On Connecting the Head and the Heart

I realize it’s not only been a while since I’ve posted here, but even longer since I’ve talked about running or training.  I’ve been doing both.  And had some successes, some set backs and some {what I would consider} failures.  I may or may not get to the details of those, but for now, here’s the decision weighing heavily on my mind.

To Run Chicago or Not?!?

After my less than stellar race in January at the Houston Marathon, I took some time off, did “all the little things” and had a great spring.  So good, I {quietly} signed up for a late spring/early summer marathon.  Long story short, that race was cancelled due to thunderstorms on race morning, and I allowed my emotions to drive me to sign up for a difference race a few weeks later.  A race I had purposely not signed up for originally because it was too late and therefore didn’t allow enough recovery before Chicago.  I didn’t run that race well.  At all.  In fact, I haven’t run such a bad marathon since 2011.  I came back from that event broken, defeated and with only 2-3 weeks to “recovery” before jumping back into another training cycle.

I’ve had some ups, but mostly downs so far in training.  I took an entire week off before #birdcamp because I wanted to ENJOY every run there not be in pain the whole time.  I sat down with the legendary Lauren and downloaded my brain to get her sage advice. She confirmed (in much more eloquent words) what my head basically already knew- Chicago shouldn’t/wouldn’t be a BIG goal race.  There wasn’t enough time.  She gave me a few options, the primary 2 being: run it with a smaller goal (i.e. fast last 10K) or don’t run.  I came home and decided I’d continue training *for now* and play each week by ear.   I’m super simplifying my conversation with her and leaving out big pieces, but this is the relevant part to this post.

Last week I technically ran my entire schedule, including a 20 miler.  If you consider sitting at a water stop for ~15 minutes, debating getting in a friend’s car, then deciding to shuffle back to the start on foot, running my 20 miler.  Yes it’s hot and that’s a factor, but it’s not the only thing going on.  I’ve dropped all tempos from my schedule leaving only a weekly track workout for speed.  See, my head (and body) knows the answer is to back out of Chicago.  My body is tired.  Bone weary tired (and maybe a little broken).

BUT my heart still wants to be out on the course with so many friends.  And Chicago has been a bucket list race for years for me.  In direct opposition to this is my heart’s desire to have some BIG PR’s at other distances this winter/spring.  Something I don’t think will happen if I continue down the Chicago path.

So this is basically a word vomit where I plead with you to weigh in friends.  Give me your best advice.  Help me figure out where the marriage of my head and my heart lays.

(P.S. I’m coming to Chicago regardless so cowbelling will occur if I don’t run!!)

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Friday Fashion- Stitch Fix #4

The good news about posting my 3rd Stitch Fix so late, is that it was already almost time for my next one!  This fix was one of the best I’ve gotten style-wise.  After my 2nd fix, I specifically requested a stylist whose fixes I liked on others and now that I have the same stylist each time, I feel like my fixes are getting better and better.  I definitely recommend requesting the same stylist each time as it really helps to have someone learn your style without having to read your profile each time.  So all this good news must mean I kept all 5 items, right?  Well, you see, my stylist did a little TOO good of a job of nailing my style.  In case you missed this gem on Insta, check it out:

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That’s right, of the 5 items, I already owned 3 (jeans, necklace, cardigan).  Hysterical!  Here’s a breakdown of my box anyway so you can actually see what I got.

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A color palette that’s very “me”- love greens!!

Just Black Adora Skinny Jean– RETURN

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These are the top jean in the above picture (also seen on me in the comparison picture at the beginning of this post).  I had said no skinny jeans in this fix, but my stylist thought I’d love the color of these since I requested more green items.  She’s right, I do love it.  So much so that I’ve owned a pair of green skinny jeans since 2012 (the COH pair shown on the bottom of the picture).  Honestly, I like the shade of green in the pair I already own better and probably wouldn’t have kept the Stitch Fix version regardless as the color felt more “fall-like” than year-round or even summer.

Splendid Ruben Tab-sleeve Open Cardigan – KEEP

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While I did already have a white open cardigan in my closet (shown in the first picture), it was new w/ tags so I was able to return it (Banana Republic for those curious) since both Batch and I liked this one better on me.

Bay to Baubles Lanie Gem Stone Long Necklace- RETURN

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I like this necklace (on right), but already had the one on the left.  Yes, they are different, but I have others in my closet that are turquoise so I couldn’t justify keeping it since I decided to keep the cardigan.

Loveappella Carlita Jersey Maxi Dress – RETURN

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I requested a maxi with a fitted waist of some type.  This one is cute and the color is great, however the material is such that when I moved, you could literally see every bump/bone, dent and line in my body.  Um, NO.  Warning, TMI: I tried on 5 different pair of underwear trying to see if any would work and the answer was no.  I would have to go commando or wear spanx every time I wore this dress so it got returned.  (Double boo because it actually looked great on my top 1/2 which is rare for this A-cup.)

Papermoon Wynn Mixed Dot Print Front Pocket Blouse- RETURN

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I wasn’t sure about this top at first, but once I tried it on, I really liked it.  It’s definitely different from anything I already own and the cut/material would make it possible to dress up or down (it’s shown here as described on my style cards).  Unfortunately, there was a manufacturing defect on the right shoulder seam that made it impossible to comfortably wear the shirt.  You can see how one shoulder seam is straight and one curved in the below picture.

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I emailed Stitch Fix help, and of course they were understanding (to be clear, this was NOT their fault), but there wasn’t a replacement they could send me.  They also offered to credit me my styling fee since at the time I emailed them I didn’t think I would be keeping anything in my fix since I already had 3 of the items.  In the end, I’m keeping the cardigan so it all worked out.  If you ever have an issue with your Stitch Fix, email hello@stitchfix.com – their customer service is great and very responsive!

So there you have it, my 4th Stitch Fix received and reviewed.  I’ve been trying to keep up with my Pinterest board and I really think it’s helped me get fixes closer to my style (hint, you link to a specific board in your style profile).  I’ve also been pretty specific in what I need/want to see in my boxes (i.e. I asked for green items and a maxi dress).

Stitch Fix has grown a lot recently, but they’ve also made several improvements to their website and style profiles which I think will greatly help both new and existing customers.  If you’ve been a “fixer” for a while, I encourage you to revisit your style profile as there are some new/more specific questions that may help you love your boxes even more.  If you’re new to Stitch Fix (shameless plug for my referral code), it’s a fun way to get 5 items a month delivered to your doorstep, try them on in your own home with your closet at your fingertips for comparison/outfit combo purposes, and easy returns.

Happy Shopping!

 

 

 

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Tuesday Style- Stitch Fix #3

So you might notice, that I only posted my first Stitch Fix and didn’t really say anything about my 2nd delivery.  I’ll be honest, it was VERY disappointing BUT I provided a lot of feedback, emailed with their awesome customer service department, and this time around was so much better!!

Here are the pieces I received:

Le Sample Kahlo Embroidered Racerback Tank: KEEP!

 

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I had seen this in a few other fixes and liked it so I was happy to receive my own.  I’m a sucker for a cute racerback tank- especially in our FL weather.  This one is different than any of my others in that it does have a slight high/low hemline going on (more on that below), but it’s not too dramatic and I think it actually works well for this top!  The pic on the right is when I received it, and on the left is how I wore it recently.

Denna Colored Skinny Jean: KEEP

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After not really liking the jeans I was sent in my last fix, I was leery of receiving another pair.  Let’s face it, it’s hard to find a well-fitting pair of jeans!!  While these fit me well, I wouldn’t exactly call them skinny jeans (I have the Mia style in this same brand for skinnies).  They fit me more like straight leg pants, but I still kept them because I loved the color and they are super lightweight which is nice for indoors in the summer (hello over-a/c much!?)  The top pics are me trying on my fix and the bottom is how I styled the pants recently for a night out with friends.

Corinna Striped Dolman Top: KEEP

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Again, I had seen this top in other fixes and actually requested it.  It’s super cute and the fabric is much softer than I expected.  I can see this being a year-round top for me!  It’s simple, casual but also looks put together without much effort.  My kind of wardrobe piece!

Shanon Colorblock Highlow Maxi Dress: RETURN

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I liked the color blocking and the racerback style (hello rut much?), but the high/low hemline on this dress just felt a little too dramatic- especially for the casual nature of the dress.  I’m not a huge fan of the high/low trend to begin with and this dress just didn’t work for me.  The back was so long it felt like a train.  I know I could cure that with simple wedges but for the cost of the dress, I just didn’t see myself feeling comfortable enough in it to wear it all the time.  I also spent some time thinking of ways I could possibly alter the dress (make the hemline even), but in order to accomplish that, it would have basically removed the tan color block.  Sadly, I had to send this one back.

Hanover Stone Chandelier Earrings: RETURN

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I actually loved these earrings, but when I decided I couldn’t justify keeping the dress (and therefore wasn’t going to get the 25% off), it didn’t make sense to keep these when I found a similar pair at Target for WAY less.  Again, if the dress had worked out, I would have absolutely kept these earrings!!

So there you have it, a fun Stitch Fix this time around.  If you haven’t tried them yet, the links in this post can help you get started (and yes, I’ll get a referral credit, but only if you sign up/order).

Fun fact: Stitch Fix now offers fixes 3 different delivery options:

  1. As requested (you log on and say when you’re ready- no minimum)
  2. Monthly
  3. On a 2-3 week interval

Happy Shopping!!

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Friday Fashion- JCrew edition

I have to admit, I made this shopping trip several weeks ago so the items are not exactly “new” to J Crew stores anymore, but the bonus for you is that most of them are now on sale!  I wanted to show something along the lines of #keepingitreal and that outfits don’t just magically put themselves together in my closet.  Sometimes there’s a lot of lemons before I get sweet lemonade.  Also, I enjoyed writing my Stitch Fix post and wanted to show a version from a retail store.

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Stripe Knit Shift Dress: I really like the fit and styling of this dress.  It’s simple but fun with the basket-weave texture stripe center panel and I could think of several different ways to style it in the 5 minutes I had it on my body.  BUY

 

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Merino Elbow Patch Strip Sweater:  This sweater was ok, but given it’s wool (even though it is light weight) and a boxier fit, I opted to pass.  I have 2 other sweaters in a similar style so it just wasn’t something I needed in my closet.

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Seamed Motorcycle Pants- The picture doesn’t really tell the best story about these pants, but the bottom line (no pun intended) is that the zippers at the hem line were just not doing it for me.  The seams curve in so the zippers were hitting on my shin, not the side of the pant.  I just couldn’t.  NO GO

 

 

 

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Fluted Skirt: I was really excited to try on this skirt.  While the material is a little dressier than I truly need in my wardrobe right now, I like the style and the color enough to come up with mental ways I could style it to fit my current #funemployment state.  Sadly, this is one of those items that looks SOOO much better on the hanger/shelf.  I’m not sure if the picture is clear enough but it did this weird bell poof in the back.  I don’t know many (any?) females who want a poof on their butt.  NO GO.

Drapey Crape Tank: I was honestly trying this on for size since I wanted the green, but I’m glad I did.  It’s cute, but it’s also big (hence drapey).  Given my *ahem* lack of a chest, the v-neck was so low I couldn’t wear it without a cami underneath and it just wasn’t everything I was hoping it would be.  NO GO.

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Salon Stripe Mini: This skirt is silk/linen blend and I liked it for the style, stripe and length (short enough to be fun, but not age inappropriate).  I initially purchased it, but once I got it home, I realized I had a very similar skirt in my closet already so I returned it.  BUY (but return).

Lightweight Merino v-neck sweater: I know I said above I didn’t buy the strip sweater because it was wool, but something about this sweater was just everything I’ve been looking for and didn’t even know it.  It’s super lightweight (yeah, yeah, so the name says…I’m a genius) and I’ve actually already worn it 3 times.  It’s a great “closet basic” that I can see wearing for years to come (and without a budget busting price tag!)  BUY BUY BUY!!

So there you have it, the good, bad and ugly of a recent J Crew shopping spree.  I had a reward card to spend, and I chose 3 (2 after return) pieces to fill holes in my wardrobe and with versatility.

Happy shopping, Happy closet! :)

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Wearable Wednesday- Stitch Fix Edition

I know, I know, where have I been and WHY is someone who claims to be a fashion lover so behind the Stitch Fix adoption process? Well, quite simply, it’s hard for me to spend money on “real” clothes right now since I spend 99% of my time in workout attire.  I finally bit the bullet though thanks to Corey and now I’m happily addicted.

Here’s how my first fix played out (#selfies aren’t ideal for showing off the clothes, but you get the point.  Apologies for the blurry ones!):

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Eight Sixty Bobbi Textured Stripe Peplum Top: I loved the idea of this top.  I think the peplum style is adorable and the material of the shirt was really cool- almost an eyelet.  Sadly, I’m long torso’d and the waist band of the shirt hit me mid-rib cage and thus the peplum part of the shirt flared funny.  RETURN

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Level 99 Pandora Stretch Sueded Leggings: I love a good legging and even though I had just gotten some new black ones for my birthday, I decided to try these on.  The fit was great- maybe a little snug, but hey, they’re leggings.  Ultimately 2 things made my decision to return very simple.  1.  My hands were BLACK just from getting these puppies on and off once! Fade much? 2.  The sueded material made them feel wintery so not something I’d get much use out of here in FL.  RETURN

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Tart Galena Abstract Print Pleated Ponte Skirt: I admit, I was on the fence about this one.  I’ve wanted a non-straight casual skirt for a while now, but have struggled with finding one I liked on my body.  Let’s face it, my body type looks better in straight styles.  I let Batch make the call on this one and he really liked it, so KEEP!

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Donna Morgan Aska Abstract Print Belted Dress: I loved this from the second I saw the fabric in the box.  It’s a great dress that’s SO versatile.  Definitely a keeper- in fact, I wore it the same night I got it to a work dinner with Batch!  I’m going to have fun styling this one for different seasons (boots, scarf, peep toes, flats, jacket…).  KEEP!!!

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Collective Concepts Denova Dot Print Blouse: I liked the mixed texture/fabric between the body of this top and the sleeves.  The fit was ok for a simple casual top, but I wanted to be wow’d so I decided it wasn’t worth the money.  RETURN

So there you have it, I kept 2 and returned 3 from my first fix.  In the end, I actually liked (i.e. was willing to try on) every thing in my box, I just wanted to love it before I committed to keeping it.  Everyone has said that the boxes/fixes get better and better the more you do as your stylist learns more about you and your preferences so I’m looking forward to my next fix.  I tried to give detailed feedback on this fix and made some specific requests for my next one.

Are you a stitch fix-er?  If not and you’d like to try, feel free to use this link (yes, I get a referral credit if/when you order).  Happy shopping, happy closet!

 

 

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Wearable Wednesday

Once we made the move from Houston to Jacksonville, I began working from home rather than going to the office everyday.  I also found myself living in workout clothes and pj’s.  Not that workout clothes can’t be fashionable- hello, Oiselle, but I wasn’t even trying in that department.  If it was clean, I put it on.  Sorry, B.  As part of Operation Digging Out (more on that soon), I’ve made a conscious effort to actually wear outfits everyday.  Yes, some days (most days) those still consist of workout clothes, but I’m “styling” them – or at least coordinating them in a presentable manner.  Today, however, I was inspired to wear “real” clothes.  It’s been raining all day here and there’s nothing I love more than an excuse to wear my Hunter’s.

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{Bear with me, I’m still trying to figure out how to use my Mac/I don’t like blogging directly in WordPress so these pics are strangely sized.}

Today’s look: Grey Skinnies: Kut from the Kloth, Nordstrom (anniversary sale in July, similar); White tank: J Crew (last summer, similar now at Factory); Blue Cardi: Banana Republic (recent); Scarf: J Crew (older); Hunter Boots: Nordstrom (older/gift, similar)

I love the rich blue in this cardigan and knew the first time I saw it in a store I wanted it in my closet.  Being the good shopper I am (read, unemployed), I waited for a coupon email and snatched it up for 50% off.

The rest of the outfit was already in my closet so it was just a matter of getting a little creative with the layers.  That’s seriously one of my favorite things about fall/winter- how you can transform your wardrobe just by combining different layers.  My other “cheap trick” in this outfit?  I took some knee socks, put them on inside out then cuffed them over the boots.  Viola, ‘welly socks’ for ~$3 instead of $35+.

Tell me, what’s your favorite ‘steal the runway’ trick?

(PS, I wrote the majority of this post yesterday, Wednesday, but sadly didn’t get to publish.  So, yes, it’s Thursday and the title is Wearable Wednesday.  Just roll with it…) ;)

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A Week of Work

After a couple of false starts, I finally had a really good week of training!  It was a good mix of running, cycling and strength.  I listened when my body said rest and pushed through the negative thoughts in my head that told me to quit on my long run.  Here’s how the week broke down:

Monday: AM: Run, 7.26 miles, 8:03avg; PM: 60 min spin class

I met the PRS group for morning bridges, but really didn’t feel like running bridges. Thankfully Seth and Lydia were running ‘flat’ so I joined them for a nice morning chat and run through San Marco.  I wouldn’t say the pace was completely easy for me, but it wasn’t too hard either.  Having company and a route I didn’t know (Seth is the king of route creation) helped the miles fly by.

That afternoon an injured friend texted to ask me if I’d join her for spin that evening. I know she feels isolated from the group since she’s been out for a while (stress fracture) and I want to add more cycling/spinning to my routine, so it was a no-brainer to join her! Here’s the best part of doing a spin class, YOU decide the difficulty.  I knew I ran that morning so could just adjust the tension/intensity as needed and still get a good cross-training workout.

Tuesday: AM: Strength w/ the girls; PM: Run, 5.04, 8:11 pace

3 weeks ago I started meeting 3 other ladies at a local gym on Tuesday mornings to workout with a friend who’s also a personal trainer (bonus, she’s an awesome runner too so she knows what we need to focus on!).  I have really enjoyed these sessions and getting back into a weight/strength routine.  I’ll recap this week’s workout so you can get an idea of what we do (it’s different every week which is awesome).

A Mellow Mushroom recently opened in our neighborhood.  I may be in trouble (it takes 5 minutes to ride my cruiser there).  The MM at the beach has a large run group from their restaurant every week and the manager at ‘our’ location wanted to start the same thing.  He asked our run club to help them get it started.  This was the first week, and we did a partner run.  Partners were chosen randomly (we drew numbers) – 1 person had to run 4 miles, the other 5 miles and the team closest to 76:30 total time won (prizes were $150 gift card to Ruth’s Chris/$100 gift card to III Forks).  No watches allowed!  Spoiler alert- my team didn’t win! I did however feel really good on this run.  The event had the desire effect for MM- people were curious and wanted to join us next time!  It also benefited the club since people were also interested in other runs we do.

Wednesday: AM: 45 min spin; PM: Run (track), 5.72, 6:54pace

Sometime after the MM run Tuesday night, and the 2nd glass of wine, I agreed to meet my friend again for spin.  I knew I wanted to run well at track this evening so I really kept the tension light and didn’t do all the sprints, etc the instructor was calling.  It was still a good way to wake up, spend some time with my friend, and flush out my legs.

Woah track night!  I haven’t done a “real” track session since Houston.  I’ve gone to track and done modified versions of the workouts, but this week I was ready to really get it done!  The workout was

mile warm up
1×1600 – 6:42
2×800- 3:20; 3:18
4×400- 1:33; 1:33; 1:32; 1:32
4×200- 47; 49; 50; 51 (oops- hate that those were positive splits)
cool down

I felt really good for most of this workout!  Don’t get me wrong it was HARD, and I had a moment where I thought I was going to toss my cookies, but I’m very happy with the consistency in my paces.  I was running “with” Batch and just concentrated on keeping the distance between us the same.  Mind tricks/distraction techniques.

Thursday: REST

My body was tired after track, and I knew I had pushed hard so far this week so I had ZERO guilt calling this a rest day.

Friday: Strength: 50min

Our Tuesday trainer writes us an “on our own” workout for Thursdays (or later in the week) so I grabbed my workout and hit the Y for some strength and light (on my own) yoga.

Saturday: Run: 15.4 miles, 8:11 pace

We saw a play Friday night and didn’t get home until 11:15pm.  I was “in charge” of the run which means I was up at 3:50am to put out the turn signs and water stops.  I was SUPER grumpy because we were running late.  I didn’t have enough fuel with me. This run had all the makings of a disaster, BUT I didn’t give in to excuses!!   My original goal for the day was 14 miles.  Somewhere along the way I decided to make it 15 miles (the extra 0.4 is because I took a minor detour to my house for a potty break).  It wasn’t the best run I’ve ever had, but it also wasn’t the worst.  When I was really struggling, Batch reminded me to just enjoy the run.  Time + distance didn’t matter- just enjoy being out there and watching the sunrise over Jacksonville.  That coupled with a well-timed draw bridge break (can’t help but stop when the bridge is up!) allowed me to regroup and finish with a smile on my face.

Sunday: REST

#dowork

 
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