Friday Favorites – Winter Running Gear

As many of you realize by now, the winter weather in Geneva is very different than most people assume. Switzerland is known for snow-capped Swiss Alps and skiing, among other things, but Geneva rarely receives snow. Due to Geneva’s proximity to the lake and low elevation, between a few different mountain ranges, the winter climate is far more temperate. Our typical temperatures, December through February range from a low of 28 to a high of 40, far warmer than New York City. In order to ski, most people drive at least an hour, to nearby ski areas which are at higher elevations and have far colder weather.

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I haven’t invested in winter running gear over the past few years, even though it now doubles as ski base layers. When I cleaned out my closet and dresser back in November, I realized that much of my gear dated back to my first winter in Philadelphia and was starting to show signs of age. After donating many of the items, I couldn’t resist updating my winter running wardrobe with a few new pieces I found on sale over the holidays.

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I’ve had the chance to test out each of these over the past few weeks in Atlanta, Savannah, New York and now Geneva. The verdict is in – each of these pieces was a GREAT investment! They range in price from $12 to $80 so there is something for every price range.  

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Under Armour Printed UA Fly-By Turtleneck – This is an update on their classic turtleneck which I’ve owned for years. The figure flattering cut makes this the perfect running base layer as you can easily wear more layers without bulk. The neck is extra long, so I was able to pull it over my mouth during a cold run this week. The coolest part is that the chest and neck have a mesh panel which allows for more breathability!

Under Armour Brave The Run Running Gloves – These gloves fit very snug, ensuring that no wind or cold will hit your skin. The finger tips work with smart phones while the front of the glove includes wind blocking material and reflective stripes!

Brooks LSD Lite Vest II (older model on sale here, here and here) – While I own plenty of running jackets, this is my first vest. During my two runs this week I realized just how helpful a vest is, regardless how light it is. This light but mighty vest blocks win while also providing pockets, water resistance, pockets and reflective stripes! This will definitely become a running staple almost year round!

Under Armour Heat Gear Tights – I’ve owned these trusted tights for 7 years and they remain my favorite each season! The moisture wicking material keeps me dry even in the midst of a long run or a sweaty, speed session. The wide waist ensures that it stays in place while also providing a flattering fit. Since they are all black these can also double as leggings when we’re up in the mountains or touring a cold city. At $40 it’s hard to find a better deal for winter running tights!

Lululemon Energy Bra – Okay, this technically isn’t winter running gear, but I added it to the list because it’s a new addition, and I love it! In theory, it is far thicker than some of my other bras so I’ve found that it helps keep that area warmer during cold runs. The thick material and removable pads help give shape to those of us who are less endowed while still providing plenty of support during a run, workout class or at home boot camp!

Original Turtle Fur Fleece Gator – The most inexpensive item on this list, this gator can be worn around the neck/chin area for extra warmth OR worn as a headband! This week I’ve worn it twice as a headband, perfect for keeping my hair out of my face and ears warm.

Brooks Heater Hog Long Sleeve Top – I ordered this after seeing in on a few of my favorite blogs. Many of my long sleeve running tops are technical t-shirts, often too light for winter runs. I was hoping to find an in-between layer that would keep me warm, but not as warm as the Under Armour turtleneck. This fitted top has quickly become my go to top for outdoor workouts! Their description doesn’t lie as it truly wicks moisture from the body! I wore it on a walk in Savannah, thinking we’d be taking a gentle stroll only to realize that we were taking a two-hour power walk. My face was dripping in sweat yet my core and underarms stayed comfortable due to the power of this top!

What’s your favorite piece of winter running gear?

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Goal Setting and Yoga with Lululemon

Over the years I’ve heard lots of people talk about goal setting and vision boards through their work and relationship with Lululemon. Today I had the opportunity to experience a goal setting workshop with Aoife Kane, a UK Lululemon Community Connector and Yoga instructor. The Covent Garden Lululemon hosted a 2 hour workshop this morning open to the public which included an hour of goal setting and an hour of Forrest Yoga.

Waking up at 8 this morning was not easy. Even though I had been asleep for 8 hours my body still thought I was trying to wake it up at 2am thanks to my jet-lag. But, luckily Charlie has been my accountability partner these last 24 hours getting my but to Yang and Yin yoga last night after our flight and then making sure I woke up for this morning’s session.

These smiling faces joined me for the workshop (Stephanie, Charlie, Zoe, her friend, and the unpictured Kiera) which made it even more enjoyable. It is so nice having a different workout to look forward to each weekend I’m in London thanks to these ladies.  251 

As we entered the Lululemon store we were greeted by a plenty of yoga mats along with a very friendly staff who welcomed us to the store, invited us to store our stuff anywhere, peruse the racks, and find a spot towards the front. It is so nice that they provide mats as lugging a yoga mat around London on a Saturday is not ideal, especially if you have an afternoon of errands or lunch with a friend afterwards!244

Right around 10am Aoife Kane, the instructor the the yoga and goals session, welcomed the group and passed out stapled papers which we would use during the goals portion.  246Before starting the actual goal session we did about 5 minutes of intention setting and breathing which helped us get in the right mindset. She asked us to focus on a single word, the first one that came to our mind, for the next two hours. I focused on the word positivity, which is a word that has been at the forefront of my mind the past few days. 247

The next hour was spent talking and thinking about the three main spheres of our lives: health, personal and career. Aoife led us through each portion, sharing personal anecdotes along the way. During the introduction she shared that setting a 10 year vision and goals allows people to have a clear picture of an ideal future and then better understand and articulate what is needed to get there. In fact, one student shared that last year after setting their goals and vision everything happened within 1 year just because it was in the forefront of her mind. She also stressed that during this exercise we need to ensure to take out any perceived constraints such as time and money. Stepping into the possibility and keeping a positive, affirmative attitude would make the exercise more effective.

Step 1 was creating a Mind Map. The mind map takes 3 circles, each containing a single word (health, personal or career) and filling the circle with all the words that describe our ideals, what the word means and the words that come to mind when we see the word. It’s common that 2 circles are more prevalent while the other takes a back seat. For example, right now in my life personal and career has taken priority while health has been a secondary focus.

Step 2 was getting a clear vision of what we each want in our life, now and in 10 years. Within a circle we had to write all the words describing what we want in our life and then outside of the circle, list what we don’t want. My circle was filled with words such as balance, close relationships, health of mind and body, successful career, inspiring blog, strong marriage, travel, and passion while I filled the space outside my circle with words like negativity, unhealthy, cluttered,  and unnecessary stress. While some people found this exercise difficult, it actually helped prepare me for the final step as it forced me to think about both what I want and don’t want in my life. 248As we approached our final step, she led us through a guided meditation of sorts. She talked us through a journey from the Lululemon store down the path to our home in 10 years. She described us walking through the door and asked us what or who we saw, being sure to note the sounds, smells and feelings. I was a bit hesitant and apprehensive when we started the guided meditation but at the end was surprised how much I took from the exercise. I saw myself in a large kitchen with a child’s voice in the background. The whole experience and vision was more clear than I ever expected. Following this we had 5 minutes to write down our 10 year vision while ensuring that we let go of the need to be perfect and keep in mind that this would only be a draft.

Once we had our vision on paper we practiced outlining one of the goals needed to reach the life we saw in the vision. For example, I outlined my career goal and was able to capture what needs to happen in 1 year, 5 years and 10 years in order for that goal to become a reality. Using affirmative language and including clear dates and gates as measures really helps me see the steps and believe they can be achieved.

Over the next few weeks I will go through the rest of the process so I can share with my friends and family my overall goals – two from each aspect of my life (personal, career and health).

The next hour was spent on the mat practicing Forrest Yoga. A new to me yoga method, Forrest Yoga is intensely physical and forced each of us to focus on our breath during the 60 minutes. There were some moves that I had never done before including an amazing hand and forearm stretch. The class was challenging but incredibly rewarding as we each completed the class feeling relaxed and looser while knowing that we’d also used our entire body. 249 I am so glad I rolled out of bed this morning for this inspirational morning. Thank you Lululemon for organizing it and Aoife for leading us through the workshop.

Your turn: What’s one of your long term goals?

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Gift Guide – Winter Running Gear

Hello, hello! I am so excited for Thanksgiving! Even though we are living abroad this year, we are still celebrating the holiday in the best way possible: hosting friends! Tomorrow night 14 people will crowd around our new dining room table for hours of laughter, good food, delicious wine, and memories as we bring together people from six different countries. We’ve had a few stressful moments this week such as realizing we didn’t have enough china, silver, or chairs for this large group.

In order to help de-stress from both the holiday chaos and work, I’ve been spending more time than normal running outside this week. As this week’s running has also coincided with the first week of sub freezing temperatures, I’ve become very familiar with piling on the layers. photoToday’s gift guide is one that I’m especially excited about as I have actually added many of these to my own Pinterest wish list this year after receiving suggestions from many of my blogger friends, including the ladies of Team Naturally Run, a motivational Facebook group for those training for upcoming races in the London area. Check out these ladies awesome blogs who recommended some of the below items! (Charlie, Lucy, Felicity, Jen, Samira, Zoe, Lauren, Rebecca, Laura, Leah, and Hollie)

winter running gift guide

From top left: 

Lululemon Speed Tight Cozy ~ Brooks Adapt Gloves II Nightlife ~ Lululemon Run with Me Ear Warmer ~ Under Armour Cold Gear Compression Leggings ~ Nike Element Half Zip ~ VX Refresher Long Sleeve ~ H&M Sports Top ~ Asics Women’s Spry Jacket ~ Pro Compression Marathon Socks ~ Oiselle Lux Layer ~ Sweaty Betty Fleece Earwarmer

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Thank You: My Favorite Things Giveaway

As the holiday season is now upon us and the New Year is just a few days away, I want to take a moment to thank you all.

This year you guys have motivated and supported me in some incredible ways! Each day I am thankful to share my adventures in finding health and balance in New York City with readers near and far. This year especially, in light of the New York City Marathon and Hurricane Sandy, you all have been incredibly supportive. Therefore, it’s time for me to thank you guys with an end of the year giveaway.

One lucky winner will win a few of my favorite things:

1 pair of Pro Compression socks (Marathon pink is my personal favorite!)

1 Lululemon Scuba Hoodie of your choice (valued at $108)

1 Five Bamboo Item (I highly recommend the Holliday dress or the Fireside Cowl, my 2 favorite items)

How to enter?

1. Leave a comment below letting me know what accomplishment you are most proud of this year.

2. Earn an extra entry by tweeting or posting on Facebook: “I want to win @healthyhappier Favorite Things Giveaway including @procompression @lululemon and @fivebamboo! http://alturl.com/d9d5f.

You have until Sunday, December 23rd at 11:59PM to enter. The winner will be contacted via email on Monday, December 24th. The giveaway is open to US residents only and if an email response is not received within 1 week, another winner will be chosen.

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