Packing for 4.

Yeah Spring Break is here!  Everyone in this family needs it.  7am school bus rides take their toll on all of us after a while.  My daughter has been asking for regular updates on ‘how many more sleeps’ there are until we go to the beach.  It’s fun to see how excited she is.  I’m not quite so excited yet as I have to pack for a family of 4 camping for 2 nights, and of course you need as much stuff for 2 nights as you do for 5 ranging from pillows to dixie cups, and from spf 30 to toilet roll.  I know we will forget something – the test will be is it something we can do without?  I’ll just make certain that my cocktail shaker makes it:)

Prior to everyone disappearing on Spring Break my running buddy and I went for a 10 miler yesterday.  I found it really tough – I don’t know what is wrong with me.  I had no significant aches or pains but just felt like I had low energy, my body and soul just wanted to give up.  Maybe a couple of days of rest at the beach will help?  I hope so as I’ve got another half fast approaching in April.

As I went to meet the school bus yesterday I was shocked to discover our only immediate neighbor has put her house on the market.  Spring is definitely the time everyone tests the market as most families want to move before the start of the next school year in August.  We don’t talk a lot, but she is a great neighbor, mainly because we do both just get on with our lives with little interference so I will miss her.  However it would be fantastic if we get another younger family moving in.  We’re in a good school district so fingers crossed.  I also really hope she gets what she has listed it for – it’ll certainly do wonders for our house value and prove to me that the Buckhead Bubble is recession proof.

So I’m going to take a few days off being online – I’ll be back next week with stories from Tybee.

My new workout closet.

I mentioned in a previous post that I’d experienced some nasty chafing from a top during the Georgia half marathon.  In order to prevent it ever happening again I was motivated to explore Lululemon, the Canadian brand known for yoga and running gear.  They actually have all their own trademarked fabrics too and you can find descriptions here.  I must admit I’m still getting up to speed with all their offerings and what gear will best suit my needs.  I do some hot yoga and run a lot.  I tend to wear the same clothes for both activities – and the less coverage the better really given the heat here.

Before buying I did a bit of research using the Lululemon Facebook page and a few blogs – Lulumum, LululemonAddict and See Alli Run.  There are two key things to be aware of.  Firstly new items are uploaded to the website every Monday night.  Most of the bloggers will have posted reviews of these items already, based on info from Australia or elsewhere that has already received the product.  Secondly hot items sell out FAST.  If a new print or color arrives it will be gone in a couple of days.  Unfortunately many items find there way to eBay at inflated prices.  So if you are obsessing over an item buy it – don’t wait – you might be disappointed.

My first purchases were a Cool Racerback (known as a CRB), Chase me crops, and a Chase me tank.  I have worn both the CRB and the Chase me tank and I love them both.  The CRB fits great (size 8 – I’m a 36 C/D, 140lbs and 5’6″) and is lovely and soft.  I love the fact that it is quite long so you can wrinkle it a little over the tummy area if you need a bit of camouflage.  I wore it for hot yoga and it wicked well and was so comfortable, I also think it will be great for running with a good sports bra.  I have the aquamarine that is no longer available online – but I’ve noticed things popping back into stock occasionally probably due to returns, so stalking may benefit you.  The Chase me tank is really cute and demonstrates why I am now in love with Lululemon.  They make functional items that are cuter than your regular brands.  The Chase me tank has a stretch top around the bust but then is a softer, looser fabric around the midriff with a drawcord that can be tightened to not only keep the tank in place but also give it a cute ruffle effect.  I wore it on an 8 mile run the other day and it worked great – no chafing and again really comfortable.  I love both these tanks as I can wear my own favorite sports bra beneath them – I’m completely anti-shelf bra now after the chafing incident!

The Cool Racerback:

Cool Racerback

The Chase Me Tank:

Chase me tank

I love skorts.  I like to feel feminine when I’m working out – what I’m wearing really does psychologically impact my performance.  I ummed and ahhed over the blurred blossom Pace Setter skirt and learned the lesson about items selling out fast online and this print in the regular length is all sold out online.  Luckily we have a store here in Atlanta.  I nipped in there yesterday to investigate running socks – fatal error.  The running socks ended up costing me over $100 as I walked out with the Pace Setter skirt in blurred blossom and a Swiftly racerback in ultra violet.  The skirt is gorgeous and I was smitten as soon as I saw it in person.  It goes with every color – blues, greens, pinks, purples and greys.  Again it is the perfect mix of style and performance.  I adore the ruffles at the back for cute factor, but it also has multiple pockets and great sticky seams on the short legs so they don’t ride up.  I’m so in love with it I ordered the new black/blush combo as soon as I got home as it hadn’t yet hit the store.

The Pace Setter skirt in Blurred Blossom:

The Swiftly racerback is great too – very different from the CRB.  It is a looser, thinner fit and really light for a long run.  Overall I think I prefer it for running but it might be too loose for my downward dog.  I’m beginning to see the benefits of a diversified workout closet, for now though I’m doing my best to stay away from Lululemon.com on Tuesday mornings!

The Swiftly racerback:

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

It’s getting too warm…

I think the frequency of my outfit posts is decreasing and I think the reason is twofold – 1. I’m working out more and spending more time in workout gear, 2. it’s hot and I’m feeling less like standing in front of a mirror each morning.  Number 1. scares me a bit as I don’t want to get lazy and wear workout gear all the time but as the workout gear gets cuter and the temperatures rise it’s very appealing to wear something without buttons or zippers.

Anyway I did take this photo yesterday as I was preparing for a morning at work.  It’s the gorgeous Boden crinkle shirt in mercury from last season, with my Gap boyfriend jeans.  I love Boden’s crinkle shirts and this season’s are really cute too and almost sold out already!  I like to wear them over a tank with jeans or shorts.  They are so soft, don’t need ironing and have some stretch – so they are about the only item with a collar I wear these days.

No photo for today as I am being influenced by the relaxed office environment plus I’m playing tennis at lunchtime, so yes I have my shorts and tank on ready for some swiping at thin air:)

I made it a Boden day.

After vehemently defending Boden and then reading another article rehashing the same story in the Independent yesterday I knew I needed to wear my favorite brand with pride, or smugness if you want to call it that.  To be honest I’m still really confused about why these articles have been written in the first place?  The price of Boden keeps coming into question but this season I have seen many more items than usual sell out sooner so it’s obviously not too expensive for us Boden fans, especially when we use the frequently offered codes.  Of course it would be great to spend less but then isn’t that how a brand becomes ‘masstige‘?  One of my greatest fears is that Boden will become too mainstream, I don’t want everyone buying my favorite clothes, I don’t mind a few of you doing so but please not everyone.

So I showed my support with two lovely Boden ensembles (with a bit of JCrew thrown in).  As I was running errands in the spring sunshine I wore my candy striped long sleeved Breton with my JCrew polka dot shorts and slim Havaianas.  I really love the Bretons they are so soft and I adore the shape of the neck – I definitely plan to purchase a couple more colors this season.

Boden Breton, JCrew shorts

In the evening MM and I were heading out for dinner for the first time in weeks and I wore my Show Stopping tunic for the first time.  This item just demonstrates the value of Boden – I paid $58 for this gorgeous little silk number and I feel fabulous in it.  Unfortunately they are all sold out in the clearance section so thank goodness I got the Fern color too!  I’m also wearing Boden leggings which in my experience are the comfiest, softest, shape keeping leggings I have bought.

Show stopping tunic

My choice of nail polish worked great with both outfits and I’d chosen it before even planning what to wear.  It’s Essie’s Smooth Sailing – a gorgeous blue with a hint of sparkle in it – great for spring.

We went to the Floataway Cafe, which is a sister restaurant of some of the best restaurants in Altanta – Bacchanalia et al.  We had a fabulous time and the food was great – as you can see I refueled after my run with hanger steak, fries and asparagus followed by syrup sponge – delicious.  The only negative bit of the evening was the time it took to get a taxi home.  Atlanta just isn’t designed for people who don’t want to drive.  You practically feel guilty for wanting more than one drink as it becomes such a bind to get home.  I’m convinced there are countless drunk drivers out there on a weekend evening in Atlanta because getting a cab home is so time consuming – it’s sad.  People who choose to get a taxi should be applauded not made to feel like they are putting someone out – surely a restaurant should take care of you and keep you happy while you are waiting in their premises for a cab home?  Not so last night I’m afraid, which unfortunately means it is unlikely we will return for a while as one of us will have to drive, and that sucks on a date night.

As you can see though the food was divine…

Defending one of my favorite brands.

It really must be a slow news day in the U.K. today.  For some reason the press has decided to have a go at Boden.  Claims of it being too expensive, out of touch with the current level of austerity, smugness and other such things, have been made by The Daily Telegraph and The Daily Mail.  For the U.S. readers both these newspapers are right wing, Conservative leaning papers who try to appeal to the British middle class, Tory voting stereotype.  I find The Daily Mail to be a really quite overtly right wing rag that often peddles far nastier, polarizing articles than today’s Boden bashing.

Having read both these articles I have found they are both representative of incredibly poor, sloppy journalism, probably written by graduates of journalism courses with crap A’ levels.  Yes I’m pissed – ‘mad’ for you Brits out there (Sorry for the US/UK English mashup!).

1.  The online version of the Daily Telegraph’s article has a whopping spelling error in their poll – all credibility lost after that I’m afraid.

2. Neither article mentions the fact that no true Boden fan ever buys at full price – the sticker prices are inflated so that Boden can continue to lure and incent customers with great offers and deals.  There’s practically a new code every week and fans know where to find them.

3. Mumsnet is a dreadful source of information – who goes to a forum designed for bitching and moaning?  They’ve always had it in for Boden and most visitors are probably the ‘mums who have given up brigade’.  Get a grip.  If any reporting was fair the reporters would also have acknowledged the Boden Community members who are fanatical about Boden and wait with baited breath for sales to start and new seasons to be released.  Where are the quotes from BC, not to mention the active Facebook fan page, Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph?

Yes I’m mad and have flown to the defense of my beloved brand.  I for one will continue to enjoy my Boden and wear it with pride and smugness – well why not if it looks good!?  If anything I am more irritated by the poor journalism than the actual subject matter, and to think I used to miss the British press.

A new addiction?

I’ve spent most of the day at home today with my son who has pink eye, though to be honest I think daycare may have misdiagnosed it as the pollen count is so high everyone’s eyes are red and itchy.  Anyway it was lovely working from home again.  Even though I’m now in my comfy sweats nursing my still weary legs (that I’ve slathered in Bengay so I smell funny) I did begin my day in this little number.

I love these dresses and I have several from last season – they are cheap and cheerful Target numbers, even the tank underneath it is Mossimo.  I’ve seen the dresses in store this season too – they fit large, this is a small, and feel a tad synthetic after wearing Boden most of the time, but for dashing about town they are fine especially as I only paid about $20 for them!  I dressed it up with my Frye Carson pull-ons in Fawn, which also meant I was able to hide the war wounds on my feet from Sunday, and keep them lovely and comfy in a pair of socks.  My spot prize for tweeting my #BodenMondays outfit also arrived and I’m wearing it here – it’s a gorgeous necklace, I’m so thrilled with it – thank you again Boden!  I’m wearing it wrapped around double but it is a single strand that goes with everything!

Boden spot prize

Fortunately in this photo the dress also hides my awful chafing wounds.  They look ghastly on my collar bone.  In order to prevent it happening again, after collecting my son from daycare, we headed to Lululemon.  I had heard of the brand and seen the store but never been tempted to purchase as I wasn’t sure it was ‘performance’ or ‘lifestyle’ wear.  But through recommendations from many of my running blogger friends, and also the ubiquity of the brand on Sunday I decided to investigate further.  If you are interested in learning more there are two great blogs that both have Facebook pages too – lulumom.blogspot.com and luluaddict.blogspot.com.  Through a little research I learned the brand is Canadian with Canadian sizing (smaller then the equivalent U.S. sizing), every Monday night new items are uploaded to the website, and Atlanta is very lucky that we have our own store.  Given the new items I spotted on the website this morning I made a very impulsive order online before even trying for size in the store.  I couldn’t resist the cute Pace Setter skirt in heathered indigo and the Back on Track skirt in black which is already out of stock again – so glad I was impulsive!  After inquiring on the Lululemon Facebook page about their recommended running basics I also ordered a cool racerback in heathered aquamarine.  This top had been recommended along with a bra but I didn’t dare order a bra without trying first.  Another example by the way of great social media at work – I had a response on their page so quickly – great personal, customer service – see how easy it is to gain a brand fan?

So the search began for the bra – and that was the real reason for the visit to the store.  Can I first say how much I bloody love a store that accommodates Moms and kids.  I was thrilled that there was a larger changing room available with the capacity for a small daycare classroom, plus there was a large basket of toys in the corner and a bench with pillows – in fact the changing room was almost the size of my first living room in London.  Admittedly my son preferred to play Angry Birds on my iPhone but non the less the attention to detail in the room was noted by both of us.  Hannah, my lovely assistant, guided me through the choice of bras.  I decided to try the Adjust Me Bra instead of the armor plated Ta Ta Tamer and I fell in love with it instantly – so soft, so smooth and so supportive – oh and so cool looking in the aquamarine!  So while I was there and enjoying a practically empty store I made the fatal move of browsing.  I should know by now to never, never browse – once required item has been selected, just walk to the counter, pay and leave store.  Shoot, it didn’t quite happen that way and I walked out with the bra, another cool racerback in heathered blurred grey, a Chase me Tank in black and finally the Chase me Cops in Wee are from Space Black.  I know I needed tops but I couldn’t resist the crops – they are SO snug and supportive – I think they are going to be amazing to run in.  Again they fit small – I normally take small in Nike pants and here I had to go to an 8.  The last lovely surprise was the fab little reusable bag that you walk away with – what a great brand experience – I’d happily use it to carry my lunch in every day!  So another addiction may be starting and for now I’m very excited to have my basic Lululemon wardrobe that I can add to.  I promise to review the items as I put them to the test.

Chase me Crop

What are your favorite Lululemon items?

The day after…

I did it!! Not the best time ever but under 2hrs 30 which became my goal half way round as the temperatures soared and the hills of Atlanta took their toll – 2hrs 28mins was my finishing time – a little disappointed but this is far outweighed by the elation and euphoria of finishing my second half.  I was literally in tears as I crossed the line I was so happy and excited to finish.  The crowd really carried me home for that last half mile.  It was so incredible to see the top marathon finishers finishing along side us – it certainly puts into perspective how fast and what amazing runners they are!  Speaking of marathoners I must congratulate my blogger friend www.runninginmommyland.com who finished her first full marathon yesterday!!

The atmosphere was brilliant and the organizers did a fabulous job from start to finish.  My heart was pumping to the disco beats thudding from the speakers as we waited anxiously in our corrals.  Then at 7am we were off – of course the start is always a tad slower when there are 15,000 other runners with you.  I barely noticed the first 3 miles but it was strange to be running in the dark.  I knew I was a bit slower than normal so tried to up my pace a little.  I started to feel those brutal hills and at one point at about 6miles I thought I was done for as I felt my left knee start to tighten.  Of course in those circumstances all you start to think about is the niggle, which ultimately makes the niggle worse.  I pulled up momentarily to hit the ‘reset’ button and make sure I was okay to continue.  Once I started running again it felt fine and I found my stride again.  The problem is once you have stopped once, mentally the challenge is up and it’s easy to stop again.  Non the less once when I was running I felt fairly strong and tried to focus on my form.  I really believe I think too much when I’m running on my own.  I’m much happier when distracted by good conversation and company so I am recruiting more running buddies – look out:)

I’m now planning to try and run about 5 a year.  There is the ZOOMA Atlanta women’s half in April, then a welcome break over the summer before the AllState 13.1 in October, the Atlanta Thanksgiving half, the Miami half/full marathon in January, followed by the Georgia half again in March.  Depending on how my training goes over the course of the year and if I can correct my form to eliminate any knee problems I seriously may consider the full in January.  Miami would be a great place for a full – fairly flat plus plenty of opportunity to party afterward!

Before I do any more long runs I really must buy some tops that don’t chafe.  The chafing was exacerbated by the heat but crikey I have some nasty welts around my collar bone and chest and under my arms today from my hot, wet skin rubbing on the seams of the tank I was wearing.  I have trouble finding great tops that are supportive as I prefer a shelf bra – so if you have any favorites please share with me.  I’m looking at the Lululemon ones right now but this Back on Track tank that I like is completely sold out online.

My Finishers Medal:

Finishers medal

My Post Race Reward:

Post-race reward

 

 

 

The day before…

After spending so much time recently at the YMCA I’ve decided to try playing tennis again.  I say ‘again’ but I’ve never really played.  I had lessons when I was young and had all the gear – the Donnay racquet (Bjorn Borg’s brand of course), the white skirt and the green flash trainers.  I then didn’t play again until probably 2000 when we moved here and we discovered tennis courts everywhere.  We hit a ball around in a futile attempt to stay fit before going to the bar for a pitcher of bud light.  Anyway here I am again trying not to make it a fad – I haven’t splurged on an unnecessarily cool racquet (yet), instead I sensibly bought a cheap one that will suffice until I can actually hit the ball.

While out fulfilling my dreams of becoming an all around athlete by buying the requisite gear, I popped into New Balance just to see what tennis shoes they had.  I am now completely brand loyal when it comes to New Balance and their running shoes, after falling in love with the previously reviewed W890s.  As soon as I walked in the store I was mesmerized by their new minimalist running shoe the Minimus Zero.  The lovely Brandon encouraged me to try a pair and all thoughts of tennis shoes evaporated.  As an ex-brander I have to say I fell in love with the New Balance store experience.  The store itself is open, spacious and well merchandised and within a minute of being in the store someone was there to help.  What blew me away though was it was the first time in years where a sales assistant pulled out the old style stool with the foot rest on it so he could put the shoe on and tie it for me.  Talk about a Cinderella moment!  And of course the glass slipper fit and I walked out with these gorgeous things.

New Balance WR00SP

Now I just have to adapt my running style and see if this minimal running lark is for me – obviously this will be done after the race tomorrow.

As the countdown continues to the Georgia Half Marathon tomorrow morning I’ve been trying to stay calm and take it easy, or at least distract myself from the building nerves and adrenalin.  As much as I have been trying to restrict myself from any form of exercise, and use this week to rest, yesterday morning I found myself climbing the walls so I packed myself off to 90 minutes of hot yoga.  Yet again I left the class wondering why on earth I don’t do it every week – even my instructor said I looked physically different when I left – all the tension had left my face and body.  I tried not to overdo it and just go with the flow and at the end of the class I was detoxed, stretched and strengthened, I felt like I could conquer the world.  13.1 miles tomorrow will do though.

Spring is well and truly here and though I am happy for a little sunshine tomorrow morning I’m a tad nervous that it will either be a) way too hot and I’ll get dehydrated or b) there will be a thunder storm and they will stop the run.  As of now the forecast is for high 50s at the start of the race and only a 20% chance of a storm so fingers crossed the weather will be perfect.  Of course by 9am it could be a lot warmer and though the race starts at 7am I am in the 8th corral so it could take some time to even start the race and get going.  I know the way well downtown to the start at Centennial Park but with roads closing etc. I decided to do the drive down there today and make sure I knew where parking is and so on.  My friend was also supposed to be running but after many miles of training she fell and hurt her knee so sadly has had to pull out this year, however she very kindly passed on her VIP pass to me.  This fabulous package entitles me to parking right next to the start, a continental breakfast, post race massage and a VIP lunch – needless to say I feel a bit of a flake using it after just running a half as there will be many more deserving 26.2 mile runners, but it certainly helps reduce some of the pre-race anxiety.

Fortunately everyone else was happy to drive downtown with me as we promised to take the kids to the St. Patrick’s day parade.  MM was somewhat reluctant as he still can’t get to grips with the U.S. celebrating St. Patrick’s day in such an over the top fashion.  Well at least 3 of us were in our green to avoid a pinch, and I shed a tear as soon as I heard the military band.  I’m not sure what it is – I inherited it – but I always cry when I see/hear a marching band.

Here’s how I wore my green for the day: JCrew green 4″ chino shorts (4″ are available online only), Boden long sleeved Breton which coincidentally I LOVE – it’s so soft and I love the neck line, and navy Havaianas slim.

JCrew shorts, Boden Breton top, Havaianas

I accessorized with this little beauty bought a couple of years ago from Anthropology.

Anthropology

So for this evening it’ll be the second weekend night in a row alcohol free – unheard of in my neck of the woods…but hopefully worth it.  The coconut water and chia seeds will be my beverage of choice tonight – maybe I can make it green and join in the craic?

Coconut water and chia seeds

Kreativ Blogger award…

I’d like to thank Anne at Writing by the Numbers who awarded me with the Kreativ Blogger award.  It’s lovely to be appreciated and know someone actually reads my posts:)  Anne blogs about writing, running and her opinions on life in general including coffee🙂

Rules for the award:

1. Thank the award givers and link back to them in your post. (check)

2. Copy the award and post it. (check)

3. Tell readers seven things about yourself. (below)

4. Award multiple others and tell them about the award. (see below)

 

Now my seven things:

1.  I started blogging 3 months ago and I’m amazed at how fulfilling and fun it is – I wonder what all my friends think about it.

2.  My Husband who I met over 20 years ago is my best friend, the love of my life and can still elicit every emotion in me.

3.  I’ve worked in a range of disciplines from IT to marketing, for/with nearly every corporation in Altanta – The Home Depot, IHG, Coca Cola, At&t and more.  I am now happier and more satisfied than ever working part time for my Husband at Pregnancy & Newborn magazine.  I question why I spent so much energy and time striving for a corporate career.

4.  I want to divide my year equally between London, Atlanta and France.

5.  I am a shopaholic and rarely go a week without buying something – even if it is only a new nail polish.

6.  I miss my family and friends in the UK more than words can describe.

7.  I love living in the US with my Husband and children more than words can describe.

 

And here are the others I wish to award – please visit them and say hi.

1. http://styleguile.blogspot.com/

2. http://mysuperfluities.blogspot.com/

3. http://schoolgatestyle.blogspot.com/

4. http://runninginmommyland.com/