Move over Nike: Oiselle is coming in fierce.

Move over Nike: Oiselle is coming in fierce.

*photo courtesy of Oiselle

There has been an apparel hole in my heart for quite a minute now. I gravitated away from my love of Nike as I progressed deeper and deeper into my training. There were just too many incidents with the clothing and shoes to dismiss. Literally, my favorite Pegasus shoes went through re-design after re-design, resulting in a shoe that killed my shins. The pants drag down my butt while running, causing me to look like I’m reaching into my butt on virtually every run. I mean, I look like I’m digging for gold back there. Hold on guys, just grabbin’ a snack, which I store in my butt.  And then there was the unfortunate incident in which I ran a 10K in pants that were completely see thru, broadcasting my pink polka dot undies for everyone to see, including Patrick Dempsey. I didn’t even know this was the case until a friend of mine put the picture on Facebook and I was like: woooooaaaahhhhh, there it is, my bum, in all its glory. At some point, you just have to say, enough is enough. I tried Lululemon and they’re great but I need to take out a bank loan to purchase the things I need on a regular basis. And part of that brand feels very exclusive, which I don’t love. Athleta is nice but again, I don’t have endless cash on hand here and I feel like that stuffs for girls that are ripped body goddesses. Which I, am not. So a few weeks ago, I decided to give Oiselle a go, before even knowing that my favorite athlete, Kara Goucher, was about to jump on their brand. My first click on their website made me immediately excited, the aesthetic is very chic, with a dash of fresh and a bunch of humble. I felt very encouraged by everything I read. Their prices aren’t cheap but they are better than a lot of the brands out there. I also love that they seem to support a wide range of athletes, encouraging everyone to find their inner “lion.”

I ordered a lot of stuff. A sports bra, a pair of thermal running pants, 2 sweatshirts, 1 long sleeve t-shirt, and one technical running shirt. There may have been something else but I can’t remember. I chose express shipping because I wanted those pants before my 17 mile run. And when that package came, I tore into it like it like an animal. Anyone watching me would have thought I was having a seizure. Everything was so nicely packaged and looked SO pretty. The fit was borderline perfect. Each piece felt made for me. Which never happens. Cuz, you know, I’m a big girl. The pants survived a 17 mile, coldish morning run. They didn’t slide, move an inch or feel anything but wonderful. The sweatshirts were both lined with a lovely fleece material which made them perfect for post running warm-up. The bra kept everything in place, made me feel like a supermodel and didn’t chafe a single part of me. I really love the approach that one should look as fabulous in their running attire as they do when out and about in a social setting. This clothing reflects a lady with style but still looks athletic. The technical shirt I purchased is wildly comfortable and looks great with a pair of leggings for when I just want to be comfortable.

I think as we get older, dive into different parts of our training, etc, our needs change. I have donated a large portion of my Nike pieces to Goodwill to make room in my closet for this company. I am in love with them. When I found out Mrs. Kara Goucher signed with them last night, I was even more in love with them. She’s an amazing woman. This brand is a perfect representation of her.

All my athlete ladies out there, take a gander, you will love this company and all their apparel.

Nine Stones: Marathon Training Bliss

Nine Stones: Marathon Training Bliss

I had no idea what to expect when training for a marathon. I had chosen a very aggressive training plan for the BAA Half Marathon, which kind of mimicked marathon mileage so in my mind, I thought this, would be a piece of cake. WRONG. So wrong. Training from the get go has been borderline horrible. It started with a broken metatarsal bone, then it was crippling cold temperatures which basically caused me to run like a busted up grizzly bear, then there are the creepy black toes, the bunched up neck muscles and the inability to eat a variety of foods. HOWEVER, there are silver linings. Trust me. My body has changed in some really miraculous ways. I haven’t lost any weight but the proof is in the pudding. I look different. I am shaped differently, which brings with it a new-found confidence. Also, making it out the other side of the training, almost in Spring, almost in April, means I hit the ground running really strong. Last night, I had a beautiful, euphoric run. One that made me finally see what all of this hard work has been for. I scaled up some really high hills without even thinking twice about it: fast. I felt good. I felt great. I felt like a winner.

But running isn’t the only thing that has gotten me to this place.

I try to listen to all the warning signs going on in my body. After my fifteen mile run a few weeks ago, my body just shut down. I couldn’t move my neck at all. Not to the right, not to the left. And the pain was something I have never experienced. Oh my goodness, it was terrible. It was debilitating. I couldn’t focus on so much as my children speaking. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to be overly dramatic and go to the hospital so I thought, let’s try a massage, maybe that will iron out these kinks. I called Nine Stones in Portland, a spa I frequent anyways. But I had never really gone there seeking help for anything, the massages have always just been for relaxation, not really for maintenance. And I was skeptical. Could this really help? I made an appointment with Wit, because he was the only one available and it ended up being one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I laid on that table, after describing briefly what was happening, and Wit just knew what to do. It was like he could read my body as if it were a book. Everything was perfect. The pressure, the placement, the focus. I could not have asked for more. I walked out of there feeling a million times better and immediately made follow-up appointments. Now, I have never been one to relax. It’s like, virtually unheard of. I just can’t stop the clock in my head or the list from rattling in my mind. I am an anxiety ridden, crunch monster, who can’t stay still. But during my next appointment with Wit, I could have fallen into the table. I have NEVER felt so at ease in my entire life. My mind was empty. My thoughts ran silent. My heart went quiet. I let my shoulders drop. I let my body go. It was like 30 years of stress just fell to the floor. I can’t say that it was any particular thing that Wit did. It’s just his way. He tunes in and helps you to tune out. Great energy, I guess that’s the trick. Allison, my training partner, also had a massage by him immediately following mine and her consensus was exactly the same.

As a runner, I think taking a time out for yourself is essential. Massage hasn’t had any medically proven benefits but who cares, I know how it has helped me and that is good enough. During this training, having a massage on a regular basis has made the world of difference. It helps me to calm the beast. My body is tired. I feel like this is my way of giving back to it. I plan on seeing Wit every two weeks until I reach Boston and for the month following Boston. But truthfully, it’s not just Wit, Nine Stones in general offers something really spectacular. I have had massages by other therapists and they have always been top-notch. I have also had facials and body scrubs there which have been fantastic. They have worked hard to cultivate an environment which breeds relaxation. Just sitting in their waiting room puts me at ease. They also sell some incredible skin care products, most of which I have purchased, tried and fallen in love with.

There are people out there that have never treated themselves to a spa day or even a massage. You have to get to it people! As busy people, in a society that is always plugged in, you need to take a moment and just release. Life is short. Reward and treat both your mind and your body. And do it at Nine Stones, because, well, they’re the best.

Nine Stones is located on 250 Commercial St. in Portland.

*Photo courtesy of Trip Advisor.

 

Cookies, Cookies, Cookies! & My Fave Gifts.

I am no longer enjoying cookies but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy creating them. There is something about handing a person a box of cookies, that you specifically hand-crafted just for them, that is just so wonderful. Truly, it makes me so happy. A couple of years ago, I made gift boxes of macarons for all our clients at R.P. Morrison Builders. They arrived to their newly constructed homes with a delightful box of fancy treats waiting for them. I’m not sure who was more excited, them or me. Anyways, we are a little over a week away from Christmas so let the baking frenzies begin! Below, are some of my favorite recipes from around the internet. Try a few of these out, preferably while drinking insane amounts of alcohol, I can assure you, that will make them look twice as pretty. Oh, and the question of the day has been, am I giving up booze during my 18 week training period? Absolutely not. I can’t handle doing all this, my two children, my husband and my household, all while being sober all the time. No way. I can bet you a million bucks, I would kick someone in the face. No, I am going into this with a positive mentality, where I intend to enjoy every minute of it. And yes, I am giving up some things but a little bit of fun here and there, I will not sacrifice. Today is day #1 and to me, Christmas has already begun.

COOKIES!

Fig & Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies (courtesy of Food52)

Pierre Hermé & Dorie Greenspan’s World Peace Cookies (courtesy of Food52)

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies (courtesy of Simply Recipes)

Twisted Cookies (courtesy of Cook and Be Merry)

Soft and Chewy Almond Sugar Cookies (courtesy of Just Love Food)

And of course, check out my Pinterest Board “I Heart Food” for lots of other cookie/dessert ideas.

GIFTS!

For the very special food lover/little mini chef in your life, go and grab them a signed cookbook!

For the honey lover, give them this fabulous duo of flavors from Portland.

Adopt a tea garden for them so that they may enjoy the freshest tea around, sent right to their door!

Know a runner whom you love to bunches, get them some warm running gear for the season @ Nike.

Housemade Sugar Scrub

I’m always on a quest to find alternatives for store bought items. I mean, why not? Most of the stuff at the grocery/drug stores are filled with chemicals that no one should have in their body. I will admit, I still occasionally buy store bought cookies and I haven’t quite mustered the balls to go sans shampoo, but for the most part, I try to participate in a “from the earth” existence. I do what I can, when I can. And I don’t when I can’t or maybe can’t be bothered. {Kind of a tongue twister} Anyways, This afternoon I felt compelled to make some housemade body scrub because yesterday at Whole Foods, I almost had a stroke when I looked at the price tag for a tiny jar that probably wouldn’t cover my giant body more than once (and maybe not even). I’ve heard/read about it before and it is fairly easy, all you need is lots of sugar and whatever scents you want to throw into the sugar. From there you mix, jar and scrub your body so that when you step out of the shower, you look like a shiny buffed up power house.

Today it was Lavender + Lemon that really called out to me. They are two of my favorite scents. I wish that I had some fresh lavender to use, but, we’re not there yet in the growing season. I purchased this dried lavender from Williams Sonoma a few months ago and it’s been great for decorative use on macarons and shortbread. Opening up the canister always makes me smile ear to ear, lavender warms my soul. To make the scrub, it really is just mixing together the lavender, regular sugar (I used a mix of coarse and granulated, whatever you have on hand is fine) and a few drops of liquid. In this case, it was a squeeze of lemon juice with a few scrapings of zest. You could use anything though: coconut oil, olive oil, honey, etc. Another combination that is fantastic: brown sugar and vanilla beans. So yummy. When you are done combining your ingredients, place the finished product in a cute jar, keep it for yourself or give it as a gift. If it’s for you, toss it in the shower for one of those days your body needs a little extra lovin’

My little jar of love is going to my Mom. I’m going home to Boston for the weekend and after two days with myself and the kids, she’ll need this sugar scrub.

Till next time everyone,

Jenny

xoxo

Food: hello & goodbye.

Food: hello & goodbye.

People everywhere, nutritionists and doctors, have always said that your skin is the canvas to showcase what’s going on inside your body. For years people, myself included, have scoured the earth and dropped boat loads of money on miracle products to eliminate this shit on our face. Here’s the thing though, it never works. And if it does, its temporary. Right now, my skin seems to be imploding and it might just be my body telling me: listen lady, you better get your ducks in a row. It’s true, I better, I have four weeks until my first race in the Medley and I’m not doing my due diligence. My diet needs to change if I am going to be successful. When I say diet, I don’t mean, put myself on a diet. As talked about in my “Body Image” post yesterday, I’m not doing that to myself anymore, but embracing a little more health and a little less filth is never a bad thing. It’s time to cleanse. Not with juice. I mean, truly, I have yet to fully recover from that, I see a beet and I want to throw up. Steve Nash of the Laker’s consumes ZERO sugar. Nothing. Nadda. Zilch. It’s believed that his amazing exterior is due to this choice. Sugar is terrible for us and is way too wildly available. But that’s not the only thing to go.

FOODS I’M SAYING GOODBYE TO:

1. Bread: all bread, anything that looks bread like, even my lovely whole wheat english muffins, peace out ladies.

2. Pasta: I’m tearing up right now. Yup, hit the road.

3. Cheese: love you but we are through.

4. Sugar: no cookies, none in my coffee, no cupcakes, if it’s not naturally occurring, I won’t be eating it.

FOODS I’M EMBRACING MORE:

1. Chia seeds: they’re fantastic little dudes that pack a wild nutritional punch. Runners in the most desolate corners of the earth have been utilizing these little seeds for years and years.

2. My lovely Tera’s Whey: basically nadda in the ingredient category, it’s a very natural way to give your body something good.

3. Goji Berries: they come in all forms these days, yogurt covered, plain, chocolate covered, I’ll be sticking with plain.

4. Kale: Yea, kale, yay. (I’m almost bitter about this one)

5. Flax seeds: yummy when ground up in shakes, just a little something extra to give the bod.

6. Barley, farro, unprocessed bran: tools from the earth to sustain.

7. Blueprint juices: now sold at Whole Foods, how exciting!!!

Is it going to be easy? No. Someone might have to pry a chicken nugget or a cupcake from my cold dead hands but that’s what I have a husband for, right? This isn’t about deprivation either, to be completely clear. It’s about making better choices. Right now, I’m asking a lot of my body. I’m asking it to get up at 4:45 a.m. two days a week to spin and then run four days a week. I’m asking it to be alright with just one rest day to repair and recover. So I better do my part. Most of you reading this may not be making some of these choices and you may be saying: this doesn’t apply to me. But it does. Even eliminating one of these foods on the list would be a welcome change in your bodies world. Shit food is too easy to come by these days and our bodies are calling out for better. Help your body feel good. I’m telling you one thing, feeding my body right, always helps with the body image. When my soul feels good, my perception of myself is better. Give it a try. Remember: “Eating wisely is not missing out.” (From the Blueprint folks)