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Neither Cold, Nor Rain, Nor Windy Day Will Stop This Runner

Figuring out the right layers for a run in cold weather is no joke. Obviously, the below is not really an option (even if it would feel nice and cozy immediately upon stepping outside). via GIPHY It can be quite tempting to just suck it up and go out underdressed with the hope that you’ll […]


Figuring out the right layers for a run in cold weather is no joke. Obviously, the below is not really an option (even if it would feel nice and cozy immediately upon stepping outside).

via GIPHY

It can be quite tempting to just suck it up and go out underdressed with the hope that you’ll warm up quickly.

via GIPHY

Of course, in that case you run the risk of spending most, if not all, of your run wet and/or cold. And miserable. Which might mean you cut your run short — and none of us want to do that!

The latest jacket Brooks Running (and as always, although we’re brand ambassadors and affiliates, any opinions here are straight up our own!) sent my way — the Hideout Jacket ($150) has loads of clever features designed to protect runners from wind and rain without adding weight or bulk.

What are those features, you ask? We’re talking DriLayer Seal breathable, critically taped, highly water and wind-resistant protection, and a full-length zipper with chin guard. It also has an adjustable cinch cord at the hem and a hood that’s easy to snap down when not in use, along with safety features like front and back reflectivity and UPF 40.

The aspect of this jacket I dig the most is the fact that it’s thin and lightweight. And this is a totally selfish observation, but hear me out. It’s not often cold enough to do a long run in a jacket here in Florida, as I mentioned in our last review. However, I do sometimes wear one to start, so a jacket with this kind of protection that’s still light enough to be tied around my waist if necessary is fantastic. And I’m looking forward to traveling with it. Next month, I’ll be hiking and running a wide variety of trails in Hawaii, ranging from sea level rainforests to the Haleakala summit, where temps might be as low as in the 30s. You know my Hideout will be tucked into a small pocket of my pack!

I have not yet had a chance to really test it out in cold weather yet (on account of the fact that Florida hasn’t quite gotten the memo that it’s nearly winter), but I did wear it prior to a race on what passed as a chilly morning for us (around 60 degrees), and I was toasty warm. I’ll be curious to see what some of our fellow Brooks bloggers who live in colder climates have to say!

What’s your biggest struggle when it comes to properly outfitting yourself for a run? When it’s hot, I just go with as little clothing as I can get away with, but when it’s cold — especially when it’s windy? I’m just like, give me all the clothes and I will drop them in piles along the route. It’s … not my strong suit. Kristen



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We Tried a Bunch of CALIA by Carrie Underwood Apparel — Here’s What We Thought

Y’all know Carrie Underwood, right? via GIPHY And you know how she has a workout apparel line: CALIA by Carrie Underwood? Well, her company sent Kristen and me a few pieces to try. And here are our thoughts after putting them to the sweaty test. Women’s Inner Power Crossback Sports Bra ($42) This is a […]


Y’all know Carrie Underwood, right?

via GIPHY

And you know how she has a workout apparel line: CALIA by Carrie Underwood? Well, her company sent Kristen and me a few pieces to try. And here are our thoughts after putting them to the sweaty test.

Women’s Inner Power Crossback Sports Bra ($42)

This is a pretty good moderately supportive sports bra for the price. The fabric is smooth, so it’s comfy and there’s a foam liner that helps with coverage and support. Great for medium-impact activities and ideal for C cups or smaller, the back design is really fun — and the fabric has moisture-wicking and antimicrobial properties for freshness. —Jenn

Women’s Four Strand Braided Headband ($12)

I had high hopes. It’s thick enough to look cool and funky and has a bit of grippy material on the backside to hold it in place. y first workout went well, but … during my second workout with it, however, it started to slip, and halfway through it was on the floor. It should be noted that this has been the case with every thick headband I’ve ever tried, so it was a valiant effort that I’m sure would work for people who don’t have a head shape that refuses to play nicely with cute headbands. —Kristen

Women’s Essential Crossover Fitted Capris ($60)

There are a million different kinds of workout capris out there — and the bar is set high when it comes to quality. And for the price, these are pretty much exactly what you pay for. They’re not quite as soft or luxurious feeling as say, a pair of Brooks or Athleta, BUT they, like, hold up way better than something you can pick up from Target. The length is flattering, they have a cool crossover hem that’s unique, and they have a flat seam that stays put so that you can focus on your workout — and not adjusting your pants. —Jenn

Wide Brim Floppy Hat ($30)

Love it, although the shape is quite different than what’s on the site — mine is much floppier. Obviously, it’s not a workout accessory, but I love having stylish hats available to throw on when I’m meeting friends and have little time to get ready post-workout, and this is definitely a fit for that. It’s great with a side braid or messy hair down. (Probably would also be great with non-messy hair down, but that’s not really my reality, so … ) —Kristen

Women’s Support Strap Back Double Layer Tank Top ($55) & Women’s Flow Loop Back Logo Graphic Tank Top ($35)

Both of these tops are winners. The one on the left is almost dressy with some structure to it and is great for a yoga or barre class or — let’s be honest — brunch (anything where you’re not getting too sweaty) and the top on the right is flowy, soft and more relaxed. I love wearing the graphic tank when lifting weights or walking — it’s got just the right mix of function and girliness. —Jenn

Have you tried any pieces from the CALIA by Carrie Underwood line? What did you think? —Jenn & Kristen



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3 Fresh Running Finds We’ve Fallen in Love With

Three fresh running finds we’ve “fallen” in love with. See what we did there? via GIPHY Yeah, it’s fall. And we love it. via GIPHY Especially for running. And here are three new pieces we’ve tried from Brooks Running (remember: we’re an ambassador, so we got to try these on the Brooks house although all […]


Three fresh running finds we’ve “fallen” in love with. See what we did there?

via GIPHY

Yeah, it’s fall. And we love it.

via GIPHY

Especially for running. And here are three new pieces we’ve tried from Brooks Running (remember: we’re an ambassador, so we got to try these on the Brooks house although all opinions and bad puns are independently ours).

Canopy Jacket ($120)

This lightweight jacket keeps wind and rain out — and lets air in. With a cute design, a streamlined hood that keeps your noggin warm without limiting too much of your peripheral vision, it even has soft, stretch thumbholes and it can be packed into its own left-hand pocket which you can wear around your arm — meaning you can carry it with you everywhere, without tying it around your waist. (Now, that, is a long sentence.)

Why Jenn loves it: Besides the thumbholes and light material that is quiet (this jacket is nothing like the athletic pants of the 90s that were all like swish-swish-swish as you walked … anywhere), I love the zippers on this one. Zippers that stick or catch annoy the ever loving you-know-what out of me. And these zippers are so smooth they practically glide. Totally pet-peeve free!

Why Kristen loves it: Being able to pack a jacket into its own pocket isn’t entirely revolutionary — but providing a simple, comfortable way to carry that small package around? It’s everything. Here in Florida, it’s rare that I need a jacket for a full run, so having an easy way to transport it so I can wear it at the start (and then maybe pull it back on afterward when I go meet a friend for coffee) is the best thing ever. EVER.

Ghost Crop ($72)

ghost crop

This is our second time trying the Ghost Crop and although it’s in a different pattern, all the things we love about our first pair ring true for this pair. These are so lightweight and breathable that they almost feel like a second skin — they are definitely lighter than any other tight we’ve worn and feel great on.

Why Jenn loves it: Not to, like, be totally self-absorbed, but the first time I wore these, I got FIVE separate compliments from five separate people — many of which I didn’t know and literally just stopped me on the street. So, I think that’s saying something, right? Right.

Why Kristen loves it:  I want to second Jenn on the lightweightness — because again, hi, I live in Florida. But I think it’s important to note that, as thin as they are, they don’t, like … show stuff that shouldn’t be shown. And I love the way they stay in place, both for running and yoga/stretching. One tip — I had these in my usual Brooks bottoms size (medium), but ordered up to a large this time because I find this style is quite snug, not just at my waist, but on my calves. Both sizes work, but the large is more comfortable for a longer period of time. (I’m talking to you, fellow peeps who wake up, put on workout clothes, then don’t hit the gym until way late in the day.)

Levitate ($150)

brooks levitate

The Levitate utilizes groundbreaking technology in its signature midsole to enhance energy return — and you don’t have to be an elite runner to notice. This shoe went through nine rounds of development, seven rounds of wear tests, and was worn during thousands of trial runs before it came to market in its current form. The release of this shoe was a big deal for Brooks — we actually got to take part in a Google Hangout with some of the employees and athletes involved in the creation of it — and we’re pretty psyched to see it living up to the hype.

Why Jenn loves it: I’ve run in A LOT of Brooks shoes, and I have to say, straight out of the box, from the first run, these wowed me. They feel PERFECT. For shorter distances … longer ones … they’re light and springy and feel like they were made just for me. Seriously, the one time I won’t wear these running is if it’s raining. Because, who wants to get such pretty shoes dirty? Hehe.

Why Kristen loves it:  The big deal, to me (and to a lot of runners, from the buzz I’ve heard), is the cushioning. It’s made of a brand new material that distributes the energy you put into it back up into your run — so, instead of the material in the sole springing out in every direction, it sends that energy right back at you, putting a legitimately new spring in your step. However, all that cushion doesn’t keep you from feeling the road, so no responsiveness is lost in the transaction. I’m seriously digging them, and I honestly have yet to talk to anyone who’s not.

What are you running in this fall? Seriously, guys, if you need new running shoes, consider Levitate. It’s life-changing (or at least run-changing)! —Jenn & Kristen



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The Essential CrossFit Outfit

  I remember when I first started doing CrossFit-style workouts, I pretty much wore yoga pants and running shoes to every class. But now? There’s SO much CrossFit-specific apparel and gear out there. And it’s hella cute and/or hella functional (or both!). Take these five products for example. They pretty much make up the essential […]


 

I remember when I first started doing CrossFit-style workouts, I pretty much wore yoga pants and running shoes to every class. But now? There’s SO much CrossFit-specific apparel and gear out there. And it’s hella cute and/or hella functional (or both!). Take these five products for example. They pretty much make up the essential CrossFit outfit!

CrossFitters take their workouts seriously. They take their PRs seriously. They do NOT take themselves seriously though. Case in point, the number of hilarious tanks out there. From dirty puns to carb jokes, apparel companies like Boxstar create inside jokes for you to wear in the box (and out).

Shoes for Double-Unders: Ropix Sonic

If you’re really serious about getting better at double-unders, then you might need to throw a pair of Ropix Sonic ($79) into your gym bag. Designed specifically for jumping rope, these are super lightweight and super low to the ground. While they can’t guarantee you a new all-time high DBU-in-a-row count, they certainly can increase your chances!

You got the funny tank and the right shoes, but what about your socks? While you want to keep a knee-high pair for rope climbing in your gym bag, those can get really hot for the everyday non-rope WOD. So try something high-performance yet fun like these Serena No-Show Tab socks from U-Sox ($9.90). The tab prevents chafing on your heels, and the light-weight and breathable mesh instep means that you can focus on your form and not your feet.

Yes, short shorts are the rage at many a CrossFit gym, but these RBX Active Vortex Capris ($29.99 — great price point, yo) give you more coverage and keep you cool with mesh panels. They also have pockets that fit your phone, which is hella convenient. Because we all know you’re going to brunch after that Saturday morning workout and it’s helpful to have a pocket for your stuff.

Okay, so you can’t wear these. But — believe us — once you try them, you’ll consider them an essential part of your workout. You’re probably already bringing water and some post-WOD protein powder to the gym, but on really hot days or for workouts that you know are going to take awhile and work up a serious sweat (Murph, anyone?), Bob’s Pickle Pops are a must! About a dollar a pop (or less if you buy in bulk), these are made from dill pickles and nothing else. Recent research has shown that pickle juice can be beneficial in helping counteract the effects of dehydration and cramping — so these just might help you to keep performing at your highest level. For a cool pickled treat, try them frozen!

What else goes into your perfect CrossFit outfit? —Jenn



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5 Ways to 80s-ify Your Workout

The 80s were great, right? via GIPHY And if you’ve been feeling nostalgic for a more-neon and less-plugged-in time (like, totally, please), why not give your next workout a good ol’ rad blast from the past with these five fun ideas? via GIPHY If you want to rock a leotard, rock it. But if not […]


The 80s were great, right?

via GIPHY

And if you’ve been feeling nostalgic for a more-neon and less-plugged-in time (like, totally, please), why not give your next workout a good ol’ rad blast from the past with these five fun ideas?

via GIPHY

If you want to rock a leotard, rock it. But if not (that is one trend we’re okay with staying the past), how about going a little 80s with your shorts? These both remind us of gym class and Rainbow Brite, which is pretty freakin’ rad.

Find your inner 80s groove, even in yoga with this cotton yoga mat bag that looks like a boombox. The only question is: will you use the strap to carry it or simply throw it up and on your shoulder? (We know the answer.)

via GIPHY

Remember when stair climbers were all the rage? Well, it’s still one hell of a workout. Get on and climb easily for one minute, followed by as fast as you can for 30 seconds and repeat until the clock hits 15 minutes for one heck of an 80s-inspired (yet really, really effective) HIIT workout.

Obviously! And you guys helped us put it together — and determine the ultimate 80s workout song — so thanks for that!

bubble braid

It doesn’t make sense to tease or crimp your hair only to get it sweaty, but a side braid or a high-pony? Oh, yeah. Like, totally.

What’s your fave trend? I still say dude way too much. And probably still will when I’m 90. —Jenn



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Summer Running Gear: Had Us a Blast, We Were Running So Fast

You know how new, cute running gear can make you feel (at maybe even “look”) fast? Well, that’s exactly how this new apparel we got to try from Brooks Running is making us feel. And — remember — we’re a brand ambassador and affiliate of theirs, but this review is totally and 100 percent our […]


You know how new, cute running gear can make you feel (at maybe even “look”) fast? Well, that’s exactly how this new apparel we got to try from Brooks Running is making us feel. And — remember — we’re a brand ambassador and affiliate of theirs, but this review is totally and 100 percent our honest-to-goodness thoughts, as always.

Women’s Distance Tank

This tank may look simple and basic — and it is. But don’t let that fool you. It’s still made of odor-resistant fabric that breathes beautifully. And it’s light and relaxed, with a really flattering look. The ruching on the back is extra cute, too, no? Perfect with a pair of shorts on a hot day, or even with capris on a cooler morning or evening.

Greenlight Capri

Running tights shouldn’t be complicated — they should just fit well, feel good, stay in place, and, ideally, look cool. These capris do that and more (especially if you opt for one of the funky geometric prints like we did!). The  Greenlight Capri is super soft and offer significant support, probably thanks to the DriLayer® HorsePower fabric used. Either that or fairy dust and magic, whatever. Instead of a drawstring, it has a wide, flat waistband, as well as two pockets (one of which is sweat-resistant). Plus, the capri length is where it’s at for summer, unless you want to wear shorts, in which case …

Chaser 5” Short

We expected these shorts to be a bit on the long side, but, honestly, they are PERFECT for running. Super light and airy, but with a fitted waistband that stays put (hooray!), we’re especially in love with the petal hem slits towards the back. They’re not only flattering, but also allow for a full range of motion. There are even two pockets to store your stuff, including one that’s sweat-resistant and fits an iPhone 6. Even the moisture-wicking mesh brief liner is comfy. Seriously, these are great!

Run-Thru Hat

Want to wear a hat to keep the sun out, without feeling like you’re actually wearing a hat? This would be it. Stretchy, comfy, insanely light and with a shorter bill so it’s got a slim profile, you might just forget you have on a hat at all. Our only complaint about it, is that for people with smaller heads, the back velcro closure doesn’t stick as well. But if you have a normal-sized head, you’ll be totes fine.

Sherpa Running Hat

Brooks’ new running hat is sleek, soft, lightweight and moisture-wicking with reflective details and an easily adjustable velcro back. The color options are dope — we went with the solid blue and got loads of compliments on it immediately, but it was a tough choice between that and the stripes! It has a longer bill than Run-Thru hat (so, a little more sun/rain protection), but like the Run-Thru, it might not be the best fit for very small heads. It fit our standard-sized noggin quite well, but a much smaller head would run out of adjustability.

What gear makes you want to run fast? —Jenn & Kristen



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Fashion From the Depths of My Gym Bag

Over the course of four months, I’ll be flying from Florida to New York, Las Vegas, Michigan, California (for our retreat — will I see you there?) and Italy (by way of London). And, while it’s not unusual for me to travel a fair bit each year, this definitely exceeds my typical time above 10,000 […]


Over the course of four months, I’ll be flying from Florida to New York, Las Vegas, Michigan, California (for our retreat — will I see you there?) and Italy (by way of London). And, while it’s not unusual for me to travel a fair bit each year, this definitely exceeds my typical time above 10,000 feet … as well as the number of times I’ll be packing and repacking my bags.

Oh, and did I mention that I’m refusing to check a bag for any of these flights? Yep. So, my packing game has gotta be on point, which can be tricky because for most of these trips, I have at least one event where I need to look … nice. Not, like, athleisurely nice (because that’s a piece of cake for me!), but more on the dressed up end of the spectrum. Meaning a dress, and nice shoes and no wrinkles — which is tough because the only iron I wield with any competence is that of the curling variety. Well, and I guess also the iron you pump. But you get the idea.

via GIPHY

Happily, the universe seemed to hear my call and I’ve had a couple of super stylish product cross my desk in recent weeks — and you guys? They make packing so much easier. Get ready to fall a little bit in love with the two newest additions to my closet (and an oldie but goodie that I purchased years ago but can’t help but share here).

I love, love, love a wrap dress, but have historically had a tough time finding one that works for me — something about my broad shoulders and bust size generally leads to a lot more being on display than I intend. But this dress is a faux wrap, and while the v-neck comes low, after numerous wears, it’s never even hinted at showing my bra. And that’s not even the best thing about it. This dress is legitimately wrinkle-free. No, really. It was in a ball at the bottom of my bag, I pulled it out, put it on, and five minutes later went on a date with my husband where multiple people stopped me to compliment me on or ask me about my dress.

My thought is that, if you’re wearing a lovely dress in a bright color or bold print, you rarely need much more in terms of accessories, which is why I think the “perfect” part of this dress’ name is super accurate. Leota sent me the Alhambra Fern print, which I adore, but the brand is known for its bold prints that are hand-painted in house. If wrap dresses aren’t your jam, they have sheaths, rompers, caftans, maxis, shirt dresses, cocktail dresses and more (including maternity and styles designed for fuller figures). Also, if you’re on a budget, be sure to check the sale section — there are some pretty sweet options in there for an awesome deal.

Nobody gets more use than I do out of those cheap drawstring backpacks you get at races. I use them all the time. And when I’m not using one of those, I generally have either my backpack (because laptop = life) or just my small wallet, which, now that I have a big ol’ phone, just barely holds the essentials. If I need an extra lipstick or something? Totes out of luck. Which is why having a cool clutch is ideal (and if you need inspiration, here you go!). The one that Neely and Chloe sent me — No. 23 The Large Clutch Suede — is compact enough to fit in my backpack (or my suitcase without taking up much space) but has enough space to carry just about anything I might need for an evening or an event. This particular style has nice, sleek lines, so it’s dressy enough for a big night, but it’s not over the top, so it can easily be paired with jeans and a tee. And if I’m spending my money on something other than running shoes, I need it to be multi-purpose, you know?

And speaking of spending money on shoes …

In theory, I love a super high heel. But when it comes to me actually having to walk anywhere — or even stand on my feet for any period of time — I just can’t do it. Between my creaky knees and weak ankles, spending an evening solely in stilettos is a disaster waiting to happen. Plus, big heels take up a lot of space, so with the packing challenges I’m staring down, they’re just out. But what’s not out? Foldable flats, and happily, I invested in a pair of Tieks a few years ago — a move for which I’ve thanked myself over and over again. Now, these are a little on the high-end side, but I’d worn through so many pairs of lower quality foldy flats already that I felt it was money well-spent. These shoes are made to be comfortable and durable, and they come in 58 prints and colors, so you can opt for bright, neutral or shiny shiny (which I believe goes with everything — Metallic Pewter has yet to let me down).

What’s your biggest packing struggle? Overpacking? Forgetting things? I find overpacking incredibly easy to do, but I’m really working minimizing! Kristen



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My Surprising Trip to Charleston

This post is sponsored by Marshalls. Find more on our sponsored post policy here. If you’ve been following us on Instagram, the cat is out of the bag. But in case you haven’t (well, you should — follow us here!), I went on my Choose Surprise trip for Marshalls. And it was everything. EVERYTHING. The one […]


This post is sponsored by Marshalls. Find more on our sponsored post policy here.

If you’ve been following us on Instagram, the cat is out of the bag. But in case you haven’t (well, you should — follow us here!), I went on my Choose Surprise trip for Marshalls. And it was everything. EVERYTHING.

The one thing I love most about Marshalls is exactly what they are best known for — amazing surprises in each of their stores at incredible prices. That element of surprise makes shopping FUN, and I love knowing that even though I don’t know exactly what I might find, I definitely know that I’m going to walk away with something (or several things!) that I love. I took this state of mind with me to Charleston, and it inspired every aspect of my trip — from my shopping trip to Marshalls to get me packed and ready, to the amazing things I did/saw/ate over the course of the weekend (more on that below!). Trying new things and making surprise a choice is pretty liberating — and I actually learned a lot about myself after a weekend away with just me! And it all started with a little inspiration from Marshalls to find out what would happen when I really step out of my predictable routine.

Wanna hear the play-by-play? I thought you’d never ask!

First, as I headed to the airport, I opened my sealed Pack Up + Go envelope (at last!) and found out that I was going to — surprise — Charleston! I’ve been to a lot of U.S. cities before, but never had I been to Charleston. And I was pumped. I’ve watched travel programs and food shows all about Charleston’s beauty, charm and food scene. And, guys, it lived up to the hype.

So, on a plane I got with all my awesome Marshalls finds. Did you know they even have great deals on luggage, totes, accessories, beauty supplies and travel must-haves — like the eye pillow and headphones you see below? And that they get new stuff in all the time, so you never know exactly what you’re going to find — but you can be totally confident that you’re going to love it? True story!

After two quick flights, I landed in Charleston and immediately got that Southern hospitality that the town is known for. As I got off the plane, one airport employee asked me how I was doing. I said, “Good!” and asked him how he was. His response? “Ma’am, I am loving life,” with a huge smile on his face. I came *this close* to high-fiving him because that, my friends, is how to live.

That first night in, I got settled into my hotel room (I stayed at Belmond Charleston Place — so nice!), unpacked and then spent far too long figuring out what to wear to dinner at Prohibition (I had SO many great options from Marshalls that it was hard to choose, but I settled on a long, flowy black dress with sandals, jean jacket in case I got cold inside, hat and a clutch that was just the right mix of cute and comfy but also totally suitable for where I was going) and had to power walk down King Street to make my reservation time (bonus cardio!). There I had a great cocktail and some amazing roasted carrots and fresh grouper.

That next morning, I went for a leisurely jog down to the Battery and ran along the seawall, admiring both the views of the water and the gorgeous homes. Along the way, I took plenty of walk breaks, stopping to read about some of the historic buildings (and there are a lot of them!) or slowing down just to admire a beautiful garden, flowering tree or cool antique or hat shop. It was so fun to go jogging in a new place, but also to slow down and soak in the city. Charleston has the kind of beauty that just makes you want to stop and admire it. Truly, a surprise around every corner.

After my run, I cleaned up and went on a walking food tour. Charleston is known for being a foodie’s dream (and everywhere I went they had fantastic gluten-free options!), so I had mini meals or snacks at five awesome places. It was so fun, and I, quite literally, got a taste of what Charleston is all about, plus lots of history. From hash to pralines to grits to collard greens to spices and tea, it was delicious. (I’ll write all about that in a second post on Fit Bottomed Eats later, so stay tuned for that!)

And I knew exactly what I wanted to wear for the food tour. I picked up this romper at Marshalls before my trip and I knew it would be PERFECT for the hot, humid weather. It’s totally comfortable and can be dressed up or down depending on what shoes and accessories you wear with it. Seeing that I’m normally in running kicks, the gold wedges were quite the fashion departure for me, but it felt really, really good. I felt like a true Southern belle (and got lots of compliments on my outfit!).

After the food tour, my belly was full, and I headed back to the The Belmond for spa time. I had a massage, manicure and facial. IT. WAS. GLORIOUS. I hadn’t had my nails done in about a year, and I haven’t had a massage or facial since I was pregnant with Gwen … and she’ll be two-and-a-half in September, so, yeah. It was totally outside of my norm and absolutely amazing. The food tour filled my belly with goodness, and the spa filled my spirit with calm.

After getting my zen on, I put on another amazing find from Marshalls and went to one of the hottest restaurants in Charleston: Husk. The pink ruffles are perfectly Southern and perfectly right for a night out. This is yet another instance when I walked into Marshalls, tried on something new and was surprised with how much I LOVED it on. Paired with a cute little clutch I picked up at Marshalls, too, it was great for a night out on the town.

And the food did not disappoint. Oysters … tomato salad … Carolina Gold rice … catfish … peanut butter chocolate shake … bourbon. It was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. You know when they talk about being able to taste someone’s love or passion in the food? Husk has that. If you’re going to Charleston, book a reservation as soon as you know your dates (I was told by a number of locals that they couldn’t believe I got a reservation), get there early to sit on the gorgeous front porch, and order everything on the menu. You won’t regret it.

That next morning, I took a leisurely stroll down King Street to another recommended restaurant: Stars. I’d learned on my food tour that brunch was a big deal for Charleston folks — just about everyone goes after church (they don’t call it the Holy City for nothing!). So clearly I had to do brunch right. And Stars had a great buffet. It was a nice way to try a little of everything: local fresh fruit, shrimp and grits, kale salad, omelette, roasted potatoes, and sausage. Plus, coffee. Always coffee.

My last stop in Charleston was at Mira Winery. The wine is actually made in Napa, but one of the owners has a home in Charleston so they decided to open a tasting room. Lucky for me, I could get in a tasting just before my flight home. These are my kind of pours …

And it was great. I sat outside on their back patio, under the shade of a big umbrella and beautiful sprawling oaks, and leisurely sipped on some seriously GOOD vino.

And I mean leisurely. I sat there for almost two hours, and enjoyed every second.

And, to be honest, that really surprised me about the entire trip. I’ve flown alone plenty. But vacationed, fine-dined and wine-tasted alone? Not really. Not ever. I’ve always been with someone or going to visit someone or meeting up with someone. But it was really nice to just sit back and have a whole table to myself. Sometimes I’d chat with fellow diners or have a longer conversation with the server about the food or wine, but quite often, I’d just relax, enjoy and take it all in. I was surprised by how good that felt.

I was also surprised with how much fun I had dressing up for, really, no one else but myself. I was in a new place, doing new things, and it was freeing to wear clothes I didn’t normally wear. I saw myself in a new way. Not better — just different sides of myself. And, in a lot of ways, it was a total confidence booster. I liked spending time with myself. I liked looking good and dressing up. I liked treating myself to dessert and a glass of wine. I liked mixing things up. I liked slowing down. I chose surprise — and I saw myself in a new way.

A huge thanks to Marshalls for sending me on this amazing trip and helping me to break out of my everyday routine. A huge thanks to the people in Charleston for being so nice, welcoming and making some darn delicious food (and taking my photo so often!). And a huge thanks to — corny as it is — surprise itself. Surprise itself surprised me with how much one trip could make me see myself in a new way.

Have you ever been on a trip and found yourself changed from the experience? Did it surprise you, too? —Jenn



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How I’m Preparing for My Surprise Getaway (Plus, My Best Packing Tips!)

This post is sponsored by Marshalls. Find more on our sponsored post policy here. You know how we’re always talking about busting out of your comfort zone? Well, I am about to do just that by giving up all control, planning and logistics and just letting surprise take over. And you know what? Even though I’m […]


This post is sponsored by Marshalls. Find more on our sponsored post policy here.

You know how we’re always talking about busting out of your comfort zone? Well, I am about to do just that by giving up all control, planning and logistics and just letting surprise take over. And you know what? Even though I’m a bit Type A (actually, probably mostly because I’m Type A), it feels awesome.

Wondering exactly what I’m talking about? I’m talking about choosing surprise!

We’ve partnered with Marshalls and they’re sending me on a surprise trip this weekend via Pack Up + Go. That’s right. I don’t know where I’m going or exactly what I’m going to be doing. NO IDEA. Total surprise. Ahhh!

But, I did get a list of what I should pack. Which required a little shopping …

This baby is about to get filled up!

Because — let’s be honest — my wardrobe consists of mostly workout clothes and running shoes. Which is great (and, for the record, Marshalls has a great selection of activewear), but this is all about choosing surprise.

For me, going shopping for dresses and wedges and sunglasses and beauty products and handbags is a serious fashion surprise. And, turns out, really, really fun.

It’s also heart-warming and nostalgic for me, as Marshalls has been a part of my shopping life since I was a little girl. My grandmother used to take me there when she’d go shopping, and I have so many fond memories of tagging along with her, searching for the best designer and brand name items at unbelievable prices. (If there’s anything that Grandma Shaver loved, it was scooping up a deal on the same quality stuff you’d see in the department store!) And, even cooler, Marshalls doesn’t just get its merchandise seasonally like a lot of stores — they get new items several times a week. So every time you go in there, you find something new and awesome.

My grandmother could shop like no other (like, for hours), and while normally I’m not a big shopper, I think she’d be proud. I really embraced the Choose Surprise feeling and tried on SO many styles that I normally wouldn’t. And I fell in love with so many things that, had I gone in with a different mindset, I’d have never considered putting on. It’s funny what happens when you try something new, huh?

And it felt really great. Almost like I was discovering a new side of myself. I love the side of me that’s active and sweaty and ready to move, but I also like the side that’s game to glam it up, be on trend and just have fun with my look. Just like trying a new workout, you ALWAYS feel awesome when you bust out of your shell and mix it up. And I was SO pleased with all of the amazing stuff I found!

And now overflowing with goodness!

I left that store with a cart filled with goodies. And not just sandals and dresses and jeans — I got headphones, a travel pillow, new suitcase, hat, headphones, snacks, relaxation and beauty products, a romper, a sleep mask and more (which I’ll be sharing with you in a post that recaps my surprise trip later!).

I cannot wait — not only to see where the heck I’m going, but also to wear all these outfits and put all of this new gear to use! I mean, where am I wearing the below (adorable) shooties to? I NEED TO KNOW!

Which leads me to my best packing tips! Because, of course, I’m already mostly packed. I’m just that excited for the surprise!

My 5 Best Packing Tips

1. Roll your clothes. I picked up a number of cute, flowy dresses and tops at Marshalls and there’s no way I want to arrive at my surprise destination and have to iron before I go out to do whatever amazing surprise things that are planned. I’ve found that if you roll your clothes (rather than fold), they not only take up less room in your suitcase, but also they really don’t wrinkle. Such an easy thing to do that makes unpacking a thousand times better when you land!

2. Choose your flight outfit strategically. There’s no way I’m going to crush that cute little hat I bought in my suitcase, so I’m going to wear it on the plane. I’m also going to wear comfy shoes and the bulkiest stuff I’m taking — jeans, jean jacket — and I’ll carry on my largest tote with a smaller bag inside.

3. Carry on your fave products in smaller sizes. I picked this up at Marshalls and will fill it up with my beauty essentials — including some new oils and bath products I found there, much to my relaxation-loving delight!

4. Pack earlier than later. Packing is the one thing you don’t want to procrastinate. I’m always afraid I’m going to forget something, so packing early gives my brain a little extra time to make sure I got it all.

5. Create your own zen on the plane. Traveling can be stressful, so make sure you’ve got what you need to enjoy the ride: snacks, a travel pillow, sleep mask, suitcase tags with your name and number in case something gets lost, chargers, sunglasses, headphones with chill tunes and — most importantly — a good attitude. You’re going on an adventure!

And then, just be ready to surprise yourself with how good it feels to try something new! How can you surprise yourself today? A trip to Marshalls might be in order, right?! I’ll get the reusable bags … —Jenn



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What We’re Running in This Summer

You know we’re Brooks Running brand ambassadors, right? We love Brooks, love what they’re about, love checking out what’s new. But we’re also really honest on our reviews and only ever share our real, true opinions … as you’re about to see here! What’s your go-to when it comes to running apparel? I’ve been a […]


You know we’re Brooks Running brand ambassadors, right? We love Brooks, love what they’re about, love checking out what’s new. But we’re also really honest on our reviews and only ever share our real, true opinions … as you’re about to see here!

What’s your go-to when it comes to running apparel? I’ve been a capris or spandex shorts girl for years and years, not because I was modest about showing my legs (definitely not the case) but because I always ran into issues with chafing and fit with running shorts. So now, while I love a good pair of workout capris, I also do a lot of running in shorts — namely, the Chaser Shorts from Brooks Running. I have them in both the 3″ and 5″, and I wear them all. the. time.

So, when I had a chance to try out their Go-To 5″ Running Shorts, I had high hopes. After all, in addition to loving the Chaser Shorts, I’ve also had great luck with their Go-To Shoe (the Adrenaline), and their Go-To Running Capris are in heavy rotation around here.

The shorts, though? Well, not every product can be a big winner, and I’m sad to say that these were definitely not winners for me. Maybe I would’ve liked them better in a shorter length, since I dig the kind of retro style with the stripes down the side, but the inseam seemed really long and drawstring waistband just wasn’t my jam. Win some, lose some. And happily, there were other winners for me this month!

The Racerback Streaker Tank is quickly becoming one of my favorite workout tops. The ombre color scheme is seriously eye-catching, and the fit really works for me (although I’d definitely recommend sizing down if you’re between sizes — I sometimes order a large, but the medium in this gives me plenty of room). It’s lightweight enough that I plan to use it for some of my longer, sweatier runs this summer — and there’s not much higher praise I can offer.

Another big win is the brand new Glycerin 15. This neutral shoe has been updated with a new plush transition zone, and it features the Brooks Super DNA midsole for super adaptable cushioning. Noticing a focus on cushion? Yep, so did I. I’ve only gotten a few miles in on these, but they’ve felt good — really good. (And, spoiler: You can come back next week for your chance to win a pair!)

So, to bring it back around — what’s your favorite style to run in? Shorts? Capris? Like a tight fit, or something looser? —Kristen



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Two Pieces of Apparel You’ll Feel Good In — and About

This post is sponsored by REPREVE. Find more on our sponsored post policy here. What’s the no. 1 thing we here at FBG look for in our apparel and swimwear? How it makes us feel. Because when we feel good, well, everything just seems to go a bit better. And here are two new pieces of […]


This post is sponsored by REPREVE. Find more on our sponsored post policy here.

What’s the no. 1 thing we here at FBG look for in our apparel and swimwear? How it makes us feel. Because when we feel good, well, everything just seems to go a bit better. And here are two new pieces of apparel that are making us feel SO good, inside and out. You guys just gotta check them out!

Waterlust Cosmic Coral Legging

How fun are these Cosmic Coral Leggings from Waterlust ($65)? With this super fun pattern that’s inspired by soft coral and looks out of this world (because it’s cosmic, get it?), these are soft, stretchy and just perfect for your yoga mat. Or brunch after. Or a walk. Or at the gym or even in the water. Okay, they’re really great anywhere. They’re made of 86 percent REPREVE (more on that in a bit!) and 14 percent lycra with a 50+ Ultraviolet Protection Factor — so they’re great whether you’re being active inside or out. And besides being hella cute and way flattering (the waistband sits perfectly — not too high, not too low), 10 percent of profits from each pair sold goes to Coral Morphologic to continue their research into coral reefs and further inspire others through their unique marriage of art and science. Yay science!

Bare Beach Double Strap Top and String Bottom

It can be really hard to find the perfect swimsuit. If you’re like me, you want something that’s flattering and that you feel good in. But you also want something you can move in. And this is kind of the perfect swimsuit for that! First, let’s talk about the Double Strap Top from Bare Beach ($53). It comes in solid colors, so it’s easy to mix and match, has great support for active, small- to medium-chested ladies and has the coolest tie in the back. It’s just the right mix of fashion and function. Then, there’s the String Bottom ($53). These have fun ties on the sides and enough coverage to make you feel like you can move around while still getting plenty of sunshine on your fit bottom. Both pieces are a mix of 82 percent REPREVE and 18 percent Spandex. So, like the leggings, you’ve got just the right amount of stretch and REPREVE …

What’s REPREVE, you ask?

While all the above pieces make us feel awesome, we want to tell you guys more about what they’re made of — because it’s amazing. REPREVE is an eco-friendly fiber that’s made from recycled materials like plastic bottles. And it’s freakin’ changing the world. Already in a ton of products (like the awesome ones above, plus other clothes, footwear and auto interiors), the company that makes REPREVE — Unifi — has recycled and transformed more than 5 billion plastic bottles into this special fiber. So, when you support and wear this stuff, you’re not only hooking yourself up with awesome high-performance apparel, but you’re also saying: Hey, world, I care about you and I want to make you a better place!

And that feels pretty great inside and out, doesn’t it? We think so. It’s recycled bottles reborn!Jenn



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2017 Fitties: The Best Fitness- and Health-Related Products

It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for …. and — quite literally — the post we’ve been working on for the past 365 days. It’s the 2017 Fitties! In case you’re new to the Fitties game or need a refresher, the Fitties are basically our version of the Oscars. And we give them out to only […]


It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for …. and — quite literally — the post we’ve been working on for the past 365 days. It’s the 2017 Fitties!

In case you’re new to the Fitties game or need a refresher, the Fitties are basically our version of the Oscars. And we give them out to only the best-of-the-best fitness- and health-related products that we have tried in the last year and love like whoa. We mean, we covet this stuff and only select products we believe in and recommend 100 percent.

We’ve got each content category divided up on individual pages so that you can find exactly what you’re looking for. So gird up your fit loins, click each of the page numbers below to get started and let’s do this!



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The Best Fitness Tracker for You

Being a Fit Bottomed Girl means trying out all the latest gear including wearables that track your fitness. A common question we get from readers is which tracker is best for their personal needs. Having collected a few of them over the past two years, I decided to find out how each performs individually by […]


Being a Fit Bottomed Girl means trying out all the latest gear including wearables that track your fitness. A common question we get from readers is which tracker is best for their personal needs. Having collected a few of them over the past two years, I decided to find out how each performs individually by wearing them all at once all day, every day for seven days.

In case you are wondering — yes, I got quite few quizzical looks. This was especially true after teaching my classes where my students demanded I show the results from each one.

My rule was to put them on as soon as I got up each morning and take them off at 10 o’clock every evening. I knew I would tire of wearing four trackers on my wrists for hours and being a notoriously wonky sleeper, I decided to not track my sure-to-be-bad sleep cycle each night.

Below I list every tracker I wore and the base level I set for each including 14,000 steps (I’m a New Yorker and we walk everywhere) and measure at least 30 minutes of exercise per day.

Below I list the pros and cons of each tracker.

Fitbit Flex

fitbit flexOne of the first products offered by this brand, the Fitbit Flex at $79.95 is an inexpensive tracker that will count steps, measure the quality of your sleep, give you approximate calorie burn and light up when you hit your goal. The Fitbit app is fun for tracking the progress of your fellow Fitbit-wearing friends, plus you can enter your meal plan each day to make sure you are staying withttps://www.fitbit.com/shop/flexhin the desired calorie count.

Pros: Relatively inexpensive and easy to use. Tracking my weekly progress against (ahem — I mean along with) my friends and family is a fun way to stay accountable.

Cons: The band is not attractive and there isn’t any heart-rate tracking. Some people pop the tracker out of the band, take a rubber band and wear around their ankle in spin class to get more steps, but this never worked for me.

Fitbit Charge 2

The Fitbit Charge takes the tracking up a notch with a heart-rate monitor and measures the number of floors you have climbed along with approximate calorie burn. The newer Charge 2 (that cost $129.95) comes with removable bands and “guided breathing sessions” and also works well with the Fitbit app.

Pros: Accurate step count and heart-rate measurement.

Cons: It’s not very attractive to wear during the day and I didn’t realize it is set up to receive call notifications from my iPhone, which I disabled quickly. It lacks the “cool factor” as well.

TomTom Spark 3 Music

For $169.99 the Tom Tom Spark 3 Music is also a fitness tracker for multiple activities (running, cycling, treadmill, swimming, etc.), will count your steps, measure heart rate and calorie burn. It also has GPS capability, can hold up to 500 songs and includes wireless headphones.

Pros: Sturdy design with tons of cool features including the ability to import playlists. Also, comes with an easy-to-figure-out app for tracking your weekly totals. Best of all, it usually states first that my 14,000 steps were achieved!

Cons: It’s a sporty look so not fun to try to wear with a nice outfit. The exercise tracking doesn’t really work with indoor cycling so you must set it to “gym” mode and hope it is an accurate count. Also, it uses a 24-hour clock as a display, which I sometimes found confusing.

Apple Watch

The Series 2 Apple Watch costs $369 and not only counts your steps, the approximate number of floors you have climbed,  is water resistant up to 50 meters, Bluetooth compatible, has 18 hours of battery life and comes with a plethora of apps to help you track your fitness including calorie burn reminders to breathe and stand up from your chair throughout the day.

Pros: Of all the trackers that claimed to calculate the calorie burn, this one was by far the toughest. (It once gave me credit for only 400 calories after teaching three back-to-back classes!) This is a pro for me because I think it is much more accurate to the actual calorie burn. Plus, it’s an Apple product so it feels cool to own.

Cons: Like most trackers, they are not pretty to wear. (Check out these ideas from Cool Mom Picks for cute tech gear to dress up your tracker.) There are some not useful apps here (I really don’t need Twitter and Facebook notifications when I work out.) It’s also rather expensive compared to what else is on the market.

So, which one will I wear from now on? I am guessing it will mostly be the Apple Watch (just need to buy new bands to dress it up) and the TomTom for my outdoor workouts. Funnily enough, I think I am going miss wearing them all at once. If nothing else it was a fun conversation starter!

Do you own a fitness tracker? What were the deciding factors for your ultimate choice? —Margo



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New Season, New Activewear: 4 Fresh Trends for Spring

There’s no better way to mark a new season than by changing something up. Hit a new running trail, try a new group ex studio, join a cycling club, make a new recipe! And if that’s not enough change for you, also consider changing up your activewear with one of these four new looks. So […]


There’s no better way to mark a new season than by changing something up. Hit a new running trail, try a new group ex studio, join a cycling club, make a new recipe! And if that’s not enough change for you, also consider changing up your activewear with one of these four new looks. So fresh. So fun. So spring!

kiragrace

Embrace Your Flower Power: KiraGrace

Everything is in bloom right now, and we are simply smitten over this look from KiraGrace. Part retro and part flower power, the polka dots are totes charming and the daisies are just, well, the friendliest flower, don’t you think? All of KiraGrace’s stuff is so well made, too. It holds up, stretches just the right amount and is perfect for your low-impact activities like barre, yoga and walking. (Anything more intense and you might get some splippage on the tights and will need some more support up top.) They also have a halter sports bra in black and while polka dots that you can basically wear under anything for a fun pop of fun. Oh, and if you wear those daisy tights out and about, expect people to STOP and compliment you on them. It happens every time I wear them!

new-balance-j-crew

Rethink Neutrals: NB x J. Crew

What if New Balance and J. Crew got together and had an activewear apparel baby? This is what would happen. And if you’re a black tights and solid-colored shirt kinda gal, this might just be your fave new line. With lots of high-rise options for more coverage, this line has all of the classic and timeless Americana modesty that you think of when it comes to J. Crew, plus the sweat-wicking fabrics and attention-to-workout-detail of New Balance. You won’t see loud, bright prints here. But you will see lots of navy and military green that you can basically wear like a neutral. Feeling a touch more snazzy? Go for the stars, girl.

tasc

Go Eco-Friendly: Tasc Performance

Saving Mother Nature never goes out of style. And Tasc Performance gets that — and takes it a step further by making eco-friendly and sustainable workout pieces that are made from bamboo/organic cotton and merino wool that somehow look great and stay stink free. Great to wear here, there and everywhere! We’re especially obsessed with this Bywater High-Low Pullover. Great to take you to and from the gym.

superhero-tights

Feel Like a Freakin’ Superhero: Alter Ego

Don’t just go “beast mode” at the gym, go superhero mode. Alter Ego makes all kinds of workout-friendly shirts and tights that’ll basically transform you into your favorite superhero, from Wonderman to Batman to Captain America. With plenty of options for girls (and guys!), it can even give you an instant six-pack. While obviously super fun and VERY awesome for, like, Halloween, who says you can’t be a superhero all day every day?

What activewear trends are you loving right now? I’m still addicted to the sports bras with fun backs! —Jenn



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We Just Found the Perfect Spring Running Outfit

You know how in spring the weather is all glorious but also kind of spazzy? Like, one day you might be in shorts and the next you can’t imagine going outside with any limbs uncovered? Yep, that’s the running weather territory we’re in. And it’s not always easy to dress for. Except it is. BECAUSE […]


You know how in spring the weather is all glorious but also kind of spazzy? Like, one day you might be in shorts and the next you can’t imagine going outside with any limbs uncovered? Yep, that’s the running weather territory we’re in. And it’s not always easy to dress for.

Except it is.

BECAUSE WE FOUND THE PERFECT SPRING RUNNING OUTFIT EVER.

And we’re obsessed. Clearly, we’re obsessed. (Remember: we’re an ambassador and affiliate of Brooks Running, but all opinions are very much our own.)

Now, let’s break it down, piece by piece …

After a long winter, isn’t it just great to pop on a color that is bright and light and just high energy like the blue you see above (it also comes in a more true blue and grey)? And the Fremont Tank is so airy and breathable — and almost kind of elegant for as great it is for long runs. It’s got a flowy open cut (looks GREAT with the crop pants you see below, btw) and these stylish little details like double straps and a pleated back. You could seriously wear this on a run or a night out. Maybe under a blazer or cropped jacket? Oh, yeah.

Fremont_Jacket

You know what we love — what we really, really love? Layers that are easy to wear. And the Fremont Running Jacket is so easy to wear that we’re pairing it with just about everything right now — running clothes, casual wear, you name it. Not only is it comfy (fitted in a way that flatters without restricting, and the material is soft and so lightweight), but it’s also crazy functional with perforated panels and vents for breathability, super useful zip-up pockets (with an extra pouch inside the right one to hold smaller items — and there’s even a media port!), and excellent reflectivity. And, as you might’ve guessed, we’re kind of over the moon about the bright blue color, although it also comes in dark and very light grey, if neutrals are more your jam. In just about any color, we’d have to say this is a pretty perfect spring jacket (maybe for the perfect date?).

Ghost_Crop

We not only love the pattern of these (um, fun!), but also love this new length that we are officially calling a trend. Much longer than typical capris but definitely above the ankle, these give you quite a bit of coverage but are still light. And because the fabric is so stretchy, moisture-wicking and lightweight, it keeps you quite cool, even indoors during a really hot and sweaty workout. And — bonus — if you go out for brunch in them afterwards, we can pretty much guarantee at least two people will stop you and say “wow, nice tights.” To which you can say: “thankyouverymuch.”

What elements does your perfect spring running outfit have to have? —Jenn & Kristen



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Fit Winter Gear You Need, No Matter What “Winter” Means to You

I live in the Midwest, and the winters here are, well, spastic. One day it’s sunny and I’m in a t-shirt; the next there’s a windchill of negative 10. So, to me, “winter” means a lot of things. Sometimes it’s seeing a robin and running in shorts. Other days it’s ice and snow and cursing. And […]


I live in the Midwest, and the winters here are, well, spastic.

One day it’s sunny and I’m in a t-shirt; the next there’s a windchill of negative 10. So, to me, “winter” means a lot of things. Sometimes it’s seeing a robin and running in shorts. Other days it’s ice and snow and cursing.

And the upside to all of this crazy weather, is that it does give me pretty unique conditions to test products in. Which lead to this post: new gear you’ll love no matter what your “winter” is like.

Your Winter Is Really Freakin’ Long and Really Freakin’ Cold

You probably know Mission as the company that keeps you cool, but its new performance stuff is actually performance gear that helps keep you warm — without getting overly sweaty and therefore wet and cold later. The new RadiantActive line includes all kinds of accessories and gear, like gloves, scarves, headbands, beanies, neck gaiters, and baselayer tops and bottoms. And for how warm this stuff keeps you (the gloves are supposed to get 20 percent greater heat retention than standard fleece, the company says), it’s amazing how lightweight and soft it is. The line is made for sport and outdoor workouts, but, honestly, we’d wear this anytime and to anywhere if it was cold out!

“Chilly” Means 60 Degrees

bjorn-borg-760

There are some people in warmer climates (ahem, Kristen), who experience “chilly” as anything below 60 degrees. And I’m not jealous. No, not at all. But those people (and I say that with love) have different outdoor winter workout needs. Like, every layer needs to be ready to perform — including the one closest to your skin. Yes, I mean your underwear. And Björn Borg’s underwear line is allll about that. Made with moisture-wicking “Hydro-Pro” material, it keeps you dry and comfy without a lot of bulk or weight. Plus, it has flat seams that don’t chafe (especially when running or doing high-intensity stuff like burpees) and there are mesh panels in the places you might, well, want some ventilation. And, if you’re a Björn Borg fan, his name is all over this stuff, which is kinda something.

You Want Gear That’ll Transition Well Into Spring

merrell-boots

Say you’re over winter and ready to think of spring. Spring hiking! Spring walking! Spring just being outside doing all the things? Well, the Merrel Sugarbush Waterproof would be your boot. Built for both the city and the trail, these boots are rustic throwbacks with a twist that just kind of screams (in a good way) Wild. Totally comfy yet still warm with great grip, I’ve never gotten more compliments on a pair of boots in my life. So, I think that says something. (Those bright laces, amiright?!)

Still wondering what the hell to wear when winter running or working out? Try this. —Jenn



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Tips for Using a Heart Rate Monitor to Improve Your Training

When I first started pondering the idea of heart-rate monitor training, I thought it all sounded a little, well … obsessive. It seemed like I’d basically be micromanaging my heart. And to some extent, it was true. At times, it felt very much like a live-by-the-numbers, die-by-the-numbers sort of thing — watching the digits on my watch […]


When I first started pondering the idea of heart-rate monitor training, I thought it all sounded a little, well … obsessive. It seemed like I’d basically be micromanaging my heart. And to some extent, it was true.

At times, it felt very much like a live-by-the-numbers, die-by-the-numbers sort of thing — watching the digits on my watch being transmitted from the strap around my chest, waiting for it to show me that my heart had arrived in the correct training zone.

However, as Type-A as it all might sound, I noticed some really key benefits to this style of training that translated well to my running performance and helped improve my overall fitness.

So, in honor of American Heart Health Month, here are a few of the most awesome uses of your heart-rate monitor and how it can help you perform better, stay healthy and rock your workouts.

Great Ways to Use Your HR Monitor

  1. Be sure your hard workouts are at the right intensity. So, here’s the thing about hard workouts  — they’re supposed to be hard. The point is to be deliberate. Hard days are meant to challenge you, physically and mentally, meaning that you should need to recover from them and you shouldn’t do them on back-to-back days. Take running for example. Tempo runs (a staple of many runners’ training plans) are supposed to include 20-30 minutes of faster running at 75 percent to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate (MHR). Drop below this level and you’re not pushing hard enough to promote improvement but rise above that level and the workout quickly becomes anaerobic while lactic acid starts to accumulate in your muscles. In either case, you’re not reaping the full benefits of the tempo run. That’s where your HR monitor comes in handy — it’ll keep you in the target zone to get maximum rewards.
  2. Gauging recovery time between intervals. I find the HR monitor to be especially helpful for interval training. For interval training to be most beneficial, you need to have a work-to-rest ratio that’s appropriate and allows you to tackle each higher intensity interval with consistent speed and power. To do that, you’ve got to let your heart recover (for most people that means an HR below 120 beats per minute). When monitoring your heart rate between intervals, you can (a) determine which rest interval is appropriate for you and (b) gauge how much your aerobic fitness is improving over time by seeing the time it takes to recover after a hard effort.
  3. Monitoring the intensity of active recovery/rest days. Let’s be real — these days are for rebuilding, not for fitness. But, alas, it’s easy to get carried away. The problem is that you don’t often know that you got carried away until it’s too late. Your body and your mind need to recover from the hard work you put in, otherwise you risk not having the stuff to get through those intense workouts that form the backbone of your training. My rule of thumb is that recovery runs/workouts shouldn’t have your HR exceeding 75 percent of your max.
  4. Reducing the risk of overtraining and overuse injuries. If you notice that your HR is consistently running high during your regular workouts or if you’re resting HR (taken first thing in the morning) starts to rise, this could be a sign that you’re overtraining. When you do too much, you start to feel run down, but seeing it quantified in the form of HR numbers gives you a concrete sign that you’re heading into the danger zone and need to ease off to let your body catch up or risk burnout, overuse injuries and/or longer recovery due to extreme fatigue.

One last bit of advice: While I find HR monitoring to be incredibly useful for specific purposes, there’s a lot to be said for learning to run by feel. If you use the HR monitor for every run all the time, you become dependent on it and ultimately lose your connection with yourself and the way your runs feel.

It’s critical for runners to learn how it feels to run at different efforts and speeds — the way your feet hit the ground, the way your legs move, the feeling of your breath and (of course) your heart beating. Using a heart-rate monitor to help you learn this skill is great. Allowing your obsession with the HR monitor’s reading interfere with this skill is not. It’s a fine line but one you should pay attention to.

Have ever monitored your HR during workouts? What did you learn? —Alison



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Winter Running: How to Not Freeze to Death

With the right gear, humans can run safely in temps down to -20 degrees Fahrenheit. I know, shocking. I’m not suggesting that you want to (or should) do that though. I absolutely love to run in the winter but even I find that my comfort cutoff is well above 20 below, mostly due to the limitations of […]


With the right gear, humans can run safely in temps down to -20 degrees Fahrenheit. I know, shocking.

I’m not suggesting that you want to (or should) do that though. I absolutely love to run in the winter but even I find that my comfort cutoff is well above 20 below, mostly due to the limitations of the gear I own. There’s also the fact that I usually have other options when the temps dip way low — like simply waiting a few hours to see if it warms up a bit or hitting the treadmill.

As intimidating as it might be to run in the cold, the most common problem with winter running is actually over-dressing, probably because we’re all afraid of freezing to death, which is a totally valid fear because there are very real dangers involved with working up a sweat while braving the cold. However, most of us go a little too far by dressing for the temperature we feel as soon as we walk out the front door. So, here’s what you need to know to run safely in cold weather.

What to Wear

A good rule of thumb to avoid over-dressing is to dress the way you would if you were not running and in temps that are 10-20 degrees higher (use the lower end of that range if your run is at an easy pace, shorter, or if you always tend to be cold). For example, if the temperature outside is 50 degrees, you should dress like you would on a 60-70 degree non-running day. Make sense?

Or just forget all the math and let me provide my personal cheat sheet.

For temps in the 40s: A long-sleeved moisture-wicking (absolutely no cotton) shirt and capris or long tights will do the trick. For the low 40s, you might also opt for a vest and light gloves.

For temps in the 30s: Go with a long-sleeved moisture-wicking shirt under an insulated half-zip pullover or jacket, long tights, warm gloves and a headband to cover your ears.

For temps in the 20s: Choose a long-sleeved moisture-wicking shirt under a mid-weight insulated layer and a jacket, cold-weather tights (or layer two thinner pairs), warm gloves or mittens (possibly two layers) and a hat. Also, consider wearing thicker cold-weather running socks or layering a thin pair under a regular mid-weight pair.

For temps below 20 degrees: Unless you’ve got specialized equipment, consider skipping or delaying the run. Without something covering your face and warming the air that you’re breathing before it hits your lungs, breathing becomes difficult and the cold temps can burn. This can leave your lungs feeling it for hours after your run is over.

Other Safety Considerations

Wind and wind-chill factor: The cheat sheet above doesn’t take wind into consideration. For windy days, I recommend a wind-resistant jacket on top of your warmth gear. This will help keep the wind from reaching the wet, sweat-covered layers underneath, which would otherwise make you much colder.

Reflectivity: As the days get shorter, be sure that you wear reflective gear or illumination if you’ll be spending any of your run outdoors before dawn or at dusk. Most running gear has some reflectivity to it, but having more doesn’t hurt. Blinky lights that clip onto your clothes and headlamps are also great options. You want the cars to see you from a distance but also ensure that you have adequate light to see the surface you’re running on to avoid falling or twisting an ankle.

Time of day: If you’re a morning runner, temps will most likely rise during your run. Conversely, in the evenings, the temps will fall during your run. Factor that into your choice of layers.

Ice or snow: If there is snow or wet conditions, consider all-weather shoes (like GoreTex). When conditions get icy, I use Yaktraks on my running shoes for extra traction.

Do you run year-round or hibernate over the winter? —Alison 



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Socks You’ll Wanna Rock

Some people might see socks as little more as something you have to wear in order to slip into your sneakers, but we don’t feel that way. Socks can be so much more! They can showcase your personality, add some life to an otherwise dull workout ensemble, help you stay warm during the cold winter […]


Some people might see socks as little more as something you have to wear in order to slip into your sneakers, but we don’t feel that way. Socks can be so much more! They can showcase your personality, add some life to an otherwise dull workout ensemble, help you stay warm during the cold winter months, and even improve performance and recovery.

And, yes, yes — they do make wearing shoes more comfortable, too, so there’s that.

So, if you’re looking to up your sock game (and if you aren’t … well, may we suggest you consider doing so?), we’ve got a few tips for what to look for in a sock as well as suggestions for socks Erin and I have had the pleasure of sampling over the last couple of months!

Sport Sock Shopping 101

First off, assuming you’re not also shoe shopping (although, if you are, we can help with that!), you’ll probably want to think about what shoes you wanna wear these socks with — and the socks you’re currently sporting in them. If you’ve been wearing thicker socks, switching to something really thin might change up the fit and vice versa. Doesn’t mean you can’t do it — just means you probably ought to start with shorter runs or walks if you make a big change to the type of sock you’re wearing.

Then, what are your thoughts on compression? I’ll be honest — I wear compression socks a lot. I love them for both workouts and recovery, I almost always wear them when I travel, and if I’m ever wearing tall boots, you’d better believe that’s what’s happening underneath. But not everybody likes compression — or some people like really light compression.

Whether you go for high compression, no compression, or something in between, you’ll also want to decide whether you want high, low, or mid-length socks. This has a lot to do with looks, for sure, but what you’re wearing them with (not to mention what season you’re wearing them in) can make a big difference. For instance, in the depths of winter in New Jersey, Erin could probably rock long socks designed for warmth underneath long running tights, while down in Florida — well, I still might wear knee-high or calf-length socks, but they’ll probably be paired with itty bitty running shorts. Or I might pair short socks with capris to keep a bit of skin cool and exposed.

Only then would I recommend really honing in on the looks. I mean, I love a good accessory — this is not a secret — but when it comes to your workout gear, you’ve gotta go for function over fashion.

Happily, the sock brands below pass the test in both respects!

CEP

My first pair of compression socks ever (which I bought back when I was training for this race) were CEP, and I still have them — they’re in great shape (if you ignore all the dog hair that’s weaved its way into the soles and will not, no matter what I do, come out) and I still wear them regularly. They’re one of the pairs I go to when I need serious compression, so often, they’re my post-long run recovery socks, but I’ll wear them for long workouts too.

Anyway, they’ve got a couple of new styles out that Erin and I got to try. I checked out the Women’s Dynamic+ Run Ultralight Low Cut Socks ($20), and let me say, that’s a seriously apt description.

socks

They are, in fact, very light weight and the cut is great — low enough to be out of the way but high enough to offer some compression goodness to my low ankle area. They’re really easy to slip on and off, have either a seamless toe box or extra-flat toe seam, and after putting in considerable miles in them, I’ve had zero problem with slippage or hot spots.

Erin tested out the Women’s Compression+ Merino Run Socks in a fun green color ($60).

compressioncepDesigned to keep you warm when it’s cold and keep you cool when your body temperature goes up, the merino wool’s natural heat and moisture management kept Erin comfortable. Layered under tights they’ll keep toes snug and calves comfortable on really cold days. Great for cold, wet climes, you can see why I didn’t try try them out. Erin did report that the compression is super supportive and great for both runs and recovery. Also, I hear that if you wear them with capris that overlap with them, you can have a bit of a claustrophobic situation trying to get them off.

Lily Trotters

lilytrotters

This is a fairly new brand with a major focus on both fashion and the benefits of compression. Tight at the ankle and slightly looser as they go up to the knee, these socks feel great. They even have a slightly padded heel for extra comfort.

All Lily Trotter socks ($48 unless on sale) are knee-high, and they range from cute and girly to a little funky to nice and plain, although they all have a scalloped detail at the top, which makes them stand out in a really cute way. I’m kind of partial to the Candy Stripes, myself, although there are a whole bunch of adorable options at which you might want to take a gander.

Feetures

Speaking of cushion (sort of), I’ve gotta give a shout out to Feetures for their Elite Max Cushion No Show Tab Socks ($15.99). They come in an assortment of fun color combos, but, since it’s a shortie sock, they won’t be too visible with shoes on.

feetures

However! This is a sock you’d choose for the feel. There’s targeted compression in the arch, no irritating toe seam, and, as some of you smarties might guess by the name, they’ve got cushion you can really feel — and yes, even after several wears and washes, it’s still noticeable.

Stance

socks

Now, when it comes to serious style, I can’t think of a brand that does it better than Stance. They offer all kinds of socks with all kinds of designs, drawing inspiration from Star Wars, Dennis Rodman, outer space, flowers and more and almost anything else you can imagine. But for our purposes, we’ll focus on their Performance Socks ($12-38), which still has loads of options (starting with the fact that they have knee-high, crew and short compression socks).

Want bright colors and bold patterns? Got ’em. Need something more subtle? That’s in there, too. The compression isn’t as strong as it is with some of the other brands, but it’s still significant — and the patterns just can’t be beat!

Let’s hear it — are you a compression fan? Do you wear compression socks for workouts, recovery, travel … or something else entirely? —Kristen



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Bundle Up For Your Winter Workouts, Brooks Running Style

Baby, it’s cold outside. And I totally get why the woman in the song doesn’t want to go out in it. With the cold, wind chill and various precipitation, it’s not always easy or fun to get outside, let alone go running out there. via GIPHY But many of us get stir crazy hitting up […]


Baby, it’s cold outside. And I totally get why the woman in the song doesn’t want to go out in it. With the cold, wind chill and various precipitation, it’s not always easy or fun to get outside, let alone go running out there.

via GIPHY

But many of us get stir crazy hitting up the treadmill during these cold months, so we bundle up in the right gear to make it tolerable. I’ve recently been testing out the latest Brooks gear for these cold weather months (as part of our ongoing brand ambassadorship). Here are two of our favorites!

LSD Thermal Jacket

221139_128_mf_lsd_thermal_jacket

The LSD Thermal Vest I’ve been wearing is so awesome that it’s currently sold out. But no matter, you can keep checking back (or check around online), or go for the full LSD Thermal Jacket version ($160). They’re so lightweight that it’s hard to believe they’ll do any damage against the wind and cold, but they definitely do. They won’t weigh you down, but will definitely block the elements. Plus, I can never get enough pockets on all of my gear, so the zip-up pockets on the vest are super helpful and handy, and I love that you don’t have to worry about stuff falling out of open pockets. The jacket even has an extra chest zip pocket, which is a nice addition. The full jacket also has a hood that the vest doesn’t and thumbholes, which I’m so used to now that I whine when I wear long sleeves without them. Plus, it’s just a really cute vest — I’ll admit that I wear it on chilly days when I’m not even working out.

Threshold Tight

221145_469_mf_threshold_tight

No sooner had I been thinking, “I really need to retire my capris because they aren’t cutting it in this weather,” than the Brooks Threshold Tight ($95 to 100) landed on my doorstep. The full-length tights are a necessity now that it’s been regularly getting down to the 30s. Whether I’m getting out to run or just heading to the gym in 20-degree temps, these tights keep me warm while I’m doing it. The two waistband pockets can hold an ID and phone, and two additional side pockets can stash other small items. As I can never have enough pockets (see above), this four-pocket pant system has me spoiled, and I get mad when I’m stuck having to deal with a single or no-pocket pair of pants. The blue color is really, fun too, plus I love the look of the solid color below the knee.

Now that I’m in the proper attire and layered in multiple layers of Brooks gear, I’m channeling another Disney princess.

via GIPHY

You wearing anything cute this winter for running? —Erin



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Sports Bras That Bring Sexy Back

All summer and fall, my style obsession has been open-backed tops. Some of them offer just a little peek-a-boo opening, while others split from the top and sway in the breeze. For someone who sports athleisure approximately 75 percent of the time, it’s an easy way to add a little bit of fashion forwardness to an […]


All summer and fall, my style obsession has been open-backed tops. Some of them offer just a little peek-a-boo opening, while others split from the top and sway in the breeze. For someone who sports athleisure approximately 75 percent of the time, it’s an easy way to add a little bit of fashion forwardness to an otherwise super functional wardrobe.

But I quickly realized that I had one problem with sporting this style — the backs of most of my sports bras were plain ol’ boring. And half the point of wearing these cutaway tops is to show off a fun, stylish, strappy back!

So, I’ve kept my eye out for some fun finds and wanted to share a few that I’m currently coveting. But, one thing for some of the bustier FBGs out there to keep in mind — often, the super strappy backs do not equal loads of support, so if you’re looking for a good bra for running or jumping, be sure to check out what the company says about the bra’s support. A sexy back is great, but not if it means you’re gonna end up with a boob to the face.

Victoria’s Secret Crossback Sport Bra ($20)

This is a low-impact bra that comes in a variety of colors and prints, and at this price point? You might need to get a couple of ’em.

brooks running fineform

Brooks Running Women’s Fineform Sports Bra ($50)

(Because of course we’re going to include something from Brooks seeing as how we’re ambassadors!) Also available in loads of colors, the FineForm has a convertible back so you can wear it as a racerback or open. Keep in mind that it comes in a version for A/B cups and a different one for C/D cups, so be sure to order accordingly!

lululemon sports bra

lululemon Free To Be Tranquil Bra ($52)

Between the spiderweb of straps and the cool prints availalbe in this style, it’s definitely a keeper that would work with loads of cut-out tops.

target sports bra

C9 Champion Women’s Power Shape Strappy Back Sports Bra ($22.99)

There’s a lot to love about Target already, and the fact that one of our fave stores has such cute options for sports bras really seals the deal. Plus? Reviewers say it’s supportive enough for running. Score!

Got a fave sports bra you swear by? I have the FineForm and really do love it — I find it’s fine for short distance running. But I’m definitely gonna have to add to my collection. Hey, this is how FBGs do lingerie! Kristen



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You Can’t Be Missed in These High-Visibility Brooks Running Options

‘Tis the season for getting your runs on in less-than-bright conditions. With the sun going down earlier (especially when we fall back over the weekend), you’re going to want to show off your lights and brights when you run. Luckily for you, we’re showcasing the latest — and brightest — Brooks Running gear that will […]


‘Tis the season for getting your runs on in less-than-bright conditions. With the sun going down earlier (especially when we fall back over the weekend), you’re going to want to show off your lights and brights when you run. Luckily for you, we’re showcasing the latest — and brightest — Brooks Running gear that will keep you safe and fashionable as you hit the streets this fall and winter. (We are Brooks ambassadors, but as always, opinions are ours!)

Brooks Drift 1/2 Zip Running Top

I’ve owned and reviewed a lot of Brooks stuff over the years, but this running top ($95) is by far my favorite. The colors are just so cool.

It’s windproof and water-resistant to keep you dry and comfortable in the gnarliest of cold and windy fall conditions. And it’ll definitely keep you warm as it’s more of a running jacket than a typical running top. In fact, one of the days I wore it, it actually wasn’t cold enough for it — and I’m someone who’s constantly in five layers inside the house. That leads to my only beef with it: I wish it had vents somewhere for when you need a little more airflow because as it’s pretty fitted, it’s not easy to yank off mid-run. A little added breathability would make it perfect.

I do love that it has a pocket that fit my phone and ID; I pretty much believe that there is no item of workout gear that isn’t improved by a large pocket. I did find too that because it’s fitted, the thumbholes were a little more snug than usual; if you’re waffling between sizes, don’t hesitate to size up on this one. It’s also got front and back reflective strips to help you be seen at night, and the bright colors will make you stand out during the day, fo sho.

Brooks Chaser 5″ Running Shorts

These may look like your basic Brooks running short, ($52) but it’s when you get them in the dark that they really shine. They reflect the light with dozens of cool lines so you can be seen in the dark.

Brooks Running chaser

They function really well too. Super comfortable, they have not one but two pockets in the waistband to stash a phone and gel or small pet mouse, and the so-called petal hem is cut up up the outside of the legs to allow for full range of motion, making these able to transition from a run to squats to really good post-run stretches. They also have a moisture-wicking mesh brief so you can go without the knickers.

Are you shopping around for any high-visibility stuff for the coming months? You can’t go wrong here. —Erin



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Athleisure That’ll Make a Statement

Is this the greatest time ever for workout attire or what? High-fashion cuts, interesting prints, touchable textures — funky style isn’t just for street clothes anymore. And that makes this atheisure-loving gal happy as can be. If you’re looking for super shiny capris, pattered pants or trendy tops — well, there are loads of places to find ’em! […]


Is this the greatest time ever for workout attire or what? High-fashion cuts, interesting prints, touchable textures — funky style isn’t just for street clothes anymore. And that makes this atheisure-loving gal happy as can be.

If you’re looking for super shiny capris, pattered pants or trendy tops — well, there are loads of places to find ’em! But if you’re trying to find something that nobody else in your Soul Cycle class will be wearing? Yeah, we’ve got a few ideas for where to begin looking.

SukiShufu

Like to stand out when you hit your group ex class? Then do I ever have the leggings for you. The Suki Leatherback Leggings from SukiShufu are the furthest thing from subtle, which is exactly why I immediately fell in love with the sample they sent me (thanks, SukiShufu!). They come in long and capri-length versions, and in a variety of colors and patterns. When I wore a turquoise pair to my hip hop class last week, I could barely get out the door afterward because I had so many people asking where I got them — they are serious attention grabbers. However, if you’re not quite so ready to be the center of attention, the black gloss color gives you the same liquid shine without being as in your face. The fit is snug, I discovered, so if you’re in doubt, order up (or invest in these).

And it’s not just shiny, shiny pants offered by this company. They’re also venturing into the world of technical velvet for tops (like the loose-fitting Nae Nae tank) and bottoms. Softest option ever? Almost certainly.

sukishufu athleisure

Hollie Watman

A native New Yorker, Hollie Watman has always had a serious interest in art — something her degree from the Parsons School of Design reinforces. Her Hollie Watman athleisure collection builds on the success of her jewelry and children’s wear lines, and the colors and patterns are seriously next level. I mean, you guys? There’s an octopus featured in there. From leggings to tanks to shorts and lightweight hoodies, there’s a wide range of designer duds for the fashionable gym goer.

hollie watman athleisure

Peony

Another brand on our radar is Peony. I mean, how can we ignore Fish Scale Print Leggings with a matching sports bra? That’s about as close as you’re ever gonna come to being a real mermaid. But many of the other patterns are considerably more subtle while still giving a pop of color or texture — perfect for items you’d like to be able to wear straight from barre to brunch.

peony fish scale athleisure

Got any lesser known brands that you think are killing it in the athleisure space? Don’t hold out! Share! Kristen



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Why Tim Gunn Calling Out the Fashion Industry Is a Body Positivity Win for All of Us

We don’t talk much about “fashion” here unless it’s somehow related to athleisure or performance-enhancing sweat-wicking bad-ass-looking fabrics. But this article that Tim Gunn wrote certainly got our attention — and the attention of a lot of our readers. And by “attention,” we mean this: via GIPHY Because, Tim Gunn is SO incredibly right. Not only is […]


We don’t talk much about “fashion” here unless it’s somehow related to athleisure or performance-enhancing sweat-wicking bad-ass-looking fabrics. But this article that Tim Gunn wrote certainly got our attention — and the attention of a lot of our readers.

And by “attention,” we mean this:

via GIPHY

Because, Tim Gunn is SO incredibly right. Not only is the fashion industry missing a huge business opportunity to design for the majority of women, but it’s damn limiting to restrict the art of fashion to a limited pool of people. I mean, what if Picasso or Leonardo di Vinci only had one size of canvas to paint on? Can you imagine the works of art we’d miss out on?

People come in all shapes and sizes. And we all deserve to feel beautiful in our clothes — be they clothes for the gym, the grocery store or a night out on the town.

Thankfully, there are a lot more and better plus-sized workout clothes options out there than in years past and there are awesome designers like Christian Siriano who are doing it right. But we need more. Obviously many, many more.

And while we wait for the industry to change — and I think with people like Tim Gunn speaking up, it will — remember this: You do not need a high-fashion designer to validate your body size to feel beautiful. That power is within you.

So, who can sew and wants to create the next high-fashion brand that caters to women of all sizes? As Tim Gunn would say, we need designers who can “make it work!” —Jenn



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8 Feel-Good Apparel Finds

  Are you loving the trend in apparel that is all about putting good vibes out into the world? We are. And here are eight recent feel-good apparel finds that we are digging on. Hard. 1. Golden Rhino We love soft, comfy tops and tanks, and Golden Rhino is a golden master at creating them. With […]


 

Are you loving the trend in apparel that is all about putting good vibes out into the world? We are. And here are eight recent feel-good apparel finds that we are digging on. Hard.

1. Golden Rhino

golden-rhino

We love soft, comfy tops and tanks, and Golden Rhino is a golden master at creating them. With fun and not-so-obvious designs (the “U R MY FAVORITE” one at bottom left took me looking in the mirror to figure out), they’re great to wear to yoga, the gym, to bed, around the house and even to brunch. And their tagline: “Take charge of your happiness”? Well, we’re definitely golden on that.

Why We Love It: It’s like a feel-good secret you wear with you all day.

2. Janji Mombasa Collection

janji

Go global with your feel-goodness by wearing a piece or two from the Janji Mombasa Collection. These feature beautiful designs and prints that were inspired by the look of the coast of Kenya, all on high-performance fabrics. Meaning that you get soft and breathable gear that’s ideal for running — all with a gorgeous and unique look.

Why We Love It: Besides cool unique designs, 10 percent of each sale goes towards constructing, implementing and maintaining clean water projects. Talk about truly feel-good apparel!

3. Teeki

teeki

Phoenix rising is one of those images that always inspires greatness and these yoga pants from Teeki that we recently reviewed over on Fit Bottomed Zen certainly have our spirits rising. Besides visually reminding us (and anyone who sees us) that we can overcome about anything, these yoga pants just feel great on. Stretchy and comfy — without the pattern ever looking overly stretched out. AND, these can also be worn in water. Which is way, way, cool.

Why We Love It: All Teeki clothing is made from fabric spun from fibers made of recycled plastic water bottles and printed and hand sewn using environmentally friendly techniques in the U.S. Love!

4. good hYOUman.

good-human

The whole goal of good hYOUman is to make comfortable clothes and unique accessories that make you feel good. And with so many fun and awesome sayings like “respect the process,” “I do it for the dopamine” and “I have everything I need,” well, we feel pretty inspired. Don’t you?

Why We Love It: Made in the U.S. and its limited-edition shirts give back to the design of the collaborator’s choice.

5. SheKC Kindness Project

kindness-project

Who doesn’t want more kindness in the world? More inclusion? Less us vs. them and more, hey, let’s do this together? We recently wrote about these shirts and this campaign over on Fit Bottomed Mamas, but we are totally behind the sheKC Lifestyle Project. Besides the shirts, the campaign is about really sharing stories and promoting something all of us could use a little more of: kindness. Kindness to each other, kindness to ourselves.

Why We Love It: You don’t have to live in Kansas City to get in on this feel-good project — it’s nationwide!

6. Forest Ink

forest-ink

We got an email from one of the founders of Forest Ink and it was pretty darn inspiring:

“I run this business on the side with my mom. I make all of our designs by hand, and we have a whole line of fitness tees. My goal is to branch into doing an entire fitness line and creating awesome content to really inspire and motivate people.”

Well, Zach, you certainly did that with Forest Ink.

Why We Love It: Because when you put on a shirt that says “I know every mile will be worth my while,” it makes you want to run that extra mile.

7. Puppies Make Me Happy

puppies make me happy

We’re gonna go ahead and bet that just the company name put a smile on your face, but there’s more to grin about. This company has a wide range of tees and tanks (for both men and women) with everything from the company name to funky “Puppies and Barre” (or Yoga, or Fitness, etc.) or even one of the truest phrases ever, “Puppies, Wine and I’m Fine,” printed on super soft cotton, and proceeds from sales benefit various pet-related causes like the ASPCA, SoCall Bulldog Rescue and more. Their limited edition  (and currently sold out) Young & Brave top even saw 100 percent of the proceeds go directly to the Young and Brave Foundation.

Why We Love it: Making people smile is our favorite, and being able to do so without saying a word — just by wearing a cute and comfy shirt — makes it even better.

8. Shameless Self Promotion

zen-as-shirt

Whether it’s a crass, hilarious or a terribly awesome pop-culture pun, the FBG store has you covered. Literally.

Why We Love It: That’s pretty obvious, right?

What tops and tanks make you feel good inside and out? —Jenn



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