I Can’t Wait for Summer Because…

So today is the first day of spring.

Allegedly.

Let me tell you this right now, and then I will stop rantin’ and ravin’.  However  I am tall and thin and very cold-blooded (I forgot what they call that body type, but my yoga friend calls me watery), and I have been cold on a consistent basis since November, and I find that highly ridiculous.  So I’m protesting, and I’m liking up with Helene from Helene in Between to bring you….

Helene In Between
This amazing link-up.
Plus Helene, if you’re reading this, I really think we could be blogger besties, and you should really think about forging a friendship with me.  But that’s really just a suggestion, do with it what you’d like.
+Camp.  Seriously  camp.  I’ve talked nonstop about camp here, and I’ll talk about it more.  But Camp Pocono Trails, a camp where I’ve been working since 2010, is literally one of the happiest places on earth.  I will dedicate an entire post to all the amazingness of camp, but rest assured, you will hear all friggin about how amazing camp is.  These girls are my camp children.
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+Jorts + crop tops.  I live for weather warm enough to rock this delicious combo.
28795aaec46830528e480c69669d40a0+Summer nights going to concerts and sitting outside while you eat.  Can you sit outside while an ice storm is raging?  Yeah maybe, but you will be very cold.  Very cold and very icy.
+We got engaged on a beautiful summer night.  And therefore, summer reminds me of love.
+Bikinis!  I love them, and there’s nothing better than sitting out in one on the 4th of July.  Speaking of, I need some new cute ones.
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+Iced coffee.  It’s fine in the winter.  Makes me DIE in the summer time.
+Summer storms.  I love thunderstorms.  I always have.  My poor roomie, Mackenzie Coconuts does not feel the same way, and used to crawl into bed with me when it stormed in college, fun fact.
Link up!  And what are your favorite things about summer?  What can’t you wait for? 

Fabletics Clothing Review!

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via Shape Magazine

So, I wish I could have a subscription to every workout publication that’s out there, but usually, I limit myself to purchasing them when I see someone on the cover whom I love, and Kate Hudson definitely falls into that category for me.  She’s funny, she’s Goldie Hawn’s daughter, and I was particularly intrigued by this cover cause didn’t she just have another baby?

At any rate, Kate Hudson teamed up with Fabletics, which is her new, affordable brand of activewear.  I’m sure that you’ve started to see all the commercials for things like JustFab, FabKids, Stichfix, and Runnerbox, all subscription programs that you can enroll in, and Fabletics is a similar program, and I was super thrilled when they sent me a few pieces from their spring line to try and tell you guys all about.

The way it works:

You go to Fabletics, and you start by taking their Fit Quiz, which determines what sort of activity you’re engaging in.  From there, there are a few options, a VIP membership option, which will allow for more discounts and a full outfit option, and a regular membership option which still allows you to shop, but at a less deep discount.  But basically, after selecting your option, you’ll receive a new set of active wear (from a wide array of bottoms, tops, bras, jackets, and all of that), and If you hate anything, or you want to skip a month you’re totally welcome, but the basic premise is that you’re paying less for active-wear that’s pretty good quality, as opposed to a $90 pair of tights, which you can easily do elsewhere (and I’ve done it!).

The stuff. 

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DSC_0014So the pieces that I have are:

The Kingston Hoodie, which I’ve been wearing nonstop since it came in the mail a few weeks ago.  Seriously, I wore this and the tank top like 3 times to work last week with different bottoms, and wore them to my race last Sunday.

The Extension True Tank, which is kind of like a muscle tee, and seems like it would be really good for hot yoga if you don’t want to run around without a bra on.  I also wore this in my race Saturday, and it moves really really well with you, but I probably would go down in a size personally, and…

The Lima Capri, which is truly one of the most beautiful colors I’ve ever seen.  The tight is really really comfortable and warm, and I’d probably do shorter runs in this one.  This one is a little tricky in the sizing – I felt like I’m in-between the small and medium, and when I was down on the floor stretching, I felt like it was pulling in the crotch a little bit, fit that makes sense.

The verdict:  I’ll start with some improvements so that we can end on the good stuff 🙂  This seems really dumb, but the tags inside of the clothing are really stiff and crunchy, and in a piece of active wear, that’s a big no-no.  I don’t like taking scissors to my tags, because sometimes that makes it worse, so I’ve dealt, but I don’t love that aspect of the clothing.

The good stuff is very good.  The clothing comes in the most stunning colors I’ve ever seen, and the photos don’t do it justice.  The clothing is comfy and extremely easy to wear or pair with regular pieces to make it more “street-ready”  and it translates easily between activity.  I taught a Zumba class in them last week, hopped on the treadmill after and ran for a while, and was able to run a full half-marathon in the tops pictured above with ZERO chafing and that says something.  At the very least, check out Fabletics, give them or month or two, and let me know what you think about your new (and affordable) digs!

[Full disclosure:  Fabletics hooked me up with the beautiful clothing, but these opinions are 1000% my own]

 

I stood up for myself (and for all you guys who may have experienced the same thing)

Say what you will if you’re still skeptical about working out.  It makes you tired.  It makes you sore.  It makes you break out.  You’re concerned you might lose your donk.  But it will increase your confidence absolutely exponentially.  I have my occasional days where I’m like “Omg why did no one tell me I needed a nose job so badly!” but on the usual, I’m fairly fearless.  Which is the only explanation for why I did what I did yesterday.

The backstory

I’ve had a thing for DC for a while now.  So when Athleta Georgetown called me to interview me for a managerial position, I pelvic thrusted all the way to that phone interview.  I love specialty retail, and I love (or I thought I loved) what Athleta said with their business.  They made clothing, not just technical clothing, but clothing for women who worked out.  Their models are Olympian athletes, not bikini girls, and they do it all.  Yoga, swimwear, running, and athletic.  Perfect, right?  If I could make good money doing what I loved in a city I loved, why not, right?

I flew the phone interview with flying colors.  Me and the woman who spoke were almost romantically involved is what I’m saying. I also stalked her on LinkedIn, and figured out that she had the same disorder I have, where we speak as though we were raised in The Valley, but rock the locs and the dark skin, and stan for some fitness.  It was perfect!  And I got an in-person.  EEP!

Athleta

I timed the interview so that I would drive down from New Jersey, the almost 5 hours in traffic, and arrived for the interview.

The woman whom I’d spoken with on the phone, just days earlier, had been let go.  Okay, I said to myself, no big deal, things happen.  And the interview commenced.  Mary, who seemed completely uninterested in meeting me in the first place, sat down, and pulled out a copy of my résumé.  “What is Fleet Feet,” she asked dismissively.  I was a little caught off-guard.  She spoke of Fleet Feet almost with a sense of disdain, and disgust.  I pushed that away.  I must have been imagining it.  I explained, with a shaky smile, about my history with Fleet Feet, and my history in retail.  “Yah, but what do you DO there,” she asked, very apparently exasperated at this point.  And the interview continued along this way.  I was mortified.

The clincher was when, at the end of the interview, she sighed, slid backwards, and said, “Well, this went a lot better than I thought it was going to!” Why…thank you!

The interview went on with another manager, and I was horrified.  It was apparent that Mary had no interest in meeting me, had not looked at my paperwork prior, and looked me up and down at the beginning of the interview and decided that that I’d rolled off the hot mess express along with Amanda Bynes, and I didn’t deserve the respect of decent courtesy that you normally extend to folks you’re interviewing.

The benefit of the doubt

I called Alexa, and talked to her about it.  I told my friends.  I told my hubby-to-be.  Because I know I can be dramatic, but I’m certainly not histrionic, and I don’t imagine things, as a general rule of thumb.  Was Mary having a bad day?  Did my looks offend her?  Had she simply forgotten I was coming?  If so, why hadn’t she just said that, and not acted as if I was a blight on her society? Did I seem like I was not in good-enough shape for Athleta?  The worst thought I had, while I tossed all the scenarios around in my head, was that she hadn’t realized I was black, and was having trouble masking her disdain when my lanky, nearly six-foot frame slinkied into her door (I was wearing heels).  No, right?  Couldn’t be. I played all the potentials up in my mind, and I couldn’t figure out why she’d treated me like a dummy when I’d come into her “home.”

Mary called me the next day, and I didn’t pick up.  She left a voicemail, and I couldn’t even bring myself to listen to it wholeheartedly.  And after a few weeks, during a 15-miler, I knew that I had to confront her.  I was so uncomfortable with what’d transpired, to the point where I wound’t even shop from their renowned catalog.  But if she were a representation of what’s going on within that corporation, I needed to know that.

The email

I sent her an email.  It wasn’t mean.  It wasn’t accusatory. And it wasn’t disrespectful.  And I used my social work skills to help resolve the conflict.

I told her I was having some difficulty, and I asked her to help me understand what was going on in that interview.  I gave her concrete examples of the things she’d said, and I told her that after she treated me that way, that setting foot in an Athleta was not something I’d ever planned to do again.  (Team Lulu kinda!)

The response

She sent me an email back.  She apologized for the “misunderstanding,” and said that she hoped I wouldn’t let it affect my future with that company.

Whatever, dude.

She’s more than welcome to refer to it as a “misunderstanding”.  And may, just maybe, there is a chance I misunderstood her intentions.  Maybe she just broke up with her boyfriend, and she was taking it out on me.  Maybe she hates tall girls.  Maybe she hates runners.  Maybe I smelled weird.  I’m not sure.  But I will say this.  I am SO PROUD of myself for thinking about how uncomfortable the situation made me, and standing up for myself.

The challenge.

I learned something from this.  Oprah tells us to stand up for ourselves, right?  So do some other people, but when Oprah says it, it’s for real.  This week, this month, this year, if something makes you uncomfortable, do this.

  1. Think about it.
  2. Talk to friends and family about it.
  3. Examine your history.  Have you had this issue before?  Or is this a fluke?  MAKE SURE you’re not just being insane.
  4. Once you investigate, it it’s still bugging you, confront the situation.  Don’t be a lunatic about it.  Be kind.  Be respectful. Be quiet.  Be gentle.  But you totally owe it to yourself to get answers.  And if you get a rude answer, or a refusal to acknowledge what really happened, just know that you’ve done the right thing, and you’ve done all you can.  Then…

Let it go.  Have a beautiful Labor Day weekend dolls. I’ll keep you updated!

Q: Are black toenails just a part of marathon living?

I have gotten this question at least once a week from readers and customers combined.

For some unholy reason, folks have been washed into thinking that black toenails, or toenails that fall off are just a part of life when you’re running a marathon.  Or a half.  Or in some freaky cases, every time you do a long run.

So let’s put this thing in reverse.  When is it normal for your toenails to fall off?  The first answer is never.  Second, if you’ve ever slammed your toe in a door, or had it run over by some sort of vehicle before, usually the toenail that takes the biggest impact will turn black and eventually fall off.  It sounds hideous because it actually is.

So why would it make any sense that this should happen when you’re running long distances?

If you’re running in a shoe that’s too small, and a LOT of you are unwittingly doing just that, you may feel fine for a 3, 4, or even 5 mile run.  But do much more than that, and your feet, which will naturally swell as you pound them for miles and miles (increased blood flow to that extremity), will cause the toenail of the longest toe to start hitting the end of that shoe.  It sometimes will start as a toenail just getting a little sore.  And in a longer run situation, say a half-marathon, the toenail, which has repeatedly been slammed into the end of the shoe, will sometimes turn black, and fall off.  I’ve seen it happen to more than one toe, as well.

Bottom line, a lot of you are wearing shoes that are too small, and running around and thinking that it’s normal for your feet to have no breathing room.

The solution?  Next time you’re in for a shoe fitting, or next time you’re in a store with a Brannock device, (one of the foot measurey things), measure your foot.  That is your dress shoe size.  So for driving shoes, heels, wedges, and flats, you may wear that size because you’re not going to run a marathon in a pair of leopard ballet flats.  Then go up a half to a full size for your running shoes.  The way to measure if you’ve done it right?  Strap those running shoes on, and sitting in a chair, firmly tap your heels on the ground.  Then, stand up, bend over, and SHAKE DAT THANG.  Nope, kidding.  Bend over, and feel how much space there is between your longest toe and the end of your shoe.  You should have a thumb to half a thumbs width, and you should be able to easily curl your toes over with no difficulty.  Finally, don’t be dumb and get a shoe that’s like 8 sizes too huge here.  If you’re sloshing all over, the shoe is too large, and you need to reel it in.

So the final answer?  It is not normal for you to be getting sore black toenails after a long run or a race, and if you are, it’s time to reevaluate what the heck you’re wearing on your feet.