Get It, Girl: How I Wear Activewear and a Sale for You!

I received complimentary product to review from Cents of Style and all opinions are 100% my own. This post also contains affiliate links.

I’m currently training for my first marathon. I shared some of that story here, but I have to tell you that as the days have sped by and my marathon is only three weeks away, a little bit of fear has started to creep in.

I’ve been a runner for four years now. I hated running before that, but now it is so many things to me. Running is about a healthy body AND a healthy mind for me. I run because it helps clear my head. Running used to disgust me, now it makes me happy.

Running also provides a way to challenge myself and this is where fear can factor in. I never enter a race thinking I might win, but I always have goals and sometimes those goals are scary. Like this marathon.

If I let my mind wander for too long, I start to think, “I’ve never run longer than 20 miles – how will I make it 26.2?!” or “What if feel sick or get hurt or can’t finish the race?” It’s enough to make me want to back off, but I’m not going to be that person. I don’t ever want to be the person who backs away from challenge.

Since quitting is not an option and I won’t let fear get me down, I find ways to keep myself motivated, like fun activewear with great patterns and sayings that make me want to crush the run and reach that goal!

Cents of Style Activewear Sale

I love the phrase, “Get it, girl,” and I often use it to cheer on my friends in their healthy pursuits. I love that I have that phrase to encourage myself now, thanks to this awesome tank from Cents of Style! I have a half marathon coming up tomorrow and I’m planning to bust out a new PR, so I threw on this sweet tank with a pair of heathered yoga capris (also from Cents of Style) for my easy run yesterday. I felt pretty darn good and a little invincible – ready for the challenge of pushing myself to a new best this weekend! Go ahead – tell me to “get it, girl!”

Cents of Style Activewear

Here’s the fun part for you: the fun activewear collection from Cents of Style is 50% off today with the code ACTIVELOVE at checkout! This includes great tanks and capris like mine for $14.98 each, as well as more yoga pants and sports bras. There are some GREAT sayings on these tanks – I know you’ll find one that gets your motivated or puts a smile on your face!

COS Activewear Tanks

Whether you wear activewear to run, lift weights, or go to the grocery store, grab this fun deal before it’s gone! Use the code ACTIVELOVE to get 50% off AND free shipping today only!

I have to know: which tank is your favorite?

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Miles for Mercy + My First Marathon

I haven’t mentioned it much around here, but I’m running my first marathon this year.

I started training in February, the race is in May, and I already have a million thoughts about the process. This weekend I ran 17 miles – my longest run yet – which meant I also had almost three hours by myself to think. That’s a lot of thoughts!

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I’m going to try to write more about the marathon training journey here each week because I don’t want to forget what all of it felt like, but I wanted to start with one of the things keeping me motivated and a way for you to join me in the journey!

Mercy House, a maternity home in Kenya, has been close to my heart since it first opened several years ago. I was a reader of Kristen’s (the founder) blog and, through her writing and photos, she took us along as girls were rescued, buildings were purchased, babies were born, and God showed up through it all. My heart is stirred each time we hear of a new girl in the house or a new baby being born. This is life and beauty out of a hard place, which makes it even more beautiful.

I’ve shared the story here before many times and now I want to take your involvement one step further! This marathon I will be running will not be just about me. I’m running for Mercy House and I need your donations!

#MilesForMercy

Here’s the deal:

I want to raise $10 for every mile of the marathon for a total of $262! I’m setting small goals along the way with my training, so let’s do the same with our fundraising goals!

I have signed up for several shorter races leading up to the Fargo Marathon on May 21. My first is a 10-mile race this weekend. I’m looking for TEN people to donate any amount before my race on Saturday morning! Will you be one of those TEN?! Just click below or head over to my fundraising page to get started!

Fundraising Websites – Crowdrise
When you donate, you are supporting the amazing work of Mercy House, but I want to help you get even more involved. As a donor, I will email you a specific prayer request for the ministry that I will also be praying for during my race. 26.2 miles means 27 different people and needs to pray for along the way!

So many others are taking on this #MilesforMercy challenge, as well. In fact, most of them have already finished their races and I’m feeling a little alone on the tail end of the challenge, so I need you with me cheering me on and making a difference for the women and children of Mercy House! Let’s do this together!

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These Kids Are Runners!

I’ve been a runner for just over three years now. The Hubby started running a few months before me. Running has changed so many things about our lives for the better and our boys have taken notice.

This spring, our nine-year-old, Big J, mentioned he would like to do a 5K. We looked at the calendar and picked out a race in our area for the end of July. Big J and I sat down with the Couch to 5K plan and made a training plan for him to check off for eight weeks.

He amazed us during those eight weeks. If you don’t know about the Couch to 5K plan, it starts with long intervals of walking and short intervals of running. As the weeks progress, you walk less and run more. Big J did some runs with The Hubby or I outside, but many of them were on the treadmill. He was so dedicated and got through every single training run, even during the week he went to camp.

Along the way, Little J, our seven-year-old, decided he wanted to try the one-mile race on the same morning. He did some treadmill walking and a few spontaneous runs during his big brother’s baseball practice, but no formal training.

On race day, the one-mile race was first and Little J had Daddy by his side. We really had no idea what to expect from him, but when they took off, I thought it might be a while before they made their way back.

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Imagine my surprise when we saw Little J headed towards the finish line less than ten minutes later!

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The Hubby was surprised as well because Little J ran the whole time and finished with a time of 9:50! He came in second!

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Little J says he can’t wait to do his next race to get better and get another medal. I love it.

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Big J’s 5K race started a half hour later and I had the privilege of running with him. We said a little prayer before we started – for strength, endurance, and a fun experience!

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Summer races in Nebraska are not my favorite. Even with an early start, the humidity was no fun and the sun was shining down pretty bright. All of this just makes it even more impressive that Big J only walked for a few seconds a couple times the whole race. And he’s just like his mama – talking most of the time.

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I peeled off at the end of the race to let him finish on his own, sprinting those last few minutes with cheers and pictures and an announcer calling his name, telling everyone a nine-year-old was coming in at 34:53!

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Yes, I cried. When both kids crossed the finish line. The perseverance and determination they showed through training and the race left us incredibly proud. We saw a new side of them. Running means so much to us and we could see how much our boys enjoyed this running experience. These kids are runners and are already thinking about what races they want to do next, maybe when it is a little cooler!

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Our boys also know the best way to celebrate after a great race. We teach them well.

Are your kids interested in running? Have they ever run a race?

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Your Ears Will Love These Headphones!

I received these items to review. I was not compensated in any other way for this post and all opinions are 100% my own!

I’ve had my fair share of bad experiences with headphones and running. This pair hurt my ears, that pair wouldn’t stay in my ears, the other pair started shorting out and shocking me while I tried to run…yeah, not so good luck with headphones and running.

Whenever someone tells me I should try a certain pair of headphones because they love them, I usually pass. I just don’t believe there is one magical pair that works for every runner…but maybe I’m wrong. Panasonic recently sent me two new pairs of headphones for our active family to try out and we’re loving both of them!

Panasonic Headphones

All of the headphones I’ve tried for running in the past have been in-ear headphones. Most of them either hurt or fell out. I was pleasantly surprised to find this wasn’t the case with the Panasonic Sport Clip Headphones!

Sport Clip Headphones

They are very lightweight and fit perfectly over and in my ears, holding snuggling but not with too much pressure. The sound quality is exceptional and they also work with your smartphone so you can answer calls while running! I don’t do that very often, but it is a nice feature to have!

Bone Conduction Headphones

While I loved the sport clip style, it was another pair of headphones that really blew all of us away. Panasonic Open Ear Bone Conduction Headphones are like nothing else I have ever tried. They don’t go IN your ears, they sit on the bone right in front of your ear. You hear the music through vibrations in your skull. It sounds crazy, but it totally works and everyone in the family had to try them!

Big J Headphones

The nice thing about using these headphones for running is they don’t plug up your ears completely, so you would be able to hear a car coming or a biker passing you on the trail AND hear your music with great clarity. This is a really valuable safety feature for outdoor runners. And that makes these water-resistant headphones the perfect choice as you’re training for your summer and fall races!

Speaking of races, we’re adding another race runner to the family this weekend as our oldest (nine years old) has been training for his first 5K! We have been so impressed by his dedication to sticking to a training plan, doing three runs a week, some outside and some on the treadmill. He followed the Couch to 5K program for eight weeks and the big race is this Saturday!

Headphones Warm Weather Pack

It’s going to be a warm morning, so we’re packing a great water bottle and cooling towel for after the race. Not a big fan of the heat and humidity, but it comes with living in Nebraska!

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I’ll be running with Big J for the 5K and probably crying when he finishes. Yes, I’m that mom. Our seven-year-old will also be doing his first one-mile race with The Hubby that morning! This running lifestyle has become quite the adventure, but I wouldn’t have it any other way and I LOVE sharing it with our whole family!

What’s your experience with headphones for exercise? Do you have a pair you love?

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Homemade Lemongrass Bath Salts

I’m all about easy these days and these homemade lemongrass bath salts are just about the easiest thing you could make!

These bath salts have become a favorite in our house. The Hubby + I often have sore muscles from running. The combination of lemongrass essential oil + Epsom salt provides relief for our aching muscles and joints. Lemongrass also heightens awareness and promotes a positive outlook, so a good mood is an extra bonus!

Homemade lemongrass bath salts would be a great gift for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, especially for the active mom or dad in your life! Just make up the mixture and put it in a mason jar with a cute label!

How about that EASY recipe now?

Lemongrass Bath Salts (1)

Homemade Lemongrass Bath Salts

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Epsom salt
  • 1/2 cup sea salt
  • 10-15 drops Lemongrass bath salts

Directions

Combine salts in a small glass or metal bowl. Add desired number of drops of essential oil to the salt mixture and mix well. Transfer mixture to an airtight container such as a mason jar for storage. To use in a bath, pour a few teaspoons of the bath salts into the water while filling the tub.

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Other popular essential oils to use in homemade bath salts include lavender for relaxation or peppermint for refreshment! Choose your favorite scent and make your own today! Contact me if you want more information about essential oils!

Have you tried homemade bath salts? What oil would you add to your own bath salts?

 

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I Was Not a Runner

It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve said it, when I talk about running, people still say to me, “I could never do that. I’m not a runner.”

Three years ago, I was not a runner either.

I was NOT

Not only was I NOT a runner, I really hated the thought of it. It made me flashback to gym class and the required mile and always finishing near the back. It made a little fearful because of my mild asthma. Looking back, I probably hated the idea of running most because I just knew I would fail.

When my husband started running in January 2012, I was eight months pregnant and there was no way I was going to be working out with him. But I was inspired by him. He, too, was a not a runner, but just started small and was running a 10 mile race within a few months. More importantly, he had greatly improved his health and seemed to be loving the change. Simply put, I wanted what he had.

I had our third son March 7, 2012 and I started the Couch to 5K program on April 16th.

I still didn’t consider myself a runner for a quite a while, but April 16th is the date everything changed because I took the first step…literally.

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There was nothing magical about my journey towards becoming runner, but it was miraculous and it continues to be so. Other than asthma, I had no major health conditions holding me back, but I was not in good physical shape and I was about 20 pounds heavier than I am now. Most of my roadblocks were mental and I had to work hard to get over myself.

As I look back now, the key to going from a running-hater to a runner for me was going SLOW. I’m not talking about my pace, although it is important to take it easy as you get started. Going slow for me meant giving my body time to adjust to this new lifestyle. Couch to 5K was a great way to force myself to go slow. It taught me to keep moving forward, no matter how small the steps.

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I ran three to four days every week. I had a husband who supported me and we both made sure we got our workouts in. I had a friend who I texted for accountability. Some days felt easy and some felt incredibly hard, but I just kept going.

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I ran my first 5K in July of 2012, just over three months after I started running and I think that’s when I realized: I was a runner. Some people think being a runner means you are fast or you run long, but that’s not true. If you run, you are a runner. And that’s what I am now.

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Three years later and I’m training for my eighth half marathon. My longest run was 16 miles, just this past weekend. I’ve done countless other races because I LOVE the atmosphere and the clear goal. I have the best running friends and it is a special treat when I get to run with The Hubby, even though I know he’s slowing down to stay with me.

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There are countless things we would never experience in life if we used the same excuses we use for not running. What if I never sat down to write this blog because “I’m just not a writer?” Or didn’t get up in front of that group to share my story because “I am not a speaker?”

It’s true: running is NOT for everyone. There are medical conditions that sometimes prevent it. I have a dear friend who would love to run, but her doctor has advised her not to because of knee and shin issues. But she is finding other ways to be physically active and I’m cheering her on in that.

It saddens me, however, to think of all the people secretly wishing they could be a runner when their mind is the only thing getting in the way.

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Running has brought me freedom. It feels like therapy. It is a great escape. And it has proven to me that I am stronger than I ever imagined, both physically and mentally.

As I celebrate this third anniversary, I am beyond grateful that I started running when I was a not runner. It is the most important part of this story for me and it really did change everything. I think it could for you, too.

If you’re interested in reading more about my running journey, check out these posts:

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This is How We Do St. Patrick’s Day!

St. Patrick’s Day is my thing. One of my favorite days of the year and always has been. I’ve got all kinds of Irish ancestry and we like to celebrate it any way we can!  It was a big deal at my house growing up, I made it a big deal for my students when I was teaching, and now it’s a big deal for my own family!

We traditionally celebrate with lots of green, some Irish soda bread, and beef stew for dinner, but our St. Patrick’s Day festivities have evolved a little over the years.

The biggest addition has been the Irishman race the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day! It’s held in my hometown and involves 5 mile, 5K, and 1 mile races all in one day. This was my third year running it with my childhood best friend and The Hubby ran it for the second year this year! Of course, I get all decked out in my green for this race…

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Three races in one day is a unique challenge and the Irishman is one of my favorite race days of the year! It is extra special because I get to experience with my hubby and my best friend!

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The weather could not have been more perfect! I finished with new PRs for the 5 mile {43:30} and 1 mile {7:50}, as well as an overall PR for the day {1:17:38}! The Hubby finished 11th on the day – out of 212 people! And we had some cute spectators waiting to watch the parade with us after the race!

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As for today, actual St. Patrick’s Day, we’re not going with our traditional beef stew, but we’ve got lots of green going on!

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And I’m wearing my favorite Irish shirt along with my KraftyKash map necklace of Dublin!

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Fifteen years ago, The Hubby and I were in Ireland on a band trip and we started dating on St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin. For this Irish girl, nothing could have been more romantic! I can’t believe I’m posting this, but here we are on that trip…

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Oh my, how we have changed…except I still make goofy faces in photos. That will never change. And I’m more in love with this guy than ever before – that part just keeps getting better!

One last thing: We celebrate St. Patrick’s Day big because of our ancestry. I mean, my family actually built a super famous castle in Ireland, for goodness sake. But St. Patrick’s Day is an important day for all Christians to celebrate because there is a lot for us to learn from the man for which this day is named! I share his story with our boys ever year and you can read more about it on the Tommy Nelson blog in my recent post called The Faith and Forgiveness of St. Patrick!

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day from our family to yours!

 

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.

I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me;
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s hosts to save me
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a mulitude.

Christ shield me today
Against wounding
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through the mighty strength
Of the Lord of creation.

~The Prayer of St. Patrick

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Holiday Run List: Five Great Gifts for Active People!

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

If you have a loved one who is a runner, I am here to save the day as you try to figure out what to get him or her this Christmas! There are lots of fun gift ideas to keep them healthy and motivated along their running journey!

Holiday Run List

Here are five great gifts I would put on my Holiday Run List!

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Pro Compression socks

Don’t laugh. Compression socks are just for older people and pregnant women. As The Hubby once said to me, “They’re like a hug for my legs.” I wasn’t convinced until I was given my own pair of Pro Compression socks to review and pulled them on after my Thanksgiving morning trail half marathon. These things are magic. I had very little soreness in my legs the next day like I normally would after a race and I know the compression socks were a major reason.

Compression socks deliver maximum comfort and speedy recovery times. The science is complex, but benefits such as improved blood flow, stability and comfort are universally understood. Compression socks are also great for wearing during long runs! With all the fun colors and patterns, you can get compression socks for any personality! Use the code PINK2 to get 40% off on your order from Pro Compression through December 15th!

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FUNKtional Wearables Fitbit Jewelry

Why did I not learn of FUNKtional Wearables a year ago when I got my Fitbit?! FUNKtional Wearables makes fashionable jewelry to hide your Fitbit tracker! That’s right – your favorite active woman doesn’t have to wear the black Fitbit band all the time in order to keep track of her steps! I have a fabulous silver cuff and a gorgeous gold bracelet both from FUNKtional that I just adore. And the prices are the best, with most items for less than $40!

Running & Being

A great running book

So many wonderful choices in this area! Here are a few suggestions:

You (Only Faster) by Greg McMillan

Run Like a Mother and Train Like a Mother by Dimity McDowell & Sarah Brown Shea

Running & Being by George Sheehan

Race Medal Display

Race Medal Display

If the runner you love likes to do races, a medal display is the perfect way to celebrate their accomplishments! There a MANY choices for medal displays, including this great one on Amazon! There are also displays for race bibs or a combination of medals and bibs!

Runner's World Cookbook

The Runner’s World Cookbook

Being a runner doesn’t mean you have to eat healthy food that tastes like cardboard and The Runner’s World Cookbook is proof. It might be one of my favorite cookbooks ever. The food is delicious, the recipes aren’t too complicated, and each recipe is labeled with categories such as pre-run, recovery, vegan, and so on. Even if you’re not a runner, I still think you’d love this cookbook!

My holiday run list could go on and on, but hopefully this short list will give you quick ideas to please the runner in your life this Christmas!

What’s on your #holidayrunlist this Christmas?

 

 

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Ugly Sweater Run Giveaway!

I was given free entries to this run in exchange for sharing with you. I was not compensated in any other way, and all opinions are 100% my own.

I love a good race for the motivation and community it offers, but themed races are extra fun, so I’m really excited about the Ugly Sweater Run coming to Omaha soon!

Sea of hats

The Omaha Ugly Sweater Run is Sunday, December 14th at 11:00 am and it is the perfect mix of fitness and fun this holiday season! The 5K run will start in downtown Omaha and end with free hot chocolate!

Selfie Elf

This is a great family event – inflatables, photo booths, snow blowers, and holiday music at the start and everyone decked out in the tackiest Christmas sweaters they can find! Lots of parents and children participate together and children under five can participate for free!

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Each Ugly Sweater runner receives a custom vintage knit hat, a drawstring bag, unlimited hot chocolate, and more!

I’ll be running and I want you to join me there, so I’m giving away FOUR free entries today! Just leave a comment below telling me your favorite Christmas movie to be entered!

The giveaway ends Friday, December 5th at 9:00 p.m. CST and the winners will be picked randomly and notified by email on Saturday! Please enter only if you are able to participate in the run in Omaha on December 14th!

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Janji Projects: Runners Crowdfunding Clean Water!

I just love when two of my passions collide!

Today, we’re talking about running and clothing companies who use your purchases to make a difference. Let me introduce you to Janji

Janji logo

The co-founders of Janji are runners with a desire to help bring safe drinking water to people all over the world. Runners and water are a natural combination, so Janji exists to do something with that connection. That “something” is running gear that makes a difference…

Through Janji’s high performance apparel, runners fund solutions and raise awareness for the global water crisis in a lasting and meaningful way. Rather than racing for a cause on just one day, Janji lets runners give back through their everyday training.

The Hubby and I each have a Janji shirt and we love them! We wear them all the time, even when not running!

Janji tee

Besides being awesome because it is green {my FAVORITE color}, this women’s Kenya Acacia running shirt provides one year of clean water for a person in Kenya through Water.org! The Hubby wears the men’s Janji logo short-sleeve running shirt, which provides one week of clean water for a family in the United States!

Janji has short and long-sleeve running tees, tanks, shorts, capris, and tights, all which benefit a clean water project somewhere in the world! And today, they are launching something new!

Janji Projects is a new crowdfunded giving platform which allows runners to preorder a design from a country and, if the design is 100% backed, supporters fully fund the construction of a water point that gives 350 people access to clean water for life.

The first Janji Project launches TODAY! It will be the Uganda Run for Another shirt. Made of a silky performance blend of polyester and rayon, the shirt takes inspiration from Ugandan basket weaving.

Janji Campaign.Shirt.W Janji men's shirt

The Project functions much like a KickStarter campaign and lasts a maximum of seven days. If the shirt is 100% funded, production for the design project begins immediately while parallel construction of the water point launches. The waterpoint will give 350 rural Ugandans access to clean water.

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I just love everything about Janji Projects and I hope you will jump on board to pre-order your Uganda shirt today to get this first water point funded!

Which piece of Janji running gear is your favorite?

 

 

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