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19 summer athleisure must haves

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This post contains affiliate links. Adore Me helped inspire this post, and they have their own set of activewear you can check out here!

summer athleisure must have

Athleisure is still all the rage – thank goodness. And thanks to all the brands that are still catering to lazy girls like me (though I prefer to call it “practical” – if I wear my workout clothes all day, I’m cutting down on laundry!) If you’re looking to change up your wardrobe for summer, check out some of my favorite go-to pieces.

Mesh Panel Capris: I love mesh panels, especially for summer runs to prevent any swampiness. These plus size ones are cute too, with a fun print and pocket for a key.

Ripped Leggings: These don’t come in my size, but that isn’t stopping me from wanting to channel my inner Brie Mode. They don’t actually look like they’re all that practical, but they’d be cute for Sunday Funday!

C9 High Waisted Legging: These leggings are my everyday go-to must haves. I have four pairs, and it still doesn’t seem like enough. They’ve held up well over a year and a half, but they do tend to pick up any lint in their vicinity, so they’re not the best for someone with pets (or someone who forgets to check pant pockets before doing laundry.)

Lucy Capri Leggings: Lucy gear can be pricey, but I find it to be worth it. I had a pair of their perfect leggings for more than three years before they started to stretch and pill (and even then it was probably due to my weight gain.) They’re worth the investment, especially now that they’ve started a plus size line as well!

Criss Cross Racerback Bra: I love sports bras, and I especially love strappy, cute ones. This one would be super cute under an open back shirt, and the multiple straps can help with distributing any front heavy weight if you know what I mean.

Back Cut Out Bra: Another sports bra with fancy detailing, this one looks like it has less support but would be comfortable for lounging around the house or under a casual dress for brunch.

Criss Cross Strappy Bra: The bank on this one is still fun and creative, but it provides more support than the other two options. Perfect for HIIT workouts or long runs and still looking fab afterward.

Pizza Crop Top: Sometimes you just need a reminder of what all this working out is for. Times like that I would love to be rocking a pizza shirt – eyes on the prize. Beloved Shirts has a ton of other print tops if pizza isn’t your thing (but honestly, isn’t pizza everyone’s thing?)

Marika Dry-Knit Shirt: I’ve had a Marika shirt from TJ Maxx since 2012 or so, and it’s still in good shape. If you’re looking for something long-lasting, this is the brand for you. They dry really fast, and the ruching in the shirt isn’t uncomfortable or chafe-y at all.

adidas aeroknit Shirt: The color of this breathable shirt, plus the open armholes (to show off your cute bras) make this a winner for me. Tank tops are made for summer – sun’s out, guns out!

Goldsheep Tank: I think everyone has one of those “when I lose this much weight, I’ll let myself buy this” goal shirts. All my hours spent watching Total Divas have led me to Goldsheep Clothing, an overpriced line with lifestyle shirts and activewear leggings.

Short Stop Long Sleeve: I love to throw on a long-sleeved shirt when I leave the gym, even in the summer. This one from lululemon is cropped with a mesh panel in the back for maximum breathability while still keeping you covered up.

No Bull Women’s Trainers: I will always champion heading to your local running store to get properly fitted for shoes, but I got a pair of these No Bull shoes and I don’t regret it for a second. They’re definitely pricey, but with my documented love for buffalo plaid, I had to get them. They’re perfect for strength training workouts and very true to size.

Nike Flyknits: Really cute shoes… that I can’t wear. If these work on your feet, I’m super jealous. They’re stylish whether you’re at the gym or just hanging out.

Sun Bum sunscreen: I’m a SPF-holic, and won’t leave the house without a quick spray of sunscreen on. Sun Bum is my favorite – the spray goes on evenly and it’s pretty sweat-resistant. Don’t forget to spray the top of your head (you can thank me later when you aren’t battling the red part.) Laura Mercier’s tinted moisturizer is my go-to for my face.

YurBuds Wireless Headphones: When I upgraded to the iPhone 7, it meant my large collection of YurBuds could no longer easily plug in. Since my ears are a weird size, regular ear buds don’t usually fit well, so the hooks these headphones offer make them ideal. I had tried a lower cost option, but they were really uncomfortable and didn’t stick. Now that I’ve converted to wireless, it’s been so convenient – I don’t have to worry about accidentally yanking them out of my ears when moving my phone!

Quay Sunglasses: Oversized glasses are my jam, but it’s hard to find sporty-ish sunnies that fit the bill. These ones from Quay are great and I love that tortoiseshell print. I have two pairs from Quay already, so I can definitely say that they’re worth the $50!

Water Bottle: Gotta stay hydrated during the hot summer months, and I love these kinds of water bottles. The storage compartment holds your ID or credit card and a house key, so you don’t have to carry anything extra around!

Gym Bag: I will live out of a gym bag, so I need something as functional (and big) as it is fashionable. This one from Vera Bradley has a large zippered opening, plus outside compartments to easily tuck things into.

May 3, 2017
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go cubs go / race to wrigley 5k recap

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race to wrigley

It’s been quite awhile since I sat down to write a race recap! Last weekend I headed out to do the Race to Wrigley 5k, sponsored by the 2016 World Champion Cubs.

I didn’t go to packet pickup so I can’t speak to that experience, but my partner in crime seemed to be in and out very quickly.

Saturday morning we rolled out of bed at 6am and grabbed a coffee and a Lyft by 6:45. Next year I would leave a bit later – it was a little on the chilly side, but the Cubs team store and Sports World were both open for pre-race shopping. Getting there was very easy – they hadn’t shut the streets down yet so our Lyft dropped us off right at the start line, and everything was well-signed so it wasn’t hard to navigate. For the first time I thought I might have an issue with runner’s trots, but it ended up holding off (thank goodness.) Around 7:40 they started corralling everyone to the start line, and after a few stretches and the national anthem, we were off. Thank goodness the rain held off – I’m writing this in a thunderstorm and it would have been a cold (but fun) race through this weather.

I thought the course was great – flat, easy, and not too many turns. There was a ton of course support in the form of security and police officers, and it was one of the best and safest road races I’ve ever done. The two water stops on the course both seemed like they could have benefitted from a longer head start or more tables to line up cups on because when we went through, they were already getting backed up and running out, and we were toward the front of the pack.

When the course looped back around and we saw Harry Caray standing on the corner signaling our arrival back to the Field, it was such a relief, but also super exciting. Running through the concourse was fun, and a great way to finish the race. Hitting the mile 3 marker and with the finish line in sight, we both took off to cross the finish line… so we thought.

The finish line was the only part of the day I would have changed. Not too long after we took off at the mile marker, it started backing up terribly because the finisher chute was far too small to sustain the number of runners finishing. Add in the fact that many of the fun runners were finishing at the same time as us and there was really not enough room. From the time we stopped until we actually crossed the timing mat, it was almost six minutes. I’m still really proud of my time (especially for having not trained at all) and proud of Brendan for doing so well even when it got hard!

This race also helped me remember how much I love running. The camaraderie, the good ache after going hard, the joy of the finish line banana and happy volunteers giving out medals. Despite the finish line backup, it was a really great race, and I’m excited to Race to Wrigley again next year!

May 1, 2017
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starting over: getting in shape after a break

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This post contains affiliate links.

When I moved from Virginia to Nashville, it was a huge lifestyle change. I went from having a very small social circle, from a regular schedule of going to work every day, followed by the gym, then crashing at home with great dinners to a crazy and unpredictable work schedule, a bigger family of friends, and lots and lots of dinners out. Working out was the LAST thing on my mind, even though living in apartment complexes that had gyms and pools was always a priority. As a result, I lost all my muscle tone and stamina and gained almost all of the 40 pounds I had lost back. I’m back with a gym membership now and working to get back into a healthier lifestyle – not only working out madly again, but also eating better. It’s definitely not easy, though – it’s taking a lot of focus and motivation to get back into it. Here are some ways I’m inspiring myself to get back in shape!

Here Comes the Sun: It’s tough to feel inspired to get outside when it’s the dead of winter – in January, Chicago had EIGHT DAYS of sun. That’s not enough sun. I’m hacking my circadian rhythm by using a blue therapy light for 30 minutes every morning. My doctor recommended it to help out with my depression, but it’s making it much easier to get up in the morning and stay awake all day by simulating sunlight earlier than it actually comes up. (Plus, working out is a HUGE mental health boost.)

Reward Yourself: I was super inspired by this Mashable post about a girl who chronicled her weight loss on Instagram – one of her tips was to make a list of “rewards” when you hit a specific goal weight or milestone. I made a page in my bullet journal so I can flip open for inspiration anytime I want to skip a workout or eat something unhealthy, so I always have my eyes on the prize.

Motivate Me: Similarly, I love following people on social media who have gone through similar fitness journeys to get inspiration, motivation, and workout ideas. I found this Chicago powerlifter through a Buzzfeed article and love that she taught herself the basics of lifting. (A set of bars for my house is on my wishlist.) Hopefully, I’ll be as ripped as she is someday! Read more…

February 10, 2017
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Superfithero Review: Perfect Pocket Capris!

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One of the most fun parts of working out, if I’m being honest, is getting new outfits and finding gear that’s as functional as it is cute. I’ve gained a little weight back since I initially started working out a few years ago, and my workout wardrobe (especially my bottoms) was in need of a SERIOUS overhaul. When I saw Superfithero, I fell in love – a body positive, feminist clothing line with super technical fabric and useful details? Sign me up.

Founder Micki Krimmel sent me a pair of their newly launched pocket capris (with neon racing stripe details!), and I took them out for a few different workouts! I’m really into high-waisted bottoms, and it’s important to me that they stay put. These capris didn’t budge during a run or yoga session, and I even did a few squat tests – I felt supported and held in, and most of all, very comfortable.

These capris feature pockets on both sides, and they’re both big enough for a phone case, a small card wallet, or even a key. The left side of them have some racing stripe details which continue down the pocket too – no skimping on quality there. The four-way stretch moved with my body and didn’t feel tight or pinchy at all. The fabric is really high quality and fast-wicking, too! In fact, they were so fast to dry I ended up wearing them for most of the day following my workout while I cleaned and organized the new apartment.

Superfithero carries shirts sizes XS-4XL, bottoms from XS-4XL (sizes 2-28,) and accessories like this vagina pin and masked headband in addition to Feminist mens shirts. I ordered an XL and was a bit weary that I should have gone bigger, but they fit great, so they run true to size (and their testimonials page echoes the same feedback!)

What are your most important qualities in workout pants?

January 27, 2017
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tips for running in cold weather

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Mercifully, the oppressive winter weather held off a bit longer than normal. Not so mercifully, it’s finally here with a vengeance. Especially now that I’m spending lots of time in Chicago, I’m finding the idea of going outside to do something impossible. The last thing I really want to do is head outside for a run. Cap the weather off with asthma, which makes my lungs misbehave in cold weather even if I’m standing still, and I’m definitely not going anywhere. I’ve found a few ways over the years to manage this and make it a little more bearable to head outside to get active in the winter months!

  • If you are an asthmatic, use your albuterol before you go outside. That way, the medicine can start working sooner in order to open your airway before it starts to get inflamed.
  • Start working out inside so your body can get warmed up and acclimated to activity, so it’s not working overtime to get used to the motion and cold air at the same time. Run up and down some stairs, do a set of jumping jacks, or even a quick Blogilates song to get your airways warm and your blood circulating.
  • Even though winter is prime time to train for a spring PR, don’t try to push your speed on an outdoor workout. The extra effort can flare your lungs up and you’ll find yourself gasping for air and fighting with phlegm. Instead, do easier workouts outside, and tempo runs on indoor tracks or treadmills.
  • Be sure to check in with your body before, during, and after workouts. If your chest or lungs feel sensitive or sore when you take a deep breath, take a few days to rest before starting to work out again.
  • Remember to drink water: you’re still sweating, even if your body feels cold. Don’t let yourself get dehydrated just because it’s not 80 degrees out.
  • Get the right gear. I love my lululemon neck warmer to cover my nose and mouth, and it even has an adjustable cord to hold it in its proper place. If you’re in a snowy or icy area (or if you’re particularly clumsy, like me,) Yak Trax are a great investment as well!

Do you run outside in the winter, or do you move indoors like me?

December 29, 2016
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