Friday Favorites – September 16th, 2016

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Happy Friday friends! I woke up to a crisp, cool Fall morning and the promise of what is going to be a wonderful and relaxing weekend. Tonight Bo and I are heading to Exceed Fitness as part of NYC Fitness week then we are going to a new neighborhood restaurant for date night. Tomorrow will include no alarm clock, yoga, an event at Bandier, tennis and plenty of relaxation. My only plans for Sunday are an 8-mile long run with my friend Mary and a few errands. Like I said, this is going to be the weekend my body needs and craves. What are your plans for the weekend?

Now, let’s dive into this week’s edition of Friday Favorites, including recipes, articles, posts and other things that caught my eye this week.

  • Yesterday’s outfit was definitely a favorite this week for both me and you guys! After sharing a peek of it on Instagram many of you asked for more details. Even though the items I’m wearing in this picture were purchased last year, everything is still available and many of the items are on sale! In case you are interested, here are the links: Faux leather skirt – Chambray ShirtPave Link Bracelet – Leopard Heels (similar and similar)
  • These two articles on sugar and carbs were eye-opening and a very good reminder that you can’t always trust what you see on labels or recommendations.
  • As someone who started running later in life, I could not be more excited for Women’s Running series, Project Start!
  • The WebMD rabbit hole is a scary place. Trust me, I’ve been there more than once when looking for answers to health questions. A new site, Truly-MD, is providing no-nonsense answers to women and better yet, the information comes from healthcare providers so women can make informed decisions!
  • Thanks to a special delivery from Skinny & Co , I was inspired to start oil pulling again this week! Last year I kept up this healthy habit for three months and love that it leaves my mouth and gums feeling fresh and clean! This coconut oil is has a refreshing mint flavor and is 100% pure, wild-harvested, raw coconut oil. If you want to try it out, use the code SKINNYCO15 to save 15% off your first order.
  • If you’re a blogger, make sure you check out this post as it is very helpful and makes SO much sense! 
  • Similar to Kayla, I often see people make these same form mistakes during workout classes and wish I could correct them!
  • If you’ve never ridden at Soul Cycle, this is the month to try it out! New riders get to ride for free in all cities – just call your local studio to book!
  • If you’re in NYC, the new Dumbo Yoga Vida location is gorgeous and must be added to your list! Two studios, a loft vibe and huge showers and steam rooms make it the perfect place to relax and unwind after a long day. Bring a friend and sweat through their hot yoga class then head downstairs for coffee and breakfast at the new Bluestone Lane.
  • These nutritionists made me think twice about a few of my go-to “healthy” snacks.
  • Last year this Turkey Trot was on of my favorite races of the year and registration opened today!!  and I can’t wait to race it again! Here’s hoping I can find sub-8:30 paces in my legs over these next two months. Who wants to join me at Mile High Run Club?
  • Speaking of getting faster, this treadmill workout  helped Laura set an amazing new 5k PR!

Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored and instead is a list of the things of my favorite things this week. As normal, it includes lots of beauty and fashion items which means there are a few affiliate links via ShopStyle. It takes time and money to maintain a blog so I thank you for the support and few cents that come from clicking through the links!

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Taking A Breath for A Better Day

Thank you, Spire for sponsoring this post. Discover calm and live a more mindful life by checking out the Spire Mindfulness + Activity Tracker, available in Apple Retail stores nationwide and online here.

Over the past few months, I’ve shared my struggles in balancing life with you guys. I found myself getting caught in the whirlwind and swirl of leading a “busy” life and not making time for the things that mattered most.  Last week, I wrote a raw, honest post sharing the steps I’ve taken to make space in my life so I can prioritize the things that matter.

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What I didn’t share in that post is that there are other steps I’ve taken over the past few months to bring more calm into my daily life. During late July, I started to notice that my shoulders and body were more tense than normal, I was having a hard time going to sleep at night, not sleeping well, and experiencing anxiety. There were a number of external factors within my personal and professional life causing this stress, but what I also realized was that I wasn’t doing anything to help minimize it.

It’s amazing what one app or stone can do to help you focus on certain aspects of your life.  

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When the team at Spire sent me their new wearable device, Spire Mindfulness + Activity Tracker, I used this as a catalyst to begin focusing on improving my mindfulness and daily stress levels. Even before I started making changes to my calendar and schedule, I started looking at the areas that were a bit easier to control.  Have you ever found yourself forgetting to breathe during a stressful meeting or clenching your jaw when you are stressed?

Being mindful isn’t always easy, especially when life gets busy but luckily it is something that we have full control over.

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The small device, which is about the size of my thumb, tracks and creates patterns from your breath.  Unlike other wearables, this can be worn on your bra or waist, making it invisible to others. When the Spire determines that you are stressed or tense, it reminds you to breathe with a simple vibration, signaling that you should take a minute to calm down through breathing exercises or a short meditation.  The device will also vibrate if you have been sedentary for too long, reminding you that even a quick walk around the office can help relax you.

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In addition to taking breathing and focus breaks, prompted by the Spire, here are three other things that I’ve incorporated into each of my days.

  • Reading – While we love shows like “Night Of” just as much as the next person, Bo and I have both found that we sleep better and go to sleep more relaxed if we spend 30 minutes reading before bed. By 10pm each night we switch off our television, put our iPhones and iPads away, and spend 30 minutes reading. This new habit has helped me led to me finishing seven books during August and September, more than I read the previous six months.
  • Meditation –  The Spire app features more than 15 different boosts or short audio sessions which guide you through meditation or breathing exercises. Some are as short as 30 seconds while others are up to 60 minutes. I begin my day with the guided meditation boost, relax during the day with the 30 second calm boost and clear my mind around 3pm with the energize 3 minute boost.  They include experts such as Dr. Deepak Chopra and meditation teacher Kim Nicol. These boosts have helped me realize that you don’t need much to bring space and calm into even the busiest of days.
  • Yoga – I have recommitted to practicing yoga at least once per week in a formal class and at least once per week at home. The yoga I practice at home is often a shorter, more restorative class, complete with my favorite candle and some calming music. This time on the mat allows me to set aside the stress of the day and focus on how my muscles and body are feeling.

As you guys know, these reviews are always honest and my own opinion. Therefore, I would be remiss if I didn’t share the areas where I think Spire can improve.

  • I wish it incorporated everything. In the future, I hope this wearable becomes one which tracks sleep, activity, breathing and more as I believe that combining all these items will truly help make this a best in class tracker. I know that they are working to make constant improvements and can only imagine what version 2.0 will be like!
  • Their customer service has some opportunities. During the test we sent a few questions to their customer service after receiving the form email following set up. Two weeks later, we still haven’t received a response. I did however receive a quick response when I asked something on a social media channel so maybe it’s more about ensuring that they are in touch with their consumers across every touch point they provide.
  • It is a little bulky. Both my husband and I felt that the wearable was a bit bulky. I found myself needing to remove it during yoga as it pressed into my chest bone during certain moves and we both found it  uncomfortable to wear inside non-elastic pants, i.e suit pants vs workout shorts. Hopefully the next version is slimmer.

Regardless of these few flaws, I believe this is a great tool to use if you are finding yourself stressed and anxious and I look forward to continuing to use it, especially during the work day.

Click here to learn more about the Spire?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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My New Pre-Run Routine

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As you guys know, for multiple reasons, running has been a challenge for me over the past couple of months. What was once a workout and time on the road that I savored, became an exercise that stressed me out, caused me pain and left me feeling burnt out and frustrated. Luckily, after taking a step back this Summer, I am once again craving running. Over the past week each of my four runs left me smiling, happy from endorphins, strong and powerful.  As I started running again, I took three steps to help ensure that my first few runs back would be successful. Right now, success does not mean fast paces. Instead, I use that term to describe my goal of finishing my run feeling strong and accomplished.  Since I’ve felt such a difference during my recent runs, I wanted to share my new pre-run routine with you all in case this provides inspiration to help you start the Fall running strong.

  • Sip Vega Clean Energy
    • Twenty minutes before my run I sip a glass of water that is mixed with a serving of Vega Clean Energy. This “magic juice” provides me energy before my run without lots of questionable ingredients.  I like that I can easily read and understand this tasty mixture’s ingredient list. While I know many people can run or workout without this extra ingredient, I’ve found that the caffeine and electrolytes have helped me during the hot, humid Summer runs.
  • I’ll Have Another Podcast
    • After drinking my pre-run fuel, I ensure that I have the latest I’ll Have Another podcast downloaded on my phone. After years of running to music, this podcast series is helping motivate me through the miles. Over 60-90 minutes Lindsey interviews a runner, talking about everything from their paces and training habits to their personal life. By the end of the podcast I feel as if I know the runner and find myself wishing I could meet them in person. The womens’ stories and the casual manner of the podcast immediately hook me and make me often want to run longer just to get to the end of the episode.  So far I have “run with” Dorothy Beal, Abby Beales, and Ashley Fizzarotti!
  • Pre-Run Dynamic Warm-Up
    • Last but not least, I spend 10 minutes warming up. My PT or any of my previous running coaches would laugh at this sentence as they know that historically I’ve slacked on the warm-up. After fighting tendonitis and other injuries, I realized that this dynamic warm-up is one of the most important parts of a run. Starting a run with loose muscles that are ready to engage and fire on all cylinders is key for a successful run. My warm-up takes place in the kitchen and consists of these five simple Runner’s World exercises, one minute of planks and finally my PT exercises to engage my glute muscles.

Your turn: I love learning from everyone who is reading. What is your pre-run ritual?

Photography by Lydia Hudgens and wearing Old Navy Active.

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