three ladies.

We recently celebrated 15 years of friendship with matching tattoos.

We recently celebrated 15 years of friendship with matching tattoos.

The Wild Feminine retreat wasn’t what I expected.  It was so much more.  Three whole days of self-introspection.  Three days of group therapy.  Three days of getting in touch with emotions I stifle and brush aside in order to get through my daily routines. Three days of dancing and meditating and singing.  It was exhausting.  And like any detox, the hardest part is entering back into the real world.

wild sisterhood collage The whole time I was there, I felt light, that weightlessness that comes with emotional release.  It rained the first night we were there and living in California, this was glorious.  I felt connected with nature.  I felt strong and powerful in my femininity, dancing in flowy skirts with scarves and anklets made of bells will do that to you.  I felt quiet and still.  Reality is a culture shock.  And I’m still adjusting, slowly incorporating all the things I learned into the chaos so that there’s balance.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the chaos.  But the quiet is nice too.

Pumpkin Yogurt Throwdown

Can we talk about pumpkin? Can we talk a lot about pumpkin?

I have a serious crush on pumpkin this year. And because the universe is kind/cruel, it seems I am not alone and the product gods are blessing all of us pumpkin lovers with an abundance of items.

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Ahem. Anyone want to stage a Pumpkintervention? (Please don’t, I’m happy in my obsession).

While many of the pumpkin-y items aren’t all that healthy or Weight Watchers friendly, there is one standout that I saw a lot of this year.

Pumpkin yogurt. And boy, is there plenty of it to go around.

In the interest of scientific research, I decided to do a little compare and contrast of all the different pumpkin yogurts I could get my hands on. Really, I did this for you, fair readers. #denial

Over the past week or so, I’ve been taste testing one of these beauties every day, and keeping a handy dandy spreadsheet for notes on taste, nutrition, cost and availability.

So, without further ado, I give you my findings, in really gross to OMG order.

Yo Crunch Pumpkin Pie with Pie Crust Topping

This came in dead last in both taste and nutrition. This was too sweet and very artificial tasting. It also didn’t really taste like pumpkin. As one of the only two regular (non Greek/Australian/Icelandic) yogurts, it was also too thin. Ingredients wise, this wasn’t a winner either, with a lot of additives and preservatives. The only thing this had going for it was price (about .55 per 4 ounce cup/ 2.29 for a four pack). But with an ingredients list that reads like stereo instructions and a horrible protein to carbs ratio (3 grams to 25 grams), coupled with a terrible taste, you could give this away and I wouldn’t eat it. Not even with a little cup of pie crust sprinkles on top.


365 Organics Pumpkin Spice

This was almost a tie for last, but it wasn’t quite as artificial tasting. This was the other ‘regular’ yogurt, and again, I found it too thin. I think that is likely due to the fact that I’ve just gotten used to thicker, Greek-style yogurt over the last few years, so now regular yogurt seems watery. This didn’t seem to have much pumpkin or spice flavor. This is organic, but that doesn’t always mean healthy or good for you. This was another fairly low protein/high carb item (7 grams/25 grams). 365 Organics is a Whole Foods brand, so you won’t find this anywhere else, and this was around 1.00 for 6 ounces.

Trader Joe’s Greek Nonfat Pumpkin

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Mehhh :(

I love Trader Joe’s almost as much as I love pumpkin. Maybe I love it more? It’s close, at any rate. Sadly, I did not love this yogurt. I wanted to. Other people had been raving about it, so I went in with high expectations. I found this to be nice and thick, but it had a sour taste to it (even for yogurt), and was more spice than pumpkin. This one did have a decent ingredients list, with the exception of corn starch, and the protein is much higher (18g) but the carbs are on the high side (29g) for something not very sweet. Only carried at TJ’s (obviously), and 1.09 for 6 ounces, this one just wasn’t a winner for me.

Oikos Pumpkin Pie

Yumkin Pie, more like it.

Yumkin Pie, more like it.

If taste were the only consideration, this might have won. It was really delicious. On the sweet side, but not too sweet, with the perfect amount of spice, I wanted there to be more days that included this item. Ultimately, this one wound up in the middle of the list due to ingredients (can we please not put corn starch in my yogurt??) and mid range nutrition (11 grams protein/20 grams carbs – I like a little more protein and a little less carbs from my yogurt). This was reasonably priced, 1.19 for 5.3 ounces, and is available at major chain grocery stores.

Chobani Pumpkin Spice

Topped with TJ's This Pumpkin Walks Into a Bar. See TJ's, I still love you!

Topped with TJ’s This Pumpkin Walks Into a Bar. See TJ’s, I still love you!

Now we’re getting to the good stuff. I loved this! It was creamy, had good pumpkin flavor, was spicy and sweet, without being too much of either. This also has a good ingredients list, mostly clean, and no corn starch! With a 14 g protein/13 g carbs ratio, this is the first item on the list with more protein than carbs. This is also probably the most readily available, as I’ve seen it at grocery stores, Target, etc. And the price was average, 1.19 for 5.3 ounces. For me, this will totally be in regular rotation.

Noosa Pumpkin

The cheesecake of pumpkin yogurts.

The cheesecake of pumpkin yogurts.

Okay, have you tried Noosa? If you haven’t, I highly recommend it. Unless you shop at my Target, in which case, don’t go there. It’s all mine. Noosa is Australian style, which seems similar to Greek, but a bit less tart. It is incredibly creamy. Made in Colorado, this product is made with milk from a local dairy, and local honey. Awesome. And the ingredients list doesn’t suck at all. Nothing unpronounceable, except the yogurt cultures.  But, let’s talk taste. The pumpkin Noosa is incredible. More than any of the others, this tasted like PUMPKIN. It was lighter on the ‘spice’ element, which totally let the pumpkin through. It had decent protein (14 grams), but high carbs (30 grams). This one had by far the highest calories, and was the highest price (2.39) but also the biggest portion size (8 ounces). The container is almost too big to eat at once, and it has an almost dessert-y taste. My advice? If you’re eating this for breakfast or a snack, have half a container. And then you get some for later! Noosa is starting to be more widely available, but the pumpkin flavor is a Target exclusive.

 

Siggi’s Pumpkin Spice

Hello, new favorite yogurt!

Hello, new favorite yogurt!

Top spot. Or bottom, since we went from worst to best. Guys, this one won it for a lot of reasons. I had never had Siggi’s before this, so this Icelandic (again, similar to Greek) yogurt was brand new to me. And wow, am I glad I found it. This was incredible. Very creamy, not too sweet (bordering on tart, but not quite), it had the perfect (for me) pumpkin and spice ratio. Also, this was one of the only two that had more protein than carbs (14g/13g). But the ingredients list! Short, clean, natural. The pumpkin flavor I could only find at Whole Foods, and at 1.99 for 5.3 ounces, this was the highest price per ounce. But you totally get what you pay for and this worth every penny.

So, that’s the skinny on all yogurts pumpkin. I hope this is helpful in your search! Have you guys tried any of these? Like ‘em? Hate ‘em? Know of another pumpkin yogurt that I missed (don’t even say the Yoplait, I looked for that everywhere!)? Tell me all about your love of yogurt, or pumpkin, or pumpkin yogurt below!

Wineglass Half Marathon & tube sock mittens

I’ve wanted to run the Wineglass Half Marathon in upstate New York since it was launched back in 2011.

Wine, a (mostly) downhill race course and a glass medal.

That’s a no-brainer.

But it never really fit into my fall training schedule – until now. It was well worth the wait.

wineglassmedal

I ran the 13.1 mile course from Campbell to Corning morning with much of my running group -Traci, Gary, Ray, Mark and Andy.

Most of us decided to skip the two-day expo in at the Corning Museum of Glass and instead, wake up insanely early to hit the road from Rochester well before dawn. I loved that race organizers allowed us to collect our bibs at the start line and our goody bags at the museum after the race.

It was still dark when we drove the 90+ minutes south, dropping Mark at the highway’s Bath exit so he could log an extra 5.5 miles before the race. We parked near the finish line in Corning and, after a waiting in a lengthy line of shivering runners, hopped a bus to the start area in Campbell.

This was the first year runners were required to travel by bus to the starting lines – previously, runners were allowed to park near the start and return post-race. We were among the last to reach the starting area, but race organizers waited until everyone arrived before kicking off the race, even though it meant starting our run about 15 minutes late.

wineglassmittensPosing with my homemade mittens on the bus. I felt brilliant for coming up with this one. No worries on tossing these “gloves.”

And Sunday was chilly – just 33 degrees before we started running, so the extra throwaway layers we brought along were vital. And me? I decided to take it one step further with my lovely tube sock mittens. I created thumbholes and kept my frigid fingers toasty for much of the run.

In the mass of 3,000 half-marathoners milling at the start, Mark and I somehow spotted each other near the 2-hour pacers. The race began moments later as we chatted race strategy.

We were off.

The first few miles were crowded and hard to get a good pace going – but rather than weave around other runners, we hung back and waited for it to clear, then we bolted. Side by side, Mark and I settled into our race pace and decided to just run how we felt. We’d aim for sub 9s for as long as we felt strong. If we hit a wall, we’d slow down.

Time really didn’t matter to us. We were just there to run.

As our feet slapped the pavement, we both felt fantastic. We chatted as we ran, high-fived most children we encountered, thanked numerous volunteers and police officers and cheered for other runners. We even pointed out different picturesque spots along the course, many with colorful fall foliage over waterways.

Sometimes everything comes together on race day. Sunday was one of those days.

Around mile 11, Mark noted that we were on pace for 1:57ish finish (which is my PR) and I decided to pick up my pace to try for an even better time.

We spotted a running friend in the last mile and Mark encouraged me to sprint to the end as he ran in with our friend. I did. I pushed. I pushed hard.

I sprinted that last 1/4 mile, gritting my teeth as I crossed the finish on my unsteady legs.

wineglassfinishDONE! I appear surprised to see a camera at the finish. HA! And I still have the mitten-socks on.

Success! I finished in 1:56.37, a new Personal Record by nearly a minute. But better than that, was running with friends, who were all pleased with how they fared. Traci also ran her fastest half-marathon time. Way to go, lady!

wineglassgroupCelebrating our finish. From left, Mark, Traci, me, Ray and Gary

After the run, we each received a coveted glass medal. And we were treated to post-race goodies, including my fave chocolate milk and Wegmans chicken noodle soup.

Post-race we also had the chance to take a nice warm shower at the Corning YMCA (I did, ah!) before we collected our goody bags from the still-running expo. I was initially worried that I wouldn’t get the correct shirt size by waiting until after the run to collect my items. Not an issue.

Highlights in the bag included the race shirt, (Asics! Women’s cut! Long-sleeved! Huzzah!) a small bottle of bubbly and a wine glass. (Note, I meant to take a pic of this and got distracted. I’ll share one later.)

And if you want to read more about how others fared at Wineglass, here’s my work blog on Sunday’s race.

Have you ever run a race after skipping the expo? What’s the coldest temp at a start line that you’ve faced? How did you cope? Tell me in the comments