Google Nexus 7 Review + a Giveaway (it’s not a tablet, sorry)

[dislcaimer – sponsored post. FTC says I have to put this here. There’s a giveaway at the bottom, though. You decide whether it’s worth your time or not to continue on.]

Over the summer when I was revamping my life and being all super high on my break up with corporate America, I redid our at-home “office” (spare bedroom) so I’d have a more stable place to work. You know, like, when you’re there it’s time to get serious and get shit done. Anyway, I shared the before and after with you, which was mostly just rearranging furniture and throwing away a bunch of random crap (hi first college apartment rental agreement! why do I still have you?). I knocked out my shopping list almost completely at Ikea, Target, and Homegoods, and managed not to get thrown in joint-finance budget jail in the process.

from the budget office makeover post

By some twist of sweet-baby karmic fate, somebody from Staples read my post, and was all, “Hey, you had a Google Nexus 7 on your shopping list. They’re awesome. You should definitely have one.” Of course I screened their IP to make sure they weren’t from Punk’d or a troll board messing with me before agreeing, because hello, safety first and the internet is weird. Luckily the oual background check cleared, I put my cynical paranoia away for a bit, and they sent me one. It was probably the proudest day of my little internet life.

google nexus 7

shiny new 7” Google Nexus7 – and an easy button.

I had actually gone into a Staples the week earlier killing time before a doctors appointment to play with their tablet display models. I knew I was going to start being on the road more and needed something to work on that was easy to transport (read: wouldn’t take up too much precious real estate in my carry-on) and that I wouldn’t shit my pants die if I lost or broke. I didn’t need any fancy bells or whistles or anything – just some email, word processing, spreadsheet-geeking, and photo editing. I’m a woman of simple demands… Most of the time.

Anyway, the Nexus 7 fit all those bills. Plus I’ll trust anything with the G-stamp on it – I’m pretty sure Google will be running the world (shortly after amazon’s drones start delivering all our shit) so might as well get on board now.

As much as having the 7” screen has been convenient and wonderful and refreshing for my strained eyeballs, I’ve decided flip-flopping between iOS on my phone and Android is like one of those brain exercises they suggest you do to keep your noggin from turning to mush, which I really like. Drive home a different way, learn a musical instrument, simultaneously operate two different mobile device platforms… It’s good for you.*

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sidenote: new ‘do debut!

*untested science

Originally I swore this would be my “business” only tablet. I only downloaded the apps I’d use “professionally”, and would use my tiny screen iPhone or archaic lug of a laptop for everything else.

That lasted like, 10 days. It was a valiant effort but seemed irresponsible to not use it to its full potential.

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Multitasking – checking twitter with legs-up-the-wall after a tempo run

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Gateway’ing into a gambling problem – I’m down $251 in regular solitaire. Do they have solitaire tables in Vegas?

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bypassing CNN and HuffPo for the kindle app where Kelly Oxford and Tina Fey teach me all I need to know about the world

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technically playing Pandora IN the office follows the business rule. turning the volume up loud enough (the speakers are actually quite good) to hear through the whole house might not be.

A few other points worth noting:

  • Battery life isn’t great, but isn’t awful. I can get a full workday of Pandora’ing and a few chapters of Kindle’ing no problem, but keep the charger cord handy.
  • I purchased a bluetooth keyboard (this one, I think) to use which has been pretty clutch for actual writing. The wireless connection can be spotty resulting in some typing-but-nothing’s-happening nuances, but I suspect that’s an err on the keyboard because it also did it when I paired it to my phone for testing. But yes – keyboard accessory a must if you plan to use a tablet as a laptop replacement.
  • I’m carrying it naked (no case), but did put a screen protector on it. I couldn’t find a case or carrying thing I liked that wasn’t $150 Marc Jacobs from Nordstrom Rack (wtf seriously?), but had an old envelope clutch with a satin liner that actually works perfect.
  • I’ll probably drop and shatter it in the next three hours after confessing that.
  • The design is super sleek and low profile, which makes the power/”wake up” and volume buttons a little hard to locate sometimes.
  • Camera seems pretty good, although I’m 100% more likely to use my phone than pull this big thing out to capture a moment. Plus, surprise selfie-mode is extra frightening on a big 7” screen…

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how many times has this happened to you?

So, I tried to get you guys a Google Nexus 7 of your own but I guess it wasn’t in the cards or I need to work on my negotiation skills or something. BUT! I have a terrific consolation prize…

Staples is giving away a Moleskin notebook of your choice (up to $50) to one lucky Once Upon a Lime reader! It’s like a Non-cyber/Cyber Monday deal! Your reward for making it through this post and having to look at that super fug selfie.

To enter you have to leave a comment telling me one of the following: (one entry per person)

  • 1) an embarrassing story you’d only tell your journal or best friend (or best internetstrangerfriend)
  • 2) something exciting happening in 2014 that will get a big sharpie circle and exclamation points in your planner
  • 3) the title of your yet-to-be-penned autobiography. entry doesn’t count if it’s just your name or something boring. I want “the girl who couldn’t stop dying her hair” or “…and then I OD’d on pickle relish” or “Sarah, forgets she hates candy corn every fall.”

And, because it’s the season of giving,

  • one bonus entry for tweeting or facebooking. Leave a separate comment or else it doesn’t count.

Winner will be drawn randomly Friday 12/6. US residents only, please (sorry int’l pals!) Good luck!

Sarah OUaL

Staples Inc provided me with the tablet for review, and the Moleskin journal for giveaway. All thoughts, opinions, awful photos, and typos are my own.

Ventura Training, wk3–Where the Upside Down Ones Look Best

Another week of no drinking on weekdays, tracking food, (kind of) doing core and strength stuff, and other responsible runner-ness down. Still feeling good sans some extra tight calves and a cranky piriformis; making extra hard, inappropriate love to my grid roller these days. Here’s hoping if the neighbors are peeping in our windows they’re runners too and get it.

  • Sunday – rest, per usual
  • Monday – 6 easy PM miles, strides.
    • A few people have asked about strides – they’re a drill done to tighten up form and sneak a little speed into easy runs, or warm up for a race. Simply, you run close to a sprint for a short duration. I don’t time or measure them, just build speed for 15 steps, maintain for 25 (should be ~85% max speed), then decelerate for 15 steps. 6-10 reps with a short break. – more
  • Tuesday16x400m – 8×4 60sec rest, 3:00 rest, 8×4 60sec. 7 miles total. 60min hard SUP (thought headwind was bad for running – being out a ways from shore with tired arms is a pretty frightening feeling)
  • Wednesday – 35 minute bike ride. Lots of handstand practice, one of my funemployment bucket list “me” goals.


taking my circus show on the road. somewhere.

  • Thursday1-3-2 Tempo. 7:30, 7:29, 7:13
  • Friday – 5 easy on a new route. Drove out to Fountain Valley and took in the frisbee dudes, picnicers, bad golfers, and wedding photo shoot at Mile Square Park. Pretty cool spot.
  • Saturday – 18 mile solo long run. Because no one will run with me when I look like this :


no shame in my bed head, inside-out bra (on purpose – eliminates band chaffing), neon sock hot mess long run game

Spent most of the run relishing the good fortune of overcast, cool, late morning weather. Pinky promise to never forget how lucky we are living in this surreal SoCal bubble, other than during tax season or while driving because one out of ten people know how to operate a damn motor vehicle without putting the entire road in life-threatening danger.

The rest of the 9-out-9-back was entertained by a slightly stale playlist, daydreams of lunch, and a bevy of interesting sights…


No but seriously, Raider Nation, there’s still two months until football season. Cool your effing jets.

Experimenting with fueling – I get legit stomach growling hungry on long runs (um prob bc I never go more than a few hours without eating) so I wanted to try taking “real food” to supplement gels/chews. I broke up a Picky Bar and ate a ~25cal piece each mile from 6-9. Earlier than I’d normally fuel, but since it’s not fast carbs like gels/chews I wanted to give it more time. Not sure on the science of that, but my brain logic says it makes sense. Plus eating something that tastes like brownie bites is much more fun and palatable than nasty goop. As proven when I spent all of mile 14 choking down a cherry chocolate goop trying not to gag.


100 calories Picky Bars miles 6-9, 100 calories Clif gel mile 14, 30 oz Nuun

Still a work in progress – who knows if I’ll be able to take down real food while running race pace or if it’ll somehow retaliate at mile 20+, but isn’t that the fun of trialing? The exciting unknown threats that could totally derail your plans on the big day??!


Here’s your reward for making it to the bottom of another boring training recap post. Camelbak wants to give a Quick Grip handheld like mine to some thirsty summer runner. The smaller 10oz bottle is a nice change from my big old 20oz’er and the pocket fits Picky bites just right.

camelbak quick draw

* To enter just leave a comment telling me what you dream about on a hades hot run. Freeze pop? Ice cream? Frosty mug of crisp pale ale? Jumping naked into a January snow pile? Will pick a winner Wednesday. No bonus entries cuz that shit gets too complicated.

Good luck! I’m off to scrub the dirty footprints off my handstand wall.

Sarah OUaL

HGtv for Runners (a Giveaway)

We’ve moved quite a few times in the last few years. Like, 4x in 4 years, and each time I’m all hell-bent on “making THIS place feel like home!” A massive trip to Ikea ensues, and either the $100+ of knicknacks and tea towels don’t make the immediate transformation I imagined while drunk on Sweedish agoraphobia or I let the projects gather dust for months years before actually letting them do any work.


bedroom wedding collage – bought the frames a week after moving to the place before where we live now

The next few months are always a blur of aimless ventures to TJ Homegoods and World Market, and lofty plans to “go thrifting” (which I’ve never actually done) to finish the homey mission. And before I know it we’re packing again and the place looks just like it did when we moved in.

In an effort to reign in some unnecessary stress in the throw pillow aisle, this time we moved – ahem, 9 months ago – I coined a “theme” to each room. This is undoubtedly not a breakthrough method to interior decorating, but I admittedly am not much of an HGtv’er and probably carry more Y chromosomes than your typical froufrou female.

I’ve been wanting to make a change to the guest room/office for a while, and knew running needed a little more of a shoutout than it was getting. But with limited space and a pretty adamant case against clutter and lots of color, I wanted something other than your traditional medal hanger or shadow box collage.

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race clutter currently haunting my dreams from two rooms over. I’m the messiest clutter-hater in all the land.

When I found RACER frames I knew they’d be perfect for what I was looking for – simple yet interesting design, easy to swap/update with new “BEST RACE EVERRRR” memories, and no-husband-required mounting.



better quality B&W prints are in the mail to swap out, but it’s pretty sweet if I do say so myself.

Maybe you want/need to do some redecorating yourself? Let your Runnerd Design Star shine? Finally do something with that stack of bibs you swore you’d do something with a year ago?

Let me help.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Option 1 : Enter to win my giveaway for one RACER Wall Frame

(one entry for each – MUST leave a separate comments to count)

  • Comment with your favorite race/memory that you’ll feature in your frame. (mandatory) 
  • Tweet (optional)- must include me (@SarahOUaL) and #artofracing (remember not to lead off with an @ – otherwise your followers won’t see unless they follow that person as well!)
  • Facebook (optional)- tag RACER (+myracer)

Option 2 : Use code “ARTOFRACING” for 25% off your entire RACER order at checkout


Option 2 BONUS : Every order placed using the “artofracing” code will be entered into a drawing for a FREE RACE ENTRY of the winner’s choice! (up to $200 value)


So there you go. A chance for a free wall frame, a killer discount code, and a drawing for a free race of your choice. Saddle up – race season is among us!

Sarah OUaL

Winner of the frame will be chosen at random on Friday 3/8 at noon PST. Discount code good through 3/15. Free race winner will be announced 3/22.