Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Any Action Wear

This convertible pant is one of the best I have ever had for hiking. First of all the fabric is nice and light and it stretches enough to feel super comfortable climbing over tree limbs and rocks.

The zip to capri length feature helps keep the pant out of the dust and mud, but the water repellant fabric also helps it stay cleaner.

If the sky clouds up, and there’s a light shower, the rain just beads up on the pant, so I stay dry.

The zip close cargo pocket is a big plus – no worries about losing car keys on the trail.

Designed for hiking, this pant can go anywhere. I love wearing it as a capri on the golf course.

The matching jacket turns this pant into a great outfit! The sleeves roll up with button tabs to get them out of the way.

The pockets zip closed so I have a perfect place to carry some cash or a credit card, and there’s a special IPod pocket with a cord hole for my music.

And the medium gray color (Platinum) looks great with every t-shirt color that I wear, from pale pink to black.

-Janet Madrigal

Director of Inventory Planning at Junonia

Friday, August 26, 2011

When Life Forces a Detour: What One Customer Discovered About Herself.

Hello Ms. Kelly,

This past January 2011, I slipped on some snow, fell to the ground and detached my left quadriceps tendon from my kneecap.  100% detached it!  I went into surgery and my tendon was sewn back onto my kneecap. I faced a month of healing and three months of physical therapy.  Thankfully, I no longer need a cane or crutches to walk. I now visit the gym regularly--something I haven't done in about 20 years. I continue to work toward maintaining the mobility I have by lifting weights to further strengthen my leg muscles, and I've also added full body weight training. I bought a pair of Junonia's swimcapris, which I LOVE, and I joined water aerobics classes.  I am now also signed up for swim classes, as learning to swim is one of my adult goals.  I look forward to having another low/no-impact mode of exercise under my belt!

That's my story in a nutshell. Thank you for Junonia- the clothes are very comfortable and they make me feel great in the gym and pool.

Francine H.



It all happened so fast. I fell on a Friday and needed an ambulance to take me to the emergency room, even though I only live a block away from the hospital! The orthopedist felt my left knee and immediately knew that I had detached my tendon, so she scheduled surgery for Monday.

Over the weekend, I went online and did as much research as I could. It was clear that there was no time for a second opinion, as the longer I waited to have the tendon repaired, the more the tendon and attached muscle would retract up my thigh. I could only move forward with whatever was going to happen.

Monday arrived and the surgery went well. I came home the same day with a leg immobilizer and spent the first month of recovery mostly bed-ridden. My partner Kalima set up the guest bedroom for me with everything in arms reach – even a little refrigerator. I basically lived in the room for a month and only left the house to visit the orthopedist.

Once the staples were removed from my incision site, I was able to shuffle along with crutches and go to physical therapy three times a week. I was also fitted with a bionic-looking brace to gradually allow for increased ability to flex my knee.

The next three months of physical therapy were absolute agony! I laid face-down on the treatment table and Diane, my physical therapist, took my calf and bent it upwards to flex my healing knee area. My muscles definitely resisted the retraining that Diane was trying to administer. I screamed and screamed! I received winces and pitiying glances from the other physical therapy patients; no one else seemed to struggle with the pain like I did! A friend told me, “Make sure you do everything the physical therapist tells you. You'll get the best results that way.” Twice a day, everyday, I did my physical therapy homework of stretching, leg lifts and bending. I was scared into compliance! If there was to be a problem with my knee, I decided that it would NOT be because I didn't follow through with all I was told to do.

In May, I graduated from physical therapy and my orthopedist cleared me to join the gym. My physical therapy office happened to be located inside a YMCA, so every time I went for my appointments, I saw inspiring people of all sizes, ethnicities and ages exercising and lifting weights. I already knew how to use the weight machines due to my physical therapy work, so I decided to join the Y and take advantage of everything I could. I seamlessly transitioned from scheduled physical therapy appointments to self-scheduled visits to the gym's exercise room.

I increased weights and reps on the machines; I moved up levels in all the weight training activities I’ve done. Everything is stronger. Exercise helped me learn to trust my body and my newly-repaired knee. I soon discovered the wide variety of classes that the Y offered, including water aerobics, so I went to junonia.com to order some gear. I saw the swim capris; they were EXACTLY what I had been searching for! The swimwear at Junonia offered coverage and comfort that I never found anywhere else.

At first, my swim capris and I received some flack from the lifeguards because they hadn't seen anything like them before; they assumed I grabbed some exercise tights off the rack. Soon, other wateraerobicizers were asking me, “Where did you get your swim bottoms?” I began passing out the Junonia catalog.

See JUNONIA’s QuikWik workout collection here.

The accident, surgery and recovery has been an expanding experience. Pre-accident, I wasn't in a good emotional place because my father died six months earlier. Surprisingly, my accident gave me a new focus. My partner told me, “You've transformed. I haven’t seen you this motivated for a long time!” I’ve had a lot of time to think in new directions. I started being more creative artistically. I’m now working on a career change. I’m feeling better about life overall. I know we are all only temporarily able-bodied, so I don’t take my mobility for granted anymore. I’m more aware of what I DO have- health, home, partnership, friends and family. I feel like the accident and the grief over my father’s death have combined to help me see things differently. I don’t have any inhibition about doing what I need to do for myself these days. I'm not waiting for someone else to approve.”

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

How did you start Junonia

Q: How did you start Junonia?

A: People often ask me how I started Junonia. I had just finished a mid-career business masters program, and I gave myself three months living off savings to see if I could get a business going. It’s hard to remember a time before the Internet, but this was 1994, so I spent a lot of time in the business library looking at different industries, and putting together a business plan.

But what finally did it was the day I was at the YMCA sweating through an aerobics class, noticing the women of my size and more. I knew I was having a tough time finding workout clothing, and as I talked with people, so did they! I researched the market and decided there was a gap in between fitness and fashion for the plus size woman that needed filling, so I jumped in. We continue to meet this need today.

The first catalog was published in March of 1995. It was 8 pages. In the pre-Internet era we grew by renting and swapping names with other catalogs. We introduced our web site in 1999 and our customers have been finding us through online search ever since. Look for us on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up for our very active email program, for all the best deals and the quickest notice of new items.

There are many more resources out there now for entrepreneurs. And there are so many new ideas for products and services that people need. If you have ever thought of starting your own business I say, go for it! It’s not always easy, but what is? Find a business you love and give it your all.

Friday, August 19, 2011

QuikJersey™

When the weather gets colder in the fall, it gets harder and harder to get motivated to take that walk first thing in the morning. I just want to pull the covers up, and snuggle in for an extra half hour of sleep.

It helps knowing that once I’m up, I can jump into my QuikJersey legging and jacket. The inside is brushed soft like a fleece blanket, so I know I won’t feel that shock of the morning air once I am out of the house.

The other great thing is that when I get going on my walk, generating some of my own heat, this fabric will wick away any perspiration, so I won’t feel clammy.

I also like the fact that this jacket looks great with my black jeans.


-Janet Madrigal

Director of Inventory Planning

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Taking care of your swimsuit

Treat your suit like your skin. After swimming in the brine of your choice (chlorine, bromine, or salt water) you MUST completely rinse out your suit, to remover tiny chemical particles that will degrade the fibers over time.

Rinse immediately after use. Don’t wait. Don’t store a wet suit in a towel, a plastic bag, a gym bag. Heat is the enemy.

For rinsing use clear, tepid water, and if you must, only small amounts of mild SOAP not detergents. Hand soap is fine or Suit Solutions.

Make your routine easy. Some people keep their suit on in the shower, run soap all over it, rinse while wearing, then rinse again as they take it off. Others use the strip-and-toss-in-the-basin method. Do it as you step into the shower, wring it out as you step out. Easy.

To dry, simply hand wring. Do NOT twist in a towel or use one of those suit spinners. Do NOT wash your suit in a washing machine.

Line drying is OK, but with larger suits, they may sag with the weight of the remaining water, stretching the fibers. You’ll want to flat dry instead on a lingerie rack or towel. Be sure it is in a cool location and out of the sun.

Let your suit completely dry before using again, up to 24 hours. Everyday swimmers rotate two suits for the longest life.

Other comments on suit care:

Don’t try so hard! Some people think more is better. Not true. Your suit has already been in bacteria-killing water. All you really need to do is to rinse off those chemicals so they don’t degrade the fabric. Rinsing is the answer.

Don’t use detergent or Woolite. One is too harsh, the other has lanolin that may shorten the life of stretch fibers. If you like using more than mild soap, use a cleaner like Suit Solutions, that is specially formulated to neutralize the chemicals your suit will encounter.

If your suit smells, consider possible reasons: Do you rinse right after swimming? Are you putting a suit into a hot car inside your gym bag?

Properly regulated pools should not smell. Regulating pools and spas is complicated, so if your suit smells even after extensive rinsing, talk to your pool manager.

Buy a suit that fits. Excess stretch will shorten the life of your suit.

Watch where you sit! Poolside’s can pill your suit bottom, shortening its life.

Sun and skin creams are terrible on suits. Rinse off as quickly as possible. Better yet, wear a fantastic looking UV cover-up and a wonderful huge sun hat with those glamorous big dark sunglasses. People will wonder who that celebrity is!

Buy a new suit BEFORE the old one completely dies. It’s great for the really hot spa that will hurt your new suit.

Always pack a swimsuit! You won’t want to miss out if your hotel has a fabulous spa or you are invited at the last minute to go snorkeling. Enjoy!

-Anne Kelly

Friday, August 12, 2011

Interview with Bianca Jade


Use Fashion Trends to Motivate your Workout: Interview with Bianca Jade, founder of MizzFit.com.

MizzFit.com is a place where fashion and fitness come together. By drawing on your inner fashionista, you can find a source of motivation for working out. MizzFit is about strengthening your commitment to fitness with attention to fashion.

I started MizzFit.com because I needed something “extra” to get motivated to stay in shape, and thought other women would be interested. I’m a life-long fitness enthusiast and athlete. But we all struggle with those moments when you are just not inspired.

I began by thinking about what positive motivations women have in common. I realized most women have a love for fashion, decorating, and shopping. It’s in our blood! So MizzFit.com builds on that love, to help encourage women in a fun way to get into shape.

I am a Fitness Trend Expert and Women’s Active Lifestyles Coach. I report on fitness trends on MizzFit.com and other media outlets. I also consult with women who are looking to turn their lives around by getting into shape with the extra motivation a personal coach can provide. I don’t use scare tactics, I use strategies that reflect the things they love. I incorporate music, favorite activities, and shopping tips to look and feel your best when working out.

A big trend I’m seeing is accessorizing for fitness. For example, watches are a great accessory, so find a heart rate monitor that looks great. Headbands are trendy so find a really cool sweat resistant headband for your workout. I’ve seen new waterproof jelly watches you can swim with. I’m also seeing headphones that are built into sweat resistant headbands. They are very cute and more comfortable than ear buds. I also love elastic belts that hold a phone or keys, and they also tuck in a long tee and cinch in the waist. It is very flattering for the curvy woman.

If you love your gadgets, use them to bring excitement to your workout. Bring an MP3 you dig and clip it to your outfit. It will look cool, and those songs will make the time fly by! When we are engaged, we strengthen our commitment to workout.

For plus size women I always recommend a slim, sleek legging or capri in dark tones, with some side leg stitching or detail. I think it creates a long leg line. Then top it off with a fuller top. The contrast of fullness with the slim leggings is so much better than baggy overall. I think a great pair of tights is the most flattering thing for almost any woman. Another trend I like is yoga skirts, like the ones by MeScheeky.com. They hug your curves in all the right way. I love these on plus size women. It has that whole aura of femininity.

Use color on top. I love bright colors, like summer greens, yellows, and bright neon tones. Pink is a universally flattering color for all skin colors. But wear what makes you happy. Look for flowy patterns and designs, like the ones by Stella McCartney for Nike. You can wear these with your designer jeans. Try a lightweight burnout tee. Full tees can hide trouble sports and provide coverage, but always look for something a little more out-of-the box. Pay attention to fit and trimmings. You can find some items at places like Target. You don’t have to spend a lot to look cute.

The most important things to spend money on are your undergarments. The right bra is critical to your comfort. Invest in really great workout bras, and buy panties that are sweat resistant and wicking, designed to last through tons of washes.

My no-no is white . It’s the worst color for fitness clothes, because if you sweat in them they can be see-through and get stained with sweat. And white is not the most flattering color. There are other light and beautiful colors that are comfortable out in the sun.

I find that most of my readers are “aspiring” women trying to get somewhere with fitness and health, and they use MizzFit.com to help them get there. That excites me. I love when they email me, send pictures and reach out to me. No matter what size we are, we are all in the same boat!

I like to tell women ways to be active that are convenient. You don’t necessarily have to go to a boot camp. I have a hula hoop, and if I can’t get to the gym, I’ll hula hoop while I watch the news. You can do a phone meeting while you are doing a power walk.

And I tell women it’s never too late to get started. My mom has gotten more active recently, and I’m so proud of her. She has so much more energy. Little changes can have big results!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Take a day hike: Special tips for the plus size hiker

You’ll love it, so don’t hesitate one more minute. Start planning your next hike now!

Always hike with a friend. Recruit friends that enjoy your speed. Talk about it ahead of time. Don’t assume that your smaller friends won’t love your pace. I don’t really understand those people who run the trails. I like to enjoy nature and so do many others. A great piece of advice from family hikers is to always put the slowest hiker at the head of the line. It won’t always be you!

Join or start a group. I looked up “Hike” and my zip code at www.meetup.com and found at least 4 groups in my area. One group walks the paved Mississippi path from the PetCo parking lot near my house. From the reviews, it sounds like a fun group and they are looking for new people. (Please post any great groups you find—OR ARE STARTING- on our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Junonia/141265146590.)

Travel Partners. If you are looking for a fantastic group to travel with as a solo or as a family be sure to check out Wilderness Inquiry. Their non-profit mission is to make the outdoors accessible to everyone, and they run lots of trips with people of all abilities to amazing locations in the U.S. and around the world. They usually base themselves at a friendly small hotel and day trip from there. I’ve travelled with them twice and both times had an amazing time. Everyone pitches in and these are the greatest people you’ll ever meet. Very safety oriented and not a whiner in the bunch. www.wildernessinquiry.org.

Buy great footwear. Depending on where you intend to hike, you’ll need waterproof boots; either a light hiker or full hiking boot. The ankle support is really important. They need to feel great when you buy them. Don’t count on breaking them in for comfort. However, be sure to put several hours in them ahead of any hike, just to make sure. Spend the time and money to get a great boot that truly fits you. They will last forever and become your best friends.

What to wear? Light and layered is the theme. As a larger person you will work up heat and you want to be able to strip down to a light wicking layer. But when you stop you’ll need to layer on a lightweight fleece top for warmth and a jacket for rain protection. You’ll also love those zip off pants. Leave the cotton tee shirts at home for anything more strenuous than and hour’s hike. They gather body moisture and don’t dry, leaving you wet and vulnerable to hypothermia or overheating. Click here to see Junonia’s hiking selection.

Hiking Poles. Not just for nerds anymore. They take about 20% of the pressure off your knees and provide a lot of stability on the trail, especially useful on the downhill and rocky paths. You’ll be amazed. Use two poles and be sure to practice on your home paths to get comfortable with them before tackling a more difficult trail. I love the telescoping poles that fit easily into a carryon bag or backpack. I used them on trails near Vail, CO and just loved them. Especially at the end of the day, coming back down a rocky path, they were great.

Stay on the path. 80% of injuries are when people go off-path. I saw this on a recent trip hiking in Scotland. Two experienced hikers decided to just cut the tangent when they took the wrong trail, and one got her foot caught in a boggy area and badly twisted her leg. They had to call the mountain patrol to get her down. She was only a half mile from the trailhead and a couple of yards from the trail, but….. She felt pretty silly as well as in pain.

Don’t know the area? Use out and back trails. Do NOT feel you have to do a loop to see more, as every trail looks different on the return. It is VERY important to set a turnaround time, so that you don’t end up on the trail tired, hungry and without sunlight to guide you back.

Learn the Rest Step. On a Wilderness Inquiry hike on the Olympic Peninsula there were lots and lots of steps because they used boardwalks to protect the environment. The guide taught me the rest step and it saved my bacon. Check it out at www.youtube.com by searching on “rest step hiking.” In short, on any uphill or stair, you step forward and allow your leg to fully extend to a straight leg before taking the next step. One person calls it the wedding march. It’s slower, but not by much, and it’s an amazing energy and knee-saver. The guide told me the very best technical climbers do this on the way to Everest.

Food and Water. You MUST drink and eat on the trail. Take more water than you think you’ll need. On one trail in Vail we thought we were on a beginner’s trail and found out later it was “advanced.” We were taking it slow and doing fine, until the day turned hot. Thankfully we met a lovely pair coming back down the trail. She was a doctor and took one look at us and gave us her excess water. Don’t count on that! Also, do NOT try to diet on the trail. You’ll need energy so enjoy fuel-intensive food on trail. Bring fruit, too, as they are also fluid intensive.

Backpack. Like your boots, the fit and comfort of your backpack is important. Look for padded straps and breathability on the back. A front strap can distribute some of the weight off the shoulders. Try it before buying –even load it up in the store. Make sure it is comfy and you can get it on and off with ease. Look for external water bottle holders for quick access. Don’t go too small. You won’t save much weight and you’ll want the flexibility to bring extra clothing, food, and safety gear. Pockets are good so you don’t need to dig to the bottom every time you stop.

Trust yourself. You’ll do fine. On one trip we were hiking way up a mountain to see the rare protected red macaw in the next valley. The path was steep and we were at a pretty high altitude. I was just coming off radiation treatments and I was tired. I knew I felt OK to do it, but I had to slow down. I could have stopped and waited, but I really wanted to see those birds! So I just said so, and a couple of people were actually very happy to slow down with me. We made it to the top just as flights of the rare birds circled overhead. Awesome. Later on that same trip I made a different decision and decided to NOT climb a Mayan temple for the view. Birds, yes, view, no! You’ll make good choices if you trust yourself.

GENERAL DAY HIKING TIPS:

Safety first. Bring a small emergency kit with matches, firestarters, bandages, multi-utility knife, anti-bacterial cream, sunscreen, insect repellent, headlamp/flashlight, water filter, emergency procedure manual, moleskin for blisters, twine, a foil emergency blanket, AND A CHARGED CELL PHONE. You may be able to get reception even in remote areas if you can get to a ridge. Know what poison ivy, oak and sumac look like.

Sign in at the trailhead. ALWAYS let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return. PLAN your turnaround time. It takes about the same amount of time to get down as to get up, and you’ll be more tired. You don’t want to be hiking in the dark.

Have a good map that shows elevations and distances. If using a GPS make sure you really know how to use it, and that the batteries are fresh. Old fashion compasses and good map reading skills are important.

NEVER HIKE ALONE. Buddy up with others on the trail. Two of us got lost one time, not being sure what trail we was on. Another couple came by, so we buddied up with them. We all figured we’d come out somewhere, and with four, we could split up to go back to a car without leaving anyone stranded alone. Turned out we WERE on the right trail, but we met a couple of very nice people. You’ll find other hikers to be very helpful and generous.

Don’t bring GLASS. Repack things into lightweight zip locks.

Bring the Field Guides that will enhance your hike: Birds, Flowers, Trees, and Mushrooms. Pack them in zip locks, too.

Put your water bottles in the freezer. Wool socks will keep them cool on the trail. Put extra frozen drinks into a cooler to have the car at the end of your hike. Bring a minimum of 2 quarts/liters per person on the trail. Drink BEFORE you are thirsty.

Bring a lightweight camera. Remember extra batteries and memory cards.

Create themes for your hikes. Spring Flower Photo Hike, a silent hike, a lunch pot luck hike, a bird count hike.

Stop often with shorter rest stops. Don’t wait until you are tired to rest.

Develop your routine. Create a CHECKLIST for packing. Re-check batteries and first aid kit before setting out. Pack food the day before.

Be sensitive. To the environment and other people’s enjoyment of it. Uses “leave no traces” techniques. Pack out ALL garbage, including pet waste and your T.P. in zip lock bags. Use hand sanitizer. Bring a trowel to dig human waste down to 6-8”, 200’ from water or campsites and disguise as best as possible. Be quiet, don’t disturb animals. Don’t feed animals. Keep your pets close and under control. Wash off gear and shoes when leaving an area so invasive species aren’t spread.

Horses on the Trail. Quietly step off the trail on the LOW side and FACE the on-coming horses so they know you are people and not scary backpacks. Do not make any quick movements or loud noises. Ask the riders for instructions.

Pack for unexpected weather. Check the forecast just before going, but don’t fully trust it. Have enough gear for the unexpected. Always bring warm and rain gear. A skullcap and gloves are important for warmth.

Thunder = Lightning. Take it seriously. If high, get below the tree line. Shelter under the shortest trees. Do not lie down. If in the open, make yourself as small and low a target as possible with your feet close together in a crouch. Stay away from water ponds or rivers. Stay away from metal including hiking poles and pack frames. Get into a sturdy building or hard-top car with the windows up. Avoid shallow caves or overhangs. If out in the open, spread out so there is no chance of spreading lightning sideways.

Respect the sun. Use and re-apply sunscreen and lip balm. Wear a hat. Use protective sunglasses. Burns are no fun and happen fast, especially at altitude.

Coming Home. You’ll feel great and be tired. The person in the passenger seat has a special responsibility to keep the driver engaged and alert on the way home. Live to hike another day!

-Anne Kelly

Founder and Chair

Friday, August 5, 2011

Action Wear stretch twill

This convertible pant is one of the best I have ever had for hiking. First of all the fabric is nice and light and it stretches enough to feel super comfortable climbing over tree limbs and rocks.

The zip to capri length feature helps keep the pant out of the dust and mud, but the water repellant fabric also helps it stay cleaner.

If the sky clouds up, and there’s a light shower, the rain just beads up on the pant, so I stay dry.

The zip close cargo pocket is a big plus – no worries about losing car keys on the trail.

Designed for hiking, this pant can go anywhere. I love wearing it as a capri on the golf course.

The matching jacket turns this pant into a great outfit! The sleeves roll up with button tabs to get them out of the way.

The pockets zip closed so I have a perfect place to carry some cash or a credit card, and there’s a special IPod pocket with a cord hole for my music.

And the medium gray color (Platinum) looks great with every t-shirt color that I wear, from pale pink to black.


-Janet Madrigal

Director of Inventory Planning at Junonia

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Comments and Questions

Our President and Founder Anne Kelly has always welcomed interaction with our customers. Whether it is emailing her your comments on our products, or in some cases asking for help with a customer service issue. Regardless of the reason, we do like to encourage our customers to share their stories and to ask questions. So today we are encouraging those of you who have never asked us a question, to do so.

What is it that you would like to know about our products?

I know that when I first joined Junonia I wasn’t clear on the difference between our AquaSport™ and our QuikEnergy™ swimwear. What makes these two lines different? Which suit will fit my needs best?

I along with the rest of our product development team would be happy to answer any questions you may have about our fabrics, our fit, or our sizing.

But don’t feel you have to limit yourself to product questions, if there is something else on your mind that you would like to ask us, please feel free. We will do our best to address your questions.

Hearing from our customers allows us to better serve your needs, so don’t be shy, we would love to hear from you.

Susan Noble

Director of Merchandising