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My Honest Thoughts on Hillbilly Elegy

Welcome to my weekly Book-ish post where I share what I’ve been reading and watching recently. If you missed it, you can see my Reading Goals for 2018 and 44 Books I Plan to Read This Year

(Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and we will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking through our links. Read our disclosure policy here.)

I’ve seen Hillbilly Elegy mentioned over and over again by various different people online and in podcasts. I didn’t plan to read it because the premise didn’t really interest me that much.

But then I saw that it happened to be available on the Libby app, so I went ahead and put a hold on it just because so many people had recommended it.

I started listening to it and almost didn’t continue because there was so much language in it (seriously! Do not listen to this with kids around — there are a LOT of curse words!)

Here’s the part of the premise of the book from the back cover:

From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class through the author’s own story of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town.

Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of poor, white Americans. The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for over forty years, has been reported with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. In Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hanging around your neck.

I thought the book was surprising, pretty fair and balanced (I expected the author to lean strongly to one side of the political aisle or the other — and that the book would be more politically charged as a result), and a very insightful look into how our upbringing can affect our life trajectory in such a powerful way.

While I wish there weren’t so much crass language and cussing in the book (though I think it’s likely just the author being truthful and honest to how his family actually talked), I think the book is worth reading — if you can stomach all of the f-bombs in it.

I would be curious to hear from other people who were raised in this same region and social class — to know their perspective on the things he shares. It’s the type of book I’d love to read with a Book Club because I found it caused me to have so many thought and questions and things I wanted to discuss with others who had read it.

Have you read it? If so, I’d love to hear what you thought — whether you liked it or totally disliked it.

When I Find Time to Read

People are always asking me how I find time to read. Honestly, it’s because I love to read, because I’ve chosen to prioritize it, because I don’t have a lot of other hobbies, and because I can’t not read. Also, when you love something, you usually can find ways to get creative to find time to fit it in — even if it’s in the little nooks and crannies of life.

I wrote a post on 3 ways to find more time to read — even when life is busy. And here are 7 more ways to find time to read.

What did you read and watch this past week? Any books or movies or shows you really think I need to read or watch?

An amazing deal on eggs, Oreo Cheesecakes, and a road trip to Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana

Welcome to my weekly post I share a peek into our lives, talk about things I’m loving, share links to interesting articles or helpful ideas I’ve collected throughout the past week, and just talk about whatever is on my heart! 🙂

This post contains affiliate links and we may be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking through our links. Read our disclosure policy here.

I got the best deal on eggs I think I’ve ever gotten this week. Check out the details here.

Speaking of saving, I was also excited this week because I earned 436 points on Fetch Rewards for my second shopping trip! If you haven’t signed up for Fetch Rewards yet, I highly recommend signing up and scanning your receipts. It’s such an easy-peasy way to earn free gift cards!

(Want more details on Fetch Rewards and how it works? Read this post on How I Earned $5 in Free Gift Cards in 3 Weeks — just for scanning my grocery receipts.)

Since Kaitlynn was off school this week, she had fun doing a number of different crafts and also tried her hand at making Oreo Cheesecakes.

She brought the finished cheesecakes down to me while I was working one day.

They were yummy!

On Tuesday night, Silas had a baseball game and got to play pitcher position most of the game!

We had planned to leave on Tuesday and to go to Florida and New Orleans… but then the hurricane hit and Kathrynne had a lot going on at school and didn’t want to miss any days (her Fall Break was only for Friday through Monday whereas Kaitlynn and Silas got this whole past week off), so we moved the road trip to just be Thursday night through Sunday night.

It wasn’t the week-long trip I had hoped for, but I decided to just be grateful for what we could make happen and to try to make the most of it!

As some of you know, we have a big bucket list goal of traveling to all 50 US states and all 7 continents with our kids by the time Kathrynne turns 18, so we got to cross a few more US States We Haven’t Visited Yet off our list with this trip — yay!

BIRMINGHAM, AL: The Birmingham Civil Rights Museum was sobering… and we have had many good discussions as a result of our time there and at 16th Street Baptist Church. (Note: We thought the museum was over-priced, but I think the $$ goes to the Civil Rights Institute.)

Have any of you been to the Jackson, MS or Memphis, TN Civil Rights Museums and this one? I would love to know how they compare.

The Botanical Gardens were incredible — and we still can’t believe that they are free. We took so many fun pictures together and laughed so hard while trying to get good shots. (We enjoyed our time there so much and would highly recommend it… so much so that I’ll likely do a separate post dedicated to more details on it.)

Saw’s Soul Kitchen was a hopping place (thanks to the follower who recommended it!) and the food was unique and yummy!

WEST MONROE, LA: We finally made it to the Duck Commander headquarters — something Jesse and Silas had been hoping to make happen for a few YEARS.

We did the Duck Commander Tour (we got our tickets on Groupon) and it was interesting to get to hear the backstory to the Robertson family. If you are big fans of the Robertson’s and their TV show, Duck Dynasty, you will likely enjoy this tour.

Personally, I thought it was overpriced, but Jesse really enjoyed it! 🙂

We got to make our own Duck Calls.

And then the kids went outside and tried them out with the little duck pool they have (I’m sure these poor ducks have to endure hearing a LOT of duck calls!)

We also stopped by Miss Kay’s… but were sad to discover that it was too late in the day and had already closed.

The Realities of Traveling as a Family…

While you see lots of smiles in these photos above, I want to be honest and tell you that traveling isn’t always roses and rainbows. Take Saturday morning, for instance: We had driven to Jackson, MS, the night before and had gotten in late only to discover that the fully booked hotel we were supposed to stay in had put us in a smoking room that smelled so pungent we couldn’t even walk into it.

(Silas and I have asthma and can’t be around secondhand smoke, so we spent a long time waiting for them to find a new room for us… Three cheers for the incredibly gracious staff at this hotel!)

We were so grateful to finally crash into bed around midnight. But then, my head cold got a lot worse in the night and I spent much of the night awake and completely miserable.

I didn’t want to get up in the morning because of my pounding head… but I also didn’t want to miss out on this family road trip. So I pulled myself out of bed and went to workout — only to come back to the room to discover that two of the kids had woken up with terrible attitudes.

There was arguing and fighting. There was complaining. (“We don’t want to be on this trip! We just wish we could be HOME!”)

And then traffic was really bad because of Homecoming and we couldn’t find any parking (people were parked on the sidewalk and in the turn lanes on the street!!), so we gave up on doing anything in Jackson and drove to West Monroe.

I wondered if we made a mistake in working so hard to make this road trip happen (we had to rearrange a lot of things because our initial road trip plans fell through due to the hurricane and Kathrynne’s school schedule).

But by some miracle, the day ended well. Jesse got me some meds (I felt like a new woman!), the kids’ attitudes turned around, we had a fun time at Duck Commander, and the kids wanted to pose for this photo above and willingly smiled!

Traveling as a family always has its rough patches and sometimes we wonder if it’s really worth it, but then we end the day with practicing ball room dancing in the hotel room, laughing over silly things, and piled together watching Monsters University… and Jesse and I remember why we prioritize this.

From My Heart…

I’m a world class fixer. Give me a problem and I will move heaven and earth to find a solution for you.

While this can be a great skill when it comes to running a business, it’s not a great skill when it comes to friendship.

Because relationships aren’t projects. People want to be seen and heard and loved — not added to your to-do list as something needing to be fixed.

I’m writing this more to myself than anything… because I desperately need the reminder. If you share your struggles with me, I can immediately jump into fix-it mode. I want to give you a website to check out, a book to read, and the next three simple steps you need to take.

In fact, just a few days ago, a friend who is going through a hard time texted me and said, “I don’t want counsel; I just want to share what I’m feeling.”

Ouch. That stepped all over my toes in a powerful way.

People are not problems to be solved; they are human beings to love.

Yes, sometimes loving well looks like helping to tangibly provide solutions. But many times, it means just listening and providing an empathetic ear, a shoulder to cry on, and a safe place to confide in… all without any long-term agenda or plan for anything other than to love generously and well.

Let’s stop fixing and start extravagantly loving. I think it will probably be a lot more effective! Who’s with me? ❤️

Graphic made by my 11-year-old, Kaitlynn. Quote from @jessicahonegger

2018 Goals Update

Personal Goals

1. Read 100 non-self-help books that will build me up/encourage me/inspire me/recharge me. (Fiction/story driven/biographies /inspirational living books/devotionals.) See the list of 44 books I plan to read this year.

**Progress: 65 books read so far this year

2. Read through the entire Bible.

**Progress: I’m using the Robert Murray M’Cheyne plan and am all caught up— yay!

3. Write one handwritten note to someone every week.

**Progress: 39 notes written so far this year

4. Run 500 miles.

**Progress: 385 miles run so far

Marriage Goal

5. Go on an overnight trip with Jesse without the kids.Jesse and I went to NYC together in January.

Family Goals

6. Read 10 books aloud with the kids.

**Progress: We’ve finished three books so far.

7. Take the kids to South Africa. We took this trip in July. What a memorable experience!

8. Go on a family road trip.While we didn’t get to go on as long of a road trip as we wanted to, we made the most of our Fall Break Road Trip to LA, MS, and AL (and checked off a few more states from our States We Haven’t Visited Yet list!)

Financial Goals

9. Save up to pay cash to finish off an office for me and workout room for Jesse and me in the basement in our new house.

**Progress: The workout room is DONE and the office is almost done!

10. Replenish our Emergency Fund (we dipped into it to replace my car when it got totaled because of the carpet beetle infestation.)

**Progress: We’re halfway to having this fully funded. We are hoping to finish this out before the end of the year — we’ll see!

Business Goals

11. Increase our gross income from the business by 8%.

12. Launch 5 new courses.

**Progress: We launched 4 Weeks to a More Productive Life launched in January, Content Creation 101 in February, 4-Week Blog Coaching Program in March, Email List Setup 101 in March, Make Over Your Mornings LIVE in April, the Facebook Live Masterclass in May, and we launched Build Your List 101 in June!

Brigette’s $69 Grocery Shopping Trip and Weekly Menu Plan for 6


Aldi

1 12-pk Belle Vie Grapefruit Sparkling Water – $2.39

1 gallon Whole Milk – $1.35

2 64-oz cartons Orange Juice – $3.38

1 box Honey Nut Oats – $1.15

1 large jar Unsweetened Applesauce – $1.89

1 10-lb bag Russet Potatoes – $3.49

1 6-pk Strawberry Applesauce Cups – $1.15

1 pkg Zucchini – $1.45

1 large tub Organic Spring Mix – $3.99

1 pkg Romaine Hearts – $1.79

1 3-pk Multi-Colored Peppers – $2.49

1 16-oz bag Mini Cucumbers – $1.69

1 Cauliflower – $1.79

1 pkg Broccoli Crowns – $1.19

2 pkgs Baby Carrots – $1.58

2 3-lb bags Gala Apples – $3.38

1 3-lb bag Pink Lady – $3.59

1 bag Red Grapes – $0.02 (these were on sale for $0.79/lb – according to my receipt, I bought 0.02lbs of grapes – obviously incorrect! But I didn’t catch this until reading my receipt just now)

4 dozen Eggs – $4.52

1 12-oz pkg Cheese Sticks – $1.99

2 16-oz pkgs Shredded Cheddar Cheese – $4.30

1 16-oz pkg Deli Sliced Ham – $2.99

2 1-lb boxes Butter – $3.98

1 3-lb bag Frozen Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts – $5.39

2 single-serving cups Greek Yogurt – $1.18

1 32-oz carton Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt – $3.29

1 pkg Plain Rice Cakes – $1.15

1 pkg Hamburger Buns – $0.65

1 pkg Hawaiian Sweet Rolls – $1.79

Grocery Total for the Week: $69.02

Weekly Menu Plan

I’ll be out-of-town with my children for part of the week – in KS for my youngest sister’s wedding!! – so I didn’t plan a full week’s worth of meals. 🙂

Breakfasts

Everyone is responsible for making/cleaning up their own breakfasts. Choices include:

Oatmeal, Cereal, Fruit, Scrambled/Boiled/Fried Eggs, Veggie Omelets, Yogurt, Fruit

Lunches

Grilled Ham/Cheese Sandwiches, Grapes, Carrots x 2

Baked Potatoes with Broccoli and Cheese, Apples x 2

Rice Cakes with Peanut Butter, Applesauce, Cucumbers

Leftovers

Dinners

Out to Dinner – Cracker Barrel with Friends

Pizza Casserole (Recipe from “Trim Healthy Table” Cookbook; This was on the menu for last week, but I didn’t end up making it as we ate leftovers for one more meal than I had planned for)

Hamburgers on the Grill, Grilled Cauliflower, Cheesy Hashbrown Potatoes, Tossed Salad

Lentil Soup, Buttery Cornbread, Apples

Build-Your-Own-Burrito (Seasoned Ground Venison, Shredded Lettuce, Salsa, Plain Greek Yogurt, Shredded Cheese, Homemade Tortillas), Steamed Carrots

Leftovers

We Spent $56.49 on Groceries This Week (+ here’s what we ate)

I’m currently challenging myself to stick with a $70 grocery budget for our family of five. This includes almost all of our breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners + most household products (toiletries, laundry soap, etc.).

For live updates, be sure to follow my Instagram Stories. See all posts on my $70 Grocery Budget here.

Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and we will be compensated if you click through and sign up. Read our disclosure policy here.

I got back from my girls’ beach trip on Sunday night and we left last night (Thursday night) for a family road trip to AL, MS, and LA. We are staying at hotels that offer free breakfast and then we brought much of our food and snacks, so we don’t plan to spend that much extra on food on this trip.

However, we’re under-budget again this week, so I’m using the extra $39 we had in grocery money last week to cover an extra dinner out for our road trip.

Note: When you see the groceries and meals below, please remember this: I buy ahead often. Which means that when I find a great deal on something I know we’ll use, I buy as much as I can afford in our budget to have on hand.

This means that you aren’t going to see all of the groceries in these shopping trips that I used to make all of the meals we ate. And  it also means we didn’t use all of these groceries up this week — because some of them will be saved for later weeks!

Please also remember that I’m putting this out there and it’s not a perfectly balanced menu. This is just really what we ate — and I hope that it encourages you to see the real-ness and lack of perfection here. 🙂

Kroger Shopping Trip #1

Kroger Shopping Trip #2

  • 5 dozen Simple Truth Eggs — marked down to $0.49 per dozen
  • 2 bags of cinnamon/raisin bagels — marked down to $1.49 each
  • 3 Simple Truth yogurts — marked down to $0.49 each
  • Oui Yogurts — marked down to $1.19 each, used $0.30/1 Kroger digital coupon
  • Artisan Lettuce — marked down to $1.49
  • 2 bags of grapefruit/oranges — marked down to $0.99 each
  • 1 bag of apples — marked down to $0.99
  • Stayfree pads — $1.79 when you buy 5 participating products, used $1/1 Kroger digital coupon, got $0.50 back from iBotta rebate = $0.39
  • 4 Suave Shampoo/Conditioner — $1.99 each when you buy 5 participating products, used $3/2 Kroger digital coupon + $1/1 coupon that Kroger had sent to me (I should have just bought 3 bottles — for some reason, I got mixed up and thought it was a $1/2 coupon… oh well!) = $0.99 each
  • 2 Speedstick deodorant — $0.99 each when you buy 5 participating products
  • 2 Gillette Shave Gel — $0.99 each when you buy 5 participating products
  • Colgate toothpaste — $1.99 when you buy 5 participating products
  • 2 Suave Kids’ Body Wash — $0.99 each when you buy 5 participating items
  • 2 Huggies Baby Wipes — $0.99 each when you buy 5 participating items, used $0.50/2 Kroger digital coupon = $0.74 each after coupon
  • 2 Honey Nut Cheerios — $1.79 each when you buy 5 participating items, used $1/2 Kroger digital coupon = $1.29 each after coupon
  • 4 packages of Goldfish — $0.99 each when you 5 participating items
  • 8 boxes of Quaker Granola bars — $0.99 each when you buy 5 participating items
  • 2 packages of Oscar Mayer lunch meat — $2.79 each when you buy 5 participating items
  • Used $10/$40 coupon that Kroger mailed to me recently (make sure you always have your address correct on the Kroger site — they often mail out great coupons!
  • Total with tax: $39.84

The best deal of the week by far (at least to me!) was the Simple Truth Cage-Free Eggs for $0.49!!!!! I have never seen cage free eggs this inexpensive and was so excited for this deal!

Since we already had 4 dozen eggs from recent deals, I shared two dozen with a friend and we plan to have lots of scrambled eggs, fried eggs, and hard boiled eggs over the next 2-3 weeks.

I don’t usually freeze eggs, because we can easily eat through 3 dozen in a week, but I will be making French Toast or Egg Casserole if we really need to use them up and aren’t seeming to eat through them quickly enough. I never have had any issue keeping eggs in the fridge for 2-3 weeks past their sell by date, so I’m not too worried about us being able to use them before they go bad.

I was also excited because I earned 436 points on Fetch Rewards for my second shopping trip! If you haven’t signed up for Fetch Rewards yet, I highly recommend signing up and scanning your receipts. It’s such an easy-peasy way to earn free gift cards!

(Want more details on Fetch Rewards and how it works? Read this post on How I Earned $5 in Free Gift Cards in 3 Weeks — just for scanning my grocery receipts.)

What I Spent This Week

Total spent: $56.49

Cashback Earned This Week: 461 points from Fetch Rewards for scanning my receipts + I earned $0.60 back from iBotta for scanning my receipt and purchasing Stayfree.

What We Ate This Week

Breakfasts:

  • Cereal, Oatmeal, Scrambled Eggs, Banana Bread with Peanut Butter (Everyone is on their own for breakfast!)

Lunches:

  • Hard Boiled Eggs, Avocados, Salad, Grapefruit, Cottage Cheese, Lunch out with a friend (she insisted that she pay for my lunch!), Apples, Pumpkin Waffles (Jesse & Me)
  • Turkey Sandwiches, Fruit, Veggies, Banana Bread, Granola Bars, Yogurt, Cookies, Capri Sun (For the kids — They are in charge of their own lunches.)

Snacks:

  • Banana Bread, Oreo Cheesecake (that Kaitlynn made), Yogurt, Cottage Cheese, Fruit/Veggies, Cookies, Hard Boiled Eggs, Turmeric Milk

Dinners:

  • Saturday: Jesse and the kids went over to our friends’ house for dinner since I was gone
  • Sunday: Leftovers/Fend For Yourself
  • Monday: Sausage/Peppers/Onions in the Crockpot
  • Tuesday: Fend For Yourself (Silas had a baseball game) — The kids had cereal, I had a muffin, egg, and apple, Jesse can’t remember what he ate!
  • Wednesday: Pumpkin Pancakes (recipe coming this next week on the blog — these were a hit!)
  • Thursday: Lasagna Casserole (from the freezer) Salad
  • Friday: Dinner Out

Gretchen’s $63 Grocery Shopping Trip and Menu Plan

Aldi

I have put off going grocery shopping for almost a week now and was starting to have to get super creative in what we were eating. I finally made it to the store though and stocked up on lots of staples!

2 pkg Frozen Broccoli – $1.19 each

2 dozen Eggs – $0.58 each

1 pkg Frozen Chicken – $5.99

1 pkg Frozen Peas – $0.95

2 jars Spaghetti Sauce – $1.49 each

1 Unsweetened Applesauce – $1.89

1 can Pineapple Chunks – $0.95

1 pkg Granola Bars – $1.59 (I bought this before seeing the sale at Dillons…oh well!)

1 gallon Milk – $1.78

1 pkg Roma Tomatoes – $0.99

2 Half & Half – $1.79 each

1 pkg Baby Carrots – $0.99

1 loaf Bread – $1.49

1 pkg English Muffins – $0.99

Total: $27.71

Dillons

1 Nabisco Ritz Crackers – $1.49

2 Cascadian Farms Cereal – $1.99 each, used $1/2 e-coupon and $1/2 SavingStar.com rebate – $0.99 each after coupon and rebate

1 Private Selection Ice Cream – $1.99

2 Sargento Shredded Cheese – $1.99 each

1 Trolli Candy – $0.50

4 Black Forest Gummy Bears – $0.50

1 Kroger Turkey Breast Tub – $2.49

1 pkg Danimal Smoothies – $1.49

3 Quaker Granola Bars – $0.99 each

1 bag Kroger Corn Chips – $1.25

1 pkg BumbleBee Tuna – $1, used Free e-coupon (no longer available) – Free after coupon

2 cans Bush’s Chili Beans – $1 each, used $1/2 e-coupon – $0.50 each after coupon

1 can Simple Truth Beans – $1

1 Green Leaf Lettuce – $1.29

1 lb Ground Beef – $3.99

1 pkg Cream Cheese – $1.19

1 pkg Kroger Cheese – $2.19

1 can Kroger Diced Tomatoes – $0.49

1 pkg Butter – $2.99

2 Kraft Salad Dressings – $0.99 each

2 Cucumbers – $0.89 each (Aldi was out of cucumbers so I had to get them at Dillons.)

Redeemed $0.25/1 Ibotta rebate AND earned 234 Fetch Reward Point (like $2.34)

Total after coupons and rebates: $35.45

Total for both stores: $63.16

Menu Plan for This Week

Breakfasts

Cereal, Toasted English Muffins, Eggs, Banana Muffins (Using bananas from the freezer)

Lunches

Turkey Sandwiches, Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches, Turkey/Cheese/Crackers, Fruits/Veggies, Leftovers, Hard Boiled Eggs

Dinners

Chili, Biscuits, Sliced Apples

French Toast (using old bread from the freezer), Eggs

Spaghetti, Homemade Bread, Steamed Peas

Chicken Noodle Casserole, Steamed Broccoli, Banana Muffins

Hawaiian Haystacks

Homemade Cheese Pizza, Breadsticks, Tossed Salad

Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili, Corn Chips, Carrot Sticks

A Beginner’s Guide to Your First Tough Mudder (and how to do it for FREE!)

Thinking of doing a Tough Mudder? Here are tips and tricks I’ve learned from doing three different Tough Mudders in the last few years…

1. Embrace the Mud

My very first Tough Mudder was scary. I wondered if I would make it to the finish line. Could I really do a 10-mile, 23-obstacle mud run?

I worried that it would be too hard. I was scared I should have trained for it (I signed up on a whim a few weeks before). And I was worried that I would hate the mud.

You see, I hate mud. I hate the un-showered feeling. In fact, I have to shower and shave my legs every day to feel human and sane.

So I wondered if I had lost my mind to be signing up for something where the whole entire event was about walking and crawling and “swimming” in mud.

But I completely surprised myself by not really being bothered by it at all. In fact, after the first obstacle on that 10-mile obstacle run — one where you ended up covered in mud (see below), I just went with — and it was a blast!

Yes, I definitely was happy to take a shower when I got home and yes, it took multiple showers before I was finally mud-free, but I didn’t mind the mud at all during the event. And during my next two Tough Mudders, I actually welcomed it. Bring on the mud!

Note: You will get very, very muddy. It’s inevitable. Be prepared for mud to be in every orifice of your body — and for it to take a few showers and multiple hair washings to get it all scrubbed off!

2. Ask for Help

The Tough Mudder was specifically designed to be a team event. I can’t imagine doing it on my own or by myself. In fact, some of the obstacles cannot be completed on your own; the only way to get through them (or climb up or over them!) is to have help!

Willingly accept help. Don’t try to go it alone or be a macho. Accept that outstretched hand or the person offering to give you a boost so you can climb the high wall. That’s part of the experience — and I think it’s one of the best parts.

Tip: If you’re planning to do a Tough Mudder, find at least another friend to do it with you. It makes for such an amazing memory to share together AND you’ll never have to worry about being left to try to tackle an obstacle on your own. We just recently finished doing a Tough Mudder with two other couples we are close friends with. It was such a fun adventure — and it deepened our relationship to do it together!

3. Wear the Right Clothes & Gear

One of the best ways to improve your experience at the Tough Mudder is to wear the right clothes and gear. It could mean the difference of you being miserable or actually loving it!

Here are some things I would suggest:

Wear fitted spandex clothing. Don’t wear anything that is bulky and could easily get caught in barbed wire (which there will be quite a lot of that you’ll need to crawl under. Ladies, I recommend wearing spandex capris to protect your legs better as you are crawling under and over things.

Wear fingerless gloves. You are going to be using your hands a lot to grip things and gloves will make that easier, plus they will prevent your hands from getting scratched and scraped. I always use fingerless weight-lifting type gloves.

Bring sunglasses. If it’s sunny, you will be glad that you did. You can set them on the side of any obstacle that involves potentially dropping into water.

Wear shoes that are fairly tight on you. Your shoes will get soaked and you will be walking through waist deep mud and water. If you wear shoes that are loose, you’ll have a hard time keeping them on.

Wear sunscreen. Even if you don’t think it’s going to be sunny, you’re going to be outside for at least 4 hours at this even and the last you want to do is come home muddy and sunburned!

Wear a hair band. If you have longer or thick hair, a hair band can be a lifesaver so that you don’t have muddy, wet hair in your face. At the end of the race, you get a finisher’s head band and these work well for your next Tough Mudder!

Use shoe wraps. You will likely get a lot of little pebbles and rocks in your shoes without shoe wraps/gaitors. We got ours on Amazon (see above photo) and love them!

Don’t bring anything else. You are going to be traipsing through all sorts of mud and water and crazy obstacles… leave your phone or valuables or anything else you don’t absolutely need behind (they offer a bag check, but it costs $10, if I’m remembering correctly). They offer various water and snack stops along the way so you don’t need to bring any food or drink with you.

Tip: Bring a big plastic trash sack, a change of clothes, a change of shoes, and towels for when it’s over with. They have showers where you can shower off, but you’ll want to throw all of your clothes into a trash sack and it’s really nice to have towels dry off at the end!

4. Have a Blast!

Seriously! The more you are ALL IN for the event, the more fun it will be! Do your best. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t complete an obstacle (you can skip any obstacle you don’t feel comfortable doing) and go out and have fun!

You will challenge yourself. You will likely stretch yourself. And you will probably realize that you are a lot stronger than you thought.

Also, you just might fall in love with Tough Mudders and surprise yourself — just like I did!

How to Do a Tough Mudder for FREE (or at a discount!)

While the price of a Tough Mudder is quite expensive (you’ll pay $99+ for a ticket + $20 for parking at the event), there are a few ways to cut down on the costs — and even get in for FREE!

  1. Volunteer — If you volunteer at the event for half a day, you’ll get 80% off the ticket price. If you volunteer for a full day, you’ll get in completely free. You may still need to pay for parking on the day you participate in the event.
  2. Find a Deal on Groupon — We found a deal this time around on Groupon and were able to save a significant amount off the ticket price by doing so! Check Groupon for your area to see if they are offering this — it showed up a few months before the Tough Mudder event.

Note: This post is in no way, shape, or form sponsored by Tough Mudder. Though if they wanted to sponsor me in some way, I certainly wouldn’t have a problem with that! 😉

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