Thursday, November 20, 2014

Gifts for the Active Person {A Three Things Thursday post}

Oh, how a girl can dream.

I recently received a holiday catalog from one of my favorite running brands, and I excitedly flipped through the pages. Bright jackets and warm tights! Shoes with traction and sassy hoodies. My enthusiasm was quickly burst when I realized that I could get these items to wear now, meaning that I'd size up to accommodate the belly, and use it for one season; or I could get my normal size, hoping I get back to it, and let it sit in the closet for a year.

So how do you get a gift for the active person in your life without buying clothes?

There's the ever-popular Fitbit, a Garmin or a personal training session with me. To me, though, those scream to the one receiving that they need to hit the gym. "Hey, I know you said you wanted to go to the gym but you are still sitting on the couch. I just want you to know I noticed with this gift." Or, "You did a great job with your first race but you haven't ran a step since then. I think you should. Like now. Get your shoes."

But you can promote health, wellness and an active lifestyle without being obvious. The suggestions below work for the cardio queen, the person contemplating the gym life and the one who isn't interested. They're best given to a BRF/BFF but I would love these from anyone — even my husband (but we've been married more than 5 years so it's allowed).

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1. Gym bag niceties. My flat iron is one of four places at any given time — my car, my gym bag, the kitchen counter or the bathroom. Taking it to the gym twice a week and then home again can make it difficult to track. I have more than once thought it would be nice to have a second set of hair care tools and items to keep in my Apera bag.

  • Travel hair dryer. A hair dryer is the bulkiest of tools, and a travel version would be best for the gym bag where space is at a premium. This Revlon Ion model still has a lot of voltage for being small, making drying easier.
  • Flat iron. I love this Eva NYC model. I mean, how can you go wrong with a purple leopard flat iron?
  • Travel size styling products. Aveda is my favorite for a multitude of reasons — company mission, aroma and how well they work — and travel size versions would be such a treat after a hard workout. The volumizing spray is one of my go-to products, especially when my hair is longer, and hairspray is a must.
  • Dry shampoo. Even with all the tools in the bag, there isn't always time for a full routine. Dry shampoo is a God send.
2. Hydrate. I don't know about you but my skin is already dry and cracking. Even though I'm good about putting on lotion at work, more attention is necessary — from the inside out.
  • Good skin starts with a good water-drinking habit. Help your friend along by getting a useful bottle but stylish enough that it feels like a gift. This Artland Glass Flip Infuser reminds me of the cucumber water that my salon offers but without the hassle of making an appointment. This cold infusion bottle is similar but more affordable.
  • Even the most well-intentioned person won't have time to make infused water every day, so why not include something that makes water taste better? Nuun All Day has been a staple at my desk since I got pregnant, and I love the Grape Raspberry flavor. It has less than 8 calories and a host of vitamins to help you feel healthy, energized and focused.
  • It's impossible to get through a Midwest winter without a good lotion. My favorite is Aveda's hand relief cream. It's thick but not greasy and the scent is pleasing without being overpowering.
3. To and fro outfit. While the following item do assume that someone is going to the gym, they are also good for anytime. After all, it's cold and the chilly temperatures scream for warmth and comfort.

  • Boots. I like to get to the gym ready to workout but in the winter, there's nothing worse than stomping through slush and getting my sneakers soaking wet. It's not just uncomfortable but it can be a safety hazard. If you are going to a group exercise class in a studio, your shoes will track in water, salt and dirt, which will make the floor unattractive and slick. A nice pair of boots will get you into the studio with warm feet and keep the floor dry. Waterproof are best but I err on the side of fashion, selecting boots like these Sonoma life + style ones that are fur lined.
  • Studio sweater. It's hard to lose the chill when you come in from the outdoors and walk into a cold studio. I often wear a sweatshirt, sweater and/or scarf while I set up equipment for a class — and even during a warmup. I like to choose pieces that look good in the gym and out. This Sonoma life + style cowl sweatshirt is incredibly cute and would pair well with leggings when you hit Starbucks after class. I also like open front cardigans (like this one) because size isn't as much of an issue.
  • Layering pants. I am not lying when I tell you that I wore pajama pants into the Y because I didn't want to expose any bare skin, and I was wearing capris for class. A comfy pair of sweat pants that can go over leggings might have been a better option. The Fila Sport fleece lounge pants would be perfect. Wear them to the gym or on the couch. And, for the runners, I sometimes wear tights and pants on the coldest days. I usually steal Mark's adidas pants but a pair of wind pants would be good, too.
Disclosure: This post is in no way sponsored nor does it contain affiliate links. Just me to you (and me to my husband), sharing ideas.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pop Quiz: What Would You Do Wednesday

My alarm was set for 4:45 a.m. but I started to toss at 4:15. I saw the clock at 4:25 and again at 4:35. But I waited. Waited for the ring that would signal me to get out of bed.

I'm still not used to the alarm selection on my phone — it's kind and not jolting — but I did spring when I heard it. I went downstairs, slipped on some shoes and headed outside. I started my car and headed back inside. Bathroom break, a change of clothes and a swallow of vitamins.

Oh, coffee cake. I found it in the freezer when I was cleaning it out. Sourdough Banana. A quick bite. Just one. It was time to go.

I headed to the downtown YMCA, which opens at 4:30 a.m., to run on the treadmill. The one in the basement is no longer good for running, and the cold temperatures (low teens, real feel in single digits) plus still icy roads deterred me from going outside. I listened to "The Wild" on the short drive there, one hand on my Nuun bottle. I had picked Cherry Limeade knowing I would need the caffeine.

5:05 a.m. the clock on my car read as I pulled into the eerily empty parking lot. The cold must have kept people in bed, I reasoned. I know it was slow at the branch where I teach on Monday after the snow. I stumbled to the door, pulled the handle and nothing.

I looked up.

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Ah, hell. No. HELL NO.

So what's a mother runner to do?

A. Go home and get back in bed. Unplanned rest day it is!

B. Go home, grab warmer clothes (and risk waking up the family) and run outside.

C. Spend the drive home reworking the schedule to run later. Runch, perhaps?

D. Break down the door and run anyway. Who needs water to run on the treadmill?!