Roller Coaster Recap: August

Hey guys, welcome to Monday! Or should it be Muuunnnnddaaaaaayyy? Whatever your feelings towards the beginning of the week, it’s the last day of August and boy has it been a wild ride!

Much like a roller coaster (hence the post title), we’ve had plenty of highs and lows in August. Inspired by Tina from Carrots N Cake (she has a handsome 15 month old boy and talks everything from food and fitness), who I’ve been following since the days of my healthy food blog, Just Add Cayenne, I thought I’d do a recap of August by sharing our highs and lows of the month.

I just need to make sure, like her, we end on a high note! Lets get to it, shall we?

High – Meeting with my mom and little brother for a wonderful brunch at Brewed.

Low – Avery getting the weightlifting belt wrapped around her trike and herself and becoming a little frustrated.


High – Figuring out how to get unstuck on the trike and keep the belt “on”.


High – Avery’s first time to fly as we went to Colorado our first family vacation!

First Flight Family Selfie

Low – The major change in routine coupled with lack of food and sleep made for a crazy first night. We support co-sleeping, but not under these conditions.

Avery Sleeping with Mommy_2

High – An anniversary surprise for my wife at the Vail Farmers’ Market that almost went Awry, but turned out perfectly!


Low – Eating at Sweet Basil in Vail and all of us receiving very poor service. We had to resort to feeding Avery a watermelon and red onion salad that we made!

Avery eating watermelon onion salad

High – Nana and Papa obviously have good taste by keeping several jars of NuttZo in stock. Avery may or may not of finished one jar by herself while we were there. Thanks, Steve and Kathy!

High (literally and figuratively since we were in the mountains!) – Hiking with my wife on beautiful Colorado trails.


Low – Climbing a tree on the trail and sliding on the trunk to get down. Lots of belly and leg scratches followed.


HighKayaking  with Kelley in Frisco, Co.


High – I could make a whole post with the Highs from our trip, but I’ll wrap it up and say it was just great spending time with family and getting out in the fresh mountain air.


Low – The flight back from our family vacation was right during Avery’s bedtime. That, plus another day of not eating much or napping meant for a long….long trip home.

High – Our official 8th wedding anniversary with my awesome bronze compass, handwritten card, and kettlebell gifts! Good-bye, 7 year itch!


Low – Going Mom and to go away for work all week leaving Avery and Daddy feeling quite lonely. We had to take selfies to try and keep happy.

Avery & Daddy Sunset Selfie

High – Avery’s first time to ride in the cart when grocery shopping was a big hit. Since Mommy wasn’t there, she picked the BarkThins for her when she got back.

Low – Not telling Daddy she pooped when obviously…..

High – Climbing on the playground equipment and going down the slide all by herself. It’s bittersweet, but so fun to watch.

Low – I brought her to our friend’s/neighbor’s house to jump on the trampoline, but she was scared to move. Hopefully she’ll do better next time.


High – Playing with our friend’s dog.


High – Mommy came back home and all order was restored! Avery was obviously happy.

Avery in blanket

Hope you enjoyed going through some of the highs and lows of our August. Now it’s your turn, share a High, Low, and High point from your month if you’d like in the comments section below. Have a great week!

Soft Star DASH RunAmoc Review: Lift, Run, & Fun

Ever since I graced my feet with the Soft Star RunAmoc Moc3’s (read my review here), I’ve been a Soft Star convert. I can’t think of any other shoe I need besides just more Soft Star Shoes. Thanks to those wonderful, hard-working “Elves” in Oregon, more Soft Star Shoes is exactly what I got!

Begging to be worn to work and to workout!

They actually sent two different pairs of their Dash RunAmoc model. One with their 5mm Vibram™ rubber trail sole and another with their bullhide leather sole to review.

Similar to the Moc3’s, the Dash RunAmoc is perfect for everything from lifting to chasing your kids to just lounging around. Actually, I’d say they’re even better with the front lacing system providing a more secure fit. Don’t get me wrong, I still wear my Moc3’s for walking and casual use, but the Dash’s are my go to shoes for running, lifting, hiking, or anything that requires a snug fit and good traction.

A caveat to the good traction is the bullhide leather sole. They are extremely comfortable and a minimal shoe lover’s dream when running in dry conditions, but when the ground is wet, things get very slippery. So, I’d advise against wearing them at places like a splash pad like someone I know…..


Yeah, I’m smart. But, running in them to the splash pad was nothing short of liberating, especially when I was in the grass. Nothing beats feeling the ground as you run, and with the bullhide, you can reap the meditative effects of earthing/grounding.

Here’s a quick description of the Dash RunAmoc’s as listed on the Soft Star site:

  • Made with Premium, formaldehyde-free leathers. Choose from suede, full grain, or perforated. Here’s a good comparison of the three.
  • You can choose between a Vibram™ rubber sole (5mm Trail sole or 2mm Street sole) or a tough bullhide leather sole. Both are zero drop between toe and heel. And their comparison.
  • Spacious toe box allows feet to stretch comfortably.
  • Regular, narrow, or wide width options are available.
  • Can be worn with or without socks.
  • Highly resistant to odors.
  • 5.0–9.5 oz, depending on size, leather type and sole.
  • Made in USA: designed and handcrafted in Oregon using US-sourced materials.

One key point Soft Star left out on their site is how doubling up on  their shoes means double the performance and fun. Like, for instance, the kid’s Ramblers combined with RunAmoc’s.



The first thing I noticed about these shoes is how they would fit in at the office along with khakis and a button up shirt. Perfect for those who want/need to get out of their work clothes and into workout clothes to exercise during lunch or right after work. No extra pair of shoes needed, they’ll work for both!

While I’m not going to the office any time soon as an at-home dad, they’re accepted by my wife when we go out to some place a little nice. And getting her to accept my chosen apparel when going places is a big “feet”!

I ran a 4th of July 5k in the bullhide RunAmoc’s (which I placed in my age group, thank you), and received many questions about my “dressy” shoes from fellow runners. Not sure why they stuck out so much though. I thought black and brown go together, no?

soft star shoes

I proudly filled the runners’ ears about the greatness of American made Soft Star Shoes and they were eager to check out their site.

Fit and Feel

Wonderful and great. There, that’s all you need to know. The fit is about a half size down from what your normal shoe size is, at least that’s how it is for me. I normally wear 10 1/2, but the 10’s fit perfect with no foot slippage inside. I have the regular width shoes which work great for me, but if needed, you can choose narrow or wide as well.

I’ve worn them with and without socks, but prefer to wear socks most of the time. No real reason why, just habit I guess, and it’s obviously the stylish thing to do. But, Avery begs to differ.

soft star shoes

Unless your feet are covered in baby powder, they’ll sweat, especially with the full grain leather. Once wet from sweat or any other water, the shoe’s color will bleed and stain socks if you wear them. I’m fine with this because, well, they’re socks. Plus, Soft Star gives fair warning on their site.

Die-hard barefoot shoe advocates would probably want to stray from the 5mm trail sole as it does reduce ground-feel. That said, I have no problem with the extra rubber and find there’s still a good amount of feedback between the ground and my feet.

The bullhide leather obviously offers more connectivity, and yes, it simply feels wonderful walking on any surface and connecting with the earth. Now excuse me as I look for my peace sign necklace and tie-dye shirt….

Performance and Durability

As long as you’re on a dry surface, the Dash RunAmoc’s offer the minimal athlete an outstanding shoe to run, jump, lift, and wonder trails with confidence. While in Colorado, I hiked and ran on trails in my 5mm trail sole almost without issue.


I say “almost” because the wide toe box, while awesome for giving toes freedom to spread out, seemed to catch on a lot of rocks when I was walking. Oddly, whene running, I didn’t have this problem, but when hiking, I stumbled several times with my wife there to point and laugh.

Stumbling aside, they provide plenty of feedback when running and lifting. Also, the wide toe box  does enable my toes the freedom to spread out as they naturally would if running sans shoes. Something that the New Balance or Merrell minimalist shoes don’t offer with their narrower design.

I love having a shoe that performs well in the gym and on the road, and these fit the bill. Since the bullhide leather is extremely limited in traction, I stick to the rubber soles which work great in my garage gym. And since good form is vital when doing lifts like squats and dead lifts, the zero drop is a welcome feature.

I’ve kicked enough objects and scraped the shoes on many things with minimal wear and tear. From the abuse I’ve put them through, it’s easy to see how well Soft Star’s “Elves” constructed the Dash RunAmoc. My only concern is that the upper is glued to the sole instead of stitched, but they’ve been holding together with no sign of separation for the five months I’ve owned them.

Despite their high strength construction, the Dash RunAmoc’s are very lightweight starting at 5.0 oz which makes for another wonderful aspect when running/walking. They are also highly flexible which lends to natural foot movement and offers that “barefoot experience” without worrying about sharp debris on the road. I’ve run across many surfaces, all with plenty of protection from potential hazards on the ground.



I could go on about all of the Soft Star Shoes and how I want more, but I suggest you go check them out for yourself. They have shoes for the whole family to enjoy, and the Design-Your-Own option allows you to own a high quality and comfortable shoe that’s truly your own. They make a great gift too! We’ve obviously become huge fans since that’s all we packed for our vacation.


No other shoe, that I’m aware of, is at home in the office just as much (if not more-so) on the trail, pavement, or under a barbell. Their superior quality in form and function is what has me lacing up my Soft Star Dash RunAmoc shoes every day. I know I can count on them to get me through whatever’s in store for the day while keeping my feet happy. That is, unless Avery hides them from me.


From true barefoot feel allowing for natural foot movement, to high quality materials for construction, I know these shoes will last me several years under most conditions.


  • Water resistant and great for cold weather running as they keep your feet warm. Unless you get the perforated version.
  • High quality materials used for durable shoe build
  • Highly flexible with excellent ground feel and comfort
  • Looks like a dress shoe, but built to perform under all conditions
  • Zero drop between toe and heel


  • Wide toe box can cause you to trip if you’re not careful like me.
  • Leather will bleed onto your socks when your feet sweat.
  • The bullhide sole is very slippery on wet surfaces.
  • Looks like a dress shoe. I don’t mind this, but many seem to think it’s weird

Thank you, Soft Star Shoes, for making such an excellent line of shoes and providing earth-friendly footwear for the entire family!

Disclosure: Soft Star Shoes provided their Dash RunAmoc’s to me free of charge in exchange for review. I was not compensated for this post in any other way and all opinions are my own.

6 Throwback Thursday Posts from August 2014

Is Throwback Thursday bittersweet for any other parents out there? Bitter, because so many things happen so fast and your baby (even if they’re a teen, they’re still your baby, right?) is growing up. Sweet, because so many proud moments have happened and well, it’s also great that your kid is growing. Not to mention we’re getting older too! Bleh!

Looking back a year ago, we were still holding Avery and rocking her to sleep for naptime and at night, but now that’s a thing of the past. Going Mom has been successful a few times, but I have had no such luck. But that’s what memories are for, right? And since parenting seems to zap our memories sometimes, that’s where the internet (blogging/social media) lends a hand.

Let us now travel back a year to see what I was blogging about in August of 2014. Here are 6 of my favorite posts…

  1. My Wife Wins Again, Our Baby Throws Food, and More Banana Fun Facts #5 – She always wins, and other dads even agreed with this one thing when you have a house of girls. Avery has changed a lot, but she still throws her food every now and then.

    Goodbye, broccoli!!
    Goodbye, broccoli!!
  2. Uh Oh, Our Baby’s First Cold! – We waived her coughs off as no big deal, but then it happened….sickness! Luckily, it ended with this…DSC_1265
  3. Learning to Walk: Is It Wrong to Place Bets On Your Baby? – The funny thing is, I would’ve totally lost all bets since she didn’t start walking until around 3 months later!

    Walker in training.
    Walker in training.
  4. How My Daughter Is Saving My Life – Stress, it had built up for years before Avery, and although having kids is no walk in the park (unless, that is, you’re walking with them in the park), it’s a different kind of stress. I write about that here.

    Daughter vs Dishes....hmm, easy choice!!
    Daughter vs Dishes….hmm, easy choice!!
  5. Free Food And Booze Plus A Flat Tire: Our 7th Wedding Anniversary Recap – How could I not relive this experience as we celebrating moving beyond the itchy phase of marriage?RC and Kelley_Night Out_Splash Pad
  6. Having A Daughter: Learning to Conquer The Fear of Fatherhood – I proudly got this published on The Huffington Post, and hold the words near and dear to my dad heart.DSC_1903

August was a big month last year and it turned out to be a big month this year as well. Maybe I’ll share some of the posts again when August 2016 rolls around. No rush though! Year hear that, time? Easy does it now….

Hope everyone’s week is going well. Going Mom comes back home tomorrow!!! Yay!!!!