Fitness Motivation

Personally I find an external motivator to be great incentive to keep up with an exercise regime. I wish I could say that I have all the internal motivation that I need in order to meet all of my goals, but unfortunately that’s not always the case.

On days when I’m tempted to skip my workout, knowing that I’ll have to admit my lapse out loud to someone else is usually enough incentive to push through. Usually.

So here’s some Fitness Motivation so we can all stay on track to meet our goals!

I’m registered to run the San Francisco Half Marathon on July 31st and haven’t run consistently for months so I need to begin training… Now!

It just so happens that one of my best friends is training for the Death Ride (which I lovingly call The Ride of Death) a 129 mile bike race with 15,000 miles of climbing through the Sierra Nevada’s near Tahoe. Her race is July 9 and although we’re training for different types of races in different cities (she’s in Sacramento), she has been acting as an unofficial sponsor and motivator for my last-ditch training efforts.

Monday mornings I email her my proposed workouts for the week (subject to scheduling changes) and each morning I send her a confirmation of what I accomplished the previous day. I’m going to include various types of exercise in my training program in addition to running, specifically circuit training and Pilates.

Below is a draft of a proposed schedule for one of the weeks of training:

Monday:

  • Run to work (1.3 miles)
  • Mini cardio session (2 miles stationary bike & 1 mile elliptical trainer)
  • Pilates Mat class (5pm – 6pm)

Tuesday:

  • Jog to work
  • 15 minute circuit training workout
  • Run (pm)

Wednesday:

  • Walk to work
  • High intensity interval training on the elliptical
  • Pilates Mat class (5pm – 6pm)
  • Yoga Flow (6pm – 7:15pm)
  • Walk home

Thursday:

  • Walk to work
  • 25 minute circuit training workout
  • Run (pm)

Friday:

  • Jog to work
  • 15 minute circuit training workout

Saturday & Sunday – Rest & stretching (maybe a massage if I can be convincing enough) and long walks or a hike

Hooking up with a workout buddy who you can share your plans with or a like-minded friend who you may not workout with but who has similar goals, can be a great motivator.

If the idea of sharing your workout goals/plans with someone else isn’t appealing, or if you’re just getting started and want to hold off until you feel like you’ve made some progress, there are other external motivators that may help you when the odd lazy day rears its ugly head.

(1) A kick-ass play list can do wonders. Put a super charged playlist on your MP3 player or blare it over your computer/sound system. Everyone has their own style and different beats that get them pumped up, and I personally refresh my Nano weekly, but here are some artists/bands that never fail to get my heart rate going, regardless of my mood: Panic! at the Disco, Fall Out Boy, Chemical Romance, Finger Eleven, Breaking Benjamin, My Darkest Days, Jason Derulo, Lady Gaga, Bon Jovi, K$sha, Katy Perry, Beyonce, Sean Kingston.

(2) Sign yourself up for a class on a day when you don’t think that you can make yourself do a work out. You’ll feel guilty not showing up after having reserved a spot in the class and even guiltier when you see the charge on your credit card! The two days of the week that are the hardest for me to get off my booty are always Monday and Wednesday, so I’m getting into the habit of doing at least a Pilates class at Glow Yoga  each of those days. And now that I’m getting to know the other students and the instructor, there’s even more motivation not to play hooky!

(3) If you have a movie or a book that you find extremely motivational, that can be a great way to get yourself going. If hearing Jillian’s commanding voice shoots you out of your seat, start your workouts with some Shred, even if you don’t plan to do the video it can give you the push you need. Personally I’ve found that popping in a dance DVD before my 5:30pm after-work runs or reading a few pages of Born To Run are a sure-fire way to get myself going.

(4) Finally, one of my favorite pieces to read when I need to stoke my motivational fires is The Better Man, about the (then) 75 year-old fitness guru & health nut Don Wildman (my friend Jim sent me this YEARS ago and I saved a PDF in case of emergencies). This always gives me the kick in the pants that I need to get off of the couch.

Good luck getting yourself onto the trail, treadmill or into the gym. Make me proud!

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Fashion Inspiration

Fashion isn’t just about what you wear, what goes on your body. It’s truly an expression of yourself that extends beyond your clothes.

“Fashion is everything. Art, music, furniture design, graphic design, hair, makeup, architecture, the way cars look – all those things go together to make a moment in time.”  – Tom Ford

And just as fashion isn’t limited to the cloth that we wrap ourselves in, inspiration can also be found in many forms.

I began clipping pictures from magazines as a pre-adolescent, not necessarily fashion inspiration per se, just pictures that caught my attention, things that I found eye-catching, or memorable, or mesmerizing.

As I became interested in fashion however, my clipping habits became more focused. And while I don’t confine myself to photographs of clothing and accessories, I’ve found that my love of fashion gives this activity more direction and purpose. I’ve found that even without context, pictures can serve a creative function.

They excite. They encourage. They inspire.

The beauty and artistry captured by a photographer can be moving, regardless of the medium. Advertisements, promotional materials, editorials, art, beauty, home decor…

I’ve found that by keeping these images available to myself I can stay out of a fashion rut. They provide new ideas and inspiration, get my creative juices flowing, and motivate me to grow and evolved sartorially. I highly recommend creating and maintaining a Look Book, a collection of images that make you smile, that invigorate you, that make you push your boundaries.

Whether it’s a physical book filled with clippings like mine are, or Boards on Pinterest, this is a great creative and inspirational outlet. Keeping pictures of looks that you like, styles that call to you, photos that take your breath away, can all be great tools to keep your approach to fashion fresh and interesting.

What’s YOUR favorite way to get inspired?

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Bad Days

So we hear all about road-rage (and recently, in California, baseball-rage) but what about work rage?

We’ve all had those days. You know, the one where nothing goes right, you get chewed out for something that wasn’t your fault, your computer is slow or freezing every five minutes or, as is frequently the case with me, a colleague is driving you up the wall.

Almost literally.

So the question is, how do we deal with these days? What should we do INSTEAD of beating our bosses, colleagues or computers up in the parking lot? How do we stay reasonable and sane when it feels like the universe is doing everything in its power to intentionally ruin our lives?

My go-to coping mechanisms (I would call them relaxation techniques, but honestly, I’m never truly relaxed at the office so that would be a lie) are as follows:

(1) Get outside or go for a walk. Sometimes a situation can get so unbearable that you actually need to leave the immediate vicinity. I’ll use running across the street for kombucha, errands or grabbing food as excuses to get out of my office. Just leaving your desk/office/cubicle can clear your head and freshen your perspective.

(2) Sometimes when I can’t get outside or when I only have five minutes until a call I’ll try some desk meditation. Close your eyes, put in headphones, and think about being somewhere else. Envision silence and a great expanse of nothingness where there’s no stress or frustration. Take deep breaths. Imagine the tension draining out of your limbs and being expelled from your body as you breath out (I use this technique when I have trouble relaxing at night too). Feel your heartbeats slowing to a manageable level. Feel yourself growing calm.

(3) Get it off your chest! I know this sounds like it could potentially be destructive and counterproductive to an upward career trajectory, but find someone you trust and talk it out. Sometimes just saying the words out loud can alleviate some of the weight of the situation. My group has the misfortune of being located ten feet away from a painfully loud department head and we’ve developed a system for dealing with our near-constant irritation. We email among ourselves (referring to him as HWMNBN – He Who Must Not Be Named) and then, usually, we can all move on with our days. So call your mom, email your best friend, text your boyfriend, just say your peace so you don’t snap!

(4) And if you find that your work-related irritation, frustration and stress are more long-standing my suggestion is to find a physical outlet (though obviously if these persist for weeks or months you need to speak to your supervisors). Boxing is a fantastic outlet after a stressful day, each strike seems to pull your anger from your body. Running is another great option because you get to lose yourself in something bigger and just forget your worries, especially if you’re running outside. Keeping your body healthy and strong will go a LONG way in keeping you sane.

And when all else fails, fantasy is an amazing escape!

 

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Menswear: Let’s Hear it for the Boys!

In my opinion menswear styles are more classic and long-standing than their female counterpart, the cuts are more enduring and the underlying style more deeply rooted. This means putting your money into well made, classic pieces is the best way to approach your closet, since you’ll be able to wear them for years to come.

So what, do you ask, should today’s modern man have in his closet?

Suit(s):

Once you’re out of school, a good suit is a must. Interviews, weddings, funerals, work/charity events, and perhaps even the occasional date (think Valentine’s Day/Anniversary) can all call for a suit. Black, navy or charcoal are all a good choices, though I must admit that I’m a sucker for a great pinstripe suit. I’m also a fan of a classic three-piece suit, I love how they still manage to look clean and put together even with the jacket off and the sleeves rolled up.

Menswear Must Haves Mens Fashion Style Fashion Blogger Street Style

Dress Shirts:

Button-downs are extremely versatile and have a place in any well-rounded wardrobe. Pair with slacks or a suit for (semi) formal affaires, with jeans and dress shoes for Friday night cocktails or untucked over well-worn shorts with loafers (sans socks) for summertime. Like I said, versatile.

So invest! Stripes, solids, pastels, black, white, slim fit, logo, patterned, linen, cotton… Whatever suits your build, coloring, and lifestyle, it’s time to put your money where your shirt is! 🙂

T-Shirts:

Tees are somewhat of a touchy subject for me. While basic shirts can be a great staple for a man’s closet, they should not all be graphic or novelty shirts, nor should they be riddled with holes and look like they belong in a rag pile. I don’t care how many memories they hold! (Does that sound like a line I’ve used before? Cuz is it is…)

Depending on your build and lifestyle, different styles will suit you best. For his downtime my brother loves vintage-style rock shirts, and with his build – Tall & muscular but lean – They suit him perfectly. My dad favors the Robert Barakett shirts that Nordstrom carries because they’re soft with a relaxed fit and can keep up with him whether he’s walking around downtown or gardening (oh, the joys of retirement). I’m also a fan of the oh-so-easy Lacoste V-Neck Jersey Tees.

So take your significant other, sister, mom or friend shopping with you and try on some different styles. To each their own!

Menswear Must Haves Mens Fashion Style Fashion Blogger Street Style

Collared Shirt:

Polo shirts are a great middle ground between a t-shirt and a button down. They can add a bit of structure to a look while retaining an overall low-key air. Throw one over jeans with loafers or pair with shorts and flip-flips. You can even pop that collar if you’re in the mood.

Like t-shirts and button downs, these come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Once you’ve found a brand that fits you perfectly, you can order online to your heart’s desire, but you should definitely put in the in-store research before getting mouse happy.

Pants:

A complete closet should contain a few types of bottoms, namely slacks, jeans, and shorts, if applicable to your climate. At least one pair of black slacks are a requirement, however depending on how often you dress up you should consider investing in multiple pairs. Charcoal, navy and a neutral color like khaki or tan are right behind black in importance. Wool, cashmere and linen for dressing up and seersucker, cotton and linen blends for play.

When you hit the store for any pants shopping be sure to take the shoes you’ll most frequently wear with them. A good pair of slacks or jeans can be expensive, so you don’t want to buy them too long and ruin them in a matter of weeks by walking all over the hems. Also, keep in mind the tailoring is a great option, it’s fairly inexpensive and can make your pant last much longer.

Menswear Must Haves Mens Fashion Style Fashion Blogger Street Style

Extras:

I adore accessories for men, you gentlemen prefer to buy one or two great ones and leave it at that (none of the female shoe insanity!) A black and a brown belt, same for shoes, a pair of sunglasses, a wallet and a large silver, gold or leather band watch and you’re done. Easy peasy! (Obviously, this is not applicable to rappers)

The key for mens accessories is finding quality, classic pieces that can be worn season after season. Unfortunately this may require trips to multiple stores. I know – I’m sorry! Take the time though, as much as it takes, and you wont regret it.

 

{Images from Menswear Must Haves}

What are YOUR menswear must haves?

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Wanderlust

Every once in a while – Fine, every morning when I turn on my computer and stare at my inbox – I get an itch to be somewhere else.

I love traveling. I love the bustle of airports and train stations, everyone on their way somewhere. I love hotels and quaint little B&Bs. I love spending afternoons sitting outside at cafes people watching. I love wandering aimlessly through museums, historical sites ,and hiking around ruins. I even love the planning and making reservations part of a trip.

My wanderlust has taken me all around the world – Italy, Spain, France, Greece, UK, Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, Belize, Dominican Republic, Mexico – But there are still many places I have yet to see.

My top five dream destinations? Why yes, I will share. 🙂

The Artemision in Turkey, Caesarea in Israel, the Feum District in Egypt, Machu Picchu in Peru, and Petra in Jordan. Um… I think my nerd is showing…

Something else that I absolutely adore about traveling?

LUGGAGE!

Vintage-Luggage-Trunks

Ok fine. Maybe luggage is my favorite part…

And while I would be the happiest girl in the entire world if a set of Goyard or vintage Louis Vuitton trunks suddenly and mysteriously appeared in my closet, to date my most frequently used pieces of luggage are from Longchamp, TUMI, and Hunting World.

{Left – Longchamp, Center – Hunting World & Right: Tumi}

The Longchamp bags are especially great for traveling because once they’re folded up they can be slipped in your purse or the pocket of another suitcase to give you more space.

{Left – Hunting World, Center – Longchamp Le Pliage Tote & Right – Longchamp Le Pliage Weekender}

So convenient!

This fall I’ll be making my way overseas and spending time in the UK, France, and Spain. When you’re packing for a trip like this one {business attire, pool/beach attire, wedding attire, travel attire, sightseeing attire…} the key is to pack interchangeable pieces that can be worn in various ways in various settings. While London and Paris may be warmer than Southern France, I’m planning on packing summery clothes with a few layering pieces.

On the unofficial packing list?

  • 1 pair of black heels & 1 pair of neutral sandals
  • 2 work dresses, 2 street-appropriate sundresses & 2 maxi dresses
  • 1 pair black capris & 1 pair slim jeans
  • 1 striped t-shirt, 1 black 3/4 sleeve top & 1 light-weight tunic
  • 1 black cardigan & 1 white cardigan
  • 2 pairs of PJs, 2 bathing suits, 1 sarong & 1 lightweight bathing suit cover-up
  • Accessories
  • Travel outfit: black pants, black ballet flats, layering tank, boyfriend cardigan or blazer & a pashmina

Yes, there’s a lot of black in that list for a late summer vacation, but when you’re conserving suitcase space having all of your clothes match is incredibly helpful. This is a trick that I learned when I moved to Italy in college and took one rolling suitcase for nine months abroad. Please note that the TUMI bag above was my carry on!

You’ll also see that I’m packing very classic, basic pieces. Each day’s outfit will be made unique with the addition of accessories, which take up little to no room in your bags. Jewelry, headbands, belts, scarves, bags and sunglasses can COMPLETELY change your look (see Real Girls Need Real Closets – Accessories Edition).

  • Slim jeans + striped top + skinny red belt + gold bracelets + sunglasses = Parisian chic
  • Sun dress + colored-bead necklaces + scarf tied to purse + sandals = Barcelona cool

When you’re living out of a suitcase for two weeks nothing in it should only be able to be worn once. Bring separates, rather than outfits, and you’ll need fewer suitcases. Promise!

Love,

Packing Ninja

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