23 July 2014

Tips For Working Out in the Heat

Last summer I tasked myself with  training for a half marathon - starting in the dead heat of summer.  I know, not smart.  In the beginning I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  Even the short runs seemed almost unbearable in the blistering summer heat.  Not to mention, I almost always seemed to run out of water. I was not about to start running 11 miles on the treadmill, so I started to research ways to make it through  my long summer runs.

I decided to try out some of the tricks I learned.  Some helped and some did not.  These tactics not only work for runners, but really any outdoor activity.

1. Drink up!  When you know you are going to be working out, drink at least 8 oz of water every hour the day before and day of your work out.  It is important to continue to drink water even when you are not thirsty so that your body can store up the hydration.  You also don't want to me pounding the water shortly before the run because you may cramp up (and have to pee during your run!).  If you sweat a lot, you may want to consider drinking more than 8 oz.

2. Wear loose, light clothing Just the other day, I did not take my own advice and wore all black running on an 80 degree day.  Not smart.  The loose clothing will help with air circulation and the light color will not attract the sun like darker colors do.

3. Time it right Time of day is everything.  Running early in the morning is best, especially before the sun rises.  Once the sun starts to rise, so does the temperature - not to mention the pounding sun in your face.  Evening is also a great time to run.  Avoid from 12-3 PM because this is when the ozone levels are at their highest.  Not only is it hot, but you have an increased risk of sun burn.

4. Be picky with your trails  Pick trails with water fountains throughout the course. This way you won't have to worry about running out of water.  Also, pick trails that are shaded and along streams or rivers.  These trails will be much cooler and you have the option to splash your face if you feel you are beginning to overheat.

6. Slow it down  Slowing down your pace, especially in the beginning, will keep you from overheating.  When you push yourself to do your best, your heart rate increases and your body temperature rises.  Run by your effort, not your typical running pace.  Just like a car can overheat, your body can overheat as well.

7. Increase your electrolytes  Don't just drink water.  Consider adding drinks with electrolytes such as coconut water or sports drinks.  During your outdoor activity, you will sweat more than normal, losing a lot of sodium.  The electrolytes will help level out your sodium levels and keep you hydrated, avoiding hyponatremia (low levels of sodium in the blood).

8. Wear sunscreen You might not always realize how much sun you are getting while you run.  Lather on a sports sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher to avoid sunburns.

Even with these tricks, it is still very difficult to beat the heat when the high is 98 degrees.  So listen to your body.  If you are feeling weak, dizzy, faint, have a headache, or begin vomiting, stop working out immediately.  You could end up with dehydration, heat stoke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, or hyponatremia.  No workout is worth your health.  But stay safe and enjoy the outdoors while you can!

19 July 2014

Investment Pieces- Worth the Extra $

It seems like on a daily basis I am rummaging through my closet trying to find something to wear.  Even with a walk-in-closet lined with the season's latest, I always seem to manage to draw towards a few staple pieces.  Sure, I may go for a lacy peplum one day and a jersey knit tank the next, but I always seem to pair them with the same faux-leather jacket and skinny jeans.  I may have over 40 pairs of shoes, but I always manage to slip on the same strappy sandals or classic black wedge.  Why do I wear these pieces so often?  Because they are so versatile and they have lasted me through several evolving seasons.  And, if you are wearing the same pieces over and over, you definitely want to invest in some high quality items.

The key is to know when to save and when to splurge.   You may not want to spend hundreds of dollars on trendy items like crop tops and printed denim.  Most likely you are only going to wear these trendy items once or twice.  However, a well fitted blazer and black pointy pumps are items you will find yourself wearing season after season.  These are the kinds of items that are okay, even encouraged to spend a little more on because you want them to last.  There is nothing worse than buying the perfect pair of well-fitted jeans only to discover that the material stretches more and more with each wear. 

See my list below for items that are worth a little extra cash.  Because everyone has a different budget, and your idea of a "splurge" may be another fashionista's steal, I found a designer version and a more affordable item for each investment piece.

1. Black Moto Jacket - Every girl needs a sleek, bad-ass motorcycle jacket.  I have been wearing mine for three seasons out of the year for about 2 years now.  It can be a great layering piece or a light jacket for when it starts to get cool.  Pair it with some destructed skinnies and you will be looking like the sixth member of the T-Birds.  I love this affordable version from Express because of it's simple, sleek design.  For an even larger budget, this quilted Anine Bing version would look fabulous over top of almost anything.

2. Classic Ankle Strap Sandals - The classic ankle strap sandal has become a spring/summer staple.  Purchasing these cute little shoes in black, nude or white can add instant femininity and chicness to any outfit.  A good pair of heels is something I definitely recommend spending a few extra dollars on because you want them to be as comfortable as possible. This pair from Aldo is classic and simple, but the snake skin texture gives it some edge.  For a more high-end look, snag these Pour La Victoire sandals.  The gold accents add some classy flare.

3. Perfect Pair of Skinnies - Nothing beats your favorite pair of dark wash skinnies that you can wear with almost anything.  I got in the habit of wearing mine multiple times a week.  All women know the struggle of denim shopping and finding the pair that fits just  right; and when you do, it's like Heaven on Earth.  Because they are so hard to come by, splurge on a good-quality pair.  Trust me, you will get your monies worth.  You can't go wrong with 7 for all Mankind jeans.  They are a little pricey, but this is an investment, and you won't be disappointed in the splurge.  J-Brand makes a great pair of designer jeans, and this dark wash pair will go with everything.

4. Well-Fitted Blazer -  Not just for boardrooms anymore!  The blazer has become an essential layering piece that is here to stay.  Pair it with your skinnies and heals for a night out, or ponte pants for a sleep office look.  This Loft blazer is a great affordable alternative.  The black will match everything!  This black Theory blazer is also a great find if you are looking for a great fitted, everyday blazer.

5 Brown Leather Tote - I included this piece because I bought one two years ago and have been carrying it around ever since.  I love my Fossil tote and it has lasted me through what seems like war and back.  It matches almost everything and is great for work or play! This Fossil tote is similar to the one I had.  However, Marc is my true dream bag!

6. Chambray Shirt -  Ahh the chambray shirt!  What would I do without thee?  The chambray shirt is another great layering piece.  It can be warn open as the top layer, or with the collar popped under a cardi as the bottom layer.  Try this one from Loft for a more modest budget, or for a more luxurious look, go for this Rag & Bone chambray shirt.

7. Little Black Dress-  Every girl needs a LBD, or two, or three.  I have several LBDs, but I have one go-to dress that fits like a glove.  This little number is well worth the investment (as in time and money).  Find the one that pulls out your best features and gives your the confidence you need for any occasion.  This affordable version from LuLus has just enough sass for date night and the perfect touch of class for Sunday brunch!  If your looking for the perfect Audrey Hepburn look-a-like, go for Kate Spade's Marilyn dress.

8. Black Pumps -  Invest in a good pair - you will wear these religiously... I promise! If you got the wallet to support, go for the classic Louboutins.  If you are like me and live off of a more modest budget, investing in a a pair of these Kate Spade pointy-toed pumps.

9. Crossbody Bag -The crossbody bag is a great investment piece because when you only need to carry a couple things around, you don't want to carry around a big chunky bag. Check out this one from Henri Bendel.  If you have the cash, you can't go wrong with the oh-so-classic Chanel quilted crossbody.

10. Gold Trinket Necklace -  You know when you need just one tiny little accessory to turn your outfit from boring to fab?  That is what the gold trinket necklace is for. Dogeared is great affordable option.  I love their Balance Curved Tube Necklace.  Going for precious medals?  Try Mizuki's 14K gold side cross necklace.

07 July 2014

Summer To-Do List

With summer vastly approaching the mid-mark, I realized that between all the weddings, graduation parties and nights out on the town, I haven't had time to do all of things I really want to with my summer months.  Residing in the North East, we only get a handful of sunny, warm days a year. It's important to soak up all the sunshine possible with outdoor activities.

I don't know what it is about summer, but it seems like they are so sacred and special.  It's like you want to take advantage of every last second it has to offer, wasting not a single drop.  One of my favorite things about summer is that there is always something to do, and there is no room for boredom.  The best part of moving to Philadelphia is that I am only an hour away from plopping my butt on a beach chair and sticking my feet in the sand.  I will never have an excuse to be bored when the shore is only a short trip up the expressway.

With so many things to do, and so little time, I decided I needed to compile a list of all the things I want to do or get done this summer, and quickly begin planning when I can check them off my list. Here is a list of all the things I want to get done.  I encourage you to do the same!