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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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New Tech for Next-Level Workouts

We all go through it. Every once in a while, we experience phases when our workouts feel very lackluster. Sometimes we get lucky and those phases quickly pass. Other times, they linger and cause us lots of anxiety and frustration. But — good news! — there are a bunch of new tools that can help you […]


We all go through it. Every once in a while, we experience phases when our workouts feel very lackluster. Sometimes we get lucky and those phases quickly pass. Other times, they linger and cause us lots of anxiety and frustration.

But — good news! — there are a bunch of new tools that can help you bust out of your workout rut and take your fitness to the next level.

I tried a couple of new gadgets recently that promise to help up-level your fitness, and here’s what I found that’s worth checking out.

Next-Level Cardio with Zoom HRV

This Zoom HRV goes well beyond the standard fitness/activity trackers on the market by measuring and tracking your heart rate without the use of a chest strap. It can even measure your heart rate while you’re swimming and it will count your laps for you — how cool is that? The Zoom Pod can be worn on your wrist, forearm, upper arm or ankle. A single charge delivers about five days of continuous biofeedback.

One of the coolest features is the workout readiness detail. Heart rate variability monitoring detects signs of physical fatigue to provide recommendations on how much you should exert yourself in your next workout. This helps to answer that question of when it’s time to push and when its time to rest, limiting the chances of overtraining. I used this feature this week in advance of the Chicago Marathon to monitor my training recovery. It was super cool to watch the workout readiness number go up as the race approached and confirmed that I wasn’t running any of my short shakeout runs too hard.

In addition to providing tons of valuable heart-rate based information about your current fitness level and recovery status, this little gizmo tracks your sleeping quality and patterns, ambient light exposure, workouts, average daily heart rate, steps, and calories burned.

Zoom HRV is available for $139.99. The arm and ankle band are sold separately as a set for around $19.99. Zoom HRV is compatible with iOS and most Android devices.

Next-Level Strength Training with Beast Sensor

The Beast Sensor is an excellent tool to help quantify the quality of your performance in your lifts. It uses three on-board sensors — an accelerometer, a gyroscope and a compass — to measure power, speed, strength, and explosiveness.

You wear the yellow sensor in its accompanying wristband. When you lift, the sensor then streams data in real time to your mobile devices for immediate feedback on every rep and every set, and provides motivation to give it all you’ve got for each rep (translation: less half-assing). The Beast App also tracks your performance over time — energy burn, weights, reps, sets and progress — and assists you with making better decisions about the amount of weight and number of reps you should use to reach your goals, like increasing strength, power, or speed.

The Apps rest timer is a nice feature that helps keep you on track while you review the detail from your previous set and check out the recommendations for adjusting your weight or rep counts. Pretty cool since I tend to get distracted easily and lose track of my rest periods.

In short, you get lots of very sophisticated information to take your lifting up a notch and performance data that you might not otherwise have access to. At the end of your workout, the Beast App will even tell you how many tons you lifted during your workout — makes you feel like a total badass.

The Beast Sensor costs $249.00 — a bit steep, but if you’re looking for serious consistency and power with concrete numerical evidence to show how you’re progressing over time, then it’s a small price to pay. The Beast Sensor is compatible with both iOS and Android devices. Wanna see it in action? Check out this video.

How do you keep challenging yourself in your workouts? —Alison



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See and Be Seen: Time Change Workout Safety Tips

I have mixed feelings about the fall time change. One the one hand, I love the fact that it suddenly becomes really easy to wake up early, and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing daylight in the morning before 7:30 am. Then again, that means that it’ll be getting dark early — really early in a […]


I have mixed feelings about the fall time change. One the one hand, I love the fact that it suddenly becomes really easy to wake up early, and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing daylight in the morning before 7:30 am. Then again, that means that it’ll be getting dark early — really early in a few weeks — and that, I am no fan of at all. (Hello darkness 8:30 p.m. bedtime, my old friend.)

One of the biggest issues I have with it getting dark so early is the fact that many of my outdoor activities (like running with friends) take place after work during the week, which means I’m spending more time out and about well after the sun goes down. It’s not such a big deal, really, but it does require a little more planning in order to stay visible and safe.

With that in mind, here are a few tips and tools (which companies have sent me to review — but all opinions are mine and mine alone!) that can help you out once Daylight Savings Time ends.

See It All

knuckle lights

I’ve tried a lot of different lights, and I have to say that the Knuckle Lights really stand out from the crowd for a few reasons. My go-to has always been a headlamp, but in order for that to feel comfortable while running, I have to wear a hat — the fact that these go on your hands (and can fit any size hand, even over gloves) is super cool. And it’s not like you’re actively holding them, either. They use soft silicone straps to stay in place, so you can still grab a sip of water or hold a dog leash. They’re battery-operated, safe for use in all kinds of weather, and each light in the set of two put out a broad, bright light (so there’s very little noticeable bounce as you run or walk).

Be Seen By All

It’s important to remember that just because you might be able to see where you’re going fairly well, that doesn’t mean you’re fully visible to others. And it’s not just motorists (although, obviously, that’s probably the biggest concern) — I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been out running and nearly collided with someone who’s out with no lights. So, in addition to using lights (like the Knuckle Lights I mentioned earlier), make sure you’re decked out in something reflective. CEP has new Nighttech Compression Socks that are awesome. I’ve long been a big fan of CEP socks for their incredible quality and the progressive compression, and I think having reflective patterns on arms and legs is key (because those are the areas that move, and therefore are more likely to grab the attention of others). Plus? They just look like patterned socks, so if you’re wearing them during daylight, you’ll still fit right in.

ruffwear beacon light

That goes for four-legged friends, too! If you’re out walking your pup, remember that even if he’s connected to you on a leash, that doesn’t mean people can see him — and unless he’s stuck to you like velcro, that could be dangerous when crossing roads or passing other pedestrians or cyclists. Ruffwear has a number of products to make sure your dog is easy to see, like the Beacon Safety Light, which attaches to your dog’s collar or harness and is durable, waterproof, bright, and rechargeable; the Patroller Leash, which has reflective details all down the sides and is designed to make going from on-leash walking to off-leash play super simple (it fastens around your waist when not in use as a leash); and the Track Jacket, which is a durable, waterproof, high-visibility reflective jacket that’s lightweight and easy to put on and take off.

Of course, visibility isn’t the only safety issue at play. If you’re going out for a walk or other workout after dark (or any time, really), use common sense. Leave the earbuds at home if you’ll be on a road or in a remote location so you can be fully aware of your surroundings, and, when possible, let someone know where you’re going and when you’ll be home. Or, even better, enlist a friend to join you!

Does the time change throw off your workout game? It stays so warm for so long here in Florida that running in the dark (and therefore cooler weather) is a bit of a perk … so long as I don’t trip in the dark. So you know, these new lights of mine are gonna see some serious use! Kristen



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New Drug-Free Tools for Pain Relief

My workout philosophy is “work hard, recover harder,” so I’m always on the lookout for new tools that will help me bounce back quickly. I give lots of bonus points for easy-to-use and innovative drug-free tools. I had a chance to try out some new products recently and there were some winners that I’m sharing […]


My workout philosophy is “work hard, recover harder,” so I’m always on the lookout for new tools that will help me bounce back quickly. I give lots of bonus points for easy-to-use and innovative drug-free tools.

I had a chance to try out some new products recently and there were some winners that I’m sharing so you can check them out, too. You know, cuz we FBGs gotta look out for each other.

PainCakes. How has this not been a thing before now?! Holy crap, this product is amazing! It’s a cold pack that literally sticks to you. I’m surely not the only one who has struggled with icing my sore spots and wondering why it’s too much to ask that the freaking ice pack stay where I put it. And for $14.99, it’s kind of a no-brainer to have around.

I tested it out after running a 50k and at one point had three PainCakes stuck to me. I was lying on the couch, nursing my achy parts without worrying at all about shifting positions. The adhesive is strong but won’t strip the top layer of skin off of you when you go to remove it. Added bonus: The adhesive pad creates some separation between your bare skin and the ice pack so you’re protected.

Simply chill it in its resealable pouch, then remove the cover to reveal the adhesive and stick it to your ouchie. It conforms to the shape of you so you can stick it right where you need it. It holds its cold for up to 15 minutes. Then just slap the adhesive cover back on, tuck it back into its pouch and toss it back into the freezer for reuse later.

The Muscle Stick by Naples Soap Company. I’ve never really been a fan of topical medicated pain relievers — probably due to the smell and the associations with it from my childhood. But I test drove this wonder stick after I did Murph on Memorial Day weekend to deal with the DOMS in my legs and it’s pretty awesome. Only $14 and it’s not sticky or greasy at all. Plus, it gets its superpowers from a blend of essential oils (instead of chemicals) designed to help promote circulation and reduce inflammation as it provides cooling relief for your muscles.

You just rub it on your skin straight from the stick and it smells delightful — like peppermint and eucalyptus. Then about 10-15 minutes later, the cooling menthol action starts. It’s not insane either, just a mild, tingly, cool sensation that dulls the achy feeling in and around your hard-working muscles. I love that the applicator means you don’t have to get the product all over your hands (somehow I always end up with stuff in my eyes).

What are you favorite, all-natural ways to deal with aches and pains? —Alison



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A Day in the Life of the Newest Brooks Running Shoe

When I was in high school, my basketball and volleyball shoes were sacred. I only ever wore them indoors on the court — I didn’t wear them to and from the car, I didn’t wear them to class, I didn’t wear them in the weight room. I didn’t wear them for anything but practice or games. […]


When I was in high school, my basketball and volleyball shoes were sacred. I only ever wore them indoors on the court — I didn’t wear them to and from the car, I didn’t wear them to class, I didn’t wear them in the weight room. I didn’t wear them for anything but practice or games.

And that made sense, because those shoes were sport-specific, pretty pricey, and, over the course of a season, got a lot of mileage. It was just smart to keep them as pristine as possible.

But in my real life, today as an adult? That’s not quite the case. Almost all of my runs take place outdoors — on a variety of surfaces ranging from trails to beach to street — and if I’m getting up early to hit the gym, well, I need my ensemble to be as easy as possible. Changing shoes at the gym? That’s an extra step (and extra minute or so) that I’m not willing to take.

Brooks Running (as you probably recall, we’re affiliates but all opinions are entirely ours!) recently introduced their newest addition — the Revel Running Shoe ($100), and the whole idea behind this model is that it’s designed to go anywhere with its flat-knit upper for solid style and BioMoGo DNA midsole to offer dynamic cushioning for all types of movement.

Running a race, running with friends, or running errands — it’s good to go on whatever adventure you have in mind. Even if that adventure is a fairly typical day. Like this one!

A Day in the Life of Kristen’s Revel Running Shoes

def fit workout shoes

6:30 a.m. Strength work at Definition Fit

7:45 a.m. Coffee with a friend on my way home

9:15 a.m. Working from my home office — at my standing desk

biking

11:50 a.m. Biking to the vet to grab dog meds and the grocery store to pick up lunch and a few other staples

5:15 p.m. Walk the dogs around the neighborhood

brooks running revel outfit

6:00 p.m. Group run from my local craft beer bar

6:35 p.m. Grabbing a post-run drink with friends

7:15 p.m. Walking home so I can stretch, shower, eat, and get ready to rock the next day

Do you have a pair of shoes that works for just about everything? —Kristen



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Review: Life’s Too Short to Go So F*cking Slow

Immediately after I finished Susan Lacke’s new book (it’ll be out in November, so pre-order now!), Life’s Too Short to Go So F*cking Slow, I sent her an email. Susan wrote for us from 2012-2016, and I’ve always found her to be not only a great writer but also one of the most hilarious people around […]


Immediately after I finished Susan Lacke’s new book (it’ll be out in November, so pre-order now!), Life’s Too Short to Go So F*cking Slow, I sent her an email. Susan wrote for us from 2012-2016, and I’ve always found her to be not only a great writer but also one of the most hilarious people around — the kind of person that will say something so funny that your green smoothie shoots right out of your nose. And her book? It’s all that and more.

Susan tells the story of her unlikely friendship with her uber fit boss Carlos, who helps her get healthy, finish multiple Ironmans and — in many ways — find and accept her true self. It’s poignant. It’s vulnerable. It’s real. It’s inspiring (anyone can do an Ironaman!). It’s funny. SO funny. But, Life’s Too Short to Go So F*cking Slow is also deeply personal and reflective.

I finished it in two nights — it’s not a long read, but it’s the kind of story that makes you look within. The kind that makes you want to call up your best friend in the middle of the night and say “thank you — from the bottom of my heart.” It’s the kind of read that makes you want to write a bucket list and start checking things off of it now. It’s the kind of book you should probably read with a box of Kleenex near by. Really, it’s a book everyone should read.

Here’s our email exchange …

Jenn: Just finished reading your book … f*cking beautiful. 💙

Susan: No, YOU’RE f*cking beautiful. XOXO

Extraneous use of curse words aside, it’s just like Susan to deflect the praise of her book with a joke, but seriously, this book is SO F*CKING beautiful.

Pre-order it now! And maybe buy a couple extra as holiday gifts for your fit friends. Jenn



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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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Two Ways to Work Out at Home (Equipment Needed)

As a stay-at-home mom who freelances, I’m constantly on the go. Finding time to hit the gym is not always my top priority and, as such, it often falls to the bottom of my list — and then it just doesn’t happen. But after baby number two (my last) I’m bound and determined to get […]


As a stay-at-home mom who freelances, I’m constantly on the go. Finding time to hit the gym is not always my top priority and, as such, it often falls to the bottom of my list — and then it just doesn’t happen.

But after baby number two (my last) I’m bound and determined to get back into pre-baby shape (hey, even pre-second baby would be okay with me at this point). That means I need to find ways to stay motivated and do quick workouts from the comfort of my own home so there is no room for excuses. Here are two products I recently tried to do just that!

Bowflex Max Trainer 3 Review

For my birthday back in March I was lucky enough to get the Bowflex Max Trainer 3. It’s like an elliptical and stair climber in one machine. It is pretty compact, which was key since I don’t have a ton of space now that there are two times the toys around our house. It does have a fan, which makes some noise, and there is a dinging when you change intervals, but it is quiet enough that my nine-month-old sleeps through it.

The reason I purchased this machine was because it touted a “14-minute workout” with its interval setting. I try to do it three to four times per week, and I increase the resistance one level every few times I use it. In the beginning I could barely make it through the 14 minutes and definitely broke a sweat. Now, I’m about two months in and I’m up to level 7 and can definitely do the 14-minute workout, still breaking a sweat and feeling it, but my stamina has increased.

It may not be the whole-body workout I get when I go to a class at the gym, but, it’s better than me phoning it in every day and doing nothing but running after my two munchkins (although don’t get me wrong — that is also a workout). I feel good after I’m done and I have definitely noticed my legs are more toned. It boasts that you can get a good upper-body workout as well, but I have to admit I have not seen the same results on my arms as I have my legs.

Booty Belt Review

To supplement this cardio workout I also purchased the Booty Belt. I saw this system on my Facebook feed and when I did, I just happened to be looking for a way to tone in addition to my cardio workouts at home. I don’t normally buy infomercial-type things like this, but it has a 30-day money-back guarantee and I heard that Kate Hudson uses it (hey, who wouldn’t want her body?). It also boasts that you can get toned doing it just five minutes, three times per week.

It comes with a DVD, a pamphlet filled with exercises you can do on the fly, a mat for your knees and three levels of bands.

I’ve only used it a few times thus far, but it is HARD (and that is just the beginner-level bands). I barely made it through the pamphlet of suggested exercises, but I’m going to keep at it and I think I will definitely see results. I feel it already in my core, legs and back.

All in, I’ve spent $1,300 for both systems and I would say I’m pretty happy so far. It may be quite a bit of money, but it is keeping me motivated and there really is no excuse for me not to do something every day when I walk by both items multiple times a day. My husband has even started using the Bowflex (he’s a marathon runner) and says it’s a good workout, which makes me feel good, too.

What do you do to keep motivated with little ones and what kinds of exercises do you do at home? —Jenn A.



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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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Lucky’s Take: A Review for the Dogs

There is a lot more to dog ownership than just heaping on the love. Like us, our furry companions need plenty of fresh air and exercise to keep them happy and good quality nutrition to keep them healthy. Two pet food brands that have our dogs’ best interest at heart — newcomer Austin and Kat, […]


There is a lot more to dog ownership than just heaping on the love. Like us, our furry companions need plenty of fresh air and exercise to keep them happy and good quality nutrition to keep them healthy.

Two pet food brands that have our dogs’ best interest at heart — newcomer Austin and Kat, and Wellness Natural Pet Food — sent product samples for us to review. My rescue dog, Lucky, volunteered for the task.

Austin and Kat: CBD Infused Wellness Dog Biscuits

Austin and Kat offers hemp dog biscuits made with cannabidiol or CBD, the non-psychoactive chemical compound derived from the cannabis plant. CBD is completely safe for pet consumption and has been proven to help with anxiety, inflammation, digestion, mood and sleep.

The handmade, all-natural biscuits couldn’t come with a better list of ingredients: human grade CBD, coconut oil, oats, peanut butter, turmeric and apples (heck, I was tempted to chow down on one myself). Each quarter-size biscuit contains 2 mg of cannabinoids (also available in 5 mg/large size).

Lucky’s Take: I appreciate that the biscuits are made with human-grade ingredients; (hello, I am one of the family) and the CBD is a wonderful addition to my regular treats. Before I was rescued I spent two years outside, unprotected from the elements, and honestly, my nerves are shot! Loud noises freak me out and when those thunderstorms roll in it’s all I can do to keep it together. Since they contain CBD these biscuits are a bit pricey, but I don’t eat ‘em like candy. My owner stores them in the fridge where they will keep for six months (two years in the freezer) and doles them out when necessary. I love Austin and Kat for thinking of dogs like me; a little extra TLC mixed with a small dose of CBD (not THC!) is a godsend in my time of need.

Wellness Core: RawRev

Wellness Natural Pet Food sent samples of Core RawRev (short for raw revolution) kibble and Core 100-percent freeze-dried treats for Lucky to critique.

The high-protein, grain-free kibble is combined with freeze-dried chunks of what dogs crave the most — real meat! The nutrient-rich diet is formulated with your canine’s specific needs in mind and sets the foundation for a happier and healthier pet with good stuff like glucosamine chondroiton for joints and flaxseed for a healthy coat. With three formulas to choose from, including small breed, Core RawRev is a safe and convenient way to incorporate raw food into your dog’s diet.

The Core single-ingredient freeze-dried treats are the kind of irresistible rewards your dog will sit, stay and fetch for. The preservative-free, low-calorie treats come in beef, turkey, salmon and boar.

Lucky’s Take:  I am so embarrassed! My manners are usually impeccable, but something came over me when I saw those freeze-dried meat treats. It’s like I was a woman possessed. Must. Have. Protein! Long story short, I got caught jumping up on the desk to steal the bag. I was mortified at my behavior; those treats reduced me to acting like a common housedog, which I most definitely am not.

With more of those delectable chunks of meat and no fillers, The Core RawRev was just as tasty. I would have scarfed the whole bowl down, but my owner is a stickler for rules and followed the guidelines of slowly incorporating it into my diet. I like the fact that it’s raw. My kind has a bad rep for eating just about anything you toss in a bowl or drop on the floor, but given the choice we’d prefer to eat like our ancestors.

Do you have a dog? What’s their favorite snacks?  —Karen (and Lucky)



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Do Expensive Skin Creams Really Work Better?

This post is sponsored by Olay. Find more on our sponsored post policy here. Age ain’t nothing but a number. And that’s the truth. BUT. I wouldn’t be honest if it didn’t feel like my face just hit the jackpot every time I got carded or someone commented on me looking way younger than my age. I […]


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

Age ain’t nothing but a number. And that’s the truth.

BUT. I wouldn’t be honest if it didn’t feel like my face just hit the jackpot every time I got carded or someone commented on me looking way younger than my age. I mean, I eat right, try to get eight hours of sleep a night, drink tons of water, do burpees, think positive thoughts — so I should look pretty fit and healthy, right?

Well, one area I’ve been totally ignoring is my face. I mean, I know it’s there. And I like it! But instead of me trying to do anything about those fine lines and wrinkles, I’ve kind of just been ignoring them. Because … A) I didn’t want to really think about getting older; B) Have you seen anti-aging creams and products lately? There are a million of them. And a lot of them are pricey; C) How the heck do you pick one — and actually know that it’s going to work?

And then I got the answer: science.

An independent test by the Good Housekeeping Institute showed that Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream outperforms 10 top prestige creams, including one with a $440 price tag. A 1.7-ounce container of Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream goes for $26.99 sooo …

I decided to try it out for myself. Because — let’s be honest — no burpee (no matter how much I love doing ’em) is ever going to make the lines on my face disappear overnight. But this stuff? The reviews are SO good.

And, ladies, even if you’re not experiencing fine lines and wrinkles yet (high-five, right here), this is the kind of product that you want to start using no matter how many trips around the sun you’ve celebrated. Not only is it an anti-aging cream, but it’s also a moisturizing and plumping powerhouse that can help younger women to actually prevent those wrinkles and fine lines. Plus, it won’t break the bank!

You simply wash your face like you normally do in the morning and at night, then rub a thin layer of this skin cream gently in. As it goes on you can almost instantaneously feel the hydration. Which is SO important! Hydration is one of the ways you can fight aging when you’re younger, and its essential to having bright, full and beautiful skin. This skin cream is so rich and yet somehow it doesn’t feel heavy or greasy in the least — it absorbs really, really well. In just one day, you can start to see results. I know I did! (And, yeah, obviously no filters are used below and I have no make-up on. Just me right after I washed my face, and me again, three hours later. Same bathroom, same light … much smoother and brighter face!)

In fact, according to the aforementioned Good Housekeeping Institute study, at the three-hour mark, Olay moisturized 400 percent better than a cream nearly 18 times its price and beat all other products tested. It also increased moisture by 50 percent on average over a 24-hour period. Formulated with powerhouse ingredients like niacinamide, carob seed extract, vitamin E and hyaluronic acid, Olay was found to improve skin’s texture by 10 percent in four weeks. Seeing how much it’s already changed my skin in just a few weeks of use, I cannot wait to see what it looks like in a month.

And it’s so great to put another Olay product into my life. I’ve been using Olay body wash and face cleansers since I was a teen, and now I’m thrilled to put Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream in my daily skincare rotation. Olay is a worldwide leader in skin care and has been trusted by women for more than 60 years. Olay was founded on the philosophy to maintain a deep understanding of women’s changing needs and to combine products that fit their needs with the latest advances in skin care technology without premium prices. And you know what? I think this product embraces that perfectly. It’s made a believer out of me already!

Has your skincare routine changed as the years have passed? I really wish this had been around when I was in my 20s. No telling how young I’d look! —Jenn 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Olay. The opinions and text are all mine.



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Beyond Books: What’s in My Beach Bag

It’s full on beach season (or, at least it would be if Florida would get the memo and knock it off with this crazy rain!), and I, for one, couldn’t be more excited. I mean, I live pretty close to the beach, and sure, I go there for happy hour with friends most Friday nights even […]


It’s full on beach season (or, at least it would be if Florida would get the memo and knock it off with this crazy rain!), and I, for one, couldn’t be more excited. I mean, I live pretty close to the beach, and sure, I go there for happy hour with friends most Friday nights even in the winter, but that’s not the same as having a full on beach day, you know?

I mean, it’s one thing to show up for an hour and have a glass of wine as the sun sets. It’s a whole other experience to show up early in the day with a book, a chair and an umbrella and just plan to relax.

But, aside from having something good to read (I just finished a fun romance called Dating You, Hating You, for anybody looking for a light and fun beach read this summer) and a shady spot to sit, what’s in your beach bag? I’ve become a bit of a pro packer at this point, so I thought I’d share what’s in my bag now. Many of these items were sent to me for review, others I purchased on my own, but they’re all keepers in my book.

beach products

What’s in My Beach Bag

1. Beach bag. I still use the Fivesse beach backpack I reviewed two years ago, and while that specific style seems to be out of stock in every color, there are a few things I love about it that I’m sure you can find in another bag. There are numerous pockets, which makes organization easy (plus, I can keep things dry and sand-free when needed), the main compartment is spacious, and there’s a cord on the outside that’ll hold a big towel or clothes, which is awesome.

2. Anti-chafing stuff. Even if you don’t deal with your thighs rubbing on a regular basis, walking the beach in a swimsuit when it’s super hot and humid out can create some chafing issues. And if you’re spending any time on a surfboard or SUP, you might find that you have a few areas that tend to rub. Enter Body Glide Skin Glide — it’s lightweight and non-greasy, and really helps ease any friction you might experience. It might not be a staple in everyone’s beach bag, but it sure is in mine!

3. Conditioner or detangler. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t skimp when it comes to getting my hair cut and colored, and that means I try really hard to protect it — I mean, hey, I want to put as much time between appointments as possible! I actually really like the texture salt water gives my hair, but sometimes it makes the ends pretty dry and tangly, so I like to keep some conditioner or detangler on hand. I don’t do a full wash/condition, but rather just put a small amount into the ends of my hair when wet and then comb it through with my fingers. Aussie’s Color Mate Conditioner smells good, gets the tangles out, and protects that color that I spent so much money on — win, win, win!

4. Shoes. I’m typically barefoot on the beach, true, but walking on hot pavement to get there is not my idea of a good time. Plus, it’s nice to have comfy shoes handy in case I decide to grab a bite to eat on the way home after working up an appetite! I’ve been sporting Vionic’s Beach Noosa Toe Post Sandal lately for a few reasons. First up, CUTENESS — I’m a sucker for a great floral print, and these are tropical as all get out. Plus, they actually have arch support, which means I’m way less likely to anger the plantar fasciitis gods.

5. Shower wipes and body spray. Just like shoes are typically a must if I’m hoping to do anything social after my beach day, so is some sort of shower-in-a-bag. YUNI has a Sweat, Refresh, Go Kit at Sephora right now that includes their Shower Sheets, Flash Both No-Rinse Body Cleanser, Chillax Muscle Recovery Gel, and My Om World Aromatic Body Mist. (You’re welcome for that — and so is everyone you’re gonna hang out with after a hot, sweaty day this summer!)

6. Sunscreen! (Duh.) I keep sunscreen everywhere. There’s a sunscreen station in my house near the door to the pool area, I keep a bottle in my car, and I always have at least one or two options in my beach bag. Always. Recently I’ve been trying out Coppertone’s Clearly Sheer Whipped Sunscreen, which feels a lot like hair mousse and goes on really light — enough that I can use it for every day. I also have their Sport Sunscreen Stick, which looks like a deodorant stick. It goes on thick and, to be honest, a bit greasy, but when you’re really trying to ensure coverage, that’s really not a bad thing. I hit my shoulders (which tend to burn) with it when I know I’ll be heading out into the water (since it’s water resistant for 80 minutes). I wouldn’t use it every day but for days when I’m being beachy and active, it’s a convenient option.

7. A big hat. I am almost never outdoors without a hat of some kind, and I’m a huge fan of Headsweats (as you might recall). For one thing, having a Bigfoot on your hat is just fun, and the trucker hats use a terry sweatband wrapped in the brand’s signature Eventure knit to keep the sweat out of my face. It’s also nice to have a snapback if you’re wearing a ponytail!

Okay, I shared my latest beach read. What are you reading right now? I really love a good book recommendation! —Kristen



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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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7 Healthy Books to Put on Your Summer Reading List

Remember how your teacher used to give you a list of recommended reads for the summer? And it was full of classic literature? I read SO many great books that way. It’s how I was introduced to everything from East of Eden to Gone With the Wind to I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. […]


Remember how your teacher used to give you a list of recommended reads for the summer? And it was full of classic literature? I read SO many great books that way. It’s how I was introduced to everything from East of Eden to Gone With the Wind to I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. And those books changed my life — because they changed my perspective of life. They introduced me to new places, new people, new ways of thinking. And while, OBVIOUSLY, nonfiction fitness and self-help books aren’t typically *quite* on the same level as, ahem, Maya Angelou, we thought it would be fun to put together our own summer reading list that has a healthy twist.

From helping you to rock the gym, to loving yourself more, to reaching your goals to living an active life that rocks, these seven books are totally worth checking out at your library, downloading on your Kindle or picking up at the bookstore. Kick back with them this summer and get inspired!

Credit: Catherine Just

You guys know how we feel about all things Danielle LaPorte (authentic poetic genius!). Her new book, White Hot Truth, drops May 16 … and it is everything.

We got a sneak peek at the copy and it’s sharp, wise, inspiring and sometimes hilarious. If you’re a self-improvement junkie, this book will CHANGE YOU. (Not to mention, it’s pretty to look at, right?!)

Gym routine getting stale? Bored with your current workouts? Mix them up forever and always with The Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises. It’s basically the bible of exercise. We’re talking tips, exercises, workouts and 1,350 photographs that show movements for every muscle and training plans to match every fitness goal. Consider your gym boredom busted.

3. Body Kindness

We featured a wonderful excerpt from this book during Love Yo’Self Week and that article is a great reflection of this entire book. It’s thought-provoking, inspirational and if you struggle with only using your body size or weight as a barometer of your self-worth or mood, it’ll help you break the pattern and feel the love.

What’s one of the world’s most challenging, inspiring, and fastest-growing sports? Triathlon! And more and more women are doing them — including the author of this book and mom of four small kids, Alicia DiFabio. Alicia shares her personal experience with triathlon, along with why more and more women are doing them. Whether you’re a seasoned triathlete or simply tri-curious, this book will inspire the heck out of you!

We recently had Katy Bowman on our podcast and had the MOST fascinating conversation about what it meant to be truly active — and how our modern lives are kind of mucking all that up. And this book is a deep dive (yet totally readable and relatable — Katy is the best at that) into the science of how we can all feel better and move better in our bodies. And the info is really easy to put into practice, too. The book includes movement programs, corrective exercises, habit modifications and simple lifestyle change suggestions, so that you can help move your DNA in a healthier — and more natural — direction.

We’ve long been internet buds with Laura Williams and this book is SO creative and fun! We definitely know that getting and staying fit is better and more fun with a partner, and this book gives you a ton (okay, 70 to be exact) of step-by-step body weight exercises to do with someone else. With 40 actual workouts to try, plus three long-term full exercise programs to hit your fitness goals, the only thing you have to do is ask someone to join you!

From the title, you might think that this book is all about posture and body alignment. And it is A LOT about that (and has fantastic info in it about that), but it’s also about habits, what your mind thinks about your body and how you can change your lifestyle to be more mindful. Whether you suffer from chronic pain of some kind or are injured … or not, it’s a really, really interesting read!

And y’all didn’t forget that we have a book, too, right? It’s kind of the best. Hehe. Jenn



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How to Have the Perfect Hike

Guys, it’s hiking weather. And we’ve got your step by step guide (along with some recommendations for cool products that have been sent our way!) to making your next trek a really freakin’ awesome day out on the trail. 1. Get up early. Hikes are awesome in the morning … and you know what they say […]


Guys, it’s hiking weather. And we’ve got your step by step guide (along with some recommendations for cool products that have been sent our way!) to making your next trek a really freakin’ awesome day out on the trail.

1. Get up early.

Hikes are awesome in the morning … and you know what they say about the early bird and all. (Plus, you’re less likely to encounter any afternoon storms!)

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2. Pack for the unexpected.

You probably already know to bring extra clothes, a first aid kit, map and compass (safety first!), but there are a few new goodies that landed on our radar that are worth making room in your pack for. The first: a portable water bottle that uses ultra filtration technology to remove viruses, bacteria, cysts and parasites to produce instant clean, drinkable water no matter where you get the water from. Called LIFESAVER, it pretty much is a lifesaver!

All you have to do is scoop water from any water source, then pump the LIFESAVER pressurization system and you’re ready to go. It removes a minimum of 99.9999 percent of bacteria and 99.9 percent of cysts — even from muddy, thick water.

And, in case you spill said water all over yourself or end up in a rain shower and all your stuff (including you) gets soaked, it might be a good idea to have a small NanoDry Trek Towel on hand, too.

 

3. Don’t forget your fuel.

Hiking makes you HUNGRY. And sometimes it’s hard to know exactly how long you’ll be on the trail for. So, food and water is the one thing you definitely don’t want to skimp on. Here are a few of our fave packaged snacks.

Patagonia Provisions

This line of packaged food is convenient, hearty, healthy and sustainable for the planet. Patagonia Provisions has everything from buffalo jerky to breakfast grains to nutrition bars to fully cooked wild sockeye salmon to grains. All of it is outdoor-friendly and shelf stable, meaning that you can either open and eat or open and add hot water and eat. It’s awesome. And delicious. Oh, and they even have BEER.

Clif Bar

Clif Bars and hiking go together like sunshine and sunglasses, and its new Peanut Butter Banana With Dark Chocolate bars are ON POINT if you’re wanting a bar that is hearty. With 260 calories, 10 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber, they’re also delicious. (We mean, who doesn’t love PB, banana and chocolate?!)

Luna

Want a bar that’s more like a sweet snack than a meal? Try Luna’s new low-sugar bars. Flavors like Salted Caramel Cashew and Cinnamon Almond Swirl deliver serious flavor (like dessert!) with 170 calories, 6 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber and only 5 grams of sugar. Also, these are gluten-free and non-GMO.

Clif Bloks

If you’re just needing some energy to keep you on the move as you tackle those hills but don’t want to, like, eat eat (you know what we mean, right?), chomp on some Clif Bloks. These organic energy chews — in the new and exciting flavors of salted watermelon, spearmint and ginger ale — are easy on the stomach and deliver you the glucose your muscles need to keep pumping. And if you’re sweating up a storm, we really recommend the salted watermelon — it has twice the sodium!

SmashPack Protein

Go ahead and smash these in your backpack before you hit the trail. With 14 grams of whey protein, one serving of real fruit, five grams of healthy fats and 180 calories, SmashPack Protein is awesome as a quick breakfast, snack or as a recovery snack post-hike. Super portable and also gluten-free!

4. As you lace up your shoes, set an intention.

What do you want to do on this hike? Really feel the burn? Notice all the beautiful things around you? Relax? Do a trail in your fastest time yet? Pick your goal.

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5. Track your steps.

Whether you’re doing a little trail running or just want to see how many steps and miles you rack up on the trail, the TomTom Spark 3 Cardio + Music is perf for that! It features a built-in heart rate monitor, GPS tracking (with distance, time, speed, pace and route) and space for more than 500 songs to jam along to with Bluetooth headphones (obviously, don’t play too loud — again, safety first on the trails!).

6. Enjoy the heck out of yourself.

It’s nature. It’s beautiful. And so are you.

via GIPHY

What’s the most memorable hike you’ve been on? Man, I have SO many good hiking memories!Jenn



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These Running Shoes Feel Like They Were Made for Me

Have you ever put on a pair of shoes and they just felt so right and comfy that it’s almost like the running gods were smiling down upon you? Guys, that’s the experience I had with the new Brooks Running PureFlow 6 ($100). (And, yes, we’re an affiliate and a brand ambassador, but no, that has […]


Have you ever put on a pair of shoes and they just felt so right and comfy that it’s almost like the running gods were smiling down upon you?

Guys, that’s the experience I had with the new Brooks Running PureFlow 6 ($100). (And, yes, we’re an affiliate and a brand ambassador, but no, that has nothing to do with my opinion of these — they are magic on my feet.)

I’ve long been a fan of the PureFlows, but this shoe just hits all the marks for me like no shoe has ever done before. It’s light and minimal but still with a little cushion for springiness, it’s great for shorter runs (you know me — no long distances here, haha) and performs well with cross-training. (I love it for circuit training and boot camps that incorporate some but not all running.) The heather upper and color options are BEYOND CUTE, too (literally the cutest shoe I’ve ever seen — and I don’t use “literally” lightly), so you can wear it here, there, to the gym, out to brunch and everywhere.

They are also ridiculously comfy. They almost have a slipper-like coziness to them, although there’s still support. They just fit basically like a glove. In other shoes, sometimes I have issues with the heel chafing (even if I’m wearing socks with a tab on the heel) or the laces/tongue area rubs or feels unnecessarily tight, or sometimes it moves around on the top of my foot. Not with these though. No chafing, no rubbing, no moving, no tongue being annoying — all perfection.

The only con of these for me is closet space. Because I want ALL THE COLORS. #FBGProbs

I feel like they were basically made for my feet. I hope your feet feel the same.

Have you ever had a Cinderella moment with running shoes, too? —Jenn



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Go Behind the Scenes and Get Inspired With the Biggest Names in CrossFit

Whether or not you do CrossFit, you have to admit that the CrossFit Games — and the athletes who compete in them — are an incredible thing to behold. Beyond just wondering how the heck people can push themselves that hard and be that strong and have that many abs (it’s insane; it’s like they […]


Whether or not you do CrossFit, you have to admit that the CrossFit Games — and the athletes who compete in them — are an incredible thing to behold. Beyond just wondering how the heck people can push themselves that hard and be that strong and have that many abs (it’s insane; it’s like they actually have extra ab muscles), it’s just hella inspiring. And fascinating.

How do these people get there? How do they train? Do they have special genes that give them those extra abs?

If you’ve ever wondered that and more — or even if you haven’t and you just want something cool to watch — the new documentary Fittest on Earth: A Decade of Fitness is worth viewing. We were able to download a copy of it for review and it was such a cool behind-the-scenes look at the 2016 CrossFit Games, which was a grueling five-day, 15-event competition and declares a man and woman as the “fittest on earth.”

Here’s the trailer to give you a taste for the doc and get ya all fired up.

So, inspiration? Yeah, you get that. Humor? There’s so much of that. Passion? Hell yeah. Commitment? These athletes have loads upon loads of it. I know I keep saying incredible, but it’s incredible.

Two of my biggest and most surprising takeaways from the film (without giving away too much, of course) had to do with Katrin Davidsdottir and Tia-Clair Toomey. First, Katrin. She talks about how big of a supporter her late grandmother was of her and how she’s doing it all for her. Man, all the feels. It’s really touching and heartfelt.Second, you would think that these men and women would be so confident. I mean, just by being in the CrossFit Games arena they’re superheros. But, Tia-Clair Toomey has a few moments of self doubt that are so real and just almost difficult to watch. It just goes to show you that confidence doesn’t come from appearance or performance. (And, Tia-Clair, if you’re reading this, we think you’re ah-mazing, girl!)

Oh, and if you’re fans of peeps like Mat Fraser, Sara Sigmundsdottir, Ben Smith and Josh Bridges, they’re in there, too.

Do you follow any CrossFit athletes? I’m such a Katrin fan now! —Jenn



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A Genius Way to Keep Sweat Off Your Car Seat Post Workout

True (gross) story: For weeks my car smelled bad. Like, bad enough that I didn’t want anyone else in it because it smelled like something died in it. Like a pair of gym socks from 1994. It was disgusting. My husband and I searched high and low for the culprit, expecting to find a moldy […]


True (gross) story: For weeks my car smelled bad. Like, bad enough that I didn’t want anyone else in it because it smelled like something died in it. Like a pair of gym socks from 1994. It was disgusting. My husband and I searched high and low for the culprit, expecting to find a moldy french fry or aforementioned pair of gym socks from 1994. But, no dice. After a few months of avoiding driving, we realized that it flared up when we left the gym. Especially when it was hot out.

Duh. It was our sweat.

Our days-old sweat just heating up and being gross. So, gross.

(Aren’t you glad you decided to read this post today?)

After much cleaning and products like this, we got the smell out. And started taking a change of clothes to the gym with us on hot days to prevent the smell from ever coming back. Sure, it created more laundry, and it was kind of a pain, but it worked.

And then, this came along!

It’s a cover. For your car seat! And the Seat Hoody is kind of brilliant. A totally simple idea, but it works. You simply throw over your seats (see where it gets the “hoody” in its name by going over the headrests?), fold or snap it in place (for airbag compatibility) and you’re good to go,  no matter how wet (beach!) or sweaty (hot yoga!) or gross (backpacking!) you are. The covers are machine washable and fit all vehicle seats.

The back of the Seat Hoody is made with a silicone backing to help it stay in place. I did have a little slippage from time to time with it, but it still stayed on way better than a towel you’d just throw over the seat. And the material is an absorbent poly-blend fabric — way better than cotton. It also comes in lots of fun colors and patterns. At $48, it is a bit of an investment, but if you can’t deal with car stank any longer — or simply don’t want it to begin with (I’d recommend that) — the Seat Hoody is a good investment.

Plus, the name is really cute, right?!

Ever had the car stink, stank, stunk? Tell me about it to make me feel better, please.Jenn



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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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The Ultimate Guide to Workout Hairstyles

Beauty tip lists are my kryptonite. I just love learning about what different people do with their hair or makeup — seeing what works for them, what they spend time and money on, and where they’ve found shortcuts is absolutely fascinating. One of the best tips I ever read was that a good haircut (and color, if […]


Beauty tip lists are my kryptonite. I just love learning about what different people do with their hair or makeup — seeing what works for them, what they spend time and money on, and where they’ve found shortcuts is absolutely fascinating.

One of the best tips I ever read was that a good haircut (and color, if you’re like me and haven’t rocked your natural shade in … a while) is the best beauty investment you can make. Think about it. You wear your hair every single day, and when it’s cut in a way that makes styling easy, getting ready each day takes way less effort.

I’ve also found that, when I have a good cut and use products that are really hydrating, I can — for the first time in my life — embrace the texture in my hair and do the ol’ wash and go. This is a game changer for me, and it’s not like I’m relying on fancy salon products to make it happen. I’ve used Herbal Essences for ages, and when they reached out to say that they were launching nine new collections (using a technology called bio:renew), I believe I (virtually) elbowed Jenn out of the way so I’d get a chance to try it out. I’ve been using their Coconut Milk Collection shampoo and conditioner ($5.99 each), and it’s been awesome. Smells great, my hair feels soft and smooth … total win.

herbal essences biorenew

Of course, you guys know me. I really enjoy playing around with hair so below, you’ll find a few tips from me on how to rock some sweet braids. And since I don’t walk out the door with wet hair (or braids) every day — and I know many of you don’t, either — I also grabbed a few tips for looking fab in a jiffy from Herbal Essences’ celeb stylist Charles Baker Strahan.

Kristen’s Tips for Workout Hairstyles and Race Day Braids

The other thing I’ve learned recently is that braids aren’t just for show. My hair is longer than it’s been in years, and between that and the added texture, if I run with it just in a pony? GOOD LUCK getting a brush through it afterward. So, I’ve taken to using lots of braids. They’re super functional, but also look really special! In fact, I did the double braid style below (after seeing Jess from The Fit Petite rocking the look at Camp Brooks) the day before working from my local coffee shop, and I had people coming up to me to ask about it all morning!

So, with that in mind, here are three ways to rock a braid that’ll work for work, a workout, or just going out! (Keep in mind, these all require you knowing how to French braid your own hair. It’s not hard, I promise — just takes some practice! None of these styles took me more than 5-10 minutes total, and I’m definitely no pro.)

Front Braid to Pony

This style is awesome for hair of various lengths and textures — and it really only takes a moment!

What you’ll need: One small clear elastic, one regular elastic, two bobby pins or a barrette.

Step 1: Create a deep side part and separate the hair from that part and a couple inches back from the rest of your hair. Put the majority of your hair in a ponytail.

Step 2: French braid the front section. This is an easy way to pull bangs that are growing out away from your face! Braid all the way to the end.

side french braid

Step 3: Pull the braid back to your ponytail and fasten with a barrette or two bobby pins. Wrap a section of hair from the ponytail around any ends sticking out to group it in with the ponytail, hide your elastic, and make it look more polished.

side french braid

Bubble Braid

Got thick hair with lots of texture? Then you’ll rock this style better than I did, but it’s a great way to make your hair look really, really long. I mean, I was going for this … and maybe fell a little short. But I bet you can do it!

What you’ll need: Four (or more) clear, plastic elastics. Size will depend on thickness of hair.

Step 1: French or Dutch (shown here — basically, inside out French braid) the top half  or so of your hair. Continue braid all the way to the end.

Step 2: Take another quarter of your hair and braid it (unless your hair is so long and thick that your top braid goes to the bottom of your hair, in which case one braid will do!). Keep it a loose and messy.

bubble braid

Step 3: Create “bubbles” by fastening your braid and loose hair together and pulling the loose hair out a bit. Do this at regular intervals down to the bottom. It might not hold perfectly all workout long, but it won’t be hard to touch up!

bubble braid

Double Tucked Braids

This is my favorite of all — I’m rocking it as I type, in fact! It looks waaaaay more complicated than it really is. Promise.

What you’ll need: Two thin elastics (clear is ideal) and four or more bobby pins.

Step 1: Part hair evenly down the middle and pull one section tightly out of the way.

Step 2: French (shown here) or Dutch braid each side — a little loose and messy will work in your favor later, so don’t try for perfection! Braid both sides all the way to the ends, even if bits come poking out.

double french braid

Step 3: Shove the end of one side right up under the bottom of the other braid. Secure with overlapping bobby pins.

double french braid tucked

Step 4: Repeat on the other side. Be sure to shake your head around to make sure both sides are fastened securely!

double french braid tucked

Hair Tips From Celeb Stylist Charles Baker Strahan

Dry shampoo is your friend — both before and after your workout. “Depending on your natural texture the quick answer to dealing with minimal sweat as well as restoring volume is to utilize dry shampoo. You can attack this two ways: by using it pre-workout (this will help to absorb) as well post workout (this will make sure you won’t have residual sweat and smell fresh).”

Plan ahead if you’ve got thick hair that you don’t want to spend time drying in the morning. “Shampoo and condition your hair at night when you get home — think of it as washing the day off. I recommend using the new Herbal Essences Coconut Milk Hydrate Collection or theHerbal Essences Argan Oil of Morocco Collection, which includes oil-infused crèmes that can be used as well to allow ample time to air dry. Right before bed, put your hair up in smaller twists (buns if comfortable) to give direction to the curl pattern. Once you take it down in the morning, it will have a nice beautiful texture. Utilizing a diffuser for a bit in the morning will boost volume to those slept on tresses.”

Hydration can be a big help for African American women with both relaxed and natural hair. “For either African American or mixed ethnicity, it’s incredibly important to maintain and support the hair with as much hydration as possible. I highly recommend the Herbal Essences Coconut Milk Hydrate Collection — moisturizing is the key to manageability and shine and the ability to bounce back from anything you put your hair through.”

What’s your go-to hairstyle for a workout or race?—Kristen



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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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