Really Doing Things

February 13, 2017

If you read this post, or see me in my natural element (at home and in workout clothes) you know that I'm a big fan of Outdoor Voices. The technical apparel company is one of those brands that has a magnetic magic to it. Between the cool construction of the pieces, unexpected colors and combinations, fantastic quality, and supreme softness - there's not much I don't love about the products. But what really makes the company and their products feel special (and to directly take copy and paste from my earlier post) is that they celebrate fitness over performance. They're into "Doing Things" - whether that means hardcore workouts or walking your dog - and that's something I can get on board with.

Outdoor Voices"We believe that when you drop the expectations to perform, the magic happens. That flawed is freeing (and often funny). That even the biggest kids want to play." 

Reading stuff like that kind of gives me goosebumps. And inspires me to try news things. After being on a workout hiatus since moving to Dallas in September, I used the start of the new year as an excuse to get back into a sweaty routine. But rather than go back to my comfortable barre classes (an activity I can shamelessly say I was quite good at) I decided to really push the boundaries of my athletic comfort zone...I wanted to jump into the Doing Things philosophy and take my fears and expectations off the table. Keep reading to see what I got myself into.

 

I should probably start off my revealing that I have always been a little insecure about my athletic abilities. I can’t run – a quick walking pace can give me a side stitch. I have no hand-eye-coordination (tennis, golf and field hockey were are all failed childhood and teenaged experiences) and no upper body strength (my dogs don’t even know why I bother with fetch). I lack a competitive spirit (don’t pick me for your kickball team or challenge me to a race) and have said on more than one occasion that if I didn’t need to workout to keep my cellulite at bay than I wouldn’t do it. All sad but true.

But I love (LOVE!) the idea of Doing Things. I can’t run but I dream of being a runner who can hop outside and do three miles with ease. I have no hand-eye skills or upper body strength but damn if I don’t hope I can get into couples tennis once I trick someone into marrying me. I wish I didn’t have to workout but I want to be the person who loves it anyway.

While driving back to Dallas after spending a very relaxing Christmas holiday at home – where the main activities were eating followed by napping – I told my Sally and my brother-in-law Robert that I was going to start Couch to 5k in January. For anyone unfamiliar, C25K is an app designed for invalids like me who cannot run but would like to be able to. There are several versions you can download but each basically the same…a 9 week program where you do three running sessions a week. Each season features walk/run/walk/run intervals over 25-30 minutes. By the start of week 9 (if you’ve made it that far) you’re running 5k without breaks. I tried to do the app around this time last year and only made it to the start of the third week before I came up with a reason to quit. When I was explaining my plan to Sally and Robert – telling them that it was more about achieving a goal and trying to get comfortable actually running (no marathons in my future) – Robert said he wanted to do it too. We decided that we would start the program on the same day and though we wouldn’t be running together (the stress of having the same pace! The confusion of aligning schedules!) we planned on doing our three sessions a week on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

On January 10th I did session 1 of week 1 on the C25K app. I texted Robert to let him know and he went later that day. We both concluded that while we felt out of shape, we didn’t feel like it was impossible. Thursday of that week rolled around and Robert did his session in the morning. Getting his text that he has already completed the “to-do” made me want to get out and do my run asap. Our buddy system has now taken us to week 5 (!!) and both of us have said that if we didn’t have each other we probably wouldn’t have stuck with it thus far…because the sessions get harder. This past Tuesday was particularly tough for me. I sent a text to Robert at 11:38am: “Week 5, Run 1. Not going to like. It kind of killed me. Especially the 3rd and 6th running intervals. My confidence is at a low.” He responded with: “You finished – that’s all that matters.” So nice, right? That little boost was all I needed to make my next two runs of the week better.

This week kicks off week 6 and I’m nervous to see how tomorrow’s run goes (3.5 minutes of running with .5 minute breaks between). But honestly, I’m just so excited that I’m two weeks away from being able to run 5k. I’m proud of myself! My pace isn’t award winning and neither is my form, but I’ve learned to be more confident just doing my best and feel good that I’ve done some recreational activity that I’m happy with.

On the days I don’t run, I want to start doing Pilates. I’d never tried reformer machines but went with my friend Mary to her favorite place (Session Pilates) last Monday. I only lost my balance and made a fool of myself once! And even though I didn’t know how to do everything and felt goofy some of the time, I was moving and sweating and having fun. Then I was so sore for the next three days I could barely walk. Win win! My favorite part (aside from feeling like I really got a workout) was that it was all new to me…I thought I would hate being in a class that wasn’t my familiar barre routine but not knowing what I was doing made me focus and honestly took a lot of the pressure off.

While I loved the class, I’m currently putting my future Pilates plans on hold – at least till I finish the C25K challenge – the daily activity I love most is taking Blue and Rosebud on their walks around the neighborhood. I hadn’t been able to take Rosie on walks till she finished her last round of puppy vaccines but a few weeks ago we wrapped the shots and I got permission from the vet to let her venture outside my yard and I swear, I have never been more excited to let two labs pull me down the street on leashes. We had been going stir crazy! Now we’re averaging three short walks a day and I think I love the ritual as much as the pups do. Living in Dallas’ Lower Greenville means that we can choose a loop in the neighborhood or a more lively retail stroll. Seeing Rosie freak out over all the smells, sights and sticks (she’s basically a beaver) she had been missing out on really makes my heart so happy.

I might not always be wearing my Outdoor Voices gear when I go on my C25K runs, or while nearly falling off a Pilates reformer, or during my daily dog walking jaunts – but when I am wearing OV during those moments of movement and activity I envision having a little more pep in my step. Because I feel like I’ve really been Doing Things in this new year and it feels like there’s a silent community of really well-dressed doers that would be proud of me.

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White [Maternity] Jeans

February 9, 2017

I first told you guys about the *perfect* pair of maternity jeans I got in this Current Vibes post. And then I wore them here and here. They're the AG "Secret Fit Belly" Stella jeans and after trying on pretty much every pair at A Pea in the Pod I could determine that they were the best. Lots of stretch, super comfortable belly panel that can be folded or worn at full length, and I'm not having to constantly tug them up to keep them from slipping down. I love them - and wear them almost as much as I wear these leggings - but at the time it felt like a big a splurge. Why was I spending so much on designer maternity jeans?! But all my friends who are either pregnant or now have little ones assured me that it was worth it to invest in at least one pair of jeans that fits perfectly and promised me that I would be wearing them postpartum once I have the baby and can't yet fit into my pre-baby jeans.

So...of course. I buy another pair. In white. Because aside from the aforementioned leggings and a few maternity tops I just ordered yesterday, I haven't bought any other actual "maternity" clothes. And with my due date being in early May, I reasoned that I would need (and want) to wear white jeans in addition to the classic blue I already have.

 

I feel slightly guilty (two pairs of designer maternity jeans?!) but am trying not to be too hard on myself. White jeans are one of my biggest spring and summer wardrobe staples and I know that the cost per wear alone will make them worth it. I’m already worn them styled in other looks similar to the one here…with oversized sweaters and boots or flats, along with either a scarf or some earrings to make me feel like I’m making an effort. Though I’ll be honest – most days I don’t leave the house and it’s leggings and my giant long-sleeved t-shirts all day, every day.

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Funnelneck Sweatshirt

February 7, 2017

Raise your hand if you watch The Bachelor...ummhmm, umhm. Sally and I are total addicts and shameless about not missing a Monday night viewing. Last night Nick (the bach, duh) went from 13 girls to 6 girls. And there wasn't even a rose ceremony. Mind. Blown. Nothing makes the weeks go by faster than looking forward to the "reality" shenanigans. This season though, I feel like a lot of the girls (aka, contestants) are all about using the buzz words/phrases really early and it's pretty obvious that they're more into winning than falling in love. Because who can fall in love after only a few weeks, very little one-on-one time, and with a guy who is kissing other women?! Hearing things like, "Ya, like, I just really feel like I'm falling for you? (giggles) And it's exciting (giggles) and scary (giggles) but I want to be open and, like, vulnerable? (giggles) I don't know. Like. I wanted to, like, tell you that. (giggles and sends message with eyes that says "gimme that rose, k?")" Mind. Blow. I think Nick is starting to see through it - which makes him very emotional and sad - and results in him sending ladies packing. It makes for very good TV.

I told Sally last night that I would be the worst Bachelor contestant ever because 1) I don't have a poker face and it seems like a necessary prerequisite, 2) I don't dress in trendy, revealing clothes, and 3) I don't know how to apply eyeshadow. I'd probably be in sweatshirts and caftans and definitely not jeans shorts and crop tops. But who knows...maybe that's what The Bachelor is missing. Women who wear funnelneck sweatshirts like the one I have on here and happen to have two dogs and an investment plan.

 

Jokes aside, I love this Madewell sweatshirt. The mockneck situation makes it ultra cozy but also elevates it from being too casual. It’s “garment-dyed” – which means that the color is added after the garment is finished being made. The result is a softer, broken-in feeling that almost has a vintage quality. It also takes away the risk of shrinking. If you’re a sweatshirt person (which I am) I totally suggest trying this baby out. It also comes in a pretty “rusted tin” color (sort of a soft red).

P.S. these shots were snapped in front of The Loveliest – one of my favorite Dallas boutiques and a definite “happy place” for me. I just adore Britni and Kelsey – the sister duo who owns the shop with their sweet mama – and the gorgeous embroidery, linens, home stuffs, and accessories they curate. After these pictures were taken I promptly went inside and bought these earrings. Which I wear all the time.

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Lucky You!

February 1, 2017

...this post is brought to you by CJ Affiliate’s VIP Content Service. Thank you Lucky Brand for sponsoring this post. While this was a sponsored opportunity from Lucky Brand, all content and opinions expressed here are my own...

High school days were not my favorite. There are some fond memories (most of them involve Sally) but mostly I remember feeling awkward and insecure. I'll spare you all the emo details of my teenage angst but will say that looking back I feel silly but somewhat justified in the amount of concern I put on clothes. Sally and I both wore uniforms to school (they weren't the hot Catholic schoolgirl uniforms in the movies, but we did our best by rolling the skirts and popping our collars) but that fact almost added to the anxiety I felt trying to dress myself on the weekends. It's both a blessing and a curse that we didn't go through those four formative years with the social media pressures and comparisons of today...but a little fashion guidance wouldn't have hurt. My biggest problem (aside from waiting for any type of curves to appear on my skinny bod) was finding jeans that "fit." The struggle was real for both me and my poor mom who heard me whine and cry through many a store and too many dressing rooms to count.

This sad story had a happy ending though. Because growing up in Kansas City meant that we had the Plaza and access to some lovely shopping options. At some point Lucky Brand opened its doors and the walls of neatly folded denim called to me. I experimented with fits, sizes, and washes. And I walked out with a pair of jeans that finally "fit." Was I feeling lucky? Yes. And dare I say, confident.

I wore those low-rise bootcut beauties till there were holes in the crotch (which I got patched) and threads hanging from the heels. I wore them in my senior pictures, they came with me all through college and until recently, lived in a corner of my closet. Though I knew they would never fit me again (because, a 29 year old body is not a 16 year old body) I loved that they kind of represented the best from a time that was sort of my worst. In an effort to free myself from the things I don’t need or use, I recently said goodbye to my faithful Lucky jeans. Letting go was sad but it made me feel like it was okay to invest in some new denim. So I did what my high school-aged self would have done and got two new pairs of Lucky Brand jeans.

There are so many denim brands out there…we all know this. What sets Lucky Brand apart – at least in my eyes – are the details they work into their jeans. “LUCKY YOU!” is stitched onto every fly shield and four-leaf clover patterns are on lining of each front pocket. Those playful attributes combined with the range of styles, denim fabrications, and washes makes them both approachable and reliable in the vast world of denim. Along with my first and most loved pair by Lucky Brand mentioned earlier, I bought and wore several other styles over the years…often experimenting with fits (depending on what was trending) and sizes (because, college.).

I’m a big believer of trying on jeans in store but I figured I’d first see what Lucky Brand’s offerings were online before deciding if I needed or wanted to visit one of the Dallas locations. Shop by fit, shop by leg, shop by rise…I went down each avenue to narrow in on what styles were speaking to me and I determined that I wouldn’t be changing my affinity towards skinny jeans anytime soon. High-rise jeans have been the cut I’ve been loving with my other pairs so I knew I would end up with a “Bridgette” pair but I surprised myself but adding a low-rise “Charlie” to my cart, too. Such a risk taker, right! I figured that I would probably like one of the two fits more than the other and just keep one.

Oops. I ended up really loving both. The Bridgette High-Rise Skinny “Sunrise Road” has a 70s feel but the 1% spandex in the fabrication keeps it from being too stiff. I love the lighter wash and the reinforced knees are a cool worn in detail that keep the legs from being too “clean” while still being a departure from the ripped styles I favor.

Speaking of ripped styles…the Charlie Skinny “Willowdale” has the distressed knees I can never seem to have enough of. I was on the fence between this pair or the Charlie Skinny “Appleby” – both having equally cool ripped details. But the 100% cotton and hook & bar closure (no button!) of the Appleby led me back to the Willowdale.

High-rise vs. Low-rise. I really can’t decide which version I like more. Which is how I ended up keeping both. The low-rise feel a little more casual and easier to wear with sneakers and the high-rise are perfect for tucking in tops and pairing with heels. Though, I say that and have mixed and matched shoes and tops across both styles and been happy and comfortable. And I guess that’s why I love Lucky Brand denim…there’s a comfort and confidence that comes from the vintage-inspired jeans. The jeans fit great but have an unassuming authentic quality that allows me add the personality. Lucky me, right?!

If I’m really lucky, these two babies will be worn as well and for as long as my beloved high school pair (may they rest in donated peace).

Also, it’s a great time to shop all things Lucky Brand…there’s an exclusive online only “mix & match”section of style items are buy one, get one 50% off! Other sale items are an extra 40-60% off. Pretty great, yes? And, you can get $20 off your order instantly using a special code you receive when you sign up for emails!

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A Cropped Coat

January 30, 2017

Since finding out I was pregnant (and even before that if I'm being honest) I've been all about oversized, loose, slouchy, and longggg tops. So it's a little ironic that I've been wearing a cropped coat so much. Cropped items are not something I usually harbor in my closet...I love the look on other people but feel more comfortable in pieces that go past my waist and skim or cover my hips. But Cuyana came out with this coat in a trench-weight in the spring and after trying it on at the trunk show they had in Dallas, I fell in love with the structured silhouette and boxy, cropped shape. I've loved layering it over my longer blouses, tees and shirts for some contrast in length and because it looks so good unbuttoned, it's been great for my almost-baby bump (still waiting to "pop" over here).

 

The coat I’m wearing is the aforementioned “trench” version (a little lighter in weight) but the style is currently available in a beautiful Italian wool and the color is pretty much identical to the one I have…

Did you all watch the SAG Awards last night? I missed the red carpet so I’m having fun playing catch-up this morning and checking out all the head-to-toe looks. So many gorgeous-looking ladies and I love seeing how everyone does their hair and makeup to compliment the gowns and accessories. So fun that our friend Grace got to go and be part of the action!

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